Everybody Dies

April 24, 2007 | personal, technology
I was extremely happy to discover today that Ambrosia Software has finished porting Introversion’s DEFCON to the Mac. DEFCON is a happy-go-lucky simulation of global thermonuclear war. Each player controls a collection of boomers (nuclear-missile-armed submarines), missile silos, aircraft carriers, and airfields in an interface highly reminiscent of NORAD as depicted in the movie WarGames. Over the course of the game—which can range from a few minutes to a full eight hours—players compete to...

Oh, Hells No!

April 20, 2007 | personal, technology
So Google already has my email. They already know what news I read and what hobbies I have. They have my essays, my portfolio, my photos, and even my encrypted bookmarks and passwords, not to mention my code, my data, my spending habits, and my readership. This morning, I log into Google, and discover that they’re now willing to track everything I do at any time anywhere on the internet and show it to me in a cute and cuddly UI. I’m getting to the point where I’m having serious trouble...

Switching Control and Caps Lock on Windows

April 17, 2007 | programming, technology
I’m a diehard Emacs user. When I first get into the office, I fire up Emacs, then check my mail in Emacs, then update all of my source files using either the built-in Subversion bindings or a Cygwin shell via Emacs, and finally get down to coding for the day in Emacs. Windows and Mac OS X at times feel like just the kernel that allows me to run Emacs. Productivity-wise, that’s actually a great thing. My work environment is basically identical no matter what machine I’m on, enabling me to focus...

Smart Guys Date in Parallel

February 13, 2007 | personal, technology
There are few people in my life I admire more than my father. My father is the one who taught me how to swim, showed me my first BASIC programming, painstakingly explained algebra to me in fifth grade when I got annoyed at the confusing methods our my math teacher was teaching us, and demonstrated to me the value of problem-solving in high-anxiety situations when I was four by locking me in the child restraint seat and leaving me in the garage. I still turn to him when I’m in need of advice,...

Maps and Simplicity

February 8, 2007 | personal, technology
Recently, on reddit, someone linked to a map of the US interstate system laid out “subway style.” Rather than including all the geographical features of the United States, the artist opted to realign everything on a relatively simple aligned grid, emphasizing the purpose of the system (“get me from here to there”) rather than the implementation (“via this bridge over this river, using this exit by this town”). The artist himself complains tongue-in-cheek about the complexity of the existing...

Renaming Products

December 7, 2006 | programming, technology
Is it just me, or does anyone else enjoy pronouncing MySQL as “My Squeal”? (And of course, PostgreSQL as “Postgres Quell” makes a nice parallel, and is actually a nice hat-tip to the QUEL language Postgres originally used.) I’ve also noticed that if you call Microsoft IIS “Microsoft Ice,” then the increasing rise of Mozilla Firefox seems to kind of balance things out.

Firefox 2's Kin, or: Well, That Solves That

October 31, 2006 | programming, technology
I say nothing that should surprise diehard Mac users if I say that Mac OS X lacks decent power-user mail clients. Thunderbird suffers from a lot of the same problems as Firefox, Entourage is…well, Entourage, and Mail, pretty though it may be, is heavily underpowered in a lot of key areas. (E.g., you can’t even create nicely formatted lists, which is something I need to do quite frequently.) From this motley crew, I’ve traditionally opted to use Thunderbird. Yes, it’s ugly and doesn’t integrate...

Awesome! This makes it an impulse purchase!

October 31, 2006 | personal, technology
Sometimes, I have to wonder whether computers have a sense of humor. Yes, technically, it is a discount, but I think Amazon might want to consider not displaying the discount if it’s under, say, five cents.

Firefox 2, or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Rich Text

October 30, 2006 | technology
You may have noticed that I’ve been modifying a lot of old entries recently shortly after I post just to twiddle some line breaks. That’s because Firefox 2’s rich text control is horribly broken. Now, I do recognize that a lot of the rich editors are driven by custom JavaScript, but a lot of the problems seem common to all websites. In no particular order: Returns sometimes inserts BR, and sometimes inserts P, there’s no reliable way to tell which is going to happen, and they sometimes look the...