I walk around with a toothpic in my mouth a lot of the time. My dentist says it's good for me - seriously! I learned the habit from my friend Paul way back in high school.


(Click image for enormous picture.)

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


Azurik 2 ?

Michael (initials "MLB") wrote to me on MySpace:

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Michael
Date: Dec 25, 2007 9:40 AM

Sorry if you have gotten this question a thousand times. I got Azurik when it first came out for xbox and loved the game. Do you know by chance if there are plans for a sequel at some point in the future for 360? Or is it very unlikely?


I can't reply directly to Michael, because MySpace won't allow it (I'm not even sure how Michael sent me the message).

The answer is:

Thanks for writing. It's very unlikely unless someone were to buy the IP from Microsoft. The game barely broke even (which is better than most games!) but Microsoft only wants to publish blockbusters (can you blame them?).

-- Stephen

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


OLPC - First impressions

The photo was taken from the OLPC and uploaded via the built-in web browser.

The OLPC doesn't come with a manual - and it doesn't really need one.

My son Thomas (age 12) just jumped in and started fooling with it.

It's dark here in Seattle during the winter, so I can't tell you what the display is like in bright sunshine, but it looks like it will be very nice, but that's just a guess from turning the brightness down.

The display has four pixels that are semi-stuck on.

It takes it awhile to hook up to WiFi. I had to enter the key four times before it "took". The icons are not obvious either - I had to look those up online from another computer.

Running lots of activities seems to bog it down.

It's pretty lightweight.

I'm looking forward to trying it out as an eBook reader with my draft of Nano-Plasm.

All in all, for a little more money than a DS Lite, it's a pretty bitchen machine, and we've only scratched the surface of what it can do.

Visit Laptop.org to participate in the "Give One, Get One" promotion, currently scheduled to end on December 31, 2007.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


Nano-Plasm - almost there!

I "finished" (sans final editing) my book Nano-Plasm. It's about 190 pages long.

I was feeling I would never get around to the "final editing"... but then I had an idea.

I went to LuLu and checked out the site. I last checked it out about two years ago I think.

LuLu has changed focus - the old focus was to use printing-on-demand so people could publish books at low risk. Instead, now they are set up to support printing one-off specialty books, like personal cookbooks or picture books. So, I uploaded my "near final" draft of the book to LuLu and asked them to print it and mail it to me. It will arrive in a couple of weeks as a genuine bookstore quality 6x9 soft cover book. I'm pretty sure once I'm looking at a real tangible object, I'll want to fix every flaw.

Then I can publish it through LuLu.

The total cost of printing, binding, and shipping my one-off copy?


I think it would cost more than that to print it on the laser printer at the local Mail Post.


I've been working on this puppy since May, 2001. A few people have read it. Some like it. Some like it but say that they like it considering it is a first effort. A few don't get past around page 15, when Gillian is in the cave. I think I'll have to work on that specific spot. But people who make it past the cave scene like it.

That's a good sign.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

$125K Piano

The Sherman Clay piano dealership in Seattle has a $125K Steinway.

They kindly allowed me to play it last Friday.

Wow. That was pretty dang fun.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

Sony Clie NZ90 - RIP

Sony Clie NZ90 Review

Ah, my Sony Clie NZ90. (See the review for some nice pix.)

I think it's dying. It insists that batteries are unsuitable for use even though they worked fine the day before.

At one time I had a great Bluetooth ecosystem designed around my Clie. This was in 2003, and I could connect to the web anywhere via my cell phone and surf for just the cost of minutes. The cell phone companies plugged that hole eventually. I had the Wi-Fi adapter for faster surfing when that was available. I stored music playlists on it. It took nice 2 megapixel pictures until the camera CCD died one day. It had a big display - still big even by today's standards - and could show beautiful color pictures.

I always had trouble getting the Wi-Fi to work with 128-bit WEP. The 64/40-bit WEP would always work. One day, a year ago, it started working. Then two weeks later it stopped. What a mystery that was.

It could access Memory Stick Pro devices - so I had 2 gigabytes of memory in it at one point. That was impressive for a PDA from 2003. Now I just keep a little 128 megabyte stick in it with a few tunes.

It did a lot of what an iPhone does, but four years before the iPhone came out.

