fodder for the masses

Monday, February 27, 2006

that was the weekend then

maps and video pass the time
We will never be drought free. It may, however, rain just enough to keep the ground uncomfortably wet. Providing humidity usually dissipated by massive afternoon storms. A lack of breeze completes the trifecta of negatives when applied to buggying.

Buggying wasn't on the agenda anyway, we're still sporting stitches, but it 'might' have been an available entertainment option. Swimming's out. Don't need to blow this lot of stitches, remove them too soon like the leg incident and stagger about with a hole oozing some hideous stuff for weeks on end.

Time for a bit of self education. Maps should keep me amused until the weather breaks, or my stitches are out, or both. Finally figure how to add the textual markers to the map, after misreading the directions on Google's site and spending an hour wading about in javascript that made no sense at all.

Check out the final product here.

The question is - can we add mini video output to the little text box? We already know they can carry an image, but??

Mini video because of the phone naturally. Now we are in to phone video too. The move to digital almost complete - all this because of a digital camera.

the weekend haul
Launched yellowarrow yw-80rug into the wild. Off the Jindalee bridge The event captured here. Easy enough to see we had been at work just prior. The theory with the arrow is that, someone will find the bottle, resplendent in it's yellow livery, and liberate the arrow within, read the directions and become part of the project.

Went and had a closer look at the other buildings in the disused mental hospital complex - somewhat older than the prison one down the road. Check this for a scene that looks like it's straight out of a concentration camp:
Come on in here, feel at ease
The bathroom for them that needed 'assistance'. We had overlooked that set of buildings because of their proximity to the main road, but it seems the ghost and horror stories that abound about the place have kept most everybody out. That and the 'institution' smell.

Expect this building to feature in upcoming yellowarrows. I think we may have to include a 'hunt' in one of these places as well. People need to have a look at some of the cells. Stunning stuff.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

oh so many plans

What's first
It seems to go on forever. Seething with ideas. My brain must be full by now.

This is what you get for a weeks down time. A week where I have to find some indoor amusement, a week when I am not staggering from the buggy, or the swimming, or whatever energy sapping activity has been the flavor of the day..

Video - video what? The startling discovery that I can capture reasonable web resolution AVI through the little digital Canon, throw it in Premiere and output it to something more suitable, upload it to Google, or any free hosting that I can find (I am sure that free video hosting does not actually equate to free hosting, but so far the couple I am testing have remained so), then run it back through the site or indeed this blog, has been a major revelation. Should have figured it a long time ago but I was still eyeing off the camera with some suspicion. Another yellowarrow thing - the need to document the placed arrows.

3GP - mobile video. Video for mobiles, hell why not? The way we've got it rigged now we can output a 3GP file, upload it and run it back through the site, the blog, whatever. Send it to people as a message - ultimate calling card.

Maps - interactive maps. Google maps. Originally a feature for the captivating yellowarrow, we have now progresses to being able to i-frame them back, from the site to the blog, complete with all the bells and whistles, markers, arrows, anything. Major progression. Soon we will have every arrow we have placed located on a Google satellite map of Brisbane - a reverse arrow tour.

On maps, the great CD/DVD hunt, via the maps - geo caching with visuals. Zoom in to the coordinates, open another window, check the video of the interior of the location. Even send them a 3gp movie of the interior, of the target, something they can refer to right there.

None of it looking like being any real problem. Need to design a page with all the detail fed into it.

Panel for Google map, panel for on ground, interior video. Panel for... something.
Fed by i-frame, scriptlet, whatever.

It didn't all start because I'm off the road. It didn't all start from the yellowarrow project.

The beginning was kicking around ideas for a new design for the site - bad quality video of people holding up the menu structure, rendered out to FLV to run through Flash, the requirement to find suitable hosting space for the video stuff, not having a great deal of space where we are, and loath to pay for hosting, make it small enough to handle.

The beginning was messing with this webcam here in front of me, the one that makes me look like a sweating beetroot.

Now look where it got me.

Meantime I have to work out how I can relay instructions for the next arrow hunt using a book anyone could find at the library using the ISBN number. I'm figuring on nominating a book, a chapter, and then I start having problems. Hang on, I could probably use Google Book Search, couldn't I?

