Friday, February 28th, 2003
The Horror of Blimps
The story of one man’s encounter with horror itself, made manifest in the form of a radio controlled indoor blimp.
"The blimp which was up until this moment a fun toy here embarked on a career of evil."
Wednesday, February 26th, 2003
Before I discovered the web (heck, before the web was even invented), I was a busker.
I played mandolin and, later, bouzouki from Ireland to Canada and all across Europe.
In all that time, I never once played in London.
Reading this account of seven Guardian journalists who did, I think I made the right choice.
You can read their field reports, find out how much each one made and, at the end, listen to a sound sample of each.
I can relate to a lot of the experiences:
"Income is provided almost entirely by toddlers mesmerised by such a silly thing. A tug at mum’s sleeve and she, wanting to bring up a nice boy, coughs up (although one child actually removes money. Should be a critic)."
Jeremy the bear
When I was growing up in Ireland, this television programme used to be on.
The show’s opening had the title character singing the theme song. This theme song was in turn sung to me, the only Jeremy in my town, by all the jocks as they tormented me:
“I’m a bear called Je-re-my,
I can do most an-y-thing,
I can dance and I can sing…”
Y’know, it’s great that you can find just about anything on the internet but some things are best left forgotten.
Tuesday, February 25th, 2003
Happy birthday to me
Today is my birthday, mein Geburtstag, mi cumpleanos, mo bhreathlá.
Sunday, February 23rd, 2003
It’s been a busy week for Cascading StyleSheets.
The big news is that the ESPN website has been redesigned with CSS. Mighty fine it looks too although if you visit using a browser that doesn’t kill pop-ups, you’ll be playing hit the gopher with some extra spawned windows.
"Look ? Safari could be the fatest, coolest standards-based browser in the world. Who really cares?"
This was nicely rebutted by the man behind the ESPN redesign himself:
"Care to guess how much money we spent for QA to make sure our site worked in Safari?
If you guessed $0.00, you are correct."
That’s the beauty of coding to standards. Your pages are future-proofed for any standards-compliant browsing device.
Meanwhile, closer to home, I’ve been tweaking the mark-up and stylesheets right here at adactio.
The site navigation is now, correctly, contained in a list. So, if things look a little weird to you, a quick page refresh should sort it out.
Friday, February 21st, 2003
I hope this Korean animated film manages to avoid some of the cliches of Manga.
Thursday, February 20th, 2003
Fun with corporate speak
I sometimes find myself working on websites for typically corporate businesses.
There is always the danger that this corporate, buzzword talk could spill over into our everyday lives.
After finishing off a lunch of leftovers the other day, we (jokingly) imagined what we would sound like:
“That was a successful lunch.”
“Yes. It was good that we were able to repurpose those lentils.”
“Yes. We were able to really leverage them.”
We ran out of steam then. We’ll never be in the same league as the genius that came up with this stuff:
“Customers leveraging the Asera platform will have the ability to seamlessly integrate real-time product knowledge into their enterprise eBusiness environments. Architected to provide tighter integration and deeper collaboration, the Asera Solution will enable global manufacturers to recognize greater results from collaboration, streamline efficiencies in the supply chain, and reduce costs.”
Wednesday, February 19th, 2003
Planes, trains and broadband
This live, literally on-air, description of Lufthansa’s experimental flights with broadband access mirrors my own frustrations with the ludicrous idea of using a pop-up window as a control mechanism:
"The service is activated about thirty minutes into the flight, so I plug in my PowerBook, and I’m suddenly online. Well not exactly suddenly. The connection to the Internet is made by a proxy server, and requires leaving a pop-up window open. But I’m running Safari with popup blocking enabled, and at first I can’t get online."
I wonder how do they do it on the Gothenburg to Copenhagen Express?
Tuesday, February 18th, 2003
Monday, February 17th, 2003
BBC - CNN = 866
Here is the BBC transcript of Hans Blix’s presentation to the UN security council.
Here is the CNN transcript of the same presentation.
The difference? About 866 words.
I guess they didn’t think all that stuff about Iraq’s moves towards compliance wasn’t very important and that’s why they left all those bits out.
CNN have changed their version. Here’s a cached version, thanks to Google.
Here’s something a little bit different: a trailer for a book.
Card, author of Ender’s Game, is probably the more familiar of the two names but this is mostly Chiang’s baby.
Of course, the original Star Wars films also had a great look and feel to them, mostly due to the work of Doug Chiang’s forerunner, Ralph McQuarrie. In this interview with Chiang from 1998, the styles of both artists are compared and contrasted.
