Saturday, April 09, 2011

"Timbuktu" magazine

Regardless of whether this magazine is good or bad, I think this shows that the new tablet medium can be used to launch interesting and experimental books and periodicals, for a much, much lower cost than when you have to print and distribute them.

Bamboo art

Some people are making gadget cases and also "bamboo art", laser-cutting art into sheets of bamboo. Looks great, I'd like to try that.

I especially like the texture and tones, seen close up.

More on big coffee beans

The Coffee Joulies are going in production in an old factory in the US. Must be exciting to do something like that.

I am still using that Thermos travel mug that I bought yesteryear, but you know what: I'm actually not all that impressed with it. When it's full of hot tea, the outside is too hot to hold, which shows that it's losing heat at a tremendous rate. I don't recall what technology they use for insulation, but it can't be all that impressive. They should use styrofoam instead, that sh*t works like gangbusters for insulation.

A "shutdown"?

A "government shutdown"? Really? Sounds crazy. If they did that in Denmark, I think a third of the population would suddenly be out of work! Apparently the Danes love government, it's so huge.

Edward, the gay son of Frankenstein's creature

Oh, I'm sure that the actor by himself is a very pretty boy. But as they made him up and present him, how can anybody, even confused teen girls, consider this guy attractive?

If they actually met him on the street, I think they would, quite sensibly, run away screaming. For one thing they have succeeded in making him look like a walking dead.

An ode to "Clueless"

"Hey you. Anything happens to my daughter, I got a forty-five and a shovel. I doubt anybody would miss you." - Cher's father

I love Clueless. I'm watching for at least the third time.  I don't know what happened to Alicia Silverstone's career, but I guess that after her shine as Cher in Clueless, it could only go down, for she was ab fab. Pretty, and funny, and absolutely perfect as the spoiled bubblehead Beverly Hills teen girl, but somehow anyway sort of street smart and really likeable. An outstanding performance.

(Gawd, she is 34 already? Seems she hasn't really kept her looks, at least not during pregnancy. Quelle domage.) 


From the book 'Microcosmos,' created by Brandon Brill from London.

Velcro and nylon

Nylon stocking weave

Mosquito head

Head louse on a hair

Friday, April 08, 2011

The start of a good weekend

A balding, white haired man from Chebacco Lake in Florida, walked into a jewelry store this past Friday evening with a beautiful much younger gal at his side.
He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend. The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring.

The man said, 'No, I'd like to see something more special.'
At that statement, the jeweler went to his special stock and brought another ring over. 'Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000, the jeweler said. The lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement. The old man seeing this said, 'We'll take it.'

The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the man stated, 'by check. I know you need to make sure my check is good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up Monday afternoon.'

On Monday morning, the jeweler phoned the old man and said 'There's no money in that account.'

'I know,' said the old man, 'But let me tell you about what a good weekend I had...'

The Sticky Light

This is just a toy, but it's hysterical, and I think it indicates how much more fascinating machines can be in the future, as they learn to perceive the world and react to it.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Simple life in Manhattan: A 90-square-foot home

Simple life in Manhattan: A 90-square-foot home, article and video.
One New Yorker has taken her love of frugal living to the extreme. Felice Cohen’s apartment measures just 90 square feet, but she doesn’t see it as a sacrifice. With such a small space, she pays just $700 to live in a part of town where rents average $3,600 per month.

I think that's cool. Way too many people are living under an extreme pressure because they chose a home they basically can't afford, and it's riding them day and night. In many countries right now, if interest rates were to go up just a point or two (and flexible-rate loans following), a great number of people would lose their home, so closely are they squeezed.

Coffee Joulies

Coffee Joulies, new cool (and hot) invention for drink temperature stabilization.

This amazing feat of thermodynamics happens thanks to a special non-toxic material sealed within the polished stainless steel shell. This material is designed to melt at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and absorbs a lot of energy as it melts. This is how Joulies cool your coffee down three times faster than normal. Once it reaches this temperature, the special material begins to solidify again, releasing the energy it stored when it melted. This is how Joulies keep your coffee warm twice as long.

Gauguin painting in Washington DC attacked by woman

[Thanks to Carlos]

Gauguin painting in Washington DC attacked by woman, article.

