May 31, 2004
London Matter

One of the fine things about London is the fact that it's made of real, attractive materials and not just concrete, glass and steel. A fine example is the leather covers on the moving parts of the traditional london phone booth door

Note that this particular strip of leather is brand new, which means they are actively maintaining these phone booths and replacing the leather covers.

Posted by Claus at 09:50 PM
Destroy Rock & Roll

Just visited London where I found the street art below in several different neighbourhoods

[UPDATE: Damnation! It's not street art, just street savvy advertising for this album]

Posted by Claus at 03:42 PM
May 27, 2004
Iggy & The Stooges at Roskilde

I'm beside myself. One more band worth the entire price of admission has been added to the Roskilde Festival playlist:

Iggy and The Stooges


(You're supposed to imagine the famous scream that opens the recording of TV Eye)

Posted by Claus at 02:34 PM
May 26, 2004
Rudolf Rocker

I just now remembered the glorious title of a talk on Rudolf Rocker:

Rudolf Rocker - A german anarchist missionary to the emigrant jews of London

How cool is that: The name! The person! The task at hand!

(When I say cool I'm talking about the capsule storytelling, not anarchism per se btw)

Posted by Claus at 12:18 PM
May 25, 2004
"cocaine has never been an added ingredient for Coca-Cola"

Here's a brilliant example of too slick corporate communication:
The website of the Coca-Cola company states in a FAQ entry that "cocaine has never been an added ingredient for Coca-Cola". While that's technically true Coke did contain cocaine originally because it was a natural part of the coca leaf extract used to make Coca-Cola. It wasn't added it was already there.
Snopes has the story. The cocaine was only present in small amounts, but it was there. The amount of coca extract present in Coca-Cola was cut back in 1891 only a few years after the product was first invented, but trace amounts of cocaine remained until it was completely eliminated in 1929.

Posted by Claus at 02:36 PM

The title of this post is literally snakeman (a contortionist) in Danish, and that was the name of my personal version of snake, the computer game classic every kid hacked his own version of back when I had my Amstrad computer.
I didn't have many commercial games for my computer, so I mainly played games I wrote myself. Really simple ones as you could guess. This one I was particularly happy with. I wrote it in one hour, and I used pointers into a position array to move the head and tail of the snake, so that the game didn't slow down as the snake grew in the same way it did on the versions I had seen at the computer programming night school.
My brother and I played this game all the time. We had a deal: He had a lot of records, and he could only play my computer if I could listen to his records, so we spent many evenings reading, playing and listening to David Bowie.

I recently recreated the exact gameplay of the Amstrad version as a browser based game (works in IE and Mozilla/Netscape), with a Mondrian/De Stijl visual theme.

Use the arrow keys to move, pick up the green bonus squares. Don't hit the wall, yourself or the blue tail you drop in your wake every once in a while.


Width Height Speed (50=fast, 200=slow)

The distinguishing features of this version relative to other versions

  • I wrote it - it's more fun to play your own than anyone elses
  • Extreme simplicity - the game could be submitted to the 5k awards if I hadn't missed the deadline
  • The unique and extremely simple tail dropping feature to escalate the difficulty of play
  • You can't commit suicide accidentally by turning 180 degrees. I find games were you have to watch out to avoid suicide particularly annoying
  • The Amstrad had a keyboard buffer so you could do lightning fast turns by simply pressing a keyboard combination faster than the update cycle. I've emulated that feature in this game
Posted by Claus at 12:24 AM
May 22, 2004
Influence Professionals

Hidden in this Rushkoff rant on the closing of America the permanent loss of liberty and values due to an opportunistic government without any hint of a basic respect for liberty of anybody of a differing opinion (see below for details) is a great term that I will immediately start using, instead of the tired terms flack, pr-person, spin doctor, etc. he simply calls the prefessionals of the rhetoric business influence professionals. That has just the right bland yet ominous connotations it needs to have to describe the sad state of politics and other systems of influence.

As an example I still can't understand at all how Scoble sleeps at night. Having an organisation that is conversationally open is good. Working for that organisation and using, seemingly without any reservations, your own personal identity to market the organization is not.

Here's a partial shortlist of suspecious looking actions or rhetoric by the current administration and its cronies. What's interesting about the list is how total it is. It's not just anti-terrorism. It's everything.

