Categories
Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081222

iPhone
iPhone

Hi,

Well folks, it’s official I’ve gone over to the dark side. {insert dum dum dum dumde dum dumdemum and asthma voice here}

Jools went out and bought me a new MP3 player. It starts with an I and it ends with phone. I never thought I would say this but it’s a great little toy. Now don’t panic I am not buying an Apple Fan Boy T Shirt yet. But it really is fun to use. The iPod part works fine and after a couple of hours I had my playlists on it. My Layla ringtone and my address book. The upside is that when you get a call the music fades down when you answer it. Hang up and it fades back up right where you left it. Brilliant.

The downside is that I still have to use iTunes (see previous rants about this piece of software) and I have an Apple Touch up for grabs.

If anyone in Melbourne wants to pick up a first gen Touch as achrissy present for themselves (one owner – me) for $220 give me a call. Jools didn’t want it. I suspect that Steve Jobs “Reality Distortion Field” doesn’t work as well on women OR that the “Toy Acquisition Gene” is specifically linked to the Y chromosome. I could be wrong.

OK, I wasn’t going to talk about this, BUT I can’t help myself. This is about my favourite train wreck of the year. Gun’s and Roses “Chinese Democracy”. this album really is truly priceless. Actually, even if they gave it away it’s still too expensive.

This is one of those albums you have to listen to ONCE. So here is a yet another submission to my “Perfection Is Overated “meme.

Before reading Jon Pareles article head to MySpace http://www.myspace.com/gunsnroses and get the album playing in the background. Yep the whole album was made available at MySpace when it was released all they have left there are some sample. it will be enough.

So. Do we have the track Chinese Democracy running in the background yet?

It’s OK. I ‘ll wait…..

All comfy? now read Jon Pareles album review. I think this is the best review I have read this year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/arts/music/23pare.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

And then because we are all masochists, we can now move on to the Guardian, another fine review. Keep the album going and read on http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/nov/21/guns-n-roses-chinese-democracy

The upshot of this is that any of the things that made his earlier stuff interesting have been tweaked out of existence. Along with any interest. Say good bye to the old order. This is probably the last album of it’s kind and the end of an era.

That’s really enough about him, let’s get started shall we.

Ted Talks – Dennis vanEngelsdorp: Where have the bees gone?

Bees are dying in droves. Why? Leading apiarist Dennis vanEngelsdorp looks at the gentle, misunderstood creature’s important place in nature and the mystery behind its alarming disappearance.

This is a fascinating talk , scary and hopeful and unbelievable in places.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dennis_vanengelsdorp_a_plea_for_bees.html

This is worth a look too.

Paul Collier: 4 ways to improve the lives of the “bottom billion”

Around the world right now, one billion people are trapped in poor or failing countries. How can we help them? Economist Paul Collier lays out a bold, compassionate plan for closing the gap between rich and poor.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_collier_shares_4_ways_to_help_the_bottom_billion.html

The things you do:

I spotted this over at Make.

“Canoe” by Canadian artist Peter Fleming is a 20 foot long trough of water resembling a canoe where a gunwale tracking mechanism endlessly paddles forward and back inside the boat. The entire piece is solar powered and was originally built from aluminum, gussets, and bolts so that it was fully collapsible. Check out the link below for some video clips of it in action.

http://peterflemming.ca/flemmweb_current/details/canoe.html

It really is a gem.

Also from Make is the Victorian Star Trek (Victorian era NOT place). Photoshopped portraits of the original Enterprise crew as Victorian Steam Punkers. http://www.rabittooth.com/OtherWallpapers.htm

BLAME TIME:

Andrea L spotted this one and sent it in. Get some practice in before heading to the great outdoors over the holidays. http://majman.net/fly_loader.html

Kalene C sent in this.

“I feel sad that i only spotted this yesterday. I could have done all of my shopping here.

http://www.shipoffools.com/kitschmas/2008/index.html

kr

Kalene “

My fave was the House Selling Kit. that would be me though.

Jools sent along a few items for your consideration

First up The Google Street View Prank http://www.neatorama.com/2008/12/11/the-google-street-view-prank/

Next there was this one

“Man I’d love try this, but I’m not brave enough.

Love Jools

http://haha.nu/amazing/wingsuit-base-jumping/

Then there was this – a plethora of tiny R2D2’s.

“Deep beep, blink wooo.

