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september 2010 microblog digest
minutiae Posted 2010-10-08 17:31:31 by Jim Crawford
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Sep 01

  • I consider myself a big fan of Conan O'Brien, but I haven't "watched TV" in probably ten years. Hope this comes to Hulu.
  • ... Haven't "watched TV," including watching his show. What kind of "big fan" does that make me, anyway?

Sep 02

  • It might please you to know that unlike Futility Pong, Futility Tetris, currently under development, has discernible gameplay.

Sep 03

  • Synth binary for Droid: -- Don't ask me how to install it! Danny says you need the SDK or the "app installer app."
  • I guess my original copy of Get Lamp got lost in the ether; I talked to Jason Scott and he sent me another which arrived very quickly.
  • A little sad I'll never know what coin I would've gotten; pretty sure I was one of the first to pre-order. Certainly one of the first 342.

Sep 05

  • Alex ordered the Lover Prawns at Thai Noodle on Shattuck. Turned out to be prawns wrapped in bacon, in sweet chili sauce.
  • Got a used copy of "The Hills Rise Wild" at the Ashby flea market. Man, I'll buy any random box of Lovecraft-themed bullshit for $2.
  • All the character tokens in "The Hills Rise Wild" are paper strips weighted down by pennies. One is labeled "Thuh Color Outta Space."

Sep 06

  • Violet and Rameses are both about player-characters that fight your direction in the way your body sometimes fights your conscious intent.
  • But in Violet it's a puzzle: and in Rameses it's just sort of nihilistic: -- Both are excellent.
  • By the way, you can run interactive fiction interpreters on most smartphones. (Not the iPhone, of course; virtual machines violate the TOS.)
  • Inside the Mandelbox:
  • @Sargent That is good to know. Do you know, is that an Apple-looking-the-other-way sort of situation, or is there an actual loophole?
  • Gearbox is finishing Duke Nukem Forever. How it happened:
  • -- See what happens when you try to sneak legitimate critical thinking into the "enthusiast press"? See?
  • -- "Metroid Franchise status: [ ] Dead [ ] Alive [x] Beach volleyball"
  • -- "The FBI: Foiling its own [terrorist] plots since 2001"

Sep 07

  • You know what might be a fun and possibly sensical scoring metric for Futility Tetris? Aspect ratio.
  • Hm, the packaging doesn't seem to mention it, but there's a bunch of cool stuff in the Get Lamp disc 2 file system.
  • Separated at birth?
  • @Laroquod Nothing by Adam Cadre in the games folder, oddly. I expected Photopia, at least.
  • Ordered a ticket to TIGJam 3: -- Now I have to think of an appropriately-scaled project to build there.

Sep 08

  • Mrr, the Futility Tetris code is getting pretty grotty, but I'm too close to done for cleaning up to feel worthwhile.
  • Testers are asking to share the game with their friends, which I'm taking as a good sign.
  • Terry Cavanagh's retro-styled platformer VVVVVV is $5 on Steam: -- The music alone is worth that much.
  • Listening to Famicompo Mini 7 entries. -- Entry #1 is basically a 183k .mod that uses the PCM channel almost exclusively.
  • Which is awesome, don't get me wrong. But it's not what I'm looking for when I pull out the NSF player.
  • Restaurant dining area repeatedly reorganized as ocean liner hits heavy seas:
  • Top 5 parental worries vs. top 5 actual dangers:
  • Oh it's a new feature of Google. I thought I was just going crazy.
  • I'm not going to say you're playing Futility Tetris wrong, but you'd probably enjoy it more if you played it right.
  • -- The most white-male thing to like: Tom Clancy. The most asian-male: Taiwan.

Sep 09

  • In my dream, Arjan Brussee wrote an article in Time magazine trying to convince readers to emigrate to "Dee," a hemispherical Venusian moon.

Sep 10

  • It recently came to my attention that people I care about haven't seen "Look Around You." I was certain I'd brought it up!
  • Santa Claus fights entropy at the end of the universe:
  • Radio interview with the principal writer behind Deus Ex, recorded just after 9/11:
  • A man must acknowledge that he has *no idea* what day-to-day fear of rape is like. He can only trust those who do.
  • (Smartest thing about that essay: it never once uses the term "rape culture." Second smartest: it doesn't use "feminist" either.)
  • PayPal decides they'd prefer to keep the $763,000 in Minecraft registrations rather than pass them on to the developer:

Sep 11

  • Bowerbirds use forced perspective to appear larger to potential mates:
  • -- Books By You, for that special someone who always wanted to star in a novel-length mad-lib vampire romance!
  • First-sale doctrine ruled to not apply to licensed software:

Sep 12

  • -- "Ludio," huh? Sounds goofy, but it feels like only yesterday I was staring nonplussed at "Wii."
  • (I believe I was trying to figure out whether it was a typo for "wifi" or for "World War II.")

