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February 2005 Archives

February 1, 2005

It has begun

Brace for impact: movabletypo just got hit with its first wave of trackback spam. Some of you may have noticed by a deluge of e-mail this morning. Trackback spam is a bit more insidious: MT doesn't make it as easy to see and cleanup trackback spam as it does comment spam. If this attack continues, we may have to turn off trackback on older entries.

Update: I ran David Raynes' mt-close script on the movabletypo installation to turn off trackback on older entries. I'm sad to see a feature like trackback crippled like this, but as an e-mail conversation this morning pointed out, with sites like technorati as well as Bloglines' citation search, trackback is not as necessary these days.

February 2, 2005

On the aggregation of personal feeds

I've been entertained by a conversation that's been bouncing around the blogsphere the past couple days. On the 31st, I finally gave into feedburner and consolidated my feeds. A day later, Haughey posted a complaint about daily links polluting feeds, which lead to Dave Shea offering a more specific commentary relating to del.icio.us/Flickr/feedburner, which finally lead to this plasticbag post on hybridization of RSS feeds. In summary/general consensus: daily links within blog feeds can be annoying because in your RSS reader you can't distinguish between "kwc wrote a new blog entry" and "kwc added a new link to del.icio.us." For more entertaining authors than myself, the anticipation of an new entry is followed by a feeling of letdown when all you discover is a link.

(I would like to think that it was my act of adding a hybridized feed that led to this conversation, but feedburner tells me that no one is actually subscribed to my combined feeds, so commonsense and empirical evidence demonstrate otherwise.)

My own thoughts on this issue are that I personally don't find consolidated feeds (links + blog posts) useful. I would rather subscribe to someone's feeds individually. When I am searching out new, interesting links, my friends' sites are usually the last place I would look because I believe the process of searching out fresh links is more of a critical mass effort, one that is better suited to large sites like BoingBoing/waxy/kottke. Conversely, while I appreciate it when I see personal photos spliced into my friend's blogs, I find it rather annoying that Haughey's feed includes his Flickr photos; while I appreciate his links and his blog entries, the last thing I want to do is see his personal photos from his daily life (no offense, but I just don't know the guy -- it feels too voyeuristic).

I think every site should offer a consolidated feed (with separate, individual feeds as well), not because it the best way of reading a person's daily production, but because it is useful to be able to point to a single source as the aggregated representation of your digital identity. The single source including daily links acts as a sort of "Director's Commentary" for a DVD, providing the interspersing the source material and the creative product -- what made the cut, what didn't, what's in the pipeline. But, although I love most of the movies in my collection, I bet that I've listened to less than 10% of the commentaries.

Eiffel Tower at night

Apparently, likenesses of the Eiffel Tower at night have been copyrighted (post 2003, that is). While this (expressly) is not intended to prevent amateur photography of the Eiffel Tower, here is my amatuer, slightly blurry, but pre-2003-recopyrighting photo of the landmark at night:

eiffel tower at night 2001

February 4, 2005

3D Jigsaw puzzle

Susanne has been giving me various evil wood block puzzles to solve. This one is cleverly constructed and scores a medium evilness rating as persistence will get you to the final solution, but you have to backtrack multiple times the first time through. It's disheartening while backtracking to see pieces that were once together and realize that you don't remember how to put them back together.

puzzle2.thumb.jpg puzzle3.thumb.jpg

Pets, blog-style

rabbit(this is mainly for honeyfields) "Blog Pet" is a little rabbit that sits in the sidebar of your blog. If the Japanese translation is anywhere near correct, it reads your daily entries and "learns" new words from them, which it then repeats back to you. It will also try to find articles related to your postings and even collects visitor statistics. Here is an adorable screenshot of the blog pet learning to say "Master!"

