Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Useless Trivia!

This time it's revealing the actual names of many fictional characters.  Be enlightened by MentalFloss (again):

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Want Some Wolverine Claws Of Your Own?

Just ask this guy:


As someone who enjoys playing with shiny blades, I can't not love these.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm Way More Excited About This Than I Should Probably Admit

From Android Central:

May the Pork be with you

Rovio continues to milk the Angry Birds franchise for every thing it's worth, and coming this September the latest -- Angry Birds Star Wars II -- will be launching on app stores worldwide. This time though, there's a new piece of merchandising that fans of the series, as well as Star Wars fans, are going to be excited about.

They're called TELEPODS, and they bring more to the table than your typical plushie or keychain figurine. As you can see in the video after the break, they are action figures of your favorite Angry Birds Star Wars characters, that can be imported right into the game. Place the base of the figure on your phone or tablets camera and they're instantly available as a playable character.

Also new is the ability to choose your faction, and you can play as part of the good or evil side -- or "Pork Side" as Rovio puts it. All in all, this latest looks to breathe new life into the most popular mobile gaming series of all time. We'll give it a good long look this coming September.


You know I love Star Wars, but I also enjoy me some Angry Birds, so this is a natural win for me.  Even more importantly, the tie-ins with the little physical toys is actually a really slick idea that I believe was pioneered by the Skylanders game series.  It's a marketing model that makes a whole lot of sense and has the potential to tie together a lot of platforms in a way that would make it far easier and more convenient to be a consumer.  I know Disney is working with the Skylanders platform and will be coming out with something related soon, and with Rovio jumping on the bandwagon I think we'll start seeing a lot more of this in the months to come.  Regardless, I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Explaining The Three-Fingered Salute

In the spring of 1981, David Bradley was part of a select team working from a nondescript office building in Boca Raton, Fla. His task: to help build IBM’s new personal computer. Because Apple and RadioShack were already selling small stand-alone computers, the project (code name: Acorn) was a rush job. Instead of the typical three- to five-year turnaround, Acorn had to be completed in a single year.

One of the programmers’ pet peeves was that whenever the computer encountered a coding glitch, they had to manually restart the entire system. Turning the machine back on automatically initiated a series of memory tests, which stole valuable time. “Some days, you’d be rebooting every five minutes as you searched for the problem,” Bradley says. The tedious tests made the coders want to pull their hair out.

So Bradley created a keyboard shortcut that triggered a system reset without the memory tests. He never dreamed that the simple fix would make him a programming hero, someone who’d someday be hounded to autograph keyboards at conferences. And he didn’t foresee the command becoming such an integral part of the user experience.

Bradley joined IBM as a programmer in 1975. By 1978, he was working on the Datamaster, the company’s early, flawed attempt at a PC. It was an exciting time—computers were starting to become more accessible, and Bradley had a chance to help popularize them.

In September 1980, he became the 12th of 12 engineers picked to work on Acorn. The close-knit team was whisked away from IBM’s New York headquarters. “We had very little interference,” Bradley says. “We got to do the design essentially starting with a blank sheet of paper.”

Bradley worked on everything from writing input/output programs to troubleshooting wire-wrap boards. Five months into the project, he created ctrl+alt+del. The task was just another item to tick off his to-do list. “It was five minutes, 10 minutes of activity, and then I moved on to the next of the 100 things that needed to get done,” he says. Bradley chose the keys by location—with the del key across the keyboard from the other two, it seemed unlikely that all three would be accidentally pressed at the same time. Bradley never intended to make the shortcut available to customers, nor did he expect it to enter the pop lexicon. It was meant for him and his fellow coders, for whom every second counted.

The team managed to finish Acorn on schedule. In the fall of 1981, the IBM PC hit shelves—a homely gray box beneath a monitor that spit out green lines of type. Marketing experts predicted that the company would sell a modest 241,683 units in the first five years; company execs thought that estimate was too optimistic. They were all wrong. IBM PC sales would reach into the millions, with people of all ages using the machines to play games, edit documents, and crunch numbers. Computing would never be the same.


And yet, few of these consumers were aware of Bradley’s shortcut quietly lingering in their machines. It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when Microsoft’s Windows took off, that the shortcut came to prominence. As PCs all over the country crashed and the infamous “blue screen of death” plagued Windows users, a quick fix spread from friend to friend: ctrl+alt+del. Suddenly, Bradley’s little code was a big deal. Journalists hailed “the three-finger salute” as a saving grace for PC owners—a population that kept growing.

In 2001, hundreds of people packed into the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC. In two decades, the company had moved more than 500 million PCs worldwide. After dinner, industry luminaries, including Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, sat down for a panel discussion. But the first question didn’t go to Gates; it went to David Bradley. The programmer, who has always been surprised by how popular those five minutes spent creating ctrl+alt+del made him, was quick to deflect the glory.

“I have to share the credit,” Bradley joked. “I may have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous.”
Read the full text here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/51674/history-ctrl-alt-delete#ixzz2Z7G6VzDv
--brought to you by mental_floss!
 Now you know...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nerf Supremacy

I'm real sure I need one of these for my cubicle at work...


Is it possible to not love Nerf?  I don't think so.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More Incredible Military Tech

It's stuff like this that makes me seriously question the fact that we "can't" take out anyone in the world if we really wanted to.  I'm pretty sure that if this thing is publicly known (with its own promo video), then it's at least one generation back, so can you imagine the capabilities of the latest and greatest?  What third world terrorist is going to be able to protect himself from a precision-guided projectile that can travel 60+ miles to nail a specific vehicle or a particular section of a building?  No chance.

Seems to me that the question is much more along the lines of whether or not we have the will to take people out than the means...but that's a whole different topic.  Anyway, be in awe...



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Let us never forget the words...

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security....

Full text here. May God continue to bless America!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How Big Is The Ocean?

I just thought this was some pretty amazing perspective.  Nerd out!