Wednesday, October 25, 2006

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Told ya I was special.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Facial Prototype for Attractiveness, and Me as an Old Man

I read this interesting article on about an experiment done by the people at which correllated facial processing-time with attractiveness. You can read into the specifics here, but what I found most interesting was the 'prototypical attractive female face,' which was created through a sort of amalgamation of 15 women's faces (she can be seen at the previous link).

They assigned a lined geometric pattern to each face, attaching specific points to the pattern (such as eyes, nose, mouth, etc) then calculated the average difference in the distances between certain points. They then took that average difference and, using some kind of facial picture editing program, moved each woman's geometric points by the average, then essentially combined all 15 faces to create the prototypical attractive female. Pretty cool.

But on to the second part of my post. These same people also created a program to transform your own face... And using that (found here), here is me as an old man:

click to enlarge

Looks like I stop holding out any hope of my upper lip remaining intact (what the hell?).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gmail Feature Suggestion: Vote For What Features You Want To See Most

This is a cool little page google set up to take suggestions from people on how to improve gmail. They have some pretty cool predesignated choices I'd like to see implemented, but of course there are always many more we'd like to see. This link was submitted to digg, and alot of people made some pretty good suggestions as well. Personally, I suggested the following:

-Ability to schedule emails to be sent at a later date.
-Inclusion of folder in addition to labels.

I really don't think it's just an old-school mentality with the folders; like a lot of people, I use my inbox as a sort of 'in process' space, and I don't like having to sift through a bunch of what I consider 'resolved' emails that I can't make disappear. Sure, you can archive them, but you can only view archived email under 'all mail,' where it is mixed with everything else and not designated as being such. I don't like gmail blending it with other stuff. Now, if the archive feature had its own folder/section, I'd just archive everything I considered resolved, and get it out of the way that way.


-Free IMAP access
-The option to 'reply' on the side of the menu, instead of below
-Calendar synchronization through SyncML
-Remove the "sent on behalf of" when sending from another account, to be able to use Gmail for a work account without announcing one's personal email address
-Ability to select multiple attachments at once
-Permalinks to your messages/conversations so you can link to your emails from your other documents/webapps.

Two more things, now that I think about it-I wish I could designate a sender's email address as recognition for labelling. Sometimes, no matter what combination of keywords, quotation usage, boolean, etc, I just can't get gmail to recognize certain things.

Secondly, how about PGP encryption included in gmail?

Well anyway, we'll see what google does with this stuff in the future.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Take Down Fraudulent Commerce Sites by Stealing their Bandwidth

Bandwidth hogging is a plauge of internet. But why not turn this plague against scammers? "We have put together some tools – The Lad Vampire and Muguito – which automatically reload fake bank graphics over and over and over." Since scammers buy cheap hosting with low bandwidth, leeching it can take down many sites who have stubbornly remained.

Check it out, let it run in the background on your spare bandwidth, and take down some phishers.

Pope Abolishes "Limbo" - Saves Millions of Babies' Souls!

Pope Benedict XVI has abolished limbo, i.e. limbus infantium, the place where the souls of unbaptised, stillborn babies go instead of heaven. Apparently, if you were a Catholic baby and hadn't been baptised, up until Friday Oct 6th, you had spent the entirety of your existence in heaven's waiting room.

Hoorah for the pope!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Newsvine User Payout System

I recently revisited Newsvine, another social news site, as I have been meaning to do for awhile now since I was intrigued by their system of giving contributers a portion of the ad revenue for popular story submissions. While it's pretty simple how it works, I couldn't find any real numbers of what users were getting. Well, here is a link to the official Newsvine Blog that shows the top earner received $414.27 for August '06.

A few interesting comments on the post hinted at a rough calculation by one submitter as about $.04/vote on his seeds/articles, and another (one of the top tech submitters) claiming he wasn't yet into 3-figures. But the norm was $1.10 here, and $3.50 there.

Of course, this is almost a couple months old, and I don't know if their model for this is still solely, "page views times ad revenue per page view." But anyway, it's pretty clear you can't go into it motivated by the returns. It does make me wonder though, what these other sites that claim to pay you for your blogging/submissions pay their submitters. I'm talking of those that don't fit the idealist role like Newsvine, but are more user-revenue based. Maybe I'll look into that in the future.

I guess I have to say it's a cool new way to approach community news sites, and I could see myself getting a little thrill out of watching my meager gains, and that feeling of getting a direct response to my time/energy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google Music Search: Firefox Toolbar Plug-in!

Great Firefox Search Plug-in: Google Music.
Searches .mp3, .wma, .ogg. This is so much more convenient than navigating to all those different 'google mp3 search' sites you've all heard of. Under Section 5: "Google Music" (not musicsearch). You'll never go back.

Digg It

Rocketboom sucks.

I've heard about this vidcast/blogcast/videoblog/vlog/who-gives-a-crap for so long on TWiT, diggnation, and elsewhere, that I finally checked it out. I watched Andrew Baron's enthusiastic appearance on a TWiT, and thought, 'hey, can't be that bad.'

After reading through the reviews on the iTunes music store page , I've found the majority of responses fall under the following 3 categories: a)it blows, b)good/ok except for 'yadda yadda', c)it "ROCKS!!", is "the BEST!!", etc.

