Profile

Cover photo
Matt McIrvin
Attended College of William and Mary
Lives in Massachusetts
1,300 followers|251,803 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideos

Stream

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
I haven't watched David Letterman's show in a while, but I commemorated his retirement by reading this excellent interview with his NBC show's first head writer, the brilliant Merrill Markoe, who was responsible for a lot of the show's bizarre atmosphere that permanently altered late-night TV in the 1980s:

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/merrill_markoe_unsung_heroine_of_late_night_with_david_letterman

The comments at the end about comedy, and the kinds she hates, are bracing and particularly worth reading. There's nothing there about punching up vs. punching down (which was a dictum Letterman's shows never particularly adhered to, a fact that sometimes disturbed me), but a lot about avoiding the lazy joke, and humor just building on somebody else's humor rather than on life.
  With the imminent retirement of the great David Letterman nigh upon us Dangerous Minds pal Mike Sacks, author of And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers and Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers, the two best books ever published on the creative process of writing comedy, has generously allowed us to publish his extended interview with Late Night‘s original head writer, Merrill Markoe. It was ...
10
2
Elisabeth Schabus's profile photoKevin Russell's profile photoRay Radlein's profile photoJ. Steven York's profile photo
2 comments
 
Just rewatching the closing montage, which was the best part for me http://screengrabber.deadspin.com/foo-fighters-backed-letterman-closing-montage-is-mindbl-1706008694
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
I'm not sure exactly why this happened, but on March 31st (which was suspiciously close to April 1, but, no, this was real), one of my favorite recent games, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, spontaneously turned into Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved, with a bunch of really good new content added for no extra charge!

(I discussed Geometry Wars 3 and its history here: http://mmcirvin.livejournal.com/491112.html  and here: https://plus.google.com/+MattMcIrvin/posts/BRmXmvyzHBh )

3 Evolved adds two new (if shorter) single-player progressions to add to the original 50-level Adventure mode. There's "Ultimate", an entirely new series of 40 levels. Currently, I'm stuck not far from the beginning of this on "Gate Maze", a maddeningly difficult Pacifism level (my least favorite kind). But the rest of it looks cool.

They also added "Hardcore", a shorter list of higher-difficulty versions of levels from Adventure and Ultimate, which you play without any drones or supers (but, to compensate somewhat, with occasional dense bursts of the "superstates" that can power you up in various ways if you shoot them away in time).

You may also get to see more of the original Adventure campaign, since they tweaked the boss-unlocking thresholds in Adventure to make them a bit easier to get to. For me, this meant I was finally able to fight past the penultimate Amethyst boss to get to the last, Topaz series of levels! So I'm currently having fun with those, too.

There are also some new drone modes and supers, some of which are revivals of modes from the Wii's Geometry Wars: Galaxies. My old favorite, the Sweep drone or Weedwhacker of Death, is back, though it doesn't seem to whack through walls quite like it used to. Unfortunately it seems to me that many of the exotic drone options are not very useful here; I'm still mostly using some that unlocked near the beginning of the game.

Finally, the separate Classic modes now include "Retro Evolved", which, as the name implies, approximates the gameplay of the first standalone version of the game, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. No geoms to catch, and your weapon gradually "evolves" as you play. This was also available as a bonus in both Retro Evolved 2 and Galaxies, and it's nice to see it here too.

Sierra/Lucid may have been trying to spark a new wave of interest in the game (whose active player base seemed to have cooled down rapidly), but giving the new stuff free to people who bought the original game rather than trying to sell it as DLC was a nice touch.
The Evolved update improves the adventure mode, adds 40 new levels, a hardcore mode, and more.
1
Allen Knutson's profile photoMatt McIrvin's profile photo
7 comments
 
Also, "Gate Maze" may destroy my soul so completely that I never unlock the other 30 Ultimate levels. I can't even get halfway to the first target score. (I initially felt that way about "Nufo Flow," though, and I eventually did get the hang of that one.)
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
The rest of my vacation (including the less happy bits)...
2
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
If you've ever thought "I wish I could enter a universe of unfunny comic strips," it is now possible. 
14
2
Paul M's profile photoMatt McIrvin's profile photoRay Radlein's profile photoJ. Steven York's profile photo
18 comments
 
+Christopher K Davis We once rode the Lake Compounce one three times in succession without getting off, because there was almost nobody in line. We got about as wet as one ride on Bilge-Rat Barges. 
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
Unbelievable cranky-old-man boast of the celebrated clockmaker is proven correct.
 
The pendulum clock of Longitude hero John Harrison is tested and declared a masterpiece
View original post
21
5
Kate Nepveu's profile photoAntonia Malchik's profile photoDriss Moukaouame's profile photoKat Richardson's profile photo
3 comments
 
Yay, cranky bastard!
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
John Oliver has a very special message for us all.
1
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
Sure looks like a Penrose tiling.
 
