May 2004 Archives
May 31, 2004
Today, I vomited all over a bunch of politicians. Or, rather more accurately and less sensationally, my cafetiére vomited coffee over a pile of pre-election literature.
The normal pile of bumf was pushed through the door a few days, and both our downstairs neighbours and us studiously ignored it for a good 48 hours. Finally I cracked, brought it upstairs and made myself a nice pot of coffee to enjoy while I read through their electoral lies promises. The coffee had other ideas, spilling out all over the pamphlets, as picture (right). Rapidly, they became unreadable mulch, and have now been consigned to the compost bin.
So, all I was left with was first impressions. You know what? The local LibDems come out well again. They were the only party that put the name of their candidate front and centre on their literature. All the others were too busy exhorting us to vote for the party to actually detail the candidate.
You know what? I'm old fashioned. I like to think that I vote for someone to represent me in one of several layers of Government, rather than picking a party to run my life. I know that's not a popular view right now, but I think that disengagement from the local aspect of politics is one of the reasons voting turnout is in such dramatic decline.
Candidate first and party second, if you please.
And while the world's attention is distracted by the Middle East:
The Zimbabwean government has proposed obliging its internet service providers to divulge details of e-mails deemed offensive or dangerous.Read more at Auntie Beeb's online emporium.
May 30, 2004
Nothing cheers up an overcast bank holiday weekend like seeing some guy's sports car covered in bird faeces.
BBC News: Artist Tracey Emin has condemned people who "sniggered" at contemporary art and laughed when pieces of her work were destroyed by a fire in a warehouse.
May 27, 2004
May 26, 2004
May 25, 2004
I really should have mentioned this before, but the New City Architecture exhibition opened at the end of last week. It's a fascinating exhibition looking at current and future architecture within the City of London, with plenty of models.
For some reason, Trackback pings aren't working on this site. They're all routing through to the same entry for some reason. I've no idea why just yet, but I'm working on getting it fixed. My apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
May 24, 2004
Well, it looks like the pavement advertisers are at it again. A new Napster service launched last week, and they're advertising it by spraying graffiti on the ground. How very charming.
I don't remember seeing this happening since the death of the dotcoms three or four years ago, and I can't say I'm overjoyed to see it back on the streets. These pictures were taken on the streets between Leicester Square and Charing Cross, and I can't help finding it slightly tacky. Maybe it's a sales pitch to rebellious "yoof". If so, I'll happily settle into middle age and grump at the advertising people pandering to those young tykes with no respect.
Mr Betteridge has some first impressions of the service for you Windows-using types. I don't know. In my day we listened to tapes, and thought ourselves lucky when they snapped or got caught up in the tape player...
GlennLog: Defending My Scoop:
"It's a well-established practice as a journalist that if you find out about a story from another publication, not a source or your own research, you credit that source. If you don't know that another publication broke the news, you're off the hook, too, generally. But don't go taking my scoop away."
Sadly, it's an equally well-established practice for national newspapers to happily reprint stories from the specialist business press without credit. This isn't just a blogging or web issue.
May 23, 2004
I just love it when those software guys do clever things behind the scenes to make my life better. Take the forthcoming integration of my two most frequently-used blog apps, ecto for writing and NetNewsWire for reading. Good on both the developers for making their respective babies play so nicely together.
May 22, 2004
Images from the area around the site of the IRA bomb in Manchester. The city knows how to turn a tragedy into a triumph.
It's ten past eight in the morning, I'm sat on a Virgin train somewhere in the Northwest, having just eaten the worst train breakfast I've ever encountered. The passable coffee is redeeming things somewhat, but not much.
This entry brought to you courtesy of Bluetooth and my mobile phone. Ain't technology a blast?
Oh, it appears we're approaching Crewe. It look surprisingly attractive this time of the morning.
May 20, 2004
Blogging may be light.
May 19, 2004
May 18, 2004
I just realised, while doing my evening bloground, that I now have three major identity services I use when commenting on blogs: my Blogger account to comment on the new Blogger blogs, my Typekey identity to comment on MT3 (and Typepad soon, presumably) blogs and my Livejournal ID to comment on most Livejournals. All three are free to obtain and use.
