Saturday, 1 March 2008

More reasons to dislike flash on websites

As if you needed any more!

It appears to disable Ctrl-Tab for a new tab in Firefox. Minor, but annoying.

Friday, 29 February 2008

The only fun part about children is messing with their heads

Oh please, please, please put these into print!

The 40 most inappropriate children's book covers (photoshop competition at

I particularly like that someone's used my favourite ever The Hobbit cover.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

So much cheek it's like a badly parked Volkswagen

Today, I had an appointment in Ipswich, and my car needed petrol. So I drove in, with the little orange low-fuel-warning light coming on under acceleration or up hills (if you can't work out why these two should both happen, then please review basic physics), and decided to fill up on the way back out because I was running close to time.

On the way back out, I noticed in passing that petrol prices, for unleaded, were at about 121.9 to 123.9. Which wasn't bad, given recent fluctuations.

But I was intending to drop into the servo at Karalee, because I needed the pharmacy in the shopping centre and because I had a discount voucher in my pocket.

Imagine, then, my shock when I got there to find a price of 138.9 staring at me from the sign and from the pumps. If the traffic wasn't so bad and I wasn't running late, it would have been cheaper for me to drive back to Ipswich, fill up, and then return. I did not fill my tank.

This is such a baffling degree of you have got to be fucking kidding me that I find myself almost lost for words.

I thought websites were supposed to be useful?

Having just finished one rant at a mobile phone website, here's another:

A few pointers when trying to market your product:
  1. Not showing any images of the inside of a flip phone, because you want to stress that the outside has buttons (gasp!) and speaker grills on it, does not help your cause.
  2. Advertising "Type faster with predictive text!" as a feature makes you look amateurish and shifty. This technology is how old, exactly?

Et tu, idiot?

Let's review, shall we?

I. Don't. Like. Flash. Websites.

And yet, clearly, people who really should know better do.

That original rant was directed at Sony-Ericsson.

Samsung, desperate to stay competitive next to the Scandinavians and the Japanese, have gone one step worse. This is not customer service. This is Madison-Avenue advertising, trying to impress with shiny rather than standing behind your product and informing people.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

How to tell when your goofy puppy is having you on with the dumb act.

The thing that looks like a dead animal skin is a dead animal skin - it used to belong to a goat. The (other) black and white thing he's lying on is a pillow. He didn't discover that lying in the corridor. He picked it up from where it had fallen off the bed and carried it out into the corridor so that he could lie on it.

This is the puppy who took far too long to toilet train, far too long to be taught not to chew shoes, is afraid of his own shadow and still won't heel reliably. Clearly he isn't stupid - he's been having us on.

Gimp, what happened to you?

No, not this bloke.

I mean The GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program. Once upon a time, I could select a region of an image with the mouse, hit Ctrl-C to copy it, hit Ctrl-N to create a new image to paste it into, and the new image dialogue box which would pop up would specify dimensions that exactly matched the copied area.

Some time recently, The GIMP in Debian Lenny was upgraded. I have just tried this same trick, and it didn't work. I got the default image size. I could not rely upon creating a new picture with what I had copied. Instead, I got a tiny piece of what I had copied. One of the most useful pieces of software self-awareness I have come across had been turned up.

For the love of Shub-Nigurath, why?

I'm very, very sorry, but I couldn't help myself

Didn't Woody Allen put one of these in a movie?

I tried so hard to come up with funny things to say about this, but there were just too many options and in the end I decided to just go with pointing you to the original story, where you can read their jokes (Gizmodo Australia). Somebody is seriously trying to get funding for a Breast-massaging robot. Incidentally, it's a whole lot more funny if you watch the video.

P.S.: Isn't Woody Allen a blatant name for a porn star?

P.P.S.: If the title still confuses you: Go here.


Pity the poor Americans. They have so much going for them until you look deeper: A world-leading democracy where elections are decided by the courts or by who decides to turn up; An enlightened modern liberal society with freedom of religion where atheists are persecuted in public, private and military life; An automobile manufacturing industry that hasn't yet been destroyed by Asian opposition despite the fact that all their cars suck, and so on.

And yet despite all this they still have a mobile phone environment where they aren't allowed to choose their carriers and their handsets separately. Yes, that's right. They can't decide that they like a phone, buy it, have it unlocked and then stick their old SIM card in it. This so astounded me when I heard about it that I couldn't immediately believe it, and then thought "Oh, yes, this is America we're talking about", laughed at their expense, and got on with using my Telstra-co-branded Samsung with Vodafone.

But this leads to a problem with us here in Australia. Or at least a problem with others, because I don't actually want an... I'll start again.

Apple, who aren't used to the rules for mobile phones, try and make up their own. They're used to this, they do it all the time with computers, so why not? Except that the exclusive agreement they signed in the USA, and the agreements they've been negotiating in parts of Europe, won't actually work in Australia. They're not legal. Which is a problem for Apple, and has probably provoked howls of frustration throughout the land. Except from me, who is laughing because I agree with our laws on this one.

Oh well, you can still buy a iPod Touch.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Life just keeps catching up to art.

In 1999:

Problems with restaurant menus.

In 2008:


This really was the logical next step from giving the waiters PDAs that are bluetoothed to the kitchen. But will there be an electronic sommelier?

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