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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Painted Ones

Youngsters called "Pintados", translated as "Painted Ones", cover themselves in oil and ash to ward off evil spirits and parade through the village of San Nicolas de los Ranchos, 100kms east of Mexico.

This tradition, celebrated in the town located at the feet of Popocat├ępetl volcano (smoking hill, in Nahuatl language sees young people running in the streets to drive away the bad spirits before Carnival.

Every person must give some change to “the Painted ones” and if someone refuses, he or she will be embraced and stained with the painting from the Painted ones.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bikini girl chaser

Restoran Crowded Planet collapses!

One of my favourite little food shops, Restoran Crowded Planet has been doing some renovations recently.

It looks like they'll be doing a LOT more renovations in the future because sometime today it appears that someone has removed the wrong part of a structural wall & a large chunk of the building behind it has fallen on top of it.

Luckily no-one was seriously hurt. It could have been a lot worse.

I guess it will be a while before I sample their delicious char kway teow and surf their free wifi again.

Check out these intrepid locals eating over the top of the police line. Nothing gets between a Malaysian and his food.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Unique Clocks to Jump Start Your Morning

Morning rolls around. You are still sleepy. Your alarm clock rings. Your arm reaches out from under the blankets and, eyes still closed, you fumble around for that elusive off switch. Then, it is back to the land of dreams . . . until suddenly, "Aahh! I'm late!" Everyone has had an experience like this at one time or another. For those for whom waking up is a daily battle, there is a solution. Several alarm clocks are now available that can not only wake you up but even put a smile on your face.

The Exploding Clock

"Which one should I cut?!" you agonize. "Red? Blue? Yellow?" Tick-tick-tick. "Red," you decide, disconnecting the red wire. . . . This kind of tense, bomb-defusing scene is common in the movies, and now anyone can experience it with the Wake-up Device Danger Bomb Clock from Banpresto Co., Ltd., which costs ¥3,129 (about ¥28 at ¥110 to the dollar).The surface of this box-shaped device features three colored connector wires: red, blue, and yellow. Three minutes before the wake-up time set by the user, a voice announces that the "bomb" will soon explode. Ten seconds before, a countdown begins "10, 9, 8 . . ." To disarm the bomb, you must disconnect the wire that is the same color as that indicated by a light on the device. And if you are too slow . . . kaboom! The clock does not actually explode, of course, but it does emit an explosive sound. The wire that disarms the device is set randomly each day, so you must actually wake up to see what color the device displays.

Rising Early Could Change Your Life

Another distinctive alarm clock promises to make getting up a life-altering event. The aptly named Jinsei Dokei (Life Clock) from Tomy Co., Ltd., costs ¥3,990 (about $36).
This clock lets you choose from among three characters, an office worker, a rock band member, and a young woman. If you choose the office worker, for example, a storyline begins with the character newly entering the workforce. If you wake up when the alarm first goes off every day, your young employee can rise to the level of high-flying company president within the span of just one month. As the story progresses, the alarm also changes. When your employee is just starting out, you wake up to the crowing of a rooster, but when your employee becomes head honcho, you awake to a performance by the character's personal violinist. On the other hand, if you choose to slack off and hit the snooze button too often, your character will become a drifter living with his parents, and you will be woken by the sound of his mother clanging a frying pan. The clock's storyline, albeit depicted by mere cartoon images, is designed to wake the user up with a sobering taste of life's harsh realities.

Saving Time and Money

For people who have difficulty saving up to buy the things they want, there is only one answer: coercion. The Banclock by Dreams Inc., with a suggested retail price of ¥4,935 ($45), can provide such people with the extra motivation they need to save.

As the name implies, the Banclock serves a dual purpose as both a piggy bank and an alarm clock. It comes in the shape of a cube, 10 centimeters on each side, and has a coin slot on top. If you fail to insert a coin (any denomination will do) when the alarm goes off at the set time, it will continue to remind you every five minutes. The Banclock can hold up to ¥50,000 ($455) in 500 yen coins or ¥15,000 ($136) in 100 yen coins and plays a melody to let you know when it is full. The clock is a great way to both start your day and save up for something you want to buy.

