Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My daughter Keila Banks talking in in San Jose

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Next internet superstar.



I thought a quick post was in order. As you might have seen from a previous post my daughter Keila has been speaking at a couple of conferences about being an 11yr old web designer and general computer guru. Here’s the video from the USENIX Women in Advanced (WiAC) computing conference held in San Jose last week June 26th 2013.

My daughter the computer guru

Friday, March 1st, 2013

This past weekend at the SCALE conference I had the pleasure of introducing my 11 yr old daughter Keila Banks as a speaker. In her “Free to be a kid” talk she gave a story of how an 11 year old can use open source software and be a website designer, publisher, programmer and graphic artist using software such as Linux, GIMP and PHP. Well, enough said. Why don’t you check it out for yourself. Feel free to share it to the world!

Marshmallow Game Engine (Day 15 of 20 days of SCALE)

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

The Marshmallow Game Engine is “an open-source game engine focused on 8-bit and 16-bit era 2D video games. This engine will act as the backbone and toolkit for the Marshmallow Entertainment System” ( When I’d first heard of having to review the Marshmallow Game Engine I was assuming there would be something for me to download, so I wandered the site about but came up empty. It’s not like the UI for the site was complicated but I’m known to get lost so if the download link does exist for users to experiment with that’s great, otherwise no problem.

Regardless of that after learning about it I was interested. A quick look at the creators Youtube channel shows the game engine in action. The game works smooth, boots quickly and for those of us who like the nostalgic 8-bit/16-bit consoles it’s something worth looking into.

Guest Post by Hunter Banks

Riot Games (Day 14 of 20 days of SCALE)

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

I’ve never reviewed any subject in any somewhat official manner but for Scale 11x this year I’ll be discussing Riot Games and Marshmallow Game Engine.
First on the agenda is Riot Games, a company I’d become familiar with last time around at Scale 10x. Riot Games is the creator of widely popular MMORPG known as League of Legends. The team responsible for the game that we met at the Scale tour seemed very enthusiastic about their work, some maybe a bit too enthusiastic. One of the presenters was so engulfed in playing the game for two different tours he could barely look away from his screen to demonstrate. Depending on your outlook that could be interpretted as great marketing for a game so amazing and fun you forget your actual duties to play it or as fairly bad press from an unfocused worker. The rest of the presenters for the company were nice and very willing to answer questions about their company so being an optimist I’d say good marketing. (

Guest Post by Hunter Banks

Vuze crashes

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

If you are a user of Vuze (formerly Azureus even though it’s been long enough to stop saying that) then you may be encountering the same problem that I’ve been encountering. Vuze (on all platforms) crashes or freezes when you add a torrent.

The fix is as follows. Go to:  Tools -> Options -> Connection

Under Connection uncheck the box that says “Prompt for selection when a tracker with an anonymous  tracker is added”.

DONE. That was easy. Vuze has already acknowledged this problem and issued a patch but this will work for now.

Blogging to help your marraige and family

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

We are at a rare crossroads in history that can be manipulated for good family relations. I say this because I’ve recently thought about how my family structure works. My wife is a special education teacher to elementary school children. Today I was looking through her blog like I usually do and thought about something. I comment on her blog and to her in real life. It’s like having twice the amount of conversations with your spouse (since we do talk a lot in person). I definitely recommend that husbands always talk to their wives and vice versa but if your spouse blogs then take an interest even if it’s not in your usual line of interest. I know that my wife also tends to read my blog even though I know that she’s not a techno-savvy person.

All my children started off early using computers too. All 4 of my children started with basic screen drawing at 3 years old. They all wanted to be like me and later on their mother or brothers. In true form my daughter has loved watching my blog-aholic wife type on her blog so much that my wife started her a blog. SHE’S 6! Yes, my wife does all the typing but my daughter tells her what she wants and it’s good family time with them.

My 3 sons aren’t so voyeristic. They aren’t the types to blog (even though it comes with a Myspace page). However, with your teens get to the point that you can be added to their friends list on Myspace. I do that with my sons and all the children at my church as well as neighborhood kids. This way you can watch what their doing a little bit too.

I’ll be sitting down for a minute

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I had a freak accident and broke my leg. Guess I’ll be sitting down and doing more typing. Hope you’re out there and in for some very informative stuff.

