Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5

Digital Photography Review has a 'concise' review of Panasonic's latest 'big-zoom' compact. Conclusions include:

The main changes are an increased megapixel count, a higher resolution screen, and an improved movie mode, now offering HD quality output. [It] is a fast and extremely versatile camera that is also compact enough to carry it anywhere you go, and it's now even more fun to use.

The 28-280mm 10x zoom makes the TZ5 an ideal travel companion covering an enormous array of photographic assignments, from wide angle landscape shots to wildlife photography. But the Leica badged lens has not only an impressive zoom range, it also offers admirable edge-to-edge sharpness across the zoom range. Combine that with very little distortion even at wide angle and you've got a truly excellent lens.

The tiny sensor means that noise and a general softness caused by noise reduction is visible in the TZ5's output even at base ISO. Of course things don't exactly get better at higher sensitivities and anything higher than ISO 400 should be avoided if you plan to print your images at a decent size or publish them online at a high resolution.

The TZ5 is very well built with a full metal body that should withstand the occasional knock and comes with with a very intuitive user interface. There are external buttons for access to a range of important features and the excellent quick menu lets you change all essential shooting settings in an instant.

In conclusion the TZ5 is a versatile, user friendly photographic tool that can produce good results outdoors in decent light but struggles when it comes to taking pictures indoors and in low light (the flash performs quite well though). If you are looking for a travel or walkaround camera that is quick enough for the occasional spontaneous street shot and can also produce great quality HD video you should definitely have a closer look at the TZ5.

Build your own postmodern heraldic shield

Scion is a marque of vehicles produced by Toyota, designed to appeal to 'Generation Y' consumers. They've published a (very, very flash-heavy) website that allows you to construct a crest from a wide range of symbols. Word of warning, you'll have to turn off your pop-up blockers if you want to download a jpeg of the finished article.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mobiles for a Melvin

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Asda are currently offering the pay-as-you-go Sagem My212x, My220x, My150x or Nokia 1112 for £5.

Unlock your SIM

SIMable reports: [edited]

SIMable is a chip that frees your SIM card to work in the majority of mobile phones. SIMable is a 10 second solution that doesn't invalidate any warranty on your precious handset.

Fitting SIMable is simple, full instructions can be downloaded here.

It involves pressing out a very small hole in your SIM card using the free cutting tool provided. Once done simply align SIMable to your SIM card, insert into your locked mobile phone and start talking.

SIMable is compatible with most mobile phones including the latest Nokia E and N Series and the top of the range Sony Ericssons.

SIMable costs £16.99 plus a delivery charge of £2.95 which covers all worldwide destinations.

Fujifilm Finepix S100F

Digital Photography Review have just released a positive review of the Fujifilm Finepix S100F. The 'all-in-one' package includes a 14x zoom (28-400mm), a decent-sized CCD and a host of DSLR-style functions for around £400.

SXSW 2008 Free Tracks Review #3

SXSW 2008 posted 764 songs for free download in February. I'm about half-way through listening to them. Here's a few that I've enjoyed:

I Can't Wait For Summer - Captain Ahab: Bouncy Hellogoodbye sound-alikes with intelligent, funny lyrics.

Room Service - Hey Negrita: Mark Knopfler country-blues sound-alike. Give yourself an anorak point if you noticed they're named after a song off the Rolling Stones' Black and Blue album.

Out of Time - Jason Collett: And while we're on the subject, this is about as close as you get to the Rolling Stones without invoking a law suit... all together now... "Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!"

Faster than Cars Drive - Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden: Cat Powers-style languid country-tinged rock. Lovely.

Missing Women - Patricia Vonne: Maria McKee meets Shakira. Crying out to feature in a film starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek.

Baltimore - The Perpetrators: Low-down, lo-fi blues, Black Keys before they met Danger Mouse.

Primo Victproa - Sabaton: If this one doesn't raise a smile, check your pulse. Think of Rammstein backed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, produced by Jim Steinman. Everything louder than everything else. With a very heavy kitchen sink thrown in for good measure.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell began as a cyberpunk manga comic created by Masamune Shirow, first published in 1989. A sequel, Ghost in the Shell 2: Man/Machine Interface, was released in 2002.

