Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No ordinary mashup

Some TV themes were meant to go together and they're not even from the same era. Such as? Such as the themes from (the original) Star Trek and The Simpsons. Don't take my word for it....

Shown here, the mashup artist plays the Theremin. I gotta get me one of those.

0 - 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.............. it's a hybrid

Here's yet another example that hybrid technology doesn't have to be boring or lack performance.

You saw it here first....

The pic is an actual shot of a webcam in the Rockies (Sunshine Village), taken today (Aug 30) at 10:01am. I guess that's the first snow of the season........

"I get to land this plane - me!"

So - imagine this. You're a pilot and you decide to step out of the cockpit to visit the bathroom. When you get back, you find that you can't open the door to the cockpit. You're locked out. This actually happened. The flight attendant and First Officer were still in the cockpit, but couldn't get the door open with 20 minutes left in the flight. They finally got it open and the pilot got to land the aircraft.

Yeah. I know what really happened. The First Officer said to the attendant, "I'll give you $100 if when the pilot tries to get back in, you hold the door closed and we pretend it's stuck."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I see a t-shirt made out of this....

I stumbled across this wonderful mashup of the original "Home taping is killing music" logo. Very cute. And just about as ridiculous as the original claim.

"Do you want it back?"

For the select few that haven't read this yet....

I'm reading this story on the news wires, but I still find it hard to believe. A poor guy accidentally drops his iPoo errr - sorry - iPod in the toilet on board his flight to Ottawa and it snowballs into a massive incident and a right grilling by security officials. Read the story from the terrorist's ummm victim's perspective here.

Yeah............. we're winning the war on terror, eh?
Picture from

Monday, August 28, 2006

Wow................that sucked!

Every year I watch the Academy Awards. And the Emmys. Yeah....... I'm a sheep, what can I say. I like to see my fave actors ham it up a little and hear them thank that high school drama teacher who gave them the secret to being the best they can be. But last night's show was plain awful. Host - not funny. Presenters' monologues - less funny. Speeches - cut short before any real emotion could be displayed. So - call me a rebel, but I think the era of watching awards shows in our house is over. It's become so canned and contrived now.

I have an idea though. I hear the after-awards parties are the real big event. Maybe they should sneak some cameras into those suckers and secretly record our favourite stars making asses of themselves. Then we could watch them get drunk. That could be some fun TV.........

From the "people with imaginations" department...

Imagine you're shopping or working at a Home Depot when suddenly, 225 random customers start moving in slow motion throughout the store. For 5 whole minutes. Then they all go back to normal as if nothing happened. Then 5 minutes later, they just freeze. For 5 more minutes. Then go back to normal and eventually leave the store.

Wouldn't that be totally freaky? Because it happened. And they got some of it on video. It was all a big joke of course. Behold the creativity of a group called Improv Everywhere.

Be sure to at least watch the compilation video about half way down the page right after the paragraph "I've compiled several videos........"

"Thunder is a rich source of loudness"

More science observations from kids. Warning: put...... the....... coffee....... down........
  • Rainbows are just to look at, not to really understand.
  • South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage.
  • Many dead animals in the past changed to fossils while others preferred to be oil.
  • Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime.
  • There are 26 vitamins in all, but some of the letters are yet to be discovered. Finding them all means living forever.
  • Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they're there.
  • Some oxygen molecules help fires burn while others help make water, so sometimes it's brother against brother.
  • Humidity is the experience of looking for air and finding water. We keep track of the humidity in the air so we won't drown when we breathe.
  • The wind is like the air, only pushier.
More here. Picture by cybergus.

Friends don't let dogs drive........

Does your dog watch you drive? Having seen this, have you ever thought to maybe letting the dog have a try at driving? Of course - that would be silly. But just in case you suddenly think "Ahhh, what the heck - the dog's deserving of a turn at the wheel".................. check what happens.

Now it's personal

Worth1000 took the "Pluto isn't a planet anymore" thing and made a Photoshop contest out of it. Funny stuff.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

And there it was............. gone

I saw a tree completely changed colour (yellow) today. Not because of how cold it is during the day. Likely because of how cool it's getting now at night. Where the heck did summer go.......?

Is that your final answer?

Do you like the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"? Do you feel you could do better than most of the people who play it? Well, now's your chance to prove it. Too bad you don't actually get the money if you win, eh?

