Aug 31

Round Up 31 Aug

It’s been a funny fews days with things all over the place but now I’m getting back on track.

I find I can say very little more about Hurricane Katrina; there’s a lot out there. TheTimes-Picayune continues to be published, even if online only, in a life goes on mode. In a weird way the newspaper reflects that, as the the only other news I have seen on the front page has been football-related.

HMV and Virgin are launching music download sites this weekend. The HMV site is utilising The Who in combination with McFly to promote a special version of My Generation to kick start the site.

Technology saves a drowning girl. A girl who passed out in a swimming pool was saved by an underwater monitoring system, that monitors activity by camera and recognises lack of activity in people underwater. The alarm was raised and the lifeguards were able to resuscitate her.

As Movable Type 3.2 (why do I always want to type Moveable) allows me to run multiple blogs know, I thought I would. Next week i’m volunteering at the World Master’s Rowing Championships so will put a separate record of time spent in another place. Link once I’ve set it up ;o)

Aug 24

Google Talk

Google’s Im client is now available for download. The download is tiny, the install is quick and the interface is, as to be expected, nice and clean. As with MSMessenger, it’s tied into the online email account and you need a Gmail account to use it. The same email alerts are avaialable (in fact the alert arrives befire the email arrives inthe inbox) and you automatically get all of your inbox contacts contacts listed to choose from to contact. Now all I need to do is wait for someone else I know to download it ;o)

Aug 23


I;ve been testing Google’s new Desktop Sidebar whaatchamacallit. It looks pretty good so far, all the bits working well; just need FTSE 100, UK weather and a few more UK news soruces ( I see the the BBC somewhere there?)

It looks like innovation around web services is increasing. Kottke has a insightful piece about where it all could be going, moving towards a browser and web based world.

The sooner the better for me. I work across 3 PCs; getting all the work in one web based placed that gets accessed wherever I am would be wonderful. The challenge for me would be the transition period. it’s easy to move the machines I own to such a paltform, but keeping it accessible in a work environment, which is very conservative, would be the a bonus.

Aug 23

Flickr Login Broken

Flickr is slowly amalgamating itself into Yahoo and this weekend the IDs started merging. At this point you have a choice, but at some point in the future you won’t. So I combined them and now, annoyingly, you have to login every single time you go to Flickr instead of just using a cookie. Clicking remember details only remembers password. So Flickr have just borken my experience and added an annoyance everytime.

Aug 22

22 Aug notes

From Engadget, a look back to 1985 and how the technology blog may have looked then as a BBS. I remember of lot of these; the Windows1.0 screenshot in particular struck home considering how much time I’ve spent starng at such screens.

From Niall Kennedy, blogs as a communication tool. Blogs usualy – hopefully ;o) – act as a one to many communication method. Niall saw a one-to-one use that keeps a communication alive in a single place; perhaps the medium allows more of a conversational and sharing mode than emails. Will it still have the saem sense of discovery and recollection produced by a bundle of letters? Perhaps – connectivty and deepness of content is far easier in a blog than in emails.

Aug 21

More flash sites

A couple of flash sites coulght my eye today.

The first is from Gap. A dodgy idea poorly execited in this case. It comproses a virtual strip tease and the ‘model’, whom you have designed, removes their clothes. The file size is large enough to freeze my browser, the interface is clucky and the animation is poor. Like many flash files, the navigation is poor, difficult to move around unles son a set path. Not the best advert for the brand. Via ThreeMinds

The second is the Lost backstory, which is going to expand as the series progresses. Set up to give a lot more information to explain the histry of the characters, along with a mystery to solve via clues and other websites. The navigation s bad on this – if you want to repeat things you have to start at the beginning, but the presentation here is good.

Aug 21


I followed one of the links through to Amazon’s Adult Toys and Games section (coy name for not so coy product section). In amongst the variably shaped pink and purple vibrators I came across this picture.


My initial reaction was along the lines of WTF…how do you use this? A closer look at the caption showed that it is a head massager; just with a classification of personal massage it got displayed on a rather different page..

Aug 20

Reporter accuracy

I wonder if the reporter I’ve just seen on Channel 5 news has ever used a search engine. He was demonstrating Google, looking for flower shops. From his commentary, he apparently was expecting the results to be in alphabetical order and also appeared to be put out that there were paid results at the top of the list.

Aug 20

Roundup 20 Aug

Lots of fun to be had with Ultimate Flash Face. Mix and match your favourite facial features in a myriad of ways. Far better than Mr Potatoe Face. Via Paradox1x

Virtual Life: a Chinese student has been arrested for carrying out muggings. In this case, all the muggings were virtual, in the game LineageII, but the virtual goods taken were sold in auctions for real money.

Sony Beans: I saw these in the paper yesterday and just wanted to get my hands on one. No idea how they will work, they just look pretty cool.

Blog for Sale: Jeremy Wright, selling his WealthyBlogger site, receives an offer of $2k. Not too bad for a 6month old site with ad revenue of $3-5 a day.

Aug 17

17 Aug Snippets

Been a bit busy over the last few days. The Gilry Geek Dinner yesterday was fun, Sarah did a great job of organising and has a round-up of the event. Today was interesting; most of it with no connectivity fromthe office due to a certain virus and then some noise on the job front that was not pleasing, so considering options.

Meanwhile, here’s some news that I’ve caught up on. Still got about 100 feeds to read :o(

  • Google provide us with a new take on maps – full of photos taken at the map position. It’s still static – next steps have to be dynamic ‘stills’ and then add video – so who;ll be first?
  • Blogger provide a plugin to allow you to blog direct from microsft Word, online and offline.
  • Google may be building a national US network of wireless links. Via Om Malik.
  • In the non-google news, Firefox pull in mainstream media with a download theme from HBO to promote the new series Rome (joint withthe BBC, so we should get it at some point)
  • Feedster provide a top 500 of blogs.
  • Aug 12

    Round Up

    More stuff.

