Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Wishes!

And so Christmas hits us right between the eyes. I have been baking gingerbread cookies and entertained the oldest kid by making various decorations. Cannot believe I am disclosing this - not a role I would usually see myself in - but it was all great fun and in a sense therapeutic. I got to turn the tempo all the way down - until I needed to clean up the mess afterwards, that is.

Best wishes to all - remember to be a kid when you get the chance ;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gamer reborn

Looking back at my Florida writings, it looks like something where I would think "Damn, that guy does not seem to get out much...". Eheheh.....

Anyway, back at work and a having a nice and calm December so far. My family and I have been heavily hit by disease but thankfully every instance has only lasted a day or two. It's as if the germs give up on our sad carcasses soon after the initial invasion.

"Fuck this, let's find somebody worth the effort."

So, I spoilt myself buying Fallout 3 in Orlando. Boy oh boy. I am like a child again. Magnificent game. It's not online or filled with bright colours. It's gritty, slow-paced, and foreboding. A real discovery and turn-ever-stone experience, which suits me so well, but with which others might lose their patience. I really think it retains a lot of the original Fallout 1 and 2 atmos, perhaps because it holds on to the concept of "strategic time", be it as passive travel time or in the V.A.T.S. combat system.
I heartily recommend it - yesterday I ran into my first super mutant. Nearly soiled myself...that's the mark of a good game!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Bloody Luck

10 days ago, I was ever the big spender in Orlando and I love our new little Canon point-and-shoot.
But it's just my bloody luck that Vestas chooses this year to give employees as their Christmas gift...a digital camera. Bleh.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Just a few musings, thinking back on my great trip:

The tipping system is insane, and inflating as far as I can tell. 18% default now.

Great vertical processes (queues, service systems, ways of organising events).

Really poor horisontal processes (people know nothing outside their own function).

Services are expensive, goods are inexpensive.

There is no privacy if you are even suspected of a crime (you and your family will be on the local news with names, address, and all).

Open WiFi is abundant...boy, could we learn from that.

Orlando, Florida is all but devoid of birds. I saw 1...and heard maybe 3. By the end of the week it felt kind of spooky. As if they were all ganging up somewhere, waiting for us to let down our guard. I actually saw more chipmunks than birds.

A particular Dane is stupid enough to buy a new glittery keyboard, oblivious to the fact that layout is still different based on country. Yes, that has not been standardised, you idiot. In fact, I only just realised this writing this very post to test the damned thing. Very nice, mac-like, bluetooth.....and all wrong. MORON!
This is where Apple-induced vanity will get you...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Floribbean: Part Fun

Back home now - but the fun part of Orlando came on Friday when we went to Universal. Oh, and did an obscene amount of shopping. Those fashion outlets are crazy, especially for a Scandinavian. I got 5 pieces of clothing for what one would cost here.

Higlights of Universal were the Mummy coaster and the new Simpsons Ride. The latter is magnificent. I didn't know what to expect and I was completely amazed. Basically, it's a virtual rollercoaster - you sit in a wagon that moves in its place - but the gigantic IMAX-like screen above you takes you away to another place completely.
Don't miss this if you go there - even if the Universal entry fee is bloody expensive...well over $90, as I recall.

Today I am recovering by looking after 2 kids one of which is sick - my jetlag is really bad. I am half asleep right now. Monday, go away.

Floribbean: Part Serious

Notes from the conference - the only notes, since this was one of the more interesting lectures I attended..!

Virtual Training Simulations & Game-Based
Systems: Large-Scale Adoption Issues

Chair: Amala Sadagic

Training beyond the technical stuff.
Military situation: large people turnover

Training needs: many noobs, new skills, short time frame

System succes criteria:
- large majority adoption (>80%).
- methodical and consistent use.
- 24/7 availability.

Comment: perishable skills issue

Literature: Diffusion of Innovation, Everett M. Rogers

1. innovators
2. early adopters
3. early majority
4. late majority
5. laggards

Opinions on new technology often formed on basis of subjective evaluations received from peers.

