Marco.org • About ▾

I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Internet comments.

(via lomo)

John Campbell’s Squid Uprising (via stumblepeach)

samreich:

Cereal Mascot Therapy Session, written by Dan Gurewitch and animated by Mike Parker. I do about half the voices. I’m proudest of my Captain Crunch.

NYC mini-meetup tonight

nycmeetups:

Hi Everyone!

A few of us are planning to get a drink after work today at Hotel QT on 45th b/ 6th and 7th. We’ll be there around 6pm. If you’ve never been there, go in the front entrance and walk past the reception area, past the pool and to the bar.

Swing by if you’re interested!

~Lauren

Sounds great. I’ll be there.

Dan Meth’s new Emomelon Days, a hilarious emo/YouTube/commenter parody follow-up to Watermelon Nights.

Amy asks:

I was just outside for a minute getting coffee and this man…with grey hair mind you…came up to me and was like “Excuse me, I think you’re really pretty, would you like to go out for a drink some time?” I told him I was seeing someone. He could have been old enough to be my father! (Or just prematurely grey but I’ll never know…)

Does this make me a horrible person for lying!?

No. I bet he’d rather hear that than “No thanks, you’re too old.”

Mini-meetup recap

nycmeetups:

many thanks to everyone who came out last night.

That was a great time. Thanks to everyone for giving us (David, Michelle, Tiff, and me) something fun to do on a weeknight and filling us up with beer:

(Sorry to the people on the left side whose names I never got.)

People that smoke drive up health insurance premiums, pollute others’ lungs without consent, ruin my clothes, suck more cash out of Medicare than they should, and provide NEGATIVE benefit to the communities that they’re a part of. Pardon me, but pull your head out because: It’s not about you, it’s about me.

Marc

Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby (via topherchris)

What if there wasn’t any insurance?

fatmanatee presents this scenario:

So why have insurance anyway? Other investment vehicles provide similar services, only their value is dollars, rather than services used. A person without healthcare can simply invest their money and take out for medical payments as they feel necessary.

[…]

Obviously, this would all require a lot more diligent personal investment from everybody, and perhaps that’s a lot to ask for.

That’s too much to ask for. If people were good at financial management and self-control, the massive credit card, payroll advance, and debt consolidation industries wouldn’t exist.

Social Security is a system designed with the same intention as insurance: to protect unfortunate people from the unforeseen, the unlikely, and themselves.

Without insurance, we’d have some problems in addition to financial irresponsibility:

…and probably many more that I’m not thinking of.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BARACK (via amazingamanda)

Sounds a lot like what people wrote about the iPod in 2002: competitors haven’t caught up yet, but surely they will, because, well, just because. In the same way that surely, eventually, Ford and GM will start making cars as well-engineered and designed as the Germans and Japanese, because, well, because.

John Gruber on the press’ repeated concept that it’s “only a matter of time” before competitors duplicate the iPhone and its success.

By Lee on eatsleepdraw

Mihail Aleksandrov (via szymon)

Facebook in real life. (via canadianbeauty)

JESUS, WHERE TO BEGIN: Hillary Clinton’s pick to win horse racing’s Kentucky Derby, Eight Belles — the only female horse in the race — finished second, broke both front ankles, and subsequently was put to death on the track. The first place horse was “Big Brown.” Go nuts.

wonkette.com (via glamorouswhimsy)

I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.

Hillary Clinton (via toldorknown)

For some reason, I have Scrap Brain Zone music stuck in my head tonight and I can’t fall asleep.

Overdraft “protection” and bank customer service

sarahchristine had a great experience with Wachovia:

Last week when I had $5 and some cents in my bank account, a $6 charge for new checks came out of my account (2 weeks after I got the checks I might add) and made my balance -.46! But thank goodness I have overdraft protection and did not incur a fee. I put in my money for May and all was right with the world. I’m not money-savvy or anything, but I must say: I love my bank and have had nothing but good experiences there. Much better than my former bank: Bank of America (grody).

I’m a Bank of America customer, and they’ve shown impressive mediocrity.

As far as I can tell (without doing any actual research), “overdraft protection” means that they’ll let checks clear even if they’ll give you a negative balance. They protect you from issuing bounced checks, not from bank fees.

When I accidentally double-executed a huge transfer a few months ago, throwing my balance to $-950, Bank of America was happy to let the second transfer clear… and then didn’t tell me. Why not? Because they started charging me $30/day. I only noticed because I was refused an ATM withdrawal a few days later, and fortunately I was able to fix the negative balance within hours of discovering it.

(Even though I track my finances down to the penny with the also-impressively-mediocre Moneydance, Bank of America doesn’t offer an OFX “Quicken” interface unless you pay $10/month, so I manually synchronize my real account with its balanced Moneydance replica every few weeks to make sure I didn’t miss anything.)

Isn’t massive industry consolidation wonderful?

Fortunately, I went into the bank when I knew the young new guy from the Bronx would be there (because he’s the nicest and most lenient), and convinced him to remove the charges. That was also interesting:

Last time I had to ask for bank-charge forgiveness, about 5 years ago, I went in, asked politely, and they said “Of course, no problem, sorry about those charges.” This time, going to the nice Bronx guy was completely unnecessary: the process has been boiled down to a sterile algorithm. He submitted the request into an administrative web interface, and Bank of America’s servers calculated that since I’m a good customer and this was my first offense with them, the charges could be dropped. I was algorithmically forgiven.

My personal connection with the nice Bronx guy was useless in both directions: he didn’t need to like me, but more importantly for customer retention, I didn’t need to know him and think of him personally when thinking of my bank. He’s no more of a banker than a McDonald’s burger-flipper is a chef.

When I moved to New York and left PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, I felt guilty. These were nice people who helped me as humans numerous times. (I never paid for checks once.) In return, I was a great customer for as long as I lived there, I referred many new people to them, and I’m talking about them here now.

But Bank of America? I have absolutely no affinity to them whatsoever. I’ll switch whenever any opportunity comes around that makes the transition worthwhile. (Like free OFX.) And it’s mostly because they haven’t connected to me as humans.

Come on, everyone… do you really need to fill up my dashboard with these every Sunday night?

tiffany:

I just heard about this and I can’t wait! It’s going to rock so hard.

