Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080818


We’re back, well sort of. The madness continues but it is slowly getting under control. Anyway today’s Impediment is coming to you courtesy of Channel Ten showing the first Star Wars III (The Birth of Asthma man. It’s alive, alive I tell you).And a shiny new bottle of Oban Single Malt, and after watching the turgid piece of dross that George Lucas foisted on us, it was sorely needed.

Well that’s how last weeks update started, BUT as you may have spotted. it didn’t arrive (What do you mean “Who Noticed”). It seems that the database security (we do try and keep the men in black hats out you know) was turned up a notch to high and it prevented the mail from leaving the building. Gotta love technology. By the time I discovered that it hadn’t gone it was to late to catch Monday so I let it go until this week.

Over at O’Reilly Digital Media is an article by David Battino. He is a musician a writer and I have been reading his stuff for ages. Last week he had an article that I found fascinating

“When half your population can’t read, the spoken word becomes crucial. The Literacy Bridge project is designing a portable voice recorder that third-world populations can use to share news, history, and educational texts. In addition to recording and playing back audio, the Talking Book Device (hardware specs PDF) has buttons for basic interactivity – think quizzes and branching. Furthermore, two devices can be connected via USB, allowing peer-to-peer or kiosk-based file transfer.”

There is a lot more to the article and the links that run from it. It made for an interesting week of head games that weren’t computer related.

While we are on the subject of Audio, here is audio pron for geeks. A casual rather than technical walkthrough of some microphones you are likely to encounter in any professional recording studio, and how to get the most out of them when the time comes (yeah, right like some one is going to give me a Neumann and expect to get it back). Comes with eye-candy!

AND a last audio thingy, I have been seduced by the darkside (insert asthma noises here). After two years of sterling service I have retired my 4G Sansa MP3 player and gone out and bought an iPod Touch. There are long involved technical reasons for the change (they are known as rationalisations) but the short bit is that it’s a really lovely toy. I love the multitouch interface, it sounds good, the web interface is just amazing BUT (you knew there would be one) I have to say the iTunes software is just crap.

I have been using foobar2000 to load the old MP3 player up and it was the proverbial doodle. There was a folder I kept all the duggup stuff in and every week I would add and delete stuff to the folder and the software would do it’s thing and just deal with it. Every Monday I wiould have new songs ready to go and it was seamless. I haven’t figured out how to do the same thing with iTunes.

But the way that iTunes handles podcasts is well worth putting up with all the crap. Fresh music from NPR every day. Yummy.

So enough about my toys lets get on with the show.


The new issue of Smithsonian includes a concise interview with avant-garde multimediatrix Laurie Anderson. In it, Anderson talks about pop music, her tenure as NASA’s artist-in-residence, Andy Warhol, and some odd jobs she took just for the experience. From Smithsonian:

You’ve also worked at McDonald’s?

Yeah. I began to think, “How can I escape this trap of just experiencing what I expect?” I decided maybe I would just try to put myself in places where I don’t know what to do, what to say, or how to act. So, I did things like working at McDonald’s and on an Amish farm, which had no technology whatsoever.

It’s a great read.

Jools found this

“MI (more impedimentia) material right here. Hee Hee Hee
Love, Jools ”

My favourite was the dude in the mirror. Yes they are all American

BUT then there’s this one.

Cops in Oldham, UK broke into the wrong house while searching for a fugitive; rather than leaving an official note or apology after smashing in the door, they used the magnetic letters on the fridge to spell out OLDHAM TASK FORCE CALLED.


Marshall McLuhan is one of the most inspiring resources for making sense of media and what’s happening to it. His books and writings offer a wealth of insights into the media transformation and changes we are witnessing now, over 30 years after he described and anticipated them. I still remember reading his stuff in the late Sixties and early Seventies and going “Wow”.

On July 22nd, Cory Doctorow spoke at the inaugural Cambridge Business Lecture. This relates to the previous item as a wonderful example of the sort of changes that McLuhan was talking about. Cory gives a fantastic, wide-ranging and quick-fire talk, he talks about copyright, why DRM is doomed, piracy, and much more.

This site is worth bookmarking and popping back every so often


NPR has been recording music from the Newport Folk Festival and I have been listening to chunks of it as it becomes available. One of my favourite concerts so far has been Steve Earle and to quote

“Right from the beginning, Steve Earle channeled the spirit of Woody Guthrie, noting that we need him now more than ever. Out of all the artists at the Newport Folk Festival, Earle’s invocation is the most appropriate – he certainly would have fit in well at the festival’s inception. Here, he stood solo with an acoustic guitar, singing about downtrodden American characters and a desperate need for change.”

He also does the best version of Taneytown I have heard him do. Bloody brilliant

The podcast is available at

And yes this probably could have been a duggup piece but who ever said I was consistent.


Which segues nicely into the “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Let’s face it though I always have a ton of fun with it. Two Scottish indie bands, an acoustic duo playing guitars. very very well and Allison Crowe, a Canadian who should not be missed. Jools pick this week was a band called Lyduia, they are amazingly good. Head over to


Flash Game Dept: Impediments to Productivity is a the name at the top and it’s Monday so lets bring capitalism to it’s knees (unless you happen to be one of my clients in which case this one is blocked at the firewall.. Just kidding).

Totem Destroyer is a fun little Flash-based physics game that is one part Indiana Jones, and one part knockout.

The game play is simple; click on blocks to destroy them, while ensuring that the golden idol never touches the ground. There are three types of blocks: brown, green, and black. Brown blocks can be destroyed. The green ones are both bouncier than the brown ones, and have less friction, and they too can be destroyed. The black ones cannot be destroyed (bummer).

Each level starts with the idol balanced precariously on a stack of blocks, and your goal is to destroy the prescribed number of blocks without breaking the idol. There are 25 levels of mostly increasing difficulty, so this time waster should last you through your coffee break and part of your lunch break.

Well that’s enough for this week. Hopefully there will be a more reliable publishing schedule in the weeks to come. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to DragonForce and Steve Earle (you have no idea what a brain damaging combination that is) }
{Currently reading: The True Game series by Sherri S Tepper }
{Quick Status Check: Writing documentation is absolute Hell}
{Crop Circle Status: Total for July was 27 and August so far has 14 and they have pulled out all the stops this year. Drop dead gorgeous stuff. ( I am resisting the “bumper crop” reference. well almost) }

Categorized as Mondays

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