Factors on adoption:
1. relative advantage
2. compatibility
3. complexity
4. trialability (-> incremental adoption)
5. observability

Game systems never the full solution. Explore synergies between old and new systems.

Other media: forums, blogs, project diaries, podcasts, etc.

Mandatory deployment w. challenge programs (competitions).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Floribbean: Part 2

Friday now, and of course my note processing has not been entirely as planned.
For one thing, our hotel really sucks. Avoid the Orlando Metropolitan Resort if you can. It has the same steep pricing as the rest, $119 a night, but the standard of at least half of its rooms is that of a typical motel: run down and unpleasant. The WiFi provided is visible but almost impossible to access, and of course the regular staff just point to their 'business booth' which costs a fortune and provides crappy computers in a closet-sized, poorly lit cubicle in the lobby. An official conference hotel needs free WiFi, dammit!

Rant is well over now. I hardly spend any time in my shabby room, but after 5 days I really miss my own bed.

ITSEC conference has been so-so. We hit a couple of good sessions in the beginning but nearly all sessions have been 90% military-related. It has required a very concious effort to extract points and good ideas for our own industry context.
Best things have been a session on large scale adoption of virtual training technology, and a session on ROI (return-of-investment) assessment regarding simulation, modelling, and virtual reality integration. Both things extremely relevant, but all in all the price tag on the full conference participation has not quite been justified.

Actually, we have learned just as much on the exhibit floor, looking at a lot of visual technologies. I have seen amazing new projection systems, large scale simulators, loads of almost vulgar weaponry, and a lot of geo-based imaging software. The latter was really the largest category, as if all companies had fled into that domain, once the data was there to support a market.

I have more to tell, but right now I need to get up and running. Today is the last day. It's our one day off so it's all about FUN!
25 degrees...mmmm...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

A worthy cause indeed - and one of the few abbrevations which is actually surpassed by its original parts in terms of obscurity.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Floribbean: Part 1

Well on the ground here in Orlando, Florida - right now laying sleepless in my bed, waiting for breakfast time to arise. Not that I am particularly jetlagged but we turned in early when we got here.

Thankfully, they are a lot more generous with WiFi access points here than in Europe, so the Ipot is going to be really handy over here. I plan to update the blog each day, if not with long boring narratives then at least with basic notes from the conferences.

A great thing is that the Ipod location services seem to be accurate, so my Nearby and Around Me applications are spitting out large amounts of local shops and restaurants. Tonnes of both so in danger of webformation overload. Suggestions for good eating around Orlando are welcome!

Mental note to self:
- must start global airline for tall people.
- should include kindergarten rooms for hysterical toddlers.
- must not rely on half-frozen lunch meals.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Go West

Heading off to Orlando, Florida tomorrow. My colleague and I are attending 2 conferences. The ITSEC training and simulation conference and the PowerGen energy convention. Still mortally tired after two mad work weeks, but I think I'll manage to cram in some leisure time ;)
Only worry is the inevitable Christmas shopping that needs to be done!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Business: the original concept

As in "being busy" which is what I am. Profoundly so - in fact, the past 10 days are the busiest I can remember. Vestas is really an ant's nest and the initial weeks of noobness have been replaced by full-on schedules, very short lunch breaks, and quick decisions. I am loving it. Other places it would be a problem but the nature of my work is so interesting that I am awaking with a smile every morning. Even if I am dropping dead early every evening :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Signing up...again

Congrats to the world on the Obama victory!
If you need a downer to quench all the emotional giddiness of having beaten the insane GOP, have a look at Ralph Nader's response. He ain't too impressed - and although I think he misses the point in regards to the tactics Obama needed to employ for that win, it is certainly true that Obama has to deliver before he may be worshiped.

On another note, I have been trying to update my digital signature, a task which is not for the faint-of-heart. I will explain my results here, just so others may accidentally stumble over them in search of happiness.

