Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot

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Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences


This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman


Sunday, June 01, 2003

Hilarious tale of escalating mischief surrounding a man and his credit cards. His point: Nobody ever checks your signature when you sign a credit card slip. Never.


10:47:01 PM        Culture

I somehow missed this Slashdot article, but it's pretty interesting reading. The guy who started EasyJet has begun EasyCinema, but is being denied top-flight first-run films because of his radical pricing scheme. The whole Slashdot thread includes some intriguing comments, including this bit:

The boys presenting this scheme have a good, solid idea which has been used to before by some other industries (e.g., the airlines). Fact is, actual attendance is dismally low compared to seating when you adjust for all times, around 1/5 of the theater seats available. Decreasing price results in increasing attendance; Econ 101 tells you that in many cases the improved attendance will actually result in *more* profits, not less. That is:

Fill 20 seats at $7 each = $140
Fill 50 seats at $4 each = $200
Fill 100 seats at $2.50 each = $250

And so on.

There's also some discussing of dynamic pricing. That is, you should pay the same price to see The Matrix Reloaded on its opening weekend as you would to, say, watch Two Weeks Later in its sixth week of distribution?


10:45:00 PM        Movies Technology

All my early computing memories are in monochrome green. There are, as I search back in my Internet-addled memories, two threads: at home and elsewhere.

At home, my mother was an early adopter of computers, and so my family spent far too much money on an IBM PC. Two floppy drives, a monochrome monitor and no modem. Still, I spent hours fiddling around with it, writing BASIC programs like this:

10 SCREEN 1:CLS:KEY OFF 
20 BOX$="R20;U10;L20;D10"
30 DRAW BOX$

out of this book (yes, it's still on my bookshelf):

That's not me on the cover, but it might as well have been.

For me, to the detriment of my handwriting, the greatest power of that computer was storing things that I wrote. I immediately appreciated the superiority of the digital storage medium. As a result, I have most of what I've ever written since I was ten years old. This is, as far as I can tell, the oldest piece:

84-09-13              ADULTS                 Darren
----------- ---------- ----------

Adults are very different from children.One reason is that the average adult doesn't have
as big an imagination as that of most children. Another reason is that most adults are wiser
than children,though children gain wisdom through adversity.
Some of the things that I like about adults are:that they're usually there when you need 
them,they are very helpful and gullible.Some of the things I dislike about adults are:they
sometimes don't understand you,they are sometimes agravating and sometimes they can get a
little too wild.
Some adults wish they were kids again,some don't.Some adults act like kids,some don't.Some 
adults are weird,some aren't.So all and all,what I'm trying to say is that all adults are
different, as are children.

I'd say there's a lifetime of therapy in that phrase 'a little too wild'. This essay could be a book (that no one would care to read), but another important home computing touchstone was my discovery of text-based games. Read more about that here.

Outside the home, my first computer experience was at Glenmore Elementary School, playing around with an early Apple computer in some broom closet. I endlessly played this silly spelling program that was set up as a fishing game. I also remember messing around with a BBS called 'The Fission Boat'. It was set up by my brother's friend, Matt Ackleberg (sp?). I have recollection of what we did on it.

Fast forward then, to high school, and endless hours wasted with games like Ultima and Captain Goodnight. I remember sitting in Albert Kaan's massive basement, with his computer hooked up to a massive television set, spending six hours cracking the final dungeon, the Stygian Abyss. For the latter, we spent hours creating animated videos based on Captain Goodnight and his exploits. We were constantly confronted with memory problems.

From there, it was onto Rogue (I was a late adopter), Bard's Tale and (presumably) sterility because of nearly two decades in front of a monitor.

This essay was prompted by the meme du jour: Newly Digital. Now, let's try this newfangled TrackBack thing.


12:14:29 PM        Technology

I finally got around to seeing Bend It Like Beckham yesterday. Maybe it was because the title included the name of that poncey, dumb-as-a-truck soccer superstar, or maybe it was because My Big Fat Greek Wedding soured me on ethnic comedies, but I'd been putting it off. I don't know why, though, because it was brilliant--the best (admittedly lightweight) film I've seen in weeks.

It's odd, but nobody can make fun of themselves better than Indians living in Britain. It seems to come so naturally to them (see also the BBC's wonderful The Kumars at No. 42). None of the jokes are forced, or Americanized, and we genuinely recognize and relate to the protagonist's stress when she has to expose her bare legs and arms in her soccer kit. Compared to the aforementioned Greek pic, this film never had to work for the jokes, which emerged genuinely out of the situation.

The sports footage was all decent and compelling to watch as well. This film actually add something to say about the transforming aspect of sport, how it can bring people together in small ways. Fortunately, the film's not about some sad-sack team who rises to the championship--the protagonist and her sidekick are excellent players at the beginning of the film. In fact, what happens on the pitch is far less important than what happens off it.

Most of the critics seem to agree with me, and that's always nice.


11:02:41 AM        Movies Sports