Seriously, watch Troll Hunter

Troll Hunter posterI know with a title like Troll Hunter, this movie seems too strange to be worth the time. At least, for most people. But give it a chance.

Troll Hunter is a Norwegian film (with English subtitles) in the found footage genre. It’s about a college film crew that stumbles upon a hunter who is actually tracking — you guessed it — trolls. You’re best off knowing nothing else about this one. Don’t watch any trailers, any videos, or read any reviews. Just see it.

Honestly, I think the movie probably could have worked even if it wasn’t found footage. But it doesn’t really get in the way of the movie at any point.

So there. It’s on Netflix at the moment. Go watch Troll Hunter.

Columbine, by Dave Cullen

Cover of Columbine book

Columbine, by Dave Cullen, is probably the best piece I’ve read about the Columbine shooting. The book is great for three reasons.

  1. It has the perspective that comes with being published more than 10 years after the event.
  2. Cullen makes the point that Columbine should be seen as a failed bombing, and not a shooting.
  3. He also discusses the psycopathy of Eric Harris to a satisfying degree, and illustrates the differences between he and Dylan based on their writings.

It’s not an easy read at parts, particularly if you (like me) don’t think about Columbine all that often. It’s a tough reminder.

This was the first full book I read through on my Kindle. Yeah, I know, I’m way behind the times. I love the super simple version of the device. I’ve been reading more since I picked it up.

Documentary films I highly recommend

I really enjoy movies. I’ve always enjoyed watching them, talking about them, reading about them, and learning about what goes into the production process.

When I was in high school I used to make short videos for school and elsewhere, and always really enjoyed it. Heck, one day I would like to film a documentary — or even short film — of my own.

For now, though, I want to mention a handful of documentary films that I can recommend. Each of these films is quite a bit different than the other, but I think they all share the distinct quality that makes them good documentaries: they make you more interested in the subject matter than you were before you watched it.

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Sufficiently inspired by Indie Game: The Movie

Indie Game: The Movie is about independent game development, but not nearly as directly as I thought it would be. IGTM is really about the stories of three indie game developers, the creation process, and the feelings that go along with the successes and failures along the way.

The stories are framed with a bit of an introduction to the state of indie gaming, but it breaks away from that sort of history-by-interview snippet style that so many documentaries opt for. IGTM pretty quickly jumps into the stories of the developers behind Super Meat Boy, Fez, and Braid.

The designers and developers behind these games — one, two, and three person teams — talk about the reasons they do what they do, the frustrations they feel, the pressure, the fears, and the way their successes bring them meaning. I know some of those feelings, and hearing their stories is inspirational. It’s like a pep talk from a kindred spirit.

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Proud to work at Founders

This summer I started a coworking space called Founders here in Fort Wayne, IN. I started it with Ray Angel and Steve Franks, two prominent members of the startup community in our city.

Founders opens every day at 8am and closes, well, whenever. It’s completely free to use, and supported by our Power Founders system.

You can read more about Founders at www.atfounders.com.

A few choice photos from our first three months

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The principle of least astonishment

[Example:] A user is about to enter his username and password for a program or website when he receives an instant message. Some instant messaging clients will immediately grab the keyboard focus and move it into their own response field, because they assume the user will want to respond to the new message immediately. In reality, the user may be astonished to find that they have just typed their password into their IM client and sent it to their friends. This conflict arises because the two programs are not aware of each other’s existence, and cannot easily determine when they might get in each other’s way. To avoid such conflicts, operating systems may restrict the interaction of different programs, for example by preventing the IM client from stealing the focus.

Via the Wikipedia page. Kudos to Alex King for making me aware of this principle.

The Bechdel Test for movies

The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria:

  1. it has to have at least two women in it, who
  2. who talk to each other, about
  3. something besides a man.

Turns out it’s not very common for movies to pass this test. I’ll be on the lookout for this in movies from now on. (via BechdelTest.com)