The worst floods in 50 years have hit Thailand Bangkok…the Big Picture has photos of the flooding in Bangkok while In Focus has a collection from all over Thailand.
The worst floods in 50 years have hit Thailand Bangkok…the Big Picture has photos of the flooding in Bangkok while In Focus has a collection from all over Thailand.
Predicting the weather is really hard…butterfly wings flapping and all that. But often we only care about the very short term weather: Do I need to take an umbrella to the store? When’s this rain gonna stop? Is it going to start snowing before I get home? Enter Dark Sky, an iOS app currently in development.
Dark Sky is an app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that predicts the weather.
Using your precise location, it tells you when it will precipitate and for how long. For example: It might tell you that it will start raining in 8 minutes, with the rain lasting for 15 minutes followed by a 25 minute break.
How is it possible predict the weather down to the minute? What’s the catch?
Well, the catch is that it only works over a short period of time: a half hour to an hour in the future. But, as it turns out, this timespan is crucially important. Our lives are filled with short-term outdoor activities: Travelling to and from work, walking the dog, lunch with friends, outdoor sports, etc.
In this recording from 1914, Harry Houdini talks about his Water Torture Cell trick.
The audio was recorded on an Edison wax cylinder; one of six used that day by Houdini and now the only known recordings of his voice to exist.
With a computer, some software, and a couple hundred dollars of hardware, you can pull down your own satellite images from satellites managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages a few satellites in low earth orbit. There are three actively transmitting APT signals at the moment, NOAA15, 17, and 18. Each of these satellites passes overhead a few times a day. I’ve been interested in learning how to receive their signals for a while now, and I’ve finally succeeded!
Mona Simpson’s eulogy for her brother is beautiful and moving; it’s almost incidental that her brother was Steve Jobs. The last few paragraphs are just…
His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”
Steve always aspired to make beautiful later.
These two stories seem related to me and I can’t figure out which is the more disturbing. First up, at last year’s company Halloween party, the employees of the law firm of Steven J. Baum dressed up as homeless people who the firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.
Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.
And then Friday in Queens, hundreds of off-duty police officers turned out to applaud sixteen police officers accused of fixing tickets and other more serious crimes.
As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.
The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.
The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts, the bulk of them misdemeanors having to do with making tickets disappear as favors for friends, relatives and others with clout. But they also outlined more serious crimes, related both to ticket-fixing and drugs, grand larceny and unrelated corruption. Four of the officers were charged with helping a man get away with assault.
Over the next four Sundays on PBS, a documentary series called America in Primetime will talk about the best shows created since the invention of television.
America in Primetime is structured around the most com-pelling shows on television today, unfolding over four hours and weaving between past and present. Each episode focuses on one character archetype that has remained a staple of primetime through the generations - the Independent Woman, the Man of the House, the Misfit, and the Crusader — capturing both the continuity of the character, and the evolution. The finest television today has as its foundation the best television of yesterday.
The series has been getting great reviews…here’s one from NPR:
And when these people talk about TV, they don’t feel the need to play nice and agree. While most writer-producers in this show talk about television drama series as a novel, allowing an examination of characters over dozens of hours instead of just a movie-length drama, Sopranos creator David Chase asks what’s so great about that? Who needs a Casablanca II, III or IV? And when it comes to the idea of having a serial killer as your central character in Showtime’s Dexter, you’d be surprised who doesn’t approve of that concept. At least I was surprised. Because right along with Michael C. Hall, the star of Dexter, talking about his vengeful character, you have Tom Fontana and then David Simon, creator of The Wire, talking about why they think Dexter goes too far.
Here’s an eight-minute video introduction to the show:
Eames: The Architect and the Painter, a documentary on the husband and wife design duo, will be out in theaters in mid-November.
The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life — from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age — has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.
The Secret World of Arrietty, the latest film from Studio Ghibli (Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle), came out in Japan last year and will be in US theaters in February 2012. Here’s the English trailer:
The screenplay was adapted from Mary Norton’s The Borrowers. (thx, david)
Codify is an iPad app that allows you to code iPad games on your iPad.
We think Codify is the most beautiful code editor you’ll use, and it’s easy. Codify is designed to let you touch your code. Want to change a number? Just tap and drag it. How about a color, or an image? Tapping will bring up visual editors that let you choose exactly what you want.
Codify is built on the Lua programming language. A simple, elegant language that doesn’t rely too much on symbols — a perfect match for iPad.
You can see the evolution of Madonna’s look in this collection of magazine covers…one per year for the last 28 years.
Her first cover appeared just a month after Amy Winehouse was born. (via ★janelle)
Watch until at least 45 seconds in.
I wanna see three of these riding a team sprint in a tiny velodrome.
Moses, who at one time was dubbed the city’s “master builder,’ was among the most powerful men in 20th century urban planning and politics, having influenced New York’s infrastructure as much as any other individual.
The story says it’ll be a movie, but how are they going to cram the 1344 pages of The Power Broker into 120 minutes? It’ll be a multi-parter, surely. (via ★al)
You can’t believe how excited my four-year-old was at the arrival of this book last night. He read it this morning as he ate his breakfast, quiet as a stone, save for the occasional “daddy, look at this!” outburst.
The “info packet” that Richard Stallman sends out in advance of his talks is crazy and amazing. It’s cramazing! And long. And really specific.
If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad. If you can find someone who has a friendly parrot I can visit with, that will be nice too.
