Browse Month: July 2010

07/29/2010

Hoo boy, after playing ultimate today I climbed into my car and noticed the thermometer said it was 99 degrees out there. That’s a hot day to be running around. Laralee complains that I don’t sweat enough during our league games, but I’m sure she would’ve been satisfied today– I was drenched. Good game, though. I love summer.

07/27/2010

Intel just unveiled its 50Gbps fiber-optic network card. Now that’s fast. Even as gigabit wiring becomes mainstream, I think we lose sight of the fact that we’re pushing a billion on-off signals every second down a tiny copper wire that’s strung between walls. Now we’re looking at fifty times that.

Intel says they’re working on the next-generation terabit model. One trillion pulses of light every second? Heck, in a trillionth of a second a photon travels about one foot. That’s some pretty amazing speed. And in five years we’ll take it for granted.

07/25/2010

Laralee makes fun of me because I keep old t-shirts in the closet. I have piles upon piles of them, and sometimes digging through them is somewhat like an archaeologic expedition as I delve into the deeper layers.

Take, for example, this sweet shirt that I unearthed and wore today:

I’ve always called it my “Calvin shirt” because of the grinning Calvin character on the back (designed by my old friend Jason Peters). And notice the date. This bad boy is seventeen years old. And still wearable!

Now I’m thinking I should dredge up some other shirts dating back to my college days and start wearing them. After all, why buy new clothes when I have hundreds of perfectly good shirts in the closet?

07/22/2010

From a fascinating article on large numbers by Scott Aaronson:

One could define science as reason’s attempt to compensate for our inability to perceive big numbers. If we could run at 280,000,000 meters per second, there’d be no need for a special theory of relativity: it’d be obvious to everyone that the faster we go, the heavier and squatter we get, and the faster time elapses in the rest of the world. If we could live for 70,000,000 years, there’d be no theory of evolution:we could watch speciation and adaptation with our eyes, instead of painstakingly reconstructing events from fossils and DNA. If we could bake bread at 20,000,000 degrees Kelvin, nuclear fusion would be not the esoteric domain of physicists but ordinary household knowledge. But we can’t do any of these things, and so we have science, to deduce about the gargantuan what we, with our infinitesimal faculties, will never sense.

07/20/2010

For fun I’m reading the “barter” section of Craigslist, and found someone offering web programming skills in exchange for “something interesting”. What caught my eye was part of his list of qualifications:

I have expert level certification in HTML, XHTML, CSS 1,2 and 3, PHP, and MySQL.

Wow! Expert level certification! I’ve been doing web programming for over a decade now, and I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as certification in any of these technologies. If there is, someone’s running a sweet scam giving them out.

Hmm. Maybe that should be a side business… I could offer certifications in writing HTML code. Heck, when we interview candidates for positions at Zing we throw a couple of tricky questions at them– and those questions cover exactly what this guy’s “certification” does. I could just reuse my interview question sheet, charge a hundred bucks, and print out a nice PDF certificate suitable for framing. Sweet!

07/20/2010

41 years ago today. One small step for man…

07/18/2010

Yesterday we went over to the Painters’ house– our neighbors– for the first annual Jell-o Fest. Kyra and Hannah came up with the idea of having a party centered on Jell-o, including a mysterious prize for the most original Jell-o creation.

I had a great idea about creating a fully functioning checkers game out of Jell-o. In theory it was pretty simple: make four shallow pans of the stuff in four different colors, then cut squares from two of them and circles from the other two. Arrange the squares in an 8×8 grid for the board, then stack the circles on the board as checkers pieces.

Unfortunately the reality isn’t so easy. Jell-o is very sticky once it’s in the pan (or whatever container it’s made in) and very thin Jell-o is hard to work with. In the end we made a bunch of Jell-o “coins” in mini muffin pans, and even those were hard to peel out of the pans.

Although Kyra and Hannah were a bit disappointed that the entire neighborhood didn’t show up (they’d invited every house on the block), it was still fun. Maybe next year we’ll figure out how to work with Jell-o a bit better.

07/14/2010

Today’s depressing news is that apparently all of the Fuddrucker’s burger joints in the Denver area have permanently closed. There’s one a little way down the interstate where I’m fond of going for meetings, or with Laralee when we get the urge, but apparently I’m out of luck now.

Long live Fuddrucker’s, home of the world’s greatest hamburgers.

07/13/2010

From a Q&A session with Mr. Know-It-All on Wired magazine:

Q: My son is finally old enough to play Halo 3 with me. Should I let him win sometimes or just crush him as I would any other inferior opponent?

A: If you’re honestly thinking of obliterating your kid in Halo 3, it’s time to return all that “World’s Number One Dad” merchandise. Turning your death matches into 30-second routs will only sour the boy on gaming. And it won’t be all that fun for you either. That said, you also shouldn’t take dives: You want to give your son an incentive to keep sharpening his skills. When the boy lucks into a nice move, for example, take a moment to offer praise before shotgunning him in the face. And when you execute a coup de grace, do it with grace– teach the kid to be a good sport even as you demonstrate the finer points of wielding the gravity hammer.

Heh. Sometimes I feel that way playing Warzone against Alex and Zack.

07/13/2010

According to accounting paperwork filed by the RIAA, the record industry has spent approximately $16,000,000 on lawsuits against people accused of illegally sharing music files.

They have collected a total of almost $400,000 in fines.

We already know the file sharers who pleaded guilty didn’t win this scenario. Now we see that the record companies certainly didn’t win either. So who did?

The lawyers.

07/10/2010

Just got back from the USA Ultimate national championships, being held in Boulder this year. This is the Masters’ Series (as opposed to the Collegiate Series) where all players are at least 30 years old. I was one of the official scorekeepers, which was a lot of fun and made me really pay attention to the game since I had to record turnovers, defensive plays, assists, goals, etc. There are some top-notch teams competing, and it’s always fun to watch ultimate at the national level.

The best: one of the womens’ teams I was watching had a player who couldn’t have been younger than 60. She had grey-white grandma hair, big glasses, and looked like she’d be more likely to make a nice glass of lemonade than huck a disc fifty yards. But she was out there yelling to her team, talking smack, and throwing like a bullet. I can only hope when I’m 60 I have that same kind of spunk.

Update: I found a picture in the post-tournament wrap-up. Looks like she’s wondering why her receivers aren’t making any good cuts.

07/05/2010

“The internet’s completely over. The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

— Prince, explaining (today) why the internet is a fad that’s now dead