If you feel stressed out, Nivea comes to the rescue with this great new product. I can see it being a huge hit. Good on the Germans for their innovation. (Photographed by Snjezana BobiÄ and first published on her Facebook.)
Posts tagged ‘humour’
Last year, it was quite humorous looking back on 2011 and what appeared on my Tumblr. And since my decade summary in December 2009 was a bit of a hit for some of you, I thought it might be worth a review of the year. In case you thought you missed out on much from the other blog, don’t fret.
My friend Rachel Russell arrives in London. She writes, âWalking around London last night was like being in one of those â80s âdystopian futureâ science-fiction movies. Similar to a zombie apocalypse.â
Lucire blacks out its cover image for SOPA. I say it was like the time Bill Nighy ran headline-only pages in State of Play (the original one, not the Russell Crowe remake). It would affect free speech and the economy, I argued, and urged Americans to act.
I fly to see Players in India, the remake of the remake of The Italian Job. Itâs terrible. Wellington features as itself, but it also doubles unconvincingly for Sydney in some parts.
The Indian PM has bad news for the economy: GDP growth is forecast to be only 7 per cent this year.
Hustle finishes. Itâs the end of an era for silly, one-hour, self-contained, escapist British series. Bring out the Persuaders DVDs. Or Jason King.
Katy Perry used to be a good Brand.
The British can now read headlines such as âFreddie Starr ate my hamsterâ on Sundays now as Rupert Murdoch essentially retitles The News of the World.
Pinterest is buggy. Then it gets redesigned and it looks worse.
Charlie Brooker asks on 10 OâClock Live: âDo you think [Angelina Jolie]âs annoyed that Joseph Kony has abducted more African children than she has?â
Some netizens post a picture of Carl Weathers as George Dillon from Predator; others think thatâs Joseph Kony.
Westpac dĂ©buts advertising which reads, âMind on your money, money on your mind?â but Snoop Dogg does not shift his accounts there.
Skyfall buzz begins on my blog.
The Top Gear boys work on The Sweeney remake and I canât watch the chase scene without thinking, âTurn off the traction controlâ in a Borat accent.
The Avengers dĂ©buts at cinemas but Scarlett Johansson is an unconvincing Emma Peel.
Mitt Romney promises âA better Amerciaâ.
Uh oh: The G. C. This brings back Sir Robert Muldoonâs quotation, âNew Zealanders who emigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries.â
Fortunately, Bron or Broen, depending on which side the Ăresund bridge you hail from, becomes my TV viewing for this month.
My bad pun day, in response to a friend watching One Direction and Justin Bieber: âThey seem like nice Bros. Iâm not NâSync with these 5ive New Kids on the Block but Iâll have to Take That as it comes. Never was in to that sort of music when I was younger, being from the East, 17. Part of the West life, I guess. It would be nice if we saw some Backstreet Boys, but they wonât be among the Wanted for viewers.â
As pressure mounts in the Falklands, Sean Lock says in 8 out of 10 Cats, âThe Falklands: it takes 14 hours to get there and itâs just a rock covered in seagull shit.â
The Murdoch Press allegedly writes, âhighlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.â Why one should use the Oxford comma.
This lady is pregnant. Or not.
Sue Chetwin of Consumer New Zealand is quoted as saying, âItâs marketing 101â[Vodafone New Zealand] seem to breach the rules quite regularly and youâd have to hope that these significant fines are a signal to them that they canât continue to do that.â How interesting that I would cite this a few months later.
Campbell Live runs Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca BĂ¶hmâs recordings between her and pageant director Val Lott. Former winners rejoice.
I Tweet, âThere is a rumour that the Olympic closing ceremony will feature âYakety Saxâ and a Benny Hill lookalike to chase the torch off-stage.â
Vogue Italiaâs legendary Anna Piaggi passes away.
The Julian Assange case reaches high gear. Michael Moore and Oliver Stone write in The New York Times, âIf Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr. Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws. The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not.â
My friend John Butler writes, âTen years from now, no cyclists will bother showing up at the Tour de France. It will just be a bunch of lawyers gathering in an air-conditioned building for three weeks seeing who has the most money to blow filing lawsuits and discovery motions and subpĆnas.â
Samsung loses to Apple in a California court after a jury rushes to its decision.