Content overload

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

I don’t know if you’re like me but I’m totally overloaded with content.  There’s no one else to blame but myself but I love it. Long gone are the days when I turned on my TV and all 800 channels of Satellite had nothing interesting to watch. Long gone are the days when I’d get into my car and say, “Man I hate everything on the radio (except when I drive my wife’s car)”. I’ve got to say I’m loving the internet a LOT.

Even though it’s been a while that I’ve been doing this I just stopped to smell the roses about content today.  I have a computer connected to my TV so whenever I get tired of whatever I’m watching and the wife is bored I change to the computer’s channel and watch internet/podcast videos and movies.  In my office I have the same setup plus a Tivo so I can catch up on a basketball, football, documentaries, and podcasts whenever the mood strikes. If for any reason I want to work and not watch TV I have all my CD’s converted to our server plus podcasts to listen to. In the car I have a radio with a USB jack for playing from USB stick which I just dump podcasts and music on before I drive.

Look how far we’ve come as a society. I never watch a re-run unless I just want to sit with the wife and kids and watch something again. I’ve got too much content and I love it that way. Who really cares about the writer’s strike when there’s so much good content to watch and listen to.

Who needs the TV and radio networks. I like the internet.

Sorry, I’m back

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Oh, I missed you too!  Sorry for the hiatus but when you take a little bit of time off during the holiday season getting back into the rhythm of things is kinda hard.

I’m back though.

Nokia vs. Ogg? Why?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

In a recent article on Ars Technica I read that Nokia was fighting the W3C inclusion of the media codec OGG in the new HTML standard. Now this may sound like gobbly-goop to some but let me break it down.

MP3 files are the common media type for music that most people know off (AAC is the one for iTunes). What people don’t really know is that MP3 is a filetype that has a copyright on it and is not free. I have to admit I was enlightened on this subject a couple years back when I met this guy name Christopher Montgomery. He wrote audio codec OGG Vorbis and the video codec OGG Theora. I was shocked to know that video game producers have to license MP3’s for use. I was working a a media company at the time and was totally shocked because I instantly realized that since my company helped make a large amount of the commercials on TV that any audio that we used in these commercial products was liable for MP3 fees. Now more than likely this would never be enforced but the reality does exist for game programmers who license the most.

Now back to Nokia. They were just getting my vote as one of my new favorite companies because of the Nokia N810. It’s a beautiful handheld computer that does everything under the sun AND runs Linux. So, why would they try to fight HTML 5 including OGG? It’s free AND it’s opensource. Reading through their points you’ll be even more confused. They are as follows:

The position paper that Nokia submitted to the W3C touches on a variety of topics and mentions Ogg only briefly. The paper’s arguments can be summarized as follows:

  1. W3C shouldn’t make any standards relating to codecs. Leave that to other standards bodies like ITU-T and ISO/IEC.
  2. There are over a billion PCs in the world today, many connected to the web, but these numbers are tiny compared to traditional video playback devices like DVD players.
  3. This industry is used to paying license fees and royalties for video codecs like MPEG-2.
  4. This industry is used to making money, and it doesn’t care about keeping things free.
  5. Web codec standards should be either free or low-cost to implement.
  6. Web codec standards should support DRM to placate Hollywood, but DRM implementations should be optional.
  7. H.264 for video and AAC for audio would be Nokia’s recommendations for codecs.

Can I start with a resounding WHAT!!!??? This has to be the most convoluted piece of crap I’ve ever read. I think they must have first watch the famous Youtube video of Ms. South Carolina answering a question in a beauty contest before typing this up (watch the video and you’ll understand).

W3C consortium: I hope you see the stupidity in this and run with OGG. It will hopefully pick up adoption of the format so I can listen to my OGG audio in my car.

Xiph and Chris “Monty” Montgomery: Keep up the good work and as I’ve told you before if there’s anything I can do let me know. I think this format is due to take over.

I liken OGG to a concept ahead of it’s time. It’s like Jimmy Carter standing in front of a bioenergy powered car in the 1970’s. Once gas prices went down everybody forgot about it but now it’s all the rage to use Ethanol because we’re conscious of the environment. This is the same situation with OGG. Maybe when media producers start to realize that MP3 is costing them unnecessary money for a lesser codec OGG will rise in usage.

Learn a little more about the format at