Blog Pet

BlogPorter

I've been playing with blimp-master Josh's experimental blog-reading tool, Chameleon. It's a modification to bloglines that does some additional tracking and mining on top of your reading. To crib from Josh's description:

Do you like Bloglines? I do. But the number of feeds I was trying to deal with quickly got away from me. I don't think folders are the answer. Therefore, I've created this work-in-progress, which does a few cool things: * Keeps track of which feeds you read, how often, and when * Figures out which feeds are your favorites (based on some heuristics), and highlights them -- in the feed list, as well as bringing them to the top (you can adjust the threshold on this) * Periodically identifies the top links in your subscribed feeds -- much like Blogdex, but for your feeds only. * Shows you your usage 'score', per feed

This uses the Bloglines Web Services, so you'll need a Bloglines account. And you still have to use Bloglines to do most of the maintenance of your account (add/delete feeds, etc.). But use BlogPorter to read your feeds, and you'll see the features start to emerge as it learns about you.

I'm waiting until my usage score starts stabilizing before I start commenting more on that specific feaure, but I will say that the blogdex-like feature that shows you which links are popular in your current feeds is pretty cool, as it has already pulled out what the hot conversations are as well as the hot links.

Josh is looking for some more people to test it out and provide feedback, so if you're a bloglines user you may want to give it a shot. It utilizes your existing bloglines account so there's no additional setup.

delicious gmail

The grand merging of two of my favorite Web services: del.icio.us gMail. ponderer/tony wrote a script that downloads pages that you've added to del.icio.us and forwards them onto Gmail. This way, if the page goes offline you have a saved copy, and you get Gmail's fast searching as well.

February 7, 2005

Anthropomorphic iPod (Shuffle edition)

Newsweek has has revived the Anthropomorphic iPod argument in light of the "Random is a Virtue" iPod shuffle marketing gimmick.

More than a year ago, I outlined these concerns to Jobs; he dialed up an engineer who insisted that shuffle played no favorites. Since then, however, millions of new Podders have started shuffling, and the question has been discussed in newspapers, blogs and countless conversations. It's taking on Oliver Stone-like conspiracy buzz.

Apple execs profess amusement. "It's part of the magic of shuffle," says Greg Joswiak, the VP for iPod products. Still, I asked him last week to double-check with the engineers. They flatly assured him that "Random is random," and the algorithm that does the shuffling has been tested and reverified.

February 9, 2005

Another wood cube puzzle: Trench's Triple Triangles

puzzleB11.thumb.jpg

This is my favorite puzzle. It disassembles into individual planks with various triangular configurations on either end. The first time I put it together I had to laid out the pieces in order of disassembly and was able to get it back together. Putting it together without any order information was doable, but took a lot of painful backtracking. You can see the puzzle disassembled in the full entry.

I'm going to be posting several wood puzzle entries as my co-worker Susanne has been bringing them to work. It way my hope to be able to link to some of these so that people could get their own, but these all come from shops in Germany so this appears a bit difficult. Potty Puzzles has a listing of Trench Puzzles that they sell, though they don't appear to sell this one, and they don't include images of the puzzle either -- purchase at your own risk, though you may be able to find a picture of individual puzzles here.

Continue reading "Another wood cube puzzle: Trench's Triple Triangles" »

Burr puzzle: TB Blues

puzzleC7.thumb.jpg

This is a puzzle made up of several interlocking pieces that you have to slide back and forth in order to release them. It's fairly clever as much of the interlocking is hidden in the interior of the puzzle, enough brute forcing you can get the puzzle apart -- my first time around I went a bit overboard and ended up breaking it, which I guess is one possible, but less ideal, solution. It's clever enough that I haven't attempted reassembling it -- disassembling was enough for me.

You can find out more information about this puzzle online, but it's unclear whether or not you can order it online. A photo of the some of the pieces slid out is in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Burr puzzle: TB Blues" »

Link farming

Calatrava's latest

Calatrava's design for the Atlanta Symphony Center has been unveiled (pdf fact sheet, quicktime flythrough). Although I find the tagline "Creating a postcard for Georgia" rather sad in its connotations, I do like the new design. You can compare and contrast with Gehry's LA/Disney Concert Hall (part I, part 2).