Only problem is, category 'c' consisted of roughly 8 out of 100 people, who I'm convinced are under the spell of 'penis-think'. And any constructive criticism you'd expect to find under category 'b' is again, blocked by P-T. The following caveats seem to repeatedly pop up:

"...It's just a wacky conglomeration of video clips, hackneyed video transitions, and a pretty face putting out words that someone puts in front of her. I'm not saying this is a bad thing..." (italic emphasis added).

"(praise precedes)...the only complaint I have about Rocketboom is that it seems like they release crappy casts when they don't really have anything to report on."

"...Rocketboom is cute, but it's really not THAT good. It's good that it's FREE."

How moronic is that: "it's pretty good, but pretty much my only complaint about it is that it kinda sucks..." These are either repressed geeks or post-pubescents still fighting with the penis-think. So I'm going to come out and say what these guys were grappling with themselves (er...) to say: Rocketboom sucks.

Category 'a' commenters express to that effect more or less. The only attraction is, if not already obvious, the sexual one: Amanda Congdon was, and Joanne Colan is hot-end of story.

The professional looking wide-screen format, and... well the professional looking wide-screen format can't cover up for the lack of content, scripting, transitioning, or, generally, production.

I suppose I'm fairly behind on this, but there you have it. Don't waste your time.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Musical Spirograph

"In three minutes, the largest dot will travel around the circle once, the next largest dot will travel around the circle twice, the next largest dot three times, and so on. The dots are arranged to trigger notes on a chromatic scale when they pass the line."

This thing is really cool-you should check it out if you get a chance. Kind of hypnotic. "Var. 5 - chromatic - 88 tines" was my favorite.

Outspoken Putin Critic Shot Dead in Moscow

"Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead on Saturday at her apartment block in central Moscow, police said. "According to initial information she was killed by two shots when leaving the lift. Neighbors found her body," a police source told Reuters."

I found this particularly disturbing:

"She said she was unable to cover the bloody siege of a school at Beslan in 2004 -- in which more than 330 children and parents died when troops stormed the school -- because she was poisoned on the flight from Moscow and ended up in hospital."

How brave someone would have to be to press on with this kind of work, in the face of this kind of danger. And you have to think that the only way this could be inconspicuous enough for her to eat/drink that crap, some average-jane stewardess played a part too, probably for some piddly amount of money. How horrible.

read more | digg story

Friday, October 06, 2006

14,000 Year Old Hard Drive Disk?

Found were 716 stone 'disks' described as "obviously fashioned by the hand of an intelligent creature." Etched in its face was a very fine groove spiraling out from the center; closer inspection revealed the 'spiral' to be an almost microscopic, continuous line of what appeared to be writing. Placed on a turntable the disk emitted a strange 'hum'.

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Anomolies Unlimited

A compilation of the weird, the horrible, and the unexplained. Some of this is just the usual, speculative nonsense (however entertaining), while some stuff claims to have been checked into, at least as far as he/she can. It's interesting, and mildly addictive.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Driving Signals 2.0

"Helps you improve communication with other drivers & express yourself [emphasis added]. Fix display module to rear windscreen & use remote control in the front of the car. Battery operated - No Wires - Single and Multiple message options."

For the traditionalist-combine the 'mean face' with the finger for bonus emphasis.

Get Your Scrolling Marquis On

Check out "the interactive clothing concept," brought to you by Uranium Jeans, a French company that has started making jeans and clothing with embedded thin flexible micro screens. "Luminous and communicative," and "the very latest thing," says the company on its website.

Yeah, but does it tell you the temperature, time, and that you'll be fined for smoking in the vicinity of your person?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Lion in the House-Part II

There really isn't any way to adequately describe the tragedy of terminal childhood cancer. The fear expressed at times in the faces of these kids is just harrowing.

My observation in watching this is that if one had to choose, early childhood would be the most tolerable and least traumatic of a period to endure such an ordeal. As the doctors/nurses repeated throughout the film, no matter what happens, they continue to be kids. The most trivial game can brighten their present, and distract them from their pain. But once a kid hits their teens, that more developed sense of forethought and sense of self sets in, and with it a complicated view of their illness.

I hate to imagine what it would be like at that age contemplating a future without you in it. As I watched Tim (above) asked by his doctor, after all treatments to eradicate his cancer had failed, if he wanted to discontinue treatment and go home, putting it behind him, or to resume a miserable course of treatment to try to prolong his life as much as possible, I felt the utmost sympathy for his response that he never wanted to stop. He's 16-what else is there but the future? That's everything that is supposed to be. There is absolutely nothing to justify any other action; no fond memories of years well spent, of growing up and recognizing yourself, of children raised and successful-there is nothing except the future. What a question to be asked at that age, and how forceful of a push to maturity.

And as the viewer you are always hoping that a kid will come through, knowing they won't. And as one watches Tim submit to this realization, watches his evident depression while in his hospital bed, his mother's denial and avoidance, and his corresponding loneliness, and voiced fear of death-you can feel nothing but a visceral sense of the hell that this is. Kids don't die this way, you think.

Any parent watching this film who wasn't filled with gratitude for their fortunate reach into the genetic lottery is an idiot.