Archive for January, 2007

Kickass New Music

After hearing their songs in the new iPod + iTunes and Safeway commercials (the songs are Flathead and Chelsea Dagger, respectively), I got Costello Music by The Fratellis.

Oh. My. Science.

This album rocks! I can’t stop listening to it. I wish everyone at work were out today so that I could crank the speakers up to eleven. This band’s music is cool enough, but when I discovered that the song Vince The Lovable Stoner contains a riff from the soundtrack to The Third Man, I went nuts. This is easily my new favourite band.

Another sweet album I’ve been listening to is Inside In/Inside Out by The Kooks. I’ve known about the band for over a year, but for some reason never really looked into them until recently.

I’ve also been listening to Stars of CCTV by Hard-Fi. Check out the music video for their song Cash Machine; it’s pretty fun.

Friday Funday CXXXI

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

The evolution of a web developer/designer [del.icio.us]

Here’s a sequel to a page listed in Friday Funday CXX

The Accidental Video Game Porn Archive [del.icio.us]

A =huge= list of links to screen shots from various video games where porn was accidentally (or intentionally) created. Probably pretty safe for work.

Get A First Life [del.icio.us]

A fantastic satire of Second Life.

Paris Exposed [del.icio.us]

Paris Hilton failed to pay a $208 (yes, two hundred and eight) storage unit rental fee, so all her stuff was auctioned off and put online. This is Paris’s personal stuff, including hours of video, hundreds of photos, and scathing diary entries. There’s some pretty explicit stuff here, and for $40 a month, you can see it all. Now that’s hot.

Cheating Indian Man Gets Caught [del.icio.us]

What’s funny is not that he gets caught, but how. Much like the radio DJ, I couldn’t help but listen and laugh.

The Holy Word

What is it about Microsoft Word that people love so much? At the place we don’t blog about, there are people who do everything in Word. I’m not kidding, even if they’re just going to copy and paste the text into something else (for example, a form on a website), they’ll compose the text in Word.

When I want to compose something offline and post it into a form, e-mail, or similar, I use Notepad (I swear, Notepad is one of the greatest legacy programs on Windows). It starts up faster than Word, it saves in a much more universal format than Word, it doesn’t try to be smarter than me by automatically fixing my spelling or grammar (that’s right, Word, I meant to spell organize with a “s” instead of a “z”).

Quick aside: Most of the cost of modern computers is the software. If you buy a computer that has Windows and a bunch of Microsoft programs pre-installed, price will be significantly higher than one without the software. In these modern times, that’s not such a big problem, since you can run open source alternatives such as Linux and OpenOffice.

In trying to make decisions for my business, I thought that a good way to save money would be to forgo buying Microsoft Office and using OpenOffice instead. It’s a pretty tidy plan, except that Word and OpenOffice render .doc files slightly differently, so I wouldn’t be assured that what I see and what the client sees are the same. And since Microsoft Word has (for some reason) become the de facto standard for word processor software, it looks like I’m stuck with Word for now. Anyway, back to why I don’t like Word…

One particularly bothersome “feature” of Word is its use of “smart quotes.” Here’s an article that explains what they are and why they’re bad.

When I code something big, complicated, and useful (for example, a content management system), and everything validates and looks fantastic, it really gets to me when something as stupid and Word’s smart quotes comes along and buggers the whole thing up. It’s kind of like when you’re on an airplane and you’re thinking, “wow, this giant metal thing really flies. How cool is that?” Then, suddenly, someone farts and you can’t roll down the window to get fresh air. It’s like that. It’s not a flaw in the design of the plane, it’s the user’s fault because they just =had= to eat Indian food for dinner the night before.

There are countless chunks of code out there that help to smart quotes (and other invalid characters that Word assumes you want) with their valid counterparts. I’ve tried to implement them in my code, but just as having windows on a plane that roll down would cause the plane to crash, so too my program failed. I have no idea why, and I haven’t had time to try to figure it out, but it’s as annoying as a gassy passenger.

Gassy passenger? That would make a great name for a band…

Speaking of Peripherals…

You know that new Mac ad where PC is upgrading to Vista? At the end, Mac says, “Speaking of peripherals…” Can someone explain to me what that line is supposed to mean? I’ve watched the spot several times and I just don’t get it.

