Archives for: November 2006

2,000 year-old analogue computer

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology
I heard about this on the CBC this morning and thought "wow". The BBC has a more complete story on the Antikythera Mechanism, but in summary the Greeks built a mechanical gear-based tool for calculating astronomical cycles. This amazes me on two levels:… more »

Not now, dear, I'm blogging

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube
Yup, another YouTube video. This one's by way of Kottke. more »

Delerium, "Nuages Du Monde"

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews
As of this point, "Nuages Du Monde" is the most recent of the Delerium albums. It's also a good one. And, unlike 2003's "Chimera", it's not copy protected. Yay, Nettwerk! If you've heard one Delerium album, fundamentally you've heard them all: gorgeous… more »

Adam != Ritchie

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, American
Checking through the comment spam this morning I found a rant from one "Emmanuel Goldstein" under the post about the luxury good embargo on North Korea. Now, as much as I appreciate a flame written by a character from Orwell's "1984", I do have to point… more »

We have a new winner!

11/29/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly the ridiculously huge monitor stakes. Excuse me, I have to go sell a kidney now. more »

Novel ways to overthrow a foreign country

11/29/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Politics
I have to give kudos to the Americans on this one; I don't think I've ever seen an attempt to destabilize a country by refusing to sell it luxury goods. Quote from the piece: Experts said the effort -- being coordinated under the United Nations -- would… more »

Review: Griffin RocketFM

11/29/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music, Reviews
Summary: USB powered low-range FM transmitter As probably noticed in other posts, I'm not much of a fan of Calgary radio. This poses a bit of a problem as I like waking up to music and if my first reaction is that I'd like to strangle the DJ, well, it… more »

Sources of music recommendations

11/28/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music
Wired News has two articles today on internet music sources. The first by Leander Kahney is about Rhapsody, a retailer in the vein of iTunes, eMusic and Napster. His conclusion: some good ideas, but not ready for prime time. The second is by Scott… more »

Ted Morton?

11/27/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Politics
Has the Calgary Sun become less conservative over time, or is Ted Morton really that spookily right-wing a character? Dining on fabulous nosh at Willy's (and strangely, finding the owners had used turkey bacon as a substitute for bacon), I opened up… more »

Ze Frank

11/27/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly
As a follow on from Ritchie's TED linkage, I thought I might point people at the full Ze Frank site. "Ze Frank" is a web comedian; he sticks up brief video skits on a regular basis which take the form of a face-to-face discussion with the audience.… more »

Soundtrack, "Run Lola Run"

11/27/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews
I frequently buy soundtracks to films I've never seen, nor have any particular wish to see. A few years ago, a friend from Germany sent me a track called "Wish (Komm Zu Mir)" but no other information. I thought it was great, in a rather German… more »

Michael Brook, "Cobalt Blue"

11/26/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews
I first came across Michael Brook while listening to the soundtrack to "Heat" which included "Ultramarine", an echoey heavily processed guitar track. A bit later I encountered "Diffusing" which was a very similar piece. more »

Universe in a Nutshell : Stephen Hawking

11/26/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Books, Science
I must admit, that apart from the pretty pictures, light humour and some interesting background on Einstein, I was pretty disappointed in this book. It starts out well, but holes appear in it later, not just the black kind, and a lot of space is spent… more »

Coolest Skeptic's Video Ever

11/25/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Science
This video of a talk by Michael Shermer is definitely one of the niftiest videos you may see about how your senses can be fooled. He's the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine. I must admit, though, I've bought the magazine before, and struggled to… more »

Aurora, "Aurora"

11/25/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews
This 2002 eponymous album from UK band, Aurora, doesn't fit terribly comfortably into the electronica/dance-floor genre that it was released into. It's rather better than most due to a combination of cover tunes and guest vocalists. You get Shakespeares… more »

"Self Help" in Microsoft's Vista EULA

11/23/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright
Interesting article on the Register about the process of "self-help" wherein one party to a contract can unilaterally deprive the other member of the contract. In the case of Vista, the discussion is about Microsoft's ability to terminate the user's… more »

Use of abandonware legal in the US again

11/23/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright
Good to see the US's copyright law moving in the right direction for once: it's now going to be legal to hack copy protection on computer software and video machines that are no longer available, including those that use hardware-based methods such as… more »

They Still Don't Get It

11/22/06 | by Adam | Categories: Games
Electronic Arts and Atari have been pushing their new downloadable games pretty hard recently. more »

Locavore cuisine

11/22/06 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri
Wired is on a bit of a roll with reporting the somewhat bizarre eating fads. First, it was Calorie Reduced Diets (BoingBoing has a good link to that bit of insanity) and now it's "Locavore" wherein one tries to eat only foods created in their entirety… more »

