Sunday, December 14, 2008
My consideration has led me to the belief that in terms of the depiction of gender in SL there are two functions performed by anatomical parts of the avatar. These are the sexuality component maleness and femaleness and the more identity-related femininity / womanliness and masculinity / manliness. While thinking up my theory, I mentally referred to this latter component as the 'Emblem'.
Both male and female initial avatars are devoid of any features in the crotch region other than a little pubic hair on the skin texture. This elimination of detail obviously greatly simplifies the addition of clothing layers for pants for both genders.
This presents no big problem for female residents in my theory since the vulva represents only the sexuality component of gender and the much more important identity component of gender is catered for by the female avatars breasts which are quite easily handled with clothing layers. Anyone who doubts the basis of this conjecture may care to reflect on women that they know / have known who have had health problems such as cervical cancer and those who have had breast cancer that might require mastectomy and recall which women were the more devastated and felt their identity more threatened.
Unfortunately for male residents the penis serves double-duty (yet again!) and represents both the sexuality and identity gender components and there is no alternative external physiology that can really substitute the masculine identity function so the intentional omission of a penis (etc) is at a probably sub-conscious level a source of distress for male residents. It’s not that we want to have it there all the time, but it never being there is just a constant ‘not quite right’ feeling.
I believe that this emasculation is probably the root cause for observed compensatory male avatar characteristics, unrealistic height, geeks with builds like Olympic athletes, strong "5 o'clock shadow" (since the avatar obviously shaves every morning). I am not in the least criticising any male avatars who evince any or all of these features, on the contrary, I understand completely. I think that this might even be behind some new male avatars eagerness to acquire the infamous ‘freenis’ with the justification of using it for sex, maybe it is really just an attempt to put something that they know is wrong to rights.
It's not even that any kind of 'funtionality' is necessary, but I can't help but wonder how many male residents have been lost due to the the choice of living a SL life with a neutered male identity or be thought of as a sex-fiend and get a penis
In closing, I would ask female residents who have female avatars to ask themselves: If the default female avatar was as flat as an ironing board, how long would it be (in minutes) before you went looking for boobs? ‘Frewbs’ anyone?
I welcome all comments and alternative viewpoints.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
An excerpt from today's announcement -
We set out to build an open, customizable music player. Today, we're launching with dozens of integrated services, hundreds of add-ons, and a growing developer community. We'll be the first to admit that there's plenty left to do. And, while we're not ready for everyone, 160k users a month are expressing their vote for an alternative music player.
We now use GStreamer as our main media playback system, across all platforms - giving us higher performance, better reliability, and a platform for much more media-related functionality in the future.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I think that's a good result...
(but there are no bad virtues, so try it for yourself)
Your result for The Four Cardinal Virtues Test...
64% Temperance, 75% Prudence, 89% Fortitude and 84% Justice!You scored 64% on Temperance, higher than 64% of your peers.
You scored 75% on Prudence, higher than 90% of your peers.
You scored 89% on Fortitude, higher than 83% of your peers.
You scored 84% on Justice, higher than 95% of your peers.
Hear you ROAR! Your virtue is FORTITUDE--that which makes you confront fear, pain, uncertainty, and violence. Yours is a virtue much desired by numerous who cringe in the face of a threat when you can very well answer it with equal violence. Your virtue is the most exciting and some might say the most empowering--who wouldn't love to be as daring as you?Still, being brave doesn't mean you're being brainy. Just because you roar at an elephant or a stampede doesn't mean you won't get smushed. Ask Mufasa.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
It has been designed specifically for high speed precision drilling. In addition, it has consistently outperformed rival products in independent speed tests. Speedbor Max is a drilling phenomenon achieving a drilling speed which is six times faster than basic flat bits.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
You would have no chance of discovering for yourself even 1% of all that is happening at any time, so obviously you need sources of information on such things.
Fortunately there is a multitude of newspapers and magazines covering events and different aspects of Second life and these are available both in-world at kiosks (usually for free) and outside Second Life on the general Internet.
Publications range from the light blog-like such as Rez Magazine, to professionally laid out full-colour pdf newspapers such as The Metaverse Messenger, a bang up-to-date sample of which you can see here announcing an in-world celebration for Obama's victory.
Perhaps the most prolific subjects for publication are the Fashion and Lifestyle magazines such as Scarborough Flair, Second Style Fashionista, Second Homes and many more.
There are even Annual publications to provide information on annual events such as the Hair Fair.
And don't forget, in Second Life you aren't limited to just changing your clothing and hairstyle but your entire body shape and skin, so you have specialist magazines such as this, to say nothing of the non-human avatar publications and articles, Fairies (well winged people anyway) and Vampires included.
