December 31st, 2007

Jackalope

Digitally unified bunnies

The 100 Nabaztag Opera at NextFest 2006!

Let's get some furry faces in here, mm?

Buckaroo Mu's a DJ with a foolproof plan to help see in the New Year - starting at 0330, he'll be playing a 25 hour set at the Parrot Bay Club, so he can cover the passage into 2008 for every RL time zone. ^_^

"What if the fact we all had matching lemurs actually stood for something? The lemur you held in your picture would represent the lemur you'd saved in Madagascar. It would be a badge of honor to show you did your part to make a difference in this world."

QotD from circuit_four: "Rik, Peg, and I agreed unanimously that our Winter Religious Holiday Of Choice is 'Cookie Time.' Cookie Time comes but once a year, but may the spirit of cookies stay with you year-round. This will amuse us at least until Cookie Time becomes a perfunctory and consumerized yearly social obligation, complete with dreary television specials where Rezeya the Martian Tiger learns the True Meaning of Christmas ('You must eat cookies because eating your friends isn't nice') and her stomach grows three sizes."

Via loganberrybunny, here's a delightful (very) short Doctor Who story, by Paul Cornell, responsible for Father's Day and The Family of Blood.

And in strangely yet more Whovian news, preliminary viewing figures for Christmas Day show Voyage of the Damned with 12.2 million viewers, a 50% total share, its highest since the show's 2005 return. Across the day, BBC One took nine of the top ten places. Suck on that, Murdoch. =:D

The Seven Least-Faithful Comic Adaptations rightfully includes the woeful Judge Dredd cinematic outing, and includes a superb photo of the inimitable Alan Moore, who "sports a beard large enough to house a family of raccoons". (And in the comments, we discover Cracked may soon be seeking a webmaster who knows about spamproofing)

Quite a worthwhile article on what the primary goal of a business should be - in this case, quite effectively asserting that placing market share above all else winds up reducing the company's overall profitability.

Who needs any of the Ridge Racer or Need for Speed series when there's London Cab Challenge? Just revel in that glorious physics engine! Who could have come up with such a work of art? Well, you might remember a certain The Lion and the King for the PSX.. and yes, they even cared enough to bring us a sequel for the PS2. These two are only recommended for seasoned veterans of low cinema. You have been warned.

It's not often one witnesses such a beautiful translingual pun, but.. apparently, when Chimpy McFlightsuit visited Riga in 2005, locals put up a lot of posters with the slogan "Welcome Peace Duke". Which sounds like a quaint translation, until you realise "peace duke" sounds like "пиздюк", "windbag", or more literally, "cuntman".

Old news, but still interesting: "Antidepressants are widely believed to be exceptionally effective medications. The data, however, tell a different story. Kirsch et al. (2002a) analyzed the data sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the manufacturers of the six most widely prescribed antidepressants (fluoxetine [Prozac], paroxetine [Paxil], sertraline [Zoloft], venlafaxine [Effexor], nefazodone [Serzone] and citalopram [Celexa]). Their research showed that although the response to antidepressants was substantial, the response to inert placebo was almost as great. The mean difference was about two points on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). Although statistically significant, this difference is not clinically significant (Jacobson et al., 1999). More than half of the clinical trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies failed to find significant drug/placebo difference, and there were no advantages to higher doses of antidepressants."

In tech news, one of the BBC Micro architects, and later a designer of the ARM processor chipset (as found now in the majority of cellphones, digital music players, and other embedded applications), has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year's list.

Via tania, because, as she so incisely notes, "I'm right in the sweet zone between boredom and procrastination. ;)" ^_^

1. Who was your first prom date?
Never been to one. ^_^

2. Do you still talk to your first love?
Sadly not, basically out of falling out of touch, rather than any disdain. A very sweet sort, though, and I'm happy he wound up with someone eminently worthy, in a neat part of the world.

3. What was your first alcoholic drink?
Probably some Asti Spumante on New Year's Eve. When I finally tried real champagne for the first time, it was a positive revelation. :-9 (My recommendation would be Moët et Chandon White Star, but Hardy's and other Australian winemakers are producing some excellent méthode champegnoise wines too, much more affordably)

4. What was your first job?
Programmer at a small company producing accountancy software. About as exciting as it sounds. =:D A decent place all the same, and with everyone sharing one box for compilation, we'd occasionally purely accidentally queue up a couple program modules to compile at the same time, making for a nice few minutes' break. Great excuse to get on with a little sketching. ^_^

5. 1st car?
If I wanted to splash out many thousands of currency units on a car, I'd probably first get a license. =:)

6. Who was the first person to text you today?
I own three phones. One is probably in storage several time zones away, the other was stolen last year (though I'd given it to my mother anyway), and the third isn't compatible with my current geographical region. The iPhone's about the only phone I'd like to have, and not for speaking on. ^_^

7. Who is the first person you thought of this morning?
Half of my flist. =:)

8. Who was your first grade teacher?
I can't remember most of my early teachers' names. :-P

9. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane?
Not sure - I was flying before I could walk. ^_^

10. When you snuck out of your house for the first time, who was it with?
Don't think I've ever needed to.. my parents were very good about letting me be who I was.

11. Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them?
Moved around too many times to recall, unfortunately - by 15, we'd moved over once a year, on average.