Was (Not Was) - Walk The Dinosaur

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom
Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom
Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom
Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

It was a night like this forty million years ago
I lit a cigarette, picked up a monkey, start to go
The sun was spitting fire, the sky was blue as ice
I felt a little tired, so I watched 'Miami Vice'

I walked a dinosaur, I walked a dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom
Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

I met you in a cave, you were painting buffalo
I said I'd be your slave, follow wherever you go
That night we split a rattlesnake and danced beneath the stars
You fell asleep, I stayed awake and watched the passing cars

I walked a dinosaur, I walked a dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur

One night I dreamed of New York
You and I roasting blue pork
In the Statue of Liberty's torch

Elvis landed in a rocket, rocket, rocket ship
Healed a couple of leapers and disappeared
But where was his beard

A shadow from the sky, much too big to be a bird
A screaming, crashing noise louder than I've ever heard
It looked like two big silver trees that somehow learned to soar
Suddenly a summer breeze and a mighty lion's roar

I killed a dinosaur, I killed a dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom
Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom
Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

Boom boom acka lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka lacko boom boom

.. read the Was (Not Was) entry on Wikipedia

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wikileaks is a website which allows whistleblowers to release (whilst remaining anonymous) government and corporate documents, without possible retribution.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

.. The sun sets too soon on another weekend ..

.. but it was a good weekend anyway.

I've been trying to get a bit more exercise in my week, so I've been hitting the bikes in my apartment block gym for about half an hour or so a few days a week.

I'm finding the secret is to keep yourself distracted, so my iPod is armed with plenty of choice uptempo rock numbers, sometimes I take a magazine in for added distraction. If I don't do this, I find that there is no way I can sit pedaling for very long.

I guess that's why a lot of gyms provide tv's to watch while you work out eh. Tv is known as the 'opiate of the masses', may as well put its numbing affect to good use.

I'm feeling good. Burn off some stress on the bike, then into the pool for a few laps.

I've got to do something to fight off this delicious Malaysia cuisine. ;)

Last night we went to see 'Vantage Point' at GSC Times Square. Liked the movie very much, it was minimalistic, but really well done, telling the same story from 8 different view-points, each view-point giving us a little bit more information on what is going on.

It went close at first to being a little repetitive, but I think jumped away just in time.

I'll give 'Vantage Point' 8/10.

Here's the trailer:

We actually saw it Premiere class which was quite worth the 6 ringgit extra per seat, just to escape the regular chatter and mobile phones that seem to interrupt every movie we see in standard class.

I don't know why so many people don't take notice of the 'please switch your phone to silent mode' adverts that accompany each movie, but it's sure distracting.

There wasn't any phone signal in the Premiere class cinema, I'm not sure if that's by design or an accident. Perhaps the whole cinema is encased in a Faraday's cage?

.. Or perhaps that's just me being a geek.

Anyways, have a good week everyone.
Remember, the weekend is only five days away!

Thursday was office 'Lo Sang'

Lo Sang is (as far as I can tell), a meal that uses chopsticks to toss all the mixture of few preserved & colourful vegetables, fruits, crackers & raw fish slices. It's eaten predominately noisily and messily at Chinese New Year.

Chinese people believe that the higher you toss it, the more luck it will bring. The more you toss it the better luck you'll have.

The lo sang – meaning tossing of the yee sang (raw fish salad) – is an invitation for great fortune to come into the participants’ lives in the coming year.

If anyone out there would like to correct or help this ignorant gwei-lo add to the above it would be much appreciated :)


Recipe for yee sang:

  • 150g sliced raw fish (you can use salmon)
  • 100g white radish, shredded
  • 100g carrot, shredded
  • 100g mango, shredded
  • 50g spring onions, shredded
  • 1 red chilli, shredded
  • 75g pickled papaya, shredded
  • 6 pickled leeks, shredded
  • 100g pomelo wedges, peeled and separate the sacs
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 20g young ginger, finely shredded
  • 1 pair yao char kwai, sliced thinly and deep-fried until crispy
  • 100g sweet potato, finely shredded
  • 50g toasted sesame seeds
  • 70g roasted peanuts, pounded

Sauce ingredients (cook and cool)
  • 300g plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 10g Chinese five spice powder, put into a red packet


Deep-fry shredded sweet potatoes in hot oil until crispy. Drain. Add sliced yao char kwai pieces to the hot oil. Deep-fry until lightly golden and crispy. Remove from oil and drain well on crushed kitchen paper.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmering boil. Leave aside to cool completely before use.

