Archive for June, 2006

Baby Mindreading and Heart Transplants …

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Two ‘interesting’ shows on TV earlier this week, Baby Mindreader and Mindshock: Transplanting Memories. Let me state upfront that I’m not a closed to the possibility of mysterious powers or previously undiscovered medical marvels. I don’t, however, believe we’ve seen any evidence of them and most of the people we do see on TV or in print are deluded at best or an outright scam artist at worst. Read on after the jump to see if either show changed my opinion.

Mixed Bag …

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I’m feeling vindicated today, one of the ideas I’ve had for a while is that there’s a market for making affordable housing out of old train carriages, airplanes fuselages, shipping containers etc. Useful for areas where the prices make it difficult to get started on the property ladder or just where there’s a demand for easy, cheap, small footprint housing. Mostly people have scoffed at this idea — I get that a lot — but it’s actually happening. Here’s a article about shipping containers and here’s a proposed design for a library using recycled airplanes. I can’t find anything about railway carriages but the same ideas could apply to them. A lot of these ideas might seem a bit strange, but I think that there’s a lot of potential in unorthodox housing ideas. I just need to come up with something that’s not already been done.

Of course, they’re not really recycling the containers or the airplanes, essentially they’re downcycling them. This stage is the end of the life cycle, we’re just postponed the eventual disposal, and it takes significant resources to adapt them to their new use. Imagine if, say, train carriages where designed for eventual easy conversion to housing, or some other purpose, once they’d served their time in their first use. Instead of designing things fit for one purpose, design things that have an entire life cycle built in. For more, or just to find out where I swiped the term downcycling from, read Cradle to Cradle.

That little bit inspired by a post on Treehugger. Also from there, and almost too late, I discovered that Green Design: Creativity with a Conscience is on at the National Museum of Scotland. It ends this Sunday, but I might still get a chance to go have a look.

Speaking of things that I’ll probably never get round to seeing, the Edinburgh Book Festival launched it’s 2006 listing today. If you’ve read my previous comments about listings sites you can guess what I think of that one so I’ll skip that part and just say I gave up looking for things. I’ll pick up a paper copy at some point.

Try as I might I can’t make that link into my final bit so just have a look at a Little Illusion that’s been doing the rounds on the web. It’s pretty cool and he’s got a nice tutorial showing how to create the effect from your own photos.

Magic Orb

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Thought I better post something that wasn’t a website rant (don’t worry there may be more of that soon). A post on led me to a nifty bit of media streaming software called Orb.

You install the software on a computer that has access to your media files (pictures, music and video) and has Internet access. Once the software’s on your server you can just navigate to from any machine on the Internet and stream all your music and video.

Thanks to this I’m now sitting at work streaming music off my home server. All in all took about half an hour to set up at home and less than five minutes to log in from here. It does have it’s downsides, I’m lucky that I have a computer I leave on all the time anyway and I have reasonable upstream bandwidth (certainly more than enough for CD quality music). The major problem I have is that both the server and the web based client have lousy interfaces, which becomes a problem if you’ve got a lot of media files. The system does import any playlists you have so the solution is just to build playlists with your favourite software and play them rather than trying to navigate to what you want to play.

All in all it’s a pretty impressive piece of software, not 100% stable but pretty good, I know it’s not the only way to do this but it’s the setup is really simple and it has the ‘it just works’ feel to it that’s lacking in other solutions. Well worth checking out.

And it means that anywhere with a ‘net connection, I’ll have access to my music collection. Be afraid.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme now available — with bonus website rant

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme is released today, tickets go on sale on Monday, and the website has been updated.

Once again I’m not blown away by the website experience and I’m going to go pick up a paper copy over the weekend. The quality control shines through when you click the banner link advertising the Sunday Times, which has a free programme this Sunday, and get taken to The Beaver County Times / Allegheny Times website.

Since I ranted about ticket and event sites, I think it’s only fair I should take the time to look over this one and see if it improves on last year. My comments are after the jump, I’ll save any thoughts about the shows themselves for a separate post once I’ve looked at the programme in detail.

LiveJournal Syndication

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Hopefully this post will get cross-posted to my, previously neglected, LiveJournal. Thanks to the wonders of LiveJournal Crossposter.

Why? Because I can, and because it’ll allow the lj peoples to keep track of the posts via their friends list. But it’s mostly just because I can.


Edit: Hey, it worked. First time. Sorry about the lack of posts this week, been a bit hectic, hopefully more soon.