Thoughts of a geek

30 July 2009

Juvenile humour

Filed under: Computers, Humourous, Lists — Tags: , , , , — qwandor @ 9:32 pm

It turns out that if you take the title of a book and append the phrase “in your pants”, the resulting title is often more amusing than the original. Here I present you some examples:

About the Size of it: The Common Sense Approach to Measuring Things in Your Pants
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Your Pants
All About Worship: Insights & Perspectives on Worship in Your Pants
Being Human in Your Pants
Calculus: A New Horizon in Your Pants
Computer Networking: A Top-down Approach Featuring the Internet in Your Pants
Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface in Your Pants
Coping with Controversy in Your Pants
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer in Your Pants
Dick Smith’s Fun Way into Electronics in Your Pants
God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God in Your Pants?
The Snow in Your Pants

For some automated humour, I have just written a little script that will transform the titles of your books most recently added to LibraryThing in similar manner. Take a look at what it does for my books, or try it on your or your friend’s collection.

Oh, and on the topic of pants, if you have not read Star Wars pants quotes, perhaps you will be amused to do so. I cannot find the original site that I remember from years ago, but they are still funny. The premise is to take a line from Star Wars and replace one word with the word ‘pants’, thus improving the line.

Well, it is said that small things amuse small minds.

29 May 2009


Filed under: Computers, Humourous — Tags: , , , — qwandor @ 7:32 pm

I have been told that I should tell you all to talk to Bob. Bob is a chatterbot I wrote about three and a half years ago, which learns from what people say to it. Everything it says is based on something it has heard in the past; there is no knowledge of any particular language built into it.

Unfortunately the problem with putting such a thing on the web — or indeed most anywhere on the Internet — is that people tend to type garbage into it most of the time, and so it ends up spouting the same garbage. I have just now cleared its database though, so it should hopefully be relatively sensical for at least a few weeks until it gets overwhelmed with nonsense again. It can even be quite funny at times.

If you are curious, after chatting to it for a while you might want to see Bob chat to itself or see the contents of its ‘brain’.

7 February 2009

Quote website

Filed under: Computers, Humourous — Tags: , , , — qwandor @ 12:33 pm

I have over the last couple of months been working on a new website for people to post funny quotes from their groups of friends.

The idea is this: People often like to keep a quotebook for their flat, office, lab, club or other group of friends with funny things people have said, especially quoted out of context. Another approach is writing them up on a whiteboard. The problem with this is that such quotebooks get lost after a while (and whiteboards get erased), losing a part of the group’s history. Also a physical quotebook is only in one place at once, so you cannot show people these funny quotes unless you have it with you.

My website fills this purpose. There are already some websites for funny quotes from IRC &c. (e.g. QDB), but they all seem to lack a social dimension: you can look at funny things people have said, but they are not people you know. A lot of the humour of the sort of quotebook mentioned above comes from knowing the people who said the quotes.

Anyway, I have started making this website (using Ruby on Rails if you are interested in the technical side). You can see what it looks like so far at, as I have not decided on a proper domain name yet. You can login, create ‘contexts’ for the groups that you are part of (maybe I should just call these groups), and then add quotes to them. You can look up quotes by context or by person. There is an Atom feed for each person, each context, and for all quotes on the site, so you can subscribe to quotes in your favourite feed reader (personally I like Google Reader) or integrate them into other websites.

I am considering some sort of integration with other sites like Twitter and Facebook, though I am not yet sure what form this will take. Suggestions are welcome. I am also planning to let people comment on each quote, so the person quoted can explain what they really meant, or people can laugh at them or whatever.

So, I would like a few things from you, dear readers (assuming I have any readers):

  • Ideas for a domain name. All the ones I have thought of so far (,, are already taken, unfortunately. Can you think of something good that is not already taken? I would like to decide on a domain name fairly soon so that not too many people have to change from the current temporary name to the new one.
  • Comments about the site as it currently exists, what you like, what you do not (and why), what could be improved (and how and why). Try it out and see how it works for you.
  • Bug reports: does it break, or behave unexpectedly? If so, please let me know, with as much detail as possible so that I can fix it.
  • Feature requests: what else should I add? How could it be improved?
  • Use it! Create an account, create a context for your flat or office or friends or whatever, add quotes, tell your friends about it.

