(Not Just) Firefox’s “Pile of Poo” Easter Egg: 💩

For a reason best known to the Unicode consortium, there is now the symbol U+1F4A9 “Pile of Poo”: 💩. If you happen to create a web page with this delightful character in the title, Firefox does something special:

Yep, that’s a smiley face poo, a bit like Mr Hankey. Oh dear.

Actually, it seems it might be an OS X Emoji thing, because Safari renders it in the title like that, and in the text as (enlarged to show texture):

iOS has it covered too:

Blackberry’s browser just shows a small black square. Android, rather sensibly, shows an empty square. It must be an Apple thing.

“Thanks” go to tchrist‘s comment in unicode – Why does modern Perl avoid UTF-8 by default? for alerting me to this character, and letting us know about the Symbola font that supports it. Yeah, cheers Tom …

fauxlomo

Portpatrick, with the Gimp faux lomo effect
Portpatrick, taken with a Fujifilm MX-1200 pretending to be a lomo

For probably no better reason beyond babbittry, I’ve always half-wanted a lomo. Half-wanted, that is, because of my previous experience with “Russian” photo gear (I’ve had a Lomo TLR, a Fed rangefinder, and a Pentacon six) and its legendary quality control. I’m also so done with film.
A while back, Donncha wrote about a  GIMP Lomo Plugin. While it looked handy, the link to the code is now dead. You can find what I think is the same one here: http://flelay.free.fr/pool/lomo2.scm (or a local copy here if that link dies: lomo2.scm). Just pop it in your .gimp-2.2/scripts/ directory, and it’ll appear as a filter. The original author‘s comment on Donncha’s blog contains good settings: Vignetting softness=1, Contrast=30, Saturation=30, Double Vignetting=TRUE.

I knew there was a reason I retrieved my old 1.3 megapixel Fujifilm MX-1200 from my parents’ house. And that reason is fauxlomo!

nostalgia for something that never existed

The Verbatim FlashDisc seems to be a solution without a problem to solve.

verbatim flashdisc

It’s a cheap ($4) but very tiny (16MB) USB memory key in the vague form of some kind of magnetic media. There are problems:

  • $0.25/MB may seem cheap, but it would mean that a 1GB key at this price was $256
  • It neatly blocks most of the USB ports on a machine
  • Just what kind of media is it supposed to be? It looks closest to an old spool of mag-tape, but folks buying this wouldn’t remember that.

deadfish

We lost one of the platies last night. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it; its eyes and scales were still bright, but it was definitely dead. The water’s clean, and has very low nitrite and ammonia levels.

Poor wee fish.

bike work

There is something very pleasing about working on one’s bike of an evening, racing against the fading light. I stripped the ancient bar tape of the tourer, and started on refurbishing the brakes. I think that 1987 was the year that cantilevers got good, and since I have a 1986 Super Galaxy, the old Shimano BR-AT50s were pretty poor. New Alivios don’t quite have the finish of the old units, but they’ll work, meaning I’ll be able to stop without a full city block’s notice.

the end of poverty in your coffee cup?

I’m not sure what to make of EWB‘s current campaign, which features a future newspaper headline G8 Leaders Declare End of Extreme Poverty. It links to playyourpart.ca, which seems to say that we can end world poverty just by buying fair-trade goods?

I know there’s a lot wrong with the coffee industry (Free Trade Coffee: You Grind The Beans, We Grind The Peasants! Enjoy the smooth trickle-down flavour, etc) but it’s a simplistic argument. What can the extremely poor sell to us?

I don’t know what to think.

kotthu roti night in Canada!

Yeah! Amma is back open after the fire. Had my first kotthu roti in months, and it’s as great as it ever was. The place was jumping, and the Sri Lankan bachelors (reluctant) were looking forward to their first square meal this year.

Poondy Bread is back, too, so the neighbourhood smells just like it used to; bread and curry, mixed in with occasional candy (from the Cadbury plant) and biscuits (merci, Peak Freans).

don’t mess with my childhood

Why is the Canadian release of The Magic Roundabout called Doogal? Surely everyone knows he’s Dougal (unless you know him as the francophone Pollux)? Sheesh.

It’ll suck. Since there’s no Eric Thompson, and no mention of sugar cubes for recreational purposes, it’ll be v.poor.

Deep Thoughts from the St Louis HIExpress

From the wireless internet instructions at the St Louis Holiday Inn Express at S. Jefferson & Lafayette:

Do I need to pay for it?
No you do not have to pay anything. It is Free. Poo Management is offering it for free for all the guests for all hotels.

It would seem that Poo Management, Inc., is a hotel franchise holder in St Louis. No, really.

Goodbye, Star Wars Tree

burnt-out mini mall, Kennedy & Eglinton
The mini-mall burned last night. Looks like the centre of the fire was the gift shop in the middle of the block. The rest of the block is pretty badly damaged, though. It looks like the place will have to be rebuilt — or replaced with a condo block, which seems to be the fate of shops in Scarborough.

I hope that noone was hurt.

So, goodbye Yoga’s, with your selection of teas and Sri Lankan groceries. Goodbye Star Milk, the mom, pop and smiley baby store with your VLT in back and dodgy videos over the drinks cooler. Goodbye Poondy Bread, purveyors of that which has paneity. Goodbye Amma, ace Sri Lankan takeout food shop, the place where I developed a taste for really spicy food.

But most of all, goodbye to the gift shop. Even though I never went in there, I’ll miss the sun-yellowed unsold toys in the window; the almost-Transformers and plastic racing cars.

One toy, unsold through two summers, perplexed me most. It was a cardboard tube wrapped in tinsel. Cardboard tags with pictures of Star Wars characters were attached to it with those nylon annoyances you get on new clothes. It resembled more a christmas decoration than a space weapon, which I think it was supposed to be. We called it the Star Wars Tree, and I’m guessing it wasn’t officially licensed from Lucasfilm.

It’s all gone now, washed away by the fire hoses.

Some edition required

Wikipedia’s article on the Nuclear thermal rocket currently contains:

This problem was largely solved by the end of the program, and related work at Argonne National Laboratory looked like it could produce a lot of poo.

Can’t argue with that …