Handwriting Tips

Back in the last millennium I, like my peers were forced to learn “cursive script” at school and I notice that it still is being taught today by the Victorian Education Dept. Now with a name like “cursive” there is a really obvious joke and if you have every seen my handwriting you would have been on the end of it, and probably are still cursing. With my writing I should have been a doctor although with my squeamishness about blood, it probably all worked out for the best. Computers don’t bleed…. yet. Still all is not lost. For the chirographically challenged (my hands up) there is site full of “Tips for improving your handwriting”.

I quote from the hype…
“You’ve decided you want to improve your handwriting and you’re probably hoping a fountain pen will do the trick — maybe a friend told you it would. Maybe you’re just adventurous and you want to try your hand at calligraphy (or you might, once your handwriting improves). Good for you!

A fountain pen may make your writing look a bit better, but if your writing looks as if frenzied chickens got loose on the page, chances are this won’t be enough. Most likely, you will need to retrain your arm and hand.”

I have promised my self that I will try and act on my newfound knowledge. Now if only the they would invent the “Schaeffer Spell Checker Fountain Pen” for the terminally vague at spelling. {sigh}


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20051031


Good morning, another week and another Monday just waiting to be filled up with non productive goodness (Note to self: Stop watching Mythbusters).

This weeks “I had nothing to do with it… Blame Chris” item comes appropriately enough from Chris, who writes

“how bout this for the blog!

trogdor: the legend is born:http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html (stay with it, the song at the end is hilarious) and don’t forget trogdor the game:

that is all!” Me, I am scrubbing my hands as fast as I can.

Image to Icon Converter

With a title like that I figure you are expecting Bogart or James Dean or Marilyn Monroe. But we aren’t dealing with those kinds of icons today. No today we have the cute little “clutter up your desktop” type icons and a program to help you make them.

@icon sushi – image to icon converter

Icon Sushi is a free, full-featured icon editor for Windows:

* Support for Windows XP 32bit Icons.
* Support for Multiple-Icon which contains some icons in a file.
* Edit Alpha channel and Transparency-Mask.
* Open 1×1 to 128×128 size of images.
* Open 1/4/8/24/32bits colour images.
* Copy to / Paste from Clipboard.

All of which says that its quite a useful little toy and really handy to create a quick favicon.ico for your website.


Bright Feet

I’m sorry but this is just too silly in a “Wow that’s almost a good idea? ” sort of way. Can anyone remember the name of the Japanese inventor who comes up with really bizarre and useless inventions? Anyway he would have loved these.

Oh yeah, this is the internet {insert sound of hand hitting forehead here}. A quick trip to the Wikipedia produced…
‘chindogu’. The Japanese word coined for the art of the unuseless idea. strangely practical and utterly eccentric inventions for a life of ease and hilarity. meant to solve the niggling problems of modern life, these bizarre and logic-defying gadgets and gizmo’s have a tendency to fail completely.

The art of chindogu was born in the late 1980’s when amateur inventor Kenji Kawakami (Yaaaay that’s the guy) discovered that a not quite usable idea for a new gadget or product could nonetheless be enjoyable if one were to create a prototype and take delight in the way it misses its mark. The term ‘chindogu’ entered the English vocabulary in 1991 when then senior society member Dan Papia (President of Chindogu Society America) published an article on the subject in Japan’s leading english-language magazine, the ‘Tokyo Journal’.

Anyway, Kenji Kawakami would love these.
Bright Feet
Introducing Bright Feet – Night Time Just Got a Little Brighter!

Now you can easily move hands free around a darkened house reducing the risk of tripping over objects or running into doors, furniture or anything not easily seen in the dark.” and this isn’t a joke.

Any more of those blue pills about?


I’m going to hell aren’t I?

Digital Master Tapes

This is just glorious. I think we can now safely say that the whole analog sounds better than digital debate has completely lost it. Bigtime.

As an audio dilletante I am truly amazed at the lengths that some people will go to. Check out True Track Recording – Tape Mastering
I quote from the prospectus…Chihuly Valve
“We operate a especially clean sounding ½ inch Studer stereo master machine composed from parts of the MK-II to MK-IV series. The unit has been greatly modified for the best sound possible, i. e. the entire audio section has been widely improved and brought to the newest standards. The old and limited frequency response is history and has been replaced by a wide and open frequency response, with an almost unbelivable quickness and transparency, yet steadily providing the beloved tape-sound”.

So folks here is the deal, you spend an obscene amount of money buying or hiring the best mics, mixers, analog to digital convertors, digital audio workstations, amplifiers, mastering rooms and when you finally have the master CD, it is as clean and noise free as money can make it. So to improve it that final bit you ship it to Europe so that True Track can put some very expensive musical noise by recording it on the really spiffy OLD Studer recorder and Quantegy GP9 tape (what no Ampex 456?) , they then play the recording back into Lavry Blue and Gold AD-DA converters, as well as the shortest possible cable paths of extremly high quality – Silver/Gold Mundorf NF cable and Sommer Cable Epiloge and then ship it back to you.

This makes your carefully crafted music sound like the Beatles did 40 years ago and I’m sorry but this is outrageous, absolutely outrageous!

I’ve been hearing rumours ( No, not the Fleetwood Mac album of the same name… although it was probably recorded on a rig not dissimilar to the machine above… but I digress) about this “dreaded” transistor thingy, and I’m simply outraged!

Where will it all end?

Everyone knows that if your valves (see picture) aren’t made from hand blown glass by Dale Chihuly himself (I’m sorry but the minions just wont do for this), laden with gold leaf and inconceivably scarce chromium plated antimony wire constructed in a staggering achievement of sculptural imagination and your resistors aren’t wound from the hair of angels by Jeff Koons’ secret Swiss sweatshop (they do puppy cloning on the side), well you’re just kidding yourself.

But seriously folks, I’m sure the sound of the cash register turning over and over, sounds awesome. I await the Apple iPod with dual valve output stage in breathless anticipation. The valve should really put a ding in the battery life but it will sound better… somehow.

Firefox Extensions by Jed Brown

Jed Brown is a man with a mission and his mission is to add a whole bunch more functionality to Firefox.
Now spiffy as Firefox is, it’s email support is a bit … hmm… less than optimum ( oh yes, I do like that for weaselling out of tight spot). Now as bizarre as it sounds, 50% of the time I am using webmail as the primary email client on my laptop. Yes I have, use and really love Thunderbird but when I am out at some client’s site working on my laptop it’s easier to use webmail (the network nazi’s block my imap settings but the web browser sails through). So the default behaviour for mailto: links becomes absolutely useless because the browser (and it’s not just Firefox that “other browser has the same problem) assumes that you want to use your desktop e-mail client (something like OE or Thunderbird or Eudora) to handle that mailto: link.

Enter Jed Brown, aforementioned “man with a mission” at jedbrown.net and his wonderful extension WebMailCompose, an extension which lets you associate mailto: links in Firefox with the most popular webmail services, including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Netscape, OperaMail, Mail.com, Horde (this is what I use), and SquirrelMail, plus an option for a custom client.

This is a ripper. Well worth adding and if you are a Gmail user even more reason to use it.

and the picture is an ancient Sumerian namshub. Read Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson. All will be explained.