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Monday, October 26, 2009

Igglepiggle’s salutary lesson on why small children should go to bed when told.

 

Igglepiggle’s reluctance to go to bed has made him unpopular in the polybore household and has prompted polybore to rework the ending of the BBC’s “In the Night Garden” in the style of Struwwelpeter.

Polybore used the blender video sequencer to create this.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What do Republicans , Jihadists, Peaceniks and Socialists have in common?

peace prize

They all don’t think Obama should have received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Having looked at the the round up of reaction from world leaders and international organisations polybore was struck by what unusual bedfellows those who have criticised Obama’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize make.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8298802.stm

When you look at the world reaction at a State or organisational level it is notable that those who most stridently criticise the award to Obama are Peaceniks, Islamic fundamentalists and the Republican Party. The Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc etc all sharing the sentiment with the GOP that Obama did not deserve it.

Update. Today the list had to be updated when a World Leader, Hugo Chavez, entered the fray.

"What has Obama done to deserve this prize?”

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE59A1MU20091011

Whatever happened to the bon ami of international socialism?

So the list now reads The Republican Party, Peaceniks, Islamic fundamentalists and Socialists.

Now that makes for one weird slumber party. Wonders will never cease.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleaned up audio proves Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus prayers were to God NOT Obama.

There is a video circulating on the net of some community workers conducting a prayer meeting.

Some people are claiming that the prayers are actually directed to Obama not to God. Here is the original video and audio.

There is a lot of background distortion caused by the large room, ambient noise and sub broadcast quality microphone.

Now the human brain is a funny old thing and is susceptible to suggestion. You know like those court cases that fell through because someone said that if you played some bands record backwards you could hear a message.

These court cases always fell through partly because only people who had been told what to expect to hear could hear it. People who had not been told did not. It was just noise.

Anyway here is a section of the audio that has been passed through a filter to remove the background distortion. Make your own mind up. The full version is filtered for clarity for the crowd rather than the single speaker.




Free website - Wix.com

Or download.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to stop flash, iplayer, YouTube from exiting full screen on mouse click when using dual monitors.

Polybore pieced together this solution from a number of existing sources which each on their own did not supply all the information. Polybore has amalgamated the information into an easy 4 step process which you can skip to at the end of the post (Method). For all the information read on.

Piecing together the information. 

Polybore’s dual monitor set up is a monitor and a TV connected to their home theatre PC. One niggle that has been bothering polybore for months is that when streaming flash media (like the BBC iplayer) in full screen mode on the TV any click activity on the monitor and the flash media on the TV would exit full screen.

After periodically searching for a fix for this polybore has finally found a solution at least for Chrome and Firefox.

Credit where credit is due and thanks to orlandmedia for setting polybore in the right track. http://www.orlandmedia.com/blog/adobe-flash/fullscreen-flash-player-on-dual-monitors/

Orlandmedia links to the fix over at my.opera.com http://my.opera.com/d.i.z./blog/2009/04/22/watch-fullscreen-flash-while-working-on-another-screen

From there you can download a file called NPSWF32.zip containing NPSWF32.dll which is a modified flash plugin (version 10.0.32.18). Now we are making progress but the post does not include instructions on how to install this modified plugin. An anonymous comment on the post mentioned a YouTube video with a fix so polybore searched YouTube and found this video by dbosst http://www.youtube.com/user/dbosst

 

The video details how to modify the flash plugin yourself with a hex editor but we don’t need to do this because we already have the modified flash plugin that we downloaded earlier from my.opera.com All we need to know now is where to put the modified NPSWF32.dll and now we do thanks to this video. It goes in c:\windows\system32\macromed\flash\npswf32.dll

Method:

Having downloaded the modified flash plugin from http://my.opera.com/d.i.z./blog/2009/04/22/watch-fullscreen-flash-while-working-on-another-screen

1- navigate to the folder c:\windows\system32\macromed\flash\

2- rename the existing npswf32.dll to npswf32old.dll (you don’t need to do this but it is good practise in case you want to revert to the original plugin).

3- copy the new modified file that was downloaded from my.opera.com to the folder c:\windows\system32\macromed\flash\

4- Close all browsers and restart them.

Having tested it this works a treat with Firefox and Chrome. It does not work with IE8 and polybore was unable to test with opera (but it should work if you use the alternative folder detailed in the video).

Now we can watch the BBC iplayer, YouTube or any flash streaming media on the TV while at the same time using the monitor for other stuff without interrupting the video.

Blogger nav bar search not working.

blogger-logo

Edit: Checked today and search from the nav bar is working again 1st October 2009

While looking for an old post noticed that the blogger nav bar search is not working properly. It will sometimes find search terms that are in the title of a post but not search terms in the body of a post.

It turns out that this is a problem effecting many blogger users and has been so for about a month.

http://www.google.co.uk/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=219c1929f5d3f57f&hl=en

Google are aware of the problem. There is a link from the link above where you can fill in a form with details of your site if you are effected. Hopefully the more that fill in the form the quicker google will get it fixed.

It seems that the problem is also with the google search gadget that you can add in Blogger layout so if you are using this it would be worth checking that it works.

Polybore has worked around the problem (to an extent) by using adsense to create a custom search limited to polybore.co.uk. (You can see this above the post section). It does the job albeit in a rather clunky fashion.

Having said that it does the job, the results are far from ideal. Search results for older posts seem to be getting lumped in together. Bit worried that this is some sort of blogger related archiving problem. (will investigate).