DON’T buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me. To acquire a parrot is a major decision: it is likely to outlive you. If you don’t know how to treat the parrot, it could be emotionally scarred and spend many decades feeling frightened and unhappy. If you buy a captured wild parrot, you will promote a cruel and devastating practice, and the parrot will be emotionally scarred before you get it. Meeting that sad animal is not an agreeable surprise.
A collection of people doing crazy ass shit on video.
More than a year ago, Facebook engineer Andrew Bosworth wrote a post about how best to work with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when first working with Zuck is feeling that they can’t push back. As long as I have been at Facebook, I have been impressed with how much he prefers to be part of an ongoing discussion about the product as opposed to being its dictator. There are a number of exceptions to this, of course, but that comes with the territory. In those instances where he is quite sure what he wants, I find he is quite good at making his decisions clear and curtailing unneeded debate.
Barring that, you should feel comfortable noting potential problems with a proposal of his or, even better, suggesting alternative solutions. You shouldn’t necessarily expect to change his mind on the spot, but I find it is common for discussions to affect his thinking over a longer time period. Don’t necessarily expect acknowledgment for your role in moving the discussion forward; getting the product right should be its own reward. If you do that, you’ll find you are invited back more and more to the debate.
Facebook is certainly an interesting company…they’re a large company that appears to operate much like a small company. Will be interesting to see if they can keep that up as they get larger, go public, etc.
James Kendall’s wife’s 90-year-old grandmother recently cleaned out her pantry and Kendall documented some of the ancient foodstuffs lurking within.
Got this from several people yesterday: are these people dressed up for Halloween or just live in Williamsburg? It’s surprisingly difficult to tell.
James Higgs wrote a provocative piece on something that I’ve noticed recently as well: the two sides to Apple’s design aesthetic. On the one hand:
[Apple’s] devices have become increasingly simple and pared down, even as the power contained in them has increased. There is very little, if anything, extraneous on the Magic Trackpad or the MacBook Air. And of course the iPhones 4 and 4S are radically simple, yet well-constructed masterpieces of industrial design.
Yet, when it comes to stuff that isn’t hardware:
But no one laughs when Apple delivers a calendar application for the iPad that tries its hardest to look like a real-word desktop calendar pad, complete with fake leather and “torn” pages.
Still fewer have a chuckle when they see the new Address Book app on Mac OS X Lion, or the even more recent Find My Friends iPhone app.
These apps, and many more besides, all stem from a completely different, and I would say opposite aesthetic sensibility than the plain devices they run on.
They are an expression of purest kitsch, sentimentality, and ornamentation for its own sake. In Milan Kundera’s brilliant definition, kitsch is “the absolute denial of shit”. These are Disney-like apps, sinister in their mendacity.
This isn’t a recent thing either…look at the cheeseball themes and transitions in Keynote (many of them used by Jobs in his keynotes), some of the default system fonts, the emphasis in past keynotes on things like Mail.app themes, etc. Without too much effort, you could pull together many design examples from their currently shipping software that make it appear as though Apple doesn’t have a good aesthetic sense of design at all. But then you look at the general aesthetics of OSX and iOS…I don’t know, it’s really confusing how the same company, especially one that had such strong design leadership, could produce something as beautifully spare as iOS and something as cheesy as the Game Center app. (via ★thefoxisblack)
From 1958, a piece from Fortune magazine written by Jane Jacobs called Downtown is for People.
There are, certainly, ample reasons for redoing downtown—falling retail sales, tax bases in jeopardy, stagnant real-estate values, impossible traffic and parking conditions, failing mass transit, encirclement by slums. But with no intent to minimize these serious matters, it is more to the point to consider what makes a city center magnetic, what can inject the gaiety, the wonder, the cheerful hurly-burly that make people want to come into the city and to linger there. For magnetism is the crux of the problem. All downtown’s values are its byproducts. To create in it an atmosphere of urbanity and exuberance is not a frivolous aim.
Jacobs’ classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities came out 50 years ago.
Apparently so. It’s called Hugo:
I was going to make a joke about how this is Scorsese’s first movie without Leonardo DiCaprio in like 20 years, but it’s actually his first DiCaprio-free film in 12 years. (via stellar)
Blast from the past…internet luminary trading cards from Suck.com, circa 1997.
Also, frames! (via mlkshk)
Apple has an archived video of the October 19th event held on their campus celebrating the life of Steve Jobs.
And CBS posted the entire 60 Minutes interview with Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson.
I’d never heard the story of how Richard Branson started Virgin Atlantic…interesting story.
In ‘79, when Joan, my fiancee and I were on a holiday in the British Virgin Islands, we were trying to catch a flight to Puerto Rico; but the local Puerto Rican scheduled flight was cancelled. The airport terminal was full of stranded passengers. I made a few calls to charter companies and agreed to charter a plane for $2000 to Puerto Rico. Cheekily leaving out Joan’s and my name, I divided the price by the remaining number of passengers, borrowed a blackboard and wrote: VIRGIN AIRWAYS: $39 for a single flight to Puerto Rico.
(via bryce dot vc)
Everyone knows that William Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays. What Roland Emmerich’s new film presupposes is…maybe he didn’t?
Professors of Shakespeare — and I was one once upon a time — are blissfully unaware of the impending disaster that this film means for their professional lives. Thanks to “Anonymous,” undergraduates will be confidently asserting that Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare for the next 10 years at least, and profs will have to waste countless hours explaining the obvious. “Anonymous” subscribes to the Oxfordian theory of authorship, the contention that Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford, wrote Shakespeare’s plays. Among Shakespeare scholars, the idea has roughly the same currency as the faked moon landing does among astronauts.
