Thursday, December 23

Chronology of a Car Recall

I found details of the recent recall for the Lexus RX 330 and the 2004 Prius, which is due to the corrosion of a switch used for the Brake Lights.

Page 3 of the PDF has a chronology of events. It turns out the corrosion only happens when a) The switch is used with LED Lights, not Incandescent Bulbs b) volatile Silicone is in the air (as used in the production of the seats). Thus their recall is only for their 2 models that use LED brake lights, rather than all cars that use the switch.

I havn't received a letter from Toyota yet, though my car is in the affected date range.

Sunday, December 12

I've got a suggestion

From the Google Blog, another new Google feature:


"Today we launched Google Suggest, a new Labs project that provides you with search suggestions, in real time, while you type. We've found that Google Suggest not only makes it easier to type in your favorite searches (let's face it -- we're all a little lazy), but also gives you a playground to explore what others are searching about, and learn about things you haven't dreamt of. Go ahead, give it a spin. "


It seems to work quite nicely. Start typing your search terms and see the most popular similar search terms appear to help you along, including further keywords to add to what you have typed.

Wednesday, November 24

Death of VHS

BBC NEWS reports:


"The death of the video cassette recorder appears to be in sight after the UK's largest electrical chain said it is to stop selling them.

Dixons will phase out VCRs due to the boom in DVD players, sales of which have grown seven-fold in five years."


With DVD recorders becoming affordable, and Hard Disk based PVR's quite affordable and feature packed, I can see the death of VHS coming quite quickly. I can't remember the last time I used my video recorder. I possibly used it once last year, but not this year at all. I won't be replacing mine when it dies.

FireFly movie "Serenity" delayed from April until September 30th, 2005

Joss Whedon wrote on WHEDONesque:


"Are you guys starting to hear that fanfare? Those distant drums? Are you slapping on your side-arms, pulling on your long brownish-colored coats and thumbing your crisp new bills in anticipation of the cinematic event of the year? Well, it's official: on April 22nd you, the true the blue the loyal, can step right up with the rest of America and WAIT FIVE MORE MONTHS.

Heh. See, sometimes studios shuffle around release dates...

Okay. Don't panic. right now you're panicking. you're thinking, 'how could they do this to me?' But what you SHOULD be thinking is: 'How could they do this to JOSS?'. Seriously. That pity is mine and I want it back.

So what happened? Well, nothing terribly original. April got crowded with a lot of titles aimed at a similar demographic, and the studio decided September was a clearer corridor for the film to make the kind of impact it should. This isn't about a lack of confidence in the film -- in fact, they told me this before they even saw it. And now they have seen it, and unless they're way better liars than I'm used to, they dug it. Actually, they dug it pretty large, which is a good sign since there's not a single finished effect in the film. There's no reworking the end, no reshoots, no 'does it have to be in space?'. It's just a marketing issue. Now you'll get to watch lots of trailers in the summer. And hopefully, by the time it comes out, other people, people who ain't us, will get a whiff of what we're up to, and come along too.

I love this movie. I HATE waiting to show it too you. I felt pretty much the way I imagine you're feeling right now when they told me. But these guys know what they're doing, and they're trying to protect their investment, not bury it. So I gotta be a grown-up. The release date is September 30th. Hopefully it won't change again.

Spread the word. Keep the faith. And gleam the damn cube already.

-j.

joss | November 23, 05:12 CET"

Saturday, November 13

Pirated version of SoundForge used for Files In Windows Media Player

Slashdot reports that:


"German PC-Welt magazine reports that Microsoft used an illegal copy of SoundForge 4.5 (Google translation) for editing Wave files shipped with Windows Media Player. You can check that yourself by opening any file in the [Windows location] \Help\Tours\WindowsMediaPlayer\Audio\Wav\ folder in notepad or other editors of your choice and looking at the last line. There you will find a reference to SoundForge 4.5 and also a user called 'Deepz0ne' who happens to be one of the founders of an audio software cracking group called Radium."

Friday, November 12

Google's Index nearly doubles

8 billion pages and growing!

Google Blog has the announcement:


"You probably never notice the large number that appears in tiny type at the bottom of the Google home page, but I do. It's a measure of how many pages we have in our index and gives an indication of how broadly we search to find the information you're looking for. Today that number nearly doubled to more than 8 billion pages. That made me smile. "
...
"Together these pages represent a good chunk of the world's information, but hardly all of it. That's why we keep building more advanced systems for crawling the web and creating more sophisticated indices to sort what we find. So 8 billion pages is a milestone worth noting, but it's not the end of the road. The real test is how well we do in finding what you want from within those pages. We'll keep improving that too. "


Keep up the good work google!

Google have made a number of good tools that I now use everyday,
including Google Desktop, which I use to search for files and e-mails on my PC at work and GMail, which I use as my primary personal mail account.

Thursday, November 11

GMail introduces POP3

From the Gmail: Help Center:


"POP, or Post Office Protocol, lets you download messages from Gmail's servers onto your computer so you can access your mail with a program like Microsoft Outlook Express or Netscape Mail, even when you aren't connected to the Internet.

*Over the next several weeks, we are introducing POP access to all of our users. ..."


