Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wanted: subtle wallpaper

I'm looking for new wallpaper photos or art, in 1600 tall x 2560 wide, or larger. (Well, actually over, say 1200 pixels on the longest side might be useful (it can be good to have space for the icons). And it does not have to be landscape format.)

There are many sites out there with desktop images, many for free. But almost everything I find is crass in some way. Over-saturated, cutesy landscapes and such. I want something more subtle, and original. I don't even mind paying for it if it's good.

Big, high-quality of fine art paintings or drawings might be one option. But it's rare to find scans/photos which are big and good quality.

Update: I just decided to do an experiment and just photograph a couple of pages from an Andrew Loomis book. They do the job for me.
They are casually photographed, hand-held, indoors in ordinary room light, but thanks to modern sensors and stabilization, the quality is good.
One could also have good full tilt careful scans, precisely aligned, etc. But I tend to like a certain marriage of precision with seeming roughness and casualness.

Update: I included the drawings of men as a service to my female readers, why should they be left out.

Loomis here, here, and here.

Oooh, and here are a couple of Alphonse Mucha:

Put... down... the almond!

Photo by Powerpig.

(... By the way, how the heck did "almond" come to be pronounced "armand"?)

SF/fantasy on TV

I'm surprised that the number of SF/fantasy TV shows have actually gone down since the millennium, I would have guessed the opposite. But maybe it's just that the quality has improved. Which is nice, I'd rather have five really good shows than twenty-five mediocre ones.

The Men Who Stare At Goats and how to alienate people

It takes some guts to appear in a movie called "The Men Who Stare At Goats". But if George Clooney and Jeff Bridges have the balls, I guess it's worthwhile. The trailer looks... sorta fun, though not great.

Talking about Jeff, I last saw him in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, where he did his usual good job. But as for the movie itself, I have mixed feelings. I like Simon Pegg, and the movie started well. And it had a good cast and nice pictures and was sometimes funny.
But more and more towards the end, it got clear that subtlety as regards Message is a concept not well known to those film makers. I mean, it's not as if the message, that glitz and glamour are not as valuable as true love, is a rare one. But you'd think it was, with the way it got hammered into your brain with all the subtlety of a Las Vegas dance show.
Also, even though it's based on an autobiographic story, it was clear both from statements and from the story that it was mostly made up, if for nothing else then because lots of events in it were simply highly unrealistic, and again ham-fistedly done.

Daft Punk: Phoenix

25 Various Styles of The Wizard of Oz Illustrations

25 Various Styles of The Wizard of Oz Illustrations, post. (Includes links to artists' pages.)
Some of these are outstanding. There are so many wonderful artists in illustration. Many more than I find in fine art (at least to my taste), oddly.

I've long been fascinated with how many different ways there are of doing one thing.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A little mystery SOLVED

Another mystery was that a folder I had excluded from Time Machine backups on the old machine was not included in the transfer.
Joe Kissell from TidBITS solved both mysteries at once: I had selected the Time Machine backups disk as source instead of the main disk on the old Mac! When migrating there were two sources with the same name, and I just selected the first one without thinking much about it. That's a flaw in the Migration app: it should indicate which is the T.M. back volume and which is the main disk.


OK, here is a little mystery for the computer-savvy amongst you:

Thursday about 18.00 I updated the home page and related files on my commercial site. After having done that, I set up my new computer, and started it on the long, automatic process of transferring all my settings and file from the old computer.

And today, when I opened those pages/files on the new computer, they looked as they had looked before the update on Thursday! They had the pictures and text I put on them Wednesday evening. But how the heck is that possible? The files were changed and saved, otherwise I could not have uploaded them. And on the web site it was clear that I had updated them.

I have booted up the old computer, and on that machine the pages do appear like after the Thursday update. So how did the Migration application go back in time and get the pages as they looked hours earlier? Any ideas at all?

