link Why the US wants to end the link between the Earth and the Sun “2”

I can see where they're coming from, but I simply don't agree it's worth the hassle. Making sundials obsolete is not progress.
If your navigation system causes two planes to crash because of a one-second error, you have worse problems than leap seconds(!)

link Walk into the painting “0”

Cinematic Saga “2”

I went to see the Fabulous Four the other day (more later), but something unfortunate happened.

The woman who served me my obese drink didn't put it's cap on properly.

As I sat, liking the film very much, I went to take a drink, tilted it only slightly, and managed to have a staining amount of coke pour over my lovely yellow simpleton top.

I went straight to Gap in search of something cheap to buy that could replace it immediately. Nothing reasonable. River Island was my next choice. I'm not joking when I say they couldn't GIVE their clothes away. Sale prices, shirts down to £5, everything. All horrendous. Protochavware.

But I did find a nice little Quicksilver top for £12, green (my favourite colour) and tasteful. Success!

link I REALLY wish I could do that! “1”


link Maxwell's Sliver Hammer “1”

An animation of one of the Beatles' least liked songs. Very good.

link High Speed Shots “0”

link The New Fonts are Here “0”

Fabulous Four “4”

Well I was going to go into Bristol today to have a look at the new Fab Four film, but the bus didn't even show up! We (me an and old lady) were waiting for quite some time.


Turns out that our bus crashed into another bus, and they've completely sealed off the area. That's not surprising; it's crashed before and we saw a country ambulance race by.

Tomorrow it is, then.

link Precisely what happens when shit companies acquire other shit companies in a developing market “1”

They deserve it - they're RUBBISH!

To clarify; they owe me lots of money (slash software)!

The Balance “1”

I was just checking my balance online to see how poor I was, when I got a very nice surprise. Very nice surprise.

Thank you, Labour. Now I can buy the helmet to go with the bike!

InvisiTag Experiment “1”

How now, brown cow?

link Yahoo! buys Konfabulator, makes it free “0”

Go and get it. It's a really good app, free (it used to be about $20), and I think they're adding bits to it all the time!

link Gmail & Ad Blindness “0”

I use Gmail coutless times daily, and I have to be honest when I say I haven't seen (and certainly haven't read) an interface advert in months, simply because I don't even register that part of the screen. I'm going to have a look now...

Coming Up With A Name “2”

Well I couldn't quite develop a name for this great, new, unique, innovative, excellent feature of Buster Tests (it is!), but I thought a slogan would do. Try it out on my latest test.

How I Choose My Bank (Among Other Things) “2”

Call me superficial, or perhaps unfiscal, but I can't stand to bank with banks with bad brands.

I'm really talking about brands I like, not that are academically sound.

So take a look at the mainstream banks available to me and try to guess who I bank with.
Bearing in mind you probably haven't seen any of the adverts or printed material, which also swing me. The printed material, that is.

link's Nice New Look “0”

Green. I like it. I've always wanted to do dominant green, but it's hard to pull off, to be honest. Green's my favourite colour!

Dealing With Terrorism “0” really does make me wretch.

Thank goodness someone has come up with a far better alternative:!

Google Evolves “0”

Here's a summary of what Google's up to according to a recent patent application.
  • Google will track who owns what domains, to crack down on spammers.
  • Google will track user behaviour, I believe using My Search History. This is an opportunity for spammers to attack, and also threatens quality of results as often what I click on isn't want I need.
  • Google will monitor content changes and return results appropriately, especially regarding searches which have increased loads recently.
  • Google will track bookmarks and favourites along with cache files. This may signify a Google Browser, but I like to think they'll start looking at the likes of and digg more.
  • Google may lower your page rank if your site changes topic drastically (i.e. you loose the domain to spammers who don't have your content).
  • Google will take more notice of anchor text.
  • Google will analyse more factors around links, like how long it has taken a website to gain its links, hinting that a decent site will take ages, whereas spam will get many overnight. They'll have to be careful with that one, but they are onto something.
Thanks to Massive for the preliminary analysis.

