Prodikeys DM

12/10/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Toys


I couldn't resist the ProdiKeys. Part typing keyboard, part musical keyboard. I had to have one. When my birthday/Xmas cheque from grandma arrived, it was just the perfect excuse.

Actually, ProdiKeys are much harder to find than I was expecting. There aren't any in the stores around here, and the ones online seem perennially sold out.

What was I to do?

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Making A Card Game

12/09/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts

I don't know how far I can go with this card game I've put together, but it might actually be worth pursuing publication.

Without giving away too many details, a short history...

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All hail the Swiss Army Penknife

12/07/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


With the exception of when I'm flying -- they seem to have this thing about sharp pointy objects -- I just about always have a penknife nearby. The Grauniad has a pretty good article on the history of the Swiss Army penknife (original and genuine versions).

And no, mine never has a corkscrew as I prefer a Philips screwdriver instead. It destroys fewer pockets that way and might actually be useful.

(Via Neil Gaiman's blog)


Ed Stelmach is In

12/07/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A], Thoughts, Politics

My wife and I went down to our local polling station at the sportsplex, bought a Progressive Conservative party membership for $5 apiece, and voted.

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Moon Bases and Dribbles on Mars

12/06/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A], Thoughts, Science

Today's big announcement from NASA was more signs of possible water on Mars. Not that this will turn out to be any guarantee for life on Mars, or indeed whether the effect is caused by water, but with all the liquids we have been finding around the solar system, it makes life on other planets yet more plausible, slightly increasing the ne term of the Drake equation, at the same time as we are increasing the number of extrasolar planets observed, increasing the fp term.

Then there's the new plan for moon bases, which had been started at the behest of the president a couple of years ago. Sounds like they might go to the south pole of the moon, which has been reported to have ice, which is a great boon to a moon base for producing air and possibly fuel, and which has peaks that remain in sunshine for most of the 28-ish-Earth-day-long lunar day, so that they do not have to operate off batteries for the 14-day-long night.

2024 seems like it might be a tad optimistic, and may very well be if the huge U.S. debt and deficit come home to roost looking for easy targets to pick off, but I'm all for it if they can pull it off. We certainly have much better materials and engineering for pulling something like this off now than we did at the times of previous plans on paper for a moon base.

Hopefully, I'll be around and thinking about kicking the first round of children out of my house ;)


Creative's software still sucks

12/06/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

This is a bit of longer term usage following up on the Creative SoundBlaster wireless that I originally reviewed a few months ago.

Recently, I decommissioned a Celeron XP box. When I did that I lost the software server for the Creative Soundblaster Wireless player, rendering it inoperative.

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Office Space, The Slasher Cut

12/05/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube


With the low distribution costs inherent with the YouTube video-on-demand service, people have been remixing movies into trailers for a different genre. The original one was converting "The Shining" into a romantic comedy which was promptly followed up by recasting "Sleepless In Seattle" as a crime drama. My current favourite is "Office Space" as a slasher movie.

Updated, 2006/12/06: Oh, typical. You write something like this, and promptly it becomes old-hat. New favourite is "Scary Mary" (although I think "Scary Poppins" would have been better...)


Top Gear's Mercedes S-Class English Cottage

12/05/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube


No car deserves this, particularly not the otherwise gorgeous Mercedes S-Class. Watch it before YouTube takes the clip down.

Part 1
Part 2



12/05/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Science

There is a certain fascination to getting blood drawn. No, I don't even really like to watch it being done, but phlebotomists are rather interesting and slightly nerdy folks, and there are interesting pieces to the process.

Only from a phlebotomist are you likely to hear veins being given human attributes, the cheeky or shy veins wilfully sequestering themselves in your arm, and the phlebotomist must tease it out, with slaps, strokes and squeezes, all not in the slightest as rude as it sounds.

I remember going to have blood tests done, the first I had been given in a very long time, and hearing the number of vials of blood they needed. I thought I was going to have to go through this vein puncture process several times, and despaired...

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Batman drives a British Leyland Metro

12/05/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube


...or at least he did in the early 80's.


Barenaked Ladies, "Are Me"

12/05/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews

The newest Barenaked Ladies album had a tough job ahead of it. "Gordon" at the beginning of their career set the stakes pretty high. The next two albums ("Maybe You Should Drive", "Born On A Pirate Ship") were -- unfortunately -- forgettable. "Stunt" in 1998 was a return to form with a set of catchy songs, irreverent but not silly. The next two ("Maroon" and "Everything To Everyone") were by no means bad albums, but just didn't grab my interest. There's never been a problem with BNL's songwriting or their musical skills, but somehow it so often passed me by. It was thus with great interest that I listened to "Are Me" to try to figure out if this'd be another good album or it they'd finally be hit by the three-strikes rule.

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Consistent look-and-feel for the user interface

12/04/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh


I'm well aware that having a consistent user interface makes for a more attractive system (so long as you actually like that interface.) The site linked to above is this the first time I've ever heard of someone refusing to use good software because it doesn't visually match the other pieces.

The problem is that I just can't shake the feeling that my leg is being pulled on this one.

UNO (a reskinning package for OSX) sounds quite neat though so I'll have to give it a look a bit later.


Anything good on TV tonight(ish)?

12/04/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Reviews


Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Torchwood, Jericho, Robot Chicken (Ritchie's Review)

Yeah, I'm a sucker for SF. I'm a bit disappointed that with the exception of BSG, not one of those is Canadian.


What's good for the goose is good for the gander

12/04/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright


Not really a lot to add to Engadget's comment on copyright infringement by the family of music studio Edgar Bronfman.


Review: Philips PET824 Portable DVD Player

12/03/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Reviews


Summary: Portable DVD player with an 8.5" LCD screen

I picked this one up to be my seven year-old niece's Christmas present this year. As we're still in the pre-Christmas period, I'm hoping that she won't find this blog and read that. Anyway, the Philips PET824 is a portable DVD player with an 8.5" screen picked up from CostCo for a shade under $200. I compared it to its little brother, the 7" version, which was about $149. The screen on that thing was terrible and the overall dimensions not terribly different. Its bigger brother with a 10" screen was $100 more and looked pretty similar. So I went with this one.

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