Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics 2012: "The Fans Will See Something Different"

First, the good news.

Someone convinced the North Korean football (soccer here in America) team to come back.

Now the bad news.

Somehow, a North Koran athlete's picture - with a South Korean flag - showed up on a one of those King-Kong-size screens at the football venue. Then the North Korean team walked out.

Can't blame them, in the Lemming's opinion. North and South Korea haven't been on particularly good terms for several decades: and North Korea's leadership has earned a reputation for being sensitive about insufficiently loyal subjects.

Even in a less tense situation, getting the flag wrong wouldn't win friends. Think about it: would a Canadian hockey player appreciate it, if the Olympic stadium megascreen showed his picture - with the United States stars and bars?

Not that Canada and the United States have the sort of relationship that North and South Korea have. Happily: the Lemming lives close to the Canadian border. It's just a couple hundred miles north.

Opening Ceremony - With 1/7 of the World Watching

"London Olympics final countdown begins"
(July 27, 2012 )

"The opening ceremony of the London Olympics is due to take place later after seven years of preparations.

"The three-hour spectacle in the Olympic Stadium is expected to be viewed by a global TV audience of a billion people.

"The final day of the torch relay will see the Olympic flame taken along the Thames on royal rowbarge Gloriana - and then used to light the cauldron that will shine during 16 days of sport.

"The Games will see the biggest UK peacetime security operation mounted.

"Organisers have released a video clip giving a sneak preview of Oscar winner Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, featuring groups in colourful stage outfits dancing to Tiger Feet by 1970s rock group Mud and cyclists with wings pedalling along to Come Together by the Beatles...."

From today to August 12, the Lemming is confident that there will be no shortage of 2012 Olympics news. The get-together's official website is, by the way.

By the time you see this post, the opening ceremonies will probably have started: and the Lemming will almost certainly be sleeping. It's a matter of time zones. There's an ocean and about a third of a continent between the Lemming and London: and the Lemming needs sleep.

Oops: North Korean Athletes, South Korean Flag

"South Korean flag flies above North Korean football team at London Olympics" (July 26, 2012)

"GREAT Britain is known as the home of football so it should have been the last place on earth where a gaffe disgraced an Olympic Games....

"...Yet a diplomatic blunder - in which a North Korea player was introduced on the giant screen accompanied by a picture of the South Korean flag - sent the London Games into damage control just 48 hours before the official Opening Ceremony.

"The flag faux pas occurred as North Korea prepared to play Colombia at Glasgow's Hampden Park and it prompted the team to refuse to take the field, delaying the start of the game by more than an hour....

"...With FIFA introducing pre-match procedures to avoid match day disasters 24 hours before kick off, its appointed technical committee in Glasgow seemingly put its trust in Hampden Park's venue manager, Andy Mitchell.

"Ironically Mitchell - a former Scottish Football Association communications director - told The Scotsman on Wednesday 'the fans will see something different' before yesterday's embarrassing flag incident...."

Surely Mitchell didn't have the flag switch in mind when he said "something different."

Again, from

"...A FIFA source last night confirmed big screen graphics and stadium public address systems are in the hands of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) during the Olympic football tournament...."

Then, in their apology, LOCOG called the country "North Korea." That's what folks in the English-speaking world call the Korean Democratic People's Republic. "North Korea" is shorter: but it's not the correct, formal, name of the country in English. On top of the flag foul-up, that error required another apology.

Eventually, LOCOG seems to have apologized without causing a new incident, and the Olympics got going again.

Maybe the flag fuss seems like a lot of protest over a small offense. Maybe not. The Lemming thinks it would have been nice of LOCOG, or whoever was running the show, had paid more attention to details. Like which flag goes with which country.

Related posts:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Alarm Clocks, the Early Days: 'At the Sound of the Clunk...'

"Alarm Clocks"
Trevor Mendham

"In this digital age we barely give a second thought to alarm clocks - almost everything we buy seems to beep or buzz at us at some time or other. Some have taken to vibrating or even talking! However in the age of mechanical horology an alarm mechanism was far less common.


"Early Examples

"The history of the alarm clock is a tribute to human ingenuity. People have developed alll[!] sorts of wonderful ideas for causing a signal to occur a a particular time. One of the earliest examples was in ancient Greece....

"...A simple candle clock could also be turned into an alarm clock by inserting a nail or other item into the wax at a particular point. When the candle burnt down that far, the nail fell onto a metal pan below with a clunk."

The Lemming found that 'history of the alarm clock' on Trevor Mendham's Horology Stuff website. Mr. Mendham's online creation grew pretty much the same way the Lemming's have:

"Horology is the science of time measurement, especially the manufacture of clocks, watches and chronometers of all sorts. That's the stuff you'll find on this site, along with wider discussions about theories of time in both science and fiction.

"I've loved clocks and watches since I was a kid and I'm also fascinated by the nature of time itself. Since I also love learning and writing ...."
(Home page, Horology Stuff)

Heavy sleepers, like the Lemming, may have inspired the development of something more effective than a nail going 'clunk' as a day-starter.

Interestingly, the Lemming has not found any reference to the obvious expedient of having the heavy sleeper arrange for a light sleeper - preferably one with anger-management issues - rest near the nail-in-candle alarm clock.

