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Go Russ!!

My good mate Russell Davies has just jumped into the top 10 chip holders one day into the world series poker champs in Las Vegas.

You can watch his performance on his blog Tales from the Felt and also on Poker Stars Blog

11:53 PM, 30 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

More cool audio gear

Here's some more random stuff in line with my last cool audio blog/links like the retro analog synth clips and the totally hummable Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street clips:

  • The coolest 25 key midi controllerever - the Line6 Toneport. I mean it has real analog VU meters - how cool is that!
  • Korg have come good with an affordable and very feature-full 49 key midi controller - the imaginatively named Korg K49. It even comes with bundled Korg synth software emulation that can run standalone or as a plugin (Mac and PC).
  • You'll note that I didn't count Dwight Yoakam's Chicken Lickin's Chicken Rings as a music related posting ;)

03:05 AM, 17 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Microsoft Fined 280.5 Million Euro by EU Commission: "No Company is Above the Law"

As reported on GrokLaw, the EU antitrust investigations have followed up their earlier decision to fine with the amount. Ouch. As much as I dream of the day that Microsoft competes fairly (and thus will be forced to actually innovate), just thinking about being fined that amount makes me wince. Thank goodness for limited liability companies!

But seriously, this is a very good thing. Microsoft can no longer be under any illusion that they can get away with behaving illegally and unfairly forever. Being the largest employer in California and having the ear of US Congressmen doesn't help you in the rest of the world. And Microsoft needs the rest of the world - even if just to protect their dominance of the US market against foreign competitors.

09:56 PM, 12 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (2)

Dwight Yoakam's Chicken Lickin's Chicken Rings

I'm surprised TramTown haven't linked to Dwight Yoakam's Chicken Lickin's Chicken Rings , especially given the once removed relationship that Tram Town's DB and I share with Dwight Yoakam's dog.

09:57 PM, 11 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Managing your brand requires calm pragmatism

Anyone in Australia will be done to death with the John Howard v. Peter Costello saga. I like both men, and would vote for either. In fact I have a particular fondness for Costello (as wierd as that might seem) and would love to see him as the PM one day. Unfortunately for him, I think that Jeff Kennet's erudite words are very accurate:

The former Victorian premier says Peter Costello would jeopardise the federal Liberal Party's re-election chances if he tried to force a leadership showdown.

Mr Kennett said Mr Costello did not have the support of the public and was not "owed" the prime ministership.

"What I think this does is damage Peter's brand. Peter will one day potentially be the successor," Mr Kennett said. (SMH)

Of course Kennett knows a thing or two about being ousted from leadership, and then coming back. He also knows a thing or two about shooting yourself in both feet. Costello could do worse than to look to Jeff for advice, rather than the more obvious parallel of the Hawke/Keating dustup.

03:22 AM, 11 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

I didn't know you could do that on an Etch-A-Sketch!

George Vlosich III has been creating serious art on his Etch-A-Sketch&tm; since 1989.

If you ever need to find someone with supreme patience - George III is your man!

11:47 PM, 09 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

The beginning of the end for F1 supremacy?

Or is it the end of the end. I have had many long and rambling discussions with friends about F1's move to single tyre races (then back) or to v8 engines etc., with the theme that I love F1 because it is the most technically innovative form of motor racing. I know I'm not alone. With the v8 it looked like F1 engines would start losing their power supremacy to CART or Nascar. In fact, the result seems to be increased cornering speed - which is good for racing.

The upcoming changes are the single tyre manufacturer (in some ways a pity, but not that big a deal really) and the single reference ECU provided for all teams.

The second is more of a concern to me. Over the past few years, Renault's launch control system really made for interesting races - without it, their previously weak engine power would have meant they were not competitive.

If we are going to have a single ECU supply, then at least one thing we should get from it is higher reliability. The design should change less, which means that a bad ECU shouldn't end someone's race. And since the ECU will be supplied for the team, not by them, imagine how angry they would be if the externally provided ECU ended their race.

That is why it is so incredibly scary that SPEEDtv.com is reporting that the chosen ECU supplier is Microsoft. Now hopefully that is either a joke or a misunderstanding on the behalf of SPEEDtv.com. Microsoft knows nothing about ECU design and little about embedded real time systems (some would say they know little about software design at all...). In search of official information, I did a google search for site:formula1.com Microsoft. The only result I got was one page showing:

Are you trying to go a level in the directory without having the base directory present?
Invalid use of Null
Microsoft VBScript runtime error

I'd hate to get that error while heading towards a corner at over 300kph - it's not even gramatically correct!

09:35 PM, 06 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

At last a screen to replace my 22" SGI Trinitron

The Dell 24" LCD looks like a real winner. It's 1920 x 1200 resolution is enough pixels for me, and it's the same as the Apple 23" cinema display, just physically bigger (less squinting) and $900 AUD cheaper! It's slightly slower (16ms vs 14ms) but almost twice as bright and it has even higher contrast than Apple's flagship 30" display. Viewing andle is the same. Oh, did I mention that the Dell is $900 cheaper and includes S/Video and composite inputs?!

It also has a black bezel which I think is a must. I really can't stand screens with a light bezel (like white or beige), and the silver bezels of Apple's cinema displays would really send me batty.

08:32 PM, 03 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Australian TV cover of international sport makes me angry

So the TV guide said that coverage of today's US F1 GP started at 3:45am. North American F1 always bites for the Australian timezone, but I dutifully set my alarm and get up. Often the F1 coverage starts up to 20 minutes later than scheduled, but F1 viewers here are used to that sort of abuse.

So here I am, 3:51am, and there is only 38/73 laps left.

11 cars are off the track already - and I missed it all.

Words cannot describe my frustration.

And why is the Wimbledon coverage delayed by so many hours?

Is SBS the only channel who understands the importance of sports that are not Rugby or AFL?

GAH!

01:51 PM, 02 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (1)

Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street

Courtesy of BoingBoing I came across this totally mad set performed by Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street - two of my favourite things in one!

First, a funky take on the sesame street theme (link):

Second, the sweetest "Superstition" jam ever (link):

So that makes me think about copyright and fair use (remembering, of course, that there is no such concept of "fair use" here in Australia). Even the world's richest man has admitted to viewing copyrighted works illegally uploaded to youtube (Bill Gates' piracy confession). In this case, there is no obvious financial damage caused - there's nowhere I can go and buy a DVD of Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street. In fact without this person uploading these videos I would probably go to my grave never having enjoyed this. Now I will probably get to enjoy this articular Wonder magic a number of times, which I am honestly sure would make Stevie Wonder happy. In addition, after browsing a few more "lost" Stevie Wonder videos, I'm sure I'll end up buying some more tracks on iTunes that I don't yet have.

Of course just because the outcome is good for the copyright holders doesn't make the original act any less illegal, but it really does make the position of the medial labels and the lawmakers look quite foolish and untenable in the long term.

09:43 PM, 01 Jul 2006 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

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