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February 2005 Archives

Elevator music?

Here is some fun with an elevator.

Five Second Movies

Cadillac and Be Cool are doing some sort of funky cross-promotional scheme where they got people to make 5 second movies. (Click the "Finalists" and "Film Gallery" links. Note that "Finalists" has multiple tabs of movies.) Obviously, the quality varies a lot, but I love the basic concept. I mean, if a picture's worth a thousand words, 5 seconds of pictures can be worth a lot, no?

Meet Lejo

Bet you never thought a hand being a DJ could be so cute. :) More on this page. (Click "GB" at the bottom for English.) I also liked the accordion show and the magic show. :)

Sci-Fi Channel tries online promotion for Battlestar Galactica

Sci-Fi Channel is hosting the entire Season 1 premier episode of Battlestar Galactica online in RealVideo format. I never saw new miniseries pilot, nor any episodes of the new show, and it was a happy surprise. The show is very low-key in tone, and it's subtle in its storytelling.. It leaves open a lot of questions, rather than banging you over the head with plot. They seem to being going for drama and realism. They also film the space scenes in shaky-camera-mode, like Firefly did, though I think Firefly did it better.

I do have a couple of complaints: It was so low-key that it felt a little slow at times, but that's probably just a function of this particular episode. It's also got a gratuitous hot chick, but her scenes are also the most cryptic and odd, so at least they're doing something interesting with her. On the whole, I'm glad we have Sci-Fi Channel around, and I'm glad special effects are cheap enough now that space operas can have a little intelligence in them for a change.

I'm gonna add this to Scrubs, Arrested Development, and Boston Legal on the list of shows I tape, and I'll check out a few more episodes. So far, I still like Firefly better, though, and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming big-screen version of that excellent but short-lived show. I'd highly recommend renting its 13-episode run. For all of the new Battlestar Galactica's moves toward realism, it still has sound effects in space. I think Firefly was the first thing since 2001: A Space Odyssey to have silence in space! It somehow managed to do a great job of it, too, with music replacing the sound effects very, um, effectively.

Wow. I just realized that this started out as a post about Battlestar Galactica, and I ended up ranting about Firefly somehow. I guess I've been missing good space opera TV. (Has it really been 6 years since B5 ended?!!)


I relate to the latest Boy on a Stick and Slither. The only difference? I haven't learned. And so people look at me funny sometimes. :P

Another step for animation

Check out the trailer for A Scanner Darkly.

Not that many people have actually watched Waking Life. It was an interesting experiment by Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused, The School of Rock) to create animation that's keyed on actual footage of real actors. The end result was this odd mix of a drawn look and life-like motion. The movie itself was just a bunch of pontifications by random people about life, and it was pretty forgettable.

So now he's using this technique to adapt a Philip K. Dick novel about drug use and paranoia. The style seems perfect for that kind of story. I'm definitely looking forward to this.

P.S.: House of D, a David Duchovny film. !!! WTF?!??!!

Monkey robot arm! Monkey robot arm!

More advances in cybernetics. Wee! This here is a robot arm controlled by probes inserted into a monkey brain developed at Pittsburgh University. I think it's interesting how they don't understand the fine-grained signals yet, so they just average out a bunch of signals and get coarse control from that. Also, right now after 6 months, the probes get overgrown with tissue and become useless. I wonder how they're gonna solve that problem? Still, they project human testing within 4 years. Sweet. :)

I was thinking about my mild obsession with cybernetics, and I think it comes from the fact that it might actually affect me in my lifetime, unlike, say, genetically engineered superhumans. I want that direct Google feed to my brain!

Best. Fortune. EVER!

The best fortune cookie I've ever gotten:

[ You are the center of every group's attention. ]


M$ 13375p33k

Microsoft teaches "1337" speak to n00b parents. Now their h4x0r kids can't pwn them any more!

Seriously, though, isn't this like at least 7 or or 8 years out of date? Even back then, only tiny groups of script kiddies used these words. I'm convinced more people used them jokingly than really used them. Modern mainstream youngster shorthand has evolved several generations from these terms already. Kids' slang is sure to change faster than Microsoft "Child Safety" articles can keep up with!


