Updates from May, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 4:41 pm on 30 May 2008 Permalink  

    I think I might cry.

    The latest Motley Crue (when did they become classic rock?) single was released simultaneously on iTunes and Rock Band, as a playable song.

    iTunes sold some 10,000 copies in a week. Rock Band sold 47,000 on the XBOX 360, and an uncounted number on the PS3. This with the Rock Band track being completely non-portable, and (assuming it followed conventional pricing structures) more expensive.

    But absolutely the best part of the article is where the band’s manager “shrugs off” the news by saying, essentially, that Motley Crue fans play Rock Band. “If our audience tells us they’re sitting at Xbox and PlayStation, that’s our job to do that.”

    I’ll certainly back this one up, though. “Playing” all the parts of a song in Rock Band can make passively listening to the song later a much richer experience because you notice things that slipped by before.

    P.S. Dad, you should play Rock Band again. ‘Twas fun.

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  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 3:08 pm on 29 May 2008 Permalink  

    Looking at that description of the TI-83, I’m struck by a couple of interesting facts:

    • It runs the same microprocessor that powered our Sol-20 computer back in the ’70s.
    • Its specs otherwise match or exceed those of the Sol (similar display resolution, faster clock speed, vastly greater RAM, etc.)

    The obvious conclusion is that Futility should be ported to the TI-83.

     
  • Hober Short 12:13 pm on 29 May 2008 Permalink  

    I’ll admit, the calculator is another of those things I consider an implement for daily life, like the alarm clock and the toilet. My trusty TI-83 goes with me everywhere in my bookbag. Although my generation (apparently now referred to as the more trendy “Millennials”) may tend to over-rely on the thinking machines, at least that reliance allows them to graph derivatives as a trivial matter.

    Although I didn’t escape the perils of confusing mathematical processes. In Computer Science, I had to learn Polish and Reverse Polish notation. They do make sense in the same sort of way that subtracting 2.50 was done by adding 9,997.50.

     
  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 11:18 am on 29 May 2008 Permalink  

    Pat and I experienced a spark of nostalgia upon seeing James Lileks’s latest Sears 1973 update. Our parents owned one of these calculators, or a close sibling.

    Lileks has fun with this, of course, but he does miss the point in one instance:

    The answers appear “instantly, silently” – a welcome change from the calculators that took seven minutes before they displayed numbers with the sound of crashing dishes and gored oxen.

    What he’s failing to recognize is that these calculators were aimed at users of adding machines, which were noisy mechanical devices. So the quiet, fast operation really was a novelty (as was the absence of a paper printout).

    On the other hand, I remember being baffled by the user interface. Because of their heritage, these early calculators used the adding-machine conventions for input, which were not intuitive. It took me some time to figure out how to do subtraction.

     
  • Hober Short 10:19 am on 29 May 2008 Permalink  

    I want to see the MythBusters episode of testing the idea that a falling mortarboard can cause any injury.

    Mostly for the MortarBot 3000 that will invariably be built to inflict bodily harm via haberdashery.

     
  • Hober Short 10:16 am on 29 May 2008 Permalink  

    From the AP: Gas prices drop slightly in early trading, effect not felt instantly at the pump.

     
  • Pat 1:10 am on 29 May 2008 Permalink  

    Students graduating from Britain’s Anglia Ruskin University have been forbidden to throw their mortarboards into the air. Someone could get hurt.

     
  • Pat 2:17 pm on 28 May 2008 Permalink  

    A group of people in Santa Fe, TX claim that they’re allergic to Wi-Fi. They want it banned from all public buildings. See, their “allergy” is a disability, and the city is discriminating against them by using Wi-Fi. That’s a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

     
  • Hober Short 11:26 am on 28 May 2008 Permalink  

    From the Texas Legislature (via Wikipedia):

    WHEREAS, In 1985, researchers at Rice University in Houston discovered a third molecular form of carbon, known as C60, and as a result of this breakthrough, they were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; the new molecule, named buckminsterfullerene, is the archetype of a new class of pure carbon materials that are expected to revolutionize many fields, including science, industry, medicine, and manufacturing; and

    WHEREAS, The State of Texas traditionally has recognized a variety of official state symbols as tangible representations of the dynamic and diverse nature of our state, and the designation of buckminsterfullerene as the State Molecule of Texas would also be an appropriate expression of this tradition; drawing attention to this momentous discovery not only pays fitting tribute to the state’s world-class scientific community, but also underscores the importance of the aerospace, chemical, electronics, and energy industries that have become such vital contributors to the state’s economy and that will be among the major beneficiaries of this new technology;

     
  • Pat 12:36 am on 27 May 2008 Permalink  

    Caller to 911 operator: “Don’t know why, but there’s a cash register up in a tree over here.

    That’s certainly odd, but is it an emergency? I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that even in Hawaii, there’s no law against cash registers in trees.

     
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