you owe

May 30th, 2007

yikes,

Supposedly USA Today printed

this

Inlcuding a sentence like:

That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

miscrosoft ‘inovates’

May 30th, 2007

Microsoft presents a new‘product’. Probably as much of a product as that data watch from them. Of course it has been there before: the mulitouch interface then there seems to be elements reminiscent of this

User interfaces are an interesting topic. Not much has happened since God (or was it Xerox or maybe even Apple?) gave us the mouse.

It will be decades before Microsoft can start copying really innovative work like this study by C. Woebken

cognitive bias

May 29th, 2007

Looking at this is list of things that get into the way of objective assertion it feels surprising how we managed to get to skyscrapers and novocaine after all. Actually that list would be really worth looking at, one by one and day by day. But of course there are not only cognitive biases but also much more mundane hassles preventing efficiency: Like forgetting things. Of coure I found this list on BlogsNow. Amazing that I could live for 90 days without it.

pirates

May 26th, 2007

Sometimes there is a refreshing new view in acts of crime. Since the usual rules don’t apply, people get to be innovative. Or at least a bit out of the ordinary.

this could be big

May 23rd, 2007

I hope that the people at Autonet Mobile were so smart to just put an EVDO card into a box and share it with via wifi. If they do it as simple as that, then they could be up to something. If it works as simple as it could in this design, and if they do a halfway decent job in marketing etc then they could be huge: They don’t care about content. No expensive birds. Just a quick little hardware hack. Sprint and Verizon will try to get their own boxes out, once they get it. Why they didn’t offer this in the first place? Well, croporate stupidity and ignorance has no limits I guess.

epic porn for the duke of count

May 22nd, 2007

If you ever should grow tired of movies as a concept then this might bring you back within a couple of minutes:


spam, human one

May 21st, 2007

BlogsNow is back. The added spam detection seems to work. Since I never trust new code, especially not when I wrote it, I pay a bit more attention to which blogs get flaged as spam. Once they are flaged they are ignored. This shows the blogs that google had seen updates for in the last ten seconds. Good luck finding a legit one. There are in there. Somewhere.

Today I thought I had found another bug. Blogs like these: example example example example example example started showing up being spam. Although they are written by people. After looking into it I realized that these people participate in a ‘pay per post’ scheme: They get paid if they blog about something. Sandwich men. I decided to ban all those blogs. No matter if it’s a spam bot or a human being getting paid to write his/her own copy and flagging it all-so-PC with ‘paid post’: The effect is the same. Links from those sources can not be trusted. I am aware that I delete lots of mid range blogs with that. But then, I don’t care: There is no short supply in blogs. BlogsNow can afford to look for the pure ones. Interesting how spam-detection can be a good training ground for other, yet related, schemes.

ff tips

May 21st, 2007

usually those lists with tips are a big yawner.
This one had a couple that I was unaware off

VP of prophecies

May 21st, 2007

Those are some rather long last throes

zero margins in tables, as in really none

May 20th, 2007

Technology can be cruel. Spent hours this morning to figure out how to really get rid of all extra spacing in tables. Of course one has to set


margin: 0;
padding: 0;

But these was still an extra little space that bugged me. Good thing is it to have friends that know more than Google. Adib knew that the magic line would be:


border-collapse : collapse;

And, et voila, it works in FF 1.5 and safari 2.0 under OS X.

the nucular blog

May 19th, 2007

It seems as if there is a system to track all incidents around nuclear power generation. Which is great. It’s also very good that this information is public. It’s not that easy to use or understand. And in all that data the real juicy details might be well hidden. But it’s still a great concept to make the operations accountable to publish their results. I would guess that Iran does not have such a system for their similar activities. But I am afraid that that the current regime in the US would not install a similar system themselves.

performance art

May 19th, 2007

I am usually not a big fan of performance art. The whole ‘let’s put a human in a Zoo’ situation is so predictabiliy of interest.
This art installation combines it with a painball gun controlled over the internet, which isn’t new either, and makes it actually interesting. Horrible too.

the break up

May 17th, 2007


The Break Up
Uploaded by geertdesager

no comment on the ending. OK. Maybe just one: lol. Of all people why are those saying this? They are the worst offenders of what they critisize.

images

May 17th, 2007

images of fast food: ads vs.reality

I would not be surprised if you would ask people what they just ate and showed them both pictures they would pick the one from the advertisement. Not the one from reality. The romans left their vast cities for centuries to people that had no clue how you could make such things. The Colosseum was actually a housing complex for most of the 2000 years it existed. Our civilisation will leave billions of silver discs with all sorts of ‘realities’. Like movies, TV shows and games. People might not be able to make new ones, but they sure will inhabit our cultural spaces. Fake or not: we don’t care today. We eat the burger from the billboard rather than the one in our mouth. Why should people care more in 200 years when realities might have deterioated even more.

