Thoughts out to the Charlie crew involved in the Paris attacks.

This cartoon from David Pope, political cartoonist at the Canberra Times:


The prettiest map in the whole tweeting world

Tweet-tasticCheck out this map tracking over six billion tweets which have been sent out into the world.

Created by Mapbox’s Eric Fischer, the interactive display highlights the 6,341,973,478 geotagged tweets from the last three and a half years, and the shows where Twitter use is most concentrated in the world.

The highly detailed map can be zoomed out to encompass the entire globe or zoom right in to see where Tweets were sent from in your street.

Using open-source tools to manipulate the data, Fischer said only about nine per cent of the tweets collected are visible on the map to avoid duplicating locations.


Decoupled!Warning: this cartoon may send ripples around the electronics community… it does have the capacity to give engineers the jitters (groan). In this cartoon, Wally the Wall-wart is shocked to hear that his wife, Di Gital, feels she cannot function properly when Wally seems incapable of regulating his behaviour.  “It’s all very well when I don’t have much on,” she complains, “but as soon as I get busy, you sag and become quite unsteady!”

Ouch. Where’s Wally? Decoupled, that’s where.

Spring cleaning, and a Circus of Fire

Jeremy and the Circus of Fire

Even computers should be subjected to a good ol’ fashioned spring clean now and then – and mine just has, turning up this art + children’s novel I created about 400 years ago. Actually, it’s one in a series of five. Book one is on Amazon Kindle – looks to be either free or 77 pence – I haven’t got around yet to e-publishing the e-others in an e-reader e-format. E-yet.

It’s a reasonable read (but I’m biased, said the transistor) – fear not: Stephen King, Kathy Reichs et al – this little gem threatens not your mighty income streams.

Link to Jeremy and the Circus of Fire.

The gist (in less than 457 words, but grab a mug of tea anyway):

“Jeremy is a ten year old boy with a love for animals, which often lands him in trouble with his parents and teachers. A travelling circus comes to town, and Jeremy gets to appreciate both sides of keeping animals – what the public sees, and what can happen behind the scenes – these circus animals are under-fed, maltreated, and miserable. Each day after school he visits the animals to offer them encouragement, and a little food ‘borrowed’ from his mother’s freezer. Unknown to Jeremy, the circus people have a plan to get rid of the animals – permanently.

One day he shelters under the animal cages from a heavy rain storm, and some very unusual lightning strikes the cages. He discovers two incredible things: he can talk to some of the animals using his lightning-struck radio, and that each of the five animals in the circus can do amazing feats they couldn’t do before. For example, the tiger can change his colouring to match an object simply by placing a paw on it, and the polar bear can hypnotise people. His new friends (Charlie the baby polar bear, Ella the giraffe, Pengy the Emperor penguin, Raja the tiger, and Toot the toucan) tell him about how they were stolen from their home by the circus people. Jeremy and Annabel (his best friend) rescue the animals just as the circus is burned to the ground by the unscrupulous owners – who expect to claim a hefty insurance payout and retire for good. When the fire is investigated though, no trace of the animals is found. The circus people have one week to find the animals – or they’re in a lot of trouble!

Jeremy and Annabel are then faced with the task of finding out from where the animals originally came, and how to get them home. They discover that the animals were taken from a special kind of zoo in Canada, and then have to deal with problem after problem in reaching their goal – everything from hiding the animals from their parents, to navigating the magical ‘Colour Corridors’, to trying to do the ‘responsible’, grown-up thing with children’s resources – all while juggling schoolwork and their trying teachers. Most of all, they must overcome the underhand tactics of the circus villains, who will stop at nothing to retrieve ‘their’ animals to get the police and insurance company off their backs.

To help them, they enlist a few friends along the way – including hundreds of ducks, thousands of stick insects, and an albatross called Georgina. Everyone in the team – especially the animals with their various, newly-discovered abilities – has to draw on their skills and willpower if they are to succeed in their goal!”