Am considering removing the navbar to prevent confusion but am hesitant to do so because not sure if this would be a breach of blogger TOS.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Telegraph and The Times slur Sir Nicholas Winton with “Schindler” tag.

Today is the 70th anniversary of the journey of 669 Czech Jewish Children fleeing from Prague to London, in the weeks leading up to World War II, and was marked by a re- enactment.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/8239157.stm

Sir Nicholas Winton personally and in his spare time made the arrangements to save these children in September 1939. He found the children families to stay with in the UK and permission from the Home Office.

Sir Nicholas Winton has been dubbed “Britain’s Schindler” by some in the press and is a classic example of lazy and ignorant journalism.

You might, surely, expect better from The Times:

“Steam train reunites 'British Schindler' with Jews he saved from Nazis”

times

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6822197.ece

and The Telegraph

“Sir Nicholas Winton, the 'British Schindler', meets the Holocaust survivors he helped save”

Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/world-war-2/6138441/Sir-Nicholas-Winton-the-British-Schindler-meets-the-Holocaust-survivors-he-helped-save.html

Oskar Schindler like Sir Nicholas Winton saved the lives of Jews but that is where any similarity stops.

Sir Nicholas Winton’s outstanding act of humanity is the action of a man, unquestionably, driven by the very best of motives. The same cannot be said for Oskar Schindler.

Oskar Schindler was a Nazi (member of the National Socialist German Workers Party) and had been a spy for the Nazis in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Schindler helped the Nazis prepare for their subsequent invasion of these countries. As Schindler was a Czechoslovakian citizen he was a traitor to his country and helped condemn millions to their deaths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler

The Times, The Telegraph and any other media outlet using this description of Sir Nicholas Winton should apologise immediately.

Schindler, because of Spielberg's film, may be better known than other people who saved Jewish people from the Nazis. However, this does not mean that Schindler’s name can or should be used by the media as a generic term for those who have saved Jews because no one wants to be labelled with the name of a Nazi and a traitor. Albeit a Nazi and a traitor who belatedly found their humanity.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The world’s worst map.

Fiscally challenged and media incompetent. California seems to have well and truly hit skid row.

Ok, so having an ebay/ craigslist garage sale in order to claw back a 16 billion budget deficit could be said to, at least, kind of show that you are trying all you can to break even. Thinking out of the box and all that. Not many states have a governor who can add a few dollars value to some junk just by signing it.

But what does having a badly scanned image of a map, annotated in crayon, on your State’s official government website tell us?…

 

GarageSaleMap1 http://www.dgs.ca.gov/garagesale

What impression does that give the World of the current situation of the State of California? Don’t they even have someone vaguely proficient in MS paint and with, say, 5 mins to spare anymore? Or maybe, just maybe, those that are left, just don’t care anymore.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How to easily create flash widgets for your web site/ blog. Or even send them by email.

The main purpose of wix.com is to allow anyone to create a flash based website using their highly customisable and easy to use templates. However as demonstrated here you can see it can also be used to create a flash widget which can be embedded in your existing web site.

In this example polybore has created a music player but you could just as easily create a video player, slide show, google map etc. In fact there are a huge range of widgets you could create. Well worth a look it is free to use as long as you don't mind some wix advertising on your widgets (it is pretty unobtrusive). If you don’t like the ads you could always pay and go premium.

wix.com hosts your site/ widget for free. Publishing options include embed (as in this example), publish to free wix hosting, publish to your domain (need to pay for this) or by email. Now this email option is fascinating as you could create some really interesting interactive flash based emails for subscribers to your web site.

 
Free website - Wix.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Batch renderer software for Blender available for download. FastF12 by Super3boy.

Super3boy has been busy and has developed a batch render program (currently in beta) for Windows, Fast F12, which you can get more details and download from here http://nystic.com/blog/2009/06/07/fast-f12-beta-1-released/

FastF12 can render whole animations or individual frames and you can set it up to do the renders you need in batch so you can set it running, leave it, and when you return all the animations and or specific frames will be rendered without having to keep going through blender

Now this is a really neat idea. Polybore has been using a linux system on the polybore LAN to render blender animations because it was taking up to much time and system resources on the main windows PC.

Because polybore accesses this headless linux blender render box by xdmc (Xming) over LAN from a windows machine then having this simple GUI, rather than booting up the whole blender program, would make the operation a lot less fiddly. Alas though, Fast F12 is windows only just now, so polybore needs to think about having a windows based headless blender render box on the LAN. As it happens polybore has the parts to build one…

Super3boy mentioned a possible very interesting future development for Fast F12. From his remarks at the end of the video it seems he plans to develop Fast F12 as a a web application for users to create a distributed computing blender render engine. Similar to that used by the SET@home project. In theory you could have hundreds of computers available over the internet to spare some processing time to render your animations thus cutting your render times exponentially. Now that would be excellent.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to get the best out of internet radio, spotify, BBC iPlayer, VLC, WinAmp and Windows Media Player.

Wireless headphones

Internet radio is great as is having your music stored on your computer. However there is one snag, you are pretty much tied to the location of your computer.

If you are someone who likes listening to the radio or music while you are doing things round the house you may use an mp3 player or the good old FM radio. Of course the MP3 player is no good for streamed content like that provided by spotify and the FM radio can’t do on demand radio as provided by the BBC iPlayer.

