12/27/2011

20/11 hindsight

Posted by – December 27, 2011

The main event that marked 2011 was most likely the Japanese tsunami back in March, which triggered that nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant. I mentioned the disasters in a posting on March 20th (here), where I mainly focused on how the media presented the disaster to the public and how “hot” news events like that, slightly fall below the news radar because reporting the death of thousands of people sells.

On the Canadian side: the most important events circled around the Canadian general elections (May 2nd), where the CP managed to get the majority of seats in the House. Surprisingly, the NDP decimated the Liberals and ended up becoming the Official Opposition party. Not long after, the NDP’s leader Jack Layton retired from politics and died of cancer back in August. Layton’s funeral was most likely the number one story in Canada. I’ve not mentioned this year (I think) but I was eligible to vote. This was not as much as an emotional event as when I accepted the citizenship back in 2010. However, it was definitely a memorable ‘first’.

As usual, for a more detailed Canadian outlook of 2011, the CBC has put together a list of the most visited stories on their site, ordered by month.

Update: I’m totally aware of the Arab Spring, the death of Khadafi and even, the death of Kim Jong-il: too be honest, while interesting I have my doubts that things will be changing for the better any time soon in the affected countries. If so, I’ll surely bring it up.

03/06/2008

Chances?

Posted by – March 6, 2008

CBC had their documentary ‘Winning for a Living’ on tonight, which featured people who are obsessed with filling out contest ballots. The Internet, of course, has been the Great Leap Forward for these kind of contests. Ironically, most contestors use regular mathematical skills to ensure their win:

Mike Smith of Toronto has been contesting for over 30 years, winning an estimated $250,000 in free stuff, including seven TVs! He spent all of one weekend filling out 2,000 ballots in hopes of winning TV #8

In a way, I guess, you also need to have a talent to read the fine print before you start stuffing 2000 ballots with your name in a ballet box. I need to mention that I rarely commit myself to enter contests or even lotteries: if you do the math, you’ll find out the chances to win are generally too small. I did have a couple of wins in my lifetime, most notably, a Playmobil pirateship, which I (looking at the circumstances and my young age) obviously didn’t deserve to win because, well: that’s probably a separate story for another day.

As mentioned, I made a couple of recordings of the Yo La Tengo show last Sunday. The complete setlist can be found at Blog.WMFU. I missed a couple of sets: Set 3 didn’t work out because my stream connection was more or less flaky causing Audacity to flunk out a couple of times. One of the sets was interrupted because the WMFU crew had to restart one of the servers which, from what I gather, was to make room for more online music listeners.

Snipping through the Audacity audio recordings, I noticed that the recorded setlists (unsurprisingly) take up quite some space. Audacity stores project files in AU format (see history).

You may have noticed that Microsoft released their first IE8 Beta, which has caused quite a stir (or acclaim) among standards proponents, web designers and developers (I briefly touched on this before). I highly doubt that IE8 will beat out Firefox, Opera or Safari (Or Konqueror) if you look at it from the standards perspective.

01/28/2008

Is that a fractal?

Posted by – January 28, 2008

The CBCThe cast of ‘Untraceable’ has an excellent slideshow (with audio) about the movie industry’s obsession with evil machines. The slideshow uses the new movie ‘Untraceable’ (starring Diane Lane) as a reference and the columnist narrates us through other examples of evil machine movies. Excellent stuff this (Earlier: Onstad’s slideshow on 2007 movies).

There were a couple of things I forgot to mention in an earlier entry: The first thing of note is that IE8 story. I think it started with this (A list apart) article: “Beyond DOCTYPE”. Basically, for IE8 to render webpages correctly, web developers are asked to add an extra meta declaration to their webpages. Hundreds of comments later, the majority of WaSP members (the so-called Web Standards Project) decided to support the not-so-standard move. Who cares about standards, right? Haakon Lie (CTO Opera software) gave his perspective on the latest IE8 development and the most remarkable part of his article is the following jab:

A third scenario could be to hard-code the Web address of Acid2 into IE 8. This way, the page is given special treatment to make it look like the browser is passing the test.

Maybe now it’s a good time to throw out compatibility for the sake of following standards.

The second thing you may have heard about, is that a group of anonymous people who appropriately call themselves ‘Anonymous’ have openly declared war on the Church of Scientology (Google News link). The group has produced several videos (which currently are hosted on YouTube, so you obviously need Flash). The videos feature an anonymous person speaking in a digitized voice: or rather, it sounds like they’ve used Windows Narrator to bring across their message. (See also: XenuTV comments on Anonymous [also YouTube])

Update: A reasoned response to X-UA-Compatible (via Burningbird)