Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009


Saturday Round-Up

Riya is a visual search engine that lets you upload, tag, and search your own photos or any other photos in their index.  Pretty normal, right?  The neat part is that it has some capacity for recognizing objects, including individual faces (with some margin of error).  Once you've taught it to recognize your friends, it will automatically tag your photos that those friends are in with their names, making it easier to search for them later.  Riya can also breakdown searches into related tags, letting you jump to similar interests or narrow down your search.  The main downside right now is that all large images are automatically resized to 800x600 pixels.  And let's face it, in today's digital photophile age, that's a pretty big downside.  Adult pictures are removed, though it appears that they may rely on user-policing to mark "adult content", and I was able to find some without much effort.  In the name of science, of course.  All in all, it's a neat idea, definately in beta, but worth keeping an eye on.

The ButtKicker LFE Electromagnetic Transducer has a fancy name and a fancier purpose: to make sound move you.  Without creating any additional audio, it can be placed below or attached to your couch or chair to make you feel the bass.  At $200, I seriously need to get one of these.

Table of Malcontents is a daily read (when I have the opportunity), and has enough good stuff over the past few days that you should really just hop over there and check it out.  But if you need my encouragement, I particularly enjoyed: Pirates and TreasureModern Living/Neurotica Series (though it's super-creepy), and 787 Cliparts.

Filed under: art, photo, tech 1 Comment

Sit and spin: a laptop story

After about a month of almost painful deliberation, I finally screwed up my courage yesterday evening and bought myself a laptop.  Talking to Abby about it, I told her that the more you know about computers the more difficult it becomes to choose one.  I wanted dual-core, but I also wanted 64-bit, and I wanted at least a 5400-RPM hard drive, decent graphics, and at minimum 1GB of RAM.  I preferred something smaller than the fairly standard 15.4" screen, which tend to weigh in starting at 6.5lb, and I wanted built-in wifi with bluetooth.  Also, I didn't want to spend very much.

Easy, right? 

I spent a lot of time on Dell's website, trying to finagle a deal with coupons and instant rebates.  Even with the $750 rebate on certain Inspiron notebooks of $1999 or more (which technically meant I could get a $2000 laptop for $1250), I was unenthused about my specs.  Poking about on, I noticed that the Turion 64 X2 notebooks were much cheaper than I had figured they might be, but that they didn't have one that really matched my every little desire.

Long story short, with the help of and HPshopping, I decided on a very snazzy, classy, black Compaq V3000Z, tricked out to match my exacting standards.  So what did I get?  Check these babies out:

  • AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-52 (1.60GHz/2x512KB L2 Cache)
  • 14.1" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280 x 800)
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150
  • 2.0GB DDR2 533 SDRAM (2x1024MB)
  • 80 GB 5400 RPM Serial ATA Hard Drive
  • LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
  • 802.11a/b/g WLAN and BlueTooth
  • 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 1-yr Standard Warranty
  • Dimensions: 13.15" (L) x 9.33" (W) x 1" (min H)/1.54" (max H)
  • Weight (6 cell): 5.5lb

Curious what a 1.6ghz processor might be in AMD-terms, I checked Newegg, and it appears that, were the processor single core, at least, it would be a 2800+.  That sounds nice and snappy to me, though I'm sure your mileage varies.  The only part I'm not completely tickled about is the integrated video, though evidently the Nvidia GeForce Go 6150 is the cream of integrated video cards for notebooks at the moment. A dedicated card it's not, but since there aren't any x2 notebooks available right now with dedicated graphics cards, I won't take that too personally.  Besides, it could be detrimental to my health if the notebook were able to play games too well.  Willpower and all, you understand.

Two features that have me particularly thrilled are the wifi switch on the keyboard, which allows you to easily disable your wireless capabilities, for security as well as battery-saving purposes, I would imagine.  The other one is the HP-proprietary Quickplay, which is described in the review as:

Quickplay is possibly the only software pre-installed which is worth keeping. Quickplay or QP for short is HP's take on the media center and unlike the media center QP can run without booting into windows and play DVD's, video, pictures and movies located in the shared documents folder. It is a nice tool if you watch movies or just play music on the laptop. It has a dedicated button which can launch QP from within Windows and even when the laptop is turned off. The optional remote might be worth buying as it is capable of controlling the Quickplay controls and will be useful when watching a DVD.

Compaq V3000ZThat sounds pretty damned neat, and I'm excited to try it out.

One of the main reasons I was so damned picky in choosing a notebook is that I wanted it to be (surprise) Windows Vista compatible.  Fully compatible.  Which means a 64-bit processor and the graphics power to handle Aero.  This baby should, I think, do the trick.  Now, about that Vista release date ...

The only real pain about the entire situation is that it isn't estimated to be built until August 7th, and then it's being shipped 5-7 day ground.  Who can be expected to be that patient after blowing that much cash on a laptop!?  Do they think I'm some sort of saint?  Cross your fingers for me that they finish it sooner, because I want to play around with it a bit before I start heading eastward.  Also, if you like, feel free to suggest some names.  And carrying cases.  I'm in the market for both.

Filed under: game, personal, tech 1 Comment

rachelEM illustration

commishb by Rachel Morris Today's Blogger Blog of Note is a lovely sketchblog by an artist named Rachel E. Morris.  Rachel is an illustration student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, though she'll be graduating this December and, I imagine, will start making her way as an artist in the world.  She describes her sketchblog as "where I will put things as I do them, before I get off my ass and stick them in the official webpage gallery."  The rest of her website is annoying to navigate, but there's definately some nice art there, so I recommend gritting your teeth and checking it out, if you're into that kind of thing.

Filed under: art 1 Comment

Paul Giamatti and Walt Whitman

I've had a great deal of respect for Paul Giamatti since Sideways, particularly, and thought he did a bang-up job as Screw-On Head.  Today I ran across his reading of Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider", which is a beautiful poem and wonderfully read.  (download from

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

-Walt Whitman

Filed under: cinema, poetic No Comments

Things that are happening, an update.

Quick updates on the life of the Wa (that's me).

All my ducks are in a row to go to McGill.  I got my CAQ (documentation) and my funds (loans), and I put in my notice at the two places that need it (my apartment and my job).  I've been telling people I'm leaving August 15th, which is indeed the plan.  I'm scared to death.

Part of the reason I'm scared is that I've fallen in love.  Really, really more in love than I was even a little bit prepared for, and now I have no idea what to do.  I've got some big decisions to make, and some serious conversations ahead.  And some tears to shed, I'm certain.  Love has the very strangest timing.

Theo's been talking about revitalizing La Casa, which I guess I'll believe when it happens.  He's still sitting on two scripts, and after that ... well, honestly, I'd really love to get back to writing comics on a regular basis.  I've had some good ideas while we've been on hiatus.  If we do get back to it, I'd like to try a different format.  The 2x2 panel at 600x800 now seems a little too cumbersome, and I wonder why we ever chose it.  My super-secret goal is to be nominated for best new webcomic for next year's WCCA.  We've also thrown around the idea of starting a webcomics-review site.  We've been thinking about it for about a year now, and mostly because Eric doesn't update as often as he used to and Fleen is more-or-less completely uninteresting to us.

I've been playing softball over the summer, and our team has won one game out of about ... ten.  We can't even maintain a perfect losing record.  We were on track to win a second game, but then the bastards came back in the bottom of the 7th and kicked our asses.  It was hell of fun, though.

Yesterday it hit 101 degrees.  That's not hell of fun at all.  That's just hell. 

Filed under: love, personal 3 Comments