Geek

I’m incredibly proud of beating Guitar Hero 3 on medium over the weekend.

I remember finding out part way through the project that the audio team were storing the amount of money in each character’s pocket — each pocket, mind you, that’s left and right — so that they could mix in the right amount of change-jingling noise as they walked past.

GTA IV’s Art Director Aaron Garbut. Nice quick interview.

skidder:

Gosh Yahoo… with all your problems these days, can you really spare this kind of cash?

See? Internet advertising is a legitimate business model.

Moocackle? Moocackie?

A while ago, I got a random anonymous envelope mailed to my office with a giant iron key in it labeled “moocackle” or “moocackie” (can’t tell what that letter is). It came with a note explaining that it was part of some big scavenger hunt or something. I probably broke it by waiting this long.

I imagine that I was supposed to post about this in Google so that someone could find it (neither word currently shows any results).

There’s also a big 2D barcode on the letter, but I really don’t care enough to scan it in, fix the low contrast from being printed on dark-brown paper, then find some software to decode it.

Anyone know anything about this? Sorry if I broke it. (In my defense, anyone who knows me should have known that I was a slacker.)

Tiff’s coworker just forwarded a God email to her containing this image.

THIS WILL MAKE YOU THINK TWICE WHEN YOU LOOK AT ORDINARY THINGS AGAIN………………

IF YOU ARE A TRUE BELIEVER OF GOD THEN YOU WILL SPEND TWO MINUTES LOOKING AT THESE AMAZING PHOTOS THAT GET CRAZIER AND CRAZIER. THESE PHOTOS HAVE NOT BEEN EDITED.

[… the images follow, one by one, including the one pictured here entitled “His Hands”]

Tiff immediately laughed. “Oh my god! My coworker just unknowingly forwarded me Goatse!”

Sure enough, I recognized this picture too… to the best of my knowledge, that’s an SA Photoshop.

Rockin’ out with Guitar Hero 3.

Last week’s NYC Tumblr meetup. (sorry, forgot to post this earlier)

Dear Westchester grocery stores,

The Kashi Honey Sesame TLC crackers are far superior to the Original 7 Grain flavor, yet I haven’t been able to find the Honey Sesame flavor in any grocery stores for months. I feared that Kashi stopped making them, but it looks like that’s not true. (And please don’t bother suggesting the awful Ranch flavor as an alternative.)

These are my favorite crackers to dip in my favorite hummus (roasted pine nut). My snacking life isn’t the same without them.

Please restock them as soon as possible.

Thank you, Marco Arment

We hope Kindle and its successors may gradually and incrementally move us over years into a world with longer spans of attention, providing a counterbalance to the recent proliferation of info-snacking tools. I realize my tone here tends toward the missionary, and I can assure you it’s heartfelt.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO, in his annual letter to shareholders. (via marc)

My thoughts exactly.

Savage Chickens: A Better World Cartoon (thanks, travors)

Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.

Jeffrey Zeldman (via azspot)

From Tuneage:

Two Gallants - The Hand That Held Me Down

One of the best live acts I’ve ever seen, Two Gallants takes ‘awkward rock’ to the highest echelon. Looking most uncomfortable and almost upset to be there, Adam and Tyson bang on their instruments (guitar and drums, respectively) as would any punk-rock pioneer. The difference is, however, the depth of their compositions, impressive melodic sense, and Adam’s unique vocal. If I had to, I might just categorize this band as Dylan-Punk, or maybe even Folk-Punk.

This album is this week’s experiment.

That’s a little creepy.

zachlinder:

Russert: “We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be.”

sharingtime:

Get ready.

(photoshop by mascarah)

(via scotth)

(via aco)

:(

Gary’s Family Tree (thanks, strelau)

My favorite afternoon appointment.

I tried.

Mike Gravel Lobbies for the Obama Girl Vote

jakoblodwick:

As of now, the most popular tumblelog is not anyone’s personal scrapbook, but a branded publication. Interesting.

Golden.

When the history of this strange and soon-to-be-concluded Democratic primary season is written, let it be noted that the candidate whose income was modest (in political-class terms) until his books became bestsellers was somehow framed as the representative of the elite — while the one who was able to dip into her own personal coffers to fund her campaign to the tune of $6 million succeeded, with a little help from the media, in casting herself as a woman of the people.

Scott Rosenberg (via azspot)

energyface:

If You Put That Picture On The Internet I’ll Call My Lawyer

“So, Mr. Angry Overreaction Man, your photo is now on the internet. Call your lawyer. Tell him somebody on a public sidewalk took your photo while you were on a public sidewalk. Then tell him you physically assaulted the photographer. See what he says.”

This is just classic. Read the full story. It’s even better that he’s wearing a Bluetooth headset.

Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.

Hillary Clinton (via johnbrissenden).

Who thought that was a good idea?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Hillary Clinton has and will sabotage the Democratic party’s candidates until she’s nominated, even if it means handing another presidency to the Republicans.

This is yet another reason why I absolutely will not vote for her. I don’t care how much the Democrats would need my vote to beat McCain. I won’t do it.

I’m voting only for the candidate that has legitimately won the nomination: Barack Obama. I don’t know why this is such a hard concept for Clinton to accept.

IN CARTOONS there is often a moment when a hapless character, having galloped over a cliff, is still unaware of the fact and hangs suspended in the air, legs pumping wildly, until realisation dawns, gravity intervenes and downfall ensues. Hillary Clinton’s campaign looks a bit like that this week.

Economist (via squashed)

I’m using a 24” iMirror in the Apple Store while Tiff shops for girl things in the mall.

Lessons learned so far:

You know how there are some people whose names come up in conversation and everyone says ‘He’s such a great guy?’ People never say that about me. The best I get is ‘he means well.’

Paul Graham

If you’re looking for iPhone similarities and settle for something else, you will be frustrated and disappointed. It’s like playing Alpine Racer at the Ski Mountain Arcade instead of buying a lift ticket - incomparable.

Peter W. Knox on iPhone “competitors”

tapenoisediary:

“WillS sez, “The Get Out Clause, an unsigned Manchester band who could not afford a camera crew for their video, ‘performed’ in front of a load of CCTV cameras, requested the footage from the camera operators under the Freedom of Information Act Data Protection Act and then stitched the results together for their music video.” Link (Thanks, WillS!)”

