media player killer app?

The best reason to get into mediacasts (podcasts)... stuff like triple j podcasts. I don't have a radio at work so i miss stuff like Dr Karl and I often miss Hack in the afternoon as well (or I'm not up to it while fighting traffic). Now I'm itching for an iPod (possibly with an iTrip) so I can listen to the radio when I want.

around the traps

around the traps

freaky shit

Boffins create zombie dogs | The Other Side | Breaking News 24/7 - (27-06-2005)

Now, first off, the random adverts on this page are amusing the crap out of me. The first was a travel agent 'wish you were there?', now it's got a Microsoft ad. That aside.

Holy crap in a handbasket, I can't believe they thought of doing this. I'm all for science and all, but I couldn't do it. Maybe I just like dogs too much.

I'd also be watching these pups for a while to see if they have long-term troubles. Extreme aversion to fridges and eskies springs to mind.

around the traps

news bits

around the traps

  • Today's anti-piracy joke: Australian IT - 'Speed bump' for CD pirates (Adam Pasick, JUNE 17, 2005): SONY BMG, the world's second-largest music company, is rolling out CDs with new technology that serves as a 'speed bump' to hinder people who want to make illicit copies. ... The copy-protection technology is also far from ironclad. Apple Macintosh users currently face no restrictions at all. What's more, if users go to a web site to complain about the lack of iPod compatibility, Sony BMG will send them an email with a 'back door' measure on how to work around the copy protection.
  • Google Wallet ( Tomorrow, THE WORLD!
  • Copyright-Worried Photo Labs Spurn Jobs - Yahoo! News: When Morgan's mother and a client recently took CDs with some of his shots to a printing lab, the photo technicians spurned them. They said that since the shots seemed to have been taken by a professional, printing the pictures might be a copyright violation.
  • Boing Boing: Rotting Soviet buildings: has galleries of explorations of rotting Soviet-era buildings, from educational institutes to radio telescopes to cement plants in the Moscow countryside. Just in case I don't already blog enough dead Russian machinery photo links...
  • etherfarm: Synapse / Mental Block. You just have to read this one.
  • Intro to the Photoshop Curves command @ For anyone puzzled about what they do.

news bits

  • Telegraph | News | 'Possessed' nun crucified after row with priest: A Romanian Orthodox priest who faces a murder charge after ordering the crucifixion of a young nun because she was 'possessed by the devil' was unrepentant as he conducted a funeral mass for his alleged victim. ... ...... what the FUCK century are we living in?
  • Japan to more than double 'research' whale hunts - Environment - Specials: Japan said today it would more than double its catch of minke whales and extend its hunt to whales considered endangered, defying international pressure to give up its 'research' whaling. I get the feeling the only thing that will stop the whalers is if people get out there and start harpooning them right back. For research, of course.
  • Insurers 'hiding profits' - Business - Business - Major insurance companies are hiding the extent of their profits to escape public criticism, a NSW parliamentary committee has been told. ... But insurance companies said they were merely trying to ensure they had adequate reserves to pay out claims.
  • Close or clean up Guantanamo: Clinton - World - Former US president Bill Clinton says it is time for the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be 'closed down or cleaned up'. Seems mostly concerned about the image of the US and the treatment that US soldiers will have brought upon them. Doesn't seem worried about the gross abuse of human rights.
  • Schumacher wins six car US GP - Breaking News - Sport - Breaking News: Seven of the 10 teams pulled out after the warm-up lap. They had pleaded in vain for an extra chicane to slow down the cars because of concern over the durability of Michelin's tyres. Bizarre situation. I am yet to see an article which can explain what was actually wrong with the tyres, or why the tyres are fine for other circuits but not the US circuit.

know it all, know nothing, watch the same movie

Neal Stephenson talks about the new Star Wars movies and why people either don't care about the plot holes, or they know the background so well they don't care. Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out - New York Times: In sum, very little of the new film makes sense, taken as a freestanding narrative. What's interesting about this is how little it matters. Millions of people are happily spending their money to watch a movie they don't understand. What gives?

the united states of throwing away the key, no charges required

The Rude Pundit | In Perpetuity, Forever and Ever, Amen: The point yesterday when Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Wiggins told the Senate Judiciary Committee, in answer to a question from Joe Biden, that, regarding inmates at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, 'It's our position that, legally, they can be held in perpetuity' was the moment that the zombie corpses of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams should have burst into the chamber and ripped the head off the government stooge who just declared the United States shits on three and a half centuries of legal precedent. Then the three Founders should have divided and eaten Wiggins's depraved brain before heading over to the increasingly misnamed Department of Justice to dine on Alberto Gonzales's intestines. Ahh, sweet vengeance of history - the government that has eaten away the Constitution will now get eaten by those who created it.

via drjon.

around the traps

did! didn't! did! didn't! did did DID!

