Feet up!
Thursday, June 27, 2002
 
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
I had one of those great to be alive moments on this morning's walk to the station; the sun was shining, in the distance the sea was blue, and there was a hint of salt on the cool breeze, it couldn't have got much better.

There's got to be a better way...
I write a lot of this 'blog on the train on my Ericsson MC218 pda, then squirt it as a text file onto a PC via Psion's excreble PsiWin program, and then cut and paste the text into Blogger's web form. This has the advantage that I tend to re-read and trim the text a few times, but in the main it's a slow boring mechanical process. As the Psion can happily start up a PPP connection I'm toying with the idea of writing something simple in Python to squirt the data via http or ftp straight from the Ericsson.

Maybe it's time I had a better look at Matt Gumbley's NCP-Link Psion/Linux interface project.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
 
Feedback loops
It's not often I do something hip and trendy so I guess it was just inadvertant that I mentioned war chalking in this 'blog yesterday, it just seemed like a simple neat idea, maybe that's the secret of the best ideas, simplicity. Anyway for following what's hip and trendy you could do far worse than visiting Daypop.

Here's an interesting concept, I've heard it referred to as backlinking, the basic idea is that your page provides a link back to stories ('blog, webpage, whatever) that link to your story using the referrer details from http requests. Seeing as some 'bloggers seem intent on self promotion this is great news for them, and it's good for rest of us in that you get easy access to another take on a story. I first saw it on Disenchanted and Waxy.org has what seems like a pretty straight forward perl script do this automagically.

Beer
And why not! The sun's out and my mate Steve is over from Australia and gagging for a decent pint so tonight we're off to the George Inn in Borough High Street near London Bridge station for a couple of swift halves. We may well end up crawling around the pubs in Borough Market for a little variety. GOK what Steve's Antipodean colleagues will make of a pub that's probably older than any building in their country, then again most Aussies I know would blink once and then ask where the bar is...

Whilst trying to tell someone where the George is I stumbled across pubs.com which is a rather handy reference site for London boozers.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
 
War Chalking?
Well it's not as daft as it sounds, and it's a handy way out of the Catch-22 like predicament of "How do you find the nearest wireless 'net coverage?", "look on the web?", "erm, how?". Matt Jones' war chalking concept provides one possible solution, if you find some wireless coverage chalk up a symbol on some nearby street furniture, or look for existing signs to find the coverage in the first place.

Advance planning
This is something I don't do very much of... Then again, this is a very important subject. Friday night tends to be the best session but is often very busy so advance tickets are almost essential, Saturday lunchtime is nice and mellow especially if the weather is fine, but forget Saturday night because A. it's when the beer runs out and B. it's when the local pondlife realise the beer festival is on.
Monday, June 24, 2002
 
More blogdex or "Can one be too self-referential?"
This is what blogdex thinks about this page, I bet it ain't busy...

Stars at night
For the past few months I've been running xplanet on my desktop, nice and soothing when you can actually get all the other windows minimized or closed and actually see the desktop. Maybe desktop is one of the more accurate analogies used in the digital world...

If you need to run it under MS Windows, WinXPlanetBG from http://www.mkoe.de/ does a reasonable job, but it isn't open source :-(
 
Summer holidays
My friend Jeremy has taken his kids to the Far East for their summer holiday (or vacation as he'll probably call it). He just happened to be in Korea and Japan whilst something else was happening, lucky sod :-) I'll let him off though as ISTR he coaches a kid's "soccer" team when he's home in Oregon.
 
Wacky links!?
What's with all the [b] stuff I hear you ask, well see the earlier post about Meta Linker (and blogdex), basically the [b] link takes you to a list of related articles about the link compiled by blogdex.
 
Meta Linker ahoy!
Another cool idea, Meta Linker is an interesting way of interlinking pages about the same subject, it does this by wrapping the links on a 'blog with Javascript so that they point to blogdex which provides a list of other sites linking to the same stuff, it sounds fun and GOK what they'll make of my eclectic bunch of links!

blogToaster
This is rather nice and seems to work fine from Jabber via an MSN gateway, natch (later: actually it doesn't work perfectly from Jabber or Trillian, but Simon's looking at the problem), announced here and as follows:
I have a very beta version of blogToaster up and running, feel free to give it a go [you need MSN Messenger]. Add "toaster@zaks.demon.co.uk" as a new contact, and start a chat session, enter "add http://www.pocketsoap.com/weblog/" and hit enter, repeat with all the URL's of the weblogs you want to get notified about. Enter "list" to see the list of URL's you've registered. When BlogToaster picks up a change from weblogs.com of a URL you've registered, it'll send you a message.
Of course you don't have to add http://www.pocketsoap.com/weblog/, but why not?