Found at Boing Boing

What an incredibly creative idea.

asprettyasasong:

Peanut Butter Disproves Evolution

Anyone out there who thinks the theory of evolution might be true may as well just forget it, as it’s almost certainly disproved by jars of peanut butter which, if the theory stood up, would occasionally contain new life when you opened them. A NH reader was convinced it was a gag until he Googled the presenter, Chuck Missler, and found out that he’s a well-known evangelist and a former “Branch Chief of the Department of Guided Missiles” in the US military.

This is classic.

(via rockuboff)

peetypassion:

MacBook - thin enough.

Mediocre airport breakfast.

Shit

There was a bagel shop a little closer to the gate. I lost that gamble.

Bad idea

Know those moving-sidewalk things at airports? Whose idea was it to make the belt on the ones in JFK’s Delta terminal from very bouncy rubber? It was like walking in a bouncy-castle.

I feel safe. As an added bonus, it smells like armpits inside!

Why

do the largest people fly on the smallest planes?

Finally, fresh air

I hope I don’t smell like second-hand armpits now.

It would be like if a guy farted in the elevator, then left, then someone else got on. You have to assume blame for an offense you didn’t commit, or try to somehow communicate, “It wasn’t me.”

(as recently discussed on YLNT, which I would link to if I wasn’t on an iPhone)

I always head straight for the good coffeeshops.

Those cars that honk when you lock them are like people who shout when they yawn.

your monkey called

Fat Ohio

I never noticed it while growing up here, but now that I’ve lived elsewhere full-time for 4 years with almost no visits, it’s clear as day.

Everyone here is fat and looks the same.

I don’t mean that to be inflammatory or insulting to fat people. It’s just an observation — a generalization based on a very prominent majority. I thought the plane’s passengers were just a bad sample group, but they accurately represented most people here.

We went to a casual restaurant for lunch. The staff was all fat. The customers were all fat. If I actually ate all of the food I was served, I’d be fat too. The portions were ridiculously huge, and the food’s composition wasn’t even trying to be reasonable — everything was fried, fatty, oily, sugary, or salty (pick any three). I ordered a Greek-style chicken wrap. How could that be unhealthy? Ohio found a way: by filling it up with thick salad dressing. It was easily 30% dressing by volume. There were no air gaps. (And someone needs to tell Ohio that a “wrap” is supposed to be small enough to be easily held in one hand.)

We walked everywhere. It looked weird because nobody walks here. (The passing drivers were all fat, too.) The sidewalks are in pristine condition because nobody has walked on them since they were paved for the most recent sterile cookie-cutter developments. They were awkwardly routed around the ultra-wide street corners, with the crosswalks 15 feet into the blocks so drivers (unfamiliar with pedestrians) might have a chance to see people crossing while they’re turning their SUVs at 30 miles per hour.

I feel like I’m in a different country.

In yesterday’s MobLogic, Lindsay Campbell asks user-submitted questions during the Sean Bell protests. Then, in a huge cliffhanger, she gets arrested herself at the end with the others!

Gotta respect that.

“To be continued…”

My mom is cooler than I expected. (Yes, that’s a frozen mug.)

Took this on Long Island last month. Forgot to post it then. Posting it now.

(forgive the technical quality, it’s an iPhone)

Been getting a lot of these spams over the last few days. They’re getting through all of my filters. Anyone else?

Missing New York

I’m missing New York only 12 hours into my trip.

I miss Tiff and our daily life. I miss the coffee roaster and train deli.

I miss the noise. I live in a very quiet suburb, but it’s a bustling metropolis compared to the stark silence of a Columbus suburb at night. My ears are ringing.

But as weird as this is, I also miss the New York Tumblrs. It’s odd, since I barely know any of them and have only seen them a handful of times. But I feel like I’m missing all of this cool stuff happening in New York, and they all have their great energy there. They represent what makes New York great to me — I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere as well as I do there. Certainly not here in Ohio.

My Tumblr friends are just as much a part of my New York experience as anything else in my daily life. We share our personalities and intellects. We share photos and videos of ourselves working, walking, and cooking. I feel like I’m connected to so many people’s lives simply by being a regular observer. In addition to my own very fulfilling life, I’m living alternatives vicariously through so many others.

(Sorry if this isn’t making sense, or if it’s overly sappy. I feel like a crazy artist tonight. This is what late-night Ohio boredom does if you’re not a drunken teenager.)

But I feel like Ohio is trying to steal me back. Trying to make me forget about New York. Singing its siren songs of huge $180,000 houses and painless 10-minute drives to the airport. (A decent house in Larchmont costs $1.2 million, and I had to leave my apartment at 6:20 to make a 9:20 flight.)

I’m hanging out so much on Tumblr (and IRC) partially out of boredom, but mostly because I’m addicted to New York and this is my only link to it right now.

It’s going to be a long 2 days.

moth:

Someecards has a great collection of cards for moms with a sense of humor.

(via lomo)

Half life: Full Life Consequences

Hilarious. This SA Forums member made a video depiction of this tremendously awful HL2 fan-fiction.

Don’t miss the sequel, too.

YouTube and MacBook Air battery life don’t get along.

Better idea.

MobLogic: Lindsay Arrested: Yellow Journalism?

The follow-up and detailed account of Lindsay Campbell’s arrest at the Sean Bell protest. Great points, Lindsay.

I like chat avatar animals.

Give the graphic designer some credit

bencrossley:

Ever noticed the buttons at the top of the Tumblr dashboard, how the icon tears actually match up from one button to the next?

Now that’s attention to detail. ;)

The credit for that goes entirely to the buttons’ excellent designer, Bobby Andersen.

Today sucks. Everyone’s feeling crappy, its raining [….] But people. PEOPLE. Its ONLY RAIN. Thousands of people are dying all over the world (hello tornados and earthquakes) and we all want to bitch and moan about the weather?!

Love Puppy: Its in the water

Yes, that’s a 40-oz. cup of water.

