January 2006 Archives
January 31, 2006
Read without hesitation, deviation or repetition,
Local Christian blogger
January 27, 2006
I'm fascinated by the link between music and writing.
Some TV/Movie fans are almost heroic in their creative obsessions
Excellent piece on the Six Nations from Brian.
January 26, 2006
How did I miss this? Local Tory candidate for the Mayor of Lewisham, James Cleverly, has a blog.
January 25, 2006
See, there's life in the dead tree industry, still.
The cosmetics comapnies are the biggest holders of nanotechnology patents, which is slightly frightening - especially if you're a plastic surgeon
The campaign against residential leaseholds continues
Whoops. One of the most prominent movers from full-time journalism to full-time blog advocate, Dan Gillmor, has had to change his direction somewhat. You can read what's happened in his post, linked below.
From Dan: A Letter to the Bayosphere Community [Link rotted away]
Sadly, the old saying about pioneers and arrows in the back seems to still hold.
January 24, 2006
It's interesting how the interaction between amateurs (bloggers and photographers, mainly) and the mainstream media is moving further and further up the latter's agenda.
I do wish that stories like this would explicitly state who funded the research...
Completely different take on that podcasting article from mine. (On the other hand, I don't work for paper that published it.)
A Lewisham mystery emerges...
I'm about to hit the sack for the night, but if all goes well, something interesting and novel should be about to happen on this blog.
January 23, 2006
1. I think I scared a lot of people this morning. I got onto my normal morning train at Lewisham, to find an unattended bad sat in the entrance way. I asked the assembled commuters if it belonged to anyone, and got no reply. Slowly, dozens of eyes widened in fear, as they realised what that could mean. Luckily, a small, embarrassed voice from the other end of the carriage said that it was theirs. People forget all too quickly, don't they?
2. How come, when I give a book a bad review in print, the first enquiry we get about it is someone asking where they can buy it? (The book in question is 30 St Mary Axe: A Tower For London. While it's not much use for the property professional, the more lay readers here may well enjoy it.)
3. Is there a single woman in London who looks good in those mid-calf length trousers that are all the rage at the moment? If so, I haven't seen here.
January 22, 2006
Britain's ancient musical heritage has traditionally been a source of considerable embarrassment to the young and hip. Spain has bright red dresses and flamenco; Brazil has samba and thongs; we have, er, morris dancing and Arran sweaters. Folk music is simply not cool - but that could be changing.
I find this idea inexplicably pleasing. Perhaps it's the fact that I've interacted with the folk music of Argentina and Scotland, through tango and Scottish country dancing, but never really heard much else. I might even head along to the Barbican for this.
As this blog has been getting a decent amount of comments lately, I've added a comments listing to the right hand side of the page. It's lurking under the Flickr photos box.
January 21, 2006
The Guardian has occasional moments of confusion. Despite being one of the leading big media proponents of podcasting in the UK, it's just published a piece mocking the whole idea. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Newspapers should have room for different ideas and positions within the covers. It's just that, well, it's so predictable. You could have picked out some of the 'jokes' in advance. For example:
The term podcast - coined and first used, according to most sources, by the writer Ben Hammersley in this very newspaper in February 2004 - distinguishes a certain sort of internet-borne audio (or, increasingly, video) content from all the other sorts, and specifically denotes an MP3 file that can be downloaded to one's computer automatically via RSS subscription technology and thence transferred to one's personal MP3 device for later listening. In short, it's like a radio programme that you listen to on your iPod. A podcast is not to be confused with a webcast, which uses real-time streaming to allow you to listen at your leisure, but not on the hoof, as it were. (You are free to regard this distinction as largely semantic or, if you prefer, wholly incomprehensible.)
The emphasis is mine. So, Mr Dowling, are you suggesting that the readers are free to regard your journalism as inferior, because you can't comprehensibly explain the the theory and technology behind it? Surely the distinction between something you have to sit and listen to at your computer or something you can listen to anywhere you take your iPod isn't that hard to express or understand?
Other podcasts make use of "podsafe" music, that is, music wholly owned and controlled by the artist, who has uploaded it on to something like the Podsafe Musical Network in order to make it available, for free, to registered podcasters. ("Podsafe", therefore, is well on its way to becoming a synonym for "homemade and/or of necessarily limited appeal".)
That's Podsafe Music Network, and do you really believe that "not picked up by the mainstream music industry" really equals "rubbish"?
Though the technology probably exists, my iPod has no means of fast-forwarding through a boring rant or a dreadful podsafe tune
And that's a pretty clear example of what IT support types call "user error". Mine can do that Mr Dowling. All iPods can do that.
There's a funny article to be written about this stuff, but it'll rise above "isn't technology so geeky?" and "all amateur material is laughable".
So nyah, nyah, nyah.
January 20, 2006
This is an impromptu test of Kablog, a blog client for my mobile phone. I'm sat in the car, waiting for mum to return from her doctor's appointment. The photo opportunities are a touch lacking, so I've turned to writing instead.
Update: Hmmm. Not sure I'm very impressed so far. I had to knock the photo out, because the whole thing looked so horrible.