Want fries with that?

BlogsNow is back

May 16th, 2007

So I kicked BlogsNow back into existence. There will be a twist to it in a couple of weeks.

Here the things I found so far:

a dead bunny

writing seems to be the thing today:

a book promo

and this:


McLuhan anybody?

new way to get rich

May 16th, 2007

Somebody managed to send an email out that the iPhone would be delayed. In the following hours that it took the official Apple PR machine to react and ‘catch the bad meme’ the Aaple did go down by a couple of dollars. Then it rebound. Somebody could have made 3% in a couple of hours.

update 5/17/07:

techcrunch says that the false engadget news wiped of four billion dollars in market cap in six minutes. New travels fast it seems.

Audi A5

May 15th, 2007

Saw the Audi A5 today. Actually lots of them. Audi must have had some press event where they put people into brand new A5s and CLKs, BMW 3 coupes and drove them (let them drive?) in groups of 3 cars over some roads where I grew up. Pretty roads those are. That was a good choice. To me the A5 looked interesting enough to ask my wife to floor it so that I could have another look. Little I knew that A5s would be in such ample supply on those roads today. I really liked the shape. An Audi, a coupe, but still interesting. But, I also liked the Mercedes CLS at first for being different. Now I think it’s just a Car to squeeze as many petro dollars out of the E class that possible. They seem to need it: German news paper headline today: “Mercedes gives away Chrysler”

network

May 13th, 2007

Just finished one phase of a bigger network job. The client probably did spend more money on engineering time than on what those ten network switches would cost. Yet, it was worth it. The guy I was working for is probably one of the most gifted engineers I have ever met. That of course was 90% of the reason of the success of the project. In the end we were able to get a gigE backbone in place, where there was none before. Despite the fact that the hardware existed, connections simply were done in such ways, that there were a couple of gigE islands (many as small as one switch) inside some very convoluted hundred base T soup. Valueable lessons I have learned:

- working with good people makes everything fun. Crawling up on racks @ 3am in the morning is perfectly OK under those circumstances, since the job will be finished

- the mess that accumulates over time in network topologies is huge. And damaging. Network switches are actually very brave in dealing with circular routes and all kind of crazy and unintended ways to connect things.

- snmp can be a great tool. It’s worth getting managed switches just for that. Apple’s Airport Base Stations require -of course- some extra care and work. All other network gear I used behaves very much alike. No matter which vendor. Of course Apple thinks they need to ‘think different’ even when they shouldn’t.

- Dell uses cross over serial, while Linksys uses straight ones. Xon/Xoff in Zterm on Mac does not work as advertised. Linksys latest srw2024 firmware will break the switch. It simple will no longer boot. (see comments) Linksys support is trying to help but is in general a clueless waste of time. Managed Linksys switches like the srw2048 or srw2024 I can not recommend.

- Hardware cost is in no relationship to the cost of configuring things. There are ample parameters to configure and tune your network. I doubt that the knowledge how to do this widely exists. I understand maybe 5% of what a 600 US$ managed switch can do and how it really works. Applying what happens with network to cars would mean that people drive around without tires. On their rims. It’s loud. Traction is lousy. So they buy a Ferrari (without tires) since the Porsche did not do so well (since it missed tires) and the rims were grinded down. And, yes, with a Toyota and some rubber around your RIMs you can be the fastest kid in town.

- crawling around racks I realized how much wire their used to be for Video and Audio. And just a couple of Cat5e cables can replace so much of it. What a concept that you need a different piece of copper depending on what kind of content would flow over it! Sure, realtime and all. But at what cost? Converter boxes, routers, distribution amplifier, patch panels, spliters. And then you are locked into, let’s say NTSC. It’s ridicolous, and much of it will go away. Writing a telegram was a great way to communicate. Once upon a time.

With managed switches, snmp and the dns database we had before we can now find the port / switch for every machine in the building. There are ample uses and applications for this. Looking at network traffic. Finding uptime. Hell, one could even track peoples work hours by that. Or at least give them access to it, so they can use their MAC address’ existence in the network as evidence for them being at work.

this is nice

May 7th, 2007

of course, it has 4 million views, so chances are you saw it already:


I miss BlogsNow. I used to see this kind of thing when it had 4,000 not 4 million views. It’s nice either way.

