Friday, October 19, 2007

The Bench

Sadly not in regular distribution outside DK, but such a wonderful movie I have to mention it: The Bench. Especially for somebody like me who normally don't like "human drama" movies, it's really outstanding. Part of it is an underlying sense of humor which is often missing in drama movies.

You can buy it from as a region 2 DVD. It's in Danish, but has English subtitles if you like.

Earth from space

Unusual sights from space.

Leopard coming out

Apple has posted a video guided tour of the upcoming version of OS X, Leopard.

It seems rather cool.

It seems that the "big secret feature" that Steve Jobs hinted at many moons ago has gone awol, though. That's probably why it was secret: they were not sure it could be done.

The new iChat includes screen sharing. If the other person accepts, you can see their screen as if it were your own, and you can even work with documents on it, while you're chatting about what you're doing. Quite impressive. This feature has existed in other kinds of software, but I bet iChat makes it easy.

Perhaps the most significant feature, though, is Time Machine. Only a very tiny percentage of users do proper backups, or even any backups at all. Time Machine is an easy and fully automatic way to make sure this is happening.
(I wonder why Apple has decreed it will only work with an external hard drive, though. I'd like to make use of the nice four drive slots that my Mac Pro has.)

Update: For help with Mac upgrades and many other technical issues, I recommend TidBITS Take Control books, many of them written by Joe Kissell, who is very helpful both in his books and personally.

Hello Kitty machinegun, anyone?

This store says it's a parody. I'm not sure what of, though. I'm not even sure if it's funny. Baroque, perhaps.


I am very tenderly getting back into classical music. So I have just bought The Very Best Of Back on iTunes. I used to listen to Bach and Mozart when I was a kid, but I changed.

iTunes Sterling prices are 80% of iTunes US$ prices, despite the dollar now being only half of the Pound Sterling. Typical.

Oh my god, Stan...

One of my favorite Karen Walker moments, so I captured it for you.

(I wonder why my videos on YouTube often look very distorted (like solarization) in the first couple of seconds. I don't see it with others' videos.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nikon D3

First-impressions article about Nikon D3. Sounds very impressive.

About light

Michael Reichman illustrates what light does for a picture.

I am not sure if he means to say one of them is superior. I like both of them.

I suspect most people will like the one with the dark foreground best, since it has more depth. But I may actually be leaning towards the other one. I tend to like the abstractness of very flat pictures.


Joe said:
"Christianity and Islam are no worse than any other religion. It's religion itself that is the scam. Of course Communism is up there too, but at best it's a distant second."

This is a popular view. There was an interesting comment on it on, of all places, South Park. Since Matt and Trey make fun of religious figures, many people have assumed they were atheists, and were surprised when they denied this in interviews. One of them said that he (like me) has a kind of belief, but it would be very involved to explain.

So they did a show (a really good science-fiction two-parter) which contained a reaction to that famous book The God Scam. (No wait, that's not the title. It's The God Delusion. But looking for it, I found this amazing site.) Like they said in the commentary to the show, these are such big and complex subjects, that they focused in the show on one of the central tenets of the book: that without religion, there would be significantly less war in the world. They believe that this is a falsehood, man is war-like for some reason, and he will always find something to fight about. In the show, they have a future atheist world where the various atheist factions wage wars about which of their beliefs is the more logical.

As for me: all religions sound silly to outsiders, sure. But how about the dominant "scientific" theory, that everything arrived from nothing in a big explosion? Without explaining what was before or how it came about? That's as silly as anything.

Blade Runner

leviathud said...
Just wondering, can HD versions run on regular dvd players and televisions? Or do I need to wait until I get my house completly HD'd?

eolake said...
Generally they can't. It's a completely new format with many more bits per disc.
But I think a few releases contain both an HD edition and a regular DVD edition, perhaps on opposite sides of one disk. (If I were publishers, I would do this on all releases, it surely would improve sales.)

I just found this HD info page on Amazon.

Hey, "Blade Runner" is soon available in HD. If ever there was a movie which begs for high definition viewing...

Here are some less likely candidates, which nevertheless are coming out in HD-DVD: "Abba the Movie", "Leaving Las Vegas", and "Clerks 2". Geez. :)

A good candidate, though, and also coming, is "Pan's Labyrinth", which I watched recently on DVD. It is a visually stunning fantasy movie for adults, in Spanish. Take note, though, when I say "for adults". It really is. It is so violent that it makes "The Passion Of The Christ" look like Winnie The Poo. OK, not really, from what I hear, The Passion still reigns supreme in the violence area. But Pan is really gruesome.

