by simon baird

Monday, November 22, 2010

A fork appears in the road...

This blog is closing down.

[Pause for gasps and murmurs].

Dry your eyes internet. I would not leave you out in the cold like that!

I am splitting this blog into two blogs. Like a primordial amoeba. What was one is now two.

Blog #1:
Bookmark or subscribe to this for my pointless photos, sporadic musings and occasional half-hearted music review.

Blog #2:
Bookmark or subscribe to this for posts about programming, code snippets and other geek stuff.
(Ps, sorry about the recycled content. Just needed something to kick start things over there).

Now you must choose. The left path or the right. Or you could follow both, like some kind of bad Harry Potter plot device. (Or you could find a bus and get the hell out of here).

Now, if you please, I would like to take a moment to fondly remember...

"it's my blog"
13 Sep, 2005 - 22 Nov, 2010

And don't forget, you can come back any time to browse the archives and relive some of those sweet memories. (I know that's what I will be doing).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

do you guys know about die antwoord?

kind of like a next level south african ali-g

perhaps boing boing get credit for introducing them to the world. at that point no-one really knew they were "fake"

here is an awesome yolandi halloween costume...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

hamrbl - a cute haml hack to let you write ruby with python-esque whitespace

Did you ever wish your code looked more like your haml?

Did you ever wonder what ruby would be like with python style significant whitespace?

Without further ado, I present hamrbl.rb

Surprisingly the syntax highlighting works fine in vim and github. :)

Disclaimer: just for fun... this is (almost certainly) a gross misuse of the wonderful haml

include_and_extend method for ruby, experiments with modules

As a followup to this post and inspired again by this wycats post, here is some more experimentation with extend and include in ruby, culminating in an include_and_extend method, (which I'm not suggesting is a particularly good idea), but it does work...

Monday, November 15, 2010

video test

(it's kyu. i skipped you ahead to the part where they start rocking out on the floor tom)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010 which i live blog the joanna newsom tour date announcement on triple j

  • 4th march tivoli, brisbane
  • 9th march, sydney
  • 15th march, melbourne
(on sale friday morning)

More details here.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Kyü update

Well after listening to the album and seeing them live at the Old Museum, here is my update. Moments of genius. Not quite as good overall as I might have imagined after hearing Pixiphony for the first time. Live, there was some magic. The girls have some undeniable talent and a unique sound. It will be great to see what they are doing in five years as their songwriting matures.

Some links:

my new world is breathtaking

the first two locations are quite close to home. in the third shot i was completely lost, nearly dead, trudging through snow, miles from home. i survived one night on the ice. i did not survive a second...

the texture pack is brown and bloom.

some minecraft links:
Conways' Game of Life in Minecraft (video)
Towards Dawn - A Minecraft Travel Blog

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

save 3. kind of ruined...

went exploring and found this. the pre-biome and post-biome generated terrain doesn't fit together as you can see. i'm probably going to delete it and start a fresh world. :( also i concur the mob spawn rates are way too high now. (i think notch agrees with this and an update will be forthcoming).

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

cave where i died and lost stuff

save 3 (pre-biome)

mad scheme

currently i pay 6.64% interest on my mortgage. it's going up 25 points any second now, so let's say it's 6.9%. suncorp are currently offering 1.9% on balance transfers for 15 months (when you sign up for a new credit card). suppose i "balance transfer" $10,000 from my two current cards and put the proceeds on my mortgage. i'd pay 5% less interest on $10,000 for 15 months, which is a saving of $625 or $42 a month. but, the annual card fee is $120 which brings it down to $500 or $33 a month. of course, after 15 months i'd pay off the new card and cut it up. worth it? this is tax free btw. what if i repeat this scheme with a few other low introductory rate cards?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

nooooo...! #minecraft

(warning, boring story follows).

so i have a little single player world. i haven't been there there
long. i found an amazing cave a few minutes walk away from my base. i
explored it for a while and loaded up on iron and coal, carefully
marking my path so i could find my way back up. (there was some gold
there too but i hadn't made an iron pick yet).