Having experimented with using laptops and wireless internet radio polybore has come to the conclusion that a pair of wireless headphones is the easiest and best solution.

Polybore has a pair of Philips SBCHC8440 wireless stereo headphones the base station of which simply plugs into the headphone jack of the computer and that is it you are good to go. The range is impressive in practise with the headphones getting good reception throughout the polybore house and to an extent also the garden. The manufacturers stated maximum is 100 meters but of course this is affected by walls and interference.

Compared to using your home wired or wireless lan to stream music round your house this solution is so straight forward to do and cheap it is well worth considering.

Interestingly the headphones work on FM band. This does give rise the thought of copying the principle of FM wireless headphones but instead using a FM transmitter that works on a wavelength that standard FM radios can pick up. Devices which wirelessly connecting your ipod or equivalent to your car stereo already exist e.g. the iTrip The thought of creating your own home radio station transmitting the varied media of your PC is an attractive one although you would have to be careful you did not break any local laws. Could be a good, simple and cheap whole house music solution.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Flight Data Recorder “Black Box” recovery. Lessons must be learned from Flight AF 447 tragedy.

image of orange spherical black box flight data recorder (red egg design)

“Red Egg” FDR variant. Photo credit Leo Reynolds http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/

Creative Commons License
This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

 

The data held by black box flight recorders is essential for tracking down the causes of the loss or damage of an aircraft. This data is more vital today than ever because modern planes are fly by wire and therefore heavily dependant on electronics, data transmission and software.

Considering the high value of the data held by an aircraft’s black box (this data can save hundreds of lives) and the amount of time aircraft spend flying over deep ocean it is surprising that there is only one flight recorder and it is bolted to the airframe of the aircraft (usually the tail section which is most likely to survive impact). As the black box is attached to the air frame it is highly likely that it will end up on the sea bed.

Today’s black box is basically a hard drive albeit a hard drive encased in a specially designed high impact/ heat resistant orange shell. As well as the impact and possible fire the black box is designed to with stand deep sea pressure and is fitted with a location beacon that works underwater as well as on land for 30 days.

The current design features of the modern day black box are all to the good however any IT professional will be alarmed at the apparent lack of a backup of the data, in particular a back up black box on the exterior of the plane which can float to the surface in the event of the loss of an aircraft over deep water.

Despite the black box location beacon, the huge potential search area, especially so when in deep water, makes it incredibly difficult to locate a black box at depths in the thousands of meters and under the influence of strong deep sea currents.

The idea that the causes of this crash may never be fully understood is awful, detrimental to the future safety of the A320 fleet and worst of all terrible for the families of the deceased.

If Flight AF 447 had been fitted with a backup floating black box designed to separate from the airframe the probability of finding out what happened to the aircraft would be greatly increased.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Polybore plus Moby= fantastic video for blogcatalog members and NOW also Twitter users.

Major recording artist Moby has given explicit permission for polybore to use one of his tracks in the next edition of the I’Avatar video. Polybore has made a few editions of I’Avatar which is made up of blogcatalog members avatars, their user name and the URL of their blog all set to a cool sound track and…

 

The latest version in best quality over at animoto watch here.

Or on YouTube here is a previous edition of I’Avatar.

 

The resulting video will be made available on YouTube and will not only be featured on polybore’s channel and at watchblogvideos.com but also on Moby’s own YouTube channel! Excellent exposure potential for those who participate.

The plan is to make two videos a new edition of I’Avatar for blogcatalog members and also a brand new video called I’Twitter for twitter users.

Want to be in the video?

Participating is easy just use the form bellow.

Please submit images that are at least 500 by 375 pixels but less than 3MB. Images that are too small don’t work well in the video because they become blurred image files greater than 3MB will fail to upload.

Twitter users just enter your twitter user name, email and twitter URL e.g. “twitter.com/polybore”. Then use the file button to upload your twitter image (avatar).

Blogcatalog members your BC user name, email, and blog url. Then use the file button to upload your BC image (avatar). BC members please note if you were in the latest version of I’Avatar there is no need to re- submit your avatar unless you want to update it.

Your email address is required for confirmation purposes only and will not be used for spam or any other unpleasant purpose.

Name:

Email:

URL:

File:

The closing date for inclusion in I’Avatar or I’Twitter is Monday the 8th of June 2009. If the countdown has ended sorry you are to late (but their will be future editions).

First come first served as there is only room for a limited number of images in the video, if the video is full before the deadline then entry for this video will have to close.

You have…

 

Stay tuned to polybore on twitter or by RSS at the blog for notification of the videos progress.

Subscribe

If you want more details feel free to contact polybore.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Polybore goes to Hollywood

 

Tonight (28th of May 2009) polybore virtually goes to Hollywood. Or West Hollywood to be exact to the Pacific Design Centre.

Unfortunately polybore will not be their in person but the video they created will be as it is being screened at the VIP theatrical premier of Steve Coogan and Hilary Duff’s new film “What Goes Up”.  A sizable chunk of the video was …

 

If, like polybore, you are not actually going to be at the premier you can still watch the video here.

 

 

Although to see the video at it’s best check it out at YouTube, hit the HD button, turn your speakers up and go for full screen. This was polybore’s first experiment with using YouTube High Definition and was pleased with the results.

To see details of the BlogCatalog competition polybore won to get their video screened, an early non HD draft version of the video and details of the software used you can see how the story unfolded and the video evolved in these previous posts.

