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Encouragingly, a federal judge has overturned Bush's waiver on high-power sonar restrictions. "Environmental campaign groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRCD) say whale strandings and deaths are associated with sonar blasts, which are also thought to damage the brains and ears of marine mammals. Judge Cooper ruled that there was no reason to exempt the navy from a court injunction barring the use of powerful submarine-detecting radar in a 12-mile zone off southern California, which is a habitat for dolphins, whales and other animals."

El Reg recently pointed out rather a wonderful little Flash ad for a Dutch retailer. Very silly. Perhaps even moreso than this Sesame Street clip that orona_red stumbled upon. =:D

Jamie Hewlett's (Tank Girl, Gorillaz) new sitcom/drama pilot, Phoo Action - "London 2012. Based on the Jamie Hewlett comic strip, Get The Freebies. Super hero Whitey Action joins together with tough gay Buddhist kung-fu cop Terry Phoo, to thwart the crimes of The Freebies Gang." - finally debuts on BBC3 this coming Wednesday, 10.45pm. (And if you're watching Torchwood, note that it's showing in its 9pm BBC2 slot, followed immediately afterwards by the next episode, but on BBC3, where it'll apparently remain)

Pakistani rock group Junoon in SL, in preparation for the forthcoming US Islamic World Forum in Doha, in Qatar. ^_^

Here are a couple tracks that have particularly caught me recently - perhaps they'll do something for you too. ^_^

First up: Dengue Fever - Tiger Phone Card, from their "Venus on Earth" - imagine 60s rock had come from India. The album as a whole is a fascinating blend of Indian-inspired vocal stylings, atop bright guitars reminiscent of surf rock at times.

Next, the coiled up power within an unknown track by The Tanukis, a Denver-based trio. All acoustic, traditional instruments (primarily piano, violin, and guitar), headed by a Russian gypsy singer - they'd surely be one hell of an act to experience live. Furiously energetic.

Finally, the opposite - an entirely synthetic track, with highly processed vocals: Freezepop - Less Talk More Rock. No deep meaning here, just a very polished track to enjoy at good volume.

If you've been wondering about the unusual situation developing with multiple seabed data cables being cut lately, you can find a detailed set of analyses courtesy of Renesys: part 1, part 2, and part 3, which also looks at who's been able to make up the losses most effectively, and what providers have been the winners (including BT, surprisingly enough, and VSNL) and losers (Verizon especially). As for why, nobody knows - Egypt's confirmed it wasn't shipping traffic. Repairs are due to get underway this weekend. Favorite comment: "I, for one, welcome our new cable cutting overlords!"

Meanwhile, this article in the Guardian has quite a neat (and large) graphic, showing the layout and capacities of undersea data cabling. And if you really want the whole poop on undersea cables, try this Wired article from 1996, by Neal Stephenson.

I admit, I often just ignore ads, even those from Project Wonderful - not through browser filtering, in their case, just simply barely noticing the ad banners in the first place. Yet, they do tend to be genuinely relevant, if you're interested in comic strips and the art form - a couple I stumbled upon this way just now are Welcome to Pixelton, an 8-bit inspired strip, and Comixology, a handy reference for what's coming out when from a variety of indie publishers.

It's from January 2007, but this interview with Chris Bentley, head of ATI/AMD's Mac 3D driver group since 1996, is quite an interesting insight into how the two companies mesh. Cute is this bit of the exchange:

AFR: Let's get to the big question many people are thinking about. You are no longer ATI, you are AMD -- even the sign outside says AMD. Is anything different? Are there any changes or will there be any changes with your commitment to Apple now that you guys are AMD?

CB: There is absolutely no change in our relationship with Apple. We
offer the same level of support, from the same people, with the same engagement with Apple and the Mac software companies. In fact, we may be able to offer more solutions to Mac users because we have more resources now.

AFR: Maybe able to offer more....?

CB: Obviously AMD hopes to sell Apple more AMD products.

