December 2010

(Archive index.)

Back to the Future: The Game is a new graphic adventure game based on the movie series. And it’s not bad! The game is being released in five parts, and the first part is available now on Steam. PC or Mac. $25 gets you the full series; and the Steam holiday sale saves you 10% before January 2nd.

You might want to re-watch the movies first, especially via the Back to the Future Blu-ray boxed set. Be generous with the new voice actors in the game; they’re good, but of course they’re not the original actors.

If you’re concerned about the game not being up to the standards of the movies, take a moment to watch the Universal Studios BTTF: The Ride video assets on the third disc of the Blu-ray set first. It’ll lower your expectations and make the new game easier to appreciate. Seriously, mad props to Christopher Lloyd for a) taking the BTTF movies seriously with solid, emotionally grounded performances, and b) being a trooper about all the ancillary work they offered him on the ride and the cartoon series.

How a quartz watch works:

From Bill Hammack, The Engineer Guy. 7 other videos so far.

You Should Self-Publish, by genre writer Joe Konrath.

A demonstration of a replica of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, or “the ABC,” the first electronic computer:

I think I’m more sick of Super Mario music remixes than I am of Christmas music covers, but this Mario/Sleigh Ride mix is surprisingly delightful. (Direct MP3 link.) The Mario is subtle, the instruments are authentic, Leroy Anderson never gets old, and the combo makes everything fresh. From a group called The OneUp Mushrooms.

The Simple Software That Could — but Probably Won’t — Change the Face of Writing, James Somers for The Atlantic. Watch James write this article with iEtherpad (click play).

Android App Inventor meets Lego Mindstorms. (Lego’s announcement.) Control your Mindstorms robots with your Android phone, programmed with Android App Inventor.

World of Goo for iPad Now Available. This is the next Plants vs. Zombies. Like that game, it didn’t start out on the iPad, but it’s as if it was and always should have been on the iPad.

Just in time for holiday gifted iPads, too. Go 2D Boy!

Yahoo Trying To Unload, Not Shut It Down.

Sweet and successful interview with Stephen Sondheim by Stephen Colbert in Colbert’s December 14 show.

While not yet confirmed, and not denied despite a day’s worth of high-energy rumor activity based on a leaked all-hands slide, Yahoo is closing down bookmarking service Delicious. Delicious was an exquisite web power user product invented at just the right time in the web’s history. It was subsequently acquired by Yahoo and allowed to mostly rot from a product management perspective, despite talented staff and a well-intentioned redesign. Anyone who used it used it a lot, myself included.

Congratulations to Pinboard, a work-alike service that’s been getting top billing in most “Delicious replacements” talk today. This list from Search Engine Land broadens the definition of “bookmarking service” a bit (and rightly so, since Delicious-style bookmarking still lives in a previous era), but if you want a direct replacement with easy import of your Delicious data, Pinboard looks like the place to go.

Pinboard has a one-time sign-up fee which increases the more users it has. It’s been creeping up a lot today, but it’s still quite reasonable.

Nature by Numbers, full screen recommended:

So You Want to Be a Journalist:

Andrew Plotkin’s Kickstarter campaign has ended, and his grand total, I kid you not, is $31,337. Either that’s a wonderful coincidence, or someone paying close attention at the last minute made a lovely joke. (Andrew’s most recent blog post suggests it was the latter.) Either way, Andrew new has $30k to do what he loves and give it back to the community. Yay.

Vi Hart: Mathematical Doodling. (Link goes to series home page with 4 videos, all worth watching.)

If there were a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of more of these videos, I’d contribute. Just saying.

Shop Vac, fantastic animated music video of the Jonathan Coulton song, by Jarrett Heather:

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