Archive for May, 2008

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Best Post for Week Ending 5/31/2008

May 31, 2008

I found so many “best post”-worthy items that I decided to make it a “round-up” week.

  • I have become more and more interested in “steampunk” over the last few months, a mash up of Victorian-aged looks and modern-day technology.  Here is a great example – a steampunk USB drive.  Now, if it actually emitted steam when it was plugged in – THAT would be even cooler.
  • Try your hand at Battle Pong – very high on both the “coolness” scale and the “useless” scale for the iPhone.
  • What do you do when you have far too much time on your hands, and a boatload of DHL postage to use up?  Draw using GPS tracking data of course!
  • And finally: Today – Cisco OnStage Telepresence Holographic Video Conferencing; tomorrow, the holodeck.  (Ok, maybe next week, the holodeck.)
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TheNovel Update

May 26, 2008

We are just shy of 62,000 words (a boundary I expect to cross later this evening).

I’m beginning to notice something interesting.  The scenes that I find fun to re-read were a blast to write in the first place.  For those scenes, I wrote and wrote and wrote and when I looked up I realized I had cranked out four pages or more – all without realizing how much I had written.  I’m wondering if more of the book should be that way.  I wonder if I find myself continuing glancing down the page to see where the end is, then I’m obviously not having enough fun doing the writing, so perhaps whatever it is I’m writing is bad.

The other extreme, though – having a story that never slows down – is definitely bad.  For example, the movie Armageddon wasn’t really a movie.  It was a 150-minute action sequence.  I always thought the more action you could cram into an action/comedy, the better.  After 1998 (yes “Armageddon” really is that old), I found that you can actually have TOO much action.  (Oddly enough I have yet to stumble onto a movie with TOO much comedy.)

I’m not willing to change how I approach the novel at this point, mostly because I still don’t really know what I’m doing.  I’m just writing the story how it seems to work.  I do intend to look at how the book turns out, and see if the parts that I considered “slow” wind up being the parts my wife and I revise heavily.

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Best Post for Week Ending 5/24/2008

May 26, 2008

In keeping with my Indiana Jones theme from last week, I came across this real-life re-enactment of the boulder-chase sequence from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.  If you had ever wondered what to do with the few million LEGO’s lying around your house – well, there you go.

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Greetings Moonling!

May 18, 2008

For many months now, I’ve had my homepage set to iGoogle.  Not unlike MSN Live, MyYahoo, NetVibes, and a plethora of other personal portals, iGoogle lets you drop widgets onto the page to show you the weather, sports scores, stock picks, and the cute bad-grammered cat of the week.

One feature of the customization options that iGoogle provides is the ability to select your page theme, which mostly consists of a banner image that appears at the top, but can also translate into similarly-styled buttons, colors, and even a coordinating footer.  This by itself is not out of the ordinary; several of the other portal sites allow you to choose a background/header image from online galleries, and even upload your own.

What makes iGoogle stand out is the ability to have dynamic themes, where the image can change several times throughout the day.  What’s more, iGoogle lets you upload your own theme, and if they approve it (the themes are reviewed to make sure lewd or otherwise inappropriate content is not uploaded), makes it available to the entire iGoogle community to select from.

About two months ago, I decided to try to make one of my own, titled “Greetings Moonling!”.  It was finally approved this past week, and has already been used by nearly a thousand people (the theme is in no danger whatsoever of being one of the most popular; the top ten “Hottest” themes have user bases measuring in the hundreds of thousands).  There are seven panels that show up throughout the day, with these three actually forming a short story:

Incoming

What Are You?

Watch The Toes!

The big blank spot at the top is reserved for the Google search box and controls.  Here is a screen shot of it in use on my home page:

Homepage

Originally our hero (as I have been referring to the alien) had a mouth, but since my drawing skills are rather limited at this point I couldn’t get one that I liked.  As a result I decided to leave him mouth-less, and try to convey emotion and intent via his arms and especially his eyes.  It seems to work well for Scott Adams‘ title character, so why not another?

He was a lot of fun to draw.  I haven’t decided what else is in store for this little green guy, but there are a few possibilities, one of which is that he’ll make occasional appearances here and on my technical blog.  I’ve also considered creating a second iGoogle theme, or even extending the one that is there with additional panels.

The last couple of months have seen an explosion of new themes introduced for iGoogle.  There is even a major subset of “artistic” themes now that highlight the work of world-renowned artists such as Dale Chihuly, Anne Geddes, Oscar de la Renta and even the great Jackie Chan (yes THAT Jackie Chan).  I highly recommend iGoogle, even just for this feature.

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Best Post for Week of 5/17/2008

May 18, 2008

This week is a double-shot of Indy:

TechEBlog had an article on Friday about Indiana Jones’ fedora being sold by ThinkGeek.  The short video showing what a trip to the kitchen will turn into when you don it was particularly amusing.

Also, a long-awaited video game for our household – LEGO Indiana Jones – comes out on June 3.  We’ve loved playing the LEGO Star Wars games (two games, each covering one of the two trilogies), and being able to play with a six-shooter and a bull whip is just too cool.  TechEBlog had a post on Thursday for the game, as well as a trailer for it.  If you’re not familiar with the LEGO games, they tend to spoof a lot of the scenes and sight-gags from the movies, and this one is no different.

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One thing that annoys me when I’m sick…

May 18, 2008

…is cold medicine that’s hard to open.  Don’t make me get my utility knife, and risk slicing my fingers off trying to cut through the easy-to-open plastic blister pack.

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Best Post for Week of 5/10/2008

May 11, 2008

Looking back I’ve apparently misplaced a week.  I hate it when I do that.

This week, however, I came across the “Bridge to Terrify-ia”: http://www.techeblog.com/index.php/tech-gadget/sky-bridge.

With a drop off like that, I wonder if they have problems with base jumpers at all?  At least it’s not over a “boilin’ lake o’ lava!“.