Bill P. Godfrey et al

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New years resolutions (2005 redux)

A year ago, I posted my new years resolutions in a computer programming forum. I don't read that one much these days, so I'll do it here instead.

Here are last years...

0. Learn another new language. (Maybe lisp, prolog or ada.)

That new language turned out to be C#. That was part of my day-job rather than a personal thing.

1. See if its possible to cycle 24 miles every day. (12 miles each way to work.)

Let's just say Incomplete and be done with it.

2. If you can't fix apostaC, think of something else that will make you famous.

ApostaC was a programming language I invented. I thought it rather clever but it had a serious problem.

I have thought of something else, but that's about it.

3. Do the website.

Still not done. This blog isn't just it you know.

4. Finish a personal project before starting another.

Only started one. So... yay!

5. Don't skimp on the software development process for your own personal projects.

Oooh. I don't.

6. Get out more.

I went to the USA for two weeks. Is that enough?

7. Don't eat so much.

See #6.

8. Save more.

I am. Yay.

Leap second madness

The year 2005 will be slightly longer than normal, by about a second. At 23:59:59 tonight, clocks will click over to 23:59:60 followed by 00:00:00. This extra second will happen at the same time all over the world. (For example, on the USA's east coast , the extra second will be inserted at 7PM EST.)

UTC, the standard time system, is based on an atomic clock. UT1 (formally known as GMT) is instead based on the apparant movement of the sun around the earth.

UTC says: "Hey look, 86400 seconds. It must be noon."
UT1 says: "Hey look, the sun is up high. It must be noon."

Ideally, the two would stay synchronised, but the earth wobbles too much. UTC yields to this wobble by inserting or removing seconds so UTC never differs from UT1 by more than 0.9 seconds. The last time this happened was at the end of 1998.

That's one explanation. Another explanation is that liberals want an extra second to hate Bush. That's according to Steve Martin quoting Bill O'Reilly anyway. I've no idea if he really said that as I can't find a primary source. If he did, it sounds like a 56 centiTom remark.

(By the way, I'm sure "an extra second to hate Bush" refers to George W, rather than Kate.)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Image retrospective

Here's an interesting trick you can do with your favourite website. Go to Google Images and search for site: followed by the domain name of your favourite website.

The result is a retrospective of images used on that site.
("Students and instructor" © Gustavo Perez 2004.)

Isn't that clever! Here are a few interesting searches. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Baggy trousers!

Ban baggy trousers!
Think of the children!

Here's an amusing video, although I imagine the people making it didn't see it that way.
Next week, we see him walking around while tooled up.
(Hat tip to Stupid Security.)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Here fishy, fishy, fishy...

It occurred to me not long ago that I've never posted a pic of myself. You can click on Bill's profile to see his pic. Neil has a cartoon representation of himself on his profile. So I mentioned this to Bill. Should I or shouldn't I? We don't want to scare away any readers. Being the helpful guy he is, Bill took this pic. I think it captures my personality beautifully. Thanks Bill!

(The aquarium has a number of tanks that can be viewed from both sides as well as round ones. This was intended to be a shot of the fish, but as I was aiming at the fish from my side of the tank, Bill's angle caught more of me and less of the fish.)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Animated short of the week (Reindeer)

This week, two cartoons involving reindeer. It's almost as if reindeer are significant to this time of year for some reason. I don't get it at all.

I mean, a year ago I was thinking about starting this AsotW feature and on the 26th of December, I posted a link to a cartoon rabbit bemoaning his lack of what rabbits are famous for doing. Nothing at all to do with reindeer.

Let him who seeks, continue seeking until he finds.
-- Jesus

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Look how far we've come!

Here's an interesting film from 1946 about despotism. How does your society rate on this scale?

We've come far in the 60 years since this film was made. No despotism round here, nosirree!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Zooming through time

Of the various filmed version of H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, my favourite scenes are the time travel sequences. The time traveller sits in his time machine and we see the world moving quickly around him as he sits.

Far away, in the night a hazy spot slowly grows until we can make out another spinning spiral. It is the Andromeda Galaxy and it's on a collision course with our Milky Way.

The great alien spiral sails like a slender, well lit flying saucer into the plane of our own Milky Way edge on, spinning like a Ferris wheel, ploughing through and throwing off great streamers of star stuff. Both galactic disks distort and writhe around each other, only to fade away to a dull glow leaving behind only the glowing centers.
-- A Cosmic Season's Greetings
(3 million years per second)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Animated short of the week (Spin)

From the creator of Play and American Idle, an excellent piece of stop motion animation. Move a bit, click, move a little bit more, click.

And if that wasn't enough, the sequel to Play. (Please excuse the advert.)

That was a good solve. That was real teamwork. "Chocolate chip cookie-zuh."
-- Wheel of Fortune

Friday, December 16, 2005

10 things about the USA.

I love...
1.The space. Such big gaps between houses.
2.Cup holders. Handy things, yet English cars never seem to have them. How on earth do we cope on long car journeys?
3.Talking to complete strangers. We should do this more often.
4.My English accent is cool. (It's just like the end of Love Actually. No really.)
5.The mountains.

I hate...
1.Shopping trolleys (carts) with the two back wheels fixed in one direction. To turn one around, I had to do a three point turn, rather than just rotating it on the spot.
2.The 5 cent coins are bigger than the 10 cent coins. What's up with that? (Update: I've just been reminded that British 10 pence coins are bigger than 20 pence coins. Sorry.)
3.This is back bacon. No-one there seems to have heard of it, only selling the streaky variety.
4.Driving on the right. Its the wrong side! It messes with my head!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Newgrounds and Me

I've mentioned the website Newgrounds a couple of times now, mostly in the context that I won't link to them when I do my Animated Short of the Week feature.

