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Segway Boring

I'm a geek, and as such, I would really like a Segway. However, until the price drops below a thousand bucks, I won't get one. I work from home, and aside from driving it around (riding it around?) my apartment complex, what would I do with it? I don't live in Manhattan. What would anyone do with it? Will this thing really take off? Maybe in warehouses, sure, but in cities? C'mon... It's heavy, isn't it? You've gotta lug it up stairs or have it in an elevator if you work in an office?

Aaron Swartz echos some of these thoughts quite succinctly:

Well, it's almost time to return the Segway and we've all but lost interest in it. Working on the movie kept us going for a little while longer but since I posted it the Segway has pretty much stayed in its place in the corner, off. I think we've explored everything there is to do with it, and now it's just uninteresting.

Steelers In, Fins Not

steelershelmet.jpgThe Pittsburgh Steelers continued onward into the playoffs with a victory against the Ravens today. What's perhaps even better is that the Dolphins loss to New England and the Jets win over the Packers, both Miami (near to where I currently live) and New England are out. Out out out!

The Steelers will of course steamroll everyone and win the Super Bowl. And if they don't, well, I can just edit my blog to remove my blatant egotism 🙂

My HipTop… Again

sidekick.gifI ordered a HipTop (T-Mobile calls it a "SideKick" though) today. For the second time. I spent about ten days with one (thanks to T-Mobile's 14-day return policy) a few months ago, and found the service in this area to be... lacking. It would cut out several times, and often couldn't stay connected at the beach where, unless I'm blind, there really aren't too many tall buildings (probably not too many towers either, I realize). I picked it up this time because of two reasons:
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  • I got it for $89 (after two $50 mail-in rebates).
  • I realized I've been sp $39.99 or more per month on AOL.
  • Independent Games

    An interesting article at O'Reilly's ONLamp talks about independent game developers. The event, sponsored by Eugene, OR resident Garage Games, was thrown together this year but should (could?) grow into a yearly event.

    One of the parts talked about the Mac platform as "undertapped." I haven't really got thoughts one way or the other. We've got great games like Airburst and Ambrosia games and most of the "big-name sure-fire hits," but we lack some of the lesser known games. Hell, we still don't have Unreal Tournament 3 (or whatever it's called) - yet the Linux version has been out for awhile! Ugh.

    Would I like to see games between $4.95 and $14.95? You bet your ass I would... But until then, I'll just buy a couple less games per year for my trusty GameCube and my 36" television and surround sound system. As much as I like playing online, the hassle of playing games on my computer has never been worth it for more than a few weeks at a time (usually shortly after the release of some big game).

    Deleting Code… Sometimes

    Ned Batchelder has an interesting little ditty on deleting code in programming environments. His advice:

    Select a section of code in your editor, hit the backspace key, and be done with it.

    While this may seem like a great, simple way to handle things, in practice it isn't always the best. Ned says you can just use source control to find previous versions of code, but that's slower and far less convenient than having it "right there."

    MailDrop has several blocks of commented out code. Some of them are delegate (usually delegate drawing) methods that - should we want to compile with them "on," we uncomment them. Some of them are previous versions of algorithms that we keep around in case a bug is introduced that a previous version did not have. Still other sections are maintained because they contained a bug, and it's important to make sure the new version(s) don't fall into the same traps. Finally, some sections are there because their replacement section is still a work in progress. And all of the developers know what sections are what, because we've left comments or emailed each other.

    I'm a big fan of "never say never." Even Ned goes on to list several times when he has commented out old versions of code and left it. Is SCM great? Yeah. Is hunting for an old version of code in SCM faster than scrolling up a few lines? Hell no.

    Overlooking Ugly Sites

    netTunes.jpgIn this day and age, I find it increasingly important to have Web site presence that's "presentable" at worst. Witness the Shirt-Pocket.com site, a pretty "plain" (if you wish to be polite) site. I'd followed a link from bryanbell.com to check out NetTunes, and pretty much left after seeing the Shirt-Pocket.com home page.

    Just as I probably won't ever take a fat doctor's advice about eating right, I probably won't ever download much software from someone who can't figure out enough HTML to put together a presentable site. It isn't that difficult. WYSIWYG editors these days - as much as I dislike them - typically come with some decent templates. Besides, you can always do what I used to do: find a site you like, copy all the code, change everything (especially the graphics, of course), and voilà! By the time you're done, your site looks nothing like the original, yet still looks good… If you're going to expect a visitor to your site to take your shareware as high quality, put up a site that's at least presentable.

