Saturday, August 18, 2007

Not work safe

New free gallery at DOMAI. Warning, don't go if you dislike nudity.

Elton and photography

Redeeming himself, Elton John appreciates photography.
I also saw him in a documentary about Björk, praising her music highly. Kudos to him for that, how often do you see big stars go out of their way to praise smaller stars?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Instant diet

This is so much faster than changing your lifestyle.



Thanks to Mike.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All Flash and No Thunder

Here's another Flash site. Lord, how slow it is.

But it gives a fun insight into how your favorite celebrities look before their photo is retouched. Click on Portfolio, select pic, and mouse-over.

iMovie '08

Pogue weighs in on iMovie '08. Lots of downsides there I did not know about.

Ne plus ultra

Here is the ne plus ultra of the maxim that the bigger a camera is, the less portable it is. This camera only deals with one subject, unless you move other subjects in front of it. And then it will have to be a patient subject.

Cables for the hoi-polloi

Let the geeks go wild: are expensive cables worth it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


When Fuji came out with their excellent low-noise-even-on-high-sensitivity-settings technology a couple years back (three? four?), I was certain that within a year, the same wonderful thing would have happened to most other compact cameras. Sadly, it is not so. Basically all other compact cameras have really awful noise over 200 ISO, and it's a great shame, especially for otherwise really promising cameras like this Ricoh.

I don't get it. Normally a technical breakthrough like that is reversed-engineered lickity-split by competitors.


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. -- Marcel Proust

Laurie sez:

My old Zen Master teacher used to say, "Keep Clear Mind, Only Go Straight. Put down all the thinking. When red comes, red. When blue comes, blue."

He also used to say, "A tree's job is tree; a dog's job, dog. Human being's job, love."

Amazon Vine newsletter

I mentioned Amazon Vine a couple weeks ago. Well, their first newsletter is out. I am curious: can any Amazon customer view it, or only people registered with Vine? (Thanks to Joe and TTL for clearing up it's the latter.)

I was wondering how it works: if the publisher registered with a product sends it to every reviewer who wants it... if there are thousands of reviewers, that could be costly, and result in an avalance of reviews. Well, it turns out that just minutes after I got the newsletter in the email, already two of the items were all gone (a music album, and a book by Michael Chabon), and there was just three left of one I wanted (a book called "Influencer"), so I had to act fast.

Antagonistic nudes

Apropos to the discussion of beauty, here is an artist who clearly does not believe that art has to be pleasant.


This is funny. Puzzling, but funny.

"Such a pointed term." I love it.

Who is he? Who is he writing to? A real person? Where is the supposed previous correspondence?

Will the author explain?

It actually reminds me of ideas I had for web sites when the web was young. There are so many things you can do with it which does not have to follow the logic of the ordinary world.

It also reminded me of an article I read over thirty years ago in Mad Magazine. Called something like "I had to work to reach bottom", it was an unfinished account of somebody's childhood, and somehow seemed like writing which purposefully was devoid of meaning and yet demonstrated that that is impossible. Except if the author is empty, in which case he would never do it on purpose. I found it oddly compelling. At the bottom it said "continued on page 121". The magazine had only sixty pages or so.

Vertical time

I wanted to try to embed a video. I've no idea why that never occurred to me before.

Who knew that Time runs vertically?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Haiti UFO

Computer graphics video is getting very advanced.
Regarding this UFO hoax, it seems that it's so well made that even experts couldn't tell for sure, until somebody spotted an unnecessary mistake with some trees.
In other words: in the future, we can expect to see a lot of videos where we simply never will be sure if it is real or computer-generated.

Of course if it's true what philosophers tell us that the world comes from the mind, the difference may be neglible.

Here's a nice demo reel of the software that apparently made it. (And that might explain who made it and posted it. The Blair Witch effect.)


Am I the only one who gets annoyed by sites like this otherwise nice one?

There are so many sites these days where the moment you enter, you're trapped in a Flash maze. The sites takes over the window, decides the size of the window, decides the size of the text for you, you can't copy text or pictures, you can't open pages in new windows, everything is in menus... Plus they are often slow and have unjustified animation. They are designed to impress rather than be used.

Around the millennium I studied usability, mainly Jakob Nielsen's book on it (Web Usability). It says you need to make things work as much as possible like people are used to, and you need to give the user maximum self-determinism (for example, fit the size of the text to his eyes).

Update: Terrell blogs this.

Monday, August 13, 2007


If you are interested in picture sharpness and camera sensor sizes, there are some insightful comments to an article by some very sharp people here.

Grey pigeon, red berries

BTW, about focus: this is actually shot through my vertical blinds! Due to the long focal length (again image stabilization helps immensely, couldn't have taken this picture without it), depth of field is so slight that the blinds in the foreground are so blurred as to be virtually invisible. I shot it through the blinds, because as I suspected, as soon as I drew them, the bird flew away.

By the way, "to draw the blinds" (or curtains), does that mean to close them or open them? ... (looking it up) According to the dictionary, it means either. A bit messy that. Like "to tie up" and "to tie down" meaning the same thing.

Download speed

I have been bitching a little about the poor internet connections I have available where I live. But I am suspecting more and more that it is not a matter of the pipe into my house, as much as a matter of the larger picture. One reason for this realization is that sometimes downloads are very fast indeed. For instance downloads. A couple days ago I downloaded a TV episode (Heroes), half a GB, in fifteen minutes. And today I had a download from clocking in at 800kb/sec! This is a first for me, usually I consider anything over 200k to be fast.
But my point is, the variation is just immense. It seems to be large parts of the Net making those variations. Because with the right server my connection seems very capable.


I was just thinking today: the term "F.Y.I." (For Your Information) is really redundant, isn't it? What other reason do you have to tell somebody something other than to inform them?

And in that vein, I just got this:
Stephen Wright Musings

Here's a few amusing thoughts, tidbits and nuggets that have been rolling around in the mind of comedian Stephen Wright:

* I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

* I had amnesia once - maybe twice

* All I ask is a chance to prove money can't make me happy.

* What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

* They told me I was gullible... and I believed them.

* Two can live as cheaply as one. For half as long.

* Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

* What if there were no hypothetical questions?

* One nice thing about egotists, they don't talk about other people.

* When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

* What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?

* I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

* The high cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

* How can there be self-help "groups?"

* The speed of time is one second per second.

* Is it possible to be totally partial?

* What's another word for thesaurus?

* Is Marx's tomb a communist plot?

* If a number 2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still number 2?

* It's not an optical illusion, it just looks like one.

Fun videos

Meryl Streep accepting an award for Emma Thompson.

"Ellen": Emma Thompson on Potter and Pole Dancing.

Meryl Streep on "Ellen".

Emma Thompson about Stranger Than Fiction. (A wonderful movie I saw recently.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Out of Sale

On the chest of a barmaid from Sale
Was tattooed all the prices of ale
Whilst on her behind
For the sake of the blind
Was precisely the same, but in braille.