Friday, February 29, 2008

Clever Robot

This robot can jump up to a standing ... well, crouching, anyway ... position from lying on its back. I wish I could do that :-).

Dashboard Dashed

While I think Dashboard is an interesting idea and looks pretty, I don't like having to press a key to switch to it ... especially on my 24" iMac, where there's plenty of screen real estate.

What's more, I've never found any widgets that I consider remotely useful.

So, I was very pleased to read about DashQuit, which allows you to shut Dashboard down.

I'd really prefer a way to have Dashboard not even start up, but this will do for now.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ain't It Purdy?

"The Ripple" has to be the most beautiful tap and sink combo I've ever seen.

The position of that little ball determines the amount of water flow and the temperature. The colour also changes according to the temperature.

A New Path

As of around 1400 today, I'm now enrolled in a Graduate Diploma in Education, via distance learning, through the University of New England.

You may know, gentle reader, that it has been a long time plan of mine to teach mathematics, either at high school or TAFE.

Well, I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to start working towards that goal. Of course, as usual, I'd left it far too late and the only course that was still accepting applications was UNE's.

I then discovered that although applications hadn't closed, one component of the course, a residential school, had already happened ... back in January! The lecturer who told me that said it was a mandatory component and I should wait until 2009. So, I gave up at that point.

However, I got a call from someone at the admissions centre yesterday. It turned out that while the other person wasn't completely wrong, they hadn't told me the whole story. Having missed that component just means I can't finish the diploma in one year; it doesn't stop me from doing some of the other subjects.

So, to cut a long story short, I'm back studying again, which I love, and am happily strolling down the path to a new career.

As to when I'll actually leave computing and move on to teaching, who knows ... I'm sure that decision will be mainly based on how painful (or wonderful!) prac teaching ends up being :-).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baby Geeks

As you know, gentle reader, I love children ... just so long as I can give them back :-).

I have to admit, though, that if they were swaddled in either of these outfits, I might be willing to hold onto them for just a little longer.

Thanks to Geek Sugar for the wonderful imagery.

Cute Animation

Thanks to Spluch for pointing to this fun animation.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nokia's "Morph" Concept

Ah, if only the real world matched up with the ideas designers have in their heads.

This is a video showing some of the features Nokia believe will be available in the future ... in some cases, I'm thinking the far distant future, but it's nice to dream.

I found it via this Engadget article, which also contains a number of nice images of the concept device.

The only thing I see wrong with it is the silly layout of the QWERTY keyboard. Of course, since that's generated on the fly in the la la land of the Morph, I'm sure it will be configurable.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Improv Do It Again

I find this mission particularly funny.

A lot of people use Starbucks as temporary offices, bringing their laptops along to work while they have a coffee.

Of course, laptops are quite expensive ... these three frugal Improv Everywhere agents brought their desktops along, instead :-).

Sunday, February 24, 2008


AccelMan from Flexigensoft is a Windows Explorer replacement that looks pretty good.

Personally, I've been a Salamander person ever since my good mate Paul showed it to me ages ago. However, AccelMan has a few features that could make it a useful complement to Salamander.

A couple of features I particularly like are the ability to have more than two panes, to filter the display to only show files with a set of extensions, bookmarks and the fact that you can even have multiple tabs per pane.

Star Wars ...

... as explained by a three year old.

I'm no great fan of SW, but this is still pretty damned cute.

There's obviously been a bit of editing done on it, but that's not surprising, assuming she has the same attention span as most other three year olds :-).

Thanks to Neatorama for the link.

The Best Of Both Worlds

This Palm emulator is just a proof of concept and there's no guarantee anything will come of it, but I hope it does ... at least until there are iPhone applications to replace all those I find useful on my Treo.


As the voice over on this video says, one would imagine that a Karate expert has hands made of steel ... slow motion tells the true tale!

Thanks to Neatorama.


I laughed out loud when I read this definition on Ironic Sans.

If you don't understand why it's funny, read Wikipedia's article on kerning.

East Meets West

This performance of Deep Purple's song Smoke On The Water on traditional Japanese instruments is an interesting cultural mix.

Thanks to Neatorama.

A Slightly Expensive Watch

A Tourbillon is a mechanical watch with a mechanism that accounts for the effects of gravity, in order to provide amazing accuracy.

As one would imagine, because of the clever technology and the level of craftsmanship required to build them, these watches can be quite expensive.

