Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Computer Love – Home Office Computer Magazine - UK

What if you could not only read a computer magazine but actually see the concepts demonstrated on screen? Or view a tutorial movie inside of the magazine?

Home Computer Magazine is a PDF publication from Cranberry Publishing in the United Kingdom. It is an interesting concept. The online only magazine is published in two versions, a dial-up version with full content but without the interactive features.

The Broadband version has all of the content of the dial-up version but the graphic resolution is better and there is interactive content. Since I have dial-up it took me about 12 minutes to download Issue #5.

The magazine is free however, it is advertiser supported. I was concerned about potential spyware creeping in but I haven't seen or notices anything out of the ordinarily. Still I chose to download just the PDF and not the helper program. The advertisements don't get in the way of the content.

There was a five page article on how to do CD and DVD burning, including how to create audio CD's with Windows Media Player. The instructions are easy enough for novice users to be able to follow. There are reviews of products and software as well as a tutorial section.

I hope this is a trend, to publish timely magazine content via the Adobe PDF format. If they can survive via advertiser support (without the nastiness of spyware) then I and my fellow tree
huggers are all for it.


Monday, April 25, 2005

The Bridge - Chemical Society Visual Elements Page

I have always been against the arbitrary separation of art and science. It does not have to be one or the other. If we as a country were not so myopic about testing as opposed to actual learning, we would understand that the arts can help you learn anything.

My proof? Ask anyone over a certain age to recite Conjunction Junction or "I'm Just A Bill" from School House Rock.

The Chemical Society Visual Elements Page goes a long way to bridge the separation. If I had this in school, it would have made science class a whole lot easier.

It is an artistic representation of the elements table. By clicking on an element, you can learn the history of the symbol, how it was named and its place in the chemical world.

You have your choice of viewing the complete information of the element or downloading an Adobe PDF document. Some pages have a QuickTime movie to help you visually remember what the element is and how it is used. The video on Neon is particularly colorful.

I Pity The Fool – The Darwin Awards

There are people who are lifelong dolts, goofs and fools. But there is a special place in the universe for those that are so cognitively challenged they require special merit.

The Darwin Award celebrates those who have left us under supremely stupid circumstances or embarrassed themselves to such a degree they will never live it down. There are two sites that I found. I can't determine who was first so you get a double helping of awards fever.

The Original Darwin Awards site is simple with a listing of different categories, including historical stupidity. There is a comfort in knowing you don't have to be born stupid. Take Francis Bacon. He was on the right track about stuffing a chicken with snow. But it is all in the technique. You shouldn't die from it - http://www.darwinawards.cjb.net

The slicker The Darwin Awards has a huge list of stories and urban legends. Let it be known that heavy drinking and messing with a few thousands bees do not mix - http://www.darwinawards.com

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hey Mr. DJ – Turntables Flash Animation Mixer

Here I am – got the flu, the creeping feeling of crud and piles of work that have to be finished. I need a break. I think I may have just found it with an oldie but goody in my URL list. Turntables.de
is an online DJ mixing flash animation. Yes, you too can ride the wheels of steel.

It comes in two versions. A Flash 3 format that is simple and quick to load for dial-up users. You click the top turntable to start the music and the other turntables are used to scratch and mix.

The Flash 4 version has a vocal DJ that you can click active. You also can get the audience involved. I think this version has other features but unfortunately I don't read any of the Scandinavian languages. It took me a while to figure out I had to drop and drag the records on to the turntable.

Nothing fancy, no wow factor but so long as my head is pounding it might as well do it to a steady beat. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Who Are You – The Return of Dr. Who

Before Star Trek, even before Lost In Space there was "The Doctor."

Dr. Who was first produced by The British Broadcasting Company 1963 and aired continuously with new episodes until 1989. After 1989, there have been radio programs; publications, a TV movie, and flash animated stories.

This makes Dr. Who unquestionably the longest running science fiction program in broadcast history. The BBC has done a great job of maintaining an active Dr. Who site. Another good resource is Outpost Gallifrey One.

U.S. fans of the TARDIS may have gotten hooked on episodes that aired on local public television stations. The Doctor encountered aliens, monsters, new worlds and a steady stream of companions. The most enduring? K-9 a robotic dog.

To start you properly on the road to Gallifrey there is A Brief History Of Time (Travel) - a fan based site that does a nice job of getting you up to speed on the history of the show. Then take a side trip to the Dr. Who Information Network which is devoted to all things relating to Dr. Who and the fans that support the program.

The Dr. Who Image Archives has 7,000 plus images of the world(s) of The Doctor. For a historical look at over 40 years of writing and publications about the series, visit Cuttings Archive.

And they say Star Trek fans are in too deep.

Well, you can't keep a good (or bad) Time Lord down for long. The British Broadcasting Company is producing new episodes of Dr. Who. That is the good news. If you live near the Canadian border or can get Canadian Broadcasting on satellite it is even better news. The CBC has video trailers in QuickTime and Windows Media format.

The bad news is that those living in the U.S. can't view the new episodes. I'm thinking if all the U.S. Who-Heads wrote their local PBS station asking very nicely if they would air the new series, with an implied kickback at fundraising time, we could start America on the path of rejoining the world community.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Everybody's Got A Hungry Heart - Cyber Toaster Museum

I love this underground anthropology movement. In my continuing quest to learn everything, I stumble upon a shrine to toasters. You may question a site dedicated to toasters but if you think about it, "why not?" Toasters required bread. How did they know toasting would work? How did the ancestors figure out toast and jam was a winning combination? Who told them about butter? And cinnamon toast - genius!

Special shout out to the person who figured out that the slots needed to be wider so that you can toast a half a bagel without potentially electrocuting yourself.

But this isn't about the stuff you put in the toaster as much as it is the devices. I've seen some cool toasters in my time but there are classy gems in the Toaster museum. There are plans to build an actual real world Toaster museum but they got a way to go on fundraising. Man, that has got to be a hard sell - http://www.toaster.org/museum.html