  • Blake Ross has an irony-laden take on Airport Secuity which rings some bells; especially with the the apparent lack of care I often see in various airports; there’s lot’s of people doing the job, just few looking like they care about it.

    The lady at the entrance to the security line asks to see my electronic ticket (“e-ticket”), which is printed on home computer paper. To ensure that I didn’t make my ticket in Microsoft Paint, the lady scans it with the barcode reader in her eye.


  • Mena Trott takes a look at bloggers through history
  • File sharers swap more video. CacheLogic have a report saying that two thirds of files being swapped in P2P networks are video. They used file extensions, which probably skews the results anyway, as many large files are swapped in a compressed state.
  • Donald Trump is apparently blogging. On first appearances it appears he can only manage single sentences; but click though, there’s more there. But somewhere in the mechanics it appears comments are being edited.
  • Aug 12

    Round Up

    Some stuff that caught my eye today.

  • Via Adverblog, a Renault Megane ad video that is unlikely to make primetime TV. It definitely takes to an extreme the use of scantily clad women to advertise cars.
  • An unusual defence against the purchase of beer for someone who is underage – that the Miller Genuine Draft purchased was not proven to be beer by the prosecution, hence the case was dropped.
  • Girls prefer girly websites. Glamorgan University Business School has concluded in a study that site design may play a part in prefence and that girls prefer websites with more colour and less formality. I hope no-one acted surprised at the results of that study!
  • A further perspective on the Comcast/Colacanis/Denton spat that is currently doing the rounds – a request by Fred Wilson for them to chill
  • a tip from BL Ochman that Technorati is about to be sold, within the week, to a large search engine company. Yahoo (who spent $1b on a stake in a Chinese eCommerce company this week) and Google are the obvious candidates.

    And finally, BA flights into Heathrow are grounded, at least until Friday. Hopefully I won’t be stuck on New York any longer than planned, but I can see this having knock-on effects.

  • Aug 02

    Flickr Ecards

    The Flickr Blog points towards another service that has been developed using their APIs. Charles Coxhead has pulled together an Ecard service, using images published under a Creative Commons licence. At the moment the text search does not work, so you can only send current images but a superb idea to introduce people to your favourite images.

    Aug 02

    Simply Fired

    Simply Hired ,a recruiting/job company have launched a competition, collecting tales of woe from people who have been fired called, obviously, Simply Fired. They’ve lined up an interesting group of judges for the competition most of whome seemed to blog about the site yesterday.

    The winner and guest “will join The Apprentice TV show cast members on a week-long cruise from New York to the Caribbean, stopping at the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Tortola”. I’ve seen this programme occasionally on visits to the US and I’m not 100% sure if I’d call that a Grand Prize :o)

    However, read the Rules. First of all I’m not supposed to be reading the site:

    The following promotion is intended for viewing in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia (the “Eligibility Area”) only. Do not proceed further in this site or these materials if you are not located in the Eligibility Area.

    I guess I’m expected to ignore it now? Then, if I was American and I entered..

    Entrant assigns and transfers to Sponsor all right, title, and interest to the story. Sponsor shall have all rights to copy, edit, broadcast, publish, and use, in whole or in part, any story, and any other intellectual property protected or protectable materials submitted by entrant, in any manner without further compensation during and after the contest period, except where prohibited by law.

    I therefore appear to lose the ability to ever tell the story again. And finally

    The Contest is open to individuals who are 21 years of age or older as of the date of entry, are legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, who have valid International travel documents as of the time of contest entry and who have an email account as of the time of contest entry.

    How many people does that make eligible?

    Regardless of the above, I think I may read a few stories.

    Aug 01

    BBC Continues to Educate

    I see that the BBC’s Chris Moyles has leapt to the top of the Apple download chart, becoming one of the fastest selling podcasts of 2005 (sorry, been listening to too many chart shows). Ten hours after release, it topped the list of most subscribed; not sure if it’s there now as the list is not on the web and, owning a Creative MP3 player instead of an iPod never got round to updating iTunes. I now have the funny picture in my head of lots of American’s donwloading Moylsy and not understanding a word he says or, if they do, just not quite getting it.

    For me though, the success of the show is not the only intersting thing about the story. Look what else the BBC has on that page. A clear description of podcasting (without a refernece to iPods). The RSS orange button and a link to an explanation of what is RSS. Finally, links to both a listing of the BBC shows currently in the podcast trial and to the BBC Collective Podcast feature. The Collective is a subsite, looking at trends in entertainment. Let’s hope it does not go the same was as the Cult sites.

    The BBC continues to act as an educator, an authority of where things are going. Many people will not change, are slow to adopt, but if Aunty says it’s good, then it has to be.

    Aug 01

    Talk Digger

    TalkDigger is a new tool from Frederick Giasson which should provide some help in the currecnt debate about which blog search tool is providing better results. In fact, its development appears to have been driven by the debate.

    Then some weeks ago I asked myself that question: why don’t you build an application to query all these search engines for you, displaying the results and some statistics of these queries. Then I started to develop Talk Digger. I also noticed that Robert Scoble was in a mood of comparing different search results from the major blogging search engines like Bloglines and Technorati. Then I told myself that such a service could also interest other people. This is the reason why I developed it as a web service: to enable other people to use it and benefit from it. Then Talk Digger was born.

    Put in a URL (it’s designed to work with a URL rather than a search term) and it works across 9 search tools and returns the numbers of found links. The results listing takes you to the service direct to trawl the findings. It also includes trending information to track popularity of search, useful if you are trtacking specific searches. A pretty useful tool to add to the set.