February 10, 2005

BSG

The new Battlestar Galactica is the best space sci-fi show I've seen in quite awhile. It stays away from the cantina/alien-of-the-week cheesiness that dominates the recent Star Trek franchise offerings, instead giving us a good, simple, dark Us (Human) vs. Them (Ceylon robots) that keeps the focus on the story, not the makeup. It also has IMHO the best space battles of any sci-fi TV show that I've seen. Star Trek battles tend to resemble naval ship battles or aerial dogfights -- BSG space battles feel like actual space battles. The director uses very long shots that capture the tininess of the ships against the vastness of space with quick zoom-ins to give it good action cuts, fully aware that ships in space are capable of turning, flipping, and spinning in all three dimensions.

Comcast doesn't seem fit to give us proper Sci-Fi channel reception, so I've been downloading the episodes off of BitTorrent -- a couple sites have the entire mini-series and entire season packaged together to save you time and effort.

Maps, maps, maps

The launch of the high-wow-factor Google Maps has got my mind on maps (even more than usual). It looks like someone has released a Firefox plugin that will let you open up Google Maps locations in Keyhole (aka "The Other Google Maps") and Jon Udell has taken a peek into the easily retrieved XML driving Google Maps (should pure textual data, rather than pretty, draggable maps, be your thing). Of course, you could create your own maps using Illustrator, though hopefully none as bad as these. A map on screen isn't as cool as one printed on paper, so make sure you know how to fold your printed map the cool way so you can fit it inside a folder or notebook. Last, but not least, these flash-based visualizations of mid-Tokyo (with side-by-side comparisons to NYC) are pretty cool.

February 11, 2005

For del.icio.us users

This experimental del.icio.us posting interface is fantastic. It shows you tags that others have used as well as a list of your own tags so you can click and choose tags instead of typing. (yes, this is the same as nutr.itio.us, but that's been offline for quite awhile)

February 13, 2005

Exhibit touring (Michael Wolf)

d and I went to go see the Michael Wolf "Architecture of Density" exhibit over at the Robert Koch gallery in downtown SF (at the intersection of Geary and Market). The online gallery had more photos than the actual exhibition, but there was a lot to be gained from seeing the photos in person. So many of the building details are not evident in the small images on Wolf's Web site: workers hanging precariuosly from the scaffolding, plumbing fixtures climbing up the stories, the lack of people in the photographs (altering the voyeuristic quality of the photos somewhat). Also hard to replicate is the sense of light-headedness I got from seeing the photos blown up to gigantic proportions -- somewhat like the feeling one gets looking down from the top of a tall building. d noted that the photos were grainy and clearly digital, which might make it difficult to stomach the $4-6K price tag, though the light-headed feeling would be enough to keep the photos off of my wall.

There are more photos in the online gallery, but these are some of the ones (IIRC) that are in the actual exhibit:

photo photo photo photo photo photo photo

Update: d points out the work of Andreas Gursky as well: * Singapore Stock Exchange * Gallery with some of his building facade photos * MOMA exhibit * Google Images search has even more works

Exhibit touring (Tokihiro Sato)

Without intending to we stumbled upon a Tokihiro Sato "Photo Respiration" exhibit, which was in the gallery next door to the Robert Koch Gallery. Sato's photos use interesting technique: he sets the photo for very long exposure (~1 hour) and walks around the photo with a flash light, pen light, or mirror, which he shines back into the camera for varying effect. The long exposure also means that photos like the one below of Shibuya Crossing are nearly empty of people and cars -- only faint ghosts remain.

Sato also has an interesting presentation: the photos are mounted in front of a bed of lights that shines through the semi-transparent print, which emphasizes the points of light (similar to viewing the photos on a computer screen). Some of the photos remind me of japanime scenes were the little light spirits in the woods start gathering (missing a specific reference here, but possibly Princess Mononoke). My favorite image in particular is one where the dots of light are huddled around a massive tree -- unfortunately I can't find an image of it online.