AFR: Like main processors -- chips?

CB: [....smiles] We can't comment on that.

Hm. Supposedly the new Windlight release comes with voice turned on by default? :-P (Interesting to see how few people, overall, have gone for voice. It's not something I find compatible with SL, but then, I'm not much for phones either)

Only xkcd could exceed this lolcat in layered geekiness.

Here's a music video I like - quite a simple concept, but fits the music well. Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy. As they say, that first step's a doozy.


So, now, if someone asks if you have the time on you, you can say you do - literally. ^_^ (The clock is fully functional, and also offers a stopwatch function)

A handy collection for SL tourists: top 10 spots in SL Japan, including Touji Pagoda, Himeji Castle, Niseko Hirafu Ski Resort, and more. Of course, Tokyo Tower's there, even if it's hardly complete without gigantic stompiness.

Somewhere I should visit, perhaps: the Star Trek Museum of Science. ^_^ And if you're looking for a few L$, an Australian SL designer's holding their island opening on Sat/Sun (9pm Sat SL, 5am Sun GMT, 3pm Sun AEST/4pm Sun AEDT), with various freebies and a L$10,000 grand prize, along with fireworks and DJing.


As recommended by ducktapeddonkey, check out "Kite Fight" by Sweet Thing, an indie act from Toronto. Good stuff. This other track by way of CBC's regular "Track of the Day" is well worth a listen, for the tight guitar work especially.

Bah. No sign of SFM's 960x528 release of Torchwood this week, so I'll have to settle for 640x352. Maybe I'll fetch a 720p release if it turns out to be a good episode - Catherine Tregenna showed strong promise in season one. It'd only be an extra gig or so, but I can't actually play most 720p H.264 files on Hyzenthlay - too much bus bandwidth, and too high a processor load. 'Tis a tough life. s02e03 "To the Last Man" was a particularly good episode, though again, I found myself disappointed by the ultimately fatalistic ending - I'd like to see more narratives eschewing the ordained expectations, instead forging their own way instead, defying the fate others had set out. Nice to see Toshiko developing as a real character, rather than merely tech cypher - even Owen's mellowed remarkably, compared to his original bastardry, following the events later in season one.

So, Apple's pulled out of NAB.. interesting, but not so surprising. For large companies, expos have been diminishing in relevance for several years - far simpler to just hold their own press events whenever they want. For small companies, though, there's still some merit - they're much less able to grab column inches independently, but may feature in many show reports.

Regarding the curious Microsoft offer to buy Yahoo, one analyst offers some novel speculation: it's a trap, aimed at keeping Yahoo from snuggling up with Amazon. I'd be surprised if US regulators objected, though it might happen - the EU might be a bit more difficult to satisfy. Prima facie, I don't understand the rationale at all. Ballmer can claim what a wonderful match this would be for all he likes, but the corporate cultures could scarcely be more different. If Microsoft embarked on a Hotmail style purging of non-MS technology - Yahoo's all FreeBSD, Apache, et al - Yahoo's stability would hardly seem assured, let alone their freedom to sprout off in new directions, as with Flickr. Then the bottom line comes to mind, with the proposed purchase exceeding Microsoft's cash reserves (twice those of Apple), necessitating borrowing, for what doesn't readily appear to be a commensurately enhanced revenue stream.

Fight Club: The Musical seems likely - with music by Trent Reznor. ^_^
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Yep, definitely agreed. I've seen how widespread voice is in a lot of multiplayer gaming, MMORPGs included - for planning and just general chatter in a group, it fits a role handily.

Perhaps it's that particularly immersive nature of SL that's the key, especially with non-human avs. I can imagine it getting quite noisy, too, if you're in somewhere like Cobalt's theatre, with maybe fifteen others around - everyone can easily type away, and nothing's lost in the crosstalk, as every word still appears as normal, including noting who the line's from. (Gods know, it gets difficult in RL at those kinds of times, with one's effective radius reduced to neighbors and that's about it, "long distance" communications having to be relayed around the table =:)

I suppose I should acknowledge other areas LL seems to be wanting voice for: education and business. Fairly sure I've read IBM's in-world meetings tend to use quite a lot of voice, which again would make sense in that context.