Arrange the shredded ingredients attractively on a big, round serving platter.

To serve, pour the sauce over the yee sang and sprinkle the with five-spice powder.

Add a sprinkling of sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and raw fish.

Toss and eat!


The Queen Victoria ocean liner arrives in Sydney

The massive new Queen Victoria caused a stir when she sailed into Sydney yesterday on her maiden voyage.

Main dimensions are:
Length Overall: 964.5 feet (294 m)
Beam: 106 feet (32.3 m)
Beam at Bridge Wings: 120 feet (36.6 m)
Draft: 26.2 feet (8.0 m)
Height keel to funnel: 205 feet (62.5 m)
Height above waterline: 179 feet (54.6 m)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The power of human touch will soon be used to transmit data

Telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) is planning a commercial launch of a system to enter rooms that frees users from the trouble of rummaging in their pockets or handbags for ID cards or keys.

It uses technology to turn the surface of the human body itself into a means of data transmission.

As data travels through the user's clothing, handbag or shoes, anyone carrying a special card can unlock the door simply by touching the knob or standing on a particular spot without taking the card out.

"In everyday life, you're always touching things. Even if you are standing, you are stepping on something," research engineer Mitsuru Shinagawa told AFP.

"These simple touches can result in communication," said Shinagawa, senior research engineer at the company's NTT Microsystem Integration Laboratories.

He said future applications could include a walk-through ticket gate, a cabinet that opens only to authorised people and a television control that automatically chooses favourite programs.

The system also improves security. It ensures that only drivers can open their cars by touching the doors if the keys are in their pockets, not people around them.

NTT has already developed technology that allows swapping data as heavy as motion pictures through a handshake, although it has not been put into commercial use.

NTT Electronics Corp, a group company, plans to start sales of the room-entry system in the coming months, probably in the spring, said NTT business creation official Toshiaki Asahi.

It will be the world's first commercial application of human body communication using electric fields, rather than sending electric currents into the human body, according to NTT.

"There is demand for hands-free entry as there are workplaces where you always have your hands occupied or can't touch things for hygiene or medical reasons. In some factories it's simply dangerous to dangle something from your neck," Asahi said.

The price is yet to be announced but will be "a bit pricier" than the conventional IC card system, he said, adding the group expects to start only with a limited market.

An IC card system is comprised of a chip-embedded card and a reading device, with its user placing the card over an article for a data feed.

Other companies have focused on electric currents and required users to wear items on the outside of their bodies.

In 2004, Matsushita Electric Works Ltd, a unit of Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, launched a system that sends a weak electric current into the human body to feed data.

The user was required to wear a watch-like device and touch a data receiver but no single system has been sold in its more than three years on the market, a company spokeswoman said, but they never won an order for the product.

"We saw little demand ... as customers believed the current entry/departure systems are good enough," she said.

Shinagawa said his technology's ultimate aim was to go beyond human-to-machine communications and focus on interaction among humans.

"As telecom technology has developed, human contact has faded. We started the research aiming to develop a new concept of telecommunication through touching," he said.

The technology is called RedTacton, a word coined from "touch" and "act on" along with the colour red, which represents "warm" telecommunications, NTT said.

Eventually, doctors and nurses may be able to record patients' data such as their pulse and temperature just through physical contact, Shinagawa said.

The system would free caregivers to focus on communicating and also help ensure against neglect by keeping track of how many times a worker has visited.

"Video cameras risk infringing on privacy but this enables care givers and receivers to maintain mutual trust in a natural manner," he said.

Malaysian footpaths
~ a state of decay

Here are some pics I took on a 500m stretch on my way to work walking along Jalan Ceylon. This is not some distant, far off backwater suburb, this is central Kuala Lumpur and these cracks and holes have existed for well over 6 months.

This is a busy street in a popular area, there are a couple of quite classy restaurants on this street, why won't the Malaysia Govt get it's act together and protect its citizens by giving them a safe footpath to walk on?

Would you walk on this?

.. Being so close to the road, much of the time you have no choice.

Why do they patch the footpath with wooden boards rather than a proper concrete solution?

