Saturday, February 17, 2007

More Screen art

Two more.

Screen art

I've just been out attempting to snap a few pictures I'd want to use as screen art/desktop decoration/wallpaper. It makes for a different approach, I want them to be less in your face, less representational.
Here is one of them.

Land and people

They say: "Buy land. They ain't making any more of it."

It's a cute saying, and catchy. But it's bull. The planet is chock-full of land which is practically worthless and will stay so for generations. For all practical purposes it is an unlimited resource. Even in the USA, which is a highly developed country, there are many places you can drive for hours without seing any people or buildings. And that's just in the areas where there are actually roads.

If you want cheap land, go buy it in deep Sebiria or Sahara. Great deals for sure.

No, people don't want land... they want land where there is civilization and other people. It is people which is the resource.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Macs For Dummies

I've just loaned a Macintosh to a friend (so Jade will have a computer at home), and I bought her Macs For Dummies by David Pogue, from 2004. There is a newer version of the book, but it is written by somebody else, and as the perceptive reader will have gathered, I'm a huge Pogue fan.
Macs For Dummies was the first computer book I ever read (I got it a month before I got my first computer of my own, back in 1995), and it just makes it such a pleasure to learn to use a Mac. And it's funny! I even sit and read it just for pleasure, even though I've known all those basics for years now. If you are getting a Mac or know somebody who are, buy this book.

Update: Quoth Through The Lens:
"It kind of puzzles me how the "... for Dummies" and "Complete Idiot's Guide to ..." series' have turned out so succesful. Isn't a person who buys one of those books implicitly declaring herself an idiot?

"I think I also have one or two yellow books in my library, but I bought them from Amazon. I might feel awkward approaching the sales counter in a bookshop with a "Complete Idiot's Guide ..." book under my arm.

"You can almost hear the sales clerk's greeting "So, you're one of them idiots, I see. That'll be 9.95, sir." :-) "

Eolake elucidates:
OK, the Complete Idiot's Guide to... title is just silly. But the Dummies moniker never bothered me a bit. It's obvious that it's tongue-in-cheek.

It seems, though, that it does bother some. So David Pogue helps out those people with an even more tongue-in-cheek Fake Cover which you can reveal by cutting off the real cover. It's hilarious, it says:

A technical guide for experienced users
(Formerly Macs For Dummies)
By D Welch Pogue
... Includes advanced treatment of these topics:
*Invoking the commencement of A/C 120V electric power to the CPU unit
*Propelling the cursor-control unit module on a horizontal plane
*Insertion and removal of optical data storage media

Kate Bush, King of the Mountain video

Kate Bush, King of the Mountain video.

Dürer - Rhinoceros

(Like usual, clickable.)
Albrecht Dürer - Rhinoceros.
Isn't is amazing what power images can have? I saw this drawing on a tiny wall poster over thirty years ago, and I have not forgotten it.
I am fascinated by the power of patterns, and the way Dürer has combined them here with seeming realism is awesome.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

“The Hunt of the Unicorn"

Restoring the seven tapestries known as “The Hunt of the Unicorn". Long but interesting article.

Digitally photographing the unfaded back sides of the tapestries in super-high fidelity and handling the files was a big problem. They got help from the Chudnovsk brothers.
"The Chudnovsky brothers insist that they are functionally one mathematician who happens to occupy two human bodies."

TTL points out a cool video about the story.

Home videos for fun and profit

Some people are actually already earning decent money (like thousands of dollars) on homemade videos. Way cool.

A custom PC case

Made by Jimbo.

Eddie Izzard

"I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from."
-- Eddie Izzard

In January I bought and watched a box set of all six of the shows that Eddie has published, without getting sick of him, I don't think that's possible with very many comedians. This guy rocks. He is not angry like many stand-ups, and he is not political, thanks god. He actually talk a lot about unlikely stuff like the ancient romans and philosophy and whatnot... but mostly he just talks rubbish, as he describes it himself. It gets very abstract and nonsensical, which I love. A very funny man.


On the surface, this has to be the world's most boring picture and subject. ... And yet, after looking a couple of times... I sorta like it. As a picture.
Am I the only one?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

William Gibson and sadness

I have noticed many times how completely our view of the world depends upon our beliefs and our emotions. Like Shakkerspeard said: There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so.

For instance I have heard songs and read stories about the falling of the Berlin wall that made it seem like a sad thing (or at least melancholic)! How bizarre is this?

