March 3rd, 2013


Permanently fluffy

w00t! Cowboys & Engines has met its funding target. ^_^ Obviously, I'm delighted - it's such a fun project, after all. I hope we'll see much more of this kind of thing, and larger still; I'm sure we could all name a good few books that could make fantastic films. (Me, I'd go wild for a big screen adaptation of A Fire Upon the Deep. Spellsinger would be a pile of fun, too, and perfectly feasible now, with the ease of availability of CG - though, I admit, I'd still prefer to have top-notch fursuits playing a major part. There's something additional about knowing the creatures on screen really existed)

I finally got to see Made in Dagenham. It documents a strike in Ford's bitterly contested 1968 strike by those termed "machinists", responsible for stitching together the seating in the cars. Being women, they were deemed worthy of half the pay of their male colleagues on the main assembly lines, as "unskilled labor". From their efforts arose the Equal Pay Act. ^_^ Yes, it's a highly political film - go see it. It's uplifting, and inspiring. See it, do!

Perhaps not unique, but certainly food for thought - Adioso is a flight search engine aimed at broader searches than you'll usually find. You can specify "anywhere", if you're really open to possibilities, or geographic regions, like "east Asia", specific countries, or even something vague like "somewhere warm". ^_^ Similarly, the return date can be something like "within 14 days", or "within 30-60 days". Results are presented as attractive squares on a grid, each containing the city, country, price, set against a photograph from the region.

Here, have a random bit of furry CG animation. ^_^ Маша и Медведь: День варенья. No subtitles, but other than a song, there's very little speaking involved. Good if you're wanting something amusing and cute.

Sigma posted a look at their Aizu factory, offering a glimpse into the manufacture of their lenses, and the factory's setting. Even if you've no special interest in photography, it's rather enjoyable just as a combination industrial and nature short.

Or, on the cute ad front, Harvey & Rabbit. It's adorably sappy. ^_^ (Via jessie_pup)

Sort of like a latterday Sonic Spinball, Momonga Pinball Adventures is an iOS title you might like to look at, starring a flying squirrel.

Fancy a break that's not one of the usual tourist destinations? FarRail offers tours by steam train around the world, aimed at photographers, with forthcoming destinations including heavy coal trains of Dona Teresa Cristina in Brazil, narrow gauage steam in the Carpathians of Romania, from Mallets to Aasmara in Eritrea, and the Wallah Gorge Spiral of Namtu, in Burma.

Or you could satisfy yourself with reading and watching two travelers take a long journey into North Korea, on a line not officially open to tourists - and thus, with no handlers. And, here's an older travelogue, from 2002, of a more conventional trip, arriving by air from Beijing to Pyongyang.

However, if you're a North Korean citizen, the penalties for skirting the rules can, as you know, be severe in the extreme. How bad? Here's what life is like in Camp 14, by someone who eventually escaped. I should note that it's very difficult reading - be prepared.

If you're in Europe, and thought your cellco's service was too good, rejoice! For the WSJ claims that AT&T is apparently pondering a large acquisition. 'The paper quotes people familiar with the carrier’s thinking who say AT&T is considering buying a European counterpart in order to “escape constraints” on domestic growth by jumping into a new wireless market where it can “upgrade technology and roll out more lucrative pricing strategies”.' And relatedly, Octopus Group^W^WSky has bought up O2/Be from Telefonica, so those customers are back in Murdoch's tentacles.

It's from the spammers' professional organisation, the DMA, but this press release notes the story of one guy who "turned the tables on a company that persisted in making unwanted calls by invoicing them for his time. Richard Herman charged AAC £10 a minute and sent an invoice for £195, which the company went on to pay after Herman applied to the small claims court."

In light of HMV's demise, here's one guy's insight into the company, from someone who worked on their advertising from their heyday onwards. 'Not long after HMV's stock market listing [in 2002], Beechwood, (the agency I founded and ran with my business partner, John Wood) was asked to re-pitch for the business as a new marketing director and managing director had come in to the company and they felt other agencies should cast fresh eyes on the business. As I had worked on the account for so long and felt it was in my blood, I really wanted to give it my all, so we pulled out all the stops in this five-way pitch. The day of the presentation came and we stood in the boardroom in front of the new MD, Steve Knott and his directors. For some time we had felt the tides of change coming for HMV and here was our perfect opportunity to unambiguously say what we felt. The relevant chart went up and I said, "The three greatest threats to HMV are, online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets discounting loss leader product". Suddenly I realised the MD had stopped the meeting and was visibly angry. "I have never heard such rubbish", he said, "I accept that supermarkets are a thorn in our side but not for the serious music, games or film buyer and as for the other two, I don't ever see them being a real threat, downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the atmosphere and experience of a music store rather than online shopping".'

Ever wanted to be trapped inside an Alien egg made of 0.5mm or 0.8mm latex? ^_^

I'm not sure it'd lure me back to flying with United again (for some reason, all US airlines are uniformly dour), but, they'll apparently be first with intercontinental WiFi service, running between $4-15 (depending on the length of flight) or $6-20 for "accelerated" service.

Quite a fun map: California rail, plus connecting buses and ferries, covering the entire state. I never even knew about the line from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, but more fun would probably be heading along the coast to Fort Bragg, then back to Willits and then up to Arcata.

A game a few folks might be interested in: Knitted Deer. (As the YouTube promo notes, the soundtrack is Den Derty's "8-bit", which you can find over here - you'll need to enable pop-ups to download, unfortunately, as the download links are served in them, alongside some (presumably) ads)