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Monty Python at the O2 – musings

So I just got back from the O2 where I saw and met the Pythons, which was nice.

Before I let my impressions marinade, here are a few fresh from the bush:

For a whipper snapper like myself, this production was a godsend. As I was born quite late in their career, I’d never thus far had the chance of seeing them live. Good thing I’m a Swiss wage earning whipper snapper, ’cause that ticket was expensive!

When they say you should never meet your idols, they’re kind of right. Just like with my musical favourites, Motörhead’s Lemmy, one thing to keep in mind is that the stars are senior citizens now, so you won’t get a carbon copy of the record anymore. That said though, Eric Idle organised one fine show for us.

Although they could have gone a bit lighter on the musical type interludes, it was a privilege to see the five remaining Pythons and Carol Cleveland in the flesh, doing it all one more time. To see those sketches live and alive was amazing. Younger actors may have more vigour, but it’s always best to see the writers and original performers.

The irony of the whole thing about age, by the way, was that the most seasoned performer is still the best performer. Although he’s the oldest of the five, John Cleese was in great voice and shape and I for one am very glad he wanted to be there.

Meeting them afterwards was surreal. I usually have lots to say to my idols, but somehow with these whom I’ve admired for a lot longer than some of my musical favourites, I had far less to say. But sod it, all five in one room and me and 100 others too, that’s a pretty good crowning moment to an evening.

To finish with an aside on legends, Motörhead is still amongst the best in the value for money department, by the way. If there was a next time Monty Python should ask VIP Nation to do the meet and greet.

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Business Featured Geeky Media News Politics

Lazy journalism at The Daily Dot

The Daily Dot – In the U.S, its a crime—in Canada, its the best political prank of the year.

I don’t usually bother pointing out flaws in online journalists’ reasoning as the likelihood of there being many more of such erroneous conclusions is just far too high.

Just for fun, however, I’ll be nice and tell Lorraine Murphy where she went wrong. But not too nice. Presumably she can fill in the rest eventually.

The difference in this case is not between Canada and the US. (The alleged differences between the two countries are largely myths and elements of state sponsored propaganda anyway.) The difference between Andrew and Kevin is that the former exposed information that a concerned party had a reasonable expectation of being private, whereas the latter merely did a bit of URL hacking on a PR campaign, thereby exposing the laziness of the agency creating the campaign.

“Weev”‘s mistake was to publish the information he had gathered. Unlike Kevin, his act was not that of a mere Nelson “haw haw” finger pointing, it was something approaching extortion, an act a competitor such as Verizon might commission if they were criminally inclined. What could have resulted in at worst a suspended sentence if he had simply notified AT&T instead of publishing the data he had farmed, instead has resulted in a much harsher sentence.

So in sum, Ms. Murphy, no, this is not a difference between the US and Canada, it’s the difference between a benevolent and a malevolent hacker. It’s like the difference between telling a man his fly is open and posting a picture of whatever is showing for everyone he knows to see.

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Media News Politics Technology

U.S. judge says NSA phone surveillance is lawful (Reuters)

“A federal judge ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects records of millions of Americans phone calls is lawful, [and] (…) does not violate Americans privacy rights.”

via UPDATE 3-U.S. judge says NSA phone surveillance is lawful | Reuters.

Just like something straight out of Fahrenheit 451 or 1984, except it’s not fictional. War is peace and captivity is freedom.

Not that I expected anything else, mind you. No judge will stop the efforts so far entrusted to the NSA. Just like Norman Stanley Fletcher, there’s but one mistake the NSA has made, that of getting caught.

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Academia Business Featured Geeky General Humor News ORLY Personal Site news

Read this first

Seeing as how even old horses like the Stones and The Who still have newbies at events, here’s a few key points about the wire:

  • Don’t take things literally. Seriously, I will not be held responsible.
  • There’s plenty of opinion here, but also pitch black humor, satire and deep thoughts.
  • Sometimes if you don’t “get it”, I probably didn’t intend for that to happen. No hard feelings.
  • If I tried to explain, we’d still be here in the afterlife.

N.B: The serious, business stuff is elsewhere.

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Media Music Technology

UK record labels launch unprecedented anti-Torrent campaign — RT News

UK record labels launch unprecedented anti-Torrent campaign — RT News.

It’s initiatives that seriously harm the record industry’s credibility. They fight for artists about as much as breweries are interested in people’s health.

Instead of stealing from artists, how about give them their fair share first so that there actually is something to defend?!

