When I had my first Nikon 25 years ago, I wouldn't have believed I'd ever own one (a D90) with 66 pages of the manual (out of a couple hundred total, in a 16 MB PDF file) just for menu options. Then again, 25 years ago, a friend showed me a shoulder-mounted Betamax camera from Hong Kong, and it was the latest in high tech video too.
Has anyone pinpointed the exact day that Victoria Beckham stopped being able to smile? Angus Wilson speculates, "whatever day she began to look less like a hot English babe and more like a velociraptor."
Meg Fowler: "Sarah Palin's quitting politics like Ann Coulter's quitting evil."
In case you'd like to watch Jeff Goldblum reporting on his own "death," on Colbert Monday: links for Canada and the U.S.A. (sorry if you're elsewhere!).
Didn't attend various Canada Day parties because of tired family and my usual intestinal side effects. Hope you had fun in my stead. Managed to avoid intestinal chemo side effects for a few days, but they're back with a vengeance. Could be a looooong night. (And it was. At 2 a.m., my chemo side effects were "over" and I went to bed. Bzzt! Wrong! Finally got to sleep at 9 a.m., woke up at 1 the next afternoon. As Alfred E. Neuman says, Yecch.)
Whatever you think of the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver, VANOC is doing a good job with graphic design.
From Rob Cottingham: "The hell with putting a ring on it. If you liked it, you shoulda made a secure offsite backup."
Info about recording old vinyl records into a computer: You need a proper grounded phono preamp, with good hot signals into an audio interface or other analog-to-digital converter. A new needle might be wise if yours is old, but the real phono preamp (w/RIAA curve) is the most necessary bit after that. Route it thru an old stereo tuner if needed! See my old post from 2006 at Inside Home Recording.
"I can’t think of a way that the entire [computer] desktop metaphor can be overhauled without either everyone in the world switching over at once (which won’t happen), or becoming a 'data island' like the Newton or Classic Mac OS."
"If you're married to page views, never assume that I am. If you're angling for 1,000,000 Twitter followers whom you pretend to read, never assume that I am. And, if your project is based on generating compulsory year-over-year growth vis-a-vis market domination and fiduciary responsibility, never assume that I am."
Stephen Colbert won't get a space station module named after himself, but he will get a space treadmill instead.
Our pal Kris Krug takes great photographs of people, and is enormously prolific in publishing them online, and Miranda and Reilly Lievers make amazing wedding pictures. But when my other friend Alastair Bird, who's made his living as a photographer for many years, publishes the occasional portrait online, there's something about his shallow-focus work with a medium-format camera that I find just astounding.
How strange that many people find science distant, or useless, or boring, or suspicious. I think the scientific impulse is naturally human, and that only the way some of us learn about it, and the way it is presented in our societies, is what mutes our interest.
Science isn't about facts. It's about the quest for facts.
A few months ago, web comic xkcd made a similar point in reference to MythBusters:
Ideas are tested by experiment. That is the core of science. Everything else is bookkeeping.
I learned lots of things from my science degree, but the key thing was that it's not a catalogue of knowledge, but a process to find that knowledge. A process that, fundamentally, is fun for the people who practice it. We should all understand that to be the foundation for the many things we have invented and come to know over the past few centuries.
Last year there were worries that the annual Gnomedex conference in Seattle might have lost some of its mojo. This year Gnomedex got its mojo back. Several 2008 sessions, for instance, blew away my bedridden 2007 remote-video appearance, which I'd heard some people had then considered a highlight. (Yikes.)
Rather than write out a big summary (you can read what others had to say), here's what I was chatting about on Twitter before, during, and after Gnomedex 8.0 with various people. The @ links are Twitter's way of letting you target your messages to other Twitter usernames. The #Gnomedex tags are there so that search sites know that various Twitter messages ("tweets") are about Gnomedex. You can probably ignore both and still get the point:
Took a pill that can upset my stomach, didn't eat soon enough, threw up in the sink with almost no warning a few minutes later. Better now. 09:50 AM August 20, 2008
Packing, last minute, before leaving for #Gnomedex today. 10:49 AM August 20, 2008
jjtoothman@penmachine its awesome that you are going to gnomedex. words don't describe how good it is to read that. 11:05 AM August 20, 2008
Just ate @ Shari's in Bellingham 03:19 PM August 20, 2008
brooksduncan@penmachine What is Shari's like? I always see them but I have never dared enter. 03:25 PM August 20, 2008
Derek is pretty much all done in Seattle after #Gnomedex -- the sunny hotel buffet patio is going to turn to rain soon, so we'll head out. 12:30 PM August 24, 2008
Derek is at Shari's in Bellingham again. Food is decent, but it's the free Wi-Fi that brings us back. 04:40 PM August 24, 2008
Derek is home and unpacked. Time to pick up the kids. 08:02 PM August 24, 2008
It wouldn't have been a trip to Seattle without mysterious traffic slowdowns on the I-5 near Everett. 09:00 PM August 24, 2008
Gnomedex 2008 was a remarkable and refreshing forum of ideas, which is the best anyone could ask for. I also won a cool prize thanks to Eye-Fi and Chris and Ponzi Pirillo, and they played my Gnomedex song at the end. Yay!
P.S. You know who'd be cool to have speak next year? One of the MythBusters crew.
Once again, it is snowing crazily here in Burnaby. It seems like we've had many more days of snow this year than usual. I like it, it feels very Canadian here, but I can't go out and enjoy it.
That's because today I started my ninth chemo treatment (out of twelve total) in this cycle, which began in October and will finish at the end of March. I'll spend most of tonight in bed watching Iron Chef America and MythBusters. I'll probably also be lying down most of tomorrow.
If things go as they usually do, I'll be a bit better by Friday, and pretty much back to normal by Saturday, when I hope to play drums with my band for the first time since July.
As I've mentioned a few times, this year MythBusters has turned into my favourite TV show. My wife and oldest daughter like it a lot too.
I've now found my favourite quote from the show. One member of the build team, Tory Belleci, is joking around in advance of possibly launching his coworker Kari Byron into San Francisco Bay with a water-bottle rocket. When she's a little upset, he quips:
Kari's too nervous. No more joking. Let's grim up.
Grim up. A great expression I hadn't heard before. The stunt ended up being too dangerous, so they launched a dummy instead.
If you've been trying to reach me, you'll have noticed that I haven't been reading email or returning phone calls, nor have I been online with IM. I haven't been posting to this blog or taking photos. I haven't even been listening to music or podcasts, though I have watched some TV (several episodes of MythBusters, for some reason). This is the first I've cracked open my laptop since Sunday.
I am amazingly sleepy. I'm doing okay, but I'm heading into my last week of chemotherapy, and together with the radiation they are taking their toll—on me as well as presumably on my cancer itself. My wife has managed to get me to the Cancer Agency each weekday, but that is the extent of it. Otherwise, I have hot showers where I kneel on the floor of the bathtub to feel better, I eat, I use the washroom, I try to help put the kids to bed, and I sleep.
I'll come back on the grid soon enough, but for now I'll be a flickery presence. Back to bed.