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Response of colleague from team Alpha: “Cannot unsee!!”
Response of colleague from team Bravo: “What’s O.C.D.?”
Yup, that fits. ;-)
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Not a very subtle advertisement… But nice to hear they had real SMEs on board in Gravity.
PS: My favorite comment from an interview with a real astronaut about “mistakes” he spotted in Gravity: Real astronauts’ underwear doesn’t look that… good… ;-D
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My mission today, should I accept it: Open my company’s customer magazine on flipboard.
OK. I go to flipboard.com in a web browser. First impression: No search, no obvious way to create an account or to log on. The shiny front page images look like category buttons (“news!”, “arts!”, “science!”) but most turn out to be unclickable decorations.
Only at the bottom of the flipboard.com front page are some clickable sample magazines to read in the web browser. OK, I pick a random one, it looks pretty, but it browses clumsily, I can’t search — and it’s not what I came here for.
I click subscribe on a random thing –- which finally prompts me to “sign in”. I can sign in via an existing account (I have none) or via Facebook (I am presently signed on to Facebook). Alternatively it suggests to use the mobile app to create an account. I click “Facebook” and get “Could not sign in with Facebook. Please create your account with the Flipboard application before trying again.”
Oh well. Clearly “get the mobile app” is the main purpose of flipboard.com. I click the app store link and install the app on my phone.
First impression of the app: A meaningless picture. Second impression: There is no search and no “create account”. I have the option to log on using an existing account. I can slide up and down to select categories, some of which are similar to the categories on the web page. At the bottom I have the option to “create a flipboard”. I don’t want to create a flipboard, we already have one. I want to subscribe to a flipboard and read it. *Sigh.* I cannot find any other buttons, gestures, options, or settings (not in the phone’s settings panel either where the Facebook etc. mobile apps have extra settings).
When we complained that “we couldn’t find the Flipboard stuff”, a colleague created a http://flip.it shortcut directly to the right flipboard page. Opening the URL in the desktop browser, I find the page, and I get the option to “share” or “subscribe” or “get the app”. Opening the URL in a mobile browser, I can flip one page to read the content, and I get the additional option to “open in app” (see below). I flip back and click subscribe. It asks me to log on via existing account or facebook. *Sigh.*
Reading flipboard.com kinda works in the desktop browser, but in the phone browser, the web page is very flimsy. For some reason the content of the first page keeps fading to black. Before it fades to black, the bottom edge twitches and plays a flipping animation — independent of whether I click something, hold the phone up, or just have it lie on my desk. When I manually flip down and up again, or reload the browser page, I can again get a glimpse of the first page and quickly read or click something. So clearly, I rather want to look at Flipboard in the mobile app, right? But I already tried that…
Back to the phone browser. I tried to sign on via facebook from the web page several times. Entering my facebook name/pw failed 4 out of 5 times, just saying “failed, try again later”. There is also an option to install the Facebook app. Clicking “get the app” takes me to the app store, which tells me I already have the Facebook app. Yes. I know that. I am signed on in it… And in the browser too. *Sigh.* I close the app store and go back to the browser and try my Facebook credentials again. I get to a point where Facebook wants to allow Flipboard to access “my profile and contacts” (cursing under my breath), before it fails again. Twice Flipboard tried to post something to Facebook under my name (really? I click skip) before it fails again to continue. Back to the sign-on page then.
Dark blue on black, the Flipboard sign-on web page (in the mobile browser) has a “create account in app” link. (Sorry if I’m not quoting messages literally, but switching between apps and between devices also switches between German and English in my case).
OK. I click “create account in app” in the phone browser. Flipboard mobile app opens. “Setup required, this link was shared via flipboard, sign on first or create a Flipboard, and try again” … … *AARRGH*
Back to our page in the mobile browser. I try the “Open in app” option. Flipboard mobile app opens. “Setup required, this link was shared via flipboard, sign on first or create a Flipboard, and try again” … What. The. Flip?!
I give up and click the last option I haven’t tried, “create flipboard”, in the Flipboard app. It shows me 4 introduction slides (“subscribe to top magazines!” blablabla). I’m a second away from closing this slideshow when I see that the last box says “create user account.” *Sigh* Really? I click create, tell it to sign on via Facebook for the 10th time. This time the apps open and close themselves a few times as Flipboard and Facebook seemingly battle it out like shadow puppets. I disallow Flipboard from posting on my wall for the 10th time. … OK, I seem to be logged on?
Finally I get to see the real Flipboard app. The one that is not just a picture, but actually has a search and settings and stuff! *rolls eyes*
Now what was it that I wanted to search? Oh yes, my company’s magazine. The basic search turns up one marketing channel and some unrelated tuff, I click show more. I get tons of irrelevant stuff from google+, youtube, Instagram(!), and finally, Flipboard results again. Is this an “OR” search? Using quotation marks turns up no results at all. Oh well. After some scrolling, I find my company’s “information services” (fancy word for documentation)…
Now, when I go open the direct http://flip.it link again in the mobile browser, and click “Open in app”, it finally works.