This means that people with gmail accounts will be able to access their gmail without seeing the adds, though also without conversation view and labels. This also allows people to download their mail onto their home computer for backup or offline access.

Wednesday, November 10

2004 IOCCC Winners

the 2004 IOCCC Winners have been put up on the The International Obfuscated C Code Contest web page.

They also have a Spoiler Page which has a description of what the code actually does.

Thursday, November 4

Transformers Movie News

Sci Fi Wire reports:
"John Rogers (Catwoman) is writing Transformers, a DreamWorks/Paramount live-action SF movie based on the popular Hasbro toys, Variety reported. Steven Spielberg is executive producing the movie, which is slated for a summer 2006 release and is being eyed as the start of a franchise, the trade paper reported.
Angry Films chief Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto, who executive produced the two X-Men films, are producing the movie, along with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. DeSanto wrote the story that Rogers will adapt, the trade paper reported."

Tuesday, November 2

Thursday, October 28

Ultraviolet rip-off due August 2005

Kurt Wimmer, of Equilibrium and The Thomas Crown Affair (screenplay) fame, is in the process of ripping off a brilliant british miniseries by Joe Ahearne, Ultraviolet (1998). This movie version of the miniseries is still about vampires, with what sounds like similar vampire theories.

The original series had very good performances by Jack Davenport, and Australian Philip Quast (also in Sons and Daughters and Play School during the early 80s).

The word 'vampire' was never used in the original series. They were instead referred to as "Code 5's" or "leeches".

Wednesday, October 27

Hypo-Allergenic Cats Now Available for Pre-Order

Slashdot reports that Hypo-Allergenic Cats are now available for pre-order: "Allerca Inc is now taking reservations for genetically engineered hypo-allergenic cats"

And a press release also

Thursday, October 21

419ers take Aussie financial advisor for AU$1m

SecurityFocus HOME News: 419ers take Aussie financial advisor for AU$1m

Robert Andrew Street, 58, fell for the classic 419 scam (aka Nigerian Scam). He stole $1m for his clients and deposited it into their bank account.

I didn't realize anyone actually fell for that scam! Atleast we will now hopefully have one less person spamming, due to the scamee's retirement as a millionaire. Who said Spam doesn't pay?

Nissan Tests Smart Hybrid Vehicle

Nissan Tests Smart Hybrid Vehicle: "Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. says it has cracked the code to developing a smart hybrid electric vehicle control system, employing the navigation system to optimize the battery 'state of charge' and improve fuel economy in its prototype hybrid.
Using a Tino hybrid vehicle, Nissan engineers plugged data from the vehicle's navigation system - including real-time traffic data from Japan's Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) - to determine the topographical layout of the road, as well as traffic flow.
The data compiled by the navigation unit and sent to the powertrain control system includes: road classification (whether it is an expressway, 2-lane, etc.), congestion level (as determined by the data supplied by VICS), road grade and exact distance of section of road measured.
The data was used to provide precise control of the vehicle's powertrain control system, which adjusted the use of the engine and electrical power depending on traffic and road conditions."

They showed a 0.5% improvement in congested freeway conditions, but showed a 7.8% imporvement on a 22km downhill route and a 3.5% improvement in hill driving. Ie. This system is usefull for optimizing country driving a bit more. The current system is already well tuned for congested traffic.

Toyota and Nissan have had a long-term agreement on hybrid systems that includes two-way technical cooperation and the use of Toyota components by Nissan.

Maps: Coming to A Windshield Near You

Maps: Coming to A Windshield Near You: "When the next generation of automotive navigation systems arrive, Denso Corp. expects the display to redefine the 'human machine interface'.
Today's onboard navigation systems generally appear on a color screen embedded in the instrument panel, as part of the center console. Denso is one of many suppliers of the current-generation systems.
Within five years, Japan's No.1 supplier expects its navigation displays to be projected on to the windshield, in front of the driver."

Denso is the supplier of Satelite Navigation Units in Australia for Toyota, Lexus, Ford and Jaguar.

Tuesday, October 19

ROTK - new trailers for download

The Official Lord of the Rings website has a new trailer for download for the Return of the King Special Extended DVD, which is being released on December 14th.

Gmail Begins Signing Email with DomainKeys

Slashdot reports that Gmail has begun Signing all outgoing Email with DomainKeys.

DomainKeys is Yahoo's Antispam technology to verify that the e-mail comes from who it says it comes from.

Yahoo have been working to integrate DomainKeys into Sendmail, a common Unix MTA.

Star Wars: The Changes

DVDAnswers has a very good comparison between the Star Wars DVD and VHS releases.

They have screenshots and commentry comparing the 1977/1980/1983 original release with the VHS Special Edition and the DVD Releases, as well as comparing some of the Audio changes that have been made and talk about the scenes that have been added.

Thursday, October 14

Google Adsense

I've decided to give Google Adsense a go on my blog. Hopefully the positioning that I've chosen isn't too intrusive.

I get a small amount of money whenever anyone clicks on the ads, either on my page, or on the search page if you use the search button that I placed on the page. The ads are supposed to be vaguely related to the items on the page, as updated regularly by their search engine.

Tuesday, October 5

He-Man movie

Sci Fi Wire reports that John Woo is set to product and direct a new live-action file based on the Masters of the Universe toys - "He-Man".