Just getting started first draft. http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/05/video-work-in-progress-for.html

The competition entry post and second draft.

http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-goes-up-promotional-video-posted.html

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What is waterboarding? Video demonstration. Analysis of the logistics required for systematic waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Update: A conservative radio host “Mancow” recently was waterboarded because he did not believe it was torture. After 6 seconds he changed his mind, waterboarding is torture. Here is the video.

 

Waterboarding is when a prisoner is interrogated by restraining them on a board, a cloth is placed over their face and then water is poured over the cloth.

The wet cloth clings to the persons face and obstructs the prisoners breathing and water goes up the nose.

The effect of waterboarding is simulated drowning. However the only difference between waterboarding and actual drowning is that water does not enter the prisoners lungs.

This amateur video on YouTube demonstrates how unpleasant it is to be waterboarded. Their first attempt seems innocuous but when they change the type of cloth and increase the quantity of water the effects on the volunteer are evident.

 

 

Memos recently released by Washington detail the use of waterboarding. The New York Times reports that the CIA waterboarded one man 183 time in March 2003.

Although the precise timing of the waterboarding has not been reported it is safe to assume that it would have been systematic. To put that in perspective the man (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) was probably being waterboarded every 4 hours (six times in 24 hrs) every day for 30 days. The logistics required for this level of interrogation is remarkable and would have required two or even three shifts of CIA operatives and interrogators to maintain the torture schedule.

US Army Field Manual (PDF)

Military Commissions Manual

Combatant Status Review Tribunals

The charges against the accused (US Military tribunals)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blogcatalog shoutbox embed code.

bc_tw

If you are a blogcatalog user and you want your non- private shouts displayed on your website/ blog you can use this code. You just need to change “polybore” to your user name. If you need more info contact polybore.

<script src="http://pipes.yahoo.com/js/listbadge.js">{"pipe_id":"2ebadf46ec27150bd684f0f0cbe2922a","_btype":"list","pipe_params":{"urlinput1":"polybore"}}</script>



Example of it working here http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/05/example-of-blogcatalog-shoutbox-rss.html

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Example of Blogcatalog shoutbox RSS feed using Yahoo Pipes.

 

If you would like to know how to do this contact polybore. Tutorial will follow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Goes Up Promotional Video posted to YouTube

 

 

UPDATE: Tweaked Final Cut HD version now live on YouTube. Click the HD button and turn the volume up.

Many thanks to Omar Modesto for the excellent almost end credits for the HD version. http://omarmodesto.110mb.com

The video is good enough to be submitted to the competition now. Will continue to work on it though and will have a HD version of it up on YouTube soon. The music is a short clip of “Blue Straggler” by Elecrelane which is on the sound track of the film “What Goes Up”.

Polybore is looking forward to seeing this film partly because Steve Coogan is in it.

The competition being run by the producers of the film whatgoesupmovie.blogspot.com and Blogcatalog.com.

All the animation work was done using the wonderful and free Blender. http://www.blender.org/

blenderlogo

The cool video transition effects for the images were made with animoto. (animoto kicks ass).

animoto_190x60_01

The work editing the audio was done with the fantastic and of course free Audacity.

Audacity-logo-r_50pct

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Video work in progress for Blogcatalog.com and the film “What Way Up”

 

So far so good with this project. Still needs some tweaking so this is just a draft version just now. The music is a short clip of “Blue Straggler” by Elecrelane which is on the sound track of the film “What Goes Up” . It is a great track and would like to make the video longer to get a bit more of it on.

When finished the video will be submitted to a competition being run by the producers of the film whatgoesupmovie.blogspot.com and Blogcatalog.com.

All the animation work was done using the wonderful and free Blender. http://www.blender.org/

blenderlogo

Your suggestions on how the video could be improved would be gratefully accepted.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Passenger intercontinental air travel should be banned because it spreads diseases like H1N1 “swine” flu. Aircraft, the 21st Century virus vector.

biohazard plane

Whatever happens in the unfolding “swine flu” story it has taught humanity a valuable lesson.

Once “swine flu” is consigned to history we can be certain that another virus will come along, perhaps one more deadly than “swine” flu.

Like the current “swine” flu outbreak in Mexico by the time any future new virus can be identified it will be too late to prevent it from spreading round the world. Although Mexico does not have the most sophisticated medical infrastructure the fact remains that it is far superior to the medical services available the the greatest part of the worlds population who live in the developing countries.

In the space of hours aircraft will have spread the virus across the globe. The air conditioning systems in aircraft recycle the cabin air increasing the exposure of passengers to virus. The modern trend is for ever larger planes carrying up to 525 passengers (A380). These planes then land at international hub airports that transfer tens of thousands of passengers a day onto flights to destinations across the world.

Malaria has the mosquito, the plague the flea, the flu has the best vector of all, aircraft.

Do the benefits of international air travel out weigh the certainty that it will be the cause of all future pandemics with the potential of causing millions of deaths?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy 19th Birthday Hubble Telescope.

The Hubble Telescope celebrates it’s 19th year since it’s blast off into space on the shuttle Discovery in 1990.

image of fountain of life trio of galaxies, called Arp 194

http://hubblesite.org/

19 years of producing hundreds of incredible images like the one above. Happy Birthday indeed Hubble.

Hubble’s successor will be the The James Webb Space Telescope (not a very catchy name will we call it James?) is due to be launched in 2013. James will be put into a much higher distant orbit than Hubble and will use infrared allowing detection of the coldest objects and through dense dust clouds.

