This is BrainLog, a blog by Dan Sanderson. Older entries, from October 1999 through September 2010, are preserved for posterity, but are no longer maintained. See the front page and newer entries.

February 2008 Archives

February 28, 2008

A couple of years ago, The Internet discovered that if you take the Garfield comic strip and remove Garfield's thought balloons, it gets funnier. It appears one of the original proprietors of this idea took down his site (and requested that the Wayback Machine remove the site from its archives, thanks much), but examples persist on several forums: some here, and here.

Two years later, The Internet has discovered that if you take Garfield entirely out of the strip, it's even funnier.

February 26, 2008

Lessig decides against running for Congress after all, and makes another video to explain why.

February 25, 2008

Every episode of the original Star Trek series streamed from CBS.com. Also some Twilight Zone, MacGyver (the decent early ones), Hawaii Five-0, and, uh, Melrose Place.

February 22, 2008

Phun, a 2D physics sandbox for Windows or Linux. YouTube video demo of Phun.

February 21, 2008

Lessig '08 - Change Congress. Lawrence Lessig is considering running for Congress. We need more good Keynote presentations in politics.

HandBrake, the great DVD backup and space-shifting program (ripper) for Mac, Windows and Linux, is now at version 0.92. Of particular interest to me: "iPhone-compatible anamorphic video at its full size" I just came back from a trip where I watched Thank You For Smoking on my iPhone, and the iPhone had cropped it horribly. The film has a very wide aspect ratio, 2.35 : 1, and it frequently uses the edges of the frame for comic effect, which was mostly ruined by the iPhone's accidental crop.

February 18, 2008

ScreenFlow, a slick new $100 screencasting app for Mac, with a built-in editor and innovative features, such as the ability to record video from the screen and video from a camera simultaneously. The Mac has had a couple of simple screencast apps for a while, but nothing that competes with Camtasia Studio for Windows. ScreenFlow is a welcome entry in this market.

February 7, 2008

The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken, from MIT Press. Paperback available for pre-order, only $25, with an extra 5% off all books preorders from Amazon. The original hardback came out in 2005. The author's book web site includes the book's software suite, with hardware simulators and emulators, the compiler, the OS, and more.

For years I've fantasized about getting rich, retiring early, then writing this book. Seriously. I have weird fantasies. Not that I'm particularly qualified to write such a book, I've just had a fascination with this approach. I might still do a crazy-person-writes-a-book-in-a-vacuum-and-puts-it-on-his-web-site version when I'm 50. (Will there still be NAND gates in 2028?)

Kevin Kelly: Better Than Free, a nifty essay on salable value in copyable products. What isn't clear for the affected pre-digital industries (e.g. music) is if a new model based on these values can bring in as much revenue as the old model that depended on scarcity.

A commenter on Kelly's site links to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, by Walter Benjamin, 1936. Wikipedia article.

February 5, 2008

Apple //c unboxing photos. Dan of Dan Says gets an unopened Apple //c from eBay, and opens it.

February 1, 2008

Frontline: Growing Up Online. Full video and additional content on their web site.