Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080525


Where does a year go? I couldn’t believe it was time for the annual Eurovision Pop thingie. Yes yes, I know but it’s fascinating (in a perverse way). Seriously though there was very little dross this year. Quite surprising really

Anyway it”s time to get back to work
Jools found this, don’t be drinking coffee while watching this..
“Woah! Cats on a treadmill. Warning warning unless you want to laugh yourself sick – do not watch.
Love, Jools ”

People with way more time on their hands than me dept.
First watch this YouTube video of “OK Go” from last year.

Now watch

Don’t you wish you had this much free time.
Or enough time to stuff like these retro-futuristic lamps by New York lighting and furniture designer Art Donovan. Just imagine what you would have to do to the rest of the house so it didn’t look silly. It’s never the cost it’s always the upkeep.

Bruce Sterling over at Wired has spotted a new techo thriller by Jon Evans ( I have liked a lot of hios other stuff).
“Danielle Leaf thinks she’s helping out a friend on an innocent errand-until she’s abducted, imprisoned in remote rural India and swept up in a secret war between anti- corporate activists and a trans-national mining company. After a daring escape, she is drawn into a dizzying world of shadowy computer hackers and mysterious benefactors intent on exposing the truth. But as Danielle finds herself on the run, she discovers that both sides of this war are willing to kill for their cause-and to hide their secrets. ”
I am not going to be able to finish at the moment so let me know what you think?


This week at Duggup. Jools wrote about Jero, he is a 26 year old black dude from Pittsburg in the USA and he is sing old school Japanese pop songs. Weird as.. Me, I was still on the Americana kick but it’s getting a bit strange.. Scott Andrews, Try Me Bicycle (who are amazing) and Andrew Calhoun would be good ones from the last week. Head over and check it out.


Flash Game Time: Have a big weekend? A tad brain dead? Well stick with last weeks game, this week it’s a bit busier. It’s a side scrolling game where you use the both the keyboard and mouse, much in the same way that first person shooters do.

You play the the hero, Dirk and your gig is to infiltrate Lord Battenberg’s steam fortress, and destroy it.

The control scheme includes the typical movement buttons including jump, but then you use the mouse for aiming your weapon. Dirk is equipped with a chain shooter that kills enemies, but it also allows him to build short bridges out of the chain between specific types of platforms.

Good gameplay and a vague steampunk theme. well I was hooked. There aren’t instructions, you get them as the game progresses, you can stop at specific points to get more information, making the learning curve very comfortable yet giving the game the ability to introduce more depth as you continue. This game appears to have hours of content so if you’re looking for something a little more engaging that you can come back to again and again, check it out.

Well that’s enough for this week. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Eurovision }
{Currently reading: John Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar and the MySql manual}
{Quick Status Check: Hell. Russia won???}
{Crop Circle Status: So far, only 4 for May. It’s off to a slow start, it will pick up. I hope. }

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080519


Once again a real quickie this week. It’s one of those weird periods of time where everything needs to happen at once. I wont bore you with the details, it’s all tech crap anyway. By the way if you haven’t checked them out whip over to Ian’s site (yep MFI hisself) and listen to his weekly poem. Yesterdays was a beauty. In the meantime here is your meager assortment of sillies.

This is an amazing stop motion video, the technique and content, impedimentia indeed. Made from paintings on public walls, sidewalks, and other spaces, it follows a creature as it undergoes a mindbending series of transformations, the paintings interact with their surfaces – a trompe d’oeil brick falls out of a wall, pieces of paper are snatched with a froglike tongue, and hiding places are found in the corners of crumbling walls.
Jools spooted this piece about people hacking their scooters..
“My fav is the “Skywave” in black. It sizzles.
Love, Jools ”

I really like the green one.

I’m sorry but this had me entertained for way longer than it should have (and no this has nothing to do with it being a short one this week). Once it fires up click on one of the white circled letters to get some music (F is good) and then play the keyboard to . well you’ll get the idea. The Blame is all mine on this puppy

The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It is a presentation Harvard Law School professor Jonathan Zittrain gave at Princeton near the end of March.

He begins by covering early 20th century “sterile” technology like tabulation machines that were rented by the census bureau. The machines didn’t encourage any sort of innovation. Next he talks about “generative” technology like the internet and modern operating systems where anyone can build whatever they want. The final step is the more recent move to what he calls “tethered” technology. These are the systems with upgradeable firmware where devices can ship with unfinished features and remove features after the consumer has already purchased the device. He uses the iPhone as an example of this walled garden that could hurt innovation. You can watch the video at YouTube

Spotted over at Hack A Day

This week at Duggup. Jools wrote about Jackson Browne (which got me off the hook. I didn’t even know where to start writing). Me, I was on an Americana kick with “Bowerbirds” who are fabulous and Laura Gibson who is equally fab but for different reasons. But the pick of the week would be “The Black Keys”, trust me.
Head over and check it out.


