Archive for April, 2006

Links: Markovic, Line6, Primals, ADF, American kids, food and Greenwald

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Marie Laveau ROCK! Come Saturday, Rade and I will experience Boban Markovic at Södra Teatern! The man and his orkestar has performed music for Kusturica and will – I hope – knock the socks off Svarta Safirer.

Speaking of music, I ordered a Line6 Spider II 30 today, to replace the old guitar-amp I loaned from Jesper for appx. 10 years.

Speaking of music, get “Country Girl” today. And Asian Dub Foundation has created an opera around Khadafi. Whassup! I love their “Rafi’s Revenge“.

Oh, by no way, a fetish group demonstrated outside my work-place yesterday. Why? Because they thought the department that issues permits to people wishing to serve alcohol legally are…homophobic. And I think three of those working there are actually gay.

What did I tell you? An American kid eats a bag of crisps every hour that he/she watches TV. Aaah! Put these on their foreheads. Or frame somebody that owns a Macintosh (even if that’s yourself).

Tussan On the glad side of food, Frederic tipped me about this DVD where Anthony Bourdain interviews the owner (and one of the chefs) of El Bulli, reportedly one of the best restaurants in the world

Robert Greenwald is on the move with a documentary on the war in Iraq, which can only be finished through donations.

Links: Jesper, christians, e-mail, junk-food, Primals, the letter w

Monday, April 24th, 2006

ScaryJesper celebrated his 30th birthday this Sunday, and it’s always fun to meet people you usually only meet in those circumstances, apart from a few others; Peter and his girlfriend moved to Fruängen a couple of days ago, I helped them move, and it was great fun seeing him, Stephan and Jesper again. Children everywhere. Jesper and Marie’s little Tove has turned bigger in just one week! The fierce bouncer has gained 1 Kg. Moahaa!

Have you bought “The God Who Wasn’t There“? Now you’re fully allowed to make a DVD-R-copy and give it to a christian. Oh, you christians!

30 Boxes have now incorporated e-mail-integration. This means that if you send or forward an e-mail to e-mail add (a) 30boxes.com with something like “Talk with god 1/5 13:00 tag private” in the subject-line, it will pop up in your calendar. All you have to do is approve the e-mail-address that you’re sending your e-mails from; and if they’re HTML-formatted, the information in your 30 Boxes calendar will be, too.

I just found a nice digital demo-version of The Guardian, one of my fave papers. Yeah, it’s on the web since years past, but this version is different. By clicking a section of a smallish image of a page of an issue, you get access to that text, and not a digital facsimile. Very nice, although I love the usual digital edition.

Speaking of which, this article, an excerpt from Eric Schlosser’s coming book called “Chew On This : Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food” shows great journalism and horrid undercurrents due to the fast-food-business. From the article:

The relationship between big companies and small children has changed enormously in the past 30 years. Until recently, just a handful of companies aimed their advertising at children and they mainly sold breakfast cereals and toys. By 2002, however, the top five food advertisers in the UK were McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, KFC and Pizza Hut. British food companies now spend £300m every year advertising to kids. Business people now realise that kids have a lot of money to spend and a lot of influence on what their parents buy. Every year in the United States children are responsible for more than $500bn worth of spending. Big companies want that money. And too often they are willing to manipulate kids in order to get it.

[…]

The fast food chains now work closely with leading toy makers, giving away small toys with children’s meals and selling larger ones at their restaurants. As part of its Happy Meals programme, McDonald’s has worked with Fisher Price to give away Toddler Toys aimed at kids aged one to three. One of the Fisher Price toys was a tiny doll of a McDonald’s worker holding a milkshake. Both McDonald’s and Burger King have given away Teletubbies dolls. Teletubbies is aimed at children too young to speak.

[…]

“McDonald’s is in some ways a toy company, not a food company,” says one retired fast food executive. Indeed, McDonald’s is perhaps the largest toy company in the world. It sells or gives away more than 1.5 billion toys every year.

Effing horrible, and read that article/excerpt. Writing of which, child-obesity among English children has doubled in ten years. Ban McEats, I say.

Hendrix scared Oh yeah, another article about Primal Scream, this time interviewing backstage, where Bobby Gillespie chats merrily, and it is announced that Throb is having “personal issues”. I wish him the best, and eagerly await their coming album.

Bob Dylan’s DJ’ing. Say no more!

Don’t miss Roger Ebert’s list of 100 films you have to see.

