» Belkin WeMo This kind of looks like the future of home automation.
Belkin WeMo

Nice feature overview here.

X10 is cool but complicated; whereas this looks cool and simple.   |
» Bookcrossing A friend pointed me at Bookcrossing.

Seems like a great way to redistribute your old books and having some fun doing it.

The basic idea - label your old books with a unique identifier, then drop them off wherever you like. Log the 'drop' on the Bookcrossing website for someone to pick up. If they log the collection you can track who and where the book goes. Obviously there are the usual anonymity options and if a non-Bookcrossing person picks up the book they may choose not to join-up (its free, they make money selling accessories like custom labels and bookplates).

Pretty cool.   |
» Mailorder Beer A plug and a bit of a bookmark for myself - Beerstore in NZ does a great job of distributing beer of all kinds delivered to your door.

I've used them a few times now and they're quick and efficient - I even had one delivery with broken bottles which the couriers obviously screwed up and within a couple of days Beerstore had another order on my doorstep no questions asked. Now thats service !   |
» What is a karonkka? A friend of mine recently returned from Finland where he was examining a PhD defence - the process is called a Karonkka.

As well as getting decked out in a full-on tux & tails they actually had ceremonial swords to boot. How cool is that ?

Be sure to read Shauns other posts on the nature of research, patents, science and technology in New Zealand.   |
» TED Talks A friend of mine (cheers Eddie!) pointed me at the excellent TED Talk series.

Subscribe to their RSS feed now.

Theres always something you can set aside 15 minutes of your time to learn about or dump to your mp3 player to listen/watch while you commute.

Recent favourites of mine have included - 'Build a brain in a supercomputer', 'Our buggy moral code', 'What brain damage can point out about our mind', 'Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet?'   |
» Useful Ways to be Persuasive I realised my Linkdump category hadn't been updated in a looong time so I'll kick start it with this link to some common-sense ways to be persuasive.

As per the link comments in the preamble, its a bit pop-psych but theres some useful stuff to help get your head around how you can get your point of view across to other people.   |
» Because you need to know - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout It'll be interesting to see if the New York Times keeps this table up to date - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout.

See which financial institutions receive money and how much they get.   |
» Good Music - Le Pop by Katzenjammer Discovered while reading Popmatters list of Also-rans for 2008 - Katzenjammers 'Le Pop' is one of those joyful albums by a band determined to put a stupid grin on your face at all costs or die trying (cf early Violent Femmes, Crowded House, Pogues).

Check out a couple of videos on YouTube - 'A bar in Amsterdam' and 'Aint no thang'   |
» Good Books - The Shock Doctrine Another excellent read from Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine. I have to admit I'm only halfway through this book - mans inhumanity to man makes for tough going - however its pretty much compulsory reading for anyone that wonders how the worlds free market economy's were lead down the track they're currently on.

Essentially what Klein does is posit the idea that free market economies and reforms can only be forced through on the back of an external crisis (sometimes real and sometimes engineered). As a result those people best placed to take advantage of the reforms do extraordinarily well and the vast majority of us end up worse off - with globalisation these disparities keep getting worse as multi-nationals cease to be bound by georgraphy.

As the recent recession and American bank / finance / auto bail-outs have shown - the free market has failed to a certain extent - their own calls for deregulation have bit them on the ass and now they're going cap in hand to the very regulatory bodies they once reviled for assistance.

So even when things go wrong for the wheelers and dealers of the world - they still come out on top.   |
» Good Books - Killing Rommel by Stephen Pressfield Another quick summer read - Killing Rommel is a return to form for Stephen Pressfield - his 'Gates of Fire' was a masterpiece but after that I found 'Tides of War' and 'Last of the Amazons' to be a little dry.

His latest novel tells the tale of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and their various exploits in the North African campaign, culminating in a mission to track down and kill Rommel.   |

Some Collected Bits of Humour

Monday 14 June 2010 at 8:59 pm Brilliant sign - Safety First.

Create your own labels - Beer Labelizer.

These two are hilarious - Garfunkel and Oates. Check out all their videos.