It has since been adapted into three films - Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society and two television series - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig

It is an action-thriller based in the near future, centred around Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg member of a covert operations section of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission specialising in tackling technology-related crime.

As well as being a well-paced, action-packed adventure, Ghost in the Shell looks at the ethical and philosophical implications of the merging of humanity and technology, artificial intelligence and the internet.

After watching a lot of anime, I've got used to ignoring the lip-sync atrocities that come from dubbing English onto Japanese, however the English dub is better than most and the script is intelligent and witty.

If you're going to start somewhere, I'd begin with the 'Stand Alone Complex' television series, worth it just for the 'Tachikoma' robots, an experiment with collective AI learning that is both thoughtful and hilarious.

The makers of the Matrix trilogy have acknowledged the influence of Ghost in the Shell, and DreamWorks have recently acquired the rights to produce a live action film.


dcuk makes and sells wooden ducks. I have no desire to own a wooden duck. But I do love the name of the company.


PC Advisor built a PC/Mac hybrid for £500. Their verdict:

While it was fun to build the FrankenMac, the truth is that I'm not generally willing to live with the downsides of a build-your-own Mac over the real thing fresh from Apple's factory.

When I buy a machine from Apple, I know that one warranty covers everything, that all the parts have been designed to work together, that system updates won't leave me with a non-bootable system, and that as much thought went into the design of the interior of the machine as went into the exterior.

Having visited the build-your-own side of the Mac world, I've decided I'm more than happy letting Apple build my Macs for me, it's shown it's much better at it than I am. And who knows? Maybe one day that midrange Mac minitower of my dreams will no longer be mythical.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Free your mind

Stephen Poole has written about his own experiment with making his work available on the web. The whole article is worth a read (as are many of the comments), but here's a precis:

At the end of last year, I decided to give away my book, Trigger Happy, in DRM-free .pdf format. I called it 'a kind of experiment'. Thirty thousand downloads later and counting, it’s time to collate the lab results.

More people got Trigger Happy from this website than ever bought a copy of the printed book. The interest shown in an eight-year-old book about videogames by people as far afield as Brazil and Russia has been immensely gratifying.

My book was converted to be readable on the Nintendo DS; and the Nebraska Library Commission made a spiral-bound printed copy for their collection. Links to the download attracted a lot of attention to this site, and in December there was even an article about the book published in the French newspaper Libération.

I put a PayPal button below the download. The proportion of people who left a tip after downloading Trigger Happy was 1 in 1,750, or 0.057%.

If the advocates of “the free distribution of ideas” are serious, they need either a) to come up with a realistic proposal as to how I am to keep feeding myself while giving the fruits of my labours away for free; or b) come out and say honestly that they don’t think any such thing as a 'professional writer' ought to exist, and that I should just get a job like anyone else.

A lot of people paid for the Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails albums even though it was also rapidly possible to download pirated versions for free. But perhaps that was because they were already Radiohead and NIN fans. Will as many people choose to pay for something they don’t have to pay for, when it’s a question of taking a punt on a new artist?

Thanks to Conrad for the link

5 days with Grand Theft Auto IV

Rocky Mountain News has published an excellent article recording a reporter's experiences of spending 5 days playing a preview copy of GTA IV. If you're interested in one of videogaming's most infamous franchises, it makes a fascinating read.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cassette MP3 Player

Think Geek reports: [edited]

In between the vinyl record and the CD, there was another music media format - the cassette tape. It was very popular during the 80s and one thing that made it stand out was that you could record onto it.

This led to the 'mix tape' - a collection of kick ass songs you'd give to someone you were trying to impress.

This MP3 player is built into a standard cassette shell, letting you use it as either a MP3 player, or with any car cassette or cassette player via the built-in SD card slot.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: I have no idea how this works in a cassette player, but if it involves little men, I won't be in the least bit surprised.

Asimo takes the baton

Business Wire reports: [edited]

Honda’s ASIMO humanoid robot will conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as it performs 'Impossible Dream' to open a special concert performance with cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Tuesday, May 13.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

500 GB drives for 17" MacBook Pro

OWC have discovered that 12.5mm drives can be squeezed into the 17" MacBook Pro. So, if you own one, are running out of space and don't mind voiding your warranty, half a Terabyte of storage is now available.

