Monday, November 30, 2009

Level 15 artist, level 7 animator

This post would only make sense if you knew anything about the game D&D. It's the resume of an animator done in the style of a character sheet. As someone with only a passing knowledge of D&D, I think it's clever. To a D&D afficionado, I'd venture to say it's probably genius.

(click full view at link)

LMAOAS (LMAO at Shatner)

William Shatner reads Levi Johnston's Twitter tweets.

(Just in case you have no idea who Levi Johnston is...)

CBC News - Technology & Science - Rogers launches Hulu clone

CBC News - Technology & Science - Rogers launches Hulu clone

This is an experiment. On the CBC News web site, they now allow posting their articles right into your blog. I think that's a nice touch.

Anyway, I posted this story because I'd already mentioned - numerous times I think - about how much suckitude there is that Hulu doesn't allow Canadians to view their content even though we get all those shows on both Canadian and American networks. This paltry offering from Rogers is a joke for so many reasons, the least of which is that they not only restrict access to Rogers cable customers, but they're charging (by forcing you to be a customer and force-feeding you ads) for access for shows that are available elsewhere (legally) for free. And sans ads.

Rogers! A poser of infinitesimal proportions. Thanks for coming out though.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stunning life scenes captured in an instant

If you're a fan of great photography, then National Geographic's International Photo contest is chock full of pictures submitted by ordinary folk who have an eye for content.

Click on the galleries link, then be prepared to spend time browsing through weeks of amazing submissions under the categories of People, Places and Nature. Incredible stuff.

Because it's really all about you

It's time once again to turn the microphone toward the audience and ask "What are you craving?" What topics or subjects are you wanting to see on this blog that you're just not getting at this point. I can't promise anything, but if I have it in me, I'll try to deliver.

Place your requests in the comments.

Of course it's bigger...

If you've ever been to Vegas, you probably know about the awesome water fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel. Well, the same folks who built that one have completed the Dubai Fountain.

Don't look dow..... ahhh crap... too late

If you're afraid of heights, you probably don't want to watch this video. Except maybe with the knowledge that you won't fall.

This is amateur video taken from the top of the spire of the world's new tallest building - the Burj Dubai.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How do you choose a red or blue pill in black and white?

Imagine if the movie The Matrix had been thought up and filmed as a silent movie.

I can hear you grinning from here.....

"Me me me me me me!"

For the 5 of you who haven't seen this yet:

Muppets sing Bohemian Rhapsody.

"Can you pay me now?"

Soon it will be possible to pay for things with your cell phone as if it were a credit card.

In a recent pilot project, MasterCard Canada has teamed up with BlackBerry and BMO to adapt PayPass technology (already built into the newest MasterCards) to their Blackberries. This would allow a shopper to simply tap their enabled phone against a sensor to make a purchase.

Meanwhile, back in June, Visa partnered with Royal Bank and Rogers to test a mobile pay system in Toronto, using Visa's payWave technology. Unlike the PayPass system tap, the Visa method involves waving an enabled cellphone in front of a sensor. The cellphone is enabled after an application is downloaded.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I heart Open Source

I needed a live demo software recording application to try some quick demos of me showing how to do stuff in various programs – with audio narration.

I found a program called Cam Studio. It’s free and it works great. Maybe not as full featured as Adobe Captivate or others of that ilk, but it works just fine for me. It even saves the videos as Flash if you want.

"Dodge this"

A stop motion animation of the famous 'Trinity Help' scene from the Matrix...... done entirely with Lego.

Fangst

What a teenage emo girl experiences when unable to catch the latest episode of the vampire TV series Twilight.

It's like Ice Capades, but with out-of-control cars

Oh look! It’s snowing! I wonder if my little rant against Mother Nature had anything to do with that?

[chuckle]

Actually, my drive home from work was full of adventure as most of the roads had turned to sheets of ice by the time rush hour hit. I had to navigate through at least 3 spots where cars were piled up at the bottom of icy hills, including just a few hundred metres from my home. Some people took more than 3 hours to get home from work today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble gobble!

To my American friends, have a great Thanksgiving and may your house smell like turkey and stuffing for days to come.

Signed: Your Neighbours

Most embarrassing sign that your neighbours could possibly put on your door.

We have money to spend, dammit!

Darlene just asked me why Canada doesn't have a 'Black Friday' like the US. I, Karl One Who Has Answer For Everything, was at a loss for an explanation.

If any Canadian retailers can offer an explanation for why we don't have our own rock 'em sock 'em sale worthy of mobs trampling people to death, please feel free to chime in.