Home sweet home. A cloudy, cold, windy walk across a runway has never felt more refreshing.

xkcd: A Better Idea

sharingtime:

tumblr meetup announcement! Reblog away! (invite by lfarm)

eatsleepdraw:

Unnecessary

-Hunson N.

I love these reaper comics on Eat Sleep Draw.

What do most people do on planes?

I wrote a new MySQL parameterized-query parser for our framework’s Database class to support array arguments for IN expressions.

Before, it was limited to standard prepared-statement placeholders with optional type declarations:

$db->query('SELECT * FROM users WHERE id = ?i OR name = ?s', $id, $name);

Now, I can do this:

$db->query(
    'SELECT * FROM users WHERE id IN ?ai OR name IN ?as', 
    array(1, 2, 3),
    array('you', 'me', "escape'me")
);

Even though the mysqli layer doesn’t support that, my parser automatically escapes the values and expands it into a list, interpreting ‘ai’ to mean an array of integers:

SELECT * FROM users WHERE id IN (1,2,3) OR name IN ('you', 'me', 'escape\'me');

I’ve wanted this feature for months, but never got around to doing it.

The guy next to me read the in-flight magazine.

I think we should gradually transform a quarter of our military into the best disaster response team ever assembled. It think that could do a lot more for our national security than, say, the Iraq War.

Squashed. That’s a really good idea, especially if it comes with a quarter of our military’s budget.

After discovering that there’s a .jobs TLD, I was quickly disappointed by my first domain search on GoDaddy.

(Update: I was further disappointed that registering a .jobs domain name costs $120/year.)

Most people don’t think about what they’re eating — they’re focusing on the next bite. I’ve worked with lots of obese people — you’d think they’d enjoy food. But a lot of them say they haven’t really tasted what they’ve been shoveling down for years.

Sasha Loring, a psychotherapist at Duke Integrative Medicine (thanks, Nora)

Music experiment bonus

These won’t count for this week’s music experiment, since they’re from old bands that I already had in my collection, but I’ve bought two more albums:

R.E.M. - Accelerate. This was a nice surprise — R.E.M. has rediscovered their energy, and this is better than everything they’ve made in the last decade. Sidenote: This album is $14 and DRM-only on iTunes, but $10 DRM-free on Amazon.

Ultimate Santana. I admit that I came upon this while searching for Black Magic Woman so I could get to know the song better and maybe, just maybe, finally earn 5 stars on Guitar Hero. But Ultimate Santana is a great way to get a wide selection of his music, including his relatively recent collaboration tracks with modern artists, for those (like me) who didn’t previously have any of his music legally. This is also a great deal — it’s 18 tracks, coming in right below the 74-minute limit of standard audio CDs.

UPDATE: OK, this isn’t such a good buy… Black Magic Woman in Guitar Hero is actually Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen, a 5-minute merged song, but Ultimate Santana’s version fades out and ends at 3:16! It’s missing the awesome latter half! Shit.

dalasverdugo:

Scatman John: Scatman music video

I think this should replace Rick Rolling.

Completely agreed. I always knew the song… never knew the video was so terrible.

(via whatthehale)

Does anyone honestly believe that if Hillary Clinton was Barack Obama’s VP, he’d survive even one year as President?

“Oh, that’s too bad. Well, I guess I’m President now, like I deserve.”

iPhone still “unavailable”, update imminent?

It’s been this way since last week. There’s not even a shipping delay — it’s just “currently unavailable”. They won’t even let you place an order.

Possible explanations:

I’m voting for option 2, simply because option 1 has too many strange side-effects — most notably, I don’t think they’d launch it without a big event, and they wouldn’t schedule a separate big event so close to WWDC.

I think this whole “If I knew now what I knew then” argument is a bunch of self-righteous handwashing. Americans overwhelmingly supported the Iraq war. The arguments presented to the Americans may have been incomplete in detail—but the essence was conveyed pretty clearly. The Bush administration promised a war. What did you think it would be, a tea-party?

Squashed: Were Americans deceived into the Iraq war?

Vo74 Hillary For WRlti7 House?

YES!

Now I can go to bed.

Trust your visitors to be interested enough to click on stuff. Everything doesn’t need to be on the front page.

Dawn

The number of white Democratic voters who said race had influenced their choices on Tuesday was among the highest recorded in voter surveys in the nomination fight. Two in 10 white West Virginia voters said race was an important factor in their votes. More than 8 in 10 who said it factored in their votes backed Mrs. Clinton, according to exit polls.

Clinton Beats Obama Handily in West Virginia - New York Times (via johnbrissenden). So sad.

dailymeh:

Buttersafe: The Awesome Tree.

This is a purely artistic decision.

Mareen’s explanation: “Something you can say when when there is no rational reason for the non-logic things you are doing. Most people will nod with wide-open eyes and a fake understanding expression and then be quiet.”

From triciaward: A news anchor said “[What] the fuck are you doing?” when she thought she was off the air.

The two-page New York Times story goes into great detail:

she used a word seldom heard on the noncable air, and then only by accident — a word that is not publishable in the newspaper.

the outburst

the word Ms. Simmons used

Ms. Simmons says, basically, What are you doing? But her question had two extra words.

“I said a word that many people find offensive.”

Ms. Simmons’ eyebrow-raising word-bomb

“minor errors like that”

Come on.

She said “fuck”. It’s a word, it has many effective uses, and it’s a part of the everyday vocabulary of many people. It’s probably safe to assume that at least half of the TV network’s staff, and half of their viewers, say “fuck” at least a few times per week.

Some people were offended. Oh well. People get offended too easily, and they self-righteously think that anything offensive to them should be illegal.

Nobody died. There were no injuries. Just like when everyone saw Janet Jackson’s nipple. America’s innocent children weren’t damaged. Nothing happened.

We’re in a war that has killed thousands of U.S. soldiers and an estimated 90,000 civilians — so far. And horrendous natural disasters have just killed many thousands of people this week.

The world is infested with war, injustice, corruption, hunger, and disease, yet our press and lawmakers are busy placating a small minority of people who get very angry when someone says “fuck”?

Get over it. We have better ways to spend our time and energy. If you don’t, start looking.

Comparing portion sizes from 20 years ago to today.

Excellent article. Very eye-opening. I highly recommend taking the 2 minutes to read it.

