Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nairn's Stem Ginger Oat Biscuits

A couple of years ago I decided to explore the possibility of modifying my diet to contain less 'bad stuff' and more 'good stuff'.

One of my 'finds' were these oat biscuits. They contain real stem ginger pieces, which gives them a sharp, refreshing taste. They are also 'low G.I.' and contain no hydrogenated fat. And each (admittedly thin) biscuit contains less than 50 calories.

Sony developing 35mm CMOS sensor

Along with a slew of new camera models, Sony have announced that it is developing a 24 x 36mm, 25 megapixel CMOS imaging sensor. Canon and Nikon already produce similar products (known as 'full-frame sensors' because they mimic the size of 35mm film) for their premium DSLR models.

The light sensors used in most compact digital cameras (and mobile phones) are tiny (see the bottom two sizes on the diagram) ranging from 9 to 14mm diagonally - compared to 30mm on most digital SLRs and 43mm on full frame models).

Smaller sensors have to squeeze a similar number of light-sensitive receptors into a very tiny space. And the smaller the receptor (and with up to 12 million of 'em being squeezed into a few square millimeters, they really are incredibly small) the less effective they are at gathering light. This low sensitivity means they generate a weak, noisy signal producing fuzzier images.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nokia E51

RegHardware has a detailed review of Nokia's latest business-orientated candybar. Excerpts include:

"Nokia has a long track-record of producing handsets that may not get consumers’ pulses galloping, but which bowl over business people."

"The E51 is Nokia’s latest of these. Its design is classic Nokia understatement - a slim candybar phone with an elegant metal trim and back panel adding a classy feel to the package. The metal edging is available in three flavours: shiny silver, black or bronze."

"It’s optimised for email, supports a wide range of popular push email offerings, and it features VoIP voice for low-cost calling over the internet via Wi-Fi. High-speed data connectivity is facilitated by HSDPA 3G."

"The phone has an MP3 player, an FM radio, a RealPlayer video player and a two-megapixel camera on the back."

The E51 is a good size, measuring a long but slim 115 x 46 x 12mm. The metal casing helps push up the weight to 100g, giving it a substantial and well-balanced feel without being pocket-saggingly bulky."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Three pounds of fat and protein

National Geographic have posted an excellent interactive article on the human brain.

While browsing through the site, it dawned on me that I was engaging in an extremely recursive activity. An Emo Phillips quote came to mind:

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this."

Monster Skin Rug

LongoLand are offering this Monster Skin Rug. Details are not revealed as to how they found or killed the monsters, what we do know is that they are made of 'Brushed Woven Cashmere' 'Wool' and 'Polymer Clay', and that they come in three sizes: Small: (approx 18in x 26in); Medium: (approx 36in x 50in) and Large: (approx 50in x 70in).

London transport has an intriguing collection of interactive maps to help people working in London make choices on a number of transport issues, including where they are going to live (based on journey times and house prices) and the most appropriate form of transport.

via kottke

Monday, January 28, 2008

Woolworths retail ditches HD DVD

RegHardware reports: [edited]

Woolworths has thrown its high street heft behind the Blu-ray Disc format. From March, it will no longer sell HD DVDs in its shops. The company will continue to sell HD DVDs online.

This move is the a result of a decision made after Christmas sales statistics were studied. In Woolworths stores, Blu-ray Discs outsold HD DVDs by a factor of ten to one over the seasonal sales period.

"Sales figures clearly show that the market is moving towards one format of high-definition DVD. The main reason is the success of Sony’s PlayStation 3 machine," Steven McGunigel, DVD buyer at Woolworths, said, according to The Retail Bulletin.

"Because [the PS3] plays Blu-Ray discs, there are over 750,000 homes in the UK that can view the new high-definition format. There is nowhere near that number of HD-DVD players around. Switching to Blu-ray only will provide one clear offer to customers in the format they want to watch high definition movies in."

Bembo's Zoo

Bembo's Zoo is a typographic treatment of a selection of animals. It's an exquisite book but out-of-print and expensive second-hand.

For a Flash-based web-version, visit

Intelligent self-timer

dpreview reports: [edited]

FaceTime solves a long standing problem faced by photographers who want to take a self portrait or if they want to be included in a group photo. The typical solution offered today requires photographers to set the timer shutter and then rush to be in position before the shutter triggers. Alternatively, photographers use a remote shutter and then they hide their hands in the scene.