I also couldn't find the exhibit page, but this page has a fairly good collection of Sato photos (some in the exhibit, some not). There is also a book available under the same title as the exhibition.

photo photo photo photo

Book: Invisible Man

book image

Some quotes in the extended (not as many as I should have). I turned up a Salon article on "Invisible Man" at 50, which some may find as an interesting companion to the book.

Connections

Having just finished Midnight's Children, White Teeth, and Invisible Man, it's only natural I guess that my brain who try to connect the three together. The connections between White Teeth and *Midnight's Children" are the most obvious, given that Zadie Smith does not try to hide the influence of Salman Rushdie on her work.

There were passages that Smith had written about Millat from White Teeth that immediatelly reminded me of Ellison's descriptions of Rinehart (and to a lesser extent, the ever-shifting Saleem in Midnight's Children), though Millat tries to encompass all of his identities at once, and together these identities represents a crisis of identity, versus Rinehart, for whom identity is like a hat, each representing a new possibility that can be worn. Zadie Smith sees the shifting of identity as a sign of illness (missing twin, loss of culture, invisibility to father Samad) causing "an ever-present anger and hurt."

Invisible Man, p. 498

Can it be, I thought, can it actually be? And I knew that it was. I had heard of it before but I'd never come so close. Still, could he be all of them: Rine the runner and Rine the gambler and Rine the briber and Rine the lover and Rinehart the Reverend? Could he himself be both rind and heart? What is real anyway? But how could I doubt it? He was a broad man, a man of parts who got around. Rinehart the rounder. It was true as I was true. His world was possibility and he knew it. He was years ahead of me and I was a fool. I must have been crazy and blind. The world in which we lived was without boundaries.

White Teeth, p. 225

And that's how it was for Millat. He was so big in Cricklewood, in Willesden, n West Hampsteada, the summer of 1990, that nothing he did later in his life could top it. From his first Raggastani crowd, he had expanded and developed tribes throughout the schoool, throughout North London. He was simply too big to remain the object of Irie's affection, leader of the Raggastanis, or the son of Samad and Alsana Iqbal. He had to please all of the people all of the time. To the Cockney wideboys in the white jeans and the coolored shirts he was the joker, the risktaker, respected lady-killer. To the black kids he was fellow weed-smoker and valued customer. To the Asian kids, hero and spokesman. Social chameleon. And underneath it all, there remained an ever-present anger and hurt, the feeling of belonging nowhere that comes to people who belong everywhere.

I also found contrast between Invisible Man and Midnight's Children: the former which uses an unnamed protagonist who stumbles into new identities throughout, versus the many-named Saleem of Midnight's Children, who achieves both godly and base distinction through his naming.

Continue reading "Book: Invisible Man" »

Book: White Teeth

book image

I was a bit let down by White Teeth. I expected too much from a novel with this much praise, though I should have lowered my expectations by noting that the praise was generally couple with "potential" and/or "first novel." It is a bold novel for a newcomer, but I also felt that it feel short of its goals and, while there was cleverness and wittiness, it was spread out enough that it stood out instead of blending into the fabric of the narrative. Perhaps I was more disappointed having just read Midnight's Children, which made it clear that White Teeth is a good, but not great novel.

There was one passage I really enjoyed, which is in the extended entry (page 384), where Smith took the idea of Zeno's paradox and related it to how her characters moved through life (by constantly reliving the past). Putting aside the actual notion of the paradox aside, I found it interesting to extend the idea that "if you can divide reality inexhaustibly into parts... you move nowhere." Similarly, if we look back on the past and constantly relive it, subdivide it, expand it, we turn it into an infinite space that is like Zeno's paradox: no movement through it is possible.