Also coming out in HD: "Darkman". If you think you've seen bad superhero films, you ain't seen nothing yet. When I saw it in the cinema back in the day, there were laughs where the producers really would not have wanted them. It was so embarrassing. I don't get why this film is not buried deep.
... Update: Ah, it was made by Sam Raimi, who has made good movies since. That explains it.

Update: talking about Blade Runner, look at this edition, geez.

Update: OK, I had not even noticed that the HD version I have ordered is also this "final cut" version. It is getting very good reviews.

Earth-like planet found

Earth-like planet found, 20 light years away.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Olympus E-3

High-end Olympus digital SLR cameras has been languishing with the aging E-1 camera, which is only 5 megapixels. But now they finally have releases a major new camera for pro and advanced amateurs. (The fact that they skipped an "E-2" model tells something about how much time has passed. I guess they figured that it would look old in a time when both Canon and Nikon has gone to "3" models.)

This is the first time in a (semi?) professional camera body that we get in-body image stabilization and also an articulating LCD screen, for shooting at unusual angles.

Urban Dictionary

Quite useful when other dictionaries give up: Urban Dictionary for slang.

Trading down

A trend of common sense? It can't be true.

Diet scam

Talking about scams, how about one which is actually dangerous to your health?

Pascal sez:
Already, its reference, the Atkins diet ("eat what you like but zero carbs"), has proven to be dangerous. Oh, sure, it worked for losing weight, and amazingly... if it didn't kill you!
The nutritional principle is quite simple, really: in omnivores like us, if you suppress carbs the body goes into a metabolic state identical to fasting, burning its own fat by converting it into what is called "ketonic bodies". The amazing thing about it is that, exceptionally, brain cells become able to feed on them too, while usually they can only burn glucose. But... such a state, identical to starvation, puts you at risk not only from lack of vitamins: any added bodily imbalance, like, say, a common cold, may then initiate an acidosis of the blood which can be fatal very quickly. In a nutshell: it does slim you down, by artificially starving your cells through glucose deprivation; but it is a very risky gambit.

I'll seize the opportunity to warn about other "miracle" slimming methods.

- Appetite suppressants, such as amphetamins. Many dangerous side effects, and as soon as you discontinue them the yo-yo goes right back up, maybe even with more kilos in the end.

- Thyroid extracts or hormones. "The great thing about them is, your appetite increases, while you actually lose weight!" Well, sure... technically! Except, they act by hormonally increasing your overall metabolism, equivalent to the Graves disease (a.k.a. Basedow disease). Main inconvenience: you don't actually burn your fat, BUT YOUR MUSCLE MASS. Including your heart muscle, at some point. With a risk of sudden death by cardiac failure or fibrillation.

- Diuretics: they only make you eliminate fluids. You lose water and salt, basically. It's a cheap cheat that'll vanish as fast as it appeared, because your body has its own normal balance and maintains it. And if your body doesn't, then you don't need a diet, you need a specialist to solve your kidney / heart / endocrine problem, 'cause you have one. Fluid and electrolyte imbalances are also potentially life-threatening.

- Herbal mysterious concoctions: I'm not going to mock herbal medications, they're far more than mere placeboes. Many drugs come from plants. But these herbal diets usually (probably always) work in the same manner as one of the three above. You've been warned.

- Eating healthy by eliminating overly fatty/sweet foods, and doing physical exercise: actually, this one works. It's the only one that truly and genuinely does. Downside: it requires WILLPOWER. The only miracle can come from YOU. It isn't sold in pills over the internet.

You can trust this advice I'm giving you, not only because I'm a professional medic, but because I have nothing to gain from it, so you know I have no reason to lie to you. Unlike sexy Kimkins.
On second thought, I do have something to gain from it: the satisfaction of helping for the sake of it. Call me a shellfish. :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Car art

Nice idea.
I am not sure what you do with the car when it's too old, though.

Big downloads hosting

If you want to give something downloadable away for free, and it's popular, the bill could hurt you. But this is changing.

Upcoming Canon lenses

Interested in superiour telephoto lenses?

Warning: these will not be available at amateur prices. We are talking thousands of dollars.

The press release says: "A Product Report required by 21.C.F.R.§ 1002.10 has not been submitted to the United States Food and Drug Administration for this product. This product is not, and may note be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until the required report has been submitted."

The Food and Drug Administration? Huh?

Wireless ebook

Free TidBITS ebook on wireless networking.

A modest proposal

As you know, there are two kinds of people, those who divide people into two groups, and those who don't.
I'm the former.
And one of my favorite divisions is: those who want to control other's lives, and those who don't. I'm the latter.

