Mark Richards


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Harry Potter 7 and 8

The decision has been made to make the 7th book of the Harry Potter series into 2 movies. In all honestly, they probably could have done the same thing for books 5 and 6 as well.

While it feels a little odd to have 7 books and 8 movies, I believe this is absolutely the right decision. Obviously nobody wants to sit through a 4 hour movie, but I believe that splitting the novel will preserve the integrity of the movie series and allow for all the finer details to be touched upon. If you've read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you'd know that the plot moves at a rapid pace and each chapter is important to the proper resolution of the series. Getting this right in the movies will help to not cheapen the overall "Harry Potter experience". I say do it right or don't do it at all.

I commend the producers for their choice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unfortunate Photo Fame

I received an email from a guy last night who is one of the major contributors to the Natalee Halloway article on Wikipedia. He requested that I change the license for a photo that I took while on my honeymoon in Aruba so that it could be added to the Wikipedia entry.

As the story goes, Sarah and I were on our honeymoon in Aruba 2 days after Natalee Halloway went missing. During our stay we had the unenviable pleasure of receiving the now-famous missing girl flier, passing the club where she was last seen, and seeing the search party while out and about on the island. The search party photo is the one that was requested for the article. It was taken by California Lighthouse about 3 days after her disappearance.

I wish that my first photo to be used on Wikipedia wasn't on such a crappy topic. I'm glad that I can contribute a little something to such a famous story, but something slightly happier would have been better.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Frustrating Eclipse Bug

If you haven't discovered it yet, there is a frustrating Eclipse bug when accessing files on a UNIX server via FTP. Any directories and files that were modified on leap day (February 29) will no longer appear in the File Explorer View. That freakin' sucks. To fix, simply run the following command:

$ touch dirname

That will change the last modified date. An easy fix for a stupid, frustrating bug.

UPDATE: This bug has been logged.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monthly Update

Since I'm trying to avoid a new record for the least updated blog on the world wide web, now seemed like a good time for a monthly update.

I didn't win an Emmy, but I'm sure you figured that out by my not posting pictures of me crying like a baby and tucked in bed with a gold statue poking out from under the covers. Obviously, I was disappointed but not too much. I believe that MLB's application was better than ours so there's no need to feel bad about losing to a superior opponent. Also, everything was very corporate at the ceremony. 95% of the speeches were unemotional and uninspiring. If I had to go up to accept the award, it would have been difficult to contain my emotions. I felt very out of place. The coolest part of the whole experience was that the astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the presenter for our category. I got to meet him, shake his hand, and take a picture with him. It's not too often you get to shake the hand of someone who's walked on something other than planet Earth.

We re-launched the site that I've been working on now for the last 4 years: It took many, many long and frustrating hours to get it out the door, but it's done now. I'm proud of how it turned out. There are definitely still some bugs, but the site is much more functional and rich than the old site. The team delivered a very slid product despite the difficulties that developing in the CNN environment can cause. We did the best job we could of getting pages to validate and be XHTML compliant, but when you have to work with other groups and systems not under your control, it's difficult to get everything done in the proper manner. It's very frustrating.

Three more friends have gotten engaged since the beginning of the year: Brian and Lori, Chelsea and Jeremy, and Robert and Sue. Hurray for all of them!

That's all I got for right now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Live from Vegas

I'm sitting here in my room at The Venetian minutes away from leaving for the Emmy Awards for Technology and Engineering. I have to say that I'm going through so many emotions right now. I'm part nervous, part excited, part relaxed, and part ready to get this over with. I don't really know what to think except that I can't wait for the moment where they announce the winner.

A few weeks ago, I was told by a few of the managers at work that should we win, I will be giving the acceptance speech since I've been so close to Pipeline for a couple of years now. I feel honored that they would want me to do such a thing except that it's making me nervous as shit right now. I'm not a huge fan of giving speeches, but this is a little different since if I have to give it, it means that I just won an Emmy. I think at that point my excitement will overcome my nervousness.

I have to go down now, but if anyone has any desire to watch live online, here's the link to do so:

Whatever will happen, will happen.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And the Emmy goes to...

ME! ...hopefully.

I actually found out that the application that I wrote last year with a buddy of mine, Pipeline, has been nominated and is a finalist for an Emmy. The category is (take a deep breath) "Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for Best Use of 'On Demand' (Consumer Scheduled or Programmed) Technology Over Broadband Networks For Active 'lean-forward' Viewing (PC)". Turner Sports has won an Emmy in the past so I'd like to think that gives us some sort of leg up.

Here are the nominees:

- Denver’s Favorite Animal: Grey Worldwide
- Pipeline: Turner Sports
- XD: Walt Disney Internet Group
- MLB Mosaic: Ensequence

The cool thing that I've been told is that only four names can be submitted with the award submission and my name was one of them. The others are the guy in charge of Turner Sports, the content programmer, and the producer, so I'm in good company. I don't know if that means that I get an actual Emmy for myself, but I think I've heard that I do. How awesome would it be to have an Emmy sitting on my mantel!?

The winner will be announced on January 7th, so I'll have to wait and see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yahoo! Teachers

I read on Ars Technica about a cool new service/app called Yahoo! Teachers. The site hasn't gone live yet, but you can pre-register for an invitation right now. In a nutshell, the site is a social networking site that allows teachers to post and share lesson plans, images, worksheets, and just about anything else you can think of. There's a sneak peak video if you want a short preview.

From the Ars Technica article, this service seems like a perfect to tool to help teachers save time and energy, and improve classroom lessons through resource sharing. It appears that Yahoo! was extremely thorough in their application design as it includes state by state curricula and grade-level standards. Even from the standpoint of just having digitally saved copies of lessons and worksheets, teachers now have a vehicle to aid in productivity.

My only problem with Yahoo!'s new business is that Sarah and I came up with the exact same idea ourselves (including the standards inclusion and social networking) 6 months ago! This is the second business that we have come up with, but not implemented, that has become successful in the past year. We need to follow through on one of these ideas someday and become wildly rich.