Hopefully the Hubble telescope will be able to be maintained until 2013 but with the shuttle fleet scheduled for decommissioning in 2010 there is some doubt. Hubble was designed for maintenance by shuttle and although robotic alternative solutions are in development there are no definite plans as yet.

Hubble has been an amazing success and every effort should be made to keep it operational for as long as possible. Every hour Hubble stays in service allows for ever more amazing discoveries.

hubblesite.org has to be the most amazing web site on the internet with hundreds of incredible images available for download. It is a must visit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our Galaxy the Milky Way Actually Tastes of Raspberry (not Milk). Primordial Soup tasted of Raspberry?

 

image of a raspberry floting in space

Ethyl formate, which tastes of raspberries, has been identified in space. Towards the centre source Sagittarius B2 to be precise.

Today at The University of Hertfordshire, which is hosting The European Week of Astronomy & Space Science, R. Garrod Cornell University of Cornell University presented the facinating results of collaborative research between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, Cornell University, USA, and the University of Cologne, Germany.

It is easy to think of space as a cold lifeless vacuum but evidence from ongoing research is consistently demonstrating how even in the depths of space it is possible for complex organic chemistry to take place.

This latest discovery has identified an ester, ethyl formate (which tastes of raspberries and an alkyl cyanide, n-propyl cyanide (which does NOT taste of raspberries). These are the most complex molecules identified in space to date. In fact these molecule are so complex that they can be seen as a pointer that amino acids, the Holy Grail of this type of research, may be found in space.

This is significant in understanding the origins of life on the Earth. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are often referred to as “the building blocks of life”. If amino acids can be discovered in space then the theory that the building blocks of life originated in space and seeded the earth via the vector of meteorites and comets becomes ever more likely.

Further reading:

Increased complexity in interstellar chemistry:
Detection and chemical modeling of ethyl formate
and n-propyl cyanide in Sgr B2(N)

The European Week of Astronomy & Space Science

http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=/IAU/IAU4_S251/S1743921308021741a.pdf&code=7c6c21355722a11c1339879b90c07d0c

The End Comes for Google Adsense Video Units

Video adsense units have not been performing well and now Google is pulling the plug. It is a shame in a way because they could have worked if the implementation had been better.

As far as polybore could tell they were just a YouTube video unit with a contextual adsense ad on the player. Perhaps if the quality of the videos had been better and the publisher had been paid per video view rather than by click things would have worked out better.

Here is what Google says:

Hello,

We're writing to let you know that we'll be retiring AdSense video units at the end of April. After reviewing this feature, we've found that it hasn't been performing as well as we had hoped, so we've decided to focus our efforts on other opportunities to help publishers monetise their sites.

We recommend that you begin removing the video unit code from your pages as soon as possible, to ensure that you can take advantage of the available ad space on your pages. At the end of April, any remaining Leaderboard or Skyscraper video units will begin directing users to YouTube.com, while other video unit sizes will automatically be changed to standard embedded YouTube players. These standard video players will display top YouTube videos, but you won't generate earnings from them once this change occurs.

If you'd still like to display free video content from YouTube, you can do so through YouTube.com directly: visit any specific video page for the embed code or sign in to your YouTube account to create a playlist. For more information about embedding YouTube videos, please visit http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=57788&hl=en_GB. Alternatively, if you have fewer than three ad units on your page, you may prefer to replace your video unit with a regular ad unit.

Although video units are being retired, other video offerings within AdSense aren't affected. Video ads may still appear on your pages and AdSense for video is still available for eligible publishers. If you'd like more information about the retiring of video units, please visit our Help Centre at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/topic.py?topic=12182&hl=en_GB.

Thanks for your support of video units in the past, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

RIP Adsense video units.

New Fantastic Super Slow Motion Video at 1000FPS HD. When fast equals slow.

 

Produced by the new I-Movix SprintCam v3 HD. Who would have thought that 1000 frames per second could look so good.

http://www.i-movix.com/

The start of the video shows footage shot at the Rugby World Cup. Later in the video, perhaps the most amazing footage in the video can be seen, of a variety of falling and bouncing objects. Incredible.

The new camera is set to be shown off at NAB 2009. NAB is a major media industry event produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. http://www.nabshow.com/2009/eventInfo/about.asp

Conferences are 18-23 April. Exhibits 20-23 April

The I-Movix SprintCam v3 HD is sure to be a hit at NAB 2009 and will probably change how we see the action at televised sports events forever. In fact with this camera there is a lot of previously missed video detail that we will now be able to be amazed by.

The applications that this camera could be used for are countless, from industrial analysis to the study of animal behaviour. We can also look forward to some amazing sequences at the cinema once the camera is taken up by the movie industry. What a great bit of kit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What is waterboarding? Video demonstration. Analysis of the logistics required for systematic waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Waterboarding is when a prisoner is interrogated by restraining them on a board, a cloth is placed over their face and then water is poured over the cloth.

The wet cloth clings to the persons face and obstructs the prisoners breathing.

The effect of waterboarding is simulated drowning. However the only difference between waterboarding and actual drowning is that water does not enter the prisoners lungs.

This amateur video on YouTube demonstrates how unpleasant it is to be waterboarded. Their first attempt seems innocuous but when they change the type of cloth and increase the quantity of water the effects on the volunteer are evident.

