Blog, Photos

Link and Zelda Costumes: My Wife Wins Halloween This Year

I’ve been introducing my kids to the Legend of Zelda games (part of their Gamer Heritage), and they absolutely love them. We’ve played through Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess, and we’re working on Wind Waker now. They LOVE to play as Link and Zelda, so it was clear months ago what they wanted to be for Halloween this year.

My wife has been working for weeks on the costumes (mostly Zelda’s), and I can’t even say how AWESOME she is for making such an amazing costume for Emma. The details are perfect, and Emma looks amazing. And Gabe just lives and breaths Link. Besides the touches on his costume (a leather pouch that he made himself, a real ocarina, and the Hylian Shield that I made), he’s been practicing his sword moves, and has them down pat, straight from the games.

I love being a geek dad. :-)

You can view and download all of the photos in [this Imgur album](http://imgur.com/a/JNjcK#0).

Standard
Blog

iBooks 3.0 Seriously Underwhelms

iBooks 3.0 was announced today at Apple’s event, and is available now on the App Store.

Is it just me, or does calling this update “3.0” feel like a overstatement? A new (continuous) scrolling mode (that doesn’t work with fullscreen), some new languages, and “iCloud” sync that, as far as I can tell, is *identical* to the sync it’s had from day one (suns reading position and lets you download purchased books)? That’s it? Am i missing something? This should have been a labeled a minor point release, not “3.0”. Oh, and iBooks Author got an update, too. Some new themes, and you can now make portrait-only books. Be still my heart.

Why do I even care? Because I’m an avid ebook buyer and reader (several per month). I love my iPhone and iPad and I love reading on them. I want to love iBooks. It’s gorgeous. But I find myself doing all my reading in the Kindle app (and hence, buying from Amazon). iBooks offers no benefits I can see over the Kindle app and ecosystem. I guess I’m kind of rooting for Apple to do something groundbreaking and spectacular here, not because I love Apple, but because I love books.

That’s why this “update” underwhelms. iBooks could be so much more.

Standard
Blog

iPhone 5 LEGO Dock v2: Headphone Compatibility

20121010-120338.jpg

I modified the iPhone 5 dock/stand I made out of LEGO to accommodate the headphone cable (which is now located at the bottom of the phone, and is probably the number one reason that Apple has said the won’t be making a dock for the iPhone 5. Now I can listen to podcasts and music at my desk while using the stand.

20121010-120348.jpg

I also added some cosmetic enhancements, because let’s be honest – half the fun of doing this is tinkering and trying to make it look cool.

I still haven’t integrated a Lightning cable of charging/sync, partly because I still only have two cables, and don’t want to dedicate one to living on my desk, but also because kind of like see what kind of battery life I get when I go all day without charging. So far, it’s great. I rarely dip below the 20% mark before I go to bed. There’s space for it in the design, though, and I’ll add it eventually, once I have a spare cable laying around.

Standard
Blog

Watch This: “The Choice 2012”, Frontline’s Special on Obama and Romney

Take the time to watch this. It’s two hours well spent. I learned a lot about both Obama and Romney, and I found new respect for both of their backgrounds, challenges, and shortcomings. Don’t yell at your screen, but watch, and think. No matter how made up your mind is.

20121009-225423.jpg

Frontline is publicly funded and has a track record of independence and excellent investigative journalism. I trust them more than any other broadcast journalists. This is worth two hours of your time.

Standard
Blog

Six Strikes: Don’t Let the Content Industry Tighten Their Chokehold on the Internet

[Copyright Scofflaws Beware: ISPs to Begin Monitoring Illicit File Sharing](http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/10/isp-file-sharing-monitoring/)

This is the so-called “six strikes” rule, where you lose your internet access after being accused of infringing. It’s not a law, it’s an “initiative”. It’s “voluntary” for ISPs. The chair of the group behind the program (does anyone believe this isn’t just a front for the Big Content industry?) says the program is intended to be “educational, not punitive”. “You won’t get in trouble unless you’re downloading hundreds of songs”. So say the PR people.

Yeah, right.

