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J. K. Rowling - By the Book -

With all of their benefits, and there are many, one of the things I regret about e-books is that they have taken away the necessity of trawling foreign bookshops or the shelves of holiday houses to find something to read.
chronovore: (mouthy)
I'm just sayin'.

Yeah, I know it's likely just a formality, and they're feeling about as remorseful as the other times when "もうしわけございません" is used... which is not particularly rueful. It just boggles my mind that these notes and, by extension, going home on time is such a rarity.


Oct. 17th, 2008 04:52 pm
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Coilhouse » Blog Archive » Resistance is NOT Futile. Please Register and Vote.:
Cynicism will not protect you from disappointment. It will not shield your loved ones from harm or neglect. It will never heal your community, fix the ailing economy, or return any semblance of dignity to this country.

Your indifference is not a safety blanket; it is a shroud.

Your vote is your voice. Say something.


Sep. 21st, 2008 12:25 pm
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BBC NEWS | Technology | Hawking unveils 'strangest clock': thanks to [ profile] captainblack, I now know of this clock, equipped with a "chronophage."
chronovore: (magnum)
I'm not just looking forward to being old. I am looking forward to being justified and ancient.
chronovore: (Default)
I am convinced that we always have a choice; it's simply a matter of perceived cost vs. risk.
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The Myth of the Media Myth: Games and Non-Gamers | MetaFilter:
I've been outside. It's overrrated.

Traditionally Outside receives extremely high ratings by those who like to see others play it, and these people are in many cases comfortably ensconced Inside themselves. Outside was released many years ago, it was in fact the first massively multiplayer game, and yet it has always managed to avoid the double-edged Retro tag. In its favor, continual user updates have kept Outside current; there are always new things to see and do Outside. Participants are permitted, to some extent, to modify their own areas of Outside, which is a large part of the fun of the game. However it seems that in the end one is modifying Outside largely for the sake of it, and having done it, there is a distinct feeling of "now what?"

In terms of the traditional target age content metrics, Outside is remarkably high in sex, violence and challenges to traditional values, despite the strong child-focussed marketing it receives. Many would go so far as to say that for a child to develop the ability to cope with Outside is essential, as long as the harm incurred is not too debilitating. Children injured playing Outside are usually comforted by parents, and soon encouraged to go Outside again; this leads to the conclusion that somehow Outside has escaped any and all of the usual moralizing that surrounds the videogaming industry. One might say that Outside gets a free pass from the Jack Thompsons of this world.

That aside, how does Outside actually rate? Read more... )
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Joel Spolsky; Inc. Article - How Hard Could It Be?: Lessons I Learned in the Army, Corporate Culture:
As I've built a bootstrapped company, I've always kept the lesson of that speech in mind. This aloofness, this inability to understand the poor grunts in the field, also trips up many company founders. Forgetting how hard it is to be in the trenches every day is an easy trap to fall into. After several years of working days, nights, and weekends to build a company, after scrimping and saving and making a desk out of a door and two filing cabinets, business owners often forget that the employees they hired are not co-founders: They're employees. When you give them a door for a desk or ask them to work on weekends, they're not going to see it in the same way as you.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Wired Gadgets: Macworld Confirms Growing Trend of 'Hardware as a Service':
Apple's iPhone update revamps the Google Maps application to give it a GPS-like "Where am I?" feature that uses cell towers and WiFi hotspots to triangulate the phone's location. It also includes the ability to add custom icons to the phone's "home" screen.

Apple is providing the iPhone and AppleTV updates for free, but is charging $20 for the iPod Touch upgrade.

Because of general accounting practices, Apple generally can't provide new features without charging for them. But last year, Apple adopted an unusual subscription-like accounting practice for the iPhone and AppleTV. Instead of recording revenue in the quarter the devices are sold, the company amortizes the revenue over 24 months, like a subscription. The change allows Apple to add new features for free without running afoul of accounting regulations.
That last paragraph really caught my eye; Apple was only able to rationalize adding value to existing hardware due to an unusual "subscription-like" means of handling their own accounting processes. This is really curious, because software doesn't entirely seem to follow this model; MS and Apple both will "add value" to their software such as Media Player and iTunes, respectively.

I don't fully understand the difference why MS and Apple are willing to write off ongoing software expenses (for "free" software at that), but do to an accounting perspective, have been previously unwilling to provide a similar experience to people who buy their gadgets.
chronovore: (mouthy)
With Google Web History enabled, I worry that Google knows more about me than I know about myself.
chronovore: (mouthy)
This has got to be one of the most bullshit pieces of fearmongering, wrong-headed tripe I have read outside of a Bush presidency State of the Union transcription:
Wi-Fi piggybacking widespread: Sophos has revealed new research into the use of other people's Wi-Fi networks to piggyback onto the internet without payment. The research shows that 54 percent of computer users have admitted breaking the law, by using someone else's wireless internet access without permission.

According to Sophos, many internet-enabled homes fail to properly secure their wireless connection properly with passwords and encryption, allowing freeloading passers-by and neighbours to steal internet access rather than paying an internet service provider (ISP) for their own. In addition, while businesses often have security measures in place to protect the Wi-Fi networks within their offices from attack, Sophos experts note that remote users working from home could prove to be a weak link in corporate defences.

Stealing Wi-Fi internet access may feel like a victimless crime, but it deprives ISPs of revenue. remaining claptrap )
Sharing is not a crime; if I have a phone and am entitled to limitless free local calls, and if I choose to let my neighbor come over and make free local calls whenever they want, or even give them a satellite phone so they can use it without bothering me, that's not a crime. As for the EULA, I'd be hard pressed to believe it would hold up in a court.

