Saturday, June 04, 2011

Homeowners foreclose on bank!

Sweet, sweet reversal.

The foreclosure nightmare started when Warren and Maureen Nyerges paid cash for a home owned by Bank of American in the Golden Gate Estates. They never had a mortgage whatsoever. But, the bank fouled it up and wound up issuing a foreclosure through their attorney.
The couple took their case to court and after a year and a half nightmare the foreclosure was dropped. A Collier County judge said Bank of America has to pay the couple's $2,534 legal fees for the error. After more than five months the bank still hadn't paid up. So, the homeowners' attorney did just what the bank would do to get their money, legally seize their assets.
"I instructed the deputy to go in and take desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets, including cash in the drawers," Attorney Todd Allen told WINK News.

World's First 8K Ultra High Definition Display

[Thanks to Tommy]

World's First 8K Ultra High Definition Display, YouTube video (up to 1080p on a big system.)
16 times the resolution of HD. Wow, I can't wait to watch The Simpsons on this in 2020.

I don't think anybody yet really has the cameras or production systems, or delivery methods, for this kind of resolution.

The Science of Getting Rich ebook

The Science of Getting Rich ebook, PDF file.

WHEN I say that you do not have to drive sharp bargains, I do not mean that you do not have to drive any bargains at all, or that you are above the necessity for having any dealings with your fellow men. I mean that you will not need to deal with them unfairly; you do not have to get something for nothing, but can give to every man more than you take from him.

You cannot give every man more in cash market value than you take from him, but you can give him more in use value than the cash value of the thing you take from him. The paper, ink, and other material in this book may not be worth the money you pay for it; but if the ideas suggested by it bring you thousands of dollars, you have not been wronged by those who sold it to you; they have given you a great use value for a small cash value.

Let us suppose that I own a picture by one of the great artists, which, in any civilized community, is worth thousands of dollars. I take it to Baffin Ray, and by "salesmanship" induce an Eskimo to give a bundle of furs worth $500 for it. I have really wronged him, for he has no use for the picture; it has no use value to him; it will not add to his life.
But suppose I give him a gun worth $50 for his furs; then he has made a good bargain. He has use for the gun; it will get him many more furs and much food; it will add to his life in every way; it will make him rich.

When you rise from the competitive to the creative plane, you can scan your business transactions very strictly, and if you are selling any man anything which does not add more to his life than the thing he give you in exchange, you can afford to stop it. You do not have to beat anybody in business. And if you are in a business which does beat people, get out of it at once.

Downcast app (updated again)

Just found Downcast, a cool app for iPad or iPhone, which bypasses the need to sync to Mac or PC, it just downloads subscribed podcasts directly (why hasn't Apple done this in iTunes for iPad?). Of course it can take a while with videocasts (especially since, like I've bitched about, downloads tend to be much slower on handheld devices for lord knows what reason), but the good news is that it can download in the background while you read your Instapaper articles and handle your email, or even eat dinner, it can suspend device lockdown while it downloads, and thus it'll keep your fave podcasts and videocasts updated in real time.

I've haven't used the app for very long yet, but so far I'm impressed. The search function is crystal clear, it's easy to find and select what you want. And it has some great features, for example four little buttons which let you skip various amounts of seconds back or forth in a podcast. This is a highly useful feature for podcasts, which I've been wanting on my iPod for years, it is not there because the iPod sadly was designed for music, not podcasts or audiobooks.

After  a couple of days I'm getting an issue, that the app won't play some of the videos it has downloaded, they just give a black screen. I've written the maker, we'll see if it can be solved. Too bad, for I really like the app.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections

For those in the UK, BBC2 is currently showing the second (I believe) series of Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections. (You can use catch-up TV if you have such, or try youboob.) It's a really entertaining show, and educational too, I really like it. Hammond chooses exceptional engineering feats from around the world, and show in what manners they are exceptional and show connections and demonstrations of the inventions which made it possible.

It may be a slightly Guilty Pleasure, because it's made a real Guy's Show with lots of things being blown up or destroyed in the name of demonstration, but hey, I can live with that.       :-)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dream office

Talking about offices, I have an old dream office: In Copenhagen or a city like it (Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam... of course these places are expensive.) it should be on the first floor (in Europe that's the one above the ground floor), and have high ceilings. It should have a picture window view over a lovely car-free square. (Easiest accomplished by being located by such a square.) And... well, that's about it. Throw in some keeeewl furniture like below, and you gottanoffice you can stand! Copenhagen, by the way, unlike for instance Edinburgh (which apparently was not designed for it, and they can't move those old stone buildings), has many, many wonderful squares, with trees and cafés and such.

A friend of my sister's has an apartment by that, by one of the best squares in Copenhagen, Gråbrødretorv, above one of my favorite restaurants, Peder Oxe, and going around all four side of the building. Man, what a dream apartment. I dare not think what it costs.

Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware. I hadn't heard of these guys before. Man, they have some cool things!  This is one of those rare things which make me really wish for a bigger place. (That's and a shorter spine. I really doubt I'd be comfortable in any of these one-size-fits-none chairs, sadly, at 6.4 and most of it in the spine.)

(You can get various versions of this chair, like with the cowhair parts either on the inside or on the outside. This is on the outside, with glove leather on the inside.)

OMG, I want an office like this.

What's funny is that their indoor furniture is so excellent and exciting, while their outdoor (wicker? Really?) section is so durn bourgeois.

Coffee table!

PROTECT IP Act -Warning: Bill May Cause Seizures

PROTECT IP Act -Warning: Bill May Cause Seizures, article (PDF file).
Shutting down an entire venue of communication based on a preliminary finding that it is dedicated to infringing activities, before a trial or other judicial determination on the merits, runs counter to all Free Speech principles. [...] 
This disturbing trend of seizing domain names made headlines just a few weeks ago in what has come to be known in online gaming circles as “Black Friday.” On April 15, 2011, the United States DOJ issued an indictment, and filed a civil suit against the three largest online poker sites in the world; Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. As a result, the .com domain names for each of the sites were seized for ultimate forfeiture to the government, as alleged instrumentalities of the “crime.” What crime? Well, since Internet poker is technically not against any federal law, the DOJ dug up some New York misdemeanor statutes which generally prohibit gambling and related promotional activities as the purported basis for the gambling charges, and the multimillion dollar seizures of domain names and bank accounts.

Talk about a loaded gun in the hands of children. So now the US government can simply shut down any web site they like (or rather, don't like), before any trial or anything. It's insane. 

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the DOJ has made clear that it will seize any domain name – at the registry level – that it deems to be used in the violation of U.S. law – even if operated from overseas, in full compliance with the host country’s laws.

Can you say "global vigilantism"? I guess it's only a matter of time before they start waging war against any country they suspect of having threatening weapons. Wait... 

3 of the FBI's real life X-Files investigated

3 of the FBI's real life X-Files investigated, article.
...The bizarre mutilations are frightening in themselves: in virtually all the cases, the left ear, left eye, rectum, and sex organ of each animal has been cut away and the blood drained from the carcass, but with no traces of blood left on the ground and no foot-prints.

Freaky. This is a cow we are talking about: a lot of blood in one of those.

This blue goop is cleaning up Japan's radiation

This blue goop is cleaning up Japan's radiation, article.
Interesting substance.

Lazy Color Pictures From June

All we want to be, you and me, is lazy. (This song still rules.)

Panasonic GH2 with 14-140mm. Both warmly recommended. High-quality, speedy, compact all-round kit. The GH2 is not cheap, but I think the new G3 will do as well. And the lens is the only really sharp 10x zoom lens I have ever tried, it's exceptional.

By the way, notice on the left side of the picture of the road and the shadow, there's a smudge, which looks like a smudge on the lens. Well, it is! I think that's the first time ever I have seen something on the lens being visible on a picture, but then this is the wide-angle setting and a very small aperture, so even a tiny smudge (half a pinky nail size) becomes visible. The other pictures are mostly on longer focal lengths and darker subjects ( meaning wider apertures), so it's not visible due to shallower depth of field.

Paying too early

This is amusing, methinks.
I got a notice that I was behind with my VAT tax payments. I wrote my accountant confusedly: "but I always pay it right away..."

Guess what: because I habitually paid it right away when I got the papers from my accountants, I WAS PAYING TOO EARLY!  So the tax department thought I was paying for the previous quarter! I have to delay payment until it's within a couple of weeks from deadline... O gawd.

"Oops I'm Late" app

Press Release:
Independent developer Alex Reich announces the release of OopsImLate 1.0 for iOS. OopsImLate has been covered in the press from Engadget to CNET's Web App of the Week to Popular Science on one of 5 things to make meetings efficient. Using a calendar application, users no longer have to place Oops I'm late! calls to peers and/or bosses. The software does it by calculating distance between your location and destination, and notifying contacts or social media if you are running late.

I have another idea: how about being on time?       :-)

Thinking about it, people who are habitually on time are so damn rare, aren't they? I am not sure what it shows us about humans, but it's remarkable. Is it not caring, or is it incompetence? All you have to do it add the time each action will take to get you to the meeting, and add a little padding, and boom, you're on time almost always.

The Arctic Light

[Thanks to TCGirl]

The Arctic Light, photography/video.
Now here is a photographer who is not lazy.

If you can imagine roping down mountain cliffs, or jumping around on slippery rocks covered in seaweed with 2 tripods, a rail, a controller,
camera, lenses, filters and rigging for 4-5 hour long sequences at a time, and then
having to calculate the rise and fall of the tides in order to capture the essence - it all proved bit of a challenge.

This video may be even better.

"Wax on, wax off"

[Thanks to CD]

The people of Springfield, Illinois got their knickers in a twist over a spa billboard. The spa has put up a little page about it. I'm surprised how many vote "too hot".

