after weeks of traveling, this is now my favorite spot in the universe.


New York Times:

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.

Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.

In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.



Avoid the Polaroid (Reblog Edition): 
When reblogging photo posts, follow these 10 steps to add images to Tumblr photo captions — without displaying the gray “Polaroid” icon for external images on the Dashboard. (Note: A caption image appears at a maximum width of 125 pixels on the Desktop Dashboard but expands when clicked.)

If you are creating a photo post and want to add an image to the caption, see the original version of this post.

Note to self: If users of something I make are ever sharing infographics describing the ten steps necessary to use a feature I don’t offer, just offer the feature.


Photos with Hector from PAX East 2013 and PAX East 2014. Catch our 2014 panel here.


The Verge:

Scientists have discovered four species of Brazilian insects in which the females possess a penis and the males possess a vagina. This announcement, made today in the journal Current Biology, represents the first documented instance of a “female penis” in the animal kingdom.

Contrary to popular belief, the presence or absence of certain sex organs isn’t the determining factor when deciding which animal of a species is female and which is male. In fact, biologists don’t use sex chromosomes either. They actually rely on the size of an animal’s gametes — sperm in males and oocytes in females. As the rule goes, females are the sex that contribute the largest gametes, whereas males are the sex that contribute the smallest gametes and therefore expend the least amount of energy on producing these cells. So, in this particular instance of sex-role reversal, the convention still applies: the female in these species of insect produces the largest gametes — egg cells. She simply also happens to sport a penis that she introduces into the male’s vagina during copulation.


When it’s time to mate, the female mounts the male and penetrates his vagina-like opening using her gynosome — the term used to designate her female-penis. This mating behavior lasts for an impressive 40 to 70 hours, thanks to the female’s inflatable, spiny penis that anchors itself to the male’s internal tissues. During this time, the female Neotrogla gathers large quantities of sperm that she uses to fertilize her eggs. “Because the female’s anchoring force is very strong, a male’s resistance may cause damage to his genitalia,” Yoshizawa said. “Therefore, it is very likely that entire mating processes are controlled actively by females, whereas males are rather passive.”

Michael Siva-Jothy, an entomologist at the University of Sheffield, UK, who didn’t participate in this study, said in an email to The Verge that the findings are “really, really exciting.” Examples like this, he noted, allow researchers to examine various factors that drive how these traits evolve. When asked how the female penis might have evolved, however, Siva-Jothy was stumped. “This is so bizarre,” he said. “I don’t know where to begin.”



The last clip Jeff Gerstmann shared is from TV Carnage. What starts off a hunting video turns into a cooking show.

Full panel (and crowd reactions) available here.

Tomorrow we’ll check in with Max Temkin and his favorite on air goofs. 

This was horrifying and amazing.



Ergo dronies

If Kottke says it’s a thing, it must be a thing. As consumer camera drones become more common, this kind of shot (or the one that inspired it by Amit Gupta) will become more familiar. Or this one I made with ominous shadow and a bit of vignette for enhanced drama.

There’s a reason that you’re going to see a lot of these from drone flyers like me, and it’s this: once you get past the novelty of taking a camera high up in the air, getting a bird’s eye view of stuff is actually a little boring.

What birds see is actually a little boring. Humans are interesting. Getting close to stuff is interesting. I bet if we could strap tiny cameras to bird heads, most of what we’d want to look at would happen when they fly close to people. If we could, we’d put cameras on bird heads to take pictures of ourselves.

But try flying your drone close to people. They get freaked out (trust me). Ergo dronies. You want to shoot people, you have to shoot the people you have access to. You end up shooting yourself. It’s not vain, it’s pragmatic.

The next part of the story is the fun part: discovering new things to do with it. New ways to shoot, new shots to get, new moves and new angles. What this feels like to me is that photography was just introduced and enthusiasts are figuring out what a wide shot is and how it feels different from a closeup. Or like the Steadicam was just invented and people are figuring out that running it down a narrow hallway looks really fucking cool.

This doesn’t happen very often, that we find new ways to see ourselves.

I got a Phantom 2 on Adam’s recommendation, pretty excited to start playing with it.



this is me right now, and it hurts. it hurts a lot.



Earlier this week there was a bit of a flare-up in the broader indie games community that I think has happened before, and will probably happen again, and it goes something like this:

ESTABLISHED CREATOR: “I don’t understand why all these new developers are whining that nobody liked their first game. It took me 10 years to make a game people liked. Shut up and work harder.

YOUNG TURK: “Don’t tell me to work harder. I work insanely hard as it is. Sorry I didn’t start from such privilege, asshole.”

ESTABLISHED CREATOR: “Classic victim psychology. I had challenges too. You need to take responsibility for yourself.”

YOUNG TURK: “You need to recognize that you basically cheated your way to the top by being born the right way.”

Great post by Adam Saltsman on a tension in the indie community. Make sure you read the whole thing.



Pwnmeal: Extreme Gaming Oatmeal is being promoted at PAX and has its own promotional video complete with muscular men and women slathering the stuff on their bodies. What is it? A promotion for Cards Against Humanity.