And I can reply with ‘thank’s that’s cool’ to emails that send me nice things, instead of having to say “knew that one” over and over again.

testDontShare

May 7th, 2007

So, you would think that calling something testDontShare would be kind of a strong hint what not to do with it. And of course, since I am typing this here, that’s exactly what happened. Funny, since I caught it before it really got shared. But should be a lesson for me: there will always be a bigger idiot. Always design things so that even the President of the USA could use it. I know, it’s hard. But that’s how foolproof things need to be.

copied for nineteen years

May 6th, 2007


couldn’t find a quicktime :-(

Apple, the Euro and the Dollar

May 6th, 2007

My sister needs a new computer. These days I would recommend the cheapest MacBook with 1GB memory and 80 GB harddrive upgrades and -of course- Apple Care. Which comes down to 1473 US$. Which is not a bad price for a powerful and reliable machine.

In Germany the very same machine does cost 1518 Euros. That’s looks similar. However with todays rate this comes down to 2126 dollars. In 2000, before Bush started to dabble in economics, you only had to pay 1395 dollars for the same amount of Euros.

and in the meantime Kodak sells more film

May 5th, 2007

In the last quarter Kodak’s entertainment imaging unit rose 8 percent

the two tunnels of love

May 4th, 2007

Interestingly enough rocketboom seems still to be sourcing vilodex.

The Lester Bookbinder Reel seems to be a vilodex exclusive right now. While googling around for other works of his I came accross these two videos. One is by him,
the other one: I don’t know.


new media

May 2nd, 2007

A friend send me a link to this blog
I like it allot. I like that this is a concept that uses what exists and makes something unprecedented out of it. A digital SLR, a blog, a person with a sense for fashion. Add to that the world around and you have something that is truly inspiring. I like the absence of cynical comment in those pictures. At least that’s how I read them. People are depicted as an inspiration. Not in the Borat kind of way. It’s the other end of the scale actually. Same World. Same everyday people. It made me very happy to learn about this link and project. Now I have to surpress the urge to replace the 10d with a 5d and start twexus-2. Which would be shot on raw, stored on drives and printed on the 24″ wide hp.

quicktime: I hate yer

May 1st, 2007

Old and rotten APIs should be politely guided to the graveyard of history. And freaking shot! But, no, some clueless public prodcasting people still enjoy the merits of using ‘real player’. Now Microsoft and Adobe get into a fight over movie playback systems. At least that’s what the tech journalists tell us. Very same people that speculated for years wether Microsoft or Sony would take the next gen crown of gaming. Until there was the Wii. Microsoft vs Adobe during NAB was one of these non stories that became one, since Journalists could write so easily about it.

The reality of quicktime is actually pretty grim: People are able to make movie files that are plain insane. Client of mine likes to produce anamorphic qt’s. Don’t ask. Displaying them on a website, you kinda need to know about that, otherwise they look squeezed. Only problem is: The quicktime player magically knows. But nothing else does. Probing the transformation matrix via javascript returns the most innocent matrix there is: 1.0, 0.0, 0.0 0.0, 1.0, 0.0 0.0, 0.0, 1.0.
ffmpeg, usually so brave in dealing with all this, has no clue. Apple documentation acknowledges the existence of matrices and even teases on this page with the existence of some documentation about matrix functions. But of course the link maybe having some answers goes nowhere. Which is pretty common in Apples online quicktime documentation. It’s huge, it’s old, in many cases examples require OS9 to compile. There are actually very very few working and helpful examples on Apples sites. Whenever the quicktime API gets extended again by some mostly unwanted function there are some files in the development environment du jour. But after years of operating systems and development environments moving on they mostly become a joke or grim reminder of times when Mac’s where beige. Yes, it really is that horrible. And then some.

Quicktime was a good idea. One that got out of hand. Fueled by the success of Apple and it’s other products, it could survive the total failure in gaining any consumer traction. Youtube is flash based. Looks bad, but nobody cares. Unfortunately there are not any alternatives to quicktime. Which is a shame:
It should not be that hard to just have a simple working container format for audio and video. xml works, all these modern things. And quicktime?
Moov containers. nested in each other. Trying to hide their shameful kludgyness. Only thing that Apple did that is worse than quicktime is AppleScript. But we don’t go there. Oh, no. We will not. Sal, oh, Sal, why don’t you go where people wear the had that you do??

Quicktime VR? Who gives a shit? Sprites? Excucse me? You can write actually lots of things in quicktime. Too many. We don’t need an interactive system that would run of a CDROM. Really not. Anymore.

I will have to deal with quicktime in the next five years. And I am seriously not looking forward to all those oddities that will creep up. Not at all.

Apple should define a simple, fast, well documented (examples!) ‘core-qucktime’ subset that actually gets used and that all application should
and can support.