• "Using the daily 0048 Shipping Forecast from BBC Radio 4, we take the average of each gale force mentioned for an area to determine that area's score. Pick a dream team of five sea areas, and your team's score will be the average of the scores of those regions, both daily and weekly." Hah, lovely.
  • "John Carter is the kind of movie no studio bigwig in their right mind ought ever to have greenlit: a space fantasy based on a genre – "planetary romance" – that hasn't been popular for well over half a century, populated by bizarre creatures from the mind of a writer apparently endowed with the ungrounded imagination of a small child. This is exactly why you should be checking it out. The film is out next weekend and I've posted the final trailer above. What a glorious enterprise Disney have wasted all their money on. God bless Hollywood!" I too am annoyed they lopped the suffix from the title. Otherwise, this has actually managed to spur interest in a film I'd written off.
  • "There is no silver bullet that’s going to fix that. No, we are going to have to use a lot of lead bullets." On knuckling down when faced with threats. (via Matt W)
  • Lots of good analysis and tips in here. It's very much not a selection of things to do, more a selection of issues noticed and ways to fix them – many of which are contradictory.
  • "A silly version of postmodernism would suggest that contemporary scientific claims are identically as valid as those made in the dark ages, whereas really they are valid in different ways. Whereas a smart critique of rationalism (and of the Dawkinsesque pastiche of Enlightenment) is one which recognises the evolutionary nature of science, capitalism, culture, such that we cannot throw off our current mindset, culture or language, but nor are we imprisoned in it. We recognise the present as constitutive of who we are, but also as a single moment in an unfolding drama with no apparent conclusion." Cracking writing from Will – and some good stuff linked from this.
  • "His base is too good, and I don’t have the choke. He proceeds to take a more dominant position, scores points, and my body is burning from the effort. The choke he applies toward the end of the match is almost a formality, since I’m far too tired to do much more than hang on. Second place. Second place because I’m learning the triangle choke, not learning Jiu Jitsu. Chipp never wins tournaments." A fantastic piece of writing, about beat-em-ups and combat sports, and the mindset you get into as you play both. I'm not a combat sports man, but it nails some of the inside of your brain when you've played a lot of beat-em-ups, for sure.
  • "But to my eye, GIF is the most popular animation and short film format that's ever existed. It works on smartphones in millions of people's pockets, on giant displays in museums, in web browsers on a newspaper website. It finds liberation in constraints, in the same way that fewer characters in our tweets and texts freed us to communicate more liberally with one another. And it invites participation, in a medium that's both fun and accessible, as the pop music of moving images, giving us animations that are totally disposable and completely timeless."
  • "My wife and I talk about this. We talk about the protocol of the fertility clinic. We talk about her support group, and failure to produce. We talk about adoption, which is expensive and ambiguous. We talk about giving up on the process and living our lives without the ghosts of unconceived children (the most adorable ghosts there are). We talk, and talk, and wait." Powerful, sad, brave writing from Paul Ford. Sometimes, you wish things were nice for the good people in the world.
  • "I needed to get up to speed with doing recursive node structures so I coded up a project that would put a dot on the screen. When you tapped this dot, it would create a bunch of orbiting child-dots. These children could also be tapped, creating even more child nodes. This prototype took less than a day to create and I naively thought we would be done with the whole thing in a week, max. Silly me."

    Marvellous, dense post from Robert on designing Planetary: lots of show-everything, material exploration, and plussing. What detail looks like.

  • "Years later, when recounting his conversations with Beckett (which he did often), André the Giant revealed that they rarely talked about anything besides cricket."
  • "In this scenario one sunny day you're working on low-level NoSQL projects at the Gootch or wherever, and you get an email from Facebook and you go for the interview and Zuckerberg is talking about scaling PHP and suddenly pauses, gets this look in his eye, pulls his hoodie over his head and says “You have sixty seconds. You should be running.” Because engineers, as we are often reminded, are the ultimate prey."
  • "A problem with the human mind – your human mind – is that it's a horrific kludge that will fail when you most need it not to. The Ugh Field failure mode is one of those really annoying failures. The idea is simple: if a person receives constant negative conditioning via unhappy thoughts whenever their mind goes into a certain zone of thought, they will begin to develop a psychological flinch mechanism around the thought. The "Unhappy Thing" – the source of negative thoughts – is typically some part of your model of the world that relates to bad things being likely to happen to you."
  • "Designers get handed a tool kit that has as many tools as a good swiss army knife, and the maps reflect these tools. Millions of people use them to make appointments across town, find restaurants, and drive home for the holidays.

