Month: June 2006

Open source Javascript debugger for OS X

From OpenDarwin (thanks to Dave for the link):

I would like to introduce a new addition to the WebKit open source tools—a JavaScript debugger. Drosera, named after the largest genera of bug eating plants, lets you attach and debug JavaScript for any WebKit application—not just Safari.

One of the unique things about Drosera, like the Web Inspector, is that over 90% of it is written in HTML and JavaScript. This is a true testament of what you can do with web technologies today and the rapid development that WebKit allows.

activist lesbian mothers

And in Lexington, Massachusetts, anti-gay activist David Parker claims that his first-grade son was beaten up by other first-graders after being riled up by “activist lesbian mothers.”

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the article. Personally, I just love the juxtaposition of phrases like “hate crime” and “well-planned and coordinated assault” with phrases like “think sheet” and “play date.” And Activist Lesbian Mothers would make a great band name.

(Thanks to Dave for the link…)

to play

A nice comment came at the end of the Long Now discussion between Brian Emo (composer) and Will Wright (game designer):

It’s interesting that just one verb is used both for music and for games: “play.”

This seems to be true in a large number of languages too, which implies some kind of universality of the concept. I also note that my dictionary says the English word play is related to the Middle Dutch word pleien: ‘leap for joy; dance’.

(The discussion, by the way, was excellent. You can download audio in OGG or MP3 or read Stewart Brand’s summary.)

Doing the people’s business

DocBug Exclusive — Yesterday the US Senate passed a non-binding resolution declaring that Democrats are all “poopy-heads.” The resolution passed along party lines, with all Republicans voting for the resolution, plus Joe Lieberman (D-CT). When Senate Minority-Leader Harry Reid of Nevada protested the resolution as childish and irresponsible, an amendment was passed adding that Democrats are “all whiners and a bunch of cry-babies too.” Republican strategists predict similar resolutions will fill the bulk of the Senate’s time until after the November elections.

The resolution now has to be resolved with the House version of the bill, which declares that Democrats are idiotic dumb dumbs and girly cowards. In recent days several Republican Representatives in the House have condemned the Senate language as being squishy-soft and going against core conservative values, and a compromise version is not expected before the end of this legislative session.

Superman of Nazarath

superman-crucified.jpg

I’ve really gotta wonder about this NYT review of the latest Superman movie:

‘Superman Returns’ to Save Mankind From Its Sins

Jesus of Nazareth spent 40 days in the desert. By comparison, Superman of Hollywood languished almost 20 years in development hell…

…what is essentially a new and considerably more sober sequel to the first two films, one that shakes the earthiness off Superman and returns him to the status of a savior. There’s always been a hint of Jesus (and Moses) to the character, from the omnipotence of his father to a costume that, with its swaths of red and blue, evokes the colors worn by the Virgin Mary in numerous Renaissance paintings. It’s a hint that proves impossible not to take.

OK, so I can see the omnipotence of Superman’s father angle, if by “omnipotence” you mean unable to even save himself, much less his planet, from complete destruction. As for the red and blue costume, doesn’t that mean Superman is actually the Virgin Mary rather than Jesus?

Of course there are a few similarities between Superman and Jesus. For example, Superman pretends to be a mild-mannered reporter while fighting crime in the big city. So does Jesus. And Jesus fights a never-ending battle for the salvation of our immortal souls, which is kinda like Truth, Justice and the American Way. Oh yeah, and they’re both American.

Not that the Times is entirely to blame here. This latest movie is pushing the whole Christ theme in their trailers, presumably hoping the crowd that made Passion of the Christ a box office success either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that they’re being exploited. But really, this is as dumb as those literary critics who claim Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar character is a Christ figure — you can tell, see, by the fact that both of them have the initials J.C.

BumpTop 3D Desktop

There’s a nice video demo up of the BumpTop 3D Desktop from the University of Toronto’s Dynamic Graphics Lab. Here’s the abstract from their paper (presented at CHI this year):

We explore making virtual desktops behave in a more physically realistic manner by adding physics simulation and using piling instead of filing as the fundamental organizational structure. Objects can be casually dragged and tossed around, influenced by physical characteristics such as friction and mass, much like we would manipulate lightweight objects in the real world. We present a prototype, called BumpTop, that coherently integrates a variety of interaction and visualization techniques optimized for pen input we have developed to support this new style of desktop organization.

I don’t know about this being a full desktop replacement, but for some kinds of applications I could see it working quite well. For example, I’d love it for sorting through tens to hundreds of images or other visual media, especially if they added two-handed or multi-handed interaction to it.

Event: Will Wright (with Brian Eno) at The Long Now

For those in the Bay Area, Will Wright (creator of “Sim City” and the forthcoming “Spore”) and Brian Eno (British musician) will be speaking at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco next Monday (June 26th) at 7pm as part of The Long Now Foundation’s seminar series. Reservations are $8 ($10.50 after fees) from City Box Office, and are highly recommended because this will sell out fast.

(I just picked up my ticket — if you’re going let me know and I’ll keep an eye out for you.)

Obscure bug of the month award

From a 2003 bug report on the Mac OS X Open Firmware utility:

If you used Open Firmware Password utility to create a password that contains the capital letter “U”, your password will not be recognized during the startup process (when you try to access Startup Manager, for example).

How on earth did that bug creep in? (Thanks to Conrad for the pointer.)