Archive: September, 2002


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Monday, September 30th, 2002


I have been blogging now for exactly one year.

As Kermit the frog once said, time sure is fun when you’re having flies.

To celebrate my blogging anniversary, I’ve added an extra little feature to the archive list. There’s a link that points to journal entries from a year ago to the day.

Actually, this is mostly for my benefit. I find it fascinating to read what I was thinking about 365 days ago.


Rejoice! For Heather Hamilton is back.

I’m beginning to think that blogging is like an addictive substance. You can try to give it up but you’ll always come back to it.

Just how long do you think you can last without it, Derek?


Jessica refuses to believe that JCPenney are actually selling the "Forward Command Post" model in their catalogue:

"Take command of your soldiers from this fully outfitted battlezone. 75-piece set includes one 111/2"H figurine in military combat gear, toy weapons, American flag, chairs and more."

It’s like a doll’s house but a bombed-out doll’s house.

Sunday, September 29th, 2002

Viking Kittens

Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song as Flash animation. With kittens.

Saturday, September 28th, 2002

The Mirror Project, Sunday September 15, 4PM

Congratulations, Heather. 10,000 is a lot of pictures.

I stumbled across this milestone when I noticed that my little Mirror Project widget was suddenly throwing up an error. I had to make a small adjustment in the PHP code to account for the extra digit.

I’ll have to remember that when the picture count ticks over from 99,999 to 100,100.

Thursday, September 26th, 2002

The Electric Ballroom

It’s been quite a busy week for me.

I’ve been doing a lot of HTML and CSS with some local new media companies. At the same time, the band had a concert last night and we’re going into the studio tomorrow. Phew!

The concert was okay. It was more like a party, really; a meatspace gathering of people from the Brighton New Media mailing list. Most people were more interested in drinking and socialising than listening to the band, which is fair enough considering that that was the whole point of the evening.

The venue was great, though. It was our second time playing in the Hanbury Ballroom, a wonderfully atmospheric place that, rumour has it, was once a mausoleum.

The room has a decorated cupola that not only looks great, but also adds a lovely natural reverb to the vocals.

the cupola at the Hanbury Ballroom

Tuesday, September 24th, 2002

Apple Pro Keyboard

I had a bit of a hardware crisis last night.

I blame it on multi-tasking. I foolishly attempted to have a sip of tea whilst playing Aliens vs. Predator. Not a good idea.

In the game, a nasty alien gave me a good scare which resulted in tea spilt on my keyboard in the real world.

I cleaned it off, carried on, and didn’t think too much of it.

Later on, though, keys started to repeat and before too long, the keyboard stopped working altogether.

I drained the keyboard as best I could by turning it on its side and left it out to dry overnight. I would have liked to open it up but Apple has made them all but impregnable.

Today, it’s working (touch wood).

Still, I wonder if its only a matter of time before my keyboard is totally kaput. Maybe I should invest in a new one and vow to take better care of it.

Thank goodness I had my iBook to fall back on.

Reading Time

This picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

The Web's future: XHTML 2.0

Here’s a great article over at IBM detailing the changes that are in store for us with XHTML 2.0.

There’s a lot of very exciting stuff in there; XForms, images as objects and every tag potentially having an href attribute.

It’s a lot easier to read than the official spec.

Sunday, September 22nd, 2002

Lee Hazlewood

I went to half a concert last night.

I had known for weeks that Lee Hazlewood would be playing. i definitely wanted to see him - he’s a living legend and all that stuff - but the ticket price was a bit rich for my taste.

So it wasn’t until the very evening of the concert that Jessica and I, persuaded by Chris and Karin upstairs, decided to go.

We left the house a little after eight o’ clock and walked to the Brighton Dome. Upon arrival, we discovered that Lee Hazlewood had already been playing for 45 minutes, that he was going to play for just another 45 and that the box office was closed.

It looked that was the end of our evening right there.

Catherine, our drummer, was with us and she was resourceful enough to ask to speak to the promoter, an acquaintance of hers. We felt really bad about dragging her out of the gig, but she came out and gave us some tickets that had been reserved but unclaimed from the guest list. And that’s how I ended up seeing half a concert.

Very good it was, too. He didn’t do any of his classics like "Sand" or "Some Velvet Morning", although he did the obigatory "These Boots Are Made For Walking". He was ably supported on stage by members of The High Llamas.