Sep 13

  • Southwest Airlines doesn't like when you put "/" in your address. Let's see how it feels about "?."
  • I wonder if your average East Bay mail delivery person understand what I meant if I wrote .5 instead.
  • Trojan targets porn downloaders, publishes personal information online, demands fee to remove it:
  • Podcast excerpt series: Idle Thumbs Puffin Adventures: (From
  • "Inceptionauts" trailer:
  • Ron Gilbert explains why we're getting an unexpected Deathspank sequel unexpectedly soon:
  • Huh, Deathspank was intended to be a trilogy: -- What odds do you put on the third game being released?
  • Super Mario Bros. was released 25 years ago today:

Sep 14

Sep 15

  • "The NYPD street cop is expected to maintain high 'activity'?including stop-and-frisks?but to record fewer actual crimes"

Sep 16

  • Radiant Silvergun coming to XBLA: -- Finally, I can find out whether it's any good without buying a $200 import copy!
  • Atlantis World's Fair 1962:
  • Podcast Excerpts Series: Shawn Elliott vs. GTA San Andreas role-playing servers: (From the 4/18/2008 1up Yours)
  • Takashi Murakami's contemporary art installation at Versailles:
  • Table upending simulator lets you get your rage on without harming any actual wives or children:
  • And here's how you play the table upending simulator wrong:
  • In the wake of APB's sudden demise, Luke Halliwell's inside story on what went wrong at Realtime Worlds:
  • "We lost our hunger, our fear of failure, our focus on staying lean and making do, on building the simplest thing that could possibly work."
  • Also, evidently Dave Jones (Lemmings; Grand Theft Auto; Crackdown) has a Reality Distortion Field on par with Steve Jobs.

Sep 17

  • Consciousness arises from certain patterns of computation performed on certain data structures. Output is incidental.
  • A program need never produce any output, if sentience per se is the goal. The computation itself is everything.
  • @Johnicholas Still trying to wrap my head around that one. (Was just reading about Boltzmann brains not so long ago, too.)
  • -- It would be weird if the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus rerelease was what got me to finally pull the trigger on the PS3.
  • Podcast Excerpts Series: The Idle Thumbs Meet Pyramid Head:
  • That last is interesting to me because it crosses multiple podcasts and ends up being structured basically like a Lovecraft story.
  • (Don't get used to these coming so regularly; I just had a bunch queued up that I wanted to do.)
  • -- "[Portland Press Herald] to Readers: Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human"
  • Jason made this: Maybe my favorite kind of humor: nearly meaningless syllable salad, immune to my usual humor calculus.

Sep 18

Sep 19

  • "A superintelligence hooked up to a webcam would invent Relativity as a hypothesis by the 3rd frame of a falling apple."
  • Chris Cornell's design notes for Haiku Hero:
  • -- "Wait... which is the yucky-looking part?" "I can testify that this is absolutely what phone-sex is like."
  • Visual Transistor-level Simulation of the 6502:
  • -- Bah, this looks like a VB to me. Maybe a 5.4, on the YDS scale?
  • Clean-cut-looking middle-aged dude shouts across the street to ask if I have rolling paper. Berkeley, ladies and gentlemen!
  • (Also: my physical appearance, ladies and gentlemen!)

Sep 20

  • Evidently being a meme is now worth good money:
  • Need a big glowy computer as set dressing for your 1960s-era sci-fi film? The Burroughs B205, for your consideration:
  • What kind of game does a $1000 budget get you? What about $100 million? Craig Timpany breaks it down in powers of 10:
  • I'm up to 5-back already, but my successes are almost all audial. Feels like cheating. I wonder if there's a Dual N-Back for the deaf.
  • (Dual N-Back: the only activity, to my knowledge, shown to literally boost IQ:
  • @Johnicholas My theory: Capitalism is an exciting fantasy scenario Europeans can never attain in real life. (And probably wouldn't want to.)

Sep 22

  • -- "Western surge in obesity may have been caused by a virus"
  • Cats and croissants:
  • has established that they're willing to shut down their service without notice as a marketing stunt. De-sold.
  • How The Atheist Stole Christmas:
  • In case you're wondering how much's customer backlash is going to affect them, here's a data point:
  • Podcast excerpt: Ken Levine et al of Irrational Games, on the iterative design process: (From:
  • "Everything is terrible until it's awesome." "Or until it ships terrible." "Or until it ships terrible. Or until it's cut."
  • "Rheumatologists found the impact on the knees was 12 percent *less* when people walked barefoot than with padded shoes."
  • Beer distributors oppose Prop. 19 to legalize marijuana in California: -- "Their mission is to drive people to drink."