"I feel that Gauguin is evil," she was quoted as telling police.
"He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual."

Woa, somebody has issues. That must be painful.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

What will publishing become?

I have been delighted by the digital revolution, because it has democratized publishing of art and writing in a big way. If you could write and you had access to a computer, you could publish world-wide. Fantastic.

But lo this article about a publisher who now has given up books entirely. He believes the future of publishing is not only digital, but interactive. That books will be taken over by apps which tell a story in multiple ways, with movement, games, etc.
Forrester analyst James McQuivey predicts that e-ink readers like the Kindle will become less important as more and more manufacturers bring out tablet computers, and that once that shift happens, books will have to become more interactive if they are to remain vital.

If that becomes reality, then we have lost something, for making such apps costs tens of thousands of dollars, and then creators are once again dependent on money-men, on middle-men.
I really hope it won't go so far, that there will keep being a perhaps niche, but still solid and lively, market for just text ebooks, just art, and other such things which can be created by just one person with talent and gung-ho spirit.

Of course this is only a problem for those who want to make money on their stuff. If you just want to get it out somehow, well those options are not likely to go away, so that's something. And if we're honest, it has never been a great percentage of writers who ever earned good money, even in the "Golden-Age-after-the-Web-but-before-everything-became-apps".

The big publishers I won't shed any tears for. Those who are just in it for money will always find something else to make money on, if they care.

Minox Mini-Leica

It seems the metal-camera nostalgia aesthetic is finally gaining traction! Excellent.
Minox, the famous maker of spy cameras, has made a 5/8-size working replica (it takes 5MP pics) of the even more famous Leica M3. It's too cute to bear.

From Photojojo.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Me and X100 (updated)

I'm only now realizing that this camera has no video function! Together with the fixed lens, I think this is very brave of Fuji to do: make a specialized tool for niche customers, instead of trying to please everybody.

Got it today.
It is indeed beautiful to hold and behold.
And impressively, it offers image quality and low-light quality which challenges those of cameras costing and weighing twice or thrice as much as the Fujifilm X100. Quite a feat.
I knew that sooner or later somebody would make a camera like this.

It is not quite pocket-sized, but it has a very nice size for good operating usability. And it doesn't weigh as much as one might expect from a metal camera, which is really nice. It's only 440 grams, good travel camera.

The optical viewfinder is great, the best I've ever worked with by far, and I'm looking forward to using it a lot more.

I just realized: probably most people don't realize this, but Fuji (I wonder why they changed it to Fujifilm) used to make some amazing top-professional, big, heavy-duty, quality cameras, like the GX680 with a 6 x 8 cm negative! So they are no beginners in the high-quality arena by any means.

So people can see how the camera delivers at F:2.0 and 1000 ISO, here is the original (only a slight crop). Noiseless.

By-bye Rosetta

I just heard that in upcoming Mac OS X version Lion, Rosetta will be no more. Rosetta is translating software written for PowerPC Macs to run on Intel Macs. And it's gone in Lion.

Ouch. I think this is awfully soon. It's only been 4-5 years since the first Intel Macs.  I am actually not at all sure how many apps I use which were never updated to Intel processor use, but I do know I use at least one: Golive 6, HTML editor. Outdated and dumb perhaps, but I'm just so used to it. Sigh.
... Oh no: and Tex-Edit Plus! It has not been updated to Intel. I use that in so many ways and so many times every day.
... Oh no, and iView MediaPro! I use that for making HTML thumbnail pages every day, and I use an old version because they jacked up the price to 3X and made it needlessly complicated.

Shall I really be dragged kicking and screaming into the second decade of the twenty-first? Damn.

One might say that it shows I'm middle-aged and set in my ways. But heck, one might say instead: if it works, why change it? And these things have just been working beautifully for me. (OK, less than beautifully in the case of Golive, but I haven't found anything to replace it.)

Glider over mountains

[Thanks to Tommy and TCGirl]

My uncle tried a glider plane ride many years ago. He said there was quite a lot of wind noise. But perhaps he'd tried a poorly designed plane, has anybody tried it?

(Click on YouTube logo for larger version.)

It's amazing how far a glider can go, even disconsidering any convenient updrafts.