Australian account of Wood's rescue 'wrong'. 17/06/2005. ABC News Online:

Nick Warner, the head of Australia's rescue team in Baghdad, insists specific intelligence led soldiers to the house where Mr Wood was found.

The Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also says the rescue was the result of a crucial intelligence tip-off.

But the Iraqi army says Mr Wood was found in a weapons search operation and the American military agrees, saying it was a routine raid.

A spokesman for Iraq's defence ministry, Saleh Salehan, says he has spoken to the commanding officer of the brigade which was involved in the rescue, and that the official Australian version of events is wrong.

I have a mental image of Downer jumping up and down yelling "We so knew he was there! We did so too!!! Come ooooon, just say we're clever!"

chernobyl tourism

New Sight in Chernobyl's Dead Zone: Tourists - New York Times (or mirrored at urban_decay to avoid the login): [N]ow there are tourists, participating in what may be the strangest vacation excursion available in the former Soviet space: the packaged tour of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, scene of the worst civilian disaster of the nuclear age.

The article mentions (you may recall the photos from a post in April 2004); apparently the whole 'biking through the wasteland' thing was a hoax and the girl took her photos while taking this tour. Even if the backstory is a hoax, the photos are still great.

around the traps

post traumatic stress makes you aussie as hell?

The rescue of Douglas Wood is extraordinary news... Wood says release 'scary' but good. 16/06/2005. ABC News Online. After so long, the chances were less than slim. But I think best of all is his reaction: he asked for a beer and wanted to know how his football team was going! Wood to be moved to secret Middle East location. 16/06/2005. ABC News Online: [A clinical psychologist] says the fact that Mr Wood requested a beer and information about the Geelong Football Club shows he is probably still psychologically numb.

Psychologically numb perhaps, Aussie as hell? Yep :)

percussive maintenance and multi-function-devices

I have an idea.

All photocopiers, printers, faxes and especially "multi-function devices" (MFD, almost immediately renamed MotherF@!#%! Device) need a new feature.

On the front, at about shin level, put a big metal plate on shock absorbers. Hook it up so that when you give that bloody thing a good kick up the guts, it cycles the power.

You let off steam and you'll fix most problems....

gut feeling and email beats authority

Wired 13.06: START: For nearly four years - steadily, seriously, and with the unsentimental rigor for which we love them - civil engineers have been studying the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, sifting the tragedy for its lessons. And it turns out that one of the lessons is: Disobey authority. In a connected world, ordinary people often have access to better information than officials do.

Short but incredibly thought-provoking.

thoughts on william gibson's pattern recognition

I recently finished reading Pattern Recognition for the second (or maybe third) time.

  • I was struck by the way Gibson has used obsession as a recurring theme throughout his work, somehow PR just crystallised that observation. I imagine his own obsessions such as buying watches on eBay drove their inclusion in his work, but you never know how things feed back and forth.
  • I think one of my favourite moments in PR actually happens outside the narrative - seeking out a jeweller to grind the brands off her jeans studs.
  • I can't help wondering what Cayce Pollard would think about iPods :) Would she have seen the phenominon approaching? How would see pick the end of its reign?

Then - literally the day after I finished reading the book - I happened upon Joe Clark's 'PR-otaku' page, which annotates PR. I found myself jotting down my own notes and reactions to the annotations....

Bigend is almost making sense here, but the entire narrative of Pattern Recognition disproves the LEAVE IT OUT ON THE WINDOWSILL AND SOMEBODY'LL COME ALONG AND IMPROVE it theory.

To some extent PR suggests more that leave it on the windowsill and someone will find it and mess with it or perhaps, leave it....and people will obsess over it. In many cases 'good or bad' are purposely made irrelevant. eg. Cayce's assertion about the first logo candidate - she is not emotional about whether the roll of carpet is blue, it simply is blue.