Why should we believe any of those promises? We scared the crap out of them with the fact that we raised our voices and put a stop to SOPA and PIPA, so now they’re trying a more conciliatory approach. “We learned from SOPA” they said. “We’re not going to try that again” they said. And yet, here they are, under the guise of an “educational”, “voluntary” program for ISPs (read: additional legal and support and infrastructure costs to solve someone else’s problems and treat their customers like criminals, and for what benefit?). Sounds like a great plan.

Ask yourself this question. What problem does this solve for ISPs? What benefit do they get? I don’t see any. The content industry is the only one with something at stake here. They want to continue to coast along on their ancient business models, and fight like the devil against anything that would change them (too late!). And they want ISPs to do this “voluntarily”. You can bet the ISPs will pass these costs along to you, so it’ll be your dime paying for all of this.

So why would they do it? They’re being bullied.

To quote Cory Doctorow in the preface to his new (and highly relevant) novel [Pirate Cinema](http://craphound.com/pc), “betting against the Internet in the 21st century is felony stupidity.”

Cory has long been warning us about the dangers of “n strikes and we cut your Internet connection” laws. Pirate Cinema is a stark and 100% plausible example of what could happen if these laws are enacted.

Think about this: How much of your livelihood (and the livelihood of everyone with whom you share your Internet connection at home – family, roommates, etc.) depends on Internet access? More than you probably realize. Telecommuting, studying, and even looking for work all depend heavily on the Internet. The TV you watch, the music you listen to, the games you play, and the books you read. Good luck doing any of those things if you get rack up enough accusations (not convictions; accusations) to get your connection yanked.

I buy all of my music, movies, apps, games, and books. I want to support their creators, so I don’t download them illegally. Theoretically, I wouldn’t be affected in the least by this program. But it’s still a terrible idea, and the way things are going, how long will it be until they find a way to make me a criminal, too? What about you? If this works, all they learn is that being a bully gets good results.

I want everyone to read [Pirate Cinema](http://craphound.com/pc). Buy it, or [get it for free directly from Cory](http://craphound.com/pc/download/). Just read it. Think hard about what will happen if we continue to let the content industry have more and more control over something so important to the livelihood and well being of so many people – the Internet. Please, download and read this book. Get your friends, parents, teachers, and everyone else to read it and think about it. Not everyone will agree, but if more of us just start thinking about the issue, we can start to have a better conversation about it. Remember what happened with SOPA/PIPA.

SOPA/PIPA showed us that we have a voice, and we can make a difference. Don’t let the content industry get a stranglehold on the greatest invention and resource of our time just so they can try to protect and drag out their ancient business model a little longer. What good reason is there, besides their desire to preserve an outdated business model, their feeling that they’re entitled to keep making money from that model forever, to give them such control? The net is ours. They want to take it. Don’t let them.

Standard
IgniteJoshBronyism
Blog, Video

Bronyism in Modern Culture: My Five Minute Ignite Portland Talk on Why I Love My Little Pony

I’ve been involved with Ignite Portland from the very beginning. I helped get it started five years ago, and helped lead the planning of the event nine times. I’ve taken a break from planning the event, but it will always hold a place in my heart. After Ignite Portland 10, almost on a whim, I submitted a talk proposal entitled “Bronyism in Modern Culture: WTF is Up with My Little Pony?!“. Fast forward a few months, my talk idea was selected, and I shared it in Ignite format (20 slides, 15 seconds each, total of 5 minutes) on stage in front of about 500 people at Ignite Portland 11 on September 19, 2012.

This is the (very well done!) final video of my talk:

The highlight of the event was the people who came up to me afterwards, to introduce themselves as fellow bronies and pegasisters. Sometimes boldly, sometimes bashfully. It was wonderful to meet them, and share that connection.

Some people commented to me that I was really brave to share what I did, but it didn’t feel like bravery to me. Sure, I was a little nervous (about talking, not about the topic). But I was able to share something I love in front of a large audience, and I didn’t die. You won’t, either. Keep that in mind the next time you’re facing something that makes you nervous.

You can view/download the slide deck on Slideshare. I used Pinterest to research and gather material for my talk, and credits for all the amazing artwork and photography I used in the talk can be found here: http://pinterest.com/jabancroft/ponies/

Thanks to the show’s creators, cast, and the brony community for being awesome! brohoof :-)

Standard