I was encouraged to see that voice survey LL ran a few weeks back included voice alteration as something they were soliciting desirability feedback on. Trouble is, that had a bit of a feel of something they'd provide server-side, for a fee, rather than being part of the viewer itself - but, we'll see. LL's wanting to have everything open source, so perhaps the viewer will wind up offering Vivox's own tech, as at present, and a cross-platform open source option.

Still, I'm a relatively quiet sort anyway, so voice or not, people won't notice much difference. ^_^
Nitpick: Yahoo didn't sprout off in a new direction with Flickr; rather, Flickr sprouted all on its own and was eventually bought by Yahoo. :)

And lolscience? Oh my...
True, but they were obviously interested in it enough to take it on as a new offshoot, and continue to develop it much as it had been doing. I like that kind of transparent buyout - pretty much the opposite of Sony's purchase of Connectix's Virtual GameStation, which they nonetheless trumpeted as being a good thing for everyone, and promptly buried it at the Earth's core. (Pity, too - it worked very well for almost all titles)

I'd like to see lolscience a bit busier, but genuinely good (or awful =:) scientific puns can be rather difficult to come up with. Think this is still one of my favorites of all.. ^_^

*chuckles* That's nice, yes. And yeah, I agree, good puns are hard to come up with there; but the same's true for lolcats in general, of course.

And yeah, I'm glad Yahoo didn't ruin Flickr, too.
a wonderful little Flash ad for a Dutch retailer
That seems to be poking fun at Ikea for the silly product names, but I adore the placement of things like a Rube Goldberg device!

Based on the Jamie Hewlett comic strip ...
Awww, I misread that, hoping it was a superHeroNerd who solves the world's problems using his HewlettPackard calculator and speaks in RPN.
It's a glorious little device, ne? I'd almost wonder about how difficult it was to create that, but I've seen enough just glancing around the curtains of a couple artists to understand it's the artistic equivalent of sausage or law.

Assuming it proceeds to a full show (I think this is just a pilot, but I'm not certain), I wouldn't be all that surprised if that did emerge as an allusion, given who we're talking about. ^_^

Going to be hacking the t-shirt? =:D
a federal judge has overturned Bush's waiver

But the emperor has decreed! Maybe the judge should seek asylum in another country now. I find it good news, but I expect a Bush tantrum.

I find the cable news interesting. Until last week it didn't occur to me that today's bandwidth needs can't be met with satellites, and that underwater cables are more vital than ever. I also thought there was a huge amount of dark fiber that could be brought online.

I highly doubt Apple will ever use AMD processors. There is bad blood between Jobs and Ruiz. They had to port OS X to Intel because Ruiz ruined Motorola and delivered uncompetitive chips. Since Ruiz is doing the same to AMD as he did to Motorola, Jobs will stay far away for both business and personal reasons.
It's quite a commendable development indeed, especially in the face of the "activist judges" (but not the guys on the SCOTUS) theme that's permeated the lower realms of "conservative" thinking in the past decade or so. But, despite their failures, it's good to see they're retaining a sense of humor about it all:

"As conservatives, we believe in a government that takes up a smaller share of the national income, that treats tax dollars with respect and restraint. And we believe in a government that keeps to its limits under the Constitution, never expanding beyond the consent of the governed."

"The United States is a country that takes human rights seriously. We do not torture -- it's against our laws and against our values. We're proud of our country and what it stands for. [...] America is a fair and a decent country. (Applause.) President Bush has made it clear, both publicly and privately, that our duty to uphold the laws and standards of this nation admit no exceptions in wartime. As he put it, "We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is, live by them."

..some guy, a few days ago.

