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Archives for December, 2007

random links: december 31, 2007

Beautiful libraries. (I think I linked to a similar gallery before, but this one’s better.) From Pink Tentacle: the chopsticks bra and two bathroom–related entries. Remarkable underground temples. (Via tecosystems.) If video game systems start doing head-tracking, watch out: (Via Games Are Art 2.0; the good stuff starts at around 2:30.) A fun word-association game. […]

ken robinson on schools and creativity

Ken Robinson’s TED talk on “Do schools kill creativity?” You can also watch it at its web page; I like the chapter markings on the full-screen version of the video player on their page. (Not the embedded one here.) I heard about this talk via two separate routes: Presentation Zen and Evolving Excellence. Two blogs […]

super mario galaxy

My thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy got long enough that I spun the first part off into a separate entry. In short, we’re back to linear platforming, with tons of jumping, done very well. One question that any platformer has to answer is: what non-core player abilities will it mix in? Jumping is great, but […]

slow driving experiments

Near the start of the year, I ran into an article claiming that, by slowing down in advance of traffic jams, a single driver could break up the jams, and that in particular you could turn merge congestion into smoothly flowing traffic. Clearly, this demanded further experimentation. So I gave it a try: when I […]

picross ds

Picross is Nintendo’s name for a certain genre of picture logic puzzles. Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation, and it’s easy enough to find places where you can play them online (this site seemed like the best of the first page of search results): the game consists of a grid, together with a set of […]

reprinting (three-quarters of) zot!

They’re reprinting Zot!. Well, most if it: they’re only reprinting the black-and-white strips. (Found via Andrew Wheeler.) This is somewhat old news; I wanted to reread the series first, in particular the color issues, before lamenting the partial reprint. After all, we’ve been through reprinting three–quarters of the series before! I’m glad that they’re reprinting […]

the evolution of platformers

My current spate of video game playing began in grad school when my friend Wayne gave me his old NES, together with Super Mario Bros.. If I’m remembering correctly, Jordan later found a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 at a yard scale, after which I was doomed to several years of platforming addiction. Not […]

culinary note

For future reference: gummi bears are not an acceptable substitute for gum drops when baking. They have a significantly lower melting point.

metroid prime 3: corruption

Whenever I start a new Nintendo game in an established series, I do so assuming I’m going to be disappointed. Their core series made the leap brilliantly to 3D, opening up gameplay in ways that I’d never imagined. And then, with one idiosyncratic exception, Nintendo has mined that gameplay in subsequent installments, not adding anything […]

updating web pages dynamically

I’ve now written my first AJAX code: if you go to a random web page in my book/game database, you should be presented with a list of blog posts that refer to that item. At least assuming that I haven’t accidentally used functionality that your favorite browser doesn’t support, which I hear is easy to […]

first german lesson

Miranda had her first German lesson today. Which has taken me quite some time to arrange: while I’m reasonably good at getting around to trivialities, I’m not always so great at doing actual important stuff. So we’d been planning to get her foreign language lessons for a couple of years, but I hadn’t gotten around […]


Sun gives us the week from Christmas to New Year’s as a holiday; this year, those days fall on Tuesdays, and they’re giving us Christmas Eve as well. And we’re not going anywhere over Christmas, nor is anybody visiting us. This means that I have eleven solid days at home with no demands on my […]

i am dense

Over the months of reading server usage states for the blog, I have noticed that many of the search results that bring people here include the word “bianca”. Hmm, I thought, I didn’t recall writing about “bianca red latex”. Is Bianca some character in a video game that I wrote about but have since forgotten? […]

waiting until the last responsible moment

From 37 Signals’ Getting Real: People often spend too much time up front trying to solve problems they don’t even have yet. Don’t. Heck, we launched Basecamp without the ability to bill customers! Since the product billed in monthly cycles, we knew we had a 30-day gap to figure it out. We used that time […]

maybe i should become a basketball fan?

It looks like the Warriors are going to be more entertaining than the A’s this year; maybe I should change my TV-watching habits? Starting the season 0-6 was not so great, but getting back to a .500 record a mere 8 games later was quite impressive, and they’re now 11-8 after a very good comeback […]

careful with your layouts

I recently turned on “fast user switching” on the Mac, and just discovered that the login dialog keeps the previous user’s keyboard layout, instead of reverting to the system default. Which is a problem if the previous user uses Dvorak, the new user doesn’t, and the new user is typing in a password so she […]

upgraded to leopard

I was in an Apple store the day before Thanksgiving to get a replacement power brick (the cable on mine had started to fray), and decided to pick up a copy of Leopard while I was there: the .1 update was already out, and while I was worried about the keyboard freeze problems, it didn’t […]

low energy for japanese

I’m going through a low energy point in learning Japanese right now: I’m on the ninth chapter (out of thirty) in the textbook, I’m going at a rate that makes it pretty clear that I have at least a year to go before I’ll be done with the book (a year and a half looks […]

stupid cliffhangers

I was happy when volume 11 of the DVD of Hikaru No Go included 5 episodes instead of 4 – more stuff, and we’ll make it through the qualifying tournament, right? Well, no: more stuff, but they leave us half way through Hikaru’s match versus Ochi. (Instead of stopping before the match, as would have […]