well this is over.

Yearly updates aren’t going to cut it. Here’s some links to get out of here.

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Anniversary Post!

It’s been a year since my last post on this blog. Good times.

I should destroy it.

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The Beta Band disagrees, Lenny Kravitz

Just a bit of silliness.

It\'s over

Noticed while cleaning out duplicates in iTunes.

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kings of power 4 billion %

Almost two years ago I talked about Paul Robertson’s Pirate Baby’s Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006, an animated short made in the style of side-scrolling 2D fighter. Now you know that was chock full of ultra-violent awesomeness, but what if I were to tell you that Paul Robertson is back with even more eye candy? Candy that not only brings the same side-scrolling animation and blood, but even more pop culture references, religious references, and a fantastic sound track?

Well, Mr. Robertson has gone and done it. Check out KINGS OF POWER 4 BILLION %! (warning… this really isn’t for the squemish. Yeah, it’s just 2D sprite violence, but it’s pretty gory even for 2D sprites… especially the final battle).

Trailer below.

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Editable Google Maps…

Now that’s interesting. Apparently you can now edit any business entry in Google maps. For example, these guys tried to change the web address of a local Republican Party office to fleshbot.com. Lovely.

To see recent edits, you can go here, but from what I can tell it’s just an unstoppable moving map showing each recent edit in order.

I really have no idea how they plan on stopping vandals from basically ruining their map. Wikipedia does it with a small army of dedicated folks who have good guidelines on how to deal with vandalism. Right now I don’t see anything like that on Google Maps. Guess everyone will have to keep an eye on their address to make sure it’s in the right spot (I already changed mine so that it actually points to my house instead of a block down the road). Businesses especially will have to keep a sharp eye out since anyone can change anything on the map, even the business’ name.

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Radiohead and NIN music videos contests…

Well one of them is a contest anyway.

A few days ago Trent Reznor of NIN got on the YouTube and asked the community to take music from their latest (Creative-Commons licensed) album and make a music video — http://www.youtube.com/ninofficial. They would then take a look, pick some favorites and then present them in a film festival of some sort.

And just today I find out that Radiohead, with Adult Swim and AniBoom.com, want you to do the same thing with their (previously-pay-whatever-the-hell-you-want) new album. Except they want it animated and you have to storyboard it first. But if they like it they’ll pay you to make it — http://www.aniboom.com/radiohead. You’ve got 40 days.

I’d enter them both if I had the time, I’ve downloaded and listened to both albums already and I could certainly think of something. I even story boarded an animated video for “Just” once upon a time. I’m not saying I would win anything, but it would be fun to be able to do something that creative.

Plus it’s just cool for a band like NIN to be encouraging others to build upon their work, to the point that they didn’t even name the tracks so it wouldn’t influence you.

Edit: Something I forgot to mention. Another artist that isn’t really getting a lot of love for releasing his album online is Saul Williams. You may not have heard of him, but you might have heard one of his songs on a recent Nike commercial (which of course seems like a strange pairing if you know anything about that song) or seen him in the indy movie Slam. It’s a mix of hip-hop, poetry, and industrial. Not bad in my opinion, but I think I like his previous self-titled album better.

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust was produced by Trent Reznor and will cost you some money, but it’s DRM free and you can get it in a loseless format.

Posted in animation, contest, nin, nine inch nails, radiohead, youtube | 1 Comment

dj spooky…

Can’t believe I haven’t posted this yet. That Subliminal Kid, DJ Spooky is coming to UNC (and Duke apparently) to give a demonstration and lecture. It’ll be in the Great Hall of the Carolina Union on February 8th, 3-5pm.

And as it’s partially ibiblio event, I made a poster…
DJ Spooky poster

Download bigger versions and share if you’d like…

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the library of congress is cool

cleaning the bubble

They just placed 3,000+ images on Flickr copyright free (or at least have no known copyright). They want folks to tag there stuff (good old folksomonies) but for me it means I have even more photos to use on the front page banner.

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twitter…

This blog not inane enough for you? How about micro-blogging? You can see me over at twitter.com/danlucas.

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taking the late evening train to florida…

that’s not quite as catchy.

I am going down to southern Florida for a few days though and to save money (compared to flying) and sanity (compared to driving) Dawne and I are taking the train. I’ve got all my books and movies ready for the 19-hour long trip but it occurred to me that I would be even more content if I could just use my laptop for the whole trip.