I lock up my computers, but not my WLAN. I'm willing to let people use my WLAN as long as no-one goes crazy-abusive on it.

Edit: Apparently this is an IT security blog in the UK, where accessing a wifi network without permission is illegal. This is not /generally/ illegal in the USA, though there have been exceptions (see commments).
chronovore: (Default)
Is there a job where I get paid to sit at home and play the game of my choice all day? Or is that just called "unemployment"?

joel, ftw

Oct. 26th, 2007 03:40 pm
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How Hard Could It Be?: Five Easy Ways to Fail, Managing Technology Article - Inc. Article:
If these are all the ways you can go wrong, how can you ensure that a project actually goes right? First, you have to hire superstars. At Fog Creek, we tend to review about 400 candidates for every full-time hire, because the best developers can be 10 times as productive as the merely excellent developers.

Second, demand fine-grained time estimates from the developers. Yes, it's difficult for developers to predict how long it will take to build a new application. That's why they need to create a reliable blueprint before every project.

Once you have that schedule in hand, don't try to push up the deadline. If the project can't be completed in what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time, the answer is not to negotiate a better-sounding schedule. The answer is to get more resources, move back your ship date, or remove features.

As a project gets going, you'll at times be tempted to reassign work. But reassign it with care. It takes a long time for new developers to get up to speed on someone else's code. I think it's good to rotate developers through different jobs so that you don't have any irreplaceable individuals, but I do this cautiously and build an extra three weeks into the schedule for the incoming developer who's learning the new code, and an extra week for the outgoing developer who is teaching the code to the new person.

Finally, encourage your staff to work a sane 40 hours per week. Seriously. Except for occasional, very short bursts of activity to meet a deadline, we at Fog Creek work eight-hour days. In the technology world, it's better to view a big project as a marathon, and not a sprint.

Joel Spolsky is the co-founder and CEO of Fog Creek Software in New York City and the host of the popular Joel on Software blog.
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Powell's Books - The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America by Susan Faludi, reviewed by Chicago Tribune:
"The entire edifice of American security had failed to provide a shield," Faludi observes in the introduction to The Terror Dream, and in "the all the disparate nightmares of men and women after 9/11, what accompanied the sundering of our myth of indomitability was not just rage but shock at that revelation, and, with the shock, fear, ignominy, shame." The media spit out mantras like "Everything has changed" and spoke of "the death of irony," an environment in which a "cacophony of chanted verities induced a kind of cultural hypnosis."

The mystery, suggests Faludi, is that the United States, "the last remaining superpower, a nation attacked precisely because of its imperial preeminence, responded by fixating on its weakness and ineffectuality." To state what is a sweeping and nuanced argument by her loosely and reductively here, it is that after 9/11 we have been re-enacting a 1950s Western, John Wayne-style, "cocooning ourselves in the celluloid chrysalis of the baby boom's childhood" while trying to evade the terrifying knowledge of our own vulnerability. [emphasis mine, full text at Review-a-Day]
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Nerd Chic Arrives on TV - New York Times:
The Web, which has been seen as an ancillary medium for brands established elsewhere, is becoming an incubator of media properties that can extend over any number of platforms.
chronovore: (Default)
Flow (psychology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Components of flow
Csikszentmihalyi identifies the following as accompanying an experience of flow:
  1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities).
  2. Concentrating and focusing, a high degree of concentration on a limited field (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
  3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
  4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
  5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
  6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
  7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
  8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
  9. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975. p.72).
Not all are needed for flow to be experienced.
chronovore: (Default)
Videogames Make Better Horror Than Hollywood:
The fact is, I like to be scared out of my wits. I'm one of those wimps who is easily spooked yet generally enjoys the sensation. So ever since I was a kid, I've loved good horror movies -- I'd turn out the lights freak myself out with classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th or The Exorcist.

Yet here's the thing: For several years now, I've found that my favorite horror experiences aren't coming from movies any more. They're coming from games. [full (short) article at Wired]
interstice - Wiktionary:
interstice (plural interstices)
1. (noun form very rare): a small opening or space between objects, especially adjacent objects or objects set closely together, as between cords in a rope or components of a multiconductor electrical cable or between atoms in a crystal. "The part that is not there."
Quotation: (1999) "That he ran the risk of blowing out the stained-glass windows was of no consequence since no one liked them anyway, and the paper mill fumes were gnawing at the interstitial lead." - Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
Interstitial art - Wikipedia:
Interstitial art is a term first coined in the 1990s, and increasingly popularized in the early 2000s, that refers to any work of art whose basic nature falls between, rather than within, the familiar boundaries of accepted genres or media, thus making the work difficult to easily categorize or describe within a single artistic discipline.
Jeremiah Tolbert - But Wouldn't It Be Cool?: Story Thought of the Day:
To motivate a character from happiness, take away something that makes them happy, and they will go after it. Make it harder and harder to get. In the end, give them what they really want, not what they think they wanted. But only if they gave up something else in return. No victory without sacrifice. That is the holy math of story. No success without change.
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From zen habits, via LifeHacker
It’s true: the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to your own happiness.
Let’s say that you apply the Golden Rule in all of your interactions with other people, and you help your neighbors, you treat your family with kindness, you go the extra mile for your co-workers, you help a stranger in need.
Now, those actions will undoubtedly be good for the people you help and are kind to … but you’ll also notice a strange thing. People will treat you better too, certainly. Beyond that, though, you will find a growing satisfaction in yourself, a belief in yourself, a knowledge that you are a good person and a trust in yourself.

“May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.
May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary
help to my friends and to all who are in need.
May I never fail a friend in trouble.”


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