listening to:

Tuesday, December 25

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

- posted at 4:35:39 PM :: feedback

Monday, December 24

19k worth of wooing

Every year, The Times publishes a pricelist for buying the presents listed in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. This year, the cost hit 19,310. For comparison:

"Five years ago, when The Times undertoook the same exercise, the total cost came to 6,028.93. But costs were kept down by drummers who agreed to play for nothing, and charitably inclined peers of the realm who were willing to jump about for free."

- posted at 12:23:58 PM :: feedback

Sodding CNN

Deep breath.

And another one.

Right. Here we go. The story about the man arrested recently for carrying explosives on a plane bound for Miami from Charles de Gaulle not only contains a stunningly bad example of reporting, where a paragraph contradicts itself, but also seems to venture ever-so-slightly into Holy War territory.

First up is the contradictory paragraph:

"A government official said the amount of material being analyzed amounted to about 10 ounces and does not appear to be C-4 plastic explosives. Analysts are trying to determine whether the material is Semtex, PETN or RDX, which are different versions of C-4 and are malleable and highly explosive."

So, let me get this straight. It's reported that it doesn't appear to be C4. On the other hand, we're informed that what it might be, though, is Semtex, PETN or RDX, which is a different version of C-4.

CNN, take one gold star for confusing the reader.There's more:

"One passenger said the man appeared "possessed" at the time, but many others were unaware of any problems, saying he was simply an unruly passenger, according to a couple of eyewitnesses."

Possessed. That's great. So we are actually fighting a holy war now. I hate to admit it, but it seems that Bush was right. Because, remember, there's a great deal of difference between "possessed" and "unruly". I suppose we should crack out a Slayer and make sure there's a sixpack of holy water on this flight. But wait. There's still more! Remember, this man could've been possessed. That would explain why:

"The man was "unbelievably strong," said passenger Kwame James, a 6-foot-8-inch professional basketball player in France, who was interviewed Sunday."

It appears that Satan is on Bin Laden's side and has been upping the strength of his minions. I can't believe that CNN feels it relevant to point out to all that a passenger thought the detained man was "possessed", or even that he was "unbelievably strong". Smacks of sensationalist reporting, really. And honestly, to me, it really does seem as if there's some kind of religious bent being spun on all of this.

- posted at 12:41:54 AM :: feedback

Sunday, December 23

Spring cleaning

Not technically accurate if you're a pedant since it's winter and all, but if you really want to take issue with that then I suggest the following: wait until it gets dark, go outside and lie down on the grass (you might want to take a blanket). Look up at the stars. Then ask yourself if a silly little thing like that really matters. Answer with a "no", then go back inside and have a nice cup of hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate. All should then be well.

Anyway. The spring clean: the sidebars have been tidied up, which means that they've shifted from lowercase to sentence case and Tom, Sheryl and Simon have been added to the offsite blog links collection. There's a whole bunch of Cloudmaker stuff in there as well. Go take a look.

I've started learning Java, too.

Finally: if anyone has any experience in migrating around 800MB of Outlook PST files to Entourage X for Mac OS X, I'd really appreciate it if you could drop me a line.

- posted at 7:04:30 PM :: feedback

Wednesday, December 19

One ring

One Ring to rule them all. One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.- posted at 10:03:28 PM :: feedback

Monday, December 17

Our Second Tower of Babel

Via Oblomovka, the Rosetta Project. Amongst its goals manifold goals of language archival, the project also aims to create the Rosetta Disk, "a micro-etched nickel disk with 2,000 year life expectancy".

The Rosetta Project itself is associated with the Long Now Foundation [about the Long Now project], of which one of their more famous projects is a 10,000 year clock.

- posted at 6:13:02 PM :: feedback

Health notice

The results of a very important study have just come out.

- posted at 1:14:10 PM :: feedback


TiBook or Vaio?

(and if you squint really hard, you just might be able to see the corpse of a starved ass in the distance, equidistant from two equally alluring piles of food)

- posted at 1:12:17 PM :: feedback

Letters and words

Having stumbled across the Microsoft Typography site (lots of material there, though quite a lot of it is out of date), I found a Dave Eggers-style publication:

I present to you Microsoft Typography's "A Disagreeably Facetious Type Glossary For The Amusement & Edification Of People Beginning A Love Affair With Fonts". From 1995.

Did I ever mention that I -heart- the web?

- posted at 12:55:27 PM :: feedback

Kung-fu fighting

There was a great story today in the Times about kung-fu clergy. Of course, the version in the newspaper sitting on the kitchen table downstairs had the rather more amusing picture of posing kung-fu clergy, and not, as in the case of the online article a picture of a swish Palm M505. Add to this comfort that The Times is now charging for their archives over about thirty days (I think) so go read that story now. Or buy a newspaper. It's up to you, really.

