I met this guy at VidCon and had a very brief conversation with him. He’s been ahead of the curve with pretty much everything he’s ever done on the internet since the beginning, and while he’s a successful guy, he’s never been about using what he knows to become a billionaire. He’s extremely smart and very excited about online video, and I was honored to have him at the conference.

In this talk, he discusses the problems with our economy, how cable companies complain about us letting them sell our content for free, and what a vibrant and exciting community YouTube is. Charlie is his favored example…which is good because Charlie is also my favored example. 

Carve out 25 minutes for this at some point, it’s a wonderful and refreshing look at the world and how to be a part of it. Very inspiring.

Books books books!

This week - Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress

You know a game is going to be complicated when O'Reilly publishes a guidebook for it. Dwarf fortress is a world simulation game, rendered in ascii text. It looks utterly simple at first glance, but is in fact probably the most complicated and detailed games around. It randomly generates a world, and simulates just about everything, right down to the individual ears and teeth and toes of the creatures within it. Temperature, weather, plants, even the rocks and minerals in the ground all have unique properties. Even the dwarfs are unique - they all have varying skills, likes and dislikes. It’s possible for them to love or hate each other. And to go absolutely crazy insane.

A dwarf watching it’s wife and child getting eaten by a monster, then later going insane, throwing his weapons away, stripping naked except for his socks, and tearing the monster to pieces with his hands and his teeth is absolutely possible.

Get the game here, and bookmark the Dwarf Fortress Wiki, I guarantee it will be needed. The book is definitely handy too, but not necessary.

And remember, losing is fun. Every fortress will end sooner or later, the longer they go, the more spectacularly they usually end.

If you still more convincing as to just how awesome this game can be, have a read through Boatmurdered. It is a lets play of a fortress that ultimately fell, and the reason I got interested in the game.

O'Reilly, Letterman agree on Iraq and high-five

Even if they couldn’t agree on why they should high-five.After Letterman argued that the U.S. invasion of Iraq turned it into a “hotbed of terrorism,” O'Reilly expressed regret that it took place.“I think that that was something that should not have happened in hindsight… but I will say that I supported it because all the reportage was that Saddam Hussein did have these weapons,” O'Reilly said.Letterman decided the moment called for a high-five, standing up and holding out his hand as he cried, “Come on, Billy!"O'Reilly refused, explaining, "I’m not high-fiving you on a war."Letterman kept trying to coax him out of his seat, saying it was just because, "we’re feelin’ good and happy to see each other.”“We’re having a good conversation, siddown,” O'Reilly said.The remark drew laughter and some loud “ohs” from the audience. After an awkward moment of silence – in which Letterman remained standing – O'Reilly relented.It was a much friendlier exchange than some of the past ones between the oft-cranky talk show hosts. In 2009, Letterman told O'Reilly, “I think of you as a goon.” In 2006, he told him, “About 60 percent of what you say is crap."You can watch the clip here:here

Work on Stuff that Matters: First Principles

“work on stuff that matters” does not mean focusing on non-profit work, “causes, or any other form of "do-goodism.” Non-profit projects often do matter a great deal, and people with tech skills can make important contributions, but it’s essential to get beyond that narrow box. I’m a strong believer in the social value of business done right. We need to build an economy in which the important things are paid for in self-sustaining ways rather than as charities to be funded out of the goodness of our hearts.

Bill O’Reilly accused of domestic violence by his daughter
Keeping an eye on the corporate elite.

Three weeks ago, a Nassau County Supreme Court justice ended a bitter three-year custody dispute between Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly and his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy, by granting custody of the couple’s two minor children to McPhilmy. Though nearly all documents pertaining to New York family court cases are sealed, Gawker has learned that the justice in the case heard testimony accusing O'Reilly of physically assaulting his wife in the couple’s Manhasset home.

According to a source familiar with the facts of the case, a court-appointed forensic examiner testified at a closed hearing that O'Reilly’s daughter claimed to have witnessed her father dragging McPhilmy down a staircase by her neck, apparently unaware that the daughter was watching. The precise date of the alleged incident is unclear, but appears to have occurred before the couple separated in 2010. The same source indicated that the daughter, who is 16 years old, told the forensic examiner about the incident within the past year.

Ebook gluttony

O'Reilly is having a half-off special on their eBooks and videos. This is like the world’s most amazing Prada sale for nerds, and I’ve been exhibiting no restraint whatsoever. Do I have any call to work with Amazon’s EC2? No, but I’m curious about how it works, and so it goes into the shopping cart. Do I have immediate plans to build an Arduino-based sensor thingee? No, but some day I might, and so it goes into the cart too. Do I need to pick up welding skills? You never know, so “add to cart.” Moderation is a great idea … for other people.

BTW, I’m not sure how many people know that it’s easy to load non-Amazon eBooks onto their Kindles, at least if DRM isn’t a consideration. (O'Reilly’s books don’t have DRM: three cheers for them!)

With my Kindle3, I just download the eBooks to my computer, attach the Kindle with the USB cord, wait for the Kindle volume to appear in my file manager, and copy/drag the eBook to the Kindle’s documents folder. Mobi is the Kindle’s native format, so if the eBook is available in .mobi format, that’s what I download. But this works with PDFs too.