Similarly... she ends up dealing with many people who could be considered bad, even evil. But they simply *happen*, they happen to Cayce, they happen to the story. Many of them leave the story without any emotional investment. Baranov, Dorotea, the first travel consultant, Boone, the twins' father... they make extreme impacts but leave the narrative with the most cursory of flickers. Even the ones who may even have been killed.

Is Cayce really gonna remember the word Claymore later on?

Well she can spot a Prada item and identify the specific year/collection at a glance. Claymore is basically a brand so it makes sense that she would remember the brand.

Now the bullshit part: "[S]he might have told them she was weeping for her century, though whether the one past or the one present she doesn't know."

Yeah that bit is bullshit. Cayce cares on the individual level, her time is measured according to Cayce Central Standard and yearly collections. She wouldn't refer to a time in centuries, a period of time that long would be meaningless to her. Unless of course she has been infected by a mirror-world obsession with age.

[T]hree men, variously jacketed, their collars up, staring gravely into the open trunk of a small and uncharacteristically old mirror-world car. Not like Marcellus and Vincent gazing into the Kiss Me Deadly-esque glowing suitcase in Pulp Fiction, shurely?!

Hehehe.... both moments perfectly demonstrate the idea of McGuffin. Although it leads neatly into a theme of the extreme personal value given to objects by afficionados. eg. Cayce and her Rickson's jacket, Damien and the redesign of his apartment, all the footageheads, Voytek and his ZX81s, Taki's otaku coven and their love of pure information... and so on.

A meme that's worth the price of admission all by itself: The Tommy Hilfiger event horizon. But Tommy surely is the null point, the black hole [of diluted faux-patrician fashion labels]. There must be some Tommy Hilfiger event horizon, beyond which it is impossible to be more derivative, more removed from the source, more devoid of soul. Or so she hopes, and doesn?t know, but suspects in her heart that this in fact is what accounts for his long ubiquity.

Gibson really did sum up everything I always thought about Tommy Hilfinger.

around the traps

the psychology of mac heads

Hell freezes over; it must've been the liquid cooling: Hannibal on the Apple-to-Intel transition : Page 2

See, there's often a difference between what a company sells and what consumers actually get when they purchase the product. Apple Computer, Inc. has 'sold' slightly exotic, 'technically superior,' performance-oriented hardware for years, regardless of where the company's products have actually stood vis-a-vis the PC on the performance ladder. Or, to put it differently, the 'RISC' PowerPC architecture has been a core part of the Apple brand and the overall 'mythology' of the Mac platform since the 68K transition, even if that architecture rarely delivered on company's promises with benchmark numbers. So what Apple fans are mourning right now isn't the loss of some actual technical superiority of the Mac hardware, but rather the loss of the perception of that hardware's 'technical superiority.'


Apple fans will no longer have PowerPC and RISC as a sort of spiritual power center for energizing the user base. ... With the loss of the "inner geek" that represents a core component of Apple's overall brand identity, the company risks becoming yet another "me too" PC vendor, like Dell, Gateway, HP, etc. Of course, they also risk selling many more computers.

This is something marketing people trade off: people don't buy a product, they buy into an image. You don't buy a cola, you buy a drink consumed by pretty young things in exciting situations. You don't buy a car, you buy the solution to all the frustrations in your life.

So people buy a Mac... they take their sleek machine home and feel like they're one of a the cool kids now. See how damn nice that brushed metal sucker looks! Plus all those other Mac people start telling them how superior everything is. Eventually they start telling other people how superior it is, even though they couldn't explain the difference between RISC and any other architecture if their life depended on it.

It's not based on anything real, or anything the user can actually identify for themselves. Most users only notice extreme differences in performance, ie. fast load vs. two minute chunky load. However, the user still feels good about the difference... and hey they want to know it's superior, you know how much these things cost??

