Archive: May, 2003


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Friday, May 30th, 2003

Laptop Land

As promised, I’m blogging wirelessly from Riki Tik’s in the North Laine, Brighton.

Many thanks and kudos to the good folks at Loose Connection for getting this up and running.

If you’ve never done any wireless web surfing, you may wonder what all the fuss is about but believe me, it’s the coolest thing in the world.

Just ask Jessica. She’s here enjoying the freedom and contributing to the preponderance of Apple laptops.

surfing wirelessly on iBooks

Switching lifestyles

Mark Frauenfelder is making another switch.

This time it’s going further than the desktop. He’s going to live in the South Pacific for a year.

I could live there.

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

Gaming for good, not evil

According to recently published research that has geeks the world over rubbing their hands with glee, playing video games may actually be quite beneficial:

“The researchers have shown that gamers were particularly good at spotting details in busy, confusing scenes and could cope with more distractions than average.”

This is just the kind of thing I need to hear when Unreal Tournament 2003 is on its way for the Mac. If the demo is anything to go by, I’m going to be spending many hours sharpening my skills.

If the game proves to be helpful in improving my visual skills, I think it’s only fair that it should be tax-deductable.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

Blogging at the BBQ

I’m in a garden in Lewes. The sun has gone down and I’ve just finished eating some barbequed meat surrounded by fellow geeks from the Brighton New Media list. The perfect end to a beautiful sunny day.

This garden has wireless coverage, hence this entry.

Enough geekiness. Time for me to get on a train back to the big smoke of Brighton.

Brighton's going wireless

It looks like Brighton is about to get networked, just in time for Summer.

As of Friday, there’ll be three free wireless access points in town; The Black Lion (The Lanes), Riki Tik’s (North Laine) Grand Central (opposite the station) with another, Bar de la Mer (on the beach) on being added on Saturday.

There’ll be more hotspots added by and by. Did I mention that they’re going to be free?

I’ll head down to Riki Tik’s on Friday for the grand unwiring where hopefully I’ll be able to do some on-the-spot blogging.

iTunes update

Apple have released an update to iTunes but you might not want to download it just yet.

In the digital equivalent to shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, the new update disables the ability to share music libraries over anything other than a local network.

This is a shame. I was enjoying listening to other people share their music over the internet. Essentially, it’s like having a really small listening party - no more than five people can connect to the same music library at one time. I’m able to listen to whole albums by say, The Flaming Lips and Coldplay instead of just hearing the singles when they happen to come on the radio. It makes me want to go out and buy the albums.

I can’t download the songs, I can only listen in to somebody’s private radio station broadcasting somebody’s private mix-tape.

For a while, I thought I was witnessing the future of legal peer to peer music promotion. Looks like the dream is over.

Saturday, May 24th, 2003

Cameras are kryptonite to Starbucks

I had no idea when this picture was taken that I was opening myself up to a potential tirade from a Starbucks manager. Lawrence Lessig has the story:

"Last month while visiting Charleston, three women went into a Starbucks. They were spending the weekend together and one of them had a disposable camera with her. To commemorate their time with one and other they decided to take round robin pictures while sitting around communing. The manager evidently careened out of control, screaming at them, "Didn’t they know it was illegal to take photographs in a Starbucks." She insisted that she had to have the disposable camera because this was an absolute violation of Starbuck’s copyright of their entire ‘environment’ - that everything in the place is protected and cannot be used with Starbuck’s express permission."

Now Lawrence Lessig is wondering what would happen if we turned this weekend into “Take Pictures In A Starbucks” weekend.

If you really want to send them ballistic, attempt to film Anil Dash talking to an actress from The Sopranos about blogs. Just watch as the manager uncorks a bottle of freak-out.

Thursday, May 22nd, 2003

Reloaded Reviewed

Jessica and I went to the cinema today to see The Matrix Reloaded.

The film was released in the States a week ago. Since then, just about every blogger in the blogosphere has weighed in with a review and the general consensus seems to be that it’s a let-down with reactions ranging from disappointment to anger.