A dog for the chicks

[Thanks to Henry]

A real pick-up artist. With a direct approach.

South country Hummer

[Thanks to Ian P]

Not a car for Norway or Canada, but you gotta love it.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Rotary Ring

Rotary Ring, dialer simulator.
Useless, sure, but we gotta face that most of what we enjoy and base the economy on these days is basically useless. And heck, the sight of a sunrise is useless, from a purely pragmatic standpoint.

Instant sculpture of yourself

[Thanks to Bert]

Low-rez, sure, but so was the first photograph.

Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo.

Logos on stationery

I see more and more companies which send letter in totally blank envelopes. You don't know who the letter is from until you open the letter. I just think it's strange and unprofessional. It's not like it costs a fortune to get a run of envelopes printed, and it's part of your voice and face to the world.

X100 tested

Luminous Landscape has tested the Fujifilm X100.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Gömböc and other oddities

I'd like to have a Gömböc, I'm so curious how it works. And it should look nice in aluminium. But it's not cheap

The Gömböc is a self-righting object, which means that no matter which way you put it down, it stands itself back up. It's like a Weeble, except it doesn't cheat by having a weight at the bottom, and it's the only shape that can do this.

The existence of a shape with these properties was conjectured in 1995, but it took ten years for someone to figure out how to actually make one that worked.

I would not have thought that possible.

Other odd objects.

Subscribe to Instapaper

Subscribe to Instapaper.
It's one of the Must Have services on the Net, particularly if you like reading on any kind of hand-held device. (Marco has not made an Android app himself, but others have, and they work OK.)
Instapaper works without payment, but I just want to support him (I sent a bonus payment also).

Good Omens movie?

One of my favorite books is Good Omens.
It would be hard to do really well as a movie/TV series, but there is always hope. (I feel the real quality is in the language and the feel of the writing, more than the story itself. Which is probably true of many good books from people like Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.)

In other words, the bulk of the humor comes from the language in what the narrator says, not simply what's happening. This is even more true with Woodehouse books, which is why the books are so much more funny than the movies/episodes. "The smile disappeared from his face like mist from a razor blade" is not easy to transfer to film. Unless they include a narrator, maybe they should.

"Why The Daily Is So Yesterday"

April 1 photo essay of how The Daily supposedly is made. Very revealing, or at least eyebrow-raising.       :-)

Why The Daily Is So Yesterday, article.
Somehow I had missed this excellent dissection of The Daily. For example, Adam Engst points out how frivolous and superficial a publication it really is, which is ironic considering that it is (was) one of the things Steve Jobs hoped would prevent the US from "descending into a nation of bloggers"! And truly, in my opinion, there are bloggers who write better and more relevant articles than the very short ones we have seen so far in The Daily, elbow to elbow with horoscope content.

Apropos, it's not clear to me how blogs and other online publications are inherently inferior to newspapers. (And why do people always single out "blogs" as the new medium? There are thousands of good online magazines which are not blogs.) I don't recall the last time I read a newspaper article which I felt the world couldn't have done without.
(Note: I'm *not* including this blog in the important ones, this is just me firing off mixed thoughts to amuse myself and whoever pass by.)


R.E.D., "Retired Extremely Dangerous", new film. Helen Mirren in an action comedy? I could dig it.

“It is always great to find someone that you can pin your character on. Obviously, in The Queen it was very easy to find the person to pin the character on—she’s called Queen Elizabeth. But here I was kind of looking for who this woman might be and then I had this flash of inspiration. Martha Stewart came into my mind. I thought, ‘That’s who it is, it’s Martha Stewart.’ And so from that point on I based everything on Martha Stewart: the hair was Martha Stewart’s hair, the color even and the cut; the clothes were Martha Stewart’s. I thought Martha Stewart combines this perfect combination of sweetness and kindness and gentleness and unbelievable efficiency with this laser-like ability to concentrate and get the job done.

Good fun. Gotta love a female 65-year-old action hero. Last year we had a 12-year-old one. How about a cross-over? Hit-Girl versus Helen Mirren? Kewl.

Quick tip: the IMDb app for iPad is the best one I've found for trailers. It's free, the interface is excellent, and it seems to have virtually all trailers there are to be found.