it was getting late (irl) so I decided to go back home. got almost
to the surface when i was ambushed by a skeleton! i noobishly
had no bacon or other means to restore health and i ended up full of
arrows and dead. when i respawned it was daylight (thankfully) so i
bolted as quick as i could back to the spot to get my loot before it

but i couldn't find the entrance! it was kind of hard to see; just a
flat hole in grass and i hadn't had the sense to mark it. eventually i
found it but it was too late and all my stuff was gone. this includes
a heap of glass that i had made and all my torches, my tools, my wood,
some flint. everything. :(

(the end)

holy crap (kyü)

Watch KYU and other great gigs on Moshcam.

Monday, October 25, 2010

this could be an amazing new band: kyü

listen to pixiphony on their myspace. kind of
friday show in brisbane:
(i will let you know if the hype is justified)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Benoît Mandelbrot (1924 - 2010)

ob mandelbrot video:
the photo parts are a little tacky LAME but i like the way there is zooming, panning and rotation (instead of just the traditional endless zoom)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


i might try to explain to you how amazing this game is. but not now. now it's just these links, (which don't really explain it either):

a fan's attempt at a trailer:
crafting guide

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

fremnet manor by night

my first ever diamond

fremnet help me shore it up so i could mine it without the diamond falling into lava

beginning_of_fortnight method for Ruby on Rails

You might know that Rails provides a bunch of useful extensions to the Time class with methods like beginning_of_week, beginning_of_month, etc.

For my application (a thing with fortnightly billing periods) I wanted to define a beginning of fortnight method to consistently calculate the beginning (and end) of a fortnight. Here's how it ended up (both short and sweet):

(Note that there's no special reason to use epoch. Any other day would work just as well probably).

Does it work?

Put beginning_of_fortnight.rb in config/initializers.

Note that there is already a Numeric#fortnights method in ActiveSupport so we can use things like 2.fortnights without needing any extentions.

sleigh bells!

tell 'em (track 1)
never has a song intro more effectively communicated the message "WAKE THE EFF UP AND LISTEN TO THIS! :)"

riot rhythm (track 3)
mad chromatic gee-tar riff ftw

rill rill (track 7)
delicious summery chill-out without even trying

and the rest of it is as good

check it out

Sleigh Bells
Treats (2010)
(Content owner: Liberation Music)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

night 4 (minecraft)

My cave hideout has a top storey lookout and a walled courtyard.

Pic 1: "everything under control here. stupid exploder below me isn't going anywhere. stupid zombie at the back is just roaming up and down outside my wall.


Then I think it started shooting me with arrows.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

movie review: tomorrow when the war began

this movie is surprisingly good. it has a thought provoking premise and some real depth while still managing to be a solid action film. the script, casting and acting is first class, which sadly you can't always count on in australian films. the premise is that australia is invaded by indonesia (though they don't actually state the country). some high school kids escape to the hills and deal, each in their own way, with the fact that they are now fugitives in their own country. they resolve to become a resistance force in a plot involving improvised explosive devices which has to make you think about situations in the world right now where an invading force enters a country and how things might appear from the other side. the conclusion is satisfying and again let me mention the excellent performances of the cast, especially robyn, the churchy one. four stars.

update: i should mention that it's a bit teen-oriented, as were the original books. but there is enough violence that you probably don't want to take younger kids.

Trailer (a shorter one -- better to not watch the long one, too many spoilers...)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

read this about a blind user's iphone experience

"Can he get text messages on this?" she asked. "Well, yes, but it doesn't read the message." the salesman said. Mom's hopes sunk, but mine didn't, since I understood the software enough. "Well, let's see, try it." I suggested. She pulled out her phone, and sent me a text message. Within seconds, my phone alerted me, and said her name. I simply swiped my finger and it read her message: Hi Austin. She almost cried.