Burger King's £85 Whopper

Brand Republic reports: [edited]

Burger King is preparing to roll out the UK's most expensive burger. It is likely to contain wagyu beef and foie gras. It is set to launch next month in a limited number of outlets in upmarket central London locations.

Burger King intends to position itself as a casual dining outlet and has taken inspiration from US themed chains such as TGI Friday's. It plans to roll out a number of exotic burgers using ingredients such as tiger prawns, steak and guacamole.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Super-slim Wooo comes to UK

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Comet are going to sell Hitachi's super-thin Wooo LCD TV range. The Wooo UT range will be available in 32in, 37in or 42in display sizes. Each model measures just 35mm from front to back.

Raw Markings

I've blogged about Sarah Delany's work before. She has recently released a new collection of reasonably-priced, pleasingly abstract paintings.

30 bookcases has a published a collection of creative methods for organising, storing and displaying your literature.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pleasing plaster & pill packaging

Creative Review reports: [edited]

Help Remedies was founded by Richard Fine and Nathan Frank and the design of the brand was conceived by New York’s ChappsMalina design studio.

“Using the packaging as a dramatic device to convey a sense of comfort and calm in an incredibly noisy landscape was the central idea in creating this design”, says Malina.

“The Help packaging was designed to not only reflect this approachable tone but, working with paper pulp, a completely new and untapped material in this category, enabled us to add a dimensional twist to the story."

Thanks to Aaron for the link

Save our XP

Wired reports: [edited]

Microsoft Corp.'s operating systems run most personal computers around the globe and are a cash cow for the world's largest software maker. But you'd never confuse a Windows user with the passionate fans of Mac OS X or even the free Linux operating system. Unless it's someone running Windows XP, a version Microsoft wants to retire.

Fans of the six-year-old operating system set to be pulled off store shelves in June have papered the Internet with blog posts, cartoons and petitions recently. They trumpet its superiority to Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest PC operating system.

Take, for instance, Galen Gruman. A longtime technology journalist, Gruman is more accustomed to writing about trends than starting them. But after talking to Windows users for months, he realized his distaste for Vista and strong attachment to XP were widespread.

"It sort of hit us that, wait a minute, XP will be gone as of June 30. What are we going to do?" he said. "If no one does something, it's going to be gone."

So Gruman started a Save XP Web petition, gathering since January more than 100,000 signatures and thousands of comments, mostly from die-hard XP users who want Microsoft to keep selling it until the next version of Windows is released, currently targeted for 2010.

In fact, most people who get a new computer will end up with Vista. In 2008, 94 percent of new Windows machines for consumers worldwide will run Vista, forecasts industry research group IDC. For businesses, about 75 percent of new PCs will have Vista. Although Microsoft may not budge on selling new copies of XP, it may have to extend support for it.

Al Gillen, an IDC analyst, estimated that at the end of 2008 nearly 60 percent of consumer PCs and almost 70 percent of business PCs worldwide will still run XP. Microsoft plans to end full support - including warranty claims and free help with problems - in April 2009.

Font robots

Jonathon Yule has produced some very cool robots using sans serif typefaces.

via boing boing

Monday, April 21, 2008

New British coin designs

The Royal Mint reports: [edited]

Matthew Dent, a professional graphic designer, had seen the competition advertised in a national newspaper. He explored a number of options before finally developing his ideas for an heraldic set.

"I felt that the solution to the Royal Mint's brief lay in a united design - how to represent the whole of the United Kingdom over six coins. I thought the six coins could make up a shield by arranging the coins both horizontally, as with the landscape idea, as well as vertically, in a jigsaw style.

"It's easy to imagine the coins pushed around a school classroom table or fumbled around with on a bar - being pieced together as a jigsaw and just having fun with them."

Thanks to Julie for the link

Imperial AT-AT Walker prototype revealed

I'm not entirely sure this isn't a hoax, but reports: [edited]

The Überschwerer Kampfschreitpanzer (Superheavy Armored Walking Tank) is thought to be the brainchild of notorious Nazi (mad) scientist Doctor Siegfried Qual, who built the initial prototype as a gift to Adolph Hitler.

