Sunday, 31 May 2009

Giant Piano

If you have ever seen the film Big, I'm sure you will remember the scene where the young Tom Hanks gets to play Chopsticks on a giant piano. Well I often wondered would be possible to play something a little more complicated. Apparently it is. I hope you enjoy this rendition of The Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. Well the opening few bars anyway.

Link: Girls Play Giant Piano

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Google Wave

You want to know what the next big thing is going to be? In my opinion it will be Google Wave. This is Google's vision of how communicating would work if email were invented now rather than four decades ago. Combining familiar applications such email, IM, blogging and social networking all into one browser based application. Google Wave looks rather excellent.

The video below is rather long but please stick with it, it is well worth it.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Q&A Hero

I confess that in the past I have stolen a couple of ideas for posts from the brilliant Graham Linehan and I apologise. But I make no apologies for stealing this one. It needs to be seen.

You might find what you are about to watch is painful viewing, but I urge you to watch it anyway. The gentleman speaking exhibits incredible bravery and earns my respect beyond measure; I cannot help but have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye every time I see it. If you are not familiar with the story of the inquiry into child abuse at Catholic institutions in Ireland, you will need to read this link first to understand what is going on.

The video is a clip from an Irish political Q&A program on RTE (Ireland's national television and radio broadcaster). The panel was asked a question about the Ryan Commission report and they responded. Then the questioner responded like this.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tumble Down

So I changed my camera. Yes I know that I didn't have the other one long and that I never got around to reviewing it. Sorry. The old one was a Canon 350D which I really liked but it was a little out dated and I wanted to trade it in before the price dropped too low. I did this and made the bold move away from Canon to Olympus with the Olympus E520. I say it was a bold move because Canon are the standard which all other manufacturers seem to aspire to but they are disproportionately expensive in my opinion. For the same price as I would have paid for the equivalent Canon model, I got the E520 and an additional lens in the shape of the Olympus ED 70-300.

I have to say that I am more than happy with my purchase and wanted to share one of the first shots I took with it. This is a tumbled down old cottage and barn that I spotted on the way to visit my sister and her family. I love black and white pictures and I think it caught the mood nicely. As always, click to enlarge and please visit my gallery for more of my shots.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Nerd Pride Day

Happy Nerd Pride Day to my fellow geeks and nerds. Remember our manifesto...

Rights:
  1. The right to be even nerdier.
  2. The right to not leave your house.
  3. The right to not have a significant other and to be a virgin.
  4. The right to not like football or any other sport.
  5. The right to associate with other nerds.
  6. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
  7. The right to have all the nerdy friends that you want.
  8. The right to not be "in-style."
  9. The right to be overweight and have poor eyesight.
  10. The right to show off your nerdiness.
  11. The right to take over the world.
Responsibilities:
  1. Be a nerd, no matter what.
  2. Try and be nerdier than anyone else.
  3. If there is a discussion about something nerdy, you must give your opinion.
  4. Save any and all nerdy things you have.
  5. Do everything you can to show off your nerdy stuff as though it were a "museum of nerdiness."
  6. Don't be a generalised nerd. You must specialise in something.
  7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every nerdy book before anyone else.
  8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related t-shirt, all the better.
  9. Don't waste your time on anything not related to nerddom.
  10. Try to take over the world!
Admittedly I have failed on some of these, but I'm doing my best.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Burj Dubai Fountains

This is stunning. The fountains at the nearly completed Burj Dubai tower. Designed by WET Design at a reported cost of US$217 million, they dance to Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli's Time To Say Goodbye. Enjoy!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Optimus Maximus Keyboard

Thanks to a friend of mine (hello Roo) I now have a new item on my wish list. Actually I don't, because despite looking cool, the Optimus Maximus Keyboard by Artlebedev is actually not that great...Yet.

In case you're not familiar with it, the Optimus Maximus is a keyboard with an individual OLED screen on each of the 113 separate keys. These same buttons can be programmed to display any image or animation that you choose.


In theory this makes for a fully programmable keyboard which is very cool. In reality there are two major problems with it. Firstly the action leaves a lot to be desired which makes typing more difficult than usual and secondly there is the price. At around US$1,600 is costs more than most computers.