Forget Gamer Grub. If you really want to make sure you’re getting the precious nutrients you require to demolish your enemies, you better get a bowlful of Pwnmeal Oatmeal.

Okay, it doesn’t actually exist, as the ridiculous promotional video makes obvious, but it’s not that far off from other food products marketed at gamers. It’s a funny gag perpetrated by Cards Against Humanity co-creator Max Temkin, who went as far as to advertise the fake product at PAX East.

If you couldn’t make it the show and see it for yourself, make sure you head to the official Pwnmeal website and read up on the different, delicious flavors like MOBAnana Bread and Cinnamon K/D Ratioatmeal.


The Globe and Mail:

For every $1 spent providing housing and support for a homeless person with severe mental illness, $2.17 in savings are reaped because they spend less time in hospital, in prison and in shelters.


Usually, homeless people do not get housing and services such as rehab until they meet certain criteria like sobriety or taking medications, and people have little choice on where they can live.

The Housing First philosophy holds that getting a person a place to live is primordial because it creates the stability to tackle issues such as addiction, unemployment and lack of education.


Providing housing and support is costly too – an average of $19,582 per person. But the avoided costs are much greater, $42,536 on average, because those who are housed are put in hospital less often, make fewer ER visits and do not use shelters as often.

This seems like the exactly the kind of sensible and effective policy that we will never be able to implement in America because conservatives will say, “If you give homeless people homes, they’ll have no incentive to avoid homelessness.”



In this, the most incredible industrial manufacturing video ever made, we get a glimpse of 1995 as the employees of Sony’s CD manufacturing plant in Pittman, NJ offer a view into the pressing of the discs for the then-current release of Michael Jackson’s 2-CD HIStory set.

Addressing Michael directly as if he were a North Korean leader holding them hostage, the employees wrap the most banal details of the CD manufacturing process in a series of exhortations about the inevitable success of Dear Leader’s new release. Like HIStory itself, the video is accompanied by all of Michael’s classic hits, as an enticement to endure it.

At 3:43, Dot Short calls him “Mike”, as if she’s never heard of Michael Jackson. In all, it’s a must-watch. Nine minutes of bliss.


New York Times:

They came in through the Chinese takeout menu.

Unable to breach the computer network at a big oil company, hackers infected with malware the online menu of a Chinese restaurant that was popular with employees. When the workers browsed the menu, they inadvertently downloaded code that gave the attackers a foothold in the business’s vast computer network.


Last year, security researchers found a way into Google’s headquarters in Sydney, Australia, and Sydney’s North Shore Private hospital — and its ventilation, lighting, elevators and even video cameras — through their building management vendor. More recently, the same researchers found they could breach the circuit breakers of one Sochi Olympic arena through its heating and cooling supplier.

These are the kinds of futuristic hacker battles I was promised.


Andy Hertzfeld:

Steve Jobs often came by Texaco Towers after dinner, to see what was new, and we’d usually show him whatever recent progress we made. Sometimes he’d be pissed off about something, but other times he’d be really excited about a new idea.

I was the only one in the office one evening when he burst in, exclaiming that he had a flash of inspiration.

"Mr. Macintosh! We’ve got to have Mr. Macintosh!"

"Who is Mr. Macintosh?", I wondered.

"Mr. Macintosh is a mysterious little man who lives inside each Macintosh. He pops up every once in a while, when you least expect it, and then winks at you and disappears again. It will be so quick that you won’t be sure if you saw him or not. We’ll plant references in the manuals to the legend of Mr. Macintosh, and no one will know if he’s real or not."

Engineers like myself always daydream about building surreptitious little hacks into the software, but here was the co-founder and chairman of the company suggesting something really wild. I enthusiastically pressed him for details. Where should Mr. Macintosh appear? How often? What should he do when he shows up?

"One out of every thousand or two times that you pull down a menu, instead of the normal commands, you’ll get Mr. Macintosh, leaning against the wall of the menu. He’ll wave at you, then quickly disappear. You’ll try to get him to come back, but you won’t be able to."

I loved the idea and promised that I would implement Mr. Macintosh, but not right away, since there were still so many more basic things to get done. Steve told the idea to the marketing team, and eventually recruited the French artist Folon to do some renditions of Mr. Macintosh. I also asked my high school friend Susan Kare, who hadn’t started with Apple yet, to try to draw some Mr. Macintosh animations.

Most of the Macintosh system software had to be packed into a 64 KByte ROM, and ROM space got more scarce as development proceeded and the system grew. Eventually, it was clear that we’d never be able to fit bitmaps for Mr. Macintosh into the ROM, but I wasn’t willing to give up on him yet.

I made the software that displayed the menus look at a special low memory location called the “MrMacHook”, for an address of a routine. If the routine is present, it’s called with parameters that let it draw in the menu box, and it returns a result that tells the menu manager if it did anything. Using this, an application or system module could implement Mr. Macintosh (or perhaps his evil twin) if they saw fit.

I’m not sure if anybody ever actually implemented Mr. Macintosh or used the “MrMacHook” for something worthwhile.

This was a Bad Idea.