Feet up!
Friday, August 30, 2002
ZinfBlog is a little Python script which puts the current track title and artist from my MP3 player onto this weblog. I'm using Zinf as my MP3 player of choice, but ZinfBlog should be easy to modify to use with other apps as it just grabs the track name and title from the main window title. You can download ZinfBlog.py from here.
UK weblogs with RSS feeds
Mo Morgan has a list of UK weblogs which have RSS feeds, another useful offshoot from the GBLogs.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Loud, bad, and mad!
The Large Hot Pipe Organ is the world's only MIDI controlled, propane powered explosion organ.
Absolutely mad, what were the band in H2G2 called? Sonic Attack? I bet they'd want one of these.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Python script to ping weblogs.com
I've got a noddy little Python script I use to ping weblogs.com when I update this blog, however I thought I'd use the powers of Google to see if anyone had done a neater job, and sure enough here's a Python script by Victor Ruiz which pings weblogs.com. Victor uses this on his blogging service Blogalia to automatically ping weblogs.com when users update their weblogs.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
FeetUp.py updated
Nothing too earth shattering and it's still pretty messy, but I've updated the Python script that I use to generate the RDF site summary for this site. New things, some dumb code removed, optionally puts the output file onto an ftp server. You can download it from here: FeetUp.py

Due to my misunderstanding of how XML parsers ought to work (comments here), it still uses ISO-8859-1 character encoding!
Rugby player loses tooth
Big deal you might think, it's a rough tough game, there's a slight twist in the tale though, from today's Independent - Wigan player has tooth extracted - from arm...
Friday, August 23, 2002
Diet time...
After Jabbering with Russ it's becoming more obvious that I really ought to give this Atkins diet a go. I've not officially started yet, but I'm sitting here muching some celery (with some sea salt) and I've got to admit that I'm enjoying it!
Thursday, August 22, 2002
Ninjai, the little ninja
Wow! I normally loathe Flash websites, but Ninjai is really beautiful, if the major entertainment corporations could give us this sort of quality product they'd have far less need to push shite like boy bands, Brittney (sic) and Stallone movies at us...

Here's a small taster, just to give you a flavour of what the Ninjai stuff looks like, it's probably the only Flash I'll ever put on this site!
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Atkins diet - at last a cure for fat Americans :-)
Good luck to Russ with his diet, I know a couple of people who've been on the Atkins diet and they've lost a lot of weight and feel far healthier too, I'm tempted to give it a go one of these days, but I suspect I'd really miss some carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta, and cous-cous.

Actually I think that moderate amounts of carbohydrates are allowed after the initial week or so of the diet, so maybe I could get my fix of carbos after the initial break. One very serious question though, could I still drink beer?
Minor changes to the RSS
I've had to make a few minor changes to the RSS for this site as AmphetaDesk can't cope with ISO-8859-15 character encoding, so I've dropped back to ISO-8859-1 for the time being. A nice simple explanation of some of the background to ISO-8859-15 is here.
Friday, August 16, 2002
Python RSS locator script
How cool is this? Mark Pilgrim has posted an exquisite little Python script to locate RSS feeds from a site, very neatly coded, I only wish my Python was like this and not such a sprawling spaghetti-like mess. More learning to do I think...
Thursday, August 15, 2002
Yahoo: war chalking
It seems like I've still got people stumbling over this site looking for info on war chalking - Just for them, here's a link to my earlier posts...
Crop circles
This BBC story about a group of guys who make crop circles is interesting, I hate to ruin a good story, but I wonder if the flashes of light he's seen are discharges of static electricity? Whenever I've stood in a field of grain the air has always felt very dry, ideal for building up static. The circlemakers have got a nice website, their Top Of The Crops page for this year has some great pictures.
It's gonna be a hot one
I'm sitting at my desk in tee-shirt and shorts, the air-con is on full blast, I'm still feeling pretty warm, and it's only 9am. Still I saw a yacht sailing around Whitstable bay at 7:30 this morning, they should have a great day out there.
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
ACCU Python Project
I'm a member of the ACCU - the Association of C and C++ Users, this is a cool outfit, they've got some really good mailing lists (some open to non members), and their web site has some good honest (and accurate) reviews of many technical books (not just C & C++).

Also members get two magazines every two months, both are written by members, one's a good general magazine covering all levels of C and C++, book reviews, some Java, some Python and general ACCU business. The other magazine is great, written by some of the top C++ developers in the World (did I mention that Bjarne was a member?), and is full of articles on leading C++ usage and design.

Another of the ACCU's activities is the Mentored Developers programme, a series of projects where ACCU members share skills to learn different skills. I'm involved in their learning Python project which is just kicking off.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
Internet radio appliances
I thought this would be easy... A mate of mine is looking for one for home, something nice and simple, plug in an ethernet cable and listen.

