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Ryan North has perfectly captured my feelings about Monopoly™. I haven't laughed so hard for a long time.

Just sayin'. Fob


Instant Graphic Novel

In 2009, at the Stumptown Comic Festival, I participated in something called the "Instant Graphic Novel" exercise. "Instant" is a bit of a misnomer here: it took about 2 hours. The 15 or 20 participants settled on a genre, story arc, and characters, with the help of the coordinator who provided genre descriptions and character models to choose from. Then each participant selected a page of the storyboard to work on.


What's the difference between a Mac and an Etch-a-Sketch?

This is an old joke from the 128K Mac days:

Q: What's the difference between a Mac and an Etch-a-Sketch?
A: You don't have to shake the Mac to clear the screen.

My boy set up his iPhone today so that it goes to sleep when you shake it. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. Fob

Proposals for Open Source Bridge

I'm submitting a talk to  Open Source Bridge - June 21–24, 2011 - Portland, OR

User trap of the week: Mystery BibTeX

You don't need to know anything about TeX, LaTeX or BiBTeX to get this one right. You just have to have better eyes and better reasoning skills than I do. 30 minutes. That's what I get for copying and pasting stuff off web pages.

Ow! My gateway box died!!

About three hours ago the ancient AMD box I was using as a gateway machine for my home network bit it. Seems to have been either the motherboard or power supply; I don't really care much which at this point…


"Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."

There was a nice Discover Magazine article Monday on the IBM Jeopardy-playing computer Watson. The author was kind enough to interview me and quote me extensively and accurately on the topic; I thought the piece as a whole was quite well written and extremely informative.


Recently on BartForge

Several new things on BartForge recently. Haskell code for tries and a Haskell version of xlogo. The Drupal theme used here at FOB. A SAT-based Sudoku solver. Keith Packard's parsecvs. Mick Thomure's and my old machine learning library.

Have fun. Fob


User trap of the week: Mystery Maxima

I can never remember the quotient rule for derivatives. You know, (x/y)' = ?. So I got out the computer algebra package Maxima and had this little session:

    (%i56) ratsimp(diff(x(t)/y(t),t));
                                 d                  d
                           x(t) (-- (y(t))) - y(t) (-- (x(t)))
                                 dt                 dt
    (%o56)               - -----------------------------------
                                          y (t)

Spot the minus sign next to the horizontal rule, separated by a single space? I didn't. Think it is insane not to absorb that minus sign into the numerator by swapping the terms? I do.

There's a half-hour of my life I'll never get back…

I think we might have a slight PR problem here

From today's Oregonian newspaper…


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