Today ANZAC Day is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand, in honor of the soliders who have served in the countries’ wars. The day’s origin was as remembrance of the ANZAC corps’ ill-fated landings at Gallipoli in Turkey, on April 25, 1915.

In 1972, folk singer Eric Bogle wrote a touching song about a solider’s experience at Gallipoli, and of the madness and futility of war, called And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. The song has in turn been covered by Irish folkrock band The Pogues, from whom I first heard the tune. This is a sad and moving song which brings a tear to my eyes whenever I hear it.

But the band plays “Waltzing Matilda,”
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.

  • Eric Bogle – And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (live, with short introduction – low quality)
  • The Pogues’ version of the song (from the album ‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’)
Jon swimming to the USA

Jon swimming to the USA

Last week, in a bold (and quite foolhardy if you ask me) statement, Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner declared that if the download numbers of the new Opera 8 Web browser reach 1 million within the first four days of the launch, he will swim from Norway to the USA with only one stop-over for a cup of hot chocolate at his mother’s house in his home country, Iceland.

Today it was revealed that the one million downloads goal was indeed reached, so at the moment I guess Mr. Tetzchner is preparing for the cold swim across the Atlantic. Keep abreast of the latest news at Opera’s 1 Million Download Challenge page. Will he actually take the (literal) plunge?

Daring Fireball has a Translation From PR-Speak to English of selected portions of Adobe’s ‘FAQ’ regarding their acquisition of Macromedia, and I think it does a good job of translating corporate mumbo-jumbo to more understandable terms. Quite funny but probably also true in a sad way…

You think the current version of Acrobat Reader takes too long to launch, runs too slowly, and uses too much memory? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

[Man-Made cover art]

The new album from Scotsmen Teenage Fanclub – entitled Man-Made, is out on May 9th here in Norway, and I’m definitely buying it as soon as it hits the stores. But like the slavering fanboy I am, I’ve already gotten a ‘sneak listen’ to the album, thanks to the wonders of the internet. Here are a couple of the stand-out tracks for your listening pleasure:

  • Cells – beautiful uptempo ballad with an acoustic intro.
  • Born Under a Good Sign – 60’s psychedelia influenced rocking stomper, with a good grungy guitar jam at the end.

All in all, Man-Made is a pretty good album, although not the greatest they’ve released (that would surely take some doing). Strongly recommended for all fans, others are probably better off getting the great compilation Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds: A Shortcut to Teenage Fanclub to fully appreciate the magic of The Fannies.

Opera Software today released the Opera web browser version 8.0. I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time, since the first beta version was announced in late 2004.

Opera 8 released!

Opera 8 released!

Major improvements include:

  • Voice support using XHTML+Voice. I’m probably not going to use this feature much myself, but I’m sure there are many people who would love to play with it.
  • Support for the XmlHttpRequest object, which means that Google’s Gmail service is now (almost) fully supported. This feature has been quite important to me, and now I’m finally able to use Opera for GMail.
  • Improved standards support, including support for Scalable Vector Graphics, which is pretty cool.
  • New and improved security measures, with a special “security bar” to better detect spoofing attacks.

Full list of improvements are available in the changelog as usual.

Since I actually bought a license for Opera (7.2) in September ’03, I can use it to register the new version as well which is great news to me. And it sure seems that demand for the new version is high, since the Opera website has been down for most of the day because of all the traffic…

From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day comes definite proof that there is infact, Water On Mars! And in other news…

  • Google introduces the Google Gulp, in four great flavours:
    … through our patented real-time DNA-scanning process, Auto-Drinkā„¢, Google Gulp is actually able to “take a picture” of your genetic profile, reconfigure its molecular composition on the fly, and subtly alter your brain’s intricate mosaic of axonial patterns in order to facilitate even faster cognitive processing.
  • RFC 4041 – Requirements for Morality Sections in Routing Area Drafts:
    Young people are particularly at risk from the rising depravity in society and much of the blame can be squarely placed at the door of the Internet. If you do not feel safe on the streets at night, what do you think it is like on the Information Superhighway?
  • Apple hires DVD-Jon:
    If you can’t beat them hire them – This seems to be Apple’s new motto. The reason being, it has hired DVD Jon. The very same Jon, who’s broken into iTunes thrice giving them sleepless nights.

That’s right, it’s that time of the year again…