12. Where was your first sleep over?
Oof. No idea.

13. Who was the first person you talked to this morning?
My mother.

14. Whose wedding were you in the first time?
My brother's. I've only been to one and a half - the half being the practice wedding for two friends of the aforementioned first love. So incredibly elaborate! If I'm ever found in such romantic intimacy, I'm not sure I'd really want any ceremony - that special companionship would be more than enough. Perhaps something very simple in SL, to improve the chances of friends being able to attend =:)

15. What was the first thing you did this morning?
Checked email and put the noise-cancelling headphones on.

16. What was the first concert you ever went to?
ZZ Top with my brother. ^_^

17. First tattoo and piercing?
Nipples, having seen just how much fun they could be. =:D Never tried a tattoo yet, though I've got one in mind.

18 - will be returned when it's found again.

19. Who was your first kiss?
See Q2. But I'm not much of one for kissing, so much as cuddling and nibbling. It's a rabbit thing. ^_^

20. When was your first detention?
Not sure, but probably quite early on. I've never been a disruptive sort, but my anti-authoritarianism runs deep, let alone disdain for rules made for rules' sake.

21. What was the first state you lived in?
&#you're73breaking*up#(8aaah*#OHTHEHUGEMANATEE

22. Who was the first person to really break your heart?
Q2. *sigh*

23. Who was your first roommate?
Echeo, a fun ferrety sort then of Las Cruces, whom Ruffin and I picked up on the way from San Diego to Chicago via Houston. Now that was a severely fun roadtrip.. ^_^ (And where I introduced both of them to the early works of Momus, including such memorable tracks as Tender Pervert, I Was A Maoist Intellectual (in the Music Industry), The Bishounen, and Hairstyle of the Devil) Wish I'd had my camcorder then, but that didn't come along until later in the year. Excellent roomie, too.

24. Who will be the first to repost this...
No idea. Though there are one or two folks I'd particularly enjoy seeing it from, but they're in the least likely category. =:)

I thought this posting, by lastres0rt of Last Resort, on the efficacy of giving one's work away freely was worth sharing:

The internet equivalent is in webcomics, with several key differences; no editorial process, no risk of a risque strip being yanked, no pre-payment from newspapers to publish and carry the work. One would expect that, if comics worked the way books and music work, they would charge people just to see the pages.

Yet they don't. All their work is free to view, and in most cases, so are the archives, making it harder to justify book sales. And yet there are probably just as many (if not more) people profiting off of webcomics, even if these profits are not as big (yet) as the average person appearing in newspapers. These cartoonists are just as niche, just as specialized, have just as much to lose, and yet they thrive, even when the majority of their work is just 'given' away.

Why? Because cartoonists work constantly. There is always 'another day' to cover, another page in the story, another advancement of the tale, and thus each individual page is cheap and worthless without the rest of the story. That commitment to the work's creator (and NOT their work itself) is the most important vector for profit. Nobody 'cares' about DMFA; they like it, sure, maybe even love it, but they care about Amber far more. Schlock Mercenary is good, but Howard Tayler is better.

The comics are an elaborate lure designed to make you want more, and recognize the hand that feeds; the person behind the comics becomes center stage. And it's not just comics; the whole "2.0" revolution is based around this idea. Jonathan Coulton's songs and Hugh MacLeod's cartoons are proof that stable models can be built around people, and not just items. The work is worthless without the creator, and so giving away the work is exactly what they WANT to happen, because as long as people can follow the lure back to the hook, everyone gets what they want.

Perhaps that's why I feel particularly comfortable with webcomics - it's the work and the people that are most prominent. Forcing comics to be available only on paper is a strong negative for me, as that introduces all the costs of printing and delivery - money that could either be saved, or go to the creators and their associates, let alone the difficulty in storing large volumes of paper, or the joys in moving with it all. As the author notes, making books or comics available as a choice does work, proving that people do indeed wish, within their means, to support creators of artistry they enjoy, whatever the medium.

And on a related note, we find the RIAA is now asserting that you do not have the right to transfer CDs to your computer: "In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer." Still, one must admire the sheer determination with which the RIAA seeks to render its members irrelevant.

Nine Inch Noëls.

Yay backups! I've been backing up my email for a while, using a bit of rsync, and occasionally other useful items like bookmarks, keychains, and preferences, but I finally got around to setting up Time Machine to handle it a touch more thoroughly. Not having much spare disk space, I had to - rather laboriously - eliminate a lot from the regimen, but it seems to've worked. ^_^ Quite a slick UI, even if the preferences are irksomely primitive - as it's built for backing up entire volumes, out of the box, if you only want to take care of a few directories, you need to remove all the directories you don't want. So, now I shouldn't be caught again in the position as a few weeks back, where I somehow managed to delete most of my pictures from Prim Hearts, save for the few I'd previously converted. Only catch is the incrementals seem to be very slow.. as that doesn't seem to be a problem others are having, I'm wondering if it's a matter of disk errors snarling up the process, given this drive has been unhealthy according to its SMART status for a while now. Not a lot I can do about that, though.

And I'll conclude today's ramblings with some rather murrworthy pics of Doctor Two and his kilt-wearing companion, and one track from the renowned Green Day mashup American Edit, "Doctor Who on Holiday". ^_^
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