Ricky Gervais' 'Extras' “0”

Last night was the premiere of "The Office" comedian Rick Gervais' new show, Extras.

It got 4.6 million viewers (loads), but I'm not sure if it's really that good. I'll watch a few more and hope that it picks up, but not everyone can relate to the broadcast acting scene. There were some good jokes, though.

The Times gave it three stars, and reminded me that The Office was a bit of a runaway hit, and probably can't be topped.

link Shot man not connected to bombings “0”

It's very unfortunate to hear that police now think that the man who was shot dead the other day wasn't connected with the bombings.

They followed him from his home to the tube, where he was shot (up to five times) by plain clothes police.

Sad as this is, I'm quite sure the police wouldn't have done this without reason. Something must have been up for them to follow and shoot someone dead on the tube.

Anything for a USP... “1”

Irony & Terrorism “1”

On the lighter side of all of the horrible happenings in London over the past few weeks, at least we know that these terrorist must be aware of irony.

Surely? They must be.

That's a New York top he has on, by the way.

The police should really be on the lookout for someone with a bomberman tee on.

Ajaxed Up “0”

Well as I posted a few hours ago I've been trying out the AJAX. It's been alright - I'm restricted by my lack of knowledge and have had to think of quite a few work-arounds.

I've basically made users of Buster Tests to add items to their revision lists without leaving the page. Once they select them, they disappear so they aren't able to add the same one twice.

I've also discovered a great array function in PHP which removes duplicates, which is quite a handy thing for me.

Try logging in, taking a test (on movement and position, for instance), not selecting any of the questions (to generate a longer list of revision items), and then adding the items to your list. It's AJAX!

Sudoku “0”

Over the past few days, Sudoku has gripped me just as it has gripped the nation.

It's a great little puzzle! I'd recommend The Times for the three they include daily, but you can try it online for free at this great site from Yahoo!

There seems to be disagreement about how to spell it, either Su Doku or Sudoku, and it's pretty hard to say properly with an English accent, to boot (it works against usual phonetic patterns). I prefer to spell it Sudoku, without the space, because the one word appeals to the folksonomist in me.

There's even an open-source java phone program avaliable. Brilliant, but I can't get it to work :(

link Want an easy introduction to AJAX? “0”

I've just decided to learn the basics of AJAX for something I want to do with Buster Tests, and this article has helped me to do just that. Be aware of some typing mistakes, though.

link Google Loses GMail Trademark Battle “7”


What will it be now, then? GoogleMail? GooM? GoM? GeM? (That's a good'un)

In the meantime, check out what people are saying about this (ideas, ideas) and take a look at this spooky image:

...Google Mail ain't cool! As one Digger commented, this may be the end for the glossy image of Google, as loads of users rise up over having to change all mentions of their email address. Think of the time that will be wasted.

I reckon they'll have forward to your inbox for a decent length of time and just say "well, y'know your real address is"...

Update: Kevin tells us...
According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, they hold not one but two live trademarks to GMAIL:
78398233 and 78395746 in addition to not only Cencourse but other companies as well. Google claims to have first use it years ago, according to their trademark documents.
So it looks like we're kind-of alright. With such money, Google should be able to find a way to keep Gmail, anyways.

Another Update: Well we don't know. Those docs look dodge. Who cares, anyway? It's just email...

link Cool Sci-Fi Control Panel For Audio “0”

Not great videos, but they do make me want one!

UN Reforms “0”

The BBC is covering an ongoing debate over UN reforms. They're only talking about it, but take a look at the at-a-glance findings of the BBC World Service's poll. It's the differences that make it interesting.

Just so you know, I'm in favour of all (more power for the UN, extra security council member) bar the last (more than one country needed to veto), because that's when things get sticky. But I'm not sure, and my mind isn't made up on that one yet.

Big Fish “0”

I watched Big Fish today for the second time. It's simply a fantastic film, exactly the kind I like and totally typical of Tim Burton.