After years of inactivity, K10k, the venerable design portal, has finally been permanently shuttered. Sad to see it go…K10k was one of a handfull of sites that most influenced my design/online efforts in the 90s.
My copy of Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs just showed up on my Kindle and many other people are reporting the same on Twitter. The book is also available as a hardcover.
Here’s a little weekend viewing for you…Ballislife has put several complete 1992 Dream Team games up on YouTube. Here’s their game versus Croatia to get you going:
An analysis by complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology reveals that a “super-entity” of just 147 companies that controls 40% of the wealth among the world’s transnational corporations. And even worse is how tightly integrated these companies are…large pieces tightly coupled is a recipe for economic disaster.
John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says the value of the analysis is not just to see if a small number of people controls the global economy, but rather its insights into economic stability.
Concentration of power is not good or bad in itself, says the Zurich team, but the core’s tight interconnections could be. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable. “If one [company] suffers distress,” says Glattfelder, “this propagates.”
“It’s disconcerting to see how connected things really are,” agrees George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank.
And if that headline doesn’t tug enough at your heartstrings, here’s the really tear-jerking is-this-out-of-a-movie part:
Gordon died at 3:38 p.m. holding hands with his wife as the family they built surrounded them.
“It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn’t figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going,” said Dennis Yeager. “But we were like, he isn’t breathing. How does he still have a heart beat? The nurse checked and said that’s because they were holding hands and it’s going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up.”
“They were still getting her heartbeat through him,” said Donna Sheets.
Ok you guys, apparently Michael Winslow is some sort of national treasure and we didn’t know it. First there’s the Led Zeppelin thing. And now I’ve run across this 2009 film of Winslow imitating several different typewriters in chronological order of their year of release…on each typewriter, he “types out” the words “the history of the typewriter recited by Michael Winslow”.
I was a little disappointed they didn’t have him do an ImageWriter II (I know, technically not a typewriter), but I still love this to pieces. Frieze has a bit more info.
For nearly 21 minutes, the camera moves gently around Winslow in a recording studio as he impersonates the noises of 32 typewriters. Inter-titles announce the dates of the respective machines’ manufacture, their brand and model number. It is an absorbing feat of mimicry. From the frantic clucking and strenuous creaking of his ‘1895 Barlock Mod. 4’, through to the ping-pong sounds of the ‘1954 Hermes Mod. Baby’, and concluding with the ‘1983 Olympia Monika Deluxe’, Winslow produces a percussive tour de force that could take its place alongside the Dada sound poetry of Raoul Hausmann or Kurt Schwitters and the cartoon exuberance of voice actor Mel Blanc.
Athletes and singers have coaches. Teachers and surgeons don’t. Maybe they should? Atul Gawande investigates.
The concept of a coach is slippery. Coaches are not teachers, but they teach. They’re not your boss — in professional tennis, golf, and skating, the athlete hires and fires the coach — but they can be bossy. They don’t even have to be good at the sport. The famous Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi couldn’t do a split if his life depended on it. Mainly, they observe, they judge, and they guide.
Coaches are like editors, another slippery invention. Consider Maxwell Perkins, the great Scribner’s editor, who found, nurtured, and published such writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe. “Perkins has the intangible faculty of giving you confidence in yourself and the book you are writing,” one of his writers said in a New Yorker Profile from 1944. “He never tells you what to do,” another writer said. “Instead, he suggests to you, in an extraordinarily inarticulate fashion, what you want to do yourself.”
The coaching model is different from the traditional conception of pedagogy, where there’s a presumption that, after a certain point, the student no longer needs instruction. You graduate. You’re done. You can go the rest of the way yourself. This is how elite musicians are taught. Barbara Lourie Sand’s book “Teaching Genius” describes the methods of the legendary Juilliard violin instructor Dorothy DeLay. DeLay was a Perkins-like figure who trained an amazing roster of late-twentieth-century virtuosos, including Itzhak Perlman, Nigel Kennedy, Midori, and Sarah Chang. They came to the Juilliard School at a young age — usually after they’d demonstrated talent but reached the limits of what local teachers could offer. They studied with DeLay for a number of years, and then they graduated, launched like ships leaving drydock. She saw her role as preparing them to make their way without her.
One of the many reasons to love the wooden water towers found on the tops of NYC buildings is that the structures themselves reveal the math behind how they work.
The distance between the metal bands holding the cylindrical structure together decreases from top to bottom because the pressure the water exerts increases with depth. The top band only needs to fight against the water at the very top of the tower but the bottom bands have to hold the entire volume from bursting out.
I read this the other day and didn’t link to it because I thought it would get a lot of attention elsewhere…but it didn’t, so here you go. Starbucks is starting a program to help their customers lend money to small businesses.
Here’s the idea they came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee. Those who gave $5 or more would get a red-white-and-blue wristband, which Schultz labeled “Indivisible.” “We are hoping it will bring back pride in the American dream,” he says. The tag line will read: “Americans Helping Americans.”
This should be a bigger story, shouldn’t it? Banks seem less and less interested in lending money to people as their primary business and things like Kickstarter and this Starbucks initiative are taking their place.
Using Jeffrey Eugenides’s newest book, The Marriage Plot, as a jumping-off point, Evan Hughes explores how the personal relationships and jealousies amongst a cadre of writers that included Eugenides, Rick Moody, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Karr, and David Foster Wallace pushed each of them to produce their best work and plumb the lowest depths of their self-loathing.
