Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20090504

Zoom H4 ToyHi,

So for the time being let’s be wildly optimistic and assume that this missive is going to go back to it’s regular schedule (the odds are against it but as Leonard Cohen said “the optimism keeps breaking through”)

Anyway let’s get started shall we.

As I mentioned I have a new guitar, and showing you a picture of it , while all well and good on the “Oooh. Shiny” meter. Well lets face it, you really need to know what it sounds like (and ooh shiny just isn’t a good enough description). So I recorded me playing a little something I was messing with in D(?).

Now here are the ground rules. A while back I was having a long conversation (email) with Bill ( I have mentioned him before http://billcanty.com ) about things he could do to get his music heard. The short version is

  • Wake up on a Sunday morning
  • Turn on Zoom H4
  • Tune guitar
  • Start stop watch.
    I now have 60 minutes to record a tune using nothing more than the Zoom and the guitar.
    No overdubs, only the processing that is built into in the Zoom and only 4 tracks, no bouncing down tracks
  • Now play lots (the clock is ticking)

At the end upload the finished MP3 to the website and link it to the impediments post.

Elapsed time not to be greater than 60 minutes.

In the words of Jeremy Clarkson “How hard can it be?”

Well as it turns out… you can hear today’s first attempt at this here

The things you can do with a Zoom H4 dept
[audio:090504-For_Jools.mp3]

Ted Talks – I have listened to so many of these in the last few months that the best thing to do is pick some at random. They are all amazing and all thought provoking.

Lets Begin with Margaret Werthein. Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician — celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.
(We mentioned her project last April)

Next. In this talk from TED University 2009, veteran rock climber Matthew Childs shares nine pointers for rock climbing. These handy tips bear on an effective life at sea level, too.

This one fascinated me, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.

BLAME TIME:
Fractals and Snacks – this from Kalene

“i thought hat you might appreciate the math that goes into these cupcakes. The fondant looks more accurate (well as accurate as it can get with a little softening,) but the marzipan looks prettier as it has softened more.http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/fractalsnowflake#comments

thankfully for cupcake lovers the possibilities in the fractal fondant decoration are endless. I’d say that i would try this, but I know that I would give up too easily and just eat the marzipan.
Kalene “

Well if you ever do give it a go put Jools and I down for a dozen

Jools spotted this mashup http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1Q7f-fPXcM

It broke me up.
Also from the Inbox was this from Doreen.

I am pleased to announce my web site is now live! http://www.rivendellstudios.com.au
Have a look

Doreen

Now I have mentioned Doreen in the past, but this website is a time soak. I found myself looking at a bunch of old favourites and still ended up wondering “How did she do that?”
Seriously recommended.
Duggup continues to stumble through music genres with abandon. Head over to http://duggup.com.au and have a look. Recent gems include Steve Lawson and Field Mice. Both are brilliant but totally different.

Flash Game Time:
Over the past few years we have all tried out some great web-based games and you would have to agree that things have coma along way. Well the bar just got raised, Scarygirl is a a way better than average platform game. I believe it’s based on a comic by Nathan Jurevicius, this game is just gorgeous. The art is just phenomenal, the controls are drop dead easy and it just oozes “Play Me” fun.

You play the title character, Scarygirl, as she attempts to locate a moustachioed dude keeps showing up in her dreams. Help is available on your quest from characters like Bunniguri and Blister (the giant octopus), as you proceed through treehouses, eel-infested water (shades of Princess Bride), caves and other levels, performing an assortment of deeds as you go. (I feel sure that Joseph Campbell would have approved of this one)

Scarygirl is entirely free to play online, and you can register to save your game. You will probably need to do that, this is a wonderfully addictive world.
http://www.scarygirl.com/

Question: What does this XKCD cartoon signify? http://xkcd.com/563/

Answer: Yep, Numb3rs is back on tele this week and this is probably one of the rejected plot devices

Have a good one.

thatch

{Currently listening: Papercuts, Everyday Jones and me}
{Currently reading: Risk Analysis manuals}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, is doing budgets in an economic downturn}
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, still nothing to see here ’til later in the year.}

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080901

Hi,

Over at the Washington Post there was an article that drove me crazy
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/08/AR2008080802919_pf.html

Indonesia is claiming “viral sovereignty” over the bird flu. Yep, it’s claiming that since the virus samples are found in the country, Indonesia owns the virus (?) You have to be kidding me.