Hoo! Feels like the guy's Wikipedia entry could use a bit more detail, and balance.. in the near term, the ATI purchase has certainly hit AMD, and not at a good time, given Core 2 Duo's ability to be a very good desktop and laptop architecture, but Intel doesn't seem to have any grand scheme in mind for CPU/GPU fusion at all - this will probably hurt them badly in a couple years, if AMD's plans turn out well.

It was such a shame, the way Freescale wound up.. still doing very good stuff for the embedded market, but those dual cores could've been quite handy a few years back. IBM, of course, was seduced by the song of untold millions of mostly unchanging cores for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo - only a modest need to devote resources to improving the design, compared to being able to concentrate on POWER6 et al.

Still, SSE's catching up to Altivec, and 64-bit nativeness is emerging, and with it, casting off of a great deal of the sheer fugliness of x86. Maybe I should look into EFI-64.. seems like the usual suspects are wanting people interested in such. Still, if things go well in the coming week or two, maybe I can head back into low level coding again, with some good degree of Altivec design involved, and in a highly enjoyable industry. ^_^

I thought Freescale was doing alright. Just they are focused on the automotive market now. Apple only bought a small percentage of PowerPC chips anyway.

AMD's latest result had a large write-off for ATI being overvalued. Perhaps ATI wasn't overvalued until after it merged with AMD. It's a case where the sum is less than the parts.

ATI made a fair number of Intel compatible motherboard chipsets until the merger; now they have dried up. They might not have been a high profit item, but it was a lot of volume with how many computers have integrated graphics.

AMD's future products deserve a 'show me' rating. With cutting R&D and missing deadlines Intel may yet beat them to market with graphics on the processor die. Intel is aiming for Q2 2009.
Oh, probably so - I was thinking more from the perspective of the range of desktop and laptop CPUs available, where their withering took away a very nice branch. As far as bulk goes, certainly, Motorola/Freescale's long been much more heavily invested in embedded applications, automotive especially, perhaps in some part through their historical proximity to Detroit. Wonder if ARM's making any progress in the sector..

I'm not sure about AMD/ATI. Go on, make your case. ^_^ I think we're sort of in agreement that close cooperation, in a tech and corp sense, can work towards some very fun products. I've no horse in this race, other than hoping the next MacBook Pro has something shiny - I'd be fine with the current 8600M, but if the 8800M's similar in power consumption, it looks like a delicious device. Ultimately, what matters is whether it can make for a smooth SL framerate - the tech merely underlies the purposes, after all.

Have AMD actually been cutting R&D? I'd find that difficult to go along with - R&D's the lifeblood of a company, after all, and something to be sacrificed only along the lines of an amputation. I suppose I could grudgingly concede confining focus to particular areas, similar to the killing of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple - as beautiful as tech concepts can be, their applicability can't be ignored, nor acceptance. Nubus was a cool bit of tech, but PCI dominated, with the inherent benefits of such widespread support.

What's Intel working on, wrt GPU/CPU tech? My impression was their native graphics technology was still horribly primitive. (But still not so much worse than my ole 9700 Mobility.. ah well. Still handles all the Windlight options nicely, even if not the 40+fps some folks enjoy =:)

I'm not sure about AMD/ATI. Go on, make your case. ^_^

Aww. :-P It's the anti-synergy! Well, the merger happened in July of 2006. The second graphic on this link shows an immediate marketshare decline after the announcement.

On AMD's wiki they list that Intel had not granted the license of 1333 MHz FSB to ATI. With AMD owning ATI they now become the enemy, and have been shut out of the Intel chipset market.

AMD tried to blame their poor performance on ATI being overvalued. ATI would not have been overvalued if anyone other than AMD had bought it.

Have AMD actually been cutting R&D?

Yes. Their financial troubles have become acute. Ruiz is letting things stagnate like when at Motorola. Here is a link to a guy who doesn't cut them any slack.