  • The Florida election
  • Total Information Awareness
  • Secret no-fly lists
  • "Enemy combatants"
  • Supreme court upholding right to secret arrest without court hearing
  • Abu Ghraib
  • "They absolutely positively have weapons of mass destruction"
  • Senior Govt. officials simply not making themselves available to the press
  • The FCC response to The Nipple Incident
  • The proposed constitutional amendments to make homosexual marriage unconstitutional
  • Quiet acceptance of RIAA wall to wall lawsuits
  • The monopoly enhancing deregulation of newsmedia
  • Using the Secret Service to make a joke of the right to free assembly (be keeping protestes at a media-wise convenient distance from the president)
  • "Freedom fries" (the total outrage against France combined with the "They absolutely positively have weapons of mass destruction" lie is as undermining of America's well earned standing as defender of freedom as the systematic torture in Abu Ghraib)
Posted by Claus at 11:51 PM
Google Groups2

Google has a new version of Google Groups in beta. It is pretty beta-like still. Lots of test groups and some kinks to work out (among them, danish characters are generally handled incorrectly) but there is one new feature that is truly great: All groups emit atom feeds of recent changes So now we have newsreader feeds for just about everything, and certainly for all of usenet. If you look as an example at the feed overview for comp.lang.perl.misc You'll notice a good effort to maintain the "don't be evil" value. Here it's the slogan "You don't have to come to us". They even recommend common newsreaders that are able consume the Atom feeds. If you dig around you'll also find recommendations for what you do if you would rather have RSS and again its not a Google product plug but a referral to a feed conversion service.

Posted by Claus at 05:15 PM

Jeg tilbragte fredag aften i selskab med Morteratschke Justerado, Rickarino Pederado og senere også Casperado Thomaçao med at revurdere og genopfinde ny og gammel slang for skejser, syle, smackaroos, slanter - altså kort sagt kolde kontanter.
Der var mange gode bud, dels en del knopskydning på de gamle - skejseroonies, slanterados + en del halvgamle eller helnye, nåle, stråler, kvanter (om den Niels Bohr prydede 500 kr seddel), samt dannelser om dankort og pengeautomater - en skejs-o-matic, samt udenlandske valutaer - paller om Euro og cowboy-knapper om dollars.

En del af bidragene gik senere tabt i alkotåger, men aftenens vinder står lysende klart. Det blev efter moden overvejelse en delt opfindelse, nemlig


Den ligger godt på tungen, den er nem at gå til og den er næsten ubrugt.
Posted by Claus at 04:57 PM
Bryllup igen

Hvor dejligt - kun 1 uge skulle vi vente på endnu en total mediestrejke med udlæggelse af slør af kongerøgelse.
Dagens observation. En dansk kirke:

Versus en spansk ditto:

Bemærk hvordan den danske - protestantiske - kirke er indrettet mestendels på menneskelig skala. Brudeparret tæt på og nogenlunde i skala med de kirkelige symboler der bruges. Alteret er stort set bare et bord, og biskoppen er ikke fremhævet i forhold til parret. I den spanske - katolske - kirke er de kirkelige symboler i overmenneskelig kæmpeskala, sådan at brudeparret virker lille og helt domineres af selve kirken. De får endda lov til at blive på 5-8 meters afstand fra alteret.
På TV billederne virkede forskellen i iscenesættelse endnu mere markant.

Posted by Claus at 01:08 PM
May 21, 2004
More horrible webdesign

The NY Times international weather page thinks it makes sense to

  • Show 5 out of 167 European cities that weather data is available for

  • Organize the data so I cannot navigate the list using keyboard - list ordering is Country, City but it is written City, Country

Posted by Claus at 05:48 PM
Mest stinkende webshop l?nge

Fornylig k?bte jeg flybilletter via M?rsk Air's web butik. Det var en total stinkende oplevelse da det lykkeds for M?rsk at sl? stort set alle kendte fejl i design af en web butik sammen i ?t site

