The Camera Bag Problem, 2013

I bought a new camera, so I had to look at camera bags again. I was allegedly after something "smaller" to hold the new set of "smaller" equipment I would be carrying now. This is of course a lie. It's apparently been a few years since I looked at camera bags. For the most part my conclusions are the same: get a Domke bag of the right size and stick with it. The explosion of Internet merchandising has added a few new things to ignore on your trip over to Domke-land, so let's review.

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The Camera We Want, Redux

We took a trip to Hong Kong and Singapore over Thanksgiving break. Ever since I did a trip to Hong Kong for work a few years ago this trip has been in the plans. If you have any interest in East Asian food, or any other sort of food for that matter, Hong Kong and Singapore must be on your list. But I'm not here to talk about food. You can find out about that anywhere. I'm here to talk about cameras.

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Pooh Knows Baseball

Current status: playing this surprisingly difficult children's game:

Kanga and Roo's knuckleball is brutal.

The Most Interesting Guy In Early Home Computing

Dancing Demon, by Leo Christopherson

In the early days of home computers there were a lot of interesting people writing programs. Many of them did not have backgrounds in computer science. The most interesting of them all, in my opinion, was clearly this guy, Leo Christopherson, whom you might (but probably don't) remember as the author of Dancing Demon, one of the first commercially sold games.

Pocket Storm: Pure iOS Awesomeness

Pocket Storm

Some years ago, my friend Zarf created a...thing...called Boodler. Boodler was a python-based soundscape tool that would put together programmatically generated soundscapes at your request; so you could tell it "Play a loop of crickets" or "frogs" or "wind" or "ticking clocks" and it would. Of course, it required someone to actually write a little python script to provide the rules by which the soundscape was generated, and you had to install the required sound loop packages.

Math is Hard, Let's Just Quit.

Andrew Hacker has pissed me off before. A few years back he wrote a book where he claimed that the standard humanities-oriented "Liberal Arts" curriculum was the only one worthy of actually being taught at the university level. Now, he might have just been making an oblique argument that our current college programs tend to be too vocational, and I'd agree with that. But he wrapped his point in a lot of inflammatory bullshit that to me meant that he really didn't think that mathematics and its related fields were really worth anything.

Dinner in Half an Hour: Simpler Braised Pork Shoulder

Pork stew, rice, kale chips.

Here's a recipe that I've written up before but this version is simpler and you can actually get it done in half an hour. Actually, I've written this one down twice. Once with pork and once with lamb. But who's counting. So here we go.

Start with these things:

1. Pork shoulder roast preferably with the bone. Around 3-4 pounds.

Koba the Dread

Joseph Stalin

The young Joseph Stalin

It was...a symmetrical convenience – for Stalin – that a true description of the Soviet Union exactly resembled a demented slander of the Soviet Union.

Martin Amis opens his very personal history of Joseph Stalin, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million with a quote from Robert Conquest's book on the the Terror-Famine.

A Catalog of Useful Chess-Related Links

Photo credit: (c) 2007 by Martin Lopatka under a Creative Commons license on Flickr

I've been playing a lot of internet chess lately. This post is to organize my head and catalog some of the links that I've found useful.

Let's start with a list of decent places to play online (this list will be updated over time, as appropriate...please share additions in the comments if you know of any)

Mecho Wars

Tank Girls

Photo credit: puukibeach on Flickr

It was several years ago that I wrote about the unparalleled simplicity and depth of Nintendo's excellent series of Advance Wars games. While some may find the cartoonish look of the game off-putting, I honestly think it's one of the most enjoyable light tactical wargames I've played. Today I'd like to tell you about Mecho Wars, an iPhone game that tries to emulate Advance Wars and, mostly, succeeds.

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