Archive: July, 2002


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Tuesday, July 30th, 2002

Adobe Photoshop

I finally slapped down the cash for an upgrade to Photoshop 7.

It has some nifty new features but mostly it’s nice just to be able to run it natively in OS X. I find myself starting up Classic less and less.

Of course, Photoshop 7 wasn’t cheap.

On the other end of the price scale (read: free), here’s a great little app to help you switch quickly and easily between all your OS X programs: LiteSwitch X.


There’s a great picture of Jessica up at The Mirror Project . It was taken about 39,000 feet above Arizona,

Saturday, July 27th, 2002

Warchalking TV

I missed seeing this on the telly but the BBC ran a feature on the warchalkers.

You can still see it with RealAudio, though. Keep an eye out for the ever-so-nice Ben Hammersley.

More geeky fun with RSS

I’ve been like a kid with a new toy ever since I downloaded NetNewsWire Lite.

Inspired into RSS action mode, I created two new RSS feeds for Jessica. If you’re using an RSS aggregator, be sure to grab these feeds:

WordRidden Journal RSS feed.

WordRidden Articles RSS feed.

I’ve also been beefing up the PHP parser that powers my headlines page and I’ve added one of Jessica’s new feeds there.

Oh, the geek joy of it all!

Friday, July 26th, 2002


I got a nice email from Richard Rutter who has a great blog called Clagnut.

Dig the beautiful CSS layout, valid code and accessible <label> tags in the forms.

He lives in Brighton so I guess this town *is* big enough for two PHP coding, web standards promoting, CSS evangelists.

Richard also runs a site dedicated to curry. I’ve added my own little contribution. Here’s my review of the best takeaway in Brighton.

Behind the Typeface: Cooper Black

Here’s a real labour of love. Informative and funny, it’s a look at the history of one typeface: Cooper Black.

And when you’re done with that hefty but worthwhile download, here’s some further typographic reading: "The Scourge Of Arial".

It’s from the same guy who gave us the classic "Typecasting", the use and misuse of period typography in movies.

NetNewsWire Lite

If you’re using OS X on a Mac, you should check out this great new application from Ranchero.

NetNewsWire Lite is an RSS aggregator for the desktop. It has a very nice interface and allows you to subscribe to, and unsubscribe from, RSS feeds easily.

It’s stuff like this that gets me all excited about the possibilites of XML/RSS.

Incidentally, if you do install it and you’d like to get the latest headlines from adactio, here’s my RSS feed.

Thursday, July 25th, 2002

Band photos

There’s a local "what’s on?" type magazine here in Brighton called The Source. The next issue of The Source is going to run a feature with a passing mention of my band. Fame at last!

That’s not all, though. Not content with just mentioning us, they also plan to print a picture of us.

We heard about this a few days ago. The only problem was that we didn’t have a band photo.

We hastily convened an impromptu photo shoot. This is the best we could come up with.

I think it looks okay but now I dread that it’s going to show up in this collection of awful band photos.

Well, at least we’re not standing in front of a brick wall.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002

iSmell a lawsuit


Time for a quick round-up of some of the books I’ve been reading.

I’d recommend investing the time in reading Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. It’s hard to believe that the book is over twenty years old now - it seems more relevant than ever.

Midnight’s Children traces the life of India itself. The narrator is born on the stroke of midnight at the same moment that India achieves independence.

I was reading this book at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan were at their worst. I couldn’t help but feel that if the book were being written today, Salman Rushdie was about to have an all too convenient and final ending handed to him.

I finished reading Midnight’s Children just before I left for my few weeks of sun in Arizona. Just as well - I hate travelling with an almost finished book.

When I travel, especially by ‘plane, I like to have a good Cyberpunk book at my side. There’s something about airports and airplanes that intersects so well with grungy near-future stories.

This time, I took along Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

I had heard that the book was something of a classic in the Cyberpunk world. I can see why. It’s very imaginative, very exciting and surprisingly, very funny.

You have to love a book where the main character is named Hiro Protagonist.

It’s not quite in the same league as Neuromancer, but Snow Crash is a fun read. A must for geeks in transit.

Saturday, July 20th, 2002

One for the Webmonkeys

Geek that I am, I thought it was the funniest thing ever when I saw this sticker on a black drainpipe.


Friday, July 19th, 2002

Digital Star Wars

I’ve been doing some qualatitive analysis this week. Here are the results of my self-sacrificing work (honestly, the things I do for you)…

On Tuesday night, I went to see Attack Of The Clones (again) at the local cinema. It was fun and I wanted to see it before the cinema stopped showing it at the end of the week.

On Thursday, I went to see Attack Of The Clones (again) at the Odeon in Leicester Square, London but this time it was digitally projected.

Both screens were small. It was the same movie. But the difference was quite extraordinary.

The detail in the digital version is astounding. What were simply fuzzy blobs in the background became sharp, clear buildings, people and vehicles.

