The raiding family conundrum

02/15/08 | by Adam | Categories: Games


Funny post about the problems of scheduling a family life around World Of Warcraft.

(Via Kottke)


"I Hate Valentine's"

02/14/08 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link is to an entertaining article from dating site Lavalife on various, uh, problems people have encountered on St. Valentine's.

It's much funnier than the similiarly named "I Love Valentines" from the same author which appears to be a standard "Do This" requirements note.

Anyway, love ya, D!

(Update 2008/02/15: link purged as it now points to an article on where to have sex; interesting, but somewhat misleading for the purposes of this post...)


17.4 kHz

02/13/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


Over on his Facebook page, Ritchie made an offhand comment about still being able to hear 17.4 kHz. My first response was "huh?" The second response was a little smarter, involved Google and thus resulted in the link above.

So, now I know the word "presbycusis" and feel a little smarter. However, I also now know that I've lost the ability to heard much about 15 kHz which leaves me a bit sadder. Still, at least it gets rid of that annoying hum from the flyback transformer on older CRTs. Win some, lose some.


Seeing Through Simulated Colour-Blind Eyes

02/13/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

There is a nifty site called VisCheck, a particularly interesting feature of which is the feature they have to show a web page as it appears to the colour-blind.

It simulates three kinds of colour-blindness: Deuteranope, Protanope and Tritanope. Deuteranope and Protanope are two different kinds of red-green blindness, although in Protanopia, the reds are actually dimmer or more invisible than in Deuteranopia.

Full story »


Happy Darwin Day

02/13/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

Darwin Day

It's his 199th birthday! Stay safe, and keep yourself in the gene pool, kiddies!


Too High A Hearing Range

02/12/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Common Sense

Adam was wondering about my 17.4 kHz comment...

What it relates to is that there's a device in Britain which uses high frequencies to annoy teenagers away from the premises:

A controversial weapon in the war against antisocial behaviour should be banned, the children's commissioner will warn this week in a move that threatens a new Whitehall battle over 'hoodies' rights'.

The row centres on the so-called Mosquito, a £500 device that emits a high-pitched whine loud enough to drive away teenagers in the vicinity. Marketed as the 'ultrasonic teenage deterrent', it is increasingly being adopted by shopkeepers, local councils and even private homeowners to disperse gangs of young people because it operates on a frequency that can be detected only by under-25s, whose hearing is more acute.

If you want to check out your hearing, you can check out the Mosquito Ringtones site. It's particularly amusing that someone pointed this out, because this relies on the same hearing differences, in this case, to be able to sneak things by adults.

I found through this that I can hear up to 17.4 kHz (I'm fairly sure my headphones are reproducing the even-higher pitches), which is a good 13 years or so out of my age range. 17.0 kHz and below is particularly annoying. This might put me in the range of the Mosquito's output, since it sends out a modulated frequency between 17.5 and 18.5 kHz.

That may explain one of the more annoying episodes I had once upon a time at work, where they put a server in my room that ended up squealing at a particularly high frequency and driving me mad, and I begged and pleaded for the server to be placed elsewhere. Clearly, though, people thought I was crazy, for they heard nothing.

We'll see how this British thing pans out. It's supposed to not be painful, just annoying, and takes a little while to become annoying, etc. etc. but I'll leave such judgment for my first encounter with one.


Mounting Windows fileshares under OSX

02/12/08 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh


I suspect this is old hat to most but the link is to a how-to on mounting remote Windows file systems under OSX.

Leopard (Tiger too) does a decent job of allowing you to locate via the Finder machines on local subnets and workgroups. However it never displays other machines that may be accessible. Under XP or Vista one always had access to the Network Neighbourhood which would display a wider range of options or the "Start" menu where the UNC path could be entered. Under OSX it's a little less obvious.

But it's not hard. The short version is:

  1. Go to the Finder menu
  2. Select the "Connect to server"
  3. Type in "smb://" where that IP is replaced by whatever the machine is called. You can also include a path or an administrative share (like "C$") at the end of that string to go directly to the location.
  4. Authenticate yourself.

To be fair to Apple, the process is documented in their online help but it's a bit obscure. You need to first know the terms you're looking for and then you need to understand what they say. It's not point-and-click easy here. For what it's worth, the other connection strings available are AFP (AppleTalk networking), SMB/CIFS (Samba/Windows file share/Printer sharing), NFS (UNIX network filesharing), FTP and VNC.


They know their market

02/11/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

PocketGear just sent out an email advertising one of their regular promotions. It was (as one might expect for this week) Valentine's Day themed. The kicker was in the title of the email:

Subject: Spending Valentine's Day Alone? Try Astraware Solitaire!

Nasty, but rather accurate too...


Fantastic Voyage : Kurzweil and Grossman

02/10/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Books, Science

Fantastic Voyage: The Science Behind Radical Life Extension, is a bit of a weird book.

Full story »


Some more interesting print adverts

02/10/08 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


As the the title says. I'm not sure all of them were actual adverts so much as people's concepts though.

(Via Kottke)


Autonomous lawn mower

02/09/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


I liked the idea of the Roomba enough to buy one. I love the idea of a lawn mower that works the same way too, but for $2500? That just hurts.

(Via Engadget)


GoogleStreets: The Movie

02/08/08 | by Adam | Categories: YouTube


"Dude; it's coming from inside our house!"

(Via Wired)


TSA requires cables to be XRayed separately

02/07/08 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, American


I never really did like flying and it's getting progressively worse dealing with American airports. It shouldn't be too long until my entire carry-on luggage is composed of smaller bags to be run through security independently.

While traveling this morning I surprised to find out that TSA is now requiring that you remove all electronic devices from your carry-on bags, including cables etc. and place them in a separate bin to be scanned at the security checkpoints.



02/07/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Ethics, Politics, Religion

I doubt that I would see eye to eye with Ezra Levant on many things. The Reform Party is pretty antithetical to my views, and even within the Reform Party context, I thought Preston Manning was a gentleman, and Stockwell Day, whom Ezra supported, was a man who couldn't keep his religious fantasy out of his politics.

That aside, there is a shameful thread that ties the threats against Jyllands-Posten for posting cartoons depicting Muhammed to the threats of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission against Ezra Levant.

You can read the original complaint by Syed Soharwardy to the Commission. This is not a worthy complaint, on top of which Syed seems to go into great detail about why the caricatures were so offensive - by cherry-picking the Qur'an and avoiding abrogation and the Hadith considered canonical by many Muslims, in particular the more militant sects like the Wahhabi/Salafi sects that have caused Saudi Arabia to react by clamping down on moderates.

The complaint also comes only after trying unsuccessfully to get the police to arrest Ezra for publishing the cartoons (!).

That's not to say that an organization like the AHRCC would not be a useful thing, but they should have had processes for discarding this tribunal in the early stages.

In my estimation, this farce will cause more to damage general relations with the Muslim community than the publication of the cartoons could ever "hope" to do, if that ever was their intent.

I've been impressed at the outpouring of support, and that includes all manner of people who do not share his political views. One of my favourite grumpy heathens, Pat Condell, has a brilliant rant.

Some of the critics have been pretty decent in their response, some less so. I'm a bit disappointed that it looks like Ezra may engage in libel chill instead of issuing his own statements, though I guess I'd marginally agree with the commenters that in that case, at least, it's him shelling out for his own legal fees with definite legal processes.


That ol' "fish & bicycle" thing

02/06/08 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Submitted with no further comment.


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