Saturday, October 31, 2015

Polaroid is back and selling 1,000,000 films a year

In the age of digital cameras and phones, print has gone by the wayside.  Once a year my wife and I put together bound albums of some of our favourite photos.  Even still, there is no gluing corners, handling photos, and even smelling the scent of a freshly developed photo.  Everything is done with a photo-builder app, printed to glossy paper, and bound. 

It's kind of like the music industry and vinyl, or the book industry and print.  There is a nostalgia, but also a need to realize that 100,000 songs on an iPod isn't the same as taking a record out of an album jacket, holding a Beatles or CCR album in your hands, and cursing when the thing skips.  I love my Kindle, yet I will take a printed book any day over 300 books that I may not have the same attachment to. 

Last weekend I brought out an old Polaroid SX-70 camera I have, still in the box.

The Polaroid Land Camera  contains no batteries which confused me when I bought it.  The batteries are in the film cartridge.  It was an odd, unique design. The film is still around $25.  My kids were fascinated by it. 

    "Don't undertake a project unless it's manifestly important and nearly impossible."
    Edwin Land

The Impossible Project is awesome.  In 2008, the founders purchased the last remaining Polaroid factory in the world.  Last year they sold over 1,000,000 films.

Thank you Steve Herchen, ZINK Imaging, and the Impossible Project for keeping your dreams alive for our children and grandchildren.

“Polaroid film is, in my estimation, the world’s most chemically complex completely man-made product ever.”

My son told me this morning on the way to his kindergarden class, when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up, "I want to mix potions!"  Seems like a future-proof career to me.  Though he will probably be mixing potions on a computer and not by hand, using complex technology that streams the chemical composition to millions of sensors... wait that's Hadoop.

Polaroid announced last month the Polariod Snap

The unique part about this gadget is there is no ink.  It uses ZINK® Zero InkPrinting Technology, a thermal imaging process, to recreate the quality of a true photo.  These "Linear Arrays of Individually-Addressable Heating Elements" are the magic.

So what's missing?  I hope they put out a retro Land Cam with front-facing photo, and the ability to shake it off.  Taylor Swift could sponsor it.  My kids need to experience the joy of seeing a black photo turn from grainy brown, orange, yellow, and slowly into an actual color photo that you just took less than 4 minutes ago.  Perhaps by just placing the film in a see-through container, the process could be shown during development. 

This is close enough for now.

Amazon has the 10MP camera for $99.   Sooo tempted!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

British Library posts 1.3M scans of book photos

When I visited the British Library a few years ago, I was in awe at the majesty of the place.  Not to mention the double-rainbow I saw while sitting outside the RBC Capital Markets building...

Last year, The British Library's Mechanical Curator project, using facial recognition tools and Flickr hosting, published over 1 million historical scans from books of the 1700-1900s.  It's a fascinating example of big data at work.  Indexing and curating such a large collection would be nearly impossible without crowd-sourcing and complex algorithms to analyze the imagery.

Imagine a world without Google, or any search engine on the internet.  How would you find anything?  What if you had to browse through 200 year-old books to find a URL to a web site, then manually search through each link on a web site to find a photo?

For all of the 30-50 billion or so web pages on the internet, there is still a world outside that contains far more information than will ever be digitized, categorized, or classified.

After visiting London, my retirement dream is to have a small boat moored for a couple of months each year near the British Museum and British Library.  Nothing fancy, as long as it has internet access and a sitting room for reading a book or two...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Funniest film ever?

It may be low-brow humour with lots of terrible puns and corny sight gags, but my favourite comedy was still voted the funniest film ever.

[Thinking to himself
Ted Striker: I've got to concentrate... 
[his thoughts echo
Ted Striker: concentrate... concentrate... I've got to concentrate... concentrate... concentrate... Hello?... hello... hello... Echo... echo... echo... Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota... 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Good keys, what are they like? « Thomas Kejser's Database Blog

Stupid numeric single-column auto-incrementing identities.  Those are good keys.  In a warehouse model anyway....