FotoNation FaceTime is a new type of shutter trigger technology that is invoked when the photographer’s face is detected in a scene. After the photographer puts the camera in FaceTime mode and presses the shutter button, the camera waits to fire the shutter until it recognizes the addition of the face of the photographer to the scene. Once detected, a count-down timer is initiated giving photographers time to relax and compose themselves in the scene.

“Sooner or later, every photographer wants to be part of a photo they are composing; and until now, it has always been a cumbersome effort. We believe that FaceTime is the first new technology that brings a pragmatic solution to self-portraits,” said Eran Steinberg, CEO of FotoNation, Inc.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

London, Lincoln, London 27-01-08

Crying at the discotheque - Alcazar
You Spin Me Round (like a record) (ext) - Dead Or Alive
Rhythm of the Night - DeBarge
Borderline - Madonna
Get Over It - OK Go
Rama Lama Ding Dong - The Edsels
Long Road to Ruin - Foo Fighters
Du gamla du fria - BassHunter
This World Of Water - New Musik
Last Night - Vitamin C
Pop A Cap In Your Ass (Full Mix) - Ben Watt Featuring Estelle
London Girl - The Pogues
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion - The Kinks
Spit At Stars - Jack Penate
Lassoo - The Duke Spirit
On The Radio - Regina Spektor
One vision - Queen
Staring At the Rude Bois (feat. Lethal Bizzle) - Gallows
Starlett Johansson - The Teenagers
Little Does She Know - The Kursaal Flyers
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr
Quit This Town - Eddie & The Hot Rods
Golden Skans - Klaxons
Push the Button - Sugababes
Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart - Coasters
La Primavera - Sash!
Mr. Brightside (original single) - The Killers
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina And The Waves
The 59th Bridge Street Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Simon & Garfunkel
There She Goes, My Beautiful World - Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Who put the bomp - Viscounts
In The Morning - Razorlight
The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead - XTC
Good Grief Christina - Chicory Tip
Lovestruck - Madness
Whoo! Alright - Yeah... Uh Huh. - The Rapture
Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley
Freaky Friday - Aqua
Every Beat of my heart - Railway Children
I'm gonna getcha good - Shania Twain
Millionaire (Radio Edit) - Kelis
Cut The Midrange Drop The Bass - Cylob
How Do You Do - Roxette
Baby Come Back (feat. Robin & Ali Campbell) - Pato Banton

2053 - Vallejo
Forgive Her Anything (New Version) - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
By The Way - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Break My Heart - Malcolm Middleton
Private Dancer - Tina Turner
Inflammatory Writ - Joanna Newsom
Midnight's Gone - Terri Clark
Danelectro 2 - Yo La Tengo
Ballad Of The Sulphate Strangler - Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Satan Is My Motor - Cake
Born To Fight - Green On Red
Apache - The Shadows
Another Black Feather - Dayna Kurtz
Moonlight shadow (trance remix - Mike Oldfield
Problems - Sex Pistols
Delivery Truck - Lucy Kaplansky
Truth Doesn't Make A Noise - The White Stripes
The Visitors - ABBA
Little Atoms - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
One Week - Barenaked Ladies
Future Daze - Penetration
Rebecca Go Home - Lost Dogs
She'll Leave You With A Smile - George Strait
I Wasn't Born in Tennessee - Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez
Try All You Want - Electronic
In Love With It - Yazbek
Jack-A-Roe - Bob Dylan
Ether - Kristin Hersh
Be Thankful For What You've Got - William DeVaughn
Bogus Official - Half Man Half Biscuit
Nowhere To Run - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Merchants Of Soul - Spoon
White Canvas - a-ha
Teacher, Teacher - Rockpile
I'm A Boy - The Who
My Spine - Björk
A Forest (Edit) - The Cure
Come With Me - Andy White
Hem Of Your Garment - Cake
Gold For The Price Of Silver (Erot Collaboration) - Kings Of Convenience
What Kind of Friend - Victoria Williams

Web precursor

The Kircher Society reports: [edited]

In 1934, years before Vannevar Bush dreamed of the Memex, decades before Ted Nelson coined the term “hypertext,” Paul Otlet envisioned a new kind of scholar’s workstation: a moving, wheel-shaped desk, powered by a network of hinged spokes beneath a series of moving surfaces. The machine would let users search, read and write their way through a vast mechanical database stored on millions of 3"×5" index cards.

This new research environment would do more than just let users retrieve documents; it would also let them annotate the relationships between one another, "the connections each [document] has with all other [documents], forming from them what might be called the Universal Book."

