Saturday, August 30, 2008

Someone's ringing the bell

Heather Watkins
Heather Watkins by jeremy on Zooomr

Designer Li Jianye has designed a pair of doorbells for computer people (an Enter key) and for musical people (piano keys). I say, "why stop there?" How about a doorbell which sends you an SMS message when someone pushes it, so that if you are away from home, you would know about the event? It could have a little webcam to snap a picture of your visitor to send to you via MMS, and if you chose, there could be a little screen where you could message your visitor back.

I'm pretty sure that it could be implemented pretty easily with an Arduino Diecimila and a home computer.

Probably you would want an option to lock out the messaging functions if the doorbell gets pressed too often, to frustrate any annoying pranksters in your neighborhood.


Update: This was also posted on the Make: Blog. Also, I have an Arduino coming in the mail soon, so we'll see what doorbell-related tricks we might be able to have it do.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shouting fire in a crowded blogosphere

At the tenth
At the tenth by Danny on Zooomr

At Problogger there's a competition for the best blog post title. Here's my list of suggestions - titles only, no posts yet.

  1. When the redhead said 'jump,' I jumped

  2. Psst! A time traveler has a business proposition for you

  3. It's not just for date rape anymore

  4. How to crochet your own parachute

  5. Awesome video: Chuck Norris vs. Dick Cheney!!!!

  6. Become an A-list blogger the lazy way

  7. In defense of the N-word

  8. Something naked this way comes

  9. Spoil your baby for success

  10. Learn to grow something I'll just call 'grass'

If one of you out there appropriates one of these, writes a post, and enters the comments, I would appreciate a note in the comments. (Especially if you win.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lobby posters from a parallel universe

I went and saw the first one of these last night. About 2/3rds of the way through, then again at 3/4ths and 4/5ths, I thought that the movie was just drawing to a close, but no.

TitleThe imageCredit on Zooomr
Batman: The Dark NightE Cherry
Mommy 3: Comb of the Drag Queen EmpressStefaniebelgianchocolate
Indiana Jones and the Domain of the Crystal TchotchkeCrystal Persuasionslowdncr
Star Wars: The Cologne WarsscentOlim
Watch MenSeiko watchryukava

I was looking for an image on that service of some guys working a blast furnace for Iron Men but to no avail.

Rights reserved by whoever asserts them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The moon in your cup

I think OnLatte might have the best idea of all for consumable lunar art. The idea is to imprint a picture of the full moon on top of your latte, and as you drink it down, the eclipse would advance.


Monday, August 25, 2008

First person vocation processing

If the United States Army can devise a video game for recruiting, couldn't the Catholic Church with her priest shortage do something similar?

I picture a first-person preacher where you travel through Assisi and environs and experience both cruel oppression and sublime ecstasy, with your spiritual score updated based on your actions. I think the Stigmata scene would have to be unlocked only after you have progressed to a pretty high level so that it would be especially meaningful.

That might serve well to boost interest in the OFM, but how about the rank and file diocesan clergy ranks? I think in this case one could rework the classic book by Georges Bernanos Diary of a Country Priest struggling with the day-to-day challenges of leading his flock, only giving it a little bit of action and flash, to appeal to the younger set. Perhaps you could choose a setting which isn't provincial France of the 1930s and instead pick an inner city parish where the parishioners (and the unchurched) would have a somewhat different outlook on life.

To incorporate more exotic locales, one could turn to the lives of the missionaries. But one would have to have a certain degree of cross-cultural sensitivity to avoid offense.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Memory aid

originally uploaded by mobebu.
The Incans invented a method of keeping accounts using the number and placement of knots on a bundle of cords called a quipu. It provided the user a flexible and durable way of keeping a tally of one's flocks, crops, or houses.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Losers interviews with the Gods

set-design-commercial-tv-film-movie-thesis by GelbachDesigns on Zooomr

The rolls are closed now, with only seven winners ("Earth" not being a god-name, strictly speaking, and Pluto having been cast out into the darkness). What would be the reaction of the divine also-rans, I wondered?