Did Jack Frost get lost...

...on the way to southern Alberta?

As you can see, our current temperature ranges (seen in yellow bars) are maintaining an upward trend versus the normal temperature variations (as seen by the dark grey line across the middle).

Could this be the dreaded global warmings I keep hearing about? Is Al Gore on his way to Calgary as we speak?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Smiley

It's been a while since I posted a picture of our precious grand-daughter here. She's now 18 months old.

Here's what Olivia looks like now.

My faith in Firefox shaken, but just for a moment

I’ve been exploring the latest features of Internet Explorer 8, not because I’m an IE user, but because I need to know the product in order to teach it. I was surprised to discover a new feature that suddenly had me wondering if my trusted Firefox browser was falling behind in features.

I’m talking about tab groups. In IE8, if you perpetually find yourself opening the same group of web sites in separate tabs over and over when you start your browser or whenever, this new feature helps immensely. Let’s say that every time you open your browser, you typically go to all of your favourite news web sites. Let's say you always open CBC, CNN, CTV and Wired in 4 individual tabs. Well, with tab groups, you can set up these tabs once and while they’re still open in your browser, you choose the down arrow next to Add to Favourites, and select the second option to ‘Add Current Tabs to Favourites’. Then you simply enter a name for the Tab Group, and a new folder appears in the favourites list. When you want to open the Tab Group, simply go to Favourites and hover the mouse over the Tab Group folder name, then click the blue arrow at the right hand side. This opens all of the sites in the group instantly, each in their own tab.

Well, it turns out my trusty Firefox was able to do this little trick all along. In Firefox, you create your multiple tab experience, then go to the Bookmarks menu and choose the item ‘Bookmark All Tabs’. Then just name your Bookmark folder and you’re done. The next time you want to open each of these tabs together, go back to the Bookmarks menu, select the folder and choose ‘Open all in Tabs’.

What a time saver!

Not out of the woods yet

On Monday, US data emerged suggesting 25% of American homeowners are "under water" — owing more on their mortgages than their houses could be sold for.

The US Mortgage Bankers Association revealed last week that a record one in seven US mortgages, or four million homeowners, were at least one payment late in the 3rd quarter, putting them technically into foreclosure territory.

Where's the beef?

One of the trends I’ve noticed in certain online news reporting sites is their tendency to do what’s necessary to get a story ‘out’ first, even if it means the story has no substance.

"So and so to give testimony at inquiry. But you’ll have to wait for the details of said testimony until next week. But we broke the story first, dammit!"

"Police raid daycare centres in fraud case. But you’re going to be left wondering who’s involved, why daycares are in the picture and all the other pertinent parts of the story we conveniently left out because – well – we don’t have those details yet."

I’m beginning to see signs that readers are getting restless about these incomplete news stories, as comments are starting to pile up demanding that news site owners produce more detailed stories.

Monday, November 23, 2009

See? Dirt is good!

I knew it was just a matter of time, but scientists have indeed proven that being dirty is healthier for you than being super clean.

You're mad Rupert

Rupert Murdoch is mad at Google. If you don't know who he is, go here.

So, uh, in a nutshell, Rupert has convinced Microsoft to join him in a crusade against Google. The opening volley has Rupert 'selling' his media content to Microsoft and denying it to Google, because they believe the world will scamper over to the Bing search engine if it's the only one indexing Rupert's dinosaur ummm dying err special content.

He's delusional. But he's a genius. He just got Microsoft to buy into this nonsense.

Who will it be this year?

Any predictions from the peanut gallery as to whom Time will select for their 2009 Person of the Year?

My guess is it will be Michael Jackson.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't smoke as a Mac user....

Apple may not fix your Mac and could void your warranty if the cause is cigarette smoke residue. They are citing the health and safety of the technicians, since nicotine is on OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)'s list of hazardous substances.

Luckily, I don't smoke, so I think I'm good.

An Ernest contribution.

Coke bombs

I must have been living under a rock last holiday season, because supposedly, these Coca Cola collectible bottles were available last year too. But I've only come across them for the first time this year - in fact it was a week ago at a local WalMart. When I saw them on the shelf, I have to admit, I was a little shell-shocked.

They're supposed to be fashioned in the form of tree ornaments. But when I saw them, all I could think of was hand grenades.

When I was in the military, the grenades we used were shaped just like this.

Add to the 'If it exists, it's on the internet' file...

Pictures of people talking on a banana.

