Saturday, September 03, 2011

"Bolero" played by Symphonic flash mob

[Thanks to Jim in Seattle]

Copenhagen Philharmonics playing Ravel's Bolero and leave. 

This station is like a second home to me. I've no count of how many times I've been in it, but thousands for sure, maybe tens of thousands. I really like it, it doesn't have the hostile super-busy feel that bigger international stations do, it's more relaxed and friendly.
It changed over the years, the great pillars for instance didn't used to stand free.
I often used to have coffee in a coffee shop on the first floor, above the hustle and bustle, what a great place to read and look at people for a while. One day I saw a film crew film a scene with well known actors. They were using one of the long rows of pay phones which used to be there. That's another thing that's changed!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Lenka - Trouble Is A Friend

[Thanks to Anna]

Good song, pretty singer, very cool visuals, and even thought-provoking lyrics. I've heard about how periods of trouble have helped people in their personal development much more than plain sailing had usually done.

Fuji X10

New: Fuji X10. It's not a large-sensor camera like the X100*, so it won't have the X100's outstanding low-light performance, but on the other hand it has zoom, something I'll admit to miss when I don't have it.

Update: I have the camera now, and the low-light capabilities are actually *really* good.

I like the look of it, very "camera like", meaning it's a machine, not a blob. And apparently it's a dang good lens, so it'll be interesting to see what reviewers say. And it's a 28mm-e to 112mm-e and 2.0 to 2.8, so that sounds great. Still very few zoom lenses are that fast, and the range appeals to me, unlike 12x super-zooms, it has a chance of delivering high fidelity over the whole range.

*The sensor is still larger than most compact cameras', including the one in the Canon S95. Thanks to ES.

tOP also has an interesting little article about which is the best aperture to use, fidelity-wise.

Wolfman 2010

When I wrote about the classic monsters recently, I found out that Universal had re-done Wolfman in 2010. And being a fan, of course I had to see what blu-ray and recent tech could do with this story.

I am a fan for at least one reason beyond being generally a lover of SF and F, and that is that when I was just the right age, 8-13, Danish publishers were putting out versions of the classic Eerie comics from the fifties. And many of these were not only good, they were amazing. Subversive and surprising stories, and some of the best artists on the planet drew them. So Dracula, the Wolfman, etc, stuck with me good and well.

Reception of the 2010 Wolfman was mixed, but I liked it. Beautifully lit and photographed (and created digitally, like Victorian London rooftops scenes for example), and solid story and solid acting. And very good effects. Unlike some movies done in recent years (van Helsing for example), not done mostly in digital but kept physical where possible, and blended with digital quite seamlessly.  I don't know that the ending quite held up the pace in terms of importance to the story, but overall I quite liked the film.

Just as was the case with the 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula, I found the intermediate stages of the monster-transformations to be the "scariest" and visually most interesting. In the final shape of both Dracula and Wolfman, they are stuck in the traditional depictions, it seems, but in the middle of the changing, the designers could go wild, and found some interesting far-out inhuman shapes.

Ebook search

Inkmesh, ebook search engine, find formats and compare prices. Seems highly useful.
... Oh, it even includes audiobooks, excellent.

Richard Branson, Victoria Secret Models

Here's a tidbit for the reader or two for whom I clearly am a huge irritation. Seeing as how Richard Branson has, if possible, an even bigger ego than myself, maybe he can be lightning rod for a few hours...

Most people in this world has been taught to not speak well of themselves. But still if you combine them, there are still very many people who have not learned the lesson. Given that, it must take an enormous amount of energy to snarl and lash out at all of them. And does anybody thank you for your hard and selfless work? Nooooo!

I'm happy to hear that the promotional stunts paint a wrong picture of him. Timo points this out, and Philocalist wrote:

I met Richard Branson several years ago, quite casually in the coffee lounge of a large London hotel.
I was sat on a couch, waiting on the arrival of a courier, with my nose deep in a book: I took no notice of the guy who sat down opposite and ordered coffee, which arrived for 'two' rather than just him - the waiter had made a simple mistake and assumed us to be together.
At this stage I looked up to recognise him immediately, and before I could even react, was offered coffee and cake by him!
Purely coincidentally, his company, Virgin, had very recently purchased a large country hotel close to where I lived, and there was talk of him moving his UK office there, into a refurbished stable-block - it gave me something to talk about :-)
What I found very different about this guy was that he sat and genuinely listened to what I had to say, asking questions of me that perhaps only I, as a local, could answer honestly.
We sat for maybe another 30 minutes: his appointment arrived at the same time as my delivery.
This was in direct contrast with another 'celebrity' who arrived into reception as we sat there.
I won't name names: he was, and possibly still is the biggest game-show host (amongst other things) in the UK. I've never seen such rude arrogance on open display: it was such a marked contrast ... the staff were very happy (and relaxed!) to be around Richard Branson, but avoided GSH like the plague! 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Darren's Great Big Camera

Darren's Great Big Camera blog.

"No fix for that" says Virgin UK

My TV cable box with the Virgin extra V+ service can record programs. And normally it does it fine. But recently it has suddenly deleted a whole string of recordings at once, everything on it. When rebooted, it has "recovered content" files listed, but these files won't play. It has happened several times.

Not great, so I called Support. After much checking and waiting, I was told that "there's no fix for that". Apparently not even getting a new box would help. And there was no light on the horizon either.  I would simply have to sit back and accept my recorded fave TV programs disappearing periodically. Or, I guess, get Sky TV instead. But I don't think they do broadband.

