Clever Video of Airplanes

There’s a cool video here which is apparently a promotion for GE’s new GPS-based flight guidance system. You don’t have to know why it was made to enjoy it, however. Chris and I also think that Axon may have been used for the marimba pattern in the soundtrack.

Whoops, it seems that the permalink that the site offered for that video isn’t targeted that well. You’re looking for the video called Segment One: Paths of Flight.

In Memory of Peter Christopherson, 1955-2010

I’m saddened to learn that Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson died today. I knew of Mr. Christopherson as a member of Throbbing Gristle, the pioneering industrial band. Throbbing Gristle, despite their relative obscurity in this country, was a huge influence on the development of my musical aesthetic. It is not an exaggeration to say that Audio Damage products do what they do in part because of my listening to Throbbing Gristle during my teens and twenties.

I was completely unaware, until I read his Wikipedia entry this morning, that Mr. Christopherson was also a member of Hipgnosis, the design group responsible for some of the most striking album-cover art done during the 1970s and 80s. (Remember album-cover art?) Mr. Christopherson himself was the creator of the covers of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and all three of Peter Gabriel’s first albums (here, here, and here), all of which I own, among others. He also directed a long list of music videos for a diverse array of artists, including Erasure’s Chains of Love, Robert Plant’s Tall Cool One, and the startling, Kafkaesque Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes. His works are often surreal, macabre, and sometimes grotesque. He saw things differently than the rest of us, and wasn’t afraid to show us what he saw. He made many contributions to my life–some of which I knew were his work at the time, many of which I didn’t–and I’m sorry that he’s gone. read more

Order Tracking Info: ur doin it rong

A letter I just sent to a company who shall remain nameless, at least for now:

Hello,

I placed an order on 11/12, order #S03847[xxx]. The email I received stating that my order has shipped contains tracking information which makes no sense. The shipping method is stated as “UPS GROUND” but the tracking number given is M011440[xxx] which does not appear to formatted as a normal UPS Ground tracking number. Also, the link for the tracking number in your message goes to the US Postal Service website, not the UPS website. However, the Postal Service site says that there is no record of this tracking number. Out of desperation I tried the FedEx site also and got the same result. read more

First Snow

IMG 8496

Yay! Boulder finally received its first snow of the season last night. It wasn’t much–only about an inch on grassy areas–but it’s a start.

11/11 is Pocky Day!

J-List has brought it to my attention that Glico Corp. has designated Nov. 11 as Pocky Day, because the digits 11/11 resemble four Pocky sticks. What’s particularly amusing about this year’s Pocky Day, from my perspective, is that Yellow Magic Orchestra have somehow been drawn into the celebration. It’s sort of hard to convey the significance of either Pocky or YMO if you’re not already familiar with them. The closest analogy I can come up with is to imagine if Aerosmith endorsed Oreos. (That doesn’t quite get the idea across because YMO is one of extremely few Japanese music groups to achieve international recognition, but it’s a start.) I first heard them in my teens when I was discovering electronic music and, decades later, made a point of putting “Technopolis” on my iPod so that I could listen to it while looking out the hotel window during my first stay in Tokyo. read more

Open Letter to Webmasters

Dear Webmasters of the world,

As you launch into some massive redesign of your site, consider usability over all else. Yes, it’s all very cute and impressive if you can use lots of Flash animation (BTW, Flash is going bye-bye in case you haven’t gotten that memo) to make things move around and bounce and stuff, but it’s only cute and impressive the first time the user sees it. After that it’s a waste of the user’s time. If I find myself waiting for your site to do anything besides simply load, at best my attention will wander and at worst I’ll lose interest in your company and its products altogether. This statement may lead you to think that I have the attention span of of a hyperactive seven-year-old who’s been drinking Red Bull, but in truth I’m a fairly patient person in my mid-40s with an above-average education. I just don’t like having my time wasted, and I particluarly don’t like having my time wasted when it’s not my choice to be digging around on your site in the first place. read more

November, and No Snow

For the record, November has arrived and Boulder has yet to see a single snowflake this season. Temperatures have dropped below freezing on only one night. I just paid my utility bill and noticed that the average daily temperature for October 2010 was 56F; for the same month last year, it was 43F. The recent fire was blamed in part on the lack of precipitation. According to the local paper, Boulder has received only 2.26 inches of rain since August 1. (That doesn’t include the fraction of an inch we got last night.) The average precipitation for Aug-Oct is 5.14 inches. read more