However, I was still flabbergasted when I heard the price of the one pictured here.

It's from a range called Defy Xtreme, made by a company called Zenith . If this post from Cool Hunting is accurate, it costs over half a million dollars!

Adobe's Amazing Lens

Adobe recently showed off a fairly incredible piece of hardware, called a Light-Field Lens.

It consists of 19 sub-lenses that take images of a scene from different angles. The images can be combined, using custom software, to allow you to control the depth of field.

Pretty impressive, but don't expect this to be in a (cheap) camera anytime soon!

How To Build An Orrery

An Orrery is a mechanical scale model of the solar system, where the positions of the planets are accurately portrayed over time.

As you can imagine, creating one is no trivial matter, so I think this guy is pretty damned clever!

Thanks to for the link.

Matz Talking Ruby 1.9

Matz gave a presentation on Ruby 1.9 at Google a couple of days ago.

Optimus Maximus

Art Lebedev's amazing Optimus Maximus keyboards finally began shipping a couple of days ago.

Here's a video showing it in action. While it's obviously a fairly amazing piece of technology, from a review on another blog (can't remember which), it sounds like it's a bit of a clunker, ergonomically speaking, being painful to actually type on.

Open DNS

I just heard about Open DNS on one of the excellent IT Conversations podcasts.

I won't go into all of the features, but basically they provide a pair of Domain Name Servers that you can point your computer at, instead of (or in addition to) the ones provided by your ISP.

Their servers filter out known phishing sites, they automatically correct typos (eg, if you type ".cmo" they'll convert it to ".com"), allow you to set up shortcuts to sites you frequently access, block adult sites ... in case you're not as open minded as me :-) ... and they can give you stats on your surfing.

Sounds like a useful service.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hey! Give My Bottle Bach!

Thanks to Neatorama for this video of Bach's "Air On A G String" performed on beer bottles.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spectacular Soccer

Thanks to Neatorama for pointing me to this amazing video of some young 'ens performing tricks with soccer balls.

When Will They Learn?!

Geek Sugar alerted me to this clip from Veronica Mars, where a couple of her geek friends are having an argument regarding which non-Windows OS is better ... Ubuntu or OS X.

It's kind of cute, but you'd think they'd at least look up how to pronounce "Ubuntu"!

PS - I'm sure you know the answer, gentle reader, but just in case someone else happens upon this blog by mistake ... according to the FAQ, it's "oo-BOON-too".

Is It Safe?

Well, apparently, there's quite a good chance that it's not!

This video explains how a group at Princeton has been able to beat hard disk encryption by tracking down the password stored in a PC's memory.

Pretty amazing stuff, especially the bit where they show that some memory chips will retain their content for at least ten minutes with no power, if cooled by something as simple as a can of compressed air.

Another Ultraportable

I've always thought the Kohjinsha ultraportables looked pretty nice, especially in terms of form factor, but they seemed just a tad expensive for my taste.

Well, now, according to this article over at Aving, they're releasing a model on February 29th that will cost around $US630. I'm not sure whether that release date is for the US or Asia.

I won't be throwing out my Air, but it's interesting to see Kojinsha entering the Eee style arena.

Even more interesting than the fact that it runs on an AMD Geode LX800 chip, has 40GB of disk, 512MB of RAM and a 1024x600 resolution display is that it can transform into a touch sensitive tablet and runs for 3.5 hours on a charge.

Pretty amazing for the price.

Going Walkies

Now, for the silliest thing I've seen in ages :-).

This mode of transport seems to be slower than not using any transport at all ... hence, it's not very environmentally friendly, either! But it is funny.

Thanks to Random Good Stuff.

Look Out ... Behind You!

This little piece of artwork was done by someone calling themselves "Loki".

It's simple, but clever and effective.

Thanks to Neatorama.

Musical Mayhem

This automated music player uses ping pong balls, brandy glasses, and agreat deal of cleverness, to make music.

When you see how many balls are involved, you'll be amazed that it plays anything recognisable as music ...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Value Of Life

Last night, over dinner with my mate Dave, I mentioned that I enjoy shows like Boston Legal because they often cover topical issues or simply alert me to things I've not come across before.

As if to shine a spotlight on this, the latest episode of BL includes a case revolving around a Viatical Settlement.

This rather ghoulish concept has been around for some time, but surged during the nineteen eighties, when AIDS sufferers had little hope of efficacious medical treatment, because no drugs had yet been developed to retard the syndrome's effects.