For the business-minded, there are blogs by people who run both real-world and virtual-world businesses and frequently post their experiences and advice, such as ArminasX Saiman.
One thing is for sure, there is never any need to be bored when you have a Second Life, there's always something happening that will interest you and always something you can read to find out about it.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.
“Now that we know hydrogen sulfide’s role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension,” said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science....
Friday, October 24, 2008
It's not something that you can try out on your kitchen table though!
"Working with one of the purest semiconductor materials ever made, they discovered the quasi-three-dimensional electron crystal in a device cooled at ultra-low temperatures roughly 100 times colder than intergalactic space. The material was then exposed to the most powerful continuous magnetic fields generated on Earth."
Monday, October 20, 2008
(And you can see the search that I used to get this at the bottom)
Earth is getting a lot of space dust and meteors from space.
On the other hand our atmosphere is losing some gases.
Which one is greater? Is Earth gaining or losing?
Hello, and thanks for the question.
According to Jeff Brown at Washington State University,
several hundred tons of meteorites enter the Earth's
atmosphere every day. The total amount per year can range
from 10 million to 1 billion kilograms.
A lot of this is just dust or micrometeorites, but it adds up.
For example, let's say an average of 500 million kilograms
a year has landed on Earth over the past 10,000 years.
That's 5 trillion kilograms. Or 5 billion metric tons.
That might seem like a lot, but the total mass of the Earth
is over 5 x 1021 metric tons! (That's a 5 with 21 zeroes.)
The Earth also loses mass in several ways.
All the time, we're losing light elements, mostly hydrogen,
from the atmosphere.
In a study
"PLANETARY SCIENCE:ON THE SOLAR WIND AND ATMOSPHERE EROSION"
The author points out that
"....at present the Earth loses matter at a rate of 1 to 3
kilograms per second, the rate and composition varying with
solar cycle (sunspot cycle).
Recent measurements (K. Seki et al, Science 291:1939 2001)
suggest the rate is lower than this, but even with a net
loss of 3 kilograms per second, it would take 50 billion
years to deplete the Earth's atmosphere and at least another
15 trillion years to evacuate the oceans.
For comparison, the total lifetime of the Sun is only
approximately 10 billion years."
Assuming the worst case from this study, say we lose
That works out at: 3*60secs*60mins*24hours*365.25days or
So to answer your question, over long periods of time we gain
more from "space dust" and asteroids than we lose from the
escape of gases, but in some years it may be a net loss.
But gas escape is not the only way we lose mass.
Another way the Earth loses mass is through radioactive decay.
The Earth's interior is peppered with radioactive elements
such as uranium, thorium and potassium 40.
These radioactive elements are mixed in with other rock.
Granite, for example, can contain as much as four grams per
ton of uranium and 13 grams per ton of thorium.
As these radioactive elements decay, they give off heat and
in the process of releasing this energy, the elements also
Gary Collins, who is a physicist at WSU, says …
"it should be possible to figure out approximately how much
mass is lost, but it would be a difficult calculation"
Taken from: "Ask Dr Universe: The Big Questions" at
And "space dust" and meteorites are not the only ways we
gain mass. For one, Earth gains a tiny amount of mass from
the "solar wind," the stream of charged particles from the
Sun's corona. This varies wildly, as you’ll find from the
NASA site on the solar wind here:
"The Solar Wind"
Hope that answers your question,
but if you need clarification, just ask.
Google search used
earth mass gain loss
"Virtual Worlds London, 20-21 October 2008, is the leading European event for businesses seeking to understand and maximize business strategies within virtual worlds. VW London is presented by Virtual Worlds News, the VW business news authority. Virtual Worlds London takes place at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre two blocks from Parliament."
The list of companies sending speakers is impressive all by itself!
Some big name companies you might not think are interested in virtual worlds, but they certainly are.
Featured SpeakersChristian Ahlert, Owner, OpenBusiness.cc, MiniBar
Dave Anderson, Head of Interactive, BBC Worldwide
Tony Bicknell, Director, Futuresource
Justin Bovington, CEO, Rivers Run Red
Corey Bridges, Executive Producer, Multiverse
Nic Brisbourne, Partner, DFJ Esprit LLP
David Burden, Managing Director, Daden Limited
Pierre-Oliver Carles, Stonfield Inworld
Mirko Caspar, Chief Marketing Officer, Metaversum GmbH
Bruno Cerboni, Virtual Italian Parks, Chief Executive Officer
Jesse Cleverly, Head of Co-Production and Acquisitions, Drama and Animation Dept, BBC Children's
Harvey Cohen, Founder and President, Strategy Analytics
Victoria Coleman, Vice President, Samsung Electronics
Chris Collins, Director, Enterprise Systems Business
Guy de Beer, CEO, Playcast Media Systems Ltd.
