Friday, 30 April 2010

Clocking In

There was a time when the unwary traveller could miss an important meeting if they did not realise that where they had ended up set their watches a little differently. 

It took quite a while for time to be standardised and the (sometimes slow) progress is took is noted here by Mr Ghaz.

This is a fascinating article about how the world learned to be punctual together.

She's Always A Woman

This is the TV advert that has had the UK talking - and reaching for a handkerchief for the last week or so. The retail chain John Lewis came up with the idea of watching a woman grow through all stages of her life. It is a little expensive, even in the world of advertising. Overall, the ninety second advert came in at the princely sum of £6million (around nine million US dollars). Was it worth it? Well, judge for yourself - but have a tissue handy!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Build a Stunning Website

Have you ever looked at a website and thought to yourself I wish I could do that?  It is something that I hear quite a lot, especially when it comes to the flash driven websites that have predominated since the advent of Web 2.0.  Well, we have discovered a great website builder  that you will want to have a close look at if your aim is create your own website – without having to study programming at university for four years.

If you are looking to design and own a website like Webphemera, which deals with a broad variety of subjects and you want it to appeal to as broad a cross section of the internet community as possible, the Wix is probably exactly what you are looking for.  You know the expression drag and drop – that is exactly what you will be doing when you develop your own free website with the help of this extremely cool website.  You really do not need any technical expertise and what is more, your finished site is assured to be very search engine friendly.

They have a step by step guide to get yourself started and also a very useful forum where you can get your questions answered by people who have stayed with Wix over time.  Go and have a look – you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Iron Man & ACDC vs Dirty Dancing

OK, this is bizarre - but we love it. Take Dirty Dancing, Iron Man and a love for the rock and roll of ACDC and stir in a Maya expert with (though we hesitate to say this) perhaps a little too much time on his hands and what do you get?

This, for a start! Quite how 's mind works is anyone's guess but we are very glad that it does!  This is one of the funniest things we have seen for a long, long time.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

From Email to Social Profile

When you are in business your online presence is vital – more and more companies are learning this the hard way so it is vital to keep up with others when it comes to things such as email marketing solutions. Often you just get orders for your products from anonymous email addresses, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to see which social platforms these email addresses are attached to? That technology, for example, is already available for your business to use.

Yes, that’s right. All you need is an email address and you can get information on name, gender, occupation and all the social networks that person is on (completely legally too as all of this information is out there just waiting to be gathered).

With this information you can discover properly just who your customers are and find out what sort of demographic you are attracting. This in itself will help you set up marketing campaigns to retain these customers. Social networking sites like can also prove very useful.

If you don’t already do so then you should consider marketing on Twitter. A profile is easy to set up and it is a very quick way to get your message across to your current customers – and to attract new ones as well.

Bonnie Tyler - What Have You Done?

If you are a musical purist you may never have like her, but many people have a fondness for Bonnie Tyler - particularly her hit Total Eclipse of the Heart.  Now, however, Ms Tyler we fear has fallen on hard times and has, ahem, changed a few words of her old hit to create a TV advertising campaign for some company or other.  At the very least this has been done with huge good humor - and there are one or two sly digs at other pop and rock heroes too.  Can you spot them?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Battle of Fearlessness

When does advertising become a national institution? On the other hand, when does it become simply a nuisance? In the UK the meerkat saga goes ever onwards, with this the latest of the adventures of Aleksandr Orlov and his extended family of African/Russian meerkats. The budgets get bigger - but will the meerkats retain that place in our hearts?

Who can say?  Well, me for one. I have yet to tire of these crazy 'kats - and hope you have not either!


What would happen if pixels invaded the Earth?

We have fended off all sorts of weird and wonderful aliens in the past (what you see at the movies is true, didn't anyone ever tell you?). But what would happen of something from our past caught up with us?  Probably run to the nearest Online Casino - all bets would be on!

Here we are shown what might happens if the pixels attacked! Aaagh! Run!

The Ruddy Turnstone - Record Breaker!

