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Don Kirkby
Works at BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
Attended University of British Columbia
Lives in Vancouver, Canada
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Don Kirkby

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I just published an early test release of Vograbulary. It will eventually have several word challenges like anagrams, word ladders, and Quizl.
This release just has the first word challenge: Ultraghost. On each turn, you are given a three letter puzzle, like CIP. You have to find a word that starts with the first letter, contains the middle letter, and ends with the last letter. For example, CRISP starts with C, contains I, and ends with P. Once you enter your answer, your opponent has a few seconds to enter a better one. An answer is better if it is shorter, or if it is the same length and comes earlier in the dictionary. For example CLIP is shorter than CRISP. The app will then give you a hint if there are any better words that you didn't think of. For example, CHIP is earlier than CLIP in the dictionary.
If you'd like a few practice puzzles, try GHS, ORG, EOS. Scroll down for my answers.
You can try the app in a few ways:
In your browser that supports WebGL: 
http://donkirkby.github.io/vograbulary/run/
As an Android app, if you join my beta testers community:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/103264778621024783530
As a Java application, you can download the Java jar from here:
https://github.com/donkirkby/vograbulary/releases
Then you might be able to double click on the jar file, or open a command line and type java -jar vograbulary.jar

My answers from good, to better, to best:
GHS - ghosts, gushes, gashes
ORG - ordering, offering, orating
EOS - errors, eons, egos
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Don Kirkby

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Everybody's an art critic. We saw this woodpecker pecking away at the totem pole outside Langara today. You can see another hole in the front above the eyebrow.
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Played Carcassonne with my wife and daughter. Just removing the farmer rule makes it the right level for an 8 year old, and the scores were reasonably close.
After the game we played around with the tiles and decided to see how big a city we could make. Here's our first attempt: can you do better?
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I enjoyed the redo of Cosmos that started this weekend. Neil Degrasse Tyson does a good job of echoing Carl Sagan's tone without doing a Saturday Night Live impression of him. A lot of the script sounded familiar, so I think it's an update rather than a rewrite. It's also very pretty to look at. The visuals remind me of Star Trek, which isn't surprising when Brannon Braga is one of the producers. I think he was the third person to drive the Star Trek franchise after Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman.
I've linked to a posted version on YouTube, but it doesn't look official. If it's gone, you can view it online in Canada at globaltv.com/cosmos
It also airs on Fox and National Geographic if you still roll that way.
Anybody else watching?
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In my house, Sunday is affectionately "Space Sunday", where Cosmos in all of its forms has been a feature of the day for a while.
I quite enjoy the reboot as well, and look forward to it weekly! I hear the national geographic airing has extra content that I have yet to see..
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I like the combination of puzzles with optical illusions in this game.
 
Naya's Quest is a short but challenging mind-bender game where walking in a straight line is not as simple as it seems. It's pretty clever and some of the later levels took me many tries to pass. Check it out if you need to kill some time.

http://terrycavanaghgames.com/nayasquest/

#games   #free  
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Don Kirkby

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Something new to try with all my dexterity games. Speed Hamster Roll, anyone?
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I just found Jeff Smith's new web comic: Tuki. Jeff's best known for writing Bone, and Tuki is another all-ages story. It's a myth of the first man to leave Africa. Some laughs, some mystical stuff, and some nice art: check it out.
The first issue recently finished, and the second one starts later this month.
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We just finished watching the first season of Batman: the Brave & the Bold, and it was really fun. They respected the history of the character, but had a light touch with lots of clever references. There were detective episodes, space episodes, swords and sorcery episodes, parallel Earth episodes, and of course, a musical episode with Neil Patrick Harris as a villain. The plot wasn't that different from the Buffy musical episode, but the songs were good. Here's one of my favourites.
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David Ogilvy's rule 8 for good writing is, "If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it." If you're writing code, are you going to have a code review[1]? Maybe you need a coding buddy[2].

[1]: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/01/code-reviews-just-do-it.html
[2]: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/02/whos-your-coding-buddy.html
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Don Kirkby

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I saw a great article in Scientific American[1] about simulating the stride of one of the largest dinosaurs, so I tracked down the original journal article[2] and edited together a few of the video clips from it. They simulated all the bones and muscles, and then used a genetic algorithm to randomly adjust the muscle contractions until they found the most efficient walking motion at each tempo.
I've included the clips with periods between 2 and 3 seconds, which used the least energy.
This is the kind of stuff that creative commons was made for. You can even download the source code and run the simulations yourself, if you've got a spare supercomputer (or a lot of time).

[1]: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/giant-dinosaur-walks-again-in-supercomputer-simulation/
[2]: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0078733
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In his circles
198 people
Have him in circles
400 people
Alison Thompson's profile photo
Jak McCuaig's profile photo
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Computer Programmer
Employment
  • BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
    Computer Programmer, 2014 - present
  • Amazon.com
    Computer Programmer, 2013 - 2014
  • Zaber Technologies
    Computer Programmer, 2008 - 2013
  • Sierra Systems Group, Inc.
    Computer Programmer, 1996 - 2008
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Vancouver, Canada
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coder, board gamer, skeptic, 学中文
Education
  • University of British Columbia
    Physics, 1987 - 1989
  • Computer Science, 1990 - 1992
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