Otlet imagined a day when users would access the database from great distances by means of an “electric telescope” connected through a telephone line, retrieving a facsimile image to be projected remotely on a flat screen.

In Otlet’s time, this notion of networked documents was still so novel that no one had a word to describe these relationships, until he invented one: “links.”

Otlet envisioned the whole endeavor as a great “réseau” - web - of human knowledge.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Samsung SGH-G800, convergence continues

Samsung have just released a five-megapixel cameraphone with 3x optical zoom, face-detection and autofocus. At 102 x 52 x 21mm and 129g it is a chunky beast (think Nokia N95), but it does make me wonder how long it will be before compact cameras go the way of compact cassettes.

Visit RegHardware for a full review.

London, Lincoln, London 26-01-08

Turn It Up - Robots in Disguise
No Brakes - The Bravery
Step Inside Love - Cilla Black
No blue sky - The Thorns
Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles
Highway to Hell - Hayseed Dixie
Teach Me, Sweetheart - The Fiery Furnaces
Holes - Mercury Rev
Live As You Dream - Beth Orton
Murder In The Big House - Chagall Guevara
Give Me Back My Man - Chicks On Speed
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead - Stars
Don't Dictate - Penetration
Rider On The Wheel - Nick Drake
Catch The Wind - Donovan
scooby doo - Theme
Cool Dry Place - Traveling Wilburys
Elevation - U2
Song For Sunshine - Belle & Sebastian
Hard To Handle - Black Crowes
What About Love - 'Til Tuesday
Ain't No Grave - Russ Taff
Taking Over Me - Evanescence
World Of Two - Cake
The More I See You - Chris Montez
Hey Joni - Spek
City of New Orleans - Willie Nelson
Sail On, Sailor - The Beach Boys
Eurotrash Girl - Chicks On Speed
Girlfriend - Michael Jackson
Everything I Wanted - Jonatha Brooke
Dreamland Version - Big Youth
Greencard Husband - Gogol Bordello
This is my island - Lacus
Let It Ride - Bachman Turner Overdrive
Your ghost - Kristin Hersh & Michael Stipe
Uncertain Smile - The The
Run From Your Memory - Chris Knight
Llover - Sara Valenzuela
His Majesty Rides - Josh Rouse
You - Evanescence
Riddle I This - Scotty
Moon Over Alabama - Nina Simone
Smarkatch - Gogol Bordello
rovin' gambler - Peter Case
Love For Granted - Phoenix

Everything Is Average Nowadays - Kaiser Chiefs
I'm Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman - The White Stripes
Everytime We Touch - Cascada
Kiss me - Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Daft Punk
The Rain - Oran 'Juice' Jones
Bucky Done Gun - M.I.A.
Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera
Brilliant Mind - Furniture
Come Back My Love - The Wrens
Mastermind - The Two Ronnies
Candyman - Christina Aguilera
Don't Tell Me - Blancmange
More Than A Woman - Bee Gees
A Glass Of Champagne - Sailor
I Love You 'Cause I Have To - Dogs Die In Hot Cars
Peace Of Mind - Boston
I Need A Holiday - Scouting For Girls
I'm Gonna Love You Too - Blondie
Back Of My Hand - Jags
I Can't Wait - Nu Shooz
Valerie (Baby J Remix Ft Rukus, Precha, Alex Blood and Malik) - Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson
Moving to New York - The Wombats
Take on me - a-ha
Redneck Girl - Gretchen Wilson
Big In Japan - Alphaville
Don't You Want Me - Human League
John, I'm Only Dancing - David Bowie
Somebody Told Me - The Killers
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Bachman Turner Overdrive
Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs
I Think I Love You - Partridge Family
Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
Working for the Weekend - Loverboy
My Town - Montgomery Gentry
Take Her Back - The Pigeon Detectives
Shoot the Runner - Kasabian
Some Kinda Rush (Edit) - Booty Luv
That's That - Cass McCombs
Rendez-Vu - Basement Jaxx
Love You More - Buzzcocks
Girl All the Bad Guys Want - Bowling for Soup
I Wish - Skee Lo
Brainless - Sunny Day Sets Fire

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fuji F100fd

dpreview reports:

Positioned as the flagship [compact] model, the 12 megapixel F100fd sports a 5x 28-140mm zoom lens, Face Detection 3.0 and sensitivity settings of up to ISO 12800. The F100fd is claimed to offer Wide Dynamic Range capabilities similar to those found on the S5 Pro digital SLR.

