August 3rd, 2006

Porsupah smile by Djinni

(no subject)

From the "simple concept, really nicely executed" music video department: OK Go - Here It Goes Again, whom some may recall from their "A Million Ways" dance video. (To download it, either here for YouTube's FLV, courtesy of KeepVid, or here for an MPEG-4 transcoding)

Extraordinary. A palimpsest containing a 10th Century transcription of some of Archimedes' own works is being painstakingly revealed over at Stanford's linear accelerator. And there's going to be a live webcast of some of this work on August 4 at 4pm Pacific, courtesy of the Exploratorium.

Ooh, cute.. Amazon's selling (well, offering for pre-order) the "second" season of Doctor Who in Cyberman packaging.

<td></td><td>Where have I been in the US? Courtesy of kinkyturtle's new and improvedmap, I can show you. How special is that? =:) calltrace visualises Firefox in action, internally. The video presented is oddly entrancing, in a very deeply geeky way - definitely the way all call debuggers should work, save for the matter of that level of overhead causing Firefox to take two hours to start up. ^_^;</td>

I've got rabitguy to blame for my current musical obsession: Infected Mushroom. Psy-trance drawing from influences all across the board - the demo scene, traditional Jewish folk, Mike Oldfield, JMJ-like twangs, and much more. Here's a good article about them, their music, and so on. I was delighted to discover they're supportive of the free exchange of music, too: 'There is always the pressure of keeping it fresh, of keeping it different in order to stay ahead of the pack, and Infected Mushroom appears to have found the secret in achieving this. Erez claims "The best solution that works for us is to work harder and not to give up so quickly. Giving up is the easiest solution. Access to new technologies definitely helps us too. For example, we support the downloading of music. Music should be free, though buying CDs is kind of fun as well. I like opening a new CD that I just bought with the original cover and of course the sound quality of a CD is still much better then any MP3 format."' Watch this space. ^_^

rifkafox passed on this spiffy periodic table, with each element linked to a concise history, its uses, and other information. Fun stuff!

Anime find for the week: Welcome to the NHK. Not, as I was expecting from the title, something along the lines of a parody of working at said broadcaster.. ohh no. It actually derives from a high school graduate who, since leaving school, has isolated himself exclusively in his apartment, not leaving the room at all for months. He enjoys such benefits as the repeated muffled shoujo anime theme songs coming from next door, quietly fraying his wits, until one day, he comes to a realisation in a conversation with his furniture - it's a conspiracy! But who would want to keep him inside? It's the TV. It's the NHK! This line of reasoning, however, is interrupted by a schoolfriend coming to his door as part of distributing magazines, and from there - he becomes her project.

Anime not to watch out for: Kirarin Revolution. Not entirely unappealing in concept, but entirely unoriginal, and with some awkwardly amateur voice acting from the lead character (chosen, apparently, due to being part of a famous group), it follows an Ordinary Girl™ who dreams of becoming an idol singer, and bumps into a curious guy in the street one day. He turns out to be part of a big name boy band. And it goes from there. Another not to bother with: Innocent Venus. Technically all quite well done, but again wretchedly unoriginal, set in a post-apocalyptic world, wherein Japan is now split into a few industrial cities, and poverty everywhere else. The story opens with one man and a girl fleeing one such city under pursuit - but the girl is obviously much more than she appears, given the resources the authorities subsequently send after her. I'll admit it could be a good one for mecha fiends to sample, though. The storyline, though, showed little escape from the routine cliches, particularly in the characters' natures.

WASHINGTON, DC — 'In a decisive 1–0 decision Monday, President Bush voted to grant the president the constitutional power to grant himself additional powers. "In a time of war, the president must have the power he needs to make the tough decisions, including, if need be, the decision to grant himself even more power," Bush said. "To do otherwise would be playing into the hands of our enemies."

