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You know what this is? It's a brain sucker. You know what it's doing? Filing its tax return

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent apple pie

The Adventures of Little Ed Brave

Tell airport security your name is McCannister because you can hide anything in a cannister.

You know what? Nobody notices when this changes anyway.

There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and STFU

What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole

The black hole draws you inexorably inward. Time slows. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

I'd diddle little umdidlie... if she weren't my half-sister.

Abortion prevents pedophilia. In more ways than one!
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I wrote a haiku

which I was about to share,

but then I thought, "screw it."
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Notice to all users of the Holodeck:

There are safety protocols in place that cannot be deactivated without the approval of two commanding officers or the captain to protect users of the Holodeck from potential harm. However, every time the Holodeck is ever used in a nontrivial manner, no matter what the safety protocols say, the Holodeck turns into a deathtrap.

Unless you believe yourself to be adept at constructing a forcefield from your communicator and 19th century Earth tools, or you're at the very least not wearing a red shirt, you are strongly advised not to attempt to use the Holodeck until a designer comes up with a safety protocol that doesn't kill you whenever somebody looks at it funny. Even when you're not on the holodeck. Or in the same quadrant. Or time period.

In fact, if you are wearing a red shirt, Starfleet may not be the job for you


Category: Work

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Who the hell is Ken Burns?

Permalink 12/20/10 at 08:29:24 pm, by Ed, 952 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Work

There's an awful lot of knowledge in the world. The reason for that is because there are so many diverse fields in which one can specialize, and one has been specializing in those fields for such a long time. That creates more knowledge as those who specialize invent more better (or worse) different ways of doing things, which can lead to even more new different better (or worse) fields in which one can specialize.

That's a hell of a lot of branching. If you think of the first specialist, he (or she) was probably a hunter/gatherer while his (or her) significant other stayed at home and watched the kids. Well, something like that anyway. To become a better hunter/gatherer, humans, with their fancy-pancy opposable thumbs, developed weapons. If 2001 is to be believed, we had the help of a large black box, and our first weapons were not so much "developed" as "found in last night's dinner".

So we take bones of our hunted food, and use them as clubs to kill slightly larger food. This doesn't isn't a whole lot of knowledge, but now, let's skim the surface for awhile. We invent ways of developing better weapons (sharpening, etc.). Once we have a lot of meat, we're looking for ways to get lots of vegetables. We invent the plow, supposedly another one of man's (or woman's) first inventions that allows us to till the land with the help of those animals we haven't killed off yet, and plant food.

So now we have a place we can stay rather than moving with the seasons and following our food. Now we have incentive to build better homes rather than living in caves, or teepees, or wigwams, or what have you. So we learn to build more crap. That requires the manufacturing of tools. More tools leads to finer production of buildings, which leads to the production of more tools that can do better work, which leads to better buildings, etc.

So now we've got people staying in one place rather than traveling, and they've got nice McMansions to show for it. Well, McMansions of 12,000 BC anyway. And you know what? I like building McMansions, not hunting. I've got to invent bartering so I can build a McMansion for that guy over there who's a much better hunter than me anyway. This leads to money, and that opens another whole can of worms.

So you've got the beginnings of communities. More McMansions being built closer together, because it takes a village to... do what villages do, I suppose, which tends to be condemning old women with warts and long noses to burn. But not for another few thousand years. As communities continue to grow, you need leaders. So you get the best and brightest to tell the rest of us what to do, how to do it, and get paid for it. There's your politician and manager trades. Lots of knowledge there.

Remember, I'm just skimming the surface. By now (circa 5000 BC), we've got dozens or even hundreds of specializations, each with their own specialized knowledge that the other specializations need know nothing about. It is simply because we are so specialized that we can become morespecialized. If one guy really knows his sewer cleaning stuff, then I don't have to worry about it, and can instead figure out how to better "take flange-drives out over the square of thumbs while tubing flap tape". Whatever that means.

So fastforward about 7000 years. I know I've heard a quote somewhere that said "specialization is for insects", but if we didn't have specialization, we'd be living in a medieval society. I know all about computer science, and specifically about how things are done at my company, and very specifically, about how the projects I'm working on work. At the broadest level, computer science, it could almost be discounted as a "specialization" since so many people are similar in that respect. But I could talk ad nauseum about how APUs work to somebody who's specialized in, for example, politics, and they would absorb absolutely zero of what I was saying.