Love, Jools

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=weGTZ5VXR4s

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=AaMri2jwbz8&NR=1

and we will finish with this one

“A MMI I think.

Love, Jools

http://weburbanist.com/2008/12/06/private-lives-toys/

duggup has finished up for the year (we are taking a short break). Jools and I both did a highlights post. There really was some fine music around this year. Stroll over to http://duggup.com.au and have a look.

Flash Game Time: It’s Christmas and if you are working through, have I got a game for you. I mean what do else do you get for the person who has everything. Yep that’s right “WORLD DOMINATION”

Travian is in the same vein as say “Civilization” or “Empire Earth” but there is no install, it just lives in the browser. This lets you play it at work or on the go.

So , you register, pick a server and then they give you one week to build up your resources before the attacks start. This is important because it takes time to build up wheat, wood, clay and iron production. It takes around 3 minutes to upgrade a wheat field in the early levels so to get your empire up and running takes more than just a few minutes.

It’s one of those great games to keep running in the background so you can start a wheat field or building upgrade, and then move on to something else on your to-do list for a few minutes.

Yes this will take more time than the normal fare we put up, but hey if you are working over the hols, you have time?

More info here
http://timewastersontheweb.blogspot.com/2008/12/travian.html

Game here http://www.travian.us/

Have a good Christmas and a Great New Year.

thatch

{Currently listening: Richie Havens and Dead Can Dance. }
{Currently reading: Lewis Hyde – Trickster Makes This World. this is just fab stuff}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, it really that close to Christmas}
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, still nothing to see here ’til next year }

Categories
Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081201

Lego Cash Register
The Spirit Of Christmas

Hi,

OK, it’s December and that means that Christmas is now officially looming. Yes, I know that they have been selling Chrissy stuff on tele since Easter (remember only 130 days to get your chocolate eggs), but me I like to wait until December.

Last year I waited until the week before Christmas to send out the “really crass commercial Last Minute Gift Ideas”. A few of you suggested that I should do this a bit earlier, like BEFORE the shopping season really kicks into high gear, to give you all a chance.

So just like last year, once again lets consider stuff. We all have tons of stuff, and if this Christmas runs true to form we are all about to get tons of NEW stuff. (Jools could use a new MX5 if you have one lying around)

Stuff per se isn’t bad (although if you looked at what I carry about on a daily basis in my messenger bag. you would be appalled), here is the late George Carlin’s priceless routine on “STUFF”.

Excerpt: A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you’re taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you’re saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff!

Here is a Youtube video (Language Warning – Not Safe For Work. seriously USE THE HEADPHONES) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

Here we go with the serious stuff.

One of my clients, the International Women’s Development Agency is promoting a great idea for you last minute shoppers (note how I casually implied that I am not a last minute shopper myself. I can see some of you rolling on the floor laughing as I type this).

The idea is that you give them some money, they give some women in a developing country stuff and you get to nominate the friend who doesn’t get the stuff but gets the warm feeling of having done good without actually doing anything. It’s like “Blame” but in reverse.

Seriously though, I have worked with these people for about eight years now. They are a non-profit organisation and they do make a difference for women and their communities in Asia and the Pacific.

Here is an example, $45 purchases stationery for 20 women in remote rural villages in East Timor to participate in literacy and numeracy classes. You receive an email card to send to the recipient of your gift. Low carbon foot print, the planet wins, the women win and believe it or not you win. (face it $45 wont buy a decent Single Malt… or even a bad one when I think about it)

Confused? Go to http://iwda.org.au/catalogue and IWDA will explain it in English (rather than the gibberish I type)

Hmmm. So you actually want to give stuff, no problem. How about music? (c’mon you knew I was going to get music in here somewhere). First up lets go with music with words and stuff.

Ross Ryan has released his “The Difficult Third Compilation 1973 – 2008′”, it’s a 19track CD, with a couple of my personal favourites (Chaplin & Harlow, Postmark Paradise and the reason I bought a Ross Ryan album way back in the Seventies, “Empire Lady”. he doesn’t get it but I do). Now in a hysterical (to me at least) piece of synchronicity, Ross is also throwing in a bonus album called “Stuff” (how perfect is that). Head over to http://rossryan.com.au/archive/news/2008/d3c.htm give him money and he will send you two CD’s.

Now some of you have children or nieces and nephews and are maybe looking for something for the kiddies (small kiddies, trust me on this – 8 year olds want a Wiii. Now that I mention it…..err ) Back to the small kids.

