Friday, April 28, 2006

Nintendo's New Console

Nintendo has just announced, to the internet's astonishment, the name of it's next generation console.

Stand by, and prepare to have the next incredible generation of gaming made available to you through the brand new console, available this November, the Nintendo Wanger

Wanger was a bit of a strange choice for a name, but when you put aside your initial reaction and really think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Nintendo has been trying for ages to transcend the more traditional gaming audience, and to reach out for people who traditionally wouldn't buy a video games console. 'Wanger' is accessible, fresh, innovative, and certainly posesses that human touch that's been missing from the market.

Add to that the marketing potential, and it becomes immediately apparent that 'Wanger' is a much better choice than 'Revolution'. Possibilities for slogans abound! For example:

  • 'Reach out and touch a wanger'
  • 'Shake hands with a wanger'
  • 'Wave your wanger from side to side'
I mean, it really just writes itself! Personally, I'd like to applaud Nintendo's efforts on this one.

I'm going to queue outside my local store so I can be first to ask the sales guy if I can have one.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Where's the Party?

As the challenge plays on, I'm beginning to think that iTunes 'Party Shuffle' algorithm for randomly playing songs is more than just a random mathematical function. Okay, maybe it's just getting late, but I think maybe Apple has got some voodoo magic going on somewhere in there...

For example - I'm writing the help documentation for the new 'favorites' feature in ICE, and iTunes starts to play Coltrane's My favorite Things. As I prowl through the Triage queue, looking for bugs to fix - or more importantly, which ones to not fix - iTunes comes up with the Cure's "Cut"...

And most telling of all, when I returned from a hastily swallowed takeaway dinner to resume my work this evening - The Torture Never Stops Part Two , by Frank Zappa.... iTunes knows, I tell you...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Accepted:The never been played challenge

Picking up the gauntlet from Simon's post, personally, I'm feeling confident (even if he is cheating by deleting songs...).

I'm not confident that I'll win, but I am confident we'll probably both get bored long before the end of this silly quest. (Long work hours and No Weekends make Simon and Gordon something something...)

371 songs, 1 day, and 1.73 Gb to go. The longest tune in my list is a live version of John Coltrane's My Favourite Things, at 17:25 and the shortest is Primus's Intro from Antipop coming at a mere 17 seconds. Hang on....

Make that 370 songs to go...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Heading East - Way East...

In a moment of 'Why-the-hell-not?', I've accepted a position with TOWER Software in the USA, as a Senior Technical Consultant. My role will be to help people get TRIM Context, and ICE installed and working as part of an ECM Solution. The US office is doing amazing stuff right now, so I'm really excited to be able to join them and help out where I can.

Meanwhile, there's this business of having to move my whole family across the Pacific, to Virginia. Throw in a confusing maze of immigration bureaucracy- and sorting out which stuff to sell, which stuff to chuck, and which stuff to store, and things are looking pretty busy around here right now...

I'm really looking forward to a new country, a new culture, and most of all, something different. I've been in Canberra for 15 years now. It's time for a new perspective.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter at Blackhead

Camping out on the headland, miles from anywhere. Big swell, off-shore winds, clear crisp nights and smoke from the wood fire. Sometimes it's so rewarding to get out from under the pressure of your life and just be a family of humans.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Being the Yacht

Joel Spolsky returns from his wilderness years with a triumphant and truly wonderful essay on how to manage software development companies.

From the article:

"Management, in a software company, is primarily responsible for creating abstractions for programmers. We build the yacht, we service the yacht, we are the yacht, but we don't steer the yacht."

Tacking towards the deadline...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rube Goldberg's Legacy

I sat down today with my four kids to play an enthralling game of MouseTrap - a game that has been around since 1963, and is still as much fun today as ever (especially when played as it should be -with four hyper-excited kids on the lounge room floor...) The game itself is based on what is known as a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Rube Goldberg was an American political cartoonist, who became renowned for drawing exceedingly complex inventions to accomplish very simple tasks.

Just like the one in MouseTrap - (Where the player turns the crank, which rotates the gears causing the lever to move and push the stop sign against the shoe , which tips the bucket holding the metal ball which rolls down the stairs and into the pipe which leads it to hit the rod held by the hands, causing another ball to fall from the top of the rod, roll down the groove, fall into and then out of the bottom of the bathtub, landing on the diving board. The weight of the ball catapults the diver through the air and right into the bucket , causing the cage to fall from the top of the post and trap the unsuspecting mouse, which causes my son to scream "Noooooooo!" and then smash the whole apparatus and run screaming to his room.)

For the record, Lincoln was the winner!

And to further the goldberg-ness, check out this incredible video of some Rube Goldberg machines. (Although the cutesy Japanese jingle may cause you to smash your PC and run screaming to your room.... You have been warned!)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mahalo, Jake!

As a wannabe Ukulele player, I was totally awestruck by Jake Shimabukuro's rendtion of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps:

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sneak Peak at ICE 1.1

The latest version of Context ice (1.1) has been the sole focus of my working life for so long, that I have trouble recalling whatever else it is I've done...

The arrival of April puts us one month out from our release date, so for those folks who stumble into Over The Falls looking for info on TRIM Context ice, I thought you might appreciate a quick overview of some of the cool new features.

We've added new UI enhancements to make it easier to work with TRIM Data.
You can enter dates using a neat little DHTML widget.
Editing Classification and Thesaurus terms is easier than ever with our new AJAX powered browser controls.
We've refined and improved the code used for dropdown boxes, so that it updates in real time, and makes it clearer exactly what object you're looking for.

We're working on some useful tools to help you work with records - notably to manage multiple record actions, and enhanced our Active Labels feature to make it easier to understand (and less annoying...)

Underneath, the architecture has been overhauled to work closely with TRIM, and administrators can now specify the location of their drafts - so the solution can be deployed into a load balanced environment with a single drafts folder.

There's also a complete customization package, which allows folks to easily customize their ice instance using an intuitive drag and drop template generator tool (no HTML!) Of course, if you want to write some HTML, you can - there's a comprehensive guide that explains the template language, how it works, and contains heaps of examples.

Now all we need to do is finish it on time. I'm fortunate that I work with a skilled bunch of smart people who aren't afraid of hard work. There have been some late nights this far - and there's a few more to come... So far I haven't even been tempted to reach for the Project Excuse Generator!