Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cheap software?

I see that I can apparently buy software at a fraction of the normal cost. I wonder if this is fully legal, and if it is risky, in the sense that the shop is likely to be an outfit which might do unethical things with my credit card information or such?

Image Tricks

Looking for a way of making tiled patterns in Mac OS X, my friend Ian pointed me to Image Tricks. It is a front end for the powerful imaging engine built into Mac OS X 10.4, and the number of things you can do with it is just amazing. Much fun. And free!

And it actually has not only "crazy tricks", but also the bulk of the normal image adjustments for which I normally fire up Photoshop, like sharpness, cropping, contrast, etc.

The Devil Wears Prada

So I've just watched The Devil Wears Prada. It's a fun movie, and well done. Perhaps it is not a deep story, but an important message anyway, about sticking to your principles and being yourself. And it is often funny, and brilliantly acted by (of course) Merryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Emily Blunt, and Anne Hathaway (who just yesterday was a teen star in The Princess Diaries).

Anne Hathaway is just gorgeous, eyes the size of Humvees and a smile which can't be human. It is pretty funny how in the beginning everybody at the fashion magazine treat her as an ugly duckling when she is clearly the prettiest woman in the building. Typical film "trick": she puts on a boring skirt and suddenly she is "ugly"? :)

A detail I like is how her character holds no grievances. Even after having left her job after a year of constant shit from her boss, when she sees her accidentally on the street, she smiles and waves at her, and genuinely so. She's just a generally loving person.

I have a bit more respect for the fashion world than I used to. For instance I have to admit that this movie show some very beautiful clothes, bags, and jewelry*. Gorgeous stuff. And perhaps it is just in human nature that you can't have this undeniable aesthetic without also getting the destructive ego and competition which comes with anything important on this planet, so people will pay $30,000 for a hand bag, and will judge each other harshly for wearing something which was fashionable six months ago, but now is the poorest taste.

Ooh, ooh: great example; the Birkin Bag, one of the most expensive and prestigious hand bags in the world, is becoming less prestigious, because the nouveau riche "footballers' wives" all have them now. Is that funny or what?

My biggest problem with fashion is the "sheep factor" in how otherwise intelligent people will let their clothing choices be dictated to them willy-nilly from designers and magazines, instead of using their own taste and judgement. But again I have to admit that this is surely just human nature, rather than a characteristic of the fashion industry itself. I mean, if I was a big designer "name", I really don't think I would have the bollix to say No to lots of people who were willing and eager to pay insanely inflated prices for anything I came up with.

* I don't get the fetish for shoes though. Women's shoes are ugly, and couldn't be less comfortable if they had spikes on the inside. (No, I haven't tried them, I don't think they make them in my size, but it's pretty clear from what women sound like when they take them off.)


In Denmark a name is a name, and that's what you're called. So it's very confusing to me how some peoples, particularly the Russians and the Americans, use at least one or two nicknames for every name. I just found out that in the US, "Annie" can substitute for "Anne". In Denmark those are two different names.
"Alfred" is "Al". Okay.
"Margaret" is "Peggy"... huh?
"John" is "Jack"? Whu?
Of Course "Michael" is "Mike", that one is obvious.
But how did "Robert" become "Bob"?
And how did "Richard" become "Dick"?
And "William", "Bill"?
And some seem to be official. Was Bill Clinton ever called "William"? (I looked it up, yes he was.)
Everybody seems to call Robert de Niro "Bob", but when I once did it to a different Robert, he hinted that this was taking a liberty.
All in all, very confusing.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Once again I sigh: Apple invented the subnotebook, so why are they currently so behind in that area? Notebooks are their best selling Macs.
I want a Toshiba R500. If only it did not run, ugh, Windoze. But really, an 800 gram notebook? Kewl.

OK, here's a funny quote:
"As thin as 0.77”6, the Portégé® R500 notebook PC is the same height as a stack of dimes."
Geez, "...the same height as a stack of dimes"... ! Hell, so am I. A 6 foot 4 inches stack of dimes!

Enlightenment Cards

These are the "Enlightenment Cards", with quotes from Gary Renard's book The Disappearance Of The Universe. I think Hayhouse and the graphic artist have done a wonderful job with them visually.

New browser window tip

To open a link in a new browser window on a Windows computer, try shift-clicking.

On a Mac, simply command-click to open in a new window.
If you have tabs enabled, it will be a new tab, unless you use option-command.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


How to make your TV into a microscope for fifty bucks.

wifi cell phone

A cell phone which calls for free in WiFi hotspots. What an excellent idea.