Wow, that has to be the worst ending of a Support call I've ever had! "There's no fix for that"... seriously?

German city introduces parking meter for prostitutes

German city introduces parking meter for prostitutes, article.
Juanita Rosina Henning, from the Dona Carmen prostitute-support group, called for the meter's removal, saying the women already pay income tax on their earnings.
"This has nothing to do with fiscal equality," she said, adding that prostitutes were the only workers to be taxed in such a way.

Yello - Si Señor the Hairy Grill

[Tak til Benny]

Human penguins

Norm found this video, a commercial which uses nude humans to show how penguins survive in the cold, or maybe it's the other way around.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tim Cook: my first-person impression of Apple's new CEO

Tim Cook: my first-person impression of Apple's new CEO, article.

Tim sounds like a real mensch*. Not a Walking Suit. I've had some cool bosses in the past, all my major jobs actually. And if I ever had to have one again, I wouldn't mind at all if he was like Tim Cook seems in this report.

*"...a decent, upright, mature, and responsible person."
Great definition, eh?

1950–55;  < Yiddish mentsh  man, human being < Middle High German mensch  ( German Mensch )

Are books dead, and can authors survive?

Here is a discussion about the future of publishing and writers.

Already, in the world, on the Internet, there is enough free media to take a man from cradle to grave. We can watch non-stop free movies and videos, listen to non-stop free music, play non-stop free videogames, and NEVER run out of free content for our entire lives.
And yet movies, TV, videogames, music, along with books and porn, continue to make billions of dollars worldwide. Even though all this free stuff already exists.
While the future will no doubt offer more free content, the whole "race to the bottom" is fear-mongering BS.
Newsflash: We're already at the bottom. And artists are still making money.

Granted it's a complex issue, but I think there are many good points put forward in this article. There's no evidence that advances by publishers is the only way authors can make a living. In fact I've already heard of many writer who have only gotten affluent after starting self-publishing digitally. I don't know exactly how many, and I doubt anybody have collected reliable statistics on it yet. But it's clearly enough to be at least strong anecdotal evidence.

We should not forget  that also before e-publishing, it was only one book in thousands written which got published, and only one in thousands being published which made good money. I heard the statistic of 200,000 books traditionally published annually in the US, and only 300 of those selling more than 50,000 copies! That's less than one in fifty.

And while, if you were one of the few chosen to be taken under the wing by a publisher, sometimes they gave important support, they also take a big, big bite of the cake. And they often take 1.5 years to put out a book. All the while I'm told from many sources that these days, they don't even promote the book most of the time, they expect the author to do that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To do or to talk

If you really want to do something, you do it. You don't save it for a sound bite.
- Liz Friedman

A friend of mine said something similar many years ago, as a realization he'd had:
"I realized that you either talk about doing something, or you do it." 

And it fits with my observations. I think we all know people who are full of great plans, and talk about them at great length. But ten years go by, and none of those things have actually gotten done. And then there are people who actually get things done, sometimes remarkable things, and you rarely hear them talk about these things a lot before they happen.

And of course the same divide can happen inside one person, not only between people. You talk or you do, but rarely both. I'm not sure of the causal relationship. Maybe either talking or doing gets rid of the energy of interest you have in something, so if you are doing it, the need for talking disappear, and if you talk about it a lot, the need for doing it disappear. Maybe. Or maybe if you want to do something and it just isn't happening, but you can't really face up to that fact because you have too many hopes riding on it, you start yapping about it to prop yourself up to yourself.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"And Another Thing..."

A sixth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series came out last year, by an Eoin Colfer.
Obviously for a series which is so intensely, almost obsessively beloved as THHGTTG, any book by any author which attempts to continue it, will be met with a storm of criticism. Heck, even if Adams secretly had written it himself and people thought it was somebody else, many would hate it from the word go. But in any case, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was inventive and funny. Okay, there were a few details in the middle I thought had escaped the editor's knife by mistake, but not a lot.

So in other words, don't buy or read it if you feel strongly about Douglas Adams, or feel that, for example, a Zaphod Beeblebrox who has had his left-brained head taken off to run the spaceship is sacrilege.

And of course you may also want to steer clear if you think that the idea of another author continuing a seminal work is simply Wrong. I'm not sure, I can see both sides of that one, very often it feels like it seriously dilutes the originals. For example the Asterix books have been weak since Goscinny died and Uderzo took over the writing on top of doing the art. Ah well.

Watching "Trollied"?

Is anybody watching that current TV comedy in UK, "Trollied"?
Am I getting slow, or is much of it pretty durn opaque humor? Is it a new advanced kind? Or just so much "English humour" that it leaves a poor Dane behind?

Ugress - Wulfhöken Spaceport Affairs

Ugress - Wulfhöken Spaceport Affairs, new kewl EP from Ugress. (And free too, unless you want to pay.) 

Regular readers will know I'm a long-time fan of Ugress. Several posts and free songs here.

BTW, I just wrote this to U, and it might have interest for other artists:
I don’t know if it matters to you if you earn money on your music, but if it does: I think it would make the sets sell noticeably better if you put in an extra track in the set which you charge for. People like to pay for things they like, but they also feel good about getting a little something for it beyond what they got for free anyway, so they can justify the expense to the Inner Scrooge most of us have. 
On the other hand, I've heard that in some countries at least, if people pay fully voluntarily, without getting something more than they got for free anyway, it counts as gifts and is not taxed. So that may be something to ask your accountant about.