The Animal Farm

October 30th, 2012

Bucket List v1.0

My friend and I were musing about bucket lists tonight. I plan on living forever, so these kinds of things don’t really have meaning, but I did think about a few items on my drive home:

  • Walk up to a female member of any royal family and say, “‘Sup Girl? How you doin’?”
  • Scale the Eiffel Tower.
  • Gain a reputation as a world-class gunslinger without actually killing anyone.
  • Befriend and/or date and/or marry a British ginger.
  • Spend an evening in jail.
  • Stage an elaborate heist. This may or may not have anything to do with the above.
  • Win a rap battle.
  • Sing the entirety of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” to a stranger.
  • Have a very public feud with Winona Ryder but reconcile soon after.
  • Climb a mountain top and wail on an electric guitar.

It’s just version 1… but it’s a start.

October 18th, 2012

The Dead, They Walk

I’m going to go on public record today, October 18, 2012, as not like The Walking Dead TV show.

I tried, I really did. As your typical awesome 20-something, I enjoy zombies and wanted a show featuring zombies to work. But somewhere during the first season, it alienated me. I couldn’t put a pin on it; there was some unidentifiable quality I didn’t enjoy. About halfway through the second season, I realized what I didn’t like.

It’s boring.

For realsies. The show has 0 momentum. It takes several episodes to resolve the most minor story arcs. They’re not afraid to build up tension, and then hold it, and then hold it for the rest of the season until it’s less tense and more irritating.

Aside from that, it’s often just laughable. Do you really expect me to believe that a zombie is going to sneak up on someone in an open field? Zombies which throughout the entire show have been noisy and clumsy suddenly develop the ninja skills to quietly surprise a man who’s spent the whole season doing nothing but watch for zombies?

Then there are the characters, most all of which are unlikeable and daft. Hey little kid who’s spent his entire life attacked by zombies, maybe you should be smart enough by now to know that going out into the woods alone is a sucker’s game.

I genuinely don’t understand the appeal of this show. I’ve given it as many chances as any show deserves, second only to the number of chances I gave Heroes. The difference here is that Heroes had a good first season, whereas The Walking Dead had a good first episode.

Of course, I’ll probably still continue to watch it. But that’s a failing on my part.

October 3rd, 2012

Borderlands 2

My one sentence review of Borderlands 2: It’s… basically Borderlands.

That’s not a bad thing. I played a ton of Borderlands - finished it several times. I devoured each DLC release. I am a fan.

I wish the sniper class were a bit more engaging, but 66% of his powers are focused on melee, to which I’m all like, “Huhwuh?”

I also wish there were a few more gameplay surprises thrown in. I’ve seen class mods and corrosive weapons and relics. It’s all holdover with little new spice.

But it still keeps the same hearty core. There’s questing and funny dialog and shooting and Scooter. There’s more challenge, which I can get on board with. It’s bigger and louder and just as get, and I intend to play it just as much.

October 3rd, 2012

Link In

My friend Kim asked me to tell everyone about her new LinkedIn profile such that they might connect with her.

I immediately thought, “How can I tell this to everyone without going through the messy trouble of actually having to talk to any of them?”

The answer became self evident - I could abuse my power as one of the internet’s most unknown personalities and write up a quick blog post. 10’s of people would see it almost instantly.

This is the blog post. In case you hadn’t worked that out.

I guess… go make a new LinkedIn buddy?

October 2nd, 2012

JSONKit

Do you have to serialize large amounts of data on iOS? Do you have to do it as fast as possible and generate compact results?

I recommend JSONKit.

I recently found JSONKit will drastically outperform NSPropertyListSerialization and NSKeyedArchiver. Which is surprising, considering those are both native libraries that generate binary output. Don’t get me started on SBJSON or NSJSONSerialization - those are jokes by comparison.

NSKeyedArchiver is actually pretty nasty. It tries to coalesce arrays (and maybe dictionaries?) to avoid repetition. Which I guess might be great if you have repetition, but it’s horrid if you have large arrays or lots of little objects floating around. NSPropertyListSerialization isn’t as aggressive and thus performs better, but it still can’t quite compare.

The only downside to using JSONKit (and NSPropertyListSerialization) is that you’re restricted to a small set of classes you can store in your data model, and thus you have to write a lot of cumbersome code to encode/decode complex data into dictionaries & arrays. There’s also no good way to encode plain data types, which necessitates creating tons of little temporary NSNumber objects. That can be a performance drain if you’re not careful.

They have a good performance analysis on their site if you’re looking for a comprehensive breakdown of how it stacks up against most every other comparable libraries.

If I were an artistic man, there would be a seal at the bottom right of this post that said, “Family Tested. Brian Sowers Approved.” I’m not, though, and I also can’t be bothered. Just look at JSONKit, and if you like it, well, use it? I guess. I dunno.

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