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» Belkin WeMo This kind of looks like the future of home automation.
Belkin WeMo

Nice feature overview here.

X10 is cool but complicated; whereas this looks cool and simple.   |
» Bookcrossing A friend pointed me at Bookcrossing.

Seems like a great way to redistribute your old books and having some fun doing it.

The basic idea - label your old books with a unique identifier, then drop them off wherever you like. Log the 'drop' on the Bookcrossing website for someone to pick up. If they log the collection you can track who and where the book goes. Obviously there are the usual anonymity options and if a non-Bookcrossing person picks up the book they may choose not to join-up (its free, they make money selling accessories like custom labels and bookplates).

Pretty cool.   |
» Mailorder Beer A plug and a bit of a bookmark for myself - Beerstore in NZ does a great job of distributing beer of all kinds delivered to your door.

I've used them a few times now and they're quick and efficient - I even had one delivery with broken bottles which the couriers obviously screwed up and within a couple of days Beerstore had another order on my doorstep no questions asked. Now thats service !   |
» What is a karonkka? A friend of mine recently returned from Finland where he was examining a PhD defence - the process is called a Karonkka.

As well as getting decked out in a full-on tux & tails they actually had ceremonial swords to boot. How cool is that ?

Be sure to read Shauns other posts on the nature of research, patents, science and technology in New Zealand.   |
» TED Talks A friend of mine (cheers Eddie!) pointed me at the excellent TED Talk series.

Subscribe to their RSS feed now.

Theres always something you can set aside 15 minutes of your time to learn about or dump to your mp3 player to listen/watch while you commute.

Recent favourites of mine have included - 'Build a brain in a supercomputer', 'Our buggy moral code', 'What brain damage can point out about our mind', 'Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet?'   |
» Useful Ways to be Persuasive I realised my Linkdump category hadn't been updated in a looong time so I'll kick start it with this link to some common-sense ways to be persuasive.

As per the link comments in the preamble, its a bit pop-psych but theres some useful stuff to help get your head around how you can get your point of view across to other people.   |
» Because you need to know - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout It'll be interesting to see if the New York Times keeps this table up to date - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout.

See which financial institutions receive money and how much they get.   |
» Good Music - Le Pop by Katzenjammer Discovered while reading Popmatters list of Also-rans for 2008 - Katzenjammers 'Le Pop' is one of those joyful albums by a band determined to put a stupid grin on your face at all costs or die trying (cf early Violent Femmes, Crowded House, Pogues).

Check out a couple of videos on YouTube - 'A bar in Amsterdam' and 'Aint no thang'   |
» Good Books - The Shock Doctrine Another excellent read from Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine. I have to admit I'm only halfway through this book - mans inhumanity to man makes for tough going - however its pretty much compulsory reading for anyone that wonders how the worlds free market economy's were lead down the track they're currently on.

Essentially what Klein does is posit the idea that free market economies and reforms can only be forced through on the back of an external crisis (sometimes real and sometimes engineered). As a result those people best placed to take advantage of the reforms do extraordinarily well and the vast majority of us end up worse off - with globalisation these disparities keep getting worse as multi-nationals cease to be bound by georgraphy.

As the recent recession and American bank / finance / auto bail-outs have shown - the free market has failed to a certain extent - their own calls for deregulation have bit them on the ass and now they're going cap in hand to the very regulatory bodies they once reviled for assistance.

So even when things go wrong for the wheelers and dealers of the world - they still come out on top.   |
» Good Books - Killing Rommel by Stephen Pressfield Another quick summer read - Killing Rommel is a return to form for Stephen Pressfield - his 'Gates of Fire' was a masterpiece but after that I found 'Tides of War' and 'Last of the Amazons' to be a little dry.

His latest novel tells the tale of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and their various exploits in the North African campaign, culminating in a mission to track down and kill Rommel.   |

Interesting Links

Saturday 26 July 2014 at 9:21 pm A long time between posts again.

People write about some interesting stuff -

How the Presidents Blackberry is secured, and from the same site, How Air Force Ones phones work.

Yahoo Logo

Saturday 07 September 2013 at 8:13 pm Getting back into the swing of posting again. Its been awhile.

In fact its been so long I'd completely forgotten Yahoo still existed.

