Thursday, 31 December 2009

Here's To 2010

Sorry that the e-clecticism has been a bit quiet the last few days but I'm sure you'll appreciate that I've been fairly busy. I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas. I'd also like to wish all my readers a very happy new year. I hope 2010 brings you what you want and not what you deserve. :-)

Let me leave 2009 with some great pictures by Doug Kim. They are of an impromptu snow ball fight that broke out in Times Square just before Christmas. The complete set can be found here. I have to say he is a brave man to risk his expensive equipment but the results are superb. As always, click to enlarge.





 

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Monday, 28 December 2009

Struck

I guess I like it because it is along similar lines to Signs but a short film called Struck is quite appealing. Made entirely by getting friends to do favours, this short love story made me smile. Find out more from the website and make sure you watch the "making of" as it is quite funny.


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Sunday, 27 December 2009

Lost Camera

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a good Christmas. Just a quick post today. Andrew MacDonald has a novel way to help you get a lost camera back. He leaves a series of photographs on it, to help whoever finds it, return it to you. I'm sure it is just for comedy effect, but it certainly made me laugh. See Andrew's site for more of his work. It is quite a large image, so you'll probably need to click it to see it properly. If not, see the original here.


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Thursday, 24 December 2009

In The Dark

I had a discussion with a very good friend recently about listening to music in the dark. Although we disagreed on the "headphones or not" debate (I'm definitely for them, I like the sensory deprivation they offer), we had both experienced that sensation you can only get on your own, in the dark, with a particular type of music. Obviously tastes vary between each of us and it also depends greatly on what kind of mood you are in, but I'd like to offer you five great (in my opinion) examples.

Firstly, Led Zeppelin from an Earl's Court concert in 1975 and Going California.


Next we have José Gonzalez and his cover of The Knife's Heartbeats. You may remember that it was used in a recent advertising campaign for Sony Bravia televisions.



Damien Rice now and it was tough to choose one track. So many suit the dark so well, but I opted for the lyrically superb Cannonball.



A bit of a departure for me now. Country & Western no less. Before you think I have lost it completely, just know that the production on this song is of a quality seldom heard. It makes it ideal for the dark solitude. Garth Brooks and Thunder Rolls.



And Finally. Dublin band Aslan with This Time performed at Vicar Street in Dublin in 1999. I have always loved the lyrics for this one.



I am sure you have your own choices, so please feel free to make some recommendations in the comments.




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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Mustard Sings Creep

I'm not a big fan of X Factor and similar shows. Every time I see one I just think about all the talent that will never be discovered by them. This is because of the very narrow market demographic they are aiming themselves at. Anything slightly rocky or radical is immediately excluded. Daniel Mustard is one guy who will never make Pop Idol, and yet to me anyway, he is way more talented than anything that they will ever produce.

This tear-jerking video comes courtesy of the Opie and Anthony Show on SiriusXM radio. The footage was shot after the show's producers enlisted a homeless man, Daniel Mustard, to voice over a promo then found out he could sing. Here Mustard does an acoustic version of Radiohead's Creep with a slightly different take on the vocal phrasing and years and years of pathos in the delivery.

I have always loved this song. It is a bit of a soundtrack to my life. It raises the hairs on the back of my neck when I hear it and Daniel's version does the same. But I must give the obligatory bad language warning though.


Mustard sings Creep from Rex Kramer on Vimeo.


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Monday, 21 December 2009

Super-Powers

If you could have one super-power what would you choose? A favourite when I was a teenager was invisibility. The girl's changing rooms had an allure that only a teenage boy can understand and this combined with X-Ray vision would have made me very happy :-) These days it is a little less easy to decide. Being able to fly would be quite nice, but it is a tough call.

This guy seems to have a very cool, but slightly limiting super-power. That of the super accurate tape measure.





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Friday, 18 December 2009

Granny O'Grimm's Christmas Message

With thanks to Conny, let me introduce you to Granny O'Grimm. She stars in a short film, made in Ireland by Brown Bag Films, which has won lots of awards. You can visit Granny's website and see the film or there is a Youtube version here.

Below is Granny's special Christmas message. It may not be quite what you're expecting from a lady of her years, but it made me laugh so I hope it does you too.


