All posts filed under “Geeking out

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Chumby – I’m strangely intrigued

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I’m strangely intrigued by the Chumby. I was recently reminded of it after reading David Pogue’s review. While I heard about it ages ago, it only recently has gone to regular production.

What is it? Well, it’s essentially a little screen with some speakers and other sensors. Most importantly it has a wireless internet connection so that it is always connected.

What does it do? Whatever you want it to, and a little bit of everything. There are a ton of little “widgets” that have been written for the Chumby. They apparently include alarm clocks, little games, live weather for anywhere in the world, your photos from Flickr, and a bunch more. You can even write your own if you’re so inclined.

It seems like a really neat thing to have on your desk or bedstand. I think you can even program it so that it shows different things at different times of the day. It would be AWESOME if it showed weather and the status of the London Tube lines in the morning and late afternoon. (I hate making my way to the station only to find out there are delays; right now I just have to remember to pay attention to the radio in the morning. Having a bit of warning makes the delays easier to deal with.) During the day it would be great to have a Flickr slide show on the desk.

Anyway, I don’t plan on purchasing one anytime soon, but it seems like a neat little gadget. It will be interesting to see how the company develops.

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Twenty years of film in one computer window

So I read this article in the New York Times the other day about how last year was such a blockbuster for films that this year will almost certainly look bad in comparison. But what absolutely blew me away was the “interactive chart” that went with the article.

You HAVE to check it out by clicking here.

It shows in one single graph every major film that’s been released in the last twenty years, how much it made per week by week, and how much it made total. WOW!

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I’m sure Edward Tufte would be proud of this. It’s an absolutely amazing chart. It definitively shows that the blockbuster films are put out in the early- to mid- summer and Thanksgiving to Christmas periods. It’s also interesting to see how some films die quite quickly, but others last for quite a bit. Oscar winners in particular seem to have a January to March boost, or at least “extension”.

The first time I saw the chart I thought it was pretty interesting, and then I realised it went back twenty years. As a kid who grew up in the Midwest, I saw a lot of films growing up; it seemed to be the standard thing to do on dates. Scrolling through the chart was a pleasant trip down memory lane.

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Must-read blog

If you’re looking for a fun, low-traffic post that is both thought-provoking, funny and simply a must-read, try Ironic Sans.

I’ve talked before about the plugin he’s made to “uncensor the Internet”, but he also posts random cool ideas like the Bulbdial clock here:

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Another very cool recent post was on courtroom artists, of all things. He showed the pictures they’ve drawn and also the things they draw and paint outside the courtroom.

I’m a huge fan, and hope you check it out yourself!