However, in SQL, identity columns sometimes do get reused/refilled.

And when using integer identities, be sure that the number of rows do not exceed the limits of integer. 
The max limit is 2,147,483,647.  Hopefully your company is successful enough to get this many sales transactions.

If they're expected to do, use bigint.
The max limit is 9,223,372,036,854,775,807.

Good keys, what are they like? « Thomas Kejser's Database Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

John Searle and Chinese Rooms

John Searle, possibly a distant relative of mine, is an American philosopher who describes the concept of the "Chinese Room".

In 1980, Searle presented the "Chinese room" argument, which purports to prove the falsity of strong AI.[39] (Familiarity with the Turing test is useful for understanding the issue.) Assume you do not speak Chinese and imagine yourself in a room with two slits, a book, and some scratch paper. Someone slides you some Chinese characters through the first slit, you follow the instructions in the book, write what it says on the scratch paper, and slide the resulting sheet out the second slit. To people on the outside world, it appears the room speaks Chinese—they slide Chinese statements in one slit and get valid responses in return—yet you do not understand a word of Chinese. This suggests, according to Searle, that no computer can ever understand Chinese or English, because, as the thought experiment suggests, being able to 'translate' Chinese into English does not entail 'understanding' either Chinese or English: all which the person in the thought experiment, and hence a computer, is able to do is to execute certain syntactic manipulations

Basically it says that computers will never gain conciousness or understanding, though they can have the appearance of such and simulate enough of it to fool most people.  This is the concept of Strong AI.  This is due to the fact that they have no physical  or chemical attributes that could replicate conciousness, as the brain has. 

There is no physical law, Searle insists, that can see the equivalence between a personal computer, a series of ping-pong balls and beer cans, and a pipe-and-water system all implementing the same program.

He describes the concepts of Brute facts versus institutional facts.   A Brute fact is that, according to standards of measures (and Google), the height of Mount Everest is 29, 029 feet.   An institutional fact is that LeBron James has scored over 2,000 points in seven consecutive seasons.

The appropriately programmed computer with the right inputs and outputs would thereby have a mind in exactly the same sense human beings have minds.
The Chinese room (and all modern computers) manipulate physical objects in order to carry out calculations and do simulations. AI researchers Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon called this kind of machine a physical symbol system. It is also equivalent to the formal systems used in the field of mathematical logic. Searle emphasizes the fact that this kind of symbol manipulation is syntactic (borrowing a term from the study of grammar). The computer manipulates the symbols using a form of syntax rules, without any knowledge of the symbol's semantics (that is, their meaning).

To turn a computer into a true intelligence, it would have to be less programmed syntactically and driven more by semantic learning or understanding. 

Does Google have true intelligence?  Or is it just part of a system that makes someone with true intelligence smarter, or makes us think we are smarter based on the most common brute and institutional facts?

The speed at which human brains process information is (by some estimates) 100 billion operations per second.
The IBM Sequoia is currently the world's fastest computer, at 16.32 petaflops, or 1015 floating-point operations per second.  That's about 15 quadrillion operations per second.  15,000,000,000,000,000 as opposed to 100,000,000,000.

Since the main arguments were first written in the late 70s and early 80s, does the concept of a Chinese Room as being the barrier for AI still hold up?

With the cost per Gigaflip currently sitting around $1.80 (perhaps a bit more due to parts shortages from flooding and earthquakes), is it just a matter of time before we have a truly learning computer?

Or do we need to look less at the concept of a syntatically-programmed computer, and more at a physically-created, self-sustaining semantic intelligence?

As I came into work today, someone had put a copy of a June 2012 Scientific American on my desk, with an article entitled Building a Machine Brain.  Before I even opened it, I had put together this posting, after looking at a wikipedia article online mentioning someone with a surname like mine, while doing a query related to semantic data modeling. 

