brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


Brad Bird on NPR

While driving home today, I flipped on KQED, our local NPR affiliate and heard a voice I'm rather accustomed to hearing: the director of The Incredibles, Brad Bird. I get quite a few requests about what it's like to work at Pixar, and you could do a lot worse than hearing it from Brad's mouth. He's a phenomenal director, and really knows his stuff. Check out the audio link on NPR's website.


Gift for Baseball Fans

Baseball Season!I wanted to get a file with the schedule for all the major league baseball games this season, but remarkably, it seemed difficult. Sure, you can surf over to each team in the league, and by clicking through their websites, eventually get to a file with comma separated values in it, but it's fairly tedious, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the files that are produced.

But, I went through all thirty teams anyway, and did it.

The result is a master CSV file with the dates, start time and who is playing in each game. There is almost certainly a problem or two remaining, a couple of duplicated times, but it still should be useful, and the price is right.

You can download the results here.


Why Blog?

Over at Contentious, Amy is trying to answer the age old introspective question facing most bloggers: "Why do you blog?"

I meet quite a few people who don't understand why anyone would write a blog. To them, I mostly ask "Why do you bother talking?"

Let's be brutally honest: most of us don't have anything really innovative to say, and even if we did, we'd be struggling to say it in a way that won't leave an audience begging for sleep. So, why do we bother?

We bother because we all have the need to talk.

My blog is at least seventy five percent therapy. I blog to serve as a place to sound out opinions and feelings for which I don't have another outlet. Even the more nominally pragmatic topics on my blog (such as my many personal geek projects) aren't written so much inform others as to fufill my own need to talk about the things which interest me.

Personal anecdote: I began being interested in computers at a very young age, probably
10 or 11 years old. By the time I was sixteen, I had bought my very first computer, and was eagerly teaching myself the mysteries of how it worked. Very few of my peer group were very interested, and even those that were interested weren't motivated enough to spend a year of their part time job money to buy computers of their own. So, I proceeded mostly on my own, aided by magazines and books.

I remember one afternoon when I was at my Grandmother Busch's house. She was a very kind woman, and I had earned a significant portion of my computer money by performing lawn work for her over the previous year. I was happily explaining some minor feature of something having to do with my Atari 400 to her, and then trudged off to the next room. I recall overhearing this conversation between my her and my mom:

Grandma: "Boy, that kid really likes his computer, doesn't he?"
Mom: "Yep, he really does."
Grandma: "He seems to be really smart, like he knows everything about it."
Mom: "Yep, he's a smart one."
Grandma: "I don't understand a single thing he's talking about."
Mom: "Me neither"
Grandma: "He doesn't seem to mind though, as long as I nod."
Mom: "Yep, that's what I do."

Somethings may have changed, but that aspect of my personality probably hasn't changed at all.

In the background, I do have some big ideas and consistent themes: technology is fun, copyrights and licensing are stifling individual creativity, and one learns best by doing rather than watching. I hope some of these come through from time to time. But really it boils down to a personal need for an expressive outlet.

Individuals need expressive outlets. The world is better when we talk, and also better when we stop from time to time and listen.

Filed under: Blogging Comments Off

Preserving Player Piano Rolls

Courtesy of the MAKE blog, here's a link to Terry Smith's Player Piano Rebirth page. Terry takes old player piano rolls, scans them and converts them to MIDI files. He has over 2600 rolls scanned already. Wow. Very cool.

Filed under: Music 1 Comment

Brainwagon Radio: World Poker Tour Game, Sin City, and Acronis True Image

Where your host reviews a cool $20 video game, World Poker Tour by Toymax, gives his mixed (even muddled) opinion on ::google("sin city","Sin City")::, and a thumbs up for Acronis True Image disk cloning software.

Still have gmail and Yahoo! 360 invites available, mail me if you want one.

Additional gratuitous links:

  • I bought the World Poker Tour game because Wil Wheaton recommended it after getting one as a consolation prize for competing in the World Poker Tour Invitational.
  • Oh, when I said "video game" above, I meant "video game", not "video game software". It's a hardware gadget. $20. Wow, economies of scale.