My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles from November 2009

  1. Not your father's telemarathon

    Picture, if you will, a minigame in a unreleased Penn & Teller video game. In this game, you are driving a bus from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada at 45 mph ... in realtime. It takes eight hours to complete a full run, for a single point. You can't pause the game, and you can't just hold down a button, because the bus veers to the right, forcing you to occasionally make a correction. Even if this weren't the most boringly realistic game ever made, how long would you play it?

    Would you play it with three other people in four-hour shifts for 128 hours or more?

    That's exactly what the people behind LoadingReadyRun have been doing for three years now. On November 20, the 3rd annual Desert Bus for Hope marathon began. It's in support of Child's Play, a charity that provides toys and other improvements to children's hospitals. They raised $70,423 last year, and as of this writing, they're up to $83,688.38 with at least 21 more hours to go (the more people donate, the longer they'll go).

    This is reality television at its finest. Those who so desire can watch the live feed and interact…

    Read more…

  2. My doomed love affair with the Kindle

    Some big news in the Canadian tech industry this week was the advent of the Amazon Kindle in Canada. I've mentioned my mad love for the Kindle previously as well as my discomfort with Amazon's approach to tethered appliances. So, now that the Kindle is finally available here, will I be getting one?

    The short answer is no, not right now. Technologically, I think the Kindle is an amazing device that uses some pretty interesting physics to make reading easy and comfortable. It boggles my mind that we have the ability to store so many books in such a small, slim shell and take it anywhere with us! However, I still have reservations about whether an e-reader is necessary, and I'm still set against tethered appliances. So here's the long answer.

    One More Piece of Luggage

    When you leave the house, what do you check to make sure you've got with you? Keys, mobile phone, ID, maybe money? What about your Kindle?

    I've got this bizarre notion that, if I one day get a smartphone, I could use that device as my e-reader as well. It makes sense to combine them; we've already rolled music players and cameras…

    Read more…