Archive for April, 2005

Get Perpendicular!

Speaking of music videos… In case you are sourcing harddrives for your latest iMod, here’s some news that you can use: Hitachi is promoting their new technology where the bits on a hard drive platter are oriented vertically, increasing data densities 10 fold. They have sent out an animated call to all you portable rockers to “Get Pur-pen-dic-ulaarrrr!”. It is not to be missed. Rock on, bits, rock on. (found via Gizmodo, which also mentioned some interesting magnetic concept cups found alongside the questionable a urinal lamp )


Yes, It’s Human

A fascinating music video for Human by Carpark North involves quirky and touching scenes scattered throughout a school, empty except for a small cast of children. The children, at the cusp of their teens, flail and bob and stare deeply into the camera, overcome by the stormy interface of confidance and awkwardness. Desperate to be adult, and yet nowhere close. The music is not in the same league as the video, but they roll together well and I found myself enjoying the lyrics. The director is Martin De Thura, and there is more detail in the Pick of the Week article on After finding this one I have been perusing other videos posted to recently, but this is probably the best to come out in a while.
(found via Screenhead)


Real American Dining

Buffalo Bill
Reid’s mother took us to Buffalo Grill in Ferney-Voltaire for dinner tonight. For better or worse, they are a very good representation of American dining. Except for the carpaccio and crème bruelé on the menu, there is little to tell them apart from your standard American strip-mall steakhouse. Considering their name it seemed fitting to have the Pavé de Bison, cooked rare. I forgot to ask if the bison was imported from the US, or if somewhere in France there are farmers raising bison, a notion that somehow appeals to me. Though I’m primarily a fish and shrimp person I found the meat to be pleasant enough. The roquefort sauce was unimpressive, and the green beans were sad but edible.

Speaking of food, I whipped up a very good potato-eggplant soup this afternoon. I happen to have some beef in the fridge that I considered adding to the soup, but I’m glad I stuck to just vegetables. With this surprise trip to Buffalo Grill my tiny red-meat digestive subsystem might have been overwhelmed. Also today: John made some awesome brownies using the chocolate that Guilia gave me for plant-sitting during her long Easter break. He also had some very tasty hot spiced wine ready when I finally dragged myself out of my room after a long morning of internet-in-bed, hair cutting, and cleaning.


Savage Critics

Nothing captures the essence of summer-blockbuster desperation quite like a billboard featuring an Oscar-winning actress on all fours.
- Village Voice’s Mark Holcomb, Catwoman review.

I need to find more of this: a collection of savage movie review quotes. (Though the last one, about Anchorman, really isn’t savage at all.)

From the same site I discovered Cin-o-matic which looks like a great site if you really love movies and you really love making lists. Certainly I’m in the last category at least. I took note that Dack doesn’t seem to be much of a fan of backyard wresting movies. But, according to his April 5th note, he is a fan of the brilliant topical comedy of David Rees and his unstoppable fighting technique.


Le Reculet

purple crocus
John and I squeezed in a short hike up toward Le Reculet Sunday morning before driving to the airport to pick up Shawn. The time was short and John wanted to take lots of breaks (which I didn’t mind at all), so we never made it all the way to the peak, but it was a wonderful day and I’m thrilled to have gotten out and done some walking. For those who know the route, we took the usual trail from Tiocan above Thoiry, branched left, climbed out of the large bowl, but came a little shy of reaching the base of the cavey-crumbly cliff that runs from just below the peak to a head overlooking Thoiry. It looked like many people were doing as we did and not making a serious push for the top; the snow that remains is navigable but still a bit of an impediment.

The crocuses are popping up everywhere and a few have bloomed, but another month is probably needed for things to really get rolling. We saw a chamois from closer range than I have ever before, but it blended well into the thick of bare brown trees along the trail so I didn’t bother with a picture. We also saw a couple paragliders in the air, and one guy hiked past with a massive puffy pack, suggesting that he was on his way to join them. If it weren’t for my tendency toward motion sickness I would seriously consider taking up the sport.

At the peak is a large iron cross (good for climbing on if you are the type that can never get high enough). Check out this incredible picture of the cross completely frozen over. One day I need to get some snowshoes and see this for myself.

I’ll put a few pictures up in my gallery in a day or two.


Birthday Thank You

Here is where I flaunt my long list of wonderful friends. I would like to thank all those who offered me happy birthday wishes:

Sharon, Dan, Barb & Mel, Terry, Nabila, Mom & Dad, James, John, Pascale, Marco, Giulia, Miriam, Mirko, Pierre, Jeremy, Reza, Tanya, Justin, Clare, Sasha, Elena, Reid, Joe

The list is no particular order. (And I really mean it, I whipped up a Perl script to randomize it.)

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Qonos Calculator

Quonos Calculator prototype rendering
The battery in my HP48SX memory expansion card (a whole 128K!) was running out and I ignored the warnings, so I lost all the data on my calculator. It’s not a big loss; most of it is backed up; but, the incident just serves to remind me of the few unpleasant aspects of this otherwise wonderful calculator. The screen is dim, having neither a backlight nor respectable constrast; the memory is limited and volatile; the processor is slow. Sadly, in recent years HP has been focusing much on half-assed hardware that is made to be consumed more than it is made to be used. Profitable crap.

Thankfully there is a glimmer of hope for calculators. The Qonos calculator is an HP49G, a TI-92, and a PDA being developed Hydrix, a company founded by a former HP engineer in Australia. Apparently there is a working prototype and hopefully one day not long from now there will be a working product in my hand. There is a Slashdot article on the Qonos, and there in the comments, scrolling past the arguments about the chain rule, you will hear that Qonos is the name of the Klingon homeworld, in case you were wondering. It looks quite cool, but I don’t like the most recent rederings (too iPodish) as much as the one from last summer shown here.

By the way, I discovered that two articles in MIT’s Technology Review, the most recent of which was titled “Carly’s Way”, have been retracted. They criticised Carly Fiorina managing of HP from the perspective of an senior engineer in HP’s research division. The problem is that neither HP nor Technology Review could verify the existance of the engineer described in the story, and the author isn’t commenting, so we are left to assume they were fabricated. It’s a real shame because the retraction might give Fiorina more credit than she deserves; she and a few others around her really did push HP nose down and advance the throttle to full military. On you can read a scathing review of Fiorina’s tenure as HP CEO. In addition to being obviously more well founded, I find it to be an even harsher criticism than the retracted article. Let’s hope HP pulls itself out of this deadly dive.


Time Marches On

birthday cake
Today I ate fresh strawberries and put 30 years behind me.

Tomorrow I will eat more strawberries and consider the next 30 years.

Who knows about the 30 years after that, maybe by then the strawberries will eat themselves.

And time
Is still marching on.