January 19, 2006
Some shocking news to wake up to this morning - Konica Minolta has announced that it is leaving the camera and photo business (both digital and film) by March 31st 2006.
Shocking indeed. My first digital camera was a Minolta, and it's a name I've known since I was at school. I was a dedicated Olympus user in the early years of my SLR use, but a school friend was saving up for a Minolta Dynax. It seems very strange to think that they won't be making cameras any more.
I wonder how many other well-known camera brands will fail to make the digital transition successfully?
Off taking Mum to hospital for an appointment and some tests. And bored, while waiting. So, phone pic time. It's a dull, corporate looking hospital from the outside, but inside it's the most impressive hospital I've been in. Friendly, spacious, efficient and, based on Mum's treatment, I'm very impressed.
Heritage buildings and hospitals are not good partners, in my book. New build all the way.
January 17, 2006
January 16, 2006
I had a sudden realisation earlier today: 2005 was the first year since I first picked up a camera in 1975 that I didn't shoot a single frame of film. I shot around 3,000 pictures, every single one of them digital.
Film may not be dead yet, but it is for me.
January 15, 2006
We have a relative visiting from Bristol, and said relative wanted to go to Bluewater. So, off we went.
I used to like Bluewater. I used to think it was a cut above other British shopping centres (which it still is), but then two things happened. First of all, it became more of a hang-out for chavs (for want of a better phrase), with the cinema in particular suffering badly from this. And second, I visited a real American mall, the Galleria in Fort Lauderdale, and now I know I see Bluewater for the pale imitation it is.
Still, it has an Apple Store, so the day wasn't entirely wasted.
January 13, 2006
The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother is proving fascinating. I'm not watching it, mind, as we lack the aerial to watch any TV right now. But I am watching the newspaper coverage of the show with fascination. In the first week it's gone through three phases:
- Fascination with Chantelle, the fake celebrity
- Jodie Marsh being "bullied"
- George Galloway and Rula Lenska little kitten game
Each tells us something about the modern media.
- That its obsession with celebrity is becoming recursive, disappearing up its own backside as the whole game of somebody being a celebrity simply because the media has decided that they're a celebrity is highlighted.
- Stupid women with big tits must be protected from analysis by people with more intelligence.
- The media's obsession with sex suddenly gets uncomfortable when middle-aged people start playing games with a sexual undertone. I wonder how different the media coverage would have been if it was two much younger people playing that game.
You'll note that I've ignored the whole "George Galloway wasting taxpayers' money by being in the house" angle. That's because I don't care about it. His constituents had plenty of opportunities to see the kind of man they were electing, and they want ahead and did it anyway. They deserve everything they get.
January 12, 2006
I was in a distinctly odd, tired mood tonight, so I ended up just fiddling around in iTunes, listening to some old tracks.
With the new version of the software, Apple has introduced a MiniStore, a small window at the bottom of your music library, that shows you related tracks. This has been less than warmly received in some quarters, because it involves your computer sending information about your listening habits to Apple.
I'm finding it strangely fascinating, though, as it provides plenty of glimpses into the musical careers of some of your favourite artists of yesteryear. We're remarkably fickle with our listening habits, sometimes, following an artist for an album or two, and then forgetting about them. Tonight felt like a chance to reconnect with old friends. And I enjoyed that.
January 11, 2006
January 10, 2006
I'm sitting in the office, after hours, watching the details of the Steve Jobs keynote over at MacWorld in the US appear on my screen. At the moment, he's talking about iPhoto, the image management app you get free with your Macs. They're adding RSS support to it, which means people can subscribe you one of your virtual albums in their RSS readers or, more significantly for the non-technical type, in their own copy of iPhoto.
Another nail in the coffin of the print photo, I suspect.
January 9, 2006
So, fairly hard on the heels of the news that Tony Banks, the former MP not-widely-known-as Lord Stratford, had had a stroke comes the news that he has died.
And that's a shame. Like Robin Cook before him, he was a political animal whose political principles were more important to him that climbing up the Labour Party heirarchy. Like Cook, I didn't agree with all his politics. But I did respect him, and had the chance to meet him, ever-so-briefly, when he spoke at a friend's wedding. I was doing photography for the event, hence the pic above.
In fact, he was the last person I saw from the wedding on the day itself, and my wife and I ran into him and his wife on the Strand, both couple clutching a large Dr Who cookie jar, a gift from the happy couple for services rendered.
Rest in peace. Politics is poorer for your passing.
January 8, 2006
Re-Introducing the Real Windows Vista: [Link Dead]
As I watched Bill demonstrate the features of Vista a sense of deja vu washed over me. It was like I've seen it all somewhere before...
Nice idea, well executed and amusing, too.
January 4, 2006
16 is not 10, Mr Two-Ahead-Of-Me
17 is not 10, Mr One-Ahead-Of-Me
You've just stolen several minutes of my life, you innumerate bastards.
Yes, I just joined several hundred other people doing desperate after work shopping in the local Tesco this evening. And I found the "10 items or less" queue to be something of a joke. Annoyed? Me?
January 1, 2006
Goodbye and good riddance to you, 2005, ya wee bastard. You won't be missed.
Hello and welcome, 2006. May you bring happiness with you.