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9 January, 2004

New From Microsoft: Blogs

According to this InfoWorld article, a whole bunch of Microsoft employees now have blogs.

The almost 100 Web logs, or blogs, are currently published on a little-known Microsoft site called GotDotNet. They will be an integrated part of the MSDN site, said Sara Williams, product unit manager of Microsoft's MSDN group and a Microsoft blogger.

Apparently, Microsoft has decided that blogs are the way to go. To take a look, go here. The blogs are all listed in the left margin. I took a quick look. Those that I looked at all seem to have two traits in common: they are boring, and they are ugly. Or maybe that stuff is just too advanced for me.

I didn't see any Excel-related blogs. If one exists, maybe that would be kind of interesting. Maybe.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Nonverbal Dictionary

Here's a new twist on a dictionary: The Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, and Body Language Cues.

Items in this Dictionary have been researched by anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, linguists, psychiatrists, psychologists, semioticians, and others who have studied human communication from a scientific point of view. Every effort has been made to cite their work in the text. Definitions, meanings, and interpretations left uncredited are those of the author.

For example, there's a listing for New Car Smell:

Aroma cue. A scented consumer product designed to mimic the leather, rubber, plastic, and vinyl aromas of a show-room-new motor vehicle interior.

Usage: We find the synthetic odor of new car smell pleasant because it contains chemical analogs of natural plant resins, animal esters, and sexual steroids.

Evolution. New car smell, which may be sprayed from aerosol cans, was developed by International Flavors and Fragrances of New York, which supplies odor cues for Downey Fabric Softener and Colgate's Irish Spring soap.

(via Bernie DeKoven's Blog o' Fun)

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Alberta Hunter

I'm sitting here listening to Alberta Hunter's Amtrak Blues CD. It was recorded in 1978, when she was 83 years old. I've owned this CD for quite a while, but I never really knew much about her (except that she was old). She had an incredible voice, and an even more incredible career.

Last week we watched a DVD called My Castle's Rockin'. It's basically a documentary about her life. She went from being an entertainer, to being a nurse, and then (at age 81) she made a "come back" and resumed her musical career. Here's a link that has a brief bio of Alberta Hunter, and you can also search for her listing at  the All Music Guide (a direct link is not allowed).

Alberta Hunter was a pioneer African-American popular singer whose path crosses the streams of Jazz, Blues and Pop music. While she made important contributions to all of these stylistic genres, she is claimed exclusively by no single mode of endeavor. Alberta Hunter recorded in six decades of the twentieth century, and enjoyed a career in music that outlasted most human lives.

She died in 1984, at the age of 89.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Blogging Sins

Here are Alison Hawke's Cardinal Sins of Blogging.

I think I've committed only one of the Content Sins (#4). And I'm rock solid in the Design Sins.

(via cre8d design)

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Contortionists

You want to see some contortionists?  Try the Contortion Home Page. Shown here is Meribeth Old.

Meribeth Old is one of the most famous and most talented American contortionists of all time. She performed during the 1950's.

(Thanks Kevin)

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Jeep Treo

Is this what cars will look like in the future? Check out the Jeep Treo concept.

The Treo retains Jeep's nonpatentable-though-distinctive seven-bar grille. It is non functional in this case, as the car is powered by a fuel cell, "or other advanced powerplant of the future". The grille slots serve as a means to let light into the interior. Flanking the grille are large headlamps, in keeping with the anime approach.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Subway Life

Subway Drawings by Antonio Jorge Goncalves. He...

...makes drawings of people sitting in subway trains in 10 cities around the world. He stays an average of three weeks in each city, making around 300 drawings which seek to cover different times of day and the different lines in the subway system.

The user interface is fairly annoying, but the drawings are great.

(via Dublog)

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Fashion Photography

View a series of 28 photos, with commentary by Karen Lehrman. It's called The Decline of Fashion Photography.

Fashion photography is in fashion. This 1951 Vogue cover by Irving Penn recently sold for $28,750 at auction. It is indeed brilliant: Penn's masterful use of light, balance, and a spare composition create an understated elegance.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Ranking With Google

Like most people who run Web sites, I like to see where the visitors come from. Many of them come via a Google search. I spent some time and checked Google for some common phrases relevant to my Web sites. I was surprised to see how high they ranked in the search results. For example...

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Problem Posting Comments?

Yesterday, I heard from two people who told me that they can't post comments to this blog. I did some checking,  and it seems that the problem is related to an anti-spam feature in the pMachine software that I use.  When a form is submitted (including a Comment form) it checks the referrer. If the referrer is not coming from my site, the comment won't be posted.

This might pose a problem for some people who use a firewall. I've been told that most firewalls can be be configured to allow the referrer data through. Norton Personal Firewall is one that sometimes blocks the data, and (apparently) it can be configured to pass the data.

I'm wondering how widespread this problem is. If you're having a problem posting comments, please let me know in the Comments section. Oh wait... Better send me an email instead.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

This Morning's Photos

Here are a few of the photos I took this morning while waiting for my car to be repaired. Click to see a larger view.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

A Paper Camera

A camera made of cardboard? It's the Dirkon.

Its creators, Martin Piln�, Mirek Kol�ř and Richard Vy�kovsk�, came up with a functional pinhole camera made of stiff paper, designed for 35 mm film, which resembles a real camera. It may not be the most practical of devices, but it works!

My first attempt at putting together a paper Dirkon a few years after it came out fell victim to a total lack of patience on my part. Today, twenty years later, I decided that I had to include this unusual pinhole camera in my collection. So I got hold of an old copy of ABC and set to work. This time I was successful.

(via Cloudal Coudal Partners)

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Damaged Books

Marginalia and Other Crimes has photos and commentary on damaged books -- courtesy of the Cambridge University Library. The book shown here is suffering from some mouse damage.

(via Metafilter)

Posted on 9 January, 2004

The Conclusion Of the Light Post Incident

This is the conclusion of my three-part light post collision story. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

If you're wondering, I took the vehicle to Body Shop #2. As promised, the repair took one hour. During that time, I walked around and took lots of photos of the surrounding area. The repair came out perfect, and the cost was $18 less than the estimate. And they even gave the Explorer its first wash job.

All in all, it was not an unpleasant experience. If you ever crash your car in San Diego, I highly recommend J&M Auto Body, on Dowdy Dr. They don't have a web site, but here's a map.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

Ejection Seat Site

An extensive site devoted to airplane ejection seats. It's called Ejection Site.

Welcome to The Ejection Site. This site's goal is to educate and entertain people of all interests with details on one of the most interesting fields of engineering. People often ask me why I say that, and here is my answer. Egress systems are nearly unique in the world of technology as they are intended to exist for extended periods and then at need perform an extremely complex and often precise series of events to save a persons life.

These systems must work 100% of the time when called upon, whether or not they have been recently checked out or not. They are in an environment where they are exposed to extremes of vibration and G-forces, heat and cold, and must still work.

You'll find a huge seat gallery, which includes the ejection seat shown here -- a SIIIS model, from the Universal Propulstion Co.

Posted on 9 January, 2004

A Laugh Track For Your Life

This is pretty good: Instant Audience Soundboard. Just click a button and hear audience reactions such as applause, laughter, and booing. Keep it handy while you read this blog.

(via Love and the Happy Cynic)

Posted on 9 January, 2004