The massive "Thor's Hammers" first appeared on the eve of the German invasion of Russia. When finally deployed they initially had a demoralising effect on the Russian forces, since the twin 88mm cannon (mounted in the vehicle's head) were capable of wrecking any Russian tank encountering it.

As the war progressed, the Überschwerer Kampfschreitpanzers became less of an asset and more of a liability. Their height made it nearly impossible to hide them, and at least one was totally destroyed and another wrecked beyond repair by a concentrated rocket attack.

Several others were damaged from artillery barrages, Russian dive bombers claimed another, and if reports are correct, one of the last was taken by several P-38 Lightning pilots, who brought it down with wing-mounted rockets.

via John Nack

Sunday, April 20, 2008

London, Lincoln, London 20-04-08

Take on me - a-ha
Always on My Mind - Pet Shop Boys
Bum Bum - Mabel
Number One Song In Heaven - Sparks
More Than A Feeling - Boston
Until The End of The World - Apoptygma Berzerk
Every Beat of my heart - Railway Children
Don't Tell Me - Blancmange
In The Shadows (dance remix) - The Rasmus
Good Luck (feat. Lisa Kekaula) (single) - Basement Jaxx
Dr. Jones - Aqua
Sit Down - James
Just Like Paradise - David Lee Roth
Rock Me Gently - Andy Kim
The Only Living Boy In New Cross - Carter USM
Breakthru - Queen
Hush - AM Radio
Poison (radio version) - Groove Coverage
I Feel For You - Chaka Khan
Goodbye Stranger - Supertramp
Girl All the Bad Guys Want - Bowling for Soup
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
She Sells Sanctuary (Original) - The Cult
Hey Ya - Outkast
You Better, You Bet - The Who
Lazy guy - Slobberbone
Steel Claw - Tina Turner
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher - Jackie Wilson
Baby I Don't Care (sped up) - Transvision Vamp
Drop dead gorgeous - Republica
Hi-Speed Soul - Nada Surf
Everyday I Love You Less And Less - Kaiser Chiefs
Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
Jet - Paul McCartney & Wings
Cream (ATB Mix) - Piet Blank & Jaspa Jones
Rhythm Is a Dancer - Snap!

18,000 Lira - Art Brut
The Real Slim Shady (rammstein remix) - Eminem
Try Try Try - Liam Frost
Tengo Frio - Ely Guerra
farewell / goodbye - m83
Ball of Confusion - The Temptations
Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley
Let Me Be Mine - Riton
Something And Nothing - The Wedding Present
Control - MuteMath
Mother Nature's Son - The Beatles
Big And Strong - Rich Mullins
She's So Liquid - Bill Mallonee
Schmuck In A Vacuum - Yazbek
Rocket Man - Elton John
Straight Ahead - Amy Grant
Canada - Pilot
I Wish I Was - Cara Dillon
Neighborhood #3 - Power Out - Arcade Fire
A Different Bob - The Colorblind James Experience
Build God, Then We'll Talk - Panic! At The Disco
I Bombed Korea - Cake
It Might Be You - Stephen Bishop
House of The Rising Sun - John Otway
Johnny Was - Bob Marley
Leaving Here - Eddie Holland
Creepin' - LZ Love
Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
House Carpenter - Bob Dylan
I Will Not Be Broken - Bonnie Raitt
Perfect - Alanis Morissette
Keep it - Dexys Midnight Runners
Hello Dolly (ext) - Barbra Streisand & Louis Armstrong
Skinny Legs - Lyle Lovett
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Eve of Destruction - P F Sloan (With Frank Black And Buddy Miller)
All Night - Sam Phillips
What Else Could It Be - Lambchop
eve of destruction - Dickies
Take This Bottle - Faith No More
Belong - R.E.M.
Parallel Life - Alice Peacock

Puzzle Pirates reports: [edited]

Puzzle Pirates is an online game in which you play a pirate in an ocean world. Hundreds of your fellow players swarm these isles and sea-lanes.

