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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Friday, December 31, 2004

House of Flying Daggers & Anita Mui

"House of Flying Daggers" (Shi Mian Mai Fu) is not to be missed! The original Chinese title is Shi Mian Mai Fu, meaning "ambush from ten direction". The film is written as a thriller under the cover of a love story, or is it a love story under cover of a thriller?

With a stronger, more focused and intimate story then "Hero" (Ying Xiong) or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (Wo Hu Cang Long) but just as breathtaking is the the cinematography, costumes, sets and sheer colour. Zhang Yimou has contiuned to refine his techinque since "Hero". The cast of Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Zhang Ziyi, Song Dandan was masterful. Lots more details @ Monkey Peaches

Sony's North American DVD of the film is slated to release May 15th.

Anita Mui received a dedication during the closing credits. This was originally going to be Anita Mui's final appearance in film and she had already accepted the role but, because she was battling cervical cancer, her part wasn't going to be filmed until early 2004. After her death on 30 December 2003, director Zhang Yimou decided to alter the script rather than find a replacement. One year ago today. I suspect she was to be the new leader of the "House of Flying Daggers".

update : HoFD review and news of ~7,000 fans of Chinese pop diva Anita Mui marked the first anniversary of her death at a star-studded commemoration concert included Andy Hui, Hacken Lee, and Miriam Yeung, performing Mui's most popular songs in her honor


Thursday, December 30, 2004

Acrobat Reader 7, sucks less slowly

Via adot's notblog*: get acrobat reader 7. Adot's right : acrobat reader loads pdf's from the web very very fast, which is good 'cause it used to take forever just loading to the browser, regardless of the size of the document. So far so good.

Adot also links to the direct way to get acrobat reader off of adobe's site.

Tag's, folksonomies, and Google Suggest

IFTF's Future Now makes a point about one problem with "folksonomies", bottom-up taxonomies that people create on there own :

None of the current implementations have synonym control (e.g. "selfportrait" and "me" are distinct Flickr tags, as are "mac" and "macintosh" on

I wonder if a Google Suggest like system might help narrow the list of "lazy" tagging for Furl, Flickr and By "lazy" I mean the habit to use the shortest possible name for something.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Farewell Jerry Orbach

Jerry Orbach, Lennie Briscoe of Law and Order, has died at the age of 69.

The Gothamist has a great obituary, and Joey links to a collection of some Lennie Briscoe snappy remarks.

Monday, December 27, 2004

A New Form of Advertising

Via John Battelle's Searchblog , A New Idea for Publishing in Technology Review magazine.

DURL, a Search Tool for

Via Roland comes DURL, a Search Tool for, not far from my own sugestions for extensions of and Technorati, and new searching and learning techniques

Defination : Tsunami

Tsunami are a Japanese term which has been used to describe a large seismically generated ocean wave, produced by a submarine earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption.

The pronunciation for tsunami is "soo- nah- mee", and comes from Japanese : tsu (port) + nami(wave).

Incorrectly referred to as tidal waves, Tsunamis have no connection with tides.

Here's the USGS info for the Dec 26 '04 Preliminary Earthquake Report. Other links on the disaster: WorldChanging; and Wikipedia has great and uptodate coverage.

For news and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer work, the best source is The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami weblog and impromptu short-notice clearinghouse.

Did the earth move for you?

Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake on Sunday caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or 3 millionths of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.


Latidude and Longitude by Address

A cool feature of is that you can get Latitude and Longitude for just about any address, or feature in the World. So, Runnymede Rd and Bloor Street (in Toronto) is Lat: 43:39:05N (43.6513) Lon: 79:28:35W (-79.4764) (and which could be used in GeoTags). Santa Claus must use a function like this.

MultiMap came up before with repect to Magical Maps, which are "only in the UK, Pity".

Friday, December 24, 2004

2005: the year to come.

