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Archive for the 'Idle Yams' Category

Annoyance #215

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Engineers who use the phrase “Best Practices” to rationalize doing, or not doing things. This strikes me as a lazy way to state an opinion, and make it sound more authoritative. If something works, or doesn’t work, explain precisely why. Don’t just invoke the nebulous specter of “Best Practices”.

Enigmas into pockets

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

A few times each year – once or twice a semester at Art Center, I get to explain to the uninitiated what a “variable” really is. Not the mysterious x from high school algebra, whose contents are unknown, and which we must decipher — even though there is no tangible reward! No, not an annoying […]

Where have all the Kakuro books gone?

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

About 18 months ago, I was contacted by a publisher, Ulysses press, that wanted to put out some Kakuro books, and I provided enough puzzles for three books. Like most small publishers, Ulysses was blindsided when the Sudoku craze hit, and didn’t manage to get any books in the pipeline before the market was glutted […]

Crop circles: An introduction

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

If you read this blog regularly, you know that a lot of the things I make involve circles. My fascination with circles and radial symmetry has extended to kaleidoscopes, fibonacci spirals, music, card tricks, spinning wheels of lunch, and so on. You may also know that I am prone to develop short term obsessions, which […]

Childhood Reads

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Stranger from the Depths, by Gerry Turner, 1967. Abridged version 1970. This was my favorite book for much of my childhood (until about 8th grade). I read the Scholastic abridged version a kajillion times. At least a couple dozen. One of the only science fiction books of my youth whose cover & blurb truthfully advertised […]

Why Flickr is cool

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Today I emailed this photo to Flickr. I had taken it with my cellphone last month while traveling on business. Within minutes, Jogales added a comment which revealed the make of the plane, the airline, and pointed me to a far more interesting picture of this very same plane colliding with another plane, on the […]

Food Stuffs

Friday, April 21st, 2006

One of the following five foods is different than the others. A) Grape Nuts B) Egg Salad C) Eggplant D) Egg Cream E) Eggroll Which is it? The answer is given below, in the inviso-text. The answer is “any of the above.” Here’s why: A) The only one which does not contain the word egg. […]

Text to Song

Monday, April 10th, 2006

I’m still working on making artificial yet authentic 17th century vocal music, so I thought I’d provide some MP3 samples to listen to, and give capsule reviews of a few of the different software packages I am using, in particular, Flinger, and Tracktion. If you haven’t read my previous post about this project, check it […]

Things you can infer from one dialog box

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

It is harder for a big company to produce decent software than a small company, as illustrated by this ugly little dialog box: Why do big companies have trouble making decent software? 1) They have too many employees. I believe that design and coding should be done by very small teams, and that the same […]

Mob Brown

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

According to a recent post in the Flickr Blog the ‘favorite’ color of the Flickr community is a warm brownish taupe. The blog points to a nifty application, favcol which computes the average color of all the images on Flickr recently tagged ‘favcol’. In actuality, that brownish taupe color is what you tend to get […]