Hopefully both these points will be rectified in time as it really is very cool.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Shape Of My Heart

I was reminded of this song today after I heard it played on the radio. I had forgotten how truly beautiful it sounds. I am not a huge fan of Sting to be honest. I have nothing against him, it's just not my kind of music. Having said that...this simple repeating phrase, the clever and meaningful lyrics and a stunning vocal performance that is jammed full of expression...all add up to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I hope you enjoy it too.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Siftables

These look very cool. MIT graduate student David Merrill demonstrates Siftables at this year's TED -- computerised tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These futuristic toys can do maths, play music, and talk to their "friends" too. Is this the next thing in hands-on learning?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Space Shuttle Crosses the Sun

As featured on Wired and several other places this week...

In the 0.8 seconds the Space Shuttle Atlantis took to cross the sun, French astrophotographer Thierry Legault snapped this picture with a five-inch telescope and a Canon EOS 5D digital camera.


The next day Legault got another stunning shot of Atlantis, right before it reached out to grab the Hubble Telescope, which can also be seen in the shot. More mind blowing pictures can be seen at Thierry's own site.

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Great Office War

Everywhere I have worked there as always been a friendly (mostly) rivalry between Sales and Tech. Sales think that Techs hold them back from earning their maximum commission and Techs always moan that Sales are always trying to sell stuff before it is ready.

This is why the following video makes me smile so much. Enjoy The Great Office War. It's a good way to settle things once and for all...Until next time.


The Great Office War - Watch more Funny Videos

Friday, 15 May 2009

Death Star Destroys Enterprise

Further to the post I made here, Michael Horn has done it again. This time the theme is a joke about the plot of the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I love this guy's work.

Military force was authorised yesterday after the alleged time travellers and their craft ignored an ultimatum to stop whale poaching.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Absent Friends

I find that if you are not having a particularly good time of things in the present day, it is quite common to spend time reminiscing of times when things were better. This was certainly true for me when my father passed away toward the end of last year. I found myself reflecting on my childhood, which could not have been better, but also for more recent times.

Now my head is a little clearer it occurs to me just how many good friendships that have come and gone over the years. One in particular that has been on my mind a lot lately is Bill Bradshaw. At one time, Bill and I were practically brothers. I worked with him for short while when I lived in Dublin and we immediately clicked. He was a very intelligent and passionate man who loved his music, film, his poetry and the odd pint or two. He was (is) godfather to my eldest daughter. But for some odd reason I never fully understood we sort of drifted apart and I have lost touch with him now.

I don't know whether he continued with his poetry but I really hope he did. I remember he published his own book that he co-wrote with Siobhan Mulcahy called A Bar-room For Two. I still treasure my signed copy.

A poem that appeared in the book was always a favourite of mine. It was called "No More" and concerned the death of Bill's father not long before. Since my father's death it has a new dimension, but because it almost bursts with affection, it still makes me smile. If Bill ever reads this (and I hope he does) I hope he doesn't object to me sharing it with you. If you are out there Bill...The journey is still ongoing...Cheers!

No More
No more funny phone calls
on my lunchtime break,
No more words of wisdom
when it gets hard to take,
No more "will we see you
this weekend or not?".
No more "we're still here
or have you forgot?".
No more walking greyhounds
in Summer at four,
No more "well you're welcome"
as I walk through the door.
No more "he looks great
for a man of his years",
No more off to England,
with handshakes and tears.
No more dances with Mam
when the radio plays,
No more shouting of drink
when I'm still in a haze.
No more travelling home
when things get so bad,
No more buses and trains
and "how's it going Dad?".

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Awkward Family Photos

I have a new favourite website. I spent time in pain laughing at Awkward Family Photos. Not just the pictures themselves but the genius captions that the author adds. If you are embarrassed by any of your family photos, take a look, it will make you feel better. Or why not send yours in?



Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Plastic Life

I know I harp on about photography and which styles I like etc. But sometimes it's the simplest things that appeal to me. Take the work of Vincent Bousserez for instance. Vincent photographs tiny plastic models of people but in the context of normal sized surroundings. Genius! The pictures are often witty and are always well thought out. I have included some of my favourites below but please take a look at Vincent's work on Flickr for more examples and some of his other work.