The smaller grey tiles seen in the above & below pics are actually non-porous and therefore become slippery in the rain.

Who makes the decision to put slippery tiles nearest the road in a tropical country?

I put this down to perhaps a bad decision perhaps years ago, but in the last month the powers that be have replaced a bus stop near my work, and tiled the base of it with even more slippery tiles, no just non-porous, but actually shiny, and these are slippery even when dry.

This is just an example of completely bizarre, nonsensical decision making.
What are they thinking?
Are they thinking?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Scientists say there may be many more worlds in our galaxy

Rocky planets, possibly with conditions suitable for life, may be more common than previously thought in our galaxy, a study has found.

New evidence suggests more than half the Sun-like stars in the Milky Way could have similar planetary systems.

There may also be hundreds of undiscovered worlds in outer parts of our Solar System, astronomers believe.

Future studies of such worlds will radically alter our understanding of how planets are formed, they say.

New findings about planets were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston.

Michael Meyer, an astronomer from the University of Arizona, said he believed Earth-like planets were probably very common around Sun-like stars.

"Our observations suggest that between 20% and 60% of Sun-like stars have evidence for the formation of rocky planets not unlike the processes we think led to planet Earth," he said. "That is very exciting."

Mr Meyer's team used the US space agency's Spitzer space telescope to look at groups of stars with masses similar to the Sun.

They detected discs of cosmic dust around stars in some of the youngest groups surveyed.

The dust is believed to be a by-product of rocky debris colliding and merging to form planets.

Nasa's Kepler mission to search for Earth-sized and smaller planets, due to be launched next year, is expected to reveal more clues about these distant undiscovered worlds.

Frozen worlds

Some astronomers believe there may be hundreds of small rocky bodies in the outer edges of our own Solar System, and perhaps even a handful of frozen Earth-sized worlds.

We have to find the right mass planet and it has to be at the right distance from the star
Debra Fischer, San Francisco State University
Speaking at the AAAS meeting, Nasa's Alan Stern said he thought only the tip of the iceberg had been found in terms of planets within our own Solar System.

More than a thousand objects had already been discovered in the Kuiper belt alone, he said, many rivalling the planet Pluto in size.

"Our old view, that the Solar System had nine planets will be supplanted by a view that there are hundreds if not thousands of planets in our Solar System," he told BBC News.

He said many of these planets would be icy, some would be rocky, and there might even be objects with the same mass as Earth.

"It could be that there are objects of Earth-mass in the Oort cloud (a band of debris surrounding our planetary system) but they would be frozen at these distances," Dr Stern added.

"They would look like a frozen Earth."

Goldilocks zone

Excitement about finding other Earth-like planets is driven by the idea that some might contain life or perhaps, centuries from now, allow human colonies to be set up on them.

The key to this search, said Debra Fischer of San Francisco State University, California, was the "Goldilocks zone".

This refers to an area of space in which a planet is "just the right distance" from its parent star so that its surface is not-too-hot or not-too-cold to support liquid water.

"To my mind there are two things we have to go after: we have to find the right mass planet and it has to be at the right distance from the star," she said.

Sci-fi films as Russian Woodcuts

Can you guess these ones?

.. there are more here

The $50 a cup of Coffee ~ Kopi Luwak

COFFEE has always had its connoisseurs, people willing to pay over the odds for a cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain or a splash of Green Tipped Bourbon beans from St Helena, a reputed favourite of Napoleon's during his exile on the island.

But rarely has there been a boutique brew like kopi luwak, whose price tag of $1500 a kilogram, or about $50 a cup, makes it the most expensive coffee in the world.

"It's really the Grange Hermitage of coffees," Rob Forsyth, of Forsyth Coffee, says. "It's got a nice sweet, rosy, floral kind of flavour, very delicate and smooth."

Forsyth, who sells 300 grams of kopi luwak a year, says its price is a reflection less of its quality than its scarcity. It's thought that just 500 kilograms of the stuff make it to market every year and only then after a highly unorthodox journey to the cup.

Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet, or luwak, a mongoose-like mammal native to the jungles of South-East Asia. The flesh of the coffee cherry is digested, but the bean passes through intact and is deposited in piles of scat that are collected by hand from the jungle floor.