Anyway, even if the gig hadn’t been good, I could hardly complain. After all, I didn’t end up paying anything.

I feel like such a freeloader.

Friday, September 20th, 2002

Angry Bed Positions

From the same man that brought you "things my girlfriend and I argue about" comes "angry bed positions".

Would you like some tact with that?

How can we measure the cost of human life? What price freedom?

The answer is $1.29 according to Burger King:

"In honor of our fallen heroes… free medium fries".

Orisinal : Morning Sunshine

Here’s a collection of wonderfully cute Flash games for you to while away your time with.

Each game is gorgeously designed with lovely pastel shades. I especially like the snowball rider.

Have fun.

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

Google Search: Go To Hell

Take note of the first and third results in this google search.

King Henry V

William Shakespeare:

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at such a place;’ some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument?

Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection."

Something for Dubya to consider.

Well, it would be if he read Shakespeare.

Maybe he can rent the movie sometime.

Tuesday, September 17th, 2002

And the winner is...

This website was nominated for an award.

Specifically, it was in the "Personal Sites" category of the Brighton & Hove Virtual Festival awards.

The awards ceremony was last night. People representing the shortlisted sites came along hoping to be the ones to win an a certificate, a t-shirt and some goodies from O’Reilly.

I didn’t win anything. The winner in the "Personal Sites" category was cartoonist, Alex Hallett. Congratulations to her (and, no, she didn’t win the award because she’s a very attractive young lady - the judges didn’t realise she was female until it came time to announce the winners).

I found it interesting that there was a special award for accessibility. The award went to a very nice site called Learning Navigators.

When the web developer for the site collected his award, he thanked Julie Howell of the RNIB. He was at the same Macromedia seminar on accessibility that I was and Julie’s talk persuaded him to make websites as accessible as possible.

It’s good to see this kind of thing being rewarded.

Sunday, September 15th, 2002


It’s time for a new CSS theme ‘round here.

The newest theme is my little expression of solidarity with the weblog Davezilla.

In case you missed it, Dave of Davezilla received a cease and desist letter from lawyers representing the Toho corporation who are, it seems, in possesion of a trademark covering things that end with "zilla".

These lawyers, evidently, failed the "Is It Godzilla?" quiz.

Anyway, to show support for Dave in my own little way, I decided to put together a new CSS theme based around a nifty picture of a dinosaur and add the suffix "zilla" to the name of the theme.

Try it out for yourself: Adactizilla.

The dinosaur is, as far as I can make out, an allosaurus.

Although it’s quite life-like, I must confess that I didn’t risk life and limb to bravely snap off a close-up of a live dinosaur. I’m afraid it’s just a statue I photographed at the McDonald’s across the road from Gas City just outside Benson, Arizona.

I have no idea why it’s there.

I love the fact that there’s a Shell Oil sign in the background. Ah, the cycle of life!

I always thought it was daringly honest of the Sinclair oil company to have a dinosaur in their logo. It’s like putting a picture of a horse into the logo of a glue company.

Friday, September 13th, 2002

Cthuugle Ph'nglui Search Fhtagn!

A search engine for all things Lovecraftian.

Thursday, September 12th, 2002

Guerrilla News Network: S-11 Redux

Ranchero Software: TigerLaunch 1.0b2

Brent Simmons has done it again.

The same guy who gave us the wonderful NetNewsWire Lite has bestowed the incredibly useful TigerLaunch on the Mac OS X world.

TigerLaunch is a tiny little app that simply adds an "Apps" menu to the top right corner of the screen allowing instant access to all applications.

Up ‘till now, I’ve been keeping an alias of my applications folder in the dock for this very purpose. TigerLaunch is a far more elegant solution that feels like it should have always been part of OS X.

Wednesday, September 11th, 2002

Let's agree to disagree

Compare and contrast…

Simon Schama writes an essay in which he argues that debate, dissent and argument are the building blocks of great democracies like America:

"Apparently, the dead are owed another war. But they are not. What they are owed is a good, stand-up, bruising row over the fate of America; just who determines it and for what end?"

James Lileks writes a bleat which begins as a personal narrative praising democracy but ends with a seething fury directed against those who would disagree with him:

"Don’t fret the strife you see in the daily papers. The dissenters, unbound as usual, will ruin their cause."