Basically, the way a viatical settlement works is that a terminally ill person sells their life insurance policy for an immediate cash settlement and the purchaser makes a profit when they die.

While I can see the benefit to the policy holder, in that they have access to funds to make their remaining days easier, it seems incredibly mercenary for someone to profit from the imminent death of another human being.

Of course, often a patient will enter into such a transaction because they can't afford to pay the significant costs of their treatment. So, it is more prevalent in places where medical care is expensive and where there is little, or no, publicly funded health system, like the United States.

Stephen Fry Audio

If, like me, you love the sonorous tones of Mr Stephen Fry, you'll be pleased to hear that he now has a podcast!

The first episode is all about the work he's done over the last couple of years, which may be an indication of what's to come.

That would be absolutely fine, but I'd love to hear him wax lyrical about his gadget fetish, too. We'll just have to wait and see where the show goes.

Soul Of A New Machine

Here's an interesting article on the work that went into designing and implementing the new Lenovo X300 ultraportable.

I've mentioned previously that I owned a Thinkpad 570 for many years, and was very sad when it finally gave up the ghost.

Sure it only had a Pentium 2 processor and 768MB of memory, but it was just a tad under an inch thick and weighed 4 pounds, yet like the Air it had a 13" screen and full size keyboard. For its time, it was a fantastic little machine.

If you're a Windows person and don't mind outlaying a chunk of cash ... as far as I know, the X300 hasn't been officially announced yet, so we don't have the actual price, but it won't be cheap ... I reckon it would be an excellent machine.

(The post's title is a reference to the book of the same name, which is a fascinating read along the same subject line)

Greenhouse, Get It?

This morning, I was reminded of Toothpaste For Dinner by a post on Geek Sugar.

It's a quirky, simply-drawn, daily cartoon.

Somehow, I'd completely lost track of TPD, but a brand new bookmark has sorted that out ... I just wish they had an RSS feed!

Anyway, reading back through the archives, I enjoyed this one :-).

Steak ... Toaster?!

Thanks to Gizmodo for pointing out this "steak toaster".

Actually, the company doesn't market it as a "steak toaster" :-) ... and it's really just a variant on the vertical grill concept that's been around for years.

However, it does look quite nice ... except for the outrageous $US220 price tag.

In any case, come to think of it, I can't remember the last time a piece of meat (red or white) was seen in my kitchen.

The Numbrella

The Nubrella looks to me like it would be a bit useless, unless you're also wearing a raincoat, since any water diverted from your head and upper torso would just run down and soak the rest of your clothes.

However, it's nice to see people bringing new thinking to an old solution that's not been updated for decades.

Personally, I'd prefer a full body force field, which I'm sure is just around the corner.

Ms Dewey

I heard about Ms Dewey on a podcast yesterday.

It's a search engine that's just slightly right of "wacko" :-).

I tried to think of how to explain it, but find I'm totally lost for words. Just go take a look.

It Had To Happen

I keep pointing out to everyone that the Air having only one USB port isn't a problem, because I'll only ever have one USB device to plug in ... a mouse.

The accuracy of that statement is now questionable; I need another port for one of these! ...

Thanks to Gizmo Diva.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Soul

In case you like the music that's being used to advertise the MacBook Air, here's a video of the entire song, "New Soul", by Yael Naim.

Rumoured HP Ultraportable

Historically, HP have had a number of small laptops, so it's no surprise that, according to this post over at Engadget, they're bringing out a competitor to the Eee PC.

Rumour has it that it will be 2.5 pounds, with an 8.9" 1366 x 766 LCD, WiFi, built-in webcam, the option of normal or solid state drive and be configurable with Windows or Linux.

No information regarding the processor, but it sounds like a neat little package ... although whether it's really attractive will depend on the asking price.

If these allegedly leaked images are accurate, it looks nice, too.

Update: According to this Engadget article, the price will be around $US630 and the processor is a Penryn series chip. That's a bit more expensive than an Eee PC, but with a decent processor and the rest of the specs, sounds like good value.


I find it amazing that this guy can solve a 7x7x7 Rubik's Cube at all, let alone in just six and a half minutes!

Thanks to Mathematics Under The Microscope for the pointer.

Thank Goodness I Have My Own Air

... because, while watching this, I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe!

