Mild-Mannered Canadian Fury

Doug Stephen is Politely Peeved

The Definitive Reference To Why Maybe Is Better Than Null

Fri, 19 Apr 2013 «permalink»

Here’s a nerdier link for the real software geeks out there; a quick discussion of Maybe.

There’s a good chance that a lot of people have never really encountered Maybe. During my hiatus from writing here, I spent a lot of time studying and becoming super interested in functional programming, specifically Haskell, which was my first time encountering the “Maybe” construct; effectively a tactic for elevating null-checking in to a language’s statically checked type system instead of introducing a certain aspect of fragility in to the runtime. It’s a pretty eye-opening take on the idea of an invalid/garbage/failed value, and I have to say much nicer to deal with than nullity.

Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars Filibuster

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 «permalink»

While we’re on the topic of YouTube videos…

Patton Oswalt — one of my favorite working comedians and an incredibly talented nerd — will be on tonight’s Parks and Rec as a citizen filibustering a council vote.

This is the uncut, single continuous take of his 100% improvised filibuster. Obviously the whole thing won’t make it to air, because it’s 8 minutes long, but man is all of it pure gold and pure Patton.

Kevin Smith talks about Superman

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 «permalink»

I’m a fan of his movies, but not always a fan of him speaking. That said, this Q&A response is well worth the listen. It’s an entertaining look in to the absurdity of what some people will do with power. I also find that, whether or not it was intended to be, this makes a great a parable for anyone in a creative/knowledge-worker field with outside accountability (management, clients, etc.).


As a bonus, here’s a snapshot of the one true god, Nic Cage, dressed as Superman in some test shots for Tim Burton.

I'm a vampire! Photo source here.

And if Smith’s story isn’t crazy enough for you, a successfully funded Kickstarter to create a documentary about the failed movie closed funding in March, so we may get to here more about Jon Peters’ shenanigans soon enough.

David O Brien’s Quartz Composer Tutorials on Vimeo

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 «permalink»

Irish designer/developer David O’Brien created an absolutely wonderful series of videos on using Quartz Composer as a mockup tool for interactive comps.

Quartz Composer is a tool for creating animations and interactivity that can be treated as a standalone Quicktime entity or embedded in OS X Cocoa applications (sadly, not in Cocoa Touch). I’ve heard of people using it for prototyping and comping designs before but I’d never used the stuff myself; I’d never really understood what exactly I would get out of learning to use the tool until I saw these tutorials.

Dave’s tutorial is rooted in the fact that Facebook’s designers used Quartz Composer themselves to prototype Facebook Home (see the subheading “You don’t design something like Facebook Home using Photoshop”). After watching all of these videos, I can easily see myself creating future mockups for small apps or sites using Quartz Composer; I can even see myself using it as a great tool for crafting awesome presentations. Definitely worth the hour or so it takes to get through all 5 videos.

(via Daring Fireball)

The Following Previews

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 «permalink»

Shawn definitely hits the nail on the head right here; in fact, I often find myself going out of my way to avoid movie trailers these days, opting instead to just keep up with written movie news and discussions. It’s not hard, given that I don’t frequent movie theaters as much as I used to and my lack of a proper cable subscription means I don’t get bogged down with commercials for new flicks.

Black Annex is the best QBASIC game you’ve ever seen

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 «permalink»

Black Annex is a modern retro-inspired game, written entirely in QBASIC. To give you an idea of how astonishing that is, I did my first programming (a science fair project) in QBASIC around 15 years ago, and even then it was outdated by around 10 or more years. The source article gives you an idea of what was considered “state of the art” from QBASIC games back in its heyday.

GitHub adds STL File Viewer to repos

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 «permalink»

From the GitHub blog:

Here at GitHub, we’re always excited to see people using GitHub to collaborate on all sorts of things, code or non-code. Today, we’re adding a third dimension by making it easier to view some 3D models, specifically STL files, on GitHub.

I’m a big fan of GitHub and what they do for the open source community; it’s very difficult to argue against the fact that since they launched a few years ago they have done a great deal of work to empower tinkerers and hackers all over the world by shipping an absolutely fantastic product that makes Open Source accessible and public-facing.

Making STL files first-class citizens is a pretty cool idea; STL files are produced by various CAD (Computer Assisted Design) applications and can be fed directly in to almost any 3D printer, devices which have become insanely popular and have also revolutionized the way people rapid prototype physical objects. We’re in a hardware-focused revolution right now, where individuals with access to tools like 3D printers and funds from services like Kickstarter and start to toy around with ideas that used to live solely in the realm of the corporate industry, so it’s pretty cool to see that GitHub is willing to ship a feature that embraces this huge shift.

Very, very cool feature.