Archive for August, 2008

Rain or Shine Part 2

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Well… Here I am again. McCarren Park Pool. More for the fact that it’s going to be the last concert than the band this time (Sonic Youth is totally respectable they’ve just never been my cup of tea)

And guess what? It’s threatening to rain again!

What can you do? I’ve got nothing to say but it’s okay. :)

Anyway, you should check out more about the Pool when you get a chance. It’s had a pretty amazing history. And they’re now trying to revive its former glory. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes..

Barack Obama’s DNC Intro Video

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I must admit I was pretty moved by the DNC’s showing last night.  First Gore, then Obama.  I really think Obama knocked it out of the park.

But I also think the intro video that preceded his entrance was the most ridiculous, sentimental piece of moosh I’ve ever seen (you have to watch it on HuffPost):

Obama Biography Video at DNC

On the other hand, it offered the Daily Show to, in their own way, hit one out of the park:

Thanks Daily Show.

Steve Jobs is Not Dead

Friday, August 29th, 2008

But this is what his obituary might look like if he happened to die:

Steve Jobs’s Obituary, As Run By Bloomberg (thanks GAWKER)



Special thanks to Bloomberg for releasing this.

Sensory Feedback

Friday, August 29th, 2008

It’s interesting how much we take for granted when it comes to the design of the objects we interact with on a daily basis.

After jailbreaking my iPhone yesterday (!!!) I installed the Nintendo original NES emulator.  Which is awesome in theory — it’s nice to see my old friends Elevator Action, Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Rad Racer, etc. again.  But there’s a problem: the games are almost impossible to play.

NES Emulator for iPhone

NES Emulator for iPhone

When we were using the original NES controllers I, for one, took for granted the fact that you get (and need) tactile feedback when you’re playing those games.  When you’re playing Spy Hunter you’re getting contstant feedback from your left thumb — as to when you’re pushing ‘left’ vs when you’re pushing ‘up’.  On the iPhone you don’t get that feedback — it’s just a flat surface.

The designers of the emulator tried to compensate for this by giving you visual feedback (there’s a little readout that tells you explicitly when you’re pushing up vs pushing left).  But this doesn’t solve the problem becaue it’s giving you cues that are a) not in the most relevant medium (visual instead of tactile — which slows down your reaction time) and b) not in a relevant part of the screen (you’re looking where the action is — not where your fingers are.  If you’re looking at your fingers to see where they’re pushing you’re in danger of having a Metroid suck off your face).

Old School NES

Old School NES

All of this, in my ‘I took Psychology of Perception 10 years ago so I totally know what I’m talking about’ kind of way, is to say that Nintendo did something right when they made those controllers.  We needed the little raised + of the directional pad (the edges, the clear spatially mapped directions, etc) to input directional data and get the kind of relevant feedback we need to play the game.

The things we take for granted…

Maybe next time we’ll talk about Nintendo Synesthesia (although maybe Rad Racer’s pseudo-3D is as close as most of us come to that… ).


Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I just took a bit of time to jailbreak my iPhone today… and it’s totally and completely awesome.  There are so many applications out there!

To figure out how to do this yourself, read these instructions and get the tools you need from the iPhone Dev Team.

Is this safe? Probably.  I’m sure it violates some terms of some contract I signed somewhere.  But I have to say — given the seemingly unlimited possibilities for application development that are realized in the jailbroken world — the folks at Apple are being incredibly lame in their furious protection of the iPhone App world.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look around to see what applications you can get when your iPhone has been jailbroken.  Like Snapture — that makes the camera acually useful.

I know Apple wants to be careful.  Yes.  If they didn’t have rules for what could and could not make it into the App Store the whole thing would have the potential to turn into the wild west.  But there’s got to be a middle ground.  Right now I’d say about 95% of the applications in iTunes are TOTALLY WORTHLESS.  Who on earth needs another version of Sudoku?  Some of the thigns there don’t even work (I’m looking at you AOL Instant Messenger!).

And I’m sure Apple has reasons behind what they reject from the App Store.  And they have rules for software development that some of these people are bending.  But I wish they’d loosen their grip a little.  Some of the things 3rd party developers are dreaming up are so much more innovative and useful than anything a developer could make given their current SDK rules.

Chill out, Apple.  You’re totally going to win and you know it.  Relax.  And maybe think about letting some of the big kids play in the playground too.

Yahoo! == 404

Monday, August 25th, 2008

This came up in the blogosphere a long time ago — but it’s still funny.

At Giants Statium in San Francisco, Yahoo owns the ad next to the outfield marker for 404′.

If you spend a fair amount of time on the web, you’ll know that 404 is the server error code that is returned by a webserver when the page is not found.

This used to be just a funny coincidence, but it’s gotten to be kind of sad lately with the disintegration of Yahoo! over the past few months.

But it’s still gives me a bit of a chuckle that a web company owns an ad next to something that says 404.

Thanks to Michael Arrington for the photo.

The Times

Monday, August 25th, 2008

One of my friends mentioned that if the Times mentions you 3 times, you get listed in their obituaries when you die.

I’ve got 2 already: here and here.  I guess that means I’m almost there.

What a morbid thought for a Monday.