Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mystery of Argleton, the 'Google' town that only exists online

Mystery of Argleton, the 'Google' town that only exists online, article.

If I'd known about "trap streets" (phantom streets which map makers put in to detect copyright infringements), I'd probably have thought this was the case when I looked at Google maps close to where I live and saw six streets in a tiny area which I knew only to contain one street. Looking closer though, and to my amazement, the "streets" were real, only very small and old. Two were actually so old they are cobbled, one of those is like two meters across and right up against one building, and the other one is closed off by a fence and is overgrown, and none of them are longer than maybe thirty meters.

This is one of the "streets", the one in front, it's maybe twenty meters long and now used as a drive way for a car dealership.
As you can see, the one which it used to lead to is fenced off and overgrown.

And this is another "street". I guess things have changed since the invention of the car. So far as I can see, this one is not used for anything at all, it leads nowhere, and there are no doors in the building on that side! I think you could sqeeze a car down there, but it'd have to be a small one.

I looooove digital cameras, I just pocketed my tiny Canon compact and walked out, it cost me nothing to shoot these (and more) in high quality, and five minutes to put them on the web for the whole world to see. (OK, I'm sure these are not super-exciting to most of the world, but the principle holds. :-)

Ray found this:

Anyway, what can it be but simply somebody's prank.

Ziegfeld Girls (updated twice)

Ziegfeld Girls, article, and photos.
Awesome photography.
Update: Mike Johnston thinks it is by Alfred Cheney Johnston.

Update 2: MJ posts an article on his namesake.

Camera abandoned by student on mountain top is returned

[Thanks to Uncle Ron]
Camera abandoned by student on mountain top is returned, article.

"A student left a camera on a picturesque mountaintop in Snowdonia in an experiment into human trust.
Paul Bellis Jones, 24, left a note with the camera near the summit of Mount Tryfan, instructing walkers to take a picture then leave it for the next person.
He was keen to know if the camera would be returned to his home in Glan Conwy, near Llandudno, as per his instructions, of if it would be stolen instead."

Behavior and attention

Don't reserve your best behavior for special occasions. You can't have two sets of manners, two social codes - one for those you admire and want to impress, another for those whom you consider unimportant. You must be the same to all people.
-- Lillian Eichler Watson

Interesting idea. I'm sure some will react like "so I should be as pleasant to the bag boy at the supermarket as to the mayor? Yeah, right."

The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds.
-- Tryon Edwards

Aha. That might explain why I have a lousy memory for numbers and a great one for music and pictures and literature. Numbers just don't interest me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cloud tsunami

[Thanks to Tommy.]
Mark Watson photographs, from a hang glider, the "morning glory" phenomenon of a huge rolling cloud.

Aaaaaand, this way kewl video of the astounding behavior of water drops in slow mo.

Both video deserve the HQ treatment, is why I don't embed them.

TC [Girl] said...
LOVED the GORGEOUS quality of BOTH vids...for SURE!! Wish ALL uboobs could be this AWESOME!! Thanks, Tommy & Eo for sharing!! :-)

My pleasure.
Thanks for acknowledging, it's good to hear when somebody likes what you post, even when it's basically a link.
Also thank you for acknowledging when other commenter's comments please or amuse you.

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle made in lego.
I hope this and the other Miyazaki films will come on blu-ray soon.

World's biggest cruise liner

So they ordered this not long before the WW recession. I wonder if they are nervous now...

Halloween show

[Thanks to Charles.]

Somali Man, 112, Marries 17-Year-Old Girl

Somali Man, 112, Marries 17-Year-Old Girl, article.
Talk about your dirty old men, this guy beats them all.
My hat is off if he can actually still beget.

Update: in comments, Pascal educates my naive Danish ass a little about Somalia.

Update: of course it's well to remember that things are often not like they appear. For instance they might have a very happy happy marriage. Or not. Who are we to know? Or to judge?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Death of the DSLR Camera?

[thanks to]

Death of the DSLR Camera, article.

It includes an interesting brief outline of the history of SLR cameras, and he has some good points. Although I'm pretty sure the DSLR will stick around for many years yet, for professional users at least, most of the advantages are being eroded from below.

A dream of robots

I dreamed this:

I was in a super-futuristic city. Almost deserted. Very beautiful and high tech.

I spoke to an impressive and visually complex alien/robot/android/whatever. He'd just finished a major task in preparation for the People to come back to the planet. I saw that he was starting to degrade, fall apart. Clearly he was now dying. I pointed it out, a bit alarmed.

He said, "yeah, I always do that, at the end of a major task, every couple million years maybe. Like a Phoenix, I start again with a blank slate. I find it keeps me sleeping better."

A bit earlier, he had pointed out that a huge building just had a major update to its security system. Now, when the building was empty, a thick hard glass-like shell closed around it, a few feet beyond the walls and doors. And he demonstrated. I said "well, what if you get caught between the shell and the building?" He said "it's simple, you just go here, and rotate your hand over this lock, so the house computer knows what you want... and then you stick your hand in here and push the secret unlock button..." And pointed to a big, black, crude plastic lever sitting in a big hole in the top left corner of the door!

