Shocker! More Anecdotal Evidence that DS9 was a B5 Rip-off

The following is not surprising. All it does is help to confirm everything we’ve known for the last twenty years: That Paramount committed theft in the creation of Deep Space 9. Obviously, this is the internet and the source needs to be questioned, but he did include a full name, so there’s some believability there.

More at the link. This is excerpted from a comment by Steven Hopstaken:

Paramount and Warner Bros. both agreed that Deepspace 9 would be the show that would launch the new network and there wouldn’t be room for two “space” shows on the network. I was told they purposely took what they liked from the B5 script and put it in the DS9 script. In fact, there was talk of leaving the B5 script in tact and just setting it the Star Trek universe. I had to keep rewriting press release drafts while they were trying to make the final decision.

Posted in TV


This is one for the programming geeks, and particularly relevant for the Ruby geeks here. This talk is awesome:

Katrina Owen goes over a refactoring example by showing some clearly ugly code, then setting up the tests to establish what it does, and then setting up a model object to segregate the refactoring. It’s a little piece of magic.

More on That Tesla Blow-up

I posted about the original review here last week. But then things boiled over, including Elon Musk posting charts and graphs to prove that the reporter was wrong, if not lying. There was much back and forth.

Here’s Engadget’s editor-in-chief, Tim Stevens, to sum it all up and explain how everyone is wrong and the whole mess makes everything worse.

It’s been hard to miss, this brouhaha that’s been boiling over between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and The New York Times — specifically with reporter John M. Broder. Broder published a piece over the weekend called “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway” in which he panned the Model S for inaccurate range estimates and drastically reduced range in cold weather. In fact, about the only thing he didn’t hate was the tow truck driver who was ultimately dispatched to pick up him and the charge-depleted Tesla he had been driving through Connecticut.

Musk, likely still stinging from an even more vitriolic 2011 takedown by Top Gear, was quick to take to Twitter and call the article “fake.” He later backed that up with comprehensive data logs recorded, apparently, without Broder’s knowledge. That data, at least at surface value, shows the Times piece is at best misleading — at worst libelous.

My Third Tweet Ever

Just got my Twitter archive. Here’s my third ever tweet:

Remember, the iPhone was a $600 device when it launched.

My first iPhone was the 3GS.

An Appreciation of DuckTales

This here is your MUST READ article of the day. Every word of it is true, and it IS a shame that Disney so easily dismisses DuckTales and its cohorts from the Disney Afternoon days. Shameful, really.

DuckTales, the most successful show of Disney’s short-lived television-animation renaissance—and a show that kicked off a brief interest in syndicated afternoon animation from a host of media companies—has mostly disappeared from the limelight, to the degree that the company released around three-quarters of its episodes on DVD, then simply stopped. What’s fascinating about this is that DuckTales is a vastly entertaining show, with quality traits that go beyond its catchy theme song, and it’s incredibly easy to gobble up episode after episode of the thing. Plenty of cartoons from the ’80s and ’90s fail the nostalgia test, simply falling apart when re-examined through the lens of adulthood. DuckTales isn’t one, and returning to it as an adult reveals that there are hidden pleasures there that go beyond memories of what it was like to watch as a kid. For a show so breathless and action-packed, DuckTales takes its time, and that makes all the difference.

The Problem with Electric Cars

The Tesla works great in Silcon Valley because it never drops below freezing there. Drive it here in the North East and you run into some problems.

> I drove, slowly, to Stonington, Conn., for dinner and spent the night in Groton, a total distance of 79 miles. When I parked the car, its computer said I had 90 miles of range, twice the 46 miles back to Milford. It was a different story at 8:30 the next morning. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the display showed 25 miles of remaining range — the electrical equivalent of someone having siphoned off more than two-thirds of the fuel that was in the tank when I parked.

Thinking About… Telephone Dialing

There are things we take for granted and never think about. Amongst them: The traditional way of laying out the buttons on a telephone. That 3 x 4 grid had to come from somewhere, though.

The man who designed it recently passed away at the age of 94. This whole New York Times article is fascinating, but here’s just a sampling:

In 2013, the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the touch-tone phone, the answers to those questions remain palpable at the press of a button. The rectangular design of the keypad, the shape of its buttons and the position of the numbers — with “1-2-3” on the top row instead of the bottom, as on a calculator — all sprang from empirical research conducted or overseen by Mr. Karlin.

The legacy of that research now extends far beyond the telephone: the keypad design Mr. Karlin shepherded into being has become the international standard on objects as diverse as A.T.M.’s, gas pumps, door locks, vending machines and medical equipment.Mr. Karlin, associated from 1945 until his retirement in 1977 with Bell Labs, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., was widely considered the father of human-factors engineering in American industry.

OK, one more awesome story:

An early experiment involved the telephone cord. In the postwar years, the copper used inside the cords remained scarce. Telephone company executives wondered whether the standard cord, then about three feet long, might be shortened. Mr. Karlin’s staff stole into colleagues’ offices every three days and covertly shortened their phone cords, an inch at time. No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot.

From then on, phones came with shorter cords.

Why Apple Should Buy Nintendo

While I still fundamentally disagree with the concept that the Nintendo Wii was “just a fad,” MG Siegler still makes the best case I’ve read so far of why Apple might want to buy Nintento:

Nintendo’s Hardware Problem | ParisLemon.

I’m worried that instead they’ll go down the Sega road and just pump out cheap versions of their great old franchises to anyone who will take them. That’s why I’d love to see Apple step in and buy Nintendo, and let them operate as the independent iOS gaming wing of the company. If Apple wants to move hardware, it’s hard to imagine a better way than having exclusives on all of the Nintendo titles going forward (as well as the back catalog).

Nintendo Wii, the “Fad”

Marco Arment presents a bleak outlook on Nintendo:

Nintendo needs the profits of the high end, but they can’t compete there anymore. All of the growth is happening at the low end, which is mostly games that they can’t or won’t make. And even if they succeeded in casual gaming, it probably wouldn’t bring the kind of profit that they need.

He makes a lot of great points in the piece, though I do vehemently disagree with his calling the Wii a “fad.” If it was a fad, it wouldn’t have inspired the Kinect. Or Sony’s wand. Or any of the other motion-controllers that every other gaming company has jumped on and incorporated into their systems ever since.

Or are Mini-Games a fad? Because that’s what so much of iOS games are, too.

The Wii wasn’t a fad. It was more ahead of its time, or, perhaps, the system that pointed out the future of video games. Nintendo just got caught up in a spiral of bad market positioning that might doom it, despite all of that Wii success.

Amazon CD Conversion

Amazon has had a feature for a few weeks now where you could now download MP3 versions of any CD you’ve ever purchased. That includes, yes, the CDs you didn’t purchase for yourself. It makes for an interesting mix of music. Still, it’s pretty cool, even if I did rip all of those albums myself already.

I have to believe the Groban CD/DVD there was a Christmas present for my mother. I should be a good son and download those MP3s to her computer for her, right? She IS the rightful owner fo the disc.

Best iOS 6.1 Upgrade

The best change in iOS 6.1 is this one. Finally, Apple UI realizes how easy it once was to accidentally skip to the next track or back to the beginning of the current track by mistake. Spreading out the controls is huge for podcast junkies like myself.

new iOS 6 music controls