31 October 2005

17,000 dead children according to the BBC

I expect God / Allah / Jahweh / whoever is very proud of himself for this - 17,000 children dead in the quake in Pakistan and India. Of course, though, the problem isn't with god, it is with me - I don't understand his mission / his mysterious ways / his giving us free will / his "intelligent design" (doh). But hang on, if he can sit by and let this happen (he can't, after all, intervene for some reason), doesn't that make him evil, or at best indifferent? So why would one want to worship him except out of a fear of hell? And since when has fear been at the root of love? Doh2.

30 October 2005


This is very interesting (via the Guardian's online blog). A service that offers the opportunity to search for pictures of people. Though in Alpha and invite only (I've applied and I'm hoping...), it spells the beginning of image searching not by tag (so 2004), but by matching parts of images themselves. Now, it might be clumsy - as I say, I haven't seen it yet, so who knows, maybe it isn't - but I imagine it will get better. And when it does? How about these ideas:
1. Searching through your photos on your computer. So far, so good - you look for all the pictures you have of your mate Suzie or your dog Frank and you make up a nice little album.
2. You move off your computer onto the net and do the same search. Interesting. Maybe you come up with some doppelgangers for yourself or your friends / family / pooch. Maybe some of the material you find is compromising...
3. The State decides it wants to search for someone, Mr X. It looks for him not only on the web but also on all the surveillance footage it can get, first in stocks already shot, then live. Then you have one more piece in place for a system that can get to know your whereabouts at all times (mobile triangulation / TC recordings / internet usage / Oyster card / credit card / car insurance black boxes....).
riya looks innocent and looks like it was born of good intentions - and I personally would love to have a go - but the pieces of the Orwellian eye are coming together quite fast now. I happen to think that the advantages of the ongoing digitalisation of society are going to far outweigh the disadvantages, but that will remain true only if a rein is kept on governments, and only if freedom of information comes to signify more than than at present, particularly here in the UK where it is virtually empty of meaning. And here we are relatively lucky: much as I would already hate to be living in North Korea or China, for example, it isn't hard to imagine things getting much, much worse for their citizens in the near future.
15th October 2005 Here's another Venetian number - inside the Biennale, outside the German exhibition.  Posted by Picasa
21st October 2005 So, not the most exciting picture but it couldn't be anywhere but London and I like it all the more for that. I love the "houses" (offices I suspect), I love the BT Tower, and I like the TV aerials - how much longer will any or all of that be present?  Posted by Picasa
20th October 2005 Waterloo Sunset number 17. I hardly ever get to see much sky so when I do I tend to take a picture. The stitching makes this look a little unusual and I will work on future versions. Posted by Picasa

28 October 2005

Iran / Israel

Oh dear non-existent lord it is depressing to think how Bush will attempt to salvage his increasingly shabby looking presidency with an attack on Iran. The mad islamo-facists stupidity outlined in the BBC's story here will most likely form part of the excuse - expect some sort of outrage linked to the Iranian state in the next few days or weeks.


So, here's your choice:
1. Use Firefox and go back to the days of a dial up modem - speedy it ain't.
2. IE - don't be daft.
3. Opera - fine if you like 75% of your screen taken up with toobars and other stuff.
Of course, there is the thought that none of it is worth the bother any more....
Heresy! Heresy!
I think, it being Friday, I need a drink and a lot of sleep. In that order.

Vodafone - DON'T SIGN UP

So, you want to leave and take your number with you? Well, ring up and ask for your PAC number, necessary to transfer your phone number to another network. And then wait. Ring up again. "We will text it." Wait. Ring up again - "we will text you it immediately". Ring up again and finally, three days after first asking, you get it. I bet working in their sweat shops, I mean call centres, is fun, particularly dealing with customers who have had the p*** taken out of them.