Bruce Damer, Executive Director, Contact Consortium - Virtual Worlds Roadmap SIG
Dick Davies, Executive Producer, Ambient Performance
Francesco D'Orazio, Founder and CEO, Myrl LTD
Rob Edmonds, senior consultant, eLearning and virtual worlds, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence
Ron Edwards, CEO, Ambient Performance
Celia Francis, CEO, WeeWorld
Rohan Freeman, CEO, Sine Wave Company
Matt Furman, Software Engineer, Northrop Grumman
Jim Gatto, Section Leader for Intellectual Property, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Phil Guest, UK Managing Director, Sulake
Adrienne Haik, Chief Operations Officer, Metaversatility
Tracy Harper, Interactive Brand Manager, Orange
Mimi Harris, Communications Director, Rivers Run Red
John Hengeveld, Senior Business Strategist, Intel
Martin Herdina, CEO, Fatfoogoo AG
Adam Hildreth, Founder and President, Crisp
Jonathan Himoff, Founder and CEO, Rezzable Productions
Dan Hon, Co-founder and CEO, Six to Start
Bernard Horan, Senior Staff Engineer, Sun Labs
Chris Howard, Manager, Emerging 3D Internet & Virtual Business, IBM Research
Ian Hughes/epredator, Metaverse Evangelist, IBM
Bruce Joy, Founder and CEO, VastPark
Rupert Key, Director of Engineering, Malden Labs
Mark Kingdon, Chief Executive Officer, Linden Lab
Divinia Knowles, Head Of Operations & Financial Controller, Mind Candy
Roland Legrand, Chief Internet & New Media at Mediafin, Author at mixedrealities.com
Jeroen Matser, Strategy Director, Tribal DDB London
Karl Mehta, Co-Founder & CEO, PlaySpan
Jean Miller, German Market Development Manager, Linden Lab
Peter Mills, Chief Health Officer, Cigna
Nic Mitham, CEO, K Zero
Philippe Moitroux, CEO, TAATU
Claus Nehmzow, VP, Virtual Worlds/Immersive Experiences Practice Group, Method
Greg Nuyens, CEO, Qwaq
Kim Plowright, Production Manager, Oil Productions Ltd.
Jeffrey Pope, Executive Vice President, ngi Group Ventures / 3Di
Steve Prentice, VP & Gartner Fellow, Gartner
Jim Purbrick, Senior Developer, Linden Lab
Andrew (Roo) Reynolds, Portfolio Executive for Social Media, BBC Vision
Fiona 'Foe' Romeo, Head of Digital Media, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory
Dave Rolston, PhD, Chairman and CEO, Forterra, Inc.
Cindy H. Rose, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Walt Disney Internet Group EMEA
Nikolai Roth, VP Sales, Weblin / zweitgeist GmbH
Andrew Schneider, Founder & President, Live Gamer
Joey Seiler, Editor, VirtualWorldsNews.com & Virtual Worlds Weekly
Dr. Yesha Y. Sivan, Shenkar College Software Department, Metaverse Labs. Ltd.
Christopher V. Sherman, Founder, Virtual Worlds Management
Rob Smart, Emerging Technology Specialist, IBM Hursley
Carlos Domingo Soriano, Director for Internet and Multimedia, Telefónica R&D
Hanno Tietgens, TUEV NORD 3D Consultant, Buero X Media Lab
Henrik Torstensson is VP Business Development of Stardoll
Sibley Verbeck, CEO, The Electric Sheep Company
Niniane Wang, Engineering Manager, Lively Engineering Lead, Google, Inc.
Keith Weiner, CEO and co-founder, Nortel DiamondWare
Dolf Wittkamper, Senior Director, Philips Design
David Wortley, Director , Serious Games Institute, Coventry University
Alex Wrottesley, Co-Founder, Near
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Here's an excerpt -
Future planes, cars may be made of `buckypaper'...
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It's called "buckypaper" and looks a lot like ordinary carbon paper, but don't be fooled by the cute name or flimsy appearance. It could revolutionize the way everything from airplanes to TVs are made.
Buckypaper is 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel when sheets of it are stacked and pressed together to form a composite. Unlike conventional composite materials, though, it conducts electricity like copper or silicon and disperses heat like steel or brass.
"All those things are what a lot of people in nanotechnology have been working toward as sort of Holy Grails," said Wade Adams, a scientist at Rice University....
A Readers Digest version of the thoughts of the great philosophers.