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Featured Geeky Web Development

SCSS style gripes

This past year I’ve been doing a lot of work with and in SCSS (aka SASS). Having rewritten several frameworks now, I feel I should point out what I see as faux pas of too many SCSS authors. Remember, these are my peeves, feel free to comment.

  1. If you’re gonna write a novel…
    Don’t clutter up your SCSS files with loads of inline docs. If you have something to say, do it properly and put your docs in an MD or similar docs format.
  2. Don’t be facetious
    CSS noobs should not be using SCSS (i.e. learn to walk before…), so please spare me the superfluous comments. Everybody ought to know ‘a’ is for links (yes, some authors are that thick).
  3. Don’t waste space, ever
    I have been able to reduce the line numbers of some SCSS files by almost 50% by just deleting extraneous spacing. Readability is good, but don’t insinuate that I need double blank lines and loads of comment blocks to understand the code. It’s annoying.
  4. Don’t include ASCII drawings
    If you like ASCII art, great, but don’t include it in SCSS files. No sane developer needs lines wasted on lines formed by loads of ==s or whatever nonsense some come up with. If you wanna draw, do it on deviantart.com, please!
  5. Use SCSS
    As surprising as this may be, some frameworks or ports thereof advertised as SASS aren’t actually SASS really. My rule is simple: If you’re not even gonna use nesting, don’t call it SASS, please!
  6. Really use SASS
    You’d be surprised how much you can get out of the meta language’s concepts. Really use all of its features (nesting, mixins, CSS3 helpers, etc.).

So, in short, if the title or readme says SASS, there’d better be SASS inside. Don’t make me run your code through my BS filter!

Edited to highlight the ASCII art point.

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Featured Geeky Media Personal TV

BBC Doctor Who Experience – Review

So today I finally went to the BBC’s Doctor Who Experience here in Cardiff Bay. I stress the BBC part of it as it is clearly a product of the BBC for fans, unlike the original one (at the Red Dragon Centre), which (apparently) was by fans for fans.

While I would recommend a visit to any fan, casual or hardcore (Bessie!), I have to stress the major caveat that longtime or hardcore fans should not go in with too many expectations. While it is nice to be immersed in a mini adventure, courtesy of the BBC’s big purse, I can’t help shake the impression of a clean and sanitized, almost Disney-like establishment.

As a more geeky fan of the family of shows, I fully expected there to be at least some exclusive merchandise, i.e. autographs, rarities and strictly limited editions of artefacts. If record companies can compel their artists to sign a stack of autograph cards at regular intervals, the BBC should have no problem doing the same.

As I said, I’m sorted for autographs, but not everyone can travel or even fund projects to get them.

It’s good to see that the BBC are investing in the area and being honest about where the new generation Doctor Who’s real home is, I do wish they’d also cater to bigger fans, who (gasp!) might even return for more visits.

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Geeky News

Inventor of Red Bull dead at 89

News from The Associated Press.

Ravers, business people and other consumers of Red Bull, our hero has passed away. I just hope his legacy is preserved by not ruining the brand.

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Featured Geeky Technology TV

Sony’s foray into video glasses could succeed

tl;dr: It’s a consumer grade device, don’t expect miracles.

Last week I got my Sony HMZ-T1, Sony’s new video glasses / visor product. Having seen their PR and having read a few reviews, I was already not expecting an Amazing style immersive experience. But I was curious nonetheless.

While the device setup is generally very simple and intuitive, fitting the thing on your head is not. The trick is to fit the front first, then adjust the straps, otherwise you have no clue as to how to adjust them.

Watching a DVD on the glasses is definitely an enjoyable experience as it does indeed give you the “portable cinema” experience. I have yet to try 3D BDs, but I trust they’ll measure up.

In the end though, this is not an Apple device and as such does remind me a little too much of cheap Japanese kids’ toys. It seems that in an effort to make the device affordable, Sony had to cut corners after having spent the bulk of the budget on the screens that make the magic possible.

So while Sony deserves much praise for having accomplished a great feat this early, the device category still has a long way to go. So until an Apple grade device becomes the norm in the $500 – $900 RRP range, Sony would do well to produce a tech enthusiast version made of better materials and equipped with a better rounded feature set in the $1,000 – $2,000 RRP range.

I love my HMZ-T1, but I want more.

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Business News Politics Science Technology

Internet Access Is Not a Human Right (NYT)

“There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things.”

via Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – NYTimes.com.

Cerf is right of course. How would you feel if everyone got a pickaxe at birth without ever needing one?

