Awesome digital instrument from Toshio Iwai and YAMAHA

From the website:

Media Artist Toshio Iwai [creator of Electroplankton] and YAMAHA have collaborated to develop a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century, TENORI-ON.

There is a video on YouTube of Iwai demonstrating the device at a recent conference. The “performance” part of the video starts around halfway through and it is absolutely amazing.

Dog photos (by request)

One of the nice things about coming back to Perth was seeing my sister’s dogs, Silky and Tipp, again. Walking them around the park across the road is quiet and relaxing (something I don’t remember much of back in Sydney). Too bad most of the time they yap, yap, yap if they aren’t provided with constant attention!

They are both silky terrier crosses and when I left for Sydney a year ago they were rather.. silky. More recently they’ve been given short haircuts and there is a definate improvement in their appearance.

This is Silky. She’s a little older and scared of just about everything.

This is Tipp. She’s much more energetic and seems to think she is at least 500% her actual size. Minh pointed out that she looks a bit like a dog poo when curled up like this. I don’t know… I don’t see it 😛

More photos after the jump. Continue reading “Dog photos (by request)”

Frozen Coke at McDonald’s

It was Heidi’s first day of work at the emergency department yesterday. She was working a late(ish) shift (3:30pm to 11:30pm) and missed the last bus home after work. Being the selfless person that I am, I picked her up to take her home. She hadn’t had time for dinner, so we swung by Macca’s drivethrough in East Vic Park. That’s when I saw it. Right there, on the menu. “Frozen Coke”.

This is clearly a great boon for the Frozen Coke Club (aka. Frozen Beverage Society). After years of driving around being dissapointed by almost every service station with broken slurpy machines (or even worse… snow cones!), this looks to be the closest thing to a surefire 24-hour solution.

Another reason to keep your data away “The Man”


The intervention by News Corp in the traditionally open-access world of the web – in particular the alteration of personal user profiles – provoked a storm of angry posts in online “blogs”.

Who couldn’t see this coming when News Corp bought (the now ironically named) MySpace? Will this sort of thing create a backlash against efforts like Gmail, livejournal, and blogger? When will people say “this is my information!” or “this is our information!”.

Chicken Little in Digital 3D!

I saw Chicken Little in Digital 3D at Innaloo with Heidi and Phil. The movie itself was quite amusing with a hole swag of popular culture references (which may make it fairly dated in future), but I was (initially) more interested to see how the 3D presentation worked out.

When buying the tickets we had to pay an extra $2 each and were given cheesy polarised glasses (Gosh, they look just like Chicken Little’s!). These glasses worked incredibly well. We sat in the most central seats we could find (not difficult as the cinema was nearly empty) and the 3D was very clear. Another thing that stood out was the clarity of the image (probably due to the digital projection).

Recommended viewing. The biggest shortcoming of the film (to me) was the characterisation of the father. His personality seemed inconsistent with his apparant past.

I kept the polarised glasses to play around with. I figure that I can try to polarise projected light with one pair and view it with another. Maybe if I get a couple of flashlights and print stereo images onto transparent film…

Update: uploaded photo.

Holy crap! (Xbox360 game prices)

Aren’t a bunch of these games available for less money on other platforms (especially PC)?

I guess like petrol prices, it feels a little weird to see 3 figures. I really hope this isn’t a trend for the entire market. Videogames already seem overpriced to me (especially compared to other media such as music and video).

On the other hand, if this is a trend it might expand the smaller (cheaper) games market. Personally I’d be more inclined to put down $20 for a racing game with 4-5 good levels than $100 for a racing game with a hundred mediocre levels. I’d also prefer to spend $60 for a good handheld game than $120 for a good television console game.

How to make a game in six easy steps

Thanks to Michael for this link. It’s a brief guide to making and selling a “casual game” from John Passfield of Krome Studios fame. My favorite bit is when he writes:

The game was now available for people to buy. And buy they have!

Inspirational stuff! Probably because it includes the nitty-gritty which makes it feel possible.

Brother HL-2040 laser printer under Ubuntu (mini-review)

I was looking for a cheap laser printer that “just works” under Linux (Ubuntu). I happened to be at Officeworks and saw the Brother HL-2040 on sale for $AU149. A flyer for it mentioned Linux support (via driver download) so I figured I could return it if it didn’t work at all. The only shortcoming was that the Linux driver only supports up to 600dpi (also clearly mentioned on the flyer).

Setup was very straight-forward and the instruction manual was surprisingly useful. Unpack, shake drum to distribute toner, insert drum, insert paper, plugin, press the “GO” button, watch Brother test page get printed.

Now to see if it works from Ubuntu. “System > Administration > Printing”, “New Printer”, “Use another printer by specifying a port:”, “USB printer #1”, “Brother”, (now the tricky bit) “HL-5140”, just use the recommended driver, HL-5140 shows up in the Printers window, double-click, “Printer > Print test page”, watch Ubuntu test page get printed.

The tricky bit was finding the correct driver. The HL-2040 wasn’t listed in the printer selection dialogue, so I did a quick google to find a compatible printer driver. Got all the info I needed in a reply to a post on Rachel’s Knowledge Base

Conclusion: Cheap, easy to set up, works, quiet. Limited to 600dpi, but what do I care? Recommended.

Update: Downgraded to Recommended (from Highly Recommended). Printing is normal volume (not super-quiet) and the the “economy” modes don’t seem to work under Linux. Excellent value at $149 though.

Laser printer recommendations?

This inkjet printer is irritating me. It probably hasn’t been used for a year and the print heads are all clogged up. I’ll be doing a lot of printing over the next few weeks, so I would get something new provided it didn’t require too much time/effort.

Anyone have recommendations for a cheap (< $AU400) B&W laser printer that works well under Linux? Shopbot was a good starting point, but doesn’t give much user experience. I was thinking of a Samsung.

Update: I think that I’ll get the Samsung ML-2250.

Update: I just picked up a Brother HL-2040 from Officeworks for $AU149. I was there to get some folders and it was cheap. They mentioned Linux support on the data sheet; I’ll find out I guess.