The film was shot digitally so, as you can imagine, it really shines in digital format.

I’m not the only one who recommends seeing Attack Of The Clones this way.

I can imagine that the DVD, being a digital format, will look great. Now all I need is a DVD player.

Thursday, July 18th, 2002

Ellen Feiss

"One more thing", said Steve Jobs as he wound down his keynote speech at the Mac Expo in New York. "Apple are pleased to announce the start of their new online service called ‘Am I Stoned Or Not?‘".

Wednesday, July 17th, 2002

Apple - iMac

Apple have announced a 17" flat panel iMac. I want one.

Family fumes after being booted from plane

A man was kicked off an America West flight from Phoenix because he enquired as to whether the pilots were sober.

Harsh? Well, according to the pilot who kicked him off, there’s a moral to the story:

"He said parents should teach their children that there are consequences to asking questions and that the passenger who asked the question was going to be taken off the plane."

I didn’t know Ari Fleischer was a pilot.

Monday, July 15th, 2002

US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies

When I first read this article, I thought it was satire.

It’s true:

"Operation TIPS - the Terrorism Information and Prevention System - will be a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity."

The main difference between the TIPS informants and the Stasi is that the Stasi never got bumper stickers.

The sounds of Summer

The trip to Somerset went pretty well.

We, (myself and my bandmates, that is) set off on a beautiful sunny morning from Brighton and drove straight into a long, snaking traffic jam.

This is what happens on the first nice day of Summer; everyone gets in their cars and parks them on a motorway.

I would have thought that more people would be going in the other direction, towards Brighton, for Fatboy Slim’s big beach party.

After a couple of hours, the traffic let up and we made it to the designated field by mid-afternoon. We were going to be staying the night so the first thing we did was to pitch our tents. Once that was done, we could relax and list to some of the bands that were playing before us.

There were around one hundred people there and most of them were either in bands or were DJing.

As I sat there on the grass, listening to the music, I spotted a woman nearby who looked just like Polly Jean Harvey.

I pointed out the similarity to Jessica and I was about to tell Chris. Before I was finished, he was slowly nodding his head and he said "Yeah, it’s her. I didn’t want to tell you in case you got nervous."

Jessica gets nervous before gigs anyway. Now one of her favourite singers of all time was sitting in the small audience for whom we were about to play.

We were all a bit nervous, our music didn’t really fit to the lovely weather and we had some technical difficulties but overall, it went fine.

We were joined on stage by Clare MacTaggart, the sister of our drummer, Catherine. Clare plays fiddle with the John Parish Big Band.

P J Harvey was chatting with her friends for most of our set. I think she was there to see Christmas, the new band of her former bandmate, Rob Ellis.

Still, my estimation of her has shot up even further than it was before. Spending an entire day sitting in a little field listening to bands is very cool, un-rockstar like behaviour.

Well, it sure beats spending the day crushed in the smelly throng of Fatboy Slim’s big beach party.

Salter Cane

Saturday, July 13th, 2002

Goin' up the country

I’m off to Somerset.

My band will playing an open-air, afternoon concert together with many other bands at some sort of invitation-only party in a field.

No, not that party in a field.

Anyway, it should be fun.

Friday, July 12th, 2002

Errorwear: embrace your computer problems

This is very geeky but I love these T-shirts by Errorwear.

I just can’t decide between the "404 Not Found" or the "broken image" design.

Then again, I could get the "bluescreen of death" number out of pure schadenfreude.

Miscellanous Jokes

From a page of 145 jokes translated from Russian, I found my new favourite at number 58:

"What do you get when you cross a white bear with a black bear?

Two happy bears."

Link via Camworld.

Thursday, July 11th, 2002

Product placement

Jessica and I went to see Minority Report today.

I enjoyed the film. My expectations were kept in check by Matt’s summation that…

"The movie was heralded as something akin to Bladerunner or 2001 when it’s maybe a Gattaca at best."

The film is tense and enjoyable as long as you don’t think too much about some of those gaping plot holes.

One of the things I liked about the movie was the way that it addressed the issue of invasion of privacy vs. customer convenience. We’re shown a future where the same technology the government uses to keep tabs on all its citizens is used by commercial companies for targetted advertising.

It’s the kind of thing that’s easy to imagine considering present day customisation - the kind practiced by Amazon.

If the invasive advertising shown in Minority Report were to be applied today, nobody would stand for it. However, if you imagine small increments over time, applying Amazon’s targetting to the real world, it’s easy to imagine how we could arrive at that point.

[If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will fight for its life. Place the frog in a pot of cold water and apply the heat slowly. The frog fails to notice the subtle increase in temperature and is boiled alive.]

Of course, while Spielberg was making his point about the advertising of the future, he also managed to get plenty of screen time for some well known brands. It’s telling that all the firms that are used to illustrate the future vision of advertising are firms that are around today.

