Thursday, March 04, 2010


interesting discussion with david evans just now about
how you learn a reflex

started with me saying how hard I find it to make a pot of coffee correctly
until I've had a coffee

he then said how the physio people at addenbrooks had made much of the fact
that it is so hard to figure out how you "learn a reflex"

this bootstrapping problem is made all the weirder
when you ask people about "simple" things like
learning to ride a bike
learning to do vibrato on violin/guitar
learning to programme
add your experience here...

there's the skills/technique thing which is incremental and easy to see
then there's some transformative/phase shift somehow (dodgy bogo-science metaphor there) in the brain - would be wonderful to do functional MRI on someone
learning to stop falling off a bike
and see if this is so!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

almost steampunk come true - making broken ipod useful via antiques

so i have an old ipod nano which has a broken stereo out head socket and
thought about throwing it away

but then i realize i also have a device in my car which is one of the 21st centuries most awesome hacks - it is so baroque as to be worthy of a song or something out of some
bruce sterling/william gibson/neal stephenson 10 page eulogy or even a threnody

which is to say i have one of those gizmos for 10 quid which
plugs into a cigarette lighter to charge, and then has an FM transmitter
and then you dock your pod-u-like into it
using the awesomely apple-uber-scart-like moron designed docking socket thing
and lo, your ipod tunes arrive on your car speakers
via your FM car radio
and electronics replenish the power in the i-pod
via the gadget for setting fire to cancer-stick

how weird is that?

turning broken ipods into useful sources of soothing sounds
by means of multiple obsolete tech!!!!

what's not to like?

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home