Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monkey from Mars - UFO Hoax

Here's a strange little story about a UFO hoax that took place in Georgia, USA during the 1950's. A dead, exfoliated and tail-docked monkey was used to play a practical joke on gullible UFO believers.

This story was taken from here and of course wikipedia.

At the height of UFO hysteria then sweeping the nation, two young barbers and a butcher took a dead monkey in 1953, lopped off its tail and applied a liberal dose of hair remover and some green coloring to the carcass.

Then they left the primate on an isolated road north of Atlanta in the pre-dawn hours of July 8, 1953, burning a circle into the pavement with a blowtorch before a police officer came around the curve in his patrol car.

"If we had been five minutes earlier, we would have caught 'em in the act," said Sherley Brown, the officer who happened on the scene.

The barbers, Edward Watters and Tom Wilson, and the butcher, Arnold "Buddy" Payne, told the policeman they came upon a red, saucer-shaped object in the road that night. They said several 2-foot-tall creatures were scurrying about and the trio hit one with their pickup before the other creatures jumped back in the saucer and blasted skyward — leaving the highway scorched.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Canvas 2D game engine - Flax.ie

Canvas is bringing some unique opportunities to the isometric gaming world. Here's a new 2d game engine I've add to my isometric game engine list:
The Flax Engine (henceforth called Flax) is to be a 2D game engine for the web, using features introduced in HTML5, specifically the canvas and audio tags. Flax will be developed in Java using GWT 2.0 to cross compile the code into robust JavaScript code which will run across all mordern browsers and is intended to be a native framework for developing 2D browser-based games. Adobe Flash is used to program the vast majority of browser-based games (with Java applets coming distant second), though Flash is not supported on many mobile devices (specifically, any running Apple’s iOS) and is also rather heavy on hardware requirements. Also with the upcoming release of an operating system which completely depends on the Internet for its applications and data storage (Chromium OS) we are very excited about being able to develop games for these type of mobile devices.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How to sabotage a job opportunity

My job sometimes requires me hiring some very skilled programmers for companies. I'm no headhunter (I profession I disdain) but I am proud of the fact I've placed several key people into roles they love in a company that values their expertise. Overall I've placed about 8 people in various programming jobs. Not a high number at all, but I am not a headhunter. An interesting observation is that out of those 8 people I've hired, only only one was local.

One thing that always irked about people who were applying for jobs is an attitude of 'entitlement' - this either killed the job opportunity or kept the hiree from future growth. Some examples.
  • One applicant from Western Europe wanted to a full range of medical, leave and other benefits that are not available here in this country. This was for a job from a self funded startup. Lack of doing 'your homework' about the country you want to move to as well as the company itself left bad taste in mouth. It especially irked me to hear "Because I'm from [x] country - No one will hire me!" - no one will hire you because you are making unreasonable demands!
  • One North American applicant was going swingingly through the application process. The salary and work was agreed upon. One the third interview out of the blue the applicant demands 10K more in salary - startling us. I wasn't so much the 10K - it was more the attitude of greed. We said that after a trial period we would be more than happy to increase his salary but demanding it upfront was in bad taste. Needless to say, he left without a job.
  • Last example actually came from a successful applicant. This applicant was actually a very honest person and terrific negotiator. He was very good during the interview process and managed to get salary that was substantially higher than not only the other programmers but more than the directors of the company themselves!

    So whats wrong with that? Nothing - but the problem was that this was a start up. Since he negotiated salary - something more in the 'here and now' he missed out hugely on getting shares of the company. Other programmers started out much lower than him and got shares and now make much more than him. He is still the highest salaried employer in the organisation- but will never be offered shares because he felt 'entitled' to get a high salary.
The people that were hired were hungry to prove themselves - proud of the coding abilities but with a realisation that sometimes you have to start a bit humbler to get places - and I can say these guys are all getting paid very well now!

Google Blogger Custom Domains for NZ, AU Domains

I recently helped a friend set up a blogger custom domain for Australia (.com.au) and New Zealand (.co.nz) registrars.

For the most part, its fairly straight forward - you can add a cname record as detailed here http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=58317.

However for some registrars in New Zealand and Australia it doesn't quite go so smoothly. The 'www' would go to the blogger site, where the naked domain still remained parked at the registrar. For instance:

www.custombloggerdomain.com would go to google blogger (yay!)
customerbloggerdomain.com would go to registrar parking page (boo!)

As usual, the registrar support system was very poor. However I found a link from google that was a lifesaver: http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55373

You have to set up an addition 'A' Record with Google's IP for the 'naked' domain and set the name for the www domain. So it should look a bit like this:

Hostname: customerbloggerdomain.com
Record Type: A

Hostname: www.customerbloggerdomain.com
Record Type: CNAME
Value: ghs.google.com

It was the first time I had deal with both CNAME and A Records for Blogger, most large American registrars make this process easy. I suppose these particular registrars don't deal much with Google Blogger - but hopefully that will be useful to anybody setting up Blogger with a New Zealand or Australian registrar!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Unique Homemade Motorhome

Here's yet another strange motorhome - this time its in the UK.
At first glance, the sight of a tiny 1960s car inside a bus recalls the finale to movie classic The Italian Job. But engineer Graham Smith has no intention of dumping his small Fiat 500 over the side of a mountain.

