Wednesday 30 May 2007

Sky high sales of no smoking signs

No smoking signs, get used to them because they'll be everywhere from 1st July. But this simple sign is causing controversy. Why?

The ban will become nationwide when it is introduced in England on 1 July, cementing the sign's standing as one of the most used and most recognised nationally.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets the worldwide standard for everything from "mind your head" signs to the nuts and bolts that keep a Boeing 747 in the air.
It is a niche of product regulation that is a mystery to average folk, but impacts on our lives nearly every second of every day.

This is where the controversy starts. The government has decided on a new design for no-smoking signs - the smoke rises slightly higher than before and the cigarette angle is different - but it breaks ISO guidelines. The Govermant also wants them put at the entrance of every enclosed public space - regardless of what the building is.

You really have got to be kidding - making these signs compulsory? Do we have signs saying 'No murder' 'No theft'? - totally unnecessary because everyone knows they are not allowed

Suggestions for other silly signage requirements anyone? Link

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Tuesday 29 May 2007

Too much skill or too much time?

Some people have too much time on their hands

Or is it just that they are very skillful. I have to admire this peice it really is incredible. These guys have done some fantastic work.
I am a great fan of the Alien series of films, Sigourney Weaver really made these films for me, there was a kind of barely suppressed terror that was quite palpable - along with a confident - never say die attitude. Fantastic
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Thursday 24 May 2007

Free computer virus

Would you click on an advert that said "Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!" Computer specialist Didier Stevens put up the simple text advertisement on the Internet offering downloads of a computer virus for people who did not have any.

Surprisingly, he found as many as 409 people clicking on the ad during a 6-month advertising campaign on Google's Adword.

There was no virus involved, it was an experiment aiming to show these kind of advertising systems can be used for malicious intent, Stevens told Reuters.

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Wednesday 23 May 2007

Goodness gracious great balls of mud

Hikaru dorodango are balls of mud, molded by hand into perfect spheres, dried, and polished to an unbelievable luster. The process is simple, but the result makes it seem like alchemy.

A traditional pastime among the children of Japan, the exact origin of hikaru dorodango is unknown. Professor Fumio Kayo, of the Kyoto University of Education, used them as a means to study the psychology of children's play. Kayo developed a simple technique for creating dorodango.
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Tuesday 22 May 2007

Gardening, Rambo Style

Have you ever felt that gardening is too sedate? or that the humble trowel is no macho enough?
Now you don't have to worry this tool looks like a 12″ long field knife — and it is a great way to accidentally scare the living crap out of your neighbors while gardening.
One side of this digging tool’s scoop is deeply-serrated (and sharpened!) to aid in cutting roots and vines. It is a bit overpriced for what it is, but I'm sure some people would really get the most out of it.
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Monday 21 May 2007

Total History

Today, I can pick up about 1Gb of FLASH memory in a postage stamp sized card for £10. fast-forward a
decade and that'll be 100Gb. Two decades and we'll be up to 10Tb.

10Tb is an interesting number. There are roughly 31 million seconds per year, that means 34kb of data every second.
If I assume that I spend 8 hours a day sleeping then that's enough to store a live DivX video stream — compressed a
lot relative to a DVD — of everything I look at for a year, including being in the bathroom.

Realistically, it puts a video channel and a sound channel and other telemetry —
a heart monitor, say, a running GPS/Galileo location signal, everything I type and every mouse event I send —
onto that chip, while I'm awake. All the time. It's a life log; replay it and you've got a journal file for my
life. Ten euros a year in 2027, or maybe a thousand euros a year in 2017.

History today is not that well defined. I can't remember either of my grandmothers - one died long before I was born the other when I was just 5. I knew both of my grandfathers although one has now died. Going back further, to their parents ... I know very little beyond names and dates, a few photographs.

This century we're going to learn a lesson about what it means to be unable to forget anything.
And it's going to go on, and on. Barring a catastrophic universal collapse of human civilization or the
second coming whichever comes first we're going to be laying down memories that will outlast our bones,
and our civilizations, and our languages.
We don't need much storage, in bulk or mass terms. There's no reason not to massively replicate it and ensure that it survives into the deep

We're also in some danger of losing the concepts of privacy, and warping history out of all recognition.

Our concept of privacy relies on the fact that it's hard to discover information about other people. Today,
you've all got private lives that are not open to me. Even those of you with blogs, or even lifelogs. But we're
already seeing some interesting tendencies in the area of attitudes to privacy on the internet among young people,
under about 25; if they've grown up with the internet they have no expectation of being able to conceal
information about themselves. They seem to work on the assumption that anything that is known about them will
turn up on the net sooner or later, at which point it is trivially searchable.

Total history, by analogy to total war — is something we haven't experienced yet.
I'm really not sure what its implications are, but then, I'm one of the odd primitive shadows just visible at one
edge of the archive: I expect to live long enough to be lifelogging, but my first thirty or forty years are going to
be very poorly documented, mere gigabytes of text and audio to document decades of experience.
What I can be fairly sure of is that our descendants' relationship with their history is going to be very
different from our own, because they will be able to see it with a level of depth and clarity that nobody has
ever experienced before.

I freely admit I have copied my ideas (and some text) from here
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Thursday 17 May 2007

Safe Cycling?

Do you think that wearing a cycle helmet makes you safer on the road?
A researcher in Bath thinks that it actually makes cycling more dangerous. He found that helmeted cyclists inspire more dangerous driving from the cars around them.

Ian Walker, an avid cyclist, attached ultrasonic sensors to his bike and rode around Bath, allowing 2,300 vehicles to overtake him while he was either helmeted or naked-headed. In the process, he was actually contacted by a truck and a bus, both while helmeted—though, miraculously, he did not fall off his bike either time. Link
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Wednesday 16 May 2007

Getting Mii exercise

Have you every found getting enough exercise to be a problem ? Maybe it is just a side effect of being a software engineer - or maybe I'm just lazy but exercise always seems a to be hard to do on a regular basis.

