The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'websites'
Tourist Remover is an online photo utility which, when given several photos of a scene, creates a composite photo containing only what appears in all the photos. I.e., if you give it several photos of a busy scene, thanks to the magic of image analysis, it'll give you an eerily empty scene from that point of view.
(via Boing Boing)
There is now a Flash-based Cat and Girl comic generator:
This site has a lot of guitar tabs for songs by Australian bands; it includes a decent number of indie/garage/non-mainstream bands (including The Doug Anthony Allstars, The Paradise Motel, Underground Lovers, several generations of coolsie favourites such as Architecture In Helsinki, The Lucksmiths and The Go-Betweens, and numerous smaller bands), as well as all the mainstream chart-toppers you'd expect.
Looking for thematic photographs for your blog posts/online articles? This article gives a number of websites such as stock.xchng, OpenPhoto and morgueFile, where public-domain, Creative Commons-licenced and otherwise free stock photographs may be found, and where photographers can upload their own.
Another online speech synthesizer demo; this one (ScanSoft's rVoice), however, has multiple accents, including British (i.e., RP), Scottish, Australian (only in sheila, though, and not bloke), Spanish, and not only American but also Valley Girl (more formally known as "Southern California").
Which is rather nifty; it's good to be able to get synthesized speech that doesn't sound either generic-American or (occasionally) RP-British (which some call the BBC accent, except for the fact that nobody on the BBC talks like that these days).
Apparently one of their markets is call centres and voice-response systems (and some of the voices have normal and call-centre modes of diction). Which could explain the presence of a Scottish accent; apparently, studies in Britain found that Scottish accents are considered the most soothing/least aggravating to call centre callers.
SampleSwap is a new(ish) sample-sharing site by San Franciscan electronica d00d Canton Becker. It's the latest incarnation of his Ontology site, only rather than using a proprietary, Mac-only file-transfer system, everything's web based. Users can upload samples and unfinished songs, download others' contributions, and talk on the phpBB-based message boards. The categories under which the samples appear are interesting as well; for example, under "vocals and spoken word", you have entire subgenres like "male rastafarian", "robotic", "evangelists and preaching", and "female dirty german words" (and who doesn't need some of those for at least one musical project?).
OKCupid is another on-line matchmaking site/web-toy for people who enjoy filling in surveys. As the theory goes, you fill in a survey, get a personality type (one of those four-element ones, like the Myers-Briggs or the Spark personality test, only more bootywhang-oriented). Then, to build up your profile by answering random questions from a database; the more you have, in theory, the more "accurate" your matches with strangers online will be.
The questions were mostly submitted by users, so about half of them are poorly-designed to the point of uselessness; many of them one could answer either way depending on context, or consist of inadequate choices ("a) techno; b) trance; c) house; d) I don't like electronic music"), or are US-centric ("Do you have an ambition to visit all 50 states before you die?", "Should the death penalty be abolished?"). Then there are the questions, like "do you think extraterrestrials are watching us?", for which any answer other than skipping it asserts much the same thing (i.e., in this case, a certainty of belief about the unknowable). More interesting are the ones which betray their authors' assumptions: false dichotomies ("Is human life more important than the environment?", which suggests the naïve technocratic worldview of someone raised in a veal pen on a diet of corporate television), straw-men ("Are all human actions fundamentally controlled by a biological desire to survive and reproduce?"; a caricature of evolutionary psychology as seen by someone vehemently opposed to it on ideological grounds), and leading questions ("Do animals have souls like humans do?"). A number of them seem to come from a curious world where modern science is considered with suspicion ("Do you believe in dinosaurs?", "Should creationism and evolution be taught alonside each other?")
Church Sign Generator, which composites plastic letters onto a photograph of one of those church signs (you know, the ones which usually hold Bible verses or pithy one-liners about eternal life). Try it with your favourite NIN/Ministry lyrics or SubGenius tracts; fun for the whole family! It's sacrilicious! (via jwz)
If you can read this, then we're back. A routine machine relocation didn't go quite to plan, but it's all fixed now (hopefully).
And below is the backlog of blog items that didn't get posted to The Null Device over the past few days:
- Your tax dollars at work: A US spy agency as been monitoring webcams at an Islay distillery, just in case they were making chemical weapons instead of whisky. Defense Threat Reduction Agency officials stressed that monitoring Scottish distilleries was not a high priority, but stated that it would take just a "tweak" to modify the whisky-making process to produce chemical weapons. (Hmmm; that suggests some interesting near-future scenarios for potential flashpoints between the United States of America and Britain and a rogue People's Republic of Scotland.)
- An interesting paper on the design of the Google File System, a custom file system optimised for storing huge (multi-gigabyte) files on large farms of fault-prone hardware. (via bOING bOING)
- The latest fad in baby naming in the U.S. involved naming your children after your favourite brands of consumer goods. Looks like Max Barry wasn't all that far off: (via Techdirt)
"His daddy insisted on it because Timberlands were the pride of his wardrobe. The alternative was Reebok," said the 32-year-old nurse, who is now divorced. "I wanted Kevin."
This is only the latest chapter in the boom of giving children unique names.
According to the most recent census, at least 10,000 different names are now in use, two-thirds of which were largely unknown before World War II.
- "We're Gonna Get You After School!" Gibson's Law applies to playground mob psychology, with kids setting up websites and blogs to call their classmates names. This way, technology may be said to have democratised bullying, as it's no longer the musclebound alpha-jocks and the popular rich girls who have a monopoly on making others' lives miserable. (via TechDirt)
One 12-year-old blogger, writing on the popular Angelfire Web site, recently announced she would devote her page to "anyone and everyone i hate and why." She minced no words. "erin used to be aka miss perfect. too bad now u r a train face. hahaha. god did that to u since u r such a b -- . ashley stop acting like a slut wannabe. lauren u fat b -- can't even go out at night w/ ur friends. . . . and laurinda u suck u god damn flat, weird voice, skinny as a stick b -- ."
The author of the article calls for the use of "parental control devices" to stamp out "social cruelty", much in the way that filters have been used to stop pornography. Which sounds more like it would strip those kids put upon by the alpha-jocks/princesses of their online support networks of fellow outsiders.
- More on the internet's impact on human interaction: Internet chat addiction can stunt social skills in introverted adolescents, says a researcher in "social administration". Dr. Mubarak Rahamathulla says that research suggests that chat rooms have contributed to some teenagers fearing conventional social interaction, and becoming more dependent on anonymity or pseudonymity. However, he says, webcams may be a safe, healthy way for to explore their sexuality. Perhaps the future belongs to asocial chatroom onanists, who are into anything as long as it doesn't involve actual human contact?
- The AT&T text-to-speech demo site now has two British voices; the male one sounds somewhat deranged, as if having at some time in the past eaten some BSE-contaminated beef. (via kineticfactory)
- A company is now selling licensed arcade ROMs for MAME. StarROMs currently have a few dozen titles, all from Atari, but plan to have more; games cost between US$2 and US$6 per title, and all are unencrypted ROM images suitable for MAME, with no DRM chicanery to be seen. Let's hope this idea catches on.
- Transcosmopolitan, or Spider Jerusalem's stint as features writer for a women's lifestyle magazine. (via Warren Ellis' LiveJournal comments)
Killer applications for the web: A map of library cats residing in libraries and bookshops around the world. Well, so far, mostly in North America and Australia. Hmmm... wasn't there at one stage a cat in residence at PolyEster Books?