Halloween costumes for techs

Not sure what to wear this coming Friday? Here are my suggestions for Halloween party costumes, based on stories flying around the technology weblogs this week:

  • Dress all in black, with a long white, butcher paper strip wrapped around you with with a URL in big bold letters. When asked, tell people you’re a namespace.
  • In the same all black clothes, this time take shiny pieces of aluminum foil and fashion into angle brackets (< >). Tape or otherwise attach sets of them, angle part pointing outwards, on both sides of your head, torso, and other body parts (use discretion). When asked, tell people you’re dressed as well-formed XHTML. This is a particularly scary costume in Redmond, Washington.
  • Show up late, demanding attention. Be loud, obnoxious, and disdainful of everyone around you. When asked your costume, say you’re dressed as…wait, this one is going to get me into trouble, isn’t it?
  • Stay home, and when people asked why you didn’t show up at the party, tell them you were dressed as Twitter.
  • Dress up as the semantic web: carry several Stick-it notepads with you and slap metadata notes on everything and everyone. Do not expect to get invited back to the same party, next year.
  • Glue cotton balls all over your body and go as a cloud. To differentiate yourself from an atmospheric cloud, carry a large ball and chain.
  • Dress in an expensive suit. When asked, tell people you’re the RIAA. When playing Musical Chairs, take all the chairs. And then sue the host.
  • Take two large pieces of cardboard, spray paint a dull aluminum color and put a white Apple logo in the center of one of the pieces. Add a bright orange sale sticker, printed with “$800.00”, to the top of the piece with the Apple logo. Strap the two cardboard pieces together and wear like a sandwich board. When asked, tell people you’re a fat, cheap Macbook Pro.
  • Ladies, forget Sexy Kitty, or Naughty Maid. Try Sexy Coder, instead. Wear a skintight, white body leotard with your favorite source code printed in tiny, black letters all over it…except introduce one bug into the code. Tell people to find the bug.
  • To dress up like Vista…no, no. There are some costumes that are just too scary.

And yours?


Roku users: second class citizens

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.


Roku has come out with a note on the Roku user forum about Netflix and HD quality:

  • Roku will be delivering Netflix in HD by the end of the year
  • Roku will be using Advanced Profile encodes which will deliver HD at substantially lower bit-rates than what Xbox is offering
  • The number of titles is up to Netflix but the library will be the same as or larger than the Xbox library
  • The UI will be updated to run in 720p and more covers will be visible on the screen at a time
  • And the release will include another major new feature that you’ll have to wait a bit longer to learn about

Though I was happy to hear that Netflix is finally rolling out HD content, I was astonished to read Netflix’s decision to roll it out for the brand new XBox, rather than the existing Roku users. Evidently, Netflix considers the early Netflix box users to be second class citizens, and would rather put its focus on the newer, shinier customer—the XBox user.

I had been recommending Roku boxes as a Christmas gift idea, but I can’t recommend the box any longer. Roku promised extra content, outside of Netflix, earlier thia summer, and has not delivered, yet. Roku also promised an SDK earlier this summer, and has not delivered it yet, either. Lastly, the company had promised that as soon as Netflix started streaming HD content, Roku would stream the HD content. As we can see, another promise undelivered, though this one does not seem to be Roku’s fault.

Considering that Netflix is an investor in Roku, one has to wonder what the heck is going on between these companies. In the meantime, promises are going undelivered. Until we’re given assurances that all of the earlier promises will be met, and that Netflix is still as committed to Roku users, as it is to every other box user, I can’t recommend the Roku.

Now, CNET is saying that everyone will get HD quality, but that the requirements are 8-10GB download speeds! (I’m assuming the author meant 8-10Mbps, not GB, but who knows…)

Netflix is calling this a “soft launch” since it is only rolling out such a small number of videos for HD streaming. The move mostly serves to stake a claim in the HD streaming market as opposed to being a full offering. Contrary to what others are reporting, HD streaming will be available on all streaming devices when it premieres with the New Xbox Experience. That means that the Roku, LG, and Samsung boxes will all be able to stream these HD movies, in addition to the Xbox 360. The PC and Mac based versions of Netflix, will not, however, be able to stream HD immediately. In addition, streaming in HD will require a large amount of bandwidth. Netflix estimates the requirement being in the 8-10 Gbps range.

Considering that 8-10Mbps exceeds the download speeds for a majority of broadband users, in addition to exceeding requirements for every other HD streaming server online, I have to wonder if this isn’t an error.

This whole thing has been badly managed. Press release by rumor rarely works well.