Archive for October, 2009

Freebord Tetris

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Live-action reenactment of old video games has become a whole genre on YouTube.

I stumbled across this one via one of those circuitous routes typical of web surfing.  It uses freebords – a nifty variation of the skateboard I’ve never seen before.

This is one of the originals:

My Weather Gadget keeps sticking on top of my other windows!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

 I’m using Windows 7 and having trouble with my gadgets.

If that doesn’t sound familiar, then “move along, nothing to see here“.

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A Horserse?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Another picture I stumbled across.

PhotoshopDisasters: Oslo Grand Prix: Horserse

Can you spot the error?

Yep.  There’s something wrong with the reflection, isn’t there.

“Close. The. Box. Walk away”

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

I stumbled across this.  Can’t improve the caption.

“Close. The. Box. Walk away” – Boing Boing

On Perceptions

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

This is my favorite illustration about attention and perception. The original page is here.
In the movie below you will see a group of college students passing a basketball.  Some are wearing black shirts and some are wearing white. You must count the number of times the WHITE team bounces the ball between two players. Keep track of the total.
Go ahead and do it. I’ll wait.

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Shay

Friday, October 9th, 2009

I don’t know if this story is true, and that isn’t the point.  It’s touching and inspirational.
I sincerely hope that my children would make the right choice.

Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway.
My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

“When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.  Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?”

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.”

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, “Do you think they’ll let me play?” I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.”

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball..  However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.  Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.  Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.  Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, “Shay, run to first! Run to first!” Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second!”

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball; the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.  He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay” Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third! Shay, run to third!”  As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, “Shay, run home! Run home!” Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

“That day”, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world”.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

What would you do?

Star Wars – uncut

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Star Wars uncut has embarked on a truly unique venture.  They have split the movie (Episode IV, A New Hope) into about 1100 fifteen second snippets and asked for volunteers to film and upload one to three segments.

Hello! You and 472 other people have the chance to recreate Star Wars: A New Hope. Below is the entire movie split up into 15 second clips. Click on one of the scenes to claim it, film it, and upload it. You can have up to three scenes! When we’re all done, we’ll stitch it all together and watch the magic happen.

They recently released the trailer:

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Bob’s Quick Guide to the Apostrophe

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

A coworker passed this on to me today:

Bob's quick guide to the apostrophe

I think it’s funny – grammer is just not that difficult.

Apostrophes are actually a little more complicated than Bob admits – Grammar Girl addresses them with respect to P’s and Q’san abbreviation, years, and making plural words possessive.

Read What You Write

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

In another case of Everything Being Connected, I was irritated in the same way by several things I read today.  I think the authors just didn’t think enough about what they were writing.

The first is a blog post called 20 Tips for More Efficient Google Searches.  This is actually an informative article.  However, in his quest to get 20 items in the list, and (I presume) to elevate them to some kind of parity, he makes this statement about number 8 (italics mine):

Calculator
One of the handiest uses of Google, type in a quick calculation in the search box and get an answer. It’s faster than calling up your computer’s calculator in most cases. Use the , -, *, / symbols and parentheses to do a simple equation.

One of the handiest uses? Really? Would Google be compelling with this feature, but without the others?

It’s faster than calling up your computer’s calculator?  Not likely.  I use “Start+R calc<enter>” – that’s 6 keys.  All right – I’ll back off on that one.  Not everyone knows how to do that.

The second is a sidebar in Fitness magazine.  I happened to see this in an open copy:

 Snack Smarter

Next time the munchies hit, try this simple strategy to avoid pigging out: Calculate how long it’s been since you last ate, and consider every hour to be worth about 100 calories.  “If you had breakfast at 8 a.m. and it’s now 10:30, you should have about a 250-calorie snack to tide you over until lunch,” says Connie Diekman, R.D., director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.  “This will keep your stomach from grumbling between meals without going overboard.”  …

So, if I eat breakfast at 6:00 and eat a snack at 11:30, I should get 550 calories to “tide me over” until lunch (perhaps in 30 minutes, perhaps longer – that’s not included in the article).  If I eat my snack at 7:00, I get only 100 calories to tide me over the next 5 hours.  Nope.  Doesn’t work for me.

Yikes! Snow Bikes.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Here’s about the coolest thing every.  Ktrak has been selling these conversion kits for a couple of years now, and they appear to be sold out for 2009.  Maybe next year.

This image is from the rolling video on their homepage:

Ktrak Snow Bike

Looks like fun.

If you’re content to coast, you can build your own with instructions from Instructibles.com.

If you want to go the other way (you adrenaline junkie, you)  you can also convert your dirt bike.

More info (and lots of other cool stuff) at GizMag.