He is also going to be making "Spy Hunter" - remember that computer game on the C64 with the Peter Gunn theme?

Wednesday, September 29

Star Wars Music Altered for the New DVD Release

Star Wars Music Altered for the New DVD Release.

Apparently there are a few flaws in the way the music has been mastered for the new DVD release on A New Hope. The music on the surround speakers has been flipped left/right, so that eg. a violin might come from the front right and rear left speakers, rather than the front right and rear right.

There is also an issue with the music during the first dive to attack the Death Star, whereby the music is not audiable from the front speakers, therefore making it practically inaudiable for about 15 seconds, instead of the strong Force theme music that used to exist there.

Lucasfilm deny it is a problem and claim that it is a creative decision.

Monday, September 27

NASA World Wind

NASA World Wind "allows any user to zoom from satellite altute into any place on the Earth".

It puts together data from a number of different sources to bring together a 3D view of the world down to the street level. (15 meters per pixel).

It also has state borders, and can get daily updated information about floods, dust storms, volcano's, etc to display on the globe.

The download is quite large, sitting at around 250MB.

The Lord of the Rings DVD Special Extended Version DVD News

The Lord of the Rings DVD Special Extended Version DVD has been announced.

Features include 50 minutes of extra footage, with the now 250 minute feature spread over 2 DVD's.
Plus 3 DVD's of "Appendices", various documentaries.

Sunday, September 12

Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea

Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea: "'We understand that a mushroom-shaped cloud about 2.2 miles to 2.5 miles in diameter was monitored during the explosion,'"

But no-one has yet confirmed that it is a nuclear blast. What other explosions are big enough to create a mushroom cloud 2.2 miles in diameter?

The explosion happened last Thursday, but was only reported in the news today, 3 days later.

Saturday, September 11

Pictures from Coffs Harbour Holiday 2004

Coffs Harbour Holiday 2004

We drove in my Prius upto Coffs Harbour via Ballarat and Dubbo.
The way back, we had a quick stop at Forster, which was a cute litte town, where we got very nice and filling Mexican food (see image 22), then spent a couple of nights at Polkobin in the Hunter Valley. We stayed toured a number of wineries and filled up the already full boot waith 3 dozen bottles of wine.

Next stop was Jervis bay, where we intended to stay 2 nights, but after not liking the atmosphere of the place we were staying, we decided to move on, and made a dash for Lakes Entrance. We had lunch at the Bega Cheese Factory, and made it to a motel as the sun was setting. We only spent one night there, and walked the beach track upto the entrance and back along the bushland track(5km), before driving back to Melbourne.

Fuel stops were at:


LocationODO (km)DistanceLitresComments
Chadstone2281fill up before leaving
Numurkah2723442km21.67L(we suspect bad petrol from here)
Dubbo3340617km42.73L
Armidale3815475km25.20L
Coffs Harbour4173358km16.11L
Singleton5662719km37.40L
Chastone6279617km37.01LHome


Total of 3556km, 180.12L -- 5.06L/100km
Fuel efficiency when we don't include the suspect fuel from the Numurkah tank was: 4.67L/100km.

Friday, September 10

Details of changes to Star Wars DVD's

Sci Fi Wire reports on the changes made to Star Wars for their upcoming release on DVD.

Most (but not all) of the changes are to scenes that had already been modified for the 1997 "special edition" release.

Tuesday, August 24

Lucas to make more Star Wars

Lucas to make more Star Wars?: "Star Wars creator George Lucas could be poised to make three sequels to the original space opera trilogy, according to insiders at Lucasfilm. According to fan site Theforce.net, employees at Lucas's company Industrial Light and Magic have all been made to sign non-disclosure agreements to promise not to talk about the possibility of episode's seven, eight and nine being made.
Now industry insiders are predicting the director will make the follow-ups, which pick up where 1983's Return of the Jedi left off, despite insisting he would never be lured into filming them.
A posting on the site says, You didn't hear this from me, but you might be curious as to why everyone at ILM just signed NDA's saying that they will not discuss Star Wars episodes 7, 8, or 9. Since they're not being made, why the NDA's. Of course, since when has Lucas been consistent"

Tuesday, August 17

Bad Optimus

Bad Optimus - a page dedicated to the most atrocious Optimus Prime outfits that Google Image Search can find.

This page starts off with some bad Optimus Prime outfits, but works its way up to some really good costumes.

Sunday, August 8

Ford Launches First American Hybrid

Slashdot Reports that Ford has launched the first american hybrid-electric car.

This car is using Toyota's old, first generation hybrid technology. Toyotas current hybrids are using their second generation technology.
(Toyotas current hybrids include the Prius and Lexis RX400h. Upcoming is the Lexus RX330 and Toyota Highlander)

Saturday, August 7

BonFire & Cocktail Party Photos

Here are some photos from a BonFire that I went to the other day. The local fire authorities were warned, and the CFA's local Deputy Group Office was in attendance.

The initial wood pile was about 5 meters by 7 meters and about 2 meters high. It included some very large diameter pieces in the middle. It was the remains of 3 large cyprus trees that had to be cut down last year. The fire was spectacular and very hot (Pay attention in the photos to how many people are standing close to the fire by 'image30').