J-Lou means Jenna Louise Coleman and her surprise dĂ©but in Doctor Who.
The Sweeney hits cinemas and Britain goes nostalgic.
USA Today launches its redesign.
The return of Alarm fĂŒr Cobra 11 on German TV screens.
Lucire changes its 404 page to help with locating missing persons.
Facebook is accused of revealing private messages when in fact most were wall-to-wall ones that everyone had forgotten about.
Some folks are calling Skyfall âthe best Bond everâ. I donât agree.
Ford Mustang fans have a convention in Wellington.
At Miss Africa Wellington, I say, âUnlike another pageant, the judgesâ decision is final.â
The Rt Hon John Key defends his Hollywood studio tour by saying, âThereâll always be conspiracy theorists out there but Iâm interested in jobs, not people who live in Fantasyland and want to make things up.â
Hong Kong comes to a head over its identity versus the mainlanders who are coming to the city.
I mock up a Jack Reacher promotional image:
Itâs really hard to turn on âDo Not Trackâ in Google Chrome (and it does nothing anyway).
President Barack Obama re-elected for his second term.
First publicity photo of Sarah Munn as Miss New Zealand at World Miss University 2012. Sarah would wind up winning the YouTube vote, but organizers give the prize to the eighth-placed contestant.
There are no Ford Falcons on sale at Capital City Fordâit really looks like Ford is trying to kill its longest-running passenger car line.
Summer Rayne Oakesâs Extinction now available to the public to view on Vimeo.
Kate loves Willy, nek minnit, pregnant.
TV viewers get upset when the Newtown, Conn. shooting cut in to Ellen.
I realize software crashes can happen to anyone at any time, even Microsoft Windows president Steve Sinofsky, when demonstrating the new Microsoft Surface tablets in front of an audience in Los Angeles.
However, it does remind me of the year where Internet Explorer 9 would not work on any of our computers. The question must be asked: if one of Microsoft’s own bosses can’t get Internet Explorer to work, what hope do the rest of us have?
Here’s a quick post for Easter, from my friend Wayne Thompson of Australian Type Foundry. If you want decent typographic puns, you need a typeface designerânot some of those groan-worthy ones that get circulated by those outside the industry.
Here’s a quickie for tonight. Rather than rewrite it, as it has appeared on my Tumblr, here’s a brief summary.
YouTube loves Tanya Roberts. No matter what you search for, it will often give you a result about Tanya Roberts and her husband dying. It has been giving us this result for weeks.
But YouTube doesn’t want to hear your complaints about it loving Tanya Roberts. No matter how short your message, it says it’s too long for the complaints’ box, which has a limit of 8,192 characters. I guess the YouTube people are currently quite happy: ‘Wow, no one has been complaining about our perfect service lately!’
Since YouTube is owned by Google, I really should have expected more bugs, and, possibly, some more privacy infringements.
To think, if I actually followed the advice of the Microsoft expert, I would still have a non-functioning Internet Explorer 9 that displayed blank pages. Rule no. 1: when it comes to computing, never follow the advice of a self-righteous expert. An everyday user who found out things the hard way, sure. An expert who has kept an open mind and wants to dig with you, you can probably trust. But an out-of-the-box certiﬁed expert who believes in the superiority of a product as though it were a cult, probably not. No more than you should believe members of cults.
IE9 has never worked on the ﬁrst installation of any computer I own. But, earlier this week, it worked on my Vista laptop, after blank screens since March 2011. This was curious to me, since the blank screen problem is fairly common on the ânet, just that Microsoft refuses to acknowledge its existence. If the standard replies do not work, the solution is to format your hard drive.
That already shed doubt on the Microsoft “expert” advice I had, beyond the arguments I made in my last blog post. Obviously, for Vista, Microsoft knew there was a problem and ﬁxed it between March 2011 and February 2012. It only took them 11 months.