 

 

Memos recently released by Washington detail the use of waterboarding. The New York Times reports that the CIA waterboarded one man 183 time in March 2003.

Although the precise timing of the waterboarding has not been reported it is safe to assume that it would have been systematic. To put that in perspective the man (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) was probably being waterboarded every 4 hours (six times in 24 hrs) every day for 30 days. The logistics required for this level of interrogation is remarkable and would have required two or even three shifts of CIA operatives and interrogators to maintain the torture schedule.

US Army Field Manual (PDF)

Military Commissions Manual

Combatant Status Review Tribunals

The charges against the accused (US Military tribunals)

BlogCatalog’s malware incident was due to an unethical advertiser.

After ignored email and locked discussion threads finally polybore has a definitive answer as to why Google listed BlogCatalog as unsafe during the malware incident.

Previous posts on this:

The initial incident and polybore’s speculation on the cause:

http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/03/blogcatalog-gets-hit-by-malware-trojan.html

The request of explaination:

http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/03/blogcatalog-response-to-their-hosting.html

Well polybore’s email to BC never received an answer however all became clear in an unrelated discussion on BC yesterday.

In reply to a question from codesucker about advertising on BC in a discussion TonyB (BlogCatalog team member) said:

“The ad problem was caused by one unethical advertiser. We now control all the tags and screen ads before they go up unless they come from google.”

You can see it here. Use find on page because it is a long thread.

http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/what-sucks-about-blogcatalog

All is finally explained and polybore’s speculation at the time has been vindicated. BC should have been much more open about what had happened in the first instance. What is more if they had taken polybore’s advice on board perhaps they could have avoided the whole incident. The key to effective communication is listening.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trivia 40 Stevens Point Wisconsin World’s Largest Trivia Contest or Worlds Largest Mass Google Search Contest? Cheating on huge scale!

If you are looking for who won the quiz you can find out here.

logo

Unusual Google Search terms trends.

Some weird search terms were topping the Google trends chart today. http://www.google.com/trends

The plot thickens.

Even more odd was that up to 70% of the searches were being made from a very small geographical area. Namely Stevens Point, Wisconsin http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl and Appleton, Wisconsin http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

The evidence trail is hot.

Three examples:

Search term “without the coupon it s called shoplifting”

Cheats 1 cut Click image to enlarge.

Search term “twisty teasers”

cheats 2 cut Click image to enlarge.

Search term “felix unger”

cheats 3 Click image to enlarge.

The final act.

Well it turns out that little Stevens Point is, just now, hosting it’s 40th Annual World's Largest Trivia contest, Trivia 40 http://www.90fmtrivia.org/ The trivia contest has a theme which changes each year, this time it is a Humphrey Bogart theme.

Stevens Point normally has a population of 24,000 people. But during the contest the population swells by up to 50%. This year the contest has 450 teams with about 12,000 players many having travelled from afar to take part. http://wcco.com/local/trivia.humphrey.bogart.2.983015.html

It is obvious that very many of these players has made sure that they have access to the internet and in particular Google. Naughty, naughty. Busted.

Here is looking at you Google!

Polybore suggests they change the image on their homepage to:

looking at you

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why Arizona State University (ASU) Should Not Award Honorary Degree to Obama.

Of the 180 Honorary degrees awarded by ASU since the 28th of May 1940 not one of them has been to a serving or past President of the United States. So why should Obama get one?

Here is the complete list of past Honorary Degree Awards by Arizona State University (ASU).

http://graduation.asu.edu/honorary/past

There are no US Presidents on it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jonathan Weinberg or Sara Nathan, You’re Fired!? Sun journalists can’t even be bothered to pick up TV schedule before running “exclusive” story.

The Sun newspaper (UK) is running an “exclusive” story based on Sir Alan Sugar supposedly missing the BBC show “The Apprentice” in which he stars. The Sun writes:

“The hit BBC1 show was broadcast at 9pm, at the same time Jewish families across Britain were enjoying a traditional meal celebrating the religious festival of Passover.”

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/article2369542.ece

sunClick picture for larger image.

The BBC show is usually on at 9.00pm on a Wednesday night.

Blundering Hacks don’t Check Facts.

However if the Sun’s blundering hacks had bothered to watch the show or check the BBC schedule they would have seen that tonight's “The Apprentice” was on BBC2 at 7.00pm.

bbc scheduleClick picture for larger image.

“The Apprentice” was rescheduled by the BBC to make way for The Masters golf tournament.

You’re Fired!

So in a bit of “The Apprentice” based fun polybore invites you to say “Your Fired!”. Who will it be, the journalist (Jonathan Weinberg), who put their name to this “story” or, the editor (Sara Nathan), who let it get published?

You’re Hired!

Polybore says: come on The Sun we expect better. You should give the credit crunched Polyobre a chance to write for you. Polybore can do better than that.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Image of very ill frail Kim Jung Il “Dear Leader”. North Korea Missile Story is a Smokescreen. What is the real story?

Image of frail KimJung Il taken from still pictures shown by Korean State Television this week of frail Kim Jung Il inspecting a recently renovated museum.

Image of frail KimJung Il taken from still pictures shown by Korean State Television this week of Kim Jung Il inspecting a recently renovated museum.