You can wander around on land and sail the thirty-seven seas with your crew. When you sail, or swordfight or navigate somewhere, the appropriate puzzle game is launched.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The real-life A-Team

Wired have published an excellent article about Titan Salvage, 'a highly specialized outfit of men who race around the world saving ships... a motley mix [of] American, British, Swedish and Panamanian. Each has a specialty — deep-sea diving, computer modeling, underwater welding, big-engine repair.

"And Habib, the guy who helicopters onto the deck of a sinking ship, greets whatever crew is left, and takes command of the stricken vessel."

It follows the rescue of a stricken deep-sea car transport, its 14 decks packed with 4,703 new Mazdas bound for North America. Estimated cargo value: $103 million.

via kottke

London, Lincoln, London 19-04-08

25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago
For The Widowers In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypisilanti - Sufjan Stevens
Tell Me How You Feel - Ray Charles
To Know Him Is To Love Him - The Langley Schools Music Project
Fruit Tree - Nick Drake
A Pain That I'm Used To - Depeche Mode
Break Up - Charlie Rich
Space City - Drive-By Truckers
Charmless Man - Blur
All You Deliver - José González
Burn - Ray LaMontagne
Orange Blossom Special - Johnny Cash
First we take manhattan (alt) - Leonard Cohen
The Good Song - Tonex
Small Axe - Bob Marley And The Wailers
Free Bird (single) - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Yellow Submarine - Chris Eckman
There Oughta Be A Law - Ian McNabb
Nutted by Reality - Nick Lowe
Gray Goose - Sweet Honey In The Rock
One Morning - Gillian Welch
Kuji kenai kara - Megumi Hayashibara
Holy Love - The Blue Nile
More Than This - Soulwax
Soul Galore - Jackie Wilson
Please Carry Me Home - Jesse Colter & Shooter Jennings
Harm's Way - The Ghost Who Walks
Mirror Man - Human League
Love And Glitter, Hot Days And Muzik - Helen Love
Plane Crash In C - Rilo Kiley
Old Friends - Simon & Garfunkel
Every Little Bit Hurts - Brenda Holloway
The Ghost of the Girl in the w - Willard Grant Conspiracy
Reach Up - Toney Lee
You Satisfy - Lost Dogs
Give Me The Reason - Luther Vandross
Underground - Ben Folds Five
Tall Trees - Crowded House
Poor Little Rich Boy - Regina Spektor
Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
Louisiana Man - Lucinda Williams
Willingly - Vigilantes Of Love
Spiral Staircase - Kings Of Leon
Cassiopeia - Joanna Newsom
I'm Not Your Stepping Stone - The Monkees

Tomoko - Hafdis Huld
Spin Me Harder - Daft Punk vs. Dead Or Alive
Doctorin' The Tardis (Dr. Who) - KLF (The Timelords)
Bathtime In Clerkenwell - (The Real) Tuesday Weld
Feel The Pain - Dinosaur Jr.
Swingin' Safari - Bert Kaempfert
Crush (new) - Jennifer Paige
Sign Of The Times - Belle Stars
Power Supply - Anamanaguchi
Fake Tales of San Francisco - Arctic Monkeys
D.I.S.C.O. - Ottawan
Funny Funny - Sweet
Pure Shores - All Saints
If I Can't Change Your Mind - Sugar
Dashboard - Modest Mouse
Kennedy - The Wedding Present
Dragostea din tei (Mai Ai Hii) - O-Zone
Are you Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
In the Middle of Nowhere (Remix) - Dusty Springfield
Radio Wall of Sound - Slade
(They Long to Be) Close to You - The Cranberries
Die on the Rope - The Distillers
Cissy Strutt - The Meters
That Don't Impress Me Much (dance remix) - Shania Twain
I Can't Let Maggie Go - Honeybus
Kitty In The Basket - Diana Dekker
Crush (1980 Me) - Darren Hayes
Happy Days - Pratt & McClain with Brother Love
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina And The Waves
Voyage Voyage - Desireless
Touch Me - Angel City
Inbetween Days - The Cure
Last Train To London - Electric Light Orchestra
Supernature - Cerrone
C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips - OK Go
Marvellous - Lightning Seeds
Give Him A Great Big Kiss - Shangri-Las
Move On Up - Curtis Mayfield
The Diary Of Horace Wimp - Electric Light Orchestra
Afternoons And Coffeespoons - Crash Test Dummies
At The Zoo - Simon & Garfunkel

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nikon D3 review

If you've got £4000 to spare, and are looking for a digital SLR, the Nikon D3 should be at the top of your list. dpreview has just published an extensive analysis of Nikon's latest pro DSLR, and they love it.