around the traps

  • White Frog T-Shirts - Kitten 1980
  • Zero to 76,000 mph in a Second - Yahoo! News: The impact generates a shock wave ... so powerful that they turn solids into liquids, liquids into gases, and gases into plasmas in the same way that heat melts ice to water or boils water into steam. One purpose of these very rapid flights is to help understand the extreme conditions found within the interiors of giant planets in our solar system. The other purpose, of course, is for the US military to have railguns to serious fuck some people's shit up.
  • German city prepares 'sex huts' ahead of World Cup | A German city is rushing to install a series of drive-in wooden 'sex garages' in time for next year's Soccer World Cup and an expected boom in the local sex trade, a city official said on Wednesday. ... Experts estimate as many as 40,000 prostitutes may travel to Germany to offer their services to fans during the tournament. That's a lot of prostitutes.
  • Ronald McDonald made over as fitness guru for tots - Jun. 8, 2005 : [A]n animated Ronald will be seen encouraging kids to get up off the couch and join him in kicking a soccer ball, juggling fruits and vegetables, and riding a skateboard with basketball star and fellow McDonald's spokesman Yao Ming. Images of fruits and vegetables abound in the spot, while hamburgers and fries -- the foods McDonald's is known for -- are conspicuously absent. Please love us, say McD's... it's not like our food is made of grease and plastic!
  • boing:
    • Boing Boing: Savage, brilliant essay on DRM. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it is a good read and takes an angle that's frequently lost.
    • Boing Boing: Hacked on-hold message merely offensive, hence not illegal
    • Boing Boing: Teenagers test first impressions of goths and preps: Two high school girls in Livermore, California ran a social experiment on preppy retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and mall punk outfitter Hot Topic. Shannon Nichols, 18, is blonde, bubbly, and has perfect grades. So she dressed like a goth and applied for jobs at the stores. Nichols's friend, Sarah Adams, stuck with her preppy look and also sought employment at the shops. Unsurprisingly, the goth look resulted in discrimination; the experiment was like shooting fish in a barrel. Interesting to read the reactions of other shoppers, knowing the girl truly was only skin-deep goth AND accompanied by her Johnny America boyfriend. *shrug* Personally what I find odd is how some people start talking to you with no introduction, no preamble. For example once at a shopping centre (on the escalators) a woman demanded of me "don't you get hot in that trenchcoat?" No, 'hello' or 'can i ask...'. In fact she cut straight across my girlfriend who was talking to me at the time. I think the woman was just genuinely curious, but I don't understand why she didn't think that normal courtesy applied all of a sudden. In the end I just replied no, since it was winter; but i wouldn't try to wear it in summer.


mac doublethink

Apple - Power Mac G5 - Performance: The PowerPC G5 out-shoots the Pentium 4 in a battery of tests. But it?s in the rough-and-tumble of real-world performance that the G5 really shines ? shredding the PC?s reputation in the process. ...but wait, over in the news section: Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006.

So... is Mac saying their claims were bullshit? :) You wouldn't switch to a new processor if you didn't think you were going to get better performance. I guess they'll talk it up according to 'future development' reasons, but it's interesting to see an Apple release where they're all smiles and pals with Intel, Microsoft and Adobe (the other Microsoft....).

quiz time

a Ninja

You scored 11 Honor, 4 Justice, 6 Adventure, and 2 Individuality! You are a soldier of the night. You rely on no more than your cunning and your repuation to strike fear in the hearts of lord and peasant alike. You've a sense of honor, but one that comes from within, not imposed from outside. Black clothes and shuriken for you. You're gonna do just fine.

The test tracked 4 variables... How you compared to other people your age and gender:

  • You scored higher than 91% on Ninjinuity
  • You scored higher than 37% on Knightlyness
  • You scored higher than 40% on Cowboiosity
  • You scored higher than 3% on Piratical Bent

The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test.

...I thought I would have scored much higher for pirateyness! ARRR!

referrer fun

Had a look at the last 100 pageviews and found some interesting search terms:

  • sexy typography
  • how to tamper odometer
  • Foxtel Unencrypted Cable User-guide
  • identify bait cars

I attract a bunch of anarchist typography freaks, apparently ;)

It sucks that Nedstat has dropped the report from 300 view to just 100 views. Bleh. I guess they're not making so much revenue off the ads (on the report page) or something.

