Friday, November 16, 2007

Twitter / AEguy27

Twitter / AEguy27: "About
* Name AEguy27
* Location Costa Mesa, CA
* Web http://sportshut....
* Bio I am 21, Live in southern California, and go to the Art Institute as an Advertising major! Stats
* Following 4,783
* Followers 339
* Favorites 2
* Updates 158"

I'm not sure that they're teaching their students the right things on the Advertising Course at CalArts. an Art Institute in southern California.

Advice to Mr AEguy27: friending everyone in twitter makes you look like a cunt. Stop it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Quiet Round Here

Hello, it's quiet round here at the moment.

I'm not entirely sure why - I'm busy, yes, but also I don't feel like I have anything particularly interesting to add at the moment. Maybe that will change.

In the meantime, I leave you with a photograph of a shop window in Tooting, that featured the largest trainer I have ever seen. It's a godd 18-20 inches long.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Uni the Hedgehog!

Oh, god, laughing so much I have tears in my eyes. The *cutest* little legs.

Monday, September 03, 2007

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

I am dumbfounded by their choices of navigation of their site.

Even the list view - 'Explore the Collection Directory to view the maps by categories - starts listing things by 'What' first - so you get 'County Atlases' before any mention of a placename.

How inexplicable.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Web game provides breakthrough in predicting spread of epidemics | Science Blog

No, not the usual 'web' game I talk about. Another one.

I got a bit irritated by the article on Today (I'd link to it, but I think it was Tuesday, and the page is 404ing, and natch, their naming scheme is rubbish, see posts passim) talking about the Corrupted Blood episode in Warcraft being a viable way of studying disease vectors. This was partly because the incident they were talking about happened nearly two years ago.

It turns out there's a little write up on BBC News, with some quotes from the researcher, Professor Nina Fefferman whose article has just been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Alas, aside from being 2 years late to the party in warcraft terms, it's not a particularly original piece of thinking. Dirk Brockman and Lars Hufnagel studied a realworld/online phenomenon of tracking dollar bills to much the same effect.

Web game provides breakthrough in predicting spread of epidemics | Science Blog

Not really news, was it? I suspect it's just the sexy 'virtual worlds' tag that bought it to editors attention.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wikipedia Edit Monitoring

Threat Level - Wired Blogs

Hands up, it was me. I was one of the people who anonymously spun edits in Wikipedia from within the BBC. I wrote the Wikipedia entries for Marguerite Patten, and for Queen of Puddings, in fact. This was part of a terrible, hideous, covert, evil attempt by the BBC to skew the history of home cookery, and I was working under the direct command of the DG, Delia Smith, Keith Floyd and Fanny Craddock. Obviously. Would I lie to you?

I think I've written before about 'BBC' edits in wikipedia - partly because a friend I worked with got a roasting from the Wikipedia community for making a playful edit he probably shouldn't have done, if he'd thought about it a bit more and not been wasting an idle five minutes playing around in the office.

This is the thing. You can look at these huge lists of anonymous edits from inside a company, and not know if they were the work of one evil genius in the press department, or of a thousand bored junior office clerks who were surfing the web rather than filling in that deadly dull spreadsheet on a quiet tuesday. They'll all come from that one blanket IP address.

That second scenario is precisely where wikipedia derives its strength - from being editable by anyone, from anywhere, according to whim or expertise (well, preferably both).

It would be a loss to wikipedia if large organisations prevented their employees contributing to the project, in order to control the random enthusiasms that could backfire on their PR department.

Great Practical Jokes, no 28741

Twitter / Yoz: Wreaking revenge on a colle...

Heh. Klingon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The USPS willfully ignores a customer's questions.

Oh, I do love stock responses that *completely ignore* the question asked. Viz:

Customer (KIM PLOWRIGHT) - 07/27/2007 04:27 AM


[tracking number] - this packet is showing as having attempted delivery at 12am on July 25, 2007.

That's midnight...

Could you confirm if USPS uses Royal Mail in the UK to attempt delivery? In this case, is Midnight the time at which the package left USPS and was handed to the Royal Mail?

I have had no confirmation through my letterbox to say any delivery was attempted, and I don't know how to track this package or ring to arrange a time when I'm going to be in... and not asleep!


Response (Angelique M) - 07/27/2007 07:43 AM

Thank you for contacting us about item number, [tracking number].

We attempted to deliver your item in GREAT BRITAIN at 12:00 AM on July 25, 2007.

For further assistance regarding this item, the United States sender must call 1-800-222-1811:

Monday through Friday -- 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM Eastern Time
Saturday -- 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern Time
Sundays & Major Holidays – Closed

If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service®.



As our customer, your privacy is important to us. Please see our privacy policy at

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chore Wars :: Latest News from ChoreQuest!

Chore Wars :: Latest News from ChoreQuest!

Bugger. Jen and I were just discussing the other day that we should invent a Household Tasks MMORPG so that we could gently encourage our other halves (and ourselves, occasionally) to do more housework, chores etc.

Someone's gone and done it already. Awesomes!


Originally uploaded by smagdali
Look, here they are!

Moo Stickers

MOO | Stickers - Print stickers using your images

So, you can now buy Moo Stickers. They're great. Really. You can put your own pictures on them, or buy one of our new ReadyMade packs if you don't think your pictures are up to the job.

