Over the weekend, I started using Google Earth and decided to try making some of my own overlays about Chicago. They’re not particularly useful in the everyday sense–not nearly as useful as the CTA and traffic overlays I found on another site–but anyone with an interest in Chicago sociology or history might find them worth looking into.
The following is a summary of stuff I worked on before the new Toolness was created, but after I stopped maintaining any of my old sites.
Narrowcaster – During the summer of 2004, I realized how great RSS syndication was and decided to get an aggregator. Unfortunately, all of them were horribly complicated: highly modal interfaces, tons of tabs and controls and buttons to mess around with and what have you. Taking some inspiration from the design of Google News, I whipped up my own aggregator using Python and MySQL. The interface is relatively humane, and the aggregator features some built-in filtering of certain feeds: for instance, stories from Slashdot that I’m not interested in–e.g., anything under their “Linux” category–are automatically filtered out. Since this was created solely for personal use, it’s still rather buggy in some rarely-used places; nonetheless, one year later, I (and at least one other person I know) still use this aggregator multiple times per day. The name “narrowcaster” refers to the concept of narrowcasting, which I first encountered in Nicholas Negroponte’s book Being Digital.
SWKOTOR2 Secret Tomb Bugfix – In June 2005, I played through Star Wars – Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which ended up being a terrific game. However, there were also a number of major scripting-related bugs in the game, a few of which tripped me up while I was playing it. After finding out about some of the restoration projects going on to fix the game’s bugs and restore some of its cut content, I decided to contribute.
A Farewell to Jef Raskin – This is something I wrote in remembrance of the death of Jef Raskin, commonly credited as the inventor of the Macintosh computer, in February 2005. Jef was a professor of mine in graduate school and later became my employer.
Plundered Hearts review – During the spring of 2004, I played through a slew of old Infocom interactive fiction titles and wrote reviews for three of them. The other two were for Planetfall and Wishbringer.
Food Force review – Food Force was a ridiculous little edutainment game that the UN World Food Programme released in the spring of 2005. Having a particular interest in the oft-neglected genres of video gaming–especially edutainment–I decided to review this title.