I think Ray is on the track. Golive *does* make backup copies. I didn't think of them, because for a while they've been useless, and because I was sure they did not contain the actual text of the pages, after all that is what you have the actual .html files for. But I *did* do an hours-long aborted attempt at opening the "site" file, and that must have back-stored the old text somehow. (I do run Time Machine backups, but obviously since they are on a separate disk, those were not transferred from the old machine.)

Kindle International (updated)

Finally, the Kindle ebook Reader device comes in a version which lets it go online internationally. (There is an intro video on that page.)
Unfortunately so far it's only the small sized one, and the screen still has a bit low contrast for my taste, but then I really like the read-aloud robot, so maybe I'll git it anyway. (There's a brief voice demo in the video above, and also around minute 9 in this one.)

"Unfortunately so far it's only the small sized one"

Bert said:
Amazon confirmed that the DX was also going international.
(Only next year though.)

Getting a new Mac (updated four places)

Since some of my operations use some computing power, professionally I use the Apple tower machine, the Mac pro. And when time came to decide whether to upgrade to the new OS Snow Leopard, I decided to do it with a new machine. Which came yesterday.

I think this is the third time I have upgraded a machine since the OS got the facility of migrating all data and settings from one machine to another automatically, with one click. I love that. I find it amazing that all my hundreds (thousands?) of settings and so on work exactly like I'm used to on the new machine, only faster. Macros and everything. In the old days you had to be a wizard to get everything to work the same on a new machine.

It was virtually glitch-free, which is impressive. So far, only a couple of color settings have been different, and it had not transferred the contents of my downloads folder for some reason. Easily fixed. (Update: the reason was, it seems, I'd updated from the Time Machine disk. It had the same name as the main disk.)

The one extra option I would like with this feature is the ability to select which data to transfer right away. Many of us have lots of data these days (for instance I have an extensive collection of art videos, you know, documentaries about women's love for each other and such), and even with Firewire 800 it took about seven hours to transfer it all. It's hard on me to be offline for seven hours.
I'd like it a little more flexible. But heck otherwise it works really well, so that's nitpicking.

It seems I may finally have to change my web site editing methods. The big Domai "site management" file created by Golive 6 took 20 minutes on my "old" machine, but it seems it takes hours on the new one, god knows why. I'll have to edit pages singly, and keep track of links manually, I guess.

The new icon view in Snow Leopard is coooooool. There's a slider at the bottom of the window which lets you change the icon size on the go, and the biggest size is huge, over 400 pixels! It's no longer an "icon", it's a big preview picture. It doesn't just look good, but for somebody working a lot with pictures, it's a godsent preview method. (Update: funny enough it works best with files which have not had a custom preview icon made by a graphics application, because otherwise Finder just uses that icon, and the resolution is not even close to what it gets it up to if it has to fetch it from the file itself. (Of course there's a little delay while it produces the big icons from the files, but with a fast machine it's not bad.))
Screenshot at biggest-icon setting (it's step-less, and very fast):

Update: one worry I had was if the new, faster machine would be more noisy than the old one. Because that's the greatest thing about the Intel Macs: they are much more quiet than the old G5 ones, and I love that so much. Whaddayaknow: the new one is even cooler and quieter! Wow.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Quotes, five

We go where our vision is.
-- Joseph Murphy

Therefore search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity.
-- Albert Schweitzer

Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.
-- Joan Lunden

When you build bridges you can keep crossing them.
-- Rick Pitino

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.
-- Sir Francis Bacon

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Digital video Holga...

Apropos the "digital Holga", it occurs to me that we have something like it for video now, in the iPod Nano. A creative medium hardly gets smaller or simpler than that. (For all it's base on highly complex technology.)
I'm watching a small film called Haru - The Island of the Solitary. (Recommended me by TTL.) (So rare that it's not even in! I've never seen that before.) It was filmed all in super-8, and the quality is not much better than you'd get from an iPod Nano, I'll bet. The speech/text was written by Tove Jansson, the author of the Moomins, and filmed by her girlfriend Tuulikki Pietilä.
There's a special charm about the really basic.

emptyspaces points to this. I like the sample art video more than I'd have expected.

