Who's ahead in American Idol?

You can figure out who's currently leading the pack in American Idol by visiting the iTunes store and searching for "American Idol", and then sorting by popularity. As I write this, David Cook is the most popular. Last week Brooke White was ahead.

Apparently they are selling a lot of cuts on iTunes. I've bought some. Paula said they won't release the numbers because they are worried it will skew the show. But you can get a hint how it's going with the popularity sort.

Have fun!

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.


Humongous titles coming to the Wii

Video Game News, Video Game Coverage, Video Game Updates, PC Game News, PC Game Coverage - GameDaily: "Majesco Entertainment Company today announced that it has signed a deal with Humongous. Under terms of this agreement, the game publisher will bring Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and SPY Fox to the Wii system. These three popular children's properties will release on Nintendo's console in mid-2008.

'For more than a decade, Humongous has continued to create some of the most memorable and successful interactive entertainment properties for children,' said Jesse Sutton, CEO of Majesco. 'Their characters have demonstrated both tremendous staying power and widespread consumer appeal, and we think this kind of family-friendly content is well-suited to the Wii system.'"
I think this is awesome! My kids are too old for these properties now, but when they were younger, they played them a lot. Of course, it helped that I worked at Cavedog, which was in the same building as Humongous, and I could by all of the titles for $10.00. But even before that, I had bought all of the Humongous titles that were available for the 3DO!

I still have a huge collection of Humongous titles. At some point - probably sooner than later - I will have to deed them over to someone who is starting a family, so the fun and joy gets passed on.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.


Amazing 70-year-old color photos

Amazing 70-year-old color photos

Most of these photos are quite striking:

Nano-Plasm, A Novel
Buy it at LuLu.com
© 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.



This is a fairly clever video making fun of LonelyGirl15.

I remember when LonelyGirl15 first came out I was suspicious because of the quality of the lighting. And then I think around episode fifteen LonelyGirl15 went swimming and the quality of her waterproof make-up just about sealed the deal for me - this was a professional production, and the make-up was at odds with her supposedly identity as a naive waif.

Bigfoot and Image Stabilization

NASA Image Stabilization


Shake, Rattle and Zoom: VISAR, the newest NASA spin-off, steadies our vision.

The second article says

Created through the efforts of a solar physicist and a meteorologist, VISAR is an example of how science that often seems distant or obscure ends up being used to solve familiar, everyday problems. Soon anyone will be able to use VISAR to turn out clearer, steadier videos. Thanks to VISAR, people subjected to watching someone's home movies may no longer have to wish they'd brought the Dramamine.

But so far I can't find a consumer version of this very handy tool. I think there are a lot of people that would be happy to have their home movies stabilized to this degree of quality.

(Check out the quicktime movie of how the bad zoom is removed.)

Along these lines is the stabilized GIF of Big Foot (click link for bigger picture). I believe this was stabilized by hand. There's more about it at Big Foot Encounters.

(Talk about thinking outside the box ...)


Learn to program your iPod with VBScript

Apple released an iTunes SDK with COM interfaces so folks at home could program their iPod or iTunes under Windows. The sample code used Javascript. I mistakenly thought that the Javascript would only run in a browser, but it turns out you can just type the complete name of the file into a CMD prompt and off you go.

But since I didn't know that, I developed some Visual Basic (VBScript actually) code that does some playlist operations. I was motivated to do this because my old 3G iPod had a bug where podcasts wouldn't show up under a Podcast tab, or under the Music tab. As a result, if the podcasts were not in a separate playlist, they would simply be impossible to delete. The first thing I wrote therefore was some code to take any iTunes audio file that wasn't referenced and put it into an "Unreferenced" playlist that I could then easily manipulate.

VBScript, interestingly, is pretty inferior to Javascript for working with COM objects. The main problem I ran into was that I couldn't make an array of objects, so I had to resort to a hack where I store a unique identifier for an object in an array, and then look it up when necessary.

I recently added some code to export a list of the music ratings in my library to a file; I found this was necessary because even though MP3 files have a rating ID3 tag, iTunes doesn't use it - the ratings are stored in iTunes local database. So I wrote a bit of code to write out the ratings from one iTunes library and some code to read them back into another iTunes library.

Anyway, I offer the "playlists" code to you, future iPod programmer. If you know anything about programming at all, you should be able to follow the logic in the code.

Have fun, and feel free to post comments or questions right here.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.



If you do a Google Search for hemmorrhoidectomy you'll find an item in the middle of the first page called "Fun with Above the Garage Productions." If you click that link, you'll find a funny story.

I guess I'm honored that my story rates as high as it does when someone is interested in learning about a hemmorrhoidectomy. I learned the hard way.

I've actually had two. The second one was the most painful thing in my life. This time it didn't get infected, but it kept bleeding, I think because the doctor sewed it up wrong. I think he turned me into a tight-ass. I guess that's better than a second asshole, as in the first article. Anyway, it's bleeding, and he bends me over on his torture table, and he sticks silver nitrate on the wound, which is an acid that is used to encourage wounds to heal themselves. It feels exactly like someone shoved a red hot poker up your ass. And that wasn't the most painful part. I can't tell you about the most painful part because it's too embarrassing but it had to do with the first time I was able ... oh, nevermind.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.

Places I've Been (more or less)

This looks like crap in Firefox. It's imported from Facebook.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.


Is the 520 Bridge Really Floating?

Well, is it?

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.

Vote for Patrick!

Patrick Hurd is a great guy who makes podcasts at Window to the Magic dot com and he wants to be the honorary Chief Magical Official of the Walt Disney Company.

Watch his video (it's very clever) and then vote for him!

Speech Synthesis

I built this Speech Synthesis kit when I was a kid. It sort of worked - it made vowel-like sounds. It was quite fun.

Here's a speech synthesizer singing, "Daisy, Daisy", ala Hal 9000. I believe this bit of technology is actually what inspired that moment in the film 2001.

Global Warming

What do you get when you mix Global Warming with a Drum Kit?

An algorithm.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.

Evolution of a CGI Cave

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.


Lost in a sea of
Bits across the internet
Coding transactions

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.


Portable Machine Gun

Immersive Video

Use the mouse to look around while the video is playing. Very nice.

Fun with Picnik

I uploaded a random picture from my PC to Picnik.com, added some effects, then posted it to my Google/Picasa web page. Simple and fun for the whole family.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.


No Agenda

Adam Curry and John "C." Dvorak want you to listen to their weekly podcast:

No Agenda

Thanks in advance.

© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.