Hey there. Pleased to make your acquaintance. I’m a proud geek, born and raised on Long Island, New York, but itching to see the world. I have an $80,000 piece of paper from RIT that says “Bachelor of Science” in large ornate letters, and though I can’t help growing older, I still haven’t gotten around to growing up.
I sincerly enjoy learning in all its forms; whenever I find something cool or useful, I can’t resist playing with it. This sometimes results in late homeworks. On the flip side, I get a kick out of sharing what knowledge I have effectively with others, especially with kids. There’s something magical about the passing of insight from one mind to another, and I hope to one day save a few young minds from being stifled in the halls of mediocrity known as the US public school system.
My soul abides outside of race, creed or gender. However, I frequently LARP as a bisexual male white anglosaxon protestant.
Stuff I Think Is Awesome
Sonic Robo Blast 2 http://srb2.org
SRB2 has the dual honors of being, in this author’s experience, one of the most elaborate Doom WADs out there, as well as arguably the only Sonic game to successfully pull off 3D platforming, which is even more incredible for a fangame. It’s also a whole lot of fun. Go ahead and try it out if you haven’t yet.
This bizarre time-travel based puzzle adventure from Oren Bartal and Potato Factory doesn’t get nearly as much lovin’ as it deserves. In it, you control an adorable, somewhat snarky robot trying to figure out just what the heck is going on. The puzzles are some of the best I’ve ever seen, requiring lateral thinking of a caliber on par with Braid or Portal. Much like those games, the story is expertly woven into the gameplay; no monstrous cutscenes. Also, it mocks Clippit. You just can’t beat that.
The SDL http://www.libsdl.org
The Simple DirectMedia Layer, or SDL for short, is the open source community’s answer to DirectDraw (and then some). It is a compatibility layer that can use X11, DirectX, and a host of other backends on dozens of different platforms, including the primary three. It’s quite flexible, but extremely easy to use. Many, like myself, start using it as an introduction to 2D graphics, but once you start digging, you’ll find that SDL has a ton of neat features that go beyond just graphics, and is extremely robust. SDL 2.0 is a long-awaited update, and it supports Android & iOS too. Sweet!
Haskell seems to be gaining popularity lately, and I can see why: it combines the functional paradigm, which hardcore computer scientists love; a terse and powerful syntax that’s not in the slightest overcome with parentheses; a slick package manager, Hackage, that’s somewhat like a Haskellified CPAN; and highly optimized compilation to machine code. In short, it’s fun, fast, elegant and philosophically viable.
OverClocked ReMix http://ocremix.org
Founded in 1999 by David “djpretzel” Lloyd, this not-for-profit venture has blossomed into the site for game music arrangements. Anyone can submit a recording to the site, but each piece is reviewed carefully by a panel of judges before being added; the site therefore has a reputation for quality. It’s a great source of new takes on some of your favorite video game tunes. From oldies like Vectorman to current-gen titles, if it has a good soundtrack (and even if it doesn’t), there’s a good chance you can find a remix here. Did I mention it’s all DRM free and gratis as well?
Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, is prone to bizzarre, brilliant, wonderful, awful ideas. So, naturally, he thought, “why not create a varsity sport for geeks?” So, 20 years ago, he founded For Inspiration and Recognition In Science and Technology, an organization dedicated to advocating engineering among youngsters through annual robotics competitions. The flagship event, FRC, involves high-schoolers from around the globe designing and building robots to play a game which varies from year to year. Other competitions have spawned to include younger students and those who can’t bankroll a full-blown robot, but the spirit of teamwork, problem-solving and what Dean calls “gracious professionalism” remains throughout. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for my four years on an FRC team. There aren’t many other places where one can spend a summer learning to solder, program, and segway joust at the same time.
The Color Green
In case it’s not evident, I use the color liberally. Not that I really discriminate on the basis of color, but having a default when I need to choose just makes life easier. Green has always appealed to me, for some reason.