30 January 2009

Remixing classic literature

Now available on Amazon: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance — Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

Synopsis: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone crunching zombie action.

This is brilliant.

27 January 2009

Isn't that quaint?

I happened across some old advertisements that are, uh, showing their age.

An ad for Lehman that I found in an issue of The Tech from 2005:

The tagline (not shown) is "Where vision gets built."

An ad for AIG I found in an old pile of mail:

I couldn't help but laugh.

26 January 2009

Creative destruction at work

The NYT has an interesting article about how the depression is driving trends in technology, including the adoption of netbooks, virtualization, and Linux. Netbooks are interesting and all, but I'm more fascinated by the software side of this.

Recessions "can cause people to think more about the effective use of their assets," said Craig R. Barrett, the retiring chairman of Intel.

If recessions are good for anything it's that they force us to use all our resources to the fullest and in the most efficient manner. And people are noticing that this is not really compatible with the idea of proprietary software, which basically represents starting with something infinitely malleable (software) and then crippling it in some manner that suits the vendor. Not so great.

23 January 2009

Scanning with the Canon Pixma MP450 under Ubuntu

Instructions for scanning using your Canon Pixma MP450 under Ubuntu GNU/Linux 9.04:

  1. Plug it in.
  2. Start xsane.

It's not this easy under Windows.

12 January 2009

Thank goodness for little things

It's the year 2009. And I can finally sync my phone, my camera, and my portable hard drive (all acquired in the last year) with the same cable. Oh, and charge my phone, too.

(The cable in question is a USB A to mini-B cable.)

Not having to fish through a drawer full of cables to find the right one is nice. But it's also nice that I have a handful of them and I can keep one at home, one in my bag, etc. And I didn't even have to pay $20 for some crappy extra cable/connector.

Is this what progress feels like?

10 January 2009

A thought for today

For money you can have everything it is said. No, that is not true. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace. The shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot be had for money.

Arne Garborg, writer (1851-1924).

Via Wordsmith.

This brings to mind a speech written by George Bernard Shaw for the character of Don Juan in "Don Juan in Hell", the third act of Man and Superman. Shaw really flexes his mastery of juxtaposition:

THE DEVIL. [mortified] Senor Don Juan: you are uncivil to my friends.

DON JUAN. Pooh! why should I be civil to them or to you? In this Palace of Lies a truth or two will not hurt you. Your friends are all the dullest dogs I know. They are not beautiful: they are only decorated. They are not clean: they are only shaved and starched. They are not dignified: they are only fashionably dressed. They are not educated they are only college passmen. They are not religious: they are only pewrenters. They are not moral: they are only conventional. They are not virtuous: they are only cowardly. They are not even vicious: they are only "frail." They are not artistic: they are only lascivious. They are not prosperous: they are only rich. They are not loyal, they are only servile; not dutiful, only sheepish; not public spirited, only patriotic; not courageous, only quarrelsome; not determined, only obstinate; not masterful, only domineering; not self-controlled, only obtuse; not self-respecting, only vain; not kind, only sentimental; not social, only gregarious; not considerate, only polite; not intelligent, only opinionated; not progressive, only factious; not imaginative, only superstitious; not just, only vindictive; not generous, only propitiatory; not disciplined, only cowed; and not truthful at all—liars every one of them, to the very backbone of their souls.

Thanks to Robert Richter who brought this to my attention via the AWAD newsletter.