They are pretty serious about this and are challenging nearly every attempt by others to do anything with the virus. So if they find a cure does this mean that their Intellectual Property goes down the tube? What if you get it? Do they sue you for unlicensed infection?

Their argument is that the dodgy claim that a US medical research facility is trying to use the virus not to create a cure, but to create biological weapons.

It’s basing this claim of “viral sovereignty” on the same ridiculous patent rules that allow a country to claim “ownership” and patents over indigenous plants (oh yes. I am not making this up. I wish I was).

Read the article and shake your head in disbelief.

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OK let’s move on, over at GOOD magazine is an amazing interactive map that documents “history’s greatest journeys,” including trips from travellers like Amelia Earhart, Ken Kesey, Columbus, and Jack Kerouac

“When Spain commissioned Ferdinand Magellan to find a westward route to the Spice Islands in 1519, the explorer commanded five ships and 240 men. Six years later, nearly every member of the expedition, including its commander, was dead. When the American writer Jack Kerouac tried in 1951 to find the words to convey his wayward journey through the United States and Mexico, he commanded a typewriter and a massive stash of Benzedrine. After a few weeks, the first draft of On the Road was completed. These are just two of the journeys that have left indelible marks on our collective maps, and are endless sources of fascination. Here is compilation of some of the most famous jaunts of all time-both factual and fictional-that show us how far we’ve come, and where we might go next.”

A great little timewaster and a great find of a magazine.
http://awesome.goodmagazine.com/features/011/Wanderlust/

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This is a nifty Impediment. I am always on the look out for new ways to listen to music. Web-based service 8tracks lets people remix 30-minute MP3 playlists for personal listening or sharing with friends. 8tracks offers the ability to add artwork and information about the mix itself.
Why 8tracks? A short playlist containing around 30 minutes will be roughly 8 tracks of music.
Cool site. http://8tracks.com/
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
It’s time for our “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Jools wrote up a killer English folk duo called “Show Of Hands”, listen to their song Roots. Bloody Brilliant. My favourite this week was a toss up between “Nomo” and “Me and The Grown Ups.” I can’t decide, head over to http://duggup.com.au/ have a listen and let me know what you think.
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
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).

Guitar Shred Show follows the escapades of Mr. Fastfinger, a superior shredder with a gravelly voice who battles dwarves, whales and demons playing accordion. Ok, it sounds weird (it is) but this is part Flash game, part guitar lesson series, and a ton of fun! Don’t miss the Lesson & Jam at the Mountain of the Tapping Dwarves ( I am so not making this up). You’ll find yourself creating a live shredding solo with the keyboard from some really nifty guitar samples.
http://www.guitarshredshow.com/main.html

For those of you who don’t know what shredding is, try

DragonForce – Through the Fire and Flames


It will all become clear. Trust Me.

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.

thatch

{Currently listening to Show Of Hands and Dragonforce }
{Currently reading: Still with Sherri S Tepper, doing the Mavin books}
{Quick Status Check: TCP Stacks and SMTP servers, Hell is looking pretty good.}
{Crop Circle Status: The total for August was 21 and Eastfield seems to be having a good year.
http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2008/2008.html }

Yahoo discovers Project Gutenberg. 20 years late

“The Open Content Alliance is an unusual alliance of corporations, nonprofit groups and universities who have an ambitious plan to digitize hundreds of thousands of books over the next several years and put them on the Internet, with the full text accessible to anyone. The effort is being led by Yahoo, which appears to be taking direct aim at a similar project announced by its archrival, Google, whose own program to create searchable digital copies of entire collections at leading research libraries has run into a series of challenges since it was announced nine months ago. ” writes Peter DaSilva for the New York Times.

