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Friday Night (5 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  20:44:18 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Only 6 sleeps left until Christmas! Are your Christmas lights as awesome as these? I always thought that the Christmas lights around our suburb were pretty awesome, but after seeing this, I know that Brisbane is the place to go for a really awesome light show. Michael Sallaway used over 70,000 lights, which are completely computer controlled on over 300 individual channels. Micahel designed and built the controller boards himself, and then did all the synchronisation to the music by hand using the free Vixen Lights software, taking about 30 hours to code the entire song.

Dan has more letters. Rare earth magnets, meteor hunting, transformers, surge protectors and Crookes radiometers.

Westpac customers are set to get free security software. The new deal covers what is claimed to be an ‘all-in-one security suite featuring anti-spyware, anti-virus, firewall and spam protection’ as well as customer support. It is now available to Westpac customers that register online. It extends a previous agreement where PC Tools’ software was offered to customers in its bespoke pieces rather than as a complete security suite, according Rafal Potega, VP of Asia Pacific sales in the business unit at PC Tools.

Record companies are seeing returns on Youtube videos. For the first time, there are signs that YouTube is driving significant revenue for itself and some of the video site's partners. In an interview with CNET News this week, Rio Caraeff, executive vice president of Universal Music Group's eLabs, said the largest of the top recording companies is bringing in "tens of millions of dollars" from YouTube. "(YouTube) is not like radio, where it's just promotional," said Caraeff, who heads up Universal's digital group. "It's a revenue stream, a commercial business. It's growing tremendously. It's up almost 80 percent for us year-over-year in the U.S. in terms of our revenue from this category."

Youtube is also being used to aid convictions. Patrick Pogan, 23, was arraigned on two felony and three misdemeanor charges in state Supreme Court. He was released without bail and told to return to court February 4. Pogan is accused of knocking Christopher Long off his bicycle without justification on June 25 during a bike ride organised by a group that promotes alternative transportation. The incident was recorded by an onlooker and that the video posted on YouTube showed "Pogan singling out Long and purposely body-checking Long off the bike."

Second Life is getting ready to debut on the big screen. Pirates of the Caribbean helmsman Gore Verbinski has reportedly acquired the rights to make a film about a Second Life obsessive who "cheats" on his wife. Sadville: The Movie! will be based on a zeitgeist-surfing trend yarn from The Wall Street Journal in 2007, Variety reports. As Variety puts it: "The article by Alexandra Alter focuses on a married man who spends as many as 20 hours a day on a computer, existing through an avatar who is a thriving, musclebound entrepreneur. In reality, he is a diabetic, chain-smoking 53-year-old."

Sony has joined the war against clamshells. Had we known that eliminating those frustrating, potentially dangerous hard clamshell packages would simply take a nudge, we would've picketed for action years ago. Shortly after Amazon took and stand and announced its own initiative to cut back on wasteful, hard-to-open packaging, Sony has confirmed earlier reports that it will indeed be working towards something better. On a recent post to the outfit's blog, the company noted that it should "have a new alternative to announce soon." No need to reinvent the wheel, Sony -- the hard work has already been done.

Google has introduced virtual cities into Google Earth. The Google Earth Blog estimates that the new New York City (captured here with Google Earth Pro) has seen an update with hundreds, if not thousands of new buildings. Sure, this is just one city, but it's a sign of where Google Earth can go. Scratch that, it's a sign of where Google Earth is going. Really, really, really neat stuff (that will be a gloriously mundane commonplace in a few more years).

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.