A delightful cartoon by the political cartoonist Purdey, commissioned by my dear friend Renos L.
FYI I’ve been posting over at wmy.me (over 400 posts since the last entry here) as it’s easier, more spontaneously and ultimately more fun.
For a regularly updated, but more chaotic and random log – visit my tumblelog athttp://movies.tumblr.com – “read my brain”
With the release of AppleTV a few days ago (though Walt Mossberg received his box before anyone else, much to the chagrin of Leo Laporte), the h4x0r crowd have been hard at work turning it into an Apache Webserver, enabling Remote Access, even running Joost amongst other hacks. (Is it a coincidence that Apple made it so easy to open up and hack the box?)
Now the AppleTVhacks.net crowd have truly surpassed themselves by getting OS X 10.4.8 to run on the box. This means that would be the cheapest Mac available at $299, or £199 – if it wasn’t April Fools Day…
[via: Ads of the World]
Very nice parody from Wonderbra’s ever-inventive ad agency.
Molecular gastronomy has its fair share of detractors, and understandably so. Who has the time? Back in the early 90s I remember spending three days preparing the sauce for a Roux brothers recipe, all the while thinking – who has the time do this sort of thing?
But there are practical advantages to understanding the science of food. My first experiment with MG of sorts (courtesy of the excellent khymos.org) was with the simple steak. The problem with traditional methods of steak preparation is that the outside has to undergo a Maillard reaction which requires a temperature in excess of 120°C, while to maintain its rareness, the inside has to stay below 55°C. I’m sure it’s possible to spreadsheet the thermal conductivity coefficients of different types of Hereford, import them into Mathematica and then send them to Heston Blumenthal for sign-off, but there is an easier way.
The method of cooking sous-vide has been used on an industrial scale by top New York kitchens. However, with sous-vide machines costing up to $6k, even the most succulent Wagyu would be flattered by such lavish attention.
A low-maintenance version is to get your Hereford from Harrods, where they will vacuum-pack it on request. Get a digital thermometer, place the vacuum-packed steak in a water-filled saucepan and heat to the required temperature, ensuring that it does not go above this.
You can leave the steak as long as you like (the longer the better since you want the steak to equalise with the temperature of the water-bath). As this was my first time, I decided to go for a temperature of 57.5°C so I didn’t end up with an underdone petri dish (actually, this was actually my second try – my initial sortie resulted in a texture approximating shoe leather).
After letting things cook for about 45 minutes (with brief application of the gas to compensate for cooling effects), I removed the steak from the packing and seared both sides in a very hot, buttered frying pan.
It’s not often that Time magazine tells you anything that you didn’t already know (about a year ago) – it used to be said that Life was for those who can’t read, and Time was for those who can’t think – so imagine my surprise when a recent article contained references to Kropotkin and Benkler
However, my enthusiasm for the magazine’s new-found depth was short-lived; with insights like these, who even needs to go to the trouble of learning to read?
Benkler is a leading prophet of today’s gift economy, and he fits the part: his bounteous beard resembles Kropotkin’s.
Clever entrepreneurs and even established companies can profit from this volunteerism–but only if they don’t get too greedy.
When the author in question cries: “I certainly don’t want to be replaced by volunteers.” You can’t help but think: “Dude, if it wasn’t for the free-gift-with-subs and the smart ad sales departments at Time, people wouldn’t even be reading your stuff”
Watching live television is a bit of a novelty for me, as I prefer my media consumption to be time-shifted (preferably forwards, in the case of movies). So perhaps the thrill of watching the first episode (entitled ‘F**k You, Buddy’) of Adam Curtis’ new documentary series along with millions (one hopes) of other peeps, frazzled my neurones such that I didn’t quite grasp the meaning of this dialog box when topping and tailing my recording of the programme.
I assumed in my haste that the dark blue bits would be removed. Not so, as I now belatedly realise. Apologies to anyone I promised to show this to, unless they want to see two minutes of Clare Balding wibbling on about canine proxy eugenics.
Youtube is one of the most popular video sharing sites on the net. A year ago, co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen were in between jobs, a pair of twentysomething geeks running up big credit card debts as they tooled around a garage trying to develop an easy way for people to share homemade videos on the Web.