The blogToaster only seems to monitor sites that are registered with weblogs.com so whilst this blog is, you might not be able to follow your favourites.
 
Toy of the week
Gavin in the office bought a rather cool toy for father's day, a matchbox sized digital camera with a USB socket, it's not got a wonderful resolution, but it's cheap and very cheerful! The funky software that comes with even allows you to use it as a webcam or make (very short) movies with it, more details later.

Music biz
I'm sure everyone is getting pretty fed up with the music business with their attempts to foist Britney (is Britney her real name and if so why?) and numerous dire boy-bands on us, and their lame attempts to take over the world, I suspect they've never heard of King Canute, anyway here is a rather good article by Michael Wolff in the New York Metro which tells the story far better than I can.

Cool, but pointless...
Name that tune? If you can't have a look at Shazam and get your mobile phone to name the tune for you! The idea is that you phone Shazam (on a premium rate number I guess), their computer listens to the music for 20 seconds or so and then texts back its answer. It's a cool idea, but I can't really see any use other than surreptitiously in pub quizzes!
Friday, June 21, 2002
 
Spool chicken
Here's another handy addition for your web toolkit, Web-Ispell a spelling checker for websites, use this alongside the W3C's validator to try to prevent your site looking too lame...

Spam, spam, spam, SPAM! Lovely spam...
Yet another weapon in the fight against spam, this time it's an add-on for Outlook (spit), I wonder whether it'll get itself infected or whether it's virally distributed by being mass mailed to everyone in your address book :-) Here is The Register's article.

I like this approach too, it's rather funny and ought to trap or at least frustrate an email address harvesting robot.
Thursday, June 20, 2002
 
Let me out!
I just love this story, a robot taking part in an experiment on thinking robots tried to escape! Here is the full story from Melbourne's The Age.
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
 
Blimey, that's a good idea!
Somebody suggested I look up www.example.com, so I did and found what is quite possibly the only remaining evidence of sanity in the global domain registration system, just ask yourself if you could ever see ICANN suggesting this?
Monday, June 17, 2002
 
One man's freedom fighter...
Ok, maybe I'm being naive, but why is it ok for the CIA to be allowed to go after Saddam Hussein? He is as I understand it a democratically elected leader of his country, and that's something that Tony Blair & George Bush can only aspire to...
Here's a link to some of the coverage, and by sheer coincidence whilst I was writing this Skunk Anansie's "Yes, it's fucking political" appears on my random playlist, it's a funny old world we live in.

More World Cup
Maybe you're not interested, but I am, so here's yet another link to yet another football site. I like this one because it focuses on the surreal TV coverage we're getting in the UK, maybe it's the timing of the games (early morning and lunch time in the UK) but the commentators and pundits seem even more bizarre than usual.
Friday, June 14, 2002
 
Use Outlook Express?
Apart from the obvious retort of "Why?" some help is at hand. Have a look at OE-QUOTEFIX, a tiny utility by Dominik Jain that saves the world from Outlook's braindead quoting. Basically it reformats Outlook's illusion of what a reply mail looks like into something a bit more sane. All the ">" quoted bits are reformatted to fit on a 72 line. It's small, tidy and doesn't seem to have any harmful side effects, recomended!

Even if you don't have Outlook, tell your friends who do, you're doing everyone a favour!

Tip for today, don't try reading Dilbert shortly after the US gets into work, the Dilbert site is far faster earlier in the day...
 
Javascript - blather crypt
Yes! Finally fixed the archive javascript, now I just need to sort out World domination :-)
 
Le Mans time
It's mid June, so other than the World Cup there's a fair bit of other sport going on, most notably the Le Mans 24hr race, if you can't get there, as I can't for the umpteenth year in a row :-( then Radio Le Mans coverage on the 'net and Eurosport's TV coverage is some compensation.

You miss out on the infamous atmosphere though as the BeerMountain site typifies.

James and Jools, I'm jealous of you both especially as it doesn't look like raining this year, you lucky lucky men, have a damn good time!