I also have some photos taken by a friend at a cocktail party that I had last month. I've placed them up almost unedited.

Wednesday, July 28

IceTV -- Tivo for Australia

IceTV - a TiVo like recorder for Australia.

The service will reduce the volume for commercials while watching, or remove the commercials entirely from recorded programs and automatically record the programs that you like to its internal storage.

They have patents in removing TV commercials and "removing the guesswork from programming recordings". This probably means you select the program on a menu from a TV-Guide list.

They are licensing their technology to producers of PVRs to bring a variety of products with different sets of features.

Stay tuned for a product near you.

Sunday, July 25

Traffic Control of the Future

Slashdot reports - Traffic Control of the Future:

"... designed an automated system where cars reserve a time to pass through an intersection as they approach it and are then sped up or slowed down to ensure their arrival at exactly the right time. This allows traffic to enter the intersection from all directions simultaneously, eliminating the need for traffic lights and considerably reducing delays caused by stopping traffic. On their website, you can find Java applet simulations to illustrate the system. "


Scary stuff. Who wants to be involved in the "human trials" of this technology?

Saturday, July 24

Jerry Goldsmith dead

Sci Fi Wire reports:

"Academy Award-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith has died at age 75, according to the Associated Press. The prolific composer, whose career spanned nearly 50 years, died in his sleep July 21 following a long battle with cancer."

Thursday, July 15

Doom III - Friday 13th August

Slashdot reports: Doom 3 Reaches Gold Master.
This long awaited game is going to be released in Australia on Friday August 13.

Wednesday, July 14

On Earth's Magnetic Flip-Flop

Slashdot reports on the The New York Times report On Earth's Magnetic Flip-Flop.

Summary:

"Computer simulations suggest that the current state of the magnetic field is indicative of an upcoming flip. Though it would take hundreds of years to complete..."

Saturday, July 10

Next Star Trek Movie To Deal With Romulan Wars?

TrekToday Reports on some supposedly leaked information that the next Star Trek film we be based on the Romulan Wars, which led to the creation of the Federation that we see in Classic and Next Gen Star Trek.

Previous bits of information had said that the film was going to be set before Kirks time, but will not be based on Star Trek Enterprise.

Tuesday, June 22

New HHGTTG Radio Show Gets Douglas Adams' Voice

Slashdot | New HHGTTG Radio Show Gets Douglas Adams' Voice -
Douglas Adams "always intended to play the part of Agrajag and recorded himself in the part a few years ago." So they are using those recordings for the radio adaptions of the last three books.

Friday, June 18

A Scanner Darkly Film Adaptation

Philip K. Dick - A Scanner Darkly Film Adaptation:
"Like a graphic novel come to life, A Scanner Darkly will utilize live action photography overlaid with an advanced animation process to create a haunting, highly stylized vision of the future. The technology was first employed in Linklater's 2001 film Waking Life and has evolved to produce even more impact and detail.

We all hope that when this project is completed and fans watch this film, they will feel that the interpretation reflects the true spirit of the original story, and also know that the genesis of the project is the love and respect for Philip K. Dick."

Wednesday, June 16

HD DVD-ROM Spec Approved

DVD Forum Steering Committee meeting, (June 9/10, 2004): "HD DVD-ROM Physical Specifications ver.1.0 - approved"

More info at ExtremeTech.

This is the 15Gb/30Gb format that is going to be competing against the Blu-Ray format (27Gb/54Gb).

Monday, June 14

Brenda Archer and the meteorite

STUFF reports on a metorite in NZ: "American collectors with open chequebooks are expected in New Zealand within days to bid for the 1.3kg meteorite which exploded through the roof of an Auckland house yesterday. "

Wednesday, June 9

Carbon NanoTube Memory

This PDF press release is the announcement by Nantero, that they are teaming up with LSI Logic to start producing Carbon Nanotube based CMOS non-volatile storage.

This memory would be marketed initially at manufacturers of PDA's, Digital Cameras, MP3 players and Mobile Phones.

Sunday, June 6

Forgot your Password?

Slashdot | Using a Password One Doesn't Consciously Remember.

Visual recognition of passwords, with pictures designed so you can't easily describe them, but you can recognise them.

Tuesday, June 1

Dressman - The Ironing Robot

Dressman - the ironing robot. Much more usefull than a vacuuming robot.

Though not fully automated, it is automated enough to take the chore out of ironing. Simply place the (wet) shirt over the 'robot' and press a button. Wait 5 minutes and it will dry the shirt wrinkle free.

Tuesday, May 25

Wednesday, May 19

Can Cell Phones Cause Fires at Gas Pump?

ABCNEWS reports:

"A college student was pumping gas into his sports utility vehicle near New Paltz, N.Y., recently when he flipped open his cell phone to answer a call, and suddenly found himself surrounded by flames. "


Experts believe that it was static electricity, and not the cell phone that caused the fire.
This topic has also been covered by a show on The Discovery Channel - MythBusters (episode 2).

Monday, May 17

Casual Photography

HP Labs - Photographic memories: Always-on camera captures life's fleeting moments.

HP Labs has been doing work on continous photography, with algorithms and techniques for culling the uninteresting and bad photos, so you are just left with the good photos. They are also working on techniques to use video footage before and after the still to make a better still photo (detecting that people have blinked/etc).

