Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Twitter OAuth authentication in Ruby

The hardest part of building this Twitter bot was getting it authenticated via OAuth. This is partly because the Ruby twitter gem is really easy to use. But this is mostly because the documentation and blog posts talking about authentication that I found were all incomplete or out of date. Therefore, I would like to present: how to connect to a Twitter account in Ruby, as of July 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Inform 7 full game source code

Inform 7 is a programming language for interactive fiction games (modern descendants of Zork) that emulates nautral language. I've had that knowledge filed away in the back of my head as a novelty for a while now, even marveling at its extensive physics modeling capabilities. But I never fully appreciated how a program written in a language like this reads without an example.

So I was enthralled by the source code for Bronze, a full game written by Emily Short, a notable IF author. Some sections are simply beautiful to read (despite probably still being hard to write). The making of notes also helped me get a good sense of the thinking behind the game's iterative development. Spoilers abound throughout the source and making of, of course.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Surviving project cancellations

Contrary to Civilization II, you don't need a habitation module to have a non-zero chance of success in space.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some Useful Keyword Quick Searches

Chrome's default location bar behavior is the closest I've gotten to the mythical 'do what I want' in a browser.  While there are extensions for Firefox that can mimic this, I instead have it set up to do something even more useful.  When I know exactly what I want to find, I can specify what domain I want to search to get better results than letting the browser, or Google, figure it out.

For the uninitiated, the magic of keyword quick searches involves typing out a keyword - a few letters or a word - before your search query in the location bar.  The keyword tells your browser which site's search you want to use.  I'll run through how to set them up in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, then offer some keywords that I use.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Power of Ten

I consider myself pretty good at getting a sense of scale from facts and figures, even when the reality is that it tends to get really hard over around 10,000 and break down over a million or so.

This infographic at visualeconomics really drives home how thoroughly it breaks down.  I know $100 billion is really a lot of money.  I know in my head that just 0.1% of that is $100 million, which is still a ridiculous amount of money.  But I don't think I really knew it at a gut level until scrolling through that image.  And it reminds me that there are probably a lot of other things where that's true.

On the flip side of things, this slide remains the worst infographic I have ever seen.