I searched for id brain in Google, to see if I could find the name of what truly determines reasoning and thought outside of the physical brian, which are the concepts of id, ego, and super-ego.  I found the Wikipedia article describing Freud's concepts, but further down another article from a May, 2012 Scentific American entitled The Brain's Highways, Mapping The Last Frontier.

It's funny the paths your brain in conjunction with the internet will take you.

John Searle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Zugzwang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zugzwang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Zugzwang (German for "compulsion to move", pronounced [ˈtsuːktsvaŋ]) is a term usually used in chess which also applies to various other games. The term finds its formal definition in combinatorial game theory, and it describes a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer to pass and make no move. The fact that the player must make a move means that his position will be significantly weaker than the hypothetical one in which it was his opponent's turn to move.

In business, usually it's better that customers bring sales to you rather than you selling to customers.  This works with referral web sites (Facebook, LinkedIn), where friends and colleagues refer each other and encourage a larger subscriber base.  It works with pyramid/MLM schemes (Amway), where the more paying recruits you have, the better the kings and queens at the top of the pyramid fare.  It works with retail, where the best possibility of a sale is when someone is actually on your web site or in your store, versus when you're forced to pay to publish a newspaper ad or commercial to drive traffic and possible sales.

Referrals (letting the other person move) are the best sales to get. Instead of a 75-1 cold call to sale ratio, it could be a 4-1 referral to sale ratio.

So instead of being forced to move, ask the other person to move first.

'via Blog this'

Saturday, April 14, 2012

ANU Quantum Random Number Server

ANU Quantum Random Number Server:
Random numbers generated from the silence in a vacuum to produce the Matrix.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) - Trivia - IMDb

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) - Trivia - IMDb: "Stephen King attended a screening of the film and sat next to Guillermo del Toro. According to Del Toro, King squirmed when the Pale Man chased Ofelia. Del Toro compared the experience of seeing King's reaction to winning an Oscar. "

That was a creepy movie, and if Stephen King is creeped out you know you've made a masterpiece.
'via Blog this'

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Microsoft Flight now available for free | Ubergizmo

Almost time to put the flight yoke and pedals back into storage... the eye candy graphics are great and the sim feeling is as-in FSX, unfortunately so are the load times for Microsoft Flight (Feb 2012 release). Getting out of the plane and walking around was kind of interesting for a couple of minutes. Something was missing though...

GTA has really ruined games for me.

While I was walking around enjoying the town I had just parked in the middle of, my plane rolled away into a tree. When I landed in the water, the plane seemed to get stuck and to takeoff I had to fly sideways on my wing. What I still can't figure out... is it a game or is it a flight simulator? Somehow I think I would find it more fun if it had missiles or a dragon or maybe some erupting volcanos to fly through.... or barring that some air and road traffic to make it feel less like a deserted apocalyptic Hawaiian island with nice building window refractions. Some kind of in-game mini-game or web browser popup to go with those load screens would be a welcome addition too.

And the hidden costs... $19.95 to open up Hawaii, $22 for 2 airplanes... sigh.

It feels like I just downloaded Smurfs on my iPad. A 1.7GB Smurfs. In-game purchases are the new revenue stream. $42 US is almost more than what I paid for my copy of FSX, and $32 more than what I paid for FS2004 at a yard sale. For $85 you can go fly a real plane for 1/2 an hour. Still, to justify buying aforementioned flight yoke and pedals, might be something I need to get. Can't complain about what you do get from the free game. I couldn't quite figure out what you're supposed to do in multiplayer mode though.

And why can't I land on an aircraft carrier? I thought this was Pearl Harbor. Maybe I haven't played it enough...

Microsoft Flight now available for free | Ubergizmo: "The kind of audience that Microsoft’s Flight will attract? It will most probably be the casual gamer crowd, considering how this is a free game, albeit weighing in at a rather hefty 1.43GB. Best to download this when you are off for a nap. Those who are interested in giving this simulator a go on their respective gaming rigs at home, you are free to do so via the download link here."

