Two things


One, wikipedia rocks. Especially for technical topics I previously found hard to research like image encoding formats like YUV. Kudos to those who write pages there.

Secondly, is it just me or is the history of television formats fascinating. For example:

The adoption of SECAM in Eastern Europe has been attributed to Cold War political machinations: Western TV was popular in the East, authorities were well aware of this, and adopted SECAM rather than the PAL encoding used in West Germany. This did not hinder mutual reception in black&white, because the underlying TV standard B/G remained the same in both parts of Germany. However, East Germans responded by buying PAL decoders for their SECAM sets. Eventually, the government in East Berlin stopped paying attention to so-called “Republikflucht via Fernsehen”, or “defection via television”. Later East German produced TV sets even included a dual standard PAL/SECAM decoder. In any case the majority of TV sets in East Germany were monochrome (black & white) until well into the 1980s.


Poorly researched creatives


A creative is advertising speak for the copy used for an advertising campaign. For reasons too complicated to explain now, I was just browsing the TiVo pre-canned creatives, and came across this gem:

Which is really quite clever. However, this one shows that they’ve never watched the show in question:

In the show, Blue is a dog, who leaves clues for either Joe or Steve (depending on which series you’re watching). So, Blue never gets clues, she gives them. Also, Blue is singular, and there is normally an apostrophe involved. A better line would have been “you decide when Blue sets her clues”. Just my random nit for the day.

TiVo’s pre-canned creatives may be found here.

Update: I too suck. Apparently Blue is a girl, although I’ve seen many episodes and don’t recall this being mentioned. I apologise to my wife for any emotional distress caused.


Phoenix for business


You know that somewhere has to be special when people tell you that the good points of a place are that land is cheap, it’s geologically stable, and there are lots of banks. Well, that’s Phoenix and the bit they’re not mentioning is that you’re in a desert. It’s warm. Really warm. Oh, and dry.

It’s a nice spring afternoon as I write this, and it’s 108 Fahrenheit (42 Celsius). Fortunately that seems to be about as hot as it gets here.

Phoenix is so far a nice city, although I have only haven’t seen much (I’m here on business). Not very built up, and quite spread out. Some parts of town I drove through also have billboards in Spanish only.


Historical revisionism


I have spotted a worrying trend with one of the email lists I archive. So far I have fielded about ten requests to remove emails from the archive, with four of those being in the last couple of weeks. I wont name the offenders, but handling these requests takes a fair bit of time on my part. So, I ask for opinions. Should I be deleting emails from a public archive, given the mailing list is open to subscription from anyone? Does it matter that this is a third party archive, and I am not the list administrator? Should people think before they post?

Given the long memory of search engines, and the increasing probability of an employer Googling for you before hiring, I wonder if this sort of request is going to become so common that it endangers the public archival of things like mailing lists?

A penny for your thoughts…


Walking to work


I’ve been wondering how long it would take to walk to work for a while, so I thought I would give it a go this morning. The answer is 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. Some factoids:

  • It’s 3,500 steps from my house to Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus
  • Another 1,000 steps an you’re at the computer history museum
  • Another 1,000 steps gets you to a Google cafe
  • It’s 5,800 steps total to my desk