Bill P. Godfrey et al

Thursday, September 29, 2005

We are like...

  • Bill is like a revenger's-tragedy hall of mirrors
  • bill is like Bush's tax bills
  • bill is like endorsing Jim Crow
  • bill is like a badly needed spring rain
  • Bill is like "sleepwalking into a surveillance society"
  • Bill is like a son to me
  • bill is like prescribing a sedative to the public
  • bill, is like the paper bill you receive each month delivered in an electronic format for viewing via the Internet
  • bill is like Little Blue
  • bill is like souffle
  • Kendra is like an undiscovered Cameron Diaz
  • Kendra is like an orchestra conductor
  • kendra is like every other girl
  • kendra is like DAAAAAAAD
  • Kendra is like his soul-mate
  • Kendra is. Like a woman wired on 50 cups of espresso
  • Kendra is like "hey look at all that
  • kendra is like every other seven kendra is the culmination of sanskriti's involvement in activities relating to art kendra is an honor
  • Kendra is like that angel on my left shoulder telling me that I 'better Not' or 'you'll Get in trouble.'
  • Kendra is like "What is he doing?!?"
  • Neil is like a fine wine
  • neil is like a cold glass of lemonade for those of us who prefer to spend the summer in the sticky neil is thoughtful and kind
  • Neil is like sitting on your grandpa's lap for storytime
  • Neil is like, "That's a chick ride, TC,"
  • Neil is like a drug
  • Neil is like totally crazy about the shirts
  • Neil, is like a piece of parchment
  • Neil is like a cold glass of lemonade for those of us who prefer to spend the summer in the sticky, smelly city than at the seashore
  • Neil is like a zeppelin that has lost its rudder
  • Bub is like mine and attaches himself to my leg as soon as it looks like lunchtime or just add them to the plate as a side dish
  • bub is like this too
  • bub is like mine
  • Bub is like Chibi Trunks
  • bub is like My two
  • bub is like that
  • bub is like 18 I'll let her out and see you lot in action
  • bub is like me
  • bub is like yours and spent most of his time in a singlet
  • bub is like yours
  • Thia is like (iii)
  • Thia is like seeing the Martin Scorcese clssic Mean Streets film for the first will never listen or hear anything like ever again
  • thia is like ok
  • Thia is like catchphrase
  • thia is like a smtp smart-host and actually accepts the amil and then forwards it to the internal server
  • thia is like figuring out 2^100 and counting digits rather than using logs and other mathematics
  • thia is like ha is like wow
  • Thia is like a dream

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I love it!

Last night, I received a nice email from Nancy Reinowski, a teacher. Her class was studying different kinds of science fiction over the ages. She wanted to use the animated Space Oddity featured a while back, but the link had died.

I couldn't find a good alternative copy, but I did find that the animator used MSN Messenger. I tried out the contact address and lo and behold, he was online. One quick conversation later (after I managed to establish my identity) and he pointed out his own website which had a good copy.

So, thanks to Mr FargalEX for being helpful and thanks to Nancy for finding this a useful site. You made my day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Goodbye Maxwell Smart

Don Adams, the star of Get Smart, and the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget died Sunday. His is one of the few voices of my childhood I can still remember clearly. The Internet Movie Data Base has a nice article and lots of pics of him if you're interested.

Trekkers will remember his daughter Cecily as Moogie, the mother of the Ferengi brothers Rom & Quark. (This interesting tidbit came from the Wikipedia article on Mr. Adams.)

Georgia View

This tower is in a Civil War Battlefield in Georgia. It doesn't actually tilt like that. I think was a bit off kilter when I took the picture.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Animated short of the week (Breakdown)

I will be what I will be.
-- God
Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it.
-- Douglas Adams

Good advice

Tennessee View

American TV Is Interesting Again

It is for me at least.

This is the first season since the hey day of the X-files that I've given a damn about a television season. At this point, I'll ask those Americans who might read this to skim ahead while I explain a quick bit about our TV seasons to Bill, Neil and others not familiar with it. Here in the States, we traditionally have had one main television season for broadcast Television. It began in the fall with weekly or nightly programming continuing until a winter break. At that time, reruns of the programming would begin until the spring when new episodes would begin running again. Our cable networks (non-broadcast tv) tend to roll-out new programming counter to the broadcast season, showing new programs of their own while broadcast shows are in reruns. As a kid, with only the big three broadcast channels to watch (no cable for me), you can imagine how exciting the "new season" of tv was.

