Categories
entertainment

Amazing Stories Premieres March 6

I got a huge rush of nostalgia when the music for Amazing Stories kicked in during this trailer for the upcoming revival of the series which premieres on March 6th on Apple TV+.

(via macrumors)

Categories
bad review revue

The Bad Review Revue

Downhill: “‘Downhill’ depressingly spirals in the title’s direction.” — Roger Tennis, Cinemaclips.com

The Last Full Measure: “The Last Full Measure shoots itself in the foot. It may deserve a Purple Heart for that, but nothing much more.” — Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words: “Maybe silence was better.” — Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

The Song of Names: “Mainly, this movie chatters when it should sing.” — Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

Categories
humor

Valentine’s Day Plans

It’s a few years old, but I still consider it the best tweet of the day:

(via Miss Cellania)

Categories
games

The Magic of Chess

Another chess related post today. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this site but for the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been the President of the Lethbridge Chess club. Last Christmas I was demoted to President Emeritus and Klaus Jerricho has taken over the job.

Anyway, today’s post is about The Magic of Chess, which is a short documentary that shows young chess champions revealing how the game has enriched their lives. The four minute movie was shot by director Jenny Schwitzer Bell on location at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championships, a high-stakes tournament held annually in Nashville.

From The Atlantic:

In attendance—and interviewed in the film—was Tani Adewumi, the 8-year-old Nigerian refugee who, while living in a homeless shelter with his family, beat elite-private-school kids in the New York Chess Championships.

The children interviewed in the film are articulate and wise beyond their years. “When I asked the kids questions like, ‘What has chess taught you?,’ I was surprised, given their limited life experience, that they could formulate a response beyond the obvious mechanics of the game,” Schweitzer Bell told me.

Chess “teaches you how to make a plan,” one child says in the film.

“When you lose, you learn from your mistakes,” says another.

Photo credit: David Pacey CC 2.0
(via The Loop)

Categories
games

The Knight’s Tour

The Knight’s Tour is a sequence of chess moves by a knight on a chessboard such that the piece visits every square only once. How hard could it be?

Animated chess board with a single Knight and no other pieces going to every square on the chess board once

Here’s one possible path that I worked out starting at e1.

e1, g2, h4, f3, e5, g6, h8, f7, d8, b7, a5, c6, d4, b3, a1, c2, b4, a2, c1, d3, c5, a6, b8, d7, f8, h7, g5, e6, f4, h3, g1, e2, g3, h1, f2, e4, c3, d1, b2, a4, b6, a8, c7, b5, a7, c8, d6, e8, f6, g8, e7, d5, e3, c4, a3, b1, d2, f1, h2, g4, h6, f5, g7, h5

The trick is (as far as I can tell) you’ve got to move in a pattern such that at the halfway point your board looks like this:

Chess board with one knight halfway on the Knight's Tour

There might be other ways to complete the tour, but regardless, if you can get sets of two in the block pattern similar to the image above then the rest is just as easy as getting here in the first place. Also, notice that only two corners have been filled at this point. The other general idea is to choose the move that has the least options to move to next (beware there are exceptions).

The knight is randomly placed at the outset but this pattern is buildable from any of the start positions I’ve worked on. Give it a try: The Knight’s Tour. The source code is at github if you’d like to build your own — created by Reddit user psrwo.

(via BoingBoing)

Categories
podcasting

YouTube Audio to Overcast

Mike Rockwell on how to convert YouTube videos into audio ready for playback on Overcast. Spoiler: He uses a Shortcut.

There’s just so many videos on YouTube that don’t really need the video component. Whether they be information videos or talk shows, often times you can get by without the visuals. For those videos, the YouTube app is a bit heavier than what is necessary for listening. Something like Overcast with its Smart Speed feature, is a much better solution.

[…]

So I put together a shortcut — Push To Overcast — that lets me download a video from YouTube, convert it to an audio file, and then easily upload it to Overcast.

[…]

The shortcut utilizes UPull.me to download the YouTube videos. I don’t know too much about the site or who built it, but it’s the best method I’ve found for downloading videos from YouTube.

You need to have Overcast Premium in order to upload a file via the website but it’s a well-worthwhile purchase even if you don’t use this shortcut.