Friday Funday CXXX

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

It’s time for another X-rated Friday Funday, so don’t look at these at work.

Tickle Me Harder [del.icio.us]

The video is a bit too long, but it’s pretty funny, especially the end.

Sex Toy or Baby Toy? [del.icio.us]

Wow. Just, wow.

Girls Kissing [del.icio.us]

169 photos of ladies locking lips (and often tongues). Hells yeah. -)

Sex in Cinema [del.icio.us]

The Greatest and Most Influential Erotic/Sexual Films and Scenes. This list is =HUGE=. If you’re writing a film theory paper about sex in cinema, this is the page for you!

Index of /faculty/irvinem/visualarts/Image-Library/Delvoye/ [del.icio.us]

I don’t remember how I found this, but a bunch of the photos in this directory are X-rays of… Well, look and see.

Sexual Consent [del.icio.us]

This video had me laughing out loud (especially the ending). Also probably work safe, but there’s some very colourful language.

Boys Beware [del.icio.us]

Anti-homosexual propaganda film from the 1950s. Probably work safe, except for the rampant anti-gay message.

Friday Funday CXXIX

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

MSFirefox [del.icio.us]

Uproariously funny.

Tall German Woman [del.icio.us]

Um… WTF?

Rapist Search [del.icio.us]

This one had me laughing out loud.

Test Catch Cricket [del.icio.us]

How’s that?!

The Man of 100 Voices [del.icio.us]

I would say that for some of these, he’s cheating (=anyone= can do the Darth Vader breathing), but others are incredible.

Friday Funday CXXVIII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Oops, I completely forgot to post this on Friday! Better late than never, though, right?

The Art of Retouching [del.icio.us]

This portfolio of photos retouched by Glenn Feron is fascinating! It’s incredible to see how normal the models really are, then how fake they become after retouching.

Web Two Point Oh! [del.icio.us]

Create a new Web 2.0 company by simply reloading the page! Some of these are really funny, and others are actually pretty good ideas!

The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator [del.icio.us]

Now that you have a Web 2.0 company name and product, you’ll have to get out there and sell it. Use this handy page to spice up your pitches and fool people into thinking that you know what you’re talking about.

Top 20 Unusual Homicides [del.icio.us]

I’m not sure how long I’ve had this bookmarked, or even why I bookmarked it (today is the first day I’ve ever seen it). Some of these really are quite out there, but some seem more like manslaughter than homicide. The list is really rather random, so some of the later ones aren’t as good as the earlier ones (although the last one is pretty crazy).

Funny Cats [del.icio.us]

Because who doesn’t need more funny cats? Especially since the previous item was kind of a downer.

Saddam Death Video

Click here to watch the video of Saddam Hussein being executed.

First off, I’ll freely admit that the only reason I’m writing about this is because it’s something a lot of people are searching for on Google. So, with that out of the way…

The video was purportedly shot on a cell phone and that looks to be the case. The shot is shakier than The Blair Witch Project, the image quality is extremely low, and the video is clearly not a full 30fps. The lighting in the room is just barely bright enough to make out Saddam’s face.

The actual moment of the hanging comes at just over a minute and a half into the video and is rather anti-climactic. Saddam, standing calmly with an enormous yellow noose around his neck, surrounded by taunting guards, suddenly drops out of sight and the rope snaps taut; it’s like every hanging you’ve ever seen in the movies.

Some people have described the video as graphic, but it isn’t. The camera doesn’t follow him down as he drops. Instead, we see more shaky video before finally settling on Saddam’s expired visage. There is no blood or gore, just an old, dead, utterly conquered dictator.

Watching the video, watching Saddam just moments before his death, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking. Was he scared? Was he irritated? Was he relieved? If nothing else good can be said about the man, he went out with as much dignity as was possible.

Resolution Time!

As the year rolls over, it’s once again time to reflect on the previous year’s resolutions and see how well I did, then state new resolutions for this year.

Eat right – Remember that life change I was talking about? I actually did pretty well this year. I did I bunch of research and learned a lot about what food to eat, how much to eat, when to eat it, and so on. I’ve changed my eating habits considerably, but I still have a long way to go. Morah and I still have the tendency to dine out more frequently than we should, although now, even when we eat at a restaurant, I’ll eat considerably less than I used to. Doing so has helped me lose a lot of weight. Not as much as I’d like, but that’s where the next resolution comes in.

