Archive for March 24th, 2003
SitePal - virtual people for your website. I’m posting this again - even though it’s in the archives from a year or so ago because I’m sure you dont dig through the archives much :)
This is an application which allows you to create a nifty flash - based virtual character for embedding in your website. It also can speak and do other interesting things. This would be great if you could combine something like this with say an IRC chat environment where everyone had one of these as avatars. [CogWorks News]
A big problem with these things for use in live person-to-person chat interfaces is that they’re slow (by virtue of the fact that they’re speaking much slower that a person can read), cumbersome (in memory, screen real-estate, network and cpu usage) and worst of all: noisy. Imagine 40 people in a chat room, or even 5, all of which have audible avatars. It’s complete chaos.
Back when all the “cyberspace” buzzwords were emerging along with things like VRML, people tried really hard to have 3d flythrough environments that would model real space, assuming that the computer would then be more of a natural extension to our everyday lives. But being forced to navigate “simulated real space” through an interface layer that re-inserted an abstraction layer is cumbersome. It’s not the best way to retrieve or manage information.
Look at the ActiveWorlds environment for instance (that’s “worlds” not “words)”. It’s this “vast” 3d world where you can do all the virtual homesteading you could want. But there’s really no advantage to the world metaphor outside the coolness factor (which is considerable, I grant you.) If you know where you want to go, you address that location (in any of several ways.) If you don’t know, you search. Eyeballing it is radically inefficient.
The “make it just like keyboard controlled reality” idea doesn’t particularly help the newbie learn how to use the computer any more than Microsoft Bob did. But I digress horribly.
Ananova is kinda fun as a toy, but I really don’t want my news read to me online. (Tellingly, even Ana herself seems to have been marginalized on her own site.) I’m not even gonna start about the friggin paperclip fiasco.
I really intended this to be an “ooh, look how cool” post. But the more I think about it the more I realize that when I’m done oohing and aahhhing over it, I’d never look at it again, except perhaps to have it read research papers to me out loud while I’m in the other room baking. But then, why would I need the graphics?
Peacenik: Why are we invading Iraq?
Warmonger: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.
Peacenik: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?
Warmonger: By “world”, I meant the United Nations.
Peacenik: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?
Warmonger: By “United Nations” I meant the Security Council.
Peacenik: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security Council?
Warmonger: I meant the majority of the Security Council.
Peacenik: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security Council?
Warmonger: Well… there could be an unreasonable veto.
Peacenik: In which case?
Warmonger: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.
Peacenik: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at all?
Warmonger: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.
Indeed. [Radio Free Blogistan]
Anyone can contrive a dialog to make one or the other of the participants seem like an idiot. That doesn’t make it real.
Go read the Marquis De Sade’s “proof” of the lack of existence of god if you’re gonna listen to this.
I think you’ll have to do a whole bunch better than that if you want Glenn Reynolds to link to you.
One year blogging. One year ago on Friday, I started blogging. I created my first weblog and made my first post, to announce my first open source project, Python Community Server. Since then, just about everything computer-related I’ve done in my spare time has had something to do with blogging.
The first weblog I regularly read was Joel On Software. I found out about Dave Winer’s Scripting News when looking for information on SOAP (during my brief period of contribution to the Mono project), and that lead me to Radio UserLand and much hacking on community servers.
Blogging has brought me in touch with loads of new people — notably Rogers Cadenhead, who appeared one day on my blog server, Robert Barksdale, who’s still blogging there, and Georg Bauer, who’s pretty much taken over the work on the PyCS project. More recently Seb Paquet (Mr. Personal Publishing), Marc Canter (International Man of Mystery) and Matt Mower. The ecosystem project brought out N.Z. Bear and many others. Somewhere in the middle of all that, Stephen Dulaney (who does research into social behaviour when he’s not writing software) started writing to me out of the blue, and we’ve had some great conversations.
So thanks, guys, for making my last year much more interesting, helping me grow as a programmer and inspiring me to hack up new tools and sites. I wonder where we’ll be next year …
Congratualations to Phil, he’s achieved a huge amount in a short space of time.[Curiouser and curiouser!]
I really wanted to see “Bowling for Columbine”. The reactions I’d received and the recommendations I’ve been given have almost always been of the *lean slightly back and hold out one hand, palm down saying (slowly with increased gravity) “oh no… you REALLY need to go see this.”* type.
Being in NYC means that most movies will be in theaters for years. I’d almost bet I could go see Pulp Fiction on a screen if I really looked. So I haven’t paid much attention to it.
But then comes this link, the post surrounding which has long been deleted from my aggregator, so I can’t credit the person who brought it to my attention, as I’ve NO idea who it might be. But thanks a bunch, whoever you are.
In these days of fact-checked asses and fisked Op-Eds, it amazes me that this could happen.
What I’d like to do, is follow up on some of the checks myself, since this is the first place I’m reading them, and it might be a good exercise anyway. So before I start plugging around for stuff, does anyone have any interesting pointers for this? (I mean besides the NRA home page, etc.) Or am I just the last to find out?