Archive: October, 2002


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Thursday, October 31st, 2002

The Pumpkin Queen

Not only does Jessica carve a scary looking Jack O’Lantern, she also makes a mean roasted garlic pumpkin bisque with herb potato dumplings.

That’s a recipe for a happy halloween.

Jack O'Lantern

Wednesday, October 30th, 2002

PodNews 3: Your iPod's best friend.

What do you get when you take two great things, the iPod and RSS, and combine them? You get PodNews 3.

This is one of those brilliant ideas that make me slap my forehead and ask "Why didn’t I think of that?"

Despair, Inc.

Are you sick of those "inspirational" posters with pithy sayings presented underneath pictures of cute animanals and/or sweeping landscapes?

Then maybe it’s time you looked at the Demotivators 2003 collection:

"Motivation: if a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon."

"Meetings: none of us is as dumb as all of us."

You can always browse through last year’s collection which includes gems like this one:

"Consultants: if you’re not part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem."

Or this one from the classic collection:

"Mistakes: it could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as warning to others."

Tuesday, October 29th, 2002

Apple - iMac

The deed is done. I just placed an order at the Apple store for a 17 inch iMac.

This is the largest order I’ve ever placed either on the web or off. It made me very apprehensive to spend so much money in one go.

But hey, I’ve earned it. I’ve been working hard for the last month and this is my reward.

My G3 ruby iMac has served me well for the last two years but it’s starting to show its age. I’ll probably pass it on to my mother. She’s computerless right now but I have a feeling that she’d get a kick out of using email and surfing the web. And what better machine for a complete newbie than a Mac?

The 17 inch iMac (beefed up with some extra RAM) should satisfy me for quite some time to come. Once I get over the weird and hitherto unknown experience of spending so much money on something, I’ll be able to get excited and start counting the days ‘till it arrives.

Saturday, October 26th, 2002

The Chimera Project

I’ve started surfing the web with a new browser. It’s called Chimera, a Mac OS X browser from Mozilla.

I’m not sure how long I’ll stay away from Internet Explorer (which itself is a terrific browser on the Mac) but I thought it give something else a try for a while. I’ve already tried other browsers based around Mozilla, like Netscape 7, but I found them either too slow or too buggy.

Chimera is certainly not slow. It renders pages in the blink of an eye and it renders them very nicely.

It has a couple of quirks that will take me a while to get used to but it also has some wonderful features. "Tabbed" browsing is pretty nifty but the feature I’m most glad of is the pop-up killer. The browser can be set to ignore any unwanted JavaScript pop-ups (or unders).

Online advertisers take note: when browsers are built with this kind of functionality built in, that should tell you something.

Direct Marketing

Don Henley improves his street cred:

"…encouraging everyone to ‘Download all you want’. ‘The record companies have been ripping artists off for years’, he said. ‘Go ahead. I’d rather lose money to you than them. I don’t have a contract with you.’"

Billy Bragg, promoting his new song "The Price Of Oil", goes one step further:

"Billy sang the song mentioned in the title, and then went and got a bunch of RCDs out and threw them into the audience, asking people to rip them and spread the song around."

Friday, October 25th, 2002

Friday Fun

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

West Pier Pictures

Here are some truly excellent pictures of the West Pier here in Brighton.

It doesn’t get much more gothic than this.

Transmit 2

I’ve just upgraded to Transmit version 2. Very nice it is, too.

The new features were enough to convince me to fork over the (meagre) upgrade price.

Perhaps the most important new feature of Transmit 2 is that it can handle Secure FTP connections. This is exactly what I need for the work I’m doing now.

Up ‘till now I’ve been using Fugu which has been pretty darn good for the price (free) but my heart has always belonged to Transmit.

Transmit, much like BBEdit, doesn’t suck.

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002

The Han Solo Affair

The funniest piece of Lego animation I’ve seen yet.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002

RSS Validator

Mark Pilgrim and Sam Ruby have released an RSS validator. This coincides nicely with the fact that I’ve just updated my RSS feed from using version 0.92 to version 1.0.

The validator debuted this morning and there were a couple of small hitches that were ironed out by the afternoon. I did my bit by writing and pointing out that "textinput" (which is valid in RSS 1.0) was being flagged as invalid.

Most of the bugs seem to be fixed now and my RSS feed is now validating beautifully.

The ElectriClerk

Remember those wonderfully retro computing devices from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil?

Somebody’s built one using a 1923 typewriter and a 1988 Macintosh.

Monday, October 21st, 2002

Stop the Patent Process Madness

Wired has published an excellent article by Lauren Weinstein on the ludicrous state of Intellectual Property patents:

"Business methods and software patents have become a cesspool of attempts to control what many observers feel to be routine and obvious procedures."

Patents now exist for everything from exercising your cat with a laser pointer to one click online shopping. Weinstein makes the point that it’s a win/win situation for lawyers:

"Even when courts ultimately rule a particular IP claim invalid, the real winners in these battles, as usual, are the lawyers, who rake in the fees either way."

You can bet that a lot of lawyers made big bucks from the Macromedia vs. Adobe debacle.

This isn’t something that just affects businesses either. A key breast cancer test can no longer be carried out in Canada because an American company has patented a gene:

"Utah-based Myriad Genetics Inc. has put a patent on two genes that can signal whether a woman may develop hereditary breast cancer."

What a sickening state of affairs. I can only echo Weinstein’s words:

"We need to take a hard look at the fundamental ways in which IP laws have been perverted from their original purpose as creativity enhancers, into sordid money machines in this country and around the world."

Hear, hear.

The Morning News - The Opposite of Sex and the City

What if Sex and the City had been written by Beckett?

"1: I doubt I am fecund.

2: I have eaten so little.

3: Where are the men?

1: There are no men.