You'll notice I said 'Our' there.

About a month ago, I was chatting to Roo Reynolds, who said 'I keep reading your site expecting you to make the big announcement, but you never do. What's with that?'. Except he probably didn't say 'What's with that?' because he's not Californian. But, he had a point.

So, I left the BBC. In May. I now work for Moo, as a product manager. Doing nice things. Yes. I'd spent eight and a half years at the Beeb, doing all kind of things, from Cult and Doctor Who, to the project looking at the way the site needs to change to keep up with the rest of the internets. But a girl gets tired, and needs a change.

Moo is a challenge. It's a small company - we're all in one room! It's fast moving. I get to make suggestions that get acted on in hours, not years. I'm working with lovely people like Denise, Dan, Stef and Richard. It's a good change, and a challenge, and we make cute things. The project I'm working on is interesting, and brings me back closer to an old love - design.

I'm pretty happy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Facebook | AGA (Anti Gay Alliance)

The Google Cache - and indeed, the internet - has a very long memory. Once you post something to the internet, it becomes very hard to remove it. Things you post when you're 18 have a habit of sticking around until you're, say, 33. I know this, as my old posts still float around in old archives.

In particular, these three young gentlemen should be aware that any future employer will be able to Google their names for a very long time to come.

* Garren Salibian (Acton- Boxborough Regional High) (creator)
* Harout Yogurtian (Belmont High School)
* Garin Parseghian (Belmont High School)

They are the founder members and admins of the Facebook group, The Anti Gay Alliance.

Facebook | AGA (Anti Gay Alliance)

It is 'Dedicated to preserving straightness throughout the world.'

The people who have commented on the site should also be aware that their comments are now indexed and searchable, as follows:

Lee Campell (St. Cloud, MN) wrote
at 11:28pm on July 7th, 2007
those mother fucking fags wow they should all be shot. and for anybody that sickes up for them should be beatin also. goldam shit packers .and oh yeah GOD hates fags

Richard Wohlbier (Wisconsin Colleges) wrote
at 11:14pm on July 7th, 2007
For every deer that we shoot, we should shoot a fag.

Scott Campbell (Chippewa Falls High) wrote
at 3:57am on July 6th, 2007
I say all fags or fag lovers who talk shit on this group should get the fuck out and run into a middle of an intersection

The group Facebook | AGA (Anti Gay Alliance) has 32 members at 4:38pm BST on 11 July, 2007.
Those members are:

Brennan Heath
Arkansas State '09

Jordan NAve
Marshall High School '10

David Arshakyan
Watertown High School '09
Boston, MA

Paul Derderian
Rye High School '09
Westchester, NY

Matt Fitzpatrick
Lloydminster Comprehensive '08

Teddy Lucas-rowe
Sherborne School '07

Michael Hill

Mitch Larson
Eau Claire, WI

Ani Israelyan
Watertown High School '07

Richard Wohlbier
Wisconsin Colleges

Samuel Volk
Raleigh / Durham, NC

Mike Griffioen
Central Mich. '11

Scott Campbell
Chippewa Falls High '07

Oscar Derderian
Belmont High School '09

Rob Karasiewicz
Lowell High School '07

Bosah Hlwah

Matt Barber
Falmouth High School '11

Anita Tomasian

Meroujan Bagdasarian
Watertown High School '07

Lee Campell
St. Cloud, MN

Caleb Merrick
Thorold Secondary School '07

Danielle Cormier
Royal Valley High '08

Harout Yogurtian
Belmont High School '07
Boston, MA
Officer Title:
Vice President

Garren Salibian
Acton- Boxborough Regional High '09
Officer Title:

Will Truax
Acton- Boxborough Regional High '09
Boston, MA

Allen Papazian
Belmont High School '09

Greg Torosian
Belmont High School '08

Eric Grigorian
Belmont High School '10
Boston, MA

Garin Parseghian
Belmont High School '10
Officer Title:
Vice President

Chris Wood
Red Bank High School '07

Christopher Seifel
St. John's '09

Brady Lee
Chippewa Falls High '07
Wisc Stout '07
Eau Claire, WI

Garren Salibian
Acton- Boxborough Regional High '09
Officer Title:

Garin Parseghian
Belmont High School '10
Officer Title:
Vice President

That is all.

Green and Pleasant LAN

Terra Nova: Our avatars, ourselves

I love the kicker at the end of this article. Spending two years in Warcraft, and having seen the world, I've often found myself thinking 'If I could live in one of these zones, which would I choose?'. Until recently, it was Arathi Highlands; nice rolling grass, occasional pleasing rocky outcrops, good mountains. Ashzara came close, too, but I'm less of an autumn fan. These days, I'd be living in Nagrand.

I wonder, actually, what the spectrum mix of light coming from a monitor would be, when questing in one of WoW's green areas. Is it the nearest approximation of full-spectrum summer sun? Is it just hitting our pineal gland's sweet spot? Has anyone tested melanin levels of regular hardcore gamers? Could this explain the late nights we all pull, given the opportunity?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Too old for Facebook? « Scobleizer

Too old for Facebook? « Scobleizer

What goes around comes around. I was upstairs, playing Warcraft for most of today; my first good five-hour session in a long time. As I ripped through a metric buttload of Ogres, grinding my way through level 68, I was thinking about the time I've spent on the game, and how my media habits have changed over the last few years.