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Thursday, 17 December 2009

HI - Real Human Interface

This is quite creative and would probably cause less problems than a conventional computer interface. It needs some improvements made to its boot time though. I wonder if there is a female version. More pleasing on the eye I feel. :-)


Hi from Multitouch Barcelona on Vimeo.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Goodnight To Wogan

I'm afraid this post will probably mean nothing to those readers from outside the UK, but Terry Wogan is leaving the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show. For more than thirty years Terry has entertained the nation with his gentle humour and excellent taste in music. Love him or hate him (he really does divide the public) there is no denying his status as a broadcaster. Most people my age group up listening to him, whilst secretly wishing our parents would retune to Radio 1. Now, as our tastes change with age, we are the ones denying our children something a little more contemporary.

The following video is a tribute to Sir Terry by his colleagues in broadcasting and former presenters of the breakfast show.



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Sunday, 13 December 2009

It's A Wonderful Bunny

A big thank you to Roo for reminding about Angry Alien, a production company formed by Jennifer Shiman. Jennifer is a talented animation artist that uses bunnies to perform 30 second versions of famous films. Everything from Star Wars - A New Hope to Office Space, from Die Hard to Titanic. Nothing escapes the bunny's treatment. You can find the collections of the films at the Angry Alien website, or the new stuff is being showcased at Starz.

As my featured example I'd like to show you It's A Wonderful Life. As Roo says, it is Christmas after all.


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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Thanks For The Email

An email box folder filled with spam messagesImage via Wikipedia
Dear all

Just before the end of the year I wanted to say a big thank you for the emails you have forwarded over the year.

Especially to whoever sent me the one about rat crap in the glue on envelopes, because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

Also, I now have to wipe the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it all to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time. But that will change once I receive the £15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft are sending me for participating in their special email programs. Or from the senior bank clerk in Nigeria who wants me to split seven million dollars with me for pretending to be a long lost relative of a customer who died intestate.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.

I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward emails to seven friends and make a wish within five minutes. I no longer drink Coca-Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I can no longer buy petrol without taking a friend along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm filling up. I no longer go to shopping centres because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number and then I'll get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore and Uzbekistan. I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my bum.

I can't even pick up the £5 I found dropped in the car park because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

If you don't send this email to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhoea will crap on your head at 5:00pm tomorrow afternoon and fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbour's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician.

By the way....a South American scientist after a lengthy study has discovered that people with low IQ who don't have enough sex, always read their emails while holding the mouse.

Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.
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Friday, 11 December 2009

A Day In The Life Of The Internet

I think this one is fairly self explanatory. A few statistics to help you melt your brain. :-)

As always, click to enlarge.

A Day in the Internet
Created by OnlineEducation.net
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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Mute Monks

This absolutely made my day recently. I'm not sure I could explain it any better than the introduction, certainly not any more eloquently anyway. Sufficed to say, if you like The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, this could either spoil it for for you or give you a whole new outlook on it. :-)



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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Balloon Bass & Box Jam

This takes real skill but it made me smile as well. Addi on the "Balloon Bass" and Andy on the box jam for us. I can't stop replaying it. :-)


Ballon Bass And Box Jam - Watch more Funny Videos
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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Enceladus Erupts

Below is a photograph that was originally featured on the fantastic Astronomy Picture of the Day site by NASA. It shows what the Cassini spacecraft saw as it performed a recent "fly-by" of one of Saturn's moons, Enceladus; giant jets of ice erupting from the surface. As always, click to enlarge.



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Monday, 7 December 2009

Mixed Bag

Australian "duct tape".Image via Wikipedia
I have come across a couple of sites recently that I'd like to tell you about but that aren't really big enough for their own post. So I have amalgamated them in to one.

Six Word Stories is a site whose name is self explanatory. Some of the submissions are really clever and witty. Some of my favourites...
  • Allergic dragon sneezes. Indicted for arson.
  • Canary sings. Earplugs in. Miners perish.
  • Car drives off cliff. GPS: “Recalculating…”
  • The Shark swam faster than him.
Messquoted is another site that offers an entertaining read. My highlights include...
  • If you smacked a kid in the face with a bottle of Johnson's No More Tears, would it create beautiful irony?
  • A religious war is like children fighting over who has the strongest imaginary friend.
  • The reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
  • I dream of a better tomorrow... where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives.
  • I was standing in the park wondering why frisbees got bigger as they get closer. Then it hit me.
  • Duct tape is like ‘the force, it has a dark side, a light side and it holds the universe together.
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Saturday, 5 December 2009

SixthSense

With huge thanks to the lovely Daisy, today's post is another from the fantastic TED talks. This time Pranav Mistry talks to TED India and demonstrates how his invention, SixthSense, can help us interact between the real world and the digital world.