Friday, February 14th, 2003
Netscape DevEdge Redesigns As Standards Showcase
If you scroll down towards "More Features And Benefits", you’ll find a shout-out to your humble narrator’s site:
"The design can change easily as CSS allows separation of presentation from structure. We could just as easily offer wildly different layouts as thematic variations on a single layout. Some examples of this sort of complete restyling include the standards blog at nitot.com, the journal at adactio.com, and the search engine alltheweb.com."
I got props. Cool.
Unfortunately, the design doesn’t work too well in Safari. In fact in the latest public beta, it causes the app to stall completely.
Overall, the more I use Safari, the more I like it. The way the development team have been going after those bug reports is very impressive. I’m sure by the time it reaches 1.0 status, it’ll be a lean, mean browsing machine.
Thursday, February 13th, 2003
I sense a disturbance in The Force. Census data released today shows an unusually high concentration of Jedi in a certain seaside city:
"The Jedi response was most popular in Brighton and Hove, with 2.6 per cent of census respondents quoting it."
Funnily enough, I’ve been spending my evenings playing Jedi Knight II recently.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2003
Happy Darwin Day!
It is the birthday of one of the greatest and bravest scientists ever to have lived.
Tuesday, February 11th, 2003
100 stories of unfamous people
"Ah. I like the Pixies. Cool."
"Dude, the Pixies, like, rocked."
"They like todally invented Nirvana!"
"Totally… hey, I just got hold of Frank Black’s latest solo album. I like it a lot - it has a touch of country to it."
"Good! Today I’ve listened to: Willy Nelson, LeAnne Rimes (yikes!) and a tribute to Gram Parsons. Country (rock) rocks!"
"I only tried him out very recently. Had a day where he got mentioned alot so played a couple of albums Jo had of his. I’m an EmmyLou Harris fan so it fit quite well."
I take that back. It’s not really an application, per se. It’s whatever you want it to be.
Basically, it’s a framework for little desktop widgets. It’s the range and power of those widgets that’s so cool.
It’s stuff like this that makes me want to try my hand at being a desktop developer.
Monday, February 10th, 2003
Music for the masses
I’m back from a day in London where I enjoyed the closest thing a geek like me is going to get to culture.
The soundtrack has been on heavy rotation in this house lately and it was great to hear the music live.
I’d get up to London more often and enjoy more culcha if it wasn’t for interminable train ride back to Brighton afterwards.
Friday, February 7th, 2003
Don't talk crazy
He likes it, he likes it
Thursday, February 6th, 2003
Wednesday, February 5th, 2003
Yet another pier disaster
Brighton’s Palace Pier caught fire tonight. It was quite spectacular but luckily nobody was injured.
I was in the Sussex Arts Club getting my laptop and the projector to talk to each other in preparation for my little presentation when someone informed me that I might want to nip outside because the pier was on fire.
I watched as glowing bits of the pier fell spark-like into the channel. I tried taking some pictures but my camera isn’t up to night time photography. A friend of mine from another Brighton new media company did have a good camera though, so I’m going to get some pictures from him that I’ll post up here tomorrow.
I felt really bad about the fire until somebody told me that it was basically the Palace Pier people who were responsible for the West Pier not getting renovated sooner. Apparently, they didn’t like the idea of having any competition so they took the West Pier Trust to court.
In which case, this fire has the ring of poetic justice to it, following the partial collapse of the West Pier.
So, basically, tonight I was upstaged by a blaze.
Once it was clear that the fire was under control, people wandered back into the Sussex Arts Club and listened to me waffle on about my websites and how I made them.
Strangely enough, some people actually seemed to get some pleasure out of hearing me speak. I think I should write some of that stuff down when I have the chance and publish it here.
Tuesday, February 4th, 2003
I’ll probably talk about this site, stylesheets, web standards, accessibility… all the usual stuff.
If you’re in Brighton and you’d like to come along to say hello, heckle or have a chinwag, I’ll see you there at seven.
For those of you who missed the state of the union address, here’s the audio update.
Monday, February 3rd, 2003
London kills me
This will all be happening next Sunday. Hopefully by then the tube will be back to normal and we won’t experience anything quite like Robyn’s recent odyssey:
“No one in my carriage batted an eyelid until there was another crack, our train jolted forward a couple of inches and our driver announced, “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but we appear to have argh-“, at which point I surmised that Cthulhu himself was upon us and set about making a mental inventory of my achievements and piecing together the snatches of Catholic doctrine I could remember from my childhood.”
Saturday, February 1st, 2003
I’m back in Brighton.
I flew in last night from Dallas (following a short flight to there from Phoenix).
This was all that remained of the space shuttle Columbia.
This is very, very sad.
What’s even sadder is that some of the debris appeared on eBay within minutes.