Archive for February, 2009


Short cuts for 2009-02-27


If you’ve ever wondered when the relentless pace of miniaturization would finally cram your computer into its mains plug, wonder no more. Here’s a better picture, and here’s a nice diagram.

Packing data into small spaces has been the enabling technology for practical digital video, but what happens when  you tinker with what the playback devices expect to find in their compressed data? Data corruption as emerging art, that’s what (although when Rambo emerges from it, I think it’s done).

And speaking of cramming things into unexpected places, don’t forget that tomorrow is Sword Swallower’s Day. I’ve heard August 17th is lined up to be Goldfish Regurgitation Day, but I’m awaiting confirmation from the League of Magicians’ Assistants (Gill-breathing Office).


Short cuts for 2009-02-26


If you thought living in a cave would make you immune to economic problems, think again. The cave in question is now one of the most followed auctions on eBay.

If you’re interested in finding out what the area’s like close to that cave, or indeed, close to anything that’s been photographed, Flickr’s new “nearby” feature might help.

The only disappointing thing about that feature is that it doesn’t have a sufficiently mockable name to show up in this game of buzzword bingo. (Be sure to click the Make another card button if your favourite mock-magnet doesn’t appear right away.)


Short cuts for 2009-02-21


Good news, everyone! The last of the four Futurama jigsaw-puzzle DVD movies is dodging Royal Mail asteroids on its way to me now; here’s a fairly glowing review (from an admittedly partisan source).

Meanwhile, if you’re literally dying for a hug, here’s a dating service for the terminally ill.

Whereas, if you’re a violin-loving cheapskate, there’s still time to get free tickets to Tasmin Little’s concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Monday, March 2nd. (I have mine already, thanks for asking.)


How to make a baloney sandwich


Exciting new “research” findings, brought to you by Dr Miso Soup, PhD, head of attention-seeking at the Random Connections Institute, Hoboken. (Motto: “We can correlate it for you, wholesale.”)

“Where’s the beef?” I hear you asking. What are you, some kind of expert on meat? Eat your baloney.


Short cuts for 2009-02-19


David Byrne declares Hong Kong the world’s worst city for cyclists, while observing the attempts of a fish to escape along the street, and of Filipino workers meeting in concrete niches.

I’ve never thought of the parts where edges meet on a sheet of paper as “dangerous and annoying” before, but I guess if you do, then three hundred bucks is a small price to pay to ensure your safety.

I found that machine while reading about the do-it-yourselfing of this high-tech tech notebook.

What better to compliment it than one of Nakaya’s incredibly crafted pens, for which a limb might be a small price to pay (as long as it’s not your writing hand)?

[Note: You need to use the drop-down list top-right, which lets you navigate through many more pens, as well as the left-hand menu, to choose from different techniques, in order to see them all.]


Short cuts for 2009-02-13


Musak, the company that displaced uneasy silences from elevators everywhere, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Cue the tiny violins. Oh, wait.

I wonder how Musak would have filled the carefully cooked acoustics of the Melbourne Recital Centre…I fervently hope we’ll never know.

Let’s shout out a big ‘Pip! Pip! Hooray!’ to Unix epoch time, as it reaches the arbitrary-yet-tidy milestone of 1234567890 today. (Also, 1234554321 a bit earlier, if you really need a monotonically-increasing excuse for a drink.)

Don’t forget, if you’re unable to hide irrationally from the world today, there’s another chance to catch up on Friday the 13th next month.


Short cuts for 2009-02-12


Tips on having what you create survive the Trough of No Value (via Jason Scott)

People manage to get downhill in the darndest things (via Wil Wheaton)

In a sense, it’s every episode of Star Trek at once.


Unbroken record


In her slow-motion MMR road accident, Jeni Barnett’s vehicle has activated its PR-based airbags to avoid further damage.

If only all the copies of the comments posted on her blog could have been deleted before they were proclaimed “abusive”, this might even have had a chance of working.

Still, when all the dust has settled, I’m sure this is going to be a text-book example about the Interwebs for PR people.  (At least, the ones who read text books.)


Relative Dimensions


Just bought this set of cute Doctor Who figures, called “Time Squad“, and took a picture with the international standard size-comparison gadget (a.k.a. iPod Classic):

Beam me up, Poddy!

Beam me up, Poddy!

(Yes, I blew the highlights. But my excuse is that the Doctor now looks like he’s about to teleport away from his enemies. Or something.)

An undocumented feature is that the weeping angel’s hair is removeable, and her head rotates to reveal a different expression.

Head stones

A hair-raising experience

Something tells me I’ll be acquiring some more of these figures shortly.




I just paid our BT phone bill by phone, and encountered a delightfully daft variation on the usual to waste more time, press star eleven interface.

I was offered four choices, and was told that, for something, I should “press one“, for something else, I should “choose two“, for another thing “it’s three“, otherwise, I should “press four“.

It must be the case that someone, somewhere, has deliberately decided to vary the verb for menu choices away from press each time, but I’ll bet a ha’penny bun to a pound of dried bananas that there is no solid empirical research backing this oddness up.

The use of “it’s three” is particularly jarring, I think, prompting the question: “it’s three what?

But, of course, after selecting the “pay my bill” option, I was dumped into the usual please enter this information, no, we won’t tell you what format, no you shouldn’t press hash (except here) interface, which was strangely comforting in its familiar awkwardness.