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Friday, 4 December 2009

Twitter Posting

Twitter BirdImage by Fanie! via Flickr
Well I finally succumbed. Well in a way. Despite me saying that I would never use Twitter...I now am. Well actually the blog is. My posts to e-clecticism will now be automatically fed to Twitter using TwitterFeed. Despite the fact that I have no desire to Tweet myself, I cannot deny that it is great way to publicise yourself, or in this case, my blog.

If you would prefer to follow the blog on Twitter you can by subscribing to http://twitter.com/eclecticismjono.
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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Metaphor Magic

LONDON - APRIL 02:  Laura Castelbarco of Chris...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
I'm not under any allusions that I am a good writer. But I got an email recently that I'd like to share with you as it makes me laugh.

Just in case you need some writing inspiration. Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year’s winners:
  1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room temperature Canadian beef.
  5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
  9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  15. They lived in a typical suburban neighbourhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
  16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
  18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Wine Bottle Light

I always say that it is the simple things that are often the best. This is a perfect example. Wit & Whistle, a blog ostensibly featuring posts about design, tells how to make our own light out of a used wine bottle. I'm no DIY buff, but I may even give this a go myself. See here for full instructions.



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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

One Year In 40 Seconds

I'm writing about time-lapse photography again. I talked about it here and that post references more examples but this one is not done professionally, but I think that makes it even better.

Eirik Solheim took his camera into his garden regularly through 2008 and took several pictures each time of roughly the same spot. He took multible images so he could transform them in to HDR images using a technique similar to the one I described recently. Then, using Photoshop he aligned these images so that they all showed the same scene. He then animated them so they dissolved from one to another and added some sound that he recorded at the same time. The end result is what you see below. Here Eirik describes what he did in more detail.


One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.
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Monday, 30 November 2009

Amazing...But No Grace

Well I'm starting to feel a little more in the mood for Christmas now and so I thought I'd find something to help you all get in the mood too. Unfortunately my search was stopped short because this is just too good to pass up. Everything about the following video would normally be the total opposite to my tastes. The techno version of a beautiful song, the commercialisation of Christmas, the gaudy tasteless decoration that would be in even more wrong on a council estate in England. But for all that, it made me smile and that is a good thing. I hope you enjoy the "45,000 lights and 176 channels of computer control".


Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

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Saturday, 28 November 2009

Apple Swan

I think that if tried this it would probably end up looking like road kill. Or more likely still, I'd slice one of my fingers off with that extremely sharp looking knife. I have to admire the skill though. From the pointless but beautiful department...



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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Strange Combinations

Musically speaking I'm a big fan of strange combinations. When two artists that you would not normally associate with each other come together to make something really wonderful. I could cite many great examples but I have just just three to illustrate my point.

The first two are from a benefit concert that was held last week at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of Children In Need. A star studded event that produced many great performances but it was the duets that really caught my interest. The first is Snow Patrol and Cheryl Cole singing Set The Fire To The Third Bar which the former originally performed with Martha Wainwright. Lovely.



The second is Lily Allen performing her song Who'd Have Known whilst being joined by Take That performing Shine. It is like they were meant to fit together.



Finally. I couldn't not feature Bono from U2 singing with The Corrs. His voice and that of the beautiful Andrea Corr just fit together superbly. This is a cover of Summer Wine. Most important of all is that it was recorded just yards from the house I was living in at the time.



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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Vincent Dixon

I could be wrong of course but I can't help thinking that advertising works best when it is clever and if it can be funny as well, all the better. I think the work of Vincent Dixon is both.

Vincent was born in Kilkenny, Ireland where he earned a PHD in molecular biology. But luckily for us he eventually switched to photography. Vincent now lives in New York and has worked some very high profile accounts such as Perrier and Absolut vodka. I have featured some of my favourite examples below but please visit his site for more.

Perrier first of all.









Here is a couple examples of Absolut.





Finally here is one from a Pepsi campaign.