It was another novel-in-manuscript that had propelled Franzen toward his new phase — the thousand-plus pages of Infinite Jest. Almost all of what Franzen had read at the Limbo had been written in a kind of response to Wallace after getting an early look at his groundbreaking book. “I felt, Shit, this guy’s really done it.” As Franzen saw it, Wallace had managed to incorporate the kind of broad-canvas social critique that the great postmodernists did into a narrative “of deadly personal pertinence.” The pages Franzen produced then, he says, “came out of trying to feel good about myself as a writer after what an achievement Infinite Jest was.” His comments to Wallace weren’t all sunshine, though; he also “pointed toward some plot problems.” Wallace granted that the problems existed, Franzen told me, but said that he would thereafter deny ever having admitted it.
Nevertheless, Franzen knew it was “a giant book,” an end point of sorts. “It was clear that it was not going to be appropriate of me to try to compete at the level of rhetoric and the level of formal invention that he had achieved.” He turned instead to “a family story about a midwestern Christmas,” the beginning of which he read at the Limbo. The result was The Corrections.
All kinds of evidence has been uncovered that organized soccer was being played in Scotland as early as the 15th century.
He discovered a manuscript of accounts from King James IV of Scotland that showed he paid two shillings for a bag of ‘fut ballis’ on 11 April, 1497. More evidence came with we came across several diary accounts of football being played in places like Stirling Castle, Edzell Castle and Carlisle Castle. The games were played on pitches smaller than the current regular football field, and featured between 10 and 20 men on each side.
Maybe we can get that guy who wrote the epic Reddit thread about how a 2000-man Marine unit might fare against the circa-23 B.C. Roman Empire (and got a movie deal for it) to write a scenario in which Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Iniesta, et al travel back to Scotland in the 1500s to take on the King and his footballers. (via @tomfossy)
MoMA is live-streaming the Talk to Me symposium all day today.
This evening and daylong program features presentations, conversations, interviews, and performances on the subjects of design and script writing, cognitive science, gaming, augmented reality, and communication.
There is a sense amongst my generation that Michael Winslow’s best performing days are behind him. (You’ll remember Winslow as Officer Sound Effects from Police Academy.) After all, we live in the age of the beatboxing flautist. You might change your tune after watching Winslow do Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. The first 28 seconds are like, oh, I’ve heard this before yawn zzzzzzzzzz WHOA, WHERE THE HELL DID THAT GUITAR NOISE COME FROM??!
This is good news in the fight against malaria, which kills almost 800,000 people annually (that’s a San Francisco, every single year).
An experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline halved the risk of African children getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to become the world’s first shot against the deadly disease.
Final-stage trial data released on Tuesday showed it gave protection against clinical and severe malaria in five- to 17-month-olds in Africa, where the mosquito-borne disease kills hundreds of thousands of children a year.
“These data bring us to the cusp of having the world’s first malaria vaccine,” said Andrew Witty, chief executive of the British drugmaker that developed the vaccine along with the nonprofit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI).
While hailing an unprecedented achievement, Witty, malaria scientists and global health experts stressed that the vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, was no quick fix for eradicating malaria. The new shot is less effective against the disease than other vaccines are against common infections such as polio and measles.
GlaxoSmithKline has previously stated that they will sell the vaccine for cost + a 5% markup that will be put back into tropical disease research.
No words. No. Words. They should have sent a poet.
Artist Ariana Page Russell has a skin condition called dermatographic urticaria that causes her skin to become inflamed when lightly scratched. Russell uses the condition to make art on her body.
Fun fact: Tom Hanks does the voice for Woody in the movies but in most other media, he’s voiced by Tom’s younger brother Jim Hanks.
What the what? This video gives a little more explanation into the effect at work here (superconductivity + quantum trapping of the magnetic field in quantum flux tubes) and an awesome demonstration of a crude rail system. You can almost hear your tiny mind explode when the “train” goes upside-down.
Wingardium Leviosa! (via stellar)
I’ve found it! The world’s best Tumblr reveals itself after years of searching: Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses. It’s a collection of photos of celebrity noses modified to look like ninja turtles.
Internet, can we best this? I have my doubts.
SUPER ugly, but it works
Added a bunch of semi colons that were missing for some balls weird reason.
Oops, left some debugging crap
Over at Ars Technica, Matthew Lasar has a look at some of browsers people used back in the early 90s before Netscape came around.
Tim Berners-Lee’s original 1990 WorldWideWeb browser was both a browser and an editor. That was the direction he hoped future browser projects would go.
I compiled a bunch of old browsers for download back in the day but the Browser Archive at evolt.org is the definitive source. (via @jenville)
Dieter Rams’ 40 year stint at Braun until 1995 redefined the world of product design, taking pure modernism to the world of gadgets. He is the direct inspiration for much of Apple’s product design after Steve Jobs returned and in many aspects his work is more rigorous and more coherent than Apple’s.
I hadn’t seen this massive speaker before:
What’s this then? Jovian moon? Instagrammed photo of Earth taken from the ISS? Head of a nail?
Nope, it’s actually a well-worn frying pan from a project by Christopher Jonassen.
In a 2008 paper called The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations, a group from Yale University demonstrated that including neuroscientific information in explanations of psychological phenomena makes the explanations more appealing, even if the neuroscientific info is irrelevant.