As the site says -
THE BOOKS WHICH DEFINED THE WAY WE THINK NOW.
Their own ideas, in their own words, neatly honed into little half-hour or so reads.
"Like reading the bible without all the begats" - Jim Curtis
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
(I'm sure most of us do it before we go to bed, Shhhh!)
Here is a possible downside to the practice (typo's and all) -
"When I was a kid we never had drought after drought.
Then we started with daylight saving.
We started with a little bit, but now we have six months of the year daylight saving.
it has just become tpp for the environment to cope with.
It is so logical, for six months of the year we hqve an extra hour each day of that hot afternoon sun.
I read somewhere that scientiic studies had shown there is a lot less moisture in the atmosphere which means we get less rain.
I believe this extra one hour is slowly evaporating all the moisture out of everything.
Whycan't the Governmentget the CSIRO to do studieson this, or better still get rid of daylight savings.
They gave to do something before itis too late."
This comment was sent to a newspaper.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
With the world’s first teraflop many-core processor, the NVIDIA® Tesla™ S1070 computing system speeds the transition to energy-efficient parallel computing.
With 960 processor cores and a standard C compiler that simplifies application development, Tesla S1070 scales to solve the world’s most important computing challenges—more quickly and accurately.
Feeding HPC Industry’s Relentless Demand for Performance.
Keeps pace with the increasing demands of the toughest computing challenges including drug research, oil and gas exploration and computational finance.
Many-core Architecture Delivers Optimum Scaling across HPC Applications.
Parallel performance from 960 cores capable of concurrent execution of thousands of computing threads and scalable architecture meets computational demands of applications whose complexity has outstripped the CPU’s ability to solve them.
Which leads to things like This -
Evolved Machines is reverse-engineering brain circuits to develop a new paradigm for device technology. Their research work requires the large-scale simulation of neuro biologically realistic neural circuits which require enormous parallel computing capacity. Simulation of a single neuron involves 200,000,000 differential equation evaluations per second, requiring approximately 4 gigaflops. A neural array engaged in sensory processing requires thousands of neurons, thus, the detailed simulation of neural systems in real time requires more than 10 teraflops of computing power.
Friday, September 26, 2008
About the site, in it's own words -
I Used To Believe is a funny and bizarre collection of ideas that adults thought were true when they were children. It will remind you what it was like to be a child, fascinated and horrified by the world in equal parts. The following pages will reassure you that the things you used to believe weren't so strange after all...
You can add your own to the site. If you think your beliefs were strange, check out our most common beliefs and discover that you're not alone! We also provide RSS feeds if you like that sort of thing. There are currently 63841 beliefs on the site.
Some areas of this site contain content which is not suitable for children.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Review: EFiX Dongle Perfectly Transforms PC to Mac
When we first heard about EFiX—a simple USB dongle that'll let you magically install Leopard on your PC—it sounded too fantastic to be true. Well, I used it to turn my gaming PC into a Mac Pro over the weekend, and I'm somewhat amazed to say this, but it works perfectly.
I grabbed all the updates straight from Apple—including 10.5.5 last night, so you don't have to wait for a hacked patch like you would running a typical Hackintosh—installed a whole bunch of software and have been using it for several days. It runs beautifully, just like a real Mac Pro.The Process
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Web Was Young Once, Too: Why Even Non-Residents Should Take Second Life Seriously
An extract -
For many of us Second Life residents, Second Life is an enormous and important part of our lives. But plenty of people who don't use Second Life don't understand what the attraction could possibly be, and maybe think of it as more like soap operas or Dungeons & Dragons, just a trivial hobby or entertainment or toy. Here's a piece to help someone like that understand why they might want to take Second Life at least a little seriously.
The first thing to realize is that Second Life isn't a toy: it's an environment. As David Kirkpatrick puts it (I'll mention him again in a minute), "It's not a game, it's just a place you go to do whatever you want to do."
Second Life can be much more than entertainment or a way to relax, but entertainment and relaxation are a big part of it. The thing to realize is that unlike television or video games (for instance), Second Life is an active, social way to relax. We Second Life residents spend a lot of our time talking to other resis, sometimes just shooting the breeze but sometimes having serious conversations. We explore, learn, question, create, design, teach, and grow as people.
Here are some examples of the many, many, many things in Second Life that make it meaningful and important.
(David Kirkpatrick is the senior editor of Fortune magazine)
Monday, September 15, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I suspect that is so that there are no backdoors owned by anyone else that can be used to subvert their security/DRM so they can forge ahead with their content provider plans.
Anyway, more on this story Here.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
That demo is one of many entries in the Nvidia 8800 based NVScene 2008.