This guy may sound like an extra from one of the Harry Potter films, but you may want  to take a look at the plucky, somewhat amazing..

A record breaking bird for all the right reasons.  That is over at our sibling site, The Ark In Space.

The House Removals Company

I have just helped a friend move house. To be perfectly honest it is something that I dread and every time it happens that sinking feeling in the belly just gets worse and worse. Well, much to my surprise my friend’s move went without a hitch. The reason? He decided to use the house removals company which is a really great way of deciding which removals company is best for you.

Even better, their website is designed in such a way that you do not have to be an IT expert to get up to six quotes in a quick and simple manner. It is so easy to navigate that I am pretty sure my Gran could do it without any trouble! Go take a look...

Blair 2nd Round - Mens

1910. Pennsylvania. Raincoats for undertakers. You might hardly think that this is a promising start for a company but one hundred years later, Blair is still going – and going from strength to strength. There are stories like this the world over, from Burberry to Doc Martens – brands that started out with what you might say limited appeal can – for a variety of reasons – flower in to a new existence wholly unexpected.

If you haven’t heard of Blair before you might want to look in to their classic – the . This may be something that your father or grandfather would be comfortable weari ng but there is an essential comfort about a flannel shirt that somehow seems to ride over barriers such as fashion to become something just that little bit better – timeless.

One of the cool things about Blair and their products is that they have not forgotten their roots and their company headquarters are still located in the same place as one hundred years ago – in Warren, Pennsylvania. That means that this company has some history – they were going strong way before the First World War started – and that’s not something that many companies can boast really, is it?

Of course you can still shop with Blair the good old fashioned way by sending off for a catalogue (which, by the way is wonderful). However, Blair has also moved with the times and you can order your clothing of exceptional quality for prices that are more than fair online these days.

These clothes come with a quality guarantee and - again we use that word – timeless style that appeals to so many people. If comfort, quality and value for money mean something to you (and of course, they do!) then pay a visit to their site and have a look at what we are so keen about.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Tag Galaxy

This is very, very cool. A site called Tag Galaxy allows you to look for pictures on Flickr. OK, so nothing new there, but it is the way it does it that is entertaining and really shows off Web 2 capabilities at their best. You type your initial tag in - in our case we type din nature.

Then you get a view of the solar system with additional tags attached to the planets which you can choose to refine your search. You can simply click on the sun if you want and get your results, but we chose the addition tag marked macro.

After that we thought one more refinement, so added water - just for good measure. A click on the sun at the centre of the tag galaxy and we are then presented with Flickr photographs coming together to make the sphere you can see here. You can turn it around three sixty degrees with your mouse and chose the pictures you would like to see closer. Awesome. We could play with this all day!

Manga Farming

This is quite extraordinary.  Toky based artist Koshi Kawachi has discovered a way to make use of all those old manga novels that he no longer wants (though what if they become collector's items in the future?).  All you need is the novel, a few drops of water and some seeds.  Leave the rest to Mother Nature.  How bizarre.

Read the rest of the story here.

Eclipse Tshirts at Cafepress - Very Cool!

The next movie in the Twilight Saga, Eclipse is going to hit our movie theatre screens at the end of June and people are already getting excited about it.

It is quite unbelievable just how many fans a-of all ages the book and movie series has. If you want to show your appreciation of the movies as you walk, then we would advise you have a look at the customized tshirts on Cafepress.

They are very, very cool.
There is a huge amount of Eclipse apparel available at this online store, so much so that you will not quite know where to begin! There is a cool one that says it is a dangerous thing to date a vampire! Plus for those of you who have family and friends who just don’t get your obsession, sorry, interest in the movies, then there is one that proudly states It’s an Edward thing, you wouldn’t understand.

You don’t have to stop at tshirts either. Cafepress have other items that we know you will want to get your claws, sorry hands on. They have bags, water bottles and mini buttons among thousands of other very cool Twilight: Eclipse fan designs. You will really be able to get your teeth in to this site, go take a look!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Love Struck

Love Struck - this very funny short animation from Vancouver Film School shows us that love at first sight can strike at any age - it isn't something necessarily wasted on the young (thanks, Oscar!).