Explanations of psychological phenomena seem to generate more public interest when they contain neuroscientific information. Even irrelevant neuroscience information in an explanation of a psychological phenomenon may interfere with people’s abilities to critically consider the underlying logic of this explanation.
I don’t know if I buy this. Perhaps if the authors had explained their results relative to how the human brain functions…
The standard form of Soviet war correspondence during WWII were letters folded into a triangular shape.
During the war, the mails were brought for free from the front to home. It could not have been differently, because probably the postage stamps would have been the last item the halting logistic support would have delivered to the front. Even so, postcards and envelopes were shortages. The soldiers’ genius has thus created, right in the first months of the war, the format that was a letter and its own envelope in one. The folding process is very similar to how we, in our childhood, folded our soldier’s shako, knowing nothing about the triangular soldier’s letters.
A lovely collection of hand-lettered American department store logos from the late 19th and early 20th century.
Here’s the entire source code + helpful annotations for the original Metroid game for the NES.
Labels corresponding to address values have been added to every line to make the code easier to follow for beginners interested in understanding the inner workings of a Nintendo game. The labels also make the code easier to debug if it is modified. At this time, the source code is still a work in progress but it is much farther along than the original document. The title page is completely documented. The intro routine, end routine, password scheme and sound engine are described in detail. About a third of the game engine is detailed and about half of each game area page.
A very raw and passionate post by former Amazon employee and current Google employee Steve Yegge in which he praises a key decision made by Amazon several years ago to build a platform…and argues that a major problem for Google going forward is a lack of a platform of their own. It starts off:
I was at Amazon for about six and a half years, and now I’ve been at Google for that long. One thing that struck me immediately about the two companies — an impression that has been reinforced almost daily — is that Amazon does everything wrong, and Google does everything right. Sure, it’s a sweeping generalization, but a surprisingly accurate one. It’s pretty crazy. There are probably a hundred or even two hundred different ways you can compare the two companies, and Google is superior in all but three of them, if I recall correctly. I actually did a spreadsheet at one point but Legal wouldn’t let me show it to anyone, even though recruiting loved it.
I mean, just to give you a very brief taste: Amazon’s recruiting process is fundamentally flawed by having teams hire for themselves, so their hiring bar is incredibly inconsistent across teams, despite various efforts they’ve made to level it out. And their operations are a mess; they don’t really have SREs and they make engineers pretty much do everything, which leaves almost no time for coding - though again this varies by group, so it’s luck of the draw. They don’t give a single shit about charity or helping the needy or community contributions or anything like that. Never comes up there, except maybe to laugh about it. Their facilities are dirt-smeared cube farms without a dime spent on decor or common meeting areas. Their pay and benefits suck, although much less so lately due to local competition from Google and Facebook. But they don’t have any of our perks or extras — they just try to match the offer-letter numbers, and that’s the end of it. Their code base is a disaster, with no engineering standards whatsoever except what individual teams choose to put in place.
This is the contemporary take on the guy-meets-girl-at-party story. Guy isn’t particularly interested in girl but at some later point starts surreptitiously taking photos of her and posting them to a secret blog. Girl finds out, isn’t creeped out at all. Boy doesn’t feel shame at girl’s discovery, only that it ruined his creative outlet before “he might have gotten better at it or something”. Girl decides to interview boy for her communications class. You know, completely normal.
She messaged Walker through Facebook, and at first he seemed receptive. “He thought it was funny,” said Merker. But after an initial show of interest, Walker got skittish, canceling and rescheduling the interview repeatedly. When Merker finally sat down with him, it was only after she had managed to catch him off-guard, saying she was already in his neighborhood and offering to meet at a bar.
Walker had one condition: he wanted to do the interview “in character” as the persona he had established through the blog. That would mean interviewing Merker, too; after all, any blogger who had devoted an entire Tumblr to a single person would certainly take the opportunity to directly question his subject.
You know when Mark Zuckerberg says stuff like privacy doesn’t matter and Facebook makes formerly private information public without notice and all the tech pundits (most of whom are older than Zuck) go bananas tearing out their hair about how stupid and crazy that is? Now you know where Zuck and Facebook are coming from.
We lost a tech giant today. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, co-creator of Unix and the C programming language with Ken Thompson, has passed away at the age of 70. Ritchie has made a tremendous amount of contribution to the computer industry, directly and indirectly affecting (improving) the lives of most people in the world, whether you know it or not.
These sorts of comparisons are inexact at best, but Richie’s contribution to the technology industry rivals that of Steve Jobs’…Richie’s was just less noticed by non-programmers.
Dan Lyons posted the notes of a long conversation he had with Steve Wozniak last week. Lots of Apple history and prehistory…I didn’t know, for instance, that Woz designed the Apple I before Jobs was involved.
I was highly regarded for my engineering skills. But I never wanted money. I would have been a bad person to run a company. I wanted to be a nice guy. I wanted to make friends with everybody. Yes I came up with the idea for the personal computer but I don’t want to be known as a guy who changed the world. I want to be known as an engineer who connected chips in a really efficient way or wrote code that is unbelievable. I want to be known as a great engineer. I’m thankful Steve Jobs was there. You need someone who has a spirit for the marketplace. Who has the spirit for who computers change humanity. I didn’t design the Apple II for a company. I designed it for myself, to show off. I look at all the recent Apple products, like the iPhone, the iPad, and even Pixar, and it was like everything Steve worked on had to be perfect. Because it was him. Every product he created was Steve Jobs.