Flash Game Time: Have a big weekend? A tad brain dead? Well have I got a gane for you, today’s offering has virtually no learning curve, it’s simple and mindless. Perfect right?

The goal of the game (OK let’s be real generous and call it a goal) is to keep your sphere alive in a world of red and blue bars that horizontally scroll across the screen and accumulate as many points as possible. Easy Peasy. Keep bouncing on bars of one color, you can build a combo, big points score for that one. Fail a jump and your score is reset and you get to do it some more with almost no delay. You can influence the jump and movement of your ball with the directional keys, allowing you to aim for bars of your chosen color. You can also “double jump” in mid air, letting you stretch some jumps to get where you want. The game comes in two modes, normal and extreme, but start with extreme it’s definitely better, since the bars disappear after you jump on them and hostile flying triangles will make it more interesting (that’s the Chinese proverb interesting).

Well that’s enough for this week. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Runrig and The Black Keys. You have no idea how weird that mix is}
{Currently reading: John Brunner’s Shockwave Rider (damn he was good). }
{Quick Status Check: MSSQL or Hell. hmm it’s a tuffy}
{Crop Circle Status: So far, 3 for May. It will pick up. I hope. }

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080512


Over in the current Edge is a link to THE NEW YORKER piece by Malcolm Gladwell titled “Who Says Big Ideas Are Rare?”

Now long time readers will know that I am intrigued by this topic, back in 2005
and in 2006 I played with the idea (sorry).

Malcolm Gladwell has written a killer story about how nearly all the major inventions or scientific or mathematical discoveries came from multiple, entirely independent people at almost exactly the same time. It’s as though everyone knows what’s going on at the same time. As the article points out, it is rarely about “genius,” but more that all of the previous work in the field naturally leads everyone to the same place. The one thing that the article misses (ironically), Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures (which is an idea factory) is only one of many idea factories that exist and of course the keyp point.
Ideas are easy, execution is hard. A good read and thought provoking as hell.


Also been having an interesting time reading Max Kieslers piece on Relational Music Discovery over at

Now I have played with one or two of these over the years and have always been impressed with the idea and disappointed with the returns not showing what are to me, essential links. The basic idea behind this method of music search is enter a genre, artist, or song. The program then returns music that relates to your search item Most of these programs present the information as a graphic with a bunch of links that show how the songs relate to each other. The problem is that if you enter say Jeff Buckley, they rarely if show links to Leonard Cohen and John Cale which to my mind would be essential.

Do have a look and if you want one to start with I would go with
Turn off Classics and Turn on Discovery, click on Dark and see where it takes you. Great fun. I got Epica (who I hadn’t heard before) and Incubus. think of it as a musical version of “Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans” from the Harry Potter Books. Sometimes you get Ice Cream, sometimes you get earwax.

Lets do the real sillies.

OK, do you remember the Simpsons episode where Homer sets up a drinking bird to press the “Cancel” button. Well, over at Kitty Clarks’ blog I found this.

“Here are 8 Dipping ducks (a.k.a happy birds, drinking birds…) and their respective drinking glasses are wired up to the 8 notes of a modified keyboard. Each time a duck tips down and touches the water to ‘drink’ the circuit is completed and a sound is produced. Being thermodynamic, the ducks continue to produce random compositions depending on temperature.”

It amused me. but then it would, wouldn’t it.


Jools spotted this next one, The Zurich Chamber Orchestra came up with an amazing video combining sheet music, a roller coaster and fab tag line.

“Great ad, you may be able to use it.
Love, Jools ”


The Sheep Are Not What They Seem Dept: Now you know what you can do with all those old phone handsets and cables. This is one of those bits of sculpture that makes me wonder about how some people think. I wonder if they ring or go Baa?


Over at the Wooster Collective, which as a rule is a place you are more likely to find Jools than me (So many sites, so little time) is a piece on artist Henk Hofstra who has installed sunny-side up egg sculptures in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. The “Art Eggcident” will remain in the city square for the next six months. We get the big budgie and they get the eggs.


Which brings us to Duggup. Jools is having a bit of an “Idol” moment. Ray LaMontagne and Kurt Nilsen were her picks this week , the Kurt Nilsen is a real shock. Me, I was writing up “Alesa Lajana”, fab guitairst and “The Dark Romantics” who have taken up residence on the MP3 player. Head over and check it out.


Flash Game Time: Today’s offering is well named, “The Rather Difficult Font Game” tests your ability to recognize typefaces by showing you a piece of text and then four font names. Your job is to correctly choose the correct typeface. OK this is probably a tad obscure but I know a few of you out there who don’t normally play the game will have a ball with this.

OK so that’s to obscure for some of you. how about The Beard, it’s a hoot you can lose in nothing flat, have a ball doing it and still keep pressing restart. Here’s the deal, you are a knight fighting a giant floating head with a beard in a side-scrolling environment. The “Beard” has a number of moves that you have to dodge as you try to get close and take a swing at him with your plunger (yes a plunger) or magic bolts. As you get hits you also get experience, which cause you to power up and score better weapons.