USB flash drive with a difference reports: [edited]

Somebody just went and TORE MY FREAKING USB CABLE IN HALF while it was still attached to my laptop!!!

No - wait - sorry. That's just my USB drive. My bad. Never mind.

Fuel cells, coming to a home near you.

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Panasonic has begun pitching fuel-cell technology as a new way to provide homes with electricity and cut their consumption of mains-sourced power.

The company said it will put a home-use polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) system into production in June. It claimed the power pack can run for 40,000 hours and 4,000 start-stop cycles - enough for a ten-year operational lifespan.

The PEFC works by combining hydrogen from the fuel and oxygen from the air across a pair of electrodes separated by an electrolyte. The electrolyte forces electrons produced by the reacting hydrogen and oxygen to travel around a circuit as a current. The process also generates heat and water.

Panasonic said its PEFC system has a power generation efficiency of 39 per cent - the world's highest for this technology. The cell has a heat recovery efficiency of 55 per cent.

Homes participating in Panasonic's test programme used the units to generate between 500W and 1kW. Panasonic doesn't expect to begin full-scale commercialisation of the technology until 2009-2010.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Compact flash reports: [not edited at all]

"USB Mirror Card Reader is foldable and mini in size! Memory cards can be stored inside and the embedded mirror design is best for users, especially girls, who are busy in their life."

Disappointingly, not available in pink.

Laptop popularity continues

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

"The crossover from the desktop to the notebook [is] happening essentially a year sooner than we first had thought," said Paul Otellini at Intel's earnings conference.

It's not that long ago that Intel and others were looking out to 2010 for the point at which more laptops are sold than desktops, a state towards which the computer market has been clearly heading for the best part of a decade.

Grablau Web - free 'embeddable' font

FDI Fonts reports: [edited]

Typographic variety is coming back to the Web. With the release of Safari 3.1 for MacOS and Windows, Apple’s web browser now supports font embedding for websites. Now millions of web users can view websites the way they were intended to be.

Safari 3.1 for Windows and Mac supports the embedding of “sfnt fonts” (TrueType, OpenType PS, OpenType TT) using the font-face declaration. Technically the fonts are not embedded in the website, but they are simply linked like an image file.

Thus the fonts need to be stored on a public server. Since you cannot upload commercial fonts to a public webserver, you are limited to freeware fonts. FDI fonts believes in the future of web fonts, so we decided to provide webdesigners with a set of high-quality web fonts supporting a wide range of character encodings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PED 3 is selling this chunky iPhone/iPod touch stand. Features include:

- 360 degrees rotation

- 2 angled positions

- Cable management

- Rubber coated metal grips allow full use of ports/controls

- Solid steel construction

For a (very positive) review, visit iLounge.

Laser-etched sketch books

Modofly laser-etch images onto sketch books. Visit their flickr page for some lovely images. I'm still trying to work out whether the unicorn-etched moleskin cover is intended to be ironic.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Razor E300 Electric Scooter is selling the Razor E300 Electric Scooter, capable of speeds up to 15 mph, a charge time of 4 hours, and a quoted run-time of 45 minutes.

And to think I was happy with a stick and a hoop.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Free typeface

Yanone Kaffeesatz is a condensed display family, loosely based on 1920s coffee house typefaces.

Available in four weights, figures and currency symbols are monospaced, so they can be used for setting tabular menus.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I'm off to New York!

In January I received a letter from my credit card provider informing me that they were opting out of the Airmiles scheme. To make sure they didn't end up getting 'lost' I used part of my allocation to book a return flight to New York, leaving April 11, returning April 14.

