An Evolution of Game Art

August 25, 2008 | technology
Braid’s been receiving accolades for its amazing gameplay and complex storyline. Over at Gamasutra, I stumbled upon a great article detailing the evolution of Braid’s artwork. Especially after having beaten the game, I found it fascinating to see how the art had evolved, and had helped to give the game its unique feel.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Snakes?

August 11, 2008 | technology
Moving us one step closer to Blade Runner, I’m pleased to bring you a fully robotic water snake. Although the snake at first appears to be little more than a toy, its movements are preternaturally organic. I have a very easy time believing that I’m looking at some type of exotic life form—and I find that simultaneously amazing and frightening. Philip K. Dick would be proud.

Reactions to Those Without Cellphones

July 1, 2008 | technology
Given I know a few people myself who don’t own cellphones, I found defective yeti’s list of how people’s reaction to the discovery he does not have a cell phone has changed over the course of the last decade spot-on and hilarious.

The Fuel Economy of a Toyota Prius vs. a BMW M3

June 30, 2008 | politics, technology
And it turns out that the Toyota Prius isn’t necessarily that great for the environment after all. (This should not come as a surprise if you’ve been keeping up on the research into renewable energy.) Listen closely to the end of the segment, though—the point isn’t that the Prius cannot be more efficient than the M3, but rather that the driver has to do his part to drive more conservatively, too—something that I’ve argued, and been keenly aware of, since I started driving.

DSLAMs, BASes, and BitTorrent, Oh My!

June 29, 2008 | politics, technology
Bell Canada is currently engaged in a lovely kerfuffle with the CRTC (Canada’s rough equivalent of the FTC) for throttling BitTorrent traffic. The CRTC recently ordered Bell Canada to release its bandwidth numbers, and Bell Canada, after some protestations, complied. The little teensy problem with their data, as Ars Technica points out, is that the numbers indicate that any problems Bell Canada is experiencing have nothing whatsoever to do with BitTorrent, and can be trivially and cheaply fixed....

The Flux Capacitor Arrives

May 1, 2008 | technology
It may not enable time travel, but the flux capacitor, in a literal sense, is here. Called a memristor, the device provides similar functionality to a transistor, but at vastly higher efficiencies, an should allow for much smaller, more efficient computers in the future.

The End of MySQL (Updated)

April 17, 2008 | programming, technology
Sun has just announced that they will begin close-sourcing MySQL. For years, I’ve avoided MySQL due to a mixture of paranoia (I’ve had extremely bad experiences with MyISAM-backed data stores) and disdain for their shoddy standards compliance (which has bitten me before in nontrivial ways). Now I can also avoid them for not being open-source. My standardization on PostgreSQL for this website feels more rational by the minute. Update: The originally linked article wasn’t quite correct. MySQL AB’s...

The Worthless ISOification of OOXML

April 16, 2008 | politics, technology
Tim Bray makes the same argument I’ve been making for months on why ISO-certified OOXML won’t actually make a lick of difference. At least the ISO has successfully proved how corruptible they are for all geeks to see, so I suppose the approval process wasn’t totally useless.

Ignoring the firewall

April 15, 2008 | technology
The Coding Monkeys have released Port Map, an application to make accessing computers behind firewalls NATs easier. Unlike Copilot, which tries to work around obstinate routers, Port Map focuses on providing an easy and consistent interface for reconfiguring them. It’s hardly perfect for everything—notably, you have to have permissions to reconfigure the router causing you difficulty, making it unsuitable for corporate environments—but I can see it being quite handy if you’re just trying to...

Some Musings on Backups

April 15, 2008 | technology
I upgraded bitquabit to Ubuntu today. I learned a few valuable lessons: Untested backup scripts don’t count. This one I knew, but I didn’t fully process that “untested” really means “untested recently.” In particular, my backup script was backing up a database called wordpress. Unfortunately, I moved all the blogs hosted by bitquabit to a database called wp last fall. Result? The backups, though minutes old, were effectively from last October. I was lucky here: I happened to have a day-old WXR...