28 Apr 2006

fruity slightly mac-ified

i spent an hour or two changing fruity to use a unified toolbar look rather than those crazy custom buttons to make it look more like a mac app. it is now version 0.3. the buttons still look ugly, but i'll do something about them next time i feel bored.


just to remind people, fruity is an itunes music store sampler that is fun to use.

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27 Apr 2006

ie7 beta versions

IE7 versions are starting to get very confusing. just to clear things up for myself, and possibly for you, here's what has happened:

IE7 beta 1 - released in July 2005
IE7 beta 2 PREVIEW - released in Jan 2006
IE7 beta 2 - released in April 2006

when the internet was alight about IE7 beta 2 this week, i kept on ignoring the news because i told myself that i already tried IE7 beta 2 a couple months ago. i didn't understand what all the fuss is about. until i once again was asked an IE7 question, so i had to go check it out. grrr...

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26 Apr 2006

chilling chernobyl photographs

this is a chilling slideshow of photographs that are narrated by the photograph himself that documents his visit to a children's orphanage where all the children are suffering the effects of chernobyl.

there are these rooms that house children who can't walk, or have grotesque tumours, and even a baby with its brain outside of its own skull. really a must see if you're not squeamish.

Chernobyl Legacy

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26 Apr 2006

videos videos!

when i'm not screwing around with non-linear regressions and simulations, i've spent my time wisely (ahem) watching videos such as:

the show with zefrank - "(he) does the thinking so you don't have to." he summarises news in zefrank's own hilarious way, on video. a must watch for anyone who enjoys zefrank's awesomeness! "yes. no. i. this is." - gwb

Zefrank Theshow

recently i discovered aussietorrents.com, my gateway to watching aussie tv (after getting enough aussie radio to last me a life time.) anyway, i'm totally hooked on the chaser's war on everything. this is the 6th season of the CNNN. the guys who bought you, "where should we attack next?" get'em at mininova.org (war on everything). if you want it the legal way, you can get some of their clips on their website, but you need wmv or real.


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26 Apr 2006

world cup tickets arrived

today the dhl man delivered my tickets to the world cup. i'm going to watch a group game (yeah only one, i'm poor) with brazil v austraila. i still have to decide who i'm going to support :P


anyway, some interesting things about the tickets. they are rigged with rfid and a hologram. i suppose those are two things to prevent fraudulent tickets.


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26 Apr 2006

renaming network devices with udev

one annoying with a laptop i'm working with here is that eth0 and eth1 swaps around between the wired and the wireless interfaces on reboot. i just discovered that you can lock them down using udev. it is as simple as adding a file /etc/udev/rules.d/90-network.rules according to the udev primer:

An example rule is shown below:
KERNEL=="eth*", SYSFS{address}=="00:52:8b:d5:04:48", NAME="lan"
now not only do they stop moving around, they have a pretty name to go with it.

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25 Apr 2006

google maps for europe


finally, you can actually say google maps works in europe, because up until now, it was google "pretty photos" europe.


check out the allianz arena in munich along with the streets, and full text search. woohoo!

and i just checked, still nothing in sydney, australia :P

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25 Apr 2006

my (sarcastic) web 2.0 idea of the week

how about this for a killer web 2.0 idea?

british people love talking about the weather. let's make a web site where british people (or other nationalities) can talk about weather in their vicinity! and of course, then be able to tag the weather (eg, foggy, sunny, chilly) and then .. wait for it ... be able to add friends in a social network of weather watchers!

oh, and don't forget that they "digg" each other's weather forecasts and weather news! what's more, they can then make weather todo lists (like keeping a checklist of all the different types of weather you've seen this week) and tell each other whether it is raining where they are. all this integrated with google maps! even more amazing will be that they can sms/text their weather to each other, tag weather photos and upload them to flickr. oh and then share videos of their latest cloud formation. then you can vote for your top weather day of the year, and use a dodgy web chat page to discuss with your weather maniacs about where to go weather spotting.

we will then make an affliate program where you can pay for a pro version where we actually send you a thermometer and you can hook that up to your usb port and upload realtime weather! last but not least, we'll have all sorts of feeds, like ones that tell you instantly where some place in the world has reached 25 degrees, or that another place has just started to rain. you'll be on top of all your weather news in no time!

i've already thought of a name, it will be called weathr! or maybe 25degrees! i'm going to make millions out of this idea! oh, crap .. emm .. someone's done it.

see more web 2.0 insanity here on the museum of modern betas.

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22 Apr 2006

aussie podcasts review

last night, someone (i don't know if he wishes to be anon) told me he actually listened to something that i checked out my podcasts i listen to page. we were talking about podcasts and he said that i had really weird taste because he totally didn't get sunday night safran.

so this morning i decided i would go through some of my list to introduce you to things that aren't really mainstream. these are australian podcasts because they form a bulk of what i listen to. i miss aussie radio.

sunday night safran

people who don't know john safran are probably going to freak out why this person who has a weird sense of humour and raspy voice can actually be on radio. i've got a set of dvd's of this series on tv called "safran vs god." it is a very black humour type investigative documentary on all sorts of religion. i haven't even finished watching it yet because it is very hard to convince patricia to sit down and watch it with me. this is mainly because his voice is so irritating.