Newgrounds is a website where people can publish their flash files, including animations. Other people can then review them with the built in comment system. So long as your piece doesn't get too low a score, it can be used by animators as a free web host.

Sounds great, and yet I seem to have an obsessive compulsive hate of this website.

My aversion to all things Newgrounds started when I first saw a link to an animated version of a short-lived comic called Pupkin.

While I was watching it, I saw something I wasn't expecting. I had a minimised window called "Inbox" on my taskbar. At the time, I only used webmail and didn't have any mail readers installed, so this new presence on my computer got me worried. I fired up Adaware, a popular adware/spyware scanner and found that software from 180 Solutions was running.

I certainly don't recall clicking [Yes] to any Active-X dialog box or license agreement, but somehow this unwanted software was running on my computer. This was the first time I had ever even heard of Newgrounds and it felt like I was being welcomed to the community with a smack about the head.

Once I had cleaned up and calmed down a bit, I sent an email to someone at Newgrounds, asking them what had happened. I could forgive them if this was an accidental incident or resulting from misplaced trust, so long as they apologised for it and took steps to prevent it from happening again. (I have not yet heard a response.)

(It happens. About a year ago, techie news website The Register had an advertiser serving up the Bofra virus to readers. When they found out the problem, they fixed it. Once the dust had settled, they published a frank apology. No weasel words. I remain a happy reader.)

This was all around two years ago. I don't know if they are still serving up 180's software or not. As I don't have a sacrificial computer, I'm not about to visit them with a unpatched copy of Internet Explorer to find out.

(Update: Here's a Newgrounds BBS thread from someone also unhappy with this practice. Use it only at your own risk. BPG.)

Now, I'm in a concilitory mood. Linking to Newgrounds hosted animations is still problematic with their insistence on "launch pages", where visitors have to find and click on a "Watch this movie" button. I hate those, but if that were the only thing, I could work with them.

What's more, they have a couple of animators whose work I enjoy; Dustball (Play, American Idle) and Andrew Kepple (I've got some falling to do, Can O'Swedes). Both publish a lot of their work only on Newgrounds.

Should I forgive Newgrounds and link to them? Any (non-spam) comments are welcome.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Animated short of the week (Three dudes & Men's Room)

A couple of funnies today. Enjoy.
You stick beside me.
We never fight.
We watch the movies and stay up all night.
-- Dude 2
From the mildly confused creator of The Llama Song...

(This one has a few hidden jokes. If you right-click on the animation, you might find a "Zoom in" option".)

"What is man but an ingenious machine for turning red wine into urine?"
-- Karen Blixen

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Happy (week and a bit after) Thanksgiving

I had my first Thanksgiving while I was away. Technically, it was my 31st Thanksgiving, its just that the first 30 went unmarked. (What with me living in England and everything.)

(That's me making tea in the background.)

I had another Thanksgiving a few days later. They were going to have one on the Thursday but they moved it so some others could attend theirs as well. Thanksgivings are like buses, you wait 30 years and two come along at once.

Friday, December 09, 2005

One year retrospective

I used to do a "Look in the logs" every month, but I got bored with it as it takes a while to construct and the things people look for just got odder and odder. But since I've (mostly) kept this up for a year, here is a little retrospective in the same spirit.

The good stuff

Some of our more notable articles...

Lip Reading Isn't My Forte by Thia.
When we remembered Psion by Bill.
Oh boy, I dreamt about you last night... by Neil.
Trojan Horse Southern Style? by Thia.
Health care for the terrified (2 and 3) by Thyiad.
Vote for me! by Bill.
I've been adopted by Bill.
I didn't know I was pregnant.... by Neil.
Proposal to increase efficiency in the names of the states of the USA by Bill.
What is S4 perm and why you would want to cover your girl in it? by Neil.
Stop.... motion... animation... by Neil.
Welcome to Zibloxlia by Bill.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, I'm angry by Bill.
We are like... by Bill.
American TV Is Interesting Again by Thia.
Truancy for beginners by Bill.
Linking ethics by Bill.
Cutting out the middle man by Bill.
Be a Mythbuster! by Bill.
I, Penguin by Bill.
Five minute think by Bill.

Server traffic

And now, the traffic load on this web server. Click on the image for a full sized chart.
That large peak on the 2nd of November is for my "Bomb Google" article, which I didn't think was that good.


Thanks to everyone who left a comment, linked to me, or even just read my stupid ramblings occasionly. Thanks for the friends I've made, the insights and the recipes. Here's to another incredibly stupid year.

Why yes, I have.

Am I closer to god now?
(Church location deleted.
Discretion is the better part of valour.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I make the sun rise!

Its true! Every morning I point my sun raising staff eastward and command the sun to rise. Right on cue, it rises.

I even did a scientific study, recording the sun rising every day thanks to my commandments. What more proof would you need?

That would appear to be good enough for the reporter who wrote "New study is boost to homeopathy" (BBC)
A six-year study at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital shows over 70% of patients with chronic diseases reported positive health changes after treatment.
Sounds great, but later on...
Professor Matthias Egger, of the University of Berne, who worked on The Lancet study said the study was weakened by the lack of a comparison group.
They didn't even give a control group placebo treatments? This doesn't just "weaken" the study, it totally destroys any scientific value it may have had.

Someone once remarked that I should try a control experiment by just sleeping in one day and seeing if the sun rises anyway. I dismiss such remarks as rather-dull.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Normal service will be resumed shortly

I've been (mostly) off line for the past two weeks, having just got back from a two week break. The return journey was unusually stressful.

I'll try and start writing again tonight, including the incredibly vain one-year retrospective in the coming week. A double ASotW will be coming next Sunday. (Go watch Comfort Eagle again.)