28 June 2005

Dangerous Liaisons


Txtng and drink don't mix but heaven help me I'd never thought about a Crackberry and a tin of SA before now - surely a risky business if ever there was one?

Grokster

Interesting ruling. Dare I say, it doesn't seem unreasonable that networks and software that actively encourage breaking the law shouldn't be too surprised when they lose in the courts. That said, of course, there is plenty of scope for the dinosaurs in the entertainment industry to carry on missing the essence of the digital revolution (tired phrase I know but nonetheless true for all that). It just does not feel right that it would cost somebody nigh on £4000 to fill a 20G MP3 player with 5000 4mb tracks at 79p a track. They are digital - they don't cost anything to produce (apart from the musicians' time and energy which should, of course, be rewarded)! Just because the music and media industries think we are idiots and hate us (see below), that doesn't mean we are actually going to behave as if we are idiots and deserving of hatred. Musicians will start different distribution channels, consumers will support these, hey presto the companies behind the action against p2p will be high and dry. Come on, enough already - start charging according to value. It works in every other sphere - someone finds a cheaper way of producing something, they undercut the others and prices come down. If the entertainment industry were in charge of all manufactured goods most of us would be living in caves while the elite enjoyed the benefits of industrialisation. It is as if the music industry were coal miners - "right, listen up, we know you've got electricity in your homes now but we want you to keep on using coal fires otherwise we'll go out of business"....

26 June 2005

Recommended


Do try and get here on a sunny weekday for a lunchtime drink if you can - the Sun at Dun(s?)fold in Surrey - very pleasant indeed.

The Internet as a World of Ends

This is interesting - Doc Searls and David Weinberger on how government and big business don't yet comprehend the net and how best to use it. I particularly like the following:

Perhaps companies that think they can force us to listen to their messages — their banners, their interruptive graphic crawls over the pages we're trying to read — will realize that our ability to flit from site to site is built into the Web’s architecture. They might as well just put up banners that say "Hi! We don't understand the Internet. Oh, and, by the way, we hate you."

Anyone who uses an ISP that has a busy homepage / portal soon comes to realise that there is some misunderstanding of the way the net works and, not to put too fine a point on it, the nature of freedom.

25 June 2005

24th June 2005 And here's the gerbera newly arrived at Pizza Express - as previously, there's a hint of Julia Margaret Cameron IMHO.  Posted by Hello

101 horrors contd.

16. System Restore: Anyone, anywhere, anytime, ever been helped by this feature? Nope, thought not.

Intolerance and Hatred

Some similarities in NYC with what I used to see and hear in Brixton from the religious groups (Christian and Muslim) that congregated to preach outside the station there (and, for all I know, still do). I wonder if "incitement to hatred on grounds of sexuality" is an offence? Mmm, let me think....

24th June 2005


And this was this week's gerbera, since last night to be found doing a stint in Pizza Express (it's a long story).

16th June picture posting (via new image loading feature on Blogger)


I'm so digging these gerberas right now. This is one I had last week on my desk at work.

Service Restored

Thankfully Baghdad Burning is back in business - this a quote from her last post on the Northern Hemisphere's longest day (and apols this is all in italics - Blogger having trouble formatting text presently):

“The Americans won’t be out in less than ten years.” Is how the argument often begins with the friend who has entered the Green Republic. “How can you say that?” Is usually my answer- and I begin to throw around numbers- 2007, 2008 maximum… Could they possibly want to be here longer? Can they afford to be here longer? At this, T. shakes his head- if you could see the bases they are planning to build- if you could see what already has been built- you’d know that they are going to be here for quite a while.

The Green Zone is a source of consternation and aggravation for the typical Iraqi. It makes us anxious because it symbolises the heart of the occupation and if fortifications and barricades are any indicator- the occupation is going to be here for a long time. It is a provocation because no matter how anyone tries to explain or justify it, it is like a slap in the face. It tells us that while we are citizens in our own country, our comings and goings are restricted because portions of the country no longer belong to its people. They belong to the people living in the Green Republic.

24 June 2005

Nine Shifting

Very interesting thoughts here about changes the internet is bringing to society and the parallels these have with those wrought by the car 100 years ago. I might just have to buy the book (though of course treeware is so 20th century). Not sure I agree about trains (people will be able to work in self-driving cars after all, and these can't be far off - though people may initially not trust the technology, one has to realise that one is already dependent on, for example, brakes, which are of course only a piece of technology), nor am I convinced that an economically fairer world is round the corner - but then I haven't read the book have I? Anyway, all very interesting and exciting.

23 June 2005

Interesting post here (via Moby's blog) about it being legal in the states for local government to seize your land for economic development if this is deemed to be in the public good, even if the developers to whom the government sells on your property are not public but private. How long before this happens in the UK do you think?

21 June 2005

Oh, and btw

I should skip the arboretum if I were you - it is a tad too unfinished.
21st June 2005 Lunch at Winkeworth Arboretum was interrupted by these greedy geese.  Posted by Hello

Imagine tiling your bathroom with these....

