Archive for May, 2006

dr. pepper berries & cream

May 26th, 2006

  • Dr. Pepper? Check.
  • Berries? Check.
  • Cream? Check.

“Dr. Pepper Berries and Cream” — which sounds like a 70’s funk/soul group, but is in fact a new soda — turns out to be quite good. The flavor scienticians at Coca-Cola managed to enhance the classic sugar-malted-prune Dr. Pepper taste without losing it, a feat the previous variation of “Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla” couldn’t quite pull off. One hundred thumbs up!

~jeff

itunes bpm detection

May 25th, 2006


The BPM (beats per minute) field in iTunes has bothered me since it was introduced in version 4.0; there are some ways to get BPM information into iTunes, but no easy ways — and I’m all about the easy ways.

However, a new patent reveals that Apple has patented the idea of running fast to fast music, which is kinda stupid to allow a patent on, but if it brings along with it an automated way to get BPM information out of the tracks and into the tag metadata — and then into a smart playlist — I’m on board.

~jeff

ooops. . .

May 25th, 2006


So a few months ago during a leisurely hike, a friend of mine and Lou’s (my best friend and ex-boyfriend) suggested we put together a comedy fire routine, possibly for the upcoming Xara festival (for which we were already performing with our fire conclave, The Phoenix Projekt). This was very exciting to us, because no one EVER does fire comedy. . . fire performers are generally too busy accumulating all the trappings of would-be rock stars to think outside the Tribal/Sexy/Intense box.

Cut to one month later, and this is what we made (that’s me on the left, with the red dreads, and lou is the bald man on the left). . .featuring the Tubatron stylings of our very own David Silverman, who explains how to make a Tubatron here.

quick links

May 25th, 2006

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~jeff

dashcode

May 24th, 2006

dashcode.jpg

Ooops! Apple has released inadvertently leaked their nifty Dashboard widget maker “Dashcode” via the Developer Tools disc that comes with the new MacBooks.

My first spin through it was quite positive — it’s so much better than building a widget bundle by hand. And it’s not incredibly obtuse like XCode; a beginner could pick it up and start coding something in a couple minutes. You can see the results here with the new ldopa RSS Mac OS X widget!; this took about five minutes, so as a result, I predict an influx of countdown and RSS feed widgets, stat.

~jeff

the olpc has ears

May 24th, 2006


MIT’s 100$ laptop is looking weirder and weirder; not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but aside from the orange color, the screen of the latest promotional material makes it look like the laptop contains kids trapped in the phantom zone.

~jeff

proxi

May 24th, 2006


Griffin Technology makes nifty Mac and PC accessories (and some just-OK Mac and PC accessories); now they’ve released “Proxi“, a free application that looks like a QuickKeys lite sort of automation tool. It looks to be most useful if you have the Griffin AirClick remote or the PowerMate, but there’s plenty to geek out on no matter what. I’m particularly enamored of the RSS Monitor, but then again, I’d like everything in my life to have an RSS feed.

~jeff

enjoy your laugh, beetface

May 24th, 2006

Link. Kevin Spacey?

~jeff

shave everywhere

May 23rd, 2006


We’re

kind of

obsessed

…with shaving here at ldopa.net — I know I personally have been ever since the Gillette Sensor took it to the m-th-rf-k-n LIMIT with just two blades. Not that we’re super hairy or anything, we just really like razor sharp, ludicrously expensive grooming implements.

So it will come as no great surprise that this flash ad for the Phillips Bodygroom both chills and delights — please post your jokes involving “teabagging” and “milking this cat’s smooth, smooth body” in the comments section below.

Thanks, Aaron!

~jeff

we dare you to miss it.

May 22nd, 2006

1959.jpg

It has recently come to my attention that some of you have not been listening to Welcome to Mars, the 12-part story of science and science fantasy in the formative years of 1947 to 1959.

Well, it’s ended and you can download them all now and listen to them in a single six-hour stretch.

The story starts in 1947 — the year the Sound Barrier was broken, the year the transistor was invented, and the year a “flying saucer” crashed in in Roswell, New Mexico, only to have the Army deny its own report days later.

