This morning I completed the final level of the video game SpaceChem. Many people had recommend this puzzle game to me as one that I would like and they were correct. Some of the game mechanics remind me of the board game RoboRally, which I also enjoy. As the game progresses though it turns into a complete visual programming language with switches and branching letting you create very complex behavior from simple primitive operations. And like most programming you can spend time optimizing your algorithms against either space (reactors and/or symbols used) or time (cycles used). I didn't spend much time going back to optimize my solutions as the 44 hours (wow looking at RescueTime scares me sometimes) it took me to beat the game was enough of a distraction :)
I'm pleased to announce the first release of Zeo Data Explorer. For anyone that uses a Zeo to track their sleep, I've been playing with different ways to visual my sleep data, which some of you may have heard me talk about at BarCamp Boston 5. To that end I put together a generic library for parsing the CSV file you can export from the myZeo site. Along with the generic parsing library I've started exploring different ways to visual my sleep, beyond what you can do on myZeo, in an application called the Zeo Data Display. All of the source code is available on bitbucket at Zeo Data Explorer. This includes a pure AS3 library for parsing the data and a sample Flex application for visualizing it. For those that don't have a Zeo I've included a sample of my own data to get an idea of what it tracks. As time permits I hope to add additional visualizations to the tool now that the overall framework is in place. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
A former co-worker of mine just announced an awesome new Facebook game that they built with Flex, Swiz, and AS3Signals. It's called Urban Warfare, plays like Civilization, and can be found at http://apps.facebook.com/urbanwarfaregame/.
It has taken a little time but I've finally rotated, culled, and captioned photos from the 2 week bicycling trip I took in June between Prague and Budapest. It was a REI Adventures organized tour which had a great group of people and guides. Should you find that I've completely missed the mark on a photo (spelling, wrong caption, etc.) be sure to let me know.
Yesterday I bought a computer game. For those that know me well this may came as a big surprise since this isn't something I normally do. Lately I've found myself searching for something to sink my teeth into. I've not quite found it yet so I've been doing my best to not just sit in front of the television and watch movies. To that end a discussion at work recently brought up the game Braid. I have to say so far it is an awesome puzzle game, my favorite genre. The playing with time dynamic the game has isn't something I've seen in the few games I've played or heard about and it's done very well. Definitely worth the few bucks it cost me.
For most of this year I've been collecting frequent data snapshots of the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious Kiva Team. I've been a member of Kiva for some time and thought it would be neat to track the success of the group leading up to our one million dollar goal. A few months ago I started playing with the Flex Charting Components to see what I could do with the data I'd been collecting. I don't have the graphical touch (as anyone who has looked at this website can attest to) but working with the charting components made it easy to throw together some basic visualizations of the data.
The code for the application is ugly, so unlike most of my other sample applications, I didn't view source enable it. Given the plethora of other sites talking about the same material this isn't a loss, trust me :) One thing that I'd like to experiment with is other ways to visual the data. Any recommendations are welcome.
Its been a busy weekend.
The Tour de France wrapped up this weekend with an everything on the line time trial on Saturday and another fabulous sprint finish on the Champs Elysee on Sunday. Congratulations to Carlos Sastre, this year's winner. My DVR can rest for awhile now that I don't have 4-5 hours of live coverage to zoom through each night. Versus' prime time coverage just can't compare to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.
Sunday consisted of helping Erin and Pete move into an apartment down the street, but was mostly taken up by painting my entryway. Stephanie has been helping me pick out colors and look for deals on paint. A couple of months ago she came across this great peach color which fit with the overall scheme. Problem is, now that I've got one room done, I'm itching to do the rest.
While still in the stupor of jet leg I decided it would be a good idea to try my hand at free handing with my camera some shots of Boston's 4th of July Fireworks. My camera has a fireworks mode on it that worked surprisingly well. I can only image they would get better if I used a tripod.
I've finally finished going through all of my Nepal photos and have put them online. My next effort will be to go through and comment them, but don't hold your breathe on that. All told I took almost 1000 pictures and culled that down to about 650 by weeding out the blurry and bad. Nepal made for some challenging shooting with the frequently overcast and changing weather conditions. I'm sure some of the photos could use a little touch-up magic with Photoshop but that's stepping a little outside my standard photo expertise.
As my last hike before heading to Nepal I took a trip up to the White Mountains in NH to hike Mt. Flume and Mt. Liberty. These are some of the photos I took along the hike to make sure my new camera worked well.
I recently got back from a week of vacation in Maine at my families' camp. It was great to be off the grid and relax with nature as a backdrop. The only real technology I took along was my camera, which I used to capture the beauty. It had been many years since I was last at the camp for a vacation. My last couple of trips were to replace the roof. It was as I remembered it from my youth. Simplicity is good.
I've been very impressed with USA's lead up to the start of this season of 4400 (Jun 17th). I've been getting a steady stream of SMS messages since signing up for them at the end of last year. They have also launched an aggressive online video, blog, website campaign (which at times has been more interesting to follow then the real news). The focus is around these sites:
Then there are the YouTube videos (which are linked from the above sites).
