Thursday, May 31, 2007

Touch screen madness

There's lots of buzz in the world about touch-screen interfaces. The godfather of the genre is Jeff Han, who gave a presentation that I'm sure everyone at Apple has been forced to watch.

Of course, now the iPhone has a shiny interface, and Bill Gates is showing off his new thing that will be forgotten in a year. Not to mention the interesting story about a high tech pen.

These are interesting ideas, for letting us interface with our information in more intuitive ways. But who cares if I can write with a pen and plug it in so then it'll order a book for me or email someone? I can whip out my phone or other thingy and just email them in the first place. A coffee table that will show all my photos? How complicated will it be to upload all my photos off my camera? It's the total experience, not just the shiny finale, that tells the story of technology. Will we find it useful? Will it be simple and easy, or not worth the hassle?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Movie quotes by the numbers

This video clip is interesting. 100 clips from movies, which feature all the numbers between 100 and 1. The choices are interesting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Shanghai Acrobats

These are clips from my favorite part of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.

There are also a few other clips on YouTube from the same show. Damn, they're good performers in a good show. These pirate clips don't do it justice. Although, while the lighting just isn't captured by the camera, the clips I found do show them making mistakes and recovering. The show I saw had only one error, at the very beginning. I kind of like errors in acrobatic/juggling shows. They raise the tension of the act.

shanghai acrobats rock

This is just one of the amazing acts I saw in Shanghai. It turns out there are many talented troupes of performers in Shanghai. I wish I knew the name of this one, so I could promote them and buy their DVD.

Update: I'm pretty sure what I saw was Huangpu Sensation by the Shanghai Acrobatics Troupe. Absolutely first class work. Props to Trip Advisor message board for the name of the show. Way, way, way better than the New Shanghai Circus.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Extreme Ironing

This is a pretty funny video clip. Best part is that while I was in China last month, I saw this reported as a REAL extreme sport. along with mountain biking and snowboarding. Learn more from Extreme Ironing Central.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Movie poster remixes

Something Awful is having a movie poster photoshop contest. They make a poster for a movie that makes it seem like a cheap, awful horror movie from the 70's.

I like this set very much.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Chicken chicken

Chicken chicken chicken? This powerpoint is an interesting parody of the form of scientific presentations.

You can also see the powerpoint and the journal article.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Awesome videos. Bad sound.

These two video clips are historic tv comedy. Great performances, groundbreaking hilarity. I applaud whoever wrote them.

The quality of these posts is mediocre. But I still thank whoever stole them and put them on YouTube.

So cool. This is not an impersonation. This is really Jesse Jackson.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Money makes the world go round

So, London is planning on hosting the Olympics in 2012. They're going to set up security to protect the fans and the competitors. How do they decide who does that work? By choosing people with the best skills and track record? Silly! Of course not!

They choose whoever gives the most money to the Olympic committee.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Do Powerpoint Right

As I've observed before, people can use powerpoint badly. Reading what's on the slide, duplicating streams of information and making a bad presentation worse.

Of course, as with email, it's not a problem with the tool, but with the people that use it.

If you do it right, powerpoint lets you make a presentation better. Show images you couldn't convey with hand waving. You just have to do it right. And leave the screen behind when you don't need it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

John Edwards is pretty cool

I went to a John Edwards rally at lunchtime today. It was cool.

He told a story of hope. Of hard work ahead, but of a commitment to each other and to the entire world, of problems but also of solutions. It was inspiring. I felt good about the future of our country again, if only for a moment. Not confident, but hopeful.

His only real misstep was his wishy-washy non answer on the question of gay marriage. He ambled around the topic, saying he supports civil unions, but "today" he doesn't support gay marriage. But his 23 year old daughter thinks it's ridiculous and will all go away some day. It was a weak answer, remarkable given how strongly he stood for his ideas on every other issue he addressed. He respectfully disagreed with people on questions about health care policy, spoke honestly about the complicated issues in education, and said what the union audience wanted to hear on labor issues.

The audience loved his criticism of the Iraq war, and I was deeply moved by his promise to close Guantanamo on his first day in office as President.

He is not the only candidate I support. But there are few like him, where I would vote FOR him, rather than against the lousy opponent.

Pythagoras Switch is super fun time!

Japanese TV is cool. There's a show called Pythagoras Switch that has lots of very creative Japanese Rube Goldberg machines. It's a show for kids, super educational, with these machines in between other segments.

They also have the Algorithm March, an iterative dance that teaches a math concept. Watch into the second minute for ninjas.

You can also see the march with emergency workers, airline staff, and soccer players.

They also do a mathematical dance with robots, bus tour guides, judo masters, and South Pole explorers.

Racism in Advertising

Yes, Slate has a review of racist advertising in history, spurred in no small part by Uncle Ben's promotion to CEO of his company.

On the Media has great coverage of the story. Sound clips of some awful racist mascots from the 70s.

Reminds me of the actual ads that played in CSA: Confederate States of America. It's an interesting movie, asking what if the South had won, and we still had slavery today. It would benefit from just a little more polish, that is, a higher budget. But it's good as it is.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Shred of the Month

SSI is a company that makes industrial size shredders. For industrial quantities of paper.

In their Shred of the Month, they show video of other things being shredded. Like a torpedo. (The mattress is pretty impressive, too. Pumpkin, not so much.)