» 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.   |

Tiny Houses (Revisited)

Friday 27 April 2012 at 5:04 pm I mentioned Tiny Houses way back in 2006 - theres now a doco - posted in its entirety on Youtube. Its definitely worth a watch and theres some inspirational ideas for efficient use of space in here too - check it out.

My Old Local is Closing

Thursday 18 December 2008 at 12:13 pm I almost created a 'nostalgia' category to post this under . . .

Anywho, 'The Fitz' is closing.

Probably the most popular student bar in Palmerston North (possibly NZ).

Rumour has it that a previous owner (a hotel chain) was going to close it down but they looked at the financials and realised it was the only thing keeping their chain afloat.

As a pub it was a dive - if you haven't experianced an old urban Kiwi Tavern (rural ones actually have a bit of character) they tend to be designed in the 56/60/70's to maximise profit and minimise pretty much everything else. A big hall with a long bar and uncomfortable seating on stools and tall tables with cheap tin ashtrays embedded in them (they tend to fill with beer by nights end). The carpet is industrial and usually beer soaked (ie sticky) and the bogs are tiled and industrial to allow for easy hose-down. if you were lucky it'll include some pool tables and dart boards. When I was there you could get a jug of beer (about 2.5 pints) for $5 - most nights it was standing room only so there was plenty of spillage as people tried to pour beer into their 7-ounce glasses in a heaving crowd. You'd invariably stumble home (via the 24 hour hot-bread shop or pie-dispensing 24 hour petrol station) covered in beer and reeking of cigarette smoke.

Most Taverns had a 'sport bar' annex which was marginally classier (it had pokey machines and comfy seats) and had the older die-hard alcoholics in it.

Still, for all its faults, you could bowl on up the The Fitz (short for Fitzherbert - the street it was on) at almost any time of the day and be sure of meeting someone you knew from uni there procrastinating the day away.

So RIP The Fitz.

Flight of the Conchords - New Trailers

Saturday 06 December 2008 at 4:36 pm Just caught the two new trailers for their upcoming HBO season - Driving and shooting and Flying without pants.

Hopefully it lives up to expectations!

The Long Now

Tuesday 11 November 2008 at 9:03 pm These guys are doing some really awesome stuff - Macro to Micro Etching as it relates to the Rosetta Disk.

Think about Very Long Term Backup.

This kind if thing is amazing - how long will anything you do now last ? As it stands the high-tech information we're all collecting and storing by the terabyte is likely to last no longer than 5 to 10 years. Sure you can throw it into the 'cloud' but who really trusts this medium and as file formats become obsolete, opening the files will become problematic.

Remember that plain text is your friend and if you have anything *really* important commit it to paper - it'll outlive your disks and PC.

Movember - Updated 13/11/08

Saturday 01 November 2008 at 08:33 am Its that time of year again - gro' a mo' and raise some money for Prostate Cancer awareness, research and treatment.

So get your mates together and join in the Movember fun.

Update - you can sponser me via this link or my team the TECMO's (don't ask) by going here, clicking on 'Donate to a Team', enter our team name 'tecmos' and the 'Donate' button.

Murderous Mayhem

Monday 21 April 2008 at 2:56 pm For those frustrating days - Every single Sopranos death.

Probably best not to view before eating.

Problem - small apartment, lots of books ?

Thursday 21 February 2008 at 8:04 pm Best use of a limited amount of space I've ever seen - coolest staircase ever.

Problem solved :-)

Doomed. We're all doomed, I tell you . . .

Wednesday 14 November 2007 at 12:49 pm According to this wonderful New Scientist article humanity is going to feel the mineral resource crunch in a serious way in the next 5 to 10 years.

Check it out - we run out of Platinum in 15 years and Indium (used for those swanky LCD's everyone is buying to replace their CRT's and TV's) in 5 - 10 years.

Let the hoarding begin . . .

Moved At Last

Friday 02 November 2007 at 2:38 pm We've finally moved into our new house (new is relative - the house was built in the 1920's). A new header with our view will follow shortly.

A few moving related recommendations -

A1 Movers - at about $95Z/hr (+ a $10 difficulty allowance) these guys are brilliant. Being a mover of any kind (delivery, furniture, piano etc) in Wellington is a difficult job - anyone thats seen the place will know that those tight contours make moving anything bigger than a small crate pretty painful. These two guys got two double beds, a sofa bed, tv, fridge and 15 large boxes shifted in two hours flat!

Colin Web Plumber & Gasfitter - turns out that leaving your gass switched off for awhile results in dust and moisture sealing up your pilot light nozzles. So if you need hot water after you get your gas reconnected it pays to get a gas-fitter in to make sure your cylinder and heaters work the way they're meant to. Colin was available within hours of discovering a problem after the gas was hooked up - calling three other gas-fitters that were only available the following week which didn't help us as we were moving in the following day. He was able to assess and fix the problem within 40 minutes.


Monday 08 October 2007 at 11:24 am Q - ‘whats the difference between a tea-bag and the All Blacks?’

A – ‘the tea-bag stays in the cup longer’

'Les Bleus' for the Rugby World Cup !

At least the Aussies got beaten too.


Yet another blog about stuff.

The image in the header is mine.

Tag Cloud





[ The Doors ]
[ Arstechnica ]
[ Gizmodo ]
[ Pitchforkmedia ]
[ Popmatters ]
[ Google ]
[ BBC News ]
[ Stuff NZ News ]
[ Free Tibet ]
[ Scoop ]
[ Metafilter ]
[ Long Now ]

[ Shaun ]
[ Stuart ]
[ Chris ]
[ Lex ]
[ Vanessa ]
[ Alec ]
[ Damien ]


Powered by PivotX - 2.3.6
XML: Atom Feed