As a failing IE9 also takes out Microsoft Gadgets and McAfee Internet Security, by showing blank screens on those, too, it’s a pretty serious matter.
Microsoft’s “expert” had told me that my use (or any use?) of System Restore was ‘injudicious’, when with hindsight it appears to have been the most sensible thing I could have done, given that IE9 also took out Firefox on ﬁrst installation on this machine. This so-called standard installation had had effects far beyond the norm, and had I removed only IE9 the “proper” way, there was no guarantee that Firefox would have returned to normal.
Yesterday, I ventured on to my laptop to see if McAfee would run. Sure enough, it displayed. But also interestingly, it displayed in Arial Narrowâa font family I know we did not have.
Microsoft had included Arial Narrow in one of its updates and that was the one key to allowing IE9 to function.
People who know me, and have heard my speeches, know that the ﬁrst thing I do, after installing updates and anti-virus, is see to the ugly default fonts. We have numerous licences for Helvetica, and since Arial was designed to supplant a superior design, we install Helvetica. We remove the font substitute line in the Windows registry. And we delete Arial.
This has been the practice for years, certainly since Windows XP, and we ensure every Mac we use remains Arial-free, too.
It has never presented a problem at any level.
Windows 7 doesn’t like Arial being deleted, but I programmed in the usual font substitutes, took out ‘Helvetica=Arial’ (in typographic terms, this is like saying ‘Grace Kelly=Katie Price’) and ensured the four main Arial fonts could not be found by the system on start-up.
Of course, every program in the world works with these settings. Except IE9 and anything that uses IE9 to render its pages.
I still doggedly refuse to have Arial on any of our computers because of its poor design. This would be like having Prince William marry Britney Spears and ensuring her future position as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are just some things that aren’t done.
So we found a version of Helvetica, one that had been superseded that was not being used on any machine, and renamed it. We saved each of the four variants as an OTF, an OpenType, PostScript-ﬂavoured font. And it worked.
Here’s the great irony. IE9 is still one of the worst browsers typographically, even worse than Opera 11. Even though Windows Vista and 7 support PostScript, TrueType and OpenType fonts natively, IE9 doesn’t show anything but TTFs in its font menus (left). Short of linking your own fontsâand it messes up there as wellâthe only ones that will ever display are the TTFs you have installed. On the actual pages, a lot of fonts that you know are installed on your machine won’t show in IE9. If you bought licences, too bad.
Therefore, Arial is actually not needed by IE9: it just likes knowing it’s there, as a security blanket.
I think this illogical state of affairs shows how poor the product remains. Those who are less typographically inclined might not care, and look at things like speed (frankly, I see little differenceâand if anything, it seems slower than Firefox), but since every other program on the planet works quite happily without Arial, my opinion is that Microsoft messed up. IE9 noticeably slows down Photoshop and a few other programs, which begs the question: beyond making sure your Microsoft Gadgets and McAfee work, why bother?
Fellow computer users: don’t format your hard drive. Only a quitter would do that.
On a related note, Steve Matteson’s Liberation Sans (above) shows how it should be done. Steve was faced with the same briefâmake a sans serif with the same metrics as Helveticaâand designed something quite beautiful that came as an Ubuntu 10 default. It’s very well hinted, too. You can download it here.
After I got back from India, my desktop computer went into meltdown. This was Nigel Dunn’s old machine, which I took over after he went to Australia, and it gave me excellent service for over two years.
I wasn’t prepared to go and buy a brand-new machine, but having made the plunge, I’m glad I did. The installation went rather well and the only major problem was Wubi and Ubuntu, which, sadly, did not do what was promised. The installer failed, the boot sequence either revealed Linux code or a deep purple screen, and the time I spent downloading a few programs to sample was wasted (not to mention the two hours of trying to get Ubuntu to work). Shame: on principle, I really wanted to like it.