(see the Invisible Man entry for connections between this book, Midnight's Children, and Invisible Man).

Continue reading "Book: White Teeth" »

sparklines for del.icio.us

Update: and just like that, they're gone. I guess they were bogging down the del.icio.us server too much.

del.icio.us sparklines are fun. Previously, I had read a proposal to put sparklines in Wiki, but this is the first large-scale service I know of (I'm happy to hear about others) that's actually implemented them in use. If you don't know what sparklines are, you may want to read some sample pages from Tufte's upcoming book that introduce sparklines.

So far I only know how to get the sparklines to display on the del.icio.us popular page, but you can also retrieve individual sparklines for specific links by adding "img" to the del.icio.us url link. Using Josh's Chameleon as an example:

The del.icio.us url link is:

http://del.icio.us/url/c83730234c1e59226f42ccf0b882d3ae

The sparklink url is:

http://del.icio.us/url/img/c83730234c1e59226f42ccf0b882d3ae

which looks like this: sparkline

February 15, 2005

Jigsaw puzzle for Valentine's Day

This one's a day late due to flaky DSL...

I'm not even close to finishing this one as it's terribly difficult and I do have a job, but it looks pretty nice when it's all together. To keep with my policy of not posting solutions, I'm going to have to leave out Susanne's nice photo of the completed puzzle, as that is, effectively, the solution. You get the idea, though, right?

The puzzlemaker for this heart has a website, where you can find this as well as yin-yangs, huge rectangles, human heads, and other variations. The maker claims each to be "unique" in that no two are cut the same.

puzzleH.thumb.15.jpg

Sorry for the outage

It was Valentine's Day -- like I'm going to spend my day worrying about my website, right?

Book: Polysyllabic Spree

book image

The premise of this book was too good to pass up: an author I like (Nick Hornby) writing essays for a publisher I like (McSweeneys) about a dilemma I can relate to (the disparity between books bought and books read).

Hornby's voice provided a sympathetic harmony to my own viewpoints on book purchasing, selecting which book to read next, and the unintentional connections one finds. I've often compared selecting which book to read next to wine tasting: you can move freely between the whites, and sometimes you can follow a red wine with an even stronger red wine, but there reaches a saturation point where you can't really discern the taste anymore. For the full-bodied reds I need a good palette cleanser (e.g. Pratchett, Sedaris, King), a bit of mental floss to get the polysyllabic words out of the teeth.

Hornby has a slightly different food comparison (p. 44):

I'm beginning to see that our appetite for books is the same as our appetite for food, that our brain tells us when we need the literary equivalent of salads, or chocolate, or meat and potatoes. When I read Moneyball, it was because I wanted something quick and light after the 32-oz steak of No Name; The Sirens of Titan wasn't a reaction against George and Sam, but a way of enhancing it. So what's that? Mustard? MSG? A brandy? It went down a treat anyway.

Also, being Hornby, the music comparison was inevitable (p. 101):

There's no rule that says one's reading has to be tonally consistent. I can't help but feel, however, that my reading has been all over the place this month. The Invisible Woman and Y: The Last Man were opposites in just about every way you can imagine; they even had opposite titles. A woman you can't see versus a guy whose mere existence attracts the world's attention. Does this matter? I suspect it might. I was once asked to DJ at a New Yorker party, and the guy who was looking after me (in other words, the guy who was actually playing the records) wouldn't let me choose the music I wanted because he said I wasn't paying enough attention to the beats per minute: according to him, you can't have a differential of more than, I don't know, twenty bpm between records. At the time, I thought this was a stupid idea, but there is a possibility that it might apply to reading. The Invisible Woman is pacy and engrossing, but it's no graphic novel, and reading Tomalin's book after The Last Man was like playing John Lee Hooker after the Chemical Brothers -- in my opinion, John Lee Hooker is the greater artist, but he's in no hurry, is he?