Work out more frequently – By the end of the summer, I was working out as many mornings as I could muster (which was usually more like every other day, but when you consider how little exercise I was getting before that…). As the weather got colder, I stopped going as frequently. I recall one morning when it was raining outside and the temperature was really low. That’s the day I stopped going. I don’t know which month that was in, but I haven’t exercised in a while. That was the nice thing about having the elliptical machine in our flat; we didn’t have to go anywhere to work out. At any rate, I know it’s something I need to do more of, so something needs to be sorted out in the very near future. At the very least, I’ll go at it hardcore when the weather warms up, which won’t be for a while, so I need to find a solution in the meantime. Any ideas that don’t include joining a gym?

Floss my teeth – Yeah. I’m really quite bad at this one. At least I finally got around to visiting a dentist! Now my teeth are back in the shape they should be. I recall having a plan to brush my teeth earlier in the evening so that (A) I would eat less (because I wouldn’t eat after having brushed my teeth) and (B) so that I wouldn’t have the “I’m too tired” excuse for not flossing. I can set three alarms on my new mobile phone, so perhaps I’ll set one of them to remind me to brush =and floss= earlier in the evening.

Do my traction – My back has been slowly getting better. Even as I type this, I’m sitting on my wedge with my block behind my back. On the other hand, my back has been getting better slowly. Doing my traction would expedite the process and help to relieve the tension and aching in my back. On my old mobile phone, I had a daily alarm set to remind me to do my traction, but it eventually became the alarm that let us know it was time to feed the cat. I haven’t bothered to set the alarm again on my new phone, but perhaps I should. And this time, I’ll actually have to do my traction.

Save money – The primary purpose for saving all that money was to pay for our wedding, which we have, so I guess it worked. Now to save up for a car and a house.

Drink more water – I drink tons of water! I have a water bottle at work that I fill up everyday. Most days, I drink one and half to two liters of water at work alone. I drink a lot more water at home, as well. In fact, I drink water so regularly that I’m going to go ahead and say that this resolution can be removed from the list!

Use my electric toothbrush – Here’s another resolution that’s ready to come off the list. My plan of sticking my old manual toothbrush in a drawer worked. The only time I don’t use the electric toothbrush is when we travel (I have a tiny travel toothbrush for that), so I think it’s safe to say this one is complete!

Get caught up & stay caught up – I didn’t. Not at all. It just keeps mounting up. So what am I going to do about it? I’m cutting back on the amount of things to keep up on. Our subscriptions to Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and WIRED all end soon and I’m not going to renew them. As much as I enjoy those magazines (especially WIRED), I just can’t justify spending the money to continue receiving them if I’m not going to read them. I’ve also pretty much ceased listening to podcasts. They were easy to listen to when I was editing video, because I didn’t have to read anything and the work I was doing didn’t require much thought. Now that I spend most of my time writing code, I can’t read and write the code =and= listen to a podcast. The solution? Good-bye podcasts. I also never made a schedule outlining what I would do when, which may help. If, as soon as I get home from work, I want to read a magazine or a book for an hour instead of watch T.V., perhaps just having the little piece of paper tell me to do it will actually get me to do it. It’s worth a shot, anyway.

Build my business – If ever there were a time for me to get this going, now is the time. I have potential clients sitting out there like ducks, just ready to be… Shot? Wait, this isn’t a very good analogy. Anyway, you know what I mean. The point is, I’m very, very close to being ready to officially launch the business under the new name, so what’s holding me back? That’s what I need to address.

Work on my personal websites – Here’s a new one for this year. It’s been a tradition each year for me to unveil the new look of alifelessordinary.com on the site’s anniversary. For a number of reasons, I didn’t do that in 2006. I had hoped to launch v5 on 1 January, but I never found the time to finish the design before the big date. The same is true with thomasandmorah.com. Version 3 is on its way, but isn’t quite ready for public viewing. I’ve been neglecting my personal websites a lot, and, as weird as it seems, that means I’m letting people down. I have friends and family who visit the sites expecting updates that never seem to happen. It took me over 60 days after our wedding to pull thomasandmorah.com offline, and I still haven’t put anything up in its place. Here’s hoping 2007 will be a more productive year for personal web development.

You know the drill. Post your resolutions and check back in July for the update.