The director of "The Hobbit" will not be Peter Jackson

11/22/06 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri
In one of those bewildering moves, New Line Cinema has opted not to employ Peter Jackson to direct the new live action version of "The Hobbit". we bring you breaking news as cited by cartoon strips. more »

Concrete Blonde, "Recollection"

11/22/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews
Concrete Blonde were an alt-rock band who appeared in the early '80s, hit their high point in the early '90s, and for all intents and purposes vanished a little afterwards. It's too bad. When good, they were very good. more »

Gender inverted Nimblebrain

11/22/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly
Another entry in the wacky Internet tools category. Via QBlog, I found Regender, an amusing little hack that works much like Altavista's Babelfish engine; it "translates" a page by switching genders and names. Title link goes to the inverted version of… more »

When Is A Prize Not A Prize?

11/21/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, People
About a week back, I got a phone call that I had won a prize in the Jysk draw: a free meal for up to five couples at the China Rose. That part sounded great, but my alarm bells went off a little when they talked about having a fire safety presentation… more »


11/20/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Internet
I was trying to look up the lyrics to a few Scissor Sisters songs, since they sound Bee Gees-like and my mother loved the Bee Gees, just because I'd heard that some of their lyrics were questionable. So I click on the first lyrics site (lyrics and… more »

Sex sells. Well, drives up the bids. Perhaps.

11/20/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly, YouTube
Apparently eBayers have been taking a page out of British lad-mags like "T3" or pretty much any motor show in the last forty years, and have decided to spice up those boring pictures of games consoles with buxom ladies. There's shallow, there's really… more »

Hole In The World

11/20/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly
More stupid Google (TM) Tricks! This one is via Pharyngula, one of Ritchie's preferred blogging sites. It allows you to choose where you live, and then drills a hole through the world to show you what's on the direct opposite. And no, popular… more »


11/20/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Toys
I had been gazing at the Saitek Eclipse II Backlit Keyboard with some longing, but now there's another product that is giving it some serious competition in the Ritchie saliva production department: Prodikeys. I have long lamented that I have no space… more »

Your YouTube video for the day

11/19/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube
At last we have an answer to the much asked question: what if Bollywood had made the video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller"? more »

How To Dunk A Biscuit

11/17/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions
Len Fisher, author of How To Dunk A Doughnut came to the aid of the Mad Labs crew to try to help perfect dunking biscuits for the maximum in slightly soggy flavour-boosting without the dreaded plop of soaked-through cookie crumbs into the bottom of your… more »

DMCA abuse? Surely not?

11/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright
Surprise. BestBuy issues a DMCA take-down on a site that publishes information about their discount pricing. 'Cause everyone knows that a free market works best with perfect information and no commercial entity would ever try to hinder that. So… more »

Something's rotten in the state of Washington

11/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright
Ok, now this is just plain under-handed and sneaky. Summary of the BoingBoing'd article is that Microsoft has some patents that Novell, owner of SUSE Linux distribution, has licensed from them; in turn, Microsoft is now claiming that all other varieties… more »

The best Vista box is a... MacPro??

11/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh
Ok, lots of bias here, but there's an interesting article by a Microsofty about running Vista. The machine of choice is the quad-core MacPro and he's very impressed. I can't say I approve of a) Vista; or b) Desecrating a Mac with it; but it runs, and it… more »

Microlending Earns The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

11/17/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A], Thoughts, Common Sense, People
I caught an interview with Muhammad Yunus on the Daily Show, founder and director of the Grameen Foundation. He and the foundation split the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for work on microfinance and microlending as a tool against poverty. Microfinance is a… more »

Permanent Stamps

11/17/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]
I had to blink a few times when I was picking up a parcel today, from a sign I saw at the post office. Canada Post has at last brought the concept of the "permanent stamp" across the pond. This is a stamp for a particular function (in this case,… more »

Poland Will Appear Again

11/16/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions
According to this blog on MSDN, Poland has been missing for quite a while. Is it Brigadoon Poland? Is it really a sea? Apparently, Poland will rejoin us in Windows Vista. Until then, enjoy the mystery of the Polish Triangle. more »

Delphi .NET Fun

11/15/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Programming
I'm making a card game - a physical one, not a computer one, so I decided to give myself both a learning experience and a tool to help print out the cards by pulling down Turbo Delphi for .NET at home and try to program the entire thing with the… more »

UPS Follies

11/14/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense
Wow, UPS is not making it into our good books this past week. more »

Finnish Song Of Disguntlement

11/14/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube
Truly, this YouTube video deserves to be the next internet big-thing. more »

Amazonian Shenanigans

11/14/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music
Over the years I've migrated from buying the majority of my CDs from stores to buying online. The move is mostly due to availability of obscurities; I've bought pretty much all of the easy to find stuff and these days I'm after back catalogue, deleted… more »

