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Wednesday July 23, 2014
Deeper into the Windows Registry - Work-in-Progress Article on Gizmo's
Here's a very interesting long article -- a work in progress -- on Gizmo's Tech Support Alert site (one of our favorite websites), taking a comprehensive look at the Windows Registry.
The Windows registry is doubly obscure as it is both unknown to most of us and hard to understand. This is as it should be. The registry is a fundamental part of the Windows Kernel and its operations are relatively complex. If Windows is working properly then we, as users, should never see the Registry or any of its components. This article is not written for registry beginners, nor those wanting to edit the registry. Instead it provides a deeper understanding of the organization and management of the registry.
Thursday July 17, 2014
Re: Animal Friends thread
When I was very young I remember seeing a dog who had wheels instead of rear legs, and I cried because I felt bad for the dog. But that was misguided.
The amazing thing about animals is that they don't feel bad for themselves or need our pitty -- they take it in stride and just get on with enjoying life.
This warmed my heart:
Although.. come on lady, sticks are free, it wouldn't hurt for you to have more than one.
Google, designing the font of the future
New York Magazine has an article by a Kevin Roose, named "Google Is Designing the Font of the Future". It's quite interesting, but too long to merely copy & paste - so you will have to go yourself to read it:
Quote from: nymag
Google Is Designing the Font of the Future.
It's called "Roboto," and it works on everything.
Wednesday July 16, 2014
Re: Micro-Fundraiser for the Official DonationCoder CodyMobile!
New DonationCoder decals on car (they replace the larger lettering i posted a photo of originally):
Wednesday July 09, 2014
Board Game Micro-review: Wits and Wagers
Today's board game microreview is for "Wits and Wagers".
Wits and Wagers is a very clever mixture of trivia, betting, and social interaction. It's fast to play, super easy for anyone, and easily supports 7 players or more with teams.
Gameplay works essentially like this: On each round a trivia question is read that has a numerical answer. All players (teams) write down their answer on a dry erase card, and then all answers are laid out in numerical order. At this point, everyone can bet on which answers are correct. In this way, even if you have no idea what the answer is, you have a chance to bet on the answers from people who you think might know.
The social element of seeing what answers others gave, and how confident they are, and the range of answers -- is all quite fun. And the strategy and risk taking of betting your accumulated chips is very fun.
I've played this twice now with large groups -- the first time was fun but not magical; the second time -- playing with people i didn't know well, was extremely fun.
Highly recommended if you have a large group of adults. There are special editions for families and kids (though i think it works better with adults).
Board Game Micro-review: Telestrations
Another party board game mini-review, this time for a game called "Telestrations".
Telestrations is a light-hearted drawing game that works similarly to the kids game of "Telephone". Each player gets a secret word (or phrase), and tries to draw it. They then pass along their pad clockwise to the next player who looks at the picture they drew, and tries to guess (in words) a description what it is a drawing of. Then that player passes along the pad clockwise and the recipient draws a picture of the description that the previously player wrote. So as each pad goes around the circle, it becomes a sequence of drawing, description, drawing, description, etc..
After each pad has gone around the circle, players take turns becoming the center of attention and showing off the sequence of drawings and descriptions in their pad while everyone else laughs at how wrong things went.
The best part of this game is that the worst artists create the most fun. Children will especially enjoy being the center of attention as people enjoy the mayhem.
It's a pure fun game that should work well for any group, has tons of laughs, and is great for kids of all ages. Highly recommended.
The normal edition supports up to 8 players; there is a "party pack" that goes up to 11 or 12.
Wednesday June 25, 2014
Programming on a Keyboard… a Piano Keyboard
If you feel brave enough, you can even try to completely replace the computer keyboard with a digital piano. All you need is to have some piece of software on the computer to translate MIDI messages into computer commands. It could be a user-mode driver, or you can create a plug-in for your favoride IDE to teach it new tricks.
Which we did. Just for fun, I developed Midichlorian, a Visual Studio extension that allows you to write code and automate VS using MIDI instruments. And, inspired by The Song of Pi, my colleague Lana composed a song which is both a melody in the key of C# minor and a valid C# computer program. Watch her in action!
Complete with sheet music, Hello World: a Suite for Visual Studio in C# Minor
Friday June 20, 2014
58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do
58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do (via Business Insider)
We like to think we're rational human beings.
In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally, and even thinking we're rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind spot bias.
The study of how often human beings do irrational things was enough for psychologists Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and it opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics. Similar insights are also reshaping everything from marketing to criminology.
Hoping to clue you — and ourselves — into the biases that frame our decisions, we've collected a long list of the most notable ones.
More at link.
