Angry Robot

Self-loathing site news, goddamn it

Here, I fixed a bunch more stuff. The search page looks a lot better now. Also, you can get at the search fast from the menu because I’m hot shit with gratuitous jQuery effects? I guess?

Of course, in the process I broke a bunch of things, so the site currently looks like ass on the iPhone, and presumably other hand-portable general purpose computing devices. I’ll try and patch things up and get this boat out in the open seas again, promise.

Also, I totally promise to post something other than lame site news things like this. While I was testing the search I typed a lot of random things into my own search box and found some real gems like this, from Iraq War times, and this bit of snark. Man. Remember when this site was good. I can’t even think of a joke to go out on, that’s how bad this shit is now.


A big brainstorm is on the horizon in neuroscience

“Almost everything we know about the brain we know from the last 10 or 15 years”

ABC to look at 'Star Wars' live-action TV series

I remember talk of this a few years back.

<blockquote>        <p>But now Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion and Disney owns more than a couple TV networks. The financials for a big-budget TV show are more compelling if the license fee and other income sources stay in the family.</p>    </blockquote>

Beijing Air Pollution Off the Charts

“Beijing residents online described the air as “postapocalyptic,” “terrifying” and “beyond belief.””

The 50 Best Toronto Albums Ever

Highly arguable, as I suppose all lists are. (Via)

Japan's Philanderers Stay Faithful to Their 'Infidelity Phones'


Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie

a Kickstarter-funded microbudget directed by Paul Schrader and written by Brett Easton Ellis, co-starring a porn star. Recipe for a great behind-the-scenes story! (thanks, y)

Why 'Arrested Development' Really Represents A Breakthrough For Netflix

They are empowering show creators to experiment with the medium.

<blockquote>        <p>[Creator Mitch Hurwitz] said first that the episodes would each focus on a different character, that they could be watched in no particular order, and that events in each episode would become clearer as viewers watched more of them. And second, he explained that some of them were different lengths, though they are all roughly thirty minutes long.</p>     </blockquote>

Onion Talks?! Perfect.

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

Absolute craziness, but absolutely believable:

As auto sales boomed after World War II, and drivers in powerful new cars increasingly asked service station attendants to “fill ‘er up with ethyl,” they were unwittingly creating a crime wave two decades later.

Qualcomm's insane CES 2013 keynote

Big Bird, Rolls Royce, an archbishop, Ballmer, overdubbed Maroon 5, and an outstandingly patronizing trio of youth caricatures

Minecraft Documentary Producers Voluntarily Put Film on The Pirate Bay

They know their audience. I’m excited to watch this.

Valve's Gabe Newell on Steam Box, biometrics, and the future of gaming

They are indeed doing a console.

The Real Jerk Restaurant Returns! | Indiegogo

Toronto’s favorite Caribbean restaurant is coming back and is raising funds for a mural.

Spike Lee’s Dissing of ‘Django Unchained’ Earns Both Ire and Indifference

This is the one film I got to see over the holidays. It is very much a blaxploitation film – a black story told by white people. That said, I loved it, and the interesting difference from historical blaxploitation is that the audience is mixed. Given America’s problem talking about slavery openly, that could be significant.

DRONENET The next BIG thing

“A short distance drone delivery service built on an open protocol. Think short haul logistics.” Would be awesome but as far as I can tell a) drones have to be fairly big to carry anything more than a kilogram and b) certainly in Canada, there are significant legal hurdles. Imagine a city in which drone crashes are commonplace.

The Spectacular Thefts of Apollo Robbins, Pickpocket

“In magic circles, Robbins is regarded as a kind of legend. Psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and the military study his methods for what they reveal”. (via)

Pain of the New

Kevin Kelly discusses people’s aversion to the ‘High Frame Rate (HFR)’ presentation of The Hobbit. He generalizes it as something akin to CDs – it seems scary now, but soon it will be the standard.

I haven’t seen the thing yet, but I have some experience with frame rate stuff. Perhaps the lighting is an issue as John Knoll explains to Kelly, but I think our associations with different frame rates is a big part of this. The 48frames per second of HFR is much closer to the 60fps of interlaced television than the 24fps of film, so people are associating the look of the Hobbit with soap operas, news etc. More frames isn’t necessarily better.

The Google-Microsoft ecosystem war: a full history

They are really not playing nice at all.

Code Year

A year ago I made a resolution to finally learn some programming, and a week later I heard about Code Year. It seemed perfect, so I signed up and right now I stand at 89% complete, which is pretty good in my books considering in 2012 I also worked a full time job, a freelance job, and produced 30 minutes of films and one daughter.

I find my own lack of programming knowledge glaring. I was good at math. I have always been good with computers. I used to make HyperCard stacks as a kid, and further back one of my earliest brushes with video games was coding my own on the ZX-81 (the only way to play a game on that thing). For the past couple decades I’ve been fascinated by the web, and I know CSS and HTML, but never made the jump to Javascript or PHP or what have you. So close, but so far.

Codecademy isn’t without its flaws. The lessons are submitted by users, which is to say not made by professionals. Some are great, others broken, impassable without getting some help on the forums. But it’s free and the format is excellent – both the interface and the idea of weekly lessons for a year. I kept chipping away. In the fall my still-rudimentary Javascript knowledge really helped me fix something on my site that had been bugging me for a long time.

I’m trying to finish the Code Year track – hopefully it will turn out to be Code Fourteen Months. Not as catchy, sure. But I also will go on to do the Ruby course, and we’ll see what else. I am enjoying it, and it feels right, and I foresee a lifetime of side-tinkering with tiny, half-broken scripts.

If you’re at all interested in learning to code, I’d say give it a shot.

Umberto Eco on Why We Love Lists

The 77 Million Faces of Brian Eno

On his process and latest album.

<blockquote>        <p>I don&#8217;t sell that many records. They must think, &#8220;Why doesn&#8217;t he just work with bands who sell a lot of records?&#8221; The mysterious thing is that I somehow like this kind of elaborate lifelong failure that I&#8217;ve enjoyed. [Laughs.]</p>     </blockquote>

Better Than Human

Kevin Kelly on why we should let robots take our jobs. Classic west coast hippie futurist cum brutal capitalist.