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    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Social Media Gems

    ifttt - Stands for If This Then That. You know how most online services have alert functions now? For instance, if you receive a message on Facebook you can have it email you or send a text to your phone. Well ifttt is that kind of service but you can apply it to anything. You can have it call you every time one of your friends checks into the bar down the street on foursquare. It ties into an impressive number of services, including: Craigslist, facebook, Flickr, foursquare, most Google services, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube and more. It's already been immensely helpful in setting job search alerts on Craigslist. I highly recommend.

    gdgt - A show-off-my-collection site for electronics. Create lists of things you own or want to own, from the past, present and future. Compare lists with others, comment and ask questions. It's also an interesting place to get new updates about the latest interesting technology coming out.

    Weotta - A social planning site, useful in finding an itinerary for an unplanned weekend night. You enter what kind of crowd you're running with, what mood you're in, and Weotta will give you a list of things to do. For example, one plan is to grab dinner at a new cajun restaurant, go see the Deftones in concert, and then drinks at a hip, bayside bar. They only have San Francisco and New York so far but I'm really excited to see what they do with the service.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011


    Wow, I've been pretty knee-deep in code and textbooks lately. First Javascript, then Flash, and now PHP. I have to say by far the hardest for me has been PHP. With the first two they're primarily visual tools: you can see what you're doing with them. Learning to think about what goes on in the backend of a site purely in code is really tough.

    I'd like to find a script to host moview reviews on my site. I used to post them on my Flixster app within Facebook until they all got deleted. I haven't written any lately and I would love to put down my thoughts on what I'm watching. More than a long-form blog entry I'd like something where someone could flip through a series of small, paragraph-length entries. Maybe with a small built-in search.

    I did see Thor the other night and it was pretty good, better than I was expecting. Chris Hemsworth more than held his own with the other cast. I only knew him from his small part in Star Trek before this and I worried he should be dwarfed by Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins. Not only did he hold his own but he owned the character and became the heart of the movie. In both the dramatic and comedic scenes he shined. I'll really be looking forward to his future performances. Portman performed well typo and fit the part excellently. She never overpowered a scene. I also appreciated the scenes in Valhalla were many and we got to see some great, fantastical effects. I didn't notice much of Branaugh's mark on the film but he didn't detract from it either. Overall it was one of the better Marvel films I've seen.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Deep Love Core

    Found a really excellent design portfolio site with some help from the benevolent Nicopolitan. It's this site called Krop and they display your resume and portfolio in a really clean, slick looking setup. The free account lets you have ten images and looks great as it is. They've got more layout designs and a larger portfolio size for the paid service. I'm really enjoying the results I've gotten with it so far.

    Really, really hooked on this song at the moment. It's actually a collaboration that Girls' Generation did with Intel for the release of one of their processors in Korea. It sounds like a aural bomb dropped through a time warp from some far flung distant future digital society.

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    My Keyboard is Unnecessarily Obtuse

    I hope I spelled unnecessarily correct.

    I'm another chapter farther into Javascript, but it's an awful long one. Just got done with Arrays and next is Objects, though I'm most looking forward to the next chapter which is specifically about web design applications. That's what I was looking for in the first place! Though I do feel like I've gotten a good general mindset for programming with what I've learned so far. Just the logic leaps and how you have to break down what you're going to output into code-digestible bits.

    I'm giving The Name of the Wind a second chance. I didn't much care for the author's writing style the first time around. There were a lot of unnecessary (let's hope I'm right) metaphors and he tends to write out way too much of the scene and characters' actions, when I feel more should be left to the reader's imagination. My good friend from high school really enjoyed it and actually got me a copy as a present, so I told him I would give it an honest second read.