So apparently “Flipboard” is my custom account that I use subscribe to news? Flipboard is not the news itself nor a method “of other people” to edit or publish news as I thought? Verdict: Finding specific content on Flipboard took a lot longer than necessary and the app is very unclear. If I were a customer, I would have given up earlier. :-[
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I feel like a bad person for liking the Gravity trailer: “Wanna see Sandra Bullock go ‘Aaah!’ for 90 mins?” doesn’t work as a pickup line at all. Believe me. I tried.
I would have named it “Lack of Gravity” though, but hey, what do I know. Finally a real space movie in 3D! Admittedly, everybody dies, but… that’s better than no space thriller at all, right?
Will I be able to watch this without yelling “I’m in space! So much space! See it all!” in a Portal voice…? X-)
A few youtube commenters complain that screaming “What do I do?” would make an astronaut look dumb, and that a “trained astronaut” would be “prepared”. How much can anyone be prepared for spinning in zero-g without a jetpack? (She didn’t get a jetpack because she was tasked to be the CanadArm‘s hand.) She can’t see straight, let alone steer or stop, so why not ask others for advice? Considering the situation, what she says is surprisingly coherent.
Second, she identifies herself as mission specialist. (Note she’s allowed to poke the prohibitively expensive satellite.) She likely got the job because she studied… applied satellite poke-ology or something, and not for being an experienced jetfighter pilot.
Speaking of which — Third, several people complained why a medical doctor is repairing a satelite in the first place, and why Clooney needs to explain carbon monoxide poisoning to a medical expert. Um, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the plot summary says “medical engineer“, not medical doctor! A medical engineer builds and maintains stuff like scanners and x-ray machines. It does make sense for someone with experience in imaging techniques to work on a satelite that performs scans and takes images on various wave lengths.
Nice to see so many scifi bloggers chiming in over the last few weeks. In We’ve seen Gravity and it’s even better than we’d hoped, io9 links to the soundtrack (wow, reminds me of Babylon 5!) and reports:
There was no alien chasing her, no mustache-twirling boyfriend, no sleazy boss or ticking bomb that was going to blow up the Earth and her kid — it was Sandra Bullock versus the elements.
In Spectacular new images from Gravity show the true horror of space, io9 drops hints that you can consider minor spoilers.
OK, we already know the hook from the main trailer: A spaceshuttle collided with debris while astronauts were working outside. And, we also see astronauts crashing into the ISS, so the survivors try to head for the space station somehow. Good call. Don’t read on if you want to go into the film knowing nothing beyond that.
In the photos, you also see the main characters wearing white US-style space suits in most images, especially in context with the space shuttle and free fall. In two pics Bullock is in underwear in a roomy zero-g indoors — the space shuttle is quite cramped in comparison, so we know she made it into the ISS somehow. In a few other shots, she wears an off-white Russian Sokol suit (blue pressure valve, different helmet) — those photos mostly show the ISS and Soyuz (the small room with three blue seats).
“Landing thrusters, landing thrusters… If I were a landing thruster, which one of those would I be…?” — Londo Mollari, Babylon 5, S1E19.
Interestingly, the ISS is wrapped into wire and a red and white parachute… Where did that come from? A space station does not parachute anywhere, optimally. At first I thought the space shuttle lost its parachute (white with red edge). But the one in the photo is white with several concentric red circles… Other NASA craft (e.g. Orion, which was supposed to replace space shuttles) have white-and-red radially striped parachutes. On second thought, that looks like a Soyuz parachute. :-o Uh-oh. Won’t she miss that when she wants to land the Soyuz?
Somebody summed up the movie as “90 mins of astronauts clinging to stuff”: Bullock falls off the space shuttle, free falls into the ISS, gets tangled up in mysterious parachute wires, loses Cloony (?), breaks and enters the ISS, undresses (*coughcough* Wow, she’s 50?? CGI? Botox?), fights a minor oxygen fire, realizes debris is still out to get her, steals a Russian space suit from an “L Demidov”, jumps out again (?), and hijacks a Soyuz that was parked with the engine running. And at some point she uses a fire extinguisher as jetpack replacement and…?
Well, let’s hope she played Kerbal Space Program! Or is a quick learner…
There is also a greenish underwater photo (again, Bullock in underwear), maybe that’s how they shot some of the zero-g scenes? But wouldn’t the water show? Not clear what that photo is.
If it were a European movie the story would end in space. Since it’s American, I assume she makes it heroically? Cloony cheerfully goes shooting star? And where the heck is the ISS crew??
