Friday, December 31, 2004

Crestline 6T-280 pocket transistor radios

Crestline 6T-280 pocket transistor radios

Things of beauty.

Deckled edges, true letterpress...

Identity Card Concept Project : Courtesy Blood Card : True Identity

Loving Mr Coates' business card with handwriting, and vaguely wondering how I'd represent myself...

Found this - a bloodsample trust business card.

One hitch... HIV.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Long Tail

The Long Tail

This will become a must-read in the near future.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Ingenuity in adversity

Well, have made it through Christmas. I might write more about it later, but there's a lot I don't feel like writing about at the moment.

So, instead, a few words about the most extraordinary documentary I've just seen - Miracle on the River Kwai - about the makeshift hospital camps set up by the POWs building the infamous jungle railway.

It was remarkble in that one of the old soldiers they interviewed was a talented draughtsman, and had sketched scenes. They bought home the experience much harder, for being an eyewitness record.

But... the thing that amazed me and made it such a fantstic document was the improvised medical procedures the interns (what a telling double meaning that is...) came up with. They realised that blood plasma from prisoners contained antibodies - so seperated plasma from samples using a centrifuge made from discarded bottles and a bicycle to drive the spin.

They made a vitamin replacement drink by fermenting rice, banana and spit.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Easy Does It

Easy Does It

An insightful investigation of work/time and motion, and the need for accessible tech in the home. Gendered technology is always an interesting subject...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Your most popular photos on Flickr, sorted by the number of favorites

Your most popular photos on Flickr, sorted by the number of favorites

270 people like the photo of my girlfriend in a bikini

But more people have marked my gay cake as a favourite.


Beware the IAs of March

PML (Psychogeographical Markup Language)

A brand of XML designed for describing psychogeography and psychogeographical occurrences.

An objective description language, for subjective events.


Monday, December 20, 2004 | Media | 'We have the best brand in the world' | Media | 'We have the best brand in the world'


I'm not sure if this is journalistic or managemental overenthusiasm.

My boss'sboss'sboss does seem to be inappropriately visionary at times. He's going to land us all in hot water one day...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Mystery Parcel

The Mystery Parcel
The Mystery Parcel,
originally uploaded by MildlyDiverting.

My mother posted me some cheese.



"Not long ago, many data communicators thought that dial-up modem manufacturers had pushed transmission speeds to the limit with the introduction of 2400 bit
per second (bps) modems. Recently, however, several manufacturers have
creatively combined relatively mature techniques of data transmission with newer
technology and have introduced 9600 bps modems."

Aww, how sweet.

Just for Mr Dolan

Take this as a warning, Tom...

See Igor, it moves...

I've had a morning written by Mary Shelley.

As part of my ongoing - and slightly halfhearted - attempts to sort out my wrist problems, I've been to the hospital. Now, the wrist problems are some kind of RSI - but that's such a blanket vague term, it's very hard to know what exactly the problem is, particularly as my symptoms come and go according to their own fell schedule.

The latest thinking - after finally having a GP who took me seriously enough to refer me to a speciallist - is that my posture has become stooped due to the excessive ammounts of time I spend sitting in front of computers. Specifically, I push my chin forward, which means my neck bends at the wrong point. This means that my cervical spine is slowly beginning to fuse - an arthritic condition called Spondylosis. The stiffness this causes means that the big nerves are being pressed where they exit from my spincal cord - and that's what makes my arms, wrists and hands hurt. Phew. So, strictly, I have PRULD - Posture related upper limb disorder.

Anyway, to make damn sure that the pressure in my neck was the problem, and not some pinching or nerve damage further down, the speciallist sent me to another speciallist for an EMG. That's Electromyography to us laymen - or electric-muscle-drawing if you translate the doctorese.

Having finally found the right bit of St georges hospital - which is insanely huge, I add - I finally got ushered in to a tiny little room, and electrodes were taped to my arm.

The doctor then used a taser to give me electric shocks. And when he'd done with that, he stuck needles deep into my muscles, put elecrified lasoos around my fingers, and made me tense my muscles around the needles. And then he ran current through the electrified lasoos. Which made my arms twitch, further moving the needles that were well embedded in my flesh.

It was the most horrible, sick-to-your-stomach thing I've ever had done. Much worse than having my back cut open. And my arm still hurts an hour and a half later.


And it turns out that the tests proved the problem is in my neck, as suspected.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Joel on Software - Fire And Motion

Joel on Software - Fire And Motion

Getting going is the hardest step.

Just not Working

I'm loving Rodcorp's ongoing series about the working habits of highly effective people. Much better than any pat self improvement book. The entry from Paul H the lawyer amused me though, most notably for the gender bias it displays, and the classic joke about there never being enough cubibles in ladies loos, anywhere. I can only assume from the figures that the ladies are almost at three-to-a-stall, with no standing at the urinal option. Or at least, not without practice.

(Oh, dang. has gone, to be replaced by a page advertising... well, go anywhere pee tubes. Shame)

I love the whole territorial concept of each male lawyer scent-marking his territory. Pissing contests are literally played out in that company, with the Alphamale's delicate position when threatened by the young, strong challengers neatly encapsulated by the luxurious but adapted disable cubicle...

I claim to be neither effective nor creative - but my work habits are definately dispersed and up to the wire. I spend the maximum time possible researching and thinking, then produce work in 'first draft' - almost never going back to edit or reorder. It's a slightly zen way of doing things - maximum preperation, then empty mind and definite execution. Weirdly, I seem to have inherited this approach from my mother, who is also a ruthless deadline queen. Rumour has it she was still hemming her wedding dress in the taxi on the way to the registry office.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


originally uploaded by kukheart.


