Zeno’s finish line

Thinking there’s a version of Zeno’s Paradox where the actual finishing of a project takes longer and longer the more you progress through it.

At least that’s how it feels anytime I do anything of consequence. :)

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Sinclair ZX Spectrum and one excited developer

For some strange reason I’ve become completely enamored with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum machine. It’s utterly fascinating to me how a small number of chips and some clever programming can make such an amazing machine.

Have been reading through “The ZX Spectrum Ula: How to Design a Microcomputer” and “It’s Behind You – The Making of a Computer Game” which has crystalized some of my thinking about development.

It’s the first time in a long while that I’m excited about computer development. Who would have thought a computer from 1980s would get me excited again?

Tableflip

“Women are leaving your tech company because you don’t deserve to keep us around. […] Fuck that, we’re done. It’s not us, it’s you.”

http://tableflip.club/

(h/t http://programmingisterrible.com/post/116342157158)

New on the Discovery Channel…

JoDee noted there are a lot of shows based on Alaska on the Discovery Channel. Apparently her dad watches a lot of The Discovery Channel and the list of Alaska-based shows is pretty strong. There’s “Alaska: The Last Frontier”, “Alaskan Bush People”, “Edge of Alaska”, and “Deadliest Catch” is off of the coast of Alaska.

I asked her how long it would be before The Discovery Channel pilots a show about marijuana growers in Alaska. They could call it “Baked Alaska”.

JoDee wondered how long I was waiting to say that little bit. :)

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Too much Looney Tunes

You know you’ve watched too many cartoons when you listen to (Il barbiere di Siviglia: Overture) and you instantly think of the lyrics to the cartoon “The Rabbit of Seville”.

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Childhood ownership status: grim

While looking through some Google+ posts I came across an article where Marvel apparently told some exercise place they couldn’t name their exercises after comic book characters. And then I hearkened back to a realization that I realized when the Star Wars license was acquired by Disney:

My entire childhood is owned by a handful of companies.

I grew up in the 1970s, and in that time there were several things that I associate with my childhood. Here’s where their licenses stand:

  • Star Wars: Lucasfilm (Disney)
  • Muppets: Jim Henson Productions (Disney)
  • Spiderman: Marvel (Disney)
  • Tron (Disney)
  • Disney Animation Studios (Disney)
  • Dungeons and Dragons: Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro)
  • GI Joe / Masters of the Universe / Transformers (Hasbro)
  • Parker Brothers (Merlin handheld, various games) (Hasbro)
  • Milton-Bradley (Hasbro)
  • Mattel Electronics (Intellevision, etc.) (Mattel)
  • Atari (who hasn’t owned Atari at this point?)

Worse, companies like Disney and Hasbro are famous for taking their licensed characters / properties so seriously that they will gladly send cease and desist letters to anyone who dares use their IP.  Just ask the guy who had a character generator for D&D, or someone who did fan art for My Little Pony. Or anyone who has ever run afoul of Disney’s lawyers.

So I’ve com e to terms that I’ll never be able to have my childhood free from corporations who would rather shake down a daycare than have their trademarks used without permission, or have a fan make something useful for playing their game. I get that. But I don’t have to continually abide by this, nor do I have to continually support their businesses. But the deeds are done, and I can’t change the nostalgia I feel fro the characters, ships, and other trappings of these universes and products.

But I can vote with my future time and efforts. And while I’ll look longingly at the Lego Star Wars toys and other goodies coming out as Disney fully exploits their licenses I can take my inner 8 year old gently by the arm and show him other things: things that allow me to play along in their universe using Creative Commons or other licenses. And I can consciously gravitate to companies that don’t have a coronary whenever someone tries to play in their sandbox.

It’s the sort of thing any responsible parent would want for their inner child. :)

Glazed donuts and the donut-stealing mobster.

http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/150128.html

If you want my glazed donuts follow my blog. That’s where I’m baking things fresh. At least when I post. (Also “glazed donuts” sounds vaguely euphemistic.)

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, 2015/01/28. Category: Rants.

Teaching and wages: the curse of calling.

Every time you say that teachers don’t deserve the appallingly low salaries for the work they do please do the following mental exercise:

Think about the best teacher you ever had. The one person who inspired you the most in school to be the best you can. The person who taught you those life-lessons beyond the classroom. The person who got you so excited about the subject that homework was a challenge, not a chore.

Now think about that teacher being told repeatedly that it was their choice to be paid so pitifully low. They did it to themselves. If they don’t like the wage they should quit.

Now imagine they heeded that advice prior to you taking their course. Imagine you instead received instruction from someone who cared so little about the students, and did the bare minimum to receive a paycheck and keep from being fired.

Wouldn’t you do anything you could to keep the inspiring teacher in the classroom?

Then why don’t we?

, 2015/01/14. Category: Rants.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best of the holiday season.

ChristmasTux2014_3840x2160

Christmas Tux 2014 by klowner.com (CC-BY-SA)

Things not to say to an Astronomer #1,282

Here is yet another installment of “Things Not to Say to an Astronomer” #1,282:

JoDee: Here’s a picture of the Pelaides. Isn’t that cool?

Me: Yeah. “Hey Pelaides!” (in the style of The Beastie Boys: “Hey Ladies”).

JoDee: Jerk.

Remember, I do the dumb things so you don’t have to.

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