I don't think my son and his grandmother would ever get around to playing this. He prefers Tricky Truck. I don't know why parking a truck is so much fun.

What's interesting is the lack of content, well, compared to FSX anyway. FSX out of the box is a monstrous effort, with 8 pages of staff in the credits.rtf file, the entire Earth as a flight school, umpteen planes, heated seats and a ton of history. I see about a page and a half of people/contractors/external companies in the CoreContent.pak credits file, some interesting tidbits during the load screens, and 4 planes, 2 of which come with the game. Not that I'm complaining about the end product. A free flight simulator? Sign me up!

Did I mention it's free?

Kudos to the development team for keeping the flight sim dream alive at MS.

FSX, in my case anyway, is 42, 395 files and 14 GB of disk space with those add-ons. Kind of makes MS Flight feel like a Pop Cap game. 45 files and 2.2 GB? Of course, if you rename the .pak files to .zip you'll see quite a bit more xml goodness in there.... modding anyone?

Maybe it will get more interesting with my Kinect hacked into working with it....

Where is the crude humor from the warning label?

When I was into the whole flight sim thing a couple years back, I signed up for AVSIM. It was fun for a couple of days but I can't really get into flying a flight sim across an ocean for 5 hours at a stretch. Sounds like those beta testers gave MS an earful about the latest offering. Too many Mario coins.

The AVSIM community deserves special recognition for being the most childish out of the lot. Given that the Flight Sim demographic is usually in the “older” segment of society, I was incredibly surprised to see so many people carrying on like a pack of entitled children. In most cases I hate that term “entitlement” because it’s often a substitute for “I don’t like your argument so I’m going to declare it invalid by way of entitlement.” In this case though it was entirely warranted; people were screaming like Microsoft were selling out to the general public, that it was going to be a kid’s game, that because it didn’t implement big iron and VATSIM bullshit coming out the arse that it was a complete failure and so on. Personally I’m glad Microsoft stuck it to that community. There’s no pleasing them.

Good review here. Hope the next release lets you listen to real ATC conversations, opens up the world's major cities, and lets you fly underwater.

I would buy those add-ons.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Aerocrash landing

First experiences with Microsoft Flight.

It’s a Microsoft Flight Simulator product.  Similar controls and feel.  Load time is nice and slow on my quad-core 3ghz recommended machine.

Got my flight yoke and pedals hooked back up.  Bumped up the effects to max with just a bit of lag.  Flew around a few balloons.  Great graphics but sky is a bit grainy.

Not sure what Multiplayer is for yet… had a couple guys talking about 45 knot winds…

I clicked on Search Bing for the first Aerocache hint.   Who’s idea was it to to call an external browser anyway???


Seems like a pretty fun game and the points and achievements system really makes flying more fun. 

Service Pack 1 better come out before I get the Hawaii upgrade.

Microsoft Pilots New Aerocaches « Aerocaches (Microsoft Flight) « Geomedia « Its Not About The Numbers

Microsoft Flight Released

Microsoft didn’t quite kill off the Flight Simulator franchise, or at least I think they didn’t.   Will see after the 1.7GB download installs with Windows Marketplace, Games for Windows and a couple other things.  That would be now.

The sky's the limit! Now anyone can enjoy the fun, freedom and adventure of flight. Feel the power at your fingertips as you take to the skies and launch into thrilling missions and exciting challenges over the free-to-play Big Island of Hawaii. Take off today and fly into the ever-expanding world of Microsoft Flight.*

Microsoft Flight

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Colbourne School for Sale

An interesting opportunity to own a whole school, including your own gym!

13k sq-ft. 5+ acres with a playground. Fire alarms!