  • Sitet virker kun med Explorer
  • Bare det at finde en vare at k?be loader over 4-5 sk?rme.
  • Undervejs skal man finde sig i at 3-4 nye vinduer med informationer popper over og under. Mange mennesker blocker popups og s? virker sitet alts? ikke.
  • Hele k?bsflowet afvikles i 'chrome-less' vinduer - alts? uden menuer, vinduer, adresse-bar osv. Blandt konsekvenserne er
    1. Man kan man ikke se p? vinduet om maskinen faktisk er ved at hente information p? nettet, og da sitet er ekstremt langsomt betyder det at man hele tiden tror at k?bsflowet er g?et helt i stykker
    2. Der er ikke nogen permalinks til de enkelte vinduer undervejs - s? enhver fejl betyder "start forfra" p? et overordentlig langt k?bsflow
  • Sitet er ekstremt langsomt
  • Midt i det hele skal man "registreres som bruger af m?rsk- airs online booking". Op kommer den l?ngste "indtast lige dine data" sk?rm jeg l?nge har set. Man kan ikke lige se p? den hvad der er required og hvad der ikke er s? man taster l?s. Man t?r nemlig p? nuv?rende tidspunkt ikke udfordre sitets fejlh?ndtering fordi det virker ekstremt skr?beligt
  • Kreditkort oplysninger er under kontoops?tning ikke vare checkout. Det er psykologisk uattraktivt, for jeg har jo ikke lyst til indirekte at sige til M?rsk at de bare kan h?ve p? min konto n?r de synes jeg skylder dem penge
  • Tilbage fra registreringen skal man nu igen igennem en "Ja, det er dether produkt jeg gerne vil k?be" fase og man skal igen (det indgik ogs? i brugerregistreringen) fort?lle om man vil sidde ved vinduet, vil have billetterne sendte med posten osv.
  • Selvf?lgelig, fristes man til at sige, g?r sitet ned efter tryk p? "Bekr?ft", s? man er i tvivl om man lige har bestilt en flybillet til en anselig sum.
  • Efter fejlen er der naturligvis ingen back knap der virker, s? man m? starte hele flowet helt forfra.
  • Der er ingen "Login p? din konto" knap p? forsiden af hjemmesiden. Dvs. der er faktisk en, men det er login til en anden slags konto for at modtage nyheder og det login man m?jsommeligt har indtastet virker ikke her. Man kan tilsyneladende kun logge ind p? den rigtige konto fra selve k?bsflowet, s? n?r man har f?et en fejl og vil checke om man har k?bt allerede kan man ikke det.
  • N?r man fors?ger at logge ind - fordi det er uklart fra sk?rmen om man er - f?r man en "session already in use" fejl hvis man er logget ind. Der er ingen ruter v?k fra denne fejlside, s? man er m?ske logget ind, men ogs? fanget i en fejlside

Jeg kunne blive ved lidt endnu, men slutresultatet er at man virkelig skal ville for at k?be billetten p? denne m?de.

Posted by Claus at 03:25 PM
Safri Duo

Classical music can be tough. Audiences are fickle, wanting only Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. Apart from the violin playing teenage girls they're not much to look at. Too many men. Too old. Bad fashion sense. Even the violin girls have limited sex appeal. On top of all that, the money is no good. And you have to practice all the time if you want to stay at the top of your game. All hard work, no fun, no sex, no money - it's easy to see why you would want out of this world if you're young.

But that is no excuse for The Safri Duo

A few years back one of the most popular ensembles in classical music in Denmark got off the train and started making pop music instead. The result - this superficial, dance-oriented, synthesizers + drumming extravaganza makes me ashamed that I'm Danish. It is much much worse than the horrors of Aqua and Michael Learns to Rock combined.
Why is it worse? Because it thinks it is better. The Safri guys think they really have this cool new thing going on fusing their amazing ability to hit really big things in a rhytmic fashion with modern drum machines and synth riffs, but the reality is that it is trash, trash, trash, trash, trash. In the end their percussion skills, the point of the band one would have hoped, simply don't matter at all. The dance-pop genre simply doesn't allow for any kind of deviation from a strict programmable 4/4 beat anyway, so you could easily do with just sampled beats instead of the Safri Brothers drumming away. The drumming is pure spectacle with no musical consequence. And because of the spectacle, they completely forgot to add anything else of interest to the sound. Songwriting is absent from all their material, being displaced by cheesy synth riffs hardly worthy of the name 'riff'. Their lyrics in general makes Aqua sound like Shakespeare.
Rarely has so much ability been wasted by so few people with such devastating results.

Posted by Claus at 01:07 PM
May 19, 2004
1 Terabyte webmail

It's easy to think that the ZDnet story on new terabyte GMail mailboxes is a hoax, but no, it is not as witnessed this blog post. Sadly, the terabyte allocation seems to be easily revoked if you try to actually use GMail as a file server.

Posted by Claus at 04:11 PM
"Unplanned sabbatical"

Just like "layoffs" and "we fired 500 people yesterday" have been redefined more times than one cares to mention, so that it doesn't sound quite as brutal as the original, it seems that even the recently redundant employees (i.e. the fired ones) appreciate the new softer approach. At least I saw a couple of days ago a guy talking about an "unplanned sabbatical". Sounds very much like unemployment to me.

Posted by Claus at 12:53 PM
May 18, 2004
...and secretely listening to: No. 1 Swartskalle

It's not nearly as serious as Morissey, but the single by Infinite Mass with the brilliant title "No. 1 Swartskalle" is good fun with lots of playful attitude.
It sounds like some kind of white 70s version of The Roots. Rock with a funky attitude.

Posted by Claus at 04:15 PM
Listening to: Morrissey - You are the Quarry

This is turning out to be a good year for recording artist comebacks: We've got Prince. There's a Cure album brewing. The Beastie Boys have a great new single out. The Pixies are touring.
And finally here's Morrisseys latest album. It seems the darkness of the times is perfect for Morisseys trademark pessimism. The lyrics are as bleak as ever, and the album sounds good to.