The newer versions of TDC's digital signature are all slick and need to be so in order to 1) use Java for installation, 2) avoid ActiveX problems during installation, and 3) avoid general Windows (Vista) mayhem during installation.
In my case, hating IE like the plague, I wanted to install my new certificate on Firefox. Having received my TDC confirmation code by snail mail, I set out to do this but was quickly stopped by all sorts of odd error messages. If not a Firefox or Java negative, then a Windows Vista negative.

TDC is an ailing dinosaur which has not performed well for several years, and this is also the case with the digital signature. While you can easily install the signature through IE, you are effectively stuck with a signature that IE will not export for subsequent import into FF. FF only takes the proper certificate format and IE refuses to hand that over. The digital signature installation only delivers a proxy HTML address for another export process, which - surprise surprise - is not compatible with FF.
So, as far as I can see, there is only 1 solution. The "Eksportér signatur" link on this particular help page will actually let you export the IE certificate directly in the proper format (PKCS12) for later import in Firefox.
I sure hope that page stays up.

They are threatening to change it all to a new kind of certificate soon - one which will actually require a code booklet. You might consider getting the old, simple version. Perhaps it will last a few years and postpone your TDC/DANID agony.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vista madness

I opted for Windows Vista a few months ago when I got my new home computer. Having heard a lot of bad things, I still thought it would be cool, since this computer is fairly upscale.
I soon learned that raw power is one thing, the interactive feel to a operating environment is another. Vista really sucks...and I am even saying this with my usual guarded perspectives in mind.

A huge annoyance has recently fallen into the category of "solved", however. Or maybe it should just be "explained", since this piece of clarity hasn't really made life simpler. Nowadays, I usually copy my installation files to the desktop before running them.
I needed to disable the UAC disaster before my sanity was compromised - but it seems I only forced myself into another dead-end of Microshaft usability.

What kind of a moron does it take to come up with this kind of crap?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Several weeks ago, on, I ordered the recent single Dita Dimone by the strangely compelling Pop Levi.

I received an order confirmation that didn't contain any download link. It hardly described the product either, so I wrote an e-mail to customer support, failed to find any online reference of my purchase, assumed it had failed, and forgot all about it.

Today, I got an apologetic e-mail with my download link...and they even threw in a brilliant compilation as a consolation gift.

VR Designer now my official title. How cool is that :)

Through my first week and it certainly looks promising. I'll have to get back into the CAD/3D domain again but this does not bother me the least. Actually, it is weird to see that even though it is more than 2 years since we stopped our 3D company (and more like 3 years ago I knew a lot about the state of the technology), things have not evolved all that much.
I'll have to use a software frame that is 7-8 years old, once made and back then not very successful, yet now coming into favour again. Strange, but I guess companies the size of Vestas are acknowledging future competition and that development and innovation has to be driven on all levels. At least that is my naïve, stubborn conviction while I look at the newspapers and silently pray that big finance turbulence doesn't mean immediate layoffs here in Aarhus...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

iPod Touch location services

For some reason I have big problems with iPod programs that need to localise my iPod. My iPod (1st generation Touch) should be using the "location services" for its networks, but each time I try to access a program that depends on localisation, I get a "Allow me to use your existing location" followed by a long wait and inevitably failure.

I turned into Ze Googlemeister for a few minutes, and actually found something interesting:

Ipots (the smart and geeky slang for Ipod Touch'es) don't have GPS or any of that fancy, battery-bashing 3G stuff. So they rely on WiFi triangulation which is not very accurate but better than nothing.

Turns out that a privat company, Skyhook, is responsible for the WiFi, GPS and 3G localisation coverage for these Apple products. Or at least, this is how I interpret it. The corporate affiliations aren't exactly crystal...that's Apple, alright :P

Now, it appears that Skyhook is mapping WiFi coverage slowly but consistently. You can pay $20 and get some VIP-status that gets you there quicker, but online there is a WiFi access point submittal service where regular (free) users can add access points to Skyhook's database, which then within some weeks gets updated and allows your iPod to query the location services and hopefully get an accurate answer on where the hell it is.

