Archive for the ‘nerdness’ Category

Google Maps Mania

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Just read about Google Maps Mania on the NYT site. It’s crazy how quickly things can become the new hotness, and it’s a good example of how complex things can be made easy to use with the web. There is super-high-tech software behind google maps, but because they have a pretty simple way for someone to use it in their own web app, creativity blooms.

Once they start asking money for it, of course, a lot of that will stop, and something else will take its place. Several more of these cycles will have to happen before somebody finally finds a way to make money off of web services.


Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

As you may have noticed, this is on WordPress now. I have been technically violating the Movable Type terms of service with too many weblogs and too many users, so it’s time to go open source.

So far I give it a big thumbs up. Easy to install and set up. Importing my old entries was simple. That’s all I ask…

best time sink ever

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

The Kingdom of Loathing has to be one of the best games I’ve ever played. The simple explanation is that it’s a web-based role-playing game, and it includes a lot of things you would expect, like different character classes that can have different skills, a game economy of items that can be enchanted, and a bunch of quests to complete. What sets it apart are a combination of a goofy sense of humor and cleverly engrossing touches.

As an example: my character is a level 8 Disco Bandit (which makes me a Jam Horker). My current skills are things like Disco Eye Poke and Chronic Indigestion. Some of the items I have are a Cocktailcrafting Kit and the Bitchin’ Meatcar. The currency of the realm is Meat, which can be molded into Meat Paste or Meat Stacks, both of which you can use to make other stuff. Consumption of alcohol is an important strategic part of the game (for which my particular character class is perfectly suited – I can make cocktails that no one else can).

It’s a good thing that the Kingdom limits the amout of turns you can play per day, or I think I would have been fired from my job by now. To be honest I haven’t played too much at work because the turn count resets around midnight, and more often than not I’ve been awake at midnight in order to get my Adventures in as soon as they’re available.

So why is it so fun? Well, it manages to be traditionally appealing while subverting convention. There is a level treadmill to an extent, but the writing is clever enough that it is fun. There are a lot of pop-culture references, but the humor in it is accessible and not snotty: “You’re fighting a whitesnake. Like a drifter, it was born to walk alone.” The only graphics in it are hand drawn little icon-like pictures, which set it above a Zork-alike text adventure, but still leaves lots for your imagination to fill in. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of fun out of figuring out how to combine stuff you get from Adventures into food, cocktails, and other items. And there is a surprisingly vibrant community built up around fans of the site. You can join a clan (hippy killers rule!) and a chat is built into the UI of the site. Haven’t really spent a lot of time chatting, since I hit my limit on seeing the letters LOL a LOLOLOLOng time ago. But a lot of people think it’s fun.

Anyway, it’s addictive as heck, free, low-tech, and super fun. So check it out.

my new favorite thing

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

i haven’t blogged about it, but of course my old favorite thing is firefox. my new favorite thing, however, is sage, an rss aggregator for firefox. it seems pretty simple: if you’re reading headlines that describe articles on the web, then it’s pretty obvious that the feeds want to be browsed by uh, a browser.

enter firefox. because it’s extendable, it’s possible for someone to come up with a way to make rss work the way it should! that’s the way the web in general should work.

people rave about external apps, but i guess i don’t see the value they add by being external to the browser. one of the “s”s stands for “simple” right? adding another app to the browsing experience just seems like unnecessary middleware.

but i’d be happy to be proven wrong, now that i’m a blog junkie.

display resolution really does matter!

Friday, September 24th, 2004

i never knew what that silly dpi setting in firefox did, but after looking up the dpi of my display (85), and monkeying with the silly UI for “custom” (why won’t they let you just enter a number if you know it?) to make it give me back the right setting…

i can edit things in textareas just fine now. maybe this means i’ll blog more.

yeah, right.

quicken sucks

Friday, April 30th, 2004

so i spent some time today reading about quicken for mac. i had really hoped, as i have always hoped, that spending $40 for an upgrade with a name that matched my calendar would work like a nice mac app should.

but no. it’s buggy, slow, prone to self-corrruption, and is the only os x app i know of that crashes regularly.

i wouldn’t be so bummed if it was the first os x port that intuit has done. but this is the second, and these people think that the next version is not worth my money.

the last one said something like “please save us, independent software developers,” and she’s right. now my job is to try all of the personal finance sw i can download from apple’s site, for starters, and see if they all suck more or less than quicken. then i have to decide if i can beat them.

i bet i would get 80% done and apple would come out with something. it’d be just my luck.

os x disk mounting

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

found out something new today. os x doesn’t mount my external firewire disks until i login through the gui. if i’m logged in through ssh, it’s not available yet. but once i do it through aqua, it mounts it and the ssh session can see stuff in it.