[UPDATE: On closer inspection the album is really quite brilliant. Morrissey's voice is great. The songs, while not groundbreaking, are brilliant pop songs. The band is tight and the sound really works with Morrissey's voice. And then there are some really golden touches like the bright mandolin shimmer on First of the Gang to Die or the bouncy bass rhythm under I'm Not Sorry. The album reminds me of Lou Reed's New York in the sense that it is extremely well done classic rock sound depending on the qualities of the songs and the lead singer to really win you over, more than it is breaking new musical ground. If you like Morrissey, and don't mind beautiful pop songs, this is just perfect.]

Posted by Claus at 04:10 PM
May 17, 2004

L?sere af Weekendavisen vil vide at Lars Bukdahl for nylig uddelte en 'smal' litteraturpris til en r?kke emails rundsendt til en lille skare af mennesker der var in the know af forfatteren Boris Boll-Johansen.
Jeg har ikke helt styr p? historikken, om jeg overs? det i avisen eller om der var avisomtalen der f?rte det med sig, men ihvertfald kan alle lege med nu p? Tilmelding er, indtil videre, gratis. Til geng?ld kan man ikke f? back issues, s? det er alts? nu blevet et h?derstegn for en dansk l?ser at have et meget lavt Boll-Johansen tal, alts? udgavenummeret p? den f?rste mail man har i sit arkiv.
Boll-Johansen tallet er ikke det samme som et Erd?s tal (alts? bekendtskabsafstand) - men der er givet vis en vis sammenh?ng mellem Boll-Johansen tallet og bekendtskabsafstanden.

Ugens Boll-Johansen tal er for?vrigt 8.

Posted by Claus at 11:11 AM
The latest reason to ditch Internet Explorer

Once again the hacked treatment of resources downloaded (instead of just relying on the MIME type) carries with it a virus threat as reported here

Switch to Mozilla's Firefox. You'll like it.

Posted by Claus at 10:53 AM
May 15, 2004
Bad storylines

I didn't check the unproduced scripts for comparisons, but the sci-fi magazine Strange Horizons maintains lists of bad story ideas they see too often in story submissions. There's one for science fiction and a separate one for horror stories. You've seen films of all of these unfortunately. Among the better items is this one:

Protagonist is a bad person. (We don't object to this in a story; we merely object to it being the main point of the plot.)

  • Bad person is told they'll get the reward that they deserve, which ends up being something bad.

  • Terrorists (especially Osama bin Laden) discover that horrible things happen to them in the afterlife (or otherwise get their comeuppance).

  • Protagonist is portrayed as really awful, but that portrayal is merely a setup for the ending, in which they see the error of their ways and are redeemed.

Posted by Claus at 07:42 PM
Web service reading

Tim Bray finds an Irish web services standard and likes it. His description does sound good, rather RESTful and all, but Sam Ruby has good objections.
The points Sam Ruby make illustrate with great clarity why much more care than you think must always be taken in interface design. The natural tendency, even for good engineers, is to start fresh, and then to solve all the problems from your own ground up. As Ruby points out (and REST embodies), you can often use preexisting standards to great effect, if you use the preexisting standards carefully. You don't always need Yet Another Interface Layer. It also illustrates that other important aspect of good interfaces: Clarity and precision is not enough. Naturalness wins them over. So when an XML based protocol suddenly disallows UTF-8, and decides HTTP GET is not fancy enough for professional use, then that's a serious design flaw, because clients have every right to ask why? - And than because they don't bother to ask. They just choose the one where they don't have to ask.

[UPDATE] Sean McGrath points out in a comment below that the specs Ruby commented on are outdated. On McGrath's blog we find this tasty view of the future (unrelated) as well as this Haskell hacker joke which seems to have the hardest learning curve of any joke I ever came across. Not usualy considered a good quality in jokes, but yhen I also like JAPHs. Blog bookmarked.

Posted by Claus at 02:06 AM
May 14, 2004
Classy's royale bryllupsdækning

Dagens sejeste lykønskning

Pornobutikken Plan E's vinduesudstilling...

Dagens kedeligste hyldest

Vi flysimulerer for Mary

Dagens mindste overraskelse

Denne meddelelse fra kongehuset::
Frk. Mary Elizabeth Donaldson får efter brylluppet titel af Hendes Kongelige Højhed Kronprinsesse Mary Elizabeth, men kaldes Hendes Kongelige Højhed Kronprinsesse Mary
Okay! Den havde jeg ikke gættet. Sødt kælenavn.

Dagens fjerneste trussel

Luftrummet over Vesterbro var af en eller anden grund bevogtet. Så høje bliver narkomanerne altså heller ikke.

Posted by Claus at 01:58 PM
May 12, 2004
Do you like my tight sweater?

Meet Leslie Hall, jewel loving, gold spandex wearing, sweater maker extraordinaire

When you're done admiring the sweater fashions, you may just be ready for the quicktime promo video, that adds a little country music to the mix.