Revised: Don't buy a used laptop when new prices are so low

Darlene asked me yesterday as we were driving by some Laptops-R-Us store, "Is it a good idea to buy a used laptop?" I immediately blurted out "No!", but I knew I should probably back that up. A laptop is a very delicate package of hardware that typically gets a great deal of physical abuse in proportion to what it can actually take. Unfortunately, you can never really know how well someone has treated their laptop, and this establishes a significant risk. If we just look at the value per dollar of a used laptop, some private sales offer OK value but still carry the risk. Retail stores that sell used laptops are trying to make a profit and often charge way too much for what you're getting. Then there's accessories. If it doesn't come with that extra battery, travel charger, docking station or whatever - good luck ever finding one.

This week, one of our megabox stores offers a Toshiba with 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive for only $600 plus tax. That's brand new. No abuse. No risk. Accessories still available. Granted - it's not a powerhouse computer, but you weren't going to get a powerhouse in a used model either in most instances. Because people typically sell their laptops when there's something bigger and faster out there. Or because they dropped it one too many times and need to offload the sucker before it has a massive breakdown.......

So do yourself a favour. Get the new one.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Into the blue

If you're any kind of aviation buff, you might like to see all the video clips at FlightLevel350. You can even search by aircraft, airline, airport, action and more.

Message to people who 'own' online works

Before you start accusing people and threatening them with copyright infringement, you need to learn a little bit about copyright law - and the culture of blogging. There's a thing called fair use (fair dealing in Canada) and it provides exceptions to people who use copyrighted works. This helps to protect libraries, educational institutions, reviewers and news agencies. There is no mention of bloggers in the law, because blogging didn't exist in 1997, but when I 'report' on something I have found elsewhere on the internet, I am either reporting or reviewing it. This is covered under the law.

In Canada, the actual text of the Copyright Act on the Infringement of Copyright states (and I quote):

29.1 Fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned:
(a) the source; and
(b) if given in the source, the name of the
(i) author, in the case of a work,
(ii) performer, in the case of a performerÂ’s performance,
(iii) maker, in the case of a sound recording, or
(iv) broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.
1997, c. 24, s. 18.

(the next section, 29.2 is an exact copy of 29.1, but substitutes reporting for criticism or review)

Now, when I mention the existence of works on another site, I don't always mention an author. But this law was written before bloggers started 'linking' to works on other web sites. I believe the courts will see that hyper-linking to the source of a work is the same as mentioning the source, because clicking the link will immediately take you to the owner's / author's site and make available everything you would want to know about the author of the work. Which also makes it very clear that the work is not mine, nor am I trying to take credit for it.

So get off your high horses people and read the law before you harass, threaten and bully people who are in effect, just trying to do you a favour and paying you the biggest compliment by reporting on your activities. That's right - you are in essence kicking a gift horse in the mouth. So be careful what you wish for. You might get it. When bloggers become paranoid and stop reporting works owned by popular sites........... those sites don't stay popular anymore. And unlike us poor schmucks, you all are more likely in it for the money. Therefore - you have the most to lose.

Damn! We should be suing you and demanding a cut of all the money we've helped you make....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rules for the game of life

You didn't come with an owner's manual. These guidelines may make life work better.
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's the only thing you are sure to keep for the rest of your life.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "Life on Planet Earth". Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. "Failures" are as much a part of the process as "success."
4. A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it -- then you can go on to the next lesson.
5. If you don't learn easy lessons, they get harder. External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the universe gets your attention.
6. You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.
7. "There" is no better than "here". When your "there" becomes a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that again looks better than "here."
8. Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself.
9. Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas; you do the painting. Take charge of your life -- or someone else will.
10. You always get what you want. Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract -- therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have. There are no victims, only students.
11. There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences. Moralizing doesn't help. Judgments only hold the patterns in place. Just do your best.
12. Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written. You know more than you have heard or read or been told. All you need to do is to look, listen, and trust.
13. You will forget all this.
14. You can remember any time you wish.
(From the book "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Knowledge is power

My new motivation poster. Hope you like it.

T'was the perfect day for a prank

I decided to have some fun at work today. A colleague came to me and asked if I had noticed a certain poster in the building. The poster is quite large and has a photo of a senior staff member posing with their earned award, surrounded by a small group of company executives. Much to the chagrin (I'm sure) of the award recipient, the photo was taken with said recipient having the kind of expression on their face that signifies disinterest, or disconnectedness. It has often come up in conversation around work about the look this poor soul has on their face and "couldn't they have taken a better snapshot?"

