Feet up!
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
 
Bye bye Blogger
It's time to jump ship, and wave adieu to Blogger.

I've been playing with a pyBlosxom blog for a few weeks now, and as a final incentive for me to finish setting it up I've decided to stop posting here. The old content will hang around on here for a while until I've dragged it across to the other server and tidied it up a little. After that the permalinks should continue to work, if I get the redirects set up correctly...

My new blog can be found at feetup.org/blog

Update: In response to a couple of queries, the (auto-discoverable) feed for the new blog can be found at feetup.org/blog/?flav=rss I'll be adding permanents redirects for blogger.html (this blog) and blogger.xml (this blog's feed) in a few days time so that people will get auto-transferred if they're using sane aggregators anyway. Comments will be available on the new blog soon too.
Monday, August 25, 2003
 
When did I become an authority on this subject?
From my increasingly oddball inbox:
Hello

I am a 'generously proportioned' male (375 pounds) with a less than
generous penile length (4 inches erect). I seek a vendor of quality
inflatable sheep who can give away free samples as I am unemployed.

Best regards
I've removed the chap's email address to spare his blushes, any serious vendors offering free samples of inflatable animals, contact me and I'll pass the offer on to him...

Tip of the day, don't go near a computer whilst drunk I guess.
Friday, August 22, 2003
 
Coulthard still at McLaren, why?
So David Coulthard has been retained for another year at McLaren, my main question is why is he being offered another chance? In a decade of driving for top line teams ('94-'95 with Williams, '96 onwards with McLaren) David Coulthard has proved that he is not a credible Championship contender.

If the rumours of Juan Pablo Montoya signing for McLaren for the 2005 season prove to be true then why don't McLaren sign a young charger for next season? A young charger would be both cheaper and quite probably a better number two to Kimi.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
 
Python Gutenberg E-text Project
Oooh, more e-books! And Python, nice!

Project Gutenberg is one of the unsung heroes of the 'net.
The Python Gutenberg E-text Project (PyGE) aims to provide free cross-platform desktop applications that can help in making the extensive and growing collection of classical literary works from Project Gutenberg more accessible to the typical computer user.

This is really neat, making all those classics easily available and useable for everyone, not just nutters like me who've got the technical nous to meander around the Project Gutenberg website and use grep on local copies of the docs.

I guess this sort of stuff won't be available to Americans for long if their plans to make copyright last hundreds of years after the author's death ever come to fruition.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 
Spam of the week
I really could not believe this one:
X-Envelope-From: user@ndr01.hmdelivery.com
Received: from [207.82.251.44] (helo=HDX024.hmdelivery.com)
by xx.xx.xxx with esmtp (Exim 3.36 #1)
id 19orBQ-0001zw-00
for jim@xxxxxx.xxx; Mon, 18 Aug 2003 14:04:56 -0700
Received: from mail pickup service by HDX024.hmdelivery.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC;
Mon, 18 Aug 2003 14:04:55 -0700
To: jim@xxxxxx.xxx
From: ".NET Messenger Service Staff" <dot_net_msgr_svc@msgr.hotmail.com>
Subject: Important Security Update for the .NET Messenger Service
Content-Identifier: 38B1CCB1-B63A-4322-8E83-1241183977E2
Content-SentTo: jim@xxxxxx.xxx
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/html; charset= iso-8859-1;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Message-ID: <HDX024MmXKCnzNwRC6H000a623f@HDX024.hmdelivery.com>
Date: 18 Aug 2003 14:04:55 -0700
Status: U

ATTENTION: IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED FOR MSN AND WINDOWS MESSENGER USERS.

You are receiving this e-mail because you are a MSN Messenger or Windows
Messenger Service user.

As part of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft is
updating the .NET Messenger Service and providing you with an important
MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger security update.

If you are using MSN Messenger 5.0, Windows Messenger 4.7.2000, or MSN
Messenger for Mac 3.5, or any versions higher than these, you do NOT need
this security update. To find out which version you have, select the
'Help' menu in Messenger, then select 'About'. If you are using an older
version, or are not sure, please visit:
http://messenger.msn.com/Help/Upgrades.aspx
for an update.

NOTICE: If you are not using an updated version, you will be unable to
continue using your MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger Service.

Thank you for helping Microsoft further its commitment to helping you
protect your privacy and security online.

You can view the .NET Messenger Statement of Privacy at:
http://messenger.msn.com/Help/Privacy.aspx
and the .NET Messenger Service Terms of Use and Notices at:
http://messenger.msn.com/Help/Terms.aspx.

So in summary, if this isn't spam, Microsoft expect me to believe an email from a Hotmail address - sent from a domain that sounds like a SpamHaus (hmdelivery.com) - is a serious attempt at a security warning?

That's just so surreal, about the first thing I ever teach newbies about email, is mistrust everyone, especially email claiming to be from a "big name" like Microsoft, and treat any mail from a Hotmail address you don't know with extreme caution.

Relying on Microsoft for your internet security is a bit like leaving George Best in charge of your wine cellar.

