Happy Birthday Internet!

The CBC is reporting that the Internet turned 35 today (Man, I’d swear it only looked 29!). The story talks about the less-than-prophetic beginnings of the net: ‘In order to log in to the two-computer network, which was then called ARPANET, programmers at UCLA were to type in ‘log’, and Stanford would reply ‘in’. The UCLA programmers only got as far as ‘lo’ before the Stanford machine crashed.

And hey, it’s my birthday today! What a coinky-dink. 35 is the perfect age. It’s not so old that it can’t attract younger users, but it has enough experience to satisfy even the most advance user. Based on the numbers above though, I’m older than the Internet by a few years although there are some that say the Internet isn’t 35.

According to this article, the internet just turned 20 last year. Here’s one that said it turned 35 last month. Here’s yet another one at a reputable site that has it as 20 years ago, but this was Dec 31, 2002.

Any reason to celebrate, I guess. Happy Birthday to us… and thanks for all the porn!

Vanity Searching and Google numbers

From time to time, I head out to Google and see how many hits my name brings up. I found some odd drop in numbers. While I’m constantly contributing new content, Google results seems to be dropping? Doing a vanity search for “Bil Simser” used to result in just over 1,000 web pages but now it’s reporting back just under 900 hits. The numbers in newsgroups hasn’t dropped though but what’s strange there is that I usually post about 15-20 new messages a day but the numbers from Google (about 2,500) is pretty constant.

MSN has a technology preview of their new search tool, a Google rival. A search on “Bil Simser” using their service comes up with about 1,400 hits.

Connections and coincidences

I watched 12 Angry Men tonight on the tube. Great flick. That’s one of the great things we have as a society, history on film. 12 Angry Men (with Henry Fonda) is about a murder trial where everyone (but Fonda) is convinced a kid murdered his father. After casting reasonable doubt, the jurors eventually turn and convict. Okay, so I gave away the plot here but the thing is the performances. Watching stuff like this just makes you wonder where are they today? With our flashy multi-million dollar movies, we neglect the simple things in life. Other ones to check out if you’re interested in being entertained rather than amused would be films like Rope, Lifeboat, and Fail Safe. Simple entertainment without gunshots, car crashes and explosions to keep you glued to the set.

As I always find it intriguing about film trivia and tidbits, I hit imdb.com to see what trivia they had for 12 Angry Men. Each film listed (and they have everyone!) has a consistent set of links like trivia, goofs, DVD details, etc. Nothing major on the trivia side for this film but as I was looking through it some neuron fired and I eventually made it to the Manhunter listing (the first appearance of Hannibal Lecter). Checking out the trivia for Manhunter led me to Silence of the Lambs and there was the coincidence.

During the filming of Manhunter, Anthony Hopkins who played Lecter in Lambs was performing King Lear at the National Theatre. Coincidently, during the filming of Silence of the Lambs Brian Cox, who played Lecter in Manhunter was doing what? Performing King Lear at the National Theatre. The Brian Cox connection led me to check out the trivia for X-Men 2 (where Cox played William Stryker). In that trivia was the connection.

Wolverines dog tag numbers from the movie are my Social Insurance Number (SIN), just rearranged. Connection? I’m a big fan of Wolverine and used to draw him in comics back in the mid 80s.

How did I get down this path?

12 Angry Men in imdb.com led to

12 Angry Men (TV version) led to

William Peterson led to

Manhunter led to

Brian Cox led to


Posted in CDX

Sims 2 Recolouring

Besides the fact that some people will say I mis-spelt colour, someone has put together a recoloured object for The Sims 2. No details on what he’s done but stay tuned. You can check out the thread here over at the Hackers Resource forums. Enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

“As God is my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly!”

– Arthur C. Carlson, (WKRP Station Manager) 1978 – after a Thanksgiving promotional stunt went horribly wrong

Posted in CDX

Xbox + Keyboard + Mouse = Heaven

This *is* too cool. A nice add-on for your Xbox or PS2 to allow you to plug in a mouse and keyboard.

I’ve always played FPS games on my PC (is there any other way?). Last year I hooked up with the ThoughtWorks guys and would play Halo late into the night. Let me tell you, playing Halo with a game controller is crap.

I kept asking them “why is it so slow” while they were commenting how fast it was? I’m used to doing a 180, fire off a few rounds, and jump back to carry on without breaking a breath in UT or Quake. Halo was painful as I watched the scenery as I lollygagged around.

Now having a keyboard and my XBox (won one at some silly Microsoft architecture touchy-feely thing) together? That just plain rocks. Of course the bitching I hear now from the console purists is that it throws a wrench in the level playing field they claim they had before. People with the mouse/keyboard combo will outplay a controller. Well, duh.

Posted in CDX

I’m all over MapPoint…

…like a fat kid on a… never mind.

No, this isn’t a SharePoint thing. I don’t know who it is that got me switched but I was reading a blog and lingered over to MapPoint to check out the rumblings. I’m sure thousands of people out there (and the 3 that read this blog) have used MapQuest. Plug an address in, get a map back and directions on how to get there from wherever you want. Very cool stuff.

MapPoint is the Microsoft version of this and it’s pretty slick. Maybe it’s just infrastructure, but I found it much snappier than MapQuest. Also IMHO the maps are better looking and you can reduce all the clutter that’s usually on a map and print out just want you want.

Like I said. Cool stuff. Yeah, a geek that gets hyped about a website and it’s not porn. Probably something wrong there that I’ll talk to a therapist about someday.

While it’s relatively straightforward to produce126 inch by 200 inch + maps in strips with MapInfo (a desktop GIS mapping tool) using a large format plotter, you can do it with MapPoint


Check out “Huge Detailed Maps With MapPoint 2004” in a recent newsletter


And finally Eric Frost, besides being a cool name for an X-Man villian, is the Editor and Publisher of MP2K Magazine and has an RSS feed for MapPoint articles:


Posted in CDX

Will Wright on The Screen Savers

Somewhat old news but I missed the original airing on September 16, just before The Sims 2 was released. Will Wright showed up last night on a repeat broadcast of The Screen Savers with a few things to say about the game.

Creator Will Wright sat down for an interview with Alex Albrecht, who asked him whether the concept of a game about interior décor and toilet-flushing was a tough sell.

“When I was trying to sell the idea for the game, it didn’t do very well,” Wright admitted. “But people make a deep connection with the game and it becomes about them. The players can drive the experience wherever they want to go – it’s very open-ended.”

Does he ever get weirded out by some of the customizations that fans create?

“Actually, the coolest thing about the game is what the fans have created for it, taking it to peculiar directions like armadillos and nude Japanese politicians,” Wright said. “To me, that’s really cool – in a creepy way.”

The Sims 2 will include lifespans for its characters as they will grow older, and it will have different sets of behavior for different ages. Children may run away from home, while grandparents might help kids with their homework. But morbid players take note: babies can’t be killed in the game through mistreatment. Social Services will come and take them away.

Fun stuff.

Posted in CDX

Red vs Blue Meets The Sims

The folks over at Rooster Teeth Productions, best known for their Red vs Blue comedy movies based on the Halo rendering engine, are branching out with a second series, with more of a sitcom flair, called The Strangerhood. This time, they’re using the Sims 2 game as their rendering engine.

As I “play” with The Sims 2, I’ve noticed the power of the movie making utilities they have. It really is a great little tool for would-be directors. I’m just waiting to see a shot-for-shot remake of Star Wars or Psycho using Sims 2 now 😉

Posted in CDX