"Magic Man Done It"

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdocQHsPCNM&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fscienceblogs%2Ecom%2Fpharyngula%2F2007%2F03%2Fthe%5Fhistory%5Fof%5Fcreationist%5Ftho%2Ephp

Very funny riff on creationist thought. Posted since Ritchie appears to have taken a long holiday somewhere and I think we're dropping below our monthly quota of rationalism and snark.

(Via (where else?) Pharyngula)


"Ship It"

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo/archive/2007/03/15/ship-it.aspx

The MacMojo blog over at the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit (or MacBU for short) has quite a good post on the problem of corralling in developers' enthusiasm for new and better features during the implementation cycle.


Interesting job perks

03/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/10/technology/10google.html?ex=1331182800&en=272d04d67d29e1f4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

This New York Times article covers a perk of working for Google that I wasn't aware of: free bus shuttle rides to and from work.

Now that's a cool bonus for anyone living in a sprawling city.

(Via Daring Fireball)


Musical Plagiarism

02/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2765&newssectionID=1

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the world of classical music recently is that of the recordings of the late British pianist, Joyce Hatto. She retired from the public eye for a few years to fight and recover from cancer. At some point she started recording again, and put out a large number of CDs on her husband's small label. From what I've read, these were well received as this review from the Boston Globe attests.

Full story »


Oh, darnit!

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://fire.sourceforge.net/

My preferred Macintosh multi-system IM client, Fire, has just been discontinued. On the upside a number of the developers for it have moved over to Adium which is pretty similar and quite good too.

(Via Daring Fireball)


More wonderful patent insanity

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/music/0,72785-0.html?tw=rss.index

I'm going to preface this thing with the "IANAL" disclaimer.

I wouldn't normally defend Microsoft but this latest suit against them by Alcatel-Lucent just seems wrong. The summary of the Wired story is that Microsoft violated AL's patent around MP3 encoding and has been fined $1.5 billion for it.

Full story »


People are still falling for the 419 scam

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/25/treasurer_accused/

This simply amazes me. How can anyone been so utterly daft as to fall for the old Nigerian money laundering scam? I could kinda see it when the internet was new and people were unfamiliar with the old mail version of it, but this is getting ridiculous. Every week there seems to be another report of someone who should know better getting caught up in one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Sometimes I weep for humanity's greed and gullibility 'cause this doesn't work unless both of them are present.


I'm going to need the version pretending to be the VMS Reference library

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002ZPUBM/ref=nosim?tag=i4ufututechne-20&creative=374929&camp=211189&link_code=as2&creativeASIN=B0002ZPUBM

Link is to some bookshelf speakers pretending to be books. Alas, waaaay too small for my needs. Wonder if they sound "wooden"? Ah, I kill meself.

(Via Gizmodo)


It looks cool, but what's it like to use?

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://steampunkworkshop.com/keyboard.shtml

Nifty looking "steampunk" keyboard

(Via Gizmodo)


Another reason I'm not moving to Vista

02/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Macintosh


I don't get Microsoft. Most companies would be looking for a way to persuade more people to use their product. Not Microsoft though who are busily giving people reasons not to use their latest and greatest. I guess the only real explanation is that they're happy with the market-share they have (i.e. most of it) and see no reason to be greedy for more.

Full story »


More McCain Tiremarks

02/19/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, People, Politics

What the hell happened to McCain? He has pulled such a hard 180° that the undercarriage has scattered bits for miles.

Now's he on the attack against Roe versus Wade?!

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party’s conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.

“I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned,” the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.

You, sir, are a charlatan, and I'm ashamed for ever having respected you. Seriously.

McCain is trying to build support among conservatives after a recent rebuke from Christian leader James Dobson, who said he wouldn’t back McCain’s presidential bid. Conservatives question McCain’s opposition to a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He opposes same-sex marriage, but says it should be regulated by the states.

Oh yes, Dobson. Belly up to that tit, why don't you?


Canadian Museum for Human Rights

02/19/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Ethics

Link: http://www.canadianmuseumforhumanrights.com

Of all the strange places to find support of the future Canadian Museum for Human Rights, I must say I wasn't expecting to see that at one of our favourite odd haunts, Princess Auto, a nifty and very miscellaneous tools and surplus (all kinds of surplus, from industrial fans to glowing antennas to thumbprint scanners) store.