I found several IP-addresses on my router and through good ol'e "ipconfig /all". The only one that the Skyhook service wanted to acknowledge was the "default gateway" that my router configuration is displaying.
When I added that address, the map reset itself to a particular street corner in Taipei. I am still uncertain whether a taiwanese chap has the same WiFi IP-setup - but somehow I take this to be a factory setting. It seems likely that my internal router or WiFi router is made in Taiwan. Even if I have no clue how that information is stored or transferred through IP exchange...

After this, I was asked to add the MAC-address of the WiFi router and my e-mail address. Confirmation came per e-mail - and now I'm waiting to see if this will help anything at all. I am not exactly located in the city center so I have some serious doubts.

I am still wondering how on earth regular non-technical users would have any chance of finding and implementing this information. How many people out there just sit around, accepting that key parts of their products do not really function properly?

[Edited on Oct 13th:]
To my big surprise, my localisation service now works here at home. My actions actually helped! Hooray!
I hereby recommend that everyone living up Shit Creek do the same.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Betting on a landslide

After the recent events over there, I am now proclaiming to the world that I foresee a landslide victory for Obama, come election day.
I've actually been thinking this for a couple of weeks now, ever since the initial evidence of Palin lunacy began to ticker in on my newsfeeder.

Winds of Change

It may safely be called official now - I had actually completely forgotten about my blog, so it's been official for at least 4 weeks now.
I have a new job at the Danish wind power company Vestas, namely in their Technology & Development department in Aarhus. About 250 meters from my current scenery was clearly not the objective.

What will I be doing - some of that is still confidential, actually. But it involves returning to 3D and computer graphics - and not least project development surrounding data visualisation and the likes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Rush '08

The past weekend was celebrated in Northern Jutland, near my childhood town - at the farm Krogsgaard.
A festival my old mate Mikkel has created (along with several others of course). I played a DJ set and was completely blown away by the quality of the venue. 200 people didn't sound like much...but in part this accounted for 30+ the schedule was packed. And along the weekend everyone more or less got to know each other.

A unique, local atmosphere...the perfect supplement to Roskilde's gargantuan playground. I hope I can help make it happen again next year.

The band quality was amazing, highlights being Transmission Low, Pow Pow, DJ Mescal and Albertslund Terror Korps. But, really, all the bands played excellent gigs. I did not experience a single bad set...but maybe that had to do with the happiness and relaxation everybody radiated.

My next post will be called "Winds of Change" and will reveal an exciting development, taking place during these very days. I just need to tie up loose ends before I get official. =)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Summer buzz

Roskilde was a blast, as always. My brother came along this time - a spectacular comeback after 11 years in hiding.
Musically, I didn't hear as much as I hoped, but highlights were Mugison, Girl Talk, La Kinky Beat, Solomon Burke, Radiohead, and susprisingly Slayer (I didn't hear it all of it, but half of it wasn't half bad...)

Recently returned from 2 weeks of holidaying, which were like a drop in the desert. Had a blast in rural Sweden, where my uncle has his summer residence. Swimming in a forest lake, picking berries, dazing in the sun, and I even got to go boar-hunting.

Recently, I also acquired an Ipod Touch...which I am already well into hacking. The design of this thing is amazing. I'll hand that to Apple - even if I usually dislike the smart-ass snobbiness they radiate.

My next big thing is preparing for a short festival in late August where I need to do some DJ-ing. Very anxcious about this...I've been shortlisting tracks for months now. I need to start selecting soon...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gearing up

Almost ready to hit Roskilde - once again.

News from the front tells that we have secured our classic spot in area G39. I don't know how my mates pull it off every year. Apparently, the fence barrier was broken at 5 a.m. this morning...they were probably in the middle of it.

Roskilde Festival has also been hit by non-smoker's paranoia, along with the rest of Western civilisation, I am sad to say. In 2008 stages Lounge and Astoria are off marks the beginning of the end to the joyful and carefree festival spirit as we know it.