As much fun as I've had finding quotes in Hornby's book, though, in some ways I feel too attached to his opinion to fully enjoy it. It's only appropriate, I think, that I found this quote to express this sentiment (p. 66):

Twice this week I have been sent manuscripts of books that remind their editors, according to their covering letters, of my writing. Like a lot of writers, I can't really stand my own writing, in the same way that I don't really like my own cooking. And, just as when I go out to eat, I tend not to order my signature dish -- an overcooked and overspiced meat-stewy thing containing something inappropriate, like tinned peaches, and a side order of undercooked and flavorless vegetables -- I really don't wan tot read anything that I could have come up with at my own computer.

disclaimer: in no way do I think I could produce Hornby's writing, but for me the same applies to ideological agreement as literary agreement.

More quotes in the extended.

Continue reading "Book: Polysyllabic Spree" »

February 17, 2005

I'm a testimonial

I just found out that I'm listed on the GMail site under "Press and Testimonials." How amusing. Perhaps more amusing is that if you search Google for sites linking to my GMail review, the GMail site link does not show in the results.

About Gmail - Reviews

February 21, 2005

Courtney

courtney

Our family dog, Courtney, passed away last week. I drew this in 1992 when she was still a puppy -- playing with stuffed animals, chewing buttons of my mom's clothes, running so fast we couldn't catch her -- and as kids are prone to do in middle school art class I drew what was most important to me. She could be a super-strong mutt street dog, a thirty-pound dog that still took eight Marines to hold her down in order to give her shots at the vet, and she could also be a calm, relaxed dog, one that could sit for hours with you on the cliffs looking down at the ocean below.

She absorbed a lot of sadness, anger, happiness, and love, and I hope that it's the latter two that expressed themselves most in her life, and it was the last of these, love, that wanted to keep her alive as long as possible. Although she was no longer the puppy, playing with her toys and wrecking laundry, I wanted to believe that she was still my super-strong dog that could fight off a squad of Marines if she had to in order to keep going.

She had made a remarkable recovery when I saw her a month and a half ago. She went from death's bed to wagging her tail, hustling for food, prancing about, and still watching life bustle about her from her perch by the window, but looking at her body one could see what she was fighting through, and as strong as she still was, we would soon have to say goodbye.

courtney

February 22, 2005

kottke

Wikipedia contributors are voting whether or not to delete his entry, and the Daily Show features a segment mocking the media/blogger relationship, I guess it's about time that someone like Jason Kottke goes 'pro' as a blogger.

I don't know if I care as much about the promotion of blogging to the title of 'profession' as much as I wish that more sites offered the opportunity, NPR-style, to contribute $$$ (like MozillaZine, for example). Perhaps it's more important for a design-aware site like kottke to stay ad-free, but part of me grimaces whenever I visit BoingBoing and see the site plastered in ads (unless it's a site like Daily Kos or Eschaton that is promoting their political causes).

When you do the math, I spend $25 on a hardcover that lasts me three train trips. $30 for a site I read everyday and steal design cues from is a bargain.

I'm a kottke.org micropatron.

Sonoma/Dry Creek

Photos from my weekend trip to Sonoma/Dry Creek. Larger versions of my favorites are in the extended entry, even more in my Flickr album. I converted some of the photos into black and white because I like just looking at the shapes/lines that you see in wine country (and the haze/rain was making the color-correction too difficult in some cases). This was the first real test of my new telephoto lens (it only took 2 months), and I'm really pleased.

Wellington

Continue reading "Sonoma/Dry Creek" »

Flickr + TiVo

I got the Flickr Central plugin for TiVo running on my TiVo now. It's fun -- it's cool to think that my TV is just scrolling through my photos and my friend's photos on Flickr -- and you can even get the source code if this sparks any ideas for you. I await future versions which will hopefully let you tweak the viewing modes (currently there is only a slideshow mode with long title pages inbetween each photo).

Warning: either the plugin or the TiVo itself is unstable while using this feature and things can hang.