And when you plug in Eye Contact sensors, you can take photos (or video) of people you make eye contact with. With a more detailed explanation on the researchers blog.

Toyota Prius - Info on the Transmission System

I found a site which gives a very good explanation on the "Hybrid Synergy Drive" used by the Toyota Prius, including how it is different from both a normal automatic transmission, and how it is different from a Continuously Variable Transmission.

Following the link on the left to "Understanding Your Prius", brings a new menu on the left with headings such as Continuously Variable Transmission and The Power Split Device. The figures mentioned are from the 2001 to 2003 model Prius, but the concepts are the same.
Quite an interesting read.

Saturday, May 15

Little Brother is Watching You

The New York Times reports: What's Next: In a Road That's All Eyes, the Driver Finds an Ally:


"Its latest creation is an embedded stud equipped with a camera that catches speeders, monitors traffic for criminals or stolen cars and even checks for bald tires on the fly."


Astucia, a UK Company, supplies markers around the world, and even has a distributor in Melbourne.

Friday, May 14

Designer Virus Stalks HIV

Wired News reports on a Designer Virus to cure HIV:


It took Adam Arkin and David Schaffer just $200,000 and a grad student to develop a potential treatment for AIDS. And that scares them.
That's because the therapy itself is a virus. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory assistant professors created a virus altered to latch onto HIV and mute its ability to become AIDS. They've tested the theory in a computer model and in cells in a dish. The results have been promising, and if they continue in that vein, the researchers could begin animal testing by the end of this year.


This looks more promising that a pill that is being trialed that will stop people from becoming HIV infected.

Thursday, May 13

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Official Movie Blog

The people making the new HHGTTG Movie have started a blog.
Unfortunately no RSS feed on this blog. And only one post so far.

'Fictitious' author publishes the first book without verbs

'Fictitious' author publishes the first book without verbs:

First, there was the novel written without using the letter 'e'. Now a French author has produced what he claims is the first book with no verbs.

Perhaps inevitably, critics have commented unfavourably on the lack of action in Michel Thaler's work, The Train from Nowhere, which runs to 233 pages.


Order Le Train de Nulle Part : Au fil des Sorayades!
by Michel Thaler on Amazon.Fr today!

Wednesday, May 12

Activision and id Software Confirm Summer 2004 Ship Date for Doom 3

Activision and id Software Confirm Summer 2004 Ship Date for Doom 3:

"This summer we're sending game fans on a first-class trip to Mars -- with a layover in Hell," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. "DOOM 3 is coming to the PC and delivering the most atmospheric, terrifying and visually mind-blowing gaming experience ever conceived."


That's an American Summer release date. Australian Winter.

Tuesday, May 11

200th Post

To celebrate my 200th Post, along with the newly renewed blogger interface, I have done a little redesign of my blog (as you can probably see).
I have moved to the new built-in commenting system, rather than the system supplied by enetation.

The old comments will still be visible on old posts, and the comment links will be marked as "(Old Comments)". This was done with a little bit of CSS and blogger tag hackery.

I have also changed the colour scheme to something a bit darker. This should help save the eyes a little bit when reading.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the "About Me" box on the right that the template supplied.

Please give me your comments on the new style.

The Great Blogger Relaunch

Blogger Has changed their interface. They have added a built in comment system, and changed their look and feel completely.
More info after I've played around with it a bit more.

Google's Gmail Beta

Extreme Tech has written quite a good review of Google's Gmail Beta.

I'm finding Gmail quite nice to use. The labels and archive features are very nice to use, and the speed of the service is excellent compared to Hotmail.

The auto-refreshing of the mail folders is also usefull. I'm leaving my browser window minimized on my desktop, and I can just quickly pop up the screen to see if there's new mail and minimize again if there isn't. None of the 10 second delays that you get with hotmail when trying to do the same thing.

The addition of a windows tray-icon new mail notifier would be nice, but given the auto-refreshing, isn't really required.

Friday, May 7

DVD Dual Layer Primer

AnandTech: AT News Update: DVD Dual Layer Primer

Dual Layer DVD's, here we come. Lets just wait for the hacked firmware for my current DVD drive to support it. : )

Thursday, May 6

Builder survives nailgun accident

Builder survives nailgun accident: "A construction worker has miraculously survived after six nails were embedded in his skull."

The X-Ray picture in the article tells all. Ouch!

Tuesday, May 4

That Yellow Taxi May Be Turning Green

The New York times talks about using Hybrid Electric cars as Taxis, with an interview with some drivers who own Toyota Prius's.

The New York Times > Automobiles > That Yellow Taxi May Be Turning Green: "Mr. Grant said he usually replaced the front brakes after 28,000 miles, but on his first Prius, the first set lasted 90,000 miles.
And because the engine does not idle, he said he did not need to replace the timing belt or fuel injector, and did not have to adjust the valves. He reported no expenses for the electric drive system in 200,000 miles."

Friday, April 30

DNA Analyzing Computer treats cancer

Top News Article | Reuters.com: "Scientists have come a step closer to creating a minuscule DNA computer that may one day be able to spot diseases like cancer from inside the body and release a drug to treat it.
Professor Ehud Shapiro and researchers at Israel's Weizmann Institute constructed the world's smallest biomolecular computer a few years ago.
Now they have programmed it to analyse biological information to detect and treat prostate cancer and a form of lung cancer in laboratory experiments."