Hurley says, “I do not want to work hard. I want to live a soft life. I want to sleep for three hours every afternoon and nine hours at night. I do not want to stay awake the whole day so that I can get a few 350 grand at the end of each month. I do not want my talents to be exploited by a ruthless employer. I am a lazy man. That is why I choose to live off the net. I am too lethargic to try and survive in the real world. That is why I did not bother to hold down a job though my credit card debt soared.
“On the net things are handed to me by Google. The idea of youtube came to me from a dinner party with a half-dozen friends in the greatest city in the world San Francisco. It was January, 2005, and we couldnt figure out a good solution. Sending the clips around by e-mail was a bust: The e-mails kept getting rejected because they were so big. Posting the videos online was a headache, too. So we created a site and put in basic software.
“What I and Steve came up with is a Web site, now called YouTube, that has become an Internet phenomenon. Show the honey and the bees will flock to it. We worked for about six hours each week in a garage like that Apple dude Steve Jobs for two months designing youtube. We had the idea to create a community around the video.
“Once that was done we knew that tons of millions of dollars would just flow into our laps after the Google buyout. We will not have to work hard. In the old economy you have to work really hard for a lousy promotion which might give you a few more grand if your employer is very generous. You have to get up early in the morning and run for a few 350 grand each month. On the net you can become rich without working hard.
“On the net once you have the idea you just sit at home and then magic will happen. That is exactly what happened at Paypal, Skype, MySpace, Facebook. The basic, simple to design software that I and Chen designed allows people to post almost anything they like on YouTube in minutes. People can jack off on porn. Now we are sitting at home retired early after the Google buyout. Content has been handed to us on a silver platter. We do not have to slog hard to create content like a poorly paid online journalist who makes a lousy 450k each year. We do not have to experience daily financial pressure
because our site does not get enough readers. We are not under pressure to meet deadlines. We get up at ten in the morning and consider that to be hard work. We do not have to work for ten llllong years. That is the privilege of those in the old economy. they take the tube to go to work for a bum 350,000 dollar paycheck at the end of the month.
“We have it easy. The reason why we never held a job for more than a year was because we felt that a rope was attached to out necks. We would have had to stay chained in an office with four walls. It is such a pain to get up in the morning and run for the sake of a few 350 milli grand at the end of the month. The content that we offer is free. That is easy for us to that as we do not have to work to create it. Copyrighted work is there for our users to copy and paste as that is work which we have the right to copy. Other content comes from common folk wanting to share stuff.
“Revenues will come from advertising. The net is a click and eyeballs business. Google understands this. All I had to do was make web users some crap. I had to keep it really, really simple and watch as the 400 million moronic teenagers flock to it. Forget about working hard for a a lousy 350 grand at the end of the month. That’s so old school.
“If you get the eyeballs you get the offer. You don’t have to be first, you just have to be simple and appeal to the web crowd. Then Google, the original ‘not first, but simple’ giant will write you a check. That’s the new business model. Figure out the next hot thing that you can make simple for the average web user (kids) and those two ugly dudes from Google Sergei Brin and Larry Page will send you a jet full of cash. It’s not about brains or talent or skill which I lack as I am a child of the Internet. It’s about timing and simplicity.
“The clicks come from youtube’s millions of eyeballs that we have not worked for. It is unearned traffic. We do not have to sweat and bleed for it. That is the privilege of poorly paid online journalists. I do not have to worry about losing my job as my content does not get enough page views. I do not have to take the initiative about my own life. I do not have to discipline myself. I do not have to worry about having a career. The millions of youtube.com visitors will ensure that this will never happen. I can simply focus on trying to build relationships with my tall, tough women friends in San Francisco. We hang out together. We work out together. We sleep in the afternoon together.”
It appears to be based on a Wired article from April 2006, and as any good parody should be, it is not entirely clear that it’s a spoof until you’ve read right through it. I remember coming across it sometime towards the end of last year, reading it, having a chuckle and moving on.
But the question of why it keeps springing up (of course I’m aiding and abetting the spread of it by posting here) is an interesting one. Is it one person (the author) spamming these sites? Perhaps. But surely it would be more vainglorious for the author to claim ownership of the article, than to sign it ‘Chad Hurley’?
