Do The Test

Do The Test “This is an awareness test.” Do The Test.

This public awareness spot is from Transport for London as part of their freshly introduced cycle safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of cyclists hurt on London’s roads. Effective use of the concept of inattentional blindness to illustrate the point - cyclists are easy to miss, watch out.

Via UrbanVelo

This is the second test.

No Joe?

McCain has made much of 'Joe the Plumber' - and called on him the other day in what must be one of the more cringeworthy moments on the stump:

The irony is that 'Joe the Plumber', who argued with Obama - 'isn't really a proper plumber and owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes' (Source)

If you listen to Obama's reply - I don't think 'Joe the Plumber' was a major problem - and truly can't understand why the McCain campaign has made so much of it.

I put some cash on an Obama win back when Clinton was still in the running - unfortunately I didn't get great odds as I was rather late to the game. With the polls due soon, and Obama ahead by a significant margin, the concern is that people won't turn out as they see it as a 'done thing'.

Original video

If it had been McCain-Kerry, I would have been fine with it. But out of the two on offer, Obama is the guy. Prior to this campaign, McCain has always come across well for me. However, this campaign has got dirty. The low spot was lots of (admittedly disavowed) comments that Obama sounds a bit like Osama. McCain should have gone nuclear on his 'supporters' who did that...

To be honest, Hillary Clinton should've been less negative too - negative campaigning always makes me think worse of the person doing it.

Obama does have an air about him which is inspirational - it's Kennedy-like (and I know Kennedy had problems). It doesn't feel like 'just another candidate'.

Obama's campaign may not have been beyond reproach - but it has (at least from this side of the Atlantic) been the only one from the start which achieved, and maintained, a presidential air.

Much more so that the incumbent - but that isn't hard.

I don't want a president who knows everything. I do expect a president to be able to hold more than one thought at a time. I want a president who takes expert advice, processes it and is able to weigh the pros and cons.

In his response to Joe the Plumber, Obama showed that he knows you can't please all the people all the time - but what you do have to do is try and get a 'best fit' given the conflicting demands and restraints.

Sometimes - or more likely often - this won't result in an optimal solution for most of the people. An 'almost best' solution for most is better than a perfect solution for some.

You can't please all the people the time - and if you try, you'll please nobody.

More Saturday Night Live

The Saturday Night Live spoof of the VP debate is online. Tina Fey does not have to do much spoofing, Palin spoofs herself. I had to grin at the 'Due the historically low expectations....'

In the UK, 'The News Quiz' has a nice take on Sarah Palin. Every time she is mentioned on the show we get a burst of 'Halleluia!' from Handel's Messiah - It's Sandi Toksvig thanking the Gods of Comedy for such a rich source of new comedic material.

Toksvig now finds herself "terribly grateful to Sarah Palin. For comedy writers, she’s just heaven."


Sarah Palin Interview

Sarah Palin is being spoofed very successfully on Saturday Night Live in the USA. The interview mentions Russia, and this was spoofed in the New Yorker recently.

Another sketch has Clinton (Hillary) and Palin jointly address the nation.

'I can see Russia from my house!'

On the basis of these sketches, it looks like SNL have a running gag whereby 'The Bush Doctrine' is an 'adult movie'. This phrase did stump the real Sarah Palin... at least until it was defined for her.

Mythbusters Gagged

Adam Savage, of the excellent 'Mythbusters' programme(*) reports that they were going to do a segment on RFID chips only to have the lawyers descend from Visa, American Express etc.

Texas Instruments comes on along with chief legal counsel for American Express, Visa, Discover, and everybody else... They were way, way outgunned and they absolutely made it really clear to Discovery that they were not going to air this episode talking about how hackable this stuff was, and Discovery backed way down being a large corporation that depends upon the revenue of the advertisers. Now it's on Discovery's radar and they won't let us go near it.

A great quote from the video:

You do have about 3000 people in the room who aren't under such legal arrangements.

The full video is here, and starts with a great talk from Savage about his obsessions.

The point is that keeping the information 'secret' does not stop the bad guys getting it - it stops the rest of us knowing that our information is insecure. If you're reliant on security by obscurity you have no security at all. Given that RFID is a widely distributed technology, the RFID chips should be able to withstand full scrutiny if they're to be trusted for the purpose.

They can't withstand that scrutiny, as evidenced by the reaction of the lawyers, and by this video.

With a bigger antenna on this I can go into Starbucks and get the [details] of everyone there.

It's a shame discovery didn't feel able to nod at the lawyers, and then make the programme anyway - including the conversation with the legal people. Still, when you're depending upon ad revenues, it's not as easy as all that - at least in the short term. A good argument for the BBC TV Licence!

(*) Although the announcer in the UK does often mix concepts of mass, pressure, force etc. Not sure about the guy in the US - the people in the show sometimes do this too, but that comes across to me as more of a 'shorthand' - as they obviously know the difference!

Random Browsing Connections

I thought I'd write a little post talking about some of my more interconnected browsing.... Browsing youtube, I came across a series of amusing videos by a guy called Greg Benson under the banner of 'mediocre films'. Classics like 'Sexy Panda', 'Phone Call to God', 'Batty Bat-Bat!' (best seen for its post-credit analysis), The Kidnapping and 'Warren'.

Later, I stumbled across 'The Retarded Policeman'. This series stars the legend that is Josh "Ponceman" Perry... don't worry, he knows what's going on and he is hilarious. Hang on a second. It's produced by 'mediocre films'. Huh, small world.