Somehow I missed Independence Day.
But that's part of my personal independence: the freedom to miss public events which are important to many people, but not to me. (OK, admittedly not being American or in the US is part of why I don't even have to hear about it. But not following the news is another.)

A friend commented recently on how independence is important to me. And I admitted so. But it's funny: it is so important to me that I have rarely even thought about it. It's like water to a fish, in other words.

It's so important to me that I would not give up a tiny fraction of it for all the wealth or all the love in the world.

I honestly don't know to what degree this is bad or good, it's just how I am.

Two men

When I'm in town with a male friend, some people assume we're gay.
I would think it weird, except for one observation: once I saw two men walking together in the road side, and I thought: "how extraordinary."
That's what's weird. Why don't you see two men together? You see families out shopping, and you see groups out drinking, that's about it. Are we to conclude that people don't have anything to talk about? That they only reasons to be together with others are sex (family) and alcohol?


Telecompanies are scared of VOIP (internet telephony)...

If you ask me, they should have been scared of VOIP ten years ago. I know that I saw it coming.
It's like being tied to the railroad tracks, seeing the train coming and thinking: "well, not to worry, it's far away still. It's only the last meter which hurts after all."

(The article also has interesting facts about tech developments in Europe.)

"You know how young people are spending $10 billion a year on ringtones, just because it lets them express themselves?"
No, I did not know. Ten billion? Are these people insane? I don't get young people. And I say that without nostalgia, because even when I was one myself, nominally, I did not get them. I always got on better with adults. Adults had minds.

Another quote:
"(P.S. … As longtime Pogue’s Posts readers know, my biggest cellular pet peeve is the endless recording you hear when you reach someone’s voicemail: “To page this person, press 2 now. You may leave a message at the tone. When you finish recording, you may hang up. Or press 5 for more options”—and so on.
At the conference, I asked one cellular executive if that message is deliberately recorded slowly and with as many words as possible, to eat up your airtime and make more ARPU for the cell carrier. I was half kidding—but he wasn’t fooling around in his reply: “Yes.”
The secret’s out.)"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

We're not bitter

CNBC is "not bitter" about not getting an iPhone. Yeah, right, that's clear. I wonder how they'd sound if they were bitter. :)

ACIM article

An interesting scholarly article about A Course In Miracles. Just for one thing It's good to see I was not the only one who was puzzled by the Christian language in the book, given that it is not a Christian teaching really. It uses terms like God, Forgiveness, and Holy Spirit, but means entirely different things by them than we are used to. But if you can get past that, it is truly profound.

Steve added:
The Christian tone is something I'm not all that hot for either. I'm currently trudging through ACIM and find the language makes it more difficult to read.

Many, including me, find ACIM challenging to read. But I find it much easier after I read The Disappearance Of The Universe by Gary Renard, which is an entertaining and yet important book introducing the philosophy. I warmly recommend it. (Preview.)


"When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes.'"
-- Steven Wright

I am guessing Steven doesn't ever have problems sleeping. He doesn't know how lucky he is.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

On copyright

Mike Johnston has written about copyright. As usual with insight.

I think that copyright must be held like an bird: not to hard and not too loose. And I think that most people squish the poor thing.

Sixteen thousand dollars and an iPhone

Sixteen thousand dollars and an iPhone.
Check the rules before you chuck out the cash.

Time Travel

• Imagine travelling in time to meet a younger you. What kind of work would you like to show him/her?

TTL, that's an interesting thought. Time travel has always intrigued me. I often wonder if given that chance (were it possible) if I actually would alternate certain actions I took at the time?
But changing just "one" thing could bring chaoes or pleasure later on depending upon it's scale. Wouldn't you agree?
I'd like to see Eolake run a post about this sometime. I'd like to see the various thoughts from others..........Hey Captain Eolake, would you mind sometime?

At 11:14 AM, ttl said...
Yes, time travel is a fascinating subject, isn't it. There is a school of thought saying that even if we can't physically go back in time, playing such a scene out as a mind game, i.e. vividly imagining it, has real therapeutic benefits. Some even say that engaging in a "discussion" with a younger you this way can actually change your life here and now for the better.

One of my favorite books, The Disappearance Of The Universe, has Ascended Masters visiting "from the future". And since I completely believe its premise that the universe is an illusion/dream that we made ourselves, I don't see any reason why a "master dreamer" should not be able to manhandle the dream in all kinds of ways.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lateral Inspirations

OK, I have started writing a set of cards like Eno's cards (see below). However I found that I don't usually have any problems continuing or finishing an already started work of art. I am more interested in breaking the beginnings of one.
I figure I need to have at least 100, I'd prefer much more. Here is the start.