And Woz is *still* an Apple employee! He makes $100 a week. (via stellar)
Fuck Yeah Made in USA is a collection of videos showcasing products that are made in the US. These are chock full of “how things are made” goodness.
Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman come together to create an enhanced Food Rules for hardcover, now beautifully illustrated and with even more food wisdom.
Michael Pollan’s definitive compendium, Food Rules, is here brought to colorful life with the addition of Maira Kalman’s beloved illustrations.
This brilliant pairing is rooted in Pollan’s and Kalman’s shared appreciation for eating’s pleasures, and their understanding that eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. Written with the clarity, concision, and wit that is Michael Pollan’s trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely. Kalman’s paintings remind us that there is delight in learning to eat well.
The short answer is “you can’t” but the longer answer by a former patrol officer is more interesting.
How often do you drive in this manner? Unless you’re running because you’re on parole, this is likely your first dance. Sure, you’ve driven fast before — for a while. Then, for whatever reason, you got uncomfortable and backed off. Maybe your car made a sound you got concerned about, maybe you caught a glint you thought might be a trooper’s windshield, maybe you thought you heard the faintest pulses of a siren. Whatever it was, it weakened your resolve and you slowed down. You have no such luxury here. And while this is fresh for you, this is, to many of the people pursuing you, another day another dollar. They’ve trained for this in training scenarios and have been involved in pursuits in the field. They run code multiple times a week. Even if one of your pursuers was a rookie who got eaten up by the stress, there will be a dozen vets to take his place.
Artist and filmmaker Miranda July used to shoplift as sort of a useful hobby.
But it wasn’t just about the supermarket — the whole world was one giant heist. It goes without saying that I used magnets to reset the Kinko’s copy counters to zero, and carried scissors to cut alarm tags out of clothes. Everyone I knew did these things. I say this not to excuse myself but just so you can visualize a legion of energetic, intelligent young lady criminals. Anytime anyone we knew flew into Portland, we urged her to buy luggage insurance and allow us to steal her bag from the baggage carrousel. The visiting friend then had to perform the role of the frantic claims reporter and was given a cut of the insurance money. Some friends were up for this; others thought it was an inhospitable thing to ask.
Scientists have developed a spray gun that sprays the burn victim’s own skin cells onto the affected area heals them within a matter of days, not weeks or months.
The guy doesn’t even look like he got burned. (via @delfuego)
This is kind of magical.
Ed Levine and the crew over at Serious Eats are coming out with a book that attempts to distill the last five years of the web site into book form. Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are comes out in early November.
Ed Levine, whom Ruth Reichl calls the “missionary of the delicious,” and his SeriousEats.com editors present their unique take on iconic foods made and served around the country. From house-cured, hand-cut corned beef sandwiches at Jake’s in Milwaukee to fried-to-order doughnuts at Shipley’s Do-Nuts in Houston; from fresh clam pizza at Zuppardi’s Pizzeria in West Haven, Connecticut, to Green Eggs and Ham at Huckleberry Bakery and Caf’e in Los Angeles, Serious Eats is a veritable map of some of the best food they have eaten nationwide.
Covering fast food, family-run restaurants, food trucks, and four-star dining establishments, all with zero snobbery, there is plenty here for every food lover, from coast to coast and everywhere in between. Featuring 400 of the Serious Eats team’s greatest food finds and 50 all-new recipes, this is your must-read manual for the pursuit of a tasty life.
You’ll learn not only where to go for the best grub, but also how to make the food you crave right in your own kitchen, with original recipes including Neapolitan Pizza (and dough), the Ultimate Sliders (which were invented in Kansas), Caramel Sticky Buns, Southern Fried Chicken, the classic Reuben, and Triple-Chocolate Adult Brownies. You’ll also hone your Serious Eater skills with tips that include signs of deliciousness, regional style guides (think pizza or barbecue), and Ed’s hypotheses-ranging from the Cuban sandwich theory to the Pizza Cognition Theory-on what makes a perfect bite.
From Fathom, a copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein constructed from found type on the web…as the book goes on, the type gets less legible.
The incomplete fonts found in the PDFs were reassembled into the text of Frankenstein based on their frequency of use. The most common characters are employed at the beginning of the book, and the text devolves into less common, more grotesque shapes and forms toward the end.
Internet sensation Amit Gupta was recently diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Problem is that he needs a transplant from someone of South Asian descent.
To aid him in his fight, Amit is going to need a bone marrow transfusion. Unlike blood transfusions, finding a genetic match for bone marrow that his body will accept is no easy task. The national bone marrow registry has 9.5 million records on file, yet the chances of someone from South Asian descent of finding a match are only 1 in 20,000.
This is where we come in. We’re going to destroy those odds.
How? By finding and registering as many people of South Asian descent as we possibly can.
Tests are easy — a simple swab of the cheek. If someone is determined to be a match, that person would have to be willing to undergo an outpatient procedure in which marrow is extracted from bones in the back by a special needle. It’s not a fun procedure, but it’s not dangerous either. And doing it could save a life.
If you’re interested in helping, read on.
I am incredibly sad this morning. Why am I, why are we, feeling this so intensely? I have some thoughts about that but not for now. For now, I’m just going to share some of the things I’ve been reading and watching about Jobs. And after that, I think I’m done here for the day and will move on to spend some time building my little thing that I’m trying to make insanely great.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
The iPhone announcement in 2007. I am with Dan Frommer on this one: this is Jobs at his absolute best. He was just so so excited about this thing that he and his team had created, so proud. His presentation is also a reminder of how revolutionary the iPhone was four years ago.
