Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20060424


Another quick one this week, but it’s another short week (it’s a good excuse anyway) so on we go.

Airport is a short film (no nothing to do with the bad 70’s disaster flick) about a guy who goes on a plane journey, checks into a hotel and comes home , “No biggie: I hear you say but (yep there’s that
word again) the trick is that the entire film consists of animated airport infographics of little ped-people interacting with each other and with ped-style illustrations of taxis, water-fountains and planes. Fun with stuff isn’t even close..

Opps… BIG Oops Dept. Still while we are on the subject of Aircraft…
So it’s time to test the fire extinguisher at the Air Force base.
Simple eh?
Turn it on let it run, say 10 to15 seconds and then turn it off.
Simple eh?
Well how about two out of three. They turned it on and but something went wrong and it ran and ran, until foam nearly filled the hangar, spilling out onto the runway and surrounding area. The photos of this are just amazing.

The Game… and apparently once tied to a show on Australian TV (I don’t know), the Life on Mars site is still up so you can still play the games, there’s about 30 of them. Each game is supposed to be
a location on Earth (Finland has a hot tub game, India gets a Bollywood inspired one). They’re quick, way to cutesy, but it will finish off a good chunk of Monday for you..

Oldies but Goodies. Soda Constuctor is an old favorite of mine. Designed as a teaching tool(? you have to be kidding me), Soda Constructor is a Java toy for designing little robots, made of strings and connections. These robots can be animated, on their own, and try to walk around an environment you control (things like gravity are adjustable). Lots of fun messing around, but even more fun to really try and build something stable and still keep it interesting.

CC:365 bits of note from the last week:
Day 109 : Zool – Le Sentier De Ma Guerre (Crunchy guitars with a solid rock sensibility)
Day 111 : Lo Tag Blanco – Slumlord (Nice killer groove)
Day 113 : Sickboys and Lowmen – I’ve Got It All (This is country? I don’t think so)
Now don’t forget the to pop into the blog ( ) for the odd update during the week.

As usual have a good one

{ Currently listening to Flook and The Clash }
{ Quick Status Check: 7 hours rebuilding recalcitrant PC’s is hell}

CSI and Failing Plasticine

SkullYou have all seen it, the CSI dudes get a skull and in 20 minutes (CSI time is even faster than internet time) they have a plasticine face. Or the archaeologist digs up the bones of some long dead ancestor and 3 months (far more realistic time frame) later they have a surprisingly eerie facsimile. I truly find this fascinating.

So when Sue Hayes ( friend of Jools and mine) mentioned back in January 2005 (was it that long ago?) that she and Ron Taylor were running a two day Master Class in Facial Reconstruction at the Victorian College of the Arts. Jools and I jumped at the chance. Having seen this done on Julian Richards “Meet The Ancestors” TV program by Dr. Caroline Wilkinson, from the University of Manchester a few years back, (Later on in 2005 we got to meet Caroline after a talk she gave here in Melbourne). I have to admit I was fascinated with the process (even though I was clueless about clay, having failed plasticine in kindergarten).

Ron tried to pack a years worth of anatomy into a couple of hours and I learnt more about how muscles and fat and smiles work than I would have thought possible. The picture above is near the beginning of the process. All up the master class was an absolute hoot. I would not have missed it. The rest of the pictures can be currently found just below, And for the record, my effort looked nothing like the person who the skull belonged too.

So if clay is a bit “crafty” how about Artnatomy. It’s an amazing fine art educational site about the “anatomical and biomechanical foundation of facial expression morphology.” The Flash interface enables you to visually explore how the movements of specific muscles contort our faces into emotional expressions. The site was designed by artist Victoria Contreras Flores with text by morphologic anatomy professor Carlos Plasencia Climent.

If you’ve ever wondered what you would look like when you’re older, or younger, or Asian, or even illustrated by a famous artist, then I’ve got a treat for you. The Perception Laboratory at the University of St Andrews has created a Java applet called the Face Transformer that will take a photo of a face and transform it in almost any way imaginable.

