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Archive for May, 2008

Visions of Mars, now actually on Mars

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Nearly 15 years ago, I was the software lead on a project called “Visions of Mars,” a digital time capsule of classic SF stories and visualizations about Mars that was sent to the red planet aboard the ambitious Mars-96 spacecraft, launched by Russia. Produced by astronomical artist and visionary Jon Lomberg for the Planetary Society, […]

Ear Burning with Power Tools

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

My ears burn when I see boldface type. You’ve probably googled yourself before. Being a huge egomaniac with access to power tools, I’ve turned googling yourself into a colossal waste of bandwidth. Pathetic, really… but perhaps you’d like to wallow in your own navel as well? I use various services to monitor for mentions of […]

Annoyance #215

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Engineers who use the phrase “Best Practices” to rationalize doing, or not doing things. This strikes me as a lazy way to state an opinion, and make it sound more authoritative. If something works, or doesn’t work, explain precisely why. Don’t just invoke the nebulous specter of “Best Practices”.


Friday, May 16th, 2008

Richard Feynman and the Connection Machine

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Via Hacker News, here’s an account by Thinking Machines founder Danny Hillis about the early days of the company that produced the amazing Connection Machine, and their unlikely employee, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. A fascinating and beautifully written account. link

The Spinning Oracle

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

The Spinning Oracle is a magic trick derived from my Wheel of Lunch project that wlil give you about 60 seconds of amusement. The effectiveness of magic is greatly reduced when tricks are performed more than once — so try to resist the temptation to view the trick twice. Instead, share it with a friend!

Apture feedback goes here

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

You may notice in the blog articles below, a little “W” icon next to some of the Wikipedia links, and a little film-strip icon next to some YouTube links. Those are placed by Apture, a blog-annotation service I’m beta-testing that allows you to preview that content without leaving the blog. I kind of like it, […]

Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

The Computer History Museum in San Francisco has some very cool video of a pristine reproduction of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2 in operation, which you can see on their website. Although Babbage never completed one of these machines, former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold has had one built for his private collection, and it […]