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Monday, January 29, 2007

Equivalent lenses and diffraction limits

Luminous-landscape has a very thorough article about equivalent focal length and how diffraction limits resolution at low aperture. The fun part is that it's written by two very knowledgeable people and yet they apparently can't agree on the minimum aperture at which resolution becomes diffraction-limited for a given sensor.

Who's right ? I have no idea. I just know that when I use a good tripod and a good lens opened-up to oh-I-don't-know,-about-f/8.0, the result is generally sharp enough.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The open-source Aeroqua

DailyMotion hosts a cool demo of Beryl, an upcoming window manager for Linux. It borrows liberally from Aqua, Aero and Looking Glass, and adds a touch of open-source exuberance, going ridiculously overboard with themes and 2D or 3D effects.

Provided there's an easy way of disabling the more epilepsy-inducing animations, it does seems like Linux will soon be getting a top-notch window manager of its own.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New bestseller coming to a very small screen near you

Apparently Finnish author Hannu Luntiala just finished a novel written entirely in smsspeak. (Proofreading must have been hell.)

I doubt it'll be as funny as Who moved my blackberry?, a novel entirely made of emails written by one very conceited executive, but I'm sure buying it :)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Let's photoshop Apple's future products

Fun contest at Worth1000: what are Apple's future products ?

The iCube looks like fun:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Heard on TWiT : David Pogue on indexing.

I'm sincerely sorry for database fans hoping for a post on query optimization, but this post will talk about book indexes. You know, books. Made of paper. And ink. With page numbers, a table of contents, and a really old-fashioned user interface which doesn't even offer full-text search.

Books, then. I heard mentioned on TWiT that David Pogue writes his books' indexes (or is that word "indices" ? I never know.) himself. All the hosts seemed to agree this was a waste of time and, well, basically, nuts.

Apparently when you've just finished a technical book and it's time to write an index, the standard way to go is : don't do it. The publisher will handle all of that by himself, either by hiring a "professional indexer" (now that sounds like a rewarding job) or by running the book through an indexing script that automatically generates the index. Some super-scrupulous publishers who think of themselves as catering to the high-tech book connoisseur crowd will, maybe, use a combination of the two.

Please allow me to be the first to say: "Huh ?".

When I'm shopping for a technical book, I have to figure out in a few minutes whether it will help me answer my questions on the subject in a timely manner. And in such a short time, I can't do much more than skim a few random pages, then ask myself a couple of likely questions and try to answer them using the table of contents and, of course, the index. If it's good -- and assuming I had some sleep in the last twenty hours or so -- I'll quickly find an obvious word related to my question, and this will point to a page where I'll find the answer. If it's not good (and I've found most tech book indexes to be pretty bad) I won't.

Now according to an old TWiT I just listened to, David Pogue doesn't do this the traditional way. (Which I should really call "the lazy way".) He believes he can do a better job himself, seeing how he wrote the whole book, and this gives him a better grasp of the content and the kind of question a typical reader might look for in the index.

Now that is a radical idea...

SQL coated raisins

(Disclaimer : non-programmers probably won't find this funny. You've been warned.)

I'm a big fan of The Daily WTF in general and I find their Pop-up Potpourri especially funny, but this one is in a class of its own :


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I'd Really Rather You Didn't

  1. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Act Like a Sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou Ass When Describing My Noodly Goodness. If Some People Don't Believe In Me, That's Okay. Really, I'm Not That Vain. Besides, This Isn't About Them So Don't Change The Subject.

  2. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Use My Existence As A Means To Oppress, Subjugate, Punish, Eviscerate, And/Or, You Know, Be Mean To Others. I Don't Require Sacrifices, And Purity Is For Drinking Water, Not People.

  3. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Judge People For The Way They Look, Or How They Dress, Or The Way They Talk, Or, Well, Just Play Nice, Okay? Oh, And Get This In Your Thick Heads: Woman = Person. Man = Person. Samey - Samey. One Is Not Better Than The Other, Unless We're Talking About Fashion And I'm Sorry, But I Gave That To Women And Some Guys Who Know The Difference Between Teal and Fuchsia.

  4. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Indulge In Conduct That Offends Yourself, Or Your Willing, Consenting Partner Of Legal Age AND Mental Maturity. As For Anyone Who Might Object, I Think The Expression Is Go F*** Yourself, Unless They Find That Offensive In Which Case They Can Turn Off the TV For Once And Go For A Walk For A Change.

  5. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Challenge The Bigoted, Misogynist, Hateful Ideas Of Others On An Empty Stomach. Eat, Then Go After The B*******.

  6. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Build Multimillion-Dollar Churches/Temples/Mosques/Shrines To My Noodly Goodness When The Money Could Be Better Spent (Take Your Pick):

    1. Ending Poverty

    2. Curing Diseases

    3. Living In Peace, Loving With Passion, And Lowering The Cost Of Cable

    I Might be a Complex-Carbohydrate Omniscient Being, But I Enjoy The Simple Things In Life. I Ought To Know. I AM the Creator.

  7. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Go Around Telling People I Talk To You. You're Not That Interesting. Get Over Yourself. And I Told You To Love Your Fellow Man, Can't You Take A Hint?

  8. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You If You Are Into, Um, Stuff That Uses A Lot of Leather/Lubricant/Las Vegas. If the Other Person Is Into It, However (Pursuant To #4), Then Have At It, Take Pictures, And For The Love Of Mike, Wear a CONDOM! Honestly, It's A Piece of Rubber. If I Didn't Want It To Feel Good When You Did It I Would Have Added Spikes, Or Something.

From The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Who needs Photoshop ?

Great collection of Photographs that Changed the world at neatorama. I'm quite admirative of this one by Philippe Halsman :

It took six hours, 28 jumps, and a roomful of assistants throwing angry cats and buckets of water into the air to get the perfect exposure.

Wow. Most of the time I'm too lazy to set up a tripod...