Mix tapes

05/23/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Copyright

Alas, what with all those copyright and intellectual property issues these days, the mix "tape" is basically dead. That's too bad -- I always thought it was a great way of introducing friends to a selection of music. Get those tunes wandering through their heads and spread the word, so to speak.

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Colour blindness simulator for OSX

05/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.michelf.com/projects/sim-daltonism/

This is an interesting one. "Sim Daltonism" is a simulator that tries to show how people who are colour blind see the world. The concept is relatively simple: a small window contains a colour-corrected version of whatever the mouse pointer is over that simulates what a colour blind person would see. As there are multiple forms of colour blindness, it has multiple settings including four red/green ones.

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Fast Food: the promise and the reality

05/21/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.thewvsr.com/adsvsreality.htm

Link is to a quite amusing comparison of fast food meals with the advertisement photo directly contrasted with the delivered product.

(Via Kottke)


Who The Hell Is Mo Henry?

05/21/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

We just watched Spider-Man 3 a day after watching Shrek 3, and we're credit-watchers (though I must say that we have been very disappointed in the lack of after-credit easter eggs these days), and one name keeps cropping up as recognizable: the negative cutter, Mo Henry.

I've no idea who Mo Henry is, but the name is familiar for, it turns out, good reason. IMDb lists over 320 movies for which Mo Henry was the negative cutter, everything from Apocalypse Now to Twister to Sin City to Serenity to Shrek 3.

The enigma and ubiquity of Mo Henry has started a very small fan page and a Yahoo! fan club

It takes a little bit of digging to find out that Mo Henry is the daughter of the late Mike Henry, MGM's chief negative cutter, from a blurb in Los Angeles Magazine:

LAST NOVEMBER, WHEN MO Henry, perhaps the most respected negative cutter in Hollywood, pried open a canister holding How the West Was Won, she discovered a family connection. "There was some old paperwork inside it," she says, "and I saw my dad's handwriting." Mo couldn't remember her late father, Mike Henry; who was MGM's chief negative cutter, having worked on the 1962 blockbuster. But a call to her mother confirmed it. "Here I was," says Henry; "basically getting ready to dismantle the work that my dad did 40 years ago."

Warner Bros., which now owns How the West Was Won, had retained Henry to restore it. The movie was the last spectacular filmed in Cinerama, the grandiose, unwieldy film format...

It's hard to remember repeats in the names of many of the credited jobs, so in that sense, Mo is highly unusual.

I think I'll make a point of Mo-watching at the end of movies :)


Bye, Spots

05/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.spots.ab.ca

Since 1995 I've been using a Calgary ISP called Spots Interconnect. For the first few years, I used them exclusively for dialup access and webpage hosting. They set up an ISDN connection for a trade show I arranged and gave us free access to it; it was the first real exposure I had to setting up networks on the Amiga, indeed on any platform.

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The Police's "Synchronicity"

05/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music

Presumably as part of the upcoming tour, all of the albums by the Police have gone on sale in their remastered form, and quite cheaply too -- about $5 a disc. I've taken the opportunity to upgrade the couple I already had and fill in the holes.

As I listen to "Synchronicity" again and enjoy the superb musicianship and song writing, I have to ask: why "Mother"? It has to rate as one of the least listenable pieces of music ever committed to tape. It mars the album and actually takes away from the whole. It serves no purpose. Why, oh why, was it put on there, and why was it kept? Surely someone in the mastering process could have stood up and told the band "Uh, you know, this really isn't very good."

The singles from the album every one knows: "Every Breath You Take", "King Of Pain", "Wrapped Around Your Fingers". Each one is a classic. "Walking In Your Footsteps", "Synchronicity I" and "II" are all superb. "Tea In The Sahara" should have been a single but it's too gorgeous to have worked well in that format. Even "O My God", "Miss Gradenko" and "Murder By Numbers" are good songs. Somehow though, that one appalling little song wrecks the entire album for me.

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I've now removed the awkward song from my MP3 version of the album. It's a better option than the old one of remastering a play-copy of the album without "Mother". It flows cleanly and well now. Ah, bliss.