Despite the president's new powers, the role of Congress and the Supreme Court has not been overlooked. Under the new law, both enjoy the newly broadened ability to grant the president the authority to increase his presidential powers. "This gives the president the tools he needs to ensure that the president has all the necessary tools to expedite what needs to be done, unfettered by presidential restrictions on himself," said Rep. John Cornyn (R-TX). "It's long overdue."'

Reality within the White House, well.. is more disturbing.

/. comments for the day:

>>> Most religions are already open source - apart from the Scientology that is.

>> And look at their forking problems! Proof positive that proprietary religions don't have the same forking problems and open source religions.

>Well, Christianity is a fork of Judaism; its main selling points being less restrictive input criteria and no need for hardware modifications. Islam is a fork from Christianity that reintroduced some of the features of Judaism 1.x whilst remaining basically incompatible. Satanism is also a fork from Christianity.

<td></td><td>I'm not one given to pundit/"A-list" blogger musings, but Robert Scoble tends to have a level head. Which is what made this tidbit all the more curious: "Speaking of Apple, they are readying a dizzying amount of new products. I wish I could camp out at an Apple store during the World Wide Developer Conference on August 7th. I wish I could say more, but that’d get me sued by Steve Jobs and I don’t need that kind of heck right now." It's a bit puzzling, as the signs don't seem to be pointing to anything terribly remarkable in Monday's WWDC keynote (10am, no webcast) - Mac Pro desktops seem very likely, maybe the announcement of Merom in the MacBook Pro, and look at Leopard is guaranteed; other than that, nothing worthy of knocking one's socks off. Still, it'd be nice to be proven wrong.</td>

As for things that probably won't see the light of day at WWDC, though anything could happen, these two Apple phone "ads" are quite a testament to their creators' talents: here, and here. The first one's styled vaguely after the Cube ad, with plenty of rapid product shots and camera motion, though the device itself looks a bit chunky; the latter's a much more gentle one, and a gorgeous concept.

Useless app for the day: Jikankei. It's a clock, but based on the traditional Japanese clock, which split the day into two portions, night and day, and each of those into six segments. So, as the year progressed, the period of each "hour" would vary. (As an aside, "rabbit" stands for the first hour of the day, whilst "rat" belongs to midnight) You can read more about the system here.

Whilst not something I'd find useful, WiLMa from Codehackers ("Software for Elitist Snobs") seems potentially useful - for each WLAN, you can set up a separate profile, including what apps to open or close, SMTP server(s) to use, volume settings, and so on. Not free, unfortunately.

Philosophical abstraction has its limits. =:)

Finally, it seems unlimited wireless data comes to the UK: Orange's new version of their animal plans gives Panther unlimited text messages and data, although for a heady £75/mo on an 18-month contract. 'Orange assures us that unlimited really does mean unlimited and there'll be no "fair use" or other capping on customers making calls, sending texts, or using the internet.'

And on the bandwidth front, it looks like Berkeley might become a little cooler still, with a vote on a feasibility study to offer fiber-to-the-home on a municipal basis. Surprisingly, the sums do seem to work out - around $1000-1500 per home, or about $12.50/mo spread over ten years. That could offer Japanese-like speeds of 100Mbit. (Though I wonder if VDSL might not be a cheaper solution? That puts fiber to the street box, and uses the existing, much shorter, segment into the home, for similar end speeds)

Here's a fun bit of Doctor Who miscellany: part 1 and part 2 of Dimensions in Time, a 13-minute short episode featuring Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, produced for the Children In Need telethon in 1993. It's a very hackneyed story, certainly, but bags of fun for seeing all the aforementioned incarnations (sort of) together. Don't watch this if you're unfamiliar with the show - there are plenty of better episodes to start off with. (Though the Autons are a bit of a goofy bunch for villains, I'd still say the first Eccles story, Rose, would serve as a fine introduction)

Better, though, is this video for the techno remix of Ted Stevens' tubes.

Finally, have some bunnies and kittens. I'd say the bunnies come out ahead, on balance. ^_^