Please note that at this stage I have not done much at all about the graphic design of the site; a friend of mine is hopefully going to have a look at that soon (though if you would also like to help, please do get in touch).

Please post a comment on this blog post (the original on my blog please, not the copy on Facebook if you are reading it there) with your ideas and suggestions, or email me if you prefer.

6 February 2009

Sing sing sing

Filed under: Computers, Humourous — Tags: , , , , — qwandor @ 12:28 am

I recently discovered that Festival (the text-to-speech software) has a mode for singing. After listening to some of the examples, I decided that the appropriate thing to do would be to get it to sing “Still Alive”, a song written by Jonathan Coulton as the theme song for a video game called Portal. I have not in fact played Portal (I am not a gamer), but I think the song is cool and it works quite well with a synthesised voice.

Anyway, I present to you the results of painstakingly entering the song from the sheet music: Festival singing “Still Alive” (or, if you prefer, the Ogg Vorbis version).

If you are interested in playing around with it, take a look at the XML file I entered to tell Festival how to sing it.

3 February 2009


Filed under: Computers, Electronics, Humourous — Tags: , , , , — qwandor @ 10:05 am

From an article in the ACM TechNews, talking about silicon photonics for optical interconnects:

Sun engineer Ashok Krishnamoorthy says his company prefers to not have the light source on the chip, or even in the data center, because cooling is a problem.

Er, what? Taking the company name a bit too literally, perhaps… d-:

6 January 2008

A tree

Filed under: Humourous, Me — Tags: , , — qwandor @ 1:02 pm

This morning, at around 9:50 am, I was walking from the fruit and vegetable market to church (as I do almost every Sunday), when a woman came up to me with a small tree in a green plastic pot with gold-coloured foil around it.
“Would you like a free tree?” she asked.
I replied that I did not really have anywhere to put it, but she gave it to me anyway, putting it into the bag in which I was carrying 3 carrots and 6 eggs which I had just bought. She said something about going away somewhere, it being a bonzai of some sort, and that she was sure that I would take good care of it, then returned to her car and drove off, leaving me with the tree. I continued my walk to church, with one bag rather more full than it had been. A few minutes later, I removed the foil.

3 July 2007

Fourier’s Song

Filed under: Humourous, Maths — qwandor @ 5:41 pm

This is brilliant: Fourier’s Song

Integrate your function times a complex exponential
It’s really not so hard you can do it with your pencil

It can be a little hard to make out what he is singing, so I suggest reading the words as you listen to the song.

23 May 2007

Microsoft remote control car

Filed under: Electronics, Humourous, Interface, University — qwandor @ 10:48 am

Last week, one of VUW’s resident Microsofties (a ‘Microsoft student partner’) spoke at Interface‘s weekly meeting. At the end of the presentation, he gave away a few freebies. I got a rather cool (apart from the Microsoft branding) mini remote-control car. Ironically, when I got home, put batteries into it and tried it, it did not work — the steering worked fine, but it would not go forwards or backwards.

Fortunately, unlike Microsoft’s software products, it did not have a restrictive license agreement to prevent me from fixing it, so I took it apart and got it working.

29 January 2006

Which NetHack monster are you?

Filed under: Computers, Humourous — qwandor @ 2:07 pm

If I were a NetHack monster, I would be a tengu. I’m always in the right place at the right time, and am quick to avoid people that I’d rather not be with.

Which NetHack Monster Are You?

28 January 2006

Dry ice and airplane toilets

Filed under: Humourous — qwandor @ 9:23 pm

I was recently googling for dry ice (because I want to build a cloud chamber; more on that later, perhaps), and came across this funny story about dry ice and an airplane toilet.

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