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


With Megareader (iPhone and iPad, seems not to be on Android), you need never run out of free ebooks again.
The second video is rather funny.

Julie Newmar (Updated)

I must admit I never really got Adam West's Batman costume. Somehow it does not seem likely to Strike Fear Into The Hearts Of Evildoers.
Julie Newmar's costume on the other hand, that certainly strikes something into somewhere! Yowsa, baby. I'll bet she helped a lot of small Batfans begin to feel like men.

I've watched episode "That Darn Catwoman", and I'm struck by the fact that Julie is not only exceptionally hot and pretty, she's also a good actress, and funny! A real comedienne talent.

We never saw the show on Danish television. Until late eighties there was only one channel, and I guess for some reason they didn't see it as classy TV!

DC relaunching comic book titles at issue No. 1

DC relaunching comic book titles at issue No. 1, news post.

I think they must be desperate to throw away 70 years of history and title building.

I wonder if they realize that apart from temporarily, only better stories will improve sales?
Admittedly, "better stories" is not exactly easy to do, otherwise all Hollywood movies would be great.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

GG coffee maker

I want one.
[Hey, wow, you can get XXXenophile digitally.]

This is how good the coffee is:

Graphics tablet processor

Watch this real-time 3D processing from a new graphics processor for tablet. Impressive.

Ihnatko has a good and funny article about this.

X100 feature / Red And Green

By the way, Fuji X100 has a kewl feature:
When you're using the optical viewfinder and take a picture, the *electronic* viewfinder kicks in for a second or two while the camera processes the picture, showing you an instant preview of the photo! This way you can see more or less if it's exposed right, whether the subject blinked during exposure, and such. Brilliant idea. (Admittedly it's hard to see in bright sunlight though.)
(The X100 is the first camera in the world to combine an optical and an electronic viewfinder in one.)

The censorNets

So I finally got the hotspot working on my iPhone. So I wanted to test it, and went to YouTube. But every video I tried suddenly turned into a 404 page. I've not yet found out what the heck that's about.
So I tested it on Domai, which is familiar and has large images, good to test a connection. But gosh-darn it, it seems that O2 or somebody not only has Domai listed as an adult site, but they need proof of age by credit card payment before they'll let you enter the site over their network!
That's bad enough, but after I'd proved myself and gotten written permission by text, I still can't connect over O2 to Domai, or Playboy, or Penthouse... I just get the O2 home page instead every time. It's just ridiculous. What is this kindergarten culture anyway? England used to be a tough country who would think nothing of sailing thousands of miles to rape and enslave dark folks in other countries, and now they can't even let anybody see a pair of titties? (Except of course on the counter in the newsstand where they're right up front.)

Access is restored now, Heff in all his glory is visible. It turns out the phone had to be rebooted after age-proof.

You know, I'm trying to imagine growing up in a world where adults are actually successful in blocking all views of nudity and sex for children. Imagine turning 18 never even having seen a boobie, and suddenly coming across a web site, I dunno, or or Sounds unpleasant. I don't really get the thinking of "protecting".

The potential Holga D

Thanks to our old friend, compact-camera-connoisseur S Gillette, for finding this mock-up camera. Could be cool.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ants build unsinkable rafts

Amazing article/video which shows how ants form highly durable rafts to survive flooding and for migrating.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Steve's book

Steve Job's official biography (iSteve, The Book Of Jobs, I kid you not) was completed back in March. So when is it coming out? 2012 is when. Huh?
I never got that aspect of traditional publishing. Since when has mega-slowness been good business for anybody?
But it's written by Walter Isaacson who is said to be really good biographist, so I'm definitely getting it.

"Grand Designs"?

Many of you surely know Keven McCloud's excellent TV program Grand Designs, it's documentaries about the process of people building their dream homes.
I've no doubt it's one of the best of the kind, if not the best.
However, the title is a bit subtle. So I just wrote to Kevin:

You know, I wonder if the double meaning of “Grand Designs” is not lost on most people.  These days “Designs” is not often used in the “plans” meaning.
So I’m thinking, how about replacing it with something straight and simple… like, say, “Proud Erections”? 

On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides was the first book I read by my friend Tim Powers. I did it to familiarize myself with his work before going to a workshop where he taught in 1989. It's a good book.

I'm delighted to hear from him that the title of the new Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film is no coincidence: it is indeed based on his book. Word is that the fee they paid can support him him for 3-4 years. And like often happens, I can't imagine that very much of the book has made it into the film, Tim's books are simply too... thoughtful, very little of them fit for today's Action-Is-King Hollywood world. So from one viewpoint, Tim gets the best of both worlds, he got the money, and they don't ruin his book because they are making another film basically.

Of course the eternal mystery is: what are they thinking? Why does Hollywood pay writers very, very handsomely to buy rights to books, and then change the story beyond recognition? It's like buying a house because you really like it, and then tearing down most of the walls and changing the layout totally.

Tim himself tells me:
"It differs entirely from the book except in having Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth in it. Not the way I pictured the F of Y, either!"