It seems more likely that the article is being reposted by more than one person. The mode of spread is not quite classically viral, since real viruses spread autonomously. This is a kind of ‘permission virality’ that requires at each stage the effort of human intervention (I know there are comment spambots, but they are far more indiscriminate). It’s also different from those ‘you will be cursed if you do not spam these comments 3 times’ that appear on YouTube, as those messages contain nothing of intrinsic value and exist to stimulate fear-motivated action. What’s the motivation behind cutting and reposting an old parody that someone else has written?
Perhaps it’s a devious comment on the rampant posting of copyrighted clips on YouTube itself. You are Viacom and I claim my five pounds.
Adam Curtis is one of the most thought-provoking English-language documentary producers around today. His BBC remit allows him an unprecedented degree of freedom from editorial control leaving him to discourse freely, and spend time devoping his themes, which span politics, social science and economics. His interest in the big themes of why we live the way we do makes him inhabit the rarefied zone between contemporary commentator and historian. For example, in the Century of the Self, Curtis lays out a case for the factors that have driven the development of our solipsistic culture, drawing attention to the influence of Freud (and especially Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, the father of public relations industry). See for yourself:
His documentaries draw fire from intellectual lemmings who complain that his theses are simply grand conspiracy theories. This is naïve. The objections are probably more to do with the cognitive dissonance that arises in the minds of viewers who are faced with a concatenation of topics that seemed hitherto unrelated, and who seek a more comforting dialectic.
In 2005, Cannes festival director Thierry Fremeux was so impressed with his documentary series ‘The Power of Nightmares‘ that he invited Curtis to reedited it as a film for the festival, the first time such an invitation had been extended (it’s always the other way around).
His new series, ‘The Trap’ which airs on the BBC this Sunday looks at the development of our concept of ‘freedom’. It is must-see broadcast TV, a veritable rarity in this age of time-shifted media consumption.
After some email to-and-froing, my suspended account has been reinstated with its 250,000+ views and all associated metadata intact.
I sincerely apologize for our delayed response to your email. We have
received an exceedingly large volume of email recently, and are only now
beginning to catch up.
On 2007.02.02 you had videos removed from your account as a result of a
claim of copyright infringement from Viacom International. Due to a
technical problem, some users were not properly notified when videos were
removed, I am very sorry for this.
At that time your account was disabled by mistake. I have been able to
reactivate your account. For technical reasons it may take a day for your
videos to be available again. I apologize for the mistake and the
A legal expert friend of mine noted that this reply constituted “more apologies than any legal department would ordinarily authorise without such a communication being tantamount to an admission of liability”. Indeed.
I trust that this show of contrition from the company owned by the ‘Don’t be evil’ hegemon has nothing to do with the threats of Berkman-inspired countersuits
My 7 year-old PowerMac G4 underwent surgery today. Despite happily running the latest version of Tiger with a very acceptable dual-monitor setup (15″ Original Apple Studio plus 15″ Dell driven by a MPDD+ Villagetronics card), I’ve been noticing that the processor load has tended to max out, especially when using video on Skype (it’s used as an apartment monitor via a Labtec webcam with Macam drivers).
So, at the end of last year, I ordered a PowerLogix Dual 1.4Ghz G4 upgrade from OWC and while I was at it (to mitigate the international postage costs from the US) added an ATI Radeon 9200 Mac edition, an extra half gig of memory and a 16x Dual Layer DVD bruner. All under the guise of the reduced marginal costs, of course.
How wrong I was.
First issue was the OWC inefficient stock allocation system, which meant that my order kept getting delayed because different bits kept going in and out of stock – it took two months to arrive eventually, and that was only because I managed to translate the drivel – which would fail a Turing test – of their customer support staff.
The result of this was that they managed to screw things so that it came in two separate orders and two separate postage and tax costs. So much for the reduced marginal costs.
