From The Erbo Files
Thursday, May 3, 2012


  • Watch as astronaut Don Pettit demonstrates some of the physics in Angry Birds Space by launching a Red Bird down through one of the modules in the ISS using a makeshift slingshot. In microgravity, the bird travels in a straight line, unlike the parabolic trajectory it would follow on Earth. (Pettit is awesome. He was up there with Cousin Kenny on station at the time of the Columbia disaster, which meant he had to fly back home in a Soyuz. Now he's back up there, with his own unique, quirky style, doing science and still alive.)

  • What the fuck, University of Florida? Seriously: what the fucking fuck? Cut the CS department, in an age where engineers and developers are more in demand than they've been in a long time? You guys need yourheads examined. (Via Karl Denninger, who is...harsher on UF.) (Update: They're not gonna do it after all. GOOD!)

  • Hey, Jeff! Think it would convince you to get on Twitter if you could do so using a straight key?  (ViaTechCrunch.)

  • The ultimate geek watch...it's also an Android 2.2 smartphone. I actually owned the "spiritual ancestor" of this watch, a Fossil Abacus WristPDA, which ran PalmOS 4.0 with 8 Mb of onboard storage (which is a decent amount, for Palm PDAs) and looked smart, as Fossil products often do. The main problem was that the battery life sucked balls; the thing had to be plugged in nightly to recharge, and needed a special USB charger with its own power plug. I would watch out for that issue if buying one of the Z1s. (Via Malcolm Uhl on Facebook.)

  • Seems those Occupy [foo] wankers aren't above seeking bailouts of their own when it suits them. Excuse me while I point and laugh.  (Via RadioMattM at the Conservative Kitchen Table.)

  • What would you say about a guy that has sent hundreds of thousands of pirated DVDs overseas over the past eight years? What if I told you that that guy was a 92-year-old WWII vet, sending those DVDs to combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? He took no money for them, and spent something like $30,000 of his own money to make and ship them. The MAFIAA isn't too pleased, but what are they gonna do to him without looking like complete jerks? (Not that that ever stopped them.) Meanwhile, the soldiers really appreciate what he's been doing. He's stopping now, not because of MAFIAA pressure, but because the troops are being pulled out. The man will surely go down as an unsung hero of these wars.

  • From fellow developer Nick Hill: One of the oddest ways to tell time you'll ever see.

  • Ladies, you may never have thought of carrying your iPhone in the Victoria's Secret Compartment, but, if you do, this product may be for you.

  • Speaking of carrying stuff someplace unusual, how about carrying a copy of the edited sum total of human knowledge in a keychain? That's the purpose behind the eVr1 Codex, which dumps a load of text, including all of the English Wikipedia and a huge literary canon (full list here), onto a 16 Gb MicroSD card, seals that card to withstand many hazards, and sews it into a hand-stitched leather key fob. It's mainly intended for the symbolic value, because the only way to access the information is to destroy the container (though they plan to offer an online archive of the content to buyers). It would be handy, though, if you needed to rebuild civilization from scratch, like Jeff's colonists aboard the Starship Origen did.

  • Finally! A frickin' shark with a frickin' laser beam attached to its head! Dr. Evil would be proud.

  • DJ update (from this post): $DEITY be praised, the man found a new liver. He's recovering now, amid the well wishes of his fellow Rottie denizens. This post has the update including some comments from his missus, Deneen.

Monday, April 23, 2012


  • Stephen T. Gordon: In the future, everything will be a coffee shop. A compelling point, since you can't download or order online a gathering place, or a grande cafe mocha with one or two pumps of vanilla (my Starbucks poison-of-choice). Via Glenn Reynolds.

  • One startup company, 4ormat, saved over $100,000 in its development efforts by refusing to support Micro$oft Internet Asploder. Boy, I wish IQNavigator could do the same thing...as it is, I think we've only recently deprecated support for IE6. (But then again, many of our customers are stuck with browsers that old, more's the pity.)

  • From Lexxi: A video of dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling. The music has a funky, half-Eurodance, half-New Age feel to it, and Ms. Stirling is a fair dancer in addition to a decent violinist. Filmed at an ice castle in Silverthorne, Colorado, that looks very Scandinavian; I thought it was Finland or Iceland or some country like that. Okay, so it's not metal...but it's still good. :-)

  • The RNC produces an absolute gem of a video, using Barack Hussein Obama's own words to show why he must not be re-elected. I say, "More, please, and faster!" Unfortunately, the RINO-NC will probably cave and refrain from producing any more such videos, lest the New York Times starts calling them "not helpful."

  • Former EMinder Crizz sent me a link to some handheld technology that looks straight out of Star Trek: an X-ray scanner you can hold in your hand. Maybe the inventors of this technology should get together with these guys...a real tricorder could be just around the corner...

  • And speaking of science-fiction stuff, check out this idea for a LEGO® model of one of EVE Online's most iconic spaceships, the Minmatar Rifter-class frigate (what I refer to as "The Official Ship of Gettin' Yo' Ass in Trouble" :-D ). CCP is on board with the idea, so go like it...who knows, the LEGO® people might just release the model!

