Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Prop Making Tips Reminder

Thanks for dropping by.

I just want to remind visitors that all the prop making posts can now be found on the DecoWorks Pty Ltd website.

The aim is to have all the props and decor posts on the DecoWorks website and the whimsical and capricious items on the Zen site.

You may also like to visit the Sydney Art Deco Heritage website. I have recently transferred all the Art Deco Sydney (plus some New Zealand and other countries) architectual posts to this site.

Enjoy :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Automated Comment Spam

Bad robot
A big problem with a blogs is the huge amount of time wasted dealing with automated comment spam. Their primary purpose is link building for better search engine optimisation and also for generating traffic to generally irrelevant commercial websites. The comment spam content is usually vague and general in nature having little relevance to the posts targeted.

Recently the comment spam content has been socially engineered in the hope of increasing the chance of the comment being approved and published in a blog. Much of this type of comment flatters the bloggers writing style or depth of knowledge on *the subject*. It is the bloggers ego that is targetted in these instances.

Controlling comment spam
The blunt solution for controlling comment spam could be to simply remove the comment option on every post in the blog. Voila! No more spam. While this definitely solves the problem the down side is you sacrifice any reader interaction with the post.

Some posts seem to receive far more spam than others. This happens due to the comment spam robots ability to store open post links when they are discovered and share them with other people using the same software. It is like a mailing list for the spam software. When a post gets identified in this this way I simply remove its comment option. This fixes the problem immediately. After a period of time the spam robot recognises that that post is no longer open and deletes that link from its database.

The Wizard of Id

The Wizard of Id was first created in 1964 as a result of the collaboration of writer Johnny Hart and artist Brant Parker. In the early 60's Hart was already successful with his creation of BC. The pair first met in 1950 when Parker was asked to judge a high school art contest. One of the entrants work so impressed him he organised a meeting. The entrants name was Johnny Hart.

Wizard of Id humour
The Wizard of Id is set in the mythical kingdom of Id ruled by "the King", a dwarfish monarch with a dry and, at times, black secnse of humour. As well as the Kings subjects (Idiots) there are several other major characters including Rodney the inept knight, the wizard and his domineering wife, Bung the court jester who is constanting drunk and the Spook, a destitute prisoner who is locked in his cell with only the Turnkey for company. There are several other players which are described in detail in Wikipedia.

The King and the Wizard have a great relationship and a very dry sense of humour. The Wizard of Id is one of my favourite comic strips and I found the one below very amusing and thought I'd share it.

The wizard of id Herald Weekend Edition

The Wizard of Id was named best humour strip by the National Cartoonists Society in 1971.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Duck Tron

Tron original
The original TRON movie was an exciting voyage into a virtual word where anything was possible so seeing the title paired with the word "duck" piqued my curiosity.

I don't know why but there is something inherently funny about a duck or anything relating to them. I discovered this video ad for duct tape which, if you are familiar with the original TRON, is a witty send up of the classic motorcycle sequence in the movie.

The original TRON

The movie was originally released in 1982 by Walt Disney Pictures and was directed by Steven Lisberger. It starred Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn in the lead role with Bruce Boxleitner in a dual role of program/user Tron.

The movie tells the story of Flynn as he attempts to hack into a major corporations mainframe to prove that they had stolen his work. He gets transported into a virtual digital world as a unique program/User. Here he teams up with Tron, one of his creations, to defeat the Master Control Program, who has been controlling the virtual world.

Many props from the original film were used in TRON Legacy. You need a sharp eye and be very familiar with the original film to recognise these props in the film.

Duck Tron from Ryactive on Vimeo.

TRON:Legacy was a recently released sequel to the original film.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spirit Rover Lost

Mars Spirit rover
The now lost Spirit rover mission, initially planned to last 90 days, landed on Mars in January 2004 and sent data back to Earth for more than six years.

However, with two damaged drive wheels and getting stuck in the sand in May 2009 and with its solar panels facing away from the sun, the Spirit rover did not have sufficient power to operate its internal heaters and didn't survive the bitter Martian winter where temperatures dropped to minus 67 degrees Farenheit.

No contact from Spirit rover

Last communication with the Mars Spirit rover was March 22nd, 2010. Despite efforts to regain communication over the past several months NASA officials have decided it is a lost cause and will be *closing the book* on the mission this week.

The Spirit rover twin, Opportunity, is still functioning on the other side of the planet and has travelled over 18 miles since its arrival in 2004 and is on its way to Endeavour Crater.

More information about the Mars Spirit rover and other rover missions can be found here.