Saturday, 30 August 2008

Salamagica

I recently came across the art of Richard Salamanca. I have not managed to find out much about him yet, but I'm already a fan. He appears that he uses, amongst other things, Photoshop or something similar to turn slightly off-beat (but very intriguing) ideas into art.


Sometimes a little disturbing and often very witty, you can find more of his work at Salamagica.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Pac-Man

The Air Hockey game I added to the blog recently, spent more time not working than working, so I have switched to Pac-Man. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Image Metrics

Image Metric's "Emily Project" was designed to show that facial animation could look very real indeed. Check out the video below, it explains all.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Ronnie Drew RIP

The 16th of August saw the death of an Irish legend. Ronnie Drew, the lead singer of The Dubliners, passed away after suffering from cancer for some time, at the age of 73. Ronnie was born in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin in 1934 and rose to become a national treasure in Ireland.

Earlier this year, a single (The Ballad of Ronnie Drew) was written to originally include Ronnie himself but was changed to be a tribute to him as his health was declining. Proceeds from sale of the single went to the The Irish Cancer Society at the request of Drew himself. The song was performed by a number of famous Irish musicians. These included members of U2, Sinéad O'Connor, Christy Dignam of Aslan, Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead, Kila, Christy Moore, Andrea Corr, Moya Brennan, Shane McGowan, Bob Geldof, Damien Dempsey, Gavin Friday, Iona Green, Jerry Fish, Paul Brady, Paddy Casey, Mick Pyro, Mundy, Chris de Burgh, Ronan Keating, Jack L, Eleanor Shanley, Mary Black, Declan O'Rourke, Mary Coughlan, and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard as well as The Dubliners and The Chieftains.

Below I have embedded two versions of the song. The official video and a performance that took place on the Late Late Show earlier this year. RIP Ronnie Drew, you will be much missed.



Friday, 22 August 2008

Death Star Over San Francisco

There are more Star Wars parodies and tributes out there than can be counted, but every once in a while a fan will have the skill and technical know-how to go that one step further. Michael Horn has certainly raised the bar in that respect. Michael made a short film for Current TV that shows various vehicles of the Empire very subtlety appearing in amateurish looking footage taken around San Francisco.

I think this is where Michael's film wins out, in that it isn't the in your face style of a lot of films of this type. It looks real, not only because of his skill at using the composite software, but because he doesn't force it down your throat.

The film is below and a short interview with Michael can be found on The Official Star Wars Blog.


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Ubergeek's Keyboard

I think I might treat myself to one of these. Over on Random Good Stuff, they have posted about "Das Keyboard Ultimate". A keyboard where all the keys are completely blank. Sadly the original link is down at the time of writing but RGS quoted the following...

Das Keyboard Ultimate is an enhanced 104 or 105-key USB PC keyboard equipped with 100% blank keys mounted on gold-plated and clicky high-end mechanical key switches. Not as elite a typist as you want to be? Not a problem. Das Keyboard Ultimate can teach you to type exponentially faster in just a couple of weeks. Since there are no letters to look at when typing, your brain is forced to memorize the key positions. Slower typers almost double their speed and fast typers become über fast!


The RGS link can be found here.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Education Is Important

A friend drew my attention to this video compilation recently. I like it because it is funny, it makes me feel clever, it has a great soundtrack in Handlebars by Flobots. But I like it mostly because it very cleverly marries the images with the lyrics. Nice job.


(Stupid People) Why Education is Important - Click here for another funny movie.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sneak Peak On The Horizon

U2 have been busy in the studio for that last few months working on a new album that is rumoured to be released on November 17th. Although no official title has been released yet a hot favourite seems to be "No Line On The Horizon". A rumour strengthened by the fact Universal Music have registered the domain nolineonthehorizon.com.

Despite the release being a way off, some lucky French fans overheard Bono's distinctive voice emanating from the singer's holiday home in Eze, in the south Of France. Cheekily they recorded it on their mobile phones and have posted it on YouTube.


The sound quality isn't great but, it certainly sounds promising. Various reports have listed song titles for the record including For Your Love, Love is All We Have Left, One Bird, Moment of Surrender, If I Could Live My Life Again and The Cedars of Lebanon. The first single off the album is believed to be called Sexy Boots.

I'm looking forward to it I have to say. It has been four years since last album after all.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Games

I thought it might be fun to add a game to the blog. So as of now you should find "Air Hockey" at the bottom of the sidebar. I will periodically change the game, so keep checking back. Enjoy!

Micro Torrent 1.8

My torrent client of choice, on Windows, has always been the lightweight and very popular µTorrent and I'm please to say they have now released a new major update. Version 1.8 has some significant new features.

From UI point of view, not much has changed, but µTorrent now supports Teredo, which promises much improved IPv6 support. Teredo is a tunneling protocol that allows IPv6-unaware NAT devices to handle IPv6 traffic. This means you can get IPv6 connectivity without needing to upgrade any hardware, meaning better connections and improved torrent performance.

Another welcome addition is much better support for Vista including integration with Windows firewall. The complete change list is extensive so you might want to check out the whole thing.