A team from Princeton University and the University of Florence in Italy has discovered a quasicrystal—so named because of its unorthodox arrangement of atoms—in a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite from a remote region of northeastern Russia, bringing to two the number of natural quasicrystals ever ...
2 comments on original post
15
1
Boris Borcic's profile photoMatt McIrvin's profile photoRay Radlein's profile photo
2 comments
 
+Boris Borcic It sounds so, yes.
Add a comment...
In his circles
389 people
Have him in circles
1,300 people
Sonny Williamson's profile photo
Arvinda Sharma's profile photo
Malik Saleem's profile photo
Chesner desir's profile photo
Paul Mailman's profile photo
G- EBONY's profile photo
Alissa Calderon's profile photo
Alex KULIK's profile photo
jackie willoughby's profile photo

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
The impossible happened today: The Pinball Arcade's title update dropped on the XBox 360, enabling all of the DLC that the platform has been missing for the last three years.

And, speaking of the impossible, somewhere along the line they got the rights to do The Addams Family (one of the greatest, and most notoriously difficult-to-license, pinballs ever made), so you can play that on your XBox too.

It seems almost like an anticlimax. TPA's updates were held up on the 360 because, when the game was initially released, Microsoft made Farsight Software work through a third-party game publisher, Crave Software (which had also released Pinball Hall of Fame on the Wii). On other platforms (including the XBox One) Farsight didn't have to do this, and in fact I think Microsoft even changed their rules on the 360.

But by that point, Crave's parent company had gone bankrupt, and the rights to publish The Pinball Arcade on the XBox 360 were counted among its assets and held up for literal years in bankruptcy proceedings. In the meantime, TPA gained dozens of downloadable tables on all its other platforms, including Android, where I've done most of my playing.

And by now, even compared to other 360 titles, TPA there feels sort of like the last-generation product that it is.

So I didn't rush out and dump a bunch of money on buying the entire backlog of season packs on the 360. But I did snap up a few of my favorite tables: Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Addams Family, Pin*Bot. Might get Black Knight 2000. I forget whether I'm entitled to The Twilight Zone as an ancient Kickstarter reward. It's nice finally seeing bug fixes on the tables I already had, too.
2
robert pollerana's profile photoMatt McIrvin's profile photoJared Morgan (jaredmorgs)'s profile photo
29 comments
 
+Matt McIrvin No, I find the ST:TNG center shot really hard to get as well.

It's a well known fact that TPA also has ramp helpers and other stuff to make the tables more accessible for the new or novice player.

I'd love to see adjustable difficulty levels in TPA that allow you to set Easy, Medium, and Hard.

Zen has recently done this with a few of their tables.
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
This outer-space amusement park ride from 1901 looks like it may possibly have been the greatest thing ever. It's apparently where the name "Luna Park" actually came from.
The passengers wait eagerly in the ornate lobby of the enormous spaceport. Soon, a signal indicates that their spaceship is ready for boarding. As they wait, special displays instruct them about how their spaceship functions and what to expect once they leave Earth's atmosphere. Aboard the giant spacecraft — as luxuriously appointed as any yacht — they are soon on their way to a vacation on the Moon. An overview of the Exposition with the Moon Ri...
10
4
Ray Radlein's profile photoJohn Brennan's profile photoElisabeth Schabus's profile photoDriss Moukaouame's profile photo
2 comments
 
All this, so soon after the Great Airship Scare of 1896!  I guess the New Yorkers just felt they were more sophisticated than their west coast brethren, where airships are concerned. 
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
I've been on vacation...
3
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
For +John Walkenbach​.
4
John Walkenbach's profile photo
 
Hat planted firmly on head... Not interesting. I'm a sucker for hat fly-offs.
Add a comment...

Matt McIrvin

Shared publicly  - 
 
On programming the IBM 1401 to display the Mandelbrot set.
 
Of course there is hardware support for Pounds/Shillings/Pence calculation.  How else are you going to do international business with this machine?
When I found out that the Computer History Museum has a working IBM 1401 computer[1], I wondered if it could generate the Mandelbrot fractal. I wrote a fractal program in assembly language and the computer chugged away for 12...
View original post
16
6
Paul M's profile photoJ. Steven York's profile photoDriss Moukaouame's profile photoWilliam Rutiser's profile photo
 
Memories. :-)
Back in the eighties I used a dot matrix printer with continuous form paper to make mandelbrot wallpaper for one of my walls. I thought it was beautiful.
Add a comment...
People
In his circles
389 people
Have him in circles
1,300 people
Sonny Williamson's profile photo
Arvinda Sharma's profile photo
Malik Saleem's profile photo
Chesner desir's profile photo
Paul Mailman's profile photo
G- EBONY's profile photo
Alissa Calderon's profile photo
Alex KULIK's profile photo
jackie willoughby's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Programmer
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Massachusetts
Previously
Northern Virginia
Links
Other profiles
Contributor to
Story
Introduction
I'm the Matt McIrvin who lives in Massachusetts, formerly of northern Virginia.  I was trained as a particle physicist but quickly got into programming instead.

People who have been around on the net for a while may remember me from Usenet in the 1990s and early 2000s, posting mostly in physics-, science fiction- and humor-related groups. Since then I've hung out mostly on LiveJournal, but am curious about this Google+ thing.

Education
  • College of William and Mary
    Physics, 1986 - 1990
  • Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
    Physics, 1990 - 1997
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Matthew James McIrvin
Apps with Google+ Sign-in