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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Homemade USB Guitar

If I had a bit more skill with regard to DIY and power tools, this is a project I would love to try myself.

Former editor of PC Magazine, Bill Machrone provides a great tutorial on how to modify an electric guitar so that it includes a USB interface. Why? Well Bill himself explains.

Convenience. By putting a small USB codec in a guitar, you're putting an extra sound board in there. So when you record, your guitar is digitized locally and the signal transmitted to your computer over a USB cable. You plug your headphones into the guitar, so you have more mobility and fewer cords to get tangled. The guitar still has all its standard analogue capabilities, but USB output as well.

Below is a picture of the finished product, but check out the full tutorial here and Bill's old site and new site are also worth a visit.




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Monday, 23 November 2009

Wonderful Shadow Puppetry

I saw this last year sometime and I honestly thought I'd already blogged about it. But it seems I didn't, so here it is.

Some very skilled shadow puppetry set to Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.


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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Twenty Things Programmers Say

Proce55ing Source CodeImage by schoschie via Flickr
As a follow up to my previous post. Here are twenty things that programmers say...
  1. That's weird....
  2. It's never done that before.
  3. It worked yesterday.
  4. How is that possible?
  5. It must be a hardware problem.
  6. What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?
  7. There is something funky in your data. OR It's a data problem, not a program problem.
  8. I haven't touched that module in weeks!
  9. You must have the wrong version.
  10. It's just some unlucky coincidence.
  11. I can't test everything!
  12. THIS can't be the source of THAT.
  13. It works, but it hasn't been tested.
  14. Somebody must have changed my code.
  15. Did you check for a virus on your system?
  16. Even though it doesn't work, how does it feel?
  17. You can't use that version on your system.
  18. Why do you want to do it that way?
  19. Where were you when the program blew up?
  20. It works on my machine...
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Requests From The IT Department

Hacker! 13/365Image by joshuadelaughter via Flickr
Although this is a bit old I still find it relevant. Having worked in IT for more years that I'd like to think about I could probably add many more, but it is so much easier to just copy and paste. :-)

  • When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children’s art.
  • Don’t ever write anything down, especially the error message that was on your screen.
  • If we ask what the last thing you did was, always respond with, “I didn’t do anything.”
  • When we say we’ll be right over, immediately find a reason to leave so you won’t have to answer silly questions from us, like “what’s your screen saver password?”
  • When describing your problem, just tell us what you were ultimately trying to do. For example, just say, “I can’t get my email”. We don’t need to know that the computer won’t even turn on.
  • Feel free to ignore any email sent from us, especially those marked with high importance. You don’t really need to know about the latest virus that wiped out your neighbours hard drive.
  • Always send important and urgent emails in all uppercase.
  • When the copier, or anything else remotely electronic, doesn’t work, call us. Heck, if we can fix computers, we must know all about copiers too.
  • If the document you sent to the printer didn’t print, send it at least 20 more times. One of them is bound to work.
  • Don’t ever learn the proper name for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by “my thingy blew up”.
  • Don’t waste your time using the built in help files. We already had to learn the hard way, why should you?
  • If any of the computer cables are in your way or keep moving, be sure to route them across the top of your portable heater or set something big and heavy on them to hold them in place.
  • Never bother reading any message that pops up on your screen. Just click the X to close it or the first button your mouse gets to.
  • Don’t ever try rebooting the computer yourself. Call us immediately. Only experienced, highly-trained professionals should attempt that.
  • Feel perfectly free to say things like “I don’t know anything about this computer crap”. We love hearing our area of professional expertise referred to as crap.
  • When you receive a huge movie file that’s really funny, be sure to forward it to all your friends. We have plenty of disk space and bandwidth.
  • Don’t bother bringing a radio to work, just listen to music over the internet. Like I said, we have plenty of bandwidth.
  • Don’t even think of breaking large print jobs down into smaller chunks. Somebody else might squeeze their one-page document into the queue.
  • When an I.T. person is carrying heavy equipment, worth thousands of dollars, that’s the best time to ask why your screen saver quit working.
  • Don’t bother to tell us when you move computer equipment around on your own. We certainly don’t need to keep track of those things.
  • Your computer case makes a great flat surface for sitting drinks or potted plants on.
  • Do whatever you can to cover up those ugly open air slots in the computer and monitor.

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