I really do recommend this one to everyone, especially fathers.

Five star!

link Watch them build a cinema “0”

Brilliant stuff.

link Smash Him Up! “3”

Comment: SAW “0”

I think it's for the best that I've had a chance to sleep of the anger after watching SAW.

Don't watch it. It won't do you any good.

It's simply yet another shambolic Hollywood attempt. Piece. Of. Shite.

iPod Mini Distress “7”

I thought my iPod Mini broke earlier on today, because it just seemed to turn itself off and not respond to anything. I was quite upset and very angry at Apple, but it's much better now! I pressed "Menu" and the central button at the same time for a few seconds, and it turned on.

Per-a-yas Jea-sus-sah!

link ICE - Quite Sensible “0”

Owing to the rapid uptake of mobile phones, if you want the emergency services to know exactly who to contact during bad times for your body, a new scheme thing allows you to stick them in your mobile phone book under "ICE" (In Case if Emergency). Bright.

link The BBC says sorry about the Live 8 swearing in response to the 350 complaints “0”

"To put it in context, if EastEnders starts five minutes late we get over 500 complaints."

All This Heat “0”

It's just waaay too hot here. I really can't deal with the heat - it makes me quite unproductive.

Jobs Over the Internet “3”

Jobazaar UK looks like a nice new online thing. It's US counterpart looks quite good, and I really do hope this becomes one of those places where you can just find someone to be your digital skivvy and knock up a bit of code for you for £5. I'd like that.

Needs more work, though. Ironic as that is.

There Goes Odeo “0”

Kaplunk! It was a nice try, but too little too late.

Odeo, the web-based podcasting manager, has just opened itself up to the public. Nothing has changed since I tried out a closed beta, even though there were claims of the "Syncr" being improved.

This is quite sad. I really wanted the whole Odeo thing to get going and work well, just like Blogger and all of the others. But it's not going to happen.

You can tell from the distinct lack of interest in the web community. No one is talking about it. Not even the podcasters!

The podcasters are wrapped up in iTunes, and rightly so. I've found it to be a near perfect podcasting receiver, and Odeo simply has no chance of topping it.

But what can Odeo do with all of their new user base? How can it use their new audience effectively?

In short, by turning Odeo into a well thought out directory of podcasts. Don't just think about the "directory" part of that statement; this needs to be a well thought out one! Right now podcasting is screaming out for one! Gap in market alert! iTunes is only good for searching, Podcast Alley is a totally rubbish sell-out and Odeo is simply useless.

What is needed is a way for new and existing podcastees to find good new shows which appeal to them. This will help the podcasting community grow; making both audience and producer happy. The way this is executed, however, is tricky.

I'm tempted to do it myself. There are a number of simple techniques one can employ to allow users to find what they want, fast. I won't go into them now, but just look around you. You'll find them.

Oh, and God knows why Odeo was named a "breakout" company by Fortune. Methinks there were a few back-handers there. Either that or the journalists were on crack.

link CSS Guide on your iPod “0”

I'm Now A "Published" Photographer “1”

Wow. I've just found out that my submission into JPG Magazine has been accepted!

Chill Out, Buster
This is a "fabulous" photo!

Back from Newquay “1”

I had an excellent time, but I'm hot, burning and feel bruised from surfing. Keep an eye on my Flickr photos for new stuff!

link Hardware Survey Results “0”

Off to Newquay “2”

At ten tomorrow I'm off on a holiday... of sorts.

A picture of me, happy, for you to look at while I'm away.I'll be going to Newquay's fabulously glamorous Watergate Bay. I'm doing it with my physics class (who are, on the whole, great), and we'll be surfing, camping, barbecuing, (pretending to be) learning physics, taking pictures of stars with coke cans (I don't know either).

I'll be doing as much photography as my battery/flash card will permit, too!

The trip is four hours in the car with our teacher Mr "S", which is going to be much better than going in the Minibus with the hoy polloi.

I'll be back on Tuesday, and may have things to share with you.

