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Time Travel Essentials - TopatoCo: We Sell T-shirts by the e-Shore

2009 Apr 15, 7:42"If you're like us, you live in constant fear of slipping into a wormhole and getting spit out in the 13th century, and the only real useful knowledge you have for your ignorant ancestors is 'watch out for that Hitler guy' and 'some of the Popes are evil.'" Its like they're inside my head! Love this shirt and poster telling you everything you need to know in case you accidentally fall back in time.PermalinkCommentstime-travel time shirt poster wishlist gift awesome

Platonic Ideals in Anathem and The Atrocity Archives

2009 Apr 7, 11:58
The Atrocity ArchivesThe Jennifer MorgueAnathem

This past week I finished Anathem and despite the intimidating physical size of the book (difficult to take and read on the bus) I became very engrossed and was able to finish it in several orders of magnitude less time than what I spent on the Baroque Cycle. Whereas reading the Baroque Cycle you can imagine Neal Stephenson sifting through giant economic tomes (or at least that's where my mind went whenever the characters began to explain macro-economics to one another), in Anathem you can see Neal Stephenson staying up late pouring over philosophy of mathematics. When not exploring philosophy, Anathem has an appropriate amount of humor, love interests, nuclear bombs, etc. as you might hope from reading Snow Crash or Diamond Age. I thoroughly enjoyed Anathem.

On the topic of made up words: I get made up words for made up things, but there's already a name for cell-phone in English: its "cell-phone". The narrator notes that the book has been translated into English so I guess I'll blame the fictional translator. Anyway, I wasn't bothered by the made up words nearly as much as some folk. Its a good thing I'm long out of college because I can easily imagine confusing the names of actual concepts and people with those from the book, like Hemn space for Hamming distance. Towards the beginning, the description of slines and the post-post-apocalyptic setting reminded me briefly of Idiocracy.

Recently, I've been reading everything of Charles Stross that I can, including about a month ago, The Jennifer Morgue from the surprisingly awesome amalgamation genre of spy thriller and Lovecraft horror. Its the second in a series set in a universe in which magic exists as a form of mathematics and follows Bob Howard programmer/hacker, cube dweller, and begrudging spy who works for a government agency tasked to suppress this knowledge and protect the world from its use. For a taste, try a short story from the series that's freely available on Tor's website, Down on the Farm.

Coincidentally, both Anathem and the Bob Howard series take an interest in the world of Platonic ideals. In the case of Anathem (without spoiling anything) the universe of Platonic ideals, under a different name of course, is debated by the characters to be either just a concept or an actual separate universe and later becomes the underpinning of major events in the book. In the Bob Howard series, magic is applied mathematics that through particular proofs or computations awakens/disturbs/provokes unnamed horrors in the universe of Platonic ideals to produce some desired effect in Bob's universe.

PermalinkCommentsatrocity archives neal stephenson jennifer morgue plato bob howard anathem

FormToAccelerator Internet Explorer Extension

2009 Mar 12, 2:17

I've made an extension for Internet Explorer 8, FormToAccelerator which turns HTML forms on a web page into either an accelerator or a search provider. In the design of the accelerators format we intentionally had HTML forms in mind so that it would be easy to create accelerators for existing web services. Consequently, creating an accelerator from an HTML form is a natural concept and an extension I've been meaning to finish for many months now.

This is similar in concept to the Opera feature that lets you add a form as a search provider. The user experience is very rough and requires some knowledge of accelerator variables. If I can come up with a better interaction model I may update this in the future, but at the moment all the designs I can come up with require way too much effort. Install IE8 RC1 and then try out FormToAccelerator.

PermalinkCommentsactivity html accelerator ie8 internet-explorer activities formtoaccelerator extension

Hairy robot sports dancing eyes - Short Sharp Science - New Scientist

2009 Jan 19, 3:14Researchers make another dancing robot. Its sort of owl like.PermalinkCommentskeepon robot dancing music humor video

Language Log - Nerdview

2008 Oct 23, 10:34Geoffrey K. Pullum of Language Log defines 'nerdview': "It is a simple problem that afflicts us all: people with any kind of technical knowledge of a domain tend to get hopelessly (and unwittingly) stuck in a frame of reference that relates to their view of the issue, and their trade's technical parlance, not that of the ordinary humans with whom they so signally fail to engage... The phenomenon - we could call it nerdview - is widespread." Woo, go year-month-day, go!PermalinkCommentsnerdview language date programming nerd writing

Wooster Collective: The "Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill" Opens in New York City

2008 Oct 10, 10:11"Once inside Banksy's pet store, you discover such things as breaded fish that swim in a large round bowl while hot dogs are living the high life under heat lamps in cages near the cash register."PermalinkCommentsbanksy cultural-disobediance art pet-store nyc animal video