Which made me wonder, do US passenger trains even have wifi? And if not, why? A quick google search reveals that people have been asking this question for years. There seems to be some Amtrak stations up in the Northeast that have T Mobile hotspots, but nothing on the trains. This boggles the mind. I know that the train business is in dire straits and all, but adding the ability to work while I sit on the train would make the decision between flying regionally or taking the train simple. Sure, you’d get to your destination faster on a plane (security hassles notwithstanding) but you’d be actually getting stuff done on a train. What busy business person wouldn’t take that opportunity? Sounds like a good way to draw some of those passengers away from the cheap-o airlines…

Regardless, I’m still taking my laptop with me on the train if for nothing else the abilities to watch a movie on something other than an ipod screen, but man I would love the chance to play online games for 19 hours…

Posted in general | 3 Comments

my gawd it’s real…

Burt Freakin' Reynolds

I expressed my doubts that the Uwe Boll directed Dungeon Siege film was real, but no: it most certainly exists. It even has a site and a trailer, though it’s missing Burt Reynolds. What it does have is a more-than-just-a-passing resemblance to Lord of the Rings. I mean, if I didn’t know better I’d say Uwe straight up stole some of the models and story boards from LoTR.

Still baffled why people give this man money to make movies…

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so you’re a business…

Saleem suggested a long time ago that I use this blog to share something I learned from SILS every week. I want to apologize to him, because that was a fantastic idea but I was too lazy to follow through. I would have had tons, TONS, of examples of bad system design alone. Why just today I got a call from Mazda which we’ll assume was about my car. We’re assuming this because they never actually told me what they wanted to talk about.

Now if you want to get in contact with a customer what kind of system would you design to so that your representatives can get through? The simplest way would just have a human call the customer. Obvious, but now consider some other factors that might come to play in an call center. Hand dialing is pretty inefficient so you can go with robot dialing. You might be short staffed so you might need an automated voice to do the initial talking or, if it’s a simple matter, just have the robot just announce. Beyond staff and efficiency you have to worry about courtesy, accuracy, being in accordance to agreements and laws, asking for social security numbers, account numbers, personal information, etc. There’s a lot to consider if you’re a big company and it’s easy to see why something as simple as a phone call can devolve into the bland, unfeeling, touch-tone-a-thon that customer service calls have become.

But even if you have to reduce your calls to a robot reading a script you can at least be smart enough not to be like Mazda Credit.

*ring*

Dan: Hello?

Vaguely-female-voiced Robot: Hello. Please call Mazda Credit at 1-800-xxx-xxxx for an important announcement.

*click*

*dial*

Vaguely-female-voiced Robot: Hello. Please enter your account number or your social security card number

*click*

No. I’m not giving a phone number, that I’m not even sure is for real, any damn thing. If you have something to tell me, just have someone call and tell me. If that really was Mazda, they really need to rethink a system that cold calls a customer with a robot that redirects them to another number that gives you nothing but asks for personal information. That is not how you instill trust.

I hope it wasn’t important…

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hi, this is a test…

I treat my blog as my own development sandbox. So you can ignore me sometimes…

ˆîò

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safari and google stuffs…

I don’t know if it’s due to the recent update of Mac OS X.4 to 10.4.11 (which came with a non-beta version of Safari 3) or if it had something to do with the recoding of Gmail or both, but I just noticed that Gmail and Google Reader both work a lot better than before in Safari. Google Talk integration seems to work in Gmail now, more Gmail shortcuts work (like hitting Tab then Space while composing a message sends it), and Reader doesn’t have that annoying bug where if your list of entries were long enough the page wouldn’t scroll down as you navigated through the entries.

Awesome, it was small things like this that prevented me from using Safari more regularly. As much as I like Firefox it’s slower and takes up more memory on my machine so if I can regulate it to “use when necessary” status (for when I’m developing a website or researching Zotero for instance, got to love those plugins) I’ll be a happy camper.

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ibiblio redesign…

It’s up and running. I would consider it in beta as there’s plenty of code to clean up and some suggestions to take into account, but it’s about as ready as it’ll ever. Overall I’m pretty happy with it and wouldn’t be ashamed to put it in the portfolio. Which, of course, I’m doing.

Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or concerns.

Posted in ibiblio | 1 Comment

bob young coming to unc…

Click the pic for a PDF of the image. Print it out and spread the word!

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fantasy football is the debbil…

Why did I decide that it would be a good idea to play fantasy football this season? Watching the Kickoff Game of the NFL season may have been the first time I’ve ever been simultaneously angry and happy on one play. I have Payton Manning and Marvin Harrison. My opponent has Reggie Wayne. All three of them are on the same team. So you end up with situations where you’re glad your quarterback has just thrown a touchdown but, dammit, it was to the wrong receiver.

You can’t even root for a whole team, just certain members of a team! How does anyone keep their sanity during an entire season with stress like this? Why do we sports fans just love torturing ourselves? Gah!

Posted in fantasy football, sports | 1 Comment

oh, what the hell…

Here’s a new theme for the site. It’s by the guys at the n.design studio. It’s called iTheme.

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w3c validator…

I noticed while working on the monthly front page that the w3c redesigned their HTML validator. Very nice.

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the entire reason for the internet…

is to make fun of comics.

Posted in general | 2 Comments