TTL expands:
Thanks for mentioning the Haru film. It's a powerful piece of footage. I'm not exactly sure what gives it its impact. But analyzing it feels somehow sacrilegious.

BTW, I did find it in IMDb, under its original Finnish title Haru, yksinäisten saari. Someone also posted a nice review there (in English).

(The DVD I have have two options: Finnish audio, or Swedish with English subtitles.)

No puns please

I've always had mixed feelings about puns. Generally, if I make them, I love them, and if others make them, I don't. :-)
I refuse to take responsibility for the one below, and I'm sure Tommy who sent it does too.

There was a man who entered the local paper's pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

Update: A few years ago I gave my friend Laurie a birthday present, I guess a book or a film, and I said to him: "I considered giving you one of those new Apple Cinema 30-inch monitors. But then I thought you'd probably be embarrassed by such a display."

Make The Girl Dance: Baby Baby Baby

[Thanks to Joe R.]
Three bare chicks in a Paris street, music video. (I don't know if the girls are the band.)
These chicks will go places, ya hear.
Dang censorship strips, they are offensive to me. :-)

Update thanks to Aniko: lyrics here.

Interesting how the video picture is mirrored (laterally reversed), I think it's to obscure the text in the signs on the street, to avoid distraction (as if), and possibly copyright offense or whatever. (A comment on youtube sez it is so certain tv stations can show it without advertising for anything.)

It just occurs to me: probably the girls wore patches on nipples and pubic areas. They would be covered by the blackout strips anyway, and your imagination helps out.

Use "Postage Paid" Envelopes to mail a brick to junk mailer

"Use "Postage Paid" Envelopes to mail a brick to junk mailer", article.

Maybe a little too vindictive for my taste. But that may be because I don't get very much junk mail... if I could do something like this to spammers, that would be another story!

Pup comic

A wonderful web comic (from the domain name, it seems the author's name is Drew Weing), showing a little of the potential of the medium.
Works best with a good Net connection and a large monitor.

Killer whales vs penguin vs little boat

[Thanks to TC Girl.]

Oooh, tricky. Could have been dicey. The penguin had nothing to lose, but the humans is another kettle of fish as it were.

Kids vids fun

Keep 'em coming, Aunt Lidya.

Icons about ideologies

More on advertising

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. -- Stephen Leacock

This is interesting.

I always felt odd about advertising. Isn't it almost dishonest by definition? You make people buy by appealing to emotions, almost exclusively.

Panasonic GF1 review

Panasonic GF1 review.
Despite lack of tiltable screen and, with the little lens, lack of stabilization, both regretable, this is a very interesting camera. One of the best contenders at the moment in the area of combining compactness with good image quality. You need a large pocket for it, admittedly, but then you get image quality comparable to cameras twice the size and weight.

Retro Digicam...Digital Holga?

Retro Digicam...Digital Holga?, article.
Sometimes I feel like going super-simple. It can be creatively freeing. I once photographed during a vacation only with disposable cameras.
I think the future will feature more cheap and simple digicams.
BTW, the Holga, like the Diana, is a super-cheap film camera, gawd-awful image quality, but some artists use that to their advantage.

Scott Campbell money art

Scott Campbell money art, laser etched, article/pics.

Actually I'd heard it's a federal crime to destroy money (typically).

Video winners

I watched the first couple of winning videos here. Is it just me, or are they really noisy and irritating and pointless? Like MTV the next generation, only without the talent and sensibilities.

Carell's Daughter Profits From Paparazzi

Carell's Daughter Profits From Paparazzi, article.
"Steve Carell's 8-year-old daughter is learning how to profit from her dad's celebrity status by selling lemonade to paparazzi lurking around their Los Angeles home."

