July 28, 2007
for a while now the bbc has offered, for seven days after broadcast, an opportunity to listen to its radio output. this involves using realplayer, but at least it can be used on any platform. now the bbc’s tv output is also available (in beta). however, only if you use a windows operating system. this makes me very annoyed.
if this were a commercial channel, then that would be their choice. but it isn’t. this is a media organisation paid for, directly, by the licence paying public of GB, quite a lot of whom use macs and linux. what is it that is so magical about microsoft that skirts common sense? it would be unthinkable for the bbc to favour a commercial company in almost any other way.
it reminds me of ICT lessons in school, which equates to learning to use MS word, paint, excel etc etc. why?
of course the reasons stated by the bbc revolve around the need for drm. but i can record the bbc output on video, or even digitally. wtf?
July 27, 2007
a recent report shows that, contrary to the rules, nasa astronauts have been flying the shuttle after “heavy use of alcohol”.
this brings to mind the bbc’s recent “top gear” polar special in which a race was staged to the north pole, one team using huskies and a sled, the other a car. jeremy clarkson stated that the time for derring-do was over and he wanted to be the person to demonstrate how easy it was to climb everest or get to the pole using modern tech. his journey started whilst taking a couple of stiff gin and tonics whilst driving over ice in a big toyota.
the car won.
July 25, 2007
i bought a book by ted nelson the other day, “computer lib”. it’s all over the place, there are multiple columns, many diagrams and pictures, it can be read from either end. basically he tried to prevent the reader starting at page one and reading straight through. i like it a lot.
i looked him up on youtube. there’s a nice minute or so here where he talks about usability and interfaces, all of which i agree with. he uses pac-man as a model. which leads me nicely to a joke i heard the other day from marcus brigstock:
There’s a lot of controversy about video games and children, but if Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.
the populace of GB generally welcome a bit of global warming. it can only be good, right? vinyards springing up, more holidaymakers etc. but hold, what’s this, the bloody jetstream has shifted south. low pressure everywhere. 3 months rainfall in one day. everywhere is underwater. yikes.
July 24, 2007
i used to have a pair of round sun glasses. they got stolen a couple of years ago. last week i lost my present pair of (unround) glasses in the camb whilst punting (don’t ask). so i thought i’d get a pair of those round ones again. i’ve kept an eye out in shops for the last year or two and seen nothing, so i figured i’d go look online. there aren’t any. well, i actually found two pairs, both branded “john lennon”, but that’s all. what’s so odd about round? why does no one make them anymore. i think we should be told.
July 20, 2007
we are now up to seven members of the british government who, in the last couple of days, have admitted to smoking cannabis, including the new home secretary. this comes at a time when the government has indicated it is going to reclassify the drug in order to make the penalties for possession more severe. arseholes.
July 17, 2007
i just got back from a few days away with the kids at center parcs. center parcs is a sort of upmarket butlins, lots of activities, like archery, abseiling, sports, and chalets in the woods. the kids love it. there are no cars and you have to get around by bike. on day one i accidentally left a jacket in a family changing cubicle of the pool. it was handed in, but sans phone, camera and my trusty tobacco pouch. bastards. i then spent half an hour filling in forms for their security guys before walking out on them. what good was it going to do me? after all the notice clearly stated that
center parcs do not except responsibility . . .
and, yes, the error in that sentence is theirs not mine.
we actually had a good time. zac had one interesting incident, however. he tried to buy some sweets in the on-site supermarket but was 1 pence short. the cashier refused his pleas to let him off, or for him to come back with the extra. instead he had to choose one sweet to remove. the cashier then picked it up and placed it in the bin (hygiene regs?). when he told me this he kept asking me to explain the logic behind it. why would they lose 6 pence in order to stop him saving 1 pence? i was stumped.
July 6, 2007
terry pointed me to fixmystreet.com. i’m impressed by the idea. you enter a postcode, or find a location on a map, and specify what problem there is, like a lamp post out of order, hole in the road, or abandoned car etc. Of course, if it’s already been reported then you’ll be able to see that, so it cuts down on reports to the council. fixmystreet emails the council with the report. people can leave feedback when the problem is resolved, or not. this is in grave danger of being extremely useful, to residents and councils alike. If i were a local council i’d be pointing people to the site to report problems and cut down on my call centre staff.
of course, it’s not easy to monetize such a site, and this one is run by a registered charity.
July 5, 2007
i’ve been using ubuntu feisty fawn for more than two weeks now. i can’t speak of it highly enough. i used two previous distributions of linux and liked them, but there was always something that didn’t work or needed too much effort to get working. feisty, though, is like a dream. if you need something, an application to open a file, or a codec, you’re just asked if you want it installed. a few seconds later it’s done. perhaps three or four times i’ve had to google something, and each time the answer has been just about pain-free, usually the feisty how-to page. this is a wiki page set up by the university of latvia. it has so much more than you’ll ever need. a wonderful example of a wiki at work.
7.04 is not only as good as windows or osx, it’s better. i can’t think of anything a normal user might need that isn’t available (and free). i’m not even sure what an abnormal user might lack. now when i step back into windows (work) i just get annoyed.
i saw michael moore’s ‘sicko‘. it’s a pretty powerful film. i hope that it’s watched in europe as much as in the states. it’s good to reflect occasionally on things that we’ve got right, and ensure that it stays that way.
i read that he was asked about people watching the film via bittorrent. he apparently said that he was just happy for the film to be seen. try piratebay.
better be quick, piratebay is about to be shut down by the Swedish authorities. why? because of child pornography. well, you know someone could use a file sharing site for that. jeeez.
This Friday, it became known that the Swedish Police Board will shut down The Pirate Bay, the popular file sharing site, by classifying it as a child pornography site in the blocklist that Swedish Internet Providers respect. Some time next week, an update to the blacklist will include The Pirate Bay.