Andrea Rieniets is a singer/composer/performer who has plays a very nice guitar (Martin) and has a couple of albums worth of kids music. If the whole Hi 5 thing leaves you a bit “errr” have a look at Andrea’s stuff. She will even send you an apology for putting “Up In The Sky” into your permanent brain storage, this song is more infectious than Leslie Feist’s “1234”, it’s just aimed a younger audience, you’re just collateral damage.

Head over to http://www.chachasam.com.au/ and hit the order page.
(Disclosure: Jools is currently doing the new website for them and should be up by next weekend)

Back by popular demand.My Friend Ian (gloriously vilified once again this year) has an album that is magic.

Disclosure: I have a credit on the album as “Devils Advocate” which means I made “respectful” suggestions about the mixes and stuff. Also Jools has done a mashup video as a project for her course. It’s over at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgRQmMxi-0A and uses Ian’s song “Love Is A Thief” as it’s music. The things you can do with a computer.

The album is called “Drifter” and you can check it out at http://www.ianbland.com.au/ or his MySpace site http://www.myspace.com/ianblanddrifter

Lastly, let’s consider a pressie for yourself, everyone knows that Christmas is the most stressful time of year. So why not pickup a CD of relaxing music to help you through the season. I have mentioned Bill Canty before (we agreed that we weren’t going to call him My Friend Bill. it was just silly). Bill has a ripper of a CD called “Elysian Peace”, that is perfect for this purpose. I find arguing with Bill about music almost as much fun (but that would be me).

Anyway back to the commercial realities …er Christmas suggestions. Head over to http://billcanty.com/html/elysian.htm and have a listen to “Elysian Peace”, you know you are going to need it.

Now back to some more Non Stuff bits. These people won’t send you a card but they can use our support.

Creative Commons is an organisation that provides free tools that let musicians, authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

They are a nonprofit organisation and like all free organisations need some bucks to keep going. Goto http://creativecommons.org.au/ and have a read of where they are coming from.

Next up is Electronic Frontiers Australia. http://www.efa.org.au/

Since 1994, on a shoestring budget and without business premises, EFA has led campaigns within Australia and overseas. Each year EFA spokespersons respond to hundreds of media and public enquiries about Internet regulation. Given the limited understanding of politicians and bureaucrats regarding Internet issues when EFA was formed in 1994, EFA can be justifiably proud of achieving a change in Government opinion in relation to censorship, ISP liability and telecommunications policies, and widespread support for EFA’s views among key stakeholders and the general public.

This year (and next) they are leading the push against the Australian Government’s “Great Australian Firewall” . Yep Kevin Rudd’s infatuation with the Chinese is about to get us The P*rn Proof Firewall (and it will be about as effective as the Rabbit Proof Fence), that’s right instead of getting rid of China’s censorship, the Oz government has decide to join in the party and put in place MANDATORY filtering. This particular piece of ‘policy” needs to be stopped, it is ill conceived, universally condemned and will slow up your internet access. Head to http://nocleanfeed.com/ ,read about it and then slip the EFA a few bucks.. They are going to need them.

Last of the Non Stuff bits.

SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is the name for a number of organized efforts to detect Extraterrestrial life. The general approach of SETI projects is to survey the sky to detect the existence of transmissions from a civilization on a distant planet, an approach widely endorsed by the scientific community as hard science.

There are a whole bunch of hassles in searching across the sky for a first transmission that could be characterised as intelligent (sort of leaves out Qustion Time at Parliament House), imagine trying to tune in 3RRR if the tuning dial was about a mile long and you didn’t know where they were on the dial. Now scale it up to looking for 3RRR by pointing an aerial at just the right place in the sky at just the right time.

Tricky huh?

They could use some money as the US government pulled their funding in 1994. Head over to http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/sah_donate.php

And consider slipping them a few bucks. Remember if SETI goes under how will the aliens find us? No More Crop Circles (horror). This is your chance to make a difference.

So there you have a few ideas for Christmas. Hopefully they are neither crass nor too commercial.

Thanks for reading, have a good silly season and make sure you are careful out there.

Remember Single Malts and moving anywhere don’t mix.