27 October 2005

Random 101s

A few things of note:
1. You cannot buy Thin Sliced bread any more. Thick or Medium but not thin - sounds too mean I suppose. Score another one for Doublespeak.
2. You can't buy a small coffee. Anywhere. Think "Regular" or that godawful "Tall" from Starbucks which, unless you ask for another shot, tastes like it's come straight from a Jersey's teat.
3. "Your call matters to us." Which is why, presumably, I am left listening to guff from a machine followed by the pop equivalent of The Four Seasons.
4. "Wild mushrooms". Not a domesticated ffing mushroom to be found on a menu in the UK now.
5. "Sun kissed tomatoes". Or perhaps "air dried ham" - how else is something dried?
6. "Organic." Erm, right. And that means what, exactly?

Lack of Photos

Apologies for the absence of the beautiful pictures you have come to know and love. My camera is currently indisposed somewhere in Reading but will be back home soon.

25 October 2005

Beat the Press

Have you noticed how, now that you are addicted to the interweb, you find you are reading about things on here days, and sometimes weeks, before they are picked up by those reliant on treeware or other outdated media? Welcome to the onrushing atomisation of media and your role in it.

19 October 2005

Getting DVDs onto your iPod video

Has a tipping point been reached? Not so much in the content of these iPoddery hacks, but rather in the celebratory tone? It's a departure, I'm sure, from the normal reverence reserved for our white-bodied friends.

18 October 2005

The Sneeze

I'd recommend you go over to The Sneeze (see sidebar) as soon as you have finished reading this site from end to end - over there you will, I guarantee it, laugh immoderately. Suggested topics include the Tree Brain and Steve, Don't Eat It! Vrey vrey funny.

17 October 2005

Bald as a terrorist: The Great UK ID Card Cock Up

It's all over the news of course - if you go bald your ID may be misattributed. That would suggest the addition of a beard / the shaving of one's head would be sufficient to muck up the system. Erm, haven't these ruses been around since, well, since the birth of humanity? I wonder if the machines can deal with makeup?

13 October 2005

BBC and Apple

Why are the BBC giving Apple products so much publicity? Tie-in anyone?

12 October 2005

Media Players

What is it about media players? Real Player doesn't, play that is - videos regularly fail part way through or don't start at all, while over at Microsoft, Windows Media Player cannot be uninstalled (they are on v10 at the moment so this is deliberate). Quicktime isn't, quick that is, and Music Match, while good to start, went and got all Realplayer on me and started taking over my machine and turning into an adstuffed bloatware monster, not to mention the spam it seemed to generate what with updates and offers and all that other palaver. Anyone who can recommend a good player will earn my undying thanks.Or something.

Ratty Smell?

In what must surely rate as one of it's most speculative headlines ever, the BBC writes: ""Syrian Minister "Commits Suicide"".... Never, I suspect, have those quote marks been more important.

11 October 2005

Yahoo!'s Complicity in Human Rights Abuse 2

More here in the American press about our lovable friends of China, Yahoo, and their role in the jailing of innocents. It ain't comfy reading.


So you text your kettle on the way home, then when you get through the door it's already boiled. Way cool as someone might once have said some years ago.
(It only worries me slightly that the first use for this after teamaking that I thought of was filling it with petrol and thereby creating a remote controlled arson kit - what is wrong with me?).

Europe Wants Confusion to Reign

The Chinese authorities "helping" to run the interweb? What a great idea! Why don't we have Nigeria in charge of email and the Saudi's "helping" with content control? Sometimes I really do despair.
Don't the Chinese already have their own web-within-the-web where such words as Tibet, freedom, reasonable behaviour, Tiannamen and happiness are banned? If they want to go off and do their own thing let them - sure there will be losers, like Yahoo! and Google who describe the censorship features of their software as "politically neutral" but in reality are simply bowing to political pressure and the desire not to lose out on some bucks - but don't such losers deserve to lose? (I know, biting the hand that feeds - I will be looking for alternative blogware as soon as I have the time).