I've started watching television a bit more, recently; rarely live (unless it's a half eye on the sport that Ian has on), usually documentaries from the PVR, or catching up with Doctor Who. The set rarely moves from UKTV History or BBC Four, to be honest. This evening, as I tore myself away from Azeroth, I came down to find Ian watching a best of Clive James' Chat shows programme.

The line-up - admittedly, a best of, so they had a lot to choose from - but the line-up of guests was amazing. Peter Cook and Barry Humphries together. Germaine Greer and Alan Coren. David Attenborough and Howard Jacobson. Melvyn Bragg, Jonathan Miller, Joanna Lumley, Katherine Hepburn...

There used to be clever people on television, with opinions, whom you learnt from. They cling on in Radio 4, but TV is the realm of the makeover, the WAG. It makes me feel old and irrelevant, and it’s oddly unsatisfying, like a diet of takeaway food.

Which brings me to Robert Scoble's comment about the drop in blog traffic. I'm so behind on my feed reading at the moment, it's not true. I'm not (book) reading much, but I'm listening to more music and watching more TV than usual. I'm fiddling on Flickr, and a bit on facebook, but neglecting Twitter, and Jaiku.

I'm fickle, and only have so much attention to pay to things. If one thing takes my time and energy, other things must be neglected.

It amuses me that I've been in so many meetings with people going 'games and the internet will take eyeballs and time away from telly!' and now I'm hearing bloggers going 'Social Networks are taking attention away from blogs!'. Admittedly, in the case of telly their idea of attention is a bit warped; it’s been long known that those viewing figures aren’t a guarantee that anyone was actually taking in your programme’s content, just an indication that the telly was burbling in the corner of the room whilst domestic life ebbed and flowed around it.

I’m getting to a point where I feel permanently un-satiated by my media. None of the experiences seem… significant enough, in the way that watching the Late Show in the early 90s made me set the course of my life away from science and towards art. Even the excellent Andrew Marr histories felt too… shiny and slick to really be meaningful. The images are empty. My to-read pile of books is growing inexorably – thanks to Amazon and the ease of finding things that look interesting, I’m buying faster than I read now.

How many hours in the day do you need to keep up with the onslaught of information? When was the last time you engaged really deeply with a pop culture artifact? These are all transient things.

I just wish those transient unsatisfying things didn't distract me from getting round to that slow, tangible drawing project I've been thinking about for weeks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Powerpoint definition of Irony

slideshow4 » SlideShare

Practice what you preach, sir, practice what you preach.

Not much going on around here recently, sorry. I'm having a fallow posting period, as my energies are elsewhere.

Roo, the big post you're expecting will be along... sometime soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Google Homepage Gadget

BBC Pres Clock Google Gadget

I made a gadget. It shows the flash files of the old BBC clocks from the cult site. You can put it on your google homepage.

To make it work:
- Sign in to your google personal homepage
- hit the 'add stuff' link on the left just above the content panel
- hit 'add by URL' next to the search homepage content button
- put this url in the box
- confirm
- go back to your homepage and marvel at my leet coding skillz. :)

It may stop working when the BBC archives my old cult site. /wipes away tear

Saturday, June 09, 2007

FlashFlavor » photographing a beach ceremony at night with no available light

FlashFlavor » photographing a beach ceremony at night with no available light

Does what it says on the tin, in spades. Sigh, wish I were better at photography.

Favourite New Concept: Schrodinger's Celebrity

Glitter For Brains: "The most annoying thing about her is she's Schrodinger's Celebrity - she only exists because we look at her. So all this vitriol and hate I've just poured over my keyboard (and a small amount of Bloody Mary, but someone nudged my arm while I was having breakfast) is fuelling her time in the spotlight."

Lovely Lee on Paris Hilton. The most perfect way of describing the new breed of celebretard that's doing the rounds; only famous because we keep supplying the oxygen of publicity...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

..and Lemons .:. News .:. Orange "doesn't think it's a problem" ...

Interesting little article about Orange's data policy. £8 for 30Mb. As opposed to the 1Gb cap on T-Mobile. Hah.

I've been meaning to upgrade my mobile for ever. I was using a Nokia 8310 until about a fortnight ago, and it was slowly dying. A great shame, as it's a lovely phone, with the last of the great black and white operating systems; really elegant and quick if you use your phone for calls and texts and nothing else.

The decision was taken out of my hands by a lucky name-from-a-hat moment at Jaiku; I took a marketing survey and was - frankly - shocked to win a Nokia N95 a few weeks later. I had of course completely forgotten about the survey in the meantime.

So - there I was, shiny new dataphone, old one-to-one pricematch tarrif with Orange, plus a moment in a phone shop when the assistant laughed in my face when I asked about upgrades.

I'm now with T-Mobile. It's all good.

Although, N95 appears to have a funny bug where, if left idle for a while on charge the microphone doesn't work when I go to answer a call. Anyone else having similar trouble?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Verka Serduchka - Gop, gop! - Jump, jump!

Look, how can you NOT like it? Really? It's all bouncy and oompah!

Ukrainian Gay Power Polka

Look, this is the single most brilliant song of the last five years. I don't care if you think otherwise; you are wrong. Look at it. It has a man pretending to be a lady, a glitterball, glasses that make everyone naked, a completely awesome keychange, and ACCORDIONS. It's a work of genius, and there isn't enough gay accordion-based space disco polka in the world. Ever.

