by simon baird

Friday, March 30, 2007

bike update

It's day 3 of being a biker. So far I have done 60 kms. Each day I get a little better, my gear changes are becoming smoother and I feel more like I know what I'm doing. I learnt (the hard way) on day one, that it won't start with the kickstand down, well actually it starts fine in neutral but kills itself when you put it into gear. Which is a good thing. This cause me some grief when I was trying take off after the first tank of petrol when I forgot to put the kickstand up.. Also I've stalled it once or twice which is always fun especially when 50 cars are behind me at the lights. Today I took an alternate route to work including a trip over "the bridge" and took it up to, er, 100kph (very carefully of course). That was fun! Also a friend donated his old gearsack which is awesome I can fit my bag in there so it's not on my back and still have room for a couple of bags of shopping.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

life without broadband

my broadband provider (Rawnet) gives used to give me ADSL2+ with 1500kbs throttled to 512kbs when I use my quota. they have free connection, free modem. This is for $25 a month. To compare my previous isp gave me ADSL1 with 512kbs throttled to 64kbps once I use my quota (10G) for $50 a month. Strangely rawnet can't afford to pay their internet bills and are currently "off the air". They've been offline for about a month. Their website says they will be back soon but I am starting to doubt it. I believe their managment board is either in Barbados lighting cigars with money, or catching a taxi from bank to bank trying to convince someone to give him 10 million dollars. I imagine it like this:

Rawnet guy: Okay I need 10 million to keep my business going.
Bank manager: Your business model of selling a service for half what it costs isn't working too well. What are you going to do?
R: We will purchase and install more DSLAMs in all the phone exchanges. We will expand into Cairns and Mackay. We will give out more $800 ADSL2+ modems. We will sponsor more sporting teams. And update our office decor. This way we can increase our customer base.
B: Thanks so much for dropping by.

I will miss you rawnet.

so I started watching...

...the remake of The Producers on Movie Two. It was boring so I flicked over to Movie Extra which was Ferris Buellers's Day Off. Hmm, Matthew Broderick double play I thought. Then I flicked over to Scrubs on Comedy and it was Alan Ruck! Okay I didn't know his name but it's the guy from Ferris Bueller, the one whose Dad has the sports car. Woah. Then I flicked over to... (and this went on and on until eventually... Kevin Bacon). No just kidding about the last sentence. Possibly there were other Ferris Bueller cast members on at the same time on other channels. I just don't know.

if you had to...

...entirely erase the memory of every concert you'd ever been to, except for one, what would it be and why?

Me: Joanna Newsom, Spiegeltent, January 25th 2007. Of course.
Milly: But what about Sigur Ros?
Me: I know. But still.
Milly: Joanna was good. But I choose Sigur Ros, Enmore, 2006. I hallucinated glowing lights.
Me: What?
Milly: I saw a white glow surrounding people in the audience. Especially their hands and fingers.
Me: Did it shoot upwards towards the stage?
Milly: Mmm [thinks]... a little bit.
Me: !!!

my new toy

if you were paying attention last september or whenever it was you would know that I was trying to get my motorcyle license. Well thanks for asking, I did get it and yesterday I picked up.... this! It's a GSX750F 1989 "Slingshot". I think slingshot is something to do with what happens when you drive very fast into something? So I'm not sure if I'm destined to be a biker but what the hell I'm giving it a try.

milly's new toy

  • Animal Crossing
  • Brain Training
  • Yoshi's Island
  • New Super Mario
Well the last one was for me really. The DS is very cool. Especially the black one. We fondled a pink one briefly but had to go for black. Milly has pimped her's with some bling like tiny little fake rhinestones. I like Brain Training. You hold the DS sideways like a book. Then you write stuff with the stylus so it's even more like a book. It's a very statisfying user experience. Plus it has awesome sudoku just as a bonus game. I think the DS would be quite good as a book reader actually. Also can you get an mp3 player for it? I should google that.

Monday, March 26, 2007

hot right now - "twitter"

i'm thinking of signing up for a twitter account just because it's so hot right now. the link is blog super-star kottke on twitter. hmm. so it's like a cross between IM and blogging.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


So the back bar at the Dalrymple, venue for such world-shaking events as this (spazzys) and this (radiators) is now a Dan Murphys. I want to be upset but oh boy have you seen the sweet range of alcholic beverages and the agreeable down-lighting at the Dan Murhpys? Mmm... booze...

