I went up for a flight yesterday in a small two-seater plane. We flew over parts of Cornwall and Devon, starting in Saltash then heading over, Millbrook, Plymouth, by Rame Head and down the coast to Looe and back.
This was filmed on my iPhone 5S, which didn’t handle all the vibrations very well. It was edited together quickly in Final Cut Pro X to a tune called ‘Golden Days’ from YouTube’s free audio library.
I posted these pictures on Instagram.
The Telegraph’s Richard Gray has compiled a list of ten apps that Apple does not want you to use. In my view, half of these apps are dumb gimmicks that any curated app store wouldn’t want: A game where you throw your phone as high as you can; titillation apps featuring ‘interactive’ girls in bikinis; an app that did literally nothing except cost $1,000.
However, some of the other rejected apps represent far more serious acts of censorship and monopolistic behaviour on the part of Apple, like the Wikileaks app that let users read the Iraq war logs, or Scratch, an MIT project to help teach children programming. I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a more serious list of apps banned by Apple.
These are the apps that Apple really does not want you to use →
Sir, You Are Being Hunted was the first Kickstarter campaign I backed, and I’m excited to get my hands on the game (and other goodies) in a month or so. The makers have just released a video showing off the current state of the game. I think it looks great.
If you didn’t back the Kickstarter campaign, you can preorder the game on the Big Robot website.
Yesterday I launched a new blog: Rapid Notes. It’s just hosted on a free WordPress.com account for now, and will probably stay that way.
I created this new outlet because I wanted a place to store and share the fascinating things I find online every day. I’m not going to put just any old thing up there, but it’ll be a busier blog than many of my others. Much busier. The idea is to help me identify what my real passions are by looking at the common themes of the items I post. I’ll be spending time getting the tags and categories — the taxonomy — just right. Then as the blog grows I’ll be able to look at my archives determine… well… something hopefully.
Follow the @foobot →
For this recent Palm Sunday Erika Hall published a single-serving Tumblr blog proposing an update to the Decalogue she titled ‘The Fresh Ten Commandments’:
Since the original ten commandments seem somewhat narrow and obsolete (too much focus on livestock, servants, and jealous god issues), here is a modest first draft of a fresh set.
Erika isn’t (by far!) the first to attempt to update these guidelines from on high, so I thought it would be interesting to collect a few here, starting with ‘The Fresh Ten’:
The Fresh Ten
- You shall treat all people with respect regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin.
- You shall not kill, assault, nor intimidate with threats of physical violence.
- You shall not rape, sexually coerce, nor intimidate with threats of sexual violence.
- You shall cultivate intellectual curiosity, be open to new ideas, and respect the scientific method.
- You shall not cheat, nor cheat others out of what is rightfully theirs.
- You shall not lie, deceive, nor spread lies about others.
- You shall not steal, that is to say take or use what rightfully belongs to another person in a manner that causes harm. (Stealing is a trickier concept than it once was. How do you say yes to Fair Use and no to software patents?)
- You shall keep your promises.
- You shall not waste natural resources nor pollute the shared environment.
- You shall take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.
Thou shalt read more →
Apple pundit John Gruber was interviewed on The New Disruptors podcast recently about how he made Daring Fireball into a full-time job. Around the 50 minute mark he says:
One of my primary obsessions is with trying to be right about everything all the time. Almost obsessively. Being wrong to me is horrible. I would hate to be wrong about something.
Daring Fireball readers won’t be surprised by this admission, but I really like how this informs his thoughts on transparency:
There is a way to be right all the time and that is to recognise when you are wrong, figure out exactly how you were wrong, say so and now you are right. Nobody is right as they go all the time, but at least in the track record you leave behind you can be right all the time.
John Gruber — ‘No Kind of Work for a Grown Man’
Warning: I’ve cranked the geek up to 11 for this uber-nostalgic post.
Buried Shadow (1999)
Recently I was reunited with a computer-generated image I created back in 1999 of a crashed Shadow ship from Babylon 5
. I had submitted it as a cover
image for the second issue of on online fan publication called Beyond Babylon
. It wasn’t used on the cover, but it did get featured in the gallery
. At some point I lost my original, so it was nice to be contacted out of the blue by someone who had a copy.
I have fond memories from those days of hanging out at the (now defunct) Babylon 5 Modellers Guild [
b5mg.com] and the LightWave Group [
lwg3d.org] (which evolved into the still-active Foundation 3D forums). Scifi-Art.com was another great community — I remember really liking their site design.
All this nostalgia got me digging around my old hard drives for more retro LightWave renders of mine.
Babylon 5 images
You can click on the small images below for a closer look. Not that I didn’t create any of these models myself, but the compositions, lighting and backgrounds were all my own work. Also, if you zoom in on that shot of Starfuries engaged in combat, you’ll see some of my own wing art designs. (Yes, that is Daffy Duck!)