My carbon footprint expands massively

UPS: Tracking Information

So, I'm waiting on a parcel from the US - a Goldtouch keyboard, which was a birthday present from my Mum. Incidentally, they're amazing things if you have RSI, I recommend them thoroughly.

Anyway, I thought I'd have a look see to find out where it was; it's been several days, and it was moving on from Newark last time I looked.

Well - it came in to Stanstead, then was *flown to the East Midlands and back to Heathrow*.

Wow. I mean, that's like the next town if you're in the middle of the US. But on this side of the pond...

Look, here's a cunning line on a map to show you quite how bonkers that was. It makes the cheerful assumption that the package will get to my house from Feltham, by the way, and not be rerouted via Edinburgh, frinstance.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.

Epicenter - Wired Blogs

An interview of Cory Doctorow by David Weinberger. Fascinating stuff about metadata, and the differences between implicit and explicit data, along with the political-cultural constructs in play around classification systems.

I wonder, sometimes, about going off and getting a librarianship or curatorial qualification. I am most certainly one of those people who likes sorting - systematising, tidying, classifying and arranging is something I find incredibly soothing. I have a feeling it's incredily hardwired in to me; back in my wild art student days there was a wonderful incident with some hallucinogens and waking up to discover my room ordered to the Nth degree - even my cupboard shelf contents were tidied, rectinlinearly stacked in size order. Others get messy on drugs, I get tidy. But I digress.

I've written bits and bobs about tax- and folks- onomies before here; I don't have the energy for a retread this evening; frankly, reading the transcript of the interview will tell you everything I've said and more, with greater clarity and intellectual rigour. It's worth reading or listening to.

One interesting point made is about flickr, and the huge mass of CC-licensed photos available on the web:-

If you're a stock photographer trying to sell photos of Capri, even if it can be found, you're probably screwed at Flickr because there's 100, 000 of them there available for free--unlicensed, actually, Creative Commons licensed--yours is going to have to be pretty darn good for somebody to actually shell out money for it.

The interview goes on to talk about copyright, and elision of cultural and commercial constraints in copyright law. The ususal.

But... what does it really mean that there's so much available for free, now? Is the bespoke the final recourse of arts, now? If everyone can micro-produce and micro-sell, what happens to the 'great work' - does it become more valuable, have more of an aura?

In a fully described world, where the overlay of discussion and culture is captured in searchable, semi-machine readable electronic forms, where the map and the territory are completely blurred... what does a creative person do? When there can be no 'underground', no hidden pockets of creative collaboration left to diversify in obscurity, away from the wider culture, do we end up with ... less creative speciation? Or radical, precambrian explosions of diversity?

Flickr is always a good example; it made me want to photograph more, initially, but now makes me not want to photograph at all, because anything I capture will be so like so many other pictures. Interestingness is rarely that; it's more frequently inoffensively pretty and technically pristine; a kind of mass idea of what a good photograph might be, smoothed out by the gentle erosion of traffic flow across the site. It feels a bit like Clement Greenberg's idea of kitsch; it seems to point out that originality is nearly impossible to achieve.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this thought. I think I'm interested to understand what it means to be trying to create something unique in a world where everything-there-is is instantly available and addressable, and any new creation is instantly contextualised by being indexed as 'a bit like this, and this other thing, and maybe 30% similarity to this other thing here'. What gets made? The things that spring to mind are the great renaissance works, painted for super-rich patrons, and elaborately personally codified; the language of art history becoming more obscure and arcane, and personalised to the patron. Commissioning something, collaborating, and encoding undisclosed ideas into the work becomes a way of opposing the same-ness of originality. Or does creativity become private again; something jealously held away from the systematizing gaze of the web? Or do objects become valuable purely because of personal significances - does taste die?

How do we preserve surprise, and grit, and significance? And are these valuable things, or am I pining for mirages?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's probably fair use, but...

Second Life - Videos - KNBC

A friend just pointed me at this video that went out on US TV. I've tried three or four times to leave a comment on the actual page, but it doesn't seem to be working. Hence, I thought it worth reproducing here, because, well, someone should make a fuss when big media rip off other people's stuff against the specific license it's published under.

I've spent a LOT of my life over the last few years ensuring image use is all within the bounds of license agreements and copyright - even getting release forms for a five year old, once.

I suppose we don't have the benefit of that pesky 'fair use' under UK law.

Anway - the Yentob avatar was created by Siobhan, so she should take the credit.

Comment text would have been as below:-

I notice that you've used one of my screenshots in your piece. Whilst Alan Yentob's (a famous UK TV personality) avatar and the screenshot was created for a BBC TV documentary, I assume you've obtained the shot from my flickr stream.

It's released there under a Creative Commons Deed - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 -

You don't appear to have Attributed me; the adverts at the front of your piece seem to suggests you're a commercial concern, and there's a clear copyright statement at the bottom of the page, suggesting you haven't 'shared alike'.

Just thought you might like to know for future reference, so you can consider complying with the licensing requirements.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Photosynth Technology Preview

Photosynth Technology Preview

Gosh, it's come along a bit. I reccomend trying the flythrough button, too.