My first thought was Kerbango - nope, they've sold out and they never even shipped any production items! Second was Sonicblue's Rio Receiver but that seems to have been discontinued and I'm not sure if it could play streams anyway!

My final find for today is Turtle Beach's AudioTron which scarily looks like it might do the job! Maybe it's a little over the top, so I'll keep looking for a really tiny appliance. Later: Jeez why is it so expensive over here!! It's $300 in the US (and I've seen it for less), but €430 in Europe, and the trivial power supply mods are already covered on the internet. Dumb, dumb, dumb...
Monday, August 12, 2002
Dave, what are you doing with my data?
Like many people I ping Dave Winer's weblogs.com after I've updated this weblog.

But, I can't find anything on weblogs.com about data privacy, sure it's a US site so I guess they don't have to do anything particular, hell he might sell it to spammers for all I know, then again there could well be a privacy statement hidden somewhere in that maze of a site.
Crosstown traffic
I just had a quick skim through my site stats with Analog, pretty fascinating. Analog isn't great for trend analysis, but twinned with some reading of the raw log files you can find some odd snippets of info: For example the RSS of this site is now over 4% of the traffic by volume, and 13% by requests for this month, and the RSS has only been on the site for 4 days out of the 12. Also I get hit by quite a few bots, none of whom seem to cache their previous visits to the site, I'd have expected a lot more 304's than I'm getting; to me that's strange, I thought storage was cheaper than bandwidth...
Friday, August 09, 2002
XML generation script here
I've uploaded the Python script that I mentioned yesterday which I use to generate the RDF site summary for this weblog, it's not particularly pretty and there's a fair amount of hardwired stuff, but feel free to play with it. It's called FeetUp.py.
PDF fun!
After my earlier rant about the lunacy of PDF files, it seems that salvation is at hand, and I'm having a quick play with PdfToHtml.

The main problem is that I've got a hell of a lot of files to process, and I haven't got a working copy of ht://Dig to hand either, anyway I reckon there's more than enough to keep me busy today...
Thursday, August 08, 2002
Feed it baby!
I've finally got a beta RSS feed of this site up and running, after much bodging of one of Mark Pilgrim's neat elegant Python scripts, Mark's original script shredded Zeldman's site into neatish XML in about 12 lines of code, mine's about four times that size...

I'm a newbie at RDF Site Summaries, so please tell me if I'm generating complete shite...
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
Degrees of separation
Whilst Jabbering away to Russ the other day, we mentioned the infamous six degrees of separation theory where any two people in the World can be connected through a chain of just six people.

Our really quick claim to fame was being part of a chain from Dave Winer to Bjarne Stroustrup; Russell's link to Dave was via a friend who used to work with Dave, and my link to Bjarne was via Andy Sawyer who I've worked with who's on the C++ standards committee.
Monday, August 05, 2002
English language
Maybe it's a seasonal meme, but I've stumbled over lots of sites on spelling and English language recently. I like English, it's a real smorgasbord of influences; this brief history shows some of the evolution from Old English to where we are today, and this list of language resources is rather good.

The spelling of English words is often seemingly without rhyme or reason (maybe that should be rime or reesun), sometimes there's a historical significance, more frequently it merely appears to be due to the whim of a dictionary compiler or printer. Whilst I can't see us undertaking an official programme of updating dictionaries with a more rational spelling regime as the Germans did recently, I think these two organisations (The Simplified Spelling Society and Rite E-Group) are making an important point.

Apostrophes or apostrophe's... Simon Carr has a plausible excuse for the infamous grocer's apostrophe towards the end of his column in today's Independent.

And finally... The Rockall Times brings news of a campaign to bring back one of my favourite English letters, the Thorn.
Number one on Yahoo!
I wondered why I was getting some referrals from Yahoo (see foot of page), it turns out I'm top of the list on a Yahoo UK search for "war chalking" try http://uk.google.yahoo.com/bin/query_uk?p=war+chalking&y=uk.

Anyway, my posts about warchalking are in the archives, here (i-plus points), here (comment about popularity) and here (pointer to Matt Jones' site).
Friday, August 02, 2002
Saturday night
We're going out for a meal with a few of my mates from Uni (some of whom I haven't seen for 16 years!) on Saturday night in Covent Garden in London. Starting off from the Nag's Head near Covent Garden tube station and then off to Belgo Centraal a Belgian themed restaurant for more beer and lots of mussels. The restaurant has a good fun atmosphere, so it ought to be a good night out, this review really captures some of the atmosphere of the restaurant.