Saturday, September 18, 2010

A new form of animation

[Thanks to Deltacubed]

This is just wonderfully nuts.

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.
(Click the four small arrows to view full-screen.)

The Fat Man Conundrum

Or: the trolley problem. Article.

This article has the best example I've yet seen to illustrate what a strange relationship humans have with morality, especially when killing is involved.

  • Invented by moral philosopher Professor Judith Jarvis Thomson, who taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Case one: A runaway tram is heading towards five people tied to tracks. You are a bystander. Would you flick a switch so it turned down a line where one person was tied to the tracks?
  • Case two: Same problem, but you are watching from a footbridge. You could push a fat man next to you off the bridge, and his bulk would stop the tram. Would you do it?
Almost nobody would do the second one, but it's quite hard to explain why that would be less ethical.

I would tentatively suggest that the two cases are the same in terms of pure ethics, the only thing separating them is how active you have to be. Killing stirs up our subconscious guilt, and the stirring is directly related to how actively we are doing it. 


I'm very envious that Americans can get that amazing deal with Netflix, tons of streaming content just included in the price.

But how the heck they can make money on it is a mystery. See this article for instance.
Lets say the average cost to stream and license a movie is $0.50. All it takes is one user streaming ten movies a month and Netflix's cost is five bucks. And with their cheapest DVD offering with unlimited streaming being $8.99 a month, how much can Netflix realistically charge for a streaming only service? Maybe $5.99? So far, the economics of a streaming only service don't work unless Netflix can get very good licensing terms and hope that users who don't stream a ton of movies each month make up for the ones that do.

If I had set it up, I would have charged at least a tenner more for getting the streaming. It would still be an excellent deal. As it is, I don't see what their strategy is.

Laptops Look Like Racecars — and Not in a Good Way

Laptops Look Like Racecars — and Not in a Good Way, David Pogue article.

David talks about the "Times Square" look of all the stickers on laptops.
Apple refuses to put Intel stickers on its computers, even though there’s Intel inside. In doing so, it leaves millions of dollars a year on the table.

I suspect that Steve Jobs is a bit of a minimalism-aesthetic-control-freak similarly to myself (up to a point). I have many times over the years been offered money to put advertising on various of my web sites, but I never did so. I guess I have three reasons: 1) it dilutes the message and integrity of the site. 2) It f***s with the aesthetics of the site, such as it is. 3) it would no longer feel like my own site.

And I must admit I would actually lose some respect for Apple and its machines if the beautiful laptops came with advertising stickers.

I must add that I don't disrespect all advertising. Many sites have tried subscription models and failed, and the only way to get monetary returns on their work seems to be advertising, and I don't think less of them for that. Of course it can be done well or badly. Just for instance, to only take advertising for products that you can get behind seems to be basic.

Deep inside me, though, it seems an odd world where advertising brings more money than just selling the content which brings in the eyeballs. I never really got that.

Fase said:
I dislike those laptop stickers as well. Does anyone know if they will come off without causing damage?

Eolake said:
Use lighter fluid. Works perfectly.
In some cases they may have to soak for five minutes. You'll have to cover it with a sandwich bag or something, because it's very volatile.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The The Impotence Of Proofreading

(I didn't notice the error in the title either.)

45 lessons

[Thanks to Ray]

Written by Regina Brett, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio 

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and
parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't
save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will
this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd
grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

- Regina Brett

(This is often circulated on the Net with the added claim that Ms. Brett is 90 years old, which isn't true. Yet at least.)

Devices on the bookshelf

[Oops, I posted this on the wrong blog... the full post is here.]

(I left the photo on here, though, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Canon 5DII, 50mm macro, ISO 3200, F:4.5, 1/80 second. Desaturation and vignetting done in Photoshop.)

A payment for a tee-shirt

I wanted to buy a tee-shirt, and found one from a UK company quickly, and was pleased to see they take Paypal, so I don't have to give cc details to yet one more company.

But then on the Paypal confirmation page, it said:
"By clicking the button below, I authorise the payment of any future amounts due to Zazzle Inc. from my PayPal account."

WTF? Would you accept that?
It's unlikely that they would misuse it, but why the heck would they put such a stupid clause in their payment terms?

Housing Associations

Here in the UK, it seems apartments are usually grouped into "housing associations", whatever the heck they are or do. I suspect they are the real owners of the flats.  The problem is, the tenants, even though we have "bought" the apartment, we really don't have any power outside the apartment, so if the street door need fixing and they don't care, we're just f***ed.

Back in Denmark, they have a different system, "boligforeninger" (which also means housing associations). I must admit, I don't really understand how they work, but it must be something government mandated, because if you're in one and have waited long enough (years) to get an apartment, you can get it much cheaper than if you buy one.

But they do have this going for it, those who manage the apartments is a group of people actually living in the apartments, they see the other tenants all the time, so they pretty much have to care.

That can suck too, but sometimes I miss it. Because the Association where I live now have been promising me for years to put up clearer numbers by the apartments so drivers can find where they're going, but it just keeps not happening. And now they are being bought up by a bigger company for the second time in a few years, it's clear that is it's just a cold business where nobody cares about anything other than the bottom line in the bank statement.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I think I've been wanting something like this for a long time.

Not that funny, but the product is highly interesting.
I always buy combat pants for the pockets. But they can't carry an iPad, and they don't have that excellent special iPod pocket that you can operate the iPod *through*. And the vest can hold the earphones, so they don't tangle in everything.


