Tuesday, March 07, 2017

TV Meltdown - Free Cable TV

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Learn to code with Minecraft and Star Wars

There's a great set of 'Hour of Code' exercises at studio.code.org
They're great for kids, or anyone looking to get started.
Like Scratch, they work by dragging blocks together. The experience is delivered very well, with videos and lots of explanation.

The Minecraft exercise is good for any kid who's interested in Minecraft. It teaches loops and 'if' statements.
The Star Wars exercise is great too. You control BB8 (the round droid from the new movie) and learn about events.
I recommend doing both exercises, with Minecraft first.

Friday, April 03, 2015

DMV Fast Lane

The DMV is ridiculous. 

  • Several DMVs in LA have closed
  • If you schedule an appointment online you have to wait months
  • If you turn up you can be waiting for 8 hours to be seen (not an exaggeration).

The DMV should have a paid ‘fast lane’. 
Using the Fast Lane might cost you $20, but you’re in and out in 20 minutes.

The money generated could be used to open more DMVs and generally improve services for all DMV customers.

Like the freeway fast lane, the cost of using the fast lane could vary based on demand.
Bonus idea:  DMV staff should be paid an monthly bonus based on customer satisfaction and customers served.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Weight Loss for Game Programmers

When I started my first job after University, I got fat.
Not crazy fat, but my trouser size went up 4 inches, and my friends were joking about it behind my back. (Thanks guys)
I wasn't aware of it until someone pointed it out. I then recognized that I didn't like the trajectory I was on, so...
First I did some profiling:
  • At University I walked about 90 minutes a day. Now I got the bus to work and walked about 10 minutes a day.
  • Due to the lack of funds at University, I used to eat less fatty food. The company I was at was next to a fantastic sandwich shop, where I would regularly buy colossal meat sandwiches which would make Vikings envious. Then I'd often get take out in the evening.
  • At work there was free soda, and I had a five cans a day Coke habit.
Then I made a few optimizations:
  • I had to walk either to work or from work once per day. If I get the bus in the morning, I had to walk home at night.
  • Instead of Coke, I would learn to love the fizzy lemon water instead.
  • I could only have Viking style sandwiches on Friday, and the other days I'd have turkey or tuna.
  • I had to do boot camp class at the gym once per week.
A few months later I was back to my normal weight. I think this worked because:
  • The 'If I don't walk in the morning, I walk at night' rule gave me options.
  • The alternative sandwiches and soda were pretty good in their own right. I wasn't too draconian.
  • The Viking Friday lunch gave me something to look forward to.
  • Going to the gym once a week was achievable and didn't get boring.