Update: Look like this really was a message from microsoft (at least ten identical emails at the last count), god knows why they couldn't email me from a microsoft.com address. Slashdot has some coverage here, it looks like they're trying to cull non-Microsoft MSN clients, I wonder how my Jabber gateway will get on? Anyway folks if you want to still chat with me the preferred route is still Jabber, contact details in my FoaF file.
Monday, August 18, 2003
 
N-Gage - the love hate relationship
Mobitopia article

Yet another N-Gage story, for a phone that's not even out yet we've covered the N-Gage quite a few times on Mobitopia.
One reason I suppose is that it's a phone that it's very hard not to have an opinion about, at the recent Mobitopia/AAS pub meet it was one of the main items of discussion along with the obligatory fondling of the handful of Nokia 6600s in attendance.

People were pretty divided about the N-Gage, most thought it would sell in big numbers, but quite a few were unconvinced about how good a device it would be.

There are a few items that make one wonder about the phone's suitability for game playing, it has no dedicated graphics co-processor, the battery has to be removed to change MMC games and a moderately sized (176 x 208 pixels) screen. As a smartphone it has a couple of flaws too, there are rumours of poor Bluetooth support, and there is no camera - the EyeToy style possibilities of a camera on a gaming platform seem to have passed Nokia by too.

Nokia seem to have their heads in the sand on the development front too, as they state
N-Gage supports two different game styles: downloadable titles and rich games distributed on MMC cards. Downloadable titles for N-Gage are developed in Java MIDP ... Rich games are programmed in C++ for Symbian OS.

One can only assume Nokia have never heard of AppForge or OPL...

Another final reason for our interest in the N-Gage is that it's a new sector. People have played games on phones for years now, but a phone specificly focused on game playing is a new niche; one that might inflict significant damage on the handheld console market. I have a few hunches how this will turn out, and it's going to be fascinating to watch the sales figures come out.
 
One Term President
One for young Russell I think, watch out for those stencils appearing on a Madrid wall any time now :-)

One Term President seems to be one of a series of anti-Bush campaigns. As a Brit I find US politics a little impenetrable, with two almost identical right wing parties and communism illegal, and the apparant rule that a low IQ and inability to talk coherant English is mandatory to stand for president.

It makes the UK's political scene almost look healthy and vibrant, and that's saying something...
Friday, August 15, 2003
 
The Darkness
Music for today is from The Darkness I'd say to download the mp3s from their site (as I did a month or so back) but they seem to have disappeared, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone buy their copy protected CD, how fast can a band fall off the cluetrain?

Anyway in other news, lights go out for a few Americans, I wonder if they're going to have as much fun getting the power back on as Auckland did...
Thursday, August 14, 2003
 
No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition...
Stumbling my way through Pedro Jorge Romero's blog and I had to resort to Google for a translation, now I'm embarrassed that my knowledge of Spanish is appalling, what I wasn't entirely expecting was that Google's translation from Spanish is appaling and very surreal, there must be a Monty Python translator in there somewhere, how else does it explain a translation of
"artículo escrito por Ben Hammersley"
into
"article written by Horseradish tree Hammersley"?
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
 
I won't be back!
Samizdata report an unexpected upside to the California Governor's election campaign, no Arnold Schwarzenegger films will be shown on Californian TV during the campaign, this is due to their electoral rules on equal TV coverage for all candidates.

As there are 240 candidates and a film takes approx 2 hours showing one Arnie film would result in a channel having to broadcast almost 20 days worth of coverage for all the other candidates, and as at least two of the other candidates are in the porn industry this could be interesting...
 
Monthly blogroll - August 2003
As I've stated before, I'm aiming to keep these a bit more fluid and volatile. This list is mostly hand maintained currently, but I'm working on a cunning plan to do it automagically by analysing my proxy stats and Mozilla history file, if/when I've got that sorted I'll post the code and general set up here for others to play with.

I'm going to provide some auto-discovery info for these blogs too (feeds, FoaF and the like), one thing that I'm puzzling over is whether to restrict the content of my blogroll(s) purely to blogs, as the Blog Census api would make the process of determining whether an url belongs to a weblog trivial in the extreme.

Here are the people I have read in the last month (but less frequently than once a week):

Andrew Savory
Anil de Mello
Ben James
Blogging Ecosystem
consume.net

Distributed.net
Fragments from Floyd
Guru of the week
Jarno Virtanen
Jeff Porcaro

Jill Walker
Locust
Niel Eyde
Nigel Harris
ntk

Organica
Pascale Soleil
Patrick O'Brien
Rael Dornfest
Simon Fell

Simon Willison
Terje Sørgjerd
Yazan Diranieh
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
 
JabRSS growth
Christof Meerwald the author of JabRSS asked for some feedback recently, seeing as I'm a happy user of JabRSS here's a few thoughts about things which would make JabRSS even better for me as a user.

