World’s oldest car sells for US$3.5m

Posted by jerry on September 3rd, 2007 — Posted in History, Journal, Steam, Technology

Picture yourself behind the tiller of a record breaking racing car – 123 years old and still capable of 60 kilometres per hour. This deDion-Bouton et Trepardoux recently went up for auction and sold for US$3,520,000. It’s quite a catch and it runs quietly on steam. The car was built in 1884

DeDion-Bouton et Trepardoux 1884

DeDion-Bouton et Trepardoux 1884 (photos from Gooding & Co)

You can see a video of the car in action here.

DeDion-Bouton et Trepardoux 1884

The downdraft chimney is not unlike the 1889 Serpollet-Peugeot which suggests that the earlier car influenced the later Serpollet design.

Serpollet steam tricar (photo – Everard 2006)


Quechup on spam – viral marketing gone wrong

Posted by jerry on September 3rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who has not yet received a dozen invites from trusted friends about joining the latest social networking site – Quechup. It seems that as part of the signup process Quechup scans your gmail in-box and emails everyone in it. This is not an opt-in option. Fortunately I read the list of ‘benefits’ and found virtually no difference from Facebook – which isn’t (quite) so aggressive – so I didn’t sign up and add to the global spam content.

This is certainly not the way viral marketing is supposed to work – ie it’s not actually meant to be like a virus that self-replicates around the internet – rather it should be about a good meme that others think is a really good idea and feels they want to share it with others – a soort of positive people power.

Instead, the involuntary sharing of Quechup invites seems about a attractive as turning up at a party with the flu and ‘sharing’ it with everyone!

My advice for what it’s worth is to avoid Quechup like the proverbial. I’ll stick to Facebook where I have more control over the process.

And don’t take my word for it – check out the technorati tag cloud on this topic.

On hearing yourself fly – mac audio and SecondLife

Posted by jerry on August 24th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Have you been having problems getting SecondLife sound into your mac? It may be your audio settings in the sound preferences.
The solution has been posted by Barry on the Global Media Initiative blog

– Open the program Audio MIDI Setup [it’s in the Utilities folder in Applications].
– Change the audio output from 96000 to 44100.
– Restart Second Life

And Voila! you can hear yourself fly (and talk and listen to the birds and waterfalls..)


Technology – shaping the body

Posted by jerry on August 12th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Technology

Years of playing the violin have shaped the ends of the fingers on my left hand. My beard grows slightly thinner where the chin-rest has interfaced with my head and there is a fairly permanent red mark where the shoulder-rest meets the front of my shoulder. And I have retained a high degree of upper-body flexibility as a result. The finger-memory – the body trained over years to land each finger precisely within a tenth of a millimetre enables sounds to be reproduced at the right pitch, and the wrist ensures that at whatever speed, the bow tracks (mostly) straight across the strings. So my body has adapted to the technology.

I still trim my fingernails to interface with technology – both hands to avoid the nail tapping on the keyboard of the computer, the thumb nails just slightly longer to facilitate texting on my phone.

Finger-memory again on the keyboard enables me to type faster than I write (by just a fraction), and perhaps others train their thumb positions for texting.

We wear our clothes in more ways than one – our feet being shaped to the shoes while in turn shaping our shoes.

How much do we shape our body to the technology, rather than the technology to the body?

SL meets Home and Garden

Posted by jerry on August 10th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

The New York Times Home and Garden Section has an article on SecondLife homes and gardens, profiling several ‘builders’ and ‘gardeners’ – this is a good change in the media from sensationalist pieces about sex, griefers and terrorists and is starting to bring the old media discussion back to where the majority are in SecondLife.

New York Times

That is, using SL to build the house of their dreams and playing out harmless fantasies that are not too dissimilar from real life – but without the cold wind or the wet holidays.

So bouquets to the New York Times for bringing the discussion back to the reality of virtuality.