It isn't always reciprocated but - hey - it happens, doesn't it?

A very neat short film by student Brett Suderman, this has been created using the VFS 3D Animation & Visual Effects program.

There is very little plot but telling you anything about what happens would give the game away.  Put it this way, though, there's life in the old dog yet!

Oh - and it also features what I think is about the best female 'toon body wiggle since Jessica Rabbit way back when!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Slapometer - Give The Party Leaders A Good Slap

Now that election fever is upon us in the UK and the election just a few weeks away, more and more people feel like giving the leaders of the three main parties a good slap.  Whether you are a supporter of Brown, Cameron or Clegg the temptation to give one of the others a back hander must be tempting.  However, that sort of action these days could well mean an unspecified amount of time spent at a Guatanamo type institution, so best no, eh?

However, help is at hand!  Why not do it virtually, instead?  You can slap away to your heart's content and a little slapometer will tell you just how many times the object of your ire has been whacked.  Oh and there is more!  Come the televised debates - a first in the UK - between the party leaders, the slapometer will go well and truly live to measure the state of the nation. Go on, give it a go - you know you want to!

Click HERE or on the picture above to go to the website.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Eating Fruit Does Not Protect You From Cancer

Bad news. It seems that even if you have your five a day, that fresh food such as fruit and vegetables will not stop you getting cancer. A study of almost half a million Europeans suggests that even if you continuously stuff your face with the things that will come to nothing if your cells decide to start mutating. I could have told you that all along – when politicians pontificate about the health benefits of vegetables you can only guess at what sort of back hander they are getting and whence they are getting it.

Remember when Edwina Curry said that eggs were bad for you and give you salmonella – if I remember rightly she got the sack from her position at the time.

However there's a thought. Fruit, politicians. Politicians, fruit. There is at least one good use for fruit of which I can still think.

Throw them at politicians!

Cool Picture of the Week

I love the juxtaposition in this marvellous picture.  The photographer named it driving to the future, which I think is really appropriate.  The sight of so many cars (one of the biggest polluters on the planet) heading towards this massive wind farm in San Gorgonio, California has a certain irony to it, don't you think? 

Here in the UK the opinion on wind farms is split down the middle.  While most people see them as a necessity of we are to produce a large percentage of our energy as close to carbon neutral as we can, many of the people who live near them say they are constantly annoyed by the low level but penetrating noises that they make. Personally, I think they look wonderful on our landscape and produce vital energy.  I don't live next to one though!

Ironic Signs of the World #255

You really would have thought they would have seen it coming, don't you? What hope is there for the rest of us if these guys can't see what is in store?  Conversely, of course, it may just as well mean that there is hope for us!  Who can say - answers on a post card please!

Get Bookish With Your T-Shirts

I know it sounds a little odd but maybe you will agree with me on this one.  Maybe not, I mean I am only talking about T-shirts.  However, when you notice someone wearing the same t-shirt as you, do you hate is as much as me?  It’s almost like an affront to my individuality – not to put too fine a point on it of course.

That’s why whenever possible I like to wear custom t-shirts.  I like to have a little say in what I am wearing as, after all, you are what you wear!  So, I like nothing more than to stamp my own character on my clothes.  Fortunately there is this great website – cafe press – which enables me to customise t-shirts till the cows come home (or until I am done, usually).    Just about the best thing about this site is that they seem to have read my mind when it comes to the sort of t-shirt I like to wear.  Generally I like a little humor on my t-shirts and this site has it in spades.

I am, as my friends will tell you, exceptionally fond of books and I always seem to have my head buried in one.  So, one thing I can do now is to declare my love of literature by proudly wearing a book t-shirt, customised how I like it.  Having said that, many of the book t-shirts that Cafe Press has are ready to wear as they are.