Google IPO

Google has submitted their Form S-1, to initiate their IPO. This is the initial step in them becoming a public company.

Reading the document, they are going to try to not change their business model much with the IPO, and have warned investors about their style.

Wednesday, April 21

Star Wars Trilogy DVD Details

Star Wars Trilogy DVD Details have now been released on starwars.com.

Relativity put to the test

Reuters.com reports: "CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Forty-five years in the making and 24 hours late, NASA launched a $700 million satellite into orbit on Tuesday to test Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.
The Gravity Probe B, one of the most precise scientific instruments every built, was carried aloft by a Boeing Co. Delta 2 at 12:57 p.m. EDT from the rocket range at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.
A day earlier, launch directors from Boeing and NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida scrubbed the launch in the final minutes of the countdown when there was a problem loading software."

Tuesday, April 20

Brain chips could help paralysed

Brain chips could help paralysed, the BBC Reports.

Very reminiscent of Neal Stephensons (under the psudonym Stephen Bury) Interface, which I read a couple of months ago.

Friday, April 9

Spontaneous Combustion

The Fires of Canneto di Caronia: "ROME (Reuters) - A Sicilian town is struggling to work out why dozens of household items from fridge-freezers to furniture keep mysteriously bursting into flames, terrifying locals and sparking theories of demonic intervention.
Since mid-January dozens of electrical goods and pieces of furniture have spontaneously gone up in flames, causing huge damage in Canneto di Caronia, a small town perched on the Mediterranean island's rocky coast.
'I've seen unplugged electrical cables burst into flames with my own eyes, but I just can't explain it,' a local policeman who did not want to be named said Wednesday. 'I've never seen anything like it.' "

Wednesday, April 7

Stupid Sound System

And people say that I go overboard with my sound systems....

Scroll down to the pictures to see a giant subwoofer horn that you can walk around in, and a rediculous setup for main speakers.

Tuesday, April 6

The Secret Source of Google's Power

The Secret Source of Google's Power: A blog discussion on Google, GMail, GFS, distributed computing, and the coolness (and competetive advantage) of Googles technologies.

Monday, March 29

Music industry way off track with song and dance about falling sales

ARIA has been covering up about the rising music sales. They mention in their press releases about falling CD single sales and the rise in DVD music sales, but they don't mention that it was the industry's best year ever.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a thing or two to say about that....

Friday, March 26

Concrete casts new light in dull rooms

Light Transmitting Concrete. Could be a good idea for some internal walls, to give a house a more open and lighter look.
Privacy might be an issue for external walls.

Wednesday, March 24

The Arrival of Nanotech Memories

The Arrival of Nanotech Memories

Audio Format Shifting To Be OK'd In New Zealand

Slashdot | Audio Format Shifting To Be OK'd In New Zealand.
New Zealand government is going to make it clearly legal to transfer tracks from commercial CD's to a mix-CD, PC, PDA, etc, for personal use. (As long as you own the original CD).

Monday, March 22

So Who...

Alden Bates - So...: "Now we have a new Doctor Who.

For those who weren't around when the original series was in production, the usual procedure is this:"...

Of course everyone knows Who the new doctor is and what he's done...

Hardwaredefragmentation

Datadocktor'n and his guide to hardwaredefragmentation, so you can defragment your 'motherdisc'.

Toshiba unveils wearable concepts at CeBIT 2004

Toshiba unveils wearable concepts at CeBIT 2004 including a fully featured wristwatch PDA. All the concepts feature Toshiba's new 0.85 inch HDD.

BBC News has an alternative picture of the wristwatch PDA.

But then again some people on slashdot have more practicle ideas.

Sunday, March 21

Firefly DVD's inspire web comic

PvP online has a series of comics inspired by the author recently watching Firefly on DVD.

Friday, March 19

UFO streaks through Martian sky

UFO streaks through Martian sky. Caught on Camera.

Spielberg and Cruise plan new War of Worlds movie

Spielberg and Cruise plan new War of Worlds: "Spielberg became interested in making a version of the story during the 1990s, but instead of becoming a straight adaptation that project evolved into the film Deep Impact. "

Filming to start next year, for a 2006 release.

Thursday, March 18

SCI FI Greenlights 'Earthsea' for Production in New Zealand

SCI FI Channel Greenlights 'Earthsea' for Production in New Zealand: "SCI FI Channel, the largest provider of original movies and miniseries on television, announces production start on Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea. Produced by Hallmark Entertainment in association with Bender-Brown Productions, this four-hour miniseries epic will begin principle photography this spring in New Zealand."

The same people that made the Dune and Children of Dune miniseries.

Monday, March 15

Aussie cracker faces extradition

NEWS.com.au reports in a slightly missleading way about an Aussie who is currently in the courts defending his extradition to the US.

Raymond Griffiths was allegedly a member of the warez group "Drink Or Die" (DOD). He was raided by the Australian Federal Police a couple of years ago, but they couldn't lay any charges under Australian Law, so the US wants to prosecute him, even though he has never set foot in the US.