With that in mind, I tried to keep my expectations in check but I couldn’t help but get excited as the film’s imminent UK release approached. I just had to go see it on its first day of release.

I loved it. It was great; fun, thought-provoking and thrilling.

I’m left wondering how my opinion could diverge so much from the mind-hive of my fellow bloggers.

Then again, I liked The Phantom Menace so what do I know?

Maybe I’m just able to suspend my disbelief with relative ease. I get the impression that some reviewers enter the cinema weighed down by excess cynicism.

Then again, I had no problem with the ewoks in Return Of The Jedi, so what do I know?

If you feel like freeing your mind and meeting the movie halfway, go see The Matrix Reloaded.

If not, go see X2: X-Men United which is just plain great no matter what your frame of mind.

Wednesday, May 21st, 2003


Here’s some not-so-mindless fun: a Java emulation of the game of the soon-to-be movie of the television series of the book of the radio series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

If that’s too cerebral, there’s always Batchelor Pad, the game of the movie Down With Love.

Tuesday, May 20th, 2003


I gave my SkillSwap talk on CSS based design last night. I had been preparing for it for a while which is why my journal entries have been somewhat sporadic of late.

It went down pretty well. The reaction on the Brighton New Media mailing list this morning has been very positive.

One of the highIights of for me was finally getting to meet both Pete Barr-Watson and Richard Rutter in meatspace. Pete was actually blogging and taking pictures with his mobile ‘phone at the event.

Speaking of mobile ‘phones, my Sony Ericsson T68i did a nice job of acting as a remote control apart from losing the bluetooth connection once or twice.

I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to say but as it turned out, the talk actually lasted longer than the allotted three hours. By that time, my throat was parched and a bunch of us retired to The Pond for some jigs’n’reels and a frosty beverage.

Now the really hard work begins; organising my notes into a nice web-friendly format and posting them up here.

Sunday, May 18th, 2003

Mackerel Fayre

Arr, there be some strange goings on in Brighton, m’lad. They do say there be a ghost ship riding the waves last last night. Arr!

Today were ye old Mackerel Fayre. Every year they do bless the nets and feast on mackerel. Arr! Myself and my wench did brave the salty breeze to taste the fish and watch ye olde punch and judy show. Arr!

We left before those scurvy morris dancers started their infernal jangling. Arr! But we did take some pictures.

Arr, I hate the sea and everything in it.

Saturday, May 17th, 2003

Client horror stories

I can relate to these tales of terror from the world of web design.

Griff at Ultramicroscopic tells of being told to "just build" this:

"a piece of shit scribbled on a bedside hotel scratch pad devoid of any ties to reality at 3am after a 14 martini, ass kissing bender with a client representative nick-named "the human sponge" that has absolutely no authority to make any spending decision over $50."

Meanwhile, Brian at OP/EDit comes to the realisation that many people don’t understand what "form follows funtion" actually means:

"If 99% of what a person does on a website is read, then wouldn’t the function of the site be to make it as reader friendly as possible? And if form does follow function, then wouldn’t every design decision be based upon a single uncompromising premise: make access to your information as easy as possible?"

Fight the good fight, guys. Otherwise we’ll end up with things like this:

The absolute worse use of Flash I have ever seen in my life from a website that dares to name itself Web Usability.

Tuesday, May 13th, 2003

Virtual Festival

Congratulations to Jessica and Richard, both of whom have been shortlisted in the "Best Personal Site and Weblogs" category of the Brighton & Hove Virtual Festival Awards.

Head on over and vote early, vote often.

Too bad adactio didn’t make the grade. Ah well, there’s always next year.

Monday, May 12th, 2003

And again.

Sunday, May 11th, 2003

West Pier on fire... again.

Friday, May 9th, 2003

Random New Media Company Generator

I’ve noticed a trend in the naming conventions of local New Media companies (although I’m sure this trend applies beyond the boundaries of Brighton & Hove).

Companies tend to have very functional sounding names like "Internet Solutions Development Inc" or else they go for a more wacky, off-the-wall name that usually consists of juxtaposing say, a colour with an animal e.g. "Red Monkeys".

