Friday, December 14, 2012

Other sins may be available

On the subject of signage, a local hostelry appears to have turned to sin mongering. A hand-written notice offers passers-by the opportunity to acquire some anger. I wondered if any other deadly sins were on offer (I proudly envy those who lust after gluttony) but sloth got the better of me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Try a little trendiness

Voracious culture vulture that I am, I recently found myself at a Street Art event in the East End. Due to the vagaries of the public rail network, I arrived with time in hand [Traveller's Tip: planning your rail journey so you will arrive two hours early is a good way to ensure you will get to the event up to an hour before it starts].
In an attempted act of chronocide I wandered along nearby Brick Lane and happened upon this charming chalk board, bescrawled with witty wordage.
The adjacent establishment, far from being the iniquitous den implied by the board, turned out to be an uber-trendy coffee bar with a range suitably-priced snacks on offer. Refreshment was provided in the form of a shit-storm, which turned out to be a quadruple espresso served in a paper cup for the distinctly un-princely sum of two quid.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Street Cred

Belgian film-student Sofie Peeters decided to make the daily sexual harrasment she endured on the streets of Brussels the focus of a project for her course at RIT. The result was "Femme de la Rue". I read about it in this article in today's paper, and a short clip of the work is included with the article on the Guardian website.

A quick google leads to the full length work, which can be found contained within a Youtube video clip that starts with Sophie Peeters being interviewed on the Belgian televion programme Terzake [To The Point] followed by the "Femme de la Rue" documentary in its entirity. While it may be enlightening for about half the population to see from the point-of-view of the other half what harrassment looks like as it is recorded from Sophie Peeter's miniature video camera and hidden microphone, or from a camera used openly to record Sophie as she walked the vicinity of her flat in Brussels, it's interesting too that the project is presented in a way that emphasies the "I'm not racist but ..." aspect which, if it hadn't been explicitly brought up in the interview, I'm not sure I would have noticed.

One would have thought it sufficient that the footage recorded her experience: that the footage has to be presented in such a way that couches and qualifies her experience so as to carefully negotiate sensibilities of culture and race makes the project all the more delicate in its treatment of the topic. However, the greatest shame is that it had to be made at all.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Weakening of Lara Croft

Laurie Penny offers some interesting insight into the recent re-imagining of Lara Croft as victim in New Statesman. It's a shame that thought-provoking articles like this aren't a staple in publications aimed specifically at gamers (you know, the ones with the word "Games" or "Gamer" in the title).
 The comments below the article are also worth perusing.

Lara Croft and rape stories: breaking down the bitch

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What A Chucking Feat!

Japanesse boffins at Tokyo University have build a robot hand that is apparently unbeatable at Rock-Paper-Scissors. While this may seem like a remarkable feat in AI programming, all is not not as it might appear. 

Far from caclulating the odds, cranking through a complex algorithm that takes account of all the human opponent's previous moves, pulse rate, breathing, eye movement, endorphin levels, brain wave patterns and a range of other metrics that might have been lifted from a cyberpunk yarn, this tin wanking spanner is nothing more than a cheat. Apparently it uses a camera (seen behind the human hand in the video) to monitor the shape being formed and then plays the corresponding winning move. 

It's all done very fast, in milliseconds (which is a second with a lot of legs) so perhaps we should be impressed, but I can't help but think it's nothing more than cheating, albeit carried out rather quickly: quite literally, it's simply pulling a fast one.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Greasemonkey fix for Outlook OWA

I don't know anybody who says "I love Outlook" or "I really like the web-based email client at work". Most people hate it. It would be better if there was a system that allowed users to run their preferred client (like Thunderbird, or whatever) which, given the right settings, would function with work email.

But there's not.

It is possible to set up forwarding, however, so it's not all bad. But there are times when one doesn't want to reply to work emails using a separate Gmail account.

Every now and again, one has to actually open Outlook Web Access in order to send a reply. However, there is no "mark unread" function so if one clicks the wrong thing, there's no easy way to unclick. Googling for a fix, I stumbled across a Greasemonkey script which fixes OWA!

Here's the script:

Obviously, the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox will have to be installed first, and then click on the link in David Burger's blog post to download the script

Install the script when prompted. Under settings, add the URL of the OWA page. Restart OWA and there are several new text buttons: select all, select nore, mark read, mark unread

I've never really used Greasemonkey before, so I'm very pleased to find I can use it for something useful and that my first attempt to use it actually worked!

Hardly Workin'

It's Thursday, so shut up ...

Bursting Bubbles

After watching this short TED talk on the personal bubbles that the web creates, I thought that maybe it's time to go back to Alta Vista, quondam search tool du jour, but then again, if people actively choose to get their news and information from one search engine, or from a single entity news site like Yahoo or CNN, and don't supplement it with LiveLeak, Ogrish, etc., then they're asking for a partial, blinkered view ...