And read this excerpt from a 1997 interview with one of my favorite authors, William Gibson:

"One that I've noticed just in the last month is that because of the Internet and the World Wide Web, in effect, the world's attic is being sorted. It's being sorted with a speed and precision that would have been impossible ten or fifteen years ago. The whole concept of rarities and random finds is disappearing very, very quickly. Every book in every used book shop on the planet will be accessible to a search engine soon.
And there's something horribly sad about that."

All human culture is becoming available to all humans, and he thinks this is sad! This is just so wrong-headed I throw my hands up in despair.
O sure, I understand that he feels nostalgia for the pleasure of finding an amazing and rare book by accident or hard work... but William, find some perspective! We are having the most glorious and amazing cultural renaissance in human history!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Uriel and her mutated band Illuminatica have a new web site. (Beware of loud music starting as soon as you click Enter.)
I am told by insiders that Illuminatica is like Illuminati, only playing in the Czech Republic, and not quite so hard core. (Still pretty heavy music though.) Illuminati plays in England and is hard as diamond.


PS: I forgot to make clear that this is a manipulated image. Here is the original. As you see somebody has tried to cover the logo on a truck.

The old and the dead

The dead might as well try to speak to the living as the old to the young.
-- Willa Cather

... Perhaps, but I know that if I heard the dead speaking to me, I would listen!
-- Eolake Stobblehouse

Steve Jobs on Digital Rights Management

"Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat."
- Steve Jobs, February 6, 2007

Steve Jobs on Digital Rights Management. I love Steve.
This is one of the difference between Apple/Steve and MS/Gates: Bill Gates is totally on the side of "the system" and big business. Steve Jobs is always on the side of the customer's control and free flow.

Commentary from TidBITS.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Duncan Davidson/ Aperture vs Lightroom

I googled to find pages comparing Adobe Lightroom to Apple Aperture, and I found James Duncan Davidson's blog, which seems very promising for photographers and Mac users.

Hollywood TV challenge

Here is a challenge to any TV producers who might be reading this:
Make a TV show, a light and silly comedy, with at least five really cute girls, who are in the buff 90% of the time, or at least topless. Man, would that lift the spirits of everybody.
There does not have to be any sex, actually I think I'd prefer it if there wasn't.

Of course it'd get some people up in arms, but I think it could be like the case with South Park and the word "shit"... they were not allowed to use it, until they suggested that they use it over 200 times in one show. And that was OK. Maybe if you set a comedy show in a nudist colony...

Update: Clearly this would have to be on cable, by HBO or something. The idea is not at all so farfetched: major cable shows like Sex And The City, The Sopranos, and Desperate Housewives have all had many instances of full nudity and toplessness. Not to mention The L-Word.

Also: I don't mind if it has some men too, to answer a challenge to the idea.

Second update: I got the question:
"Why just stop at nudity? Wouldn't it be even more beautiful to watch these gorgeous bodies making love?"

As nudists knows, the connection between nudity and sex is artificial, created by the need for protection against weather and thus seeing nude people only when sex is in the air. In places where nudity is common there is no such link.
If I want porn it is not hard to find. That's not what I'm talking about.

Gas tank, non-abstract (more or less)

Gas Tank Abstract

Letting Go

I just heard the greatest story:

A man was walking on a cliff, slipped and fell, and then hung by his fingers over the edge. He hung there, and he shouted: "Help! Is there anybody up there who can help me?!"

A voice rang out like thunder: "This is God, I can help. Trust me and let go."

The man hesitated for a moment, and then shouted: "Is there anybody else up there!?"

The really funny part is that depending where you are on your spiritual development, that man will either sound really sane or really dumb.
Letting go is one of the most difficult things to learn, and one of the most important.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


TV cliches wiki

TV cliches wiki


This one, as the yellow truck below, illustrates why I keep using color as well as B/W.

"Yellow Truck", and admonitions about tea cups

I've always liked combinations of the representational with the abstract.

It was beautiful weather today (though a bit cold), so I went out to take the Canon G7 through the paces. I think I got quite a few good pictures. The above is the first I present.

The one below though is for curiousity. This sign was by the road side. What the... ?

Superzoom and David Pogue

In the spring last year I sent David Pogue my article about the Nikon superzoom lens. He found it very interesting, and put the lens on his Christmas wish list as the one thing he really wanted. He got one, and feels about it like I do.


According to my e-mail app's built-in statistics program, in the past five years I have replied to 90,121 e-mails.