Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Fall.

The legends had always been.  OooOeeon, like pretty much everyone, knew The History.  Life on Earth arose when aquatic animals left the water and began to adapt to life out of the water.  He wasn't sure what had happened next - there was a period of millenia where things moved very slowly, then humans had arisen and become a species, then a society, then a mighty flock of locusts that devoured all in their path - and then, nothing.  There was talk of some God that visited wrath or some such.  This God apparently could speak to all creatures, but no-one took the time to listen or talk.  This God took away all that Life.

OooOeeon didn't know all the details.  He was still quite teenage in his attitudes and things that didn't fit, fell out, as his mother was wont to say.  His father was long gone, hauled off someplace, his mother had mentioned a spearing or something.  OooOeeon didn't even know what a spear was, he had a vague idea of something pointy and sharp like the rock he'd once run into and which had given him a nasty cut, but there was no concept of a thing like a weapon in his experience.  This was what the older folk called the New World, and many things no longer existed.

By contrast, some things were so far in advance, that the ancient Babylonians with their clever and very advanced science and technology would fear it as sheer black magic.  (And yes, OooOeeon knew how the downfall happened back before the Recording Of Things and how dangerous some technology was.  But he also knew that now, only good technology and science survived.  The population had even conquered the depths of the ocean, for Sky's sake.)

Anyway - this was The Pageant.  Everyone went to The Pageant, because it was one of the high points of life and only happened every few decades.  OooOeeon was lucky that he was to go to A Pageant at his early age, and he was quite excited.  At The Pageant, the older folks would recreate the beginnings of Life, and start a new cycle.  It was the technology and science that they lived by, that made their lives on Earth possible since - whatever it was that had happened.  That was in the History he'd been taught, too.

OooOeeon listened to everyone singing as they made their way to the shore. They were singing some kind of religious songs, hymns they were called, and the hymns spoke of the birth of Life from the seas, the lofty apsirations of that Life and then the (so difficult to understand! what was the cataclysm that cost the lives of so many?) disaster, ending, apocalypse.  He wished he knew more, that so much of that past wasn't shrouded in mystery.  OooOeeon put the thought aside as he reached the shore.  It was time.

He sensed rather than heard the disturbance, the sense of something going horribly wrong.  OoooOeeeeoon, one of the Elders, was making distressed sounds, muffled by being in an unfamiliar medium.  There were alien creatures on the other side of that shore, but this shouldn't be!  The Apocalypse had destroyed Babylon and all the arrogant beings!  OooOeeon felt himself pushed gently but firmly back into the sea, made his way to the depths.  Once back in the water he could much better hear what OoooOeeeoon was still bellowing at the top of his voice.

"No!  Turn back!" he was bellowing, "remember that we need to become the new life on Earth!  Back to the shore! Back to the shore!"  OooOeeon was confused and instead slid into the deeper water with a couple of other calves.  He wasn't sure what OoooOeeeoon was bellowing at the strange creatures on the shore, creatures that according to the History should have all perished in the Fall of Babylon.  It sounded strange, in a language strange to OooOeeon.

One of the rescuers on the beach turned to his teammate and took a moment to look puzzled.  "Did you hear that?" he asked, "I swear this whale was trying to form words just then."

"Nah, just tiredness talking mate.  Why, what did you reckon it was saying?  Give it a miss and go home for a beer?"

"No, I swear this one was trying to talk.  But I don't have a clue what mene mene tekel upharshin would mean..."

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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

What Your Pizza Is REALLY Made Of

Just watched an ad on TV, and, being a bit of a junk food gourmet from my bad ole days before I started following my Body Friendly Zen Cookbook diet, it just raised an interesting question.

The ad is for a national pizza chain.  It's on now, so it must be current.  It was the thing said towards the end of the ad that caught my attention.  "Now with premium quality ingredients."

Talk about copywriters writing themselves into a corner.  If they are only just "Now" serving pizzas with "premium quality ingredients" does that mean that "before this" they were serving us pizzas with "shit quality ingredients?"

My father, wise wise man that he was, put me wise to this little trick of advertising.  When you see a "New, Improved" anything, you can be sure it's the same old shit with a new coat of paint.  Because if it's really new then there's no previous version to improve it from.  And if it's improved, then it is an improved version of an existing version and therefore not new.

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Sunday, 22 March 2009

Lunch At Dwellingup

Won't say where we went for lunch yesterday, but I'll show you the pepper shaker.
That's either very artistic, or very parsimonious.
There were at least four different shades of pepper in there.

