Archive - 2009

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Pimp my eyes - a sunglasses review

So my friend and co-worker Dada brought back some sunglasses from Slovakia. They're "Optimal" brand (and I'm afraid I can't find a website for them right now), but they're pretty nice.

They are produced by a friend of Dada's, and I didn't have to pay anything for them, so that's your disclosure of interests there.

And the sunglasses? Pretty nice. The sporty model she got me fits well, looks decent, and has independently interchangeable lenses in three tints (Optimal makes several other styles, varying between sporty and stylish).

I think you should probably just use one tint at a time, though.200912311322.jpg

Linking links: a plea for help

So I'm finding that a lot of what I want to archive and look over in the long term is annotated links. I want to share these with all twenty of you who read my blog, but more importantly, with the few hundred people I know on facebook.

Here's the rub: facebook's links are nice and tidy to add, and all my friends see them, but searching, browsing, cataloging, and re-extracting those links is not good (or I haven't found out how). My preferred external link-grabber is (I'm old-school), but its integration with facebook appears to be inconsistent, plus it doesn't inject its content into the "links" stream in fb, as far as I can tell.

So my request: does anyone know of one of these:

Year in Review

This is usually a Christmas Post of sorts, but I'm late.

Despite many other momentous events this year, 2009 will surely be remembered in my household as the Year That Lady Died. Nothing else really was as momentous as the surprise death of our dog.

But nonetheless, a few other things happened. In April, I was a finalist in a win-a-car contest, with a 1:10 chance of driving home a winner. Inspired by the nature of the contest, I set up my own DIY drive-in movie theatre.

I didn't win.

Captioning, transcription, and a small experiment

I eagerly await the day that computerized transcription becomes cheap and reliable enough that human-transcribed audio disappears. Google is getting close. I have my reasons, but succinctly: podcasts need to be transcribed to be searched by text-search engines.

Short, Sweet

I have been busy. But in a good way. I recommend drinking Westmalle Trappist 8 while watching In Bruges while eating goat cheese brie. The Skor-covered cupcake at Cafe Divano is buttercreamy ectasy. Big City Cupcakes sells stylish, yucky, overpriced cupcakes.

TLO has pointed out that I've lost over $100 in pants and shorts in the last 30 days.

Professionally, I spent three weeks agonizing over an important milestone in a high-profile project. Then I solved that and two other notable problems in the first three hours of work today.

More later.

Pong to Pokémon

I am going to curate an exhibit on the history of video games. Since all twenty of my readers are (collectively) smarter than me, I thought I'd put my research notes here.

Physically, the exhibit will take up about four large display cases, with some possibility of room enough for, oh, a stand-up arcade machine. I'm still working out the nature of the exhibit, but here's my first thoughts:


I can't cover the whole history of video games in four display cases, no matter how small I make the type, or how long I make the interpretive audio clips. What I can do is highlight a few themes that I hope will excite an audience that has almost certainly played video games without thinking hard about the nature of video games.

I am planning in terms of three themes:

Nothing is Better Than a Gold Medal in the Special Olympics

While in Greece, TLO and I chanced upon a fairly wretched made-for-TV movie, The Loretta Claiborne Story. If the phrase "Camryn Mannheim vehicle" doesn't scare you off, I assure you some combination of the writing and the non-Mannheim acting (notably Kimberly Elise, doing an undertalented job in the titular role) ought to.

Regardless, TLO and I were, at that moment, pretty desperate for something in English. So we watched. The movie was terrible, but the true story it tells was amazing.

Loretta Claiborne was, and I'm not joking, the greatest Special Olympian ever. She has six gold medals and various silvers and bronzes in a variety of events from the half-marathon to bowling to figure skating. She apparently continues to train in even more events.

The World's Most Interesting Man... not featured in any beer ads. It's not Robert Norman Smith.

It may be Theodore Roosevelt. He wrote a definitive text on naval warfare while he was in university. He had about ten jobs. He was a first-class performer in about five or six more fields than should properly be possible. And he not only survived an assassination attempt, he correctly diagnosed that the open gunshot wound was not grave, and proceeded to give his scheduled speech before seeking medical attention.

Here's to Theodore Roosevelt, who did not do things by half-measures.

Good news: doctors now wash their hands 3/4 of the time

This after a pilot project to improve hand-washing compliance in a small number of hospitals. NYT has the story: before the project, 50% compliance; now, 75%.

Why is this interesting? In the US there's 90,000 deaths due to health-care-associated infections every year. Unwashed hands are a major vector for these infections. It's a multi-billion dollar problem, again just in the US.

This short report [pdf] on the project is interesting throughout. The numbers are amazing, the final goal (90+% compliance) is still in the distance, and the practical approaches to getting there are at turns fascinating and bizarre.

Lean Six Sigma approach to hand washing? Really?

Notes on Architecture

The Vancouver Art Gallery occupies a leftover courthouse from 1905. Vancouver's main public library branch is a big, practical box full of books with a nonsensical facade patterned after the Colosseum.

It could be so much worse.

Meet Edmonton's new Art Gallery of Alberta. It's not a Gehry ripoff, honest! The architect who designed it spent much less than a decade in Gehry's office. (Via Colby Cosh).