October 2010

(Archive index.)

Paul Simon reviews Stephen Sondheim’s new memoir, Finishing The Hat. (The first of two volumes.)

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education: an article by William Deresiewicz about how universities should exist to make minds, not careers, The American Scholar (2008).

How to Create a Hit Sitcom by Chuck Lorre (2004).

The Land of Lisp:

Sample chapters and coercive material at the website. Buy it from No Starch Press, or preorder on Amazon. Congrats to Conrad on the release, looking forward to it!

Bear McCreary with Raya Yarbrough, a presentation given at Google HQ back in March:

Bear McCreary’s website. Raya Yarbrough’s website.

Scrivener 2.0 NaNoWriMo preview edition now available, lasts through December 7. WriMo winners get 50% off, everyone else gets 20% off. (A WriMo “winner” is anyone who (honestly) writes 50,000 words in November.)

Sounds like there will be a Windows version when the release is official on November 1.

New intro video covers 2.0, though doesn’t demo new features. I don’t see a new feature list yet, but I don’t care, I’d pay for it again even if it hasn’t changed.

Twice The Social Network, fxguide on how face replacement was used to allow one actor to play both Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.

Coachelletta, a short film of the Coachelletta Valley Music and Arts Festival 2010. Behind-the-scenes interview.

(Via waxy, as usual.)

Fear of Programming, from RubyConf 2008:

The Tate Modern’s New Art Installation: 100 Million Hand-Painted Sunflower Seeds. The installation looks impressive, but I also like this companion video of photographers and videographers trying to make sense of it all.

Frames of Reference, an absolutely lovely 27 minute film from 1960 on the observation of mechanics and fictitious forces. Watch the whole thing.

Tuning Canabalt. Details of game design.

Comic Relief: Doctor Who.

Why Movies and Books Work Better than TheĀ Internet.

Halta Definizione: Galleria, high resolution images of several classic paintings.

Napkin Look & Feel for Java Swing. “Don’t make the demo look done.”

distellamap, by Ben Fry, a simple static 2D visualization of the code and execution of Atari 2600 games.

Founders Block: 25 Best Startup Failure Post-Mortems.

Hollerado - Americanarama:

“We wanted to make something cheap and awesome.”

How I Did It: John Vechey, Founder of PopCap.

Homemade Spacecraft.

This video is making the rounds with the headline “Best Dad Ever.”

You’re Stealing it Wrong: 30 Years of Inter-Pirate Battles, Jason Scott.

A technical presentation on The Lacuna Expanse [PDF], an MMO strategy game implemented in Perl with modern Perl web app best practices. The Lacuna Expanse.

Gamasutra behind-the-scenes interview on LEGO Universe, LEGO’s new massively multiplayer online game. You can build with bricks in-game, and when you do, your designs are sent to a render farm to generate the new graphics models in real time. A 2x8 plate brick has twice the polygons of a WoW avatar.

I’ve been ignoring the invites to the LU beta, partly because I didn’t have time, partly because I didn’t want to get sucked in, and partly because if my kids saw me playing it we’d have to play it every night until they graduate high school.

Apple’s segmentation strategy, and the folly of conventional wisdom - O’Reilly Radar.

Homer in Silicon: The Only Way to Win, Emily Short on games that break expectations to make a point.

16-bit ALU in Minecraft:

Hello, want to kill some time?

The Language Construction Kit. (Dated 1996.)

‘The Social Network’: A Review Of Aaron Sorkin’s Film About Facebook And Mark Zuckerberg by clued-in Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig. A must-read even if you don’t plan to see the movie.

Google has opened its URL shortener,, to the public.

Google adds keyboard navigation of results to Google Instant. Learn it, use it.

Journalism in the Age of Data: Visualization as a Storytelling Medium.

53 minutes, but if you’re interested in the subject, there’s good stuff here. Favorite quote: “[It’s] an enormous amount of work!”

Gourmet Live and Rewarding Experiences, Anil Dash.

Jason Schwartzman Introduces The New Yorker iPad App.

The iPad version of the magazine costs $5 an issue. That seems like a lot to people paying nothing, or next to nothing, for content, but frankly I hope they successfully push up the reference point for good magazine content in digital form. I also hope the quality of the iPad experience compares favorably with the print edition.

Web 2.0 Expo NY 2010: “A Conversation with Ryan Sarver and Bret Taylor”, hosted by Anil Dash.

Learn Python The Hard Way, by Zed Shaw. Zed has a reputation for being a bit brash, but knows how to step up. This new book on learning how to program has a solid philosophy and is well written, a welcome addition to the canon.

Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome, France.

Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries, NYTimes. Only 23 percent of American meals include a vegetable, not including french fries but including lettuce on a hamburger.

Get Xtreme Xrunch Kart for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. “The world’s first ever carrot-crunch-powered video game. Ever.”

IDEO: The Future of the Book:

Thankfully not just another repackaging of traditional book material in a new form factor, but a re-thinking of the material itself, taking present day mobile computing features as read. Not as good as some IDEO big picture stuff, but several bits worth thinking about.

Blog Changes

The blog has a new design and new software. The following is trivia, but no more trivial than usual so why not:

Probably the most controversial change is the archives. I’ve decided that after 11 years of blogging, I’m no longer interested in maintaining every single entry as I upgrade the software and site design. Entries from October 1999 to September 2010 will remain on the site at their original URLs, but they will retain the previous design indefinitely, and will not be listed in the new archive index. It’s a crude measure, and I considered just deleting all 11 years of history (mostly broken links and trivia at this point) and letting it live on in the Wayback Machine. But there are several entries that still provide value to Google searchers—my iPhone shuffle article continues to get traffic and kudos, which is ridiculous but I’m glad it’s useful. And it’s a record of pretty much all of my 20’s, albeit a small part of it. So the old entries can stay, just out of the way.

And yes, this is now running Movable Type 5. I have a long history with MT, and quite a bit of affection for its code base. Six Apart’s recent merger with VideoEgg may or may not change the company’s relationship with this product—their Japan team remains committed to it—but I don’t have a reason to switch away.

Please let me know if anything is broken. Thanks!

October 2010 • November 2010 »