Shadows over Jupiter
Fall of Centauri Prime
Babylon 4 attack
Babylon 5 launches Thunderbolt
The name of the place is ‘Babylon 5′ →
Datahole is a Twitter account I have been ‘maintaining’ for over four years. In practice I’ve simply been letting it run itself.
It takes RSS feeds from Ars Technica, Wired, The Guardian and Bruce Schneier‘s blog and looks for stories containing words like ‘leak’, ‘phishing’ and ‘password’.
Then it adds in unfiltered posts from The Register’s security news and The Open Rights Group.
Last night I updated the look and feel of the account with a new avatar, header and background image. Besides these cosmetic tweaks I added two feeds from the blog of security expert Brian Krebs, specifically his categories ‘latest warnings’ and ‘the coming storm’.
How? And why? →
If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
John F. Kennedy accepting the NY Liberal Party Nomination, 1960
The adoption of the word ‘liberal’ as an insult in right-wing American politics is something I’ve never understood.
For me one of the big appeals of Minecraft is imagining what features I’d like to see added to the game.
The Minecraft developers are actually surprisingly receptive to ideas from the community, often incorporating suggestions and making alterations to the game based on player feedback. And if an idea isn’t really suitable for the game but is very cool anyway, there’s always the thriving modding community to make it a reality.
Personally though, I just like the thought exercise. My outlet for these ideas has been the Minecraft Suggestions subreddit. I recently realised that I had contributed many more suggestions than I realised over there, so I thought I would compile (most of) them here.
Be warned: This post is geeky, even by the standards of this blog!
‘Brain Bats’ this way →
Most infographics on the web consist of generic graphics backed up with (lots of) poorly researched text.
When done well these informational graphics use charts, diagrams and illustrations to make complex ideas easier to comprehend. At their best the results can be quite illuminating.
Randall Munroe has produced more than a few great infographics for xkcd. His infographics can be broken down into three rough categories:
- Pure gag charts,
- Jokey graphics with a serious point, and…
- Well-researched highly informative graphics with some jokes sprinkled throughout.
For this post I’ve compiled the more informative types. There’s a list of some (but not all) of xkcd’s novelty graphs and charts at the end of this post.
For science! →
S.G. Collins explains how the technology didn’t exist in 1969 to actually fake the Moon landings in the way most conspiracy theorists seem to believe. Even if you were Stanley Kubrick.
I particularly love his delivery: he’s both monotonous and compelling, sarcastic and likeable.
Important note: I’ve seen people complaining about the ‘unnecessary gay joke’ he makes at the end – a play on the ‘homo’ in ‘homo sapien’. Of course, this is actually a reference to the latin meanings of the words: Homo is the genus of hominids that includes modern man and sapien loosely translates as ‘wise man’.
I’ve created a new page that collates all the custom header images I’ve created for various posts and pages here on halfblog.net, for your viewing pleasure.
Up Goer Five is one of Randall Munroe’s more famous recent xkcd infographics in which he attempts to describe the workings of a Saturn V rocket using only most commonly used 1,000 words in the English language. Here’s just a part of it:
Inspired by this, The Up-Goer Five Text Editor is a fun tool (created by Theo Sanderson) that restricts the user to just the same 1,000 words. Anything not in that tiny dictionary will be given familiar squiggly red underlines.
The Up-Goer Five Text Editor
Scientists have been trying to explain the work they do using only this reduced language. Here’s the work of a paleontologist summarised:
I study tracks, trails, places where animals make homes, and shit, both new and old, and figure out how animals do these things.
Tony Martin, paleontologist
Some of these passages come across as quite patronising (“We burn dead black stuff so that we can build things, power our houses and make our cars go.”), but some of the better ones are quite poetic. io9 has a beautiful description of Saturn:
There is a world that goes around the sun, ten times farther away from the sun than the world we live on. This world is really big – about ten times as wide as our world – and most of it is thick air pulled tight together. It has big beautiful rings around it, made of many pieces of ice.
A loving upgoerfive intro to Saturn and some of its moons, by Rachel Klippenstein
It’s worth reading the full thing.
What does this have to do with SEO? →
Dr. Carmella’s Guide to the Introverted is a very astute webcomic by Schroeder Veidt.
Below the comic I’ve also embedded a TED talk by Susan Cain who talks about how extrovert behaviour has come to be considered the norm and how introverts can (often unknowingly) make self-negating choices in an effort to fit into society better.
Read ‘Dr. Carmella’s Guide to the Introverted’ →
I just backed my first Kickstarter project, ‘Sir, You Are Being Hunted’:
Survival and stealth in a procedurally-generated world! Sir, You Are Being Hunted is tweedpunk robo-horror from Big Robot Games.
So, this is what I did with my weekend…
Proof that Zack Hemsey’s amazing ‘Mind Heist’ theme – aka the Inception trailer music – can make any movie look epic, even the worst movie of all time.
Why did I make this thing? →
I was asked on Twitter today if I would mind updating my minimal iPhone 4 wallpapers to the new iPhone 5 size. It turns out that I would not mind at all, so here they are:
Read the fun CC licence!