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We could start a fund for you

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

A short video interview with Nate on the ride to the airport from the end of the Berlin trip. The fund is started – send me money to contribute!

German toilets: torrential downpour

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Admittedly I’ve only seen toilets in 5 or so buildings in Berlin, but so far they all flush like this – without a whirlpool, and apparently using gallons of water per flush.

The Real Ultimate Truth

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

For a whirlwind tour of life, the universe, spiritual vibrations, and the Real Ultimate Truth watch this 95 minute train wreck dubbed “The 2012 Enigma”. David Wilcock narrates a myriad of topics one flowing into another in an (almost) hypnotic way, making pointed statements using his own unique brand of thought.

It’s so good I’m writing this post while I watch a second time!

Catchup post: Memorial Day edition

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I’ve been busy the last week and haven’t been doing much long form writing and Futurist Now has suffered for it. What’s been keeping me busy?

My new EeePC
I picked up one of Asus’s delightfully tiny new netbooks, the EeePC. A netbook is a new category of sub-notebook device with low end specs designed primarily for browsing the web. The EeePC clocks in at a measly 900Mz, but at 9″ and under 3 lbs it’s easy to forgive it’s specs in lieu of it’s ultimate portability. So far I’m finding it an ideal email machine for use at meetings at work, and as a great bedroom/couch machine for keeping an eye on the tubes while relaxing or watching movies.

Being entirely solid state (the EeePC 900 series comes with 12GB of flash memory rather than a hard drive with spinning platters) it’s shock resistant, and gets surprisingly good performance for it’s diminutive specs. Due to the random access nature of flash memory the EeePC boots quickly and gets great battery life (3 hours of real use). While solid state drive (SSD) technology is still not competitive in price or storage capacity to typical hard drive (HDD) technology I can see the potential and am starting to get excited about the predictions that in 2011 or so SSD will all but completely replace HDD technology in notebooks and desktops.

While the EeePC 900 I picked up came pre-loaded with Windows XP I’ve done some experimentation with putting Ubuntu on it. As with my typical annual cycle I attempt to put some variant of Linux on my computers to see how the OS X/Windows competition is doing. This time however I was surprised – the latest Hardy Heron (8.04) release of Ubuntu is slick, polished, and works ‘out of the box’ on all the hardware I had laying around. While Ubuntu might be getting attention as a decent desktop alternative where I think it really shines is on a low end PC like the EeePC – it’s limited feature set and lean architecture work perfectly on a device with CPU and memory constraints.

Being a 3 day weekend I took the opportunity to see a couple of movies with Brien and Brian. We saw both Indiana Jones 4: The Crystal Skull, and Iron Man. Both movies were excellent (if not over the top) and fun movies to see while on holiday. I was never the hardcore fan of the Indy series that Brien was, and much to his horror I actually liked the newest one best from the series. It captured the fun essence of the earlier flicks while maintaining a fresh and modern feel even while being set in not so modern times.

Iron man also kept a modern feel, although it did so with a very modern setting. Having never read the comic book I assume I missed out on a lot of the back story, but still found the story presented in the movie touching and engaging. Having grown up idolizing gadget superhero (Hello, Inspector Gadget) it’s nice to see a modern take on a technological super-hero. Final note on the movie: I need a flying metal suit, that looks fun!

Lensbabied sneaker opus
Last but not least, a quick shot I took with my Lensbaby 2G while out on a photo walk on Saturday. I’ve been using my 18mm and 50mm primes a lot and decided to take the Lensbaby out and go for a stroll. I’m certainly glad I did as one of the resulting shots is a clear winner in my odd little abstract world.

Footwear abstract

Quest for the IMDB 250

Monday, April 28th, 2008

As part of my 101 in 1001 project I set myself a goal to see at least 100 of the top 250 movies of all time as voted by the seething masses at IMDB. In taking stock it would seem that I’ve already seen 73 of them meaning I have 27 left to watch in roughly 27 months leaving me with an entirely manageable cadence of one a month.

A quick glance through the collection shows I have 8 of these movies unopened in my collection so those will be first up on the viewing list:

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Juno (2007)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Magnolia (1999)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Shining (1980)

Which leaves 168 remaining movies to select from, listed in the full post. If you have a suggestion of a favorite movie from below that you particularly like and think I should prioritize onto the list leave a comment and let me know!

Read the rest of this entry »

AppleTV/Hairspray review

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Yesterday Apple released the AppleTV Take2 software update. Of course upon getting home I immediately installed it and started playing with some of the shiny gooey goodness and I have to say I’m impressed. I really liked the first version of the AppleTV and they really have knocked it out of the park this time.