This will be a big test case for International Laws and the Internet. Do US laws rule around the world? We'll find out in 2 weeks.

It's another world . . . but is it our 10th planet?

The Australian reports: It's another world . . . but is it our 10th planet?

NASA has provisionally named it Sedna. It is located 10 billion km further out from the sun than earth, 3 billion km further out than Pluto.

Friday, March 12

XML Feed

I've turned on the Full XML Feed option, for people that use blog readers to read all their blogs.
The XML Feed is available here

Thursday, March 11

The Rainbow Plucking Orgy

The Rainbow Plucking Orgy - A shortish clip from a childrens TV show in the 70s.

Turbo Codes

IEEE Feature Article on Turbo Codes - a coding scheme that was invented in 1991, and is now becoming more popular, that allows transmissions at 0.5db from Shannons Limit, almost double the efficiency of other existing coding schemes.

Monday, March 1

'Lord of the Rings' Sweeps Oscars

Lord of the Oscars - Jackson Returns as the King!

Return of the King won 11 out of the 11 Oscar categories it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Pain?

Genetics has the answer to pain.... and when you grow up without those nerve endings, you can scratch your eyes out, bite off your tongue, and burn yourself.

Sunday, February 29

Cats And Dogs

Cats And Dogs: A very interesting read by Paul Harrison on his One Dimensional Theory of Character (and Relationships).

Are you a Dog or a Cat?

Woof!

Saturday, February 21

News about Ender's Game: The Movie

News about Ender's Game: The Movie: "Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty, the writing team that created the X-Men 2 screenplay, have been hired by Warner Brothers to write the second draft of the Ender's Game screenplay"

The movie has been "in the works" since 1996, but it looks like Warner Brothers are finally starting to push the movie forward. In March, Orson Scott Card will be meeting with Warner Brothers Consumer Products Devision to talk about electronic games that will tie in with the movie. More signs that we might see the movie in the next year or 2.

Thursday, February 19

The Dangers of Not Wearing a seatbelt and other catastrophes

DriveCam - crash 17-May-2003. WARNING - this is internal footage of a car in an actual car crash.

And if you thought cars were dangerous, then wait till you read about Kite injuries in Pakistan: "SEVEN people were killed and more than 100 injured in Pakistan during the annual kite flying festival marking the arrival of spring, officials said today."

Tuesday, February 17

NTT Develops Stamp-Size 1GB Hologram Memory

NTT Develops Stamp-Size 1GB Hologram Memory. Read only, they store the pre-recorded hologram in layers of plastic.

They are planning on initially promoting it as a replacement for semiconductor ROMs and also for media distribution (including as a replacement for DVD's).

IBM was talking about holographic storage a while ago (Nov 1996), but they don't seem to have announced anything new.

Friday, February 13

Star Wars on DVD in September

Press Release here (pdf).
In September, the original Star Wars trilogy is going to be made available as a 4 disc box set, including all three movies (Digitally Restored and Remastered) and the fourth disk will contain special features.
The movies will not be available individually.
There is no mention as to whether the movies are the "Special Edition" versions or the original cuts (or both).

Tuesday, February 10

Display Technologies Compared LCD, Plasma, DLP, D-ILA, CRT

If you are looking at upgrading your TV in the next year or so, Audioholics.com has a good article comparing the display technologies - LCD, Plasma, DLP, D-ILA and CRT.

Woman's chastity belt sets off airport alarm

Woman's chastity belt sets off airport alarm: "When a 40-year old British woman set off a metal detector's alarm at Athens airport, bemused security staff found that it was caused by a chastity belt she was wearing, officials said on Friday, confirming a press report."

Monday, February 9

Study: No harm in extended Internet use

There is no harm in extended Internet use according to a study at the University of Alberta: "Heavy Internet use may be therapeutic for those people facing social isolation and loneliness, says a new Canadian study, dispelling the belief that high computer use leads to psychological problems."

Friday, February 6

Tia Maria Tim Tams

Booze biscuits hit the shelves. Apparently Arnotts will be selling from next month Tia Maria and Khalua flavoured Tim Tams.

There is no mention yet on any of the arnotts websites, or on their Arnotts Online Store. (The online store: "We have built the Store especially for homesick Aussies who are living abroad, or people who've visited Australia and developed a taste for our wonderful biscuits.")

Wednesday, February 4

ShardsO'Glass

ShardsO'Glass Freeze Pops, Americas "top-selling frozen treats containing glass shards".

Page contains links on how to break your glass-shard freeze pops addiction, a link to their TV Commercial, and on their customer service page, a link to their "parent company".

Tuesday, February 3

Avalanche Company: The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the U.S. Army

Avalanche Company: The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the U.S. Army: "184. When operating a military vehicle I may *not* attempt something 'I saw in a cartoon'."
or
"185. My name is not a killing word."
or
"207. The Chicken and Rice MRE is *not* a personal lubricant. (Skippy wanted this noted for the record that this is not something he has ever attempted or considered! It was something we heard at dinner on 22 September 2001 and it was just so obscene it had to go here.)"