Well, on my colleague's suggestion, I set out to rectify the situation. I went back to my desk and made a hand-drawn red hat - like the kind you see (pictured above) on those television commercials from Arby's. "I'm thinking Arby's". Yeah........ that hat. I cut the hat out and strategically placed it over the head of the guy in the poster to see if it was appropriate. It was bloody perfect. But I was chickening out. Luckily, a good friend took matters out of my hands and taped the hat over top of the person's head in the poster. It attracted a lot of people over the course of the day. The best part was when the subject in the photo came by and laughed. Fantastic! The guy has a sense of humour.

Pluto's a poser

The International Astronomical Union have redefined what qualifies as a planet. This is bad news for Pluto, which is now no longer considered a planet, but now will fall under the category of dwarf planet.

Soon after this announcement, the other planets began taunting Pluto, shouting inappropriate vituperations at the cold rock. Pluto mumbled back, "We're not dwarves................. we're little planets....."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Karl's tips on life - procrastination tip

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

Mark Twain

Blast from the past - talk like a rocker

Digging into the blog archives, I found this quick post regarding how singers pronounce words differently from the rest of us mortals.

It's a big problem

I've mentioned before how our economy in Calgary is booming. Housing costs are high, construction is at a fever pace, it's difficult to find a store or restaurant or construction site that isn't advertising for more workers. Unfortunately, part of the reason more workers aren't coming here to lap at the overflow of jobs is lack of available housing, especially rentals. As a result, Calgary has likely exceeded the number of jobless homeless people with the working poor - and now - just plain working homeless.

Yet everywhere you look in this city, houses are sprouting, even a few high density buildings are going up. But they're all condominiums. There's no profit for developers in building apartment (rental) buildings, because condos get cash to the developer as soon as the unit is sold instead of having to borrow on the development over the long term. This means the only hope for rental units coming available, is for the City to relax home rental suite regulations (not a very safe option), or for investors to buy up homes and/or condos as investments and rent them out. I don't know many people in the position to make this kind of investment when housing costs are so high.

So what's the solution? Like everything else wanting in our local economy as a result of the booming oil sector, the government needs to start thinking about investing oil more royalties on current needs rather than socking it all away for a rainy day. Part of this investment in our situation today should include incentives to get developers to build rental properties on a grand scale, with percentages set aside for low income individuals.

Metro art

If you have any interest in subways, especially subway architecture, Metro Arts & Architecture will be of interest to you. From the classic design of Moscow's system to the modern art style of Montreal's Metro, you'll find it all.

Pictured: The Monk station in Montreal's Metro.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where's the common sense?

Here's what happens when business becomes over-regulated by a government entity:

I got my phone bill in the mail today. Enclosed with the bill was a notice from the company. It stated that based on an initiative by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regarding Quality of Service Indicators, the company had not met performance targets in the area of trouble reports and repair appointments, particularly in rural areas. This genius plan by the CRTC looks at the service quality results and calculates a credit to be refunded back to clients. Everyone with a phone line (from this company) gets the credit. This year's refund? $0.76

Now, I'm not the smartest person in the world, but here's what I'm thinking. The service quality issues seemed more focused on rural support than urban support. I'm going to take a wild guess and imagine that the company in question has about 5 million customers (with land line phone lines). Multiply that by $0.76 and you're looking at a rebate totaling about $3.8 million. Considering that the rural customer bore the brunt of the service flaw, why does everyone get the credit? Wouldn't the almost $4 million be better spent on solutions to improve the quality of service in rural areas (like hiring more people) than handing out an insulting and completely useless $0.76?

Sardines not included

This is pretty cool: (excerpt)

"Here's a compact survival kit that actually survives being carried along. It's watertight and it floats so in the event that you actually need it, everything inside is in perfect condition. It includes an amazing array of supplies for all outdoors enthusiasts including:

Acetaminophen, adhesive bandage, alcohol prep, antibiotic ointment, book of matches, tea bag, chewing gum, sugar, salt packet, energy nugget, duct tape, fire starter cube, wire clip, first aid instructions, fish hook and line, note paper, pencil, razor blade, safety pin, whistle, compass, reflective signal surface and waterproof bag."

But no freakin' sardines!

Ghost riders

The Darwin awards and/or stupidest people on earth awards certainly have their work cut out for themselves this year. Pourquoi? Because of a phenomenon flaring across the land known as ghost riding (the whip). Primer:

Drive your car (the whip) - get out while the car's still moving - dance all around / on top of it (yes - the car is still moving) - hope it doesn't crash into [you / another person / another car / a light standard / the house at the end of the street] - post proof of your intelligence quotient online.