  • In response, watch for TVoIP from the TeleCom's. One question is how aggressive will it be promoted. MTS all ready covers 75% of Winnipeg with their offering.
  • The TeleCom's are still hoping to use regulation to delay, but are a least talking about some (long overdue) infrastructure upgrades.
  • StratSat's (high altitude blimps) used as communication platforms and/or WiMax will allow wireless VOIP , TVoIP and internet but not till 2006/7. Cable and Telecom companies have that long to get their act together. (StratSat's also make great surveillance platforms in warzones or for borders/coastlines. This is where they will show up first)
  • As a side effect, the new end broadband speeds will be ~20 Mbps down.
  • HDTV and new display technologies will slowly rollout but not become the norm until you can get a 40 inch HDTV for ~ $1,000. Late 2006.
  • MultiCore chips designs become commercially available in 2005, first from AMD then Intel, Sun and IBM. Thread Level Parallelism will be very import in 2006. Multicore and 64 bit will be standard for servers in 2006 and desktops in 2007. 64 bit is important because to support more than 4 Gb of ram.
  • +1 Gb ram, +200 Gb hard disk space is stardard for your AMD/Intel desktop.
  • The floppy disk is dead. Booting off cheap 256 Mb flash keys and/or USB card readers to 1 GB memory cards (take your pick but I prefer CompactFlash or SD cards) is the way to go.
  • IBM Cell processors will ship before the end of the 2005 in Sony's PlayStation 3, as will Microsoft's Xbox2 will also ship (using IBM's PowerPC chip design).
  • Linux and OSX will make major gains on the server and desktop.
  • Microsoft's Longhorn will be further delayed and ilrelevent.
  • Microsoft will not ship a IE 7 till the end of 2006. Mozilla/Firefox/Thunderbird will make major gains. Only full Xform (+fully stardards supports) support might allow IE to make a big come back.
  • Intel will be having another bad year.
  • Hand held devices will continue to morph. PDA's without phone or always on email functions are already low end commodities. If it ain't connected it's ilrelevent. (That could be the theme for the next 5 years).
  • Digital Cameras will show up everywhere, standalone and on celphones, better and cheaper than ever. Look for mp3 players showing up on high end celphones using flash memory or robust mirco harddrives. Privacy prudes and security squealers will have a very bad time.
  • Bloggers will continue to confuse the mainstream media and upset more privacy prudes and security squealers.
  • I will have a better year. Somewhere, if not by March. (I promise ET).

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Saturday Night Hong Kong Films in Toronto (Omini TV ) 2005 January & February

Update: Septebmer 2005: new listing at the new url :Saturday Night Hong Kong Films in Toronto (Omini TV ) Fall 2005

March: Now updated Here for March, April and May.

Omni TV 2 listings (they changed the url! bad tv,bad!) for Jan and February 2005 are out now for what they call "Super Cinema Night"

All the movies start at 9pm and go to 11

The schedule for the Last half of 2004 is here

Saturday, December 25Driving
Miss Wealthy
Sean Lau Ching-Wan, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei • Driving Miss
Wealthy goes by the Cantonese title Juet Sai Ho Bun.
Saturday, January 1Love
is a many stupid thing
Eric Tsang Chi-Wai...silly with Infernal Affairs riffs. Fun
Saturday, January 8
Bad, silly stupid moive with singing. "Love Boat" without any redeeming features. run away.....
Saturday, January 15Love
romantic-action-drama. Very Good.
Saturday, January 22One
night in Mangkok
41st Golden Horse (2004) Award winner. Daniel Wu (Ng Yin-Cho), Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi. Excellent Film. Cecilia Cheung is great in a role much more dramatic than her usual airhead.

Saturday, January 29Super Model HK version of the American comedy Zoolander; Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei, Karena Lam Ka-Yan...(also Tony Leung Chiu-Wai)
Saturday, February 5Heat Teamamusing throwback to early nineties Hong Kong cop comedies. Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, Eason Chan Yik-Shun, Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi...
Saturday, February 12Three of a kindcomedy. Michael Hui Koon-Man, Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Sean Lau aka Lau Ching-Wan
Saturday, February 19Throw downAction with Director Johnnie To Kei-Fung. Cast: Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Tony Leung Ka-Fai. Former Judo fighter challenged by new Cocky Judo champion to a duel.
Saturday, February 26Six strong guysSix very silly guys
Saturday, March 5Cop UnbowedHK cop-triad thriller

categories Movies/Asian/Toronto

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What is the use of half an eye?

In Where d'you get those peepers, Richard Dawkins rebutles Creationist (and intelligent design) claims that organs like eyes are too complex to have evolved naturally.

Category: Evolution

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds

Leaving behind the universe of 'Revelation Space', 'Chasm City', 'Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days', 'Redemption Ark', and 'Absolution Gap', Alastair Reynolds now has a new standalone novel 'Century Rain'. (ISBN: 0575074361)

The Agony Column has a excerpt to taste and tease, while you want for your copy via Amazon (currently late to show!) Given how mind warping and yummy the Revelation Space stories were, I wait very very impatiently.