That's right.

Feel free to make up your own jokes.

Commonsense, conservative solutions to challenges

I know it's one of the easiest games in the world to play. Making fun of Sarah Palin that is. But now that she has released her book (Going Rogue), the Huffington Post's article on her interview with Rush Limbaugh makes it clear that as per usual, she still relies on a small collection of magic words to get by.

Substance? Oh substance. Thou art a wry felon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flu recap (to date)

13 Nov (Fri): Oh look. I have a sore throat. Freaking wonderful.
15 Nov (Sun): This isn't so bad. I'll definitely be going to work tomorrow.
16 Nov (Mon): [aches; fever; chills; head explosions] Sooo.....coo---old!
17 Nov (Tue): Feeling a bit better.
18 Nov (Wed): This isn't so bad.
20 Nov (Fri): [aches; fever; chills; head explosions; bubbly chest] Sooo.....coo---old!
21 Nov (Sat): Feeling a bit better.

Enough already!!

For example: "BJ Roosters"

A new game to keep you amused:

Steak House or Gay Bar?

For whom Bell tolls

Bell finally eliminated their $6.95 system access fee to their cell phone customers today. They were the last big player to do so. There was no fanfare. That’s probably because the most hated fee in the country was simply replaced by a monthly $5 hike in all service plans, just like the other companies did when they got rid of their own system access fees.

Pretty insulting if you ask me.

[sarcasm] It’s a good thing we’re being really strict about what new mobile service companies we’re letting into the country to compete.... [sarcasm off]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Ding dong! Your books are here!"

15 companies that originally sold something else.

One surprise for me was Avon. The company that became Avon originally went door to door selling books. To lure female customers they offered little gifts of perfume. The perfume became more popular than the books and Avon was formed.

It's a conspiracy I tells ya!

The Calgary Parking Authority, which appears to be a revenue generating vehicle for City Hall, almost puled the wool over everyone's eyes this week with a pair of moves that has left a bad taste in the mouths of even the city councillors.

Earlier this week, they announced that they would be reducing parking fees at meters and switching to a graduated system, where the shorter your stay, the less your rate per hour. Stay past 30 or 60 minutes and the rate continues to climb. Not a bad idea and this does a tremendous favour for folks running errands who just need to get into the downtown, get on with it and get out in a jiffy.

The bomb they waited to drop however, was that this reduction comes at a price. Higher rates for parking fines and an imminent move toward delaying the night-time hour where parking rates reduce (currently 6pm) and the elimination of free parking on Sundays and holidays. Well, you might as well have said you would be asking people to sacrifice their first born for the reaction that got from everyone - council, the public, downtown businesses. Rightfully so. It seems the parking authority can't afford to lose any of its revenue stream (which feeds City coffers), so they did one small favour while turning the screws elsewhere.

My feeling is that parking revenue shouldn't be considered a guaranteed income for the City. Of the $22.4 million the authority took in in 2008, only $13.5 million went to transit and road maintenance. It's no wonder Calgary has parking rates rivalling cities like New York. But I'm beginning to understand why rates are as high as they are. If transit service into the core was fast and efficient, parking revenue would plummet because it would make more sense to ride the train or bus than to drive and park. But as long as it's infinitely more convenient to drive and park than to ride, parking lots will fill, no matter how expensive. I mean seriously, why would you make your way to the nearest station to ride the train into the downtown for $5 return when you can drive into a heated underground lot after 6pm for $4 in much less than half the time? Depending on when you get to the train station, you might even be on the hook for a $3 parking fee. PASS!

You know, if I was a conspiracy theorist..... They raise the parking rates, then they raise the transit rates, raise the parking some more, add parking fees to transit riders, raise the parking a little bit more..... do you see a pattern here?

Must Be Santa

I'm not the biggest Dylan fan, but when I saw this video, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

It's got a real N'Orleans feel to it, don' it?

7 seconds to intern..... irvana!

Remember the little spiel I gave a while back about the Google Operating System coming soon to a computer near you? Well, more information has broken about the Chrome OS.

For starters, Google will not be releasing it as a stand-alone OS, to be downloaded and installed on any machine. They have supposedly partnered with some netbook manufacturers and you'll be able to buy certain netbooks with Chrome already installed. So what's the big deal? In a word - speed. They're aiming for a cold boot to desktop speed of 7 seconds or less. Chrome OS netbooks will not have old fashioned mechanical hard disk drives - the OS will be stored on flash memory and everything else - and I do mean everything, will be stored on the internet.