Thanks to Dvorak Uncensored for pointing me to this video.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I installed the iAno on my iPod touch the other day and it's pretty impressive, even using multi-touch to allow the playing of chords.

Now, I discover that people are making real music using it, plus Pocket Guitar and some application for the Nintendo DS. Very clever.

Now, I'm Really Annoyed

It's bad enough that we here in the Antipodes don't have the option of purchasing current US television shows, nor even current episodes of ones that are showing here, but that are woefully behind the US schedule.

Well, according to this rumour over at The Register, Apple may soon announce a deal with the BBC to sell their content on the iTunes Music Store!

If true, the septics, most of whom won't even appreciate much of the content, will be able to get it, while we here in Australia still can't even get our own bloody shows!

Come on Steve, when are you going to show us a little love?!

Update: Apparently, the BBC shows have aleady turned up ... however, they seem to be available on the UK iTMS only. So, while I'm still a bit peeved, at least the yanks aren't getting what I'm not, in this case :-).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Improv Everywhere

Improv Everywhere International ran "frozen in time" missions in London and Toronto recently. Here are some videos ...

Magnetic Ink

This is a nice animation, synchronized to some beautiful music. Thanks to Neatorama.

Cool Staple Remover

I try to avoid printing anything out at all, let alone enough pages to staple together.

However, I'm still tempted to buy one of these staple removers, just because they look so cool.

There are quite a few more designs over at Jac Zagoory, in case snakes aren't your style.

Dolphin "Crashers"

You may remember, gentle reader, that both of my Goldfish died in quick succession a few months ago. So, this product is of no value to me, but I still think it's pretty cute.

Dolphin Crashers are plastic dolphins that are split into two pieces; one goes inside the tank and the other on the outside. They stay together magnetically, producing a clever effect.

Thanks to Nerd Approved for the link.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Acid Rain

A very dark film by someone named Martin Malone. Thanks to Neatorama for the link.

Using An iPod To Study

100 Ways To Use Your iPod To Learn And Study Better is precisely what its name suggests ... a guide to getting learning materials onto your iPod.

The list includes text tutorials and podcasts, as well as software to convert content into a form that you can sync onto your player.

It's not just for students, either. Some of the information is aimed at teachers, too.

Sure, you're bound to know about some of them, like Stanford on iTunes U, but what's the chance you've seen all one hundred? Go take a look!

So, U Wantz Marry Her?

Here's a funny marriage proposal done via I Can Haz Cheez Burger?.

While I definitely don't condone this sort of institutionalised bonding, you have to admit, it's kind of cute :-).

"South Park"-esque Gadget Video

Here's a funny cartoon about gadgets, modeled after South Park.

Thanks to Crunch Gear for the link.

New Samsung Touch UI

Here's a short video run through of Samsung's latest version of a touch interface, which builds on the one in their Armani phone.

It looks quite nice, and I like the configurable front screen, but don't think it's as good as the iPhone, yet.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mathematicians In Love

I finally finished Eleven this evening.

As you will have guessed, the actual reading consumed only a fraction of the time that has elapsed since I started it.

After devouring the first story, I allowed the book to lie, neglected, until just a couple of days ago, my attention distracted by a myriad of things.

However, my procrastination should by no means be taken as an indictment of the book. While the stories were a mixed bag, each one was dark and twisted, with no happy endings to spoil the mood!

The next cab off the rank is Mathematicians In Love, a science fiction novel by Rudy Rucker.

I read two books from his "Ware" series a few years ago ... Software and Wetware ... and liked them both, so I'm looking forward to venturing down another branch of his output.

If nothing else, the title definitely suggests that this one will be right up my alley!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Don't Try This At Home

A fairly amazing experiment involving a beer bottle, a blow torch and a microwave oven!

Thanks to Gizmodo for the link.

Grabbing A Little Open Eye

You know the story ... you've had a huge night on the tiles, but still have to go to work and look alert.

Well, with these stick-on "eyes" you can look alert, while grabbing a little shut eye.

Of course, I'm not sure how many people you're really likely to fool, unless your normal practice is to refrain from blinking, a la Hannibal Lecter :-)

Thanks to Neatorama.

Next Year's Elmo

I remember when the best an Elmo toy could do was giggle when you tickled it. They've definitely come a long way since then. Take a look at this one being demonstrated at a recent toy fair.

Soap Saver

Soap Bank is a simple, but clever idea.

Every bar of soap eventually wears down to a size where it's effectively unusable.