They are really supportive of this. From a news item earlier this month:

“The reason I so strongly believe in this museum is that I believe in its power to transform,” said Bob Tallman, owner and CEO of Princess Auto. “Our team members will be sporting pins that say, ‘Imagine a world without hate,’ because we all believe this museum, with its innovative student program, its compelling journey of hope and its universal reach, is a vehicle by which we can imagine what is now unimaginable."

Tallman and his wife Cathy earlier donated $1 million to the museum.

It will be located in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the apparently very nice area known as The Forks.

It's intriguing to me that in addition to addressing racism, sexism and discrimination, bullying is being added onto the focus. There's been quite a public awareness campaign on bullying of late, but I hadn't thought that it would be added to the purvey of a human rights museum.

I wonder if it will focus on torture, too. That would be a highly appropriate finger to wag these days.

I hope the messages will be positive as well (for empathy, multiculturalism, etc.). Going to the genocide memorial in Kigali... it was a very impressive center, serene and sedate, and a stark reminder not just of what happened in Rwanda, but in Cambodia, Germany, and elsewhere.

I'll probably donate, actually. Human rights are a concern of mine, and this is certainly a much higher grade than a bumper sticker.


Ghost Rider

02/19/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Movies

There's always a risk to going to a movie before good, accessible reviews come out. Not Rotten Tomatoes reviews, though; there are few people I would disagree with more than your average newspaper movie reviewer. It was a nice long weekend, though, and comic book movies have been relatively kind to us, overall, though Daredevil and Elektra nearly scarred us for life.

After a semi-cheesy introduction to the legend, the movie starts by following a father and son carnival motorcycle team through to the son's love interest and plans to elope, news of his father's terminal illness and the son's deal with the devil that turned out to be rather less in his own favour as it should.

The Ghost Rider is the devil's bounty hunter, and the devil informs the young Johnny Blaze to expect him to come to collect on the bargain at some point.

Through some horrible aging process over the years, the son grows up to look like Nicholas Cage (I think they should have found someone more like him for the younger years, really *laugh*), still doing stunts, getting more and more daring and elaborate in the stunts, never really sure whether it's his skill... or the bargain.

When the devil's children come loose in the world, the devil comes to collect.

I enjoyed Ghost Rider more than I objectively ought to have enjoyed it, since there were a number of things that were silly in retrospect, but likewise my wife and in-laws really enjoyed it as well. Maybe Nicholas Cage really is that charming; we often enjoy him in movies. Maybe it's that the aftermath of the first night of transformation was so spectacular, or that the effects were great (besides some definite unevenness in the animation of the skull, they were pretty good). Maybe it was all the little touches (blowing out the neon on the "GARAGE" symbol... leaving "RAGE" was cute, or what Johnny Blaze does when surrounded by cops). Maybe giving the devil some comeuppance is fun.

There were definitely some weak points. The relationship with Roxanne was unevenly done, some of the baddie were excessively flat and the explanation for the continued curse at the end was weak.

Still, all in all, a fun romp and I'm at a loss to explain why.

Recommended for semi-mindless fun.


Pan's Labyrinth

02/15/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Movies

An intriguing movie that's pretty hard to categorize. The movie winds its way through the Franco-led fascist period in Spain's history, following a mother late in her pregnancy and her daughter off to see the captain that the mother is now wed to in the revolutionist-bordered frontier. Through this a fantasy story is woven around the girl protagonist, which you could clearly categorize as hallucination or overactive imagination if you wanted to, but which seems to leave more than a zero trace in the "real world" story.

The movie is done entirely in Spanish, and is subtitled, which I was not expecting. It's rated 14A for good reason: there is some very personal violence in it.

The fantasy component is utterly amazing in how seamless its transition with the real world is. Things are still muddy, going down dark stairwells is dark and rainy, pressing a chalk outline rumbles open a small stone door, and getting at the stomach contents of a giant frog is suitably disgusting. The understated and very well-done special effects extend to the best portrayal of patching up a cut face and then using liquor for antiseptic I think I've ever seen.

The interwoven stories are each interesting in their own right. Things go from okay-bad to worse in each, though hope seems tantalizingly close. The ending is either very sad or quite happy, depending on which take on reality you've been ascribing to the movie elements all along.

The only real trouble I had with the movie was the fantasy feast scene. I don't get the motivation for eating in the first place. If they'd starved her a lot, maybe I'd understand.

Not much in the way of easter eggs, but at some point in the credits, if I managed this bit of translation right, the fairies that got chomped were named 'Cheech' and 'Chong' :)

A very good movie.


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