I was in the mood for some light-hearted procrastination last night so I came up with…

The Random New Media Company Generator.

As well as generating a random name, it also shows a logo and a buzzword-laden tagline. Refresh the page for a new company every time.

I’ve seeded the generator with some adjectives and nouns from some actual companies so any resemblance to is not purely coincidental and should be inferred.

Thursday, May 8th, 2003

Malkovich, Malkovich

Wednesday, May 7th, 2003

Same planet, different worlds

English footballer, David Beckham is worth £10.53m.

Norwegian footballer, Kenneth Kristensen is worth his own weight in prawns.

Mmmm… prawns.

Monday, May 5th, 2003

Accessibility statement

I’ve updated the “About” section of this site to include a brief accessibility statement.

It mostly covers the accesskeys available for adactio. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants here; Richard Rutter did all the research and Mark Pilgrim provided the template for my accessibility statement.

I used to have accesskeys implemented according to the first letter of each section, (“J” for “Journal”, “P” for “Portfolio”, etc.) but I’m all for standardisation in these kinds of things so now I’m following the pack and just using numbers.

On the subject of capitalising on other people’s hard work, I’ve added an extra little link to the “Music” box in my journal. It’s Mac only, I’m afraid, but once Todd Dominey showed how to link to items in the iTunes Music Store, I thought it was too good to pass up. If you’re a Mac user and you click on the “iTunes Music Store” link, your copy of iTunes will do a search for the last song I listened to.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2003

Pynchon on Orwell

Following up on my earlier post about Newspeak, here’s a superb essay by Thomas Pynchon on 1984 which is part of the introduction to a new edition of the book published next week. In it, Pynchon finds hope in the very inclusion of the Newspeak Appendix at the end of the book:

"We remember that at the beginning, we were given the option, by way of a footnote, to turn to the back of the book and read it. Some readers do this, and some don’t - we might see it nowadays as an early example of hypertext."

"From its first sentence, "The Principles of Newspeak" is written consistently in the past tense, as if to suggest some later piece of history, post-1984, in which Newspeak has become literally a thing of the past - as if in some way the anonymous author of this piece is by now free to discuss, critically and objectively, the political system of which Newspeak was, in its time, the essence."

Read the whole thing. It’s a great piece of writing by one great writer writing about another great writer’s greatest piece of writing. Phew!

Obey Day

I feel I must apoligise to American readers for my earlier entreaties for a happy May Day.

Little did I realise that although May Day began in America as a celebration of workers’ rights, there have been attempts since the 1930s to disassociate the day from those pinko commie scum.

The latest attempt was made this year by George W.Bush who would like to rename May 1st Loyalty Day.

You can’t argue with that now, can you? If you do then I guess that would be disloyal.

Such clever use of language would seem to indicate that some people have been boning up on Orwell’s Appendix to 1984.

The Liberty Committee, for instance, are legislating for the United States to withdraw its membership of the UN. They call this piece of legislation the "American Sovereignty Restoration Act".

If I were a politician, I think I would give all my legislation titles like The "Every Time You Vote Against This, A Kitten Dies" Act or The "Think Of The Children! Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children!" Act.

For service above and beyond the cause of Newspeak, though, you can’t beat the USA PATRIOT Act. Not only does it have a name that’s straight off Big Brother’s whiteboard, it’s also an acronym.

I don’t know who comes up with that stuff but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the same people who gave us "friendly fire" and "collateral damage".

Friday, May 2nd, 2003

Leopold Kraus

Jessica came across the website of a surf-rock band that I used to play with when we were both still living in Freiburg, Germany.

It looks like they’re playing plenty of gigs and they’re sounding better than they did when I was playing with them (yes, there probably is a connection there).

Listening through their MP3 offerings, I was particularly chuffed to come across an old song with yours truly on bass.

Ah, what a Proustian flood of memories that unleashes.

Long may you rock, Leopold Kraus; purveyors of the finest surf music in the entire Black Forest.

Thursday, May 1st, 2003

Workers Of The World

Happy May 1st, my fellow working class comrades.

If you couldn’t make it to Berlin this year,here’s a Maifestspiel that’s just like the real thing.