All this for under $400k and less than 1 hour to Toronto (without traffic, of course)

Quinte and District Association of REALTORS® Inc.: "Excellent building built in 1961. A one storey brick and stone trimmed building with a central hall plan. Features are a gym, large play area, paved road, parking & driveways, new water well installed in 1999-boiler replaced in 2000-life safety upgrades completed in 2007. Roofing replaced in 1992 and 1995. Area of the building is 12839.5 sq ft. Yard size is 5.06 acres. The property is located on a large flat hill top, it has magnificent view of the surrounding country side. Property is being sold as is."

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 04, 2011

Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: a cognitive teardown of the user experience

Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: a cognitive teardown of the user experience: "To summarize, in the context of Angry Birds, success is bound up in slowing down that which could be fast, erasing that which is easily renewable, and making visual that which is mysterious and memorable."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steve Jobs' Final Words Revealed By Biological Sister | Fox News


“Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”

Steve Jobs' Final Words Revealed By Biological Sister | Fox News

Friday, October 21, 2011

Steve Yegge - Google+ - Last week I accidentally posted an internal rant about…

For those of you that are a bit verbose when writing up material for a presentation or business document, here’s a simple approach to make things more concise.

Here is how I prepared. Amazon people, take note. This will help you. I am dead serious.
To prepare a presentation for Jeff, first make damn sure you know everything there is to know about the subject. Then write a prose narrative explaining the problem and solution(s). Write it exactly the way you would write it for a leading professor or industry expert on the subject.
That is: assume he already knows everything about it. Assume he knows more than you do about it. Even if you have groundbreakingly original ideas in your material, just pretend it’s old hat for him. Write your prose in the succinct, direct, no-explanations way that you would write for a world-leading expert on the material.
You’re almost done. The last step before you’re ready to present to him is this: Delete every third paragraph.
Now you’re ready to present!

I left the 3rd paragraph in to prove Steve’s point.   Does “Now you’re ready to present!” really need to be there?  Or is it like Americanizing a movie ending, where the entire movie needs to be recapped to the audience who wasn’t smart enough to figure things out for themselves?

I like tips like these, they’re very easy to follow and can fit into your everyday email conversations too.


Steve Yegge - Google+ - Last week I accidentally posted an internal rant about…

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Facebook open-sourced its datacenters

Is Google really a search engine?  Is Facebook a social networking site? An interesting article about Facebook’s new open-source datacenter architecture.  Google isn’t really a search engine, it’s just a means to track eyeballs for marketers.  Facebook isn’t really a social networking site, it’s a means to track everything about those eyeballs for marketers.

The idea that Google and Facebook are somehow competing with one another in the datacenter space may sound odd at first, given that most people are used to thinking of Google somewhat vaguely as an ad-supported software company. But as we're fond of pointing out, Google is essentially a maker of very capital-intensive, full-custom, warehouse-scale computers—a "hardware company," if you will. It monetizes those datacenters by keeping as many users as possible connected to them, and by serving ads to those users. To make this strategy work, it has to hire lots of software people, who can write the Internet-scale apps (search, mainly) that keep users connected and viewing ads. Since the price of Google ads is set largely independently of Google's cost of delivery, every dollar of efficiency that Google can wring out of one of these large computers is a dollar that goes to the bottom line.

Why Facebook open-sourced its datacenters

Why don’t we have the five-computer mentality of the past, with redundant parts and power systems, instead of thousands of commodity machines spinning away?  Does the world really need more than 5 computers?  Unlike the aforementioned article, a cluster of data centers is not a computer in my mind.

Perhaps we need a biological computer?  By the definition above of a data center cluster being a computer, an assembly line could be considered a biological-mechanical computer.  What if the assembly line was controlled by a small pond containing neurons? No more data center, no more power consumption, no more cooling issues. 

Here’s to hoping they haven’t figured out how to get those neurons to multiply yet… sounds like The Matrix to me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 » News » Apple reveals most popular iPhone & iPad apps of all-time

My top iPad apps of 2010.