When you're done watching that, have a look around, and it will dawn on you that the whole thing is most likely an art project experimenting with the trash aesthetic.

Thanks for the link, Jens!

Posted by Claus at 02:19 PM
Fake wounds are us

Who knew there was an insudtry for fake wounds - not for the movie industry, but for training drills for emergency rescue workers and military medical personnel, as reported by Wired. As the real world gets grittier it seems the damnd for this kind of thing also increases.

Posted by Claus at 01:53 PM
May 11, 2004
The platform compiler for windows is finally free (as in beer)

Microsoft has released - at no cost - the Visual C++ toolkit 2003 which includes the command line version of MS Visual C++, so at last the platform compiler for Windows is freely available. Let a thousand open source IDE's sprout.
I guess this was a logical consequence of the fact that the .NET sdk was free anyway and MS is going the CLR way. The release of this toolkit is great news for projects such as perl. At last everyone can build perl properly, which means that at last CPAN is a real opportunity for the common windows user. IMHO, considering how well many perl modules build just from CPAN distributions, this makes Activestate perl a lot less appealing, even if ppm's still are easier to use when available.
Open source projects on Windows just got a lot simpler to distribute. Next step up would be just including the compiler with the windows distribution like all unixes do.

[UPDATE] Bo points out that you might also want the debugger download to go with the compiler. That too is free as in beer.

Posted by Claus at 10:26 PM
Unproduced screenplays

On K5, a nice collection of famously unproduced screenplays, complete with download links of the full text. Among them police drama by the author of Se7en, and sci-fi by James Cameron.

Posted by Claus at 06:58 PM
JAPH with sed

Perl users will be familiar with the concept of a JAPH, but here's a nice "sed JAPH" from Daniel Stenberg:

ech`echo xiun|tr nu oc|sed 'sx\([sx]\)\([xoi]\)xo un\2\1 is xg'`ol

Posted by Claus at 02:47 PM
Two mobile IM'ing experiences in one month cannot be a coincidence

10 days ago Just struck up a conversation with me over MS Messenger from the pedestrian street in Copenhagen via somebodys open Wifi AP. Today, my good friend Martin got in touch from the bank of the river Thames, only via a PDA/Bluetooth/Cell phone/GPRS combo. Not only does this feed my gadget envy, but it simply must be a sign of sorts. Maybe the fact that all they said to me was "Look, Claus - no wires!!" is another sign of sorts.

Posted by Claus at 01:27 AM
Dårligt hip-hop nyt II

Trofaste læsere holder mig velforsynet med bidrag til denne serie om dårlig dansk hip-hop.
Endnu et bud er MAO's HITZ. Det' lissom nogen tuffe eftertænksomme underground soundz hvor hele mediehyperiet lige får en tur gennem beateriet. Desværre kommer de fede meninger stygt på tværs af det funky flow indtil flere steder. Funky Fætters haderap til L Ron Harald er desværre total renset for den selvironi der gjorde L Ron Harald til en (kortvarigt) god vits. Og når så hans rim bliver decideret latterlige:

Mine tekster er for fyldig- og du er skyldig
som nemesis og klematis og du lugter af Urin

Skyldig som klematis? Sorry Funky, ikke bestået.

Posted by Claus at 12:55 AM
I'm listening to The Streets

The new streets album has a rough, minimalist sound, that I'm not sure is really working. Or rather, it works some of the time and it certainly sounds super British, but it hasn't quite got the appeal or variety of the first album.

Posted by Claus at 12:43 AM
Anti-fat drugs

I suppose it is a natural consequence of the fact that USA is at the same time the only country with largely free pricing of medicine and the country with the biggest obesity problem in the wester world, that the competion to develop the perfect anti-fat drug is intensifying as reported by Wired.
Of course obesity is a problem in all countries where peoplle religiously eat, sit and... well nothing much else actually.