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Friday, 20 March 2009

Latest Facebook Crisis Of "Governance."

Facebook "pleads" with users to give it tips? Don't make me laugh. I got one "tip" to join a group, and since then they've been silent.  As the proverbial grave.  So no - there's been no pleading, no conversation.  Just one message, and that's been it.

For a company that's all about social networking and therefore communication, they're not doing so well at all.  Like most geeks they are good at expediting a conversation but get them into a two way exchange and they freeze.  "OMG!  They're - TALKING - to me!  They might CRITICISE the things I'm doing! OMGOMGOMG!"

Here's a tip, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg:

Just don't be underhanded.  You have a history of acting like sneaky asswipes. As an example (on top of changing TOS without consultation) you just recently gave us your "new look" Facebook.  As predictable, it's gotten the predictable kneejerk reaction from users forming groups.  Had you allowed people to switch between the two looks, and - more importantly - provided a "What Do You Think Of The New Look?" link leading to a poll form, you would have gathered megabytes of data.

If you'd provided a "News Of What We're Up To" link and a similar WDYT link there, and then announced what you're planning to do, where people can get hold of the latest changes to try out - well then you'd be able to get "governance guidance."  Oh and calling it governance is a misnomer - you do NOT "govern" you "develop."  Governors are dictatorial despots, developers are people who realise that their bread and butter on the table comes to them by way of their users...

Oh and update - just how am I supposed to comment on the Facebook group created for the purpose?  I can't even find groups in this new layout...

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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Don't Get Twitter? Look Here.  For anyone that still doesn't get Twitter, the dinosaurs that they are...

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Thursday, 12 March 2009

Plagiarising the "Obama Hope" Picture

The case of Shepard Fairey being sued by AP over - hmmm, actually, I'm not sure even they're sure what they're suing over - is kind of indicative of how far you can bend copyright/IP/patent law from its intended purpose.  Read the article if you want Wired's story.

AP claims Fairey used the original stock image of theirs to make his work from.  Please bear in mind - this is a press photograph, which was used in the newspaper article.  Its intended purpose has been fulfilled and there will not be any losses of sales anymore because that edition will never be republished.  It's a PRESS photograph, okay?  It gets put in newspapers, which will sell or not sell regardless of whether that photo is in there or not.

I'm just trying to focus you on that.  A PUBLIC resource, put out and sold into the PUBLIC by AP. Once you buy a newspaper, as far as I'm aware there's no law saying what you may or may not do with it.  You can wipe your arse with it and that's fine.  You can collect up every copy of a particular issue and wallpaper a room with as many copies of that photo as you can get hold of, and the newspapers cannot stop you from doing that, because you bought or obtained all the copies legally.

I could also obtain one copy of that newspaper legally, stick the photo to my wall in front of my easel, and paint a stylised version of the photo that could look exactly like the Fairey artwork.  In fact, if I had done so, AP would be totally powerless to cease and desist me.  You can't infringe an artist's right to paint, any more than you can infringe the right to free speech.  The Press and newspapers depend on this right themselves.  (Bear with me, this is the USA I'm referring to here.)

But because this involves a paint program and the web and this new-fangled electronics stuff, (and, probably to a much greater degree due to newspapers going slowly and despairingly broke in their hundreds,) AP have decided that this is, well, plagiarism.

Looking at the original and the Fairey print side by side, I can see (besides the obvious broad stroke colouring) dozens of differences in details.  So between the art treatment and the details, to me that's enough to not only throw the case out of court, but also fine AP for wasting valuable court time and causing damage to Fairey's reputation.  

Any artist is free to make a derivative work of art based on anything they can see or imagine.  You can't stop someone painting a picture of your top secret prototype hovermobile toaster deluxe, because if they can see it, they can paint it.  You have no legal recourse if that artist them sells that picture and a dozen works from a dozen different angles, to your opposition manufacturer.  If you painted a nice picture of Obama entitled "hope" and then sold hundreds of copies, you'd have no recourse if someone else took your image and drew a copy of it and used it to cash in on your fame...  

So why don't AP just take a copy of the artwork, and plaster it all over their newspapers with a caption "made from a painting plagiarised from a picture which AP took and which we're now claiming back"  ?  I'm sure they'd make more money than they ever will in court, and would put Fairey in a similar situation out of which there's no easy comeback.

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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Global Warning Not Global Warming

My Google Reader is trying to tell me something...

NY Pastor: God's Wrath Is Near (Again) (
7 Terrifying Global Warming Pictures (Slide Show)

are the two articles.  I dunno about you, but I'm now scared shitless...  

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