Oddly, this news hit me along with news of new legislation in Amsterdam - where coffee shops now, of course, have had a smoking ban imposed. You are, however, still allowed to smoke pure weed - which underlines the hypocrisy in a "laugh or weep" kind of way. What is it with this "ban all that is harmful or risky" surge that makes me cringe so?

Perhaps it upsets me that there is no opposite attractor. No crowd or political campaign that makes a statement like "Yeah, we like risks, we live unconcerned of reality, and we don't want to wear fucking bicycle helmets by law!"
It is always an escalation on basic liberties - public health, traffic safety, surveillance, [add other collective impositions].

Well, never mind that now - two days of work to go - and then it's Radiohead along with countless others... :)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Slip is Hip

This NIN album is 100% free - and it is very good.
I liked 'With Teeth' but didn't get into 'Year Zero' much.
'The Slip' is a nicely balanced mix of aggression, melancholy, and ensnaring rhythms.

Reznor's new anti-establishment recording strategy is interesting; he seems very dedicated to it. Much more than Radiohead.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Grats, my boy

Obama clinches it - and I'm pleased.
Although I've despised the bashings between the campaigns, I couldn't help laugh at this comparison:

Soundgarden: Black Hole Sun

Friday, May 30, 2008


Here's a great new metaphor from Bruce Sterling (if he first coined it, not sure).

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Feed me funk and soul

On my Spanish course, I've been pushing some sources of 60s and 70s soul and funk. Often old Latin American and Cuban goodies. Might as well post them here for others to enjoy - so much music from back then that just needs to be (re)discovered...

The radio channels, podcsts and archives of WMFU:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Terraforming Suburbia

A romantic and glamorous name for the activity of shoveling dirt and debris into wheelbarrows, nudging them 50 meters away, just to empty them again.

My garden needs a lot of extra earth on one side to become level to the property boundary - and time is running out because people are coming to plant the hedge. I reckon I must have moved at least 60 loads at about 50 kilos a piece today. That's 3 tonnes worth of crap-moving. I'm completely broken...limp and almost drooling...and just a little bit proud.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Busdriver, go vote!

So it's Pennsylvania today - I hope youngsters do their duty...Obama will likely need it.
Saw an interview with HC today - and while she says many smart things and seems sincere, I also sense a undercurrent of camouflage. She is very smart at turning critical questions in her favour...usually ending any answer with a minute of predictably formal political speechiness. That just does not go down well with me. In comparison, Obama actually seems to dig into the question, not dig into getting away from it.

My new favourite gave a show here this past Wednesday - 30 people showed up, yet he gave 120%. My friends and I (and most of the crowd) were thoroughly impressed. I bought 3 of his CDs and stated that one of my best memories of LA (his hometown) was in fact riding a public bus, drunk. He must have figured me completely insane. But then again, he cannot really complain...listen to the man.

I found this image of the venue, courtesy of

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Way cool

This is way cool.
And I am wondering how the Hell they did it. Of course, they have the angle of the photo material...and they have some offset factor compared to the regular 2D maps - but I would assume that height infomation is needed to determine which buildings shadow what and how much. Looking at some of those buildings, there is a near-perfect correlation between overlaps and stitching. Que es possible?

Redirected from there, I discovered Swivel, a magnificent concept for data geeks. I'm not heavy on statistical data - but my escapades into 3D and visualisation make me naturally curious about all this. There are magical mashups just waiting to be uncovered in this realm...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Monday, April 07, 2008


One of my old favourites is back after a long hiatus. Well, only concerning solo albums - he's been in tonnes of projects...not least Gorillaz, of course.
The new album is good - I am not quite sure if it's great. Musically, you get something completely unique...but I feel the critics are right when they say most of his topics are too shallow for his calibre.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Barcelona express

Back this week from a "long" weekend in Barcelona. What a bloody great city.

