February 2011

(Archive index.)

Gameduino: an Arduino game adapter by James Bowman, a Kickstarter project for an Arduino shield with VGA graphics, stereo sound output, and 2D game features. Pledge at $53 to get a board from the first production run, or $113 to get a full package including joystick and Arduino.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s final launch as viewed from a commercial airplane, shot on a passenger’s iPhone:

Wonderful 6 minute short on veteran foley artist Gary Hecker:

Part of the SoundWorks Collection, which has many other cool videos on music and sound for movies and video games. Try this one on video game and TV composer Mike Reagan, who did the God of War games.

(Via kottke.)

IBM Watson research team answers questions for Reddit. Includes an abstract summary of the steps Watson uses to assign semantic hints to parts of clues.

MathJax, a JavaScript package for in-browser rendering of mathematical equations from inline LaTeX or MathML source, including support for browsers without native MathML rendering, without server-side graphics generation.

Hash, Bang, Wallop, Ben Michael Ward on the reasons for #! in URLs.

Ron Jones: The Seven Steps of Scoring. PDF pamphlet, video (14 minutes), and video of a Family Guy scoring session (1 minute). I’ll embed the Family Guy video:

Ron’s website has many playable clips of his work, including his Family Guy cues and songs, as well as his Star Trek: The Next Generation work. According to the Wikipedia article on Jones, the 100th episode of Family Guy, “Stewie Kills Lois,” quotes music from ST:TNG “The Best of Both Worlds.”

Analysis of the system typefaces of 8-bit computers.

Write More Good, a new book from the creators of @FakeAPStylebook, comes out in April. And you thought a parody of writing books couldn’t be done. (Or did you say “shouldn’t”?)

Borders Books: Why is Barnes & Noble performing well as a business while Borders is near (or has even reached) bankruptcy? A Quora question whose current top answer is from a former Director of Merchandise Planning & Analysis for Borders. I was a Borders fan, and this all rings true.

Ken Jennings interviewed by readers of The Washington Post, after Monday’s Watson game aired but before the other two.

Hulu Plus gets The Criterion Collection. Quite possibly a reason to pay $8/month for Hulu Plus, and have a device that supports it.

The Great Gatsby, The Game.

Why Non-engineers Think Engineers Are Better Off Joining Startups, Diego Basch of IndexTank.

Please Just Shut Up About the “Family Meal.” There are several actual arguments in favor of dining as a family, but it’s refreshing to take a break from the lazy writing and guilt-mongering around the issue.

Stop-motion animated short about Gmail Mobile by JESS3:

Check out the behind-the-scenes video, too.

Onion News Network has a full length TV series, apparently airing on IFC for those who still have cable. For the rest of us, it’s on Hulu. Textually dense, fast-paced, and with high production values, just like their online shorts but in 22-minute megadoses.

See also The Onion Sportsdome on Comedy Central.

How did WordPress win? Byrne Reese on the rise and fall of Movable Type. (MT is still my blogging platform of choice. I’ve never tried WP because I haven’t had a need to.)

Phantom of the Floppera:


Google launches two-step verification for all Google accounts. Optional, but entirely worth it to secure your account.


Robot Orders a Scone in Mountain View, CA:

Everyone else in the coffee shop is pointing a camera at the robot. I ask you, who are the real robots?

Love the side comments in the audio: “Is this some kind of Google thing?” (It isn’t, it’s Anybots.) And: “Only in Mountain View.” Highest rated YouTube comment: “Do you realize what kind of amazing impact this technology will have… on the scone industry?”

Apparently Dana Carvey hosted SNL last night. Cold open was Wayne’s World with Mike Meyers. Church Lady too. Surreal, and, uh, about as good as it sounds.

How to Beat Procrastination.

Hulu has all 7+ episodes of The Dana Carvey Show. The show originally aired in prime time on ABC in 1996. In addition to being a blast from the past, these shows feature some fantastic work from Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, and some of Carvey’s best work. The influences of Robert Smigel and Louis C.K. are clear, and welcome. At the risk of over-complimenting, it’s like a ’90s Smothers Brothers Show.

The Wikipedia article on The Dana Carvey Show has great stuff, as usual. According to Wikipedia, Hulu has had the DCS for a while now, I guess I just noticed because they gave it a little front page promotion recently.

Unfortunately, Hulu has become rather aggressive with its interstitial ads of late. Rising cost of content? Trying to differentiate Hulu Plus without eliminating ads for paid subscribers? I don’t know, but it’s clear from this experiment that there’s a line where ads detract too much from the experience. One might argue that broadcast TV has gotten away with 2.5 minutes of ads every 7 minutes for decades, but I’d say that’s exactly what’s wrong with this: the more Hulu is like broadcast or cable TV, the worse it is. Perhaps it was too optimistic to think that Hulu could continue 30 second ad breaks as it grew in popularity. I’m sorry to see that the ad placement in some episodes of the Dana Carvey Show are (accidentally?) over the top.

Wikipedia: List of Crayola crayon colors. (Via kottke.)

Super Awesome Sylvia shows super simple Arduino:

More Super Awesome Sylvia.

Everything is a Remix Part 2:

Watch past the credits, don’t miss part 1, and go to to support the production of this series and find supplemental materials.

Andy Baio’s growing list of games about games.

Color Wheels, Jason Cohen.

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