As well we intend to commit about 10 arrows to a 'follow the arrow' project - need to fit the wording in to the SMS limit, describe the next target, describe the last in case they missed it. How to check that they didn't miss an arrow? It goes on and on.

Why am I telling you? I'm not. I'm actually making notes for myself so I can give my head the weekend off.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

yellowarrow - the movie

The things you do..
.. when you're off the road for a day or two.
Adobe, the new Premiere Pro 2, needed a quick workout. Did the initial video on the little Canon PowerShot. Seemed to turn out ok. Check the Google Video version:

Just goes to show - the original AVI file was 12.8Mb - the output to WMV: 1.1Mb, amazing compression.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The postcard arrives

the mail still functions
In amongst all this technology, computers wired for everything, streaming sound and vision at the speed of thought - faster in my case - the thing that stands out about today is that I got a postcard in the mail.

Not just any postcard, but the yellowarrow postcard. A simple postcard let loose in the mail system by a fellow currently in Miami. It eventually arrived at yellowarrow HQ in New York, from where it was dispatched to finally arrive here, at the other end of the World, right around the planet.

Tomorrow it gets back in the post and heads to Germany, to a fellow 'arrower' there, for her to send on to someone else. And so it will go on, around the World, involving itself with other people, different cultures, different languages. But it will still be handwritten. There will be no delete button.

Stunning. Simple. Elegant. A solution to communication problems. Write a letter. Get personal. I always believed that a handwritten letter managed to communicate a bit more than the written message. It contained a bit of the sender, a bit of their mood, surroundings, something. I still believe it.

In the midst of our daily madness, the satellite mapping dramas, conquering the embedding of video, planning other yellowarrow campaigns, all electronically involved, the appearance of Yvonne at the door with a postcard in her hand was a major call to slow down enough to appreciate life.

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off the road - again

the things humans do
Hacked, stabbed, stitched. All done. Implant time again. This time their position seems to be somewhere close to the poor old belly button, so any rolling about in bed manages to wake you up and remind you that things are still tender.

The big question, every time they are put in, is 'will they bruise?'. A hideous yellow/black bruise that is tender for a week, any contact causing a searing shock through the system.

Shouted myself the rest of the week off. Seemed to be the time to do it. Unable to get down to the pool, fearing the bacteria laden water (how that occurs in a mix of chlorine and salt is one of the wonders of the modern world) will get in and cause some sort of damage. Not possible. Not with the antibiotic load I'm carrying. I have a Doctor who leaves nothing to chance. The trouble being that I have a healthy loathing of antibiotics due to the fact that they make me feel like I have been run over by a truck.

the weather is shit anyway
So I guess I picked it right. Huge winds, perfect in every way other than direction. We need a bit better direction to get out there with the buggy. This sort of wind I could get speed hanging out a shopping bag as a kite.

Same wind precludes biking attempts. That and the implants.

Nothing for it but to stay home and take it out on a computer.

Videos
Being the latest passion. Looking for any excuse to knock something up, upload it to Google, upload it to any of these 'free' servers that appear to exist all over the place. I had no idea of free hosting of video until I went looking for it.

Makes a hell of a difference to my attitude to video - previously we had to work around what pittance of storage we are allotted by our ISP as part of the broadband plan. If these free options are really free then we have an alternative.

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Coordinates - the mystery house

On the subject of coordinates
Why is this house abandoned? Is there some juicy history? A mass murder that I should know about?

For a closer look click here.

It looks like a reasonable house, maybe '70's vintage, doesn't seem to have suffered any structural damage. What gives?

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And then we had vision.

The video test:

Looks like it works. It's the Dolce and Gabbana wallpaper and the yellowarrow.



The great CD hunt

Below - what do we see?



Courtesy of Google we have the layout for the CD & arrow hunt mentioned in this post. This time instead of two maps to worry about the entry point and target are combined - just click on the markers for the details.

Get to it, find the CD/DVD, and the attached arrow and get it out there.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

...you're in for a big surprise

Ok, let's play a game:

If you're in Brisbane go to these coordinates indicated here on Google Maps (remember to print the image out - you will need it to refer to) and under the shaded seating area you will find a DVD and an arrow (Hint: look up when you find the shaded area.)