I realized some of these... but not all. And a very good reminder and article (with examples no less).
Saturday June 14, 2014
Interesting Academic Blog: Overcoming Bias
I wanted to post about a blog that I check out regularly, called "Overcoming Bias", that I thought might be of interest to some here.
It's a somewhat strange blog, written by an economics professor and futurist (Robin Hanson), that discusses human behavior and societal interactions and incentives.
It's a little hard to describe what I find interesting about the blog -- except that the tone of it is quite different (perhaps the author has Aspergers or is able to view issues unusually dispassionately) -- it's hard to put my finger on it.
The blog often comes across to me as matter-of-factly talking about things that seem slightly off-kilter, but in a very plain and logical way. Like an alien analyzing human behavior without our normal social moorings. Think "spock" from star trek. I suppose this is the kind of approach you expect from an economist but the results when applied to human behavior can be quite interesting. He's often talking about "signaling" -- like the signals that people give off to attract mates, and proposing unusual hypotheticals and thought experiments in order to make a point.
For example, from some recent excerpts:
"So my advice is to choose a focus for your honesty, a narrow enough focus to have a decent chance at achieving honesty. Make your focus more narrow the more dangerous is your focus area. Try to insulate beliefs on your focus topics from beliefs on risky topics like your own value, and try to arrange things so you will be penalized for dishonesty. Don’t persent yourself as a “rationalist” who is more honest on all topics, but instead as at best “rationalist on X.”
"There’s a simple signaling explanation here. We like to do big things, as they make us seem big. We don’t want to be obvious about this motive, so we pretend to have financial calculations to justify them. But we are purposely sloppy about those calculations, so that we can justify the big projects we want."
"Consider two possible work strategies. One strategy is just to try to do a good job. The other is to try to kiss ass and please your boss any way you can. Of course you can try either strategy, both, or neither. Which makes four different kinds of workers. Now ask yourself, of these four kinds of workers, which ones do you think achieve the most career success? Which ones have the most job and life satisfaction?"
Anyway, it's an interesting and unusual academic blog -- worth checking out if you like that kind of thing.
Monday June 09, 2014
(Pre) Release: sChecklist
Like most of my apps, I wrote this because I couldn't find a simple checklist app that suited my needs. What I'm talking about is off-the-cuff, ad hoc types of lists. The ones that, in the course of your (work) day, you find yourself wanting a quick way to set up a checklist, especially one that can be easily used over and over. Just rows of text entries and a checkbox for each. No B.S., no time tracking, and no crazy wizzbang features. In other words, this app is not a time tracker nor is it meant as a full-blown project tracker. There are plenty of extremely well done apps that already do this. Task Coach, MyLifeOrganized, & ToDoList are but three that I'd recommend.
Again, rows of text entries and a checkbox for each -- that's what this app strives to provide.
Thursday May 29, 2014
TrueCrypt is Now Abandonware?!
Their webpage at SourceForge now contains this "cryptic" message:
WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues
This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt.
The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms (click here for more information). You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.
And this article at BoingBoing explains why:
Tuesday May 27, 2014
The Internet With a Human Face
Marc [Thiele] emailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I thought my talk would be appropriate to close the conference.
"Marc," I told him, "my talk is perfect for closing the conference! The first half is this incredibly dark rant about how the Internet is alienating and inhuman, how it's turning us all into lonely monsters.”
“But in the second half, I'll turn it around and present my vision of an alternative future. I'll get the audience fired up like a proper American motivational speaker. After the big finish, we'll burst out of the conference hall into the streets of Düsseldorf, hoist the black flag, and change the world.”
Marc said that sounded fine.
As I was preparing this talk, however, I found it getting longer and longer. In the interests of time, I'm afraid I'm only going to be able to present the first half of it today.
This leaves me with a problem of tone.
To fix it, I've gone through the slides and put in a number of animal pictures. If at any point in the talk you find yourself getting blue, just tune out what I'm saying and wait for one of the animal slides, and you'll feel better. I've tried to put in more animals during the darkest parts of the talk.
Look at this guy! Isn't he great?
Sunday May 25, 2014
Blog Essay: The Indie (Game) Bubble Is Popping
Rock, Paper, Shotgun continues to be a great site for thoughtful commentary on videogames. Today they point to a long blog essay on independent game developers, and the idea that we've seen a growing trend of indie games that has reached its apex, producing an unsustainable number of generic low-quality games, which is making it harder to find quality projects.
Indie gaming started out as games written with passion for people who embraced and loved them. Now too much of it is about churning out giant mounds of decent but undifferentiated product to be bought for pennies by people who don't give a crap either way. It's not sustainable...
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