Zombie Air Guitar

I'm trying hard not to blog every little thing that Jonathan Coulton does. He's making it difficult, though, as for the last month or so he seems to have been on something of a roll. Plus, because his Thing a Week songs are Creative Commons licensed, other talented people are able to get into the act too.

A couple of cases in point are Re: Your Brains and Code Monkey. These are well executed, catchy, desperately funny songs (and in the case of Code Monkey, a little sad too) and both of them now have music videos courtesy of some of the many talented people who are not Jonathan Coulton. In both cases, these movies are machinima, a genre I've been interested in since seeing Anachronox: The Movie.

The video for Re: Your Brains is pretty much a straight rendering of the song, with some people cowering indoors while a chorus of zombies mills around outside, expressing their anthropophagic desires. My favourite parts are the zombie air guitar solo and the random rats scurrying around over the set. I assume the latter are just endemic in World of Warcraft, where the video was made.

The Ill Clan's video for Code Monkey seems to have been made in The Movies. Judging from the web site, that's a kind of Sim Movie Tycoon kind of game with a machinima engine buried inside. It's not surprising, then, that this allows much better animation and camera control. The story line is more adventurous, too, but I won't spoil that for you. I will say: watch out for the bunny rabbit with the sub-machine gun that goes past in the background of one of the shots.

Warning: under no circumstances should the weak-minded view these videos; you'll be stuck singing "all we want to do is… eat your brains" or "Code Monkey like Fritos" to yourself for the rest of the week, at least. Don't say I didn't warn you.


The Meeting

I used to spent a fair fraction of my time in meetings; it is one of the lasting joys of a shift to more independent working that this is no longer the case. Chip Morningstar is still very much in that world, though:

I am convinced that the fundamental ontological construct of the universe is The Meeting. The Meeting is one. There is only one Meeting. The Meeting is all.

Chip's panegyric on The Meeting continues for some time in this vein. Personally, I'd have started to worry when I found myself capitalizing the term.


Chiron Beta Prime

I can't think why I have never before mentioned my appreciation for the music of Jonathan Coulton. After all, he's the singer/songwriter behind such classics as Skullcrusher Mountain (listen), a beautiful love song told from the viewpoint of a deranged megalomaniac scientist to the captive object of his affection. Some people may find the bit about the pony distressing, but it is all clearly "from the heart".

In the same vein, I heartily enjoyed his latest "Thing a Week", Chiron Beta Prime, a Christmas family message from… well, listen and see. I will say that the phrase "robot overlords" appears in the refrain, and…




Chickens are funny. Doug Savage draws, on yellow post-it notes, cartoons of chickens. They are funny, if perhaps a little surreal.

[via Evil Genius Chronicles]


Three Tonne Wombats

Sometimes the headline is all you need or want:

Early Aussies co-existed with three tonne wombats, says Boing Boing.

Disappointingly sober full article at Science Daily.


April Again

Every year on the first of April, it has become the tradition for one or more dodgy RFCs to be published with little or no fanfare. Who can forget 1990's seminal Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers involving pigeons and duct tape? Or 1993's Extension of MIME Content-Types to a New Medium in which the matter-transport/sentient-life-form MIME type was first defined?

This year's first candidate describes Requirements for Morality Sections in Routing Area Drafts. This is pretty obvious stuff, dealing with the moral degeneracy brought about by the internet and the necessity of combating this through appropriate moral strictures in all future internet standards documents. Best laugh:

3.2.2. Jumbo Packets
It is no longer appropriate to refer to "jumbo packets". Please use
the term "capacitorially challenged".

… although I'd have assumed they would prefer to be referred to as "capacitorially enhanced" myself.

Perhaps less obvious is UTF-9 and UTF-18 Efficient Transformation Formats of Unicode, which would be less funny if it were not an apparently sound technical specification. Admittedly the class of machines (also 9, 15) for which the technical innovation would be interesting is now all but extinct. Thoughtfully, the author provides example PDP-10 assembler code for the encoding and decoding process for those of us who still remember these works of art, and still have assembler manuals gathering dust on our shelves.


The Daily WTF

Subtitled Curious Perversions In Information Technology, The Daily WTF is a collection of found software artifacts that will make most experienced software people look once, do a double-take, then yell "WTF?". Hence the name.

I'm not sure whether to file this one under "Humour" or "Really, really, scarey."

[Thanks to Rod]


This month's edition of the Communications of the ACM has an insert called the Google Labs Aptitude Test, which you can also find on-line.

Looking at the questions, I am way too stupid to work at Google. On the other hand, I like their sense of humour:

  • Question 2: Write a haiku describing possible methods for predicting search traffic seasonality.
  • Question 5: What's broken with Unix? How would you fix it?


Every OS Sucks

I've long held that the shift from unquestioning youthful enthusiasm for whatever operating system you grew up with to general disillusionment with all of them (except for ones you've written parts of, naturally) is an essential rite of passage. In short, Every OS Sucks and it is just a question of which one is least bad for whatever you want to do right now.

Today, I found that some years back Three Dead Trolls In a Baggie recorded a grumpy song celebrating this grumpy attitude, and you can download Every OS Sucks for free from their Ampcast page. If you're bandwidth rich, they have a video version too.

[Found through Adam Curry's audio show.]



A friend just sent me a link to RFC 1925, The Twelve Networking Truths. Although it is one of the humorous April 1st RFCs (in this case by Ross Callon of the Internet Order of Old Farts), it is also full of genuine truths.

Although I don't follow the really popular bloggers to any great extent, I had come across Mark Pilgrim because of his columns at, and I knew he had a blog that was fairly popular. What I didn't know until a couple of days ago is that Dive Into Mark contains a number of things that are funny, but also full of genuine truths.

If you're drinking coffee just now, I suggest you put it down somewhere safe. Then read Mark's essay on why specs matter, which he starts off with the statement that most developers are morons, and the rest are assholes. True, true. If you've had a really bad day in the standards mines, find relief for your grief in the short but pointed Unicode Normalization Form C. Funny; but also so, so true.


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