Fans of kopi luwak claim that enzymes in the stomach of the civet (whose diet also includes other fruit, insects, small mammals and reptiles) enhance the bean's flavour by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. "It's incredibly smooth and chocolatey," says Albert Taylor, whose Mandailing Kopi Luwak has just been launched in Australia. "When I give people a cup they sit there for about half an hour afterward running their tongue around their mouths savouring the sensation."

An Australian living in Indonesia, Taylor owns and operates a 200-hectare plantation in the Mandailing Highlands in north-western Sumatra. He bought the land in 1998 and began growing the original arabica coffee strain introduced by the Dutch in the early 18th century, as well as another relatively new arabica variety.

Taylor began collecting kopi luwak in 2002, following a chance conversation with a friend in Bali. "He told me about this civet cat coffee that was selling for $US600 a kilo. I thought he was pulling my leg. And then I clicked, thinking, 'So that's what all that cat poo around my plantation is."'

Taylor says there are problems in the industry as people have put civets in cages and force-fed them any old variety of coffee beans.

Jennifer Murray, a specialty roaster in Western Australia and member of the Australasian Specialty Coffee Association, recently visited a plantation in Bali where caged civets were being fed robusta beans.

"The whole operation looked a bit dodgy, to be quite frank," she says. "And when we tasted the coffee we were disappointed. It was nothing special but that might have had something to do with the beans the animals were eating."

Taylor says the civets on his plantation enjoy a veritable smorgasbord of excellent beans, "which makes all the difference".

Then there is the issue of authentication. At present there is no internationally accepted method of verifying whether a bean is kopi luwak. "People come up with these Indonesian authentication certificates," Taylor says. "But they are worthless and that's ruining the industry, too. We are looking at verification through a lab in Switzerland that we've sent samples to, to try to identify a print for the bean that will work as an industry benchmark. At the moment, people really don't know. The aroma is distinctive, amazingly sweet, but to an untrained nose it's harder to tell."

Questions of quality aside, kopi luwak has been good news for coffee lovers and the industry, Forsyth says. "It's made a major contribution in making coffee drinkers aware that different coffee beans are not simply region specific - there are a variety of bean types and processing methods that really do affect the final result brewing in your cup. It's also whetting consumers' appetites for exploring the different qualities that come from each bean."

For Mandailing Kopi Luwak stockists, see www.mandailingestate.com.au

Dog Lamp!

Pat him on the head to turn the lamp on & off. What a cool design.

.. found here

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mysteries of computer from 65BC are solved

A 2,000-year-old mechanical computer salvaged from a Roman shipwreck has astounded scientists who have finally unravelled the secrets of how the sophisticated device works.

The machine was lost among cargo in 65BC when the ship carrying it sank in 42m of water off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera. By chance, in 1900, a sponge diver called Elias Stadiatos discovered the wreck and recovered statues and other artifacts from the site.

The machine first came to light when an archaeologist working on the recovered objects noticed that a lump of rock had a gear wheel embedded in it. Closer inspection of material brought up from the stricken ship subsequently revealed 80 pieces of gear wheels, dials, clock-like hands and a wooden and bronze casing bearing ancient Greek inscriptions.

Since its discovery, scientists have been trying to reconstruct the device, which is now known to be an astronomical calendar capable of tracking with remarkable precision the position of the sun, several heavenly bodies and the phases of the moon. Experts believe it to be the earliest-known device to use gear wheels and by far the most sophisticated object to be found from the ancient and medieval periods.

Using modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface scanning, a team led by Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth at Cardiff University peered inside fragments of the crust-encased mechanism and read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing of the machine.

Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests it dates back to 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, predict eclipses and even recreate the irregular orbit of the moon. The motion, known as the first lunar anomaly, was developed by the astronomer Hipparcus of Rhodes in the 2nd century BC, and he may have been consulted in the machine's construction, the scientists speculate.

Remarkably, scans showed the device uses a differential gear, which was previously believed to have been invented in the 16th century. The level of miniaturisation and complexity of its parts is comparable to that of 18th century clocks.

Some researchers believe the machine, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, may have been among other treasure looted from Rhodes that was en route to Rome for a celebration staged by Julius Caesar.