I read this story about a guy who used his Wii to exercise - he actually lost 9 pounds.
I could do with losing some weight - so I'm gonna try it. I'm not going to modify my diet, I am going to test the fitness of my Mii every day (unless I'm away from home).

I'll let you know how I get on.

Read the original results

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Monday 14 May 2007

Guilt Offsetting

You've probably heard of Carbon Ofsetting - where you pay some one to plant trees or not to emit lots of carbon dioxide in order to allow you to carry on without changing your lifestyle.

Have you heard of the adultery equivalent

"Five ways that Cheatneutral is like carbon offsetting:

   1. Cheatneutral tries to make it seem acceptable to cheat on your partner. In the same way, carbon offsetting tries to make it acceptable to carry on emitting excess carbon.
   2. Cheatneutral doesn't really do much to reduce the amount of cheating in the world. Carbon offsetting does very little to reduce global carbon emissions.
   3. It seems impossible to measure how much harm cheating on someone does. With carbon offsetting, there is currently no practically feasible way of measuring how much carbon offset projects actually save.
   4. Having Cheatneutral's services available could actually encourages you to cheat more. If the carbon offsetters persuade you that it's possible to offset your emissions, you'll carry on emitting excess carbon through your lifestyle rather than think about reducing your emissions.
   5. Cheatneutral is fundamentally the wrong way to go about solving problems with your relationships. Carbon offsetting is fundamentally the wrong way to go about tackling climate change"

What do you think - is it tongue in cheek - or a serious idea? Do you think it will work?

I'm really not sure what I think of the idea, it seems like another way to benefit from a stable relationship. However might it encourage 'cheating'?

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Party Part 2

The weather was ok for the party - it rained beforehand and it rained afterwards.
However it did not rain whilst the kids were all there running around the woods.
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Saturday 12 May 2007

Army Party

Today is going to be a really busy day - hopefully fun too. Frineds of mine are having an Army party for their 7 year old. We're going to spend the morning running round in the woods, playing silly games.
We did it a couple of years ago and it was great. They've asked me to help out again (cool)
I love being a big kid! - but then again don't all men :)

We're praying the weather will stay dry - grey is ok- wet is not, come on God
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Wednesday 9 May 2007

My MOTor

I have a small car, a Fiat Seicento and last week I realised it was due for an MOT, no problem - car is in pretty good shape (apart from a problem applying the handbrake)
So I ordered a new handbrake cable from a place on the web, I also ordered a set of brake shoes ('cos if I'm going to take apart the brakes I may as well do the shoes whilst I'm about it)
The parts arrived next day and I put the car up on stands and started the job, getting everything off - no problem. Putting the shoes back on took me forever (ok about an hour and a half).

Took the car to the test centre on Friday and it failed :(, apparently it had a leaky shock absorber. New one was installed - and it passed. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

The garage forgot to charge me for the shock absorber and just charged for the MOT, I was sorely tempted to not bother to tell them, but I'm mostly honest, I rang to let them know I'd pop back in this week to sort it out.

If you'd like a bit of info to help your car pass it's test then there are a load of places you can google for. I quite like this one

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Thursday 3 May 2007

The Next Best…Ding!

Waffles may have come and gone in the UK but the ones that are on sale at the Soul Survivor festival are fantastic (I can’t wait)

Designer Chris Dimino though has decided that instead of eating loads of them, he’d create a waffle maker for geeks, with keyboard shaped waffles.
He’s taken an old typewriter and cleverly re-used it to create one-off waffles for us proud and starving nerds. And it looks great in the process. In his own words:

Problem: Typewriter - Take this now useless item and give it a new life then it was intended to have.

Solution: The “Corona-Matic” a typewriter turned into a waffle iron that makes keyboard shaped waffles. Part of: The Next Best…Ding! A travelling exhibit on the reinvention of the typewriter.

Chris obviously has the key to recycled design that stands on its own merits.

Fleeing the cubicle for the kitchen, this iron lets you cook up a keyboard of tasty waffles every time you fancy a snack. Designed as part of a group exhibit for the School of Visual Arts, the typewriter iron represents the best of reinvention: an obsolete product, minimally modified, is given a completely new function. It just wouldn't be as fun (or as green) if the typewriter's metal and plastic were just recycled. Chris’s site has loads of other things he has produced.

The Corona-Matic

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Wednesday 2 May 2007

Sorry climate, I had to dust my keyboard

Keyboards are disgusting

Have you ever realised that your keyboard was full of dust and crumbs and hair and other kinds of nasty stuff?
Ever used one of those 'compressed air dusters' to clean out all the bits?

Do you realise that the propellant HFC134a has nearly 3000 times the greenhouse effect of CO2?

That means one duster can accounts for half the CO2 emmisions of my annual motoring!

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Tuesday 1 May 2007

Do you like coffee?

Pro-coffee T-Shirt tweaks Mormon Church, Church responds with trademark threat
A Utah coffee-shop made a funny t-shirt that showed coffee being funnelled into the trumpet of the Angel Moroni (a sigil that tops Mormon temples -- the Church bans hot drinks). The LDS Church threatened to sue for trademark infringement, so they got an even better design:

It shows a giant hand from the sky pouring the java - which the LDS Church urges its members to abstain from drinking - into a disembodied trumpet. The caption: "The Lord giveth, and a church taketh away." Store owners Ed Beazer and Van Lidell insist it's just harmless repartee, albeit a tad one-sided. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't talking about the new design and whether it violates the trademark.

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