Ripping Yarns...
Thrilling adventures at the frontiers of pop culture

"The very finest selections from Mr Berners-Lee's Electric Interweb, hand picked and presented for the more discerning browser."


Complaints and compliments to Stuart Houghton


Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Great, shiver-inducing Neil Gaiman short story, turned into a comic by Jouni Koponen.

"But we'll think of something. Humans are smart. It's what makes us superior to the animals and the babies."

Posted by: Stuart / 2:16 pm ::link to this entry

US Army to deploy eBugle

A serious lack of trained buglers (and a surfeit of dead or dying ex-servicemen, all of whom are entitled to burial with honours) has forced the US Army into a radical rethink of its bugling strategy.

"It is a bugle discreetly fitted with a battery-operated conical insert that plays the 24 notes of taps at the flick of a switch," explained the New York Times. "It is all digital, with no human talent or breath required. All you do is hold it up, turn it on, and try to look like a bugler."

Now, if only he could get these guy's know-how onto the Electronic Voting Machine project then George Bush would be set.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:11 am ::link to this entry

Monday, September 29, 2003

Elmo Pelt Coat

Artist Kelly Heaton has made a fur coat from the pelts of 64 Tickle Me Elmo's.

Posted by: Stuart / 5:04 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, September 26, 2003

The Nokia Medallion - 'tis a fine line twixt clever and stupid

The Nokia Medallion is an odd bit of concept jewellry-cum-lifestyle accessory-cum-silly idea. You fill it with up to eight JPGs that you beam across from your compatible cameraphone, and it dangles around your neck and displays them. 'One touch reveals a timepiece' apparently - that's great, but they don't explain whether it comes with an intricate system of mirrors to enable you to tell the time while it is attached to the 'daring choker' under your chin.

Posted by: Stuart / 11:32 am ::link to this entry

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Shoot David Blaine (flash)

Little Blaine-killing Flash game which actually gets better after you kill the King of Poker Faced Hokum.

Posted by: Stuart / 2:59 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Human Shields face prison

For travelling to Iraq Faith Fippinger will now probably lose her house, her pension and go to jail.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:27 pm ::link to this entry

Explaining Blaine-baiting to confused Americans

Fundamentally, simply, basically, finally he's just hated because he's a twat. It's just that in America, many more twats get famous...

Posted by: Stuart / 4:23 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, September 19, 2003

Gamepark 32 - mmm, nice

My lovely, lovely friends brought me one of these back from New York. It is a Korean Gameboy Advance competitor with a fairly average selection of native games. What makes it fantastic is that they have decided on an open architecture and positively enocuraged people to write stuff for it. There are loads of emulators and ports of classic games around for it - right now I have it running Doom (it runs Doom faster than the first PC I had that could run Doom could run Doom :-) a French clone of Resident Evil, the magnificent Drunken Frogger, and emulators of the GameBoy Color and Commodore 64. You can even write the classic 10 PRINT "DIXONS ARE SHIT" 20 GOTO 10 in Commodore BASIC :)

Posted by: Stuart / 11:33 am ::link to this entry

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Routefinder Map: Hobbiton, The Shire -> Cracks of Doom, Mordor

Tee hee.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:02 pm ::link to this entry

Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - suggests books based on preferences

I asked it to suggest books which matched these criteria:
Extremely Disturbing
Midway Funny or Serious
Very Unusual
Extremely Unpredictable

and it came up with this lot which actually seems about right. If there hadn't been at least one Steve Aylett in the list I would have been suspicious.

Searching for 'Extremely disgusting' suggests two Poppy Z Brite books (check!) and, for some reason, the Audio book of Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Why the Audio version should be more disgusting that the print version is a mystery - perhaps the voice actor had a really bad cold or something.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:28 pm ::link to this entry

Soulseek News

I just thought it was quite cool/interesting that the Soulseek-ers are using a free Blogger page as their always-up noticeboard for system status reports, etc.

One of the things i love about the Net is the way people bend all the free stuff in useful and interesting shapes.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:20 am ::link to this entry

Monday, September 15, 2003

Full of RSS Goodness
Using the nifty RSS Feed->Javascript genrator here I have fiddled around with the site template and the sidebar on the right should now contain a list of the current reviews on ASCII Monkey.

Isn't RSS wonderful?

Posted by: Stuart / 5:43 pm ::link to this entry

BBC pundit reckons we should dump SMTP

Another virus, another shrieking overreaction about how badly designed email is - and still, mysteriously, no mention whatsoever of Microsoft.

Bill Thompson reckons we should dump the SMTP protocol because it is inherently insecure and thus helps to spread viruses.

Funny, I have had precisely zero email viruses at home or at work, despite relying on SMTP to shift my emails around. Could this be anything to do with the fact that at home I run Linux (using Mutt to read my emails) and at work I use Lotus Notes under Windows 2000?