As I've gotten older, acquired cable, and become less enamored with sitcoms, my viewing has shifted heavily to cable channels. Anyone having read my earlier posts will know I've an affinity for BBC America. Aside from that, I love the variety of things available to me on cable. Documentaries on arcane subject matter, travel shows featuring places I'll never see, movies, or even music videos in a language I don't speak.

So, after years of only Law & Order (the original, SVU & CI) and CSI as fairly regular favorites on broadcast, I'm suddenly faced with so many good new shows I'm struggling to fit them all in my viewing schedule. Viva la DVR. My Digital Video Recorder has become an obsession for me. That handy little box lets me schedule every program, every episode and all without worrying if the scheduled time is going to change suddenly. Can I watch them all? Yes, I am determined to watch every episode of every good new show. Because I know, good shows rarely last. The programming famine will come again. So for now, I'm gorging myself and enjoying the feast.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Truancy for beginners

In my youth during seconadry school (aged 11-16), I avoided school on many occasion. Not maths, english, science or anything useful, but PE? and games.

Those who are have seen me (and I'm not hard to spot) will know that I probably could have done with more exercise, having retained my bulk into adult life. But alas, I really didn't get on with the teachers and I didn't like the sports on offer.

One of my elder brothers was rather good at Rugby? and when they heard that I was coming along to the same school, they were (so I've been told) quite excited and I was already on the team before they even met me. Then they met me and they observed exactly how incredibly unfit I was. I must have been a disappointment. They persevered and the whole class did Rugby. (Was it for me or whould we have done it anyway, I don't know.)

Whilst I enjoyed tackling, the rest of the game wasn't much fun for me. Lots of aimless running about getting nowhere. Even after the indignity of the game, I had to put up with indignity of the showers.

If I ever get the opportuniy to destroy any part of my old school, I would choose the showers. A shy self concious flabby teenager being told to go shower with six other boys with no separating walls between us. I quickly worked out that the standard issue shorts were waterproof, so I could take my underwear off and and quickly put the shorts back on before I go shower.

For these tricks, one thing tipped me over into the criminal world of trunacy. I hadn't finished my maths homework. I wouldn't have enough time during "break", but the 90 minutes of games time would be perfect. My first ever criminal act, I went to the school library instead. (Oooooooh. I'm such a bad boy!)

The following week, I turned up to games as usual, expecting trouble. No-one had noticed that I was missing. Wow! The perfect crime!

Could I get away with it again? Three weeks later, I didn't need the time for anything useful, but reading something sounded more productive than grudgingly playing Rugby followed by shower humiliation.

For a year and a half, I would take time off on odd occasions. Some old routine, use the toilets and merge into a passing crowd which would regularly walk past the library.

It couldn't last. One week, busted. Someone noticed I wasn't there that one week. I was kept back after school for an hour the following day. When we started, the games teachers had told us (with glee) that their detentions can be a lot harder than other detentions, as they can make us do exercises.

So, was there a way to get out of games without getting the full sadistic detention? For about a year, I had a big amenesia problem, as I kept forgetting to bring my sports kit in, week after week. No punishments, I just had to sit on at sidelines. That worked until they started the detentions for those who didn't bring thier kit in.

With time, I was just bloody-minded and stubborn. I would turn up, get changed, and go on the field, nothing else. I was on the field and I was taking part, that was all that mattered. I didn't want to be there and everyone knew it, but I was present and that was all that mattered. If I was in a particularly bad mood, I might try scoring against my own side, but no-one noticed as I was really bad at the game.

Finally, with only one year of compulsory education to go, a solution was found. They called it "outdoor pursuits", walking, target shooting, driving, etc. Perfect. All run by the mad metalwork teacher. Couldn't they have offered this four years earlier?

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I don't normally do this sort of thing, but this one somehow spoke to me.

5 years ago
"So this is the new millenium. (Except it isn't.) So far, I'm disappointed."