Brett's 2p-worth: I've blogged before about how much I enjoyed using Fujifilm's F30D. And about how it has now been replaced by a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3, mainly for its wide-angle view and extended zoom range.

The F100fd has the wide angle if not quite the zoom range. It also has aperture and shutter priority modes (which I miss on the Lumix). The expanded dynamic range is intriguing, it has been widely praised on the FinePix S3 Pro digital camera for broadening the tonal capability of the camera, helping it to retain both bright highlights and dark shadows.

However, the 12 megapixel CCD concerns me. More pixels can mean more noise and poor low-light ability. I will be looking forward to reading the first reviews of this camera to see if Fuji have dealt with this issue, or simply succumbed to the marketing people and sacrificed image quality to the consumers' (misinformed) hunger for megapixels.


Three free display fonts

Kinkimono is an ultra-heavy outline rounded sans-serif, with a faux-japanese flavour.

Technique is a heavy rounded sans-serif, available in solid and outline versions, with a 'lego-esque' feel.

Dimitri Swank is a heavy square sans-serif, available in solid and outline-shadow versions, with an intriguing upper/lowercase mix.

All available from DaFont.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life on Mars?

You may have been too busy watching your stocks and shares halve in value to notice, but Nasa’s six-wheeled robot explorer Spirit has captured this image of a humanoid shape at the Gusev Crater.

What most of the reports failed to mention was that the 400x300 pixel image that heads this blog is taken from a 12756x3487 pixel panorama. To give you some idea, it is the tiny white speck at the end of the big arrow!

For the full-size image click here.

Vodafone USB Modem 7.2

RegHardware has a detailed review.

Some excerpts...

"...hook it up to your computer and you can surf the internet at speeds of up to 7.2Mb/s - in theory, at least."

"...comes with both Mac and Windows software."

"On both platforms, checking email and web browsing felt reasonably rapid, but certainly not as quick as we get when we connected to the internet over 802.11g Wi-Fi and our home 10Mb/s broadband connection. It felt like connecting to a typical public Wi-Fi hotspot. It's not the best broadband experience, but it's certainly very usable."

"Vodafone's 7.2Mb/s HSDPA coverage isn't widespread - it's central London and 15 airports only, as of December 2007 - if you travel, you'll quickly drop down to the 1.8Mb/s service in metropolitan areas - 80 per cent of the UK population, says Vodafone - and GPRS if you go further still. Out of central London, the upload rate's a more typical 110Kb/s."

"Suggested Price: £49 on a 12-month, £25 per month contract or free on a 18-24 month, £25 per month contract."

As my observant, 'in-the-know' nephew has pointed out, Vodafone now offer a more compact modem option. For more info click here. Or, if you're in central London, visit all the Vodafone branches until you find the one that Coel is working at, then ask him for a demo - just tell him that his 'ever-luvvin' Uncle' sent you.

Henry V

Following on from my Macbeth experience, Mr Keegan (no, not THAT Mr Keegan) suggested I visit the RSC to watch Henry V, directed by Michael Boyd as part of the Histories Cycle.

It is a vaguely historical tale (according to Mr Keegan, Shakespeare relied heavily on Raphael Holinshed's 1587 'Chronicles' for background material). With Henry V's claim to the monarchy based on a weak fabric of tenuous connections, he does what many world leaders before and after him have done, he invades another country, in this case France.

Henry’s small army gets involved in a drawn-out siege and are eventually forced to retreat or starve. Disaster looms as their escape is blocked by another French army at Agincourt (which I now know should be pronounced 'Ajincour').

Boyd's use of the stage is imaginative, with the foppish French performing many of their lines from trapeze-like structures. Oh, and there was plenty of flashing lights, smoke and loud explosions.

The play was energetically performed, with intensity, humour and verve. And the subject matter is, sadly, as relevant to 2008 as it was when it was first performed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Design Police sticker kit have produced a 5-page PDF of helpful messages to be employed when confronted with sub-standard examples of just about anything. Fantastic.

Toshiba G450

Reg Hardware reports: [edited]

One of the wackiest handset designs to hit the market since Nokia’s 7380 has been unveiled by Toshiba: the G450. It may look odd, but it also functions as a modem.

The dual-keypad handset measures 98 x 36 x 16mm and provides tri-band GSM/GPRS connectivity, with Edge and 3G HSDPA for higher download speeds too.