1. Real Solitaire HD – I’m $30k in the hole on that one.
2. Angry Birds HD – I’m $4.99 in the hole on that one.
3. Angry Birds Seasons – The CEO emailed me from Finland about how to unlock the additional levels.
4. Flipbook – Facebook & Twitter never looked so good.
5. BBC News – British news is so much better than Fox and CNN.
6. AP News – Short and sweet
7. CityTV – Community is the best show on TV.
8. Zumocast – Best streaming media server.  I hear it’s going Android-only.
9. Any Piano App.
10. Pulse News – An alternate look to Flipbook.
11. Soundhound
12. Aweditorium

And in no particular order:

Catapult Madness

Parachute Panic

Talking Tom Cat

Cut The Rope


And my son likes:

Glow Draw
Draw Stars


Rovio’s casual gaming sensation Angry Birds is the most downloaded paid-for app for the iPhone of all time, Apple has disclosed. » News » Apple reveals most popular iPhone & iPad apps of all-time

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Movie Quotes -

Find quotes from movies with this useful search engine.

in memory of Leslie Nielsen.

All Airplane quotes 

Naked Gun

Movie Quotes -

Friday, October 01, 2010

Automatically Scrolling PDF

CTRL-H to Reading Mode

CTRL-L to full Screen Mode

Shift-CTRL-H or View-Automatically Scroll provides a lazy way of reading a PDF.

Number keys change the speed of scrolling.

For added laziness, get an OCZ NIA and assign a couple number keys to it.

Adobe - Adobe Acrobat: Create PDF file, edit PDF file, convert PDF to word, convert PDF to doc

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Website Mood Boards: A Successful Precursor to Visual Prototyping | 404 Creative

How about asking 3-4 questions upon entering a web site, and then having the web site adjust its style to match your mood?  Kind of like a choose your own adventure novel.  (did you skip ahead on those things too?)


A mood board helps establish the branding, design components, typography, imagery, and color palettes that will be incorporated in the design. Much the way an interior designer will initially put together a swatch panel showing the fabrics and colors that will be used in designing a room, the mood board establishes the aesthetic direction of the site up front without negatively impacting the flow or structure of the site.

Website Mood Boards: A Successful Precursor to Visual Prototyping | 404 Creative

Could be the next step to social web sites…

Why not bring this into the real world and adjust lighting and sound in a club or bar to match the crowd’s mood?  Kind of like those mood rings or hypercolor shirts…. but wireless and with extra intelligence.

Not sure why mood boards got me thinking about this… maybe sometimes colour and imagery speaks louder than words.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sal Khan: Bill Gates' favorite teacher - Aug. 24, 2010

Note to try these mini-lectures on the iPad.

FORTUNE -- Sal Khan, you can count Bill Gates as your newest fan. Gates is a voracious consumer of online education. This past spring a colleague at his small think tank, bgC3, e-mailed him about the nonprofit,

Sal Khan: Bill Gates' favorite teacher - Aug. 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Analyzing art by the brush stroke

Scan in an image of a drawing or painting. Determine the colours in use. Enhance the image. Analyze the path, density, length and style of brush or pen strokes and facial pattern recognition. Add the "textons" or patterns to a lexicograph catalog and scan for similarities. Search for identifying features that "watermark" the painting or sketch, like finger strokes or brush bristles that make it similar to other catalogued art. Sceptical yet?

Add further features to a scanner to detect the "depth" or pressure used in a brush or pen stroke. Analyze its chemical composition with a light non-intrusive spray mist, to determine the composition of chemicals paints used, and highlight materials or chemicals consistent with a certain time period.

Reverse or present a negative grayscale view of the image, to determine what "isn't" there, such as cracks or craquelure and features that are not part of the painting. Measure these features. Treat them like fingerprints that grow as the art ages.

Take it further and analyze the signatures of the scanned image. Wavelets. Pixel composition. Orientation and scale of the strokes.

Then use a 3D oil paint printer to spit the image back out, perhaps removing the age to reinvent the image.