I was there by leisure albeit with my company department - a bonus trip earned through good results the past year. A really nice trip but much too short and much too socially anti-social.
By this I mean the general problem in moving in large tourist packs of foreigners. It will never be my thing. I saw my chances to get away on my own a few times but at the end of the trip I had only spoken 2-3 times to any native Barcelonian, not related to trade.
It was not much I got to train my beginner's Spanish - although I suspect I would not have anyway, since everyone was very keen to speak English :)

Best site was by far the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família which everyone must see before they die. I have seen many impressive buildings in my life but this takes the prize - not in grandeur, though it certainly is huge, but in sheer uncompromising creativity.
Gaudí was apparently a mathematical genius which I can certainly see the importance of, since those spacy ideas would have never been possible to build, had he not himself figured out the foundational engineering behind it. The scale of his projects are simply enormous, considering how many details they contain - looking at the amount of modern building project fuck-ups that seem to come in abundance, Gaudí's achievements are really blinding.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New markets

Seeing as Danish exports to the Middle East, for obvious reasons, are in a sharp decline, we need a 'next big thing' to substitute feta cheese.

New science together with careful evaluation of the number of Danish pigs' bladders compared to the level of Middle East regional violence seems to indicate a vast market, waiting to be exploited. Question is, will regrown limbs make up for the eternal damnation of soiling yourself with wee-wee powder from those filthy animals?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Make this viral, plz

Lars brought it to my attention - but this deserves to go front page. A lot of details I didn't know - but the part about means over principles fits nicely with a hunch I have had for some weeks now. I was beginning to think it strange that Obama had not been more aggressive and 'Rovean'...thinking exactly what Lessig describes; "That's necessary in politics".
However, it seems that Obama refuses to sink to those levels of argumentative engineering. Thanks to Lawrence for summing it up so nicely - I hope this gets some airplay.

Thar she blows!

As you can see on my reading list, I have embarked on a journey into Ruby on Rails. Determined to give it a shot, doubtful whether "it" is my foot.

I decided to drop all pretensions and went straight for the Dummies introduction. So far it is very good.
Time will show if I become a billionaire or go down like Ahab.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

And the verdict?

Clinton or Obama?

I have been trying to follow the news on this one - I am hard pressed to decide, I'll admit. I seem to have a strictly rational half of the brain that opts for Clinton because of her "seasoning" as a Washington manipulator. And the other brain half, emotionally seduced, wants to see more Obama speeches and visionary statements.

The optimal solution really would be a team - Obama as a puppet president gathering the masses and leading the sheep, while Clinton substitutes Cheney as the Dark Eminence, doing the hardline negotiations in the congressional back alleys.

I think I lean towards Obama - if only for the fact that he represents some kind of innovation...which Clinton clearly does not.


Some other friends of mine have started a social website focused towards parents with kids in Copenhagen. Great work, great design. You'll probably never get a more enthusiastic web socialite than a proud parent - so I am sure that the site will get loads of content and commentary within no time.

I hope they have learned from other socially based guides - and put a time frame on added reviews, so they don't exist forever and prevent "progress of content", if one might call it that. I remember other examples (the Danish national 'Smiley' food vendor rating comes to mind) where those suffering poor reviews are doubly punished, either because the data just sits there forever regardless of real-life improvements, or because the rating criteria hinge on obeying a rigorous rule system. The 'Smiley' may be unhappy - but as a consumer you can never be sure if that's because there were rats in the kitchen, or because the owner had merely forgotten to jot down sanitary actions for a particular day.

I guess that is a philosophy of 'transcience' in some way - acknowledging that environmental data are always essentially outdated and doing your best to respect that when building stuff.

On another note, the little Thor had his old, relocated friend, Matthias, over for a visit today. Once best buddies in kindergarten, they only see each other rarely now. It was a true joy to see the kids' faces when they met up. 20 seconds later they were playing along like old days. Which mainly meant shouting, crying, and clawing at each other's throats.

