Searching the Haight for Signs of Life

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Welcome to Wiimbledon

Don't you think it's slick how the Wii easily connects to your wireless network after you set it up. While the new virtual reality UI on the Wii is fantastic, the big news is the UI combined with the internet. You can see where Nintendo is going with this.

What always made Nintendo the most fun was playing with friends, and the wireless Wii gives way to a whole new world of playing everything from the 8-bit goldies to the new Wii sports games with people across the globe. Nintendo's games, old and new, lend themselves to playing in pairs, in groups, and in tournaments.

Welcome to Wiimbledon. It's not very hard to run Wii Tennis matches asynchronously and keep stats on a central server. I think Ninetendo has this and more in mind, and you get a peek at that through the Mii Parade. Nintendo is making their first play in the a very important arena.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Went Shopping

I won't do this thing justice, but I went a got a new acoustic guitar today, after consulting with my Uncle Mike on good ones to look at. I tried all the guitars he recommended in my price range, and this one felt like magic in my hands.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Strange Lego Insert

This year, I bought my nephew a big red box of legos, and the insert that came neatly folded inside gave my whole family the giggles. Just imagine, millions and millions of these things printed... I guess so people don't get confused by the instructions for making various things. It goes to show how smart the Danes think the average consumer is!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Statistically Proven 11 Secrets of Big Diggs

I have conducted an analysis of top articles on Digg and Reddit over the last 1.5 months. The results of my study are not surprising. Below I have posted the list in ascending order of the topic categories most likely to rise to the top of these two sites, as well as a graph for some back-up info.

While I make no claims about the accuracy of this study, drop me a line if you are interested in my methodology or some other breakouts I did.

The Top 11

11. Make a flagrantly liberal comment about a well-known conservative.

10. Reddit, Digg, or Fark: boobies are king.

9. Triple A: Atheism, altruism, and academia oh my.

8. Web 2.0.

7. Giant animals.

6. Haskell, Lisp, or Erlang will all do in a pinch.

5. Python or Ruby… bonus points for rails.

4. Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

3. The rich get richer.

2. Vista.

1. Best of, Top 10, Secrets, Tips, and/or Tricks. Who needs a link?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

From my dad's blog

In my youth, truth was as limber as my limbs and terribly important to speak or conceal. Pushing 50, truth is stiff and difficult to bend after just two hours of sitting; but, it also doesn't mean much. I am a cacophony of good and bad, right and wrong, certainty and doubt, passion and disdain. “I cast a shadow most clearly in the light. Better though, this shadow, then hiding in the night.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Song You've Never Heard

This is a song you've never heard, but I'm sure you will hear on a radio one day. On top of being an accomplished guitarist (jazz and rock), Steve's sound brings together the classic pop sound of The Beatles with the modern flare of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Decemberists.

Summer's Ending, by Steve Goldberg.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wii, Time, and You

You've read all the stories. The Wii is surpassing all expectations and turning the console world on its ear. You've read about it 15 times on, 27 times in the New York Times, but most of all you've seen and heard those like you, your countrymen, squawking and dancing to in celebration of what at least is a major UI innovation, and perhaps a historic step into the world of virtual reality.

The Wii isn't just the talk of the town. It's the talk of the world. My little blog, usually just a place for my sisters and roommates, now brings in hundreds of visits a day from people looking for the secrets of the Wii Tennis Power Serve, Wii Tennis Strategy, and all that.

Today, I read the Time POY article (on Reddit). While it was a little bit cheesy, it nonetheless recognized the single most important force of our generation, the global internet. We're living in a new age of reason, where everyone has a voice and access to the knowledge of humanity. At the end of it, we will recognize this as the most important time in human history.

The Time article noted that the internet had allowed humanity to take control of the global media, and here you are, and this is big. This isn't just a new way to find the best articles on the Wii, to quickly and accurately evaluate and discuss new consumer products. This isn't just a mass of coordinated people showing up the MSM.

This is a realization of a dream envisioned only in science fiction, the minds of batty futurists, and an AT&T commercial :). This is a way to harness computation, collective intelligence, and create a global brain that will cause a rapid acceleration in technology and thus productivity and economic prosperity. And also a way to download all the games I used to play on the original Nintendo, back in the 1980s, when 640k ought to be enough for anybody.

I think we are living in dangerous times, but the internet has the chance to bring us back from the brink, and bind us together into a global community of inestimable power and potential. If I were religious, I'd say we are living in a time of prophecy. But instead I marvel at man, technology, the internet, and this sleek little Wii.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Leonard and Diane Johnson

There isn't much on the internet about my grandparents, but that's just a function of their generation. But if anyone's ever searching for Leonard Lester Johnson or Diane Seelye Johnson, they are my grandparents and once ran a big oil pipe company in Houston, TX. They are passed away now, but they live on vividly in my memories and this, one of my favorite photos:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wii Tennis Strategy: Net Smashing

UPDATE: I don't blog here anymore. My new project is TrailBehind - a website for hikers and campers. I made a new blog on my site too.

This installment of Wii Tennis strategy is particularly useful against computer players, playing human on computer or when playing the net against a computer on the baseline in doubles. The fact is, even at the higher ranks, the computer doesn't hit the very ball very hard, and due to the acrobatics of Mii avatars, you can capitalize as the loopers sail over the net.

Just as in serving, you can put some heat on the ball if you hit it at the top of the arc, or close to it. Whenever you are playing the net, and a ball comes anywhere close to you, try and get it on its way up or at the apex. And remember! Mii avatars can jump like Jordan, so you don't even have to be real close to the ball to jump or dive for it. The focus on the racquet play I think is one of the fundamental strengths of the game.

The other consideration is of course which direction you want the ball to go, but usually just hitting it as hard as you can a time or two will put the ball well out of reach regardless.

If you missed my previous popular posts on the Wii Tennis Power Serve and or the Wii Tennis strategy article on the Five Magic Shots, check them out.

My roommates and I are getting a camcorder so we can demonstrate some techniques that we have painstakingly uncovered :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wii Tennis Power Serve

UPDATE: I don't blog here anymore. My new project is TrailBehind - a website for hikers and campers. I made a new blog on my site too.

The power serve in Wii Tennis is an absolutely critical shot. You'll notice that before either side knows how to power serve, you are at a DISADVANTAGE when serving, because you are like a tennis ball machine throwing practice loopers to your opponent.

Being able to power serve completely changes the nature of the game:

1) The power serve changes your serving volleys from a defensive to an aggressive nature. Your opponent will hit it back slower, from deeper, and basically activates your net man.

2) The power serve prevents your opponent from easy put-aways (see my Magic Shots article on Wii Tennis for how to quash a slow serve)

3) The power serve gets you aces.

How-To Power Serve
In order to Power serve, you should swing as hard as you can with a quick wrist flick at the top of the ball's arc (about 1-Mississippi count). When the ball seems to hang in the air, smash it. I can pretty much do it every time now.

Stay tuned for the following posts:

The Jumping Smasher at the Net

Video Demonstration