Posted by Claus at 12:22 AM
May 10, 2004
Aros holder masser af vand

Store bededag var jeg i Århus og besøgte Aros, den meget nye bygning til Århus Kunstmusem med den lige så omtalte tyvstjålne spiral i det centrale foyerrum som gennemskærer hele bygningen. Ved et besøg er der imidlertid ikke meget andet at gøre end at overgive sig. Bygningen fungerer fremragende som museum og Århus Kunstmusems samlinger stråler virkelig i lokalerne.
De to ting der er at ærgre sig over at 1. at de ikke kunne finde på noget selv til foyerrummet, men skulle stjæle det mest genkedelige dekorative arkitektoniske element i noget kunstmuseum overhovedet, og så er der simpelthen ingen rimelig undskyldning for bygningens ydre hæslighed. Udefra er huset simpelthen grimt. Stort og rødt og kedeligt. Det ligner en amtsgård eller et hospital eller noget i den stil.
Men der gør bare ikke rigtig noget. For indenfor er huset enormt, alligevel overskueligt og gallerierne er virkelig vellykkede og imødekommende. Museumsinspektørerne må have været overvældede over de nye store lokaler for de er ganske enkelt gået amok i store formater. Væg efter væg er behæng med enorme malerier af den nutidige danske elite (Lemmerz, Kvium, Frandsen et al). Op gennem bygningen træder man så langsomt tilbage i tiden og på den øverste etage er man tilbage i guldalder og klassisk figurativt maleri. Mest vellykket virker den mest moderne kunst - dels er de store formater overvældende i sig selv, og uden at jeg på nogen måde er ekspert i de dele virker det helt klart som om samlingen er bedre funderet her. De ældre ting kan man se så mange steder, og navnlig er man som københavner selv dækket fint ind af en hær af museer. Og så er den danske del af samlingen så afgjort bedst. Jeg ved godt det lyder snobbet, men helt ligegyldigt virker 1 Warhol, 1 Rauschenberg osv. Når værkerne ikke kan komme i sammenhæng med en masse ligesindede værker fungerer de mere som souvenirs end som kunst. Forskellen til de danske samlinger, hvor man kan få variation og detaljer med ved at vise flere værker, er slående.

Posted by Claus at 11:25 PM
May 07, 2004
Hunky Dory

All of the David Bowie studio albums from this one to Scary Monsters could go on the essentials list, but I have to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any.
Bowie's amazing voice is young and intense, the sound has that glam inspired 70s glitter, and with a few ridiculous emberassments as entertaining interludes, the songs really are fantastic
Bowie was on the essential soundtrack to my childhood, because one of my brothers was a huge fan and always played the albums, with this one, Heroes and Scary Monsters probably being the favourites. While I own only a few of these albums I know them all by heart second for second in a way you can only know music you heard all the time at a certain age.

Posted by Claus at 01:12 AM
Lust for Life

I don't have the family franchise on Iggy Pop fandom, but I think this is the best opening of any record ever. It is certainly the most energietic. There is no hesitation in the amazing opening bars of Lust for Life, just pure energy and with a bouncy/funky rhythm to boot. There are absolutely no disappointments on this album. The intensity of the opening is maintained throughout and the album ends with a candidate for Best Closing Song Ever - Fall in Love With Me.
Of the records Bowie was involved in making in 1977 I think this one comes in a tied first position with Heroes, with Low in third place handily beating The Idiot.

Posted by Claus at 01:01 AM
May 06, 2004
Hellige kongelige br?kfest....

Danmarks Radio har budt over i tidens kamp om den t?tteste og mest br?kfremkaldende d?kning af det kongelige bryllup med en ny 24 timers royal netradiokanal
Det et tilsyneladende ikke en vittighed.

Posted by Claus at 05:35 PM
Beastie roots

The new Beastie Boys single is out, and as pre announced it as a return to a harder hip-hop "roots" sound. I can't wait to get that album.

Posted by Claus at 01:22 AM
May 05, 2004
Storegade 28

[UPDATE: Extended with input from some of my siblings]

Everybody has special memories about their childhood home, but even so, I like to think that the house I grew up in was something special. To give you an idea of what the house looks like, here's a drawing my older brother made of the house some 15 years ago.

You'll have to subtract a bit of the Psycho-esque American gothic, but the house really looked like that. It was an enormous building. The biggest home in the small town I grew up in. It was on the middle of the main street. It had a tower. It was - much like a child's world - unfinished and mysterious.

Large portions of the house were not in use, and in quite bad repair. Living in the house was a gradual conquest. As the familiy grew, as children got older and required their own space, more and more rooms were fixed up and taken into use. The job was never finshed while we lived there. The parts we did use ended up consisting of about 12 rooms and various utility rooms: two bathrooms, a big kitchen, pantry, a porch and, important when you're a child, a walk-in safe in the middle of the main hallway. Below the main floor was a basement floor with an additional 6-8 rooms largely unused and above it all an enormous attic left mainly as a huge empty play space for the children. From the attic you could access the tower room and from there actually climb the ladder to the lookout platform above.
The basement was in pretty bad repair. There wasn't good lighting for example, and the darkness added to the mystery. At the end of a long dark hallway in the basement you could climb up into a crawl space under the porch where the older children had a secret hideaway. The house was built around 1900, back when houses had these huge secret underbellies taking care of all kinds of domestic functions. There was the room with a huge brick wash boiler (en gruekedel) built in, there was the furnace room and finally there was a large room with a service hatch and shaft opening into the yard in front reserved for coal/coke for heating. For a while this was turned into a good sized rabbit farm while the children of the house went through a rabbit craze.
There was a slate roof above the house and the slate was not insulated. You looked right at from the attic. When I was little, the attic itself wasn't insulated in any way either, and you could tell because no matter how cold it was the slate roof often stood black, completely free of snow cover. The snow had been melted by the heat escaping from below. In the summer it would get really hot below the slate, but my brother and I would still spend a lot of time in the attic, because we had the space to ourselves. We built enormous Lego railway systems that we never had to pull down and could work on for weeks.