It goes through the most interesting parts of the next twelve years: MK-ULTRA and Aldous Huxley, crescents skipping across the sky “like a saucer would if you skipped it across a pond”, Wilhelm Reich (kicked out of Nazi Germany for his experiments on human sexuality) and Wernher Von Braun (SS officer and proud US leader), Forbidden Planet and Plan Nine from Outer Space, telepathic submarines, fictions described as true, and truths hidden in fiction.

‘goldensmell’ as globalization

May 22nd, 2006


I love the pan-Asian grocery store. I can go down the street, make a turn into a dubious looking building, and be completely linguistically and olfactorily alienated. I also really like some of the foods I’ve been introduced to, usually through a friend. But most of all, I love the Engrish.

Case in point: Goldensmell brand Chinese foods.

I get a lot of pleasure out of encountering a ridiculous cultural/language faux pas like this in print. And with the increased availability of cheaply produced goods from markets within other cultures with other languages, I get to see more and more of this all the time. It’s like a cross between a pun and a joke and a poem, totally unintentionally: a result of either negligence or just a lack of resources. I’m sort of an asshole for being so entertained by this, probably, since I don’t speak any other languages with the fluency I’m expecting when I read a label on a jar of fried wheat gluten. They’re not even being particularly stupid, just not very exacting in their search for the right word or proper grammar. Nevertheless I continue to think it’s hilarious. Mostly because it gets me to laugh at how our murderously difficult language usually seems so natural to me and is, in fact, very silly even when it’s being used correctly.

I thought that as the English-dominated internet spread further and further (mostly to people with the type of capital necessary to produce and ship preserved foods all over the world) and as people become exposed to each others’ cultures and began consuming one another’s goods, that I would see fewer and fewer errors. (But why, again, did I think “teh interent” would improve anyone’s knowledge of spelling or grammatical and idiomatic English?) Maybe over time, as we get adjusted more and more thorough globalization, this type of entertainment will slowly diminish until it fades away into our Utopian — or dystopian — evenly brown, McDonald’s-dominated One True Culture under world government. Maybe. I’m glad to see that for now, Goldensmell is still around.

pyramids as ancient farming clocks

May 21st, 2006


Cool article on a pyramid found in the Andes and how it was used to alert farmers on when to plant their crops. I can’t even remember to bring the 4$ off coupon to Stop & Shop to get my crops, so I can totally see how a pyramid like this would come in handy.

~jeff

my god, it’s full of ipods

May 20th, 2006


Really nifty time-lapse photography of the first 24 hours of the new NYC Apple Store here (QuickTime required). It looks stunning, and I’m particularly happy to see that the glass steps of the entrance’s spiral staircase are frosted so the store doesn’t quickly devolve into New York City’s premiere destination spot for upskirt photography.

It’s interesting to note that when Steve Jobs appeared on the scene, the first thing he apparently did was to take his glasses off and squint intently at the microscopic joins of his giant glass cube; that’s the crazed, monomaniacal hyper-attention to detail that I’ve come to expect from The Steve.

~jeff

genetic computing v. intelligent design

May 20th, 2006


Remarkably handsome Hampshire professor Lee Spector* has written a quite cogent op-ed/summary on his field of expertise† — Genetic Computing — which doubles as a sideways response to the ideas and concepts behind Intelligent Design:

…In 2004 I shared the ”gold medal” with a team from NASA that evolved an antenna for the Space Technology 5 mission. My entry involved the evolution of quantum computing circuits, which are difficult for humans to understand or design. More to the point, they are extremely difficult for me to understand or design, and I could never have produced the results on my own. I am not a designer equal to that task, but evolution is. I created the ”primordial ooze” out of which quantum circuits could grow, and I wrote the programs for random variation and selection. But evolution did the heavy lifting.

~jeff

* (and personal hero/thesis advisor to most of the folks who write for ldopa.net)…

† …a while ago. Look, I’m kinda behind in my Boston Globe reading.

dream kitchen ikea ad

May 20th, 2006


This exceptionally well-designed Ikea ad succeeds on every level of advertising — it’s gorgeously photographed, has an intuitive user interface, conveys the message effectively (“Ikea has beautiful kitchens to fit any lifestyle”), and it’s overall fun to interact with. Why, I’m off to buy some junk from Ikea right now.

~jeff