The program determines whether a particular drawing is consistent with an artist's style. Until now, Rockmore has only tested his program on Bruegel drawings, but he says there is no reason it could not be used for other artists.

The original paper here.

How long before we go from just rendering an actor digitally on a computer screen to building an application that generates random Rembrandts? Or how about the Harry Potter Sequel Generator? What about automatically generating books "in the style of" an author, with programs that do more than just combining common phrases the author uses, but actually analyze patterns in the writing to formulate new plot lines and characters?

Give it 5 years or so... let's check back in 2015 once cloud computing, oData, GPU server farm hardware, 4d scanners and 3d printers mature.

Beej explains it best, as always.

Let me start off by saying, “Don’t do any of this yourself.” This is one of those topics where there are countless libraries already written for you with well-designed and well-tested code to do everything you want and more. It’s presented here because it fits criterion #1 for why you’d re-invent the wheel: you’re doing it because you want to learn more about it.

It's amazing that all of the techniques, software and hardware are already available to scan in and reproduce a near-perfect copy of a Great Masters artwork.

What's missing?

What was the artist thinking when the picture was created?

Truly, an artist's expression within their art is impossible to perfectly reproduce by another artist. Hence the ability to detect forgeries. The talent and expression of an artist is the true component that cannot be reproduced.

But, like compressed sound files, will people really care that the reproduction is missing things outside of their field of vision?

In my opinion, the original is still better than a reproduction when it comes to art.

What would you rather do, listen to a musician in your car or in an arena? Download art on your computer or visit a gallery? Looks at someone else's photos of a trip or actually visit the place yourself? Watch Avatar in IMAX 3D on a 72 foot screen or just Blu-ray on a 32" TV?

Drive a Lamborghini or a Tractorri?

That last one was a trick question. I'd take the Tractorri. Now that is art. Quite possibly the most disturbing art I have ever seen.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

U of T research tops N.Y. Times' 2009 Ideas list - University of Toronto -- News@UofT


Analyzing the books a person reads tells a lot about the person.  In this case, reviewing what they write for patterns and trends tells even more.

The pair digitized 14 of her novels and used textual analysis software to determine the richness and size of the vocabulary used, as well as phrases often repeated and an increase in the use of indefinite words, an indicator of the disease.

U of T research tops N.Y. Times' 2009 Ideas list - University of Toronto -- News@UofT

This has interesting applications for those that want to understand more about cognitive studies and how writing displays the symptoms of physical issues.

The paper is here.

Some of the software used is here.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Microsoft is broken

Or at least their OPML feed is.  I have tried importing their MSDN feed into at least 5 different clients, including Google Reader and Internet Explorer, with no luck.  Giving up on trying to catch up with MS developers for now... 

What's an OPML feed?  It's a way grouping a set of RSS feeds into a single package for importing/exporting.   Don't ask what an RSS feed is...

Downloading the MSDN blogs OPML, with it's 8000+ feeds was never much useful anyhow, since it doesn't allow you to filter by language or search terms... however reading 50-100 feeds gets a pulse on what is happening at MS.  Great crowd research.  Since MiniMsft is not around what else is there?  Silverlight, where did the buzz on that one go?  PerformancePointWindows 98?

Well, I'm a couple years late finding about the expiry of Windows 98 support, though this is probably good news for Microsoft developers who have had to support the platform with non-breaking new releases.  Now they can release breaking releases without fear of violating support agreements.  I hear Windows 7 (Vista SP3) is smaller and better, though there are the usual driver support issues, and now red screens too

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! . I spent 2-4 h every night in last  4 months maing silverlight document editor. I drow tre roulers manualy, coded every single  letter behavior and integrated control into framework throught System.Reflection so that user can add functionalty without coding throught admin wizard by connecting silverlight famework objects properties. And now my work goes to trash because Microsoft is about to realise this. Genaraly I like microsoft products, but sometimes they kill me.

That's about how I felt when I found out Microsoft PerformancePoint Planning was being displaced by.... nothing.

