Anne has told me that everybody in the world needs to see this.
So here it is.
(Actually, I’m given to understand the correct term is “leecking”.)
Anne has told me that everybody in the world needs to see this.
So here it is.
(Actually, I’m given to understand the correct term is “leecking”.)
It was good to see a Dr Who episode that ended in the traditional way - screeching into the theme music with a dramatic zoom onto a completely stupid-looking monster.
Now that’s what I’m talking about. (It’s good to see that G’Kar’s chin is still getting work.)
Father Dougal in excellent cat makeup, OK, that’s got its appeal. But people having all of the water in their bodies sucked out by a dude in a bubble-wrap suit is the way it’s meant to be.
On the subject of that eternal-traffic-jam episode, I quite liked it once I started treating it as a sort of Borges story rather than sci-fi. It was only spoiled by the hamfisted foreshadowing of the Obvious Next Villain, And It’d Better Be Jonathan Pryce Playing Him Or There’ll Be Trouble, You Already Made Me Cross With Those Guys With Huge Heads That Turned Out When They Took Their Helmets Off To Be Space Rhinos Or Some Shit Instead Of The Army Of Sontarans I Was Hoping For.
The modern Doctor Who is all just fantasy with sci-fi paint on it, of course.
But, y’know, could be worse.
I have a strange relationship with the folk at Life Technology.
They sell a lot of things.
Every single one of those things is outrageously, hilariously fraudulent.
Seriously. Go and have a look. It’s great.
I have mentioned Life Technology from time to time on dansdata.com, and the Life Technology people, who do not think like you and me, have as a result alternated between asking to buy ads, being very cross with me, and sending me press releases.
Like this one, which turned up the other day (spelling original; a few strange high-ASCII characters redacted):
HI DAN, WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS
THE TESLA SHIELD™ HYPERSPACE VERSION 1.0
The Tesla Purple Ennergy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 is the most powerful and advanced Tesla Shield that we have created so far and has taken many months in design and beta testing. The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 incorporates all of the enhanced design and componentry characteristics of The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Ultra Advanced Version 1.0, but more importantly The Tesla PPurple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 integrates an internal radionics struuctural link to a RAD 5 Radionics Machine running at full power at the Life Technology™ laboratories 24/7/365.
The RAD 5 Radionics Machine is a state of the art remote influence / transformational radionics machine designed by the esteemed quantum physicist and radionics technology pioneer Karl Welz of Hyperspace Communications Technologies International (www.hscti.com). The RAD 5 is undoubtedly the most sophisticated and powerful radionics machine available today. The integral radionics structural link enables The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyyperspace Version 1.0 to be permanently recharged by an unlimited source of subtle energy.
The upgraded internal componentry in synergy with the new integral structural link with the RAD 5 Radionics Machine enhances the subtle energy properties of The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.00 by a factor of up to x100. Incredibly, Thats one hundred times more power than the original Tesla Shield™ ! Life Technology™ can confidently assert thathat The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 is the most powerful and advannced personal transformational energy tool available anywhere today.
The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 is priceed at $299.95.
All variants of The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ aare available through The Life Technology site at
Whoo-ee. That ought to attract some really choice Google ads.
(But none for Life themselves - I’ve blocked their ads. There are plenty of other people happy to take your money to fool you into thinking their “radionic” devices do something useful, though, and I’m confident that some of them will be glad to advertise here.)
Life’s products are modern updates of the potions and talismans I imagine travelling shamans selling to peasants in the Dark Ages. Some people are clearly happy to be counted as part of the filthy peasant demographic today, though, because stores like Life Technology’s are quite numerous.
While Life’s site is full of quantum this and electronic that (don’t miss The Ultra Advanced Psychotronic Money Magnet™ EECS Version 1.0!), some of the promotional lingo hasn’t changed for thousands of years.
Life Technology are, for instance, very much in favour of the modern “alchemy” movement, which has given rise to a marvellous substance called “White Powder Gold”.
White Powder Gold resembles the actual conventional kind of gold in no way whatsoever, apparently because it is “monatomic“, a quality not normally seen in solid substances. But have no fear, this monatomic gold is much better than regular old metallic gold. It’s widely alleged to be very very good for whatever ails you.
If you buy Life’s monatomic gold in quantity it only costs about a third as much per gram as metallic gold (the Bush presidency has been good to the price of the kind of money that’ll be useful after the collapse of civilisation…). Regrettably, however, the substance’s stated “Philosopher’s Stone” nature does not give it the ability to turn anything, including itself, into metallic gold.
(I note that the white-powder-gold enthusiasts have been repelled from the Wikipedia Philosopher’s Stone article. Regrettably, the blinkered science-worshippers who rule Wikipedia with iron-fists-that-will-never-become-golden-fists have deleted the article that explained all about these Orbitally Rearranged Monatomic Elements, on the entirely unfair grounds that it was utter claptrap. This made someone very cross. But the video will not be silenced!!1!!one!)