Grammer Tips from The Oatmeal

Sunday 09 May 2010 at 4:01 pm Great comic strips to help the grammatically challenged -

Humour - Letters to Famous and Infamous People

Saturday 13 March 2010 at 07:21 am Via Boing Boing - a guy poses as a 10 year old and writes letters to some interesting people -
Little Billy's Letters to famous and infamous people.

The letters and the replies will put a smile on even a jaded face.

Humour - Some Funny Stuff

Sunday 26 April 2009 at 09:04 am Bit of a drought of amusing stuff over the last few months but now theres a bumper crop -

Some people take business cards way to seriously - like this guy. On the other hand these guys definitely have the right attitude. Oh how I laughed.

AutoTuning appears to have taken the pop-world by storm - now see what happens when its introduced into the workplace - AutoTune and the Homepage Guy.

Hipsters appear to be one of those new fangled 'yoof culture' things - now you can laugh at the absurdity of it all with - Look at this fucking hipster. 'Hipster Douchebag' is one of my favourite statements of derision.

I'm new to the Daily Show - having seen a few clips though I can safely say I'm addicted - the funniest clip (among many) so far has to be the expose of Tea Bag Protestors by John Oliver. Its funny and scary at the same time. Love his riff on the nature of true tyranny.

Mildly amusing observation rather than a real funny - Thoughts on Pot vs. Alcohol from a Former Police Chief. Its all about the $$$ - the alcohol and tobacco industry would lose a fortune if it was decriminalised.

A new take on the tired LOLCat Meme - Rolcat - English translations of russian lolcats. Check a few of them out - there are some classics.

I had to add this at the last moment - ID Proponents Talk a Lot About Front-Loading But Never Explain What It Means. I can't believe they list this in a section which purports to provide some standard responses to questions raised about the validity of Intelligent Design. What they appear to say in this bit is that theres lots of cool stuff thats been 'designed' into the natural world with a view to the future. This pseudo science (almost) sounds reasonable until you start reading it and go 'Wait. What?!' and fall over laughing.

I think this is unintentionally hilarious - there were rumours but now it appears to be true - Windows 7 Starter Edition only lets you run three simultaneous apps. WTF ?!

Humour - Pulp Browser

Friday 17 April 2009 at 5:27 pm Another one of those links drifting around the interweb at the moment - check out this fantastic anti-IE screed done in the style of Pulp Fiction - Pulp Browser.

If you view it in IE it won't make much sense as the alignment is screwed up - use a real web browser instead (like Firefox).

The Way to More Efficient Meetings

Thursday 18 December 2008 at 11:58 am More efficient meetings through uncomfortable chairs.

Made me laugh.

Fantastic Cards

Friday 28 November 2008 at 06:30 am Get your Wondermark Greeting Cards.

This is my fave for those that will suffer from industrial strength chrimbo madness. Hope you survive unscathed.

Humour - The 50 best jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe

Wednesday 17 September 2008 at 7:28 pm Some of these are pretty good - The 50 best jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe.

My favourites are -

"I despise cliquishness, for reasons only my four closest friends will ever properly understand" Steve Hall


"A problem shared is attention gained" Pippa Evans

Humour - 'Llectuals

Saturday 09 August 2008 at 2:49 pm If you're on of those people that despised the 'Pretty White Kids (With Problems)' shows which seemed to dominate the late 90's and into the 00's (stand up Beverly Hills 90210, Dawsons Creek, Felicity etc) then you'll love this piss-take -

Purely for the sake of vanity . . . Part II

Saturday 26 July 2008 at 4:10 pm Back in 2006 I kept track of the number of times I got asked for ID - it happens so infrequently now that it was kind of funny when it did happen.

Two years after that post its happened again. Obviously I look decades younger than I actually am - despite all the white hair, grey stubble and general air of bah-humbug grumpiness.

Then again maybe its a subtle marketing ploy by supermarkets to randomly verify age on alcohol purchases regardless of how young or old someone looks - if you're over 18 you'll take the ID check as a sign that you look better than you really do and come back to the store again for another dose of ego-inflation :-)


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