I'm getting an iPod-Nano (3G) for Christmas. It can do most of what the Clie could do, except surf and take pictures. But I have nicer cameras and a laptop with pretty good battery life for surfing. I might want a PDA again someday. I'm not sure. Generally I think the time of the PDA has come and gone.

Sony Clie - RIP.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


Lost Webisodes

I like Damon and Carlton and I love their podcasts which are funny and, in that Lost sort of way, informative ... but I offer up these Lost Webisodes as evidence that big budget TV guys can't make stuff for the web.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

GENIUS! Incredible Wiimote Hack Creates Multitouch Display - Gearlog

Incredible Wiimote Hack Creates Multitouch Display - Gearlog

Wow. I'm completely amazed. This simplicity of this guy's hack is amazing. It's all made possible because the WiiMote uses standard Bluetooth for communication.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


Relative peace in Iraq

U.S.: Iraq quietest since '04 - Conflict in Iraq- msnbc.com:
Violence in Iraq is at its lowest levels since the first year of the American invasion, finally opening a window for reconciliation among rival sects, the second-ranking U.S. general said Sunday as Iraqi forces formally took control of security across half the country.

My nephew-in-law, who is serving in the Marines in Iraq, wrote us and said the same thing.

I think our country is stuck there for many more years, though, until the Iraqis learn the habit of not hating each other 100% of the time. My wife, who knows some history, said she thought we were in Japan for a good many years, and Japan didn't have the civil war issue. [Actually we were in charge there seven years.] I think we have at least another seven years, since we're really just getting started on this new lifestyle thing in Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno:
"I feel we are back in '03 and early '04. Frankly I was here then, and the environment is about the same in terms of security in my opinion," he said. "What is different from then is that the Iraqi security forces are significantly more mature."

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

Lego Digicomp II

Digicomp II made out of Lego.

Notice the picture of the original DCII:

Digicomp II

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


7 inches of joy

The first 45 I ever bought was "Lola" by The Kinks.

I still have it.

My kids were listening to Weird Al Yankovich's "Yoda", which is a take-off on Lola, and so I was reminded of it.

I was probably 14 when I bought "Lola". I was so excited to buy a record! I told my neighbor Jeff Rhoads about it. Jeff is a few years older than me. He said, "You know what that record is about, don't you?" Of course I didn't. "You'd better listen to the words more closely."

So I did and I was a bit shocked! And a little embarrassed at what I had been listening to over and over again in my bedroom. But I liked the record anyway.

I digitized it yesterday. The problem is, my record player can only play 33 1/3. So I digitized it at the wrong speed and then sped it up in Adobe Audition. Now it sounds just like a crispy old 45.

I like it.

Stephen Clarke-Willson

(Note: 45 rpm records are 7" across.)

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.



Google Reader (59):
Steve Lacey: As a blogger I like to include a blogroll on my site so that friends, family and other readers can take a look at what I like to read. It's also a nice way to give a shout out to the authors of the blogs that I like. However, maintaining a blogroll can be a bit of a pain as your subscriptions ebb and flow.

I know that guy! Steve Lacy used to work at RenderMorphics just before it was bought by Microsoft. One of the things the RenderMorphics people (mostly Steve I think) had to do as part of making RL part of the Game SDK was convert it to COM. So they put COM interfaces on top of their stuff that just thunked into it. I had a game engine that used the RL code and later that same low level code was used in the Intervista VRML browser. Microsoft eventually bought the Intervista browser. Since I had code that used the RL standard "C" interface, I thunked my code into the COM interface layer.

So it went like this:

1 The VRML browser called into my code to render a scene.
2 My code called into original RL interfaces which I had rewritten to call into COM.
3 The Game SDK COM layer called back into the original RL interfaces.
4 The RL interfaces called down into hardware or software.

So basically steps 2 and 3 canceled each other out. When Microsoft bought the Intervista VRML browser, Steve Lacey looked at the code, and saw my interface layer calling into his interface layer and how they just canceled each other out and got a good laugh from that.

The Intervista VRML browser was downloaded at least a million times, but sadly it was built for IE 4 ActiveX interfaces and Document Object Model which Microsoft totally changed for IE 5. That killed off the VRML browser, sadly.

VRML was actually pretty fun and surprisingly fast considering all the work that went on to render a scene.

Ah, the good old days.