I just got back from visiting Erin in Aberdeen Scotland. It was a blast. I've not had time to collect my thoughts and do a proper summary but I have done a first pass at putting up pictures.
If ever there was a comic that captured much of what I feel this is it. That being the squirrel guy :)
I think I've caught up on a bunch of pictures that had been sitting on my camera. For your viewing pleasure: David and Karen's Wedding, Gilman Manor's Roof, Saying Goodbye to Matt, Bubbles, and Elissa's Apartment.
My camera acted up a bit so I didn't get a picture of Matt driving off or of Craig during the wedding. Yeah, I should get a new camera, but gosh darn it if my current one just mostly works... Also Elissa's room was just too messy to subject her to having a picture of it on the web.
In the beginning there was the song "Dragosteta din Tei" by Romanian boy band O-Zone.
Next came a man called Gary Brolsma who posted a video of himself dancing and lip-syncing to the song.
This made news.
Along came Brooker.
I love the Internet!
I can't believe I never linked to this. Must see. Although most of you that read this blog probably already have, multiple times.
Cirque du Soleil's latest touring show is coming to Boston (Sept. 8 to Oct. 8). I saw Corteo when it debuted in Montreal and loved it. Get your tickets now, they are on sale for Cirque Club members and the good seats always sell out fast.
Also if you want to borrow it, I just got a promotional CD-ROM in the mail about the show.
Just explore: http://tokyoplastic.com/
I've been having fun over the past few days spending a few minutes when I get home from work playing the daily puzzle in the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google. I'll be curious to see how much more difficult they get over the next couple of weeks as the first week was really easy and this week they added a few more elements to make it more interesting.
These are too funny. Send one to everyone you know! http://www.careerbuilder.com/monk-e-mail/
I'm half way through watching the HBO mini-series from 1998 entitled From the Earth to the Moon and I have to say that it is wonderful. The series has a great combination of archival footage, reenactment, and a top-notch level and quality of detail. I realize I'm probably behind the times since this came out eight years ago and I'm just watching it, but it's a prime example of better late than never. It won a bunch of awards when it did originally come out and from what I've seen, they were all deserved. If you have any interest in the history of the space race, I'd highly recommend this series (and I've only watched half of it).
The demo video for Multi-Touch Interaction Research blew me away. It was inevitable that touch screens and the backing software would start to approach the Matrix or Minority Report level of interaction, I was just not aware what state of the art in the field had gotten to. The ability to visualize and manipulate data in such an intuitive fashion fills me with excitement of the future possibilities.
A neat puzzle game with cows.
I came into work this morning to find that my cube had been completely covered in duct tape. It was well done and mad props to the perpetrator. Unfortunately, he didn't cover his tracks very well and left a receipt with his last name on it in one of the adjacent cube trash cans.
I was planning on leaving it up for a day, but the fumes coming off of the six or so rolls of duct tape used were giving a few of us headaches, so we took it down before lunch.
A friend of mine has put together a nifty Buddy Icon Maker. You can crop and zoom an image in real-time through his site and then generate an image suitable for a buddy icon at the end. I thought I'd mentioned it before, but I guess not.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed, Unconstitutional) present The ACLU Freedom Files, a revolutionary, 10-part series that tells the stories of real people in America whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back.
At John's birthday on Friday night Brian and Clara attempted Bananas Foster. I tried to capture it as best as I could along with some other pictures from the party.
I have today off. I finally got around to sorting through a bunch of pictures. I've decided to complicate matters and have uploaded them all into my new gallery. The list includes adding a 4th wall to a cube, Christmas 2005, decorating a cube for a birthday, a couple of random photos, moving into Gilman Manor, random stuff done to my cube, the Ruckus holiday party, the big snow storm, a collection of old t-shirts, and a freaky van. Enjoy!
UPCOMING: Tuesday, November 22, 7 p.m. @ Coolidge Corner Theatre
THE ELEPHANT MAN with guest speaker Jerome Groopman, M.D., whose research on degenerative diseases has lead to groundbreaking advances in the study of cancer and AIDS, as well as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, and Alzheimer's.
A little early for this Christmas season, but still very funny. It's got a good loop going on.
I love eBay.
I got your TPS right here!
There should be more PSAs like this.
Slava is a friend of mine who I used to work with at BiT Group. He's quite the photographer and has put up a gallery with some awesome photos. Enjoy.
The first week of November I took a vacation to Bangkok. I had a wonderful time and really got to explore the city. I've finally gotten around to putting up my pictures and getting some descriptions added.
The site says it all. The higher levels offer a good challenge.
Neat little flash game.
This guy does creates amazing origami pieces. Most of them use just a single piece of paper.
A video that calls into question what really happened at the Pentagon.
The BBC currently has three animated Doctor Who adventures. These are excellent quality and really fun to watch.
Finally got around to putting up a pet project I've been working on to capture the various elements of Z styling found around the car. I'll let you be the judge if I've stretched a little too much on some of them.
I, I can't stop laughing!!!!
A great little exploration of the Sun and Microsoft money settlement.
Next up from the South Park folks.
The joys of the Java GridBag...