Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

August 28th, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • We have lost another Duntemann, in a world where there have never been many: John Philip Duntemann of Des Plaines, Illinois died this past Monday night, of cancer. He was 83. John Phil (which is how he was known in our family) was a strong and gentle man, my father's first cousin, who raised seven children and saw them earn a collection of advanced degrees like I have never seen in a single household. (Most of the Duntemanns you see online who aren't me are his children.) John was in England during the Blitz, and tells the story of how he heard an odd noise at one point while working on a piece of construction machinery, put his wrench down, looked up, and saw the guldurndest little airplane fly thirty feet over his head, to go on another mile or so and explode. It was a Nazi V-1. He didn't know that he was experiencing history; he would say he that was just doing his job. (I'd prefer not to live that kind of history!) Godspeed, John. Mission accomplished.
  • Pat Thurman K7KR sent me a link to a nice set of reviews of Chicago restaurants.
  • Also from K7KR comes word that Tom Kneitel has left us. Tom was a wickedly funny writer from the heyday of CB and build-it-yourself electronics, and I used to read his column in Electronics Illustrated before I looked at anything else. (In flipping through some old issues this morning, it sounds weirdly like a blog.) Oddly, his most famous book was a small press thing about how to listen in on other people's cordless phones, which was evidently quite a hobby in the 80s and 90s, when they were basically FM walkie-talkies. He was also the grandson of cartoonmeister Max Fleischer.
  • If you were ever asked to carry around $1000 as either dimes or quarters, which would you pick? Now you don't have to do the math. Hint: It's a…coin toss. (Thanks to Jim Strickland for the pointer.)
  • The world's longest novel is SF—and it's about mutant cicadas—or something. 12.6 million words. At least he sounds like he's having fun. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the heads-up.)
  • This face-animation technology seems awesome on the face of it (as it were) but in reading the explanation, it sure starts to sound like his-res rotoscoping to me. Hey guys, do it without a model reading the lines for you, and I'll be much more impressed.
  • I'm having hosting service problems here—have had them for some time, actually—and will probably jump to another service in coming months. I'm considering using Joomla to host Contra and my photo galleries, and create an online SF workshopping system. I'm tired of editing Contra by hand, but I'm unwilling to have its primary instance outside my control, as it would be if it lived entirely on LiveJournal or Blogger. Anybody out there have any thoughts on Joomla as a platform for this sort of thing?