Wow. Thanksgiving is over. It's Christmas time already. Where did 2004 go?
So I know you were wondering - thank you - and yes, I survived my annual brush with death. The house has Christmas lights everywhere. Complicating matters, in their infinite wisdom the gods decided it should be raining while I did this. Standing on a 25' aluminum extension ladder in the rain is not high on my list of fun things to do. However the lights look great, and I am flushed with virtue. I do still have to debug one of my reindeer; how is it that something can sit passively in a garage for 11 months and develop a short? But that's what Sundays are for...
Did you watch the USC / Notre Dame game? Great game for about 20 minutes, and a slaughter thereafter. I really like Tyrone Willingham (Notre Dame's coach) from his Stanford days but of course I was rooting heavily for USC. We don't have pro football out here anymore, so the Trojans are as close as we get. In fact, they look like a pro team, especially on offense.
"In the year 2014, the New York Times has gone offline. The Fourth Estate's fortunes have waned. What happened to the news? And what is EPIC?" So begins a time-shifted transmission from the Museum of Media History. Pretty cool, with great production values, but a bit heavy-handed and preachy. I did enjoy this line: "The New York Times becomes a print-only newsletter for the elderly and the elite". Ironic, because that's what it has become already :)
From the December issue of Wired, which I've already applauded: The Dream Factory. "Any product, any shape, any size - manufactured on your desktop!" And made from garbage... Well we can dream, anyway.
And from Wired news, Software Detects the True Artist. "Scholars have had their suspicions that the painting of Madonna and child credited to the Italian Renaissance master Pietro Perugino wasn't really done by him alone. But they could never be sure. Now, a new set of software tools, developed by a Dartmouth College team, seems to confirm the art historians' doubts, showing evidence of at least four different painters working on the canvas." Very cool. Of course, they used feature-based pattern recognition, a tough slog for such problems.
Are you a Mac Powerbook user? Then check out SideTrack. Makes your Mac trackpad as functional as any PC laptop's, as it should be. Excellent.
It's fun when you post something quirky, and people like it. Recently I had two such posts; Solving Bongard Problems, which seems to have attracted an eclectic mix of links, and Referral Spam Be Gone, which definitely struck a chord. I've actually had a blizzard of referer spam hits since I implemented this filter, and it is so satisfying to watch them flail. Some of the spam hits are apparently for a website which sells software for initiating referer spam. I was so impressed by this that I decided to spam them; they're getting a steady steam of hits from me, referring them to my site. I hope they enjoy it :)