Someone should get this kid an iPad:
Adding the ability to touch anywhere on the screen and hear it adds a whole other dimension, literally. For the first time, the blind can actually get spacial information about something. In the store, Mom could say "Try that button" and I could. Blind people know what I mean. How many times has a sighted person said "I see an icon at the top of the screen?" Now, that actually Means something. I want to find a way to browse the web with a touchpad on my computer. 

His vision is very poor but he can see light and shadow. He finds an app that names colours using the camera and it causes him to start becoming more aware of colours:
The next day, I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as "Horizon," "Outer Space," and many shades of blue and gray. I used color cues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house. My mind felt blown.

Read the article here:

Update: He did get an iPad. And then a Macbook:

(via gruber, via phil)

first aid kit review

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Silversun Pickups will be performing in support of Birds Of Tokyo"


dear silversun pickups. on behalf of australia, i apologise for this embarrassing mix up. (and perhaps you should have a serious chat with your management).

(apart from the obvious fact that birds of tokyo are rubbish, see attached supporting evidence)

restore truthiness etc

(skip past the stephen hawking part)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

city cycles

i saw a couple of city cycles at a cycle station on tuesday. for a moment i was excited, thinking they were finally here. then a few seconds later i noticed a camera crew filming them. (so i guess it was just for the cameras and they aren't here after all).

so for $60 a year you can take unlimited trips less than 30 minutes. (something like that). too bad they aren't go card compatible. the coverage is impressive:

still not sure on the helmet issue. is it byo helmet?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alex Stewart burns and smokes Bible and Koran on YouTube, causes controversy

See article

(Forgive me for paraphrasing Dawkins...)

Somehow it's become ingrained in all of us that "respect for religion" must be some fundamental tenet of right-thinking societies. Religion does not deserve respect. Religion is a scourge. Religion is destructive. Religion is poison and lies. So why is it protected by the invisible "respect religion" shield by our societies and governments?

(In case I'm not clear), respecting the right of people to believe what they wish to believe is correct and proper. But what does that have to do Alex Stewart? They are saying he may lose his job. This is shameful.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Aid Kit

Spiegeltent, Brisbane, 11/9/10

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

actually i support the burning of the quran

i also support equally the burning of the bible, along with any other religious texts and related propaganda you can lay your hands on. (though obviously not if they are especially old or rare copies).

inside a cruise liner in very rough seas

i zoomed it in so you could see the grey parts

they've drawn crook as a blue bar by the looks of it

Monday, September 06, 2010 which i get some more value from my GOMA membership

(...which frankly paid for itself that time we saw Tim Finn).

It's 7-ish and we've walked all the way to GOMA for drinks, djs and the Valentino retrospective. There's a sign near the door. 'Sold Out'. Everyone's like 'I told you buy tickets online!'. I'm like, 'just a minute' and walk up.

"Oh, we are too late to get a ticket?"

"Afraid so. It's very popular"

"Aw, we've walked all the way here"

"There are some reserved tickets, but they are only for gallery members"

"Oh, excellent! I have two plus-ones. Is that okay?" [Turning around and beckoning]

"Ahem, these tickets are for gallery members only"

"Yeah, cool. We have two members, and two plus ones. Thanks!" [Moving towards ticket desk]. 
"I don't think you understand. You need to be a gallery member."

Etc. I played it out a tiny bit longer for my own amusement. Anyway, there were a lot of very impressive frocks there, some on mannequins, some walking around.  The patronage broke down roughly like this (imagine as a pie chart): female: 90%, gay male: 9.9%, me: 0.1%. Someone said one dress was worn by Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman. The mannequins have abnormally long necks and are slivery-grey. There are many security guards and 'no camera' signs. The walls are painted black. If you like fashion and beautiful dresses then you should definitely go there. Here is a link and some pictures on flickr.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Freelance Whales - Generator 2nd Floor

(via rage this morning)

And since you are my friend
I would ask that you lower me down slow
And tell the man in the black cloak
He doesn't need to trouble his good soul
With those latin conjugations
And if it's all the same to them
You should tell your gathering friends
Please not to purse their faces grim
On such a lovely sunday

Friday, September 03, 2010


At GOMA. It's worth a look.