So, 140 bus willing, I will be stepping into Heathrow's Terminal 4 in the early hours of tomorrow morning. I'm travelling with hand luggage only, but that will include my laptop and camera. And I'm staying with a friend's sister, who has broadband. So there is every chance that I'll get the chance to update my blog and flickr stuff.

But if it all goes quiet for a few days, it's because I'm spending every minute of my time enjoying the US's most populous city.

Image courtesy of Stuck in Customs

'Artistic' flat screens

Sony reports: [edited]

The E4000 series makes an elegant addition to any room décor. There’s a choice of four colour frame options to blend effortlessly with contemporary or traditional interiors: Midnight Sky, Aluminium, Pearly White and Dark Walnut.

You can select from a gallery of six artistic masterpieces stored in the television’s memory, ranging from beautiful landscapes to Pop Art and van Gogh. In contrast with normal TV viewing mode, image brightness is reduced to mimic a real painting.

Alternatively, Picture Frame Mode is ideal for showing off your favourite photo, whether it’s a family portrait or an unforgettable holiday moment. Images can be displayed from any connected USB flash memory device.

Design your own fonts

FontShop reports: [edited]

FontStruct is a free font-building tool that lets you quickly and easily create fonts constructed out of geometrical shapes, which are arranged in a grid pattern, like tiles or bricks.

FontStruct generates high-quality TrueType fonts, ready to use in any Mac or Windows application.

You can keep your creations to yourself, but we encourage users to share their "FontStructions". Explore the Gallery of fonts made by other FontStruct users and download them or even copy them and make your variations.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

SXSW 2008 Free Tracks Review #2

SXSW 2008 has posted 764 songs for free download. I'm still working my way through them. Here's a few that avoided the 'delete' rating:

Power Supply - Anamanaguchi: This is where I heard them first. Crazy mutated games sounds clash with guitars and drums. Would raise a smile on a corpse. POWER UP!!!

Who You Are - Cary Brothers: At first I thought it was a Sufjan Stevens side-project. They're an indie-folk band from Portland, and make a very warm and pleasant sound.

Hair - The Lonely H: The Mooney Suzuki meets The Datsuns. It's what Lenny Kravitz should have ended up sounding like.

13th Angry Man - The Breakup Society: They Might Be Giants meets Wreckless Eric. Messy, energetic and melodic.

Devil Take My Soul - Son Of Dave: Ex-Crash Test Dummies man (not the one with the THAT voice) does a nice take on rhythmic blues. Warning, may contain harmonica.

Raised By Wolves - The Cansecos: Old-school meandering disco. Warning, may contain vocoder.

Bicycle, Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle - Be Your Own Pet: If you haven't heard of them yet, you will. They're young and they're from Nashville, but don't expect any steel guitars. Shouty-shouty garage punk for the noughties. Makes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound like lounge music.

Type anatomy have produced a comprehensive (if idiosyncratic) guide to names for various type elements. If you don't know your serif brackets from your outstrokes, it could be worth a visit.

Germs that thrive on antibiotics

Wired reports: [edited]

Antibiotics are supposed to kill bacteria, not feed them. Yet Harvard researchers have discovered hundreds of germs in soil that are able to thrive with the potent drugs as their sole source of nutrition.

The work explains why the soil doesn't harbour big antibiotic buildups despite use of the drugs in livestock plus human disposal and excretion.

Bacteria prefer to eat sugars, like rotting fruit. Put in laboratory dishes to subsist only on antibiotics, the germs grew a little more slowly but the researchers found every drug tested could support growth of some bacteria.

A number of bacteria could withstand levels of antibiotics that were 50 to 100 times higher than would be given to a patient.

The next step is to identify the genes that let these bacteria devour and degrade antibiotics. Then the question becomes whether that genetic mechanism is something soil bacteria might be able to transfer to human pathogens, making them more drug-resistant.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Anamanaguchi are a four-piece group from New York that combine guitars with tones generated by a hacked Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a 'like-it-or-hate-it' genre, but they do it with a sense of humour and melody.

Their latest album is available for free download from 8bitpeoples. The definitive track is 'Power Supply'.