The J-Walk Blog: A New Way Of Telling Time

2008 Sep 16, 5:08"Today I invented a new way to tell time. ... it will revolutionize time-keeping as we know it.... time is based on the percentage of the day. 12:00 midnight is 0%, 12:00 noon is 50%, 6:00 p.m. is 75%, and so on." I imagine this would be the most depressing way to look at time. Good morning, you've already wasted 33% of the day unconscious in your bed! Every day would be a progress bar slowly counting down the time. I'd probably stop watching TV completely. Why stop at counting the percentage of the day, how about the year, or how about the percentage of your life expended based on average life expectency?PermalinkCommentstime humor

Patenting reincarnation - Knowledge Jolt with Jack

2008 Aug 28, 10:58"The patent is really bad, which is all part of the fun: Abstract: The invention consists of the process of reincarnation or rebirth resulting in immortality. Description: [0001] This invention resulted from my combining Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Newton's Second Law of Physics. [0002] Reincarnation is defined in Webster's Third New Inernational Dictionary as "rebith". Thus my invention is a process of rebirth or in other words immortality."PermalinkCommentshumor patent via:kris.kowal reincarnation

The New Cult Canon: Primer | The A.V. Club

2008 Apr 10, 3:36See, the AV Club says Primer is awesome too! But don't read this or any other review, rather take my word for it and watch the movie now without any prior knowledge.PermalinkCommentscult primer movie onion av-club reviews

Identifying Vegetables with 20q Pocket Mind Reader

2008 Feb 26, 2:24

A shallot sliced in two.At the grocery store the other day Sarah and I attempted to find shallot for a recipe, but I can't tell the difference between shallot, sweet onions, yellow onions, etc. etc. We found something that we decided was the closest we'd find in the store and I believe we picked correctly because at checkout the cashier rang it up as shallot.

I think this could be a practical problem that the 20q Pocket Mind Reader should be able to solve: obtain the name of an unidentified object. When we got home I decided to test the 20q Pocket Mind Reader on shallot. Unfortunately, it told me I had an onion, but I think if these were designed for identifying unknown objects based solely on information you can obtain by looking at it, rather than requiring knowledge of seeds, where it grows, etc. it would do better. Or I could just ask someone who works at the grocery store.

PermalinkCommentsonion shallot toy 20q random

Dump Your Pen Friend on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

2008 Feb 18, 1:38A photo of a flickr photo used in an advertising campaign without the creator or photo subject's knowledge in violation of the photo's license. Details in the comments. This is an old one I thought I had bookmarked...PermalinkCommentsadvertising creativecommons flickr copyright ip photo photography australia

Weekend Activities

2007 Dec 11, 12:31I wanted to give a brief update on what's been going on for me this weekend and the previous two.

Two weekends ago Sarah and I went down to Santa Cruz for a long weekend and a belated Thanksgiving. I have yet to sort through the photos but Sarah has already put up the photos from our California trip. There's some nice shots from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in there and the place where we stayed. It was a good trip and I'll write more about it at some point in the future.

This past weekend Sarah and I went bowling with Eric and Jane and other friends. And no bowling experience is complete without a DJ and black lights. Surprisingly my work shirt looked great in the blacklight.

This coming weekend Sarah and I will stay at the MGM in Las Vegas where I'll meet up with college friends I haven't seen in a while. Previously the only non-gambling thing I did in Vegas was buffets and the Star Trek Experience (I'm cool) but this time we'll see some more shows which should be fun.PermalinkCommentslasvegas personal bowling california weekend nontechnical

Hot Air - Blog Archive - Video: 24 in '94

2007 Nov 16, 12:2424 parody: 24 set in 1994. Thankfully, specific knowledge of 24 is not a prerequisite to enjoying this video.PermalinkCommentshumor video via:ericlaw

Bunny Hears Something

2007 Nov 13, 8:45
Cadbury hears something, slowly.
From: David Risney
Views: 94
1 ratings
Time: 00:15 More in Pets & Animals

Wp64 Issues

2007 Aug 6, 3:43Miladin told me about the Visual Studio compiler's promising option Wp64 that finds 64bit portability issues when compiling in 32bit. If, for instance, you cast from a (long*) to a (long) you get a W4 warning. However, the #defines are still set for 32bit builds. This means that other parts of the code can make assumptions based on the #defines that are valid on 32bit but generate 64bit errors or warnings.