Monday, December 20, 2004

A couple of XMLHttpRequest links:IE Script debugging, IE7, EMCAScript and XML Extras

Via The Microsoft Internet Explorer Weblog a very useful list of IE Script debugging links and a shoutout to Dean Edwards of IE7 fame and where I noticed his work on IE7 XML Extras which does XMLHttpRequest via a JavaScript module that provides wrappers for the underlying ActiveX objects. From Dean I learned that XMLHttpRequest is on it's way to becoming a standard part of ECMAScript, and then there is the original Mozilla's XML Extras

All this as a follow up to dissecting Google suggest and the New Web UI

Category : JavaScript, xmlhttprequest

Friday, December 17, 2004

Mad tourist on the Road in North-West Scotland

Via vowe dot net, What happens when a mad tourist straps a camera and a GPS to his Land Rover and shoots 2,968 photo. This

Category :Abuse of Technology

Penguin dives

Macromedia 2004 Holiday Card. My High score (so far) 23.1!


It's not Rocket Surgery!

No Chuck, It's Brain Science!

Ottawa's MP3 Levy fee squished

Via Globe and Mail (Ottawa's MP3 fee quashed), Canada's Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that special copyright levies applied to digital music players are not legal.

Canada's Copyright Act gives the the Copyright Board of Canada the authority to apply levies on blank media such as compact discs and audio cassettes, but not the new technology of MP3 players, as represented by the iPod.

This year, MP3 sales are expected to generate $5-million of the $25- to $30-million in levies collected for musicians. The levies range from as little as $2 to $25 per device.

The decision may still be appealed.

Paul Audley, a consultant to the Canadian Private Copying Collective declared : “The big impact of this is, if you got an iPod for Christmas, on Dec. 13 you were okay copying music on to it; on Dec. 15, you weren't.”

But, but but….. as I noted on November 25 when some of Canada's best-known musicians appeared on Parliament Hill :

"Downloading, file-swapping, peer-to-peer networks -- these are all euphemisms for piracy, pure and simple. It is devastating to the Canadian music industry.''

So, piracy: was I or wasn’t I. And where do I get my Levy back?

Category: CopyRight

Thursday, December 16, 2004

geo-location of tagged images on

mappr. Cool.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

New searching/learning Techniques: & technorati

New Technique when it comes to finding high quality link to Learn stuff from:

  1. Searching bookmarks. A least for now it has a high information to noise ratio.

  2. Search technorati, for memes or there starting urls in the blogosphere. A bit more hit and miss.

Google Suggest Dissected...and more xmlhttprequest stuff

Chris Justus - Server Side Guy went and Dissected more of Google Suggest, inculding a un-compression of Google's compressed javascript : so that the average web developer should be able to get a detailed understanding of how this work. (I think that means me, maybe).

several other links worth reading : XMLHttpRequest for The Masses; a developer doc from Apple; via JPSPAN an XMLHttpRequest Introduction with links to more tools/libraries; ; one from XULplanet;
Pull Web Pages anyone?; and On XMLHTTPRequest and Native XML Stores

My own efforts have gotten past 'sucks', but only just, in building a cassading drop down lists example.

Category : XmlHttpRequest

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

How to build a better web browser

@ UIWEB.COM by Interface designer and IE ex-developer Scott Berkun. Some good points (Bookmarks), some silly point (Doesn't get RSS). via Slashdot

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's a Wonderful Life 30 seconds with bunnies.

Angry Alien has done it again, Bunnyfing another classic with... It's a Wonderful Life in 30 seconds with bunnies.

I'm hoping they with tackle classic TV shows - Gilligan's Island; Star Trek, Amok Time; 3's Company - all come to mind with Bunny potential!


Sunday, December 12, 2004

BLC: iScream for mainstream

Via Better Living Centre about boomers Tom Cochrane and Jim Cuddy and Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) “an attempt to put toothpaste back in the tube”.

meanwhile Cory's back and picks up the story about the impact that the suggested changes will have on the Education Community.

Category: CopyRight

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The New Web UI and Blogger Tags

Charles Miller aka The Fishbowl comments on a brief Joel Spolsky remark about Google's Suggest : the XmlHttpRequest technique, as displayed in Gmail, and Google Suggest, represents a new level in Rich Web UI's.

Give that I've recent linked to DWR (Direct Web Remoting) and (more important) On GMail and DHTML architecture again this is not new news.

I expect that some of this is due to the skills of Chris Wetherell (also of Dealership fame) and I expect even greater things now that youngpup (Aaron Boodman) has joined them.

From what I've read (or incorecctly inferred) within the Blogosphere, I know improvements are comming in Blogger. Some of these are going to be internal to the Blogger enviroment, but I think it might now be be possible with this kind of technique to give a Blogger site some kind of tag catergoring ( style) with the processing done via javascript? Anything to say Chris or Aaron?

Apart from this, the bar has been raised for Web Apps. We have a lot of learning (and rebuilding) to do folks!

Update"Matt Raible has picked up on it too, with some comments about the XmlHttpRequest code used in Roller and a link to Toronto's own Brent Ashley who wrote some Remote Scripting code in 2000!