Soap Bank works just like a normal soap dish, but it has a small hole in the bottom, and a net underneath that catches those undersized pieces.

You can then just rub at the net to generate a lather. Clever.

What The?

I've seen quite a few bizarre exercise systems advertised on late night television, but this one is truly amazing!

Thanks to Neatorama for the link.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What A Cutie

Thanks to Spluch for this very cute video of Katia, who is dead tired, but seems just a little concerned that her feet may run away while she's asleep, unless she keeps a good grip on them :-).

Track 'n' Graph

Track 'n' Graph is an online service that provides templates for graphing all sorts of data.

As you'd expect, the initial set includes staples like weight, blood pressure and workout schedule.

However, since the templates are user defined, they should grow over time as the community comes up with more interesting ones. For example, there's already one for tracking the test scores of a class.

Long Distance Relationship?

Ladies, here's the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your significant other stationed in Antarctica.

Despite their colour, Sweet Pussy Suckers are apparently chocolate flavoured and come a dozen to a jar, for around $US16.

Sorry, I can't explain the name ... they don't look anything like cats to me :-).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Flexible Power Strip

I was discussing just the other day how the power adapters for many gadgets are so large that you can't fit two of them next to each other in adjacent sockets of a power strip.

Well, someone has finally sorted that out. The Socket Sense power strip has connectors that can be moved lengthwise and rotated to allow the plugs to fit in.

Now, we just need to get an Australian version of the thing and I'll be happy.

Thanks to Pop Gadget for the link.

Poultry Pool

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in ages!

Spray Art

This guy's spraying appears to be totally random, until you see the final product.

Thanks to Neatorama.

Musical Vegies

This is just slightly too new age for my liking, but very clever, nonetheless ... a vegetable orchestra!

Thanks to Core 77 for the link.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tesla Torment

Interesting though this is, with those huge bolts of electricity flying through the air, the "music" is so bad that I think I'd be far too tempted to grab hold, to make the pain stop!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Silly Maths Jokes

I've seen most of these before ... you may have to pause the video in places, to read them ... but a good many are still funny.

The soundtrack, on the other hand, made me feel somewhat ill.

Thanks(?) to Let's play maths for this one.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Curvaceous Cabling

Yesterday afternoon, my mate Matt and I installed an old wireless router I didn't need anymore at our friend Susan's place.

It's amazing what a rat's nest all those cables and power cords that connect the myriad components can become.

I have the same problem behind my stereo and television ... even after removing a DVD player and a DVD recorder, neither of which had been used in well over two years!

So, it's nice to see that it's actually possible to sculpt such a pile of spaghetti into something that's far from an eyesore. Behold, when data center cabling becomes art!

The one shown here is quite nice, but there are plenty more at the end of that link.

Thanks to Unclutterer.


These people are swimming in a pool that forms at the top of Victoria Falls between September and December each year.

Apparently it's considered quite safe ... but I can tell you there's no way you'll get this little black duck anywhere near it!

Thanks to Spluch.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


HowCast is a service set up by a bunch of ex-Google employees.

It provides an enormous number of instructional videos, covering everything from how to catch a mouse with a toilet paper roll to minimising pregnancy stretch marks!

The few I watched had extremely high production values. Hopefully, they're indicative of the quality we can expect in general.

The site is currently in beta. I have no idea whether it will be a free service or something you have to cough up your hard earned cash to use. Only time will tell.

Thanks to AppScout for the link.

Happy Birthday, PFDS!

Apparently, this year is the tenth anniversary of the publication of Chris Okasaki's book Purely Function Data Structures.

I can't say much about the content, because I've only ever skimmed through it once, a couple of years ago. What I can tell you is that it presents data structures from the perspective of purely functional languages (eg Haskell and ML), where values are immutable once they're created.

That sounds very strange to we non-FP developers, because most structures we play with are modified quite a bit. However, it leads to some interesting new forms, some with tantalising names like "bootstrapped heaps".

There's a PDF available if you don't want to spring for the dead tree version.

Knicker Picker

Thanks to Random Good Stuff for pointing me to the Knicker Picker service.

It's an "interactive dressing room" where you can direct any one of three models to show off a large variety of lingerie. They can walk close to or farther away from the camera and turn around.

Very nicely done!

The only problem I can see with it is that a large percentage of shoppers are likely to spend far more time playing with the interface than purchasing anything :-).