Have a good one

thatch

{Currently listening to: Lots and Lots of Warren Zevon. Christmas and Cynicism. Just a perfect mix}
{Currently reading: Lewis Hyde – Trickster Makes This World. Just awesome }
{Quick Status Check: Christmas Looming. crowds are already hell }
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, nothing to see here ’til next year }

Categories
Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081124

Hi,

Sorry about the distracted entry last week, but seeing 2001 again was just amazing. The funny thing was that it wasn’t as long as I remember. Even with the original start and intermission music.  I think SBS should be applauded for putting the full thing to air.

On a totally different thought, My Friend Ian (the infamous MFI) has been writing some amazing poems and stuff for his segment on the JVG Radio Method. He goes to air on 3RRR every Sunday at around 2:15 pm.  Jon gives him a theme and he has a week to write a piece from scratch.

A few weeks back he did a piece on the theme “Open”. It is a great piece, heavy, but worth it. http://ianbland.com.au/bland-on-bland/bland-on-bland-open/

Every so often (read rarely) he gets to do a song, back at the start of the month he did “Jesus Of Hollywood”, it’s just Ian , his guitar and Ed bBates on slide. A very cool performance. http://ianbland.com.au/bland-on-bland/bland-on-bland-hollywood/
That’s enough about him, let’s get started shall we.

Jools spotted this one…

It’s another of the incredibly convoluted and complicated “Rube Goldberg” machines. This is the best one I have seen for a while.
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1572918/amazing_home_made_machine/

Ted Talks: Jonathan Harris (no NOT the one from Lost In Space) wants to make sense of the emotional world of the Web. With deep compassion for the human condition, his projects troll the Internet to find out what we’re all feeling and looking for

Why you should listen to him:
Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Harris’ work celebrates the world’s diversity even as it illustrates the universal concerns of its occupants. His computer programs scour the Internet for unfiltered content, which his beautiful interfaces then organize to create coherence from the chaos.

His projects are both intensely personal (the “We Feel Fine” project, made with Sep Kanvar, which scans the world’s blogs to collect snapshots of the writers’ feelings) and entirely global (the new “Universe,” which turns current events into constellations of words). But their effect is the same — to show off a world that resonates with shared emotions, concerns, problems, triumphs and troubles.

Who knew this was out there?

Also from TED is violinist Natalie MacMaster and TED Musical Director Thomas Dolby playing Dolby’s original song “Blue Is a River” in this ethereal duet — with a little dancing.

We covered Natalie in duggup last year. see http://duggup.com.au/2007/03/31/saturday-samples-natalie-macmaster/

Anyway, this performance is a heartbreaker, I have no idea how she gets those sounds from the fiddle but they just blow me away. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/natalie_macmaster_fiddles_in_reel_time.html

The things you do. A bunch of sailors on the USS Shiloh made a Star Wars fan film.

‘Star Wars Episode 67: The Seeds of Betrayal’ is a story of two Sailors who handle a misunderstanding the only reasonable way…by having a saber fight throughout and around the ship. It took them about 5 months to shoot and edit, and it’s a hoot.
http://fewl.net/2008/11/21/uss-shiloh-sailors-make-star-wars-fan-film/
{insert head shaking here}

A recent Edge has an amazing article entitled OF GENITAL THIEVES: The exploration of economic irrationality by Andrian Kreye

Here’s the guff…

“It was one of those watershed moments in science at which you would like to have been present. Last summer in Sonoma, three generations behavioral economists convened at a Master Class run by the Edge Foundation…If you are interested in getting your head around the current global economic meltdown, read through the transcript of this master class once more this autumn. You may not find direct answers, but you will certainly find elements of an explanation.”

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kreye08/kreye08_index.html

The rest of the edition is pretty cool as well.

duggup had a really fab week. This week’s finds include “Pearl and The Puppets (the band from the Vodafone ad), Death Vessel who AREN’T a heavy metal band but are bloody good and a Polish celtic band called “Danar”. Stroll over to http://duggup.com.au and have a look.

Flash Game Time: Today’s game will require skill, dexterity, patience, wisdom, at least two keyboards ( the second one is for when the first “mysteriously “is destroyed err. Ok, you smash the first one… trust me) and best of all.

Jools get’s the BLAME… take it up with her, she found it.
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/games/run

Have a good one.
thatch

{Currently listening: Guns and Roses “Chinese Democracy, it’s truly priceless. I just keep laughing}
{Currently reading: Living and Learning with New Media: Findings from the Digital Youth Project}
{Quick Status Check: Hospitals without Wifi are hell. }
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, nothing to see here ’til next year  }

Categories
Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081117

Hi,

Well how fab is this, as I type this Ligeti’s music is playing and 2001: A Space Odyssey is just starting up. Strap in folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Let’s get started shall we.