Also Matt has now linked to Using the XML HTTP Request object via Carl Fyffe.

Category : JavaScript, xmlhttprequest

Friday, December 10, 2004

DWR: DWR (Direct Web Remoting), Allows JavaScript to call server-side Java

dwr: DWR (Direct Web Remoting) is a very simple way to call Java code directly from within browser JavaScript. It helps you create sites like G-Mail, Google Suggest or Kuro5hin that update themselves without loading new pages.

It comes as a simple jar file and a few lines to add to your web.xml file to configure the remoted classes. In a web page you add a couple of script tags to indicate which classes you wish to import and can then call your Java code directly from Javascript. More detailed instructions are available on the DWR site.
How it works

The Javascript works by dynamically creating an iframe through which it calls the DWR servlet with instructions about what Java code to call. The DWR servlet marshalls the parameters, calls the server-side Java code and returns the reply to the iframe, which triggers an onload, which returns the reply to the calling Javascript.

Category : JavaScript

21st Century: mass distribution of micro-produced content

Via Scripting News (Dave Winner)

Before the 20th Century we made our own entertainment, we entertained each other. Creativity was distributed. Along comes TV, radio, phonographs, CDs, mass produced print, and all of a sudden only the very best and most commercial of us are allowed to create. Now we're flipping back, because we can do mass distribution of micro-produced content. To the surprise and perhaps chagrin of the people on the last panel of the morning, this will flip around the equation in both business and politics. Demand will now tell supply what to make, instead of supply convincing demand to buy what they've created. Big big diff.
A Very Very Big Diff. And Mass produced content/ Mass distribution is fighting back.

Google Suggest, Beta

Google Suggest, Beta, As you type, Google will offer suggestions. Cool!
As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google's "Did you mean?" feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type "bass," Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include "bass fishing" or "bass guitar." Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like "progr," Google Suggest might offer you refinements like "programming," "programming languages," "progesterone," or "progressive." You can choose one by scrolling up or down the list with the arrow keys or mouse.

brought to you by the same fine folks behind : Google News Beta, Google Mail Beta, Google Desktop Search Beta, Froogle Beta. Maybe they should change they name to "Google Beta"?

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Lost Star Trek Christmas Episode: "A Most Illogical Holiday"

Yeah, I remember this:

The Lost Star Trek Christmas Episode: "A Most Illogical Holiday" (1968)

Mr. Spock, with his pointy ears, is hailed as a messiah on a wintry world where elves toil for a mysterious master, revealed to be Santa just prior to the first commercial break. Santa, enraged, kills Ensign Jones and attacks the Enterprise in his sleigh.

As Scotty works to keep the power flowing to the shields, Kirk and Bones infiltrate Santa's headquarters. With the help of the comely and lonely Mrs. Claus, Kirk is led to the heart of the workshop, where he learns the truth: Santa is himself a pawn to a master computer, whose initial program is based on an ancient book of children's Christmas tales. Kirk engages the master computer in a battle of wits, demanding the computer explain how it is physically possible for Santa to deliver gifts to all the children in the universe in a single night. The master computer, confronted with this computational anomaly, self-destructs; Santa, freed from mental enslavement, releases the elves and begins a new, democratic society. Back on the ship, Bones and Spock bicker about the meaning of Christmas, an argument which ends when Scotty appears on the bridge with egg nog made with Romulan Ale. 

Filmed during the series' run, this episode was never shown on network television and was offered in syndication only once, in 1975. Star Trek fans hint the episode was later personally destroyed by Gene Roddenberry. Rumor suggests Harlan Ellison may have written the original script; asked about the episode at 1978's IgunaCon II science fiction convention, however, Ellison described the episode as "a quiescently glistening cherem of pus."

Whatever: The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Strange Horizons Reviews Charles Stross Singularity Sky

reviewed by Paul Lucas

A Win in the Sushi Wars

Via The Globe and Mail: Sushi out of the deep freeze, comes word that the Ontario government is beating a retreat, admitting that officials who drafted them relied on limited scientific research while failing to consult restaurateurs who make their livelihood from raw-fish delicacies.

Health advisers, on the lookout post-SARS for any offshore illness that might ravage Ontario, noted Japan's 2,000 annual cases of anisakiasis. But, given that only three cases have surfaced in Ontario in the past decade, it looks like the ban on fresh-fish sushi, ceviche, fish tartare and even cold-smoked salmon was risk-assessment overkill. Not to mention very bad processess.

I love the smell of Sashimi, It smells like Victory....(from "Apoxonfish Now")

Category SushiWars, or previously: Sushi Wars 2/Sushi Wars/Sushi Insanity/The Battle for Toro, 2/The Battle for Toro/The End of Sushi or Sayonara Sashimi