5 songs I know all the words to
Jerusalem, I am - I feel, Word up, True Faith and Bananaphone (Gaaaaah!).

5 snacks I enjoy
Cheese-on-toast, Bacon sarnie, Monster munch, Pickle flavour cheeddars and tomato flavour crisps.
(Crisps in England == Potato chips in the US)

5 things I'd do with 100 million dollars (£55,306,675 and 50p)
Pay off my mortgage, Write a generous will, Work as an independent software developer (IE retire), Move to Snowdonia, Resist the urge to try and turn it into 200 million dollars.

5 places I would run away to
Snowdonia, USA, Norway, Antartica, Finland

5 things I would never wear
Anything striped, Big logos, Baseball cap, Army uniform (except Camouflage gear), Top hat.

5 favourite tv shows
Mythbusters, Jonathan Creek, South Park, Stargate Atlantis, Channel 4 News

5 greatest joys
Feeding ducks, Women, Wales, Friends, Mountains

5 favourite toys
My computers, This web site, Car radio/CD player, Phone, Bejeweled game.

Animated short of the week (Bananaphone Collection)

Once upon a time, Raffi Cavoukian's wrote a cute little song for children, Bananaphone. News of the song travelled far, to a man who beloved the song so much, he dressed himself in a banana suit and danced on street corners to the song, to delight people who passed by.

The tale of this man's dancing was almost forgotten when the archive was damaged, but was saved with the miracle of of an email asking what went wrong.

Others hated the song, and one man wanted to make his revenge with the world by presenting the song in as annoying way as possible.

Some loved the music at the wrong speed. They also loved the infamous Badger badger badger animation.

But for some people, the music would just stick in thier heads and it wouldn't go.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The barbarians at the mobile phone

In the world of mobile phones, the popular Bluetooth system has been in the news.

A virus, called Cabir travels over short range wireless links between phones running the Symbian operating system. Walk into the range of a phone infected with the virus and it will attempt to send the virus over. Just like Independence Day.

What does seem to be amazing at first glance is that infection only works if the attacked phone is set to discoverable and the user has to answer Yes three times to on-screen prompts.

Are these people idiots? Maybe, but I don't think so. The three questions asked are
  • "Receive message via Bluetooth from [phone]?"
  • "Install caribe?"
  • "Installation security warning. Unable to verify supplier. Continue anyway?"
Note that none of these questions are "Installing this might cause bad things to happen! Don't do it!"

Even if you answer No, it doesn't end there. The attacking phone will repeat the conversation again right away. You keep on just pressing the No button until you are out of range of each other. No wonder some press Yes, just to see if it will shut the @%* thing up. [F-Secure writeup]

The problem here is not the stupid user, but a user interface in need of improvement.

For a phone to be Bluetooth discoverable isn't really a problem in itself. (Unless you leave it in your car, where it becomes an "I'm a valuable object." beacon.) The problem comes when the user is hassled to deal with unwanted attention. All the phone really needs to do is show a little indicator in the corner of the display that someone is trying contact you. If you are not expecting an incoming link, the indicator would just sit there saying “Hello, the barbarians are here at the gate, can we come in please?”

However, the barbarians will often be disguised. They may appear as one of your closest and trusted friends. Many executable program files are useful. Games, tools, etc. If your friend has a really cool game and you want to play, there is a risk that your friend has been virused and he doesn't know it yet. That game could come with something nasty attached.

Do we need raw program files that run unrestricted at all? Maybe, but I don't think so.

A good model to follow could be something similar to Flash files. Commonly seen used in animations, a program inside a flash file can do a lot. Here's a jigsaw puzzle. Here's a simple arcade game. Here's a collaborative document editing system.

Flash implements a full program language, but the program's wings are clipped. Unlike regular executables, a flash program can't interfere with other programs and it can't mess with files it doesn't own. Add a way allowing programs to interact with other components (including the file system) with a strict and manageable protocol, and there's no big need for any program to run unrestricted. (Except the operating system and the occasional device driver, that is.)

In the meantime, let's be careful out there. And don't have nightmares.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's up with comments?

The comments have been going strange. Leave a comment and it doesn't appear for an age, but you can see it on the "Post a comment" link.