ApolloSo sister Venus gets a great big cloudy inner planet and I get nothing? Except for that spacecraft that nobody under thirty even heard about? It's not as if I didn't have enough classical hexameters to my name, all told, to establish me as a cut above the minor gods (Mercury, I'm looking at you).
CeresYou know, NASA, General Mills and Post would have been happy to fund a mission to visit me. I'd have liked one which had some definite signs of vegetation, though, so maybe I could be slotted in for the next Earthlike extrasolar planet, hmm?
DianaBlatant anti-butch bias. Yeah, you heard me. And I do not want to hear about how Earth's Moon is really mine, that really is pretty much a load of bull and everyone knows it.
JunoFirst off, I've about had it with that movie, so you don't have to think up anything funny to say. Hubby mine dearest is up there in his massiveness, surrounded by all his precious little trollops to boot, am I right? And for me, they set aside a little bit of rock? Not good enough! Mark my words, I'll have you all saying that it really was not good enough!
MinervaI figured I had those scientists in my pocket, being all about learning and all, not to mention the Classicists (Athens, anyone?), but I guess the kind of wisdom I specialize in doesn't work when it comes up to dumbasses. They might have thought to associate my alter ego with something other than some runner-up in the asteroid belt - that, to me, is just insulting.
VestaThe way I see it, people were just scared that if there were a planet, there might someday be a colony, and if there were a colony, the settlers would be known by everyone else as "Vestal Virgins." Alls I want to know is, what's so bad about being a virgin? It's not as if everyone didn't start out that way. Besides, the little dinky stone they gave me, that might have a colony too, so you're not off the hook.
VulcanI am the one who like invented technology, without which your society would be in a pretty mess, I should point out. I could have had all these moons with metallic names, and geek-themed craters, and nobody else could rock a volcano like me. They shoulda let Gene Roddenberry have some say in things, you know what I mean?
BacchusAw, hell with it. How 'bout a tall frosty one?

Monday, August 18, 2008

SQL nerd alert

originally uploaded by mag3737.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Urban finger

Dan's Head
Dan's Head,
originally uploaded by Canadian Veggie.
Has someone thought to promote the use of foam hands flashing gang signs yet?

Some signs, particularly the two-handed sort, are rather contorted, hampering the user's ability to handle anything at the same time. In fact, the slot in the bottom of the hand cutout might be a useful thing to have access to out on the street, it seems to me. With the right sort of cutout, one could even fashion it as an open carry accessory of a sort.

The foam and imprinting would come in red, blue, and gold, to appeal to the broadest number of customers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Preparing for first French exam
Preparing for first French exam by flakaffe on Zooomr

An article about the round-the-clock curfew in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas made me think that perhaps we could require proof that a community is in fact civilized now and then.

The idea comes from Microsoft: when you install Windows, you have thirty days until you must activate the installation in order to prove that the copy of the installation certificate you used was valid. Mere possession of an installation image and a software key which functions cryptographically is not enough; one must submit to the higher authority of the company which provided these.

In a similar way, a governmental entity (Helena-West Helena was created by a 2006 merger) could be challenged to prove that they have the structures to maintain modern norms a society should possess, perhaps by documenting the persons responsible for each function, some statistics on the good and bad aspects of life under their authority, and a cross-section of opinion of the residents subject to the administration. If there are serious shortcomings, then sanctions could be applied up to the point where the government should be dissolved and a new one (or more than one) would take its place. No longer would be sufficient to call yourself a town or a nation and draw up some charter made up of empty promises, actual civic benefit would need to be demonstrated before a regime would be allowed to come into existence.

One could extend this notion to political entities which already exist today, subjecting them to the cleansing light of open scrutiny. But I would not bet on it.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Suggested apparel

Your basic New York Cheddar/Statue of Liberty cheesehead. Brett Favre's website should sell them.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Would it indeed not be nice?

July 4th
July 4th by John on Zooomr
The newspaper today brings a story of an engaged couple who had been delivered on the same day by the same man. They plan to marry on that same date on the calendar (coincidentally the same date noted by others for its auspiciousness) and in so doing will have only one to remember for future birthdays and anniversaries.

Which makes me think: wouldn't it be great if you were an obstetrician to have a side business as a matchmaker? It's hard enough to keep track of one's classmates, let alone strangers in the same maternity ward you landed in, but the doctor could provide a service for people who would like to meet other people they were infants together with, complete with pictures (albeit pictures as newborns). To help keep track of the individuals as they grow up, the services of the State might be called upon over the years, all very discreetly, of course. Also, given the right circumstances, the couple in question need not get involved and an arranged union could be set up, saving endless hours on the dating scene and providing an economic boost at the optimum time based on not only traditional means but also the local and economic prospect, benefiting as many people as possible. Given the right data from personality and aptitude measurement tools, the pair could be incentivized toward the optimum lines of work, the best location to set up residence, the correct number and timing of production of offspring, proper observation of individual health maintenance programs based on actuarial tables, and in-depth counseling to ward off whatever disharmonies or inefficiencies encountered in daily life. Their two artfully managed lives without bounds could glide smoothly as if on precision bearings machined to exacting tolerances.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A list where you'll find the Carpenters to be ironically absent

IMG_0752 by shirster on Zooomr
The account of the life and times of the band Led Zeppelin is titled Hammer of the Gods. But haven't you wondered about the rest of the shop? Now, for the first time, the roster can be revealed!

Crescent Wrench of the GodsHeart
Measuring Tape of the GodsKiss
Block Plane of the GodsDevo
Bandsaw of the GodsThe Ramones
Rasp of the GodsThe Stooges
Carpenters' Pencil of the GodsNo Doubt
First Aid Kit of the GodsCrosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
Home Depot Charge Account of the GodsJimmy Buffett