(thanks, yourdp)

insertname:

Zero Punctuation review of Grand Theft Auto IV

I agree. The game’s good, but I don’t agree with the perfect-10 ratings it’s been getting. The pace is just far too slow — I don’t find myself motivated to run back to the game and play it after I’ve stopped. I’m certainly not very motivated to play the missions for long enough to unlock the other islands, because at the current pace, it feels like that will require 20+ hours of letting Michelle win at darts.

I don’t regret buying it, but I got more value out of Guitar Hero III.

“That stupid long Boston song” is prohibited at our office Rock Band parties. I had no idea until today that this 8-minute snorefest is actually called “Long Time”.

This week’s music experiment album is Muse - Black Holes and Revelations. I wasn’t too crazy about most of the album’s preview segments, but a few good tracks stood out, and the rest might grow on me.

This was a gateway-drug purchase from Guitar Hero III, which contains this track, Knights of Cydonia. It got stuck in my head after Bill complained that it was too long. (I’m still at 4 stars on this one. It’s hard.)

The longer Hillary stays in the race, the more one is prone to reflect unsentimentally on the Clinton years in the White House. Mrs. Clinton’s arrogance squandered a chance for universal healthcare. Bill helped elect a GOP Congress for the first time in 40 years. He pushed through NAFTA and a host of destructive deregulation. He brought China into the WTO with no protections for American jobs. He squandered historic opportunities, lastly sinking into the squalid Monica scandal. She picked a state in which she had never lived as her senatorial entitlement. The net was to make the election of 2000 close enough for the Republicans to steal, leading to the calamity of W and Dick.

Rogue Columnist (via azspot)

jeffbaum:

goldenfiddle:

cannonballin’

My first instinct was to try to figure out what videogame this screenshot was from.

Mine too. Based on the thumbnail, I had already mentally guessed an updated Out Run.

cultrvultr:

Supposed to be 90 in SF tomorrow!

ledgergermane:

Pretty much everywhere, it’s gonna be hot. (via )

I am so glad someone reposted this. I had forgotten about it. Now Tiff’s hearing me laugh hysterically for no apparent reason again. (Apparently it’s not that funny to everyone.)

(via peterwknox)

We seem to have arrived at an equitable compromise: Sen. Clinton is staying in the nomination race while Sen. Obama drops out to move on to the general.

Josh Marshall (via fuddmain)

Web-developer porn.

Bonus: it’s like an instant diet. Suddenly I’m slim!

Nora on traveling to our country’s fatter regions

I have no idea what’s going on here but I like it. (via tylerriewer)

mascarah:

iTunes identifies Jason Mraz’s music as “Rock” when you import in the cd. Interesting. I wouldn’t agree with that at all. I wonder if the label tags the tracks that way or if someone in iTunes world programs it in on a whim?

Usually, programs that automatically recognize audio-CD artists and track names (including iTunes) look up the data from CDDB.

So, how does the data get into CDDB?

It’s almost always user-submitted — if you rip a CD with certain CDDB-aware programs, and there’s not a CDDB record for it, the program may ask the user to submit the data. So your track names (and their capitalization), genre, etc. are just the opinion of some geek somewhere. That’s why they’re not always entirely correct or well-formatted.

Either Mail had an unsigned integer negative overflow, or I really suck at getting things done.

I saw this widget on a blog tonight.

Nine of the ten stories are list posts — useless “10 best”, “10 worst”, “10 scariest”, “10 biggest” posts made for Digg-bait and quick skimming. List posts are the McDonald’s of online writing: they require no thought, provide no intellectual value, and guarantee lots of cheap traffic and comments.

I can hardly even listen to Diggnation anymore, previously one of my favorite podcasts, because the “stories” are so inane and useless. This is every Diggnation episode now:

Digg’s current state of affairs is just sad. They’ve hit a wall of mediocrity and community isolation. I can’t imagine that their traffic is growing significantly. All attempts to broaden Digg’s appeal have failed — the fundamental idea simply doesn’t scale beyond a single narrow userbase. They can’t go anywhere else with this.

No wonder they’re trying to sell it. They know it’s time to move on.

Being on a major label at the moment is like living in your grandparents’ house. Everyone knows they need to move out, and they will eventually, but we kind of like our grandmother.

Chris Martin (via peterwknox)

If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I’m happy to have any time, any place and that is debate I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for.

Barack Obama (via squashed)

From samreich of College Humor:

Patrick Cassels is hilarious and full of anecdotes. It just didn’t make sense that he didn’t have Tumblr. We pled with him. We reasoned. Jake even organized a petition. But nothing worked.

Today we held an intervention. I organized, Ricky hosted, Jake, Sarah and Amanda wrote letters, and Amir and Blake shot it.

Ladies and gentlemen: patrickcassels.tumblr.com.

This is absolutely amazing.

I’m so proud that my “Logging in…” screen made it into a CH video!

caro:

Mugs of Mud might be one of my favorite things ever,

Awesome picture of David. (He may not agree.)

Last night’s Tumblr meetup was fun. This was the “White people trying to look serious” photo.

nycmeetups:

Lauren and Marco.

I’m always the devil in flash photos.

Most of us would never deliberately choose our own material comfort over the life of another person. Most of us do not consciously choose to work others to death for the sake of lower prices on the things we buy. But we participate in such an economy because we are detached from the producers, the people who actually make our things….We do so not necessarily because we are greedy and indifferent to the suffering of others, but largely because those others are invisible to us.

We Shop, They Drop (via azspot)

My deli.

artistspaid:

The future of music? Awesome!

iPhone app, Band, brings a range of Musical Applications to the iPhone.

This is inspiring for the future of casual-creative applications.

The results of my deli. This is what I got when I asked for a chicken-cutlet sandwich. We each ate half… and it was a very filling meal.

It was alarming to me how foreign it felt to sit in front of a computer that could only be used for work, because that showed how much time I must have been wasting.

Paul Graham: Disconnecting Distraction

Jessica:

If you only call me when you want something, you’re definitely not going to get it.

That sure takes me back to college…

“Hey Marco, how are you doing? Good? Hey listen, my computer’s been a bit slow recently, could you take a look at it?”

