It was, thankfully, a beautiful day - bright blue skies, faint wisps of cloud. I shan't go into the service here, but the eulogy my brother prepared was superb, genuinely evoking who he was, from his early working life, through his peak, and into his retirement, in the locale he'd long called home. Afterward, we reconvened at a nearby pub, whose glass-roofed function room provided a fine venue to talk more openly about the loss we'd felt, and in many cases, to reconnect old bonds, family and friends alike. Amidst such sorrow, there was much happiness also. Not such a bad way for the day to end.
If you could use a moment of beauty, take a minute to read this letter from Helen Keller, in reply to Dr John Finley asking what she really saw from a visit to the top of the newly-opened Empire State Building.
I'll admit, last weekend's MLP:FiM resonated with me - true, it's impractical to convey the complexities of such feelings in half an hour, let alone in such a context, but they did well nonetheless. (Now, if we can only see a comparative episode that's purely intellectual, rather than physical.. !)
For anyone interested in the old children's TV show, "Animal Kwackers", I can offer a modicum of hope - contrary to popular belief that all episodes but one were lost, I've had it personally confirmed by the BFI that they hold about 40 episodes. Copyright apparently now rests with the umbrella ITV group, though I've heard murmurings that a lack of rights clearance prevents it from seeing commercial release; I'll be asking after authoritative word on that. Copies for personal use are available, albeit at the kind of price one might expect of bespoke work.
A cute game idea - rather than just tapping in accordance to rhythmic elements, Rock Photographer challenges you to capture noteworthy moments in a number of performances, with the camera angle adjustable with a good degree of freedom, as you seek the perfect shot. (Sadly, I won't be able to try it out, as it's specifically only for the iPhone 4 and 4S - nothing earlier, nor any iPad =:P)
I hadn't realised Build-A-Bear offer E.B., of Hop fame - and looks actually nicely done! I think I may have to give him a home. ^_^
There's hope for folks living with tinnitus, in a new treatment that simply involves wearing headphones giving a personally tuned signal for a few hours a day, disrupting the rhythmic firing patterns of the auditory receptors involved in giving rise to the phenomenon. At present, it's a private-only treatment costing £4500, but with initial results offering a 75% response rate, NHS availability would seem highly likely.
Trailer for the day has to be Prometheus, a newly released one, not from a couple months back. There's also a little fake ad, Our Family is Growing - not necessary for the trailer, but it mightn't hurt to watch it first.
Some of youse guys follow computing components developments closely - has there really been no advance in 2.5" HD capacity in the last two years? Seems 1TB remains the upper limit, despite my 1TB Toshiba being almost that old now. I'm keeping an eye on the bad sector count, though, as I've noticed a few random system-wide stalls lately, lasting several seconds, which is what I found when the original drive went south. It does have a few thousand remapped sectors now, new in the past year, but I wasn't monitoring the state of the drive in the meantime, so I don't know if that's a recent thing, or a gradual development. In any event, it doesn't seem to be an immediately ongoing degradation, as the past few days haven't shown any change in its SMART stats (courtesy of smartmontools), so it doesn't seem to be an ABANDON DRIVE situation. I see Seagate has a 1.5TB available, but it's around 14mm tall, so not much use in most laptops. Is there really nothing better?
Despite its proximity to the Sun, and consequent searing temperatures across much of its surface, there are hints emerging that Mercury may have water ice at its poles, in craters that are permanently in shadow.
TED's just launched TED-Ed, "pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos".
An interesting set of observations from James Whittaker, formerly of Google, on the way the company has changed in its relentless pursuit of Facebook.
Google could still put ads in front of more people than Facebook, but Facebook knows so much more about those people. Advertisers and publishers cherish this kind of personal information, so much so that they are willing to put the Facebook brand before their own. Exhibit A: www.facebook.com/nike, a company with the power and clout of Nike putting their own brand after Facebook's? No company has ever done that for Google and Google took it personally.
Larry Page himself assumed command to right this wrong. Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn't enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. You Tube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point. Even worse was that innovation had to be social. Ideas that failed to put Google+ at the center of the universe were a distraction.
Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it. You have to admire a company willing to sacrifice sacred cows and rally its talent behind a threat to its business. Had Google been right, the effort would have been heroic and clearly many of us wanted to be part of that outcome. I bought into it. I worked on Google+ as a development director and shipped a bunch of code. But the world never changed; sharing never changed. It’s arguable that we made Facebook better, but all I had to show for it was higher review scores.
As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.