This is interesting - from the Sony labs. Physical widgets in the form of tiles that interact through drag and drop and proximity. Difficult to describe and I haven't got my head around what the implications / possibilities are yet but fascinating - go watch (Quicktime I'm afraid, tho' this is better than Realplayer I guess).

20 June 2005

20th June 2005 May not look much to you, but it is our first rose.  Posted by Hello

Better things #3

5. Food: Ha ha Arctic Roll.... Ha ha Angel Delight... But it was no joke of course - these were the highlights of British cuisine (alongside Findus Pancakes and Black Forest gateau) for far too long and we all suffered as a result. Welcome, then, pesto, olive oil and pine nuts. Welcome, too, panini and warm goat's cheese salad. Hurrah for Ben and Jerry's, wahey to avocado with walnut sauce... or something. Now I hate those braying Waitrosite "isn't Jamie Mahvellous, and so easy!" types as much as the next person (go on back to your Porsche 4X4s please) but really, something had to be done and thank goodness it was.
6. Coffee: See above. And don't believe what you read - British coffee is far better than American, particularly a regular latte from Cafe Nero.

19 June 2005

19th June 2005 Apologies for the quality of this shot - it's not for the want of trying - I took quite a few pics today but none seemed to work. This one looks as if I've cut and pasted the deer into the foreground but I haven't, honest, it is just because he was heavily backlit by the early evening sun. I think he's a young one judging by those fuzzy antlers.  Posted by Hello

18 June 2005

Young, female and living in Iraq...

I'd recommend this blog from Iraq - very interesting and a refreshing change to hear a woman's voice on the subject of living in Baghdad during the coalition occupation. Sad to read that religion is starting it's tragic stranglehold once more (c.f. the horror that is Afghanistan).
Update. Just realised (19th June 2005) that her blog hasn't been updated since 30th May - hope this shouldn't be read as anything too ominous.
18th June 2005 Posted by Hello

On the other hand #2

3. Photography: Easier, faster, cheaper... lots more of it about of course, which isn't necessarily a good thing (c.f. some of the photos on here!) but generally the bar keeps getting higher.
4. Healthcare: We're talking here, of course, in the Western world. Maybe by the time I reach 101 I'll be able to report on something positive having come out of the G8 meeting / all the noise Bob G is making.
18th June 2005 Posted by Hello

Glastonbury

Interesting - compare the prices of male versus female tickets on ebay and the male ones invariably come out higher - a side effect of male dominance of the internet? Males more likely to chance using ebay / chance getting in to Glasto with a ticket they didn't originally order? Keener to go? More men at Glasto in general?

Photos

BTW, apols for the absence of photos recently - I aim to do better from now on.

Religious Hatred

A couple of suggestions have been made to me where the new law might be useful: firstly, in the case of the desecration of Jewish graves. And secondly, in relation to the mortuary attendant who placed bacon over Muslim corpses. I'm not sure about the first example - aren't Jews covered by current law and within it constitute a Race? In the second example there does seem more to consider....

17 June 2005

Incitement to Religious Hatred

Oh boy am I looking forward to this becoming law. I would like, if possible, to be the first person to be brought to trial - I'm thinking maybe I'll try and upset a Jedi follower, or failing that, a satanist. Any tips on how I might go about this would be very welcome. A hint though - I might avoid upsetting Muslims given the likelihood of otherwise incurring a fatwa. Cowardly I know - apologies in advance.

15 June 2005

On the other hand....

101 Things that got better in the last 20 years:
1. Tolerance:
OK, so there's a way to go yet, but still - childlessness, cohabitation, homosexuality, atheism: all these good things are getting more accepted.
2. The Internet: The most exciting development of the last quarter of the 20th Century?

14 June 2005

Microsoft and Censorship

So Microsoft thinks its OK to go along with local laws even when those require that it indulges in a spot of censorship. Why? Erm, though I am dumb (see below), I do know that it is the money motive. No, Microsoft isn't responsible for bringing about justice, truth and The American Way (whatever that is- Gitmo anyone?). But surely turning a buck has to have moral boundaries? What next, developing some software that helps track "unlicensed" Chinese blogs? "Well, its in line with local law...." Google and Yahoo seem to be following suit. Listen up guys - just because the market is big doesn't mean it can't be won over to democracy.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more outrageous it becomes. If M, Y and G (particularly "do no evil" G) had stronger morals rather than aiding Chinese censors they would turn their backs on the market there. I know business isn't a moral enterprise, but there might be an economic argument here: China becomes, long term, a bigger market as it modernises - think how big it would be if it were a democracy. Now, if MY and G remain leaders in their fields then those using them have competitive advantage, this therefore being an incentive for China to allow their use with or without censorship. Everybody wins. Might take a while of course, and China will likely go all out to pirate or copy these companies best wares. How that is dealt with I don't know but something different needs to be done if China's government isn't to go on laughing at the hypocrisy of the Janus West preaching freedom with the mouth politic, repression with the mouth economic.