2: I will pay a woman $40 to caress and decorate my toes with varnish. I will wear shoes that cost more than the weekly wages of a restaurant worker, with tips.

3: What kind of tips?

2: Not on the shoes, for the restaurant workers.

1: I am hungry. I will not marry.

2: Talk about the shoes.

3: The shoes!

Unison: Shoes."

Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character

This is a scarily accurate online version of twenty questions. It didn’t take long for it to guess that I was thinking of Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties.

Why would I think of a character from Family Ties?

Maybe it’s because I just found out what Tina Yothers (the little blonde kid who played Alex’s sister) is doing these days: she’s rocking out with a band called Jaded.

Maybe I should just think of a dictator the next time I try that online version of twenty questions.

Sunday, October 20th, 2002


I’ve just come back from seeing the Canadian singer/songwriter Hayden playing at a local pub. He was rather wonderful.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to his songs, watch his videos and see what you think.

Friday, October 18th, 2002

At the closing of the day

It’s the end of another working week spent with the fine folks over at Metal Dragons working on a site relaunch.

As I left their office today, the sun was sinking over the English channel. I decided to walk home along the beach and enjoy the red glow of the sun setting behind the West Pier.

Brighton's West Pier illuminated by a red sunset

Ryan Adams not amused to be called Bryan

Poor Ryan Adams. I guess the joke has worn very, very thin for him:

"The singer-songwriter was playing a gig at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville when a member of the audience shouted at him to play Summer of ‘69. The song was a hit for Bryan Adams. Adams ordered the house lights be turned on so he could find the fan.He then paid him $30 cash as a refund for the show, ordered him to leave and said he wouldn’t play another note until that happened."

I feel kind of sorry for him. He reminds me of the Michael Bolton character in Office Space:

"Michael Bolton: Yeah, well, at least you’re name isn’t Michael Bolton.

Samir: You know, there’s nothing wrong with that name.

Michael Bolton: There WAS nothing wrong with it. Until I was about 12 years old, and that no-talent-ass-clown because famous and started winning Grammys.

Samir: Why don’t you just go by Mike, instead of Michael?

Michael Bolton: No way! Why should I change it? He’s the one who sucks."

So, what should Ryan Adams do? Should he stick to his guns and live with the jokes or should he change his name? And if he does change his name, what would he change it to?

Ruce Springsteen, perhaps?

Tuesday, October 15th, 2002

Opera Software

Following close on the heels of Wired News, another site has switched over to a valid XHTML/CSS layout.

This time it’s Opera Software, makers of the rather good (but sadly, not free) web browser.

Sunday, October 13th, 2002

Salter Cane

If you’d like to hear the fruits of last week’s labours in the studio, the song is now available for download from the band’s website.

Saturday, October 12th, 2002

Lost in Translation

I bet these guys would have loved to get hold of Jessica’s other domain name.

Or as the babelised version would have it:

I bet these types that the hand in the other Domain Name of Jessica would have intentional the regular end.


A beautiful site with some fantastic DHTML widgets to play with.

It makes the code I wrote for the old DHTML version of this site look very verbose and primitive indeed.

More Wired News

Following up my last post about the redesign of Wired News, here’s an interview with Douglas Bowman who led the development team.

After my last post, I took the time to write to Douglas and congratulate him on a job well done. I expect he’s going to have a bulging inbox full of fan-mail considering all the good press he’s receiving.

Friday, October 11th, 2002

Wired News: A Site for Your Eyes

Wired News has switched over to an all-out XHTML/CSS layout.

This is a great piece of news for anyone that’s interested in pushing for the adoption of Web Standards.

It’s about time we had a high-profile poster boy for lean, mean, tableless sites. A List Apart has had to shoulder the responsibility for far too long.

There’s a new article up at Wired News explaining the many benefits of using CSS for layout. Hopefully this will serve as an inspiration to other site owners.

I remember the flood of CSS based layouts on personal sites following the big change over at A List Apart. It would be great if we saw another wave of standards compliant designs, this time by news sites.

Thursday, October 10th, 2002



Take that, Jessica.

Tuesday, October 8th, 2002

More pierced buildings

I spotted another modified building on my way out of Brighton station yesterday.

The Victoria Real building has had its belly button pierced.

body art adorning a Brighton office building

Monday, October 7th, 2002


The huh? corporation:

"Our ideas will entice and excite you. Our professional solutions will give you the confidence to succeed. And our website will make you think we know what we’re doing."

Sunday, October 6th, 2002

Pea throwing

Today, by happy chance, I found myself in Lewes.

Today was no ordinary day in Lewes.

Today was the day of the world pea throwing championship.

a pea thrower

Saturday, October 5th, 2002

Body art meets architecture

Somebody is going around piercing buildings in Brighton & Hove.

I was walking around Brighton earlier today with Jessica and my mother when I happened to look up and see this curch (now an art gallery) with a spike through its belfry.

A pierced building

Friday, October 4th, 2002

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry, can’t stop - people to be, places to meet; no time to blog.

Seriously, it’s been a busy week. Not only I have I been coding long hours during the day, I’ve been in the studio with the band in the evenings.

Soon, the fruits of both these labours will be available for your perusal. I’ll add the site I’ve been working on to the portfolio section and I’ll have a rocking new MP3 to post up on the band’s website.

This weekend, though, I’m taking some time out. My mother is over from Ireland to live it up in Brighton for a few days. Jessica and I will be showing her the sights and sounds.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

Eric Myer Photography

Edward J.Funkuncle

Set aside some time to look through the wonderful Funkuncle website.

I’m not even going to try to describe it.

Dive Into Mark

Hot on the heels of my blogging anniversary, comes this anniversary from Mark:

"One year ago today, my (now former) manager told me to shut down my weblog and remove all traces of it from my server."