First Apple, now Amazon

05/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/17/technology/17amazon-web.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

The first chink in the DRM wall was when Apple's iTunes store started selling EMI's music in a non-DRM'd format (albeit at a markup.) Now Amazon is joining the fray selling the same catalogue. This is good and I hope other music distributors and recording studios follow suit.

On the side, it's interesting that Amazon, known primarily as an online bookstore, is described as:

the Internet’s most successful seller of physical CDs

I can easily believe that given that I buy almost all of my CDs via them these days due to pricing and the depth of the catalogue.

(Via Matthew Yglesias)


Singin' in Korean

05/14/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

I get such a damned kick out of Stephen Colbert. He has made a marvelous career out of parodying the right, but some of my favourite clips of his are when he indulges in over-the-top geekery (like the Green Screen Challenge) and some of his other miscellaneous segments.

So when he got knocked off a top 100 spot to #2 by Korean R&B singer Rain, he fought back... with a video of his own.

Dena taught in South Korea for almost four years, so she got a particular kick out of this. He is singing in Korean here. "Rain, I'm going to be all over you like egg on a bowl of bibimbap".

I like it when people do their homework, so to speak.

As internet-crazy as South Koreans are, I can't wait for the reactions :)


The Colin and Brad Show

05/09/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

We went down to the Jack Singer on Sunday to see the Just For Laughs tour of Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.

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Travelling with gadgets

05/08/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Periodically I'm sent on business trips to miscellaneous locales, some far flung, some a little more domestic. As such I'm frequently looking for ways of meeting my gadget-mania. This is what's I've chosen at the moment:

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Lampoonesque Picture of the Day

05/06/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

I used to love the photo sections of National Lampoon with signs that, intentionally or not, sounded really funny. This one's a bit politically incorrect, but we stayed across from it once when we were in Edmonton, and it gave us a giggle each time we went outside. I had been kicking myself for not bringing a camera, but my father-in-law obliged last time he was out there:

Chin Kee

By way of recompensing for the guilty chuckles, I must inform you, using what skills I have looking up things in Chinese dictionaries (there is a method to it!) that the restaurant's name translates as "Golden Memories Restaurant" :)


The Great Theft : Khaled Abou El Fadl

05/05/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Books, Politics, Religion

The tagline for the book, "Wrestling Islam from the Extremists", caught my eye, as did a quick flip through the book. We don't tend to hear a lot from moderate Muslims in the public square here, so there are a lot of questions that run through our minds. I was quite frankly curious as to how "legitimate" the extremists are: what makes them think they're espousing a "truer" Islam?

When I think moderate Islam, I think of portrayals of the wise, unassuming Egyptian, ready with wisdom, but not with force. I have heard tell that Muslims preserved science and writings during the European Dark Ages and were purveyors of the best human rights for women at the time.

This book goes a long way to helping describe what the extremists, which he refers to in the book as "puritans", are on about and how they "legitimize" themselves, and how the Islam world, in a way, lost the power of moderation.

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Marvelous Minerals

04/26/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

On a little trip to Banff with the in-laws, after having visited the place on and off over the years, I decided to actually buy something at the Rocks & Gems Canada store. This place is filled to the gunwales with rocks, minerals, jewelery, gems and fossils. I bought three things for myself, and some presents for Dena. I was a little disappointed to find out that the quartz was artificial (in that the titanium is deposited on it), but it is beautiful all the same.

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I've heard that before, but where?

04/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music

Recently I was listening to a track on a three CD Manfred Mann's Earth Band compilation called "Odds And Sods". The listing called it "Don't Bring Me Down (Castles Burning)". It's a great track and seemed very familiar. Since this was a live version I figured it probably was just a different recording so looked for the album one. I didn't find one; this was apparently the only available recording of the song by the group. A cover version it had to be given the compilation's billing as a rarities collection.

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Farewell, Fedora

04/25/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Over the weekend, the motherboard on my LINUX file server croaked. Fortunately, however, not the harddrives. I therefore constructed a cunning plan: instead of rebuilding the Fedora system, I would move to a standalone NAS which would be rather less of a pain to maintain. It would also be considerably less-featured but that would be a problem for another day.

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