Saturday, August 30, 2008 


Tulpan is about a young naval officer who joins his sister’s family on the steppe’s of Kazakhstan to start his life as a shepherd and fulfill his dreams of living under the stars in a yurt with 900 channels of satellite TV.
He seeks the hand of the mysterious and unseen eponymous “Tulip” the only marriageable woman on the steppe for 500 miles, and either she finds his ears too large (though they are less prominent than Prince Charles’) or her mom is blocking the proceedings. Either way, he is thwarted in his dream and is driven to consider leaving the steppe for the city with his regge loving tractor driving friend who delivers water and essentials to shepherds.
Along the way we witness the birth of a sheep, a protective camel, and a pretty amusing collection of pretty amazing animal moments. It’s funny and cute but perhaps not as engaging as the Cannes prize would suggest.

Glago’s Guest (short) Tulpan was preceded by Glago’s Guest, a Disney short about the minder of Station 7 who’s uneventful days fill piles of logs until one day a something very unusual visits in an act of charity.

Friday, Aug 29 2008 Telluride Film Festival

Posted at 01:00:33 GMT-0700

Category: FilmsNeutralphotoReviews

Retarding Progress. Again.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 

It looks like Internet radio is going away. That’s sad because it was a good application of streaming IP media and a nice innovation. It’s also sad because it demonstrates once again how divorced copyright law is from the constitutional clause that justifies it:

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

Copyright is not a property right; copyright is an agreement between the public and authors & inventors creating a privilege of limited exclusive right as incentive for dissemination of ideas because otherwise authors & inventors have only the choice of keeping their inventions secret or sharing them that the recipient does what he or she will with the information without limitation, which is the natural right of the recipient.

Any mechanism of securing exclusive right to the author or inventor must meet two tests to be constitutional:

  • the term of the exclusive right must be limited (that is it is not a property right),
  • the mechanism must demonstrably promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

An attempt was made to test the absurdly long exclusive term against the “limited” requirement and that failed because any finite term is by definition limited.

The test that must now be made is against the requirement that copyright laws “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” The burden of proof should be on demonstrating that the laws do promote the progress of science and the useful arts because copyright is a limitation on the rights of the public and therefore intrinsically a burden on society. In granting copyright society temporarily yields their natural right to a privilege offered authors & inventors, a privilege that may be revoked at any time.

Current copyright laws do not pass the test of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts; they are a burden on innovation and have systematically retarded the progress of science and technology, strangling many significant innovations, once again with internet radio. Current copyright laws are therefore unconstitutional.

And seriously retarded.

Posted at 15:17:18 GMT-0700

Category: Politics

Acceleration Slidewalk

Friday, August 15, 2008 

For the last year or so I’ve been waiting for the acceleration slidewalk at the Toronto Airport to open. One day last March I saw it running, but never since. It works a bit like an acceleration ski lift. The hand rests and the tread expand for the first 10 meters or so of the slidewalk as it starts, moving faster as they expand. It looks like it runs about twice as fast as a regular slidewalk – nearly a jogging pace. At the end it slows down as the treads compress into each other. I can’t wait until it opens.


Read more…

Posted at 19:00:25 GMT-0700

Category: PlacesTechnologyTravelvideo

Exploding Seed Pods

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 

Up in the East Bay Hills there are these shrubberies that about this time of year grow furry seed pods. Last time I was up there running I heard a series of loud pops and snaps that I thought were some kind of insect feeding in the bushes.


I looked for whatever enthusiastic bugs were having a good time in the bushes and found none… and just by luck brushed a seed pod and set it off. It exploded with a loud snap and sprayed my hand with small black seeds.

I noted the trail was peppered (sort of literally) with tiny black seeds and pods were exploding all around.

Posted at 22:00:35 GMT-0700

Category: Oddphoto

Rental Mustang

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 

The Canadian version is pretty much the same as the US version.

rental mustang yyz.jpg
The audio jack in the center console is a very good thing. It should be standard on all cars.
As a Canadian rental, perhaps better in summer than winter.
Posted at 21:00:30 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental carsReviews

Great Customer Service

Friday, August 8, 2008 

I got a pair of Seth Thomas WBL-714-FS-SETH clocks out of a factory salvage; no instructions of course. They seemed simple enough, but I couldn’t get them to sync. There are the typical (for a radio sync clock) time zone buttons which make the hands move to the appropriate relative position by time zone. There is a big button that makes the hands move and a small button that seems to do nothing. They were not synced. I let them sit for a few days and they still were not synced.


I looked up the company’s web site and wrote a little note on their form, expecting nothing:
"I have two WBL-714-FS-SETH clocks. They do not seem to set themselves to the time signal. After a couple of days, they are not synchronized. Any hints?"

A day later I got this from Donna at the company:
"Dear David: It sounds like they are not receiving the signal. Have you tried moving them to a different location and see if they receive the signal? If not, try that. If you have tried different locations, then try taking the battery out for about 5 min, then put it back in, hit your time zone and if should advance to 4, 8 or 12. It will stay there till it receives the signal. You may just have to move them. Let me know how you make out."

It worked perfectly and now both clocks are synced. It was such a pleasant, prompt, and above all accurate response that it made me wonder if I’d ever received such good service before and as far as I can remember only McMaster Carr compares.

Posted at 13:36:06 GMT-0700

Category: photoReviewsUncategorized

Fixing ImageMagick resize in Postie

Thursday, August 7, 2008 

I noticed that postie was doing a terrible job at resizing images.

It turns out that the default GD library isn’t super good at resizing – it does a simple subsample and the result is quite jaggy (see the GD version of this image in this post)

The full size view of our camp and Carolyn.

I think the version above looks a lot better. It should have been as easy as just turning on the “use ImageMagick” function in the postie config, but it wasn’t that simple. Two files were not where they were expected to be. The easy one is “convert” which postie expects to find at /usr/bin/convert, but under BSD is actually at /usr/local/bin/convert. This isn’t a big deal as there’s a config option to point postie in the right direction. A bit harder is ImageMagick identify which postie expects to find at /usr/bin/identify, but for which there is no config entry.

The fix for BSD is to edit around line 1768 of postie-functions.php and change /usr/bin/identify to /usr/local/bin/identify before the first run or by resetting postie to defaults. If you’ve already installed postie and don’t want to reset the defaults you may need to edit the postie config database (I did) using, for example, PHPMyAdmin and set the value of IMAGEMAGICK_IDENTIFY to /usr/local/bin/identify.

And thus one gets nice, pretty postie thumbnails.

Posted at 02:16:44 GMT-0700

Category: FreeBSDphotoTechnology