Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Extract From 'The Beach' by Alex Garland

[Richard talking to Francoise]
"Do you want me to tell you something funny?"
"What about?"
"Infinity. But it isn't that complicated. I mean, you don't need a degree in-"
Francoise waved a hand in the air, tracing a red pattern with the tip of her cigarette.
"Is that a yes?" I whispered.
"Okay." I coughed quietly. "If you accept that the universe is infinite, then that means there's an infinite amount of chances for things to happen, right?"
She nodded and sucked on the red coal floating by her fingertips.
"Well, if there's an infinite amount of chances for something to happen, then eventually it will happen - no matter how small the likelihood."
"That means somewhere in space there's another planet that, by an incredible series of coincidences, developed exactly the same way as ours. Right down to the smallest detail."
"Is there?"
"Definitely. And there's another which is exactly the same, except that palm tree over there is two feet to the right. And there's another where the tree is two feet to the left. In fact, there're infinite planets with infinite variations on that tree alone..."
Silence. I wondered if she was asleep. "So how about that?" I prompted.
"Interesting," she whispered. "In these planets, everything that can happen will happen."
"Then in one planet, maybe I am a movie star."
"There's no maybe about it. You live in Beverly Hills and swept last year's Oscars."
"That's good."
"Yeah, but don't forget, somewhere else your film was a flop."
"It bombed. The critics turned on you, the studio lost a fortune, and you got into booze and Valium. It was pretty ugly."
Francoise rolled on to her side and looked at me. "Tell me about some other worlds," she whispered. In the moonlight her teeth flashed silver as she smiled.
"Well," I replied. "That's a lot to tell."
Etienne stirred and turned over again.
I leaned over and kissed Francoise. She pulled away, or laughed, or shook her head, or closed her eyes and kissed me back. Etienne woke, clasping his mouth in disbelief. Etienne slept. I slept while Francoise kissed Etienne.
Light-years above our garbage bag beds and the steady rush of the surf, all these things happened.

After Francoise had shut her eyes and her breathing had eased into a sleeping rhythm, I crept off my plastic sheet and walked down the sea. I stood in the shallows, slowly sinking as the tide pulled away the sand around my feet. The lights of Koh Samui glowed on the horizon like a trace of sunset. The spread of stars stretched as far as my ceiling back home.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Code 128 Barcode Links

Code 128 is a barcode symbology. It can encode alphanumeric and special characters, and also offere the possibility of compressing sequences of numbers so that one barcode character represents two digits.

An article on the encoding system, and a good table of the 3 codes and associated barcode symbols (also has a GPLed barcode font, which I can't get to work):

Another good reference from a company that sells barcode fonts:

A Java Bean that generates barcodes (does not use a font, and is wider than necessary as a result):

Best approach I could come up with so far is to use some of the code from jbarcodebean, as well as a basic barcode font made with FontForge (bars and spaces only, width 1,2,3,4 units).

The application previously used the barcode font from, which is frustratingly free to download but not to distribute commercially, and definitely not under the GPL

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This day we dance away through our obsession
cut away the pain with surgical presision
A static flash to burn your minds eye
emotionless in doubt
now you dont ever have to feel anything anymore
Anything anymore....

As the skeleton dance, for another chance

Another day alone with our perversions
To eat away ourselves is our religion
If you get me high I'll be right where you are
Just like everybody else, aching for a better view

Here and now we'll scream for more
We can make this so much more

Kill the body and the head'll thrive along
Kill the body and the head'll lead you on
All the coward souls in this place we live
Reside me to wonder if this is really where we all belong

Skeletons dream of touch this close
Curiosity pushes the nail deeper
Fingertips dream of touch this close
Curiosity pushes the nail deeper

Here and now we'll scream for more
We can make this so much more
Kill the body and the head'll thrive along
Kill the body and the head'll lead you on

As the skeleton dance

Strung Out - Skeletondanse