Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
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got that wrong

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Like my brownhouse:
   a TMI event at Oriole 9
Thursday, October 20 2011

Today on a whim I decided to see what it takes to develop code for an Android device. I've had an Android device for a couple months, and I'd been given to understand that the platform is open and there are no bureaucratic hurdles to be overcome (as there are on iPhones and iPads). So I downloaded the Android IDE, followed by the Java IDE, followed eventually by something called the eclipse IDE. But no matter what I did, I couldn't get any of these IDEs (integrated development environments) to recognize my Android device as a development device. Say what I might about iOS (iPhones and iPads), when you plug things in, they just work. Android, on the other hand, feels like an improvised mock-up of iOS. It looks almost okay, but all the actual functionality is hidden away in disparate non-intuitive places. In this way it reminds me of the first Linux GUIs from the late 1990s. Working with this kind of madness is the sort of thing that gives me the sharp pain in my upper left shoulder indicating I only have about a half hour's worth of patience. That isn't nearly enough for beginning Android development, so I tabled the idea for the time being.
Recently I had an idea for a fun iPad application: a generic animal field guide that leverages Wikipedia (and perhaps other websites) for its content. Such an application would have to cache all that web content so it would be available in the field. So the challenge then becomes: how would it know what to cache? I found the answer this afternoon in the form of a website where species range information is stored in digital readable form (compatible with the ESRI mapping software I've recently been working with). Once you have that, the problem then becomes parsing the range data and determining whether a target area lies within (and also perhaps near) each species in question. Such calculations would be far to complicated to perform in anything like real time, but they could be run as part of a multi-hour job to develop a list of Wikipedia pages to spider off the web to assemble automatically into some sort of field guide to be taken into the wilderness.

This evening, after a light meal at the Garden Café in Woodstock, Gretchen and I went across Tinker Street to Oriole 9 to sample a story telling event (technically, a "story slam") being hosted by a new group called the TMI Project (it seems to have a large overlap with the local women's arm wrestling scene called BRAWL). The MC tonight was Julie Novak, who is BRAWL's most charismatic MC. The venue was crowded (forcing Gretchen and me to stand), and my expectations weren't high, but I ended up being impressed by the quality of the stories told (which, tonight, followed a theme of pretending to be someone whom you are not). Most of the stories tonight were easily as good as ones you hear on a podcast of The Moth, though even if they weren't, the five minute limit kept things in check. Unlike the Moth, story tellers tonight were free to use notes or simply read their stories, and this seemed to improve the quality (and made it easier for readers to stay within the time limit). Tonight's stories, which were all autobiographical, were surprisingly frank about matters such as sex, masturbation, and even petty crime. Julie emphasized several times that TMI's goal is to highlight the parts of stories that are skipped over (perhaps because they cast the teller in a negative light or run up against taboos), and so I concluded that the quality of tonight's stories had something to do with how they'd been shaped in TMI's writers' workshops. So far, the TMI Project does not have a podcast, though I wasn't the only person tonight who told Julie that they should start one.
The winner of tonight's story slam was a woman with whom Gretchen recently worked at the last Woodstock Writers' Festival. Her story was about running into the sound man for the Allman Brothers on an airplane and then making sweet cocaine-flavored love with him.

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