Delicious Retro Sounds!

If you have an iPhone:

  • Buy SnesMusic for $2. (the icon is ugly, but the app is good)
  • On your iPhone, go to
  • On the Top 100 page, scroll down to the Top 100 (top of the page is Worst 100)
  • Pick a game, for example, Chrono Trigger
  • Click on the Download SPC Soundtrack link and choose to open it with SnesMusic
  • Enjoy!
SnesMusic does seem to crash occasionally when importing a new file, but fire it back up and it should work fine.
There’s another app called SNESPlayer, which has a better icon, but the UI didn’t look as nice.
SNES tunes!

How to fix patents, or at least start to fix the system

The current patent system is broken.  There’s really no other way to say it.  If I were to come up with an innovative new tech service and it catches on, chances are I would be hit with a dozen cease-and-desist notices from various patent holders.  Probably they would be patent trolls, companies that exist solely to scoop up patents and enforce them, or perhaps it would be a huge company with an ammo belt of patents used to shoot down competition.

There are several problems here.

One is software patents, which are often for obvious things, like updating a form value using an onclick in JavaScript.

Another is along similar lines, conceptual patents that are also obvious, like “showing a map on a smartphone”.  These are often broad obvious concepts that discourage innovation.

How to fix it?  Well besides the obvious step of reevaluating how the whole patent system works, how about this:  a public scrutiny period.  During that period, rather than a single patent clerk examining the patent and deciding on its validity, why not crowdsource it, let the public at large try and come up with examples of prior art?  Perhaps have a badge system, cash awards, or other incentive to encourage people to join in.

There are plenty of tech-savvy people who hear about a patent to update a form value using an onclick in JavaScript and point out how absurd it is, why not put their righteous indignation to good use, let them submit examples of prior art and help shoot down incoming patents that don’t deserve to be granted.

Along those lines, why not have a patent validity dispute process that is similarly publicly crowdsourced?  Many patents would probably not hold up to scrutiny, but it usually doesn’t come to that because the threat of an expensive lawsuit usually leads to a company settling out-of-court with a patent holder, rather than risk the expense.  This would allow stupid patents to be revoked.

Currently, patents are mostly a rich man’s game, only companies big enough to own a patent portfolio, survive a lawsuit, or afford an out-of-court settlement gets to play in the tech innovation game.  It’s time we level the playing field at least a little with the power of nerd rage.

Top 100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

NPR did a survey to find the top 100 Sci-fi and Fantasy books. I took the list, and checked off the ones I’ve read.

It’s a very good list, but here are a few that didn’t make the list:

Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem.  Although his Solaris did make the list, I feel Cyberiad is both a more creative and more accessable book.

Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis.  True, this is a graphic novel series, but Watchman made the list, so why not Transmet?

The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper.  I loved this as a kid, it’s an amazing story of classic good vs. evil

Wrinkle in Time Series by Madeline L’Engle.  Time- and space-bending adventures.  I remember them, like C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, getting somewhat Christian-y at times, but they were still fantastic stories.  Plus it introduced young Tev to the concept of a tesseract!

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.  The first book, Black Cauldron, was adapted into a movie by Disney – one of the darker Disney flicks, and one that’s not a musical.  The full series is much more epic.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien.  Sure, it’s a kid’s book, but it could almost be a parallel book to Flowers for Algernon, if Algernon had escaped along with other test animals.