Now at a stretch for things you can do with a face, saunter over to Origami artist Joel Cooper space on Flickr. He has created some utterly amazing work, which includes stunningly realistic origami masks of human faces. I can honestly say I have never seen work like this before and to think that it’s all done with a single sheet of paper.

Lets finish off with Sue’s art works and Caroline Wilkinson’s work on Ramses in a Discovery Channel doco that she mentioned when she was out here.



The Code Project – Free Source Code and Tutorials

I had this happen to a client last week and found this answer pretty quickly because Daniel Turini had done a whole bunch of work and dropped the succint answer over at The Code Project – Free Source Code and Tutorials

I quote…

I found this after a lot of Googling, so I’d like to share the solution. Yep, this may not be new or even advanced but it surely helped me…
Anyone who is running Windows XP SP2 know what I’m talking about. That stupid, annoying, most ill-designed dialog box ever invented in the history of the computer science that asks “Updating your computer is almost complete. You must restart your computer for the updates to take effect. Do you want to restart your computer now?”And there are only two options: Restart Now/Restart Later. “Restart Later” means that this stupid thing will ask you again in 10 minutes. Yes, if you’re willing to work for the next 4 hours until lunch before rebooting, this means you’ll need to answer this question 24 times.
Did I mention that the dialog steals the focus?

Calm down Daniel, it’s only Microsoft… but to continue

Now, to get rid of it:
Start / Run / gpedit.msc / Local Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Update / Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations

You can configure how often it will nag you (I re-configured it for 720 minutes, which means I’ll be asked twice on a work day), or completely disable it.

Isn’t that cool, but he isnt finished yet.

[edit]Oh, I almost forgot: this setting is only loaded when Windows starts, so a reboot is needed. If that stupid dialog is on your screen now, just stop the “Automatic Updates” service (but keep it as Automatic, so it gets reloaded on the next start) and you won’t see it again [/edit]

Thanks Daniel the work is much appreciated, I owe you a drink.

The Economics of Open Content Symposium

Cory Doctorow was in Melbourne giving a talk last Tuesday and I missed him. But to make up I watched some of the The Economics of Open Content Symposium hosted at MIT to bring together representatives from media industries, cultural and educational institutions, and legal and business minds to discuss how to make open content happen better and faster.

New Yorker economics columnist and bestselling author (The Wisdom of Crowds) James Surowiecki gave the keynote address, a presentation entitled ‘Openness as an Ethos.’

There are a ton of MP3’s available for download

Collaboration and the Marketplace
New Models of Creative Production in the Digital Age
Keynote Address: Openness as an Ethos
The Wealth of Networks
The Economics of Knowledge as a Public Good
The Economics of Open Courseware
The Economics of Open Text
Convergence Culture: Consumer Participation and the Economics of Mass Media
The Economics of the Music Industry
If Only We Knew Yesterday What We Know Today
The Economics of Open Archives, Museums, and Libraries I
The Economics of Open Archives, Museums, and Libraries II
The Economics of the Public Domain
The Economics of Film and Television I
The Economics of Film and Television II
The New Economics of Gaming
Everything is Miscellaneous
Business Interests in Open Content
Next Steps: Cooperation Across Institutions and Industries

and they have all been released under a Creative Commons License.

Go and download them, bang them into your iPod/car stereo, PC whatever and have a listen.

My favourite so far has been
The Economics of the Music Industry given by Terry Fisher, a professor at the Harvard Law School. He explores the various choices economic, legal, moral facing the music and film industries.

Time consuming but fascinating.

Simply Google

Simply Google is a sort of meta-homepage for Google’s many, many, many services.

In addition to the requisite Google search box, it also has search boxes for Images, Groups, Books, Blogs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (Ooh I almost feel like lighting up a Marlboro), plus links to other Google sites like Analytics, Personalised Home, and Gmail, plus all of Google’s blogs (and their feeds) and its April Fools sites and, for, good measure, search boxes for Yahoo!, MSN, and a few others.

There have been other attempts at this , but given the amount of stuff that has been packed in here, it’s a remarkably clean design.

Head over to Simply Google and have a crack at it.

Well worth a bookmark, dare I say “Trust Me”.