Look, Master, it lives....

01/09/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Despite saying I wouldn't move off XP, I recently migrated to Vista 64 Bit. It's actually been rather less painful than expected. I've actually lost the use of no pieces of hardware, albeit with some serious kludging for some. For the most part I was starting off with new hardware (new processor, graphics card, motherboard and so forth) so really wasn't expecting any issues of that type.

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iTunes pass-offs

01/08/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music

Link: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/pl_music

Wired has an interesting article on a British band ("Red Sauce") that specializes in cover versions of popular songs. The interesting thing is that they're remarkably close to the originals. While sometimes you can hear the difference in the vocalist ("Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" has a remarkably weak Eric Idle impression), the actual music is spot on.


Revisionist Star Wars

01/07/08 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.morningstar.nildram.co.uk/A_New_Sith.html

Link is to a revisionist reading of the "Star Wars" series starring R2D2 as a rather subtle spy. What's interesting is that this actually ties into an earlier (i.e. pre-prequel) theory that the films were actually about the androids...

(Via Kottke; lots of other good links from that one too!)


Alphabetizing the DVD Collection

01/06/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense

It was about high time to redo the DVD collection, which had been accumulating without room to put the titles. Well, we ejected the VHS tapes, and the photo frame, and the microbes, and were on a mission to sort the whole collection...

There may be nicer ways of doing this, but when you have a collection that is almost entirely out of order, this brute-force approach works quite well.

I started a spreadsheet - I used OpenOffice Calc, but Excel, of course, works in a pinch. I made a few columns (I was interested, for example, in which ones were special editions and whether the DVDs were fullscreen/standard, widescreen or both), the most important of which, for sorting, were simply name and a "pile number".

I brought up stacks of DVDs, 10-20 titles in a pile, and entered their names. I entered a pile number for the whole lot of them (in Calc, you enter it once, Copy it, highlight all the other cells and Paste it to save you some typing) and then I sorted that pile alphabetically, and then placed it strategically on the floor. I repeated this for the entire collection, which does take a while!

I then sorted the spreadsheet by the column with the movie name in it, and printed the thing.

With each pile sorted, as long as you know the rules by which computers sort text, the next title to put up in the shelves is always on the top of one of the piles, but the pile number still comes in quite handy. This part is quite the back workout, but took us a relatively short amount of time.

It's a lot easier with a collection that's already sorted, of course :)

What techniques for sorting your DVDs have you used?


100 things that you didn't know in 2007 (UK Edition)

01/06/08 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2008/01/100_things_we_didnt_know_last_3.shtml

Nifty list of things revealed during 2007 as collated by the BBC.

Personal favourite:

5. Cloudy apple juice is healthier than clear, containing almost double the antioxidants which protect against heart disease and cancer.

Yeah, that's my preferred tipple!

(Via Kottke)


Temperature-reactive toilet seat

01/05/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Link: http://www.canadiandesignresource.ca/officialgallery/

For some reason this amuses me: as a design project someone has come up with a toilet seat that changes colour based on when it was last used.

That's probably just a little too much information for most people...

(Via BoingBoing)


Joel on travel and presentations

01/04/08 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.inc.com/articles/2007/12/joel-spolskys-travel-survival-guide.html?partner=fogcreek

A selection of excellent points of how and when to travel, and then what to do if you're demoing a product to clients. It's valid as much for people doing training as sales and marketing.


DNA Through Coder's Eyes

01/03/08 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Science

The site DNA seen through the eyes of a coder is a pretty decent introduction to how DNA and some of the surrounding processes work.

Some things are a little hard to make analogies for - it doesn't go much into good analogies for proteins and protein transcription itself, for example, but I can't fault it too much :)


Coolest web-ad ever?

01/03/08 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://producten.hema.nl/

Some Dutch IKEA-knockoff put together this amazing advert. Ya gotta see it!

(Via PopGadget)


Wired on Scrabulous Cheaters

01/02/08 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Link: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/magazine/16-01/ps_scrabulous

Wired on the temptation to cheat while playing Scrabble -- er, Scrabulous -- online.


Happy New Year!

01/01/08 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

No post of consequence today, just a question.

Does the current "post-a-day" schedule work for readers? More? Less? Areas of interest? This is still very much a hobby site so don't expect that much, but I am interested in feedback.

Thanks, and have an excellent New Year!


Bic biro reviews on Amazon

12/31/07 | by Adam | Categories: Reviews

Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/customer-reviews/B000JTOYLS/ref=cm_rev_prev?ie=UTF8&customer-reviews.sort%5Fby=-SubmissionDate&n=560798&s=electronics&customer-reviews.start=1

Some people have far too much time to play with. On the upside, a number of the "reviews" are screamingly funny.

(Via Nodwick)


A good idea gone wrong

12/30/07 | by Adam | Categories: Politics

Link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5htAuRX-Y-ie1ld3CDzSeEX8XwH0AD8TJD4JO0

Synopsis of link: Police in Rancho Cordoba, California, are pulling people over to give them Starbucks coupons as a reward for appropriate driving.

Comment: The outreach concept is commendable but this is just not the way to do it. The BoingBoing commenters point this out, with one making the very clear statement:

Your 4th Amendment Rights, or $5 worth of Starbucks?
Make your call, Californians, make your call.

(Via BoingBoing)


Pixar's self-referential jokes

12/29/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2007/12/09/a-special-where-s-wall-e-edition-of-why-for.aspx

Link is to a pretty good annotated list of the various cross-references between the various Pixar movies and shorts.

(Via Kottke)



12/29/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Toys

Dena bought this little unit before our son was born. It didn't seem all that useful to start with, but this says more about what parenting in the first few weeks consists of than it says about the usefulness of the Itzbeen. You don't need timers to tell you about feedings and diaper changes when they are both happening so incredibly often.

Once the time between successive feedings and diaper changes started getting longer, the Itzbeen turned into one of the handiest items we own.

Itzbeen is a cute name for it, since you look at the timers and announce "it's been" so many hours since the last feed or what have you.

It has four timer buttons, a clock button, a button for a little white LED that functions as an impromptu flashlight, and a little manual switch at the bottom, just for remembering which breast the last feed was from. There's an audio/no audio switch on the right side, and a lock/unlock switch on the left side, handy if you're putting the Itzbeen in a spot where the buttons could get accidentally clicked.

The timer buttons have icons for diaper, feed, sleep and an asterisk (for representing whatever you want it to - we often use it to mark off time spent in a Jolly Jumper). They can count up, if you just want to know how long it's been since the last feeding, etc., or down, if you want to do some things by schedule, and the button will flash red when the timer counts down to zero. You can only set the down timer in 1/2 hour increments, but that's not a terrible impediment.

I think the bellwether of how useful we find it is that we feel best when it's nearby and ready to be checked or clicked... so much so that we often go a little out of our way to grab it.

A highly recommended tool for parents, though it will likely not see much use in the formative weeks.

Ahh, baby's been sleeping for a little over two hours now. *warm glow of feeling informed* :)


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