For Schama, a dissenter is the living embodiment of democracy at work. For Lileks, it’s a dirty word.

I guess Lileks would label Shama a dissenter and class his article as part of " the strife you see in the daily papers".

Perhaps Lileks would agree with this statement from Schama (though for different reasons):

"The notion that the parliament of tongues is, in fact, our best vindication wins few hearts and minds right now."

Monday, September 9th, 2002

Mexican singer loses fingers in helicopter accident

Mexican popstar helicopter accident:

"A 16-year-old singer in the Mexican pop group Magneto, Ricardo Abarca, has had three fingers reattached after four were sliced off when he waved to fans while beneath the rotors of a helicopter."

I think there should be a subcategory of The Darwin Awards to cover incidents like this.

Road trips for the wilfully ignorant

You may remember when I told you about the road trip I took in Arizona, I mentioned going to the wonderful Meteor Crater.

The gift shop at Meteor Crater is filled with many trinkets, some of them only tangentially related to planetary impacts. There were, for example, toy dinosaurs.

The following was overheard in that gift shop:

Boy: "Dad! Look! Dinosaurs!"

Father: "Now, there’s nothing in the bible about dinosaurs so I don’t think we want anything to do with that."

That family is on the wrong road trip. I felt like warning them not to go north - they might end up at the Grand Canyon which could cast some serious doubt on their theories about the age of the planet.

Probably not, actually.

But, thanks to the internet, I have found the perfect destination for their next road trip:

The Creation Evidence Musem in, where else, Texas.

Of course, from there it’s a heck of a long trek to make it to Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo in MIchigan:

"This eerie park is unique in its mixture of dinosaurs and cavemen with Christianity."

I shouldn’t knock it. I’ve never been to these places.

I have, however, been to Nash Dino Land in South Hadley, Massachusetts but I couldn’t really recommend it as part of a good creationist road trip.

Sunday, September 8th, 2002

The Farmer's Market

There’s a farmer’s market once a month in the centre of Brighton.

Jessica and I went along there today. It was nice but not a patch on what we were used to in Freiburg.

Farmer's market

Saturday, September 7th, 2002

New feature

I’ve add an extra little widget to my journal.

If you look under the heading "Pictures", you’ll see that there’s now a random image feature. It’s a bit like the mirror project picture that’s already there.

The image links through to the gallery from which the image is taken.

Refresh the page for some random image action.

For the PHP geeks amongst you, this was done mostly by using the readdir() and rand() functions.

The Decline Of Western Magazine Design

An excellent article detailing the homogenisation of magazine covers:

"Take a look at your local newsstand and here’s what you’ll see: racks upon racks of magazines that look almost identical. Whether they focus on music, fashion, cigars, fitness, women, or men, most magazines typically feature a grinning celebrity on the cover peeking out from behind squadrons of coverlines. It wasn’t always like this."

The article then follows this up with some real world examples.

The competitive sport of Cup Stacking

Take a look at this video from a cup stacking contest. It looks like some hollywood CGI effect but it’s actually real time cup stacking:

"Cup stacking is an exciting individual and team sport where participants stack and unstack 12 specially designed plastic cups (Speed Stacks) in pre-determined sequences."

Friday, September 6th, 2002

Answering Machine Greetings

Actual answering machine answers recorded and verified by the world famous International Institute of Answering Machine Answers:

"Hi! John’s answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets."

Thursday, September 5th, 2002

Coudal Partners

Here’s a nice documentary from Coudal looking at the work of designer Andy Mueller.

Wednesday, September 4th, 2002

Topsy Turvy World

This is satire:

"The highly touted "Internet Revolution" took another major step forward Monday, when Compaq unveiled the breakthrough Compaq Presario 6000, a $4,995 multimedia computer system that enables users to download files containing network-television programs and display them on a computer monitor."

This is genuine:

"Besides digital photo, music and movie features already available with Windows XP, the new PCs also would serve as TV tuners and digital video recorders (DVRs) for copying TV shows to the computer’s hard drive. But Microsoft has included copy-protection with the operating system that uses encryption to lock recorded TV shows to the PC."

Even ICANN are mad at Verisign

Verisign gets a ticking off from ICANN:

"According to VeriSign’s Whois data, the domain was registered to ‘Toto’, residing at ‘the yellow brick road’ in ‘Oz, KS 06750’"

If Verisign keep up the bad work, they may well lose the .com registry. That would be a great day for customers.

