I started learning about creating a Minecraft mod today, using this excellent tutorial (thanks @0x17h and @adudney).

Background: Minecraft is a very popular world-building game. They announced last November that they will release an API, but they have a friendly attitude toward users who have reverse-engineered how to create “mods” (extensions to the game and changes to the behavior of objects in the world). Minecraft Forge is the de-facto standard API toolkit for making mods.

We found that the easiest way to run a server is to run it locally on an old MacBook, allowing external connections to connect to a noip domain and tunnel into our home network.

Prerequisites:We’re running Mac OSX SnowLeopard. We need Java and the JDK, 1.6 or better.

Check that java is installed

$ java -version
java version "1.6.0_37"

Check that the JDK is installed

$ javac -version
javac 1.6.0_37

We installed 64-bit version of Eclipse.

Other than those platform-specific details that I had to look up, we had no problem following the basic modding tutorial. The mod doesn’t do anything yet, but we can run minecraft and see it load:

At SXSW, I joined Laura Sydell (@Sydell) for NPR interview: controlling your computer with a wave of your hand. The Leap Motion controller detects the motion of all five fingers as you comfortably wave them in the air above the device — you can even use both hands!  Currently available for pre-order for $79.88, this device is a clear fit for 3D modeling applications and games.  While professional 3D modelers will always require precision controls, it is exciting to imagine the ability to create fluid, whimsical forms or animated effects, where a complex curve could be created with natural hand motion.

Along with games from Disney Interactive, DoubleFine and ZeptoLab, Leap Motion has announced that Corel’s Painter apps and 3D software from Autodesk will support the device.  In the interview, I talk about an application for this device that would have broad consumer appeal.  Combined with a 3D printer, either in the home or as a service, we can imagine preparing for a celebration by sitting down at a “virtual potting wheel” and creating a vase for your parents’ anniversary party or teacups for your kid’s birthday, then you could choose a photo or drawing to decorate the object.  You can already upload these virtual 3D objects to printing services which will ship them to you — you may even spend less than you would on other party favors and entertainments.