µTorrent is free and is available here.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Evernote

It wasn't until I started blogging that I began to realise how difficult it must be for writers, journalists and researchers of any kind to keep a track of the endless notes, ideas and snippets of information you need to keep track of. Despite my best efforts I am terribly disorganised. If an idea occurs to me for a blog article or I see something that I like the look, unless I make a note of it or action it there and then, it is lost for ever. Napkins, texts, back of my hand, beer mats, notes on my phone and cigarette packets (other people's, I don't smoke) are among the varied media that have been used to store valuable information. It stands to reason of course that much of that information got lost.

But I think I have found the answer. For a few weeks now, I have been using Evernote. This simple but brilliant concept allows the user to capture information in a myriad of forms, annotate it, index it and retrieve it, anywhere Internet access is available. Photo's, text, web pages, even those scribbles on beer mats. With a number of clients to choose from, whatever platform you prefer, your notes are available to you.

As an example, let's say I see a sign in the street which is of interest to me. I can take a picture of it on my phone. I can then either browse to Evernote website to upload, or as I have a smartphone, I could use the Windows Mobile client that they provide. Another choice would be to simply email or MMS the picture to my account. Accessing that note later can be achieved by web, Windows client, Windows Mobile client or even a Mac client. Two free widgets also make capturing all or part of web page as simple as a lick.

I really can't recommend Evernote enough and I urge you to try it. So far the free account has been plenty for me, but there is a premium version which for a small charge increases the limits available to you. If I have not been clear, the video demo below may help.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Defcon NOC

Wired has published a nice article taking a peak inside the network operations centre at Defcon for the first time. Often cited as the world's most hostile network. Put together and run by a group of dedicated volunteers, known as Goons, they work hard to make the network robust enough to handle the endless stream of dangerous traffic.

Over 9,000 hackers, press, feds and geeks gathered at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for Defcon 16, the world's largest computer security convention.

Using around 40 AP's dotted about the hotel, the network provided a 20mb connection to the Internet via a point to point wireless connection to another hotel. Read the full article with more pictures here.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Happy Birthday Emma

Happy birthday "Big Yin"! You'll always be our baby. xx

Aurora

Mozilla Labs and design company Adaptive Path have teamed up to bring us Aurora. Aurora is a concept video that attempts to provide one vision (a very plausible one I must say) of the future of browsers and the web experience. Only part one has been released so far so keep an eye out here for the release of the remaining parts.

I nice bit of predicting...


Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Friday, 8 August 2008

The End Is Nigh

So according to some, the end of the world might occur this coming Saturday. Which is a great shame, as I have plans. The reason is, is that the most advanced scientific piece of equipment ever built is being turned on for the first time. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been built by CERN to test current theories for particle physics and scientists will try and recreate the conditions that existed just after the Big Bang by causing parts of atoms to collide at high speeds.

With a 17 mile (27 km) circumference and buried beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, the LHC is currently being cooled to an operating temperature of around .9 K (−271.25 °C). In March of this year, a complaint requesting an injunction to halt the LHC's startup was filed by a group of seven concerned individuals against CERN and its American collaborators. Thewy are worried that the collisions that will occur in the LHC will cause unforseen phenomina such has mini-blackholes that thus destrying planet Earth.

Indeed, it seems that Nostradamus even predicted this in one of his quatrains.

Leave, leave Geneva every last one of you,
Saturn will be converted from gold to iron,
"Raypoz" will exterminate all who oppose him,
Before the coming the sky will show signs.

Well maybe not. Still, you do have to worry slightly when you see the sort of folks who operate this thing...

100th Post

This is my 100th post to the blog. Not a massive achievement I grant you, but I felt like sharing it with you all. Here's to the next 100.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

James Randi

I'd completely forgotten about James "The Amazing" Randi until today. In the 70's he was on television a lot in his self appointed role of investigator of all things paranormal. Psychics, evangelists, mediums and all manner of exponents of pseudo-science would quake in this man's overpowering cynicism and logic. So much so that he became known as a "debunker", although he does not class himself as such. I thought he was brilliant. I still do. I was actually pleased to find out that his $1,000,000 paranormal challenge fund is still in tact.

Enjoy this YouTube video of him exposing both Uri Geller and Peter Popoff.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Google Welcomes Streetview

It's not usual to know in advance where one of Google's Streetview cars is going to be, but obviously if you are a Google employee you can find out. The last time one passed their famous Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View California, there was a modest turnout of employees that got caught on camera. This time however, word obviously got out and they turned out en masse.

The best part is though is that rather than just wave, many of them decided to play out little scenes that sometimes referenced recent Internet events. We have the half buried cyclist, the murder of Tux (the Linux penguin), the marriage proposal (see his website here for more information) and even Mr Streetview himself.

The fun seems to stretch right around the complex so have a browse yourself and see what you can find. I just wonder who was left inside manning the phones.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Cuil Reception

Well the long awaited launch of the Cuil (pronounced "cool") search engine finally arrived this week. I held of posting about it in order to let the early problems subside.

Founded by some ex-Google employees that became a little disillusioned with the giant, Cuil has pitched itself as a next generation search engine that has the largest database of indexed pages of any of them. I have to say I do like the simple design and the idea of displaying the results in columns is growing on me.

The first couple of days it got a slating for erroneous pornographic images being displayed from innocuous keywords and some of the features, such as typing suggestions, not working correctly but these early teething problems seemed to have now been sorted.

I'm all for competition and my early impressions are that Cuil could be great search resource. I think I'll reserve judgement on whether it really is a "Google Killer" just yet though.
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