Magic Mouse (updated)

OK, so I just got the pricey but nicey new Apple Magic Mouse. It's a booooootiful design, and in many ways, so far, the best mouse I've tried. (Not sure yet if it's the best pointing device I've used.)

But I just have to say, I don't get it: optical mice have been common now for a decade, and still they have trouble with smooth tracking on an ordinary wooden desk? WTF?
(Does anybody know a good mousing surface for optical mice?)

But I love the scrolling mousetop surface. Fantastic idea.

Update: Ray suggested denim or art paper. And I happen to have some samples of hand-made paper, so I am trying this now. Early results are promising.
Update: but later ones less so. It developed some jumping and unevenness again. The paper surface was perhaps too rough. So now I'm trying plain copy paper.

Rodion said...
I use this surface at work and home (not for gaiming) with microsoft natural mouse 6000 and really pleased with it.
It helped to greatly reduce arm strain after hours of work.

eolake said...
Thanks. I think I'll try it, because I have just given up and gone back to my Rollermouse.

There's some evidence that the jumpiness may be related to the wirelessness. From this forum page here.
(I wish they had a wired version of the Magic Mouse because I don't like the jumpiness of bluetooth. Especially when you do layout and graphic design, there isn't as much precision with a bluetooth mouse. Plus I'd rather have the $50 price tag than $70. I have a Logitech Bluetooth mouse right now, and if Best Buy has the Magic Mouse in stock by Halloween, I'll have one of those to replace it.)
"This is what I want to know before I buy one. I won't buy another Apple mouse if it's as unprecise and jumpy as the wirless mighty mouse. I like the fluid motion that OSX gives for mouse movement, but it just doesn't follow through on the Mighty Mouse."

I think it's a lousy move by Apple to make a wireless option the only one, if it really is true that it's less precise than a wired one.

Strange bug

Alex encountered this strange, and nasty-looking bug. Big too, over an inch, he says. Anybody know what it is?

Well, that was quick. Bill informs:
That is a Devil's Coach Horse beetle.

Many many many applications...

A macro I'm using to open the half-dozen apps I'm using most, went wrong somehow, and selected and double-clicked every item (310) in my applications folder!

The bad news: it seems OS X does not have a safeguard to ask for verification when one doubleclicks a very large number of items.

The good (and astounding) news: After opening hundreds of apps and files, the Mac was still running and functioning!!

I pointed my Panasonic GF1 close at the screen and recorded this video of it. The bouncing icons belong to apps which want to talk to me for some reason.
See also the tiny icons at the bottom of the two screenshots below. (I had to divide the screenshot into two halves so Blogger would not scale it down.)

I'd expected total meltdown. (And for a while the screen did look funky.) But then 1)OS X is designed specifically to load only the essential bit of an app, I think. 2) I have f***ing 12GB of RAM in this awesome machine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

About screens and reading

Philocalist commented on the Kindle competitor post:

:-) I see that Amazon have just announced the imminent availability of an application that will effectively give you Kindle on your laptop / netbook etc, with the additional capability of colour photographs. Apparently, it will give you a better experience than the original!
Makes sense to me ... as much as I like the books lining my bookshelves, I like the idea of being able to easily take multiple publications 'on the road'. What did NOT appeal was having to pack along another piece of kit alongside the laptop / phone / digital camera etc.
Maybe this could be an ideal solution?

If you bring your laptop anyway, it's a good point. However, one of the reasons for ebook reading devices is that most people including me don't care for reading a lot of text on normal computer screens.
I'm not even sure why... the contrast? The flickering? The crude resolution? Anybody know this?
One reason of course is we like to hand-hold what we are reading, so we can sit comfortably. But I think there is more to it than that.

Poem #6 by Rainer Maria Rilke

[Thanks to Signalroom.]

Poem #6 by Rainer Maria Rilke

I have faith in all those things that are not yet expressed.
I want to set free my most holy feelings.
What no one has dared to want
will be for me impossible to refuse.

If that is presumption, then, my God, forgive me.
However, I want to tell you this one thing.
I want my best work to be like a shoot,
with no anger and no timidity;
this is the way children love you.

With these ebbing tides, with these mouths
opening their deltas into the open sea,
with these returns, that keep growing,
I want to acknowledge you, I want to announce you,
as no one ever has before.

And if that is arrogance, then I will stay arrogant
for the sake of my prayer,
that is so sincere and solitary
standing before your cloudy forehead.

Lisa Ekdahl - öppna upp ditt fönster

"öppna upp ditt fönster" means "open your window". Even though it's just your basic love song, I think that if you generalize that sentiment, it is a very important one. Opening up oneself is a difficult process, but a rewarding one.

Grace Jones on Pee-wee's Xmas Special

I rented the otherwise absolutely dreadful Pee-wee's Christmas Special just to see Grace Jones. Hot outfit. Especially for a kid's show!
The commentary informs that the outfit was from a famous Japanese designer, and also that this unusual and excellent arrangement of Drummer Boy was from David Bowie, who Grace had met on a plane prior to the show and asked for advice on what song to sing.