Best of Second Life

Flickr are hosting a great set of Second Life imagery.

via Conrad

Thread typeface

Peter Skwiot Smith has made his Thread typeface available for nowt.

via TypeNeu

Monday, April 07, 2008

BBC reports: [edited]

A US man has sold the domain name for $2.6m (£1.3m)

Mr Clark registered the domain name in the hope that would help to get a contract with a pizza firm for his consulting company. He sold his business in 2000, but kept paying the $20 annual fees for maintaining the domain, which he also used to sell advertisements.

In January, Mr Clark decided to sell it after hearing that another domain - - was sold for $3m in 2006. The online auction was launched on 27 March. The first bid was $100, jumping to $2.6m a week later.

Boom Blox

Electronic Arts reports: [edited]

Boom Blox is the first game developed in collaboration between EA and Steven Spielberg. The game features over three hundred levels and an in-game editor.

"I am a gamer myself, and I really wanted to create a video game that I could play with my kids," said Steven Spielberg. "Boom Blox features an enormous amount of fun challenges and cool scenarios for your kids to solve or for you to master together."

Boom Blox offers action-packed interactive activities, with single player, co-op, and versus gameplay. Players can remix any level of the game in Create Mode using props, blocks, or characters that have been unlocked during the game. Players can also share their designs with friends via WiiConnect24.

"My inspiration for this game came while I was playing the Wii for the first time," added Spielberg. "From the initial concept to what the game is today, it's always been built around the innovations the Wii brings to playing games. Boom Blox plays on the enjoyment of building and knocking down blocks, something that can appeal to kids and adults."

Boom Blox is also in production for mobile phones and will be available this Spring.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

London, Lincoln, London 06-04-08

Leftovers (Radio Edit) - Johnny Flynn
On My Radio - The Selecter
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt (single) - We Are Scientists
Telegram Sam - T.Rex
Sally MacLennane - The Pogues
I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You - Black Kids
13th Angry Man - The Breakup Society
Sittin' Pretty - Datsuns
My Sharona - The Knack
Spirit Of Radio - Rush
Mama Weer All Crazee Now - Slade
Guns Of Navarone - The Specials
Tank! (Opening Theme) - Cowboy Bebop
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Double Dutch - Malcom McLaren
I Want My Money Back - Sammy Kershaw
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
White Wedding - Billy Idol
Boys Like You - Leona Naess
Hippychick - SoHo
Metal Mickey - suede
Loneliness - Ed Harcourt
Rock N Roll High School - Ramones
Busy - Butterfly Boucher
I Saw The Sign - Ace of Base
True Faith '94 - New Order
Shine - The Lovefreekz
Roam - The B-52's
99 Red Balloons - Nena
Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top
Disco 2000 - Pulp
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
Concrete And Clay - Unit 4 Plus 2
Voulez Vous - Erasure
Dum Diddly - The Black Eyed Peas
Crush (1980 Me) - Darren Hayes
I Turn To You - Melanie C
Heads Down No Nonsense - Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias

What should I do with my doubts? - Timothy J. Keller
Hell: Is the God of Christianity an angry judge? - Timothy J. Keller
1643 - Seth Lakeman
Soul Sauce - Timebox
Nasty - Janet Jackson
Hurry On Boys - The Skids
Burning The Box Of Beautiful Things - Jackie Leven
Don't Ever Think (Too Much) - The Zutons
You Are Everything - Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross
Soft Beds, Hard Battles - The Pooh Sticks
Now That You Are Leaving - Stina Nordenstam
Radio Wall of Sound - Slade
Gradually - Rosie Thomas
Tango In The Night - Fleetwood Mac
Canyon Prayer - Jessi Alexander
Funny Funny - Sweet
Run For It (feat. Leigh Nash) - Delerium
Mellow Yellow - Donovan
At The Zoo - Simon & Garfunkel
Pure Shores - All Saints
Oh Death - Ralph Stanley
Comedienne - Cinerama
What Will They Write on Your S - The Brilliant Mistakes
Sweet Fire of Love - Vigilantes Of Love
Peggy's Kitchen Wall - Bruce Cockburn

Free font

Underware have made an 'embossed' version of their postmodern take on blackletter, Fakir, available for free.

Fakir was chosen as the primary typeface for the soon-to-be-released videogame Rock Band.