Lateral Inspirations

Start a work from only one small detail.

Work backwards. What effect do you want to achieve on the receiver?

Work by a theme.

Look up a random word in a dictionary, make a work based on it.

Close your eyes, point at random, use as starting point for an idea.

Pick your favorite creator, make a work inspired by your favorite work of his/hers.

Pick your favorite creator, make a work inspired by your LEAST favorite work of his/hers.

Use an online news search engine to look up your current medium. Take the first work you find and use it as starting point.

What would you really not like to make a work about? Make one about that.

Remember the earliest work of yours that you can. Make a new version of it.

What is ugly? Make a work about it.

Make a work about death.

Make a work about birth.

Make a work about rebirth.

Make a work of an unusual size or length.

Make a work which has a tone you haven't used before.

Make the simplest work you can.

Make the most complex work you can.

Make something modern.

Make something old-fashioned.

Brian Eno art

"I think that what humans are interested in is seeing things that humans make." - Brian Eno
[I like this, because that's how I always felt personally.]

Brian Eno's 77 Million Paintings
(official site)

"[Eno] first created 77 Million Paintings to bring art to the increasing number of flat panel TV's and monitors that often sit darkened and underutilized."

I had the same thought after I got the HD TV. It makes such a beautiful picture when it's on, it is just begging for a nice use of it.

A slowly evolving painting like it seems Eno has made.

Or just a changing sequence of high-rez versions of paintings or photos.

Or perhaps simply a long, looping video, a walk through a nice landscape, or filmed from a fixed viewpoint over a busy square in Paris or New York, or... the possibilities are endless.

(Can anybody figure out how to contact Eno?)

... I have ordered the DVD from enoshop UK... their confirmation e-mail states: "Please allow 28 days for delivery of physical products."
Twenty-eight days!?? What century are they operating in?

If I really like how this plays, and if it does it high rez, maybe I'll get a Mac Mini to put under my HD TV. I'm sure I'll find other uses for it too. For example playing iTunes, it has excellent "generative art" of its own, which I rarely use because I use my computer all the time.

TTL injected:
"his book A Year With Swollen Appendices: The Diary of Brian Eno.
By the way, in that book he mentions an interesting tool he created called Oblique Strategies (actually a deck of special cards). After reading the book I wanted to buy a set but couldn't find any source. I now note that it's available from the above mentioned shop.
One of the strategies (a card in the deck) I have actually used many times already: If you make a mistake, ask yourself "Was it really an accident?"
I need to place an order with the shop so I can start playing with a full deck. ;-)"

I saw those cards many years ago on television in an interview with David Bowie. Bowie has a set, and the Danish presenter has one, which he pulled out. They are for an artist to use whenever he is stuck. He pulls out a random card, which then has a suggestion.
Online version
Mac widget version

... I've looked over a selection of the cards (online), and frankly I think I could write a better set.


Pascal commented: "For some years now, officially more than half the planet's population lives in cities."

... I wonder how they count that. For example I live in a large town, which for years now has been trying to get status as a city. (Apparently there needs to be a cathedral and an accredited university.) If it becomes one, I guess I'm officially a city dweller. But it really doesn't feel like it.

Also, who do you include? Most cities I've seen have a very wide belt of housing which gradually melts into the country. There were small villages in the nineteenth century, but now they are all joined up with each other and the city they used to be around. How much of that stuff do you consider part of the city?

Get wood

Wooden camera, anybody?

(Sorry about the headline. The fit black guy upstairs is showing his girlfriend a good time, and it's distracting.)

Alex said:
"As for wooden cameras, wasn't that just how it was 100yrs ago?
"Fit"? In Liverpool that meant "(physically) attractive", in most other places it means healthy. I'm glad she seems to enjoy carpentry ;-) "

Heck, you can still buy large-format cameras built of cherry wood.
I used the term to mean both.
She is sure enjoying something, that's all I know.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Kewl aerial photos.

New spam/virus

Update: more info.

It seems there is a new type of spam or virus about. This week I have gotten many emails with text like:
"Good day. Your family member has sent you a postcard from VintagePostcards.Com."
"Good day. Your neighbour has sent you a postcard from greet2k.Com."

I could tell it was junk, but I got curious and clicked on a link in one. It went to a white text page that say they were "testing a new browser feature" and to click on a link. This link went to a .exe file. I use Mac, so that would not have run on my computer, but it seems highly likely that it is a virus of some kind which would infect a Windows computer. Beware.