Caltrain tags

This little lifehack has saved me a bit of time and kept me on the right Caltrain. Caltrain gives out yellow tags to put on your bike that you label with the station that you are getting on/off. An unintended use is that they are also handy for writing down the Caltrain schedule as they are small, waterproof, durable, and easy-to-read. They also attach as easily to a bag as they do a bike -- if I'm not using my bike I keep the tag on my work bag so that I always have it with me.

photo

February 23, 2005

Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't

Following up on parakkum's entry, I was tempted to list something like, "born in a country that I was never a citizen of," or "been in the eye of a typhoon," but I didn't really accomplish those as much as they happened to me. Similarly, I was also tempted to get really specific and say things like, "drank chianti with a nice coconunt-mango-vegetable salad and chili last night," but that perhaps defeats the purpose of this meme as well. Depending on who reads this entry, at least two of these could easily be disqualified (Push Stars and public transit), but we shall see:

  1. Burned myself with a homemade EKG
  2. Found a deadly poisonous mushroom while mushroom hunting
  3. Ate an entire pumpkin pie in one sitting during a pie-eating contest
  4. Performed in an opening act for the Push Stars
  5. Hiked to the top of two extinct volanoes (Mount Fuji and Vesuvius)
  6. Played videogames at an arcade as a typhoon approached (<200 miles) (cheating, yes, to get around the "accomplished" vs. "happened to me" qualification)
  7. Snorkeled off the coast of Okinawa
  8. Had coffee in the Captain's quarters of a US Navy vessel
  9. Flew three times between Japan and DC in two weeks
  10. Commuted on public transportation from Berkeley to Mountain View/Menlo Park/Anything past Millbrae (observing my fellow passengers, I'm pretty sure on this one)

Even less likely to be unique, due to fellow participants:

  • Filed a patent covering a novel mechanism for establishing secure connections in both the US and Europe (oh wait, DARN YOU BP!)

  • co-founded a failed startup company that made it to the front page of the WSJ

February 26, 2005

Animation festival

Went to Shrunken Head Man's presentation of films from the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The first segment was best student films from 2003. The second segment was best professional films from 2004. Much fun, too tired to write much about it other than what's already here. I wish I had several of these on DVD, but for now I'll have to be satisified with the few clips I found online. I'm not going to write much about the ones I didn't like, except to mention that I think "Mr J. Russel" scarred both parakkum and honeyfields -- during another short, honeyfields muttured, "No, no more dogs," a bit louder than she intended, and a several rows laughed (probably because they shared the same fear).

Favorites that have clips online:

howtocopewithdeath_web.jpg

How to Cope with Death, Ignacio Ferreras: one of my favorites, featuring a confrontation between an old woman and Death. short excerpt is online (have to navigate to films->How to Cope with Death).

crabes.gif

La Revolution des Crabes, Arthur de Pins: a funny film about crabs that can only move from side-to-side, unable to turn (I saw political undertones, others did not). Update: just realized clip online doesn't have subtitles. Oh well.

ryan.jpg

Ryan (Chris Landreth): not quite a favorite, but visually interesting with an good human interest story (with an animation crossover). I personally was not a fan of the aesthetic.

Urinal.jpg

Proper Urinal Etiquette, Kurt Nellis: funny parody of classic education films dealing with the all important choice of urinal stall.

Continue reading "Animation festival" »

February 28, 2005

Schneier on TSA

I've lost a lost of pocketknives to TSA, so I was particularly biased to like the way Bruce Schneier framed TSA security.

Schneier on Security: Sneaking Items Aboard Aircraft

Security systems fail in one of two ways. They can fail to stop the bad guy, and they can mistakenly stop the good guy. The TSA likes to measure its success by looking at the forbidden items they have prevented from being carried onto aircraft, but that's wrong. Every time the TSA takes a pocketknife from an innocent person, that's a security failure. It's a false alarm. The system has prevented access where no prevention was required.