I particularly like the one that proudly reads ‘I like big books and I cannot lie’, which beautifully combines my lifetime adoration of anything with pages and a certain movie about a big green ogre.   


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Big Catch Movie

This is something quite special. The Big Catch Movie (which is in fact just a few minutes long) is one of the best animated short films I have seen in a long time. It tells a simple story but it tells it in a wonderfully comic way and with great humor too.

A fisherman walks down a pier in his local town to go fishing.  Unbeknowns to him his would-be nemesis lurks in the waters nearby.  What happens next is a fantastic concoction of the accidental and the slapstick.

Perhaps the best thing about this is probably the kung fu seagulls (see below).  There are a few sly winks to other movies throughout this too, but I won't give the game away by telling you what they are - see if you catch them! As mini pastiches go they fly by...

For you animation buffs out there, the modelling and animation tasks were all done in Maya.  The rendering was done using Renderman/Mental Ray and for the effects like the water dripping off the shark (a very good effect too, water is hard to do!) there were some specially made scripts by film maker Moles Merlo who lives in Paris.  Shake was used for the compositing.

Watch this one to the end - you will, I can almost guarantee - love this (and yes, it is more than suitable for children and work throughout).

Snapshots of Provence, travel notes in sound and images

This is a wonderful website which makes the most out of flash technology to animate an electronic journey around one of the most beautiful places in the world - Provence. 

Many people have a good old moan about flash enable website, saying that they take up too much bandwidth, load slowly and are full of cheap and nast effects.  Personally I would agree with about 80% of flash driven websites - it is still a tool overused by overenthusiastic amateurs. 

This site is different, however - you can choose to sea Provence, or hear it - gaing a wonderful feel for the sites and sounds as you fluidly navigate around the site.  It is what flash was meant to do - and it does it wonderfully. 

Plus, of course there is the added bonus of being able to claim that you have been to Provence when in fact you haven't.  At least you can say you got there (almost) carbon free though!

Snapshots of Provence, travel notes in sound and images :

The African Fish Eagle – Kleptoparasite Extraordinaire

The new nature blog on the net, Ark In Space, features a great article on a little known bird.  The African Fish Eagle - and exquisite bird if ever there was one does not seem to be in any great danger whatsoever and has a large population spread out over an even wider area. 

What does make it different though is that although millions of years have made it one of the ultimate avian hunters it is still more than happy to nick its food off other birds after they have caught it. 

Now, that's just naughty!

To read the whole article, click HERE

Ceramic Art Education

I love the internet for so many different reasons. One of them is that you don’t have to live in a big city to get what you want quickly. Nowadays things can be delivered next day and it doesn’t matter if you live in the back of beyond.

Now that I am an educator, I have the same convenience with supplies and one of the best companies in terms of providing all that is needed for ceramic art education in schools is AMACO/Brent. They are what you might call a safe bet. Firstly their products are designed with safety first and foremost so you can rest assured your students won’t have accidents because of the equipment. When it comes to something like a ceramic pottery kiln then you really do need to think safety first.

Of course, as AMACO/Brent are founding members of the Art and Creative Materials Institute there is something else that can be guaranteed – and that is quality. Their website is great, very easy to navigate. Plus you can help information to help you plan your art projects and classroom ceramics lessons. You can coordinate the materials you will need to use even at low amounts and price; it is easy for you to stay within your budget with them.

Yes, the B word! Budget is always at the forefront of our mind these days but AMACO/Brent cater to your classroom ceramics material needs whether you are a private school with megabucks or a school with a smaller budget that you have to continuously juggle. Oh and guess what. If you are running short of ideas then AMACO/Brent even has lesson plans for you!

Very Cool Vmware Training Courses

It is difficult to get the right sort of Vmware training courses these days when you take in to account everything – most of all the price of the courses. Also, there are disadvantages to some training courses that are too numerous to mention - but at the forefront is the insistence on classroom or lecture based learning when we have all of our twentieth century tools in front of us already.