The recent N Korean missile firing story is something of a smoke screen to the real cause of concern regarding N Korea. Kim Jong Il "Dear Leader" will be dead soon. (going by the most recent pictures in weeks or less) so before long there will be a succession. Always dodgy moments successions no matter how well planned, especially bloodline successions where older siblings have missed out.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5766802.ece

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Six random facts about polybore

 polybore.JPG

1. Polybore has a tendency to be very patronising.

2. Polybore (it is claimed) Googles everything anyone tells polybore to check it is true.

3. The polybore feet, on a good day, smell like a dead cat floating in a pit of sewage.

4. The offline polybore annoys people by constantly adding “oid” to the end of words not normally associated with this ending. e.g. “pass the mug-oid”, “where is the remote control- oid?” “was that an asteroid- oid?” Also with peoples names tend to add ”-bot” e.g. “Mum- bot”, “Omar- bot”, “Obama- bot”

5. The online polybore annoys people by constantly writing in the third person.

6. Polybore is a terrible food snob. Polybore cooks everything from scratch. NO ready meals.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

www.benefitshelpline.com Avoid at all costs. Benefits Helpline Disclaimer in plain text.

Polybore is furious. After reading Kevin Nuttall’s blog http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/news/blog/dont-get-fleeced,56,BA.html where he mentions to avoid Benefits Helpline polybore went and had a look at the site. It is not difficult to find the site in question because they have clearly paid Google a lot of money to be listed prominently.

This sites provides so called benefits advice via a premium rate hotline at £1.50 per minute. For a start that is disgraceful because this advice is available for free from charities, local authorities etc. http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

If you fill in the site’s contact form they will text you at a cost of £1.50 without warning http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=1176623

The site’s disclaimer informing of the premium rate phone charges and advice to go to official government sites to get real advice has been added to the site as an image, this effectively conceals this vital information from screen readers used by the blind and those with visual impairments. Utterly disgraceful.

Polybore will repeat the Benefits Helpline disclaimer here in plain text.

“Benefits Helpline is in no way affiliated with any Government Department/ services. This service will require you to call a premium rate number at a cost of £1.50 per minute. You must have permission from the bill payer. All callers must be 18 year old or over. The information and advice provided in this service is to the best of our knowledge. We advise you contact the benefits office for concise information relating to benefits. Service Provider: StealthNET Ltd, PO box 202, Gt Yarmouth, NR31 7ZS.”

Google does itself no favours by accepting money from sketchy outfits like Benefits Helpline because the moral of this story is if a site ranks first in a Google search then you should distrust the site immediately.

Except polybore’s blog of course, polybore has not paid Google a dime.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama’s three year target to double renewable energy production is unrealistic and will fail.

Wind-turbine-1

Free Photo Bank

 

Ok you can’t fault the sentiment. All countries need to increase the percentage of their energy generated by renewable sources.

Unfortunately, when you do the arithmetic, the three year target for the US is clearly unattainable.

If we take the current the current US percentage of renewable produced power to be 8%. And the us annual electrical consumption to be 4157 million Mega Watt Hours (year) then in order to meet this target of doubling renewable generation to 16% then renewable power production needs to be increased by 332 million Mega Watt Hours (year).

Figures from http://www.eia.doe.gov/

To put this into perspective, Solana (Arizona), the proposed world's largest Solar power plant is estimated to potentially be able to produce 900,000 megawatt hours (year).  http://www.azruco.com/APS_Solar_(08-0106)/APS_Application.pdf

In order to achieve this target the US would be required to build not just one huge solar power plant but about 332 of them plus the substations, pylons and cabling. 

Obviously renewable energy is not just solar power however the example above shows how large (and improbable) the task is within the time frame.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why and how you need to harden your computer security against drive by Malware attack exploits. The danger of third party advertisements.

100_0337

Why?

The problem with a drive by web page attack on your PC is that it is very difficult to avoid. All that needs to happen, for your computer to be at risk, is for you to open a web page with your browser. That’s it, even if you haven’t clicked on anything, if the malware code is on the page, and can run, then your computer’s security is at risk. Malware code is increasingly being placed in advertisements and as we all know ads are pretty much everywhere on the web.

From Google Security Blog. http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2008/02/all-your-iframe-are-point-to-us.html

We know not to visit web sites we are not sure about or to click on links we don’t trust. The major problem for us is that web sites we do trust run third party advertisements. Worse still most websites refuse to take any responsibility for the third party ads that they display.

Check out the Terms of Service for your favourite web site and note how it abrogates any responsibility for it’s third party ads. It would be more honest if websites just displayed a banner at the top of every page declaring “You visit this site at your own risk!”.

This arrangement seems all wrong to Polybore. Imagine you bought a brand new car with a disclaimer stating that the brakes were manufactured by a third party so (you) the driver uses them at their own risk. One day the brakes fail but luckily you avoid a serious crash, you complain to the manufacturer they point at the disclaimer, sure they replace the brakes for you but with a new set of third party brakes which, again, they will take no responsibility for. As a customer buying a car you would not stand for it, but as a customer visiting a web site you have to like it or lump it.

So we visit our trusted site like BlogCatalog and thanks to the malware code in a third party ad they have been served, zap our security is compromised. Sure BlogCatalog “solve” the problem by removing the malware infested ads but then they go them with another set of third party ads which, again, they will not take responsibility for.

If Blogcatalog are not taking responsibility for their, potentially malware, ads does that mean they don’t care about the security of their visitors? In a previous post Polybore wrote about contacting Blogcatalog with the suggestion that they inform their members of the time frame  that they were serving the Malware ad and to advise members who visited during that time to scan there PC for virus and spyware. A perfectly reasonable request.