Blimey. Any chance of standardising on one of these?
I should have spotted this ealier:
race4cityhall: a London mayor election blog.
...or at least articulate your practical issues with the MT3 licensing in a cogent post. But that doesn't sound so good as a headline, does it?
Mena has asked for people to Trackback problems with the current MT licensing structure to the Six Apart company blog. I'd just like to reiterate my earlier point about a company being judged by the way it handles problems, not by problems cropping up. I still think Six Apart is doing a fine job.
So, although I'm broadly in favour of the new licensing, I do have an issue. I'm running three blogs at the moment:
My personal blog, which has one author and may expand up to about three weblogs over time. Non-commerical, although it does serve to promote me as a writer.
Kingdom Come, a multi-author blog, with up to 10 authors and another two blogs due to spin off out of it, from the same author pool. Non-commercial.
There will soon be a Tinworth family blog, with up to five people posting on the main blog, and two to five others on a family genealogy forum. Each of the individual posters on the first blog would have the option to run their own blogs on the same server. Non-commercial.
Major concern: do I have to licence all three installations separately? If so, that obviously significantly raises the cost bar for me. I could do my personal blog within the terms of the free license, but both the other installations would require a pay license. Ideally, I'd like to be able to do this with a single pay license, buying additional weblogs and authors as needed. As the various blogs are behind different domains, it's proved easier for me to host them separately up until now, but if necessary I could look at moving them all to one server with the domain name mapping appropriately.
May 17, 2004
For those of a geeky persuasion:
Gamethink is a new gaming blog of impeccable pedigree. It should be a great read, once it builds up a head of steam.
The All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons takes a combination of comic-esque typography, a fun attitude and some insightful writing and applies it to the comics world - with both fists! Better fun than most comics blogs.
London is clearly a city where people adapt. For over a decade, the authorities have been blocking off this street and securing the other area, all in the name of protecting us from the latest round of terrprots, be they the IRA or Al Queda. It's just a shame that they haven't developed a more attractive solution. The concrete blocks you can see below disfigure the front of the Houses of Parliment, have rendered the area around the American Embassy one of the ugliest in London and are scattered, seemingly at random, through the city and midtown.
Still, Londoners adapt and you need somewhere to eat your lunch...
May 16, 2004
May 15, 2004
For those still paying attention, Six Apart has clarified and modified some of its licensing conditions on MT3 based on the feedback the firm has received.
Of course, some people will characterise this as back-pedalling or panic, but I've always thought a company should be judged by how well it responds to negative feedback. This strikes me as a pretty fair response.
May 14, 2004
Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has been sacked.
It appears publishing photographs that about 80% of the public take one look at and go "they're fake" is a bad career move. Ah well, he'd been there eight years. A change might be good.
I have a project. My place of employment is moving from the heart of Soho to the heart of Holborn in about three months. So, I'm going to document as much of Soho as I can in those three month. Every day I'm in Soho, I'll endeavour to take at least one picture that catches a little of life there.
The countdown starts today.
Ian Betteridge joins the small, but thoughtful, band of people defending Six Apart's strategy on MT3. He makes some pretty good points about sticking with 2.61 if you don't like the terms of 3.0D.
I find it interesting that a significant proportion of the people defending 6A's move are people who write for a living, one way or another. Perhaps that suggests something about the hobbyist mentality of many bloggers, and their subsequent disgust when a company - which they saw as run by fellow hobbyists - goes pro.
Timothy Appnel takes a measured and favourable look at the mew MT licensing terms. It could still be argued that Six Apart have gone from one extreme to another (from 50c to $lots revenue per copy of MT downloaded), but he also makes a number of interesting points.
I suspect much will count on how 6A respond (or not) in the coming weeks to some of the obvious problems that have cropped up.
[via Population One]
May 13, 2004
Not surprisingly, the internet first reacters are howling with the predictable outrage at actually having to pay for something. Others are pointing out significant problems with the pay structure more thoughtfully.
