Saturday, November 29

New DVD Format Approved

New DVD Format Approved:
NEC and Toshiba's HD-DVD has been approved as the next generation standard for DVDs.

This standard will store five times more information than current DVDs, allowing them to place "High Definition" content on the DVD, rather than the "Standard Definition" content that DVDs currently have.

NEC and Toshiba's consortium beat the Blu-Ray consortium to get their product approved by the DVD Forum. Both NEC and Toshiba plan to sell computers with the new model drives in the near future (2005).

Friday, November 28

Fab!

Thunderbirds Are Go! (shockwave flash movie), the Live Action Thunderbirds movie, coming out for Cinemas in America, Summer 2004.

Looks a bit dodgy from the trailer, but it is hard to tell with the low quality of this preview.

Thursday, November 27

Docker Magnetic Wireless Headset

MobileBurn.com Reviews the Docker Magnetic Wireless Headset.

I'm still on my quest to find a good wireless headset for my mobile phone. None of the bluetooth headsets are up to scratch, with sound quality issues and feature issues (like not being able to play music through them).

This Magnetic Wireless Headset seems to do all the things that I would want from a headset. It is small, has about a 16-20 hour talktime from 1 AA battery, is compatible with most phones (the miniature docking station plugs into the phone via the 2.5mm headset jack).
From the review, the sound quality is just as good as most of the wired headsets available. This is good news.
I havn't seen any of these at the shops yet, and there was no mention of price in the article, but futher research yields a price of US$75. This is extremely reasonable for this type of device. (The bluetooth headsets were approximately US$400!) I could purchase it from the US at TAG Accessories, but I am probably much better off waiting for it to come out in Australia.

Santa's helper throttles teen

Aftenpoften, a Norway newspaper, reports:
'"He came up behind me and shouted at me. I didn't think elves did that kind of thing," Osland told the newspaper. "He grabbed me, first with one hand, then the other, so that he was strangling me. He said I should respect animals. The elf scared me a bit."'

Wednesday, November 26

LOTR:ROTK - Weta Digital Stuff

Wired Reports:
"Servers in renderwall: 1,600
Processors (total): 3,200
...
Temperature of equipment rooms: 76 degrees
Fahrenheit Weight of air conditioners needed to maintain that temperature: 1/2 ton"

With 50% more f/x shots that TTT, and composed of more data the the frist 2 movies combined, I'm really looking forward to what Weta has done. (And the actors/directors/script writers/hairstylists/etc. :)

Tuesday, November 25

Master/Slave

Snopes has a new entry on the term "Master/Slave":
"Claim: The County of Los Angeles has requested that equipment vendors avoid using the industry term 'Master/Slave' in product descriptions and labelling.

Status: True. "

It turns out that someone within the County's bureaucracy took offence to the term. More details along the link.

Thursday, November 20

American Woman Has Stroke, Gets British Accent

Woman Has Stroke, Gets British Accent - A University of Central Florida speech expert has diagnosed the extremely rare disorder. (After all, British Accents are considered a disorder in the US). The poor woman has become a recluse because of the accent and even considered living in Brittain.

Slashdot | Ebola Vaccine Human Trials Begin

From Slashdot - Ebola Vaccine Human Trials Begin, but they only have 2 volunteers so far, out of the 27 they require.

Saturday, November 15

Banking Scam Revealed

Banking Scam Revealed is a very good article describing the process used and results thereof when tracking down a Banking Scam e-mail.

Quite revealing.

Text Mode Demo Competition

TMDC: "CPU speeds keep getting higher, but the resolution stays the same. Do you have what it takes to make text mode look good ?"

Friday, November 14

Drinking On A weeknight?

Upon closer inspection, it has been discovered that "The Depot", diagonally oposite The Corner in richmond has $2.50 drinks between 9pm and midnight. After being dragged there by some people, I have now arrive home on aweeknight completely smashed, getting the last train home and being extremely drunk, dizzy, numb, etc.
Lets see how work goes tommorrow....

Thursday, November 13

Israeli Steadicopter prototype pilotless helicopter stolen

Globes [online] in Israel reports: "Steadicopter's prototype pilotless helicopter stolen"

The helicopter has just finished its test flights successfully. It is apparently the only successfull pilotless helicopter of its type around. It did not use a remote control. It flies to a given GPS location.

Wednesday, November 12

Monkey Spunkle

The Last Day of Ice Monkey - "Ice Monkey, formerly one of the many mascots in my immediate working area, was found (once again) in a torturous position. Earlier in the week, he was seen trapped inside a drink bottle, with nothing to eat or drink, and not even an air hole. Imprisoned for no comprehensible reason."
Updated: Now with a working link.

Monday, November 10

Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Collector's Extended Edition) (2002)

Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Extended Edition (and collectors box set) are going to be released on DVD on 18-Nov-2003. Waiting.... Waiting....

Alias the Jester

How many of you remember that little show that they used to put between other childrens shows to fill in the short gaps?