Believers in natural selection - you can jump into the conversation at any time.............

Best statement uttered on a blog so far this week...

"The terrorists hate our freedom, so by eliminating the freedom, we can stop the terrorists from hating us."

Cory Doctorow - BoingBoing

Monday, August 21, 2006

Visual pathways

I love finding great collections of photography. Today, I stumbled across a collection of pictures belonging to a local (Calgary) artist, Gary Hebert. Lots of fantastic pictures of the Calgary area, the Rockies of course and other places Gary has been to, including the place we're going soon - Cannon Beach!

Disclaimer - that is not a picture of Gary Hebert.........

"But I don't want to break a leg...."

After listening to Darlene tell me that I can be overly dramatic one too many times, I have decided (at her behest) to enroll in an acting class. It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm really looking forward to it. Should be fun. Somehow I have a feeling that once I get started, I'm going to kick myself for not having started sooner.

"My position is clear..........." (sorta)

In a way I almost feel sorry for poor ol' George W. Somebody needs to get this guy to a doctor. He can barely string a sentence together.

Movie recommendation

Rented some movies this weekend. If you haven't seen it, I recommend Inside Man. Stars Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe.... All the world needed was another heist movie, but this Spike Lee joint is clever, with enough twists to make Chubby Checker dizzy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Into the great wide open

As of August 17th, Voyager I is now 100AU (astronomical units) from the Sun (about 15 billion km or 9.3 billion miles). This is the farthest that any human-made object has gone in space. It only took 29 years. In comparison, Earth is 1AU from the sun, Jupiter is about 5.2AU and Pluto varies 30-50AU from the sun.

I predict this becomes an end-of-workday tradition....

Make sure your speakers are on. Go to and click on the exclamation mark in the logo. Repeat if necessary.

You're welcome....

Some tips about wireless networking

A lot of people are getting on the wireless networking bandwagon these days, but are they doing it for the right reasons? Worse, once they get wireless set up, they think they're good to go. Let's clear a few things up:

1. Wireless is only a good idea when running network cable is impractical or when computer location makes cabling difficult. Why? See #2.

2. Wireless is still not as fast as wired. Even when a technology arrives that promises 'as fast as wired' speed, there will still be issues. Why? See #3.

3. Wireless works on a technology few consumers understand - radio frequency (RF). RF (especially at the high frequencies that wireless uses) cannot penetrate all walls and floors perfectly. But even more, RF suffers from interference from things as innocuous as your cell phone, cordless phone, microwave, wireless mouse - anything that produces RF energy (intentionally or otherwise). RF does NOT have to be the same frequency to interfere with other RF - it only has to have ooomph (or be close by).

4. Because wireless uses RF, you want to use products that maximize the efficiency of sending / receiving RF. Translation - the USB network adapter is not as good as the PCI adapter that fits inside your computer with the antenna hanging off the back. Visible antenna always trumps invisible antenna for performance.

5. You cannot get by (safely) by just hooking up a wireless network and carrying on. You need to set up the security features of your system (they are usually disabled by default). There may be more than one security feature to choose from. Translation - you need to read the damned manual! If you don't understand the manual, you need to get help setting up the security features properly. If you don't, you will have poor or no security and anyone with the desire will be able to use your internet connection as their own.

Don't get me wrong, wireless networking is a fantastic technology. I use it. But I only use it when my wired network just won't do (such as when I want to surf the net out on my porch). Most importantly, I know its limitations and I take them into account. For a good primer on wireless, read this article, then this one, then this one.

Now you've done it.............

I suppose with all the fear being promoted by governments and law enforcement about the imminent danger of terrorism in our culture, we should all have predicted that it would start coming to this. Now people are forcing airlines' hands by asking that suspicious (translation - not white) folks be removed from aircraft or face mutiny. What's next?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lots of iron

Learn how to make magnetic water - impress your friends.

This could be your chance to stop the madness

My fellow Canadians, while you enjoy your summer and imagine that your politicians are doing the same, a line is being drawn in the sand. The entertainment industry (it is rumoured) is preparing to convince your ruling federal government to introduce legislation that will match American's DMCA.

Michael Geist, a lawyer who knows copyright law, intends to spend the next 30 days explaining what's wrong with the DMCA idea and what must be done if a similar law is to be introduced in Canada.