    I watched The Fountain again last night. I really enjoy that movie even though I hear it get a lot of hate. It's very visual and emotional, with a really elaborate mood that kind of envelopes you as you watch it. I don't feel it's confused or poorly written at all, just that there is more simply to absorb and let wash over you than to clearly parse with dialogue. Plus Hugh Jackman is at his finest when he's playing a broken, tortured man in my opinion. Between this and The Prestige my opinion of his acting greatly increased. Wolverine is badass but watching him struggle with his wife's death and desperately searching for a cure is incredibly engaging through his acting.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    The Day After Yesterday

    I've been working on my Javascript. I hope first and foremost it'll improve my resume and make me a more attractive candidate for jobs. The long term goal is to climb those programming languages one by one and build myself up as a programmer. Of course I wonder how far I'll go without an actual degree, but half the time what's written on a job posting is just to screen out all the people who don't have the balls to put their money where their mouth is. That's rather harsh, I suppose. I finished the fourth chapter in my Javascript for Dummies book, all the way up through loops and into arrays. I realise now a lot of it was intimidating because I'm not good at math and math was always linked with programming in my mind. Now I'm approaching it from more of a language angle. It is a lot like a language, just that you have to think about the logic underlying it as well, which you really do have to do in learning any language it's just not something people typically think about from the outside. I'm enjoying programming so far, I just wish I was on the applicable stuff already. I wanna be making snazzy menus and sliding galleries for web pages instead of writing programs that output the results of a six-sided die roll as a popup. I know I have to start somewhere. We'll see how far I am in a month. I've managed to do about a chapter a day.

    I watched the Game of Thrones pilot. Wow, that was fantastic. They seem to have captured the series incredibly well, though HBO is in the business of making the best drama on television. There's a wonderful feeling of the innocence of the Stark children and the darkness of the world around them. It feels a lot like those classic fairytales. I absolutely cannot wait for more Tyrion as that actor is excellent and only got a couple of minutes onscreen in the pilot. Same with Arya. A lot of the characters still need time to develop, though I think the pilot did a good enough job introducing us to Ned Stark. The production is incredible as well, everything looks accurate and realistic. The swords are all shiny and the horses are horsey. I can't wait for more.

    Oh, and the intro is incredibly original and awesome.

    I've been using Robot Science as my work music and it's working out quite well. It kind of fades into the background but keeps out the noise and is interesting enough to keep me engaged when I do zone out a bit and listen to it.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Robot Revolution, When Not If

    The robot revolution has been a popular scifi theme for the last twenty years. In one form or another, robotic servants of humankind become more human-like, develop self-awareness and a survival drive, and act in ways their human masters didn't plan for. It's always presented as an "if" scenario, a distinctly fictionized story. It's likely more of a "when".

    In a previous post I pointed out how we'll definitely see robots in economic functions. Business decisions are always about the best value for the lowest cost and once robotics become commonly affordable it'll make the most sense to have humanoid robots perform tasks already in place for humans, using equipment already in place for humans. I linked to a documentary about how Japanese society is planning for its ongoing population decline by developing human-like robot workers, and this shows there are very real plans to place robotic servants in human jobs.

    Necessarily these robotic servants will have a human appearance, though people have even become attached to their roombas. It will make interacting with them more comfortable and alleviate some of the unease at seeing "mechanical" servants take over human jobs.

    Once you have a human-like being doing a human amount of work how long will it be until people start calling for equal rights? Animal rights protesters fight for the rights of non-human creatures. There will be loud, perhaps violent, counterarguments of robots being manufactured creatures and thus not "alive". However, as we've seen storytellers say in many robot revolution stories: if they think like a human, talk like a human, and act like a human, aren't they also human? It's not like they chose to be "mechanical", they were "born" that way. I don't think it's unfair to say this struggle will resemble the gay rights movement.

    Whether these robots have independent thought or not, it will surely be one of the rights we fight for. Determining the path of one's own life is a right we recognize extended to all human beings, and once robots are recognized as "human", we'll extend it to them as well.

    It's a sure thing there will be discrimination and any number of darker acts on the road to robot freedom. We can only hope that when the robots win their eventual freedom they don't hate us too much for the inevitable shit we will put them through.

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Digital Memories: Soul Calibur 2

    Following in my post about the ten year anniversary of the PS2, I talk about one of my favorite games for the platform: Soul Calibur 2.