They might actually be jinxing themselves. If I recall, Blade Runner featured some prominent ads for Atari and 2001 quite clearly showed a future with Pan-Am.

Speaking of product placement gone mad…

Before the movie we watched the usual parade of trailers (and it was hard enough sitting through a trailer for Scooby-doo; I can’t imagine the torture of sitting through the actual movie).

One of the trailers was for a movie, starring Benicio Del Toro, called Lucky Star. It looked pretty good. In fact, it looked like being the best movie of all the trailers that were shown.

The thing is… there is no movie.

The trailer, directed by Michael Mann, is one big product placement sponsered by Mercedes Benz.

Road Signs for Vagabond Computer Users

Yay for Ben Hammersley!

Not only does an article in the New York Times on war chalking mention him by name, they also use one of his photographs to illustrate the story.


I went out on Monday night to see Calexico play.

The band were, needless to say, excellent. You can’t go wrong with trumpets and pedal steel.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get to play for quite as long as we (and they) would have liked. They were late arriving thanks to a delayed ferry out of Dublin. They played ‘till after 11:30 and then had to stop because of the strict curfew imposed at the venue.

In all fairness, Joey Burns did offer to go to a bar afterwards so the band could play some songs acoustically.

Ha! With this country’s licensing laws? That’s crazy.

What’s even crazier is that I heard later that they actually found somewhere.

Monday, July 8th, 2002

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report

Once again, Jeffrey Zeldman takes the words right out of my mouth:

"If accessibility takes place under the hood and is invisible to most web users, why do so many otherwise well-informed web designers wrongly equate accessibility with ugly, low-end design?"

Sunday, July 7th, 2002


Tom Coates has put together a site detailing the next logical step up from Warchalking.

Combine hobo-style chalk marks with the oldest profession in the world.

Saturday, July 6th, 2002

Irrespective and regardless

Earlier today, sitting in the kitchen, talking with Jessica, I heard myself use the word "irregardless" in conversation.


Despite what some might say, "irregardless" is not a word.

I need to watch what I say from now on.

Bar room fall and the pork chop shoes

The first sentence of this news story is just plain weird.

"A man who broke his arm when he slipped on a bar floor made greasy by a drinker wearing pork chops taped to his feet has won £23,000 compensation."

All is explained in the course of the article but it’s still just plain weird.

Friday, July 5th, 2002

QDB: Top 50 Quotes

Here are some of the funniest quotes from IM chats.

I can relate to this one:

"<evenpar123> I think I’m losing it…

<Slant> evenpar123: Losing what?

<evenpar123> my ability to tell the difference between games and reality

<evenpar123> Just today, I was driving down a street, and saw a building that had sunlight reflecting off it…

<evenpar123> And I thought "Damn….these are some nice graphics…"

<evenpar123> It was horrible…

<evenpar123> ugh"

I’ve been playing Aliens vs. Predator lately and that’s a pretty immersive game.

The thing is… I get equally immersed in coding. Having said that, I don’t think I’ve ever started typing in my sleep.

Thursday, July 4th, 2002

The Internet Debacle - An Alternative View

Here’s a great article, written by Janis Ian of all people, on what a huge mistake record companies are making in their approach to MP3s.

"the music industry had exactly the same response to the advent of reel-to-reel home tape recorders, cassettes, DATs, minidiscs, VHS, BETA, music videos ("Why buy the record when you can tape it?"), MTV, and a host of other technological advances designed to make the consumer’s life easier and better."

"If you think about it, the music industry should be rejoicing at this new technological advance! Here’s a fool-proof way to deliver music to millions who might otherwise would never purchase a CD in a store. The cross-marketing opportunities are unbelievable. It’s instantaneous, costs are minimal, shipping non-existant… a staggering vehicle for higher earnings and lower costs. Instead, they’re running around like chickens with their heads cut off, bleeding on everyone and making no sense."

View my profiles

As I was filling out my details at yet another site today, I began to wonder how many different profiles there are of me out there.

Here’s what I found: The Brighton New Media mailing list,, the Association of New Media Freelancers, Design For Community and my own site, The Session.

I hardly needed to have bothered writing about myself for this site.

Blood art sucks and bloodsucker art

It’s a bad day for questionable art:

"Blood sculpture ‘melted’", "Man denies Thatcher statue charge".

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2002


I’m back and I’m tired.

It was a long flight but I did indeed get to see some good movies.

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2002

Goodbye, Arizona

My time here in the desert is coming to an end. It’s time for me to head back to beach life.

The time here in Arizona has just flown by. Between the road trip, trying to learn how to swim and eating tons of Mexican food, three weeks ended up feeling like a whirlwind visit.

I’m off to Phoenix to catch a ten-hour flight back to Gatwick. I hope there are at least some good movies on the flight.