One of the remaining mysteries is why the Greek technology invented for the machine seemed to disappear. No other civilisation is believed to have created anything as complex for another 1,000 years.

One explanation could be that bronze was often recycled in the period the device was made, so many artefacts from that time have long ago been melted down and erased from the archaelogical record. The fateful sinking of the ship carrying the Antikythera Mechanism may have inadvertently preserved it.

"This device is extraordinary, the only thing of its kind," said Professor Edmunds. "The astronomy is exactly right ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa."

The research, which appears in the journal Nature today, was carried out with scientists at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens where the mechanism is held and the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki.

found on the

How do you count your money?

Monday, February 18, 2008

.. Nocturnal Architecture ..

.. a short series of photos that I've taken recently while out & about after dark.

These pics were actually captured by my phonecam (a htc touch cruise), and came out better than they appear here, I've distressed them a little in an image editing program.

..hope you like them.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

'Roman Soldier ghost' caught on camera?

A group of amateur film-makers believe they may have proof that ghosts really do exist after one of them caught something strange on camera.

George Gunn said he captured pictures of a ghostly apparition while out walking along a footpath in Outwood, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Mr Gunn, a member of Outwood Community Video Club, said he thought the figure looked like that of a Roman soldier.
He said he had heard tales of ghosts being seen in the area. But he added: "I still don't believe in them." 'Something peculiar' The apparition appears to be still in the footage, but fades momentarily as two people jog through it.

Mr Gunn did not notice the figure until he reviewed his film later in the day.
Mr Gunn said: "I've had the camera for quite a while now and I have never had any problems with lighting or sun glare or anything like that. "There is something peculiar about it."

Mike Hooley, who is also a member of the video club, said: "George rang me up and said: 'Do you believe in ghosts?'
"I said 'no' and I still don't but when I saw the film I was quite amazed really."

Members of the video club are now planning to do their own research into whether there were any Roman settlements in the area.

.. from the bbc

Saturday, February 16, 2008

.. Aah Valentines day!

I wasn't expecting to receive anything this Valentines, just have a nice dinner out with the girlfriend somewhere pretty much. Yes, I know, romantic devil aren't I.

Anyway, I can't believe she sent me two bouquets of flowers, but that's what I got. I didn't expect one bouquet.

My first thought when the 2nd bouquet arrived was 'oh god, I hope this is also from her, or I have so serious explaining to do'. Luckily, it was.

I'm a big fan of receiving flowers, I'm not sure what the general consensus is out there, but girls, give it a go.. send your guy some flowers, don't just sit there and expect them to arrive for you. You might be surprised how positive the outcome.

We had dinner at the Indian restaurant, Vansh at Starhill gallery that night, which was awesome. We stuffed ourselves silly.

Well..At least I did. I think this is the 2nd or third time we've been to Vansh, it's highly recommended if you get the chance.

Hope you had a very Happy Valentines day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Color Pencils Reviewed

"Today I acquired a set of color pencil devices. You can get them in certain specialized shops. Note the device color range greatly varies by manufacturer; mine wasn’t even in the 6 bit range, producing only up to 24 colors when displayed. Invitations are not required for usage of color pencils though the service is paid only, with unfortunately no trial period.


Preparing the color pencil device for usage is relatively straightforward. As shown in the photo, you will have to open the lid of the metal box using your right or left hand. This installation however was completely undocumented, which may leave non power users confused. What’s more, reading the sparse documentation on the backside of the metal box after you set up the pencils for usage requires you to turn around the box – which will make the color pencils fall out of their box onto the floor or table.

How do you use the device? To select a color, you need to compare the color preview printed outside the edges of the specific pencil. The color is also printed on the tip of each pencil, a nice addition. You will then press the pencil onto the display paper, which you will be able to locate inside your printer."

Facebookers net wi-fi

A group of socially networked geeks hopes to bring free wi-fi to the masses.

FRUSTRATED by the NSW Government's stalled free wi-fi project, a group of Facebookers have decided to start their own.

It was inspired by futurist Mark Pesce to create a free wireless network, which the group hopes will one day cover Sydney and make it easy for anyone to enjoy the convenience of free internet access for quick tasks such as checking email.

Known as Sydney Free Wireless, the group is using cheap mesh network technology from a Google-backed US start-up called Meraki to start a network of free neighbourhood wi-fi hot spots and promote such services through a grassroots campaign.