Certainly you want to be secure in the knowledge that the organization you are going to give all that money to will come up with the goods and give you and your staff the sort of effective training that you need.

With Vmware vsphere training you get all that and more – instant access once you sign up. Plus there are no woolly generalizations that you can get in a classroom environment. These courses are conducted using real world scenarios- in other words the problems that you would come across at work are dealt with on these courses. There is nothing quite as good as a sensible, hands on approach like this.

Plus if you are one of these people (like me) who learn best by solving problems, then you should really take the time to learn more about Vmware. Instead of boring lecture based sessions you are taken on (as it were) by a fictitious organization. Then, you are given problems to which you have to find the solutions – all under the expert guidance of an instructor. To make it all the more realistic these problems are all solved on a live network.

You have to admit – that’s pretty cool.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Rainbow Eucalyptus

Over at kuriositas there is a really interesting post about an amazing tree. The Rainbow Eucalyptus is, as the name suggest, multi-colored. However, although it is not quite all the colors of the rainbow its bark is close enough all things considered! The article explains where to find these trees and how exactly the bark comes to get to be all of these different colors all at once. Some tree!


Saturday, 3 April 2010

What Would You Do If You Could Clone Yourself?

An interesting question, that's for sure - but not one to which many people give serious thought.  However, here are twenty people who did!  So, what would you get up to if you could clone yourself?  You could...

Take a huge amount of clones to your next lecture at university.  Of course, there would be no guarantee that they would all pay attention.

Or then again you could always turn your mind to business and brain storm a million ideas to make your fortune in whatever industry you were to choose.

Of course, there may be a problem with what to do with all those spare bodies.  Well, if you can clone yourself you can probably deactivate the pesky things when you have no use for them. Pop them in a cupboard on hangers (or disassemble, the choice is yours) and Bob's your uncle.

There may be a problem or two in store for the future.  Your clone(s) may decide that they have had enough of you and your patrician ways (hey, you might be the original and first but not the best).  You may get home one day to discover that they have plans for you too.

However, you may all get on like a house on fire and go out several times a week, talk about sport and get hopelesssly drunk.

If you are in possession of a certain joie de vivre you may find all sorts of multinational organisations queueing up to use you for their latest advertising campaign.

If you are less lucky you may find that your new found friends just encourage you to keep up with or even increase all those old, bad habits you were hoping to kick.

On the other hand, many hands make light work....

You may wish to inflict headaches on others and produce a set of pictures that will confuse and bewilder.  So, how exactly might you do that?  Try something like the above.

Then again, you might want nothing more bewildering than to play a good game of cards - which might just well last forever if you are all exactly evenly matched.

It  may just get a little crowded, though, even if you make only two clones of yourself.  Perhaps you would get a little fed up with your own company.

Your clones might not be ready for the trials and tribulations of the outside world to begin with.  You might have to become their teacher for a while.  How good a pupil would you make?

Back to the idea of making a fortune.  The first stab at that may have been a little too casual.  Best to put on a nice crisp shirt and a flashy tie and - well - you might not succeed this time either to be honest.

Cloning does not always have to end in boredom, violence or failed business ventures.  If all you are looking for is a dance partner - or three - then it may just be the solution you are looking for.  Unless you have two left feet - or in this case eight.

If all you want to do is play peekaboo, then your life could well take a turn for the better.

Or you could become multpile couch potatoes.  Where is the harm in that?

Just have some fun. Your clones may be born looking like you full grown but they must still experience the joys of childhood, surely?

Perhaps your original was slightly artily inclined.  Imagine the symbolics you could get up to if there were three of you.

Yes, probably, fun would have to be the name of the game.  It may turn out a little expensive if all of you want that deluxe acme skateboard, but what the heck, we are here for a good time not a long time.

 Be carefiul though.  Your clones may like their own company more than yours and you could end up bored while they have fun amongst themselves.  Perhaps this wasn't such a good idea, after all.

If you want to learn more how these cloning photographs were made, then visit to learn more.
Newer Posts Older Posts Home