Alias the Jester: "Alias, as the theme song tells us, was a
time-traveller whose ship developed a fault and deposited him in Britain in the Middle Ages. He is befriended by Meredith, wizard to King Arthur, who gets him a job as the Royal Jester. When danger threatens, Alias, along with his pet Boswell, leap into action to save the day."

And thus a new breed of Sci-Fi and Medeival liking kids were born.
Theme music can be found on this site.

And thats your 80's cartoon link for the day. The show only ran for 13 episodes of 10 minutes each. It won BAFTA Best Short Animated Film in 1986.

What is the story behind the artwork for "Album of the year"

I bought Faith No More's Album of the Year today. One of the people at my work asked who the guy on the front cover was. His research came up with the following (not sure of the source):

Bill Gould says:
"Actually the man was an old president of Czechoslovakia who died in the '30's, but his significance is more symbolic than political. He was a very aristocratic president at a time when Czechoslovakia was one of the richest countries in the world. His funeral was HUGE (they are the shots on the album artwork) and his death took place on the eve of WW2. If there is any symbolic importance, it is the depiction of the death of a 'golden age.'"

The artwork was also used on FNM Tour T-shirts in Europe. A lot of people are of the opinion that the man pictured is 'Lenin'. He isn't. Billy had this to say:
"I realized that his "death mask" face looked alot like Lenin, but not until after the shirts were printed. We might change it."
The name of the president is Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937). He was the first president of independent Czechoslovakia (1918).

Inside the CD sleeve in the funeral picture, the words "Pravda Vitez" appear on the coffin. "Pravda Videz" translates to "Knight of truth - Knight if integrity". It means "Truth will prevail".

Friday, November 7

Star Wars Original Trilogy DVDs

Ain't It Cool News is reporting that the Original Star Wars Trilogy is going to be released on DVD in September 2004, ahead of the May 2005 launch of Episode 3 at the Cinemas.

Thursday, November 6

Craft reaches, perhaps passes, solar system edge

Voyager 1 is 'beginning the exploration of a new frontier,' said Voyager project scientist Edward Stone, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Voyager 1, which was launched from Cape Canaveral on September 5, 1977, has now possibly reached the heliopause, the region at the edge of our solarsystem where the solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium. The instrument that could tell the scientists definately whether it has reached that point broke down years ago, so they are relying on other measurements to try to establish the amount of solar wind and temperature.

Wednesday, November 5

Oncolytics

Human Clinical Studies by Oncolytics Biotech Inc, have shown that a naturally occuring Reovirus can be used to successfully treat cancer, with no adverse events related to the virus and no dose-limiting toxicites were detected. Impressive before/after shots from one patient are included halfway down the page.

The FAQ has some interesting facts about the virus.

Tuesday, November 4

Cup Day Travels

I went on a nice day-trip today with a few friends. We did a short (couple of hour :) drive down to Colac first, where we stopped at the Visitor Information desk to pick up more detailed instructions on how to get to our next destination, then had a nice relaxed picnic lunch by Lake Colac.

We then proceeded with the next leg of our journey, down to the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, which was quite fun. The treetop part of the walk is only 600m, which was quite long enough. It started with a downhill walk through some rainforest, with numbered notes spaced nicely along the way. Eventually the track reaches the treetop bit, which involves walking forwards, as they placed it on the edge of a hill. The platform was very steady, only moving slightly when a number of people were walking along a section of the platform at a time, or when the wind blew strongly. The railings were also very high, giving a sense of security.
Given the perfect weather (about 23 and Fine), the walk was very enjoyable, with good scenery and a leaflet with notes to follow along with things that we are seeing.

I went home with one companion via the great ocean road. The other four people needed to get back to melbourne in a timely manner or did not want to go the extra distance, so went the quicker route via Colac in the second car. We stopped by an almost deserted beach (except for the 4 people fishing 100m further down) for a while, got our feet wet, then moved along for the long windy trip that is the Great Ocean Road. We drove relatively slowly, as my companion was feeling a bit carsick, and eventually stopped in Torquay for a Pizza dinner, before driving the rest of the way home.

All in all, it was a very nice day out, that I will have to repeat (to different destinations) a few more times over the course of this upcoming summer.

Monday, November 3

Man Accused Of Using Gun To Castrate Dog

Ouch!

At home with Hitler

At home with Hitler: Homes and Garden Magazine, November 1938 issue, did an article on Hitlers Mountain Retreat.
Homes and Garden Magazine has tried to supress the scanned images, but the copyright is dubious due to the age, so it is still on the net.

"It is over twelve years since Herr Hitler fixed on the site of his one and only home. It had to be close to the Austrian border, barely ten miles from Mozart's own medieval Salzburg."

Sunday, November 2

Lemming deaths

Lemming deaths: The vole truth is out there.: "Unexplained population crashes of this rodent of the high northern latitudes have bred the myth that, whenever they become too numerous for the available food, the creatures band together and fling themselves off cliffs in a crazed suicidal rush.
However researchers now say the truth is even more complex."

Their population appears to flux over a 4 year cycle with some predators and a related species.

Are we going to require a revision to the classic lemmings games? Perhaps it could have the lemmings being clever enough not to fall off the cliffs, and would involve the introduction of some predators into the game...