It only stopped when I switched to Macs in 2004 and started lying and telling everyone that I didn’t know anything about PCs anymore. (Now it’s less of a lie… I’ve truly never used Windows Vista, and I intend to keep it that way for exactly this reason.)

I thought I was semi-popular in college because I met a billion girls during freshman year… removing the “Romeo and Juliet” virus from their computers. My services traveled like the virus: I’d be in a girls’ dorm fixing one computer, and three other women would hear about it and come in whining, “Hey, can you come next door and fix mine too?” And, like an idiot, I did, motivated by the delusion that I was making progress toward friendship or romance. (I’m so embarrassed by that period of my life that it’s truly painful to think about it.)

I’ll let you guess how many of those people ever talked to me again. Well, at least until they got the next virus. I’m just glad I got smarter before Snood came around.

azspot:

Satanic Contractors

Perfection is attained without one’s foreknowledge, and can rarely be attained again with conscious effort.

Ghostvirus (!) in #tumblrs

All politics stink. Even democracy stinks. Imagine if our clothes were selected by the majority of shoppers, which would be teenage girls. I’d be standing here with my bellybutton exposed. Imagine deciding the dinner menu by family secret ballot. I’ve got three kids and three dogs in my family. We’d be eating Froot Loops and rotten meat.

P.J. O’Rourke (via azspot)

When an event occurs, verbatim memory records an accurate representation. But even as it is doing so, gist memory begins processing the information and determining how it fits into our existing storehouse of knowledge. Verbatim memories generally die away within a day or two, leaving only the gist memory, which records the event as we interpreted it.

A brain study shows that we remember the “gist” of things within our familiar mental contexts. (via rach)

This explains a lot.

I found this in my Marco.org images folder randomly.

I apologize in advance.

toldorknown:

Now THAT Is What I’m Talking About (via rodknowlton)

YES! Now I have to get a Kindle to see how well Instapaper works on it. (I imagine the Text view could be very useful.)

(thanks, confessions)

Amazon Kindle’s HTTP User-Agent string

I couldn’t find anyone else documenting this, so I figured someone else might someday benefit from knowing this.

As of today, this is the HTTP User-Agent string sent by the first (and so far, only) version of the Amazon Kindle.

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; Linux 2.6.10) NetFront/3.3 Kindle/1.0 (screen 600x800)

It’s probably safe to detect it with a simple substring match: Kindle/

And while the usage numbers aren’t there yet to justify a ton of effort, Kindle readers can strongly benefit from a few layout tweaks and optimizations.

Be careful of caching potential: as far as I can tell, Amazon is proxying the content.

(via kenyatta, ronen)

I love the location that this photo was taken.

webmarc:

Hunh. Someone paid to place that link. I almost feel bad for Vista.

Oh wow. That’s so sad.

Bar.

(thanks, confessions)

(thanks, confessions)

Left-Handed Toons (via stumblepeach)

Yes.

(frustration by Graham)

It’s up to you to infuse your life with meaning. No one can do that for you. Not your parents, your job, your favorite band, your Playstation 3 or that new pair of seersucker Chucks you bought the other week.

Lee (sharingtime)

I tried. Again.

Board Game Murder Mystery

szymon:

bankrupt offices by Phil Toledano (more archaeology than photography) via swissmiss

Great photo set.

A Pentagon audit of $8.2 billion in American taxpayer money spent by the United States Army on contractors in Iraq has found that almost none of the payments followed federal rules and that in some cases, contracts worth millions of dollars were paid for despite little or no record of what, if anything, was received.

Iraq Spending Ignored Rules, Pentagon Says - NYTimes.com (via skidder)

If you’re curious, the new system features 18 2x quad-core 2.3 GHz webservers each with 8 gigs of RAM, and 4 quad-core 2.3 GHz databases with 16 gigs of RAM.

What it takes to run Slashdot (via caseyliss).

I’d love to know what they need all of that power to do, exactly. That could host a significant portion of Wikipedia’s traffic…

Mareen:

Starbucks, safe and sound.

Part of the “Come in, we’re open” series on my website.

I love this series.

Weird things about me

I’m a geek, but I don’t like sushi, anime, comic books, or Star Trek.

I don’t like fantasy or RPGs, so I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, and I’ve never played Final Fantasy or any MMORPG. People tell me I’ll like them anyway because they’re so good. Trust me, I won’t. I understand that they’re probably good to you and many other people, but I don’t enjoy that sort of thing.

I dislike NetNewsWire, VLC, Twitter, Emacs, Java, and desktop Linux.

I have no use for Facebook.

I rarely watch YouTube videos. I’m too impatient to watch videos on my computer. If I can’t watch it on my TV or my iPhone, I probably won’t watch it.

I have a Wii but never play it.

I have GTA IV, but I’m not motivated to play it. The single-player campaign is too slow. I’m having more fun with Guitar Hero III.

The vast majority of my music collection is from 1996-2002 (although I’m trying to improve it).

I don’t like Dave Matthews Band or Radiohead. And I dislike shuffle mode — I primarily enjoy listening to full albums at once.

I don’t like “hard” music. A friend recently explained its appeal as a way to relate to his inner anger. I don’t have any inner anger. I’m happy. My life is awesome.

I don’t drink soda or soda-like drinks (canned lemonade, Snapple, etc.), finding them far too sweet. I also dislike “energy” drinks. My energy drink of choice is black coffee, but I can only drink about 6 ounces per day because the caffeine hits me too hard if I drink more. I don’t know how anyone can drink the medium or large sizes at most coffee places. If I drank a medium coffee from Starbucks, I’d be jittery, hot, and sick for 12-18 hours.

I don’t feel the need to risk my life to conquer manufactured challenges such as climbing mountains or falling out of planes. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything — in fact, I’d be bored if I did these things, and I wouldn’t get any enjoyment or satisfaction out of them.

I’ve never used PowerPoint.

I dislike most bars and clubs because I like to see and hear people effectively.

I like to be home by 10 PM and in bed by 12:30, even on weekends. I don’t like changing my sleep schedule on weekends, so I set my alarm, even when I have no morning obligations.

I never wear jeans. I’m always more comfortable in khakis. I also rarely wear long-sleeved shirts, even in the winter, because they make me too hot.