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Geeky Media News Technology

RIP Steve Jobs

Apple – Remembering Steve Jobs.

Here’s to the crazy ones. Thank you for teaching the world to think different.

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Featured Geeky Media Music News

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events – My review

If I had to sum up my impression of Dream Theater’s new release, I’d say that what we have on the album is Dream Theater, teacher’s pet edition. Yes, it is clear that the songs are Dream Theater pure, but they’re also basic DT. Unless, as has been suggested, the strong references to Awake and Images and Words are intentional, what ADTOE is is mostly a fluffy bunny throwback to early 90s Dream Theater feel good record.

The album is good and I enjoy the tunes a lot, but there’s not much “resistance” of the likes of The Shattered Fortress or new covers on this album, hence the fluffy bunny aspect. Portnoy’s absence shows significantly. Although this album may ironically have turned out this well because of his departure, it shows that the new intra-DT unity is one that dictates that one follow the path of least resistance. It seems that in spite of the remaining members’ afterthought based “protest”, there was a point to Mike being in charge. He inserted the curve balls that engaged the fan, the quirky rebellious aspect in so many songs and so with him out, gone are also his humor and rebellious additions.

And speaking of Mikes, anyone less talented than Mike Mangini would have made this album a disappointment. Only because Mangini is such an utter genius is ADTOE a fun album. His unique style and record setting dexterity add badly needed spice to this collection of songs. This makes me hope that they’ll let him write more as he clearly understands what Dream Theater is and should be and does so remarkably well.

ADTOE is a good start, but please, try harder next time. Dare to offend bandmates, dare to explore. Or just make peace with Portnoy if you’re incapable of taking over that responsibility as well.

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Geeky News Technology

Microsoft files complaint against Google – Tony Romm and Mike Zapler – POLITICO.com

Microsoft files complaint against Google – Tony Romm and Mike Zapler – POLITICO.com.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. M$ should be laughed out of court for this idiocy.

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Featured Geeky Music News Personal

The day Dream Theater died

Less than 24 hours ago, Dream Theater, my favorite band, died. No, not Lynyrd Skynyrd style, but they might as well have for being such douchebags.

Apparently Mike Portnoy, their drummer, architect and leader decided it was time for an extended break. Apparently the other four somehow missed the fact that the Beatles, Phish, Megadeth, Metallica and many other bands either stopped touring or simply took extended hiatuses. So Mike did the mature thing and quit.

This would not be as surprising if it weren’t such an idiotic move. We know James is a diva at heart and Myung hardly ever talks, so no surprise there. Petrucci without guitar is like Thor without a hammer, disarmed.

I gotta thank Jordan Rudess though for being so mature and open about the whole thing.Thank you!

Resume gripe mode… Seriously guys, who’s given the most interviews, given the most insight into Dream Theater, basically always stayed behind to do so much more while you were doing who knows what? Mike. Who kept you in line while LaBrie oiled his throat? Mike. The Johns were nothing before Mike and may soon be little more.

Way to dump on everything he’s done! Just be glad that unlike Keith Moon or John Bonham he’s not dead (yet).

And last but not least, how dare you retain the name? There was no Dream Theater before Mike and there will be none without him. It’ll just be another Van Hagar, Alcaholica or Who?!?.

Do make that album. Maybe you’ll reconsider once us grown men in your audiences have been replaced by juggalos, or, worse yet, fainting bimbos!

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Business Geeky News

Apple plans social network for tech support chatterings | 9 to 5 Mac

Apple plans social network for tech support chatterings | 9 to 5 Mac.

So I guess Jive persuaded Apple to upgrade. As Dell-boy used to say, what a bunch of wallies.

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Geeky News Web Development

Apple’s discussions site redirected for some

Apple’s discussions site redirected for some.

They’re all wrong. Jive Software of Portland, Oregon is to blame. 😉

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Geeky Technology

Portable Blue Laser from Wicked Lasers – Spyder III Pro Arctic Series

Portable Blue Laser from Wicked Lasers – Spyder III Pro Arctic Series.

Yes, you too can now purchase your very own light saber.

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Geeky Humor TV

Slashdot Entertainment Story | Food Activist’s Life Becomes The Life of Brian

Slashdot Entertainment Story | Food Activist’s Life Becomes The Life of Brian.

Very funny.

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Geeky News Politics

Price of an Apple Factory Worker: Macbook + $44,000 – Sun danyong – Gawker

Price of an Apple Factory Worker: Macbook + $44,000 – Sun danyong – Gawker

The LOL of the day. Though I suppose this sort of idiocy would only pass muster in a communist country.

