“ Today, though? What I want from Apple today is not new product categories. I would rather they put all those brilliant engineers to work fixing bugs and maintaining the apps that I use. That’s what would really make my life better. ”

Michael Tsai

“ It’s the opportunity cost of pursuing wearable luxury computing that makes me sad. Whether it’s on your face, wrist, up your butt, whatever ”

Maciej Cegłowski

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

— Douglas Adams

(via Matthew Somerville)

Smothers Brothers – Boil that Cabbage Down

Sometimes I watch old comedy and think to myself, “This just isn’t funny; humour was really different back in those days.”

Other times I watch the video above and giggle for literally days1.


  1. On and off. 

B-Boy Pocket 2014 — No Limits

Anyone who has ever attempted to engage with me on the subject of breaking will attest that I’m not the biggest fan of power.

But… this kid, Pocket… man… He’s really something.

Once a week, YouTube sends me an email with a section entitled, “We think you’d like…” which this week contained the above.

Yup.

Handshake Round-Up

My apologies. I have been remiss in my duties and have failed to keep you updated with all the important handshake news from around the world. Here’s some shakes that have been hanging around in my todo list for a while:

LeBron James and Jay-Z’s Secret Handshake (via Straight Bangin’)

Spot the difference (via @Caged):

Obama shake

Beyoncé and Michelle are kinda dorky (via @clararama):

Talking of Awkward Handshake Moments:

Rise of the Robots—Robot Megapost

For a few years now I’ve been collecting evidence that the robots are planning to destroy us all, in the hopes it might persuade the world’s governments that they need to act now to prevent the robot apocalypse.

Here is a round-up of my findings:

Robots are cleverer than us.

They’re faster than us:

High-Speed Robot Hand

Thinking about pulling they old “We can just hide upstairs!” trick? Yeah, that doesn’t work anymore:

DARPA Robot Masters Stairs

In fact, all kinds of terrain are easily defeated by the robots:

The latest version of the LittleDog Robot

This robot looks fairly innocuous. Cute, even—he’s just hungry after a hard day’s work at the car factory, and doesn’t want the bother of having to cook a full meal—until the human minion doing the talking casually drops in the fact that, “He uses spinning lasers.” (At the two minute mark.)

Robot Microwaves a Meal

None of this making you uneasy? I think this will solve that problem:

SHIRI

You can’t even trust the robots to play fair. This robot will always beat you at Scissors-Paper, Stone, (Rock, Paper, Scissors, american friends!), because it CHEATS:

Janken (rock-paper-scissors) Robot with 100% winning rate

Even if a well-trained human can take out a robot, what chance will they have when facing an endless swarm of robots working as a team?:

Robot Swarm - University of Sheffield

One thing is for certain, we definitely won’t have air-superiority. Check out this “aggressive quadrotor”:

Aggressive Quadrotor Part II

…that can fly upside down:

Variable-Pitch Quadrotor Trajectory Generation and Control

…and, of course, will form perfectly organised squads of flying death machines with its pals:

A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors

You still fancy human air-forces’ chances against the mechanical menace? Whoops, we replaced all our pilots with robots!

The robots even dance better than us:

Keepon dancing to Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On”

In fact, the way we’ll find out that the robots have turned on us is when massed ranks of robot soldiers arrive at our capitals and perform a war dance:

Aldebaran Robotics Nao Robot Show .mp4 

In summary: pretty horrifying. Tell your family you love them; the end is coming.

One tiny shred of comfort: for now at least, humans are still superior in hand-to-hand combat.

I love this interview with Joakim Noah’s Dad so very much.

“That was a great interview right there.”

(via The Starters)

“ And if you’re OK with the film playing you for a sap, you’ll laugh and clap and wonder how that bird got into that hat. But if you think there’s a difference between being tricked and being cheated, you may feel swindled. ”

—Alonso Duralde, in his review of a terrible, terrible film.

I got more entertainment from the line quoted above than I did from any part of the two-hour shambles that is Now You See Me.

The following—from commenters on the review—also tickled me:

the movie was super fun right up until they broke their own rules and pulled an ending out of their ass that was completely nonsensical.

—puddingbirds

This is a completely honest review. The final twist is utterly absurd and out of left field, as well as unnecessary. It also doesn’t make any sense.

—Jonathan Brehm

If you are amongst the seventy-one percent of Rotten Tomatoes users that liked this film, then I am ashamed to have you as a reader what is wrong with you that film is SO BAD. (Although still not the worst film I have seen in the past fortnight.)

“ Pulling into the parking lot, I see a young couple standing by their car, looking over their hood at an emu. The emu is trying to circle over to their side to ask them a question. They are circling in the same direction, skeptical of the bird’s intentions. It’s not clear how long this dance has been going on, but the couple seems happy to see me, while the emu is frankly delighted. He abandons his pursuit and heads over to my car with what I can’t help but notice are very rapid strides. The couple is watching me with a mixture of relief and curiosity as I step out of the car, propelled by some kind of idiot bravado. They have been wondering for some time now what happens when you let the emu reach you, and I am about to demonstrate it for them. I feel a sudden longing to get inside the visitors’ center. ”

—Maciej Cegłowski, in Pursuing The Platypus

I’ve linked to Cegłowski’s sublime-but-irregular blog Idle Words before, but it bears repeating: he is one of the best writers on the web. I wish he would quit that silly Pinboard thing and commit to writing full time, even if it did mean I’d lose all my web bookmarks.

I was trying to figure out why I love this piece on Hedy Lamarr, written by friend-of-While-You-Were-Gone and soon-to-be Google engineer, Richard Gaywood, so much. Here are some possible reasons:

It is a gently surprising story about interesting people I had never heard of before,
It’s fascinating to think about the different ways someone’s life can affect the world around them,
Having read it, I know a little bit more about the world,
Having read it, I know a little bit more about my friend.

I was trying to figure out why I love this piece on Hedy Lamarr, written by friend-of-While-You-Were-Gone and soon-to-be Google engineer, Richard Gaywood, so much. Here are some possible reasons:

Point of View

Good evening, While You Were Gone-ateers! The theme of the day is POV, and I have three EXCITING videos for you to ENJOY.

Mirror’s Edge Parkour POV

Parkour is crazy and people that do it are certifiably insane.

Flying Eagle POV

Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a POV video, as I’m pretty sure that eagles cannot see the back of their own head the whole time they are flapping around. Instead you will have to imagine you are riding the eagle like Gandalf. I think you will survive.

Notorious IBE Trailer 2010

Do you remember Guy Ritchie’s Take it to the Next Level Nike advert from a few years back? This is the hip-hop version.