Monday, 11 May 2009

Flagpole Sitta

I'm out and about being busy today so here's a little post about nothing in particular that I save for days like these.

This is a group of work friends who made there own lip sync video for Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger. I hope you like it as it made me smile.

Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri on Vimeo.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson is a young Swedish chap that takes some great photographs. Not unusual, but its how he manipulates them afterwards that really interests me. Not only is he an absolute genius at using Photoshop (or some other means of photo manipulation) but he has that warped sense of humour that sets him apart from others. I have linked to a small selection of his work below but please visit his website for many more examples.




Thursday, 7 May 2009

Inspired Bicycles

Although I was the right age for the BMX craze of the 80's, I didn't really get into it myself, but I did follow friends that did. The stunts and tricks of the freestyle side of it still fascinate me. Although the bikes have changed somewhat, the following film surpasses anything else I have seen before. To quote from the blurb...

Filmed over the period of a few months in and around Edinburgh by Dave Sowerby, this video of Inspired Bicycles team rider Danny MacAskill (more info at www.dannymacaskill.com) features probably the best collection of street/street trials riding ever seen. There's some huge riding, but also some of the most technically difficult and imaginative lines you will ever see. Without a doubt, this video pushes the envelope of what is perceived as possible on a trials bike.

It builds gently with some reminders that he could easily get hurt into some truly stunning tricks. Beautifully accompanied by Band of Horses with The Funeral. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Trumptonshire

You could accuse me of living in the past and you could most certainly accuse me of being childish. So let's talk about children's television shows from the past.

Everyone will claim that the programs from their childhood were the best. But I grew up in the 70's and so I am actually right. To anyone of my age group, titles like Mr Ben, Bod, Pipkins, Vision On, Bagpuss, Clangers, Crackerjack, Mary Mungo & Midge, Ivor The Engine, Captain Scarlett, Thunderbirds, Joe 90, The Tomorrow People (the list is very nearly endless) evoke good memories and a fierce bout of reminiscing. I am a huge fan of several of these shows. Many of the Gerry Anderson shows in particular still hold fascination for me today. But the ultimate has always been the Trumptonshire Trilogy.

Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley were three series, of thirteen episodes each, that were shown separately but were interconnected. To quote a rather excellent fansite.

Each series title was a separate location within the fictional English county of Trumptonshire.
There were no talking animals, mythical beings or magical forces at work here. Just normal people going about their normal, everyday business.
But never mundane, as each 15 minute episode threw up a new mini crisis, which was always met head-on with a cheerful "can do" attitude and frequent bouts of song.

Therefore I was delighted to find that the entire thing has been released on DVD. So I bought it in a flash. A fantastic trip down memory lane for us adults, and an introduction to some truly classic children's TV for today's youngsters. If you are fed up with banality and political correctness of children's shows like Balimory & The Tweenies this is for you. Go on, relive your childhood. If you need kids to justify your purchase, I can rent you some of mine.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Where Am I?

If you feel the need to ask that question, you can now find out just by looking to the right of the screen. Thanks to Google Latitude, my approximate location (I have kept it approximate on purpose, I could make it accurate to within 80m if I wanted) is automatically tracked and updated here by way of my phone. How very big brother.

Yeah I know I'm a geek. You should know it by now too!

Signs

I really don't know exactly why this short film appeals to me. Perhaps it is the nice gentle build-up of the character development. Perhaps it is the romantic mood. All I can tell you is that this is not my usual thing at all. As it has such a slow start, I would normally lose interest long before the end, but this time I didn't. I hope you enjoy it too.


Signs
Uploaded by mg02

Monday, 4 May 2009

Ghost Town

Hello all, this is just a quick note to let you know that I haven't abandoned you all. The last few days I have been quite busy and have just not had a chance to post.

I have been out and about with my camera. I have also been scanning some more of my father's work and so will hopefully get some new pictures into my gallery soon. Please feel free to leave a comment. I have also spent some quality time with my family which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Anyway, I have some cool posts coming up soon, so please stick with me.

Thanks for reading!
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