Whatever hardware you have, PC, Amiga, Atari-ST, Commodore 64 etc' (what? no Mac?), there will be something here to blow your socks off!
More Demo sites here, here and here, Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Here is the Comic Book Presentation from Google, and here's the explanation of it.
Things are going to get tougher for MS, just when they were planning to catch up with Firefox.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Best thing of all is that GP2X is far from dead, all that has to be done is recompiling of GP2X Homebrew.
Not a bad specification either.
The Linux-powered device (running its own GP2X distribution) has an Arm9 533mHZ processor, 3D Accelerator and 64 MB of ram, 1GB of built-in NAND flash memory, an external SD card slot, and a single USB 2.0 connection.
It has a LiIon battery built-in, a place for the stylus, and a nice 2.8" OLED touch screen panel with a resolution of 320 by 240 (QVGA).
The most interesting thing is the Flash Player (Flash 7.0 compatible) and the planned release of commercial games.
If everything works out as planned, it will be shipped in mid October.
More info' here and on the linked pages.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Some Info' on it -
The Open Music Player
Songbird is an open-source customizable music player that's under active development.
We're working on creating a non-proprietary, cross platform, extensible tool that will help enable new ways to playback, manage, and discover music. There are lots of ways to contribute your time to the project. We'd love your help!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I eventually picked seven free ones from dozens here.
Start Here if you want to see all the choices in all font styles.
Monday, August 18, 2008
It features support for all basic data types, Endian-ness, File, Memory and Disk sector editing and Explorer integration.
Click the picture for a larger image of the tool as I'm using it in Vista.
There are Standard, Professional and Ultimate version too (for increasing prices).
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
For the bread-makers, this Irish Soda Bread looks like something different and suitable for soups in cold weather (although Tarissa - likes Stilton and Strawberry jam on hers).
Of course, you’ll probably prefer some soup to go with your Soda Bread.
Here is a wonderful mouth-watering collection of soups.
I found those when Century 21 sent me a link to a recipe for Spicy Moroccan Vegetable Soup
Saturday, August 9, 2008
An open-source design, but you can buy one ready-built for only US $120 anyway.
* Atmel AT91RM9200 processor (Arm9 processor with MMU, 180Mhz operation)
* 32MB SDRAM (Only limited by 1x 54-TSOP SDRAM chip)
* 8MB SPI Dataflash
* 1x 10/100 Ethernet
* 1x USB host port (allows wifi adapters, flash drives and other USB devices to be used)
* 1x SD card slot
* Serial debug port access through FTDI USB/Serial converter
* JTAG port
* 2-Layer PCB design
* POE capable (48v -> 5v Power supply can be implemented on a motherboard)
I'll definitely be considering this for my future projects.
Mind you, Hammer and Nails is good too.
More info' Here and Here.
And if it's a slow day for you, plenty more controversial stuff Here!
Friday, August 8, 2008
The G8 are halfway through the period of their promises, but only 14% of the way to meeting their declared goals.
Maybe if I sign up here, I can make at least a small difference.
Here is the full report.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Read about this crap here
- Intel details future 'Larrabee' graphics chip.
- Intel's Larrabee Architecture Disclosure: A Calculated First Move.
- Intel's Larrabee Architecture previews on HEXUS.net, PC Perspective, and Tech ARP.
- Intel’s Line of Graphics Chips Could Have Broader Uses.
As Anand says in the article linked above:-
For those who haven't idolized Abrash, his Wikipedia entry helps explain his luminary status in the game industry:
"Michael Abrash is a highly regarded technical writer, and one of the top optimization and 80x86 assembly language programmers, a reputation cemented by his 1990 book Zen of Assembly Language Volume 1: Knowledge. Before getting into technical writing, Abrash was a game programmer, having written his first commercial game in 1982. After working at Microsoft on graphics and assembly code for Windows NT 3.1, he returned to the game industry in the mid-1990s to work on Quake for id Software. Some of the technology behind Quake is documented in Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book. After Quake was released, Abrash returned to Microsoft to work on natural language research, then moved to the Xbox team, until 2001. In 2002, Abrash went to work for RAD Game Tools, where he co-wrote the advanced Pixomatic software renderer, which emulates the functionality of a DirectX 7-level graphics card and is used as the software renderer in such games as Unreal Tournament 2004."
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Starting in 1941, increasing numbers of British airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful, accurate map, one showing not only where-stuff-was, but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' a POW on-the-lam could go to for food and shelter.
Paper maps had real drawbacks: they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear-out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.
Someone in the MI-5 branch (one hopes it was the youthful incarnation of 'Q'!), got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It's durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads and unfolded as man times as needed, and makes no noise whatever.
At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by HM Government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.