The Missing Link

This is a cute piece of jewelry.

It's as though the necklace was intended to contain a photo, but the "link" to the image is broken :-).

A clever Valentine's gift for that geek girlie in your life.

Thanks to Geek Sugar for this one.

Impressive Ballet

Thanks to Neatorama for pointing me to this video of a very impressive ballet called "Amelia".

Directory Listing Printer

I've only ever wanted to do this a couple of times, but each time it was a pain.

Karen's Directory Printer is a free Windows utility that generates nice listings of the files in a folder.

You can specify how the files are sorted and what properties are included. Very nice.

Thanks to Uneasy Silence for the link.

Double Vision

I saw a lot of this kind of thing when I did first year Psychology a couple of years ago, but it still amazes me.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Bowed Piano

This looks like something John Cage would love ...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hot & Cold Running Goodness

Colo-Pop is a cup that contains separate compartments for hot food and a cold drink.

It's not going to cure cancer, but it will free up one of your hands to allow you to scoop up some of that gorgeous, hot, fast food goodness :-).

Opera 9.5 For Mobiles

I've posted a couple of times recently, regarding the new SkyFire web browser for Windows Mobile based phones.

Well, Opera aren't standing still, either. Here's a video explaining some of the improvements and new UI features of Opera 9.5 for mobile devices.

I have to admit, while it looks good, I didn't get the impression that it was on a par with SkyFire. However, your mileage may vary.

Thanks to Gizmodo for the link.

Speak To Me

While I was showing Tao to Paul yesterday, a question arose as to how to pronounce "pedagogy".

I told him that I thought it could be either of two pronunciations, but pointed out that it was one of those words that I'd only ever read and never heard anyone else voice, so I could quite easily be wrong.

Well, as is often the way, today I discovered a neat solution for this kind of problem ... Howjsay will speak any word you type into it, so long as there is an entry for it in its quite extensive dictionary (I was quite impressed that it included "spruiker").

It even pronounces every word I've tried so far the way I would, and uses a decent, non-septic accent. You can't get much better than that!

As it happens, Howjsay agreed with one of my pronunciations for "pedagogy" and when I checked my Chambers it turned out that I was right for a change ... both the pronunciations I thought were acceptable are.

One more thing ... the reason I discovered Howjsay was because the Hyper Words plugin I mentioned in the previous post uses it.

Interesting Firefox Plugins

One of the first applications I installed onto Tao was Firefox.

Of course, a fresh install is bereft of plugins, so I last night decided that was a good excuse to see what interesting ones are around.

There were a few that I were definitely on my "must have" list ... Ad Block, Customise Gmail, Better Gmail 2, Better Greader and Grease Monkey, so they went in first.

Here are the others that I found during my search ...
Chroma Tabs
Colours your tabs to highlight which sites they are displaying

CSS Viewer
Does as its name suggests

Fisheye Tabs
Similar to the dock zooming in OS X (say goodbye to those annoying little arrows on either end of the tab bar)

Fox Clocks
Puts a set of international clocks of your choice in the status bar

Hyper Words
Allows you to do all manner of things with highlighted text

Live HTTP Headers
Apart from the obvious, it also has links to things like the whois database

Pic Lens
A nice interface to sites like Flickr and Google Images

Restart Firefox
Very handy when it Firefox starts eating memory

Tab Catalog
Kind of like expose for tabs

Video Download
Allows downloading of YouTube and other video content
My dear mate Paul had mentioned some of them to me previously, but this is the first time I got around to installing them.

There are so many that I've not evaluated them in detail yet, so take this list with a grain of salt. I may throw some of them away over time and will very likely add to them, too.

Yes ... I Am A Nerd

Before we go any further, I guess I should admit just how much of a geek I really am ...

All of my computers have been named after mathematicians: the Windows box is Gauss, the iMac is Mac Lane, the MacBook is Noether, my old PowerBook was Euler and my original iBook was Euclid.

Not being one to mess with tradition, I've christened the young, slim and clever MacBook Air "Tao", in honour of Terence Tao, who I mentioned yesterday.

I was tempted to balance out the sexes a little, by naming it Kovalevskaya, but I just couldn't handle the thought of having to ping such a long host name ... plus Terry was on my mind due to his lecture.

Maybe next time, Sofia.

He's Ba-aaack

Well, I've had almost a day now with the Air. It's definitely all that I hoped for.