Funnily enough, everything on the Microsoft end went quite well apart from Internet Explorer 9 (the same error I reported last year), which then seemed to have taken out Firefox 9 with the same error (solved by changing the compatibility mode to Windows XP). Eudora 7.1 had some funny changes and would not load this morning without ﬁddling with the shortcut, Windows 7 forgot to show me the hidden ﬁles despite my changing the setting thrice, and there were some other tiny issues not worth mentioning. But, I am operating in 64-bit land with a lot of RAM, DDR5s on the graphics’ card, and more computing power than I could have imagined when, in 1984, my father brought home a Commodore 64, disk drive, printer and monitor, having paid around NZ$100 more than I did on Tuesday.
I could have gone out and bought the computer last week, after the old machine died. But there’s the whole thing about New Year. The focus was family time, preparing food and pigging out for New Year’s Eve (January 22 this time around), and New Year’s Day is deﬁnitely not one for popping out and spending money.
Which brings me to my next thought about how immigrant communities always keep traditions alive. You do have to wonder whether it’s still as big a deal “back home”: I was in Hong Kong brieﬂy en route back to Wellington, and you didn’t really feel New Year in the air. There was the odd decoration here and there, but not what you’d imagine.
It’s the Big Fat Greek Wedding syndrome: when the ﬁlm was shown in Greece, many Greeks found it insulting, portraying their culture as behind the times and anachronistic, while they had moved on back in the old country. The reality was a lot more European, the complainants noted.
And you see the same thing with the Chinese community. People who would never have given a toss about the traditions in the old country suddenly making them out to be sacrosanct in the new one. Maybe it’s motivated by a desire to transmit a sense of self to the next generation: in a multicultural society, you would hope that youngsters have the chance to pick and choose from the best traditions from both their heritage and their new nation, and carry them forward.
A retro note: I love Fontographer 3.5. So I put it on a virtual machine running XP. Fun times, courtesy of Conrad Johnston, who told me about Oracle VM Virtual Box.
I also found a great viewer, XnView, to replace the very ancient ACDSee 3.1 that I had been using as a de facto ﬁle manager. (Subsequent versions were bloatware; XnView is freeware and does nearly the same thing.) I’ve ticked almost all the boxes when it comes to software.
Because of the thoroughly modern set-up, I haven’t been able to put in a 3Âœ-inch ﬂoppy as threatened on Twitter. Fontographer was transferred on to a USB stick, though I have yet to play with it properly inside the virtual machine. Both the Windows 7 and virtual machines are, in typical fashion, Arial-free.
Although I have seen VMs before, I am still getting a buzz out of the computer-within-a-computer phenomenon.
To those who expected me to Tweet doom and gloom from my computing experience last night, I’m sorry I disappointed you. My posts about technology, whether written on this blog or on Twitter, are not to do with some belief in a computing industry conspiracy, as someone thought. The reason: to show that even this oh-so-logical profession is as human as the next. Never, ever feel daunted because of someone’s profession: we are all human, and we are all fallible. Sometimes I like reminding all of us of that: in fact, the more self-righteous the mob, the more I seem to enjoy bringing them down to a more realistic level, where the rest of us live. We’re all a lot more equal in intellect than some would like to think, and that assessment goes right to the top of the political world.
As some of you know, I have been using Tumblr since 2007, and when Vox died (at least for me) in 2009, I began using Tumblr more. It was good to record brief thoughts of little consequence, but as I hunted through the archive for 2011, I realized it was quite a good way to see what little thoughts crept up during the year.
I had blogged less on Tumblr in the last few weeks, just out of sheer busy-ness, and because Facebookâs Timeline has been quite a compelling way to get instant gratiﬁcation from posts from people I know. But Tumblr has its uses.
In the spirit of my âHistory of the Decade’ series, here are the unimportantâand some very importantâthings that piqued my interest during 2011.
Why is Tony Jordanâs name missing from these episodes of Hustle?
We put JY&A Consulting on to the jya.co domain.
Zen is awesome, even if the male cast largely speaks with English accents and the female cast speaks with Italian and French ones.
John Barry dies. My favourite composer. RIP.
The Christchurch earthquake and stories of tragedy and heroism.
The fall and fall of Charlie Sheen, and if recasting Two and a Half Men, put Martin Sheen in it and set it in 2040.