Personally, I'm not terribly shocked by any of this yet, but I'll be watching the fall-out with interest. And yes, I'll probably be paying.
(It's worth noting that at least one man predicted some protesting, even if he didn't mention price.)
The BBC posts a fascinating analysis of the US Iraq torture photos written by an award-winning photographer. Thought-provoking stuff.
May 11, 2004
David Sucher points out that all might not be well for the planned redevelopment of the WTC site in New York:
This nifty little mixed-use (but mainly residential) tower is due to rise into the air near Deptford Broadway soon. Certainly, the relevant planning decisions seem to have been granted. Strange as it may seem, Deptford is something of a hotbed of regeneration right now because, as someone pointed out to me at a mixed-use drinks reception recently, it has bags of potential. In this case "potential" means great swathes of redundant industrial land, and a good selection of buildings that could do with being knocked down as soon as possible.
A tower seems a brave move in the area, but in the context of the coloured blocks that make up the interesting, if isolated, One SE8 development, not as out of place at it might have been once. No doubt there will be the normal clashes between disgruntled locals and incoming yuppies, but soon Deptford will become the new Southwark and will be full of trendy restaurants and a branch of Starbucks. We've got them in Greenwich and Blackheath already, and you know how they spread...
May 10, 2004
For example, through this feed I now know that the Lewisham branch of Cancer Research UK is being plagued by shoplifters. My father died of cancer a couple of years ago, and I've been donating all my unwanted goods to the shop since then. This news, to put it mildly, pisses me off.
May 6, 2004
With May's GRID on the presses, my sections of the weekly beast we call EG running smoothly (for now), my mind is turning towards plotting out the next few months for both. I had a brief chat with Sir Richard Rogers at a recent breakfast meeting (I did the typical journalist thing of not paying enough attention to the invite, turning up half-awake and bleary eyed and finding myself talking to the Lord Mayor of London before my first coffee), it occurred to me that I need to read around urban theory a little more.
When I find some of my favourite built environment blogs are all talking about the same book, as is a blog I don't normally associate with urban development issues, I can take a hint. I think I should check out Jane Jacob's Dark Age Ahead.
Off to Amazon with the corporate credit card...
More thoughts and reactions once I have it. Any other suggestions for my bookshelf?
May 5, 2004
A new version of the Movable Type 3 beta means that the archive links on the right should be working just fine now.
As ever, let me know if you encounter any problems on the site.
May 2, 2004
A Malaysian journalist writes about interviewing celebrities.
Personally, I have to make do with famous architects and the like. Mind you, once upon I time I was interviewing celebrity chefs, which was interesting in its own way...
May 1, 2004
Small is beautiful, or so my wife and I tell each other, she because she's short and I, uh....
Moving swiftly along, the publishing industry certainly seems to agree with me. My evidence? Glamour magazine, The Independent newspaper, two Marvel Age digests and a copy of Brief Lives: Chaucer by Peter Ackroyd. What do these three things have in common? They're smaller than their normal publishing formats.
If anyone's tried to use the Monthly Archives on the right, they don't work. This is an issue with the current version of the MT Beta and should be resolved soon. I've added category archives which work just fine.
If you find anything else on the site which isn't working, drop me a line.
Lea responds to my ideas thus:
Adam argues for "a single source of good, edited, commissioned reviews run by skilled people and provided by a team of experienced gamers and writers." I'm not sure this is practical. It takes time and effort to deliver the kind of analysis that Adam wants, something that few experienced gamers and writers, with many other calls on their time, would be able to commit to.This is, of course, the main argument for a professional RPG mag, with a team of writers who are paid for their work. However, since the RPG market seems determined to make such an enterprise completely unprofitable, that isn't going to happen. Luckily, Lea has a technology-based solution to the social problem at work here.
That's not to say that few people could or would deliver good reviews or criticism. The problem with Adam's proposal, I think, is that it puts the onus on a small circle of people. If the community wants "Basements and Bugbears" reviewed, the editors have to commission someone to review "Basements and Bugbears." This is hard work for both the editors and the reviewer