He doesn't give hard R&D numbers, but lists capital expenditures in 2008 dropping from $1.7 to $1.1 billion. But a CPU company can't be viable without both constant R&D and foundry upgrades.

They are trying to do the 45nm conversion with standard technology instead of exotic metals. If it works they save money. If it underperforms like their 65nm they are SOL and become another Via C3.

What's Intel working on, wrt GPU/CPU tech?

Intel is looking at both on-CPU-die graphics as well as discrete graphic cards. It's their next conquest so to speak.

Their next family will be based on the Nehalem core. It's first iteration will be a native quad core with integrated memory controller, ala AMD Phenom. But Intel's next chip is modular, and once they work the initial bugs out they plan to allow octal cores on the high end and replace cores with GPUs on the low end. Their initial GPU/CPU chips will not be impressive graphics wise, but it's sure to make inroads into business computers. Unfortunately they are going to make their products confusing with three different consumer sockets to handle the integrated memory controllers and graphics.

Their discrete graphics cards are tentative at this point. They are aiming for 2010-2011. But I suspect that if they don't perform well the project might get the ax.

My impression was their native graphics technology was still horribly primitive.

Yeah. My laptop with 910M integrated plays SL as a nice slideshow. But Intel is improving them at a faster rate than discrete graphics are improving. Their goal for their first CPU/GPU chip is 10x the graphics speed of the G33, which will still suck when it comes out.

I've no horse in this race, other than hoping the next MacBook Pro has something shiny

I'm not impressed with the Air, the the MacBook Pros have been nice lately. Vista made me try out Ubuntu, but I'll still stick with Wintel for now.
You know, I ran across that pink bunny and was going to point him out to you, but you seem to have found him on your own. Why am I not surprised. =:D
It's part of a lifelong quest, you know - a distributed effort, indeed, and one from which we all prosper, or at least grow temporarily sweaty. =:D

Now, if I could only resemble that by the end of the year, insofar as these monkey genes will let me..

(So, why is "playing god" a bad thing anyway?)

Oh! by the way, that Tanukis track you posted is called "Flightless." Track 4 is called "The Gallows," and is EVEN COOLER. Thank Myspace for those two; I can't find the others anywhere!

Do you have any more by them than Tracks 1, 3, 4, and 5?
Oh, most cool! Nice to finally have some actual names to refer to them by, rather than merely anonymous track numbers. Sounds like the only way of finding out the whole mystery will be getting in touch with the band directly - seems like a good idea anyway, to find out what other recordings they have, ideally as downloads. Fantastic stuff, isn't it? The work just crackles with sheer energy. ^_^

Unfortunately, those four tracks, from an untitled EP, are all I currently have.

I wonder if they've toured.. I know I'd leap at the chance to see them live. Triply so if it were in San Francisco, of course.. there's all sorts of small venues they'd be able to blow the roof off of. =:) Or maybe the Jupiter, over in Berkeley - their back yard's routinely used for live acts at weekends, though it inevitably gets fairly packed, given the range of beers available and the quality of the pizza, amongst the best in the Bay, I'd say. (More or less Italian style - fairly thin base, crisp on the bottom, yet still a bit soft in the middle, not too much cheese, so as not to swamp the other ingredients) And Zachary's has Chicago style stuffed pizza that's well up to anything in Chicago. :-9 (Weirdly, whilst there's a billion generic pizza joints in the Bay, for Chicago stuffed, Zachary's is about the only game in town. They're consistently solidly busy, and don't even bother accepting cards, just cash. Yet nobody tries imitating their success)

I've never had Chicago deep dish before! This is a travesty, as I really don't like thin-crust pizza and always wish for something with a little more heft, but where I am, anything that's not New York style is, shall we say, deprecated. (Not universally despised like Boston clam chowder, but close.) If you really have a hankering for a deeply mediocre pie, bland and with a crust that manages to be both thin and rubbery at the same time, then my area, close to New York and swarming with third-generation Italians, is the place to be. At least we make good saltwater taffy, though. =:9