Sep 23

  • Playing The Ballad of Gay Tony, I'm reminded how good Rockstar are at dialog and setting, and how fucking awful they are at everything else.
  • (Not that it'd been that long: Red Dead Redemption reminded me of the same thing a couple of months ago.)
  • Gamestop getting in on DLC:
  • Optimal Cake-Cutting Algorithm for N People:
  • In my dream, we built a dome above the city to filter out harmful UV, but we got the cheap filter with high resonance at the cutoff point.
  • @mrasmus Do you remember what monitor it was you recommended to me?
  • Note to self: when half your friends list "likes" something apparently inane, it's not secretly awesome; it's malware.
  • @mrasmus Thanks!
  • Australian Christians livid about proposal to offer secular ethics class as alternative to govt-mandated proselytizing:
  • My dad on Eminem: "Not as good with words as The Notorious B.I.G., but the nasty little rabbit boy has good musical form."

Sep 24

  • Need to stretch the fadeout so your song will fit in the radio single format? Try the "truck driver's gear change":
  • (Somebody really needs to start a MusicTropes wiki.)

Sep 25

  • Dan Osman free-soloing Bear's Reach (400ft up, 5.7) in 4 minutes, 25 seconds:
  • Unsurprisingly, Dan Osman died in a fall in 1998. Surprisingly, it was because his rope failed.
  • Brain Workshop recommends "20 sessions a day (about 25 minutes)." But at 6-back, 20 sessions takes about an hour. Time for triple n-back?
  • Hunh, remember how Rock of the Dead ("Guitar Hero meets Typing of the Dead", Oct. 19th) used to be Wii-only? Now it's 360/PS3-only.
  • Trying Brain Workshop's Jaeggi mode, which emulates the original N-Back research protocol. It uses 20+n trials per session, vs. 20+n**2.
  • @Laroquod I don't think they think of it as downtime. Game writers often try to write cutscenes as climactic moments. (Which is ridiculous.)
  • Half an hour in, Condemned 2 keeps popping up tutorials on how to fight. They really must think I'm playing for the combat engine, huh?
  • Some tutorials are better than others, but they're all terrible compared to teaching the player via good design.

Sep 26

  • 2009 Ig-Nobel prize goes to inventors of bra that transforms into a pair of gas masks in an emergency:
  • @mrasmus Man, a little short? When Pigs Fly is about 6 times as long as the mechanic deserves. If it was 2 minutes, I'd've come away smiling
  • @mrasmus (It also would've helped if I'd found the mute button first. I don't appreciate being roped into Dessgeega's public BDSM sessions.)
  • For lack of a better description, "auspice":

Sep 27

  • Upcoming from Fantasy Flight, Mansions of Madness: -- Looks like they pitched it as "Arkham Horror meets Betrayal."
  • Mansions of Madness is gonna be $80. Hopefully somebody I know buys it, because I just forked over $70 for Castle Ravenloft.
  • National study: Abortion does not cause depression or low self-esteem in adolescents:
  • Ron Gilbert hired on at Doublefine: -- Heading up a new project. Not a remake or a sequel.
  • Scenes from around the solar system:
  • The reality distortion field is an essential attribute of great startup founders. Also of sociopaths and serial killers:
  • Sketches and watercolors from the World War I trenches:

Sep 28

  • "Kinesic natural mappings are those that involve gross body movements." Sometimes I love how different word definitions interact in my head.
  • "Building Megaobjects in Minecraft":
  • Panic Shooter, the shmup based on cellular automata: (As you may expect, it's far more awesome in theory than practice.)
  • It's competent overall, but nobody'd remember this if not for the MC-202's tightly-paced climb into ear-splitting treble:

Sep 29

  • 16-bit ALU in Minecraft redstone: (Minecraft is running in the Java VM, so this is the next logical step.)
  • Someone really just ought to just go ahead and implement a Verilog compiler that targets redstone.
  • "They were caught on CCTV but were all wearing balaclavas." -- Wouldn't that leave them all sticky and easy to identify later?
  • Panic Shooter -- -- actually makes a really interesting metaphor for external forces acting on a deterministic universe.
  • "Walls," "bullets," "flames" are natives to the universe. The player is an internally-inexplicable entity paying no respect to physical laws
  • ... just as souls or gods must be.
  • "'Talkie-walkie' is French for walkie-talkie." -- Never let it be said that Conseil Sup?rieur De La Langue Fran?aise has no sense of humor!
  • Signs point to the Rock Band 3 stringed-guitar controller coming next year, costing $300+, and still requiring the $40 MIDI adapter. Mrgle.
  • People are still looking for an MMO to best WoW's userbase by an order of magnitude, like WoW did to Everquest, and EQ did to Ultima Online.
  • Each iteration growing simpler and more mainstream. But it seems clear to me that the successor has been with us for a long time: Farmville.
  • Wow. I'd heard that a chunk of Beautiful Katamari's on-disc content was locked behind microtransactions, but some *achievements* are, too.
  • Podcast excerpt: Tycho on awkward parenting questions: (From PADLC, "The Spore Cult":
  • Surprise! Atheists know more about religion than the faithful:
  • In San Diego for the next week and a half.

Sep 30

  • @Laroquod Yeah, that quote was actually from an article about Air. I'd thought they were just making with the wordplay!
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