READ ALL ABOUT IT

April 1st, 2003

BREAKING NEWS!

[Via Haddock.org]

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Complicated

March 31st, 2003

Dan Hon has a confession he'd like to share with us.

OK, so he may have lost several million indie cred points, but at least a combination of the stupidity of the recording industry and the wonders of OS X allowed him to indulge in his nasty little habit via iTunes and – it goes without saying – on his iPod. So that's OK then.

Besides, as long as you don't buy that whole "she's totally real, not at all marketed" line what's wrong with Ms Lavigne's catchy little pop-punk numbers? It's not the music, it's the awful spelling that gets me. "Sk8er Boi", indeed! (Yes, I am over 40. Why do you ask?)

3 Comments »

Icy beauty

March 31st, 2003

Hirmes is home to an exquisite collection of ice photographs. This one is my favourite, but they're all striking, beautifully lit pieces of art.

Sadly, I can't justify paying US$150 plus shipping for a print, so I'll just have to settle for admiring them on-screen.

[Via Boing Boing]

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Newton Forever

March 29th, 2003

What is it about the Apple Newton that makes it so seductive that users still rely on their Newtons five years after Steve Jobs cancelled the project?

As with all "obsolete" computers, the short answer would appear to be that it still works, so why ditch it? The other issue – which is probably a comment on the way market research stifles originality and encourages a herd mentality among computer designers – is that according to the Newton fans nothing out there quite meets their needs. With the success of Palm-like PDAs and the growth of the clamshell laptop market, users who want something sized somewhere between the two form factors are left to hang onto the one machine which filled that gap.

[Via Techdirt]

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Poptastic

March 29th, 2003

Kieran McCarthy reminds us of just how many younger members of the cast of Neighbours have tried to forge a post-Erinsborough pop career, and wonders why Kym Valentine (aka Libby Kennedy) hasn't followed suit.

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The Star

March 29th, 2003

Hubble Watches Light from Mysterious Erupting Star Reverberate Through Space. The word "Wow!" seems entirely appropriate.

(Is anyone else reminded of Arthur C Clarke's The Star when they look at those images?)

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"Mr Zeffirelli wouldn't have done it like that, you know."

March 29th, 2003

The Guardian published a pretty good article by Robert Sellers on Friday about the making of Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Indeed, all the extras were derived from the local population. Jones remembers, "They were all very knowing because they'd all worked for Franco Zeffirelli on Jesus of Nazareth, so I had these elderly Tunisians telling me, 'Well, Mr Zeffirelli wouldn't have done it like that, you know.'"

Then there was the extraordinary furore when the film was released.

The day after the London opening, Cleese and Palin famously appeared on a late-night BBC2 discussion programme hosted by Tim Rice, himself no stranger to religious controversy as the lyricist of Jesus Christ Superstar. Their inquisitors were Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark, and Malcolm Muggeridge. Both harangued Brian from the outset calling it "a squalid little film" and "tenth rate"; no amount of measured argument on the Pythons part would dissuade the pious double act of their firmly held belief that Life of Brian mocked Christ.

Michael Palin recalls, "We had done our homework, thinking we were going to get into quite a tough theological argument, but it turned out to be virtually a slanging match. We were very surprised by that. I don't get angry very often, but I got incandescent with rage at their attitude and the smugness of it."

As the debate reached its conclusion, Stockwood, dressed grandly in a purple cassock and pompously fondling his crucifix in a way that was devastatingly lampooned by Rowan Atkinson a week later on a Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch, delivered his parting shot of, "You'll get your 30 pieces of silver."

Cleese sums up the affair best, observing dryly, "I always felt we won that one by behaving better than the Christians."

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When Dave Met Steve

March 28th, 2003

Dave Barry writes about his experience helping come up with Oscar night jokes for Steve Martin.

Needless to say, I was excited. I've been a big Steve Martin fan since he had an arrow through his head. To have him ask me to work with him was an honor.

On the other hand, I worried that I'd embarrass myself. I've never tried to write jokes for somebody else, and I knew the other writers on Martin's team would be show-biz pros. So I showed the e-mail to my wife, and told her about my concerns. She told me to think about it carefully, and make whatever decision I truly thought I would be comfortable with, as long as that decision was yes, because if I turned down a chance for us to go to the Academy Awards, she would kill me with a machete.

[Via Windowseat Weblog]

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Browser vs Browser

March 28th, 2003

Giles Turnbull has written an informative, nicely balanced article comparing Camino and Safari. I'm using Camino at the moment, but if Safari is officially released with support for tabbed browsing and a workable solution to the problem of importing bookmarks and launching them in groups I'll be taking a long, hard look, because in most respects it's a very nice browser.

The really nice thing is that OS X has not one, but two free web browsers which are superior in every way to Internet Explorer. I've only used IE once since I took delivery of my iMac a fortnight ago, and that was to download Safari.

[Via plasticbag.org]

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Well you would, wouldn't you?

March 28th, 2003

Have you ever wondered whether a rubber band ball would bounce if it were dropped from a great height. I know I certainly have.

Tony Evans spent five years creating the world's largest rubber band ball, weighing a metric ton and with a diameter of four feet. Then he dropped it from an aircraft a mile up, just to see what would happen next.

