Second hand goods are still legal

07/29/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright


Kraft foods tried to use copyright infringement as an argument to prevent grey market imports of their chocolate bars into Canada. Canada's Supreme Court fortunately disagreed with Kraft's argument and disallowed their suit. Although the article doesn't go into much further detail other than citing the case as "unusual", this could have been a extremely far reaching decision. Had Kraft won, this would have been an opening for anything bearing copyrighted material (including trademarks based on what Kraft was using) to be restricted by the original copyright holder.

Think about this for a moment: any book, magazine, CD, clothing, hardware, in fact any physical media at all that bears or resembles anything containing copyright could no longer be sold or distributed without the express permission of the copyright holder. Anything.


Wikipedia Edit Wars

07/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly


One of the standard criticisms of the Wikipedia is that anyone can edit a page and thus effectively vandalize it. One of the standard defences is that such behaviour is typically caught quickly and the edit reverted.

The difficulty is determining when it's not vandalism but correction. At that point "edit wars" begin with the content rapidly switching backwards and forwards as each contestant endavours to have their own stamp on the page.

Naturally, there's a Wikipedia entry on these. And, just as naturally, it too has been home to a large number of edit wars.


Typeface nitpicking

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


Every asked yourself what irritates a professional font designer or typesetter when watching movies? Wonder no more!


Review: D-Link DPR-1260

07/25/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Reviews


Summary: 4 USB port 802.11g print server with some extra functionality

Due to heating issues -- it's been a warm summer here in Calgary -- I've moved my D-Link DNS-323 NAS out of my office to somewhere a bit cooler. The downside of this is that I've also lost my print server, something the DNS-323 did really rather well. After a bit of wandering around town, I picked up another D-Link unit, this time the DPR-1260 print server.

Full story »


Novel anti-gravity invention

07/24/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly


Well, technically I suppose all anti-gravity or perpetual motion engines inventions are novel as none actually work, but Wired has a nice graphic showing their stab at it based on two truisms: toast always lands butter side down, and cats always land on their feet. So, what happens when you attach one to the other (butter side up of course) and drop them?


The disappearance of the honey bee

07/23/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri


There's a quote which has been circulating some time, purportedly from Alfred Einstein, which goes something like this:

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Slate has a fairly straight forward commentary on why that's not the case -- mostly due to honey bees not being the only capable crop pollinator - but all the same why it's still a concern in a more general way.

(Via Liberalism without Cynicism)


High Tea

07/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri


I know that Wikipedia can be dodgy on its information, but goldarnit, it's absolutely correct with this definition:

High Tea (also known as Meat Tea[1]) is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening. It would be eaten as a substitute for both afternoon tea and the evening meal. The term comes from the meal being eaten at the ‘high’ (main) table, instead of the smaller lounge table. It is now largely replaced by a later evening meal.

It would usually consist of cold meats, eggs and/or fish, cakes and sandwiches. In a family, it tends to be less formal and is an informal snack (featuring sandwiches, biscuits, pastry, fruit and the like) or else it is the main evening meal.


In recent years, High Tea somehow became a word for exquisite afternoon tea.

So, you ersatz-Anglophile reprobates in Victoria, B.C., please don't do this in the future. If Wikipedia's got it right, there're no excuses.


Oh well. I tried.

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


Just days after I said I wouldn't, here's another Potter related post. I couldn't resist wondering about this statement from the CBC Arts page:

The book was attracting scores of fans dressed as Ron, Hermione, witches, Death Eaters and Muggles

CBC, dear, "muggles" are the normal human beings of the Potterverse. Given the non-existence of Ron, Hermione, witches, Death Eaters, wizards and magic, it probably means the Potter fans were in mufti.


Irregular Webcomic

07/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, Reviews


One of my favourite places to visit online is "Irregular Webcomic". The strip runs several independent plotlines which sometimes overlap, including Shakespeare as a modern technical writer, an incompetent fantasy-world adventuring party, an entirely amoral spacefaring group, aliens invading Earth in groups of three, Mythbusters parodies, Terry Pratchett-like incarnations of Death, and many more. In many respects, it's a fairly standard jokey comic with a strong fondness for puns and the absurd but with a couple of signficant differences.

Full story »


M.A.S.S., "The Music Of Alan Parsons"

07/19/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews


Oh, it's bad. I knew it was going to be weak, and then it managed to be even worse than that. This frisbee is a rendition of the instrumental works of the Alan Parsons Project performed on what sound like some remarkably cheap synths by an anonymous German. I'm not even convinced there's a second person involved as perhaps they might have had an opportunity to destroy the recording before it was committed to a harddrive, never mind a 5" silvery plastic disc.

Full story »


Wired reviews the spells of Harry Potter

07/18/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Lore Sjöberg, Wired's resident humourist, takes a look over the various spells from the world of Harry Potter.

This will be my only Potter-related link ever, promise. Ritchie, on the other hand, will happily post reams on why magic is entirely unscientific and therefore only marginally more believable than string theory.


Obsolete already?

07/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


The Panasonic Lumix TZ1 is my newest digital camera. I bought it new after a bit of careful research (well, kinda), examining the competition and cocking an eye to upcoming releases. I've now owned it for probably ten months at this point.

It therefore seems appropriate that not only is it now obsolete, but it's two generations so. Oh well, at least it still takes nice photos.


That's pretty cool

07/16/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


Punny title aside, this Wired News article on some New York buildings using ice instead of (or in addition to) air conditioning systems is nifty. It's like reaching back into the 1800s and their ice cellars for a solution to a contemporary problem. Given how utterly miserable tall closed buildings become without some cooling and decent ventilation, it's great that someone's come up with a more energy efficient way of providing it.


Books on demand

07/15/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


I can't decide if this print-on-demand technology is going to improve matters or not. It's fun to pop into a bookstore with a huge collection and browse the aisles. This is going to kill that. On the other hand, I usually can't find what I'm looking for in most bookstores (although typically I pick up a bunch of other stuff instead.)

The downside is that all it'll print at the moment is content in the public domain, presumably so there's no issue with author-based compensation or existing publishing contracts. However, given the pricing structure on the machine, I suspect this going to send a very very big ripple through the publishing industry.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

(Via Wired)


Dem bones, dem dry bones

07/14/07 | by Adam | Categories: Games


The Chinese implementation of World of Warcraft has replaced all mobile skeletons with live humans and bones with tombstones. The9 Ltd, WoW's Chinese licensee, claims that they did it on their own accord and that the government was not involved. Ya reckon?

It's not clear whether the more fleshy skeletons that comprise the Forsaken faction now have a more healthy pallor or what effect this would have on the back story of the Scourge. I, for one, am waiting to see the dual-handed wielding of cellphones.


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