Make sure you watch the bit after the credits:

BOB from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

Halloween is almost here! Which always makes me want to watch Nightmare Before Christmas (even though it’s more of a Christmas movie). I love Night Before Christmas and I love most things book related. So mix them together and chances are I’ll like the result:

Cute, right? It wouldn’t work in my house though, most of my bookcases are completely full, so I don’t need book ends. I’m actually at the point where I’m tempted to get another bookcase, cause I’m running out of space!

The Nightmare Before Christmas book ends are $49.99 from ThinkGeek.

Need I say more?

These heels are awesome!

They’re a personal project from Jamie Ferraioli, and sadly she doesn’t have any plans on making more of them. I would love to create something like this myself though, but I’m not exactly skilled at painting…

I think epic and awkward is the best way to describe this:

Via Geek Are Sexy

It’s been ages since I last did a Trailerrific Thursday; I’m quite shocked to see the last proper one was in May 2010. Wow. I’ll be trying to do these at least twice a month, hopefully every week.

The Avengers: This looks great! I loved Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, so of course I would be excited for this. I’m still not sure about Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, but the rest of the cast looks great! Release Date: May 2012

The Divide: A post-apocalyptic thriller about 9 strangers (all tenants of a New York apartment) hiding together in the building’s basement after a nuclear attack. I really like the look of this movie, but I think the trailer might give too much away. My tip: stop watching the trailer at about 1:10, when “One of the best apocalyptic tales in quite a while” appears. Release Date: January 2012

Happy Feet Two: Ehm, yeah… I wasn’t much of a fan of the first Happy Feet. I liked it, but didn’t love it as a lot of people seemed to at the time. The sequel? More of the same it seems. Release Date: Novemburr 2011

Act of Valor: “When the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the U.S., a team of SEALs is dispatched on a worldwide manhunt.” Not really my type of movie, but looks interesting. Release Date: February 2012

Carnage: Two pairs of parents, whose kids got into a fight, meet to discuss the matter, starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly. This could be good, but for now it just looks tiring. Release Date: December 2011

Sleeping Beauty: Lucy is a Sleeping Beauty, a prostitute who sleeps (is drugged) while men do to her whatever they want, with her not remembering anything of what happened. Release Date: October 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: I never read Tintin growing up, but this looks like it could be fun. Release Date: October 2011

 

The Raven: A string of gruesome murders seem to be inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s work. Poe (John Cusack) joins forces with a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) to solve the murders. Release Date: March 2012

Interesting stuff I’ve come across this week:

  • Cat vs Human: spot on. Most mornings at around 6am the cats will start being annoying. Well, it’s mainly just one of them (Casey), but he’ll start knocking off stuff from my bedside table or the table in our living room. The best way to get them quiet again is to give a bit of food, but sometimes even that won’t help. Btw, if you’re based in San Francisco, Cat vs Human will have a book signing there on November the 9th!
  • Star Trek Quiet Book: Aw, this is just too cute!
  • Why Cleavage Is Bad For Crime Fighting: I completely agree. Some outfits would just be so unpractical!
  • The Prestige of Being a Web Developer: Great presentation/blog post from Christian Heilmann on how the three acts of magic tricks can be applied to web development.
  • The Surprising Science Behind Smiles: Interesting Wired interview about smiles (I used a lot of the same theory in my research).

It’s that time of the year when events season kicks into full gear. The past two weekends I’ve been at two hackdays, and the upcoming ones will be just as busy. I think I’ve got something planned for every weekend up until November! More about those upcoming events in a later post.

Last week I attended Over The Air, a free two day mobile developer conference and 24 hour hack competition, where developers have to “hack” something together. It’s the fourth year the event has been held and each year it’s been great. I’ve been to all the previous three years, sometimes attending the more conferency side of the event, other times actually hacking (and maybe creating rather silly videos). This year there was a change of venue, with the entire event being held at Bletchley Park.


Photo by ahousley

Now, I hadn’t really heard of Bletchley Park before moving to the UK and it’s only recently that I’ve looked into its history. It’s pretty freaking amazing. In short: Bletchley Park was the base of major codebreaking during World War II and was responsible for decrypting the German’s ciphers and codes. Of the 12000 people stationed there during the war over 80% of them were women… it’s most probably the place where a girl like me would have ended up during the war.

So to be there for two days, attending programming talks, learning from each other and working on our own little projects… the atmosphere couldn’t be more perfect. You just couldn’t help but wonder that 60 odd years ago a similar group was gathered together, attending programming talks, learning from each other and working on their own little projects. Although I bet they didn’t complain about the wifi.