Gang swapped pot for chocolate

The Australian: Gang swapped pot for chocolate [February 03, 2004] - Five men who were raided after offered to sell 30kg of cannabis resin to some undercover cops were found to be in possesion of 30kg of Chocolate made to look like cannabis. They were still arrested and charged with "incitement to the use of a substance presented as a narcotic".

Friday, January 30

Nit-Pickers Guide to The Lord of the Rings

Nit-Pickers Guide to The Lord of the Rings - quite a detailed analysis of the things that Jackson changed from the original book. Includes Page number references (and a conversion table for page numbers in different printings of the book). Quite a good list.

It intentionally ignores major ommisions such as Tom Bombadil, but goes into nice detail for everything else.

Thursday, January 29

...

"And the URL for the photo gallery from the Pirate Party is......" <static noise>

"We're sorry, this transmission has been interrupted so that we can bring you the time. The time on the third beep will be twelve nineteen am. Beep. Beep. Beep"

Wednesday, January 28

Biodetection

Aresa Biodetection is a company that is producing plants that can detect landmines. The flowers change colour at the presence of small amounts of chemicals associated with landmines.

"Hey man, don't walk too close to those purple poppies! They'll blow you away!"

Tuesday, January 27

Surprise, Surprise

Apparently eating McDonalds food is bad for you, especially if eaten 3 meals a day for 30 days, according to the person who made the film "Super Size Me".

Friday, January 23

Doom Bolt

High-speed photography - firing a bolt at high velocity through food and watching it explode.

Tuesday, January 20

NASA Is Not Altering Mars Colors.

NASA Is Not Altering Mars Colors. Well, we already knew that, but the conspiracy theorists didn't.

The article is very informative and interesting for anyone wanting to know how digital cameras work, and how the digital camera on the Mars Spirit Rover is calibrated diffferently to standard consumer cameras. It also goes into a lot of detail on color processing for digital images. (The details of the article are at the bottom in the comments section. The top part is just an introduction).

Monday, January 19

"Inedible" Slime Recipes

"Inedible" Slime Recipes... mmm... inedible slime. Is there anything it can't do?

Sunday, January 18

weebls stuff

So you liked Badger Badger Badger?

If so, then consider checking out this "special edition of badgers".

And you also liked The Two Towers, yes?
See a trailer for the Badger Special Edition of The Two Towers. See the film the way it was meant to be, All Badger Scenes Fully Restored.

Friday, January 16

BBC finds missing Dalek episode

The BBC has found another missing Dalek episode: "The episode of The Daleks' Master Plan, from 1965, was returned by Francis Watson - who worked at the BBC when episodes were thrown out to make space."

The last episode they found was in 1999.

Big Brother is watching your cars

In the UK, the are setting up a big wireless network, initially to monitor all cars speeds and location everywhere in the UK. This also sets up the biggest data network anywhere, and will probably lead to many people in the UK getting a better internet connection via this network than would be otherwise available (especially in country towns).

So, Big Brother is watching your Cars, but he'll give you good internet access in exchange.

Thursday, January 15

Real Cross-breed Animals

Real Cross-breed Animals, including a Cama, the crossbreed for a Llama and a Camel.

But thats nothing compared to a naturally born one eyed goat.

....

"1 terabyte should be enough for anyone" - Anonymous

"640k should be enough for anyone" - Bill Gates

Firefly Movie News

FireflyMovie.com reports: "The DVDs are 'doing really well'! And 'official' movie news should be coming soon!

From Chris Buchanan (President of Mutant Enemy):
We are getting pretty close on the movie and hopefully we'll have some 'official' news soon. It seems that the DVDs are doing really well (e.g. better than Fox anticipated) and that there have been significant re-orders (an unusual thing for this type of program). Of course, we weren't that surprised but what can you do.

We really appreciate all of the fan efforts on the show's behalf and I am personally helping out on the DVDs to soldiers� project. So just tell everybody and thanks for all their efforts. I read the boards daily and all of the great local input (where the DVDs are sold out, what the reviewers are saying about the set, etc.) is always helpful.

Universal seems to be willing to make the movie (crossing fingers, touching wood, lighting candles), but we still have a few (non-creative) hurdles to cross."

Wednesday, January 14

Look at those styles!

retroCRUSH: the world's finest pop culture and Leo Sayer website.

The current feature article is "The 80s Makeup Massacre", a review of a 1985 book on makeup, but the site features many reviews of all things retro and also has a feature section of retro celebrities (such as 80s pictures of Nicole Kidman), or read about MR T's Erotic Butter Tricks.

Been Naughty?

The fill out a Citizen's Self-Arrest Form.

Sunday, January 4

I want to see That Movie!

Bureau 42's list of Movies being released in 2004....

Included are a new Kevin Smith movie, Jersey Girl, a few epic tales, including Troy and King Arthur, and some classic Asimov Science Fiction, with I, Robot.

Others to look out for are Thunderbirds (The puppet classic), A Sound of Thunder (Time Travel) and Van Helsing (Another Dracula Movie).

Should be a fun year at the movies, even without a Star Wars or Lord of the Rings film.

Comet Pictures Pt 1

Image Display: "NASA released a high-resolution black and white image of Comet Wild 2 captured by Stardust's navigation camera during the encounter."

More images to come when the color images and other data from the probe are downloaded later today.

More information and pictures are available on NASA's Stardust Site.