Speedy PDFs “1”

While I understand that those of us with Macintosh computers have had this for a while, I'd like to say "well done" to Adobe, who have released a new version of their reader software which actually opens fast.

Finally, a step forward from Adobe.

Whatever next?

Stopping the terror “2”

link Blow up those bunnies “2”

Very good stuff.

link The caffeine superdrink “0”

link Now there's a great brand “0”

link What's it like to fart on telly? “1”

Flickr Pro Account, Anyone? “4”

Now That's Just LovelyIf you fancy winning a free Flickr Pro account, email me two of your very best photos.

I thought I was going to give this to someone, but have decided that they didn't really need it. I would prefer it if you enter only if you're going to use it at least semi-often.

If no one enters, I'll bag it for myself :D

Update: Oh and I'll publish any entries with links to their respective artists.

Deadline is next Thursday!

What's Left of the Bus “1”

Next to the now blood-splatted BMA HQ.
Image from BBC News.

link Dr. Shipman Cutout “0”

London Death Toll at 37 “3”

Unfortunately this will probably go up after today's outrageous events. Many are in a critical condition in hospital.

Thankfully, we were as ready for this as we could be. The emergency services are well practiced in the art of dealing with such events, with specially trained teams deployed to the areas.

I'm very happy to see that the message that the group which carried out these cowardly bombings aren't Muslim. They can claim to be all they like, but they're sorely mistaken. One group which is stepping forward links themselves to Al-Qaeda.

It's quite unfortunate that all of this has happened after the Olympic bid. The team there were probably expecting to return to a hero's welcome, yet unfortunately it will be quite muted now. Good job we were chosen yesterday!

The best thing people can do now is to learn from the mistakes made following the events in New York. Don't become scared of going outside. Don't blame or become hateful towards Muslims. Don't trust the government blindly, although do give them your support. Keep on going.

It's great to see how the stock market is already getting back to normal; a great measure of how the resolve of the country is.

Deplorable Attack on London “2”

A this morning set of at least four coordinated explosions have taken place across the capital today, killing at least thrity and injuring at least 150 seriously.
It seems that there hasn't been any mass hysteria; everyone has kept calm. See the BBC In Depth guide for more information.

London 2012 “1”

Today in a nail-biting event, it was announced that London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic games.

Which is yet another fantastic happening today.

I'm looking forward to it already! I'm so proud of the team for winning; it's a monumental achievement and all of their hard work planning and marketing the games has really paid off.

People often get cynical about the Olympics. They like to focus on what's wrong with the games, its administrators and its costs. But I am very sure that the benefits of redeveloping east London will be very apparent by the time the games end. If anything, a powerful morale boost to the Kingdom should be warmly welcomed, and is easily worth the money.

One thing I really want to watch is the presentation Lord Coe gave to the IOC in order to sway the votes our way. Some of the marketing material was really expectational.

Take a look at the videos on the BBC website. Coe & company did a fantastic presentation with some really striking films. If you can get hold of those two promotional videos, do. The one which showcases the developments that will now take place is exceptional; I'm really looking forward to seeing and using them!

All in all this is simply a great day for the UK, and perhaps for the world. We fought the campaign on the grounds that these games would inspire the youth of the world into sport, and I sincerely hope they do that, and more.

I was upset by some booing from France when the final decision was announced, but the tensions were high - I forgive them!

I'll be talking a lot about this as time goes by. But first... Beijing!

link Amazing Flash “1”

How mesmerising! Why is she in a bikini, though? Via Dooey.

Google Withhold from Germans “2”

According to a German article, Google aren't handing out Gmail accounts over in sausage land because of trademark issues. They get instead.

Not so cool. Thanks KB.

EU Throws Out Software Patents Bill! “0”

In a downright brilliant decision, the EU have thrown out a bill which would allow software to be patented!

A fantastic victory for all of those opposed to the bill, I'm absolutely delighted about the action!

The such a decision was voted for 648 to 14, a landslide majority!