The activity of reading blogs seems to have been displaced recently by Twitter.

Dave Winer, the godfather of RSS, has an OPML Editor called TwitterCalendar that archives twitter posts for you and the people you follow. 

I still haven't figured out what the need is to post a staccato version of my inner voice, links about Twitter, TGIF, and what I'm doing at any particular moment as a series of ADD one-liners. The 3 minute MTV generation is turning into the 15-second texting generation. 

Pretty soon neuro-texting will be all the rage.  Why not just upload your raw thoughts out to Amazon S3 for all to see?   Just stay away from Facebook.

If I could get my OCZ NIA to do more than make Nomad hop around shooting randomly in Crysis, or if Emotiv decides to send me one of their EmotiveEPOCs, perhaps I could wire something up to Twitter...

source howstuffworkscom

Most of the messages would probably be aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaa and those suction cups would probably take some skin off but it's a start. 

Anyway, if you feel that you want to capture a history of Twitter for fun or blackmail, perhaps Dave has the tool for you.  Or maybe it's Chris Pirillo with The Easiest Way to Archive A Twitter Thread.

Apparently Robert Scoble, geek blogger, is broken too, even though he hasn't been at MS for awhile.  I would think that not blogging for 2 weeks for him would be like MS not releasing a security patch on Patch Tuesday.  Why on earth would you release a set of security patches on the Most Productive Day of the Week has always been a mystery to me.  I hope they can do-away with the whole practice in Windows 7 and just start mailing out CDs like AOL used to do. 

Scoble doesn't seem to twitter as much as I thought he would either.


When the President of the United States of America is the second-most followed person on Twitter, I think a twitterintervention is in order.

Pointing my rss reader to and waiting for my teeth fall out.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

YouTube - Advanced Dungeons And Dragons For The Intellivision

One of my favourite games of all time.  The snake always made me jump.


Time to crack out my Intellivision...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

OS Khang: Microsoft Is Ruining Music Now, Too

This is horrible.  How did MS Research end up building a karaoke music generator anyway?  MySong comes to life as Songsmith.

Get back to business and leave the entertainment of the world to the XBox team guys.

My old Casio SK-8 keyboard did a way better job at accompaniment.  Plus it could playback belches in different octaves.  And it had that gunshot and ricochet sample.

The Metallica track does sound better than some of their more recent stuff, though.

Should have plugged some Soundfonts into the app instead of the cheesy 80s MIDI samples.


Everything needs more cowbell too.


OS Khang: Microsoft Is Ruining Music Now, Too

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book burning on the internet

A 62 pound "velvet and marble" book would be pretty tough to burn, not that you should ever to burn a book, much less a $100,000 book on Michelangelo.

"I love books," Marilena Ferrari, the Italian publisher who produced the extravagance, said in a telephone interview from Bologna, Italy, where she's president of a company called FMR, which publishes fine books about art.

"Books are being destroyed by the Internet, they're losing their identity — it's the modern, Internet version of burning books," she said. "Today, things last so little before they disappear. "

Most expensive new book arrives in NY from Italy - Yahoo! News

UNESCO tracks the number of books published per year per country to measure "an important index of standard of living and education, and of the country's self-awareness."

It looks like Harry Potter has the US beat, in 2005 at least.

  • United Kingdom (2005) 206,000 [2]
  • United States (2005) 172,000 [2]
  • China (1994) 100,951 [3]

    If they included e-books or blogs in their count what would change?

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    cat caused screen to flip upside down : screen, flip, upside, down

    icanhas CRT disaster.  Sometimes I wish I had an Experts Exchange membership.  Not very often though.

    MY cat "Bandit " version 1.0 walked across my laptop keyboard and now the screen is upside down and I cant firgure out how to revert it to normal > I have tried to replicate the scenario by haveing him walk back over it to no avail

    cat caused screen to flip upside down : screen, flip, upside, down

    Thursday, October 02, 2008