For instance, in winuser.h the public published Windows header file there's the following:
#ifdef _WIN64
    __in HWND hWnd,
    __in int nIndex,
    __in LONG_PTR dwNewLong);
#else  /* _WIN64 */
#define SetWindowLongPtrA   SetWindowLongA
#endif /* _WIN64 */
In 64bit everything's normal but in 32bit SetWindowLongPtrA is #defined to SetWindowLongA which takes a LONG rather than a LONG_PTR. So take the following code snippet:
LONG_PTR inputValue = 0;
LONG_PTR error = SetWindowLongPtrA(hWnd, nIndex, inputValue);
This looks fine but generates warnings with the Wp64 flag.

In 64 bit, p is cast to (LONG_PTR) and that's great because we're actually calling SetWindowLongPtrA which takes a LONG_PTR. In 32 bit, p is cast to (LONG_PTR) which is then implicitly cast to (LONG) because we're actually calling SetWindowLongA. LONG and LONG_PTR are the same size in 32bit which is fine but if you turn on the Wp64 flag there's a W4 warning because of the implicit cast from a larger size to a smaller size if you were to compile for 64bit. So even though doing a 32bit or 64bit compile would have worked just fine, if you turn on the Wp64 flag for 32bit you'd get an error here.

It looks like I'm the most recent in a list of people to notice this issue. Well I investigated this so... I'm blogging about it too!PermalinkCommentswp64 technical 64bit compiler c++ visual-studio setwindowlongptra

BBQ x 2

2007 Jun 11, 3:36This past weekend I was invited to two BBQs. Consequently, the weather took a break from the heat to drizzle.

The first was a lunch BBQ in celebration of Sarah's mom getting her Masters degree. Sarah and I went to her sister's house on the East-side where we had traditional foods you might associate with a BBQ including some enjoyable sausage. There was a bit of Wii to be had and Sarah's mom killed at bowling. Sarah seemed a bit dismayed at this. I guess Sarah didn't expect it since she's had more experience compared to her mom who was playing for the first time.

For dinner we drove over to Seattle to have a BBQ at Jeannie's house. Jeannie's family and my family became friends through our church when I was born and Jeannie even babysat me. The second bit about the babysitting is how Jeannie would introduce me at the BBQ. I met her boyfriend who seems like a cool guy. He works for Microsoft as a consultant and has traveled to various countries for his job. Guests had been instructed to bring side dishes and so there was quite a spread which was eclectic as well. We brought red potatoes, humus, and pita bread. As it turns out, one of the other guests had produced humus in bulk as a supplier and apparently had a grudge against the big humus chains. We played it cool and she didn't say anything so we can only assume she didn't know it was us. Jeannie was a great hostess and I had a fun time.PermalinkCommentsbbq washington personal nontechnical

International Schools Tech: Taxonomy of Knowledge

2007 Jun 4, 4:39David Weinberger (of Everything is Miscellaneous) gives talk about how the Internet has or will change storage and structure of information in a Google Tech Talk.PermalinkCommentsgoogle video taxonomy david-weinberger


2007 May 24, 7:04Clip from Futurama featuring Morbo giving a knowledge smack down on windmills. That line makes me laugh everytime. (The funny is at the very end of the clip)PermalinkCommentsfuturama video humor tv windmill morbo

MoHo Living

2007 May 13, 12:16My parents and grandmother came to visit the weekend before this current weekend, starting Friday May 4th. They arrived via their new motor-home which is quite the machine. Of course its my parents motor-home so its very well decorated inside including drapes and mini-chandelier. I didn't have a memory card for my camera at the time but I'm sure my parents will put up photos on their new blog dedicated to their motor-home at some point in the future.

At any rate, they parked the motor-home in an RV park in Issaquah so that Friday night I drove over to them and we ate at the conveniently closely located Pogachas. The next day they came over and I showed them the various cool looking things my computer connected to my flat screen TV can do. This includes Vista Media Center showing my photos from recent trips and Google Earth mapping out our respective homes and my recent trips (and Paris). Additionally, we played Wii which, unsurprisingly based on anecdotal evidence from varied sources across the Internet, was a seeming hit. Mom broke records playing bowling with my dad and I, Dad did an excellent job fishing, and Grandma's slow but steady win's the race approach to cow racing worked very well.

The next day I drove them to Seattle and we walked around Pike's Place. My parents made dinner that night at my place which was very good and made my apartment actually smell like cooked food. Also, we exchanged Christmas gifts. For the past two years I've flown back to my parents' house for Christmas and ended up with gifts I couldn't take with me in both directions. Those I left at their house they drove up and I was able to give them the ones I left at my place. They started the drive back the next day. I really enjoyed seeing them here.PermalinkCommentsmotorhome family personal nontechnical

Hole-in-the-Wall Experiment

2007 Apr 12, 2:29Social experminet to see what happens when a computer is made publicly available to poor children with no previous knowledge of computers or the English language.PermalinkCommentscomputer computer-literacy india article experiment education internet
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