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Featured Geeky Media News

Steam Valve Open

Being safely removed from my past, I will now no longer be silenced and have my say about my time around YKW. And if this irks anyone, hard cheese! The truth must be told, because the coverage of YKW is far to biased.

If you’re of any relevance in the web business industry, I’m sure you’ve seen one or heard of them. What you hear is a convincing case, something no publisher would turn down if someone ever wrote it all out.

What lies below, however, is an immensely expensive endeavor, all propped up by credit and venture capital. A wonderful model it is, but like any supermodel it’s very fragile, much like the egos of those running after them.

YKW culture is to them what the cow is to Hindus, absolutely holy. They will sacrifice anything to avoid hurting it in any way no matter the cost. Strong leaders could fix this, but don’t look now… it’s doing something unbecoming its ideals.

In lower management positions where whims and personal preferences of “leaders” are given more weight than their professional competencies or experience. Never mind industry standards, science or common sense, like sp** *rats…

YKW isn’t bad overall, it’s merely being ruined by a bunch of bad apples. If you want to go, you better brush up on blind follower skills because yes, being an a**-kissing conformist will get you very far.

This had to be said dear Obama worshippers. Sorry.

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Geeky Media News

AT&T tweaks wireless terms of service to forbid video streaming, filesharing, data tethering

AT&T tweaks wireless terms of service to forbid video streaming, filesharing, data tethering

Another reason not to go with AT&T. I’m so glad I went with Verizon Wireless.

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Geeky Media Music News

Tech scare: Loud MP3 players can damage your hearing – No really? (TECH.BLORGE.com)

Tech scare: Loud MP3 players can damage your hearing – No really? – TECH.BLORGE.com

“The latest warning is informing us that listening to loud music could damage our ears. Well I never, who’d have thought it?”

Today’s No S Sherlock Award goes to the time wasters who spent money to confirm the obvious.

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Business Geeky News Technology

Apple’s secret to selling iPhones: Windows Mobile

Apple’s secret to selling iPhones: Windows Mobile

Oh the irony… 🙂

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Geeky Humor News

Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition). (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition).

Very funny, even if you don’t update your facebook status that often.

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Geeky News

Axel Peemoeller – Eureka Carpark Melbourne

Axel Peemoeller – Eureka Carpark Melbourne

And I’m sure even there we could still find morons who can’t use the facility.

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Geeky News

Yahoo: Delicious finally upgrades bookmarks site, now cupcake-powered

Yahoo: Delicious finally upgrades bookmarks site, now cupcake-powered

I disagree… Now del.icio.us has gone to S. Sellouts… (?)

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Geeky Humor

Google Street View cameraman: No photos of me, please

Google Street View cameraman: No photos of me, please

Yeah, this is where he missed the obvious… By being obvious. What a thickie. 🙂

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Geeky News Science Technology

Toy rocket inspires variable-speed bullets (New Scientist Tech)

Toy rocket inspires variable-speed bullets – tech – 21 July 2008 – New Scientist Tech

All that’s missing is the phaser tech now.

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Geeky News

Longtime mobile developer feels no love from Apple (TUAW)

Longtime mobile developer feels no love from Apple – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

Oh noes… Apple is fallible! 🙄

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Art Geeky Humor Media News

Faceless ‘aliens’ spotted in crowd at Wimbledon (Daily Mail)

Faceless ‘aliens’ spotted in crowd at Wimbledon | Mail Online

Someone summon Dr Who… 🙂

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Geeky Media

The Mundaneum Museum Honors the First Concept of the World Wide Web (NYTimes.com)

The Mundaneum Museum Honors the First Concept of the World Wide Web – NYTimes.com

Turns out a Belgian had already invented the basis forthe Internet before Vannevar Bush wrote his paper.

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Art Geeky Humor Media Music Technology

Friday Fun: Mac Desktop Music Video

Friday Fun: Mac Desktop Music Video

A really well done video, a sort of Time for the naughties.

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Geeky News

Focused Microwaves Could Enable Wireless Power Transfer (Slashdot)

Slashdot | Focused Microwaves Could Enable Wireless Power Transfer

Finally, one of the last things to go wireless is getting closer to being a reality,

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Geeky News

Hundreds of Thousands of Microsoft Web Servers Hacked

Hundreds of Thousands of Microsoft Web Servers Hacked – Security Fix

This once again demonstrates the utter foolishness of using IIS for web serving purposes.