Take them both with you. Play the DVD for the background of the yellowarrow project, and the instructions on what to do with the enclosed arrow.

Now, be prepared, this is not an easy task. The target is inside an abandoned prison. You cannot access the building through the front door, your easiest access is by entering from the courtyard indicated on this map here , or the door indicated by the arrow on the fence post.

You must be careful. You must not remove any police tape. You may feel more comfortable with a torch inside the building. Remember, you are at a location set between two prisons and a mental institution. Exercise caution.

If you get there and find no DVD or arrow, text me via yellowarrow and I will check the location myself. If it's not there I will place another one some place else.

Now, how good are you?

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Speedo - bare arsed and unhappy

Bare arsed courtesy of speedo®
Speedo®, the great icon of all things swimming. Speedo®, the (apparently) new icon for gays. Speedo®, the innovator, the designer, the creator of wondrous skin suits that make people go very fast in the water.

Speedo®, I am afraid to report, make a substandard product. A seriously substandard product. Speedo® Mens Trio Aquashort - the 'endurance' model, the only choice for people who have grown too old, and too self conscious to effect their 'dick togs' as we call them here. Speedo®, the pinnacle of chlorine resistance, the absolute cutting edge of fabric design. The name seen on millions of bums world wide as poor fools do their advertising for them.

You know the ones. You know the company. Speedo®. Speedo® must not be trusted, dear readers, do not relax if you own a pair of Speedo®s. You are in dire danger.

I own, because of loathsome quality control on Speedo®s part, two pair of the above mentioned swimming shorts; three if you count the pair that are down being repaired. The reason I own so many pair is really quite simple. With no offense intended to the hard working and undoubtedly well underpaid Chinese workers who make these items for the global giant, they are simply unable to make a pair that are consistent in size.

Really.

I have two pair that purport to be 18's. They are in the region of an inch different in width. I have one pair that insist they are size 20, a size that would fall of me any day of the week. Unless they had been made by Speedo®. If they have been made by Speedo® they manage to approach a cross between a 16 and an 18.

Speedo® make an inferior product. They are unable to maintain control of the sizing.

Speedo® make an inferior product in another area as well. Within one swim session I noticed the seam at the back was pulling - evident to anyone with functioning eyesight by the gap in the seam and the sewing pulling apart. The seam sewing, incidentally, is not the same colour as the item, so as to expose the fault to a better degree.

The seam 'expansion' did not get any worse, and because my arse is underwater most of the time anyway I imagined that it would stay the same. Substandard, but the same.

I know exactly how many times I have entered the water with these inferior aquashorts - I have a membership of the local pool, they tend to keep track of these things.

I have not managed more than 50 'immersions' in them. If that.

Yesterday, a normal session. 50 laps freestyle with Speedo® goggles, 10 laps with a Speedo® kickboard. Finish. No handstands, no acrobatic moves, no swinging from the ceiling.

Out of the pool, into the car, home. Breeze is evident around my arse. Pleasant on such a hot day, but not entirely expected.

A cursory feel of the cooler area and I find I am holding my arse, not my aquashorts. Interesting.

It appears, after investigation, that the rear seam if a single sewn, overlocked affair that would be unacceptable in any item of clothing, more so in something that is 'supposedly' designed to adapt to the rigors of swimming.

Speedo® make a substandard product. I need the world to know this, least they find that they bare their arse at a time when they would rather not.

The good news is, while at the shop searching for a pair of Nike to get me by until my reinforced repaired ones arrive back from the sewing woman, it was noted that because the Nike® stock had sold out so quickly, they were offering other, inferior brands at a 50% discount, so, fatalistic person that I am, I tried on a pair of Speedo that should have fitted me, and strangely did, in my real size, and managed to get item for half price. The saving can then be put toward getting them reinforced before I venture into the water.

So, I now own three pair of substandard aquashorts, two pair of them being tagged at incorrect sizes, one pair getting repaired.

You live, you learn.

Speedo® make a substandard product - you have been warned.