Archive for September, 2009


Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I haven’t slept or eaten much in the last several days (five? I’m not sure). So in lieu of writing up a blog post for Wednesday, I’m going to go to bed.

Collaboration Vs. Going Solo

Friday, September 25th, 2009

I love working with other people. It’s fun and there’s just something about being with other people that creates a certain kind of energy that can’t be found working solo. But that’s not always possible. For example, I enjoy acting. Oh sure, I may not have the right “look”, or have much in the way of “experience”, or possess even a modicum of “talent” … but I do have a lot enthusiasm! Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be enough and I don’t tend to get a lot of roles.

Much of life requires other people’s willingness or approval and when it’s not there, there’s only so much you can do. So maybe I won’t get that job promotion, or get my screenplay made into a movie, or become homecoming queen. But there’s still a lot that I can do on my own. For starters, I can practice and maybe that’ll help in the future. I may not be good enough to be able to perform in a band, but I can play the piano by myself and hopefully, over time, I’ll get better.

The other thing I can do is focus my efforts on things that don’t require other people. I mean, I can’t force other people to work on a movie I’ve written. But I can make my own comic. Or write my own blog. Of course, I can’t guarantee that anyone will be interested. But hey, it’s a start, right?

Word Ace

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I’ve been playing a lot of Word Ace lately on the iPhone. Actually, Tracy’s been playing it more than me and she’s better at it than I am. Neither of us is all that great but it’s still a lot of fun. What is it? Imagine Scrabble combined with Texas Hold ‘Em. It’s an ingenious idea and I’m amazed at how well it works.

The only issue I have is that I suspect that there’s some cheating going on at the bigger tables. I mean, when people regularly pull out words like “eosine” and “kalpas”, I gotta wonder if they’re playing with a dictionary nearby…


Monday, September 21st, 2009

This Saturday, I participated in the 24th World Wide SketchCrawl. What is SketchCrawl? It’s a simple idea, a whole bunch of people gather together somewhere and just start drawing. It’s mostly based in San Francisco but there are gatherings all around the world.

This weekend, the local gathering started out in China Town and we wandered around to parks near there. I’m not that great at drawing (especially compared to the people that were there!) but it was good to get out and practice. It’s tricky to find something interesting that stays still long enough for me to draw it, but I managed to draw a couple in the park, a tree with shadows that made it look like a face, and the back of a friend’s head.

Fun and Mayhem

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I just started taking a class. A class in stage combat. Specifically, the art of stage combat while using a quarterstaff. I know what you’re thinking. “What could possibly make Mach want to learn how to use a quarterstaff?” Blame it on early childhood influences.

Also, I recently found out that you can jump to the middle of a YouTube clip by appending a time code to the URL. For example, suppose you wanted to start playing at the 1 minute and 48 seconds mark. Just append “#t=1m48s” to get and now the link starts there.


Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Still kinda recovering a cold so instead of a full blog entry, I’ll just pass on a tip from a fellow developer: If you’re doing any sort of real-time gaming on the iPhone, you probably want to use the CADisplayLink to drive your graphics loop instead of an NSTimer because NSTimer isn’t guaranteed to get called in the specified time frame.

Viral Video

Monday, September 14th, 2009

On Friday, I linked to a video I uploaded that was made by one of my co-workers from still images grabbed from a webcam of the construction project. Since then, the video was featured on Laughing Squid and SFist and has garnered over 100,000 views in just a few days. In that time, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Anything that attracts the attention of tens of thousands of people per day is also bound to attract some idiots. Boy, some of those YouTube commenters rank really high up on the scale of stupid. (Not you guys, though, you guys are all awesome.)
  • There is a Benny Hillifier on the web which will add Yakkety Sax (better known as the “Benny Hill music”) to any YouTube video, which is perfect for, say, a timelapse video of bridge construction. Oh, interwebs, is there anything you can’t do?
  • Having a single popular video on YouTube has no appreciable affect on the traffic to your other videos or your website.
  • If you are aching from a cold and trying to recover in bed, cats do not care and will come and sit on your chest anyways. However, it is comforting when they purr.

San Francisco Bay Bridge Time Lapse

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

The bridge connecting East Bay and San Francisco recently underwent some construction to attach the new on-ramp. There was a webcam pointed at it during the construction and one of my co-workers wrote a linux script to grab the image every minute and then he turned it into a movie file. I converted that movie into a smaller format and put it up on YouTube. Surprisingly, it’s gotten over 5000 hits in a single day!

Boom Dice Achievements

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

One of the nice things about the Open Feint system is that it has achievements. So in the next version of Boom Dice when you unlock a new die type, you’ll get a little message and then you unlock the corresponding achievement achievement. Optionally, it can also post to your facebook or twitter account to tell everyone what a Boom Dice stud you are. I’m still working on the text, but this is the general idea.

So far, I’ve just got the three achievements but if you guys have any others that you want to see in there, let me know!

Also, this post was published on the 9th minute of the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month of the year 2009.

Open Feint

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Happy Labor Day! In America, this is the day when we celebrate labor by spending the day not laboring. I’ve got the day off so I’m going to do a little work on Boom Dice. I spent a little time over the weekend integrating the new Open Feint features. What is Open Feint? It’s an open social network by the makers of Aurora Feint that you can include in your iPhone apps. Think of it sort of like XBox Live for app. The latest version has a great new interface and offers achievements, leaderboards, chat, and more. Check it out!