Links for my weekly newsletter, 3rd week of July

  • Naked Statistics: Putting the fun back in math
    • The rise of social media means we have massive amounts of data at our fingertips.  What we do with all this information is up to us.  Have you ever have logged on to face the only to discover the friend who has a post with one single data point and uses that as the basis of their argument?  It’s perfectly acceptable to take a stance on a hot topic but you’ll come out looking foolish if you don’t understand the statistics and data points behind your argument.  Don’t be that person.


  • My review of the Taito Arcade Classics book
    • I’ve read all of the Hardcore Gaming 101 books up until this point, and after seeing this at last week’s Too Many Games festival, I had to grab this title. What I appreciate most is that the author goes into excruciating detail about every aspect of the games he covers. For example, he will dedicate 1-4 pages for each title, and the final 2 pages will typically cover the graphical, aural, and level design differences between each platform. In addition to this, he’ll include screenshots of (generally) the same area so that you can make a quick visual comparison.


  • Reward Style helps social influencer fashion bloggers generate revenue
    • I’ve long know what fashion blogging is, but just learned of how lucrative it can be, after a meeting with one of them this week. By posting images to Instagram while wearing a fashionable outfit, users can generate leads from purchases made within their photo via referral links. I was blown away by how all of this worked (not referrals, but the price people are willing to pay!). I found the story interested because it illustrates exactly how disruptive tech can be in today’s economy’, and al kinds of new ways of generating revenue continue to grow each day. 
  • How the internet was invented (in a beer garden)
    • A newsletter subscriber sent this to me, and I found this fascinating because it combines two of my favorite things: Tech, and good beverages. A beer garden doesn’t seem a likely spot for a major act of innovation. But 40 years ago this August, a small team of scientists set up a computer terminal at one of its picnic tables and conducted an extraordinary experiment. Over plastic cups of beer, they proved that a strange idea called the internet could work.


  • StarCraft Ghost – What went wrong?
    • C’mon, who wasn’t looking forward to this game? I love Polygon’s long-form articles, and this is no exception. In 2002, Blizzard wanted to make a dent in the growing console market, and Nihilistic provided an opportunity to do that. The original Xbox was less than a year old, and the PlayStation 2 was dominating console sales. Nihilistic wanted to grab the players who preferred a couch to a PC. It was bold. It had to be. In 1998, Blizzard made a mark on the industry with StarCraft, a real-time strategy title that topped PC sales charts and became a cornerstone for the professional game circuit. Nihilistic wanted to take that franchise and give players a fresh look at the game’s world through the eyes of a popular character – a ghost.


  • 30 years of “for rent” housing ads in SF were transcribed, and here’s what it revealed about prices
    • … It would take a 53% increase in the housing supply (200,000 new units), or a 44% drop in CPI-adjusted salaries, or a 51% drop in employment, to cut prices by two thirds. OK, so this would mean the way to make San Francisco as affordable as (say) Portland would be to either cut everybody’s salary in half, or fire half of them, or rapidly increase the number of homes by 50 percent, which would let the population rapidly leap to about 1.2 million.


  • Xamarin Workbooks overview
    • This evening I gave a talk at the Philly.NET user group, out of Microsoft’s Malvern office.  Joel Martinez, a SDE on the Xamarin team suggested I talk about Xamarin Workbooks, Xamarin’s latest offering, which provide a blend of documentation and code that is perfect for experimentation, learning, and creating guides and teaching aids. Workbooks allow you to create a rich C# tutorial and documentation for Android, iOS, Mac, or WPF, and get instant live results as you learn these APIs. You can use Workbooks as a standalone application, separate from your IDE.



  • Indie Dev Podcast – Ep 31 – The motion capture of Mortal Kombat
    • This week is a bit different. I’ve got my co-worker in DC, Shahed Chowdhuri on the show, along with Pek Pongpaet (pong-pat) and Daniel Pesina. Shahed and Pek grew up together, and Pek met Daniel while studying at his Wushu.  Daniel played Johnny Cage and ninjas Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Reptile, Smoke, and Noob Saibot in several Mortal Kombat games, and Pek has worked on 6 MK games spanning 10 years.




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