  • If you're a Ford owner (like I am now), these sites might be of interest: this one will decode all the characters in your VIN and tell you what they all mean, and this one will take your VIN and show you what your actual factory window sticker looked like.

  • Three words: Angry Birds bra. Sabrina wouldn't wear one, but they don't come in her size anyway. (Via Valorna Edgeworth on Facebook.)

  • At IQNavigator, we do a major release of FrontOffice (our hosted solution software) about once a month. Facebook does releases far more frequently than that, and to a much larger audience. How they do it is a tangled tale involving custom PHP compilers, BitTorrent, IRC, good old-fashioned dogfooding, and perhaps the only actual Facebook "Dislike" button in existence. And a fair amount of ethanol to act as a social lubricant...

  • Meanwhile, Facebook's 140-character competitors at Twitter have released some of the enhancements they've made to MySQL for their needs. This isn't the first bit of open source Twitter has released; their Bootstrap CSS/JavaScript framework, which underpins the Erbosoft Web site itself, is very good. (Via several sources, including Bryan Glenn at IQNavigator.)

  • Want to hear what the live music in the world's coolest Nordstrom would sound like? Watch Camille and Kennerly, the Harp Twins, bring modern music to life on their instruments. Their performance of "Stairway to Heaven" is to die for. (They are also third degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do, and "Distinguished Experts" in rifle marksmanship. Don't f**k with these ladies! :-D )

  • From my fellow IQNavigator developer Ben Messer: A complete emulation of the Atari 2600 game console, written in Java. Of course, that's no strain on modern computers (the original 2600 had a 1.19 MHz 6507 processor and 128 bytes--not megabytes or even kilobytes, bytes--of RAM), but it kicked off an interesting discussion of how far gaming technology has come since the late 70's/early 80's.  Also, coworker Nick Hill is working on beating Billy Mitchell's high score. :-)

Saturday, March 31, 2012


  • Angry Birds, well known as the hottest mobile game in the history of ever, is now taking over a theme park...or at least a part of Särkänniemi Amusement Park in Tampere, Finland. Playset manufacturer Lappset Ltd. of Rovaniemi is working on the equipment for Angry Birds Land.  Will it finally be the site of an historic peace treaty between the birds and pigs? Don't bet on it...

  • Speaking of gaming, Ars Technica notes that Microsoft will be increasing the number of achievements and Gamerscore points that Arcade titles are permitted to hand out, and wonders if we're on the verge of Gamerscore hyperinflation. Not that it really means anything; M$ could change the name of the Gamerscore to "E-peen" and it would probably better define what it actually amounts to.

  • ESR went to check out the new movie John Carter, and he actually liked it. He says it sticks pretty well to the flavor of the Burroughs original, and where it deviates is either a nod to present-day movie conventions (e.g. giving Dejah Thoris the "Arwen treatment" ) or actually improves things (replacing the handwave over how John Carter actually got to Mars with some actual plot, including a possible sequel hook). This one might be worth seeing in 3-D IMAX "Holy-Shit-o-Vision"...

  • Crappy customer service is almost legendary across multiple industries, but here are some shining counterexamples. Note especially the one from Southwest Airlines. Damn contact lenses are bugging me again... ;-)

  • Alan Skorkin gives us the main reason why you suck at interviews. There's plenty of helpful tips in here for developers looking to ace their next interview. Not that I need this advice at the moment, deus volent.

  • Remember I mentioned Pivotal Labs not long ago? Well, EMC just bought them. Om Malik speculates it's a move by EMC to take agile development to the enterprise. Wonder how that'll affect their pair programming?

  • The recently-announced tablet that runs KDE Plasma, formerly known as "Spark," has been renamed to "Vivaldi." Now that's a classy name. Besides, I think I'd be a little leery of using a tablet with a name that represents pretty much exactly what you don't want a tablet to do.

  • So you say to me, "Erbo, is flamenco guitar metal?" And I reply: Yes. Flamenco guitar is f**king METAL. \m/ (Hat tip: The guy behind the counter at Tradesmart over in Littleton, where I picked up an Epica CD and a Within Temptation CD I'd been looking for.)

  • Of course, I have declared a number of other things to be f**king METAL on Facebook, such as harps, violins, Harry Potter, grand pianos, clarinets, flutes, and woodwinds, and Christmas music (another example). \m/

  • And where is the most metal place on earth?  If you said "Finland," DING DING DING DING DING. (Via JWZ)

  • Dave Winer sums up what he sees as the Republican philosophy: "1. My money is mine. 2. Fuck you." And just what the hell is wrong with that, Dave? Don't you believe your money is yours? If not, I'll be happy to take it off your hands, right here, right now! ;-)

  • Research in Motion, the blackberry people, are going to give up on most consumer markets and concentrate on their business customers. Well, business is where CrackBerry is strongest, so that kinda makes sense. But opinions are mixed. ESR thinks that RIMM has opened itself up to imminent disruption from the low end and the company is on the skids; Karl Denninger, on the other hand, is happy that RIMM's new CEO seems to have pulled his head out of his ass, and has bought in as a bit of a punt. Time will tell which of them is right.

 
 
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