Outlook is the weak link here, not SMTP. Why does nobody ever mention this? If you saw any of the Sobig.F virus outbreak coverage on TV news then you would assume that it was capable of infecting any and all email clients and operating systems - but that just isn't the case.


Posted by: Stuart / 2:13 pm ::link to this entry

US Attorney General heckled via Star Wars OST

Ashcroft was bombarded by cries of "Shame!" and the sound of the "Imperial Death March" from the movie "Star Wars" as he entered a meeting with law enforcement officials in Faneuil Hall.

Superb! Hopefully the protestors plan to repeat this at all future public appearances. If they keep it up long enough then they might be able to get him to break into a sweat at the merest hint of the "Der der der, dun-deh-DER, dun-deh-DER!" music.

Posted by: Stuart / 11:14 am ::link to this entry

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Future Sarcastic

(via Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow)
Greg Brotherton is a sculptor who recycles retro-futuristic vaccuum cleaners and other industrial detritus into breathtakingly cool, highly polished rayguns and robots.

I call this look
"future sarcastic," and it's just about my favorite aesthetic. It says: "Well, it's the twenty-first century, where the fuck is my jetpack?"

Posted by: Stuart / 6:34 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, September 12, 2003

Isophone - mobile-ish phone meets flotation tank
The Isophone - Jakob Nielsen's horrified expression, not pictured
The Isophone is a cross between a flotation tank and a telephone," said James Auger, who came up with the Isophone, together with his colleague, Jimmy Loizeau.

"The helmet is basically the telephone device. That fits over the user's head, and then it's attached to three floats that can be adjusted to provide the perfect floating position."

The idea is that the sensory deprivation allows you to concentrate solely on the phone call. It looks just a little bit mental - although it does allow the BBC to make an hilarious gag about 'floating in a sea of ideas'. Your licence fee at work.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:26 pm ::link to this entry

Elk in Eritrea

My mate Gavin has gone to be an IT teacher in Eritrea for two years. He is planning to blog the experience.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:23 pm ::link to this entry

Johnny Cash is dead, alas

Johnny Cash has died, aged 71. I think I'll go and put on American IV. :-(

Posted by: Stuart / 11:40 am ::link to this entry

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Book review mini-blog

I have created a book review thing: Softly Softly ASCII Monkey.

I dunno how often I will actually update it, but I will give it a go.

There is an RSS feed for the site here .

Posted by: Stuart / 3:04 pm ::link to this entry

PC Tape Deck!!!

I know a lot of people who would like one of these. The Plusdeck is a cassette teape deck for your PC that looks as if it fits into a standard drive bay and lets you transfer music from cassette to MP3!

The website is heavy on the Engrish, and there are no prices listed, but come on - you know you want one!

Posted by: Stuart / 1:50 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Bass! How low can you go?

Well, for once it isn't the wax that the Terminator X spun.

Astronomers have detected the deepest note ever generated in the cosmos, a B-flat flying through space like a ripple on an invisible pond. No human will actually hear the note, because it is 57 octaves below the keys in the middle of a piano.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:15 pm ::link to this entry

Point Break - the play!

"WARNING: It is mandatory that YOU watch POINT BREAK: THE MOVIE as much as possible before attending POINT BREAK: THE PLAY. This will greatly improve your experience."

Posted by: Stuart / 2:33 am ::link to this entry

Tuesday, September 09, 2003


I so want to read this - Heavens War is a comic featuring an evil plot to reshape reality by naughty old Aleister Crowley. Only The Inklings (JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, et al) stand in his way!

Best. Plot. Ever.

Posted by: Stuart / 10:33 pm ::link to this entry

Switch to Linux

Great parody of the Apple 'Switch' ad campaign (flash)

Posted by: Stuart / 8:33 pm ::link to this entry

Roadside satire

(from the ever wonderful Making Light)

I particularly love 'Dulce et Decorum est pro Halliburton Mori' , a phrase that really ought to be scrawled over every available flat surface until further notice.
(look here if Wilfred Owen-impaired)

Posted by: Stuart / 6:02 pm ::link to this entry

Monday, September 08, 2003

Andy Warhol Interviewed re: Amiga 1000

File under 'eh?' : In 1986, Amiga World magazine interviewed Andy Warhol about the then 'future of computer graphics'. As wholly random cultural artifacts go, this is a corker.

Posted by: Stuart / 1:36 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read

by China MiƩville, author of Perdido Street Station, The Scar and King Rat.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:23 pm ::link to this entry

What threat to the Bush Administration are you?

morally deficient
Threat rating: Medium. Your total lack of decent
family values makes you dangerous, but we can
count on some right wing nutter blowing you up
if you become too high profile.

What threat to the Bush administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by: Stuart / 12:51 pm ::link to this entry

Origami lenses for tiny cameras

Tiny lenses made of piezoelectric ceramic material which change shape (and optical properties) when a current is applied look set to give phone/PDA cameras a much needed boost.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:19 pm ::link to this entry

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Web Counter by

Subscribe with Bloglines