Well that’s enough for this week. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Rage Against The Machine and John Cale}
{Currently reading: Social Networking stuff on the Robin Good site }
{Quick Status Check: Hell. So many sites so little time. I know I wrote that earlier but it just hit me how true it is}
{Crop Circle Status: Oh yes, We’re back and we have 1 this week. Not a fantastic beginning but it will pick up. I hope. }

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080505

This was a good week, I enjoyed myself at Bland’s gig last night. It was a good show with a killer band (needed more guitar. but that would be me).

Ubuntu released 8.04 and I installed it on my laptop. It went on like a dream. No fuss at all, yes I know I get my jollies in strange ways.

Lets do the real sillies.

Some “Blame” items from the Inbox.
This gem from Keith W..
“I just love this article.  A spa for tired teddies………………..
Luv & stuff
Keith ”

As an aside here.. The ZZ Plural Z Alpha Douglas Adams fan club raises funds by selling “Beeblebears,” two-headed, three-eyed, three-armed teddy bears fashioned in the likeness of Zaphod Beeblebrox.  just thought I would share that with you, continuing on with Blame

This from Jools.
“This is inspirational and it is my pick for this week’s Impedimentia!
Love, Jools  ”
This is just seriously funny.

I spotted this one in the Make blog, and it just messed with the weird part of my head. Jay of the The Plug tied a disposable camera to a bus stop bench and attached a sign that read
“Good afternoon,
I attached this camera to the bench so you could take pictures. Seriously. So have fun. I’ll be back later this evening to pick it up.
Love, Jay / The Plug ”

He came back that night and astoundingly the camera was still there, the whole roll of film had been used up and some of the pictures are cute. I really want to give this a go some time.

Also via Make is the “Walking Bike”, you will recognize this from innumerable cartoons that you saw growing up. It’s a pity that it doesn’t seem to work as well as it looks.

Over at The Guardian, Cory Doctrow wrote a piece titled “How to stop your inbox exploding”.
He wrote “I’ve spent more than a decade tinkering with my email workflow, perfecting it so that I can manage whatever life throws at me through my inbox. I’ve come up with a few tips and hacks that never fail to surprise and delight my friends and colleagues when I show them off, and here they are, for the record”
Now I know this is called “Impediments To Productivity” and I can see some of you wondering why I would be putting something like this here. Well if email isn’t your biggest impediment to productivity then you probably should try just a little bit harder.

Seriously though it was a good read

Nina Katchadourian is an artist who repairs spider webs with thread. They look cool, but it seems the tenants didn’t like her makeovers.
“The morning after the first patch job, I discovered a pile of red threads lying on the ground below the web. At first I assumed the wind had blown them out; on closer inspection it became clear that the spider had repaired the web to perfect condition using its own methods, throwing the threads out in the process. My repairs were always rejected by the spider and discarded, usually during the course of the night, even in webs which looked abandoned. The larger, more complicated patches where the threads were held together with glue often retained their form after being thrown out, although in a somewhat “wilted” condition without the rest of the web to suspend and stretch them.”
Weird but interesting
Synchronicity alert, I just had to evict a large huntsmen from the bedroom where it was annoying Jools.

Silly Noises Dept. Andre Michelle has created a Flash drum machine, I have a ball playing with this while waiting on phone lines, it ‘s a great waste of time.
“FL909 attempts to simulate the original sound of the Roland TR-909. This drumcomputer hits the market 1984 and was a long time the state of art in house and techno productions.”

Which brings us to Duggup.  Jools posted Texas basnd “Black Angels”. Me, I was writing up “Explosions In The Sky” and “Bodies Of Water”. Both of whom are in residence on the MP3 player
Head over and check it out.

Flash Game Time: Today’s impedimentia is called R.O.B.O.T.  It is basically a defense game and a survival game mashup, you use both manual movement and shooting with turretsto get through a level.

The deal is you are a robot defending a pile of junk and dirt, or getting attacked on top of it, however you like to think of it. As you kill enemies and progress through waves, you are able to buy upgrades for you plasma gun (your primary means of disposal), your treads, a placeable (and enhanceable) turret, as well as your shields, armor, and an EMP shockwave for use against heavily shielded enemies. The degree of difficultie increases with more enemies coming in all shapes and sizes and attack styles, which keeps things well busy.

Well that’s enough for this week. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Explosions In The Sky  and Joni Mitchell}
{Currently reading: Social Networking stuff on the Robin Good site  }
{Quick Status Check: I had it pointed out that Hell is a Christian concept. Hell!? Where’s Richard Dawkins when you need him? }
{Crop Circle Status: We’re back and bugger me if some one didn’t sneak an early on in. The games have begun }