Second, UPS insisted that I pay a whopping 30% of the cost of the goods in taxes and ‘fees’ before releasing the items. 25% of the extra bill was their ‘brokerage fee’, which alone was almost half of my original postage cost. Is it any wonder that eBay sellers are doing a brisk trade by using alternative carriers to evade import duties? Some of them even insure against the risk and offer a refund of duties paid – not that I’m condoning the evasion, but it stinks that UPS can charge what they like for the ‘brokerage fee’ because ‘all your goods are belong to us‘.
Rant over and on to the surgery.
1. Install 512MB RAM (replaces one of the 128MB cards). Total RAM = 1.2G
2. Replaced MPDD+ card (which has been driving my second 15″ display)
with ATI Radeon Mac edition 9200 (which actually cost less than what I paid for the original dual diplay card).
Installed this in a spare PCI slot rather than replacing the orginal AGP graphics card, because the original has an ADC out. Quick check confirmed that a DVI-ADC converter (eg. Dr. Bott) would cost more than I paid for this new card. Upgrade still possible as this card supports up to 2048×1536 dual displays – so faster graphics still to come when I update my monitors.
3. Replaced Pioneer NEC-2500A:
with a Pioneer A-109 (providing up to 16x burning and support for dual layer discs).
4. Replaced the heart of the computer (or should that be the ‘brain’? an interesting techno-anthropomorhic distinction) Dual G4/450MHz with Dual G4/1.4GHz.
Removed the heat sink:
Removed the processor:
The coup d’état itself: In with the new processor with an attractive copper heat sink and extra fan:
Viva la Revolution – with not a drop of blood spilt:
Those crazeeee Catalans have come up with an excellent excuse to spend a weekend in Barcelona in March.
John Kay writes persuasively in the FT about the balance that has to be struck in the protection of brand names:
“There is a compelling public interest in the suppression of counterfeit products… but the good argument that the interests of the public and of honest traders require vigorous public action against deceptive products is often conflated with the bad argument that the maintenance of product quality requires that established producers should be insulated from competition.
…The right general principle is that brand names and trade marks should be protected, not where there is a producer interest in doing so, but where there is a consumer detriment from failing to do so.”
At the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure, the 13 year-old Proust was asked to answer the following questions in the birthday book:
- What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? To be separated from Mama
- Where would you like to live? In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal
- What is your idea of earthly happiness? To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater
- To what faults do you feel most indulgent? To a life deprived of the works of genius
- Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real
- Who are your favorite characters in history? A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry
- Who are your favorite heroines in real life? A woman of genius leading an ordinary life
- Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful
- Your favorite painter? Meissonier
- Your favorite musician? Mozart
- The quality you most admire in a man? Intelligence, moral sense
- The quality you most admire in a woman? Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence
- Your favorite virtue? All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues
- Your favorite occupation? Reading, dreaming, and writing verse
- Who would you have liked to be? Since the question does not arise, I prefer not to answer it. All the same, I should very much have liked to be Pliny the Younger.
Stephen Colbert shows why he’s as good, if not better (gutsier) than fellow comedian Jon Stewart with this virtuoso performance:
Perhaps in an attempt to stem the Viacom cease-and-desist letter spam (do they send these individually by snail mail, like all 100,000 of them?), YouTube have now taken what appears to be a heavy-handed gesture against accounts that contain Viacom claim-related content. It’s all Viacom’s fault
They have ‘permanently disabled’ all accounts containing such content. No doubt this will cause an uproar across the uploading section of the YouTube commnunity (remember that although they receive 100m page views a day, they only get 60k uploads) as the deletion not only affects the Viacom content, but other legitimately uploaded material and associated metadata (description, comments etc.)
Those naughty boys at PirateBay, whose provocative actions have previously angered the MPAA enough to demand intervention at the goverment level [pdf] have raised (or lowered, depending on your point of view) the bar yet again, with this outrageous piece of cheekiness.
The legendary internet meme goes offline… (if you don’t know what goatse is – don’t ask)
The best of a rather poor bunch of SuperBowl ads this year.
A return to the gray days of yore. Who needs colour? I would be very happy with a cellphone that ran System 7.6.1 in grayscale (just like my SE/30 with Micron video card). After all, my PSP has more pixels than the display of that compact Mac, on which I wrote my Human Gene Therapy dissertation many moons ago.