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Archives for June, 2008

curse you, brainy gamer!

I’ve been going through the back episodes of the Brainy Gamer podcast, and I must say that I am extremely annoyed with Mr. Abbott. The problem is his game recommendations: he has the most infuriating way of talking about games that I was aware of and favorably disposed to and turning them into games that […]

rock band account management annoyances

One frustrating aspect of my Rock Band experience: account management. Maybe all of this makes more sense to people with more multiplayer Xbox 360 experience, but here’s what I’ve gone through since buying the game: First, we played anonymously, because there didn’t seem to be any way to create characters from the multiplayer screen. (At […]

began our world tour

Miranda and I formed a band today on Rock Band. We are going by the name “The Brosstones”; perhaps not the best, but I’d neglected to think about possible band names in advance. (Alas, the other Bross has yet to join us; she did spend a fair amount of time this weekend playing DDR, for […]

two-thirds of the way through the textbook

I’m now two-thirds of the way through my Japanese textbook, and the second third went much more smoothly than the first third did. All but one of the chapters took two weeks each; that one took three weeks and, if you throw in the two vacation weeks, it only took me 23 weeks to go […]

gordan frohman

I’m very glad I ran into this right after finishing Half-Life 2.

alive games

I’m rereading The Phenomenon of Life, by Christopher Alexander, in preparation for reading the other books in the series. And, again, I’m blown away by it: if the book contained nothing but the pictures in it, it would be worth it. But, of course, there’s a lot more to the book than pretty (beautiful, profound) […]

malstrom’s nintendo strategy articles

Via a link from Niels ’t Hooft, I ran into Sean Malstrom’s Birdmen and the Casual Fallacy. By far the most interesting explanation of Nintendo’s business strategy that I’ve seen, and it turns out that he has a whole website full of articles like that. Which I’ve spent most of the evening reading. A warning: […]

half-life 2

I managed to avoid playing any of the Half-Life games in the past: I’ve been almost exclusively a console gamer since 1998, and the few computer games I’ve played since then are ones that can be played with a touchpad (my hands and mice really don’t get along), which pretty much means that PC FPSes […]

excessive whining narrowly avoided

I’m tempted to start filling this blog with complaints about recent customer experiences I’ve had, but on reflection I will avoid doing so. I am grateful to the nice person from KitchenAid customer support who spent a good half hour going out of her way to try to sort out an issue I’m having; the […]

nlp, motivation, success

I read a book on neuro-linguistic programming recently. It’s basically a way to reprogram your brain (e.g. to strengthen motivations or weaken phobias), using techniques like visualizing the trigger in question, then changing the way you visualize the scene. (Moving the trigger object farther away from you or closer to you, adding colors, adding theme […]

go tournament as 1 dan; japantown

I spent the day at this month’s Bay Area Go Players Association tournament. It was my first tournament in recent memory playing as a 1 dan; I had a record of 1 win and 3 losses and got the impression that 1 dan is a more accurate rating for me than 1 kyu, but that […]

memory and references

In response to a tweet and tumblr post from Brian Marick: According to the speaker in a talk I went to several years ago, it was the case until some time last century that educated Chinese people would have memorized hundreds of books going back as far as thousands of years. And these books wove […]

rock band has arrived

Rock Band arrived today. Despite her lobbying for Mario Kart Wii as our next game purchase, Miranda was plenty excited to see it show up; she helped me carry it in from the car (which was actually pretty useful, the Amazon packaging makes it just bulky enough to be very awkward to carry by yourself), […]

removing vpath uses from makefiles

Warning: it is entirely possible that none of my regular blog readers will care about this in the slightest. I’m only writing it in case some other random person out there is dealing with this problem and googles for a solution. In particular, if the next paragraph makes your eyes glaze over, just move on, […]

the gold mine

The Gold Mine is a business novel about lean. It’s clearly inspired by The Goal; it isn’t nearly as good as the latter, but it does have some real virtues. The Goal did, in my opinion, a remarkable job of pulling the reader along in the journey of discovery: you could really believe that the […]

video game communities

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed my preferences for online video game coverage shift. I’ve been following the traditional news/reviews-oriented web sites for years (over a decade in some cases), and IGN is still one of the first places I visit in my nightly web surfing. (I never dipped into the forums for […]


The SuperMemo ideas don’t seem to be leaving my head, and I’ve finally gotten my todo backlog under control, so I think I’ll take a shot at implementing them. Some notes: What algorithm should I use to schedule the reminders? I’ll work under the theory that each item that I want to remember is best […]

looking for phone company recommendations

Anybody have a (landline long-distance) phone company that they like? I recently discovered that the long distance company that we’ve been using has been treating us badly (hint: grandfathering people into their plans only makes sense if their old plan is better than the plans new customers get), so we’re shopping around.

pimps and ferrets

The introduction to Pimps and Ferrets: Copyright and Culture in the United States, 1831–1891, by Eric Anderson, leads off with a quote from an 1888 issue of Scientific American lamenting that all postmasters and customs officers throughout the United States are constituted pimps and ferrets for these foreigners in regard to a proposed copyright law. […]

good calories, bad calories

I read Good Calories, Bad Calories about a month ago, and it’s thrown me for a bit of a loop. I’ve had reasonably high cholesterol for a while, and one of my grandfathers died from a heart attack at a younger age than I’d prefer to die, so I’ve been vaguely curious about the subject […]