Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If Philip K Dick were alive he'd order from here

Cool shirts from Atomic Tarantula. Found this one from the sponsored listing spam header in my gmail.

The Hal-9000 one is pretty good, although the shirt info on this one (Stark Trek tricorder to those living under a rock), indicates that this is the 'classic' model.

Sorry to be the uber nerd, but this is actually a model from the Next Generation franchise.

Now here's a classic...sturdy, heavy, and made for Spock and Bones' loving hands. Just look at that bulbous display. Who needed all those fancy buttons, why in my day we did just fine with six, and rubbing that equalizer-lookin thing on the left. Damn space-whippersnappers....

Monday, July 28, 2008

The 'I' stands for 'inability' maybe

Hmm...Fry's has some decent external hard drives they could buy and plug in to assist with space concerns. Maybe that would help.

Weird that I didn't get anything....I thought there was supposed to be results fed in from some other machine cluster. I guess everything is busy covering everything else's search queries.

Cool and not so Cuil


Two upcoming games - 'Mirror's Edge' and 'Dead Space'.

I'd mentioned Mirror's Edge previously, and development seems to be coming along nicely. It'll be nice to have another action adventure in the spirit of Prince of Persia. The first person perspective looks sweet.

'Dead Space'...looks like Hostel or what video game version of Event Horizon might be. Early footage released indicates that weapon fire is more realistic in that hit placement determines enemy take-down effectiveness. Meaning: if Mr. Tentacle-Stomach slaps you with his various hurtful probiscii, then bust a few rounds into the appendages that secure him to his perch on the wall.

The game also introduces a mechanism to push the pause button on adversaries. The 'stasis field' tells creatures to chill, so you can regroup and reload.

'Mirror's Edge' comes out sometime in 2008, while 'Dead Space' has a firmer October 2008 shelf date. Both should be good diversions needed until Diablo III is released...which looks like some time in 2009.

Not so Cuil:

A new search alternative launched today. It's called 'Cuil' (pronounced 'cool'). Why Cuil? Based on the page logo, it suggests that they're trying to put the COOL around the I(nternet), but that's just my internal marketing voice pitching ideas to the imaginary VC board. A former Google employee and her husband started the resource with some VC money.

Anyway, being that I work in search I of course peeped it and found that it returned some very odd in...what the hell does that have to do with SFGate?

An article on CNet details how the engine performs:

"...traffic has spiked beyond their expectations. In other Web 2.0 launches, a traffic spike would slow down or crash the service, but in Cuil's architecture, the spike affected results, not speed....Each of Cuil's search appliances is specialized to a particular subcategory of results. There are machines that understand and index sports; others are experts on medicine, etc. As these search machines get overloaded, Sollitto said, they drop offline for some queries, and the machines left online return less-than-relevant results that then appear at the top of users' pages."
Weird. So if the cluster of machines that's working on Entertainment-related queries is overloaded, then results from the Science cluster will backfill as needed? Hmm....doesn't sound like so much of an 'alternative' as it sounds lame. But, this is launch day. It looks promising: clean UI, straightforward result delivery...if they can get the results to be relevant, and optimize performance to avoid traffic spike result leakage, or perhaps re-architect how results are seeded to complement others, it could be good. Otherwise people will go, of course.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch

An amazing man with an amazing attitude, Randy Pausch, Computer Science Professor at Carnegie-Mellon, passed away.

After being diagnosed with terminal cancer he delivered a 'last lecture' speech at Carnegie-Mellon and later on Oprah. His lecture is called 'Achieving Your Childhood Dreams'. If you haven't seen or heard his speech. Here's your chance. Here's the full lecture he delivered at CM:

Here's the abbreviated one on Oprah:

I'm normally not one for the Tony Robbins or Deepak Choprah thing, because their message is essentially motivated by money. Randy's message is one that he wanted to leave for his kids, and thus its genuine quality shines so very bright. His personal truth is enlightening and after watching him, knowing that he's facing his illness with so much dignity is amazing and inspiring.

Randy was a Star Trek fan, like so many bright and creative people are, and apparently had a small role in the upcoming J.J. Abrams franchise reboot. I'm looking forward to seeing his posthumous and eternal exploration of the final frontier. Pleasant journeys, Randy.

Missing the BART train, forgetting to turn the sprinklers before a week trip to Mexico, not having milk to put in your coffee: these are insignificant trivialities compared to the gift of life, and how we use it to make the world a better keystroke at a time. So before I start complaining about anything today, I'm going to ask myself...what would Randy do? Is this something I want to leave as my legacy?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My next job is going to be awesome

I can't wait.

I get paid $7.00 for every 1kb of text I revise?! SWEET!

And Russel Barajas (you can email him at [hey Russel...what's with the tengyzw? a quick search reveals your handle on strange Chinese sites like 'underthepink'...hmmm....) sounds like a totally cool manager, and wields an extraordinary command of the English language...I mean, he's like awesomer than Dubya, whose unswerving ability to blow shotgun holes in sentences has been raising hackles on grammar and diction nazis for years.

I think I'll send all my private info to this Russel guy. I mean, there doesn't seem to be an actual '', although there is a It looks like it's on the up-and-up too! I'm so excited to be part of the Global Community! Yay!

I feel all Internety and Google-y inside. My vittles are all atwitter.

Portywood? WTF?!

What in the...huh?

Why is Natalie Portman in a Bollywood video?
What would Darth say?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fake Steve goes real

Kinda stale, but the Secret Steve Jobs Diary blog is the dude who writes as Steve Jobs, Dan.

I totally loved his stuff. My favorite was recent piece from a contributor who 'worked' at Google, and was describing the significance of employee badges. Details.

Dan/Steve also pointed out some awesome comic,, which covers the life and times of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates living together. Hijinks ensue.

Watching Watchmen in 2009

So I get back from Guadalajara, where I procured some of the delicious handmade granada ponche from a lovely little unnamed village somewhere in the state of Jalisco, and finally go see The Dark Knight (fantastically awesome), and what preview should be showcased prior to the Caped Crusader doing his dark deeds? 'Watchmen'.

If you've never heard of it, that's probably because you're not a graphic novel fan, or dork variant of some kind. I'm fortunately both, and therefore was terribly animated. Luckily for me, there was a dude who shared my enthusiasm sitting next to me and Fil (my father-in-law) in the theater.

Watchmen was written in the 80s by Alan Moore, who also penned 'V for Vendetta', 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'Hellblazer' (think of the movie 'Constantine'), 'From Hell', and other such gems, and details the plight of ordinary men (save Dr. Manhattan) and women who fight crime as 'superheroes'. Eventually, the populace forces them to go into retirement (I'm guessing that the screenwriters for Pixar's 'The Incredibles' borrowed this theme from Watchmen) and then someone mysteriously murders one of the 'masks' who accepted governmental sponsorship (working for the man, and still being allowed to practice their arts). Wikipedia, of course, is a decent source of detailed info on the plot. Suffice it to say, this is rich humanistic story. Characters are flawed, and compelling and complementing subplots abound. There's also going to be additional web matierial rounding out some of the back story, and reportedly a companion DVD containing 'The Black Freighter' content, in addition to an uber Lord of the Rings length director's cut.

It'll undoubtedly be updated for the 90s. Instead of the looming nuclear war with the Russians, it'll probably be 'splinter organizations' or 'regimes' that are the antagonistic mechanism. Zach Snyder, who directed '300', is heading this one. Dave Gibbons, the original novel's illustrator is on board.

It looks like it'll be a real treat. It opens March 6, 2009.