Jigsaws are the New Black

There was much discussion last night of the joys of codgeryness at the work christmas party last night. The party, frankly, was rubbish, but we think it may have been more to do with the fact that it was the fifth party for some of us, and the novelty has worn thin.

But codgeryness is lovely. We find it manifesting in our lives in strange ways; getting annoyed because Radio 4 is knocked off the air by the local pirate station is one of the more entertaining signs we've identified.

There's a lovely example of codgeryness being the new cool on Emma Kennedy's blog - the joy of eating crisps and playing trivial pursuit.

But I now have my own version.


Lord, they're the most magnificent form of entertainment imaginable.

Manger scene with cotton balls

Manger scene with cotton balls
Manger scene with cotton balls,
originally uploaded by _Ingrid_.
This Flickr Photo nearly made me cry.

That's a really odd thing to say. It's not a particularly special picture, but there's a reason.

Every christmas, my Great Aunt used to put a manger scene in her front window in Canterbury. The dolls she used were homemade, and obviously old - something about the way their faces were drawn on just screamed 1920s. There were always the three wise men, the shepherds, the whole mullarkey. All were decorated with amazing scraps of material, probably leftovers from my Great Grandmother's fancy dress business.

The tableau would be arranged in front of a large piece of dark blue silk, with fairylights hung over all to make it look like stars. The whole thing had a slightly tatty but old-fashioned charm.

I always took it for granted until one day I was on my way to a pub with an art college tutor, and a bunch of friends. The tutor stopped dead in front of Auntie Muriel's window, looked at the dolls, and said 'I love this house. I always feel like it's properly christmas when they put up their nativity. It's such a wonderful thing.'

I felt so proud when I could say - 'Yes, it's my Great Aunt's house'.

That's why I'm sad. I don't think it'll be there this year, as her son and daughter probably don't have the heart for it.

Laurence, if you read this, and you both decide you don't want to do the nativity any more... it's the one thing that I'd really appreciate inheriting. But only if it's time for it to go.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

London Underground Map

Heritage: Exploring Underground London

Yet more on the lazy blogmeme of the underground map.

But this one... well, it's got rivers, roman highstreets, sewers and Eisenhowers HQ marked on it.


Would you like me to make the connection for you?

By the magic of technorati, I've discovered the owner of an admirable collection of facial hair discussing my old post about London Telephone Exchanges. He was wondering what the link between SMS and the exchange mnemonics was, and rather than post the most enormous comment on his blog, I've moved it here. Oh, Blogger, do kindly impliment trackback....

The link (between exchanges and SMS) is the labelling of buttons on phonedials with letters, and the use of a numberpad for alphabetic input. I've always wondered why, despite the fact that British phones are lettered, we've never adopted the American practice of using 'words' as phonenumbers for advertising. 0800-there's-no-q-or-o-on-the-old-style-dials, maybe?

Actually, I'm hacked off about STOnegrove because I live in PUTney. If I had a number on the Putney exchange, I'd be telling everyone that my number was Putney 30## with utter glee (and a sort of forced, clipped RP accent), because part of me wants to live in the 1940s.

(Actually, I suppose it's possible I live in GIBbon, but I don't give a monkeys for that exchange name, it's just not stylish enough)

I do remember Telegrams, and that strange thing they became... what was it called? Ah, Telemessages:

Did you know that you can now send an MMS, and for something like 5 quid have it delivered as a printed postcard, by post? Technology is finaly bringing itself back to the tangible...

Ooh! It turns out the exchange is Gibbon because the Decline and fall of the blah blah blah chap was born in putney. Well, I never.

Edward Gibbon and his amazing comedy testicles

Edward Gibbon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OMG. Edward Gibbon had testicles the size of watermelons.

Blimey, I do love facts.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

A national monumnet demolished.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Obituary: Fred Dibnah

Only just found out about this, due to fortuitous turning off of reality-show pap in time to watch some proper telly.

I'm rather sad, as one of my favourite things in recent months has been lying abed'o'saturday watching old Fred Dibnah shows on UK History.

What a star the man was. Buy, you know you're getting to be middle aged when your idea of top telly is a man talking about canals and traction engines.

All the good people are karking it at the moment.

Friday, December 03, 2004

ofoe romeo: Softer wins

foe romeo: Softer wins

Foe's musings about 'soft wins' and games to be played in the living room (uh, that'll be parlour games, then, will it, kim?) has prodded my brain into remembering my killer red-button etv app.

It's based around the idea of strugggling for control of the remote. You have a number of players - the game is unimportant, maybe a simple quiz, or a timed challenge - but to 'win' a round you have to be the person who makes the fastest lunge for the remote control on the coffee table.

It's a lovely way of enducing good natured mayhem, as family members become increacingly devious about hiding the remote, inching closer, faking moves etc etc.

Headshift :: smarter, simpler, social

Headshift :: smarter, simpler, social

"Distributed CPU cycles are worthless unless you're SETI or Pixar. Distributed brain cycles... now that's a much more intriguing proposition."

Nice. Soing a lot of thinking about distributed metadata efforts today. And this is a lovely way of looking at the problem... sorry, the solution.

It's far better to have a million reasoning minds working on a problem unknowingly, than a million unknowing minds working reasonably.