A good example is the German cannibal case. Some people see it as an obvious great immorality to eat a human, even if you have his consent, and think this should be stopped by law. I don't see why. People's lives are their own.

Of course it should be clear that subject must be in his right mind and consenting. I guess it's a sticky point because most people can't reconcile "right mind" with "consenting to be eaten". But we'd all do well to not equate "abnormal" with "sick" or "sinful", and particularly not with "must be illegal".

I can't imagine why anybody would want to be eaten or to eat somebody. But it's a great big world out there, and personal liberty is one of our holiest ideals, and should be defended even in the face of things we may consider repugnant.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Rip-off warnings article on scams, number one and two.

Drawn Together

From the very, very "adult" animated TV show Drawn Together, how to spout Asian gibberish. The show is far out, and often very funny. If you like South Park, you'll probably like it.
I wonder if all that is on the DVDs was also on TV. They actually have nudity (of cartoons, OK, but still). In the second season, including penises (peni?*), but interestingly, no vulvas. I guess society as a whole finds a vulva more offensive than a penis. (Note: most would erroneously call it "vagina", but that is the internal tube only.**)

Entertainment Weekly gave the show an F and said: "This is TV so bad, it's bad for you." You can't buy reviews like that.

*That's a joke, folks.
**Pedantic? Nah. Words are there for a reason. You wouldn't call a car a bicycle.

Personal outsourcing

Outsourcing: not just for corporations anymore.

"Rajesh Shah, the 27-year-old president of Global Solutions, tells his clients to call him anytime, even on his cellphone at 3 a.m."

Isn't that insane? What kind of job would merit that?
How long can you live like that?

"Some labor experts are skeptical that this kind of outsourcing will ever go beyond a small group of enthusiasts. One issue is being able to trust a worker thousands of miles away with projects of a personal nature."

How's that different from trusting a worker five miles away?

Final commented:
"Eolake, I'd suggest that your DOMAI business is probably something that can be reliably outsourced. I'm sure there are regular daily or weekly chores that are quite repetitive, including billing and collections, and rotating images on the site."

This is something I've looked at occasionally for a few years. You'd think so. But interestingly, I'm unable to see very much which could be outsourced. Billing is already outsourced to CCBill, and I have very little paperwork. I do, and want to do, very little to the images themselves. I like them to look real, not Playboy-airbrushed. The biggest "labor" is the near daily selecting of the images to put on the members' site. And... I may be kidding myself, but I think only I can do it. I feel there are many, many things to judge images on, and it has taken me years to be able to do it quickly and reliably. There are subtle qualities which I doubt any other editor would be able to pick up on, like exactly how much "sexiness" one can leave in a set without ruining the innocence/happiness which makes the site special.

Iron Man and Filter

I was not aware that there's an Iron Man film coming. The trailer looks promising. I think the armor-action sequences convey more about raw power than any Superman film I've seen. Very nice.
And the suit is beautiful.

And I was tickled to hear they use one of my fave one hit wonders: Filter's Nice Shot. I call it a one-hit wonder because it was the only song of its class in the CD I paid good money for. But what a song.

The next Batman also looks promising. Maybe it will be a bit more edgy than the first one (of the new series), which seemed to me to be a little... bland. But from the new trailer, it seems they understand that the Joker is not funny, but can be one of the scariest villains ever. As he was in The Dark Knight Returns, the classic Frank Miller comic from which this film seems to get its title.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Alan Moore article

Alan Moore article/interview.
"The basic stance that we were taking in Lost Girls is that the sexual imagination cannot be policed, you cannot shut areas of it off and I think that if you do, it actually becomes dangerous."

"I did Voice of the Fire, which was set in the county of Northamptonshire. But with Jerusalem, I thought that that was probably far too cosmopolitan and far-reaching and that I ought to concentrate upon a couple of square blocks of Northampton, where I actually grew up. This is a half-million words, so the next book is obviously just going to be a couple of million words long; it's just all going to be about one end of my living-room. I suppose it's having started out with fantasies about the farthest reaches of space and time and the human world, I suppose it's a gradual realisation that the actual place where I'm sitting is about the most fantastic spot in my universe."

Voice of the Fire was unreadable. I don't think I'll even buy Jerusalem.

I wonder why so many good writers get into a state where their works get longer and longer and longer, and harder and harder and harder to read?

Fairy tales

Neil Gaiman on fairy tales for adults.

Coincidentally, I'm just reading Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies, in which fairies are nasty, murderous, and sadistic. A Granny Weatherwax story, gotta love that.