On another day I was browsing around and discovered 'Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show' with Kim Evey as Kiko. Episode 1 throws you straight in at the deep end (talk to the hotdog, it can read your mind). It was only later that I discovered that Kim Evey was Ming Li in 'Sexy Panda' (remember 'Sexy Panda'?)

Then I saw a post on WWdN saying that Wil Wheaton was in 'Retarded Policeman'. Heh, cool. (Yep, That's Wil Wheaton of WWdN and TNG fame).

Wil's post tied everything together for me - I had seen these series 'in random browsing' and hadn't really twigged that they were related. Yep, the 'related videos' links should have been a giveaway. Recently he had a freakout moment about seeing Randall Munro, the author of xkcd - another of my favourite sites. This is all feeling very circular!

Anyway. Wil's post also introduced me to 'The Guild', written by Felicia Day and produced by Kim Evey. Felicia Day was a face that looked familiar, I wasn't sure where from, but eventually the penny dropped - Buffy (she played 'Vi', the one with the woollen hat). She's also been in 'The Retarded Fish' for the April 1st installment of 'Retarded Policeman'.

The Guild is a webseries about online gaming, and launches us straight in with what, at first, looks like a standard youtube 'talk to camera'. Felicia's series has been so popular that she's found out the hard way about address labels and mass mailings.

The Guild is produced by Kim Evey, who also stars in the very funny 'Two Hot Girls in the Shower' (must have been in a related video from one of the above - I wouldn't have searched for that... honest!).'Two Hot Girls' is co-written by Kim Evey and Julie Wittner, who appears through the output of 'mediocre films', from 'Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show' to WWJD.

And look who appears in the latest episode: it's Josh "Ponceman" Perry! So that's nice and circular.

Now? Well, Sandeep Parikh, aka Zaboo from 'The Guild' has written his own series called 'The Legend of Neil', episode 3 of which stars Felicia Day.

I heard tell that Joss Whedon had a summer project, something to keep him occupied during the writers' strike. This became Doctor Horrible, which was an absolute phenomenon, for a time it caused the web hosting companies to crash. It starred Nathon Fillion (Firefly and Serenity), Neil Patrick Harris and.... Felicia Day. Felicia's Geek Cred Status is rocketting by the minute! (She knew Joss Whedon through her work on Buffy). Doctor Horrible can, as I write, be seen here (advertising supported), it can also be downloaded on itunes.

It's scary just how many of these things are all interconnected. It's got to the stage now that if it's been produced by Greg or Kim from 'mediocre films', by Felicia Day, or if it stars Josh "Ponceman" Perry - or someone connected with them - it's probably going to be worth a look... and that's without following the links from Nathon Fillion to Jewel Staite to David Hewlett (and there's a whole other world of independent production goodness there with 'A Dog's Breakfast' - a fun film).

You know, some days, I browse the net and I seem to go in circles. The net can sometimes feel like a small kinda place.

That's a small world architecture for you.

(The above may not be chronologically accurate, it's tough reconstructing things after the event).

Doctor Horrible Act 3

The third and final act of Doctor Horrible is online. It will be available until the end of the weekend, and then it'll be gone. Never to re-appear, unless, y'know, you buy the DVD, download it off itunes or illegally pirate it.... erm. Well, if you want to watch it legally and for free you have this weekend.

It did feel like there should be more.... maybe there will be?

Highspots without spoilers:

  • 'She's got that quiet, nerdy thing, not my usual, but nice.'
  • We get to see Bad Horse!
  • Grr, Argh! is back.

Previous posts on Dr. Horrible

Posts on other sites

New Muppet Videos

Thanks to Aquarionics, I have discovered a range of new Muppet Videos online.

There's the Chef, The Old Guys, Gonzo, Beaker and Sam the American Eagle ('World Wide Web? Is there a way to put this just on the American Part?' *guffaw*)

I thought the Chef's video was the best though!

I hope that Aquarion is right about the new series... though I suspect it's going to be a 'keeping the brand alive on youtube until the next film' deal.

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Annoyingly, I simply cannot watch Doctor Horrible at Doctor Horrible.Com .

Doctor Horrible is the latest project from Joss Whedon. Made without backing from a studio and released online.

When I try and view it I get the message 'This Video is not available at this site' message - I think that, the video hosting service, have restricted it to US subscribers only, at least that's what I thought until I saw that people all over the world have been commenting on how great it is.

Ack. There's a buzz out there about this Joss Whedon project, and I'n stuck on the other side of the glass looking in.


Hang on a cotton picking second.... I wonder..... if... No... it can't be that simple....?

Fantastically, I've just worked it out - it was something to do with Firefox. It opened in the dreaded MSIE (browser conflicts are pretty rare these days, previously it would've been the first thing I'd have checked).

Nice opening - the evil laugh - and I want one of those big chairs at the end of Act 2.

It's really good stuff, musically very similar to a certain well known episode of Buffy (of course) - thoroughly enjoyed it.

Felicia Day played a novice slayer in Buffy, and has recently starred in the online series, 'The Guild' - the first episode of which is here.

Doctor Horrible, played by Neil Patrick Harris was the lead in Doogie Howser MD. Nathan Fillion appeared as a bad guy in Buffy, has 'Mal' in Firefly and Serenity, and as one of the leads in the ill-fated 'Drive'.

Doctor Horrible is free to watch online for a few days, and then it's gone - having built the hype it'll then re-emerge on DVD and itunes.

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