It's fascinating to think that tools like this will mean, in the long term, that there will be a digital 'skin' representation of the world overlying reality, like Borges' map that is as large as the country. Granted, some areas more detailed than others - you just need to look at the geographical distribution of images in flickr to understand that the future is very unevenly distributed - but it's a short leap to a fully - represented world, where GPS is no longer necessary to identify the location of a photograph, as it can just be intelligently slotted in to place through pattern matching.

Some thoughts, in no particular order

- It understands 'behind'. Poke around the artists' studio collection, particularly around the easel - you'll suddenly pop to the wall, presumably marrying up at the occluded edges in longshots...
- it seems to like manmade space much more than natural space. Perhaps the eye more easily 'fills in' in geometric spaces, and this isn't the fault of the software as much a s a preference of perception
- Might it understand Time? What would happen if you fed the system street scenes from 1930, and contemporary scenes in the same location? Could you create a forth dimension to the walkthrough?
- 80 megapixel images? BLIMEY.
- It needs a much more gestural interface; the ability to move with the mouse, and with arrow keys. The clicking feels incredibly artificial.
- Photosynth + Games + ?? = PROFIT!
- I bet it's not compatible with Google Earth. Bastards.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yes, but what does it DO?

Jeteye Firefox Extension:
by Jeteye Technologies, Inc.
Jeteye is a unique Web-based application and service that is designed for the next generation of enterprise and consumer use of the Web. Jeteye changes how we interact with the web, in an era where communication and social computing are more...
Version — January 18, 2007"

I'm looking through firefox extensions, and found a lovely example of marketing rhetoric completely failing to sell a product in the space available.

What does it DO? Really? Can you guess from that description? Answers on a postcard.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Google Toolbar

Google Toolbar Features

I'm playing with the latest version of Google Toolbar on Firefox. I'm finding it the tiniest bit confusing - hitting the blogger icon now performs a blog search, and to get to the Blog This! Interface I have to hit the 'send to' dropdown. Wha?

I do hate it when designers change the functions and meanings of icons. It's like making the word 'milk' suddenly mean 'nagging headache' instead of, well, milk, really.

On the plus side - I now have a Google Scholar search button, a 'define:' seach button (the secret to being able to understand technical specification documents, frequently!) and some kind of magic wand. Haven't you always wanted one of those?

The interesting implications seem to be around search history. I've had google's search history feature running quietly in the background since October 05, and it has always been patchy - collecting some search queries and not others, and inconsistently remembering clicks and so on. I'm sure Ask! will be heartened to know that their sinister competitor's mad surveilance techiques (ha!) are a little flaky.

Signing in today, however, through the new toolbar, I see that much more has appeared - whole swathes of activity are back against my name. Combined with the Browser Sync addon (possibly the neatest way I have ever found of having a bunch of idle weekend smut surfing show up on your work machine... oops!), I have a pretty complete view of my browsing habits. Not quite as beautiful as those at - which makes up for an inexplicable temporary loss of my data with some very, very nice graphs, but useful, nonetheless.

How valuable is that data, though? Well, if you wanted to blackmail me, or market things to me, pretty high, I'd imagine. It's a rich source of information, and I can see how mining it will let google serve ever more efficient and targeted adverts.But the availability of so much data - about who or what is using /reading what will, I'd hope, also mean that it will become much easier to find and buy goods and services that will be appropriate for me; I'll no longer need to laboriously 'teach' amazon that I like books on feminist literary theory, and don't like Miss Teen Cosmopolitain Makeup CD Roms (A genuine Amazon reccomendation from back in the day!) and just tell it to take a discrete look at my information history and work out that I'm more In Our Time than Take a Break. From there, you could weight reviews according to how attitudinally similar I am to a reviewer, strimming out that typical 'well, whoever gave that one star was obviously a dolt' thing you get sometimes.

I'm finding it very hard to get worried about the privacy implications of this ubiquitous behavioural information - after all, adverts are only intrusive if they're shouty and irrelevant, which google generally avoids. I'm slightly more worried about my new N95 with Jaiku! enabled on it (which I won in a random draw having completed a marketing survey for them, incidentally, and wouldn't have accepted if I thought there was any funny business going on there - although I have had a couple of casual interactions with the chaps behind the site). The main thing that worried me was the real-time location updating. The days of being a bit late in to the office in order to drop in to John Lewis are over, and I'll never be able to lie about my location again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Hack for Europe! (

A Hack for Europe! (

Yay! Sign up!

I really want to go to this. But I don't think my leet baking, drawing and needlework skillz count as 'making' at this point. Which means I'm an obsessive business networker. Oh.


Mr Tom C is getting a bit worried that everyone is pointing to his post about this, and that the many other organisers aren't getting due credit. I know the people doing the organising at the BBC end too, and they have indeed all been working like dogs to sort this.

So credit to all where credit is due! has all the details.

Twitter / zombieattack

Twitter / zombieattack

Twitter fiction. Sweet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Nohari Window - Describe mildlydiverting

The Nohari Window - Describe mildlydiverting

I can't begin to describe how funny I find an entirely negative, vicious and unpleasant personality test. Take that, self-help book publishers!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Radio 4 to co-produce feature film | Radio |

Radio 4 to co-produce feature film | Radio | "When it is broadcast, Radio 4 will have a red button service for digital TV transmission enabling viewers to see the visual material, the first time the station has shown a feature-style film to accompany spoken material."