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2002

Stop me before I paint again

Banksy is a London grafitti artist. This is my favourite painting of his.

BBC + RSS = :-)

Excellent news. The BBC now has RSS feeds.

They’re still in the testing phase but you can grab a list of links to the feeds over at Plastic Bag.

Featured Freelancer

Catch it while you can. I’m a featured designer this month over at the Freelancer Network.

Monday, September 2nd, 2002


Miniature cars hit miniature trees.

Order yours now.

I’m holding out for the James Dean model.

Cre@teOnline update

Just a quick update to my recent post about the bugs at the Cre@teOnline website.

The magazine has a new editor and he seems to be on the ball. He wrote back anyway, which is progress. Maybe this will finally get sorted out.

evolution of type :: v02

MediumBold have put together a wonderful site examining the evolution of type from pictograms on cave walls to Joe Gillespie’s pixel fonts.

It’s everything a good website should be; informative, beautiful and easy to navigate.

Sunday, September 1st, 2002

Science Fiction Cities

Here’s a nice little gallery of cities from science-fiction films.

Metropolis, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, AI, Minority Report


I just picked up the most recent copy of Cre@teOnline.

The price of the magazine went up a while back to a hefty £6. To compensate for this, there was a CD-ROM included with each issue.

There was no CD-ROM with the newest issue. Instead, there was a "secret" link to exclusive online content.

With heavy heart, I followed the link. As I feared, the entire site is still riddled with JavaScript bugs that throw up errors in IE5 on the Mac.

I opened up Mail and wrote this hearfelt plea to the editor:

"Please, either bring back the CD-ROM or fix the JavaScript errors that the Create Online website is riddled with.

I stopped visiting the Create Online website quite a while back because these errors were so infuriating. Try visiting the site with IE5 on the Mac - every time you mouse over a menu item, an error pops up. Presumably, there’s supposed to be some kind of DHTML drop down menu there but I’m not seeing it. Neither are any of the other visitors using IE5 on the Mac - a very popular browser in the web design community where Macs are represented far more than they are in other sectors.

In the past, I’ve written emails to various addresses listed at the website offering my services to help fix these bugs. I’ve never received a reply, but my offer still stands.

At least the CD-ROM was reasonably cross platform.

So please, please, please either bring back the CD-ROM or fix your website.

Thanks in advance,


Little Green Hate

I find it interesting that a number of bloggers have been echoing exactly the same sentiments I’ve been feeling about a site called Little Green Footballs.

I used to visit LGF regularly. It was a nice, well written blog by a chap called Charles Johnson. It was regularly updated with posts about coding, design, music, politics and humour.

That changed after September 11th. It became exclusively devoted to politics, specifically the middle east, with Charles becoming inreasingly more and more extreme in his views.

It was like watching a train wreck. More accurately, it was like having an old friend suddenly start quizing you on whether or not you wanted to let L. Ron Hubbard into your life.

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t simply that I didn’t agree with his political views. I’ll carry on reading James Lileks even though it’s clear we have fundamentally different viewpoints on just about every political issue.

The simple truth is that Little Green Footballs just isn’t that well written anymore. It’s no fun to go to a website and be bludgeoned over the head with extreme political views every day (whether those views be left or right wing).

The world view that is now presented there has become almost paranoid in its "us against them" mentality. To begin with, it was us against the terrorists. Fair enough. Then it became us against the terrorists and the Palistinians. Now it’s us against the terrorists, the Palistinians, Noam Chomsky, the Europeans, Colin Powell and Greenpeace… and after posting this, I could probably add my name to that list. Charles has a vision of an axis of evil that would make Dubya green with envy.

Every now and then, I’d go back to Little Green Footballs to see if there was any chance of it reverting to its former state. Unfortunately, LGF had begun to attract a very, very unsavoury crowd. Some of the people posting comments there make Charles seem like a liberal. Some of the comments are openly rascist. Reading through the comments is like being in the middle of a feeding frenzy of hate.

At some stage, I deleted the link to LGF from my bookmarks and tossed away the link to its RSS feed.

And you know what? It’s a shame. It’s a crying shame to see something that was once an expression of joy become a vehicle for hate.

The cruelest irony of all is that Little Green Footballs now suffers from the very thing that all this hatred is ultimately directed at: extreme fundamentalism.