By pure coincidence, Waddington's was also the U.K. licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CAR packages' dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war of all belligerents.
Under strictest secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were located (Red Cross packages were delivered to prisoners in accordance with that same regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.
As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add: A playing token containing a small magnetic compass A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian and French currency hidden within the piles of Monopoly money! British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first missions, on how to identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set - by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square!
Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, perhaps one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely - HM Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in another, future war.
The story wasn't declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.
At any rate, it's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail Free' card.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
(I suggested "Club Hazo'", that being the local idiom for our village, but they weren't convinced ;-)
This effort was mainly to replace the protective surround on one of the bowling greens to prevent damage to bowls travelling at speed off of the edge of the green.
This typically occurs when a bowler 'Drives' the bowl to try and clear opponents bowls away from the Jack (small white ball).
Seemingly an increasingly common gambit with the younger men now entering the game!
Astroturf Adhesive is some of the stickiest stuff around, and even trickier to work with in large quantities.
A float full of Astroturf adhesive, once you start you can't stop, because you can't put the float down with it stuck to your glove!
Anyway, Here are some pictures to give you an impression of the day.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Then they run the refrigeration unit to take it down to 10 milli-Kelvin!
Your encryption keys won't be safe for much longer - read about it here.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
IF you have 64 processors and 2 TiB (2,048 GiB) of RAM!
Much more on Pushing the Limits of Windows Physical Memory, for the many varieties of Windows, by the cluey Mark Russinovich here.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday night Carol and I went to another Christmas in July at the local lawn bowls club.
There were about 80 guests and a great time was had by all.
I had to go at 10PM though to get a bit of a rest, ready for Sunday morning.
Sunday morning 1:30 AM that is, to attend a wedding in Second Life, 9AM Saturday their time.
This was a first for me but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Unless you were there you couldn't imagine how serious and significant an event it was with no detail overlooked, thanks to great work by a lot of people.
The minister was an actual real-life minister and it is a real relationship in both worlds, SL and RL.
The ceremony was in both text and Audio, so those of us so equipped got to hear them both making their vows and the minister declaring them married, definitely a Kleenex moment!
I got a heap of pictures of the wedding and reception, so have a look here.
Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy future to Mr and Mrs Garfunkel!
(Well, I'm not sure if you actually can change your surname in SL, but you get the idea)
Update: The offocial photo's are here, That's me in piccy number three.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I got a little virtual dancing practice in first, but there was no actual dancing as it turned out.
Still, I did get to sit on Santa's knee and got a prezzy from the Secret-Santa pile.
Piccies Here for those who're interested.
Friday, July 18, 2008
"Just in time for all these E3 movies, my cable bandwidth was quietly upped, and I am now getting staggering 31 Mb/s downloads, close to 4 MB a second.
This makes it more apparent than ever that in this brave new internet world, my old 1.5 Mb/s connection probably doesn't even qualify as broadband, as it was not really capable of downloading a lot of these clips, much less streaming them.
Back in the day we had a joke about "Low Ping Bastards," but I think that's much too kind a description of the connection I'm currently enjoying."
If you want to own a bit of Douglas Adams memorabilia, this will certainly fit the bill, a very big bill though, $25,000 !
Not that there's really much funny about mental health issues, they can happen to anyone, we're just lucky they only cause suicide in under 1% of us!
J.K. Rowlings experience, for instance -
Still, it's not surprising individuals in trouble get overlooked by society when 3,600 mental patients can vanish in a single mental institution! (and then be discovered) -
Scary stories, all of them. Now do you feel lucky?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Here is Toms Hardware's apology and revised evaluation -
This time, George gives then an 'A-' instead of an 'F' -
The more important thing, imo, is the differences between Single-Level Cells and Multi-Level Cells (SLC and MLC) used in Flash memories.
MLC is inferior in performance, but cheaper to make, so guess which one the manufacturers want to foist on us?
I vented (just a little bit) here -
I'll tell you right now,
MLC is the HD/DVD of SSDs, SLC is the Blu-Ray of SSDs.
People just won't settle for cheaper but inferior, no matter how many profit dollar signs are in the vendors eyes.
They might as well get used to it and concentrate on SLC and bring the price down by total market dominance, that works!
Here's the news -
Nvidia's top end GeForce GTX 260 and 280 graphics cards ... launched for $399 and $650, respectively, less than a month ago.
But pressure from ATI has driven Nvidia to already cut the price, hard.
The GTX 280 is now only $399, while the GTX 260 is $299, the same price as ATI's HD 4870.
Good to see ATI back in the fight.
Anyone already buy this and feel hosed though? Competition is a lovely thing.