On the next level down, at my company, that narrows it down. There's less than a dozen people who know the internals of what we do. And even lower down, the projects I work on, really that's just me. I'm the only person who has all the knowledge there to give you some rinky-dink iPhone game. All you had to do was buy it. Whether you're a professional athlete who can run a mile in 10.8 seconds, or a video-photographer who knows what the hell a Ken Burns effect is, you don't need to know anything about Objective-C, or memory management, or OpenGL, or Photoshop (although if you are a photographer, you probably do know a thing or two), or trigonometry, or geometry, or floating-point inconsistencies, or binary, or data structures, or application signing, or universal binaries, or code compilation, or static libraries, or dynamic libraries, or how ants use pheromones to find the shortest path to sustenance, or efficient 2D physics engines, or how to make sound effects, or how to convert sound effects into a format suitable for playing on the iPhone.

Anyway, I guess this is just my way of saying, without any feelings of stupidity that I don't know the answer, "Who the hell is Ken Burns anyway?" There's a lot of stuff I do know, and I feel it's probably not necessary for me to go specializing in whatever it is Ken Burns did to find out what's so great to get an effect named after you in Final Cut Pro (which I also had to use in my rinky-dink iPhone game).

Sludge Water

Permalink 12/03/10 at 07:14:28 am, by Ed, 179 words   English (US)
Categories: Work

Every morning, the first thing I do when I get to work is turn on my computers and get a glass of water while they're booting up. I think the water machine they're using doesn't supply fresh water, but instead provides powdered water, or perhaps water from concentrate, because the last few days, it seems like I'm getting the sediment from the bottom. Like it needs to be stirred up again. Not that there are any particles in it, it just seems to... move slower than water does. Like it's slightly more viscous than fresh water.

My eyes are probably playing tricks on me, which I can only assume is another amusing side effect of something I'm doing wrong (though what I'm doing wrong I couldn't say). Other amusing side effects include regularly speaking in other people's voices by accident, and I totally wish I had that disease that caused me to speak random words instead of coherent sentences, but unfortunately, that is only a symptom of traumatic head polar tractor gate party mother of pearls before swine flu.

High self expectations

Permalink 10/01/10 at 07:12:23 am, by Ed, 58 words   English (US)
Categories: Work

At the end of work yesterday, I was optimizing the physics engine for a game I'm working on, and just as I was leaving, I broke something that caused the call to world.update() to fail. I left myself a note in Notepad to remember to fix it first thing this morning:

"Fix World"

Talk about high expectations.

Epic Fail

Permalink 03/05/10 at 08:52:45 pm, by Ed, 78 words   English (US)
Categories: Work

I've become the de facto sound editor person at work, since I know more about it than anybody else. I've been using a program called GoldWave to do most of my work, and though we ought probably actually buy it. So I sent out an email saying as such, so it makes it easier for me to edit sounds.

My boss, who is not a funny man, replied:

"sounds" good... go ahead and make that purchase

Epic fail.

Somebody get me a gun or a knife

Permalink 02/14/10 at 08:07:16 am, by Ed, 396 words   English (US)
Categories: General, School, Work

So, you know how you get a song stuck in your head and sometimes you're humming it to yourself for the rest of the day?

Okay, well, two tangents off that, then. First of all, about 3 or 4 years ago and the vocal jazz Christmas concert, Allen Voigt sand "Your a Mean One Mr. Grinch" and it's been stuck in my head ever since. Seriously. I will start singing it to myself at a moment's notice and realize it five minutes later.

The other tangent is this, and I don't know if anybody else does this, please let me know. I don't just get songs stuck in my head. I get conversations stuck in my head. If I just had a short conversation with somebody, I will replay that conversation over and over in my head for the next ten minutes. For example, I went in to work one day awhile ago, and got on the elevator, and somebody else was already there. I pushed the button for floor six, and they asked me, "Are there a bunch of companies on the sixth floor, or just one?"

"No, there's a bunch," I replied.

For the next ten minutes, I was saying to myself, "Are there a bunch of companies on the sixth floor, or just one? No, there's a bunch. Oh, there's a bunch. There's several. Oh, I don't know how many there are. Are there a bunch of companies on the sixth floor? Yeah, my company only takes up a few windows. How many companies are there on the sixth floor? Oh, I don't know, a bunch. If I had to guess I would say 8."

This happens to me all the time. I get conversations stuck in my head and replay them over and over and over. From movies too, where I could come up with a much better line than the writer did, three years after last watching the movie, and having 3 years more to think about the line than the writer did.

Sometimes I get conversations stuck in my head that haven't yet occurred. I'm just preparing for when the moment comes in that case, I guess. Just gotta make sure I know what to say if I'm ever in court and the defense lawyer interrupts me in the middle of what I'm saying. I'll tell you some time. Just don't let me forget.

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