Sunday, February 19, 2006

A squirrel as an answering machine

Cellular Squirrel
the cellular squirrel (used without prior permission)
The Althouse blog mentioned an interesting research project about using a robotic squirrel as a cell phone agent. It is incredibly cute and has lots of features too. Instead of ringing, the cellular squirrel uses less intrusive visual signals to inform you of incoming calls. It is an answering machine: it intercepts voice calls, communicates with with caller and identifies if the call will be relevent through keywords found on different channels. It knows if you are having a meeting, when it will sit still and not interrupt you. More technical information about the project can be found on Stefan Marti's research projects.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Songtexte von Christina Stürmer / Hannes Strasser

Lyrics of an unfamiliar language always give you an exotic feeling, even when the songs are about the same old stuff in a central european langauge which resembles what we read and write every day.

Engel fliegen einsam (video)

Weißt Du wie die Dichter schreiben, hast Du je einen gesehen?
Dichter schreiben einsam
Weißt Du wie die Maler malen, hast Du je einen gesehen?
Maler melen einsam
Weißt Du wie die Engel fliegen, hast Du je einen gesehen?
Engel fliegen einsam
Und weißt Du wie ich mich jetzt fühle, hast Du je daran gedacht?
Do you know how the poets write, have you ever seen one?
Poets write alone (*)
Do you know how the painters paint, have you ever seen one?
Painters paint alone
Do you know how the angels fly, have you ever seen one?
Angels fly alone
And you do know how I feel right now, have you ever thought about that?

Ich bin ein Freak, ein Alien, ich komm von weit weit her,
ich kenn die Sprache die Ihr sprecht,
doch ich weiß nie was Ihr mir sagen wollt.
ich seh' die Träume die Ihr träumt,
doch Euer Leben wird ich nie verstehn.
I am a freak, an alien, I come from far, far away,
I know the languages you speak,
though I never know what you want to tell me.
I see the dreams you make,
though your lives I will never understand.

(*) From my understanding, "lonely" is the more appropriate translation, but it is too sad to write that way, is it not?

New in the cinemas

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Russian Solitaire: a game I learnt from my grandma

Gerald made an interesting post in Gone Gaming: Gaming with a Grandma.

My grandma did not often play games with me, but she taught me some solitaires. One of which she often played was Russian Solitaire, a variant of Yukon. Rules to the game as follows:


A standard 52 card deck is used. 28 cards are first dealt in 7 columns. The first column has 1 card, the second has 2, and so on. The last card in each column is dealt face up. Then, 4 cards are dealt to each of the latter 6 columns.

The Game

The goal is to remove all the cards from the columns into 4 "foundation" piles, starting from Aces and ending with Kings. A face-up card, and all the cards covering it, may be moved to another column when the top-most card in the destination column is in sequence and of the same suit.

If a face-down card is exposed as a result, it is immediately turned over.

Whenever the lowest card of any suit is exposed, you remove it and they form the "foundation piles".
When a column is emptied, you may remove part of another column to create a new column, exposing another card. In the standard Russian Solitaire, only Kings may start a column. In my grandma's variant, you may start a column with any card, which makes the game a little bit easier, but still more difficult than the standard Yukon or Klondike.

Game end

You win when you empty all 7 columns by sorting them into 4 suits; you lose when you have no legal play before emptying the columns.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Kelly Clarkson 在48th Grammy Awards 取得Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (Since U Been Gone) 與Best Pop Vocal Album (Breakaway) 兩獎, 及System of a Down 以B.Y.O.B. 取得Best Hard Rock Performance 一獎

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"We grow old because we stop playing."

Doug Sundheim said at the FC Now blog: "The quickest way to grow old is to take yourself too seriously."

I am not sure if he is telling us to work less or enjoy our work, or both? Anyway it is probably a good read.