... After watching a bit more: actually it seems that all the female participants in the show, pretty much, are wearing really daring outfits. Maybe that's what you get when you suppress sexuality: it gets some strange outlets.

Talking about such, Pee-wee Herman/Paul Rubens is of course famous for having his career ruined when he was caught masturbating in a porn theatre. It seems it offended somebody. Me, I would have thought that the lesson would have been that if seeing sexual acts performed offends you, don't go into a porn theatre!

By the way, so far as I recall, his movie Pee-wee's Big Adventure was funny.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kindle competitor

Barnes & Noble has released an ebook reader called Nook.

Ding ding dang my dang-a-long ling long!

Magnetic Mary reminded me of this one.
I dig it.
I bought it in large format single format when it was released. I remember listening to it very loud over the speakers in the record shop (not your father's record store). When it arrived at the first raw guitar solo, my mind was made up instantly. Rock and friggin roll.
(I think it's the closest Ministry has been to a hit, no?)

"How I Feel Today"

Isn't it funny how we are all the hero in our own stories?

(I don't know who painted it, I found it here.)


Antoni Mączyński found it here.

What modern cameras can do

Few things are as taxing of a camera and photographer as bird photos. The high sensitivity of the new sensors and the speed of autofocus these days is pretty amazing. And not to forget you have to be a pretty durn good photographer to do something like this.

Talking about animal photos, this is cool.

Roy Lichtenstein character

This page says the girl is dressed up as a comic book character. I'd say it would be more accurate to say she's dressed up as Roy Lichtenstein's idea of a comic book character. Neat idea anyway.

Apropos Lichtenstein, isn't it weird how in some parts of the world it's usual for the imitator to be more successful than the originator? I don't think any comic book artist ever got as rich as Lichtenstein. And certainly at and before Lichtenstein's prime, they were not considered "artists" by very many, they were treated basically like sweat shop laborers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Compact-camera comparison

M Reichman compares the popular and capable semi-compact Canon G11 with my newest fave, Panasonic GF1, the latter having a bigger sensor.

Below is a sample of the difference at relatively high ISO (about 600). At 100 to 200 ISO, the difference is much smaller, negligible. At 800 to 1000 it's bigger.

Lord V's photostream

Lord V's photostream.

Norah Jones - What Am I To You?

[Thanks to TC Girl.]

Not normally my type of music, but there are always exceptions.
Hmmm, embedding disabled, so you'll have to go here.

Ministry - N. W. O. (updated)

Ministry - N. W. O. (New World Order, quoting George Bush Sr.) (And in fact this is not an endorsement. Al Jourgenson, the heart of Ministry, made a whole album later just about all the things he hates about Bush, this time Junior.)

Thanks to Jan, here is the orginal video for the studio version, which I think is even better.

... I'm reminded of Scarecrow from the same album (Psalm 69), another old fave. Admittedly it ideally should be played loud on very good speakers, since it's a "wall of sound" song.

Update: Magnetic Mary prefers the one below. And that's great too. (I think it's the closest Ministry has been to a hit, no?)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Getting better

Isn't it funny how you can keep learning, long after you thought you were done?
For example, I did not start using macros and typing-completion software until last year, thirteen years after I started using computer, and using them a lot. And now these things are saving me hours of work every month, I'm sure.

Also, a couple of weeks ago I got a new, faster Mac Pro, and set it up with an extra Cinema display so I now have two side by side, and with the new OS Snow Leopard which is faster and nicer and has some features I really use, like the huge image icons. And all these things, surely along with new levels of ability and willingness on my own side, has made me reach new levels of efficiency and joy in computing and producing. I really feel much more productive, faster, and joyful in my work (and play) than I did just a month or two ago. It's so kewl.

Saving blogs (updated)

Once every couple months I save my blog to my own hard drive, in one-month archives. We've heard of companies who suddenly decide to give up projects, especially unprofitable one as Blogger surely is, and the sad but typically human tendency is to suddenly pull the plug and not save archives, and not give the users any warning so they can save all their work. It's insane, but it has happened so many times.

Firefox is better than Safari for this. Safari saves either as just html without pictures, or a web archive, which only Safari can open. Firefox saves as an html files with graphics in a separate folder, so it can be open from the hard disk by any browser. (It does not save the large versions of images which you could click to get, but I can live with that.)

Update: Chris pointed to this as a better way of saving a blog. I haven't tried it yet.
Update... I have now. When I do it the "export blog" way, I get a 54MB ".xml" file... and my computer doesn't know what to do with that...

Net pics

Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8

Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 macro/portrait lens for M4/3 review.

Fourteen lens elements! In a non-zoom lens! Including an aspheric and an ED element. Holy cow.
This is not a cheap lens for sure, but it's a special one, and I think it's great that they are coming out with really premium lenses for a smallish format such as Micro Four Thirds, this will help the format win favor with serious photographers, which will encourage the producers to make more better products, and so on back and forth.

The female nude in history and society

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Morcheeba - "Enjoy The Ride"

[Thanks to TCGirl and Laurie.]

Here's another Morcheeba song, The Sea, which I've liked for a long time.