When a comment is posted, a set of files are copied from the servers at in the US to my web host server in London. It only tries once. If that attempt fails, the comment is stored until it has a new reason to try connecting again, such as another comment or a new article is posted.

You may occasionly see me leave "Delete me" comments. This is just me prodding the server to try sending the files again.

So now you know.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I'm going to bed.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Spam... with a secret message

fourteens dislike dogged skills goodness
Do you want to be noticed and desired by women? cleverly meets happier balky glasses
Yes / No about artifice pithes century sensual
calories satisfied unslotted fibbing swept
thank swearer creaking separates suffocated
abducted await converged flora ancients

for rmv useth1sl1nk viewable flowchart cerebellum enemas onions workingman patronized kimono Mensch leashes

See, it looks like normal "spam..." but wait. There is a hidden message.

"fourteens dislike dogged skills goodness
cleverly meets happier balky glasses
about artifice pithes century sensual
calories satisfied unslotted fibbing swept
thank swearer creaking separates suffocated
abducted await converged flora ancients
[11 blank lines]
for rmv useth1sl1nk viewable flowchart cerebellum enemas onions workingman patronized kimono Mensch leashes"

Reading through this a couple of times, I feel I can translate this into something meaningful.
"There is a secret organisation 'the fourteen' who are skillful evildoers,
they have been going around the country and kidnapping scientists.
They have been hiding us in 'Ann Summers' stores in an ancient well in the basement.
We are fed well providing we do as we're requested and don't lie.
One of us tried to rebel but they strangled him and threw him in the lake.
We are going to escape and hide in a tropical rainforest
[there are 11 of us]
find us using all terrain vehicles, look at mind-maps and follow our trail of excrement. We are sad, we're just simple workingmen who happen to like asian S&M"

shh... this is just between you and me, understand?

Cash in the Attic? I think not.

No, I've not abandoned my old favorite Cash in the Attic (on BBC America here in the U.S.). Nor have I grown to dislike Alistair, Jonty or Paul. I have however, just seen the premiere of the American version of the show. Will I watch it again? Maybe if it's still on the air after a few episodes. Hopefully they'll have fixed it by then.

Yes, I do think it's broken.

1. The host was aggravating. By the half-way mark, his repetitive comments about things that go in the van don't come out, made me wish they'd put him in the van.(Less caffeine for this guy please.)
2. The antiques and collectibles went by in a blur with little or no explanation as to why they might be valuable. (Silly me, I thought I might *gasp* learn something of use to me.)
3. The family, host and expert were shown over and over again exclaiming (in an exaggerated way) how great something did or how it or the auction made them feel. It was as if they got a bonus if they talked viewers into going to an auction. (Maybe the producer or director got their start in infomercials? You Too Can Get Rich Quick At The Auction! Our exclusive video is available for a limited time only for only $19.99!) The comments appear to have been shot after the auction. Which was unnecessary since you watched them as a group, watching the bidding and saw their genuine reactions.

I don't care about the childhood sweetheart whose name was engraved on a heart-shaped hunk of wood. And no it wasn't cute that you surprised the owner by auctioning it off. I didn't tune in to learn all about this week's family (even though they seemed like nice likeable people). This isn't a rant against the nice family, or their cute kids. I just wish the director or producers would stay on topic and stop making the family act like they're selling cleaning products or miraculous cooking utensils.

Note to producers: If a show is good or interesting enough to merit another version of it, odds are, it's fine as it is and shouldn't be altered (other than location or maybe type of collectibles). You can't be everything to everyone. Pick a type of program you want to produce and stick with it. I don't want to see Cash in the Attic meets Clean Sweep meets Dr. Phil meets Design on a Dime meets The Price Is Right. What's next, a group of men will rush into their home and give the husband a makeover while the wife, expert and host search the basement for grandma's quilt? Will we get to vote a member of the family out of the house?

Wait, don't write that down. It wasn't a suggestion.

***end of rant***

Monday, September 12, 2005

Spam provides cloning option...

Received.: 2005-09-11 17:29:20

Sender...: j_mcFadden_91@int[snip]

Subject..: Replica for you

What? A replica moi? Woohoo! Let me just get my coat and the replica can take care of work! woohoo! woohoo!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Animated short of the week (Taken)

I Have Delusions of Shallowness?