Its hidden gem, Toshiba said, is a mini USB port which allows the G450 to be connected to your PC, letting the phone can operate as an HSDPA modem. Quite a few phones let you do this too, usually over a Bluetooth link.

The lack of a camera means you won’t be filling the phone’s 160MB memory up with pictures. Although storage capacity will prove a snag if you’re a music buff and want to store tracks on the phone in any of the several formats it accepts, including MP3 and AAC.

The G450 is expected to be available on Orange in March, for around £150.

Freecom credit-card size 2GB flash drive

Freecom have released a 2.1mm thin USB 2.0 flash drive. The USB connector flips out from the card. You pay a little extra for skinny, £15 from

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Contacts with contacts

University of Washington reports: [edited]

Movie characters from the Terminator to the Bionic Woman use bionic eyes to zoom in on far-off scenes, have useful facts pop into their field of view, or create virtual crosshairs.

Off the screen, virtual displays have been proposed for more practical purposes - visual aids to help vision-impaired people, holographic driving control panels and even as a way to surf the Web on the go.

The device to make this happen may be familiar. Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.

"Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering. "This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising."

The prototype device contains an electric circuit as well as red light-emitting diodes for a display, though it does not yet light up. The lenses were tested on rabbits for up to 20 minutes and the animals showed no adverse effects.

The prototype contact lens does not correct the wearer's vision, but the technique could be used on a corrective lens, Parviz said. And all the gadgetry won't obstruct a person's view.

"There is a large area outside of the transparent part of the eye that we can use for placing instrumentation," Parviz said. Future improvements will add wireless communication to and from the lens. The researchers hope to power the whole system using a combination of radio-frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens, Parviz said.

Thanks for the link Conrad

Pink iPod Nano now available

Just in time for Valentine's Day. How considerate.


Yahoo! reports: [edited]

A Dutch company has squeezed a display the size of two business cards into a gadget no bigger than other mobile phones - by making a screen that folds up when not in use.

The 13-cm display of Polymer Vision's "Readius" is the world's first that folds out when the user wants to read news, blogs or email and folds back together so that the device can fit into a pocket.

"You get the large display of e-reading, the super battery life of e-reading, and the high-end connectivity ... and the form factor and weight of a mobile phone," said Karl McGoldrick, chief executive of the venture capital-funded firm.

"We are taking e-reading and bringing it to the mobile phone."

He would not say how much the Readius would cost, but said it would be comparable to a high-end mobile phone.

Like Amazon's Kindle, the Readius has a so-called electronic paper screen, which displays black-and-white text and images that look almost like they have been printed on paper.

The device connects to the Internet using the third-generation mobile phone networks with high data speeds.

Remembering to remember

When I have a significant thought, know that there is something I have to do, or purchase, I write it down and put it in my 7-Star diary, which lives in my Spire Volt backpack.

Most of the time this acts as an effective memory aid, however there are times when I venture out with just my three essentials (keys, currency and communicator). Recently there have been a couple of times when I have reached my local branch of Waitrose, only to realise I've left the list of things to get in my 7-Star.

So, when I write my shopping list, I put it on credit card size notes, and tuck it next to the appropriate credit card in my 7-Star, making it almost impossible to forget to take it with me when I decide to leave my backpack at home.

Monday, January 21, 2008

UK iPhone sales stats

The Register reports:

02 has shifted 190,000 iPhones in its first two months of sales, just short of its 200,000 target.

The handset was its best selling ever by a large margin.


Brett's 2p-worth: While I understand why Apple doesn't want to sell the iPhone 'unlocked', O2 could shift a lot more iPhones in this country if they started offering more flexible contracts, and shed-loads more if they offered them with a data-only contract, with pay-as-you-go for voice calls.


AirMail. I'm not sure if it is for real or a hoax. But it made me smile.

Covers has arranged thousands of science fiction magazines, horizontally by time, and vertically by average hue. Because they can.

Motorola U9

Stephen Fry reports: [edited]

I am reviewing the Motorola U9 phone today. It is a shiny clamshell in the old Motorola PEBL style, not unlike a soap holder in shape and feel. It has all the usual features, being a quad-band GSM phone with EDGE and GPRS for WAP and other data uses, and equipped with a 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0 and the familiar flat and sexy Motorola keypad.

This is a perfect handbag phone: entirely cute, entirely serviceable. There's a calendar, a music player, Java games... it is lightweight and has a good battery. Altogether a well designed but unremarkable phone.