I have done so much emailing to make this happen, so I'm pretty chuffed the right choice was made. So are the hundreds of thousands of other EU members who have also been campaigning. It will benefit all of us greatly in the future; the freedom to innovate is a very precious one.

So well done to everyone involved. No doubt this will come back later on, as the big corporations will continue to put pressure on the parliament to reconsider its choice.

link Tech Tag Tool Updated “7”

I've done a bit of work on the Technorati Tag Generator.

The favicon now matches Technorati's, so you can use your Firefox bookmark toolbar like never before!Now it's much nicer to look at, use and bookmark.

As you can see from the pic to the right, the logos are now similar but clearly different, which means you can add them to your Firefox bookmark panel (Oh dear! IE users miss out on this little gem because it's sheet!).

There were some problems for the noble open-sourcers among us. I hope you'll find them to be fixed now, but if not please tell!

Any other requests, problems or comments - email me!

link Microsoft & WaSP sitting in a tree... “0”

...working for some harmony.

Talking Careers “0”

What a bizarre day. I went into school thinking I had a full set of lessons, only to find out that we had a day where we got to sit around and listen to people talk about their career, and how to get into a job like theirs. One an hour for four hours.

It's not as simple as it sounds.

Hour 1 - The Local Councillor

She was such a nice old lady, but I'm not sure she really knew what she was there for. I suspect that the class was interested in finding out about politics, and to an extent we did. I can remember her talking about:
  • respecting your parents
  • the war
  • not doing drugs
  • being a constable
  • why we aren't in Zimbabwe right now (oil)
  • not swearing because doing so is bad for being a politician
  • what she did for fun as a child
  • swearing because sometimes it earns you respect
  • your mother being your best friend
  • the war
  • having nine siblings
  • touching things that aren't yours to touch (yikes)
  • asking people thinking of doing a psychology degree to psychoanalyse her
  • the war
It's true! She wasn't talking about any recent wars, either. But she was a laugh.

Hour 2 - Year in Industry

Wow! I've decided what I'll be doing before going to university... a year in industry. You get paid to learn and invent - brilliant!

Hour 3 - GWR News Reading

This man, Macca - a bit of a local celeb, was really nice. I remember thinking about how confidently and clearly he spoke; I can see why he reads the news! He was going to slip our school's name into the weather at 5.00pm, but I missed it :(

Hour 4 - The BBC

Oh my.

Now this is the part I was really surprised about. Instead of talking to us about careers in broadcast media, as one might expect, the pair from BBC Bristol decided to use us for audience research.

They were part of a unit whose main function is to invent new ideas for programmes. They showed us some 'tasters' they had been working on, and talked about how they've been doing Bargain Hunt and the likes.

I now fully understand why the BBC is in so much trouble.

What a bunch of awful crap. I suppose they are tasters, but even then, how on earth the BBC allows them to keep their jobs is beyond me!

But I am pleased to say that I can now exclusively reveal that BBC Bristol will be producing a set of factual programmes based on the work and adventures of a veterinary couple based in Africa. Saving hippos and the like. Now that, my friends, is a total exclusive, because it was commissioned only hours ago. Some how.

They wanted to know what us 17-year-olds don't watch so many BBC shows, what we enjoyed on TV in general and why.

I told them that I loved Channel 4, because they have very, very innovate content (even if they didn't produce it). I'm talking about Big Brother, How Clean Is Your House?, Six Feet Under, Desperate Housewives, Nip/Tuck... the list goes on.

I explained to them that each one of these programmes plays on a fundamental feature of human personality, usually in an indirect way and usually one that a large majority possess. That's why people like these shows. They bring out, often in a discrete manner, hidden personality. Identifying with the characters is not clear, but it's natural.

They've invited out group into BBC Bristol for a brainstorming session. I'm going to try my best to come up with some ideas while there, and will insist on having my name in the credits, of course.

link There goes the climate... “0”

Global warming is quite an important issue to me.

