Kindle Issues

After owning a Kindle Touch for a month or so, I’d like to clarify a few things about the device that weren’t really clear to me when I purchased it. Some of the information I found on the internet was vague or misleading regarding the Kindle’s abilities. Here’s what I’ve learned from my own experimentation on my Kindle Touch.

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Anti-PIPA Blackout

I just wanted to mention that tomorrow (Jan. 18) this blog will be participating in the anti-PIPA blackout. As a liberty-minded individual, I am often disturbed by the dangerously invasive legislation passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Unfortunately, there is usually not much I can do about it. Thankfully, there are occasionally some viable grass-roots protest efforts, and the pending PIPA legislation has garnered such opposition.

I won’t bother writing extensively about this since there is already a wealth of information available. Suffice it to say that I agree with those who are of the opinion that PIPA/SOPA represent a legitimate threat to internet freedom. By adding my blog to the blackout, I hope to lend my voice (as minor as it may be) to support their cause.

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0 A.D. on Mac OS X

I’ve been following the development of 0 A.D. with great interest over the past few years. It started as a full-replacement mod for Age of Empires II, which I played extensively in high school, and developed into a full-fledged open source indie RTS. They’ve made some remarkable progress in the past few months, and I was very happy to finally get the latest alpha release to work on Mac OS X (their Mac support has been shaky or non-existent in the past).

The instructions on their OSX build website are quite good, with the exception of the fact that (at least with this version) you have to manually set up some dynamic libraries. This process is described in a bug report in their Trac system. With the links established, the latest alpha (version 8 “Haxāmaniš”) works (albeit without sound) on my iMac. W00t! Kudos to the team, and I await further development with eager anticipation.

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StarCraft 2 Races by League

Today I was looking at the table of StarCraft 2 races played by league, and noticed a couple of interesting trends regarding the different races:

  • Random players seem to virtually disappear at the higher leagues, reflecting the generally-accepted difficulty of playing all three races well.
  • Terran percentages seem to dip in the middle leagues, rising at the higher and lower leagues; this probably reflects the current perceived “over-powered” nature of this race.
  • Zerg percentages seem to peak in the middle leagues; it seems like a hard race to play, both at very easy and very difficult levels.
  • Protoss player percentages are nearly identical across all leagues, rising just a tad in grandmaster; perhaps it is currently the most balanced race?

Makes me glad to be a Protoss player! :)

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New Theme

Yes, the website looks different–I updated a bunch of the pages today and decided to refresh the theme while I was fiddling. Hopefully this theme will be cleaner and easier on the eyes than the old one. If you have display issues with it let me know.

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All those Maes and Macs

In doing some research about loans and savings accounts, I became confused about all the “Maes” and “Macs” floating around, so I compiled a list that succinctly states their origin, purpose, and current level of entanglement with the US federal government. I hope this proves useful to anyone else who was as confused as I was at first.

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Automatically finding auditions

My wife recently explained the difficulty involved in keeping track of orchestra auditions. With few central lists or registries, musicians must rely on word-of-mouth and manual website browsing to discover auditions. It sounded like something that computer science could help with, so I wrote a tool to do it automatically and have posted the results on my website.. :)

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LibreOffice 3.3 released

The Document Foundation has released the first production version of LibreOffice. This is a fork of the OpenOffice.org project, one that began several months ago as a response to the longtime development roadblocks posed by the OOo owners (Sun/Oracle). Much of the existing OOo community (Red Hat, Canonical, Google, etc.) has joined with the Document Foundation in the development of LibreOffice and I think it has great potential to become a de facto replacement for OOo. Check it out!

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Excellent spam

My recent post on “orchestra scoreboards” has provoked a lot of discussion on other blogs, and it has spiked the amount of spam comments to my blog. Thankfully, WordPress has pretty effective comment moderation policies, and it hasn’t been a problem. However, some of the comments are absolutely hilarious, so I figured I’d share a few of them.

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