Here’s to the crazy ones… Here’s a version of the famous Think Different commercial narrated by Steve Jobs…it never aired on TV.
Steven Levy on Jobs. Levy covered Apple and Jobs extensively for many years; his obit is a good one.
Jobs usually had little interest in public self-analysis, but every so often he’d drop a clue to what made him tick. Once he recalled for me some of the long summers of his youth. I’m a big believer in boredom,” he told me. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity, he explained, and “out of curiosity comes everything.” The man who popularized personal computers and smartphones — machines that would draw our attention like a flame attracts gnats — worried about the future of boredom. “All the [technology] stuff is wonderful, but having nothing to do can be wonderful, too.”
Steve Jobs’ grass-stained shoes. Damn you Gruber for making me tear up like that.
I like to think that in the run-up to his final keynote, Steve made time for a long, peaceful walk. Somewhere beautiful, where there are no footpaths and the grass grows thick. Hand-in-hand with his wife and family, the sun warm on their backs, smiles on their faces, love in their hearts, at peace with their fate.
Steve Jobs rainbow over Pixar. What does it mean?
Moments after news broke about Steve Jobs’ death, a rainbow popped out of the Pixar campus (taken with my iPhone 4). Rest in peace, Steve, and thank you.
Jobs testing Photo Booth filters. Perhaps these aren’t the best photos ever taken of Steve Jobs, but they are among my favorites.
Walt Mossberg remembers his friend. Among journalists, few knew Jobs as well as Mossberg; he shares his stories and tribute here.
I have no way of knowing how Steve talked to his team during Apple’s darkest days in 1997 and 1998, when the company was on the brink and he was forced to turn to archrival Microsoft for a rescue. He certainly had a nasty, mercurial side to him, and I expect that, then and later, it emerged inside the company and in dealings with partners and vendors, who tell believable stories about how hard he was to deal with.
But I can honestly say that, in my many conversations with him, the dominant tone he struck was optimism and certainty, both for Apple and for the digital revolution as a whole. Even when he was telling me about his struggles to get the music industry to let him sell digital songs, or griping about competitors, at least in my presence, his tone was always marked by patience and a long-term view. This may have been for my benefit, knowing that I was a journalist, but it was striking nonetheless.
At times in our conversations, when I would criticize the decisions of record labels or phone carriers, he’d surprise me by forcefully disagreeing, explaining how the world looked from their point of view, how hard their jobs were in a time of digital disruption, and how they would come around.
This quality was on display when Apple opened its first retail store. It happened to be in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, near my home. He conducted a press tour for journalists, as proud of the store as a father is of his first child. I commented that, surely, there’d only be a few stores, and asked what Apple knew about retailing.
He looked at me like I was crazy, said there’d be many, many stores, and that the company had spent a year tweaking the layout of the stores, using a mockup at a secret location. I teased him by asking if he, personally, despite his hard duties as CEO, had approved tiny details like the translucency of the glass and the color of the wood.
He said he had, of course.
4 Steve. Loved this tweet:
From now on, the “4S” is going to stand for, “For Steve.” #apple
Dada. Oh and this one from Neven Mrgan too:
Heartwarming/breaking: shortly following the news of Steve’s death, our daughter called me “dada” for the first time. It goes on.
The Computer That Changed My Life. Bryce Roberts shares the story of the first Apple computer he bought.
As I sat alone in my makeshift office in Sandy, UT I decided that I wanted to start fresh, all the way down to my operating system. It sounds funny now, but it was an important psychological move for me. I wanted the next level to look and feel different than what I’d experienced in the past in every possible way.
I fired up my Sony Viao and surfed over to Apple.com. I wasn’t an Apple fanboy. I’d never owned one of their machines. And that was the point.
I didn’t know if I would love it or even like it, but it was going to be different. And different was exactly how I wanted the next level to feel.
This is *exactly* why I bought an iBook in 2002 after a lifetime of Windows/DOS machines.
Statement from Bill Gates. It really says something about a person when once-bitter rivals become friends later in life.
For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.
Brian Lam apologies to Steve Jobs for being an asshole. If you followed the whole Gizmodo/iPhone thing, this is worth a read.
I was on sabbatical when Jason got his hands on the iPhone prototype.
An hour after the story went live, the phone rang and the number was from Apple HQ. I figured it was someone from the PR team. It was not.
“Hi, this is Steve. I really want my phone back.”
He wasn’t demanding. He was asking. And he was charming and he was funny. I was half-naked, just getting back from surfing, but I managed to keep my shit together.
And from the kottke.org archives, the 60+ posts I’ve made over the years about Jobs.
Well, fuck. My condolences to his family.
A common reaction to Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 4S yesterday was disappointment…Mat Honan’s post at Gizmodo for instance.
I was hoping for something bold and interesting looking. The iPhone 4 was just that when it shipped. So too were the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G. If I’m going to buy a new phone, of course I want it to look new. Because of course we care about having novel designs. If we didn’t we’d all be lugging around some 10-inch thick brick with a 12 day battery life.
Mat’s is an understandable reaction. After I upgraded my iPhone, Macbook Pro, and OS X all at once two years ago, I wrote about Apple’s upgrade problem:
From a superficial perspective, my old MBP and new MBP felt exactly the same…same OS, same desktop wallpaper, same Dock, all my same files in their same folders, etc. Same deal with the iPhone except moreso…the iPhone is almost entirely software and that was nearly identical. And re: Snow Leopard, I haven’t noticed any changes at all aside from the aforementioned absent plug-ins.
