If you've been pondering an update on the wildlife front lately, I'm rather happy to note that the preview image size in animaloptica has been raised from 400px to 800px along the longest side of an image, to reflect improved resolutions in general use. ^_^
It would seem the new owners of Jessops (and the site is open for business again) intend to reopen a few of the stores; right now, the newly reopened stores are Oxford Street, Birmingham, and Manchester. If they can truly follow through with the claims, it might actually be the kind of place you'd want to visit - eg "Reconfigured stores to give an interactive experience where you can touch and feel the products, and try before you buy" and "Expert assistance: The most highly-trained sales assistants in Europe, many specially trained with the camera manufacturers". Of course, inevitably, they'll still be battling against online-only vendors without the overheads of premises, and sometimes skirting UK taxation - but if they really do commit to having knowledgable staff, and try to encourage people to come in and try out their kit, perhaps they can do more than merely compete within the existing market, but instead, actually try to grow it, by showing people the world of difference a DSLR makes, versus a compact. Or, by the same token, introducing people to mirrorless formats like micro 4/3rds and Nikon 1. Certainly, I'm inclined to feel this strategy gives them at least a fighting chance.
If you're in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland, you now have the option of enabling two-factor authentication on Apple IDs, which will send a four digit code to your SMS-capable phone. If you proceed with setting it up, bear in mind one recommendation they make in the process: offer a second SMS-capable number, in case the primary's lost or stolen. That can, of course, be your own, or someone you trust. To set it up (as outlined here) go to the My Apple ID site, and then the Security tab, which will first ask two of the three security questions you were required to enter last year. (In my case, not even remotely related to the questions, both out of security, and the fact that none of them really applied very well to me.. =:/)
I see rigelkitty's released a new "ghettofunk, electro-swing, funky breaks, electro, house" mix, which you can download from SoundCloud, or listen to on Mixcloud.
Rather an interesting "alternative culture" magazine, now available as free PDFs: Coilhouse.
If you're wandering around London, you might consider visiting one or two of the locations the Telegraph recently noted in a slideshow feature: London's best secret gardens.
Whilst I do like exploring new pubs with great food and worthy beer & cider selections, I'll admit, I tend to gravitate to a few favorites. A couple Saturdays ago, I felt very much in such a mood, and enjoyed a couple noteworthy beers along the way, including Goose Island's Bourbon County imperial stout, the highlight came at the end of the evening (thankfully, I still managed to get out just in time for the last train home). I'd been unlucky enough to try ordering a couple beers that all turned out to be out of stock at the moment. The manager overheard my nudging, and approached me to offer a few options not on the menu. ^_^; And so, I was lucky enough to get to enjoy an outstanding creation from the Brooklyn Brewery, their Crochet Rouge Sauvignon Blanc. As the same suggests, it's one of their Belgian tripels, but here, fermented atop wine lees, lending it an unusual character. It's difficult to describe, but it is indeed in the wine direction, yet nonetheless a Belgian ale at heart. (The cloudy hue's due to it not having had chance to settle yet) I'd love to see it produced on scale, but it seems they just can't obtain the volume of lees - so, it remains just a pet project by the brewery's owner. If you get the opportunity, and if it sounds like something that might appeal to you, I'd strongly recommend you seize the chance to enjoy this. ^_^
I was wondering what Babylon 5's creator was up to these days, and it seems one of his forthcoming projects, later this year, is "a web series for MTV.com called The Adventures of Apocalypse Al. That series was previously being developed as an audio drama for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, and was described by JMS as 'Monty Python Meets The Maltese Falcon En Route To the End of the World.'" And, it was recently announced that Netflix is producing a new sci-fi series, with an initial run of ten episodes, "Sense8" - with creators JMS and the Wachowskis. =:D
Want to win a new DSLR? WEX Photographic's got an Easter Egg hunt, open until Apr 1. Winner gets a Canon 650D, 18-135mm, and tripod, with other cameras as prizes as well. (UK residents only) And no, they weren't able to resist a punnish solution.. =:) It's pretty straightforward, so shouldn't take you long - the key is to not be shy to use the site's search function. ^_^
I hadn't been aware of its existence, but Squirrel and Hedgehog actually looks quite good! It's an animated series produced in North Korea, with a feel of old Tezuka to it. WikiFur has a little more information.