Village Voice reports of the surreal, yet hardly unique, case of NYPD office Adrian Schoolcraft. "In October 2009, Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting - which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft's superiors - his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days." A report in his forcible detainment was completed two years ago, but the NYPD's since fought to keep it under wraps. "Investigators went beyond Schoolcraft's specific claims and found many other instances in the 81st Precinct where crime reports were missing, had been misclassified, altered, rejected, or not even entered into the computer system that tracks crime reports."
Or, if you'd prefer something lighter to consider, how about a brief video clip of Darth Vader in a kilt, playing the Star Wars theme on bagpipes, riding a unicycle?
Completely NSFW, but Lurid Digs is hilarious. They take photos from gay introduction sites and porn, and critique the often spectacularly awkward interior decoration. Smartly written, judiciously edited, and with some superbly incisive commenter wit, this is definitely somewhere to check out. ^_^
Fascinating chance discovery: a cheap antibiotic, minocycline, appears to be dramatically effective against psychosis.
|Officially, only the iPad 2 and 3 can run iPhoto - but, if you fetch Apple's free iPhone Configuration Utility (OS X and Windows versions available), you can indeed install it on an original iPad, and it does appear to work quite satisfactorily. ^_^ Rather a nice app, too, both in terms of functionality and UI.|
A particularly adorable furry Kickstarter: The Tinies of Raglan Shire, which has actually met its original goal of $8,500 - but more probably wouldn't be badly received!
It's an ad for Mercedes-Benz, but really rather cute - to promote their zero emissions "F-Cell" car, as "invisible to the environment", they took one of them, and plastered one side with LEDs, treating that as a display, fed by an image from the other side of the car. It's not perfectly transparent, of course, but quite nifty all the same. ^_^
Someone asked What do all the controls in an airplane cockpit do?. So, using a particular 737 as an example, the question was answered. =:D
ice_foxx's latest edition of This Electric Music is out: download episode 5 here, or let it get slurped into iTunes automagically over here.
Cracked took a wry look at five Cold War myths - nothing revelatory, but succintly executed.
Here, have an introduction to molecular biology, courtesy of the NIH. ^_^
Interesting little utility from Adobe Labs, for web designers looking to ensure their sites perform well on mobile devices as well as desktops: Shadow. It's a simple concept - essentially, it lets your mobile devices (iOS and Android) browse synchronously, under control of the desktop client, so you're literally seeing the same page on multiple devices at the same time, without needing to manually browse on each one.
Quite a promising waste water treatment system, seemingly ready for initial deployment - rather than requiring energy to process the water, typically around 1.2kWh/kg, this turns the waste into an energy source, producing 0.94kWh/kg.
It's the stuff of urban legends, but verifiable in this case, where a teen driver was rattling off text messages to friends, while driving at 80mph along I-84. Her last message? "I can't discuss this now. Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha." A tragedy in any event, but even moreso for the loss of an otherwise star student.
If you're looking to develop an iOS and/or Android game, Unity3D's kindly offering Unity Mobile Basic for free, until April 8th - not a trial, but the real deal. Just go along to their store, pick Unity Basic, and add the iOS and Android versions for nothing extra, and go throught the checkout procedure. You'll need to register for an account, but that's a painless matter of email address and password, and a billing address.
|Today in the Death of Print: Encyclopedia Britannica ends its print editions. "It’s a rite of passage in this new era," Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a Chicago-based company, said in an interview. "Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it's much more expansive and it has multimedia." And yet, as far as I'm aware, it's still only available in highly abridged editions for mobile devices, when the entire work would likely be on the scale of only 2GB or so; similarly Grzimek's excellent Animal Life Encyclopedia, some 17 volumes in print, and not even 1GB in digital form.|
And then there's the new iPad, which I finally got to see in person on Wednesday - yes, the display is as good as they've said. Text is beautifully crisp, as if on perfect paper, and images are at least as good as in the hands of a good professional printer. I shan't be getting one for a while, however - the little fragments of surplus are likely to be soaked up by photography and travel. Still, who knows? As and when I get off my tail and open the store, maybe there'll even be some sales to help recoup the costs so far. ^_^; (Not huge, admittedly, especially against the hair-raising costs of, say, the Nikkor 600mm f/4..)
There's quite an amazing story behind a particularly distinctive - and huge - insect that was considered extinct, until its rediscovery on a nearby.. well, technically an island, but more of a tall crag, making for a known worldwide population of 24 at that point.
Finally, have a couple particularly good pony remixes: Alex S. - Party With Pinkie, a growling dance anthem (track only), and Art of the Dress (Trance Dance/Sim Gretina Remix), with a simple loop video. =:D