As with most hack weekends, Over The Air is an overnight event. Most of the time I just show up with my sleeping bag and mat, and find some quiet corner or beanbag to sleep in. This time around a bunch of us thought this would be the perfect place to actually set up tents and camp outside. So we did. For me, it was my first ever time camping! Surprisingly, I didn’t suck at setting up a tent (although, come to think about it, I shouldn’t have expected me sucking at that, I am awesome at actually reading the freaking manual).

For most of the Friday I spent the day outside in a beanbag, basking in the sun and enjoying the only bit of proper summer I’ve experienced this, well, summer. And working on my own little project, of course (but more about that later). I ended up only attending one talk, but that seems to be my recurring problem at Over The Air; it always turns into a choice between “hacking” and “watching presentations”. Plus, it was also a choice between “sit in a warm room filled with sweaty geeks” or “bask in the sun”. The sun won.

Over The Air 2011
Photo by Tim Whalley

Friday evening brought lovely lasagna and pizza, which were hungrily nommed. After dinner were some Ignite talks; presentations of 5 minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide. I especially enjoyed Alistair’s talk about his Metro Simulator, and Terence’s talk about QRpedia, QR codes that link to Wikipedia (and can be used in museums and other interesting places). The rest of the evening I spent working on my hack, until I became too tired and needed to sleep.

Saturday morning: more hacking. Until 10:30 that is, when a tour around Bletchley Park started. It was great hearing about the history of the place, and seeing all the code-breaking machines they rebuilt. I loved that the tour guide at a certain moment went “Most of the time at this point in my story, people’s eyes glaze over. But not with you lot!”. I really want to go back again and explore the place more fully (sidenote: Bletchley Park was just awarded a £4.6m grant to restore the place. Awesome, awesome news. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it).

Saturday afternoon the hacking ended, and those that wanted to submitted their hack for the presentations. Each team then got 90 seconds to present what they created. Now I guess I should explain what I worked on: MuDo’s! I’ve been living in London for almost 5 years now, and while I’ve been to most of the big well-known museums, there are tons of smaller ones I keep forgetting to go to, and museums I didn’t even know existed. So my idea was to create a To-Do-list/check-list for museums: you login with you Twitter account, select which museums you want on your to-do list, and then can share it with your friends. And you can see what your friends have on their check list. I’m still working on it, but I want to make it live as soon as I can. I know it’s something I’d like to use, and I’ve had people come up to me after the presentations that they’d like to use it too :)

MuDo's

So I presented my hack during the presentations and (as usual) I thought I did horrible with the presentation (forgetting parts of what I wanted to say), but most people seemed to like it. There were about 25-30 hacks (I think, I don’t remember exactly) with some really cool ideas. I loved QuickeR, which used a video of a series of QR codes to transfer data. For an entire list of entries, check out the Over The Air blog. Much to my surprise I ended up winning a prize! I wasn’t really expecting to, cause my hack didn’t really fit in any of their categories. My hack won Most Cultural Hack, and I got 3 iOS Programming books. Yay! I wanted to get into iPhone/iPad development, so these books are a perfect place to start.

I know it’s a free event with tons of stuff to be arranged (and I loved the event), but I just wanted to comment on some things that could have gone better. The wifi is an obvious place to start: hackdays depend on wifi a lot. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s super tricky to create something without internet access. Even if you’re working on something not even web related, there will be stuff you’ll want to look up online. For most of the Friday the wifi at Over The Air wasn’t working and the event really suffered from it. There were people who abandoned their hacks because of the lack of wifi, and those who didn’t had to struggle through it.

I know the organizers did their best to get the wifi working. And eventually it did. On some locations. And that brings me to my second point: there wasn’t a real space setup as the “hacking” area. There was a small bit in the mansion, but by the time I got there all spots were taken. All other rooms in the mansion were being used for talks during the day. Then there was a big marquee outside, but that was constantly being set up and broken down for different things (lunch, dinner, talks, etc). It would have been nice to have one area where you could stay and work.

Overall I really loved Over The Air this year. The vibe of Bletchley Park was awesome, the camping outside was a lot of fun, and the general atmosphere was just great. Good hackdays always leave me feeling more inspired and more knowledgable. Kudos to the organising team of Daniel AppelquistMatthew Cashmore and Margaret Gold for putting this together again!

I love the Simon’s Cat videos. They’re such a spot-on portrayal of cats, and I think every cat owner sees something of their own cat in Simon’s cat.

Yesterday I responded to a tweet from Simon’s Cat’s twitter account and managed to snag some last minute tickets to their latest book and video launch. It was great actually seeing Simon in real life and getting to hear about his experiences with the comic/videos and his cats (who sound so adorable and even more ridiculous than my own cats). And all attendees got an awesome goody bag with a signed version of the new book and lots of other Simon’s Cat goodies!

Here’s the new video “Double Trouble” featuring a new cute character:

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Geeky October 6th, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

“Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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