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 at the end. "Are they part of some public awareness campaign?", thought I.

Yet my Internet searches brought up nothing when I tried to figure it out. No recent campaigns or the like.

I had already decided not to go, when the 'gift certificate' came in the mail.

Full story »

 

Badware

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 songs . com) on Google for the questionable song, and see this warning:


Warning - visiting this web site may harm your computer!


You can learn more about harmful web content and how to protect your computer at StopBadware.org

That's a new one on me. Normally, I would suspect a new advertising technique, but that's a little more rare for .org sites, and I hadn't heard hide nor hair of new Google ad techniques (though I expect something eventually).

No, it looks like a collective operation to ferret out sites that promulgate badly-behaving software. Most of this is software that experienced users would never click on in their right mind, but applications like Fake Mailer might seem appealing to the unsuspecting.

Interesting development, this.

 

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

11/20/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/home-entertainment/the-ladies-of-ebay-spice-up-console-auctions-216103.php

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 shallow, and then there's this. The funny bit according to the creator of the video:

Apparently trading in your self respect doesn’t net much: According to my unscientific analysis, nudity and/or cleavage doesn’t have any discernible impact on bidding.

 

Hole In The World

11/20/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://map.pequenopolis.com/

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 referencing aside, the default destination is not Australia (you'd need to live in the middle of the Atlantic ocean for that.)

For what it's worth, drilling through from Calgary dumps you in the Indian ocean near the French Southern and Antarctic Islands.

 

Prodikeys

11/20/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Toys

Link: http://www.prodikeys.com/

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 to set up my old Roland keyboard, but this could certainly sate some of my plinking cravings. The Prodikey is a keyboard plus a velocity sensitive mini-piano keyboard (about the same size of keys as my old Yamaha) on the bottom of the keyboard.

I'm a little worried as to whether it would work with my rather old Sound Blaster Live, but it does claim to work with them.

It's not available at Future Shop or Best Buy around here, but it can be ordered from good old ThinkGeek, who have been pretty excellent (and fast!) with their orders.

Leave me to my furious pondering...

 

Your YouTube video for the day

11/19/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll8Qm8yDj-8&eurl=

At last we have an answer to the much asked question: what if Bollywood had made the video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller"?

 

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 cup of hot liquid.

What he determined was that the best dunk is a flat, one-sided dunk. Let only one flat side of your tasty treat touch the liquid, and you'll have the best soggy/solid dunk.

They didn't touch on how awkward that might be if you have less than a full cup, or small-mouthed cup, but they did seem like they might have won a few converts at the test in the café.

Plus, I just wanted to have an excuse to try out more doodling with Xara :)

Dunking your biscuit flat

 

DMCA abuse? Surely not?

11/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.matthewyglesias.com/archives/2006/11/sweet_sweet_copyright_law/

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 here's a Canadian equivalent for discounted shopping. Consume away; it's the North American way.

 

Something's rotten in the state of Washington

11/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/17/ballmer_linux_users_.html

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 of Linux are patent infringing and thus illegal. I might expect this behaviour from the snakes over at SCO but I though Novell was above this.

 

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

11/17/06 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://www.emulators.com/secrets.htm#MACPROVISTA

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 works...

He also does a performance comparison of a Mac Pro vs Dell Dimension 9200 which is worth a look.

 

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 great way of turning the banking paradigm on its head. As Robert Frost put traditional banking:

"A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain."

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Permanent Stamps

11/17/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

Link: http://www.canadapost.ca/personal/corporate/about/newsroom/pr/default-e.asp?prid=1182

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, domestic letters), and it is always worth the going rate.

This would be a great help around our household, where we just don't send a lot of letters, and we let stamp packs accumulate. No more wheelbarrows of 1 cent stamps, or even a need to look up the current going rate for letters.

More than a golf clap from me, Canada Post. Bravo.

 

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.

Polish Sea

 

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 .NET-only WinForms instead of the VCL.

Despite some setbacks, the tool took me just the greater part of a day, and I got to learn a few odd things while I was at it.

The experience also reinforced my view that it really is the library far more than the language involved that makes most of the learning curve.

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UPS Follies

11/14/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense

Wow, UPS is not making it into our good books this past week.

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