March 2005 Archives
March 24, 2005
March 23, 2005
Lewisham has finally made it. A London borough reallly hits the big time when it gets included in Dr Who fanfic:
She'd dreamt she was buying a bag of crisps in Boots, in Lewisham Shopping Centre, and then she opened the bag and it was full of red leaves, and she shook them out over her feet and realised she wasn't home, would never be home, would only have these dreams.
March 22, 2005
Mr Holder was looking for his kitten at the bottom of his garden, which backs onto woodland, when the powerful creature attacked him.
He described how a 'big black figure pounced' and he was 'in its claws for about 30 seconds'.
'Its teeth were out and I tried to defend myself and eventually I got the thing off my body.'
He was scratched all over his body and suffered swelling and bruising to his hand and the back of his head.
*This headline brought to you by the "not very accurate but really quite sensational" school of headline-writing
I missed this during my various distractions in recent weeks:
Lewisham Council are now allowing people to report rubbish on the streets through a little phone application that can be downloaded from Love Lewisham.
It's a great idea and I've been doing so since last November, when Andrew Brown asked me to help test the system (he wrote about it here). I'm not quite sure how much help I was, though. You see, the problem was that the system just worked. I took pictures of rubbish dumping, which was particularly prevalent on Lee High Road at the time, as I walked to work. By the time I got home, it was normally gone. The funny thing is that after a fortnight or so of this, I ran out of things to report. I'm not sure if the council took enforcement action, "suggesting" to the shopkeepers that they use the official routes for getting rid of their waste, or if the cleaners just noted that Lee High Road was a street to be watched, but the problem went away. Apart from the odd bit of graffiti and some predictable fly-posting, I ran out of things to report.
As a side effect of all this, I quickly realised just how predictable my walking patterns are around my local area. The couple of occasions when I did take more unusual routes, I'd usually forgotten to take the PDA I was using to test the system with me, or had let the batteries run out. The PocketPC-based XDA I borrowed from the council has embarrassingly brief batter life compared to my reliable old Palm. That's why I'm delighted to see they've gone with the phone option on the website.
It's a good idea. It was always a good idea. It can turn a nation of phone carriers into the mobile eyes of the waste clearing service, allowing them to spend the time they waste looking for rubbish actually clearing it away. All it needs is people to actually try it out. That's going to be the testing ground of the system - do people care enough?
So, the one thing I really hate when I get sick is, well, being sick. And a week ago, I spent most of the evening stuck in the office because I was too busy emptying my stomach to actually get home.
A week later I am, at long last, pretty much back to usual, but not eating for four days was one of the more interesting experiences I've had in recent months. You function fine, and the hunger passes, but it really messes around with your mood and reasoning ability. I'm beginning to see why fasting is so common as part of spiritual experiences; it certainly shifts your perceptions of the world.
Anyway, I'm functional again, and should be posting again, too.
Be really, really glad I didn't post anything while I was a touch "distracted".
March 15, 2005
• Under no circumstances should your MP3 player be stylish. You don't want to be taken for a dandy. After all, you never know when you may find yourself incarcerated through an unfortunate series of events that are no fault of your own. And you know what they do to dandies in prison. Yikes.
• When picking an operating system or office suite, it's a great idea to go with the one with the highest market share, because you're guaranteed a quality product that will be around for years to come. But not with flash-based MP3 players. It's a completely different situation. Completely.
March 14, 2005
Last August, I did a very stupid thing. In my defense, it was a warm summer's day, and I'd been enjoying a barbecue in the garden of a couple of good friends. The beer was flowing and the conversation was friendly. And then, they slipped the question in, subtly, under my defenses:
�Will you be the photographer for our wedding?�
Filled with the warmth of friendship and beer, I said �yes�, which is how I came to be stood behind a tripod round the back of a registry office in Weybridge last Saturday, and why I'm developing a new respect for Photoshop right now. You see, conditions weren't exactly ideal that day. The early afternoon light was bright and contrasty, lending harsh shadows and burnt-out highlights to the happy couple's faces. Eventually, some cloud cover gave softer light and I breathed a sigh of relief.
But I was still worried about those early photos. Tonight, I sucked them into iPhoto, exported the most troublesome ones into Photoshop and went to work. I am so very glad that I shot in RAW format, which saves pretty much the raw data from the camera sensor. It creates whopping 7 to 10Mb files, and eats memory cards like there's no tomorrow (I shot 1.5Gb of photos that day), but boy, is it worth it. In Photoshop it's so easy to work on the shadows and highlight separately and coax the detail out of both to give you a much more even quality of lighting. Back in my darkroom days, this would have been hours of work per picture. I can deal with even the most challenging one in just a few minutes now.
There are some lovely photos in this set. I'm delighted, Lorna seems impressed, so I hope the happy couple will be, too.
Goodbye, film. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
March 10, 2005
March 7, 2005
March 6, 2005
March 5, 2005
March 4, 2005
March 3, 2005
One Woman, who is a scientist through and through, is of the opinion that the reporting of science in this country is generally rubbish. (My colleagues, former building sharers and fellow Reed employees at New Scientist are an honorable exception in her eyes and mine.) This story from the BBC News site makes the point for her, I suspect.
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Local food 'greener than organic':
Local food is usually more �green� than organic food, according to a report published in the journal Food Policy.
The authors say organic farming is also valuable, but people can help the environment even more by buying food from within a 20km (12-mile) radius.
So, transporting food hundreds of miles before we eat it is bad for the environment, huh? Well, geez, guys, thanks for telling us, y'know, we couldn't have guessed that for ourselves, could we?
Talking of local food, I got some great pictures at Borough market last week, which I really should post here over the weekend.
March 2, 2005
Sci-fi fans are a devoted bunch, but news that they are trying to fund Star Trek themselves takes that devotion to a whole new level.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Star Trek campaign 'raises $3m':
A campaign to save Star Trek spin-off show Enterprise says it has received a $3m (�1.6m) donation from anonymous figures in the space flight industry.
TrekUnited, which is trying to raise money to make another series of Enterprise, says it has a �legally binding pledge� from three donors.
TrekUnited said the donors were �some of the main entrepreneurs in the commercial space flight industry�.
They did not want to be named but said they had been inspired by Star Trek.
All very inspiring. Pity that the show's complete rubbish, which has truly earned its cancellation.