April 8, 2012

Football Size Hit

People!

Every where you go there are huge numbers of them. And most of them aren’t paying attention. So they walk into you. Literally. I’m not kidding. Every day someone walks into me. Even though I’m working my ass off to avoid them, sooner or later someone finds a way around my defenses, and wham — football size hit.

From A tale of the grass being greener, by Dave Winer, a big guy in a big city.

April 1, 2012

Autonomy

Autonomy is a highly underrated notion. It’s what you call freedom, or independence, once you become an adult. It comes with the peaceful acceptance of boundaries, yours and those of others. It does not mean always doing what you like whenever the hell you want to.

From It’s the Autonomy Stupid, by Anna Rascouët-Paz.

Getting Started with Mlkshk

Okay, so you just signed up for MLKSHK - now what? Is this supposed to be a social network? A place where you can park your vacation photos? And where are the funny pictures anyway? The good news is MKSHK can be all of those things - it’s kind of a Choose Your Own Adventure that responds to your choices. The problem is - if you never make any choices, you never get past the front door. So let’s get started and learn the lay of the land.

From Why I Love Mlkshk - And You Can Too, a detailed, well-written guide to getting started with Mlkshk by user tonyb.

March 8, 2012

Not Quite Back to Reality

After finishing A Dance with Dragons, I decided I needed a reality chaser and dove back in to wonderful and horrifying Legacy of Ashes.

I’m still reading it but somehow the audiobook of Lord of the Rings wormed its way onto my iPhone. Recorded by Rob Inglis over the course of just six weeks back in 1990, its my favorite version of the book. Tolkien’s meandering prose and exhaustive descriptions can get a bit much on the page, but come to life in Inglis’ narration. And the individual voices he developed for the major characters are a perfect match.

I like the book, and I like the movies, but I love this version.

March 7, 2012

Starting Code Year

A few weeks ago I started working my way through Codecadedmy’s free online Javascript course. I was making quick progress until I took a couple of days off during a lesson on functions. When I sat down to do the next part of the lesson I was asked to create a simple function. I realized that I had only the vaguest idea how to do it. I looked back over the stuff I had already covered and saw that although I’d completed the lessons, I didn’t know how to set up a loop, do anything conditional, or do anything with strings beyond printing them to the console.

So I went back to square one. This time, though, I made two changes in my approach:

  1. More Typing
    Instead of using the in-browser editor I fired up TextWrangler and typed everything in. It took more time but I got much more of a feel for the syntax by typing it out myself. I made plenty of mistakes – missing colons, extra parentheses, and the like — but finding and fixing them were lessons in themselves.

  2. More Play
    Instead of just sticking with the tasks set by the course I started making up my own variations and trying to make them work. To practice if-else structures I made a script that asks for my weight then encourages me to eat either more or less based on the answer. To practice loops I wrote a script that goes through a string capitalizing each word in turn. It was incredibly rewarding and a lot of fun.

I’m making slower, but more solid progress. When I got back to the lesson that had previously stumped me I knew exactly what to do. It took a couple of tries to get it to run but I eventually worked it out. It’ll be a long while before I’m ready to pick up my ninja throwing stars but when I do I should be able to at least hold them without cutting my hands to pieces.

March 6, 2012

The Thin Red or Blue Line of Heaven

Just putting this here for future reference:

Terrence Malick:
- Days of Heaven
- The Thin Red Line

Errol Morris:
- Gates of Heaven
- The Thin Blue Line

January 31, 2012

From Mlkshk #1

Some interesting things I recently found on Mlkshk:

January 30, 2012

I Thought It Was Real

Fragment of a conversation I had tonight with my daughter who is eleven so no longer a kid:

What were you watching last night?

Lord of the Rings.

Was it interesting?

Yeah, it was great. But, you’ve seen it, haven’t you?

But I was a kid. I thought it was real so I didn’t like it. It was too scary.

Well, we can watch it again, if you like?

Ok. Can we watch it together.

Sure.

A few years back my daughter went through a stage where she found it difficult to grasp that what she saw in plays or films wasn’t real and wasn’t actually happening. This wasn’t really clear to us until we took her (by request) to USJ (Universal Studios Japan).

The day got off to a bad start with the Shrek in 4D experience. While other kids laughed it up, she shreiked. It was understandable. The spiders were pretty creepy.

Next up was the ET ride: probably the most kid-friendly thing in the whole park. She was fine until we took off slowly into space. I distinctly remember her screaming “Take me back to Earth!”. She wasn’t kidding.

We’ll give Fellowship a watch this weekend and see how she goes.

Some Books Might Be Better On Paper

Marco Arment on book formats:

Whether I’ve bought a book made of dead trees or encrypted bits doesn’t really matter, and I don’t think my experience suffers when I choose the bits.

This is true of books that are intended to be read straight through from start to finish: novels, biographies, and most non-fiction.

Last year, though, I bought a few ebooks that I think would’ve been better, for me, on paper: a guide to using my camera, one on how to use Lightroom, and Ethan Marcotte’s excellent Responsive Web Design.

They would’ve been better on paper for practical, not romantic reasons. I tend to read these kinds of technical or how-to books by first glancing through the whole thing, reading bits here and there. I get an idea of what the thing is, then attack different parts, rarely in order. If what I’m reading in chapter ten mentions something that I haven’t read (or something I’ve forgotten) in an earlier chapter it’s usually pretty easy to just flip through the pages to find what I’m looking for. And often I’ll pick up the book and start reading at completely different places.

Last year I bought no books on paper. I’ll continue to buy all my fiction and most non-fiction as ebooks. For any guides or techinical things, though, I think I’ll go for paper.

January 26, 2012

Tweetbot's Read Later Heaven

One of the things I like about Tweetbot is its support for multiple ‘read later’ services. You can use either Instapaper, Pinboard, Readablity, or Read It Later.

What I’d love, though, is to be able to use more than one service at a time. Flicking through my timeline I’d be able to send texty things to Instapaper and everything else, videos, pictures, sites, app recommendations and the like, to Pinboard.

Something like this:

Pinstapaper

Neat, huh?