Well three days have passed and no response. Visit this Polybore post to see how the story started. http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/03/blogcatalog-gets-hit-by-malware-trojan.html

Polybore does not want to give the impression of being down on BlogCatalog, other popular and trusted web sites have been caught out by third party malware ads as well. Polybore visits BlogCatalog regularly (and likes it), so Polybore’s security was put at risk. This makes, for Polybore, the BlogCatalog malware incident rather more real than other incidents that have occurred and therefore the best example that Polybore can use to illustrate this threat.

Polybore is not alone in taking this view. See this post on the IBM security blog that Polybore found while looking for sources to back up this post. (by coincidence it is scarily similar to this post but Polybore’s analogy is better) http://blogs.iss.net/archive/InfectedAdvertising.html

How?

Ok we have established that drive by web attacks are a serious threat to our security and that they are very difficult to avoid (unavoidable?).

Unless websites tighten up their act or are forced to take responsibility for their ads then we have to assume that we can’t trust any website to offer any sort of security guarantees regarding their third party ads in effect, rightly or (Polybore thinks) WRONGLY websites currently leave their customers security against malware distributing third party ads entirely to the customer.

This article at Tweak and Tune also discusses the threat of Malware and details security measures we would all be wise to employ. Peter mentions keeping your software up to date as an important security measure.

Polybore would like to emphasise the importance of keeping your software updated. The criminals who write this malware code are always trying (and sometimes succeeding) to evade detection by anti- spyware/ anti- virus software. To do this they can use code in binaries, which are harder for anti- malware software to spot and intercept, that target specific weaknesses in your software applications. When software makers like Adobe Flash identify these possibilities for exploit they patch or update to remove the threat. Much of the malware out there relies on people not updating their software.

More detail on Flash based Binaries malware attack. http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid14_gci1341749,00.html#

Because people have so much software on their computer, Java, media players, Flash etc it is difficult to keep tabs on how up to date they all are and sometimes these programs are not that good at automatically updating.

For that reason Polybore strongly suggests you try out the Secunia Online Software Inspector (OSI). http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/online/

This extremely useful tool will highlight software on your PC which needs updating. When Polybore first used it it was an eye-opener how many needed updating on Polybore’s computer, especially as Polybore makes a point in trying to keep updated.

Stay safe and, if you can, put pressure on websites to get their act together regarding the third party ads they display.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Google Adsense Advertises Fake UK Driving Licences to Terrorists and Criminals

fake uk

Shocking ad served up by Google adsense on the Polybore blog yesterday. It is disgraceful, a fake UK driving licence is the sort of documentation a terrorist could use.

Polybore is really quite angry and embarrassed about this as they have been complaining or making fun of ads on other websites recently.

http://polybore.blogspot.com/2008/07/danger-of-carrying-ads-on-your-blog.html

http://polybore.blogspot.com/2009/03/blogcatalog-gets-hit-by-malware-trojan.html

Polybore naively thought that Google would screen their ads. If this is likely to happen again will need to think if adsense is worth the risk.

Get a grip Google!

Have you seen any dodgy adsense ads recently. Please let Polybore know.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Heartless Daily Express makes front page Jade Goody Gaffe

2009-03-16
http://www.express.co.uk/ourpaper/view/2009-03-16
What sort of an idiot decides that having a massive headline like that, above a picture of Jade Goody who is in the final stages of terminal cancer, is a good idea.
Credit to Muig for spotting this and giving it to Polybore.

Download Retro Cinema Projector Video Animation .wmv Free (Some rights Reserved.)

 

Preview on YouTube. (download version has logos removed)

 

Polybore created this video using Blender 2.48.

You can download this video and it and use it for your own project (please read the license agreement), like maybe your movie blog/ vlog/ presentation/ website/ promotional video etc. The download version is in .wmv format and has been edited so the logos have been removed. It would be straight forward to add your own logs/ images with Windows Movie Player or equivalent. If you need any help with that just give Polybore a shout. Enjoy.

 

 

Creative Commons License
Retro Cinema by polybore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.polybore.blogspot.com.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BlogCatalog response to their hosting Ad Malware sadly lacking in useful information.

Click here to see the next post on this story. 

Click here to see previous post on this story.

This is how they announced with a sticky post that the malware incident was “over”.

http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/malware-issue-solved

It is an inadequate explanation and it fails to give proper advice. Polybore pointed this out (at the very end of the discussion) and magically the sticky post lost its stickiness. 

It is all very well to say the situation has been resolved but where is the really useful information? e.g.


1. When was the malware distributing ad first hosted by BC?
2. Advice to BC members that if they visited BC between the time the ad was first put on BC and when it was removed they MUST scan their computer for Virus and Spyware.
3. General advice that users must keep their Flash plugin up to date to avoid these flash based attacks.
4. If anyone needs thanking it is Google for spotting that a BC ad was associated with malware but how long did it take for Google to spot the problem?
5. Some of these flash based malware attacks do NOT require the user to click on the ad. http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid14_gci1341749,00.html

Was this one of them?

The situation may be resolved as far as BC is concerned but is not necessarily over for members who may have had the security of their computer compromised.

Polybore is going to email BC admin asking them to answer/ action the points detailed above. If BC were to take the action Polybore suggests it would do them credit and polybore would be satisfied.

Click here to see the next post on this story. 

Click here to see previous post on this story.