What is new is that there is no secondary screen; the whole exterior of the phone is pure glossy violet plastic, giving no hint of display capability. The image appears to be going on somehow inside the very surface of the plastic cover. What's more, if I close the phone while playing a track, a music player now appears - a touch-sensitive music player at that.

Welcome to the world of OLED. You may well have heard that there is a new kind of display technology in the offing, and this is it. Organic Light Emitting Diodes will slowly be replacing Liquid Crystal Displays over the next decade.

OLED, which sandwiches stacks of light-emitting layers of polymers to form ultra-thin displays, has the remarkable potential to be incorporated into fabric and the lightest of materials, famously raising the prospect of roll-up monitors, a new generation of electronic paper, and a world in which displays can be seen everywhere.

OLED, which doesn't need a backlight, has the advantage of being bright enough to be readable in sunlight, while using less power than LCD.

OLED technology faces problems. Typically the displays last a fraction of the lifetime of LED and LCD... but good on Motorola for coming up with a touch-sensitive OLED consumer mobile at this stage of the game.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Albums without a duff track

Tapestry: Carole King
Dark Side of the Moon: Pink Floyd
Rumours: Fleetwood Mac
Whatever: Aimee Mann
Revolver: The Beatles
Automatic for the People: REM
Joshua Tree: U2
Blood on the Tracks: Bob Dylan
His 'n' Hers: Pulp
Bellybutton: Jellyfish
Jagged Little Pill: Alanis Morissette
Give 'em Enough Rope: The Clash

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bob Staake

I first came across Bob's work in a weird and wonderful book called Struwwelpeter: And Other Disturbing Tales for Human Beings.

In the words of the Amazon synopsis, it is,

'A 21st century spin on "Der Struwwelpeter", 14 stories originally written in 1845 by German physician Heinrich Hoffmann, which read like a fairy tale breaking loose from a doomed roller-coaster, crashing through a rusty calliope and finally splashing into the miasmic ooze of Hell - but somehow still managing to float...

'Staake renders the nastiest things that happen to children who disobey their parents: thumb-suckers have their digits cut off, pint-sized pyromaniacs are set ablaze and picky eaters rot away and die prematurely.'

His illustrations are superb, quirky and instantly recognisable. And yet he creates them all using a 1994 version of Photoshop (version 3) running in Classic mode on an Apple Macintosh G5.

Visit his excellent website to see more of his pictures. Or spend a couple of minutes on YouTube watching how he creates his characters.

Friday, January 18, 2008

You've been framed

Museumr allows you to hang your picture in one of four art galleries, complete with spectators.

You can use an image from your computer, from your Flickr account or from a URL of your choice.

Now, if the foreground shots were just a LITTLE out of focus!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heathrow Airport, 17-01-08

BBC reports: [edited]

A passenger plane has crash-landed short of a runway at Heathrow Airport, ripping off part of its undercarriage. All 136 passengers and 16 crew escaped from the British Airways flight BA038 from Beijing. Eighteen people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

An airport worker told the BBC the Boeing 777 pilot, named later as Peter Burkill, 43, said he had lost all power and had to glide the plane in to land.

The worker also said the pilot had told him all the electronics had also failed. "He said he had no warning - it just went," the worker added. "It's a miracle. The man deserves a medal as big as a frying pan."

Fire crews doused the plane in foam to prevent its fuel tanks catching fire.

Aviation expert Kieran Daly, from Flight International magazine, said not a single Boeing 777 had been lost in a crash since the aircraft was launched in 1995.

"This is a near miracle that neither passengers or anyone on the ground has been seriously injured," Mr McDonnell said.

The plane involved is one of 43 Boeing 777s in BA's fleet. It is believed to be about six years old.

MacBook Air redux

The MacBook Air is a lovely machine. Apple have done what they do best, producing something that is lovely to look at and a joy to use, in a package that pushes the barriers of what is possible with current technology.

I particularly like the fact that it has moved towards a softer form-factor. My favourite laptop design was the Pismo PowerBook, and the Air is a move toward its organic curves.

Another favourite of mine is the 12" PowerBook, especially the way the screen and keyboard came right up to the edges. By contrast, the MacBook Air has a lot of 'padding'.

There are probably good engineering reasons for this, but I think it would have looked even more stunning if Jonathan had shrunk the dimensions by a few centimeters.



Developed by Digital Machina, Tetrical is a three dimensional (3D) stacking game programmed in Flash. The object of the game is to obtain the highest score by filling layers with falling polycubes.