Jools sent this one along
“This is an interactive video adventure. Will the intrepid trio esca[e the men in black suits? Will Rob kill the dragon?
Only you know the outcome. Very silly.

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=l8rJ1WML60Y

Love Jools ”

A wonderful impediment, especially if you were a fan of the “Choose Your Own Ending’ books. I blew quite a bit of time on this one.

Ted Talks: A tough one this week. Spoilt for choice.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas leads a dazzling demo of Photosynth, software that could transform the way we look at digital images. Using still photos culled from the Web, Photosynth builds breathtaking dreamscapes and lets us navigate them.

Bonus Ted Talk. J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery — a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias — back to its magical beginnings.

London artist Roger Hiorns covered every square inch of an abandoned apartment with blue copper phosphate crystals. Called “Seizure,” it looks like a magical cave from some fantasy novel.
He basically grew them all in place on the wall. I think it’s pretty.
roger hiorns: seizure.

duggupp had an interesting week. I was having a fun time with some strange indie bands. Efterklang and Castanets. Not to everyone’s taste but that is the way the MP3 player falls. Stroll over to http://duggup.com.au and have a look.

Flash Game Time: Remember Lunar Lander from back in the days of your Apple ][ or Commodore 64? I do. It was hard going, but landing was always sucjh a buzz ( as opposed to the regular ending – the crash) Well they just did the landing on the moon bit in the movie and these seems like an appropriate game for this week.

The idea resurfaces regularly and Super PerfectoProp is the latest one of them. The deal is that you are flying a little guy around, but instead of using jets, you’re using propellers, and instead of three, you have four. The idea is to take off on the left side of the screen, collect all of the coins, and land safely on the right side of the screen, avoiding the various dangers around you.

In terms of controlling your character, it’s a bit more complicated than Lunar Lander. Instead of one booster that pushes straight up, you have two that are on 45 degree angles. To go straight up, you have to press both at the same time, but if you do you’ll go up fast. And since there’s a power line overhead (what you thought it was going to be easy?), you have to be pretty careful about it.

This one is interesting for just about as long as you’d want to spend playing a time waster, which might be a great fit for your next coffee or lunch break.

http://www.gamesforwork.com/games/play-11173-Super_PerfectoProp-Flash_Game

OK the movie has finished and I am still in awe of it, I saw 2001 back in the late Sixtie’s and yes it’s dated but the Ligeti music is still as provoking as it was all those years ago. It possibly explains my interest in “Hard Listening” music.

If you watched it recently and it totally confused you try this, it’s sort of a primer for the movie.
http://www.kubrick2001.com/

Have a good one, sorry it’s short again. Blame Kubrick.

thatch

{Currently listening Actually watching 2001 A Space Odyssey }
{Currently reading: More Dreary MS SQL manuals (does it really need to be this bloody hard???)}
{Quick Status Check: Hell,was 2001 really released in 1968? }
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, nothing to see here ’til next year }

Categories
Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081110

Hi,

I am starting a bit early this week, it’s actually Friday and I am sitting in a small caf‚ having a hot chocolate, listening to my iPod and am having such a cool time of it. Apple didn’t invent shuffle but they sure as hell raised the bar to a seriously high level.

The playlist just spat out Simon & Garfunkel singing “America” (the Concert in Central Park version) followed by Imogen Heap, Dragon Force, Leo Kotke playing “Eight Miles High” and it just finished Show of Hands “Roots”. This is the same kind of sequence that Pandora used to give me on the PC, but I am truly impressed by the iPod. Even if you are left with the nagging thought “How did it know?”

Just in case you think I am turning into an Apple “fan boy”, don panic – I am writing this on my handheld PC, I have used the iPod’s exhausting screen based thumb pad only once and if it involves more than a URL or email address you can forget it. I know (and have watched with gob smacked astonishment, people dashing off what seems like “War and Peace” length emails in their iPhones), but it all seems a bit hard for me. I will just keep scribbling on the palm top.

What else this week (and the week before and the week before that)? I honestly don’t know where the time goes (Sandy Denny 1969 Unhalfbricking). I notice that democracy flexed it’s muscles once again over in the states and for once the right dude won.