The only minor issue I can see so far is that the hard disk is definitely noticeably slower, which is to be expected, since it runs at 4200rpm versus my "old" MacBook's 5400rpm.

So, the first time you start any app, it takes a few bounces before it's ready to work. However, once an app is in memory, I certainly don't notice any difference in performance compared to the MacBook.

As I was just saying to my mate Steve via e-mail, that shouldn't cause me much hassle, since generally the starting up of any of my mainstay apps will only occur very occasionally, because 95% of the time, the machine will be in use, or sleeping.

It will only be the odd occasion when a software update requires a reboot that will cause me to have to start them from scratch again.

I'm currently calibrating the battery, so I'll let you know whether the approximately 3.5 hours runtime I got yesterday turns into something slightly better or slightly worse in the long term.

For the time being, at least, I'm a very happy little Vegemite :-).

Now, I'm off to process more than a thousand entries that piled up in Google Reader in the last day, due to my complete neglect of my reading duties! I have a feeling I'll be pressing that "Mark As Read" button towards the end ...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Status ... Delivered!

So, please excuse me while I disappear for a while.

Normal service will resume shortly ...

The Prime Directive

As you know, gentle reader, in recent weeks, I have started listening to podcasts, rather than the radio, while performing my ablutions.

Well, I just happened to have run out of podcasts today, so I listened to Adam Spencer's breakfast program, instead.

I'm absolutely certain that the drying up of my river of podcasts was no random occurrence! No, it was the result of the universe conspiring to ensure that I heard Adam interviewing mathematician Terence Tao, Australia's only winner of the Fields Medal.

While Terry didn't have anything much of interest to say this morning, the interview alerted me to the fact that he's giving a public lecture tomorrow evening at my alma mater, the University of Sydney.

It's entitled "Structure and Randomness in the Prime Numbers", so it sounds like we may get to hear at least a soupçon regarding his work with Ben Green which culminated in the Green-Tao Theorem, that the sequence of prime numbers contains arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions.

See Mathworld for a short explanation of what that means.

The New York Times ran a nice, quite approachable article on Tao, covering his history and work back in March of 2007.

Finally, here's a short video about him. Annoyingly, it resizes your browser, so right click and open it in a separate window.

Hearing about the lecture has almost ... but not quite ... overshadowed the impending arrival of my MacBook Air :-).

Out For Delivery!

Yippee! I just checked the shipment status and, as of 0620, the Air is now on a truck, making its way to my door.

So, expect the posts to drop off sharply sometime later today :-).

No Flash In The Pan

I read about the LED Incapacitator from Intelligent Optical Systems a couple of days ago, but didn't have many details, so didn't bother posting.

Well, here's a news story about it. It sounds pretty awesome.

"How Much For The Leetle Girl?"

According to this article from Reuters, the Woolworths retail chain in Britain has recently been marketing a line of beds aimed at six year old girls.

Nothing particularly weird about that, except for the clever name they came up with for it ... "Lolita"!

Obviously, their marketing department is totally bereft of readers of modern literature and film buffs :-).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pragmatic Interview

I just finished watching the video of an interview that Jim Coplien did with Dave Thomas, of the Pragmatic Programmers.

A lot of what he said I'd heard before, but there was still something in there even to interest me.

For example, how he used his Code Kata when learning Haskell and Erlang.

Definitely worth a look.

Unix For Life

I enjoyed this article on Life Hacker.

The discussion regards applying the Unix design principles enumerated in Eric S Raymond's book The Art of Unix Programming to your life.

Sounds weird, but a lot of the ideas transfer quite well. Of course, my life is weird, so your mileage may vary :-).

Supermarket Dominoes

Thanks to Neatorama for this six minute video of hundreds, if not thousands, of groceries being used as falling dominoes.

Released From Customs

Yes, you read that right ... my MacBook Air's delivery status changed to "Released From Customs" at 11:23!

Hopefully, that means it will arrive at my door either later today or (more likely) sometime tomorrow.

Time to do some last minute planning on what software to install ...

SkyFire Review

Brighthand has run the beta version of the SkyFire browser for Windows Mobile through its paces.

Their review is very positive, indeed.

As I've said before, WM is so horrible overall that I'd never buy a phone that uses it, but this browser definitely looks excellent.


It would seem there are a couple of people with Flickr accounts who would prefer it if that was Yahoo's response to Microsoft's bid :-).