The main floor was dominated by three large rooms facing the front of the house: My fathers office, the state room/living room, and the dining room; all connected en suite with double doors. The state room was the only place that was off limits for the kids. The only place we weren't allowed to turn into a play space. Thankfully we had our own kids' play room next to the kitchen where other rules applied. The house was so big that it was never really under strict adult control all of it. There was always a lot of free space, always some place to escape to where you could play. The dining room, which was also the music room with the piano, could be split in two with a curtain, and obviously we used this curtain to frame one half of the room as a stage where we produced little plays and performances (truth be told, we only did this a few times). I like to think of it as a sign of a civilized household that the TV set was in the kids' play room and not in the living room. The living room was a place where you sat and talked, and maybe listened to records. Television was something for kids. There was no censorship, television wasn't frowned upon, it was just a familiy/kid oriented thing.

In front of the house was a small garden where we almost never played, it was mainly for display - a lawn with a row of rose bushes in front facing the street, behind a low, white metal fence. Behind the house was a much bigger garden matching the size of the house. It consisted first of a big lawn (it's hard to remeber exactly how big it was but 15x25 meters is probably a low estimate) where we could play football(i.e. soccer) or other games. Along the lawn on one side was a garden path to the very back of the garden, and beyond that on both sides the lawn was surrounded entirely by trees and lots of shrubbery, ideal for hide and seek. Behind the lawn was the vegetable garden (later another lawn) and some more trees. All of the trees served different functions for play. There was the fairy tale style hollow tree, with a trunk decorated by huge fungii, there was the tall oak with the big swing hanging from a branch maybe 4 meters above ground, where we could help each other to fantastic rides. There were the fruit trees, apple and pear. There was the copper beech with the tree house built by my older brothers and there was the forked tree at the back of the garden on the mound next to the campfire site we used on midsummers night. The tree on the mound was really easy to climb if you didn't like climbing the biggest tree of them all, the giant lime tree at the very back of the garden.

There simply was no end to the house and there was no end to the garden.

Posted by Claus at 01:35 AM
May 03, 2004
Perl 6 objects

I failed to see the announcement of Apocalypse 12 on OO Perl 6. While the simplifications of class design look to be exactly on target, there's plenty to stoke your perl blasting furnace if you dislike perl line noise:

The parser will make use of whitespace at this point to decide some things. For instance

$obj.method + 1

is obviously a method with no arguments, while

$obj.method +1
is obviously a method with an argument.

Excellent! Let's make sure code never runs on first attempt just to reap decidedly marginal advantages in brevity.

It gets worse. Some horrible decisions seem to have been made along the way, among them the decision to use operators not currently easily available on my keyboard, namely "french quotes" « (Decimal 171 in my charset) and » (ASCII 187). What is this? APL? I don't know why I hadn't noticed this, but it stinks - in fact so much that if this ends up in the language I will probably never use it. It's hard enough to understand languages. Why it should be hard even to type them is beyond me.

Why conversations like this 77 message thread on systems compatibility wasn't a warning sign just to leave the bloody things out I don't know. Perhaps someone following the process can enlighten me. Is this some joke I'm missing or just somebody actively trying to bury perl in favour of python?

The fun is heightened by close review of the Google Groups thread. Larry sends a message with text "Can you see these -> <- chars" - and some whitespace inbetween indicating to the viewer this failed. Then in a reply somebody quotes Larry and in their reply the missing characters show up! Come on man. Give us a rest. I don't want to work with my bloody keyboard definition to use your programming language. If this stays I'm clearly gone as will so many others. They simply must be kidding. They must.

Posted by Claus at 11:11 PM
May 02, 2004
Classy's partial Roskilde Festival playlist

I'm definitely going to see

Karl Bartos
Basement Jaxx
Bergman Rock
Blue Foundation
David Bowie
Graham Coxon
Fatboy Slim
Franz Ferdinand
The Hives
Kira & The Kindred Spirits
DJ Krush
Danger Mouse
Louie Vega
Michael Franti
Money Your Love
The Pixies
Sly & Robbie
Under Byen
Luke Vibert
Bugge Wesseltoft
Zero 7

.. and there are tons of bands I shouldn't have left off the list...

Posted by Claus at 11:30 PM
Cantor's diagonal proof

Imagine you had listed all infinite series of digits in an infinite list of rows. Like this
1. 12376487648764234
2. 23479072756827345
n. 234...8344574534534
(the underlined 7 is in the n'th position)

Then if you took out the numbers I've marked underline bold and shifted them by one (1->2, ..., 9->0) and built the series of these digits
then that would be different from any series in the original list. We carefully built the list with one digit from each list in exactly the right place, but shifted by 1.
So there is a series not in the list of series - and this is true no matter how we list the set of series. There simply is no way to list them. The upshot of that: There are more infinte series than there are integers, even though there's an infinite supply of both integer numbers and infinite series. It's possible to be more infinite than the set of integers.