  • On adding a feed I'd like JabRSS to be able to do feed autodiscovery so I could subscribe to http://www.example.com/blog/index.html and it would really subscribe to http://www.example.com/blog/index.xml or similar.
  • Does it obey most of Mark Pilgrim's aggregator tests? If so I'd like it to inform me about unsubscriptions and redirects.
  • When it can't handle a feed and the list command says "(error)" I'd like to know a bit more about the error.
  • A pause/sleep command or similar would be useful, something that temporarily stops JabRSS from sending me alerts for an hour or so, one reason is that I sometimes use a Jabber client on my mobile phone and GPRS data isn't cheap!
  • If I mistype a command I get told to go to a web page for further documentation, a short list of the valid commands would be very useful at this point, especially when I'm using JabRSS on my mobile phone and haven't got access to a web browser.
Monday, August 11, 2003
 
Hansard as a blog
What an excellent idea! Tom Dolan puts two and two together and gets a great result.

Consider the facts, Hansard is a daily journal of the day's business in the Houses of Parliament, it has regular known contributors. Doesn't that just sound like a multi-contributor weblog? Add permalinks, decent searching, trackbacks and comments and you'd have something worthwhile.
 
Vodafone, wake up!
Vodafone logo thingyIt seems that I'm not the only person getting frustrated with Vodafone in the UK, Andrew Savory has a good rant about their GPRS tariffs, and their money grabbing attitude to WAP.

To which I'll add that their excreble website has plenty of incorrect GPRS setup details (one page has 3 different addresses for their SMTP server, 2 of which are just plain wrong), and the recent news about their even greater ripoff SMS pricing - Vodafone to double overseas text charges - 160bytes for 24p, that's only £1573 per Megabyte; I'm impressed that they've got the gall to charge that.

The final insult yesterday, I was sitting on a North Kent beach less than 2 miles from two different Vodafone masts, so you'd expect a good signal? Nope, my phone had roamed onto O2-NL and Orange-NL, both the other side of the English Channel and at least 70 miles away.
Friday, August 08, 2003
 
Blogroll update - my A list
The first shot at the much vaunted blogroll revamp took place this morning, as you can see I'm down to a shortlist of about 12 weblogs (and a few other good sites), for me these guys are the A list.

I'll post a list of my weekly and monthly reads later today.
 
London Flash Mob #1 - Sofa So Good or Sfa S Gd
the mob queue to enter the sofa shop

The first UK flash mob took place last night in Central London, David Mery has picture coverage, there seem to be more camera crews than mob!

Next flash mob details can be found via http://www.geocities.com/londonflashmob/
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
Cars parked badly
thumbnail of a section of the Tricolora closer thumbnail of a section of the Tricolor

Via Martin and Adam some interesting pictures of the Tricolor salvage operation.

For those of you who don't know the story, the Tricolor sank in the English channel (la Manche to our neighbours on the opposite side) after a collision in December 2002 with another ship. The Tricolor was carrying 3500 luxury cars, and has been sitting on the seabed as a traffic island ever since, at least three other vessels have already collided with it.

The salvage crew have taken the unusual approach of slicing the Tricolor up into sections and then bringing it back to shore a bit at a time, the pictures show cars cleanly sliced through, quite an impressive act.
 
None of the above
We were discussing the general ineptitude of politicians and politcal parties in #mobitopia the other day, general concensus being that a "None of the above" voting choice would be very useful in both combating voter apathy, and in getting the politicos to come up with policies that the public want.

The main problem with this approach is getting it adopted, electoral reform is usually hampered by the incumbants, and in this case it woul be like getting turkeys to vote for Xmas twice a year. As usual there are means of hacking the system, one of which is to establish a "political party" whose sole aim when elected is to resign from the position to force a re-election.

Two sites that cover this approach in the UK are No Candidate Deserves My Vote and None of the above. Thought provoking stuff.
Monday, August 04, 2003
 
London as a wiki
Something that I've been surfing around for ages is the Open Guide to London, I thought it was best if I mentioned it here to save me from having to Google for the address next time I want to look something up in it.

There's at least three really good things about it:
  • It's a Wiki, so you need above cretin level intelligence to grok how to use it and that alone should keep the idiot "XXX waz ere" style comment scribblers to a minimum. Also being a Wiki, it's pretty resiliant to that sort of nonsense anyway.
  • There's tons of RDF in there, for example every page has an ICBM tag, I can't wait for GeoURL to find it!
  • And maybe the most important thing is that the content is good, the techy stuff matters (big time), but without content it's just a pretty bottle.
Friday, August 01, 2003
 
pyBlosxom 0.8rc1
A new release candidate of the gorgeous pyBlosxom crept out last night, I've had a quick play and so far I'm very impressed, the long promised proper move to Feetup.org might even be in sight!
 
Blogroll revamp
Ok, this has taken longer to turn up than I originally expected, but here's the first shot. I'm going to do it a bit more automagically in the future, and this is the general outline of what's going to happen.

Currently my blogroll is in three sections seperated into those I read daily, weekly and sometimes. In the (very) near future my blogroll will only contain those people I read daily. The others will get placed in a blog post weekly or monthly, it's going to be quite a bit more fluid than the current setup, let's see how well it works.