An episode of "Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom" spent half an hour looking at the work of Delia Derbyshire: iPlayer. (Likely to be UK-only geolocked; it doesn't seem to be on YouTube yet, but I may be able to tuck it away somewhere)
So, at long last, I finally got along to the Natural History Museum last weekend. ^_^ Ye gods and little fishes, what an utter joy of an establishment! Everything from a diplodocus skeleton and prehistoric crocs, to fascinating examples of mineral beauty, including exceptional examples of gemstone work. Absolutely wonderful. And all free! (Of course, you're encouraged to donate, and it's certainly worth a few £/$/€, or several, needless to say)
If you're looking for a charitable recipient sometime, consider the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund, which performs educational outreach, rescues, and rehoming, with its associated wing functioning as a rabbit owners' club. (Endorsed by Toyah Wilcox, too =:)
The Switch is "a magical-realist transgender comedy, one that delights in pushing the envelope and in holding a queer & quirky mirror up to our own lives. And at the heart of it all is Sü, the weird experiences she has, and the people she shares them with." They're aiming for make it over Summer 2013, for six half-hour episodes, if the Kickstarter succeeds. Backing starts at a mere $8, offering HD downloads of all six episodes as they're released. (And if you're in Vancouver, they're happy to accept folks wanting to help out with it, whether on the set, or as donors of locations suitable for use therein) It looks like it needs a ramping up of the pace of funding, though, so if you're able to pass word along to sites or people who could add to the publicity, I'm sure they'd be happy bunnies.
Ooo! Actually, it seems that won't be necessary. ^_^ The latest update begins, "Great news! We have found an alternate source of funding and are cancelling our Kickstarter. In Kickstarter, we have found a huge push of publicity which you made possible. It has kept us busy in interviews with online and print media here in Vancouver as well as overseas. It also helped land us a consultant, who pointed us at some extra funding. This should cover the bulk of what we were asking for on Kickstarter. We don’t want to ask people for money when we don’t need all of it - and since you can’t change the funding goal of a Kickstarter once it has launched, we’re going to cancel the Kickstarter campaign."
So, how about one that is still running? =:D Anything that Loves, "A bold new comics anthology that explores and celebrates the complex world beyond the categories of 'gay' and 'straight'". And tania's been invited to contribute, too. ^_^
Here's a look at Computer Science in Vietnam; specifically, at one school, and what the curriculum is like as children progress through their years there. You may be surprised.
Have you ever wondered about what having a National Security Letter served against you actually looks like? Here's a personal account. Hint: if you log into your Google account, and find a random need to agree to their TOS again, that may be a quiet non-signal that you're being given special attention.
Maybe you'd like to furkle around with H.265? Here's the repository for the reference code, courtesy of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and the BBC. Just check out the trunk with SVN, and the Xcode project's targets will compile painlessly.
Well, that was an interesting little seminar.. quite worthwhile. Last Friday, a few senior Intel folk gave a presentation on the recently launched Xeon Phi coprocessor, whose architecture apparently drew on Knights Ferry - "many cores" (50+), each somewhat slimmed down (eg no OOO execution), but still basically x86, and running more slowly than a "main" Xeon CPU. On the other paw, there are lots of them, and with 512-bit SIMD, mostly with Altivec-style non-destructiveness of the source registers. If your code's highly threaded and can take good advantage of SIMD parallelisation, it's quite a promising architecture. Currently, it's available as a PCI Express card, requiring a host PC. The card itself, meanwhile, runs a trimmed down Linux, presenting itself as a TCP device, Infiniband host, or other relevant interconnect options. (Rather a depressing gender ratio, I'd have to say - around 60:3)
Well, that was rather fun.. I wound up winning a micro-contest held by Phil Plait, writer of the Bad Astronomy column, now over at Slate. Apparently, I'll be receiving "a prize I'll like". ^_^;
And I've re-enabled commenting by everyone. ^_^ Hopefully the spambots won't latch onto that too rapidly - I really don't like restricting commenting, as it feels so un-neighborly.