Search technology and synonyms

I hope that search technology will evolve to include synonyms (as optional).

If you search for - Bill angry Joe - , you're boffed if it was written with "upset" or "pee'd off" or "miffed" or whatever. So under the straight results, if any, a search engine (on the web or in an app) could present the results which have the same or similar meanings.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking for classic toys

For a while, I've been wanting some toys to photograph. I want some classic toys like they did it 100 years ago, made of wood or metal, not plastic. And with nice colors, not just bright colors. (The clashing neon colors on modern toys make me puke.)
And what makes it really difficult is that I'm looking for things that are visually arresting. Things I consider beautiful. And complex is good.  I know they exist, I have seen them, but they are so durn rare. 

I've tried in toy stores, and I've searched on eBay, but don't fin' nottin'!

Anybody know a source, either for actual old toys, or somebody making fine toys today? (Maybe for collectors instead of children.)
Toys that move might be especially interesting.

Android Is As Open As The Clenched Fist I’d Like To Punch The Carriers With

Android Is As Open As The Clenched Fist I’d Like To Punch The Carriers With, article.
It's funny, you'd think that the "openness" of a system would be a pretty, sorry, open-and-shut case, but it seems there are always great debates about it.

"Raw chocolates infused with love potions"

Nicola pointed to these NYC Gnosis chocolates.

I'm nigh cynical these days about "miracle ingredients" in food stuffs and supplements. But the choc does look very inviting, so I think I'll sample it.

Adam Hughes' Cover Run

I just got* Adam Hughes' art book Cover Run. I would recommend it, except there is probably no need, since it's a monster hit already and everybody is talking about it.

I discovered that I really like when there's a bit of text on every other page in an art book. Otherwise, no matter how much I like the art, I'm just done with it very quickly, and that's a pity. Of course the text should have interest, but it does not have to be Shakespeare, just good enough. Some thoughts and anecdotes.

*It took two weeks to arrive since shipping, even within the UK! And they had predicted so too. I am wondering if the company told a fib on Amazon when they said "ships from the UK", and they really had to get it home from the US first? Does anybody know if two weeks in the post is reasonably expected?

PS: I'm looking forward to future super-tablets for e-artbooks. I'm enjoying everything else more in digital, so why not. For example, the contrast and color range is bigger with screens than print. (At least as goes for blue and green, if compared to traditional cyan-magenta-yellow-black printing.)

Ants outweigh humans

Ray heard that ants in total outweigh humans, amazing but seems it true.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CGI spider

Ian found this animated spider which reacts to your cursor. Very life-like.

A failure of ethics in journalism

A failure of ethics in journalism, article.

Fine line art

Fine line art on Lego.

(Hmm, how do you even draw on glossy plastic? Doesn't rub right off at least?)


When I mentioned build-up of Stuff, my friend Marc said:
I enjoy giving away stuff on freecycle on craigslist. We have met some neat people who really appreciate stuff that no longer serves us. It is so much more fun than a garage sale where you nickel and dime with people.

Cool idea. Stuff like furniture is a hassle to send, having a local group is great. It's a moderated list, which is often good. And there are also trading/selling lists for various towns on craigslist, if you would like to get a bit of money for your stuff.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Datamancer's "Clacker"

There are some shots of beautiful steampunk designs in this video. (It's in German, but the text explains some of it.)

His Clacker design is based on the amazing Victorian mechanical computer, Charles Babbage's Difference Engine.

Wow, the water-cutting machine in the video is impressive. Cuts right through brass like it was butter.

How My Dancing Kid Joined the Copyright Wars

[Thanks to Joe]

How My Dancing Kid Joined the Copyright Wars, article.

Includes some interesting info about a cryptic message some users get from YouTube.

Mighty Bright II (updated)

I now got the two-lamp version of the Mighty Bright portable lights. And it's everything I said about the normal version plus very impressive light output. I would say that it would work for anything I imagine one might do within arm's reach.
Oh, and the "bulbs" are in the same small head, it's equally compact. And you can select to use just one of them if desired.

Update: Oh, just fine: I bought them from the US because I couldn't find the double-bulb ones on Amazon UK. But now I can, and it seems they have been there for a while... Dunno what happened there.       :-)

Just wanted to say how surprisingly pleased I am with this little product. It's just outstanding.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spiral Aloe

Isn't this amazing, almost like a psychedelic sculpture.

New blog: E-reader Joy

New blog: E-reader Joy.
It's mine, and I made it so I can go wild with the ereading obsession without overwhelming this blog with it.
It'll be about all aspects of digital reading.
Now we'll just see how long my interest lasts!
Perhaps it'll fade soon after we get the perfect device. Whatev'.
TTL may have planted the seed of making a separate blog, so thanks dude.

Update: Mikko said:
I really like reading your thoughts, but the sheer amount of ipad/ereader-stuff was almost too much... Now, get back to some tits and photography.

My pleasure.
In these nice tits* shots, notice the pleasant blurred background. Great bokeh.

BTW, I just ordered the 50mm Canon macro lens. Seeing that coffee video recently, I realized I didn't have a macro for Canon, what an oversight. And this lens is compact and apparently real damn sharp , and has very nice bokeh (background blur).

*I'm sure you all know that tits are small birds. 

Domain drought

It's absurd that all decent domain names are taken, and the great bulk of them aren't used. I wish they'd make a rule that you have to use a domain, or you can't sit on it.
(Update: I would include blog names in this.)