I believe this is important to every consumer, anyone who enjoys any form of entertainment in any digital form. The entertainment industry is desperately trying to set the stage that would allow them to decide what the cd, dvd, vcr / pvr, cable box, computer, mp3 player, satellite radio of tomorrow can and cannot do. These are the death throes of an industry that thinks it can win the argument that new technology is bad for business (remember the cassette and video tape? - yeah, it hurt them soooo badly). This is the same industry that wants to ban all online lyrics and guitar tablature sites, because it threatens creators and publishers.

But don't take my word for it, just listen to the group of artists who have come out to declare that current artistic regulations are too restrictive as it is.

A cult film is born

The independant film come cult sensation before it even hit theatres Snakes on a Plane (SOAP) is finally out. You know a movie has made cult status when - even prior to its release - an audience participation script (a-la Rocky Horror) is available on the internets to print out and bring to the theatre.

One of my favourite parts:

Opening Credits
When: Before the title appears.
What: Call out alternate snake-related titles for the movie, like: “Snake the Money and Run,” “Muppets Snake Manhattan,” “Extreme Snakeover, Plane Edition,” "Snakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" "Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Snakes." Alternatively, start a slow chant in the crowd of "Snakes, snakes, snakes..." until the title is displayed.

One of these things is not like the others....

North American car makers are experiencing a little bit of a nostalgia trip. Witness the re-incarnated Ford Mustang, the soon-to-be-remade Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Charger, the Lincoln Zephyr........

Is it me, or does one of these things not belong? Because when I think about a hot car deserving of a come-back, I think Zephyr........ mmm yeah.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Oceans in danger

The biggest garbage dump isn't where you think. Hopefully we find a way to deal with this before it turns into a graveyard. Follow the link to a great feature on garbage in the oceans.

Vintage advertisements

Here's an ad that would never fly today.....

The text reads: "Begin early.... Shave yourself"

This and more ads here.

I'm just sayin'.........

Before y'all scream "sexist!", keep an open mind and see for yourself. It's a dangerous mix.

Presenting: Karl's Venn diagram of a road hazard.

Inspired by indexed.

Based on a true story

I'm not saying the local cable internet service company are a bunch of greedy, heartless weasels, but..........

Cable Co: How can I help you today?
Customer: Ummm, yeah. I can't get my wireless network working and I 'm wondering if it has anything to do with the fact we're only on the 'Lite' intern.... [cut off]
Cable Co: You're switched over.
Customer: Wha...?
Cable Co: I've already switched you over.
Customer: To what?
Cable Co: To the faster internet service.
Customer: Oh.
Cable Co: You'll see your new fee on next month's bill.
Customer: But I .......... are you sure that......................... kay thanks.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Now you can be yourself

I know for sure the ladies will find this video clip hilarious, as many women hold back on certain things until marriage.......

Karl's tips on life - avoiding work

If you walk around the workplace carrying papers and a pen with a serious look on your face, it will repel most people looking to parcel out work.

Google isn't perfect for everything you know....

I mean it! Google is one of the best search pages out there, but it (and many others) has a flaw that makes searching efficient, but often gets in the way of effective searching. It's all text. When you get a search result, the only way to judge whether you've found what you're looking for is to analyze the resulting text before you launch each site. It's much easier under certain circumstances to analyze what's relevant by seeing the actual page. does this. On the left is the results list with the briefest of text. On the right appears a preview of the highlighted page selected from the list. You just use your arrow keys to scroll through and once you see something promising, click 'new window' to open the page in a full browser window (or in a separate tab if your Firefox is configured that way).

Sometimes you just know you've found what you're looking for when you see it.

At the risk of sounding biased....

Happiness is finding a brand new pair of Doc Martens shoes for under $90.

Gee, isn't that the second mention of Docs in under 2 weeks?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Toilet flushing cat

You've seen this, right? No? Get goin'...................

Best cartoon seen online lately

Just reshoot it.......

Remember all that low quality footage of Apollo moon missions we saw on TV? Well, we only saw it that way because no technology existed back then to broadcast the original, high quality footage. NASA would like to share that footage with us.................. if they could find it. That's right - they've lost misplaced the original footage, over 13,000 tapes.

The best reaction I've read so far on this news was at the J-Walk blog:

"They should just set up a sound stage and re-shoot it."

You can find anything on the Net

From the 'you can find anything on the Net' department..........

People who like to jump on beds. I believe the hotel chains will be watching this site closely.........

Extraterrestrial endorsement

Whaddaya know! Even aliens prefer Firefox!

Or at least, that's what the Linux Users Group at Oregon State University would have us believe......