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December 29 2016

Nintendudes play Mega Man 2

April 17 2015


May 06 2013

Lanner Falcon at Leighton Hall

January 18 2013


The essence of music hacking as summarized by @dianakimball

The only problem was that every time I clicked through, I got lost listening to tracks and clicking around on SoundCloud some more. I eventually concluded that this was the opposite of a problem

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Provisioning an example app in 1 line of Python code, 2 minutes and 3 cents

This relatively brief walkthrough is an interactive Python session that shows how the py-smartdc library can be used to:

  • explore the Joyent Public Cloud offerings,
  • interact with Joyent's SmartDataCenter API that is capable of managing both public and private clouds,
  • provision a basic SmartMachine,
  • install, configure and launch a web app with a single Python command,
  • manage selected parts of your cloud with the help of machine metadata.

I've been doing a lot of work using the Joyent Public Cloud in the past several months. Most apparent have been my py-smartdc and py-http-signature projects that are actually the first ones I've published on PyPI. They've mostly been to serve the goal of programmable, adaptable, repeatable, rapid deployments or cloud resources.

I've finally gotten around to saying something about it beyond Twitter. Well, this is a minimal blog entry, but it's mostly here to point to a tutorial that I put together. IPython is actually an interesting resource that I'll be exploring soon, but for now, you can look at how you can get trac (as an example of one of many apps) up and running remotely in about 2 minutes and at 3 cents per hour

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December 17 2012

img: embedded image

Oh, this is (year-)old news, but it's still fairly significant in the world of LOLCODE: the interactive programming site,, supports in-browser exploration of LOLCODE.

It does its work on top of lol-coffee, a CoffeeScript implementation of a LOLCODE interpreter. Fun stuff!

December 10 2012


Data preservation shouldn't have to be rocket science

…scientists and engineers often viewed the medium as more valuable than the data it contained. Many considered raw data to be worthless once “useful” scientific and technical information had been extracted. Nowadays data storage may be cheap, but we’re still in danger of suffering from shortsightedness when it comes to data custodianship. Every experiment needs a clear plan in place to ensure that a record of the original observations is still available and readable, even decades into the future.

Important lesson at the end of a fascinating article on the Pioneer missions, especially in the context of both multimedia preservation and "big data."

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March 23 2012


Low-end iOS and the future of those devices world-wide

How long can the iPhone 3GS last as the baseline model for iOS evolution?

As Apple pushes its smartphone vision into new markets, it makes sense to keep old manufacturing lines alive using increasingly cheaper components. Yes, it has hit the "$0" price point in the US, but the nominal subsidies there are quite high compared to other carriers worldwide. Unlocked, I note that it costs $375 in the US, £319 in the UK. A sampling of other world markets shows the closest to the US price being in Malaysia, with 1199 ringgits converting to 389 USD. So there's plenty of room for "cheaper," especially when considering pay-as-you-go pricing.

On the hardware side, the biggest constraint seems to be the 256MB RAM, but that's in line with the original iPad, introduced 10 months later. (That model is no longer sold as new, but seems likely to receive further long-term hardware support.)

So I expect the iPhone 3GS to be around for a long time, getting cheaper with every introduction of a new iPhone model, yet receiving iOS updates.

What got me thinking about this was the notion of Apple (re-)introducing a cheap iPod touch as an ideal remote for driving the AppleTV. I assume that means treating it as a full member of the iOS ecosystem, so it has to conform with the baseline hardware. That hardware looks an awful lot like the iPod touch (3rd generation), which has only been released in a 32GB and 64GB storage configuration. Otherwise, it's equivalent to the iPhone 3GS, which was current at the time of its release. It's a step down from the current iPod touch models: no retina display, no gyroscope, no FaceTime. The model was introduced in September 2009, and discontinued a year later.

How cheap could such hardware be sold? Right now, the limiting factor is the price of the iPod nano. At $129 for 8GB, $149 for a 16GB nano, a cheaper iPod touch would clash with that. But if we understood Apple to be unafraid of cannibalizing itself, and deft enough at marketing to introduce a third generation iPod touch with 8GB storage properly, could we imagine a $99 device? (That certainly puts the likely margins on the $375 iPhone 3GS into perspective.) Cheap screen, cheap system-on-a-chip, older battery technology… why not an "iPod remote"?


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February 16 2012

Notdennising is an action applying to nothing
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Notdennising is an action applying to nothing

Notdennising is an action applying to nothing

This month in natlang awesome, Andy Baio has released a Z-machine interpreter site: The key innovation here is that it's both writeable and readable: play games, “view source” on them, download, modify, and upload a new, playable version.

Hearing about the natural language programming capabilities of Inform7 upon its release in 2006 definitely set some of the seeds for LOLCODE. As Baio points out on his introductory blog post, this is a fully playable 'game':

East of the Garden is the Gazebo. Above is the Treehouse. A billiards table is in the Gazebo. On it is a trophy cup. A starting pistol is in the cup. In the Treehouse is a container called a cardboard box.


January 29 2012

Play fullscreen

January 28 2012


An unexpected skeuomorphic vestige

I finally picked up a protective cover for my Kindle Touch whilst at the airport. Doing so revealed a hidden habit I was only faintly aware of: I compulsively use boarding passes as bookmarks. What happens when the need to mark my place goes away?

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November 12 2011


September 20 2011

Arrr and forsooth
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Arrr and forsooth

Arrr and forsooth


New friend Rob Muller pointed me to a project that he and his friend cooked up about a year ago. Since today is September 19th, Olde Timey Speke seemed relevant enough to today's a Talk Like A Pirate celebration to share:

Ye Olde Sea Pluss Pluss!

It's a preprocessor-driven variant, but it's a bit of fun up on github.

September 06 2011


August 17 2011


August 10 2011


August 07 2011

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