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Passive resistance, like Gandhi January 4, 2008

Posted by brianlatimer in Uncategorized.
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A very-applicable video:

    Passive resistance, like Gandhi

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Transitions September 11, 2006

Posted by brianlatimer in Apple/Mac, Home, Uncategorized.
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So… on this day of rememberance, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life, and the lives of those around me. One aspect which I’ve greatly valued is the ability of keeping up-to-date with others via the web, especially via weblogs such as this.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything to my blog, however, and I have several excuses as to “why”. In all honesty, though, it boils down to: “The desire to maintain this website hasn’t been enough of a priority of mine”. Perhaps not a good reason, per se, but there it is.

However, I’m currently going through several transitions, which have made me re-evaluate many areas of my home life, as well as my work life. The upside is that I’ve made a commitment to myself (as well as several of my friends) to do a much better job in posting about my life going forward.

Watch this space for more … very soon.

Excellent collection of Visual Phenomena August 25, 2005

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…otherwise known as “Optical Illusions”. Check it out:

http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/index.html

I’ve seen many of these before, but really enjoyed finding so many in one place. The Lilac Chaser and Stepping Feet illusions are particularly interesting, IMHO.

Historical gallery of Graphical User Interfaces August 19, 2005

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I can’t believe I’ve never run across this site before…

Be sure to check out GUIdebook: Graphical User Interface gallery. As its name indicates, it contains TONS of information on GUIs throughout history – screenshots, videos, usage details, etc. The subjects run from the Amiga OS, to GNOME, to Magic Cap and the Newton OS. Heck, I’m just happy they feature the GUIs of my beloved Apple II – long live GS/OS!!!

(Oh, and the “Interface Element Obituary Poster” area is rather interesting… ;-)

They also just posted a great interview with John Gruber posted. John is the author of a rather interesting site, Daring Fireball. I may not always agree with his opinion on everything, but do believe he takes a unique position in critiquing user interface elements and design considerations which you and I probably never consider (has anyone ever read Tog’s take on Fitt’s Law?)

Here I come to save the day… August 2, 2005

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FINALLY, I can talk about the coolest input device I’ve seen in quite a while – Apple’s Mighty Mouse.

This is a multi-button mouse done right, folks – from the no-button buttons (it senses pressure on the smooth shell, eliminating the need for separate buttons), to the scroll ball (how obvious an enhancement is that?), to the programmable functions which are possible for each button press (including a simple mode, where each button simple provides a single click).

Oh, and just to show the attention to detail: It does NOT make physical sounds when you click or scroll – it actually has a speaker embedded in the mouse, to provide audible feedback for these actions. Wow.

Check it out. IMHO, this is the mouse by which all others will soon be judged. It doesn’t matter that Apple held off on embracing more than one mouse button – because when they finally did, they did it right.

New input/UI device: TactaPad July 22, 2005

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The TactaPad is billed as “a tactile, immersive, two-handed input device”. But that doesn’t come close to indicating just how creative – and yet incredible obvious and logical – this thing is. It contains a camera for tracking the motion of both of your hands over essentially a force-feedback touchpad.

I can’t really describe just how intriguing this approach is – you need to watch the movie for yourself.

An uncensored history of the Justice League July 14, 2005

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Since we’ve encountered several movies lately featuring The Incredibles, Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and even an upcoming new take on Superman, I thought this tongue-in-cheek “Where are they now?” interview was rather funny.

Note especially all those who were interviewed – including the leader of The World’s Most Dangerous Band The CBS Orchestra ;-)

Earbug of the day/month/year: “Mahna-Mahna” June 10, 2005

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You know that Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper ad with the incredibly-catchy, goofy music?

Well, as I was discussing with friends recently, it’s based on what some consider to be the best Muppet Show skit ever – that of “Mahna-Mahna and the two Snowths” (their name is a combination of “Snout” and “Mouth” – so they should really be “Snouths”). See that page for more details, and the full lyrics.

And, I’ve found links to a video of the original skit, as well as a slightly-different audio file – which is even funnier, IMHO, due to the extended Waldorf & Statler commentary. (And, as an aside, here’s the rough opposite of that commentary, as well ;-)

WARNING: Watch/listen to this song, and it will be stuck in your head for quite some time…

And note: Each attempt I’ve made to verify my belief that “If you merely say ‘mahna-mahna’ to anyone who grew up in the ’70s, they will immediately respond with ‘do-doo-de-do-do'” has worked out perfectly. Thanks for validating this, folks!

(As far as my term “earbug” – see this story)

Well, we’ve done it now June 6, 2005

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Yep, the rumors are true: Steve Jobs announced at today’s WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote that Apple will be transitioning the entire family of Macintosh computers to the Intel platform within the next 2 years. See the press release: Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006.

I can’t speak to any facet of this transition except that it certainly takes guts to announce it – and that it is certainly logical to do so at a Developer gathering. After all, it will be those Mac OS X developers who will either make or break this transition. Mac developers are the most creative, loyal, and demanding software engineers out there – and I hope that they see this move as one which will allow even more exposure to their products, and an even larger potential customer base.

We’ve known that Darwin has been running on the x86 platform all along – but although I “knew” some inside information, it was certainly surprising to see a full-fledged implementation of Mac OS X – including calculation-intensive programs, the full GUI, etc. – operating on a Pentium 4-based system. A nicely-done demo – and it was certainly a coup to get Intel’s new CEO up on stage to discuss details, as well.

Note a reference from 3 years ago, which appears to be quite appropos, right about now: Apple Keeps x86 Torch Lit with ‘Marklar’

Also: Note that Microsoft will be rolling out LongwaitLonghorn around the same time as these IntelliMacs begin to hit the scene. This could prove to be a great bit of serendipity – or a horrible roaring beast, which may drown out any other announcements or attention which Apple might be hoping for.

Mark my words: We’ve seen the start of a HUGE change in our beloved platform today. I’m hoping for the best, but preparing for some rocky roads ahead. Will users continue to buy Mac hardware (Apple’s bread-and-butter, high-margin products) now, or hold off to see how the move plays out. We’ll see…

(Aside: The worst part, as a ex-Apple,now-Intel friend just reminded me, we may have to hear that damn “Intel Inside” chime in Apple hardware ads soon. I hate that sound byte… )

UPDATE: I found at least one very optimistic take on the matter. Sounds good to me, if it comes to pass…

Metaphilm -Star Wars June 3, 2005

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OK, Star Wars: Episode III has been out for a while, so I don’t think I’ll be giving too much away to say that the movie sucked.

No – I’m not going to go into details; waste your own money and find out for yourself. I will mention a great little tongue-in-cheek article regarding continuity, though, which I thought was entertaining: Metaphilm -Star Wars

Alas, many of the concerns which the author had were not resolved – and those that were, were done so in such an amateurish way. I really think George Lucas has gone off the deep end – he had so many opportunities for doing something great with the prequels, and appears to have sold out any creative vision he had, merely to make a fast buck in “kid-friendly” (pronounced: “Dumbed down to the average comprehension level of a 5-year-old”) storylines, as well as Attention-Deficit-Disorder-friendly visuals.

At least the “Star Wars” franchise is finally OVER (I hope, I hope, I hope…), and we should be able to get those overly-adamant Star Wars geeks (and Lucas apologists) to shut up, already.