Friday, 14 December 2012

All I want for Christmas is ...

If you have a problem, there is probably a technological way of solving it. Sometimes you can do this even if you didn't know you had a problem ...or if someone else thinks you did have a problem ... even if there isn't really a problem ... if you get my drift. As our last post for 2012 dear old Santa Fe has a few items for your delectation

All I want for Christmas is an Internet of my own


If you have your own country to play with then what follows more naturally than your own computer operating system and even your very own internet. Fresh from being voted Sexiest Man Alive the top man in North Korea is revealed to also have that bit of JavaScript you always wanted that automatically makes your name bigger on every web page. Find out about Red Star, the balloon network and Kwangmyong in this story from the BBC.

All I want for Christmas is a buggy for my parrot


Sometimes you know academia has a sense of humour ... and I really hope Andrew Gray gets a masters or better for this amazing piece of work. Wired reports on the remote controlled buggy he designed and built for his parrot. Note the protective newspaper cover folks. Pity about the music: Mr Slater's Parrot would have been much better.

All I want for Christmas is a hum or a whistle


You know that annoying hum you sometimes hear? Well often it comes from mains electricity in some way, vibrating wires or parts of transformers. Would you believe that the hum is useful for forensics ... allowing you to determine just when a sound recording was made? Well, this story on the BBC web site (and the associated programme) tells you how.

I'm a bit suspicious as to how reliable the speed of the recording might be ... but then these days they're all digital aren't they ... and crystal locked. A few years ago I came across a guy in the USA who had developed a system for improving the quality of analogue audio tape recordings. Since all tape recordings included a very high frequency tone (called the ultrasonic bias) it is possible to detect the tone on the tape and adjust the recording, moment by moment, to make the speed absolutely constant ... and this improves the sound quality. His company is called Plangent Processes. Worth a look if you're an audio nut.

All I want for Christmas is a sing-song


And finally. Just watch this video (of a school nativity play) on YouTube and try not to laugh. No kittens, I promise. I'll say no more ... except 'Condiments of the Season to One and All'.

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