But it seems that others are not taking it so well, for instance these two handgun wielding fans of live music appear to want retribution. "Possibly using an Irish accent"??? On the day after St Patricks day? At Dan Murphys? Why not a leprechaun mask? Tsk, no style at all. And ps, what is the second guy's mask? Is it Petey from fall out boy?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My art project

So I have this idea for an art project. I thought of it many years ago and have described it to several people. Now I will tell it to you.

Imagine a regular small room, roughly cubical in shape, painted white or some neutral colour. The wall furthest from the entry point is a video screen hooked up to a camera which is in the centre of the video screen facing outwards into the room. So effectively the screen behaves like a video mirror. Imagine looking at yourself on your own webcam, only bigger. The image should be mirrored so it actually is like a mirror. Now for the cool part -- there is a time delay on the image. So image is the mirror is of the room some minutes ago. In the room there is a small table with a clock on it positioned so the clock face is visible in the video mirror. There should be no explanation or blurb other than "time machine" or some other less cheesy title.

"Some minutes ago" could be one minute, two minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, 24 hours. This could be tuned to suit the gallery conditions and opening hours. For example a mostly empty gallery would better suit a short time delay. So you see yourself walking into the room before you get too bored and walk out. In a busy gallery you could tune the delay so you will see people who visited the piece an hour ago. The actual time delay chosen doesn't really matter.

This piece interests me because as a viewer of the piece you become, without consent, part of the piece for a future viewer. Also because the "mirror" is effectively a portal allowing you to see into the past. If you don't "get" it at first then your entry, puzzled looks, shrugging gestures and departure, becomes entertainment for a future viewer of the piece. For short time delays it will be fun to make funny faces and do a dance to see what you look like. For long time delays it still might be fun but you will be entertaining not to yourself but to future viewers.

Variation: On the table next to the clock is a flat panel LCD screen which shows the same (delayed) image as the wall. It is positioned so that the screen is visible to the camera. Because the camera records what is on that screen this causes effectively a feedback loop so that the image of the small screen on the big screen becomes another time delay into the past. And if you look closer you should be able to see yet another time delay into the past as the image within that image. Perhaps this is not explained clearly enough but it's like a hall of mirrors effect only each "reflected" mirror is some minutes into the past. This is interesting because it gives us a stepped view into the past, in theory, back to when the power was switched on. In practice of course it will be limited by the resolution of the screen and the camera.

Anyway I am telling you this because I discovered a couple of months ago that someone had my idea (or at least something pretty close to it) back in the 70s! They built something quite similar (which would have been quite tricky with the technology of the times) and I saw it at the MCA at Circular Quay back in the January!!! It was brilliant! I will tell you more about it and another really cool piece from the same exhibition it in my next post.

Ps, If anyone would like to sponsor me to create this piece I will need $4000. :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

happy anniversary scott and miranda!

I thought for a minute it was a green apple cat original! That would be a very nice anniversary gift :) But it's the amazing Daniel Johnston. Scott actually has songs (almost?) as good as this one. Some old ones he put on his new myspace but he did promise to do some more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Milly and I have watched the first 5 eps so far. Three last night, two on Sunday. It was almost impossible to stop watching! Sweet lordy that is a good show. I can't recall TV ever being this good. This may be a new era in television. You should download this show if, a) you ever liked a comic book, b) you enjoy good quality television, c) you have a pulse. My fave parts: Hiro (he rules!), the diner scene, the autopsy, the cliff-hanger ending of eps 4 and 5 (of course).

Science. It Works, Bitches

It's a t-shirt from the xkcd store. I just finished reading The Fabric of the Cosmos so I understand that graph. Well okay I don't understand the graph exactly, but I understand what it means, enough that felt a little personal geek pride knowing that I knew what it means. :) If you're not up on inflationary cosmology, then allow me to enlighten you... Small fluctations in the universe's background radiation are predicted by quantum mechanics equations describing the universe when it was only a few billion sqillionths of a second old. Predicted. Exactly. Hence... cool shirt.

The book is pretty good. I read some Stephen Hawking a while ago but I think Brian Green was more interesting. I learned new stuff like the Higgs ocean, stuff about string theory, curled up dimensions, branes and so on. I give it a 4 p-branes out of 5.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New iTunes is out

The full screen coverflow is nice, but... Did you ever want to be able to mess up your cds in coverflow? Their neat perfectly aligned sliding bugs me. I want to scatter them around. Pile them up. Dig around to find the one I want. Also can I have at least half of them with the wrong disc inside? Then can I play follow-the-trail-of-wrong-discs until I hopefully find the right one? Also can some of the cases be scratched and split with a few with broken hinges. That's what I want.

Plus, get this, iTunes knows what colour your shuffle is... HA! Brilliant.

Ps, please come back rawnet.