So, just having paid thousands of dollars for new hardware and software, I have what feels like my same old stuff.
Deep down, when I stop to think about it, I know (or have otherwise convinced myself) that these purchases were worth it and that Apple’s ease of upgrade works almost exactly how it should. But my gut tells me that I’ve been ripped off. The “newness” cognitive jolt humans get is almost entirely absent.
For me, yesterday’s event, Apple’s continued success in innovation *and* business, and the recent CEO change provided a different perspective: that Apple makes two very complementary types of products and we should be excited about both types.
The first type of product is the most familiar and is exemplified by Steve Jobs: Apple makes magical products that shape entire industries and modify social structures in significant ways. These are the bold strokes that combine technology with design in a way that’s almost artistic: Apple II, Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. When they were introduced, these products were new and exciting and no one quite knew where those products were going to take us (Apple included). That’s what people want to see when they go to Apple events: Steve Jobs holding up a rainbow-hued unicorn that you can purchase for your very own.
The second type of product is less noticed and perhaps is best exemplified by Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook: identify products and services that work, continually refine them, innovate at the margins (the addition of Siri to the iPhone 4S is a good example of this), build interconnecting ecosystems around them, and put processes and infrastructure in place to produce ever more of these items at lower cost and higher profit. The wheel has been invented; now we’ll perfect it. This is where Apple is at with the iPhone now, a conceptually solved problem: people know what they are, what they’re used for, and Apple’s gonna knuckle down and crank out ever better/faster/smarter versions of them in the future. Many of Apple’s current products are like this, better than they have ever been, more popular than they have ever been, but there’s nothing magical about them anymore: iPhone 4S, iPod, OS X, iMacs, Macbooks, etc.
The exciting thing about this second type of product, for investors and consumers alike, is Apple is now expert at capturing their lightning in a bottle. ‘Twas not always so…Apple wasn’t able to properly capitalize on the success of the Macintosh and it almost killed the company. What Tim Cook ultimately held up at Apple’s event yesterday is a promise: there won’t be a return to the Apple of the 1990s, when the mighty Macintosh devolved into a flaky, slow, and (adding insult to injury) expensive klunker and they couldn’t decide on a future direction for their operating system (remember Copland?). There will be an iPhone 5 in the future and it will be better than the iPhone 4S in significant & meaningful ways but it will also *just work*. And while that might be a bit boring to Apple event watchers, this interconnected web of products is the thing that makes the continued development of the new and magical products possible.
In 1987, Apple made a video showcasing a concept they called Knowledge Navigator:
Not sure if it’ll stay like this, but what a great idea for a gadget site for normal people: a list of recommended technology products broken down into categories based on how people actually make buying decisions. Sample categories include Best Laptop Ever Created, The Great TV I’d Get, and Best Wireless Carrier.
Richard Feynman talking about the beauty of science and of the natural world over a bunch of video footage taken from NASA, Microcosmos, and BBC nature docs like Planet Earth? This is fantastically right up my alley.
If you missed the cast reunion of Arrested Development at the New Yorker festival over the weekend, you can watch the whole thing on Facebook here (you must be logged in to see the video). This is the event at which they announced that the show will be coming back.
When I heard the news, my immediate reaction was not positive. There may have been an expletive uttered. I am happy for the crew at Typekit, several of whom are my friends, but Adobe products do not fill me with joy when I use them. No one I know is filled with joy when using Adobe products…mostly the opposite. Typekit is a great service; I hope Adobe keeps it that way.
Premiering on HBO this week, a Martin Scorsese documentary on George Harrison, everyone’s favorite Beatle who wasn’t John or Paul.
Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese traces Harrison’s live from his musical beginnings in Liverpool though his life as a musician, a seeker, a philanthropist and a filmmaker, weaving together interviews with Harrison and his closest friends, performances, home movies and photographs. Much of the material in the film has never been seen or heard before. The result is a rare glimpse into the mind and soul of one of the most talented artists of his generation and a profoundly intimate and affecting work of cinema.
Title Scream is a collection of 8-bit video game title screens. Not just static images either…animated GIFs, yo.
You’ve never seen a literally slack jaw until you’ve seen a four-year-old watching Empire Strikes Back for the first time and learning that Darth Vader is Luke’s father.
Kim Noble, although she doesn’t care to be called that, has over 100 distinct personalities.
For a journalist, this presents certain problems. Kim Noble herself is merely a name on a birth certificate - a portmanteau of identities. So which version of her do you interview? Do you talk to whomever pops up? Hayley? Judy? Ken?
It turns out there’s a protocol: you meet Patricia, the dominant personality among the many alter egos in Noble’s head. With the help of regular support workers, Patricia looks after Aimee and makes sure there’s milk in the fridge. It is Patricia who answers the door and welcomes me in.
A horrifying and fascinating story. Noble wrote a book about her experiences and the varied body of art done by her various personalities can be seen here. And do watch this video; it’s a clip of one of Noble’s personality switches…the language she uses to describe herselves is interesting. (via @dunstan)
Today at the New Yorker Festival, the entire cast of Arrested Development gathered for the first time since the show wrapped in 2005 and the big news was:
If all goes according to plan, the series will return to television in a nine- or ten-episode limited-run television series, set to film next summer, with each episode focussing on a single member of the Bluth clan. And series creator Mitchell Hurwitz said that he is halfway through the screenplay for a reunion film and is “eighty per cent” sure it will happen.