Ames researchers think there's current life on Mars

Scientists at NASA Ames submitted a paper to Nature presenting "strong evidence" of current life on Mars. It's based on methane levels, which do have some possible inorganic sources, but these guys seem pretty convinced that life is the likely cause. We'll see when their paper gets through peer-review, I guess. Let's hope it wasn't left there by the Viking landers or something. :)

In related news, there's also some possible photographic evidence of life on Mars. :)

Pride and hobbies

From an interview with Roger Ebert:

Favorite hobby: Sketching. Basically I am a complete amateur, but people always take pride in things they don't do well. I take more pride in being a bad artist than in my career being a newspaperman.

How true! I take much more pride in my mediocre creative accomplishments than I do in my software engineering career.

Lego Church

Check out this Lego church! There are lots of cool images, not just that first one, like the pulpit and this organ, for instance. Even the exterior has a design to it.

And this would be why torture sucks

From an article on a man wrongfully imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for 33 months:

It seems that one reason Mubanga was not sent home last year but interrogated with new vigour was that the Australian detainee, David Hicks, had made false allegations - since withdrawn - about him under the stress of his own interrogation.

In brighter news, who says nationalism doesn't have its place? According to the Washington Post, civic pride has made people more supportive of the government since the election.

French augmented reality demo

This is one sweet sweet demo of technology that puts 3D objects into a video scene live. It's kinda like those yellow first down lines on televised football, except fancier, more precise, and sync'd up with moving live elements.

It's by a French company. Click the "DFusion" tab, and there are more demos there in various categories.

Photoshop fights evil

The Toronto police photoshopped out the victims from child molestation photos and released them to the public to see if anyone could identify the location. Two days later, they've successfully found the crime scene. Seems like it'd be a bit glib for me to say something like, "Pretty cool," or "Go Photoshop!" but I'm not sure what else to say. :P

Upcoming documentary on soldiers in Iraq

This trailer for "Gunner Palace", due out in March, reminds me of a real life Three Kings.

Taking care of strangers

In a small mixed Sunni/Shiite Iraqi village, insurgents had warned residents not to vote. They did anyway. The insurgents came back, and the villages fought back, killilng 5, wounding 8, and lighting their car on fire. It's the first report of residents fighting back against insurgents. [article] [original report]

Meanwhile, in Durango, Colorado, two teenaged girls baked cookies for their neighbors, knocked on their doors, left the cookies, and ran off before anyone answered the door. One lady was so frightened by it that she suffered an anxiety attack and went to the hospital. She then sued the girls for the $900 hospital bill, and won. [article]

Fun again

I've definitely been enjoying my new job. I've been going to sleep a bit earlier, even, though still not quite early enough. But I've definitely realized that I need to be coding to be happy. When I'm not having fun, I'm just aching to leave all day, but when I'm having fun, I'm glad to stay a little later.

Even when I'm not working, I get more motivated to work on random little bits of coding, like playing around with Emacs Lisp. Gotta love Lisp! I got to use "car" and "cdr" and everything, even elisp "catch/throw" blocks. :) So here's the most complicated piece of elisp code I've written so far:

;; - Make a new frame.
;; - If the previous frame had multiple windows, kill its current
;;   window.  (This is to create a "detach pane" behavior.)
;; - If the previous frame had only one window, switch it to the first
;;   buffer that does not appear in any other window already.
;;   (This is when I open a new file then want it in a separate frame.)
;; - If all buffers are already visible somewhere, leave it be.
;; - Finally, return focus to the newly created frame.
;; (If I really just want a new frame for the current buffer, I can
;; still just use M-x make-frame like before.)
(defun my-make-frame ()
  (let ((saved-frame (selected-frame)))
    (let ((newframe (selected-frame)))
      (select-frame saved-frame)
      (if (> (length (window-list)) 1)
        (switch-to-buffer (catch 'next-buffer-name 
                            (dolist (buffer (cdr (buffer-list)) (car (buffer-list)))
                              (let ((name (buffer-name buffer)))
                                (cond ((string= (substring name 0 1) " "))
                                      ((ido-window-buffer-p buffer))
                                      (t (throw 'next-buffer-name name))))))))
      (select-frame newframe))))
(global-set-key "\M-\C-n" 'my-make-frame)

Wee! :)

About February 2005

This page contains all entries posted to the klog in February 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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