If the USA's economy would break because of something like the Kyoto treaty, then perhaps it's time to get another job anyway - the oil'll be gone soon... whatcha gonna do then?

Giving Buster Tests the Nip/Tuck “0”

Yes! It's that time of the year! Buster Tests is one year old now, so it's time to take stock of the design, feedback and my usage statistics and improve.

But I have actually decided that I like what I see right now. It's alright. It'll do. I'll be making some changes, however.

Buster Tests' navigation has always been a bit of a problem. There are quite a lot of features, all of which vary in importance. The way I have combated this is to separate the menu into two (three if you're logged in) and colour the really important bits of the navigation. I'm not sure how clear it is at the moment, though, and I don't like the idea of splitting the menu up full stop.

So I'll be putting the menu all back together again, in order of importance, highlighting the two most important sections, perhaps renaming some parts to make them even clearer, and making some buttons smaller than others, to draw attention. I also plan to stick a few icons in with the colouring.

The page design is also getting a bit of a vamp: I'll be moving onto a design which highlights the content and not the sidebar with a nice set of gradients designed to look like a page which is slightly raised.

I'm not sure what I should do with the header styles yet. At the moment I think they're a bit obscene - perhaps too bold. Some playing around with them should do the trick.

Just about all page-specific content and styles will stay the same - this isn't a total redesign, more of a nip and tuck.

The sidebar is also due for some justice, but it plays quite an insignificant role. Perhaps it would be good to see what can be done with that space. I can think of a few special navigation features that would make lives far easier already.

I'll be disposing of the main side bar advert for the summer holidays, too. There's no point in keeping it there - all I expect to get from it is $5 over the three months :D

link Physics as Art “1”

link Sky to rival NewsNight “0”

Hah! Good luck, Rupey! All I can say is I hope we don't have an equivalent to O'Rielly hiding in the broadcasting bushes. There are enough vulvae on Sky News as it is. I've never even heard of The Boulton Factor, but it sounds like a farce to me...

link Why f***ing complain to the BBC? “2”

It's tradition! (Both the swearing and the complaints...)

link Brit Sacked for Having Opinion “1”

I hope Alex Hanff rips Aldcliffe Computer Systems apart with that human rights bill.

What a bunch of douches! Outrage!

Review: Podcasting and the iPod “2”

As podcasters go crazy about how Apple have screwed them over, why not take a look at what Apple have done for the consumer (of an iPod Mini).

The new podcasting support is great. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. The new Podcasting section in the "Music" menu works very nicely: you get a neat menu of show titles and then, after clicking on one, a list of shows for that show. This episode view has two columns: episode title (which scrolls along if you have it highlighted) and the date the podcast was... podcasted.

When you select a show, it's just like playing any other song, except that instead of rating a show you can see its details.

It's easy to download shows, delete shows, look up details about shows, bookmark your place within shows... this is really great!

So well done Apple engineers.

Just a few things, though:
  1. I really hate reading American dates - it does my head in and slows me down. Internationalise.
  2. It doesn't make sense to me to order the episodes newest first. It might to others, though, so make it an option to alter how shows are sorted on the iPod. Or consider making an "episode" tag which is so much more intuitive and widely used already by 'casters.
  3. Think about the space limits on the "description" screen and organise the information appropriately.
Now get back to work on iTunes 5!

Favarama “2”

I've been finding some really nice pictures on Flickr lately. Here are some of my latest...
From DynaD From RachelC From Cia L From HaMeD!caL From MatthewA From MatthewA From MatthewA From MatthewA From MatthewA From firemind From knautia From knautia From reddirtrose From moritz? From rfin From fazen From R80o From h.neumeyer From h.neumeyer From h.neumeyer From Jackson Lee From slabbers From Foad 2Fun From notraces From noqontrol From fd From Wicherd Knetemann From David Mitchell From Simon Harb From Simon Harb From notmyown2k3 From Dave Reynolds From Dave Reynolds From notmyown2k3 From flavorphoto From flavorphoto

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