If the comedians are any thing to go by, Dubya is toast.
Here are some of my favourites –

And political analysts are saying today that Barack Obama’s win was unprecedented. Which again confused President Bush? He said, “Unprecedented? You mean, he didn’t win? He got unpresidented?”

or

Barack Obama is now gonna receive the daily White House intelligence briefing on things like, you know, security and terrorism, stuff like that. It’s the same briefing President Bush gets every day, but without the pictures and the colour by numbers.

Or

First Lady Laura Bush called Michelle Obama and invited her and her young daughters to the White House. Isn’t that nice? Laura Bush told Mrs. Obama, “While I give you a tour, the girls can watch Spongebob with the President.”

Or

President-elect Barack Obama spent the day thanking the people who helped him win the election. That’s right. Yeah, and actually, Obama’s first phone call was to Sarah Palin.

Or (and this is really my favourite)

Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is our new president. And I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early?

Let’s get started shall we.

Jools sent this one along
“From the era that taste forgot – many, many 80’s music videos as a MMI.
Love, Jools
http://www.80smusicvids.com/ ”

Ted Talks: Larry Lessig, the Net’s most celebrated lawyer, cites John Philip Sousa, celestial copyrights and the “ASCAP cartel” in his argument for reviving our creative culture. I think this guy is one of the most important people currently sucking air.

SO Why should you listen to him?

“No expert has brought as much fresh thinking to the field of contemporary copyright law as has Lawrence Lessig. A Stanford professor and founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society, this fiery believer foresaw the response a threatened content industry would have to digital technology — and he came to the aid of the citizenry.

As corporate interests have sought to rein in the forces of Napster and YouTube, Lessig has fought back with argument — take his recent appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, fighting the extension of copyright protection from 50 to 70 years — and with solutions: He chairs Creative Commons, a nuanced, free licensing scheme for individual creators.

Lessig possesses a rare combination of lawerly exactitude and impassioned love of the creative impulse. Applying both with equal dedication, he has become a true hero to artists, authors, scientists, coders and opiners everywhere.”

Bonus Ted Talk. John Hodgman is a PC, actually he is a writer, humorist, geek celebrity, former professional literary agent and expert on all world knowledge. Hodgman rambles through a new story about aliens, physics, time, space and the way all of these somehow contribute to a sweet, perfect memory of falling in love.

This is hysterically funny stuff.

This on the other hand is seriously disturbing ( and funny in an Itchy and Scratchy way).
I wish they had done a ull size statue of the coyote.
http://www.slashfilm.com/2008/10/27/cool-stuff-splatter-exhibition-in-london/

duggup’s has published over 800 reviews, isn’t that amazing? So what’s been put there recently? We had the usual eclectic crop, Jools found this amazing Irish band called “High Kings”, think of a celtic Il Divo but better with better tunes, they are pretty good. My favourite this week would have to be “Hooray For Earth”, bigger than life. Stroll over to http://duggup.com.au and have a look.

Flash Game Time: We haven’t done a “tower defence” game for awhile. There is a reason- I’m crap at them. I start drawing all these baroques strategies that look great and are about as functional as Malcolm Turnbull’s credibility.

The trouble is they really do “impede productivity” whether you re winning or not (that is loser speak for “I’m crap at them”) Today’s version gets through because it uses a whiteboard metaphor for the battleground, which so works for me and the “enemies” are really cute with their really really annoying sound effects. Since most of you will be be playing this at work, there is a mute button in the top-right of the window.

The only fly in the ointment is the Easy level bears absolutely no resemblance to easy. It’s surprisingly hard, trust me on this one. I have no idea about the higher levels (see former statements about losers)

As usual we wont be entering into any discussion about my performance on this one either.

Have a good one

thatch

{Currently listening Leo Kotke (blame the iPod) and Will Ackerman’s new one}
{Currently reading: Dreary MS Sharepoint manuals (does it really need to be this bloody hard???)}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, all those punters on Oaks Day just found out about train cancellation roulette, I play this game nearly everyday.}
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, nothing to see here. }

Categories
Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081020

Hi,

Well are we having fun yet? We are back with yet another of our “on again off again” missive.