Of course, Mr. Mendham seems more interested in clock tech that's actually been used: not the hypothetical ramblings of a fervid Lemming.

Horology Stuff is a pretty good resource for clock-related information: with a nice, conversational writing style. In the Lemming's opinion. Your experience may vary. There's even a short section about famous clocks, and The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers (Tempus Rerum Imperator, and all that).

The website is, the Lemming hopes, a work-in-progress. Mr. Mendham seems to have been working on it since 2005. Since it's the work of one person, it takes time to 'grow' a website like Horology Stuff. Also since it's the work of one person, the Lemming thinks you'll hear the author's voice, sort of, in the text.

Almost-related posts:

Lemming Tracks, or, the Lemming Did it Again

Oops. It's Friday already. The Lemming's done it again. There's a post in progress. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five Tips for Blog Design: and a Tardy Lemming

"Blog Design: 5 Tips To Make You Look Like A Pro"
danielcassady, on Dragon Blogger (July 8, 2012)

"Anyone can start a blog. I mean that. You don't even need to have a fancy laptop or an internet connection. All you need is an idea, and it doesn't even have to be a good one....

"...But what many new bloggers don't realize is how important it is for you blog to look good, to be easy to read and navigate.

"What I'm talking about, after all this time, is design.

"We've all been to websites or blogs that we thought we're going be worthwhile but turned out to be a mess of dark blues and neon yellows, blogs that we would have loved to read but couldn't because the content was overtaken by images and sound effects.

"I don't want you to make those mistakes, and with these 5 simple tips I am going to help you avoid them...."

The guest post on Dragon Blogger could have been shorter, but so could many of the Lemming's posts. It's a fast read, though, and a pretty good refresher on blog design.

Someone starting out should, in the Lemming's opinion, read what danielcassady has to say: and read other 'how-2' posts and articles. The basic ideas in "5 Tips" are good, sound advice: the details are, again in the Lemming's opinion: a matter of opinion.

For example, Dragon Blogger has a 'banner' ad above the post: but "5 Tips" says ads should be kept in the sidebar. This isn't 'poor design,' and danielcassady has a valid point: make posts easy to find on the page, " that your readers can focus on what they came to you for, the content." The banner ad wide, but short: and Dragon Blogger posts have a largish, bold, titles. That sort of 'over the post' advertising doesn't get in the way of readers.

Of course, that's the Lemming's opinion.

Here are the five points: each comes with a few sentences.

  • Who Are You Talking To
  • The Box Exists For A Reason
  • The Curious World Of Images
  • The Details Are The Key
  • Ads
This isn't the ultimate guide to good blog design: but it's a pretty good post.

Finally, about "and a Tardy Lemming" in the title: This post is about four hours late. A couple hours ago the Lemming realized that this isn't Thursday. It's been like that all week.

Sort-of-related posts:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Internet Access Ends Monday: For DNSChanger-Infected Computers

"Malware may knock thousands off Internet on Monday"
Associated Press, via (July 5, 2012)

"The warnings about the Internet problem have been splashed across Facebook and Google. Internet service providers have sent notices, and the FBI set up a special website.

"But tens of thousands of Americans may still lose their Internet service Monday unless they do a quick check of their computers for malware that could have taken over their machines more than a year ago...."

Not everyone is online as much as the Lemming: or wants to be. Since it's possible that you didn't hear about DNSChanger, and why it's a serious problem, the Lemming assembled this link list:The Lemming also offered free advice, which may be worth every cent:
  • No foreign ruler wants you to transfer his wealth through your bank account
  • The inheritance from a rich relative you don't know about
    • Doesn't exist
      • Neither does the rich relative
  • "Free" usually isn't
  • You won't make millions by stuffing envelopes
  • If you wouldn't do it in your neighborhood, don't do it online
    • Cyberspace is real, too
    (June 8, 2012)
Bear in mind that the Lemming's not an online security 'expert.' Do your own research: and use your brain.

Alerts, Infections, and Maybe 64,000 Computers in America

"...Despite repeated alerts, the number of computers that probably are infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in April. Of those still infected, the FBI believes that about 64,000 are in the United States.

"Users whose computers are still infected Monday will lose their ability to go online, and they will have to call their service providers for help deleting the malware and reconnecting to the Internet...."
(Associated Press)

Going from 360,000 to 277,000 infected computers, globally, meant getting the attention of computer users - for almost one of every four DNSChanger-infested units. That's not doing too badly, in the Lemming's opinion. Folks who use computers and go online aren't necessarily tech-savvy enough to know why good security is a good idea.

As it is, it looks like 64,000 folks in the Lemming's home country will be in for a surprise. You probably don't want to be one of them, which is why the Lemming re-posted that link list.

The resources set up in America are fairly easy to read, simple to use: and yes, the Lemming checked. The household computers here are clean. As far as the Lemming can tell.

DNSChanger: What Happened

"...The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers late last year, agents realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service...."
(Associated Press)

There's more in yesterday's article: and even more in last month's Apathetic Lemming of the North post on the DNSChanger malware situation.

Related posts:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Unique, innovative candles

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Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

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Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
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