[UPDATE: A few months later, Life Technology got back to me!]
Good news for people in search of a sixteenth-scale (trans: quite big) radio controlled tank.
It’s a Mitsuwa T-34-85, and it only costs about 17700 yen ($US150, $AU180, as I write this) delivered.
That’s not peanuts, but it’s far cheaper than Tamiya’s famous kits in the same scale. And this is a built tank, ready to roll; just add a bunch of AA batteries (preferably rechargeables…).
That’s the neat-o Japanese version of the Pershing kit that includes radio, batteries and charger (not normally included with “proper” R/C models), but you could still buy six of the Mitsuwa tanks for the delivered price of the unbuilt Tamiya kit. Probably more, actually, since shipping would then be likely to cost less per unit.
The shipping cost for one T-34 is more than a third of the total price. That’s because the tank itself has been marked down to half of its list price. I presume the customers of Hobbylink Japan found the humble T-34 insufficiently sexy.
The Tamiya kits do give you a more impressive toy when you’ve finished, of course. The HLJ page makes pretty clear what the Mitsuwa kit’s missing, though it doesn’t mention that this tank doesn’t have proportional control - everything’s either moving or it isn’t, with no control over the speed. People are apparently refitting the Mitsuwa kits with better control gear to fix this, but it’ll work well enough without for less demanding users.
You can also expect this kit to be less durable than a Tamiya one, and there’s no way to buy spare parts for it, either.
But c’mon. A sixth the price. And it’s ready to run.
The big advantage of the Mitsuwa kit over everyday large-scale toy-store R/C tanks is that it has proper articulated tracks. Cheap tanks always have rubber tracks. Those are simple and durable, but they eat a huge amount of the tank’s motor power, so even big rubber-tracked tanks are generally an indoor-only proposition.
The Mitsuwa also apparently scrubs up real nice if you invest some work in it. That’s another point of difference with cheap tanks - they’re seldom very good models, scale-accuracy-wise.
Readers: Please save me from myself, and buy up HLJ’s remaining stock of this thing before I do.
(In case you’re wondering, I do not have an affiliate deal with Hobbylink Japan. I even had to pay for this. The horror!)
Another Metafilter-inspired post, but at least this time I’ve got some comments in the thread.
Here in Australia, we’ve got a TV show called The New Inventors, which does not always do as much due diligence on the inventions they feature as they ought.
So, every now and then, something turns up on the show that sounds absolutely fantastic, and is therefore picked as the best invention of the three featured in that episode, and gets significant publicity as a result - but which is actually a scam.
I mention a couple of previous examples in this comment; any readers who watch the show more often than I do (those two examples turned me off it…) may be able to suggest others.
The Exhausted Air Recycling System has done very well for itself. It was named Invention of the Year for 2006.
The trouble is, it just doesn’t make sense.
It’s meant to be able to make air tools (which are notoriously inefficient) consume up to 80% less power, by routing exhaust air back to the compressor. But I, and others, can’t see how this is possible without reducing tool power by exactly the amount you’re apparently increasing efficiency.
My bullshit detector didn’t trip the first time I saw the EARS - or the second, third or fourth, for that matter - because on the face of it, you’d think that it would be possible to take the above-atmospheric-pressure air coming out of an air tool and do something useful with it.
But now that I’ve thought about it some more, it seems quite clear that whatever you put on the outlet of the tool will restrict outgoing air flow, which will inescapably reduce the tool’s power.
Other commenters on the Metafilter thread and elsewhere have gone on to express severe reservations about other aspects of the system, like for instance the fact that the return hose is the same narrow diameter tubing as the feed hose, despite the fact that the return has to handle a much larger volume of air, now that the pressure is lower.
[blinks innocently] Comments, anyone?
I doubt this’ll end up being as much fun as the Firepower saga, but there still ought to be some entertainment to be had.
(The latest update on the Firepower story, by the way, is a good summary of the whole sordid story.)
It occurs to me, apropos the aforementioned giant Nazi robot, that the perfect soundtrack for tired ‘mech-jockeys whooping it up on the last night of leave before they saddle up their W-28s for the big push over the Rhine would be the Puppini Sisters’ version of “I Will Survive”.
(Via Metafilter, again.)
This choice of soundtrack would also alert the Doctor and his companion to the fact that they’d slipped into another alternate universe, so they wouldn’t be taken unawares when a bunch of Gear Krieg/Ring Of Red action broke out in the area.
(Cap’n Jack‘d be having a freakin’ ball, of course.)
