Archive for October, 2006


October 30th, 2006

Weight: 111.3kg Breakfast: Vegemite on toast Lunch: Vegemite Sandwich Dinner: Chicken fillo Exercise: 15 mins cycling Rung: 1 Snacks: None

Holiday Economics

October 30th, 2006

So which special occasions do we (well, the US) spend the most money on? The National Retail Federation has the breakdown (via Snopes):

  1. Christmas (‘winter holidays’): $438.6 billion.
  2. Back to school: $54.2 billion.
  3. Mother’s day: $13.8 billion.
  4. Valentine’s day: $13.7 billion.
  5. Easter: $12.6 billion.
  6. Father’s day: $9.0 billion.
  7. Super Bowl: $5.3 billion.
  8. Halloween: $5.0 billion.
  9. St Patrick’s day: $2.7 billion.

A few surprises there. Firstly, why so much on Easter? Mother’s day and Valentine’s day are both going to have a lot of gift giving in there. Are there social/religious groups that give out presents at Easter? And secondly, clearly fathers are getting the raw deal, with a $4.8 billion shortfall! (Although you could argue that it still doesn’t make up for the $5.3 billion on the Super Bowl).

Finally: St Patrick’s day, $2.7 billion? That’s enough to buy about 3,070,000,000 litres of beer, or around 10 litres for every man, woman and child in the US. Good going!

(Although that’s American beer, so it would have the alcohol content of about 3 Australian beers…)

Making lemonade from lemons

October 28th, 2006

While at Harvey Norman today I found this piece of inventive advertising:

Harvey Norman inventiveness

A Choice award? How fantastic! Let’s investigate

The CHOICE 2006 Shonky Awards Ten products to make you weep in despair. […] The CHOICE Shonky for Best Dirt Redistribution Goes to the iROBOT ROOMBA robot vacuum cleaner (CHOICE, November 2006) […] But what really made us doubt was its dirt redistribution function: when the small dirt container starts filling up, every time the iROBOT bumps into a wall or obstacle, a little heap of collected dirt falls out again. iROBOT? iDon’tthinkso.

Hmmm. Perhaps not quite what they suggested?

(As a disclaimer, I should note that I own a Roomba, and am extremely happy with it. I’m not sure exactly where Choice got its take from. Ditto their attack on the iPod in the same article, which seemed more designed to generate press coverage than actual consumer information).

Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make.

October 27th, 2006

If you’re currently somewhere where you can make a bit of noise you might want to have a look at this music generator.

Some very strange, yet in its way beautiful, algorithmic music. Well done, with very pretty animation. Kind of reminds me of the soundtrack for Dr Who back in the 1960s.

(The quote is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Shame on you for asking!)

Can you tell a story in six words?

October 26th, 2006

Via Boing Boing (and many others) is this brilliant project from Wired magazine. Ask a bunch of famous writers to tell a story in six words:

  • Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so. (Joss Wheedon)
  • Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time (Alan Moore)
  • Kirby had never eaten toes before (Kevin Smith)

Awesome stuff! (Although that last one is more like the first sentence of a short story I’d really like to read…)

Got a quiet 50 hours or so?

October 26th, 2006

Found via some source I cannot now remember (sorry!), is this collection of 100 scanned issues of Computing Gaming World. The collection covers from 1981 to 1992, so it’s a pretty dramatic period in computer games. The first issue covers mainly computer based wargames (with a very prescient essay about the advantages that computer war games have over table based games), all the way through to reviews of Links 386 (which I remember playing) and Wolfenstein 3D.

Fortunately for my productivity at work, I can’t access the actual PDF files from work, so I’ll have to read them from home.