Jean-Jacques Halans, a web developer who created and maintains the group's website, says the network "grew from a Facebook group, which grew from a presentation by Mark Pesce".

Mr Pesce, inventor of the Virtual Reality Markup Language, occasional New Inventors judge and futurist, made the speech at the Web Directions South conference last September. Dubbed "mob rules", the speech explained the $US49 ($55) Meraki Mini's ability to create wi-fi mesh networks that link Meraki to Meraki until the devices find an internet connection.

Mr Pesce concluded Meraki's product means ". . . we all have the capability to create our own large-scale, low-cost wireless networks . . .", a notion with sufficient appeal that Free Sydney Wireless formed quickly, partly because, as Mr Halans says: "It would be nice if you were walking around town and could connect with an iPod touch and browse a bit."

The NSW Government's plan for free wi-fi in Sydney's CBD and other business centres around the state has similar aims but "has taken a long time and nothing has happened", Mr Halans says.

The Facebook group started to discuss buying a large number of Meraki's devices together, to reduce the purchase price and shipping costs and set up its own free wireless. The group eventually made a joint buy of 30 Meraki devices, most of which have been installed around Sydney.

Mr Halans has installed a device and says he has had only one cynical user among the 56 who have taken up Meraki-enabled free access to his personal internet connection. "I had a neighbour who was downloading 500 MB an hour," he says, adding that he was able to contact the neighbour and stop the downloading and could have automated the process had he bought the $US100 Meraki Pro with its more sophisticated management features.

The idea of grassroots wireless networks is not unique to this group. There is also a Free Canberra Wireless network using the Meraki hardware, and other Meraki pioneers in Melbourne and Perth. On a more ambitious scale, last October British Telecom struck a deal with the Spanish FON company, which has a similar idea to Meraki. BT's 3 million broadband customers can join the FON network by turning part of their home wi-fi system into a public network.

Free Sydney Wireless' aim is to spread its network. "It would be nice if the whole of Sydney gets covered," Mr Halans says, and hopes grassroots tactics can help it reach this goal.

"We should get our neighbours involved by sending them flyers. If that gets a couple of people and they get a couple of people on board it should start growing organically."

That kind of growth is not overly ambitious. More than 50,000 San Francisco residents already use Meraki networks.

The Sydney group's Facebook members are already planning another group Meraki purchase.

Free Sydney Wireless' next recruiting drive will be in March at Barcamp, an informal web developers' get-together. "We will try to set up a wireless net at Barcamp using Merakis," Mr Halans says, in the hope that it spurs more people to install their own Meraki.

"We are a grassroots movement and a bit disorganised," he says. "We just want to see how far it goes and along the way, try to have a bit of fun."


:: http://blog.freesydneywireless.com

:: http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=39

What is Meraki?

Meraki's mission is "to bring affordable internet access to the next billion people".

It began as Sanjit Biswas' PhD research project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then extended to a low-income housing community in the US.

It is being used in 25 countries, from London apartment complexes to Indian villages.

The idea of a "mesh" is that rather than using one internet gateway for every user, the individual radios in the Meraki network link together to find the best path to carry a user's traffic to the internet.

To extend the network, just add another repeater - it doesn't necessarily have to be connected to the net.

It is claimed to be able to scale to thousands of simultaneous users, with intelligent traffic queuing and packet prioritisation.

The hardware is plug-and-play, configured by Meraki's hosted back-end system, which also tracks usage statistics and sends out router software updates.

A basic wireless repeater cost $US49, $99 gets an outdoor version with optional power-over-ethernet support, and there's even a solar-powered version in the works.

Access can be restricted to approved users, with bandwidth throttling to prevent leeches from abusing the system, and a second "owner tier" without limitations. There's even a facility to add advertising, announcements or news updates in a bar that runs across the top of any page browsed over the Meraki network.


:: http://meraki.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mr Bungle ~ Air-conditioned nightmare

I've seen these guys in concert a couple of times over the years. Always amazing, always unexpected. Mike Patton is an amazing vocalist.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The girlfriend, relaxing

.. @ dinner last night in Klang.

Breakfast of champions!

Vegemite on toast & a mandarin :)

Odd Search