Monday, March 26, 2007

Google gives advice to the lovelorn

I'm envious about how this page at WikiHow gives much more useful advice about how to deal with infatuation than I did, but not very surprised.

What did surprise me, however, was the useful advice presented over in the sidebar courtesy of Google Ads:

That should do the trick: a drum crusher, to beat the man (or woman?) at their own game, thus leading to happiness! So sweet - it makes me want to buy this ultra-soft throwdown throw pillow.

On the closely related WikiHow page entitled How to Forget About Your Impossible Crush there's this lovely sequence:

When given a choice, I should think it is always a good idea to go with the solution which has "Tertiary Impact" in its name.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Art with broad appeal

I read about the Maserati covered in shattered glass via The Cellar and thought that an artist over here should buy a car from an DEA auction (like the Porsche 911 Turbo described here) and cover it in thousands of hypodermic needles. If it is possible to get thousands of crack pipes without too much trouble, you could bust these up and sprinkle some of these on too. People will love it either because of the free speech aspect or because of the anti-drug angle. Or because there's a hot car underneath!

hypodermic needle 1
hypodermic needle 1,
originally uploaded by Tim Newbery.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My rebus won!

David of Ironic Sans had two Joost invitations to give away, so he set up a two part contest for his readers. I posted my movie-themed rebus and won part II! (Mouseover the link if you need a hint on what it means.)

Have a rebus to share? Post a link to it in the comments. Maybe I'll do the same. Just don't put anything up that looks like you're sending encoded messages to a terrorist cell which might attract unwanted attention by the authorities. (Hmmm.)

I shall give Joost video-on-demand beta a whirl and post something here about my impressions. You can find out a little more about Joost over at Ironic Sans or by doing a search. And if I need to give away any invitations, you'll find out about here on the blog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why "Burt," you ask?

I gave him the name because it was the first implausibly American-sounding name that came to mind.

Some of my flashbacks to working in Tech Support are not so different from this.

Signs for the colorblind

I'm putting this out now even though the cool illustration of the concept has not worked out to my satisfaction.

Color blindness is a condition that a bit over 1% of the population possesses, something like ten times more prevalent among males as compared to females. Here is a typical colored dot test for one of the most common types of color blindness:

If you see the number 21 instead of 74, you probably have red-green color blindness.

The issue is one that web designers need to be concerned with as they put together websites. Here is a tool that lets you visualize what a given website looks like under the different types of color blindness - you can try typing in the URL of this page to see what happens. It would be cool if they could build this into a head-mounted display so a person could go out into the world and experience what it is like to see things with altered color perception.

My idea is to use this phenomenon to make signs that display different messages to different people. For instance, suppose a couple is made up of a normal vision wife and a red-green color blind husband. We could make a design for the bathroom floor out of appropriately tiles that would show the word UP to those with normal vision and DOWN for the color blind viewer, as an aid to behavior modification. My discovery last night is that even though it isn't terribly hard to make words when you're working with just two colors of tile, one needs a hell of a lot of tiles - hundreds, preferably - to display even a short word in a random color pattern in this way legibly, and as tiresome this would be to depict in a drawing program on the computer, it would be even more of a chore to do in actual colored tiles. (Even if the tile-setter isn't color blind.) Perhaps it would be better just to reproduce a pattern in miniature, as a wall hanging instead.

Another idea would be to make little tags which you would sew into your clothing, identifying which tops and bottoms go together when viewed by someone of the majority group - the color blind person would just have to match A with A and B with B instead of relying on their own distinctive color sense.

I think there are probably other applications if one just thinks about the subject for a bit more. I look forward to the comments.

Update (June 2008): In this post I have tracked down a source for those original color plates, if anyone is interested in owning a second-hand set.

Update (December 2010): This T-shirt incorporates some of what I had in mind, although the non-textual part of the design kind of makes it less cool than the full-blown concept, along with a bit of a bad attitude.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ubiquitous displays

How long will it be before this digital clock/table shows up in a movie or on TV?

And how much longer before electro-luminescent technology will have become so completely universal, incorporated in the workplace, at home, and in public buildings, that this will start to look terribly date, like those old 1970's LED watches that once seemed so futuristic? I envision

  • Desks with calendar displays

  • File cabinets with automatically updating contents listings

  • School lockers with the student's names and (officially sanctioned) animated graphics on display

  • A bar with a display on the front depicting the lower part of the skeleton of the barmaid moving around along with her

  • Ads on fast-food trays in place of the little printed paper sheet that you usually see, offering prizes if the customer plays a game
It's only a matter of the economies of scale catching up to the desires of the market.
(Via cribcandy)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Expanding the holy product line

I heard about the company producing Holy Drinking Water on the morning news today.

To that end, Wayne Enterprises is distributing Holy Drinking Water - a half-liter of reverse-osmosis purified water bottled by a Stockton company and blessed by clergy. So far, the blessings have come from Catholic and Anglican priests, but the plan is for clergy from any faith that honors holy water to offer blessings.

I turned to Pam and said "Maybe they could also produce a line of fertilizer...."

Updated: The manufacturer's stamp of approval has come, at least as far as I am concerned.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I think I broke the Scoville meter

You call this Death by Chili? 2Tbsp green chiles, and Budweiser?

I think Death by Chili should be something that looks more like this.

iron pour 2- of fire and metal
iron pour 2- of fire and metal,
originally uploaded by khushdude.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Things I've said recently which would have been incomprehensible 25 years ago

  • "Where did I leave my computer?" I was rushing off to an appointment and had mislaid my laptop temporarily. Back in the old days, we did have personal computers, though only luggable in the most generous sense of the term.

  • "They left their two Bobcats in our driveway." ...and then came the rain
    The neighbors are putting an addition on the back of their house and we have agreed to let them use part of our property to bring their equipment through. Because of the recent rain, we have about 15 yards of mud that gets tracked through the kitchen now.
    The Bobcat(tm) line of small earthmoving equipment does not quite go back that far.

  • "It keeps doing that whenever I'm not wearing the Bluetooth." Because of the hands-free cell phone laws here, I spend a good part of the day with a headset stuck in my ear, which mostly works fine. But when I do take the thing out and my wife calls, we often seem to get into this thing where the phone thinks it should be picking up from the headset instead of the built-in speaker, and she can't hear me, even though I can hear her. Twenty-five years ago a good many phones I used still had dials on them.

  • "I was thinking it might be a good time to buy some more Chinese stock." I was at my doctor's office and the subject of the recent market downturns came up, and I mentioned the possibility of an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. The only Chinese stock we knew about back in the old days was usually made with chicken and ginger.

  • "I haven't had T'ang-T'ang noodles in years." We were at a restaurant at the tail end of the Lunar New Year celebration, having the traditional noodle dishes. I'd have this dish at the old Joyce Chen's Small Eating Place in Cambridge regularly, though they were called dan-dan noodles.