Archive | November 2007

Congrats to Bunnie and the Chumby Team!

Chumby has been shipping for a while now and people seem to love it! I love that hacked Chumbies are already starting to roll in!!

Congrats, Bunnie!

More Photos At Flickr

Geometry Wars: Galaxies (DS)

The Nintendo DS version of Geometry Wars: Galaxies shipped yesterday. I picked up mine at GameStop along with Petz Wild Animals: Dolphinz (for Samantha). I don’t know if the dolphins game is any good, but Galaxies is incredible.

Some quick thoughts:

  • It uses the same control scheme that my homebrew game, Extreme Onslaught uses, but they’ve made it much more intuitive by using aiming graphics in the top screen.
  • The full Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved game (the XBox 360 Live Arcade version) is included. That was a nice surprise and a wonderful fallback if you decide you don’t like the Galaxies game.
  • Galaxies is fun, with a lot of variations on the normal Geometry Wars rules.
  • The drones (independent ships that fly next to you and have their own weapons and powers) really add to the variety and are a blast, especially for an RType/Gradius fan like myself.
  • To unlock new drones, planets and solar systems, you need to collect geoms (enemy wreckage) during normal gameplay. I don’t like that aspect of Everyday Shooter, so I was surprised that I actually enjoy doing so in Galaxies.
  • I’m looking forward to trying the multi-player game types.

Intuit and Homestead

At Homestead, we’ve been working with Intuit for years in various capacities. We share a lot of the same values and there is a lot of overlap between our customers. Both of us count small businesses as critical to our success and we’d like to think that those businesses can find success using our products.

Today, we announced that Intuit is buying Homestead. This relationship is really something special. To understand how special, read Justin’s (Homestead’s CEO) post on the subject, specifically these lines:

A suitable acquiring company for Homestead has to be a place that we all can feel as strongly about as we do about Homestead. It has to have a set of core values that matches the Homestead Creed. It has to have a hiring policy similar to our “no jerks, no idiots” rule. It has to believe in giving back to the community. It really helps if we can keep our brand, our offices, our wacky traditions, our identity. And we absolutely have to keep all of our people, and be able to maintain the sense of ownership and pride that we all feel today.

I’m happy to report that Intuit passed all of these tests with flying colors.

We will continue to be Homestead (great products, customer focused, quick release cycles, killer talent, quirky culture) while having the support of a large company that shares our values and motivations and has resources we’ve only been able to dream of.

On a personal note: I’ve been working with several Intuit team members on and off over the past several months and they are great people, passionate about their customers! Here’s to a healthy future together!

More commentary: Thai (my boss), Gordon, Andrew, and others.

Photography Hacks (HDR and Content-Aware-Resizing)

Gordon posted a new HDR photo and it looks great. Meanwhile, he also found an app that utilizes the content aware image resizing concept that was demonstrated a few months ago.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies, DS

3 more days until it is released!

Amazon Kindle – First Impressions

I bought a Kindle on Monday (see Amazon, CNet). It arrived on Tuesday. Here are my impressions.

  • At $400, it is more expensive than the Sony EReader, but the Kindle has wireless (free EVDO) access to the Amazon store so you can buy books while you are away from your computer and start reading them in a few minutes.
  • You can send email to your kindle with attachments. In my experience, so far, the experimental PDF conversion (10 cents per document) works really well and even keeps links.
  • As expected, the electronic ink is much more relaxing to gaze at than a computer screen.
  • The delay caused by refreshing the screen when you turn pages is not too much of a disruption if you are reading every word. However, it makes skimming impossible. For this reason, I don’t think I’ll be able to read my RSS feeds on the Kindle, only articles, books, etc.
  • It is oddly shaped, yes, but it’s light and comfortable to hold.
  • I’ve only read a portion of a book so far, but I’ll report back here when I’ve completed it. So far, it’s great.
  • I haven’t used the clipping, annotating and highlighting features, yet, but I’m glad they are there.
  • You can download samples of any book in the Kindle store (90,000+). This is great for reading the first chapter of books you are interested in at your leisure (not at a book store). If you choose to purchase, you can do so while reading the sample and have the full book in a couple of minutes.
  • I’ve already used the browser with Wikipedia several times. I think that’s going to be a hit with a lot of people.
  • I do wish that more text could fit on the screen and that the screen itself had a frontlight for reading in the dark.

Seashore for OS X

I spent some time this morning trying various free and inexpensive OS X image editors. I tried the GIMP, but it lagged a lot and then crashed. I tried ImageWell (which seems great), but it didn’t have the kind of selection tool I wanted. I tried Live Quartz and enjoyed it, but it also did not have the selection tool I was looking for.

Finally, I tried Seashore. Seashore is a custom build of the GIMP with a Cocoa front end and a smaller set of functionality. It had the selection tool I was looking for and works great!

Using Seashore, I made a silhouette of Doctor Who’s TARDIS for my blog header.