The entire user experience is re-envisioned to be more flashy – much more fun to use. The fact that the AppleTV can now independently sync podcasts, buy music and TV shows on the iTunes media store, and rent movies makes for a most delectable icing on an already moist and delicious media cake.

For some strange reason I decided upon Hairspray as test of the new HD rental service. The rental experience was a breeze – two clicks of the remote (plus a one-time password entry) and the HD movie was playing with surprisingly good quality within two minutes.

I went into Hairspray with low expectations and came away impressed. The movie is fun, engaging, and oddly thought provoking. Don’t get me wrong – it’s completely campy and over the top, but really well executed. The music and choreography is well thought out and the cinematographer did a great job of showcasing some of the dance moves without distracting the viewer with too much camera movement.

Featuring fantastic performances by John Travolta, Christopher Walken (it had been so long since I’d seen the Weapon of Choice music video I’d almost forgot how good a dancer he is), and new to film actress Nikki Blonsky who leads the film with confidence and flair.

For the record: John Travola in drag is just plain wrong, but wrong in the kind of way that I can get behind. Travolta in drag for President 08!

Life after people

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Like the good little media consumer I am I finally broke down and shelled out $4 on Amazon to check out The History Channels ‘Life After People’ and I have to admit I’m impressed. It’s a 90 minute presentation about mans influence on the planet and exactly what would happen if people were to mysteriously vanish.

The show covers everything from the more immediate effects in the days and weeks following our disappearance, and continues on for 100′s and 1,000′s of years showing the effects of natures reclamation and the collapse of the great works of man. The special effects are surprisingly well done and do a great job of illustrating how important day to day maintenance and a good coat of paint are at keeping the global landmarks of today from turning into rusted heaps of metal.

While the concept is neat there is one thing about Life After People that bugs me: the lack of people. While the whole premise of the show is about what would happen if people vanished in an instant I can’t think of a good scenario which would bring this about. There are no dead bodies, no damage, nothing to explain it in the show – people (although not their pets or any other animals) just vanish. There are plenty of ways that people could vanish from the earth, but none of them would leave no trace of our destruction like the show proposes.

All in all a highly recommended watch though – check it out if you like thought-play, engineering, or ecology! Such a visceral depiction of mans greatest achievements and technology facing the true test of time really does provoke thought and give the brain something to chew on.

Renewed and renowned

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Funny how getting my car detailed can kick my auto-passion into high gear. Tuesday evening I picked up my A6 from Mirrorworks from having a full detail and some paint work done. It’s shiny and like-new again – I’m swooning all over my precious car again!

Aside from the car life has been good. Traskpro has his a solid and stable 0.9 (and graduated from alpha to beta) and is rocking my task list right and left. I even have acquired a few other heavy users which is oddly gratifying. I’ve still got 31 remaining features/tweaks to make, but those can happen gradually over the next few weeks as I continue to ramp up on JavaScript.

Also in the world of good things Scott came over last night. He hadn’t experienced a proper viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End so we did dinner and a showing of that. As silly and overly-Disney as the film is I really do enjoy watching it. I really do hope that big budget swashbucklers never die – they are just so much fun to experience.

Right – back to work now. I have to finish up a ton of stuff today and tomorrow to be ready to take off a few days to be home for Christmas!

It’s cold out here, no kind of atmosphere…

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

I’ve actually been enjoying myself quite a bit the last few days. My project shipped at work, and although it was a rough couple of days it’s done now and I’m feeling much more relaxed as the result. From Friday night through to this fine Sunday afternoon I’ve been distracting myself with the Red Dwarf Complete Collection on DVD. I’d always loved the PBS Red Dwarf telethons as a kid, but am discovering I must have missed episodes as particularly some from the later seasons I hadn’t seen before.

Today I woke up early for brunch at the B&O with Brien (mmm Beni Thai Crabcake Benedict!) and then to go for a photo walk. I had to pick up some food for Skype so I decided to start out in my car and after picking up the food went back to my perennial favorite location to shoot: the conservatory.

Sunlit frond

My favorite shot of the day – a backlit palm frond in the conservatory. I actually shot it specifically with an iPhone wallpaper in mind (and tried to frame it correctly for the overlays at the top and bottom) and am quite pleased with the results. You can check out the iPhone specific version here, and the rest of the shots I liked from todays walk can be found here in my Flickr archives.

Sunlit frond” by sparktography

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