Finally, Sweden is announcing that the country is accepting “w” as an individual letter. Don’t ask why. I mean, we’ve adopted the metric system, but not accepting “w” as an individual letter (as it was formerly, somehow, mashed together with “v”) was really stupid. On the other hand, this means that a few books are going to have to be revised, loads of computer-systems to be updated and people to get it. Well, Svenska Akademiens ordlista över svenska språket, the unofficial Swedish dictionary, is finally out in a new edition. Some weird words have been included (e.g. nakenchock (“nudity-shock”; and you thought Swedes couldn’t shock themselves with nudity! Also noteworthy are fredagsmys (“having a nice, calm time on a Friday” – I can’t come up with anything more specific than that, I just keep laughing at the mere term), homoäktenskap (“homo-marriage”) and sexist (“sexist”). More new words are found here.

Evil tussan Microsoft are busy with “Metro”, their “PDF-killer”. They’re thinking that PDF needs resistance, so they came up with the XPS-format. If you use Office 2007, you will be able to export your files as XPS-files and PDF-files. Oh-kay. So why? Microsoft claims the XPS-format will bring more functionality to the table. They’ve only managed to squeeze out a very irritating viewer which meant you had to install frameworks and after that you were able to open your XPS-files (if you had any, and if you weren’t beta-testing Office 12/2007, chances were you couldn’t even find any XPS-files on the web), but now there’s a new XPS-viewer on the block, that doesn’t require a lot of installing, is small and opens said documents in a new windows. There you go, Microsoft! Let’s just see how far the XPS-format will travel.

Don’t miss out on Atari Teenage Riot’s “Revolution Action“, performed live. Oh, ATR, I love you.

Ever found yourself desiring a digital, nice copy of a picture you’ve taken of a whiteboard, filled with interesting, vital doodles? Or a post-it-note or maybe a document you’d like cleaned up easily? Check out Scanr. I tried it myself, so here’s my own test. Dunno if I will use it more than during the test, through, as my mobile phone isn’t 1 Megapixel tough enough. Still, I can use it for documents, when I’m tired of scanning and using the set contrast-lever.

Lunch at Nitty Gritty Café I had this dish today, a very spicy soup courtesy of Magnus, who is the chef, caretaker and all-in-all everybody at Nitty Gritty Café. It was good, and I had tears in my eyes from it; yeah, it’s that strong. And even though I don’t really like cilantro, it worked. Some people hate cilantro.

…while some people write very funny, scathing reviews.

I just saw that version 2.0 of Wink has been released; this program is the best freeware I’ve seen as far as screen-casting is concerned. Here are the hard-to-find news about it (only available, as far as I’ve found, in the readme-file included in the downloadable package):

Wink has been completely rewritten for version 2.0. Currently version 2.0 is available
only for Windows; a Linux version will be available soon. The following is a list of the
most important new features in Wink 2.0 among many improvements, changes and
bug fixes.
· Translated to more languages
· Undo/Redo
· Unlimited textboxes
· Unlimited buttons
· URL Buttons to open a webpage when clicked
· Image objects
· Shape objects, create and use shapes just like callouts with no text
· Audio (can record while capturing, as well as add/edit later)
· Improved and simpler properties panel
· Improved flow of control in output swf file so no more flickering of title/callouts
when no buttons are used
· Ability to disable frames in a project so they won’t appear in output

Marie's mom, Erika and Stephan Need an online spell-checker? Here‘s a quick one, that provides help in a lot of different lingos.

The headline says it all: “Cat army annihilates destructive rats“, and I can’t tell you how much I love it. Hail the kitties!

Do you commute a long time? Remember, there’s always somebody who’s got it worse. And hasn’t been aware of it, due to…brain fever?

A few short techy links: know more about MS Word, here‘s a great list of hacking-tools (be nice, now) and thanks to this site you’re using man freely again – or just use their Firefox search-engine.

I have to end by saying it’s looking like the pollen-season is coming to Stockholm. I felt like shit at work, the eyes itching, the nose getting clogged-up and I had trouble breathing. At home, the TV-channels were filled with reports about pollen hitting Stockholm. Bastards. Mikaela was so very nice in picking up the proper drugs for me. Aah, now, oblivion.

Brian Eno + David Byrne – “Regiment”

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

A modified copy of my writing from Allconsuming: Brian Eno had a sabbatical in Thailand, where he went listening to voices from different cultures while finding out what he wanted to do in the future. Well, he came back to England, spoke with David Byrne about making music together (apart from their producing together, for […]

Netgear Skype wi-fi phone available for pre-order

Friday, April 21st, 2006

SkypeMeYeah, I’m probably getting the Netgear wi-fi Skype phone for home in a while, and it’s already available at 250USD for pre-orders, so check it out at Amazon!