I didn’t get a cellphone until 2004 and didn’t use text-messaging until 2007.

A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

Dave Barry (via derbygirl).

And you can always tell, when it comes time to decide how much to tip, who has previously worked in a restaurant.

Jim, hi. Meeting went well today, we’re still on track for next week’s presentation to the President, Vice President and the Joint Chiefs. The Joint Chiefs will like what they see. The President won’t have any idea what he’s looking at, but he’ll like the pictures. It’s the Vice President we have to be worried about, he’ll be all over this.

Overheard at Dulles (via skidder)

The amount of spam I receive has absolutely exploded in the past week. Whoever you are, please stop. I don’t need anything enhanced and the plumbing’s working just fine. Thanks.

Marc LaFountain

Damn, I remembered that this exists.

And I still can’t beat the flying boss.

How to output RSS or other XML with PHP

Dear internet,

It is never OK to attempt to generate XML in your web application (e.g. an RSS feed) by manually outputting tags as strings and attempting to escape the necessary values yourself.

Here is an example of how NOT to generate XML:

<item><?= $value ?></item>

Here’s another way NOT to do it:

echo '<item>' . $value . '</item>';

The correct way to generate XML is to use the DOM. You don’t even need to worry about escaping. Here’s how that works in PHP 5:

$dom = new DOMDocument('1.0', 'UTF-8');
$root = $dom->createElement('rss');
$root->setAttribute('version', '2.0');
$dom->appendChild($root);

/* for each of your items... { */
    $item = $dom->createElement('item');
    $title = $dom->createElement('title');
    $title->appendChild(
        $dom->createTextNode('Item title <unescaped>')
    );
    /* ...other item content... */
    $root->appendChild($item);
/* } */

header('Content-Type: text/xml');
echo $dom->saveXML();

Love, Marco

Starbucks has apparently changed their “freshness” campaign a little. Before, the Pike Place Roast bags proclaimed their roasting date, which is far more relevant to freshness than any other factor. Good coffee requires beans that have been roasted no more than a week ago. Ideally, it’s within only a few days. Every Starbucks roasting date I’ve seen has been 3-6 weeks in the past.

The Pike Place Roast bags now advertise their “Freshly scooped on” date. Yes, that’s right: the date that somebody poured beans into the bag. Someone bagged these stale beans today! They must be “fresh”!

(The upper menu board, the only remaining place I saw the roasting date mentioned, claimed a roasting date of April 20.)

The silver “Sennheiser” logo on the headband’s a bit big, if you ask me, but if you often find yourself having trouble remembering who made your consumer electronic goods, I’m sure you’ll find that helpful.

Dan’s Data Review: Sennheiser HD 555 headphones

I’m so proud of Tiff’s geek-joke abilities

Fuck your corporate jobs. I don’t give a fuck about them and they certainly don’t give a fuck about me. We’ve watched companies lay off hardworking people who for 30 years repeatedly sacrificed for their company, only to be laid off right before they’re eligible for a pension.

Lee on the 60 Minutes criticism of “millenials” (born 1980-1995) putting “our own well-being above that of the company we work for.”

You really should watch the 60 Minutes clip. It’s ridiculous.

edit: Oh wow, they just blamed Mr. Rogers for our generation’s unwillingness to blindly follow corporate orders in shitty jobs.

Joy, then sadness.

My weird things about me post has inspired other people to write their own:

I think it’s kinda funny that they’ve mostly kept to my topic list. I never expected anyone else to write about PowerPoint, screaming music, jeans, soda, and Guitar Hero in the same post.

We probably do move back in with parents after college more frequently than our parents did. Alternatively, we might move in with each other. This isn’t out of laziness or moral turpitude but because of economic pressure. Remember those real estate prices that have been going up and up? College costs? Remember how wages have stagnated? It’s harder and harder to cut the cord, not because Mr. Rogers told us we were special but because years of fiscal mismanagement force many of us to cut expenses however we can.

Dan on the 60 Minutes “Millennial” piece

What a memory

The waitress tonight didn’t write a single thing down. She asked everyone, one by one, for drink orders, entree orders, and salad-dressing preferences. She jumped around the table to whoever was ready next — not just going around clockwise.

Then she brought the plates in and placed them right in front of the correct people. Again, in random order.

Dessert went similarly — random sequence, dessert and coffee choices.

She never had to ask anyone to repeat or confirm anything. Zero errors the entire night. We were amazed.

All 13 of us.

The Sayville Inn. Ask for Michelle.

unreliablewitness:

David Cross offers a concise explanation of why Arrested Development was cancelled, and who should be blamed for the show’s demise. This is an old video, but judging by the number of views it has gotten on YouTube, not that many people have seen it.

It has been said before, but I’ll say it again: Arrested Development comes as close to perfection as any sitcom ever has. I am glad that it only lasted two glorious seasons—it never had a chance to die a slow, formulaic death.

SVN commit: MKACTIVITY errors, “Could not parse response status line”

Here’s another little sysadmin tidbit to contribute to the internet’s body of knowledge.

If you’re setting up a Subversion (svn) server and get an error like this when trying to commit to it:

svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: MKACTIVITY of '/!svn/act/[big UUID]': Could not parse response status line. (http://whatever)

…it’s often an unhelpful way of telling you that Subversion servers don’t work behind reverse-proxies, such as Squid.

In this case, I had Subversion running through Apache on port 80 with Squid in reverse-proxy HTTP-accelerator mode in front of all Apache-port-80 traffic.

Moving it to a non-proxied port (81, 8080, whatever) fixes this problem.

Is It True About Obama? (via azspot)

This is all of the plastic, cardboard, and paper required to deliver me two CDs (shipped from across the country) because they weren’t available DRM-free anywhere.

I ripped the CDs into iTunes. I’ll probably never take them out of their cases again.

(via confessions)

I’m doing some work on the official Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! site tonight. Before I started, Tiff challenged me to draw Wubbzy from memory as best as possible. (I can’t draw. At all.)

Here was the result. Not too horrible, actually. I got most of the major features right. He’s a yellow rectangle with a squiggly tail — how hard could it be? But I knew I was forgetting something about the face… I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

And this is why I spend my days programming instead of drawing.