    But what if, instead of a swiss army knife, we used a box of crayons? Or charcoal and newsprint? Or play-doh? What would those maps look like? What could they tell us about the world?"

  • "One thing that I learned during the launch of the original Macintosh in 1984 was that the press usually oversimplifies everything, and it can't deal with the reality that there are many people playing critical roles on significant projects. A few people always get too much credit, while most people get too little, that's just the way it has always worked. But luckily, it's 2011 and I can use the service that I helped to create to clarify things." This is Good And Proper. (Also it's good management).
  • How ads used to be made. Some beautiful photographs here.
  • Useful notes on the modern way of deploying Rails applications with Bundler and Capistrano.
  • '"The expectation is slightly weird here, that you can do this stuff without killing yourself," added McNamara. "Well, you can't, whether it's in London or New York or wherever; you're competing against the best people in the world at what they do, and you just have to be prepared to do what you have to do to compete against those people."'

    This is what McNamara considers responding to controversy. I'm furious that men like this are allowed to manage other human beings.

  • "This is an atlas, then, made by that other nature, seen through other eyes. But those eyes have been following me, unseen and without permission, and thus I consider provoking breach a necessary act." This is good.
  • "csvkit is a library of utilities for working with CSV, the king of tabular file formats." Ooh.
  • "Synapse is an app for Mac and Windows that allows you to easily use your Kinect to control Ableton Live, Quartz Composer, Max/MSP, and any other application that can receive OSC events. It sends joint positions and hit events via OSC, and also sends the depth image into Quartz Composer. In a way, this allows you to use your whole body as an instrument." Oooh. OSC into anything; really nice, dead simple, and exactly the sort of thing I've been considering poking.
  • "This is the S2H replay; an activity monitor/pedometer thing that does a similar job to the fitbit. Except it feels way more like the future than the fitbit because it's cheap, fashiony and simple. And you they'll actually deliver one outside the US." I like "fashiony" as both an adjective and a watchword. The S2H sounds pretty nifty, too, and Russell's write-up is great…
  • "Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray. Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, we asked authors for their personal dos and don'ts." Huge, two-part article (presumably from Saturday's Review) with a great deal of advice – some sensible, some common sense, some insightful, some entertaining – on writing. And: much of it applies to other creative disciplines, too.
  • "Schell took this game-life integration to the extreme, describing a world chock-full of sensors, where you could earn experience points from a toothpaste company for brushing your teeth, or points from health insurance companies for walking to work instead of driving. Companies and even the government would have a vested financial interest in engaging consumers and citizens through game-like elements. It would be a world fraught with "crass commercialism," Schell said, but it would also be a world of opportunity for game designers." Hmmmmn.
  • "I'm imagining that Curling is project management: sweeping in front of the stone to both clear a path and influence the direction, but without touching it; a good curling strategy is to both knock the competition out of the way and get closer to the target, sometimes with different stones; …plus you can drink and smoke while you play"
  • "Whenever is a Ruby gem that provides a clear syntax for defining cron jobs. It outputs valid cron syntax and can even write your crontab file for you. It is designed to work well with Rails applications and can be deployed with Capistrano. Whenever works fine independently as well." Pretty DSL for generating crontab in a rubyish manner.
  • "William Petersen as Gil Grissom, David Caruso as Horatio Caine, Gary Sinese as Mac Taylor, Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs, Anthony LaPaglia as Jack Malone. These guys are the franchise players of primetime TV. But they are also role models. Each represents a different management style." I'd work for Grissom instead of Gibbs in a flash, personally, but I'm an eccentric and I like eccentric managers.
  • "It may be a little hidden but Git actually comes with auto completion, you just have to set it up." I did not know that. Useful!
  • "The program seeks to accommodate up to 15 students who are considered "at-risk for dropping out or poor performance in core classes", focusing on themes such as literacy and writing, mathematics, 21st-Century technology skills, leadership, and more. The site argues that students who are considered "at-risk" usually haven't reached that point because they lack the capacity to learn, but because school no longer holds any relevance to them or it bores them…" …and so it uses WoW to provide them with relevant usage-examples of the subjects they need to get better at. Not entirely convinced, but interesting that they're using a wiki to collate lesson ideas/plans.
  • "In the case of European Air War, what management wanted was a very cool game to sell that customers would love. What the lead programmer did was present it to them so that they could see, clearly, that this was exactly what they had on their hands already. They, too, were having trouble digging through all those details and seeing the big picture." Lovely story about the importance of presentation on any kind of project.
  • "Being a light-hearted look at the world of story and writing in games." Written by Richard Cobbett, it's quite a lot of fun. And he's played Realms of the Haunting, too. Awesome.