The display and the features seem very easy to use and best of all, doesn’t require a PC for calling. The phone has Skype pre-loaded, which means you only have to access a wireless network, and you’re off. I have no idea on how to potentially hook it up with a WEP-protected wi-fi network but I’m hoping Netgear has that covered and will write about it in the FAQ soon enough, even though the Amazon page states that “hotspots requiring web based authentication are not supported”.

Religion, friends, SQL

Friday, April 21st, 2006

07:59

Last day’s post was destroyed due to my saving it on my laptop, which at the time was running Dapper Drake, an unstable beta-version of the Ubuntu distribution. Bah! I should have saved it on a USB-memory.

Yesterday was fairly OK in the class-room. The instructor twice insinuated that we were to blame for not telling him the time, which led to our having a late lunch. It’s fair to say I am not one of those who like to escort him at lunch.

I am reading further into Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith“, and am listening to the remastered version of Brian Eno + David Byrne’s “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts“, FLAC’ed, to Zak’s delight. A strange experience it is: multi-cultural tongues, ranging from christian babtists talking in tongues to muslim chanteuses wailing, all on top of John Cale-like experimenting with prepared pianos, multi-layered polyrhythms, samples and traditional rock-instruments.

With this back-drop, Harris turns more interesting. I’m now plowing through the landscapes of christian torture, the persecution of jews, nazis working together with the church and how Virgin Mary was most probably not a virgin at all.

Still, it is even more interesting to note the vigor through which Harris covers the persecution of jews, how the christian church almost always lends itself to dark powers (such as their high-dealings with the nazis before, during and after the Second World-War) but really goes into attack-mode when he writes about islam; true, Harris states that christianity and islam are bound, sooner or later, to clash because of what is stated in their respective “holy books“, but just after he lists ((page 114, Harris’ “The End of Faith“, ISBN 0393327655)) dozens of years during which “organized massacres and pogroms“ have occurred, he writes “Life for Christians under Islam has been scarcely more cheerful.“

When you throw this into the fact that he calls an entire chapter “Leftist Unreason and The Strange Case of Noam Chomsky“, where he starts sounding like quite the christian nationalist. An example:

In his book 9-11, with rubble of the World Trade Center still piled high and smoldering, Chomsky urged us not to forget that “the U.S. itself is a leading terrorist state.“

This is interesting. Here Harris tries to finger-shake at Chomsky for his saying “this time the U.S.A. got a taste of its own medicine“. Anybody who has read Chomsky knows that he, of course, thinks the catastrophe was horrid, as innocent people were killed, and plainly states that what happened is what the U.S. government has been doing to other people for what literally is ages. I have just plowed through half of Harris’ book, but this is scary. Harris even defends Bill Clinton’s administration by stating what Clinton meant by killing “thousands of children“ through a cruise-missile-attack in August 1998.

As Chomsky once said, one has to use common sense and basic thinking before swallowing everything somebody says, just because that person starts off with a few grand-resounding lines; naturally this is reflected on Chomsky as well.

16:31

Class dismissed! Today was a lot more interesting than the previous days, mostly because the day was, in large, about securing, maintaining and strong-holding databases. I remember the days when I longed for a database that could be replicated through three different firewalls without having to contact fifty people and going through different hells just to get it up and running; with (sales talk ON) SQL Server 2005, we suddenly have HTTP replicating, which means everything is managed through port 80. Not to mention the immediate securities we now have, through principles, permissions and securables.

The really sad part of the day was the learning-materials. Our instructor said that Bertelsmann, the corporation that prints this material for every country in Europe (according to said instructor) has huge problems. Pages went flying (=no SQL-pun, mind you) as the book was badly glued.

The biggest problem though, was that the book was based on a beta-version of SQL Server 2005. Usually, when this happens, it doesn’t bring about a lot of changes when using the finished product, but believe me when I say we had to make a lot of changes, all the time. When coding a lot, which we did, it meant hell and high waters. Fortunately, we overcame like I will overcome Sam Harris’ chapter on Noam Chomsky and “Leftist Unreason“.

The week-end starts now. I’m meeting up with Tamara for tea and biscuits, later with Mikaela at home and tomorrow I can hopefully go visit my old friend Andreas and his girl-friend Micaela, who had a third baby less than 24 hours ago. Babies avast! And tomorrow evening Frederic and John are making dinner. I’m very much looking forward to shrill Japanese voices and excellent food.