    Star Wars Folds

    sworigami.gifThis site provides fun origami projects for Star Wars fans. To the right, of course, is a Tie Fighter.

    Am I the only person alive who thinks George Lucas should hire a screenwriter to beat him over the head, steal the Star Wars III script, and rewrite it? After witnessing the atrociousness that was Star Wars I and II, I'm going to have to start believing in God so I can pray to him/her/it that George does not totally screw up Star Wars III. Please, no more dialog like this:

    Anakin: I killed them all. Women, children, their dogs. I slaughtered them in cold blood. I am pure evil.
    Stupid Woman: Awwww, poor baby... come here and get a hug...

    Ugh.

    Questions to Ask

    I like to ask questions. I like to find out about people. I like to know what they're thinking. For example, I like this question: "if you were a fruit, what kind of fruit would you be and why?" My answer is "kiwi" (I'll leave the "why?" for another time). I've found that many people say "strawberry, because they're sweet and everybody likes them." In fact, searching through 139 chat logs yields 9 occurrences of "*strawberry*sweet*everybody likes*." Further analysis reveals that I spoke with those people only four more times on average. Why? They were new acquaintances that I quickly found boring. If you're so unoriginal that you give the same response as so many others, well... forget it.

    The Far Side Ends

    I peeked ahead to the end of my 2002 Far Side calendar - the last Far Side yearly calendar they'll be making - and proved correct a theory I had in January: that every day's comic involved someone or something dying, already dead, or being fatally injured.

    I'll miss the Far Side daily calendar, but what a great way to go. 🙂

    Raskin’s, Uhhh, “Vision”

    From the "Should I Care?" department comes this gem: Jef Raskin, creator of "Macintosh," has begun work on an open source GUI to replace Aqua on Mac OS X. He's called it the. Yeah, that's a proper sentence... His project is called "THE" - an acronym for "The Humane Environment."

    How much advice should we really be taking from a guy who built his SourceForge page title "About the Humane Environment" with 28 separate GIFs. Witness the e and, better yet, the space characters. While I totally respect everything Jef Raskin has done, I've simply gotta ask: What have you done for me lately?

    Top 10 Mac Mysteries of 2003

    apple.gifAn article on the Top 10 Space Mysteries for 2003 got me thinking. It's near to New Year's, and so I've decided to forego my New Year's resolutions in favor of building this list: Top 10 Mac Mysteries for 2003. Some we may find out, and some way may never know...

    Women in the Draft

    This article, which talks about women in the draft (or more correctly, women not in the draft, makes several good points. I find it fairly paradoxical that for all of the "women's lib" stuff going on, women have never said "we also want to be forced to go to war!" But whenever I mention this to a woman, she typically pulls out the "hey, buddy, we already give birth, and until you're forced to do that, you can go to war for us."

    Pretty Smart Guy

    I like this quote:

    I'm a pretty smart guy. The problem with being relatively more intelligent than most people is that 90% of the time, they have no friggin' clue what you're talking about.

    It's from this article about how standards bodies... suck.

    My friend Kelly once told me that "if everyone were as smart as we are, we wouldn't be smart anymore." And y'know, that's true. but then again, there are an infinite amount of things about which I know nothing, too.

    The Day After: XMas 2002

    Well, it's the day after Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... not even Flint the wünderdög.

    I spent a decent amount of time hacking up MovableType yesterday. Listened to some music, putzed around. I'm trying to make the site look as good as possible without using any graphics. And screw Omn - it's dinosaur-like CSS engine leaves it pitifully far behind. Actually, it doesn't do too bad... but Chimera is the only browser I've got in my dock.

    Encouraging Stealing?

    This article at plasticbag.org is an interesting one that puts forth the notion that Apple not only cares what people do with the digital content they may acquire (putting songs on their iPod, burning DVDs, etc.), but that Apple doesn't care about software at all. I'm not sure I agree with the latter premise, and as to the prior, I think it's one of the bigger reasons to own a Mac right now. People can whine all they want about "proprietary" this and "proprietary" that, but open standards are the way to go. The computer - the software - is what organizes and displays your data, be it email (mbox format) or documents (XML, etc.). It shouldn't be what restricts your data.

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