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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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Facebook Fanpage

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia
I thought I would make some attempts at increasing the readership of e-clecticism. The first is a Facebook fanpage. If you use Facebook, why not use the button I have added to the right hand side of the blog to "become a fan". Posts will automatically be added to the wall of the page giving yet another way you can enjoy your nerd fix.

I will be making some other changes and additions soon and I will post them here when they're ready. Right, I better get on and write some decent content, just in case this works and I do get new readers. :-)

I should probably just add that if you have just become a fan of e-clecticism, please take the time to dig through the archives. You will hopefully find something of interest.
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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Peter Funch

I have discovered another photographer whose work I really like. Once again the premise is a simple but effective one. Peter Funch is a Danish photo-journalist who lives and works in New York. He has a number of collections but I particularly like Babel Tales and Deja Vu. The former features shots of people on the streets of New York. At first glance they look like shots taken at random until you realise that most of the participants have something in common. It will hopefully make more sense if I show you some examples. As always, click to enlarge.





The latter collection speaks for itself.



See more of Peter's work at the V1 Gallery or his own website.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Pearls Before Breakfast

Tailpiece and bridge of violin.Image via Wikipedia
This is not a new story but I have only just heard about it and still feel it is worth sharing with you.

Washington DC, the Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. A man with a violin plays six pieces by Bach for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. The musician plays continuously. In total, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves over 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look. Although it is a little sad in my opinion there is nothing unusual with that. Is there?

But perhaps when I tell this was all part of an experiment organised by the Washington Post and that the muscician was none other than Joshua Bell. A one-time child prodigy, at 39 Bell has arrived as an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston's stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. Two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they stifled their coughs until the silence between movements. In addition the violin he was playing is one of the renowned Stradivari and is worth an estimated $3.5 million.

I guess we need to ask ourselves if we can be blinded to such beauty simply because we are in a hurry, how much more have we missed. The full WP article which includes several videos can be found here and is well worth a read.

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Micahel McIntyre

Well I had a busy weekend. It was my birthday on Saturday and as a surprise my wife and family had booked us to see one of my favourite comedians at the NIA in Birmingham. If you have not heard of Michael McIntyre you are missing out in my opinion. We had owned his first DVD for a while and seen him on television several times, particularly on his comedy road-show. But seeing him live I have to say was much better. He is simply the best stand-up on the circuit at the moment. Well in my opinion anyway and judging by the audience reaction on Friday, many others share it. I didn't have a decent camera with me unfortunately, so my pictures aren't great but you get the idea.





He has a new DVD out today, so guess where I'm off to later. :-)
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Friday, 13 November 2009

Twits & Tweets

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Prestige EditionImage by diabolikkitsuney via Flickr
Those of you who correspond with me regularly and who have Twitter accounts may have noticed that I signed up myself recently, despite me saying that I could not see the point and that I never would. Well I just wanted to reassure you that I have not lost my mind and that I have not gone back on my word. I will not be posting what I am up to on there, nor will I be following any celebrities. It was simply a means to an end. Please don't waste your time in "following" me. This blog is still my only indulgence in the attention grabbing aspects of my personality. But it occurs to me that if you need to find out what is going on within some realms these days, don't bother ringing, don't bother emailing, don't even bother trying to look it up on their website. Your only option is to follow them on Twitter.

I have been looking forward to the release of Modern Warfare 2 for what seems like forever. I had my copy on pre-order to be safe. I was not disappointed as the game is a masterpiece and I cannot extol it's virtues too much. However, Sony must be slightly stupid. To explain...My platform of choice is the Playstation 3 which uses Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) to facilitate online play. Unlike XBox Live, it is free, which is fantastic but perhaps that is also its flaw. Yesterday lunchtime, PSN went off air and stayed off for several hours. Argh! The sheer demand must have broken something and subscribing to a Twitter feed seemed to be the only way to find what was actually going on. It is back now but you cannot help but wonder how this happened. This was the most anticipated video game in history. Pre-order sales were in the region of seven million breaking all records.Would you not think that it might have been a good idea to beef up the infrastructure somewhat so that it could cope with the demand?

I'm not letting it spoil it for me though. I'll just take it out on my opponents. :-)

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Thursday, 12 November 2009

Meet Milo

Regular readers may remember that I posted about Project Natal recently? Well check this out. Lionhead Studios introduces us to their Project Natal-enabled interactive character named Milo. I appreciate that this demo is a little stunted and perhaps staged, but I am still very excited about the work that this being done in this area. You can't help being impressed, well I can't anyway.



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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Green Fields Of France

A British trench near the Albert-Bapaume road ...Image via Wikipedia
Today is Armistice day in the UK (also known as Remembrance Day). It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Rethondes, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". Wanting to mark it in my own way I have racked my brains to come up with the right words but I really cannot do any better than Eric Bogle. He wrote a song called The Green Fields of France. Often called Willy McBride, it is about a young soldier who, like millions of others, did not make it to 1918 and the end of the war. Thanks must go to a friend of mine who reminded me of this beautiful but haunting song on Facebook. I first came across it in Ireland (where I lived for many years) as it is a very popular song over there. Made famous by The Fureys, an uncle of my wife sang it A Capella at one of the many "sing alongs" that occur very regularly at Irish gatherings and I have loved it ever since. Entirely without permission, I have reproduced the lyrics below. Perhaps they will stir you to take moment to remember them...

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

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Monday, 9 November 2009

Big Surf

There is not much I can say about this except that you wouldn't catch me doing it. :-)


Surf
Uploaded by adriendu59. -

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Saturday, 7 November 2009

Avatar

The latest movie from James Cameron premiers here soon. Judging by the trailer that has just been released (below) Avatar is a visually stunning Sci-Fi film with an eco twist. Cameron has to be one of my favourite directors and this will be his first film since Titanic. Four years in the making it has pulled together a great cast including Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang.

I can't wait. Check out the official site here.



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Friday, 6 November 2009

The Golden Age Of Video

I think I must have played this and replayed it about 100 times. To link some clips from movies and television programmes together to make up the lyrics of a song must be hard enough. But to get them to to rhyme and fit a tempo must be nearly impossible. But Ricardo Autobahn has achieved just that. This is real genius in my opinion. I hope you enjoy it and don't get too hung up on trying to guess where all the clips came from. :-)


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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bent Objects

Yesterday I came across the work of Terry Border for the first time. Terry has his own blog right here on Blogger that features his work Bent Objects. In a nutshell he takes everyday objects and foodstuffs and anthropomorphises them with great and sometimes subtle humour. I have posted some of my favourites below but please check out his blog and his book which is available on Amazon and elsewhere.

First we have Stud Muffin.



Paper Training Our Dog, Frank



Mail Order Bride. The chair is a nice touch in this one.



And finally...Cereal Killer.



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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Argleton

Well here is an odd thing. Google and the company that supplies its mapping data are unable to explain the presence of a phantom town and are investigating how it got there. Argleton, appears on Google Maps in the middle of fields close to the M58 motorway, just south of Ormskirk in Lancashire.

A spokesman for Google said: "While the vast majority of this information is correct there are occasional errors. We're constantly working to improve the quality and accuracy of the information available in Google Maps and appreciate our users' feedback in helping us do so. People can report an issue to the data provider directly and this will be updated at a later date."

The data for the programme was provided by Dutch company Tele Atlas. A spokesman said it would now wipe the non-existent town from the map, so make sure you visit Argleton while you can.


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