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OK. I’m now officially dumber than a Kerbal.
I built a few simple Kerbal rockets and they fell over (no casualties). ;-) That’s normal on the first try—I’ll just have to rethink the design.
Next morning I woke up and had a revelation: Why were all the rocket components oriented horizontally? Why was it so hard to use the snap-mode to rotate boosters etc. vertically? And why did the game launch my rocket from a plain looking street and not a rocket launch pad…?
I was… working in the airplane hangar and not the rocket hangar, wasn’t I… X-)
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Colleagues shared this “wild” video at work today: VIDEO: Divočák poničil Hilton, pak běžel Prahou. Strážníci ho zalehli: A boar came south into Prague from the parks in the north, crossed Holešovice and the Vltava, picked a fight with (his own reflection in) the Hiltons’s glass doors, and ran through Těšnov. A Policeman successfully chased the confused animal down after it had been endangering innocent bystanders.
The story gets 10x better when you read it via Google Translate! The heading is already great:
Wild Boar damaged by Hilton, then ran Prague. Officers him hit the ground.
Gee, I wonder what happened? Let’s read on:
The island Štvanice swam across the river towards the Hilton Hotel for him, then broke a glass pane and ran away to the Těšnov. “… they broke the window of a pig and runs away to the Těšnov,” said spokesman Prague policemen Milena Bližňáková.
How exciting! Now the chase scene:
The fight took place on the health of several passers-by, police officers and the actual pig [...] then but made a mistake and let the contested constable to turn her head away from him and guard him so he could lie down,” said Bližňáková.
Yeah… No… I think I prefer reading the Czech version, thanks! ;-)
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Are you new to 3D game development with Java and looking for a book (or ebook) to get you started? Get the jMonkeyEngine 3.0 Beginner’s Guide, it’s approved by leading jMonkeys! :-)
This book will introduce you to game development including the multi-media art pipeline (how to integrate 3D models and audio), but it doesn’t focus on how to create the artwork (whole books have been written on that already).
The book includes lots of sample code and it assumes that the reader already has experience with Java. By experience I mean, you should know the standard Java API, and concepts such as inheritance, serialization, modularization, and threading before attempting to write a 3D game. jME3 is not a drag-and-drop MMORPG toy generator (although we will claim that every year on April 1st until people stop asking)…! :-P
There is also an extra chapter about the networking API (we call it SpiderMonkey) that you receive as a download after buying the book.
Rumour has it that the final release of jME3 is coming up soon! Or, well, at least they’re already discussing “funny” release names and logos on the forum… :-) Stay tuned!
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I swear this clockwork stock art is out to get me. It pops up everywhere, especially at work. Look at the following example. Does anything strike you as peculiar? Does anything about it maybe make your brain hurt?
If no, think like an engineer, and imagine which way the gears turn. Pick one gear and mentally spin it in an arbitrary direction. In which direction does the second one spin? In which direction does the third one spin? And consequently, …? Ohnoez, ze gear teethz, zey are breaking!!1 ;_;
When I point it out to a non-techie person, they stare at me blankly. When I point it out to a techie person, they sigh “Oh well. Just the PERFECT symbol for our work…” One would think that an image that symbolizes “deadlock” to the main target group ranked high on marketing’s “culturally sensitive symbolism” list. But, hey, guess developers are not that important… =-(
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Oh look, it’s the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods! Very cool page if you need inspiration for how to best represent information at hand! Now, in which category does the “periodic table” itself go…? X-)
PS: Look at the “Rich Picture” example, it’s an old Sun Microsystems / NetBeans.org slide! <3
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… they can’t come up with a punchline for this heading either.
I was talking to a non-techie colleague once and tried to explain the point of view of developers to him… The gist I wanted to convey was that the developers’ decisions that he questioned were not made arbitrarily to annoy non-techie team members.
I recalled this strange idea that programming was like a mysterious ritual that will make sense after you have learned more about the foreign culture and value system it stems from… Like Zen monks who speak in riddles… now where did I get that mental image from?
Ah! I recalled a friend had sent me a link to a geeky page that does a great job to show up the parallels between profound developer talk and Koans. :-) The artwork is phantastic too (make sure you don’t miss the pretty navigation).
Here are excerpts of some stories that I liked:
At the top of the diving cliff, the eldest of the monks peered over the edge and shrank back. … With his staff Banzen prodded the youth forward towards the precipice. “Surely,” said the master, “you can solve that problem when you reach the bottom.”
Read Koan: The Backwards Monk
“I am afraid to touch anything, lest my ignorance prove my undoing.” — “Fear makes good armor but a poor blade,” nodded the Java master. “To defeat your fear, we must dispel your ignorance.”
Read Koan: Fear