Instead, the 62-year-old has spent 20 years converting his 1968 Daimler Fleetline double-decker bus into an all mod-cons home away from home.
And, amazingly, Mr Smith even factored in enough room to park his car inside the unique vehicle, known as Harold.

The father-of-four from Sible Hedingham, Essex, said: 'If Cliff Richard did it in his film Summer Holiday why can't we?' But he admitted: 'We have had some odd looks when we turn up at camping sites.'

see more homemade motorhomes here.

Another Homemade Motorhome

I've come across this excellent pic of a homemade motorhome from littlelow on travelpad. I am not sure how mobile it is - it from Christchurch New Zealand.

Check out my other posts on homemade motorhomes here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Giving up your US citizenship

Seems to be alot of talk these days about US Citizens giving up there passports to find greener pastures elsewhere in the world. A friend passed me this audio clip which provides some excellent information on terminating US citizenship:

  • Difference between renouncing and reliquishing
  • Cost of giving up your US passport (overview)
  • Can you still travel to US if you relinquish USA citizenship?
  • Can you get citizenship/residency back if you give up US citizenship.

Skilled Technical Migrants: Canada says no to IT Skills; other countries say give us your geeks...

I was just curious to check what state of IT immigration was amongst some English speaking nations of the world. To my surprise, Canada does not want any more IT Skilled labour (as of 26 June, 2010). This is the first time I've seen IT skills not in demand by a predominately English speaking country (French being the other national language of Canada).

Here is a quick assessment of English speaking countries and need for IT Labour:
Of course there are heaps more English speaking countries in the world; I've only picked 4 of the larger nation (or popular) nations. Its hard to make an assessment based on that whether IT is dwindling, but I was certainly surprised to see one country (Canada) where IT is no longer a driving force to push skilled labour in their market

Monday, July 26, 2010

Aves 2d Game Engine

Here's another update to the list of Isometric Game engines list. This one looks quite interesting as its web based - using HTML and Javascript. Check the Aves Engine by Dextrose:
The Aves Engine is a professional game engine to build any type of web based 2D or 2.5D game by only using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, giving game studios the power to deliver stunning games for all kinds of genres on multiple platforms. It’s in a way similiar to Game Engines on PC or Console systems but utilizes many important patterns you need to consider when working in the web environment.

see more on my list of isometric games engines.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quick fix for Gmail Attachments not working...

If you are experiencing some gmail attachment problems and can't wait for google, here's a quick work around:
  • scroll down to bottom of screen, click Basic HTML view (between view: standard | older version | basic HTML)
  • now attach to your email
Its still bloody slow, and you might have to give a couple of go's but it will attach.

FYI - this works for chrome, ff and ie6 (at least on my machine)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Isometric Game Engine: Game Editor 1.3

I've added a new 2d game editor to my list of isometric game engines:
Game Editor is the open source game design software that gives you the power to create the games of your dreams, and, unlike other game creation tools, gives you the chance to get and change the source code of the game creator and design and develop 2D games for personal computers as well as mobile devices.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vertical Airship Design - Modern Concept Airship

I've posted about Airships before - this one is quite unique in that it is vertical instead of oblong - looking a bit more like a balloon. However the concept interiors are amazing!

from the website:
Originally a self-generated project, Seymourpowell's Aircruise is the concept design for a hotel in the sky, with low passenger numbers and huge internal spaces offering room for living, dining and relaxing, as well as scope for dramatic and inspirational public spaces. The initial design proposes a bar/lounge zone, four duplex apartments, a penthouse and five smaller apartments.

Here is the video:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beautiful Treehouse Book - Traumhafte Baumhäuser

When I was in Vienna, I splurged on this book. It contain beautiful treehouse by the architects from La Cabane Perchee (www.la-cabane-perchee.com). The book is German, but the architects are based in France. Expensive book, and couple of the houses are not proper treehouses (don't know how they got in) but well worth it if you have some extra dosh laying around. The book has really beautiful photos and towards the end it has beautiful draft drawings with rough dimensions of each treehouse. One of the remarkable things that this company designs are the spiral stair cases that wrap around the tree.

You can find it on Amazon.de. For other treehouses, see this post.

A Treehugging Treehouse

Here's a another interesting treehouse, one that hugs a tree! This was found via http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/flatpack-treehouse-is-dutch-treat.php. Here's a brief blurb:
What I really love is the simplicity, the way it fastens together with the ratchet straps; just crank them tight and they hold the thing together and onto the tree. The dutch bracket on the front is the only thing that doesn't fit this pattern, but of course they had to have it.
For more information please visit treehugger. For more great treehouses, click here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wien Baumhaus (Vienna Treehouse)

I was in Hietzing, a suburb of Vienna Austria. I came across this treehouse. You can find on Neukraeftengasse. This is the dead of winter, so during summer I would image that this treehouse is almost completely hidden by leaves.

See the rest of the treehouses of the world here.