The problem with The Times charging for access to its archives is a little thorny: many law students--and supervisors, tutors and lecturers--use The Times's law reports on a regular basis and refer to them. Now, it seems, the only way you can get hold of them for free is... well, there isn't, really. So that's a bummer.

- posted at 12:06:10 PM :: feedback

Sunday, December 16

This is just getting silly, redux

So the redesign was always in the works. That itchy "must create something new" feeling you get when you sit down and you don't have anything to revise for. Or any work to distract you. The last two attempts (no, you don't get to see them) were, in my humble opinion, pure and unmitigated crap compared to what you're looking at now. Then again, they were created over the last three weeks, and inspiration was sorely lacking

On the other hand, seeing what Mr. Pannett did with Brainsluice (all good and wonderful things, I should add) not so much as kicked me into gear as spurred me into the realisation that More White Is Good. And the fever seems to be catching: Mr. Armitage, he of tajmahal fame has gone and done it as well.

At this point, I should really point out that the redesign wasn't supposed to be an fcuk-style rebranding, but that I thought it looked kinda cool. On the other hand, Tom's explanation is much better than mine and it's the one that I recommend everyone run with.

I suppose the only question left is when we're finally going to be treated to Tom's forthcoming redesign of

- posted at 11:11:59 PM :: feedback

In other news...

Yet more awards for the A.I. web game (more commonly known as The Beast): the sites were voted number one site of the year by Entertainment Weekly (#631/632, Dec 21/28), who said:

"Stephen Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence may one day be appreciated as a work of Stanley Kubrick-inspired genius. But right now it's considered a box office dissapointment that was promoted using an elaborate murder-mystery plot both detached from and more fun that the film itself. The creators of the A.I. scavenger hunt, which spanned 30 websites as diverse as and and told such a compex tale that it took people from around the globe to decipher some of the clues, are mere mere months from announcing their next top secret project. And maybe now it won't have to be yoked to a movie at all."

- posted at 2:30:06 PM :: feedback

On the other hand...

Just because I said that I didn't have time to do any writing doesn't, of course, preclude me staying up all night to put together a nice new design.

- posted at 1:37:27 PM :: feedback

Friday, December 14

Please wait...

Normal service will be resumed when, and if, I get my act together on the whole writing on a semi-regular basis issue. Which I probably won't. Which means that normal service will be resumed once Britain gets its act together and does something about its horrendous public transport infrastructure. That should buy me just about enough time, I think.

Anyway. I have an excuse: I'm busy. Busy with school (had an exam today, piss easy though), busy with interesting and exciting things (all wonderfully exciting and interesting, as you can tell from the description) and busy with sitting in the pub. Which leaves time for thoughtful contemplation and measured writing, at last count, at around nil.

So: back later! In the meantime, I recommend you read some by Meg (great writer), some by Tom (kinda bouncy), some evhead by Ev (tech/culture), some kottke by Jason (design/culture) and some Camworld by Cameron (open-source advocacy/barely concealed hatred of all things Microsoft).

- posted at 11:54:33 AM :: feedback

Thursday, December 13

The game that plays you

"Last spring, an unusual game appeared on the Web ? though ??game?? isn?t quite the right word. It was more like an original and expansive fictional world, mapped out on more than 1,000 interwoven Web pages. The untitled, unannounced creation was intended as a promotion for Steven Spielberg?s film ??A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,?? and though its success as a promotional tool is debatable ? its very existence was a secret, even from many who were working on it ? as an interactive game, it broke new ground."

- one of the eighty ideas of 2001

- posted at 12:01:18 AM :: feedback

Monday, December 10

Absolutely amazing

Quite possibly the best 404 error I've ever seen.

- posted at 7:37:13 PM :: feedback

Wednesday, December 5

Bits and pieces

1. I shall win the meme war, Mr. Raettig, oh yes I shall. (He says, whilst stroking the fat white cat sitting on his lap and laughing maniacally at a giant display of the world.)

2. New book, Powazek's Design for Community. I need a much more heavy duty text, or even better, a couple hundred pages worth of case study. But I get the feeling that if I want something like that, I'm going to have to pay for it and I don't really want to. Oh well. Should write my own, then.

3. Amusing quotes from people:

re Segway: "I just saw one of those Segway things... they're going to be all over the MS campus..."; and

"HP have come up with a computer that selects music based on how people are dancing on the dancefloor. White people are doomed.

- posted at 1:05:54 PM :: feedback

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