The sentimentality of child situations like that lies so much in the heads of us adults, it is hard to fathom. The little guys don't give a shit...they just get on with life. Any parent that decides not to do something (relocate, travel, divorce, whatever) because of 'the children' does not really understand children at all. True, they experience sadness and regret momentarily...but unlike whining adults they don't have any existential terror yet. They adapt to life without that eternal doubt that a 'wasted' or 'potential' other course of life brings with it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

February assassinated by madman

Long live March.

Almost a month since my last posting - and I am wondering what the hell there is to tell.
Friends of mine opened a new shop - looks promising...and their talent, backgrounds and personal networks will certainly see them through, I am sure.

Other than that, life goes on in a non-problematic yet sometimes achingly trivial fashion. I've almost been with EG a year now. I am nearing a crossroads without exactly knowing how. I just feel that within maybe a year or so, I will need to make a major decision on my career - mainly because I can feel that my current selection of work tasks is a waste of my talent and general education - even if I am sharpening my technical claws through it and growing wiser each day.

On the side, I am conceptualising a project with some good friends. We had a great design session last weekend and I think we all ended up feeling that our ideas have some real merit. Exciting where this will go - I have been researching some online collabo project management services that might serve as a base for our further design activities. Mingle seems the best but I cannot grasp their licensing policy...they write about a 30 day trial yet also advertise with 5 free users. ThoughtWorks looks like a damned interesting company, by the way. And they have a lot of job offerings...hmm...

In other news, Muhammad is acting up again. This time cartoon re-prints based on death threats are getting everyone worked up again. Absolutism seems to be the order of the day - either you're for or against free speech. Even if free speech should not incourage insulting other people and religious dogma should not interfere with independent editorials. Nuances are lost, it's out of fashion to admit doubt and apply shades of grey.

Oh, and we got a new car. I have been nutured...stripped of about 125 bhp....left crying in the rain with a small, overly practical, diesel-economical family van. It drives adequately, uses almost no fuel (which is actually a huge relief), and is completely boring. I am very happy with the way it matches all the rest.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Gourmet fridge snacks

Leftovers from the christening of my baby daughter this past Sunday.

I made an informal deal with Philippe at and boy, did he deliver.
Salmon tartar rolls, 2 amazing salads, lamb roast with a sweet cous cous salad, several delicious cheeses, and a traditional french apple pie.
Everyone was dribbling, everyone had something they loved. It really is satisfying to shell out a bit extra for stuff like that and then REALLY get value thrown back at you.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I wonder if all women are experts in the fine genre of Banzai Cooking - which involves blowing up the kitchen and eating whatever dish that manages to escape.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Don't overdo it

I like this comment from Alan Alda on the brilliant World Question Center.
I would have labeled myself an atheist until recently when I began to get an ugly taste from the whole Dawkins hysteria. Suddenly some sort of faction-cult solidified when atheists united. Of course, this way of going about things is inherently American - and by and large understandable considering the evangelical power factors threatening the so-called democracy over there.

Once you start referencing yourself with a capital letter (Atheists, in this case) you're broadcasting to the world your membership of a particular order. I don't view atheism as anything like that - for me it is the natural state, not a team I decide to fight for. I fear the only result from this rally is even more division among people.

I once read an elegant argument of the 'rubbishness' of agnosticism, because it basically says that there is a 50% chance of God being there (as in true/un-true). I can see the point. To a true scientist (Atheist) the chance is 0% because no decisive evidence is available. It is a nice argument but it is too categoric since 'evidence' in itself is open to discussion. And in any event, there exists no 'objective' framework to judge the state of divinity anyway. Miracles do occasionally happen, right?

So, I think Alda is spot on - Atheism (capital form) has now become politicised and is, to some, a religion in itself. It risks discounting the basic analysis of anything that does not fit a priori within scientific descriptive categories. The problem lies in automatically assigning the value 'wrong' to anything not proven true within existing limits of knowledge. Moreover, on a directly humanistic level, vigilant Atheists (again, notice the self-important capital letter) seem to regard religious and spiritual people as stupid by definition - which I think is....hmm...exaggerated, at least :)

To most people religious or spiritual feelings are not at all associated with logical thought - when science geeks try to force a connection on their subject it is really a superficial comparison that, while it shows the unscientific character of religion or spirituality, shows absolutely nothing about that subject's mental capacity in general. You are able to believe in spite of your scientific convictions. Often, Atheist science geeks have a hard time grasping this.

