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

30Jun/053

Lose a little on every sale…

Make up for it in volume!

According to this article on Slashdot, Gamespot claims that the Playstation 3 will cost $494 to make, but sell for $399. I'm curious. Does it really make sense to spand a billion dollars to try to win this race? Holy crap. That's not chump change.

Ultimately, Sony (and presumably Microsoft as well) is banking that decreases in manufacturing costs as well as licensing fees will make up for this initial investment. I'm left wondering: isn't it possible to make a game system which results in a more cash neutral position, and doesn't rely so heavily on licensing? Could we actually have a real user friendly machine that encouraged individual creativity and experimentation?

Nintendo? Are you listening?

30Jun/052

More on Google Maps API

In the previous post, a couple of people noted problems with the API. Just in case nobody realized this: the key that you use is tied to the website that the request comes from. You can't simply copy my key and make it work, you need to apply to get your own.

Addendum: Hmmm. It appears that a warning may be produced when the header is used in directories which are more than one level deep in the hierarchy from the registered URL. I'll have to check this out some more. I may have to disable this until I get it sorted out. Stay tuned.

Addedum 2: I was apparently right. The key is only useful for the directory in which it is generated, not subdirectories. Sigh. Whose bright idea was that? This means that if I embed maps into posts (as I did below) they won't appear properly (indeed, will generate a Javascript error) when they are viewed in comments or archives.

More discussion.

29Jun/052

Google Releases Google Map API

Now, you can embed google maps into your own websites. Like, well, this:

Okay, it's not working right yet. I'm still trying to figure it out. Okay, got it working. Problem was that trying to insert script elements into a wordpress post was problematic because it insists on mangling quote characters. I'll post again when I have this all figured out.

I've disabled the above, since it doesn't work properly from comments and the archive.

Oh, forgot the link to the API description.

Addendum: The Text Control plugin allows you to disable funky quote remapping on a post, which keeps the Javascript from being mangled. Check it out.

Addendum 2: Check this out. Heh.

29Jun/050

FlickrBadge

my flickr badge

Make your own.

Filed under: My Photos No Comments
29Jun/050

Map Flickr photos with Google Earth

Well, that didn't take very long. The first cool hack for Google Earth has already appeared. As is reported on lifehacker, there is a hack to download geotagged photos from Flickr that are close to the location you are looking at. That's pretty cool. Now all I need is one of those GPS enabled camera phones... and...

29Jun/050

War of the Worlds, circa 1938

Today is the opening day for Spielberg's War of the Worlds, but just in case you want to know what Orson Welles' broadcast sounded like, you could surf over to The Mercury Theatre on the Air and download the mp3 or you could fetch it from me. The Mercury Theater info site deserves a plug though: they have all the broadcasts of the Mercury theater done up as a BitTorrent. They'd rather you downloaded the bunch that way, rather than just clicking on the individual link, so if all that you want is the one file, fetch it from me. Otherwise, download their piles of stuff and enjoy.

Addendum: Hmmm. WordPress seems to want to make this available as an enclosure. It looks like if you are subscribed to my podcast, you'll get Orson Welles. Oh well. 🙂

29Jun/051

Google Earth

I know, everyone and their mother already knows about this, but....

My brother called me at 11:15 last night to tell me about Google Earth. I actually had downloaded it, but not installed it. I've installed it. I've run it. It's very cool. But it doesn't quite know where my house is. Check it out.

29Jun/050

Udderly Ridiculous

This little bit of Shockwave madness seems strangely appropriate today. Today, after all, is the opening of Spielberg's War of the Worlds, and it is good to keep things in perspective.

28Jun/050

iTunes w/ Podcasting Released

Everybody else seems to be yapping about it: got to apple.com and get your fresh tasty new iTunes, complete with support for podcast subscriptions. I didn't have a chance to install it yet, but will tonight.

28Jun/050

Brainwagon Radio: Happy Birthday, Grokster and Gnomedex

Carmen's Cube

Where your host sings Happy Birthday to his wife and then goes on to discuss the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Grokster, and his feelings on the cult of personality that seems to be forming around blogging, as is exemplified by Gnomedex.

Links from the show:

  • The best blog on the doings of the Supreme Court would seem to be the SCOTUSblog.
27Jun/050

Sage Words from Wil

Great minds think alike. Here's a nice quote from Wil Wheaton:

Here is the most important thing I can tell you: You do not need the so-called traditional channels of distribution to get your work to an audience, and you'll probably be happier and more successful by not going through those channels. I've done it both ways, and self-publishing and distributing was more fun, more creatively satisfying, and much more financially rewarding than the indescribably frustrating process of doing it the other way.

Rock on, Wil. And good luck in the WSOP.

27Jun/051

Boffins create zombie dogs

Beware of the pitter patter of little zombie feet!I had to look up the word "boffin". Seemed timely given the release of Romero's Land of the Dead. News.com.au reports that scientists at Piottsburgh's Safar Center revived dogs that have had their blood replaced with very cold saline for three hours. This basically seems like a form of induced hypothermia. Their hope is that it might save humans with traumatic injuries.

Okay, but if I hear the words "T-virus" come up, I'm gonna go fetch my gun.

Filed under: Mad Science 1 Comment
27Jun/050

Google Video Search

Today Google released their own plugin for playing video on their Google Video Search page. Apparently it is based upon VLC, and you can get the source. Unfortunately, no love for Linux, FreeBSD or Mac OSX users yet.

27Jun/050

Why Blog about Random Stuff?

I do monitor various weblog indexers to see who is linking to this blog. Most of the time, they are really good at finding my own inter-site links, but occasionally I find out that I get links from unexpected sites. What was really cool was to discover that The MacAlba linked to me as one of the inspirations for his (successful) attempts at dropping some weight. Cool, and congratulations to Gordon.

I haven't given an update to my attempts at weight loss recently, largely because there has been so little motion in that regard. I'm currently in a plateau. In fact, it's more than a plateau, it is a plain, stretching as far as the eye can see. I had my weight down as low as 258 for a while, and am now (courtesy of some vacationing in Napa) bouncing around 264. To help snap the plateau, I'm beginning to augment my cardio workouts (which I do four times a week) with a short amount of strength training. I'm also trying to rededicate myself to journaling all the food I eat, and monitoring portion size.

Weight loss has never been harder or more discouraging than it is now. Still, I'm not gaining weight (at least, not much), I guess I'm not doing too badly.

I checked my BMI the other day, and found that I'm right on the borderline betweeen "overweight" and "obese". Yahoo.

Life is better at 264 than it was at 323. I have to remind myself of that.

Filed under: My Projects No Comments
27Jun/051

Supreme Court Rules in Grokster

Well, I haven't had a chance to read the ruling yet, but it appears that the SCOTUS has unanimously gutted the Sony decision and made software companies potentially liable for infringing uses of their software, regardless of whatever significant non-infringing uses their might be.

I'll post again when I have something in the way of analysis.

Addendum: I'm probably overreacting by claiming it gutted the Sony decision. My initial skim of the decision has only served to confuse me on what practical importance (if any) today's decision had. It definitely seems to make companies which promote copyright infringement to be dangerous to fund, but I'm not sure it goes beyond that, and it is far from clear that even a company like Grokster would qualify.

Addendum2: The best discussion I've found so far was here, on the SCOTUSblog.