around the traps

  • LiveVault: The Institute for Backup Trauma. John Cleese. What more do you want?
  • BBC NEWS | Magazine | 'The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault.' To me it will always be 'dengdeng.swf' and this whole frog thing is just a pathetic ripoff.
  • - Braindump v 5.0 ? Lifecycle of Bloggers: #5. You faux 'retire' from blogging. Having temporarily exhausted the emotional reservoir from which your personal blog has released, you post about retiring. Or a vacation. Or a hiatus. Or a sabbattacal. You say this will be permanent. Or last a month. #6. You cave back into blogging in less than 72 hours. You candy pants blogging crack addict. It is so terribly true... Actually, I don't think I've done the 'retire' thing. Yet.
  • 'Ward cleared' for Kylie - People - Entertainment - Minogue was given eight of the Cabrini Hospital's 18 cardio rooms in a move that angered doctors and other patients, according to a report in a Melbourne newspaper today. How fucking pathetic. I cannot believe this was allowed to happen.
  • Tom Waits Supplement, an awesome resource for Tom Waits fans. Includes annotated lyrics which give slang translations, backstory, anecdotes from Tom Waits...
  • Tramp Lamps, lamps made from lingerie, corsets, swimsuits... most are too fussy but some are groovy.

pm backflips

Embassy attack bacteria 'not dangerous' - National - Mr Howard said the embassy incident would not hurt relations between the Australian and Indonesian governments but would undoubtedly have an impact on how some Indonesians viewed Australia. ... which is a stark contrast to the attitude he displayed in media grabs yesterday. Yikes, it's almost like I agree with the version of John Howard being quoted today.

urk. get this feeling off me! getitoffgetitoffgetitoffgetitoff!!!

embassy attack

Embassy staff return home after biological scare. 01/06/2005. ABC News Online: Staff at the Indonesian embassy in Canberra have been released from the building after being isolated following a biological scare. Forty-six staff members had to be decontaminated after an envelope sent to the embassy was found to contain a biological agent.

People, starting with the Australian PM, are losing their shit about how this will damage relationships between Australia and Indonesia. Because apparently Australia has had nothing to do with Indonesia since the Australian embassy in Jakarta was bombed last year (Indonesia - Jakarta Bomb Blast September 9, 2004). Certainly not a single Australian has gone to Bali since the 2002 nightclub bombing (2002: Dozens killed in Bali nightclub explosion). Right?

After these bomb attacks Australians didn't help at all during the tsunami disaster, hell they certainly didn't donate more than any other country.

Right? No, of course not, that's all crap.

Terrorism is carried out by people who want to cause chaos and the maximum amount of damage per action. If you wanted to harm Australia's relations with Indonesia, you couldn't pick a better time to attack the embassy - whether you give a flying shit about some drugs case or not.

People need to keep their head together. Today's biological attack, last year's embassy bomb, the 2002 nightclub bomb... all of them were despicable acts and it's not like today's attack has no other context than the Corby case. I hope people can keep that in perspective.

It's a long way between bitching about a court case result and some member of the Australian public suddenly procuring a biological weapon and using it against the Indonesian embassy (I see the bullet casings thing as a stupid stunt rather than a serious threat). It's more plausible that some person or group with a broader agenda was waiting with the biological weapon in hand, looking for the ideal time to use that weapon.

couldn't let this past

The Australian: Corby's judges never acquit [May 25, 2005]: None of the three judges presiding over Schapelle Corby's trial has ever found a defendant innocent. That includes a judge who has been on the bench for 15 years. Not one single innocent defendent in 15 years? I can't imagine any functional legal system could come up with that. [via linkfrenzy: I've a nasty feeling about posting this... which has a good roundup of reactions].

I can understand deciding not to go to Bali; between bombings, natural disasters and an insane legal system it hasn't exactly been a top spot lately. But I don't understand Australians boycotting local Indonesian buesinesses like restaurants, including some run by Australians. What the fuck do people think they're proving? It's insane.

It's not just Australians who are being odd about this though. The Globe and Mail: Indonesia warns against boycott of Bali : Calls for a tourist boycott of Bali to protest an Australian woman's 20-year sentence for smuggling marijuana onto the Indonesian island are driving a wedge between the two countries, an Indonesian official said Monday. if a presumed-guilt legal system didn't have anything to do with it. Plus, it's about the Australian psyche - in particular the expectation of a fair go. Australians on the whole seem to feel that an Aussie in an Indonesian court will not get a fair trial, particularly since the Australian legal system is fundamentally different (presumed innocence).

Ultimately I think a lot of this situation comes from the fact the case is a nightmare scenario. It's common fodder for movies and mini series: the innocent victim having drugs put in their bag. People are seeing a fear made real; and they are reacting accordingly.