(via Michael Tsai)

Categories
parody

Watch the Tesla Cybertruck go… Back to the Future

Worth it for the license plate.

(via BoingBoing)

Categories
economics

Pigouvian Horn Tax in Mumbai

A pigovian tax is a tax on any market activity that generates negative externalities. One such negative externality is the noise pollution that happens in Mumbai as drivers continually slam on their horns hoping to help speed up the wait at traffic lights. The Mumbia police have issued such a pigouvian tax on the honkers by setting up noise detectors that automatically reset the red light waiting time if the honking gets too loud.

From the article:

For the Mumbai’s perpetual honkers, who love to blare the horns of their vehicles even when the traffic signal is red, the Mumbai Traffic Police has quietly come up with an unique initiative to discipline them in order to curb the alarming rise in the noise pollution levels in the country’s commercial capital.

From Friday (January 31, 2020), it has installed decibel meters at certain select but heavy traffic signals to deter the habitual honkers through a campaign named ‘The Punishing Signal’.

Joint Police Commissioner (Traffic) Madhukar Pandey said that the decibel monitors are connected to traffic signals around the island city, and when the cacophony exceeds the dangerous 85-decibel mark due to needless honking, the signal timer resets, entailing a double waiting time for all vehicles.

Photo Credit – Adam Cohn CC 2.0
(Via Marginal Revolution)

Categories
entertainment

Star Wars: Underworld Test Footage

A long time ago, (circa 2010), way before The Mandalorian, LucasFilm began working on a TV series called “Star Wars: Underworld”. After the sale to Disney and due to the high cost of production, the series was put on indefinite hold and then cancelled. Here is some test footage from Stargate Studio that appeared online today (followed by the making-of footage).

Released test footage from 2010 of the cancelled Star Wars TV show “Underworld,” which was to take place in the lower levels of Coruscant. The series was set after the events of Order 66. The video game “1313” was to be a tie-in of this series. Due to the immense cost of shooting the series, as well as the selling of Lucasfilm to Disney, “Underworld” was delayed and eventually cancelled.

This footage was produced by Stargate Studios (whose VFX resume includes Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, The Orville) in partnership with Lucasfilm. The VFX technology displayed in the making-of portion is Stargate Studios’ impressive real-time rendering Virtual Backlot Live technology.

For more information about the concept art, stories, and development of “Underworld,” as well as “1313,” check out this Underworld archive.

(via Andy Farrell)

Categories
Apple

Apple Financial Results – Q1 2020

Last October, when Apple released their forth quarter earnings for 2019 expectations were blown away. As a shareholder of Apple Stock, 2019 was a very good year for APPL.

Here is the press release from Apple’s 1st quarterly results for 2020, which includes links to their data summary. Long story short, it’s another incredible quarter for Apple.

The Company posted quarterly revenue of $91.8 billion, an increase of 9 percent from the year-ago quarter and an all-time record, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $4.99, up 19 percent, also an all-time record. International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We are thrilled to report Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, fueled by strong demand for our iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, and all-time records for Services and Wearables,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “During the holiday quarter our active installed base of devices grew in each of our geographic segments and has now reached over 1.5 billion. We see this as a powerful testament to the satisfaction, engagement and loyalty of our customers — and a great driver of our growth across the board.”

In summary:

  • iPad unit sales were down 11%
  • Mac unit sales were down 3.5%
  • iPhone unit sales were up about 8% but revenue was up a whopping 29 percent. The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max continue as unprecedented hits.
  • Services were up 17%.
  • Wearables up an astounding 37%! It’s fairly obvious that AirPods Pro and Apple Watch are growing like crazy. This is anecdotal but when I first bought my watch I very rarely, if ever saw others with them. Now it seems like I see people wearing Apple watches every day.

Most interestingly, Tim Cook finished his introductory speech mentioning the coronavirus and, while being careful to be sensitive to its human cost, touched on how the disease may affect production. Asian suppliers have recently expressed their concerns about keeping up with Apple’s increasing production order while dealing with a disrupted supply chain due to widespread hospitalizations and quarantines.

Jason Snell has posted the complete transcript of the earnings call, as well his always excellent summary and charts.