I know some of you like Tetris. I found Tetrical intriguing, but impossibly difficult.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Steve Jobs' 90 Minute Keynote in 60 Seconds


Iomega Ego

RegHardware reports: [edited]

The Iomega eGo range [eughhh... Ed.] of 2.5in portable drives has added a 250GB model, and added the option of a second USB 2.0 port and a FireWire 400 interface.

The 160GB model is available in Jet Black or Alpine White for £90. Those opting for the 250GB drive with FireWire have the additional option of plain red or silver and Midnight Blue for £160. The 250GB drive without a FireWire port is available now for £140.

MacBook Air

Just in case you missed it, Apple have introduced the world’s thinnest notebook computer. And it is really, really thin. It actually gets thinner the longer you look at it.

In addition to a 13.3-inch LED-backlit widescreen display, it offers a full-size, backlit keyboard, an iSight webcam and a large trackpad with multi-touch gesture support, letting users pinch, rotate and swipe in a similar way to using the iPhone/iPod Touch.

The base model is powered by a 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2GB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1.

To view the ad, and/or an excellent guided tour, visit

Poor little rich kids

New York Magazine features a 6-page article on how extreme wealth affects North America's richest kids.

Some quotes to whet your appetite...

As an elementary-school kid in suburban New Jersey, Jordan Roth says he didn’t quite grasp the dizzying extent of his family’s wealth. It wasn’t until he was a teenager and moved to a marquee address on Park Avenue that larger disparities began to reveal themselves. His father, for example, had a private jet. “During the holidays, people would ask things like, ‘What flight are you on?’” says Roth. “How do you answer that?”

Roth was willing to talk about his money. But even he had his limits. He tells me, for instance, that he had his first “crisis of wealth” when he graduated from Princeton and found himself installed in a beautiful two-bedroom apartment in the West Village that his mother had picked out for him—and helped him furnish.

He wasn’t working at the time. Yet he was luxuriating in its splendour. “It’s very clear, if you don’t want it,” he says. He’s handsome, buzz-cut, as long and lean as a baseball bat; when he speaks, he’s unhurried and looks you right in the eye. “It’s less clear if you do want it but don’t like what that necessarily means.”

Right, I say. We sit in silence for a moment. So how much was the rent on a nice two-bedroom apartment in the West Village in 1997, anyway? He smiles [before replying] “I’m totally not telling you.”


The Wall Street Journal’s Robert Frank observes that the wealthiest Americans have effectively built their own country within a country... By 2004 the richest one percent of Americans were earning more than the total national income of France or Italy.


How do you drum a work ethic into those who, strictly speaking, don’t have to work? Most advisers to wealthy families have a simple answer to this: You make sure that the kids do have to work. You give them chores. You insist on summer jobs. You restrain their spending with allowances. And above all, no matter what, you keep the children’s trusts out of their hands until they’re at least 35...


...wealth, to some degree, simply exaggerates the instincts and urges that all parents experience. All parents, for instance, have to restrain themselves from spoiling their children at some point or another... almost all parents, from the moment their children are born, fantasise about being able to protect and help them in a sustained and continuous way.

via kottke.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

T 2.5

Fox reports: [edited]

At the end of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," Sarah vanquished the Terminator sent from the future to kill her teenage son, John. Sarah and John now find themselves alone in a very dangerous, complicated world. Fugitives from the law, they are confronted with the reality that still more enemies from the future, and the present, could attack at any moment.

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES reveals what happens when SARAH (Lena Headey) stops running and goes on the offensive against an ever-evolving technological enemy bent on destroying her life, and perhaps the world. Her son, 15-year-old JOHN CONNOR (Thomas Dekker), knows that he may be the future savior of mankind, but is not yet ready to take on the mantle of leadership that he's told is his destiny.

John finds himself inextricably drawn to CAMERON (Summer Glau), an enigmatic and otherworldly student at his high school, who soon proves to be much more than his confidante - she assumes the role of Sarah and John's fearless protector...


Brett's 2p'worth: I've watched the first episode, and while I'd watch just about anything with Summer Glau in it, it has all the ingredients of an extremely enjoyable romp!

Two free fonts

A couple of interesting examples from DaFont.

DeutscheZierschrift is a Germanic Fraktur with some nuanced inline and shading work. Best used big, and where individual letter legibility is not at a premium (check out the captital 'A', the lower-case 'c' and 'r', and both 'x' characters).