As a design and typography nerd (I'm not claiming to be any good at it but I certainly appreciate it) I enjoyed these two articles on the new Yahoo logo -

Logo Reveals Worst Aspects of Engineering Mindset

Logo Bullshit

Both great reads.

A reminder that just because 'design' looks easy, don't be mistaken into believing it actually is.

Back Up And Running for 2013 !

Monday 01 April 2013 at 2:07 pm Sigh. More ne'er-do-wells messing with my site. Kudos to my webhost for picking up the oddball behaviour. The site itself was fine but someone was exploiting a Pivotx hole for nefarious mailing & storage purposes causing the hosts CPU to spike.

Not a great first post for 2013 but its taken a fair bit of motivation to get back onto the blogging bandwagon.

OS X Spleen - Scheduled Reboots & Shutdowns

Friday 21 September 2012 at 4:39 pm Aaargh.

Why the flying fuck can I not schedule a shutdown time that is honored via the Energy Saver control panel ?

Prior to 10.7 if I set a shutdown time the system would shutdown.

Pretty simple, pretty cool, expected behaviour. Very Apple. Nice.

Now, if I do this, may Mac may (or may not) shutdown depending on who (other Mac's to shares) or what (iTunes wireless sync) is connected.

If I cared about syncing or shares I wouldn't schedule a shutdown.

If a setting resulted in unexpected behaviour, then a followup prompt to say "If you shutdown existing shares or synching will be affected are you sure you want to over-ride this and shutdown anyway ?" would be really cool.

Apple, please fix this !!

PS - for those of you that say you shouldn't ever need to shutdown, how about to save power or flush out the OS stack (aspects of which appear to have gotten less reliable with each OS revision) ?

PPS - yes I know I could cut through the crap by using a simple CRON Unix job but why should I have to resort to a command line to do something that has a GUI ?

iPad Spleen - Browser Cache Behaviour

Sunday 02 September 2012 at 10:08 am While the world goes iOS, iPhone, iPad nuts I continue to find it frustrating to use.

Maybe I'm just an edge case and people are so buried in their app-y goodness they don't necessarily care that the tool has some fundamentally frustrating flaws.

Still, its always interesting to see other people express similar discontent at Apples inability to get simple things right. I feel like there should be some kind of support group.

Browser cache, do you speak it?

and

Browser cache, do you fucking speak it yet??

Citizen Kane Slow Clap

iPad Spleen - Copy & Paste (like its 1984)

Sunday 02 September 2012 at 09:59 am iPads are pretty cool.

They're also massively frustrating.

But why oh why can't I draw or create something in one app and copy/paste it into another (draw something in Adobe Ideas or Studio53's Paper and shift it from one app to the other; I dare you to try) ?

Maybe I'm just old and reluctant to accept change or I'm missing out on something super subtle usability paradigm that obviates the need to readily shift content easily from one app to another.

I'm guessing all of the API's are there and its just app vendors laziness to implement a feature the world has been used to for 30+yrs ?

Belkin WeMo

Sunday 12 August 2012 at 10:51 am This kind of looks like the future of home automation.
Belkin WeMo

Nice feature overview here.

X10 is cool but complicated; whereas this looks cool and simple.

Bookcrossing

Sunday 24 June 2012 at 08:55 am A friend pointed me at Bookcrossing.

Seems like a great way to redistribute your old books and having some fun doing it.

The basic idea - label your old books with a unique identifier, then drop them off wherever you like. Log the 'drop' on the Bookcrossing website for someone to pick up. If they log the collection you can track who and where the book goes. Obviously there are the usual anonymity options and if a non-Bookcrossing person picks up the book they may choose not to join-up (its free, they make money selling accessories like custom labels and bookplates).

Pretty cool.

Tiny Houses (Revisited)

Friday 27 April 2012 at 5:04 pm I mentioned Tiny Houses way back in 2006 - theres now a doco - posted in its entirety on Youtube. Its definitely worth a watch and theres some inspirational ideas for efficient use of space in here too - check it out.

Some Stuff . . .

Friday 27 April 2012 at 4:51 pm Its been awhile since I posted anything let alone anything techie related.

To that end, some interesting stuff -

Seems like only yesterday that NT4 was the new cool thing (at least with SP3!) - but now the new Windows 2012 Server Beta labs are available.

An insight into Facebooks release management process.

A view on Microsofts new Cloud Management tools from a systems admin.
 

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