Watching the Scatman video…

(via garfieldminusgarfield)

Yeah, that’s about how it goes.

PHP DOMDocument::saveXML() hangs on OS X

…with certain input that contains invalid UTF-8 characters, when added to text nodes or attribute values.

It’s probably a problem with the version of libxml included in OS X 10.5 (Leopard). It outputs successfully (including the invalid characters) with the same script on CentOS Linux.

Workaround:

$text = iconv('UTF-8', 'UTF-8//IGNORE', $text);

This will strip any invalid UTF-8 characters from $text. (I’m assuming here that $text is already supposed to be UTF-8 in your application.)

sharingtime:

Avett Brothers - Murder in the City

This song is from a new EP out in July. It’s perrrrrrty. (via largeheartedboy)

Gotta give credit to the band that started my new music experiment before I even solidified the idea and gave it a name. It all began with this Tuneage post. I’ve since purchased all three of their major albums, and I can’t wait for this EP.

Meme

I normally don’t participate in these online chain-letter survey things, but I wanted to this time. Sue me.

Ten years ago I was:

In the middle of finals week, ending my sophomore year of high school. But I wasn’t studying. I never studied. Finals were like a vacation to me. “You mean I only need to go to school for a few hours this week?”

Five things on today’s to do list:

  1. Make significant progress on New Top-Secret Awesome Tumblr Feature That I’ve Been Working On All Week.
  2. Find and buy an album for this.
  3. Get database-dump rotation going on a different server.
  4. Play Rock Band.
  5. Enjoy some gourmet beer at Hop Devil.

Things I’d do if I were a billionaire:

  1. Buy a house here.
  2. Conservatively save and invest enough that I have a comfortable, continuous, guaranteed salary (from interest) for life.
  3. Give my mother a retirement fund.
  4. Give my future kids a college fund.
  5. Maybe I’d finally be able to justify a pair of 30” Apple monitors.
  6. Donate a lot. Who needs a billion dollars? How can you possibly use that?
  7. Aggressively invest a portion into tiny tech companies that I believe in.

Three bad habits:

  1. I’m very lazy and I lack a consistent work ethic.
  2. I don’t exercise enough.
  3. I have trouble finishing projects that I’ve started.

Places I have lived:

Most-recent first:

  1. Larchmont, NY (2 years)
  2. Pittsburgh, PA (2 years)
  3. Meadville, PA (college, 4 years)
  4. Bexley, OH (7 years)
  5. Columbus, OH (11 years)

Six jobs I’ve had in my life:

  1. Tumblr CTO/Chief Scientist/Lead Developer (I don’t really have a consistent title)
  2. Vivisimo software engineer
  3. Staples retail salesperson
  4. Bruegger’s bagel baker and sandwich assembler
  5. Giuseppe’s busboy
  6. Bexley Natural Market hippie co-op employee

(via AZspot)

My worthless coworkers who didn’t ask me before going to Shake Shack.

At least they had to wait on line for 2 hours. That makes me feel a little better.

Well, that ended tonight’s Rock Band party prematurely.

It’s the 21st century, there’s not going to be a year in which it’s harder to copy than this year; there’s not going to be a day in which it’s harder to copy than this day; from now on. Right? If copying gets harder, it’s because of a nuclear holocaust. There’s nothing else that’s going to make copying harder from now on. And so, if your business model and your aesthetic effect in your literature and your work is intended not to be copied, you’re fundamentally not making art for the 21st century.

Cory Doctorow (via poortaste)

Fun night at Hop Devil with Tiff, lfarm, Lee, cbeth, jeremyk, Daisy (a non-Tumblr user! gasp! even though she sits 8 feet away from us every day), and lfarm’s two Tumblr n00bs whose usernames I didn’t get.

Love that place.

Followed up with Pinkberry.

(via jacobbijani)

Hey, David’s name is on this box. I wonder what it is.

Wait, what? My name’s on this box, too! Am I speaking at something? (I truly have no idea what this is.)

(Update: Oh. Cool.)

7A with Tiff, Lee, and cbeth.

That’s a red-pepper eggs benedict with coffee and a mimosa for $12.50. Gotta love their weekend brunch specials. (brunch is Sat-Sun, 10am-5pm, and 7A is on the corner of 7th… and A)

The unspoken truth is that these businesses don’t hire illegal aliens because they can’t find American workers, they hire illegal aliens because they don’t want American workers. And it has nothing to do with wages. Illegal aliens mean no workers’ comp claims, no age, race or sex discrimination lawsuits, no healthcare premiums, no unions, and no demands for raises, vacations or bigger offices. In fact, illegal immigrants are the perfect employees because they’re not employees at all; they’re corporate slaves.

Slavery alive and well in U.S. (via azspot)

And David comes out of nowhere with this awesome photo!

You should get fevers more often.

parallelize: Shell utility to execute command batches in parallel

Warning to non-geek readers: You probably want to skip this post.

I have an 8-core Mac Pro, and I sometimes have a big list of CPU-intensive commands I want to run (image resizing with ImageMagick, video/audio encoding with ffmpeg, etc.), but they’re usually single-threaded or just very bad at using multiple CPU cores.

I assumed that there must be some clever little shell utility to run 8 of these commands at once from a big list until the batch is done, effectively utilizing my 8 cores.

I couldn’t find such a utility, so I wrote it myself. And I’m sharing it with you, because there’s a chance you’ll find it useful, too. (Even if it already exists, at least I got to learn how to use the pthread library and flex my atrophied C muscles.)

Here’s the C source code and documentation. It’s only 57 lines of code (preceded by 22 lines of documentation).

Works at least on OS X 10.5+, CentOS, and Debian. Probably works with any Linux or BSD system. (In theory, it should work with anything with pthreads.)

Usage:

parallelize {thread-count} < big_list_of_commands.txt

Demo:

(for i in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10; do echo "echo 'Delay $i'; sleep $i ; \
echo 'Done $i'" ; done) | parallelize 4

Let me know if you find bugs (especially parallelism bug potential), or if you just find it useful and want to say hi.

My hand is actually sore from playing Metallica’s One in Guitar Hero 3 on Hard. It’s so sore that I can’t play anymore tonight.

And I failed the song at 85%.

Damn it.

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