In any event, see this as a critical bark up my own tree, since I do not hold religious beliefs at all. I do, however, become curious about spirituality and mysticism from time to time. I also try to respect people that hold religious views - it's when they start contradicting scientific methods that I get grumpy. I have also been quasi-religious or at least interested in historical religions when I was younger, so I can relate to the chasm between religious feelings and logical thought. And since this chasm is so deeply personal, it should stay entirely in the personal domain - get that stuff out of politics, for sure. But it you think you can abolish it by pointing to science, you are the stupid one =)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Scifi memoirs

I've become quite the science fiction aficionado the past year or so. I always was, actually, but recently I've seen scifi being referenced and almost emulated in blogs and online writings. Thanks to the bogosphere and Wikipedia, most scifi worlds and writers are now being celebrated permanently, one might say.

There was a time when I fell over great scifi stories entirely by accident - no readily accessible media bothered to mention let alone recommend science fiction.
Now it is ubiquitous...and Gibson is even making me feel as if certain parts of it are in the PAST, when 'Spook Country' makes an effort to describe technological phenomena that I already know a great deal about. Weird.

Have a look at IO9, a new scifi blog splicing the playfulness of Neatorama with the intellectual coolhunting of BoingBoing.

Thinking back, I guess these are science fiction books that I remember most vividly:

Jon Bing - 'The Chronicles of the Starship Alexandria'

This series is maybe the earliest scifi literature I remember where I have not forgotten the author's name. I doubt that these have been translated into English, but for a Danish lad of 9-10 years these are thrilling tales of weird worlds and inventions.

Brian Aldiss - 'Helliconia Spring'
Actually part of a trilogy, however I suspect I only read the first novel back as a young teenager. The vastness of the environment and the strange mixture of detached science and struggling characters captivated me, I recall.

Larry Niven - 'Ringworld'
I must have read this when I was 13 or 14...I remember thinking 'Wow'. A grand space opera, bordering on fantasy. Douglas Adams without the silliness. I am planning to revisit this one soon.

Alan Dean Foster - 'Midworld'
A scifi ecological thriller. I was crazy about nature and strange species and stuff like that. This book is full of it :)

William Gibson - 'Burning Chrome'
Although I think that word of 'Neuromancer' got to me first, I seem to recall it being off the shelves at our library due to popular demand. There was however one available copy of 'Burning Chrome' in the entire Eastern part of Northern Jutland, and so this became my first cyberpunk experience. Luckily perhaps, because the short story pieces probably suited a young teenager better than the poetically heavier descriptions of 'Neuromancer'.

William Gibson & Bruce Sterling - 'The Difference Engine'
I never finished this at the time. At 14-15 years of age I suspect some of the very rich social and environmental descriptions in this book turned me off. At least that is what I remember. I am quite sure they would thrill me today. The book did actually serve a noble purpose since it primed me for the title below - several years later. It shares some of the neo-/pseudo-Victorian vibe.

Neal Stephenson - 'The Diamond Age'

I liked 'Snow Crash' like everyone else but this is probably his best true scifi work. An amazing story filled with emotion, technological gadgets, social perspectives, and murky motives.
And guess what? I never finished it! Why? I simply forgot it on the plane, coming home from a trip to Thailand in 2001. I am still missing the last 50 pages, goddammit!

Recent honorable mention:
Iain M. Banks - 'The Algebraist'. Very refreshing (and quite funny) after a long time of absence from the spacier part of science fiction.

Today, in a strange cooincidence, IO9 suddenly talked about this which I suddenly recalled was also one of my favorite book series when I was 12-ish. Of course, at the time I was reading the Danish translation, first of which was named "Telekattene". This is a childhood space mythology not to be missed - bring it to your pre-teens now!