The Big Score

11/14/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly
Over at Kottke, there's a post about getting the big score, the post that drew the most people to the site -- the one that made the weblog what it is. Over here, my big hitter with a grand total of 114 views as of this writing (yup, that's it!) is… more »

Laptop battery fire

11/14/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology
Latest arrival from the link-meisters at Engadget is this display of what happens when a laptop battery explodes. Unlike previous recorded fires, this one has been set up deliberately and gives a much better view of the progression as each battery cell… more »

Dolphins Cover the "Batman" Theme

11/14/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly
Occasionally science reaches new heights; it attains unexpected successes; it moves forwards human knowledge, not merely by a step, but by a mile. This isn't one of those things. On the other hand, a big woohoo for operant conditioning and pop culture! more »

Gracenote on CDDB

11/13/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music, Copyright
A week or so ago, I made an offhand comment critical of Gracenote, the developer of CD recognition tool CDDB, about them taking a publically generated database commercial. I objected to this based on the fact that at the time no one knew they would be… more »

Robot Chicken : Season 1

11/11/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Television
Robot Chicken is one further step in the return of animation to the world of adults. Well, in this case, not drawn animation. Stop-motion animation. Isn't stop-motion animation expensive? Well, yeah, if you make all your models from scratch and stuff.… more »

The Essence of Algorithms

11/09/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Programming
I was helping a co-worker puzzle out an algorithm or two today, and he got me to go back through the steps I took to come up with an appropriate algorithm. It's a skill I have that comes from the combination of experience and a little bit of ability,… more »

MacBook Core2Duo Out

11/09/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh
Looks as if Apple's moving towards a more PCClone release schedule; I wasn't expecting this to be out until February. If reviews of the Core2Duo version of the MacBook Pro are correct, this'll give you about a 10% speed increase over the earlier version… more »

Best electioneering slogan from the US today

11/07/06 | by Adam | Categories: Politics, American
Nice to see that the Republicans still have a sense of humour even while going down in flames: Republicans have been simultaneously informing voters about the confusing process to vote for Negron—whose name doesn't appear on the ballot—and expressing… more »

Arguing on the internet

11/07/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology
There's a joke that's been going around for a while -- typically Fark Photoshop related -- that arguing on the internet is a bit like competing in the Special Olympics; even if you win, you're still retarded. Having watched enough flamefests online, I'm… more »

Election tampering

11/07/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Politics
Over at QBlog, British computer scientist, Richard Bartle, points out an interesting conundrum about tamper tape on voting boxes. The summary is this: can you throw an election by tampering with a container such that it and its contents become suspect?… more »

The Accent Archive

11/06/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Languages
Ah, a web project after my own heart. The Accent Archive is a project in which speakers of many backgrounds read the following paragraph: Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five… more »

"Ready, Aye, Ready"

11/05/06 | by Adam | Categories: Canadian
As we approach the sombre memorial of November 11th, Remembrance Day, I thought I'd take a moment to comment on the title I chose for the weblog. "Ready, Aye, Ready" is a very Canadian term. It's been used a number of times in Canada's political… more »

Anatomy & Science Gifts

11/04/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Stores, Toys
Sites catering to anatomical supplies, in particular, have some pretty unusual gifts. How about Bones Socks? Or, overwhelm your opponents with a Blinded by Science T-Shirt? Or some syringe pens? Amazingly goofy stuff :) more »

The Ultimate Godwin

11/04/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Politics
This video has been showing up in a few places. Sometimes associated with a "Don't Vote For Bush!" theme, sometimes not. It's an old educational video by the 'war department', and you can find it listed as "Don't Be A Sucker". It's a 17 minute… more »

A Case Study In DRM Music

11/03/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Copyright
The summary of the story is that Microsoft is discontinuing their old MSN Music store, and the DRM'd files it sold are not compatible with anything else. While the story quotes Microsoft saying that tracks could be burned to CD in this case, I've seen… more »

Peopleware - Productive Projects and Teams : DeMarco & Lister

11/03/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Books, Programming
This is an interesting paperback concerning itself with how companies are run where the business is development, like code, as opposed to production, like cheeseburgers. In particular, there is a focus on what sort of management mismatches and business… more »

Truer words were never spoken

11/01/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly
...until the next lot. more »

Automated music recognition

11/01/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music
A little while ago, I posted a question about how one identifies unknown music. Apparently there is some software that -- in theory -- can do this Too bad it only seems to be deployed to restrict music listening, rather than to help identify it.… more »

I Still Don't Get Virtual Particles

11/01/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Science
Having gone back and read about virtual particles once more, I must say that they have become less, rather than more clear. more »