Red and Green, minus the Blue

RG-minus-B-500_sThis news just in, not only has coffee, wine, milk, chocolate, cholesterol, (basically anything with a hint of fun or taste to it) been bagged at one time or another, science and the media are always looking for new downers. Presenting! Blue LED peaks. That’s right. A few weeks ago science was trumpeting the Blue LED in the Nobel Prizes, now the spotlight (blue, by the way) is on our little 430-ish nanometre friends for less pleasant reasons.

Blue LEDs are cute little blighters that put out blue light. Some folks are saying that maybe it’s a bit bright. Or not. Could be dangerous. Harmful. Deadly. Or not. Your mileage may vary. In a year or so, they’ll be saying Blue LED peaks are good for you, like I wish they’d do with coffee, wine, and chocolate.

Blue LEDs, by the way, are a key part of the Red/Green/Blue triumvirate that together can make a squawkillion (1 with 1,572 zeroes after it) colours. Very useful, in fact, for generating images on…oh, let’s see… TVs, smartphones, tablets. That sort of thing. Imagine a TV that could only make colours from red and green?

Right, I’ve made my stand for the day, and also an “R plus G minus B” cartoon for the people over at Here’s the link.

Go blue!


Black Cab – new album! Games of the XXI Olympiad

Note here, because one of my favourite groups has just released their 4th album, after about 4 years of ups, downs, and mishaps. Introducing Games of the XXI Olympiad, by Melbourne’s Black Cab. It’s O for Orsome! I recommend you buy it – no, I don’t get a commission, but I do like them enough to donate to the album’s creation via Pozible, in the process getting my name included on the CD cover as a thank-you gesture. That’s pretty nice, so thanks back to you Cab.

On ‘Games…': “This time it’s the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic games, where systematically doped up East Germans scooped the medals and Australia went home without a gold. East German shot put gold medallist Andreas Krieger was so steroid enhanced she became a he in 1997. Black Cab like a good story with both winners and losers.” (

Link to Black Cab’s site.

Link to info on Games of the XXI Olympiad.

Link to buy it.

Links to Black Cabs in London (no relation at all, but thought I’d include it for completeness)

Dishes or Cartoon?!

I like to do dishes!Dishes or Cartoon?! Cartoon wins every time. You should have *seen* the stuff baked onto those dishes; it was like it had been superglued there. Hence today’s random, escaping-dishes scratching in the form of a cartoon-ish -like thing, off a pad of random notes about the Emily and Brian the peacock comic strip on which I’m working. Please note how I didn’t finish that last sentence with a preposition.


Normal service shall resume soon, I promise.

A mangled Hamlet and a Nobel prize!

nobel!Mr. Nakamura and his buddies scored a Nobel Prize in Physics this year, for their work in creating / discovering the magical blue LED… a key component of the white LED we see everywhere today. Good effort! At least with this year’s prize you can see the thing. Last year it was awarded in honour of the twisty-invisible-particle-whats-it that whizzes around in the Hadron Collider.

So, for the folks at All LED… “Nakamura and the Temple of Blue!

p.s. apologies, dear Will Shakespeare, for I hath truly mangled some of your text in the name of electronics humour.

Sucker for a substrate

Sucker-for-a-substrateHarold the Yellow LED goes into a jewelry sale where the margins are already wafer-thin, hoping to pick up something suitable for his lady friend. However it looks as if he’s getting talked out of the nice’n’cheap silicon and into something a little more upmarket and contemporary!

Another cartoon for the folks over at sunny :-)

Filament Phil

Filament-PhilThe latest in the series for the folks over at All LED… “Filament Phil“. Everyone in the LED camp thought Filament Phil was out for the count, floored by smarter electronics, better performance, and greater stamina. However, just as with CDs and vinyl records, Filament Phil isn’t dead and buried by any stretch of the tungsten!

Ganged Pots! (yo)

Ganged pots!Even pots have, like, their hoods ‘n’stuff where they’re, like, protecting their turf. You got the reds v the blues, the Sharks and the Jets, and right there you got your Logs v your Linears.

“This what happen when you is on the wrong side of the carbon tracks, yo! WEST SIDE!”

“Bring it, home boy! Yo! Gonna pop a cap in yo!”

(about 100uF, I’d estimate from all of that trash talking).