however, once you get past his chalkboard scratching voice, you'll find that he pokes fun at all sorts of religions, moral and social issues. for instance on his dvd's he sneak into free masons, tries out shinto buddhism for two weeks (very funny), tries to join a cult halluciganic cult where they claim it is against their religion not to get high.

now back to the radio show, it is actually just talk about recent news events that is religion related and he often has controversial guests that disagree with him. one of the most memorable interviews recently is he interviewed some chick who wrote a book about something - but she basically spent the whole interview bagging him out for not reading her book. anyway, it's interesting stuff, but not every episode is excellent, but its always something fun to listen to if you've got nothing to do.

the cage

the cage is a morning breakfast show on a nation-wide radio network in australia. it features are couple of comedians plus an ex-australian team cricketer. the best bits of the show is when they just go off on a tangent about what pisses them off, or JB's internet joke. the podcasts are not an afterthought, they actually go and bother to put an intro and snip out the right bits for you. which is great.

the shebang

the shebang is an afternoon drive show. they rely on listeners to call in with contributions about a particular topic they start. the think their quirky style of amateur radio is very funny, and to think that this is on national radio is even funnier. yet heaps of people listen to it, and it shows because they're not just some fake over the top radio announcer voice. dead air happens alot on the show, but that is what makes it so fun.

hamish and andy

i only discovered these guys on the net, they weren't particularly big when i was in australia. but they really rock. you have to listen to some of the segments. they do some pretty outrageous things, like challenged one of their hosts to get botox on their forehead, call up a guy who has the license plate BONKRZ and test whether he is really bonkers, got a farm boy into new york to gatecrash a coldplay interview and got him to sing a song about mariah carey boobs!

get this/toughlove

another australian radio show. the two male hosts, tony martin and mick molloy, used to do a really hit radio show back in last century called Martin/Molloy show and even won a couple of awards for best comedy albums with names such as "eat your peas" and "the brown album". they've since done all sorts of things from writing, to tv, to movies. and now they're back on radio and as funny as ever.

tony martin is famous for his john howard (our prime minister in australia) impressions. mick molloy is just an all-round crazy typical aussie guy. but they have two separate shows now, which means twice the content!

the sporting life
the sporting life is a three hour marathon of sarcastic commentary on sports. they are the foremost sports satrical comedians. it is very heavy aussie humour, so i would think that most people won't get it. although, when the 2004 olympics was on, i did attempt to get people hooked on to their unique sports commentary on the weightlifting and gymastics by giving each of the contestants back stories such as a user car salesmen, a box packer, etc.

merrick and rosso

these guys are another breakfast radio duo. i think their claim to fame is their interview skills (or lack thereof) and so they manage to ask some ridiculous questions when they interview celebrities. recently the prank called a guy from japan, and they were so impressed with how polite this guy was and ended up sending him a slab of VB (24 cans) and then invited him to sydney for a holiday all expenses paid!

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21 Apr 2006

fruity - sample music your way

Fruity Screen

fruity is a new way to sample music from the itunes music store. fruity is a conglomeration of six months of experimenting. fruity is currently beta. you should try out fruity.


the story starts about a year ago, when i had this interesting idea of making a radio station that only plays 30 second clips, the same ones that the itunes music store uses. there are many gripes i have with the itunes music store, even though i've spent more than US$100 on the store.

the most prominent one is the one that fruity tries to solve. navigating and sampling albums. itunes is very "single" centric, you can only sample one song at a time. there are scripts and such available to continuously play a whole album, but they're just not particularly fun to use.

what fruity does

fruity allows two things, (i) sampling the whole album in 30 second snippets continuously and (ii) find all the related albums and display them in this matrix.

so you can start off by seeding fruity with a single itunes music store link (anything except for imix and itunes essentials) and it will try to crawl the results to find anything related, that is the artists most popular albums, and also related ones that apple suggests.

to seed it, you just drag a link from itunes into the app.

and at any time, you can skip forwards, go backwards and select other albums. one of my favourite ways of using it is to sample comedy albums -- and i've already added 4 or 5 albums to my wishlist (that is my shopping cart) just because of this app.


take the above screen shot, i choose chris rock's album, and then i get a whole bunch of comedy albums with the same type of humour. its amazingly better than navigating itunes music store. itunes' store is only good if you know what you want, but if you're just wasting time like i usually do, you just want to hear as much as you can.

another way is to explore a whole new genre you know even know anything about. for instance, i've been having fun sampling french music and jpop by just grabbing some albums from their respective top albums and just leaving it on.

under the hood

i think the coolest thing is underneath. it is written in pure python, using pyobjc. the ui is just plain old AppKit, the audio playing is handled by QTKit (this is so damn easy to use!)

the reason i chose python was simply because i love that language, and the experiments i did a six months ago was in python, and rewriting all that http connect code and xml parsing code in cocoa wasn't that attractive, so there it is.

another special mention is the icons. the app icon, i made myself which is sort of the play button on itunes, but mutilated. hehe .. the controls icons are from famfamfam because i can't be bothered designing controls icons and famfamfam's silk icons are very sweet. although i did abuse the contrast control icons for volume icons, but hey, whatever works

things missing

there are many things missing in the ui. i'm not aiming for the prettiest ui, but the most functional ui. i want the least amount of crap that will come between me and music, so that is why no space is left wasted. things i wish i put in were progress bars, nice backgrounds and stuff.


if you're interested, you can get fruity here. have i linked to it enough times?

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