13 June 2005

More 101s

14. Queues: There is no need. None. Kew Gardens, in particular, has no excuse. The problem is, you rock up to the window and they try and explain the various membership options and day passes yada yada yada when every fule kno that what they should do is charge you your tenner or whatever, give you a ticket and boot you throught the turnstiles. You want membership? Sort it out online / by post / putting a form in a box.
While we're on the subject, does Tesco still pretend to do its "one in front" nonsense? I can't tell you how many times I've been in there (well, none since I learnt their sick leave policy but let's leave that aside for the time being) and there have been 38 people in front of me and seven empty tills. Where are the extra staff rushing out to stop you queueing? They're probably busy loading money into lorries out the back.
15. Walkman-style radios: You know, the ones that you are meant to be able to walk around and listen to through headphones? Only you can't because you have to micro-tune the radio with every step you take. Eventually you will tear this device apart with your bare hands in frustration.
13th June 2005 Once my hair is white...  Posted by Hello
13th June 2005 Fire seen from Waterloo Bridge c. 1900hrs. Posted by Hello
13th July 2005 How I love gerberas (gerbera?).  Posted by Hello

11 June 2005

7th June 2005 Tree with face from Lord of the Rings is not 'shopped I promise.  Posted by Hello

89 and counting down...

13. MP3 headphones: The joy of having hours of easily accessible music with you wherever you go is still sadly marred by the fact of you having to take ten minutes sorting out your headphone wires during your walk to the station.

Dumbness

Sometimes it amazes me how dumb I still am even having lived as long as I have. Today I learnt, through Google's Word of the Day that "manumit" means to free from slavery - great word, but what it means to me is that I now understand where the club night on Ibiza got its name. (Apologies to all those who understood this years ago - I'll get my coat).
By the way, have a new look at Switzerland here. This is what Google maps and countless others (shame on you, multimap) should be doing. Amazing. It is a pity that the country that has this beautiful facility is so (a) expensive and (b) dull.

7 June 2005

7th June 2005 Unfiltered, unshopped, just how it was...  Posted by Hello

101 Revisited

10. Whitening toothpaste: It doesn't.
11. Washing Powder in Boxes: "Lift flap and pull to open" should more accurately read "To experience once again the triumph of hope over experience, lift flap and pull back to remove a tiny sliver of coloured cardboard about 1 nanometre thick leaving rough and ugly brown cardboard underneath exposed. Go to utensil drawer, get knife and hack away like you did last time. Fetch dustpan and brush and clean up. Repeat process with next packet."
12. White Goods settings: You only ever use one on your microwave (the most powerful one, whatever it is - you might be tempted to use a "defrost" setting on one other occasion but after sixteen minutes you'll find your frozen strawberries still frozen and will revert to the nuclear option), and the setting on your fridge only ever changes when you stuff in too much food that you later throw away. Similarly your washing machine has hundreds of possible combinations but you only ever use two, 40 and, if you're feeling daring, 60.

5 June 2005

4th June 2005 Posted by Hello
31st May 2005 Near work.  Posted by Hello
2nd June 2005 Outside British Museum, lunchtime.  Posted by Hello

A couple more for 101

6. Clothes hangers: Like bicycles, they occupy far more space than they need to and become impossibly entangled despite their relatively simple shape. Wire ones are worst.
7. Mobile phones: Ah, where to start? With the fact that they ring for about two nanoseconds when you want to answer them (and subsequently aren't able to), and for ten minutes when you are in a library in a monastery occupied by an order of silent monks? Or how about trying to configure them for email, an impossible task unless you have a PhD in Combined Linguistics and Computing.
8. Staff in B&Q, Homebase, Waites etc: Like two North poles on a pair of magnets, you will never come into contact with a member of staff in one of these hangar-like DIY stores as they maximise the distance between themselves and customers requiring assistance automatically. It would be easier to pick up a piece of antimatter than discuss planking availability with Bill in the Timber section.
9. Zips:
Why do manufacturers insist on always running thin, easily snagged material alongside zipper paths? Is there some unwritten law that states zips should become all but unusable after a few weeks because said thin material is by then prepped and loaded, ready to rush between the teeth of an oncoming zip at the merest hint of closure?

1 June 2005

2005: The "Room for Improvement" 101

It's the 21st Century - surely the following should be better than they are?

1. Umbrellas
- cumbersome, fragile, useless in bad weather...
2. Gortex - it just doesn't work does it? Five minutes in a Gortex coat and I'm ready to be put down - the heat, the sweat. "Breathable"? Erm, no.
3. Polo necks: see above. These were never a good idea were they?
4. Sellotape: it's really gone downhill hasn't it?
5. Bicycles - the anti-tardis of the vehicular world, bicycles take up approximately four times more space than they need to. Walk past a bike leanng against a wall in a hallway and even if said hallway is ten feet wide the bike will reach out and snag you. And leave your clothes and hands filthy.

More soon. And suggestions welcome.

In the Woods