[Via Found]

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ISFDB is back

March 26th, 2003

Yay! The Internet Speculative Fiction Database is back online, thanks to those nice people at Texas A&M University.

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Adam Osborne

March 26th, 2003

Adam Osborne, the man who got bored with writing about computers and decided to try making them, died earlier this week.

The Osborne 1 looks mightily unimpressive if you put it next to a modern portable – heck, the average PDA has vastly more processing power and memory (not to mention a better quality display) – but in the early 80s it was a tremendously important piece of kit. Not only was it very keenly priced, but it came with a bundle of market-leading business software packages.

Later generations of the portable PC didn't borrow much from the Osborne's hardware design, but the idea of throwing in good quality general purpose business/productivity software as a way to get someone to buy your computer certainly took off. (The trouble is that these days is it's almost always MS Office that gets bundled, whereas in Osborne's heyday there were a number of competitive software packages in each major category.)

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Linux uncovered

March 25th, 2003

If you've ever wondered just how complicated a computer program can get, this 8MB MPEG animation depicts the links between the various subsystems which make up the Linux kernel in a 3D tree diagram. Even if you have no idea what the different subsystems do, the sheer density of links between sections is impressive.

[Via Slashdot]

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Oh baby!

March 25th, 2003

Martha Stewart Baby magazine presents Baby Faces, or, how to add a picture of your baby's face to your thumbtacks.

I have but one question: for the love of Ghu, why?

[Via Loobylu]

1 Comment »

"The bowler's Holding; the batsman's Willey."

March 24th, 2003

Jann posted a fine collection of Colemanballs. (Note for non-UK readers: sports broadcaster David Coleman was well known for his habit of unconsciously spouting double-entendres, to the point where Private Eye magazine named its regular compilations of broadcasters' slip-ups in his honour.)

Some Colemanballs are widely-known classics, like the Brian Johnston quotation I used as the title for this post, but some of the ones Jann listed are new to me. My favourite:

A female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked, "So Bob, where's that eight inches you promised me last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too, because they were laughing so hard!

[Via jann herlihy dot com]

1 Comment »

It may not melt, but it certainly bends…

March 24th, 2003

A non-melting ice lolly? It's a sin against nature!

Mark my words, no good will come of it…

[Via Found]

2 Comments »

X-Men 1.5

March 23rd, 2003

With X2 on the horizon, Rob Meyer Burnett talks to DVDFile.com about the production of the special edition DVD of X-Men, the film that sparked the Marvel movies boom in the first place. Burnett has been involved in the production of a lot of DVD special editions, and talks candidly about the pressures which pull DVD producers in several directions simultaneously.

First and foremost, I think the most important thing is the movie itself, which should be presented in the highest possible quality. Unfortunately, with the mass success of the format, I'm afraid that the studios are going to now aim for the lowest common denominator instead of aiming high. Because that's were the biggest profit margin is. Full-Frame versions of films for the non-discerning discount shopper.

But I must tell you that perhaps the DVD project I'm most proud of is the Kurtti-Pellerin produced box set for The Fellowship of the Ring. That four-disc set is probably the best DVD ever made. Obviously, not every release warrants that kind of treatment. It's not just a great DVD, but a great historical document of the making of the movie and the techniques of the time. People will look back in fifty years and be happy that they have that disc. Wouldn't you have loved to have that kind of treatment on King Kong or Gone with the Wind if it was possible back then? To have been there to talk to Vivian Leigh?

The problem, of course, is to recognise which films it's worth spending that amount of time and effort documenting.

I don't think I'll be forking out for a copy of X-Men 1.5 since I already have the original DVD release and I have far too many other DVDs to buy this year, but as the hype machine for X2 shifts into a higher gear I find myself looking forward to seeing Wolverine kick ass again more than I thought I would. Not quite as much as I'm looking forward to seeing Neo, Trinity and Morpheus kick Agent Smith's ass, or Frodo and Aragorn … well, not exactly kick Sauron's ass, but you know what I mean … but it's a close-run thing.

[Via MetaFilter]

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"This could very well be the stupidest person on the face of the earth. Perhaps we should shoot him."

March 23rd, 2003

Need I say more?

Aaron Bell, 19, was convicted in December of robbing a Kentucky Fried Chicken store in Philadelphia 12 months earlier. It was the same KFC where Bell had worked for the previous two years; he wore no mask or disguise, and all the employees recognized him. He might have learned in those two years that the store's safe is time-locked at 9 p.m., but he started the robbery at 9:15 and thus got no money. Nonetheless, Bell successfully hid from police for three days. On the third day, he decided to report for work at the KFC, acting as if nothing had happened. The manager called police.

Scroll just over halfway down this page for the original story.

Bonus points for anyone who can name the source of this post's title.

[Via jenn.wiked.org entry for 19 March 2003]

1 Comment »

Happiness

March 22nd, 2003

Frog Chewing on Fly. Is it just me, or does that frog look deeply content with his life right now?

2 Comments »

Dog vs Dog

March 21st, 2003

Can a dog tell the difference between another dog and an AIBO? The Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris has the answer. The Quicktime movie of the encounter is a hoot.

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