This is very cool - and I think I might now know why my old boss was so excited about Peter Ackroyd when I last saw her.

But - uh, radio with pictures. Convergence. Or as we in the trade like to call it, telly.

It's all good. : Story : "Lifecasting - Dandelife Streams", by Kelly Abbott : Story : "Lifecasting - Dandelife Streams", by Kelly Abbott

Ross Mayfield's Weblog: LifeStreams as an attention aggregator

There's a lot of talk around at the moment about lifestreams, chronological behaviours, and new navigation and aggregation tropes. It's something to do with twitter, and jaiku, and all of these new microblogging/presence services that are getting so much attention.

I tried to comment on Jeremy Keith's site - but the sensible man has comments turned off, so I'll just hope this gets picked up by Technorati.

There's a very interesting book - The Aesthetics of Computing by David Gelernter, which covers the idea of using chronological streams to organise files in an OS, partly because it's a much more natural, human way of remembering information. This is kind of how I feel about tagging as an organisational structure; it's not elegant, or concise, but it's very useful for 'fuzzy recall' - finding things that were a bit like the other thing, that might have been about the time that you were doing that other thing there.

As search and indexing of files within systems and the web becomes more comprehensive and useful, there's little reason to keep the old directory strucure/file system metaphors visible at the consumer interface level. Lets make something that works the way people think, instead.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: Joel Johnson Spank Us All for Supporting Crap - Gizmodo

The other week, I went in to an Orange shop to see about upgrading my phone.

I have an old Nokia - specifically, an 8310 that I have hung on to because it was the last, small phone with the old monochrome interface. It has the least number of button presses to let me make a phonecall, or send a text message. This is good. It is elegant, and does everything I need it to (appart, maybe, from taking photos - I quite like camera phones, and it doesn't let me manage my calendar easily. Those things I'd find useful).

I also have an old nokia on an old tarrif - a very good 'price match' deal to an old One-to-one tarrif, that they rapidly withdrew for being too good value to the customer, apparently. My line rental is about £11, and I ususally pay about £22 all in for my calls and texts; I make few phonecalls. I never use WAP as I'm rarely far from the internets, and my phone breaks whenever I do try and use it.

Anyway, said phone is at the end of its natural life - not holding a charge, generally falling appart. I love it, but it's not much longer for this world. So I went in to try and get an upgrade.

The man in the Orange shop on Oxford street, just west from Oxford Circus (on the southern side of the road) was called Keith. I explained that I quite fancied upgrading to a new, shiny phone, something N73, personal organiser ish. I wondered how much that might be. When he pulled up my details on his sytem, he looked up at me, and laughed directly at my face.

I'm going to move to T Mobile, I think.

Anway, I feel about new phones pretty much the way that Joel Johnson feels:

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: Joel Johnson Spank Us All for Supporting Crap - Gizmodo:
"You broke the site, clogging up the pipe like retarded salmon, to read the latest announcements of the most trivial jerk-off products, completely ignoring the stories about technology actually making a difference to real human beings, because you wanted a new chromed robot turd to put in your pocket to impress your friends and make you forget for just a few minutes, blood coursing as you tremblingly cut through the blister pack, that your life is utterly void of any lasting purpose.

Then you had the audacity to complain about broken phones, half-assed firmware that bricked your gear, and winner-takes-nothing arms races between the companies whose gear your bought and the hackers who had nothing better to do than try to fix it. Do you realize how ridiculous that is? Programmers with free time did more to help you get quality products than you ever did by buying the broken gear in the first place.

Stop buying this crap. Just stop it. You don't need it. Wait a year until the reviews come out and the other suckers too addicted to having the very latest and greatest buy it, put up a review, and have moved on to something else. Stop buying broken products and then shrugging your shoulders when it doesn't do what it is upposed to. Stop buying products that serve any other master than you. Use older stuff that works. Make it yourself. Only buy new stuff from companies that have proven themselves good servants of their customers in the past. Complaining online about this stuff helps, but really, just stop buying it."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bait and Switch

Ages ago, I subscribed to a video podcast promoting Nacho Libre, the Jack Black film. Hey, I'd just got a video ipod, vodcasts were all new and shiny, and I have a kind of a thing about wrestlers (ssh!) - what's not to like?

Anyway, sorting through my iTunes library, I notice that the old podcast folder has changed name, and suddenly, I have a huge number of videos on my harddrive promoting Blades of Glory.

I can but presume that the feed has been... recycled somehow.

I'm not really liking the ethics of this move, if I'm honest. There's a qualitative difference between the two films if nothing else (Will Ferrel is not, no matter how hard he tries, Jack Black; Will Ferrel is not a lot of things, in my books). I assume some marketeer has thought this up as a way of introducing the film to a sympathetic audience - hey, they're both dumb comedies with men in spandex, right?

Wrong. Sorry, you've alienated me even further than the cheap homophobic jokes in the trailer already did.

Show some manners, marketeers. My eyeballs pay your wages; and in this case, so does my bandwith.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Make Lighthearted Comments, Descend to General Ennui

New at Pentagram: Scenes From a Blog

This ammused me greatly. Sometimes, in my more bitter and cynical moments, I think that trolling, flame wars, the whole caboodle is an inevitable outcome of giving a bunch of socially inept computer geeks access to an incredibly powerful set of tools that over significate and immortalise trivial social interactions.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ask Nicely


Dear Ask.