Mad Dogs begins.
Firefox 3 crashes a lot.
Kelly Adams is off the market, boys.
Mad Dogs ﬁnishes.
The Americans make William & Kate with Los Angeles and Hollywood standing in for Buckingham Palace, London, Klosters, St Andrewâs and other locations.
I go on telly to dis the copyright amendments in a new bill, which has been spurred on by Hollywood lobbyists. Farewell the presumption of innocence and due process.
Elisabeth Sladen dies.
Everyone talking about Pippa Middletonâs rear end.
Australians unite against a billboard company that takes down an ad featuring a gay couple. The CEO responds within the day, which is a contrast to how Wellington Airport conducted itself over public outcry over âWelly-woodâ Part II.
MSG is evil.
A redhead wins Miss USA.
People go on to Google Plus to talk about Google Plus.
The Murdoch Press phone-hacking scandal.
UN: internet is a human right.
I think the movie The Avengers is about John Steed and Emma Peel.
The Unscripted exhibition and I get photographed with Jekyll himself, James Nesbitt. Oh, and the Mayor.
Nigerian con-men send me a 419 scamâin hard copy.
Old School, New School exhibition has Joe Churchward and Mark Geardâs typeface designs.
Russians remake Life on Mars.
More ânek minnitâ.
Gaddaﬁ owned a Toyota (just like bin Laden).
Mongrels is back.
Ricky Gervais will be back for the Golden Globes.
The Sweeney will be back.
My roses are blooming.
Facebook Timeline gets rolled out to the public, so they make it worse.
Britney Spears gets engaged: remember that time she married George Costanza off Seinfeld ?
Out of the businesses I have, one is unincorporated, and it has a US dollar bank account based in New Zealand. Over the years, it’s been at numerous banks, and was at the ANZ.
Until the ANZ began charging a deposit fee for foreign cheques. It seems that the ANZ does not understand the basic principle that a deposit is a loan by the customer to the bank. I would only accept such a fee if, when borrowing money from the bank, I can charge it a Jack Yan Is Good Looking and Humble fee, but, alas, the bank said it would not accept such a term, nor such an outrageously false name.
So the account went over to the TSB, still my preferred bank by some margin, but it would have to be a term depositâthat was the rule back in 2006. However, I was advised that it could be turned into a call account, which sounded closer to what I had at the ANZ, but without the ridiculous deposit fee. That would work for meâplus I needed an account where I could deposit US dollars and not be a two-time loser on the exchange rate when depositing and withdrawing money because of using a Kiwi account as an intermediary.
Unfortunately, the rules have changed. TSB will only open a new account for foreign currency for legal persons, and an unincorporated business is not a legal person. That’s fair enough, though it doesn’t help me. HSBC, for whom TSB acts agent, is in the same boat after I enquired there today about its market currency account. However, I should note that, unlike many other businesses, I had a competent person on the phone who could answer all my questions with only a total of one minute on hold.
So, what are the alternatives? After visiting several banks, I don’t believe I have any answer.
Kiwibank, a division of Johnny Foreigner Bank (2013) Ltd., did not know. The teller believed that I might be able to, but it was done over the phone, not in person. She was unsure how I could deposit cheques over the phone. I couldn’t ﬁnd the slot on my phone where I could insert a cheque.
The National Bank, a division of ANZ, still charges a deposit fee. I was shocked to learn that the fee has increased to NZ$15. I was pretty sure it was NZ$5 when I left the ANZ group. Stuff that. Enough horsing around.
The BNZ, a subsidiary of yet another Australian bank, was unable to advise me whether I could open an account without my making an appointment.
I have yet to try Westpac, where Lucire Ltd. has its account here, but Lucida turns me off. I may have to check them out next, but I would really prefer a New Zealand-owned bank. As I write this, I realize there’s also the Auckland Savings Bank, also owned offshore, but they may be able to accommodate me (goodness, a decade of Goldstein and it’s still not in my consideration set?). Might have to be a trip into Bay Road tomorrow.
Where does John Key keep his $50 million? Maybe that’s where I should put these funds.