Virus 43 is a subtly distressed take on a bitmap design. Useful if you don't have time to do the 'ageing' in Photoshop, and need something that is easy to read even in small sizes.

Oh, the ampersand is one of my favourites, Adobe Caslon Pro Italic.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1

dpreview reports: [edited]

Casio have announced its EXILIM EX-F1 - a six megapixel camera with 12x zoom and the ability to capture up to 60 frames per second at full resolution and 1200fps [yes, you did read that right, Ed.] if you drop the image size to 336 x 96 pixels.

It will also shoot 1920 x 1080 Full HD movies at 60fps. Helping to ensure the moment isn't missed is a buffer system which continually updates then saves the contents to card when the shutter is released. Illumination is taken care of by a conventional strobe which works at up to 7 fps and a cellphone-style LED for 10-60 fps.

The EX-F1 will be available from March 2008 priced at $999.99.


Sony's XEL-1 OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) television is now available for sale in North America. The 11-inch set has an angled, articulating arm that's attached to a base, and the unit's depth is just 3mm. Its OLED technology delivers deep blacks, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, accurate colors and details, and a bright picture - all with no backlight and lower-than-typical power consumption.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

London, Lincoln, London 13-01-08

Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour) - Dollar
Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant
Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear - Alan Price
Make Me Smile (Come up and see me) - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
(The angels wanna wear my) red shoes - Elvis Costello
Knock Knock Knocking - Deaf School
You're The One That I Want - Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
Super Trouper - A-Teens
United State of Pop - DJ Earworm
Hit me with your rhythm stick - Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Elvis Ain't Dead - Scouting For Girls
Crazy Angel - Kill Hannah
When Doves Cry (single) - Prince
Don't Let Me Down - AJ Croce
Bizarre Love Triangle (ext) - New Order
Shake It Shake It - Thomas Tantrum
Brainless - Sunny Day Sets Fire
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - Soft Cell
Hakuna Matata - Nathan Lane & Ernie Sabella
Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley & JXL
Lift Me Up (Mylo Mix) - Moby
Living On The Ceiling - Blancmange
I'm So Excited - Pointer Sisters
Boyz - M.I.A. (XL)
Pump Up the Volume - Marrs
Material Girl - Madonna
The Streak - Ray Stevens
Song 4 Mutya - Groove Armada Ft. Mutya
Sleepy Dad after the theatre - Little Britain
Love U More - Sunscreem
Wipeout - Fat Boys
I Don't Know What It Is - Rufus Wainwright
634-5789 - Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Johnny Lang
Burning Love - Wynonna
My Guy - Mary Wells
do your ears hang low? - kids
I Only Wanna Be With You (Alternative Vocal & Mix) - Dusty Springfield
Come on Eileen - Save Ferris
Poison - Alkaline Trio
Pray - Take That
Twinkle Star - Halcali
Mr. E's Beautiful Blues (Untitled) - Eels

4th Time Around - Bob Dylan
Dear Mom And Dad - The Bran Flakes
Rock And Roll (Part 1) - Gary Glitter
Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
Dressed Up Like Nebraska - Josh Rouse
Funny How Love Is - Queen
Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan
Lonely For You Baby - Sam Dees
Landlocked Blues - Bright Eyes
Endless Cycle - Lou Reed
Bad - U2
Bold Jamie - Cara Dillon
Deathly - Aimee Mann
Willie And The Hand Jive - Bo Diddley
Telegraph Road - Dire Straits
Let 'Er Rip - Dixie Chicks
Heartache Tonight - The Eagles
Where You've Been Hiding - Architecture in Helsinki
Old Man - Wilson Phillips
The Way I Love You - Continental Four
Peace Of Mind - Boston
Hasn't Hit Me Yet - Blue Rodeo
As Long As He Needs Me - Shani Wallis
Bye & Bye - Bob Dylan
Broken Things - Julie Miller
She's Out Of My Life - Michael Jackson
Step On My Old Size Nines - Stereophonics
Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
If I Should Fall From Grace With God - The Pogues
Across Yer Ocean - Mercury Rev
Heysátan - Sigur Rós
Nightgown Of The Sullen Moon - They Might Be Giants (TMBG)
Life's A Freeway - The Greencards
A Long December - Counting Crows
Camelot Motel - Mary Gauthier
Inchworm - Danny Kaye
Rhythm Section Want Ad - They Might Be Giants (TMBG)
Aint It Somethin - Lyle Lovett