In a discussion with Bill this evening he described me as being a deep person. I was shocked and said so. So apparently I'm deep and didn't know it? Hmmmmm...

I've never met a deep person with delusions of shallowness before.

If one, settling a pillow by her head, should say...

That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Was it the El Camino of death?

Yesterday I went to lunch with my friend Rick. On our way back to work we were within about 100 yards of the left turn we needed to make to get back to work when we both exclaimed. I won't tell you what we each exclaimed but I'm sure those of you with an imagination can guess. Coming toward us was a light blue vehicle with the back end covered in flowers. It was bigger than a car, smaller than a truck and quite long. We were both stunned and trying to figure out just what it was. Then it dawned on us both that it was a hearse. More exclamations ensued.

It was followed by a line of about 15 cars with their headlights on. And that is a sure sign (at least here in the American Southeast) of a funeral procession. It was the size of a regular hearse, but the back end that contained the coffin was open. I couldn't tell if it was convertible or was meant to be open all the time, like a truck or possibly an El Camino with a gland condition. It was an interesting choice of final transportation and oddly festive. I say that having never actually seen a funeral that wasn't swathed in black and blurred by tears. I'd like to think the passenger was someone whose life was being celebrated. I'd like to believe that they lived a colorful life and their transportation was chosen to represent that.

Whoever their passenger was, their final ride was in an eye-catching chariot covered in flowers. Whether they received much attention in life or not, yesterday, all eyes were on their procession. R.I.P.

Too nice.

I'm too nice for this game. I've just just written an article about some of the royal family, but I couldn't post it as it felt too much like a personal attack.

Please enjoy this (hopefully) inoffensive photo instead.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Will Samantha Carter send me some cash?

Subject: George Hammond has just sent you 18.25 GBP with PayPal
Wow! Fictional characters from Stargate are sending me money!
Subject: Ladies Free Before 12am This Thursday at Embassy
But what else could I spend my 18 pounds on?

I told you it would happen... I did. I did. I remember.

Chip and PIN blamed for making ID theft easier
[taken from]

"Research carried out by the university found criminals are 'shoulder surfing' customers as they type in their PIN numbers at the checkout and then stealing the cards"

I knew this would happen, this is why I didn't want to go to using "Magic anti-theft super-secure pin numbered cards."


"They also swapped each others cards to pay for goods and yet were never challenged over using a card that obviously belonged to someone of the opposite sex."

See - it's obviously a much better system than having a member of staff in the store check the card [some are photo-cards], compare signatures, give a disproving tut and let you get on your way...
Article at

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Animated short of the week (Shumway)

One from the Pumped-Full-of-Drugs file.
Hey look, Colin Mochrie!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Linking ethics

Regular readers will have noticed that I occasionally like to link to other people's websites every Sunday. I'm always careful to make sure that I credit the author, but I've never thought to ask the animators before I link to them. It seems reasonable that if someone puts up a website open to the public without the slightest hint that the server is meant to be private, its fair game for linking.

Robb Briggs clearly disagrees with that philosophy. He wrote a flash based game called Burgertime, which he put on his website. Many people linked to it. Mostly, he appreciated the link, except when Fuddruckers linked to his game. In response, he waited for a three day weekend and replaced his game with a link to pictures of a slaughterhouse. (Cue maniacal laughter when the kids visit the website expecting a game and see lots of dead cows.)

Maybe the burger bar took too much of a risk in linking to an external site without some sort of agreement to keep the game in place. Its a risk I take every week, but I don't worry about it because animators usually appreciate the accolade. Some have left comments thanking me for the link but no one has yet complained about it. Certainly no one has yet replaced their work with something nasty. (Only Bananaphone has since disappeared last time I checked.)

Mr Briggs is certainly well within his rights to do what he did, but I can't help thinking he may have shot himself in the proverbial foot. He could have replaced the game with a modified version that draws more attention to his website. ("For more games like this, visit my site...") He could even have negotiated for continued use of the game. Redirecting to slaughterhouse pictures may be a bit of a prank, but I doubt anyone will consider him for professional business in the future.

As an epilogue, "Apparently the slaughterhouse sites are getting hammered... they might take a while to load." Oh the irony.