Archive for December, 2011

I’m a month late* with this, but it’s great:

* It’s been sitting in my browser for that long, and it’s only the 10th tab from the left. That’s not even counting the 33 or so sites I have in Safari’s new Reading List (or Hell For Procrastinators) feature.

  Codecademy Labs →  December 29

In-browser runtimes for Ruby, Python and JavaScript, by the same folks who are bringing us browser-based programming courses.

Looks perfect for intro programming, albeit only on the console. Looking forward to see how it deals with exercises that are more graphical, and those which make use of external libraries.

This much-improved version omits that terrible paragraph about how they derived their name. One little quibble, though:

There’s no office and no printing press, no whiteboards and no J. Jonah Jamieson.

If they had a J. Jonah Jameson, he’d have flung cigars in the face of whoever misspelled his name.

  Axe In Face →  December 28

Dan Wineman on a naming issue he faces with his daughter’s favourite game:

So there’s this iPhone game in which you defend a daffodil patch from hordes of rampaging Vikings by flinging a traditional bladed woodcutting implement. It’s called Axe In Face. When you lose, your guy cries a river of woeful, manly tears.

Three more paras, and you get to the best punchline I’ve read all year.

Don’t tell me what your website’s name means

December 23, 2011  |  Tags: ,   |  

If your website’s name doesn’t make immediate sense, and you don’t have a good explanation for it, please don’t tell me how you came up with it. Here are two websites with decently cool-sounding names, until you read why they chose these names:-

Asian tech news site Penn Olson:

Starting the blog with just a few people was tough, so when we considered a name, we liked the idea of having some mythical partners to guide us on our journey. We created Penn-Olson, because blogging is essentially ‘penning ones thoughts’ and ‘Olson’ was a somewhat arbitrary addition, but it sounded (like) awesome.

I like what they do as a news site, but this paragraph just takes all the mystique from their name and throws it in the laundry.

[Update: Someone told me a few days later this para is gone. Good for them!]

Classifieds site ST701:

ST701 carries the initials of The Straits Times. The numbers “701” convey what the user will experience: 7 days a week search at the 01 place that matters.

The user will “experience” search seven whole days a week, guys!* At the zero-one place that matters! Thanks, ST701, now my forehead is sore from all that self-inflicted slapping.

Yes, this was written by someone who calls his company Tinkertanker. No, I’m not saying how we came up with that name. (Yes, that means we don’t have a good explanation for it.)

* I guess that’s better than a social media account that, until recently, ran Mondays to Fridays, 9am-6pm, excluding public holidays.

Rory Cellan-Jones of the BBC argues that Computer Science education sorely needs improvement in the UK, in order to boost the country’s waning video game industry. (That’s where Tomb Raider, Fable and Grand Theft Auto originated.)

An interesting point:

Somehow the classroom got hijacked by ICT. And that is learning about Powerpoint, Word, Excel – useful but boring after more than a week of learning it.

There isn’t a direct Singaporean equivalent of the UK ICT curriculum, but we do have the MOE IT Masterplan for ICT in Education, with the BY(i)TES score (3.0!) as a metric. Our requirements look a little broader than the UK’s, and cover educational technology usage in the classroom as well as “ICT leadership” (whatever that means). However, none of this says anything about delivering any “actual” Computer Science education in the classroom, which feels like a pity.

I’m still wondering what the US is doing differently that’s resulted in a resurgence in CS education — has all this been driven entirely by the very public successes of Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies?

Uncanny. Astonishing. Googly.

Oh man, such great stuff. This is one of my favourites:

Googly Classic X-Men

(Via Comics Alliance.)

  Startup or Pokemon? →  December 20

So difficult!

  Object Magazine →  December 15

Brandon‘s new blog of product reviews with not too much text and large, lovely photographs. An enjoyable and refreshingly quick* read.

* For the exact opposite, observe MacStories: take press release for an app release/update, multiply the number of words therein by twenty nine, TADA! an article.

A very useful AppleScript by Jeremy Foo to add a +65 Singapore country code prefix to any 8-digit number. Run this script* if you’d like to use your email address as your iMessage caller ID, per my previous post.

* Open AppleScript Editor, paste the code in, save, back up your address book (File → Export Address Book Archive), run.