To those readers (yes there are more than one) who scurrilously suggested that it was Single Malt rather Midsomer Murders that was responsible for last weeks absence in the inbox. I must fervently deny this unfounded accusation. And further am quite happy to come around and drink yours anytime (Oban is the current tipple of choice)

Moving on, Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens wrote a wonderful article about –
“Every successful society needs its Bohemia, a haven for the artists, exiles, and misfits who regenerate the culture. With the heart of New York’s West Village threatened by developers, London, Paris, and San Francisco have a message for Manhattan: Don’t do it!”
http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/07/hitchens200807

This was another of those synchronous events, I had a coffee with MFI (My Friend Ian) in town earlier in the week and as we chatted about music, bands we are listening to and some businessy things, I though about just how long we had known each other and how all the suburbs(Carlton, Fitzroy etc) had gentrified and wouldn’t let us in these days. We would lower the tone.

Then again we can both afford single malts and guitar strings these days, so change isn’t all bad.

Have a read of the article it’s an interesting if unfunny read.

Otherwise it’s time to get on with the sillies…
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TED Talk of the week: Stefan Sagmeister (a very cool designer) delivers a short, witty talk entitled “Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far,”. It’s about life lessons, expressed through surprising modes of design (including his infamous inflatable monkey).

There is a nice article about him in the International Herald Tribune.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/01/arts/DESIGN4.php

And in a wonderful piece of synchronicity Jools sent this along.
http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/3978/stefan-sagmeisters-installation-is-removed-by-amsterdam-police.html

Just priceless.

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I was sitting there this afternoon and suddenly the thought “They’re voting for the wrong Palin, they should get Michael Palin instead of Sarah” popped into my brain, rapidly followed by the thought “Someone else will have thought of this”. I was right.

A quick look at Google turned up this, John Cleese on Sarah Palin
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=jMyNk8J1c8g
and this from the “Michael Palin For President” website. Put down your coffee before watching this one.

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Eye Candy? The Boston Globe has a photo blog that highlights a mix of current events and lesser-known news stories through some awesome high-resolution pictures that are sourced from AP, Reuters Pictures, Getty Images, NASA (check out http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/10/the_sun.html ), and other private photographers.
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/

Time Magazine also has a similar idea, each photo essay includes a collection of 10-12 pictures that narrate (in text and sometimes you get audio) a story related to current news events. I really liked The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1848313,00.html
http://www.time.com/time/photoessays

Last up is the ever astounding National Geographic. Lets face it, they really do set the bar awfully high. This is the place to go if you need a daily dose of photos from the world of science, nature or the animal kingdom. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/photo_in_the_news.html

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From The Wall Street Journal Tech Diary (via Make), there is a video profile of Andrew Schneider, a tech artist from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. It’s called “Making of a Performer -A performer takes electronic tinkering and DIY-angst to a new professional level as WSJ’s Andy Jordan discovers in Tech Diary”. http://online.wsj.com/video/tech-diary-making-of-a-performer/2B8F055F-CF47-4251-B17C-BDB4FFC66205.html

I really was intrigued by Andrew’s stuff when I spotted his technologically augmented performance stuff earlier this year. His blog is at http://andrewjs.com/blog/

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The “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Jools wrote up “The Lovely Sparrows”, an indie pop outfit from Texas, sparse arrangements and a slightly eerie feel. My pick would have to be “The Secret Machines” really yummy and surprisingly interesting. Have a listen and let me know what you think. http://duggup.com.au/

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Flash Game Dept: BoomBot is one of those impedimentia that when you write about it, it just sound stupid (really, really stupid), fortunately when you play it, the whole thing is a hoot. This is a game where all those episodes of Mythbusters blowing things up will finally come in handy, yep you try to blast your robot character to the goal door on each level.

Simple huh? Just flail around and blow things up. Well no. It starts out simple enough, but soon goes to hell in a hand basket as you have to dodge stuff, such as rubber blocks, boxes, and even explosive things like oil barrels and boxes of TNT (yaay Level 3), each of which obviously behave just how they like. So you bung down your bomb (you can control the bang by holding down your mouse button and the bomb gets bigger or smaller) The fun(?) is trying to get the timing right. You are so going to hate me for this one.

http://games.mochiads.com/c/g/boombot/BoomBot.swf

Well that’s enough for this week.

Have a good one.

thatch

{Currently listening to Show Of Hands and Ametheysium }
{Currently reading: Stephen Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think”}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, is once again an aspirational option}
{Crop Circle Status: None: Only 193 Sleeps until we do it all again. http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2008/2008.html }