Thanks for the invitation to your marketing party, dressed in it's 'hey! it's 1992 again!' lofi graphics. I worked out the invite was from you by the red blob on the poster - what is that, a bloody thumbprint? Cool!

Anyway, I just wanted to check what time your information revolution party kicks off. Your timekeeping seems a bit off. I merely mention this because I have been on the '15 year old internet' that you describe for... well, I've been on the *web* since 1994. And I started using the *internet* in about 1990. You do understand the difference, don't you?

I used to use your service. Then Google pissed all over it, and took a photo of it passed out at another party with a magic marker moustache - I think that that crazy Yahoo! might have drawn that one on. I used Bloglines too, until you bought it, and left it to rot. Guess whose RSS reader I use now? Hint: It starts in Google.

Your astroturfing campaign carries the unmistakable taint of last ditch desperation. You'll never make friends at a party if you're that fake.

So. Not. Cool.

In which the Internets perfom a miracle

We've established, previously, that my Dad's 80th birthday featured, among other things, bouzouki music. Alas, it didn't feature quite the right bouzouki music, as I couldn't track down a copy of the right Manos Hadjidakis album in time.

Mildly Diverting: Lilacs out of the Dead Land

So - the internets have performed a miracle. A completely anonymous person posted a link in a comment on the original post about the album. It led to a download of the mp3s of the album, and just in time for Mothering Sunday.

Whoever you are, anonymous donor of Greek music, thank you so very much!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Runescape and Christianopedia

Two things of interest on listen again - Thinking Allowed on 'Runescape', and the Today programme discussing percieved Bias in Wikipedia

Thinking Allowed

BBC - Radio 4 - Today Programme Listen Again

Incidentally - Radio4 website, your URLs are horrible. Particularly those for the Today archive. zwednesday_20070307.shtml ? I know exactly where that Z came from. They're bored of seeing hundreds of files starting wednesday in their (manually maintained) file structure. Dear Today website: I know that you're in the process of redesigning at the moment. Can I suggest that you put the date first, so your files all go in nice chronological order? The day of the week makes your historical URLS unguessable without cross-referencing a calendar unless you're the kind of idiot savant who can be told any day in history and instinctively know what day of the week it was.

Can I suggest:


As possibly the best place for that day's archive? You can put more than one page in that folder, too!

Metaverse Creeps Closer

GDC07 Clip: The PS3's Home - Kotaku

I've been curling my lip about the PS3. Too expensive, full of Blu-Ray (Sony's second stab at Betamax video...) and just... meh.

But now I have seen this video.

I got the feeling, back in the autumn, that Second Life was on to something. That there really was potential in this whole 3d inhabited space, but that somehow Second Life was... incunabular. Not quite there yet. Like the web back in 95, it was clunky, and counterintuitive, and full of really bad folk design.

So it looks like the PS3's Home is now the AOL to Second Life's open server. It'll be the service that takes these worlds mainstream, but possibly ultimately dies as it's (I'm guessing) a walled garden.

But this will be huge. Really, really huge.

I wonder if you need to pay for each bit of downloaded content, or if there will be creation facilities? Hmn...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

YouTube - Le Grand Content

A rather cute film, though surely it's 'inspired' by Indexed.

Anyway, loving this pithy little comeback from the comments.

YouTube - Le Grand Content: "11thsockpuppet (1 day ago)
I agree that the text really really sucked ass. Out of the millions stream of conciousness angst-laden monologues I've ever heard this was the most uninspired. Great graphics though... (apart from the faulty rotation of the cylinders)
StuPadazzo (23 hours ago)
Yet another angst-laden, uninspired review that we've all heard millions of times. Great grammar though... (apart from the faulty rotation of used teenaged euphemisms)."

YouTube - BBC Newsnight talks about Wii and PS3

Caught Charlie Brooker's inspired rant about Video Games on 'Screenwipe' last night. He reserved a particularly fine chunk of bile for this little section on Newsnight Review dealing with the Wii and the PS3.

I suppose it's what you should expect from a high minded cultural review show. Not quite as laughable as the Today show talking about the bootleg scene this morning (nice one, chaps, only 5 years after 2manydjs successfully cleared and released an album, and a couple of years after the trend died...)

Gah. Mainstream news sources feel increacingly irrelevant to me today.

YouTube - BBC Newsnight talks about Wii and PS3

Friday, February 09, 2007

Visible Bits

computer memory quicktime viz - data visualization & visual design - information aesthetics

This is really interesting - a core dump, tinkered with just enough to make quicktime read it as if it were a video file. There's a surprising ammount of order in it, and bits of the soundtrack are positively Shoenberg.

Here's a direct link to one of the videos.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Vital defensive skills for the gent about town

JNC, Barton-Wright, Self Defence with a cane part 1: "Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions (PartI)"

This is very possibly my new favourite thing on the internet, ever.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Save the Borough Market Area Petition

I like trains. However, I like Borough Market, Georgian architecture and nice democratic planning appeal systems much better.

I think that the character of the Borough area has changed hugely since the orginal plans were drawn up in the late 80s. It's one of the nicest bits of London, and it would be a huge shame to damage the renaissance of a previously neglected bit of London by running a ruddy great viaduct through the middle of it.