And here's a pre-pricecut story, by a fellow Blue Mountains resident, on why ATI cards caned Nvidia so hard -
Here is the story and a short extract -
CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian woman renowned as the world's oldest blogger has died at the age of 108, with her last posting talking about her ailing health but also how she still sings a happy song every day.
Olive Riley, of Woy Woy about 50 miles north of Sydney, began blogging in February last year, sharing stories from her life during the two world wars, raising three children on her own, and working as a station cook in the outback.
Read her Blog 'The Life of Riley' here -
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sadly, the XP build I have worked on is looking like it has low-level stability issues as it is a machine that I resurrected from a major crash in order to get somebody's data back from it.
I think I'll have to re-install from scratch, which kind of tempts me to use Linux instead.
Darn, it's one learning curve after another.
So, now I have 65,536 square metres of ocean that I can terraform to my hearts desire. I will have a 15,000 Prim budget and no network lag or unexpected Sim outages (I hope).
If I get confident and the traffic cost isn't too insane, I might even try connecting to the OSGrid to share the place.
This is a 'tiny' 63x62 metre block I raised from the seabed to learn the land tools (after I built an atoll first). 3,900 square metres and no land tax to pay, lovely!
Until I manage to port my Second Life inventory across, I will probably remain 'Ruth', the default Second Life avatar.
Incidentally, it turns out that you don't have to do Second Life scripting exclusively in LSL (Linden Scripting Language) as it is based on .Net/Mono.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I'm happy to say I found a nice hand-holding guide -
It starts off -
"If you’ve have ever wanted your own Second Life Island/Estate but didn’t want to pay the $1700 bucks plus $300/month fees for it, then this tutorial series is for you. I will take you through downloading, installing, and configuring an Opensim standalone server on Windows Vista using the community edition of MySQL. It is all free of charge thanks to many others who are forging a freely available virtual world platform."
It shouldn't be hard now.
Also, I don't see why these instructions won't work on XP too, so I intend setting up the OpenSim server on an older PC on my home network. Then I might be able to connect to the OpenGrid.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
They aren't happy if they can't see people at desks like some 21st century counting-house.
It's not like they don't have a million metrics to measure employee productivity that have nothing at all to do with where the employee is located.
NO clerical work not actually requiring personal contact with other people should require the worker to leave home in this day and age.
Get rid of that stupid fixation and see how much fuel consumption, traffic congestion, car-parking and time wasted on pointless travel is eliminated.
And it's not just workers, get a load of this video -
Do you really need to send a kid to school for them to do P.E.? of course not.
Since they can get all the information and explanation in detail on any subject in the world these days, how many hours could we cut off the school day and leave them plenty of hours of daylight for play and social interaction and forming friendships.
Schools aren't so much there for the kids as for the parents to have a place to send them while they both go out to work.
Maybe the fuel crisis (real or a marketing ploy) will help drive initiatives like this one -
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I have been looking at an alternative to Second Life where I can host my own virtual world just for practicing building etc with no lag or outages.
The project I found was OpenSim -
Wikipedia has more on Open Simulator -
Here is some info' on setting it up -
I'm still in the throes of getting it set up right, but meanwhile, I disovered that there is another project which ties all these private virtual world servers together in a grid -
A handy place for getting a quick overview of all this is - http://planet.opensim.us/
(not often you see a '.us' suffix)
Lest you think all this Second Life stuff is just a game and not a genuine virtual reality, I will mention that I got offered a full-time Real Life/Second Life job last week as a scripter (programmer) on a major project with a real company, I think I'm going for it.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Man flying lawn chair lifted by Helium balloons
Too bad Mythbusters found it so hard to do!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Just a few other people like it too apparently -
Guinness bestows download record on Firefox
(Over 8 million downloads in 24 hours)
The SSD Power Consumption Hoax :
Flash SSDs Don’t Improve Your Notebook Battery Runtime – they Reduce It
Friday, July 4, 2008
For this very reason I enabled RSS on the blog when I created it, subscribe and you will be informed of each new post as it happens.
Plus, as I alluded to in the opening entry of this blog and preceding email regarding it, with increasingly harsh penalties for misappropriating copyrighted material, it is necessary to replace the former wholesale cut-and-paste approach with a precis and link to the material, whether in the blog OR an email, so you would still need to visit the web-sites for the whole story.
Have a go at using the RSS feed, I think you'll like it.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The PDF format is no longer Adobe's, it belongs to all of us.
PDF is now ISO 32000-1, an international standard
It mentions -
"The next version of Microsoft Office, still called "Office 14," will support by user-chosen defaults at least two published international standard document formats. But at least for now, neither of them was Microsoft's to begin with."
And ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden clarifies -
"The standard will benefit both software developers and users by encouraging the propagation and dissemination of a common technology that cuts across systems and is designed for long term survival,"
Here's hoping we can soon wave goodbye to proprietary formats holding hostage historic documents of all forms.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Intel says to prepare for 'thousands of cores'
But as Blue (http://www.bluesnews.com)says/) says-
"Based on the quad-core timetable, expect software support in 3008"
Haizo Baum Photoset on Flickr
The Second Life 5th Birthday (SL5B) expo' is on until the 7th of July.
So much wonderful stuff and lots of freebies too, now is a good time to think about joining in if ever you're going to.
You can go everywhere and see what it's about for free, even having a go at building.
It only costs for membership if you want to own land and build permanent things.
If you're with Bigpond in Aus' your Second Life bandwidth is unmetered and free too, I presume other countries and ISPs might do similar bargains.
Unsurprisingly - http://www.bluebirdproject.com/
Basically, they are restoring the Bluebird which was raised from lake Coniston.
The diary is a very good read so I think I'll keep this page open and return for a bit more every now and then.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Or the full story here -
Monday, June 30, 2008
It's worth a listen to the demos of male-Female changes (both ways) plus added background.noise
It works with stacks of games and communications programs -
MorphVOX Pro voice changing software can be used with all online games including World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Second Life, Lord of the Rings Online, Everquest, Counter-Strike, Battlefield 2 and many more.
It also integrates with VoIP and Instant Messaging programs such as Skype, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, AIM, XFire, GoogleTalk, Roger Wilco and more.
In the studio, MorphVOX Pro integrates with multimedia applications such as Sound Forge, Vegas, ACID, Audacity, IClone and much more.
And if you should happen to have a need for it -
I'm just sayin'...
And don't think it can only do plain wood textures.
Here's one I made in a couple of minutes -
The tool itself is only a 4.5 MB download, if you would like a downloadable friendly tutorial video of it in use, this one is 130 MB -
This link shows a lower-resolution version of the tutorial, but also has links to hundreds of ready-made seamless textures -
It looks like it will be a lot of fun but with no mention of a release date, there's no telling when it will be fun.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
"A theory of quantum gravity aims to describe the nature of spacetime on the very smallest scales—the voids in between the smallest known elementary particles—by quantum laws and possibly explain it in terms of some fundamental constituents."
That sounds a lot like "Interstitial Space" as mentioned in Dr Who decades ago, this is a comparatively recent mention of it -
Anyway, if you have a heap of time spare, it's a very interesting article (imo as always).
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The web-site has a rather nice scrollable text with a static graphical front overlay, worth a look just by itself (imo).
A snippet -
"Secondhand Lands ...
is the massively multiplayer online game set in a parody fairytale world. There will be none of those pansy elves or cantankerous dwarves in this land. Our heroes are comprised of the Wolves and the Sheep who have pledged their undying allegiance to Bo Peep or Little Red Riding Hood. Well, perhaps not undying... "
Friday, June 27, 2008
That's a cap of 30 Gigabytes UPLOAD per day over 100 Mbps fibre (100 Mbps both ways!) with UNLIMITED downloads!
Telstra still apparently doubts that the market will use all the bandwidth that they can supply, so we're still in the dark ages of wire to the home.
It's cold comfort that the US telco' infrastructure is (according to the article) similarly retarded and their carriers are now adopting download caps too.
I wondered how much the japanese paid for that, so I Googled "Japan broadband cost" (without the quotes). Now I'm really sad!
$0.22 per Mbit per Second per month, That's $22 a month for 100 Mbit!
How did it get to be like that? Here are some clues -
Sigh, However, since I get a new 25GB allocation starting tomorrow and have 6GB to use up today (I'm always careful to leave plenty for my wife to VPN into work from home), I have decided to get this 5-part documentary on the history of the computer -
If you don't have a torrent download program, may I recommend Vuze (formerly Azureus) as an easy to use tool with a good catalogue of continually updated media recommendations built right in -
Sadly, we kick off the new category with the demise of Kermit Love, the creator of Sesame Street's Big-Bird.
In this article you will find the answer to the question and other fun trivia.
The sign-up to the New York Times is free and no spam ensues, so why wouldn't you?
He sounds to have been a real nice chap, I'm always a bit happier when such folk leave something they created or achieved in the world to remember them by.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
It seems to be endless, the way our gut instincts are at odds with reality when it comes to thinking about risk and probability.
(Here's what I was looking for btw - https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-5668)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It's only THIS hard to find out -
Here are some good relatively recent pages, up to yesterday even:-
I really must make a rendition of this in Second Life -