I have little to add to this Techdirt piece on the recent widely-forwarded Independent article concerning “electronic smog” (another triumph of science journalism!). Given that the article itself admits that there is not any evidence that this “smog” is in fact harmful (or has any effect at all on anybody), I humbly submit that one might equally justifiably call it “electronic vitamin C”, while one is waiting for evidence of effect to arrive.
(Ben Goldacre’s been catching abuse for a year or so now as a result of his clearly inhuman and evil view that people who believe electromagnetic “pollution” is making them ill have real symptoms, but are incorrect about the cause. For some reason, it’s hard to find similar pressure groups who believe that people who hear voices should be provided with earplugs.)
Someone on the Metafilter thread about this video wondered where the British robot was.here on ausgamers.com.
Microsoft’s IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 was, arguably, the best mouse a right-handed user could get when I reviewed it - and compared it with Logitech’s show-off dual-pickup MouseMan Dual Optical - back in 2001.
And, as you may have heard, it has returned.
The final decision back in ‘01 came down to what shape you preferred, and left-handers were left out in the cold then, as they still pretty much are now.
But the Explorer 3.0 felt good to little old right-handed me, and it worked well. The two side thumb buttons are in just the right place, and the mouse feels neither too small nor too big. I like a teeny mouse for use with a laptop, when you often have a crummy wrist angle and need to hold the mouse with your fingertips from above to avoid strain injuries. But with an ergonomically correct desk setup, a big, though sculpted, mouse like this works for me. Perhaps I’m getting set in my ways in my old age, but I’ve kind of settled on the Explorer 3.0.
(I don’t want a cordless mouse; yes, they work perfectly well these days, but I prefer a bit less weight and zero battery concerns. I keep my mouse cord organised with a simple weight, which you can readily make yourself; that may have something to do with the disappearance of the WireWeights company. More elaborate cord management contraptions are still on sale!)
Explorer 3s seem to last pretty well, too. My mouse gets a whole lot of use, but I can count on at least three years of service from an Explorer 3.0 before the cable goes flaky or the wheel starts mis-counting.
Microsoft were left behind in the feature-chart race, though. So they retired the 3.0, and created a new and awful version 4.0 of the Explorer.
This whole post is very much the outside scoop for gamers, of course, but the Explorer 4.0’s suckage centred around its new and allegedly fantastic “tilt wheel”, which you could not only roll up and down and click for the button-3 function, but could also tilt left and right for horizontal scrolling.
The tilt function made the click function hard to use, and they deleted the clicky detents in the wheel rotation that’re essential when gamers want to accurately select a weapon.
So people who liked the old 3.0 started paying premiums for new old stock on eBay. Microsoft eventually noticed this, and reintroduced the older model.
Apparently the new Explorer 3 has a faster sensor chip in it, or something, but the change isn’t significant enough that Microsoft bothered calling the new-old-mouse the Explorer 3.1. It is, for all practical intents and purposes, the same as the good old 3.0.
Except now, as you can see, it’s dark slate-grey, with only slightly cheesy matte silver side buttons.
Here in Australia, m’verygoodfriends at Aus PC Market sell the new Explorer 3 for $AU69.30 including delivery anywhere in the country. Australian shoppers can click here to order one.
That’s really not a bad price at all. Microsoft’s fancy-pants Razer-collaboration Habu costs twice as much, and Logitech’s flagship corded mouse, the G5, is not a lot cheaper.
Microsoft now seem to be calling the Explorer 4.0 just the “IntelliMouse Explorer“, and OEM (no-fancy-box) versions of it can be had in the States for quite a bit less than the price of a new 3.0. At that price it’s a perfectly OK desktop mouse, but it’s still no good for many games. Aus PC Market have given up selling it.
The Explorer 4.0 tilt wheel also lives on in some even swoopier products. I’m not itching to try any of them, though.
(Now someone needs to slap an eight inch drive on an A3 scanner and make a really big file.)
Thanks to my Pocket PCRef, I know that the above drive is a 5.25 inch half height (which is to say, the same height as a modern optical drive) ST-506 3600RPM unit which reported 5 heads, 1024 cylinders and 17 sectors per track.
This information is, of course, almost perfectly useless these days, as is most of the rest of the content of even the current edition of Pocket PCRef (mine’s the 1999 ninth edition). Connector pinouts and ASCII codes and such are all very well, but it’s not as if all of those aren’t at your fingertips anyway if you’ve got an Internet connection. The same goes for keyboard scan codes, paper sizes, number base conversion tables and error beep codes for various old BIOSes - though if you work with PC hardware every day, a Pocket PCRef will still probably help you out a few times a year.
More impressive is the original Pocket Ref, old editions of which are far less obsolete.
Pocket Ref has close to nothing about computers in it. It’s more about every single piece of basic engineering information you’d need to reconstruct society after the inevitable happens, all in a very literally pocket-sized book.
This blog is now located at howtospotapsychopath.com!