Well I’m sorry Yahoo but WHO CARES, Project Gutenberg has been doing this for over 20 years. Project Gutenberg is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the Internet. The collection was produced by hundreds of volunteers. and I suspect that they will be doing long after your press release and “Me too” has long been forgotten.

Instead of wasting time trying to outGoogle Google, why don’t you throw some of your resources behind some of the stuff like Project Gutenberg. You know, earn some cred instead of just buying it.

Update: When I first wrote this they hadn’t released Yahoo! Podcasts,

Yahoo! has made a big splash today with their launch of Yahoo! Podcasts. Yahoo! Podcasts combines Yahoo!’s existing podcast search with a podcast directory featuring “Most Popular” lists, “New and Noteworthy” podcasts,” and tag- and category-based browsing. I went to it I typed in tartan (tartan podcasts is a specialist in Scottish indy music that I have mentioned before) and there it was. User rankings as well. This is much more like it and I dont have to install the iTunes software to use it. Pretty Cool guys.

Dermal Nanotech Display

Visualizing the Future: Dermal Nanotech Display

NanoDisplay

This nanotech dermal display is a designer concept, based on real nanoscience principles. Seattle-based designer Gina Miller, working together with nanotech populariser Robert A. Freitas Jr., describes the concept:

In his book Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities [available on the web at http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMI.htm ], Robert A. Freitas Jr. describes [in section 7.4.6.7 (page 204)] a “programmable dermal display” in which a population of about 3 billion display pixel robots would be permanently implanted a fraction of a mm under the surface of the skin, covering a rectangle 6 cm x 5 cm on the back of the hand. Photons emitted by these pixel bots would produce an image on the surface of the skin. This pixelbot array could be programmed to form any of many thousands of displays. Each display would be capable of two functions:
(1) presenting to the user data received from the large population of medical bots that roam the user’s body;
(2) conveying instructions from the user to that same large population of bots. The display could be activated or deactivated by finger tapping on the skin.

The future is creeping up again, or is that just getting creepier?

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20050919

Well you are all obviously still reeling (it’s an audio joke) from last weeks onslaught. I think this week will be a little easier.

I found this mouse-click game. You shoot a tranquillizing dart if a sheep makes a dash from the flock, and they rate your reaction time. They suggest a cup of coffee if you aren’t fast enough. Fortunately, they claim “no sheep were harmed in the making of this game”… just mice. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/reaction_version5.swf

Hmm, so that was a bit to vigorous and taxing for the old Monday morning reflexes? Thumbs all tapped out from changing channels on the TV looking for something worth watching? A few weeks ago a complaint was raised about all the games being so loud and weren’t there any nice quiet games out there.

Well yes folks this week we present “Hamlet the text adventure”. http://www.robinjohnson.f9.co.uk/adventure/hamlet.html# So How about a nice relaxing game of Hamlet (woo hoo… everybody dies. No wait that was Macbeth no wait Romeo and Juliet. No… and they talk about Bruce Willis characters being a a tad atrocity prone. Shakespeare leaves him for dead.. but as usual I digress).

Like all classic text adventures, you navigate using text commands, collect various items and confront friends and foe as you try to solve a mystery. And like the classic text, you get to learn about the melancholy Dane and his difficult relationship with his mother, sister, stepfather and the ghost of dear old dad. No iambic pentameter, though; the lingo’s been updated (though you can enter notable lines from the play and get pithy responses). The Hints section is pretty funny as well. And it’s quiet (unless you put it through one of those Steven Hawkings voice thingies).

Lets keep going with the word games ( the nice quiet word games )
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