Hey, here's a new web site trick I have not seen before. When you copy a piece of text from that web site and paste it somewhere else, the text is followed by the URL of the article!
I'm sure it can be an important promotional tool if many people casually copy/pastes text into emails.
The web is not what I learned about it the nineties. Back then web code was just a simple text page with a few simple codes to format text, links, or images. Now it's so complex I don't think I could learn it if my life depended on it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ukrainian Feminists Against Porn

Ukrainian Femenists [sic] Against Porn, post. Hmmm.


(Upcoming model on Domai.)

(I don't post full nudes here on my personal blog, because it has a different mission and audience from Domai, but occasionally I'm especially charmed by the face of a new model and will show that here.)

Frostie dancing

OK, so maybe we are anthropomorphizing, and maybe this is the kind of thing your aunt Lidya sends you, but well, it's just funny.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Do you own what you buy?

It’s Still A Duck: Court Re-Affirms That First Sale Doctrine Can Apply to “Licensed” Software, article.
"Building on a prior ruling, a federal court has re-affirmed that a Seattle man was not infringing copyright law by re-selling software he obtained from an Autodesk customer.
The ruling is bound to frustrate the copyright industries, which have struggled for years to convince courts and their customers that the only thing you “buy” when you buy software is a limited and temporary right to use that software under certain conditions. In other words, they claim buyers aren't owners.
The distinction is no mere technicality. Under the Copyright Act, owners of copyrighted material are given substantial rights in the particular copies they purchase. One of the most important of these protections is the "first sale" doctrine, which says that once you've acquired a lawfully-made CD or book or DVD, you can lend, sell, or give it away without having to get permission from the copyright owner. Without the first sale doctrine, libraries would be illegal, as would used bookstores [...]"

Aha! I've always wondered about libraries, how it worked legally and financially.

Girl on phone

Murphy's law

Murphy, an Irishman, was applying for an engineering position at an Irish firm based in Dublin. Jones, an American was applying for the same job. Both applicants, having the same qualifications, were asked to take a test by the department manager.

Upon completion of the test, both men only missed one of the questions.

The manager went to Murphy and said, "Thank you for your interest, but we've decided to give Jones the job."

"Why?" Murphy protested. "We both got nine questions correct! This being Ireland and me being Irish, I should get the job!"

The manager replied, "We have made our decision not on the correct answers, but on the question you both missed."

"And just how would one incorrect answer be better than the other?" Murphy asked.

"Simple," the manager replied. "The answer Jones put down for question number 5 was, 'I don't know.' You put down, 'Neither do I.' "

Shirley clowns (updated)

[Thanks to Igor.]
American beauty queen of 1975, Shirley Cothran, clowns around.
When you can do like that and still be cute, you're really cute.

Bob R said:
She is now married and used her winnings from Miss America to get her PhD in education. Here's her site.

Gals on bikes

[Thanks to Ron.]
You can say what you will about China, but they got some MoFo acrobats!
And some well-built bikes!

Ole pics, D100

I suddenly felt like digging up some old photos which I'd never published before. No sooner said than done. Well, a little sooner.
I think they are all from a Nikon D100, my first DSLR*. And one of the earliest really good digital cameras you could get at a reasonable price. I still have good-sized prints framed on my wall taken with that camera.
(My good friend, pro photog Laurie, had the Nikon D1, which he'd bought a year or two before. He got well hot in the top when he saw that the D100 took much better pictures than the D1, at under a third of the price.)

*Update: no, I lie. I had a Canon 30D before that. Or was it called D30? Damn their naming games. Anyway, it was the first affordable (relatively, at about $3000) DSLR at three megapixels. Then Nikon leap-frogged them to six megapixels with the D100. At six megapixels is when the cameras stopped being toys for real.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Zanger Rinus - Hey Marlous

Peach and Denny

I wish it was text instead of this awfully formatted graphic, but it's a cute little story anyway.
update: DF simply googled it, here it is. (Duh, I could have done that, I've even blogged about how to do that. Must have been wee hours.)

Talking about cool stories, this is a good one, about Van Halen and brown M&Ms.