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My hard drive crashed

My laptop's hard drive crashed so hard, DiskWarrior didn't even see it anymore. Some ominous purring in the morning, then a crash right in the middle of a coding session. Luckily, nothing was lost except today's work.

Now I am looking into backup solutions :). Let me know if you have tips for backing up data on the Mac.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Like Jason Kottke, the first paragraph of Dana Stevens' review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (which contains a lot of spoilers) does an excellent job of explaining the film's appeal to me:

With Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the summer blockbuster begins to approach the level of pure abstraction. Adrift in the windless seas of its 168-minute running time, the viewer passes through confusion and boredom into a state of Buddhist passivity. Swords are crossed, swashes buckled, curses lifted only to descend again. People marry, die, come back to life, transform willy-nilly into barnacle-encrusted ghouls. There are reasons why all this is happening, reasons that might be clear if you've recently pored over the previous 294 minutes of pirate lore. Like all abstract art, At World's End is best approached non-narratively, as an experience rather than a story.

Amazing visuals and editing (the marriage scene was nice). Good acting by Johnny Depp and especially Bill Nighy. A nearly incomprehensible plot.

Although I am not giving Gore Verbinski et al the benefit of the doubt regarding whether this was an intentional effect, the film reminded me of movies like Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch (and, coincidentally I am sure, also starring Johnny Depp). It's a stream of imagery and scenes, dream-like by their lack of logical structure and cohesiveness, that you experience rather than try to understand. To me, one of the most defining qualities of dreams is how aspects of reality can change drastically from one moment to the next - I am in the house I grew up in, only suddenly that house is in the U.S., etc. Pirates 2 and 3 are similar, and while on the one hand it is nice once you accept it (and I agree with Mr. Kottke that an early surreal scene helps set the tone), I kept wishing the writers had created a coherent plot structure (rules of the world, characters, etc.) Ah well, it was fun to watch, more than most senseless summer blockbusters.

Microsoft Surface, a multi-touch interface device

Popular Mechanics has a video of Microsoft Surface, a table-sized multi-touch interface device. It is based on the work of Jeff Han, whose work I have blogged about before. Although it seems remarkably similar, I am not sure if this is the same technology that is used in Apple's iPhone. However, I somehow doubt there will be a real patent dispute here.

What is interesting about Microsoft Surface is that it combines a huge touch screen with cameras that allow the system to detect objects such as cameras and phones. It looks cool in the video, but I wonder if the system could discriminate between two wireless devices (both using Wifi, say).

(If you're interested in this: See previous blog posts on the work of Edward Tse, which is somewhat similar, as well as on Sony's DataTiles. And I thought I linked to a video showing an interaction between a large horizontal screen and physical objects in order to make music, but I can't find it.)

Update: Aaaaaaand here is a pretty funny parody video of Microsoft Surface. Warning: this is ONLY funny with SOUND. Without sound, it's just a normal PR video.


LOLCODE. Yes. Programming in kitten pidgin, like so:
       UP VAR!!1

Call me easily amused, but I love it. I HAS A VAR, lol.

A compiler can't be far behind. Bonus points if it works with Microsoft's CLR or DLR.

(Via Boing Boing.)

10tacle opening development studio in Vienna, Austria?

Games blog reports a rumor that 10tacle may set up a development studio in Vienna:

Rumors are swirling that 10tacle, one of Europe’s fastest growing developers is still looking to expand through Europe, building more development studios to work on their internal and licensed projects. With studios already existing in Hannover (Germany), Bratislava (Slovakia), Charleroi (Belgium), Singapore and London and 10tacle being a German-based company, the search began for clues to where in Europe 10tacle would expand. Well, a handful of Google searches later brought about the answer. Vienna, Austria, once home to Rockstar Vienna, at one point one of the largest development studios in Europe and shutdown last year by parent company Take 2.

I agree that having another games studio in Vienna would be a good thing. I don't really know what to think of 10tacle. On the one hand there are some really smart people working there (in their Charleroi office at least, hi Stéphane). On the other hand, a public company rapidly buying developers? I am uncomfortably reminded of Phenomedia and JoWooD. But perhaps 10tacle knows how to make this work.

Blizzard announces StarCraft 2

Blizzard announces StarCraft 2. You know. In case you missed it.

Will there be a Mac version I wonder?


Will StarCraft II be available on Mac simultaneously with PC?

As with all of Blizzard's recent releases, StarCraft II will ship on both PC and Mac simultaneously.


Another update: To clarify my 'uh-oh': I invested a decent chunk of my life into World of Warcraft, so I am kind of afraid (but also excited) about another time-sink from Blizzard :). I appreciate the fact they develop all of their games for PC and Mac. It's almost (almost) a good thing it is relatively hard to get their older games for the Mac in English around here, at least for a decent price. I kind of felt like playing Warcraft 3 a while back just to see the lore. Well, maybe when I get an Intel-based Mac at some point.