This is the heart of Cantor's celebrated diagonal proof about the noncountability of the real numbers. I first learned of this marvelously simple idea in high school (gymnasiet, altså) when I read one of the classics of expository math, Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. I remember feeling exhilerated when the penny dropped. To think that you could get so dramatic conclusions from such a simple argument. That's when I knew I liked mathematics. This was really a bounty to go for, that kind of gearing for your thoughts - the world literally expanding before your very eyes, and not just by miles or light years, but infinitely, and not just that, but transinfinitely.

The power of the diagonal proof has also been proven by its use, in more technical guises, to prove all kinds of wonderful and mindboggling things. Among them the analogous results of Turing and Gödel on the stopping problem and the completeness of mathematical theories.

Posted by Claus at 02:29 AM
May 01, 2004
WiFi Tarzan

Justeren har i en uge nu ikke snakket om andet end det vi i slutfirserne på DIKU ville have kaldt et lommemobildataanlæg med radiodatafunktioner. Netop nu er han mobil på strøget - og vi er messenger kontakt mens han svinger sig fra Access Point til Access Point som en anden WiFi Tarzan. Jeg erkender en anelse gadgetenvy, også selv om hans PDA desværre kører Windows.

Posted by Claus at 06:40 PM
Dårligt hip-hop nyt

For nogen tid siden dækkede jeg den usikre rapper Cino G på Det viser sig at der er en hel masse rappere derude der vil være med.
Først har vi Tjalfe H. Hans hit hedder - passende for "Den sygeste moderknepper nord for KBH" - Knepper Din Mor.
Dernæst, by way of Found Magazine, supergruppen Ypsilanti All-Starz. Dvs. det hedder de ikke, men det kalder Davy Rothbart fra Found dem. Deres store hit må være Yo' Ass Is So Fine (Realplayer)

Posted by Claus at 06:18 PM
Beggars Banquet

[UPDATE: Classy's list of essential Stones titles in proper buying order]

The Stones are really much too old a band to be important for me, but I grew up listening mainly to The Rolling Stones and danish band Gasolin'. First because the music was being played by two of my older brothers, and later because my third brother bought all the Stones albums released on Decca/London in a boxed set which we played all the time in the following years. Among all the Stones albums (several of which will be covered on the Essentials list) Beggars Banquet is the best one.
It has one of the best side-A-track-1's in the history of LPs and after that, within the confines of the stones sound it helped define, an amazing breadth of variation that practically no one tries for any more. Any one of "Sympathy for the Devil", "No Expectations" and "Street Fighting Man" would be reason enough to include the album, but there's so much more.

The Stones have done their music a disservice through the last 15 years of stadium rocking. The stadium venues and the moniker "Worlds Largest Rock'n Roll Band" have turned them in to a parody rather than the brilliant blues band they used to be. Music quite simply does not belong in stadiums. I have a lot of friends without any feeling for what the Stones sound used to be, because they can think only of 50000 people cheering Keith Richards on as he starts up the riff of Satisfaction. They either dislike The Stones because they are not Metallica or because they think they probably sound like Metallica for old people.

This album in contrast is to a large extent quiet, emotional, and acoustic and sounds nothing like The Stadium Stones.

Classy's Essential Stones Album List in Buying Order

  1. Beggars Banquet

  2. Let it Bleed

  3. Singles Collection: The London Years - (this imo is all you really need to appreciate the pre-banquet Stones. They were a singles band, and these are all the singles)

  4. Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out

  5. Sticky Fingers

  6. Some Girls

  7. Exile on Main Street

  8. Tattoo You

Posted by Claus at 12:46 PM
You've got to love a patent system that...

...helps paranormal spoon benders patent sick ideas for TV-shows.

Posted by Claus at 02:53 AM
Welcome to the west!

Approx 1 hour ago the EU grew by more than 10% population wise as 10 new countries entered the EU. The majority of the new EUropeans are Polish. The EU zone now holds a staggering 450 million people who speak more than 20 different languages. Eastern Europe is "The India of Western Europe" - low wage, high education, understandable culture, good language skills. The fear Americans have this season of outsourcing to India is mirrored in Denmark and elsewhere by fear of an invasion of Polish workers undercutting the standard of living in Denmark.
Here at we welcome our new relatives - this extension of the EU is the final nail in the coffin of the protectionist fears that were the sole weapon of the left wing anti-EU oposition through the 90s. There's a nationalist right wing opposition also - but that's another matter.

Posted by Claus at 02:20 AM