Inside the San Francisco Fire Department’s Ladder Shop

San Francisco has some unique requirements that lend it to needing wood ladders in place of aluminum ladders like most cities.

The shop that makes them today has been doing so since 1919, and some of the earliest ladders are still being refurbished and kept in use. These craftsmen in the shop take their job seriously, for instance, they keep the wood on site for 15 years before using it so the wood can acclimate over time to the local climate!

Inside the Ladder Shop at the San Francisco Fire Department from AdamKaplan on Vimeo.

Porn-Unboxing the Boxee Box

Don’t worry, there’s no nudity. 🙂

I’ve been getting into Home Theater PC (htpc) in an effort to reduce or eliminate my dependency on Comcast and also reduce my TV bill. While looking for information on the HTPC world, i came across this funny but informative video  unboxing of the Boxee box.

If you have trouble with the video, here’s the link.

Found via Paul Roberts, it seems he’s a Boxee tester which is cool.

Reimagining Frankenstein With A Steampunk Twist

Kevin Mowrer has a fantastic imagination and also has artistic skills to pull off a really cool idea. The idea involves a Frankenstein-world with a steampunk aesthetic, he’s also sharing his sketches and artwork. Kevin describes the aesthetic he’s going for here:

I’m looking for a metal-heavy, sooty look with forms and shapes that aren’t just barrels and brass but suggest a more profound alternate industrially based technology that has reached a high level of functionality and power but isn’t plastic and electronic nor wood and horses. There’s two levels of technology in this story. One that is almost magical in it’s ability to make things move and another that is much less sophisticated. This “steamier” technology is still created by the same folks who make the amazing technology but is purposely dumbed down to keep control of the larger population

If you enjoy Steampunk, you should follow Kevin’s efforts to develop this world, it’s very cool stuff.

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Bizzaro Toy Story 3 Scenes

Woody the serial killer?

My new friend Amy Leigh has a penchant for Toy Story 3 and I wanted to turn you onto her latest post ‘10 Bizarre Depictions of Toy Story 3 toys‘ .

In the post she wonders what the Toy Story 3 characters are doing with their free time when the camera stops rolling. She’s pulled together her top 10 favorites like the one above where Woody is happily carving up someone’s head.

As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, she takes us down the road of Cross Dressing Woody and Woody takes an interest in girls, both quite funny. 😉

Check it out.

What is That?

Hey folks!  Well guess what?  I found some new images for you guys to check out and scratch your heads over!  I got them from all over the place, some are old tech, new tech..macro shots…you name it.  One thing is for sure, you will have fun trying to identify them =]  This first image is local for me, taken right here in the evergreen state…

whatisthat

Please lease your interesting or creative responses in the comment section!

Churchill Banned UFO Report to Avoid Mass Panic

Via Yahoo! News (yeah, i’ve had this in my queue for 2 weeks, i’m lazy busy):

Reports given to Churchill claimed that a reconnaissance aircraft returning to Britain from a mission was shadowed by a UFO as it crossed the British coast.

The plane’s crew were reported to have photographed the object, which they said had “hovered noiselessly” near the aircraft, before moving off.

According to the letter describing this alleged incident: “Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect, ‘This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one’s belief in the Church.'”

News Links 3-15-10

Lip-Reading Mobile Phone Promises to End Noisy Calls [BBC News]
The technology measures the electrical signals produced by muscles when someone speaks. Would presumably be good for a dumb person to communicate as well.
Report: 98.9% Of Downloads On The Android Market Are Free [The Next Web]
An estimated eight million Android users downloaded 289 million apps, of which 98.9% were free to download. Wow, looks like an app market developers would be anxious to get into </sarcasm>

Peter Graves dead at 83 – RIP [Real TV Addict]
I have many, many fond memories of Mission Impossible and Mr. Graves’ character and the plethora of spoofs his character helped architect was key to many of those memories. Here’s a nice 2+ minute series intro to the MI team’s escapades.

World’s Most Precise Clock Created

I’ve always had a fascination with Time. I enjoy reading and hearing about advancements in Time tracking technologies over the centuries. So this article from New Scientist piqued my interest:

The new record-holder for the most precise timekeeper could tick off the 13.7-billion-year age of the universe to within 4 seconds.

If you want the technical details you can find it in this paper (PDF) from Cornell’s Quantum Physics section of their library.

What I want to know is whether entropy will set in across the universe within 13 billion years and if so, will the clock maintain its accuracy as it count backwards? 🙂

IP protectionism gone wrong?

the guys over at TechDirt have pointed out an issue where a comedian was required to re-tape a joke due to Comedy Central not having the licensing for the song “We Are The World”.
The issue here is not really a matter of copyright, but IP protectionism gone wrong.
There is a clear case of fair use under parody with this and such issues have previously been held by the Supreme Court as a first amendment issue when the parody has been intended as a criticism as was the case in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music.

Now, to be fair, in that case the criticism was of the original work. But looking at the specifics of that case, the court deemed that the work was transformative which using a song in a joke would certainly be, provided social benefit by making use of the earlier work which this appears to do as well as the effect upon the the potential market of the original work which in this case I can only imagine would be nil.
The remaining factor is the amount of the original work used in the transformative work. In this case, its four words sung by a comedian… not a singer doing a cover of the song, just singing the four words and that’s it.
The Supreme Court sent that issue back to a trial court to determine if the use of the original work was excessive, but I have to believe that a non-singer using four words to frame a joke about the overuse of the word love with no music from that song to accompany him certainly would not fall under excessive.

My own personal viewpoint is that Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom is in a rather no win situation on this type of issue. If they stand by the fair use principal that opens them up to others claiming fair use on IP that they own the rights to undermining any future attempts to maximize control and the ability to monetize the works they own the rights to. It would be good if they could see the unreasonableness of taking such action, but I doubt they will.

IE continues its slide while Safari stumbles a bit too

Its become fairly commonplace to see Internet Explorer taking yet another small step towards a smaller market share with its browser. While it is still the predominant browser being used out there, the competition in that area is has heated up a bit more with Google’s Chrome Browser who has reciently taken over third place from Safari.
As pointed out by our friends at Endgaget, taking a deeper look at the numbers can reveal some interesting information.

  • Google Chrome made the largest gains while most others stayed flat
  • IE6 remains the top browser by version.
  • By version split, Firefox 3.5 is only about 6% lower than IE 6 or 8.
  • No one really uses the built in browser on the PS3 (so much for convergence in that arena)

Its no surprise to anyone really that the browser which comes packaged with the operating system that has the largest market share would also have the highest share, but this is sure to be good news to Google with its upcoming launch of the G1, rumors of a Google tablet surfacing and the attention Android is getting from everyone.