All programs will be web-based, meaning you won’t have to install anything. Anti-virus software? Forget about it. By the way, this move is just the first step in what Google predicts is the wave of the future. The future is in the web. Google also predicts that native apps (programs stored on your computer that can only run on your type of computer) would be obsolete in the future.

This video summarizes the concept nicely.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Timber!

That's the last time the pizza guy complains that he can't see the house number.

The comments were as funny as the photo submission:

“I wooden know what number it is still.”
“You can’t cedar number? Un-be-leaf-able… It’s right there! Elm lookin’ right at it!”


From thereifixedit.

Facebook status as alibi

"Where were you on the night of the 16th at approximately 8 pm?"

"Uh..... online. Just check my Facebook status, dude."

Seriously, a guy used his (forensically verified) Facebook status as an alibi while charged as a suspect in a robbery.

I want in this debate too

Oh! Oh! I just thought of a way to wade in on the cable vs. networks carriage fee debate.

I think that since neither the cable companies nor the networks would survive without us viewers, they should start paying us a fee for all the TV we watch. The more we watch, the more they should pay.

Sounds pretty fair to me..... using their logic.

Not for people with vertigo

Tall towers with breath-taking lookouts.

Pictured is the view from the CN Tower's observation deck's glass floor section.

Fave toys over 50 years

The most popular Christmas toys, each year, since 1960.

The year I was born, the Etch-a-Sketch was king.

The toys from 1967 and 1968 were pretty big in my life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I could use one of these right now....

This is kinda cool and gross at the same time. The lung flute uses a reed that when you blow into it, the reed vibrates. As weird as this is to comprehend, the vibrations work their way back into your lungs and shake up any mucus or phlegm until it rips apart and becomes easy to cough up. The video doesn't actually show the guy coughing stuff up, but you can tell he's ready to do so.

This is supposed to be useful for people with the flu, asthma or cystic fibrosis.

"I'm gonna tell it just like it is"

I don't know if this is a real commercial or not, but regardless, it's funny. Best line:

"So come on down to Cullman Liquidation and get yourself a home. Or don't I don't care."

Name the car

Try this 'name that car' quiz.

I got 91%

The plant bottle

Coca Cola will be introducing the world's first PET plastic recyclable bottle made partially from plant waste material.

They're hoping to eventually use wood chips and wheat stalks for this purpose as well.

[hack... hack... shiver.... collapse]

You're probably looking at my blog and wondering - what's up with that Karl guy? He never goes a day without posting something....

When I came home from work yesterday, I went straight to bed. Fever, raw throat, headache, body aches.

Yeah.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Imagine this

I imagine that sooner or later the technology will exist in which our minds can be read by a computer. Although I'm sure some folks will have dreamt up some evil use for such a technology, I'm curious about something different.

I'm interested in the concept of creating art. One thing I've often wondered, is how different the world would be if you didn't have to manifest the art that is in your mind using your hands, because often, that's the stumbling block. Many of us could probably produce artistic masterpieces, but have never figured out how to turn the masterpiece visible in our mind into one on canvas, or on paper. Or in metal or in clay. Or on skin. Even music.

So I look forward to the day when we can imagine a creation, then a computer can read that imagined thought and help us to do the rest.

Fritz the Cat..... on your shoes!

For a limited time, Vans have a Fritz the Cat design.

Darlene would freak if I came home wearing this I think. In a good way.

No matter who wins, you lose

Hey Canadians! You know the battle taking place between the cable / satellite operators and the Canadian networks over carriage fees?

Here's the Writers Guild of Canada's take on the whole thing.

Thanks to Bernie for the find.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here we go

My grand-daughter Olivia discovered the kazoo tonight.

My head is going to explode.......

Yeah...... laugh it up.

If I ever became famous I could get on this list...

15 famous people who used to teach.

One of them was canned for replacing the works of Shakespeare with Spiderman comics, which he thought the students were more likely to actually read.

Not so much a yacht as a personal travelling island

I'm not big into yachts, but this one caught my eye. It's unlike any yacht I've ever seen before. It's more like a multi-level modern penthouse apartment than a boat. Check out the video.

It sleeps 12, has a crew of 20, uses ultra-efficient insulation and computer controlled skylight panels and can generate its own power and collect rain water. It claims to be able to make 4 energy-autonomous Atlantic crossings at a cruising speed of 12 knots.

The web site. The site has a lot of eye candy and the story behind the design.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Harp solo

Stairway to Heaven.

On harp.