Do please check out the Save Borough Market Area Campaign, and consider signing the Save the Borough Market Area Petition.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Playing with Panoramas

IMGP2127-IMGP2169_2 copy

The London Development Agency, in Soutwark; stitched from about 40 photographs using Hugin.

Monday, January 29, 2007

¿Hacia dónde va la blogosfera?

La Petite Claudine: ¿Hacia dónde va la blogosfera?

New favourite words. No idea what it means.

I spent a lot of time this weekend saying 'Zapotera' in my head, in the voice of Bruce Willis' girlfriend in Pulp Fiction. It's the way she makes the 'ty-eh' noise with the sides of her tongue, in a slightly lispy-my-tongue-is-too-big way. I have no idea why this is stuck in my head, but it is.

Even humming the theme music from Terry and June isn't going to shift this earworm.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Writerly Bliss Living - Books - Having a crack at comedy:
"Doctor Who might seem an easy, obvious source of material, but few comics at the Fringe this year who go down the Tardis route are as big an aficionado as Kennedy or, like her, are seriously intending to submit a script to the BBC for the next series.

She's hugely impressed by David Tennant's take on the Time Lord. 'I look at him and I think: 'You've got yards of that, haven't you? You could be terrifying children for ever!' It's those eyes of his. Also the fact he has no chin. How does he eat without a bottom jaw? Bless him.'

It feels like a long time since I was re-reading those articles about the unremitting bleakness of AL Kennedy because now she's speculating on what it might be like to kiss Tennant."

I can't imagine anything stranger nor more fantastic that a Doctor Who episode scripted by AL Kennedy. Please, please make this come true.


But now I come to think of it, possibly Chopin lived with someone called George Sand, who was a woman, like George Eliot. (Unless George Eliot confusingly lived with a man called George Sand?)

A dear old friend of mine, it transpires, has a very similar problem with sorting out all of those creative Georges from a certain period of history. I laughed like a drain when I read this, as it's an almost perfect summary of the problems I have with getting that lot straight.

In fact, much of that romantic period creative output is, in my head, an odd mishmash of biopics and half remembered odds and sods, that have elided into something resembling a cross between a Hammer Horror picture, Poldark and a Caspar David Friederich painting; possibly with a rather overblown soundtrack. It will help if you think of this as rather like the early oevre of Ken Russel. Yes, you can leave the oiled men wrestling and the snake godesses in there; my head is an overexcitable place.

I should add that mine has dashes of extra confusion about all those whoopsy poets, fragments of bad historical fiction, and the occasional dash of Gertrude Stein in there too, who it took me a while to realise was in fact, early 20thC and hence of interest.

I suppose the best way to describe it would be sublime?

History is not my strong point.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Your order #203-8168722-0295902 (received 31-May-2006)
Ordered Title Price Dispatched Subtotal
--------------------------------------------------------------------- items (Sold by Amazon EU S.a.r.L.):

1 World of Warcraft: The Bur... £15.99 1 £15.99

Shipped via Royal Mail (estimated arrival date: 17-January-2007).

Subtotal: £13.61
Delivery Charge: £1.69
Total tax: £2.68
Total: £17.98

This completes your order.

I am somewhat over-excited. However... 17th? Arg! A whole 24 hours delay! But I want to make a Blood Elf and get a Cockatrice and go to Outland and see all the new things and get to level 70 and get jewels and epics and oh oh oh oh /hyperventilates/ *bang*.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yoz Grahame Speaks Clever

New Media Knowledge - Brief exposure: Yoz Grahame: "What do you think is the next big thing in digital media?
Social software that also works as a platform, so that the community can evolve it without waiting for the owners. The primary reason why Second Life is doing so well is that every day there are hundreds of new features, all of which have been created by residents using the built-in programming language. This is not a new concept; MOO has worked this way since 1990."

Which is, after all, essentially what the web was, too.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Change of Personality (again)

Myers-Briggs typology is interesting. It's a crude measure, at best, and part of me really thinks that it's little more than your standard mediaeval world system worked over in new clothes, and hence not much improved over astrology.

Every time I take a test, I come out as a slightly different personality type. Back in 2003 I was an ISTJ, then swung to ISTP a year or so later. It turns out the tests typically have a very low test-retest repeatability, which makes me even more suspicious of the system...

I've now gone ultra fluffy, and have tested as INFP.

Strength of the preferences %

Wow - so not like me. I must be having a lame pathetic day. However, it seems slighty more like my work style - I was given a Myers Briggs derived test at work recently, and came out triple-high showoff and handwaver, which was entertaining - in fact, good at everything except acting on stuff. Perhaps the triple high accounts for everything except the introvert, explaining the changeable results for the three tests.

On the other hand, it could just be a faulty, crude tool for understanding a person?

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Years Day Easter Egg

How exciting! I've found my very own easter egg in a piece of software!

Librarian that I am, I'm busy cataloguing my library by scanning the barcodes in Delicious Library. Hey, don't knock it, it's fun.

I got to the more obscure end of my bookcases - in this case, Star Wars X-Wing for the IBM PC, an old Lucas Arts Game. The barcode refused to scan, so I entered the barcode number manually - 0 23272 20512 6 - and the computerised voice read out the title.

After a longish pause, a breathy male voice cut in with 'I am your father!'.

My god, what an obscure joke to embed deep in the code... but I now love the software even more.