Thursday, September 14, 2006 | 1:21 pm

It's easy to lose perspective on religious tolerance when you have spiritual "leaders" issuing decrees to their supporters to go kill in the name of religion. And it's not limited to those of a Muslim faith, Pat Robertson is guilty of that one.

But this plea for sanity from an American Muslim is spot-on. Let's not forget this perspective exists as we build our own resentments.

Flowed into iTunes

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | 12:13 pm

Congrats to the kids who designed the application Coverflow (which I covered previously here) for designing something so elegant, Apple bought it. It is now in the vastly improved iTunes 7.

Besides gapless playback and multiple libraries, the best part my late night testing showed is that they maintained CoverFlows method of storing album covers as seperate files once per album, rather than embedding the graphics in every song file, which bloats my large library even more.

Now if only I could find a way to force it to use my previously downloaded album covers that I snagged with the original CoverFlow beta as well as those farmed by Synergy (which grabs from Amazon and others), as especially older Aussie bands and miscellaneous electronica mixes have been farmed by hand and won;t likely be snagged from the iTunes store. Haven't tried adding album covers to iTunes 7 yet, but don't expect it to be as intuitive as CoverFlow was (right click to paste the clipboard directly).

Looking forward to iTV also, as that is a much smoother TV viewing method than my current downlaod to 5-gen iPod, cable iPod to tele. And as CoverFlow shows, Apple are more than capable of exceeding Tivos renowned market-leading user-interface if they decide to also add TV recording capabilities. That will be an interesting battle.

And as for the renewed DRM iTunes 7 delivered, patching a recent application that strips it, well, that didn't last long did it.


Monday, September 11, 2006 | 10:33 am

What a shitty day September 11th is. Miserable day for thousands directly affected by the events of 2001, and pretty much the reason (justified or not) that so many local people have to experience heartache as their loved ones in the service spend months a time in the Middle-East. I was here in 2001, and it was stranegly surreal, especially as I had been on the top of the tower only a few years earlier, and then 2 weeks after heading to Wales for a mates wedding, I flew over the WTC site at sunset on the way to an eerily quiet LaGuardia airport. Truly dumbfounding sight.

And on a personal note, Sep 11th is the anniversary of my father's death also, a few years prior to the shared horror of NY. Thus it was already a shitty day that's now even harder to forget.

And of course, it's a bloody Monday to boot.

Whomever you are that have departed, you are all missed.

Angelic Blue

Friday, September 08, 2006 | 4:08 pm

Year round jet-noise at my place of work, which is about 2 miles from Oceana AirBase, finally paid off today, with the Blue Angels rehearsing/performing in 3,4 and 6-plane squads for the Oceana AirShow whic is celebrating the Angels 60th. Our front car-park provides a pretty unobstructed view of this flat locale, and watching the Angels cruise upwards and fall back to earth, and then pass overhead only a hundred feet or so as they regroup is still pretty thrilling for that awestruck boy inside the man.

This boy used to go to a few Airshows with my beloved dad back in Australia, but I have not been to a single show here, in the heart of east-coast military aviation, since I arrived 7 years ago. Maybe its just not the same without your dad, or when you aren't one.

Blue Angels

Standby.... Standby....

The [sarcasm] delightful Dell [/sarcasm] brick I use at work has a number of quirky Windows-isms I have not managed to get used to, due to me being a known Mac-o-phant. For example, the completely random amount of time it takes to wake from sleep/hibernate, including the 1 in 5 times it decides not to wake at all. Sleepy those Dells.

Last night, while trying to flee the office, I was forced to read the message that Windows displays when ejecting the laptop from it's cradle:

    "Preparing to standby in order to complete eject."
Tarkin Stands By

WTF? Could they have written a more meaningless psuedo-English message? Sadly, I am sure they have. What was wrong with just "Ejecting..."?

The fact that my Dell is of the exploding battery varieties (making day to day use very exciting) makes this image even better.

Like 1998 All Over Again

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 | 1:15 pm

Steve Irwin, Aussie
Well, it seems like my patriotic duty to get this post out there: Steve Irwin, rest in peace mate.

When I was backpacking North America in 1998, it seems like every second person who determined my place of birth asked me about Steve Irwin. Truth be told, I had no idea who he was. I had to watch Animal Planet in motel rooms to work out what people were talking about.

Well, upon his untimely death last weekend at age 44, I am once again the recipient of an inordinate number of enquiries as to how I feel about this. I can't say I was a huge fan of his style, indeed Steve himself knew that Australians kind of cringed about his over the top "ocker-isms", but full credit to the man for being a true naturalist, and a dedicated conservationist at heart. I think the demand for showmanship (of which I hold TV ratings partially responsible) drove the message into the background at times as his series went on, but he still constantly tried his damn-dest to educate viewers about this fragile blue-globe we are screwing up, even when they were just looking for animal thrills.

What has appalled me though is the number of comments I have had along the lines of "he had it coming." From a stingray? Something like 17 stingray deaths on record all-time worldwide, thats makes it a pretty unfortunate accident, rather than 'tempting fate'.

To me it's like saying that someone "had it coming" if they die in a car accident because they drive everyday. Being adventurous doesn't mean a desire to die young, it just means that you may occasionally overestimate your invulnerability. I am pretty sure that stuntmen don't desire death, nor firemen nor police or soldiers, but they do have a way to deal with the fear that comes with their tasks, and they understand the risks and try to mitigate them. I don't see Steve Irwin any differently. The man was an honest-to-god bushie, and behind his child-like enthusiasm was an adult's consciosness of the danger and the showmanship entangled in what he did.

It's the one you don't expect that gets ya.

Love him or not, the man has a wife and kids, and his exuberance for life and nature will be missed by many more more than just them. He bought my island's unique flora and fauna to millions around the world, and was never too worried what others thought of him. Who can ask anything more from an Aussie?