10 October 2005

And lo it came to pass

that Mrs Lemon became a very sad individual indeed with the purchase of a pedometer - I'm already thinking bar charts, medians, work vs home.... it's going to be worse than when I kept a food diary I should imagine. However it has already made me go up the post box a couple of times when I wouldn't normally have bothered (it being true that it was after nine o'clock at night and I pass about six post boxes on my way to work every morning).
8th October 2005 I know, I know, but how could I resist?  Posted by Picasa

9 October 2005

The Observer

While we are talking about the Observer, just what is it about actors that the paper is so obsessed with? This week it is Tilda Swinton. Sure, great actress blah blah blah but why would we suppose that someone who pretends to be someone else for a living has interesting insights into the human condition or the way we live today? How about interviewing someone who contributes to society in some way, a doctor, an historian or a mechanic for example? Sure we want escapism but lets leave it in the cinema. Beauty and a large income do not confer particular powers of perception on an individual; rather, they simply provide insight into how beautiful and rich people see the world. It reminds me of that awful book: India: A Million Mutinies Now by V S Naipaul which purports to show some insight into the workings of modern day India by interviewing a number of rich Indian men. If I remember rightly there is one woman spoken to and she is given short shrift by the mighty V S who sees her solely through the prism of the men with whom she interacts. For the rest, we are supposed to consider the views of a few rich Indian men representative of the billion people who live in the subcontinent. How about the rickshaw driver, the call centre operator, the nurse, the caterer? How about their equivalents in the UK Mr Jenkins, Observer magazine editor?

8 October 2005


Go here if you have a fast internet connection and are interested in seeing the first nine minutes of what looks to be a great film. If you are at work and banking on switching off if someone comes in, don't - you'll be so hooked you won't realise your boss has entered the room until she's scrabbling in her briefcase for your P45.

7 October 2005

Poncey Restaurants Top 5

Going out for flash meals - it has got to stop. In the meantime, here are my top five for what they are worth:
1. Sketch - believe the hype (go to the Gallery for more reasonable prices).
2. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons - nice garden as well.
3. Titanic - I think it's now sunk but when it was going I loved it for its Essex bling.
4. The Sugar Club (mind you, we're talking a while ago - it's something else now).
5. Savoy Grill - illustrative of the rule that: cheap = mixed service; getting costly = unfriendly service; expensive = break on through to friendly service - the same is true of Sketch.
(I was going to link to all the restaurants but in some cases I couldn't get through the nonsense Google sends out in the name of search - anyone have a recommendation for a search engine that works?).
7th October 2005  Posted by Picasa

5 October 2005

They're Going to Destroy / Our Casual Joys

There is nothing cheap and laughable about the following statement now is there?

"Using your music in the modern landscape is not selling out; if it's done right, it's giving it new life," said Amy Kavanaugh, an executive vice president at Edelman, the Los Angeles public relations and marketing firm that has worked with Starbucks on the coffee merchant's extensive branding efforts with music.

Compare with:

"People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music," Densmore said. "I've had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn't commit suicide because of this music…. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That's not for rent."

These quotes come from the LA Times where John Densmore, the drummer from the Doors, explains why he doesn't want to sell out by taking his share of $15,000,000 from Cadillac for the rights to Break on Through. Good for him and more power to his elbow. Haven't they got enough money from elsewhere? You'd have thought so.

More on Fishback

If you can find a better reason to be concerned about Iraq and what it means for the future, let me know, otherwise I'd recommend you have a look here to see what delights are perpetrated in Bush's name and, by association, our delightful Tony. Why this isn't a bigger story I don't know but it saddens, disgusts and angers in equal measure.

3 October 2005

3rd October 2005  Posted by Picasa

"TV Responsible for all the World's Evil"

From netdoctor.co.uk comes the following:

Watching TV can cause depression, diabetes, cancer and obesity and should be limited to a couple of hours a day according to a new study.

Dr Aric Sigman of the British Psychological Society, has published a study showing that kids watch 40 per cent more TV than they did ten years ago and has called on a recommended daily viewing amount.

In his report, Remotely Controlled, he states that children under three years of age should not be allowed to watch TV at all and older children should only be allowed to watch an hour of quality programmes a day.

Dr Sigman told the Scotsman: ....

"Television viewing is also now linked with stunting brain development in the child's frontal lobe leading to reduced impulse control and increased antisocial behaviour."

Oh dear lord no wonder I feel so awful - it was all that children's television - who's a silly old Hector now?