If technology doesn't seem like magic, it's probably obsolete

I'm finding less time to update my blog these days, but my flickr photostream is often updated.

Playing in my house right now...

At 00:00 GMT on Thursday I was listening to:

More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone
More pictures from my phone

Monday September 30 2002 at 14:13 GMT

My gorgeous Godson, Robert, was one on Saturday. The year has truly flown by! I've managed to put a few pictures and two short video clips in my gallery.

Friday September 27 2002 at 11:37 GMT

Friday September 27 2002 at 10:55 GMT

1.It is important to find a woman who cooks and cleans.

2.It is important to find a woman who makes good money.

3.It is important to find a woman who loves to have sex.

4.It is important that these three women never meet.

Thursday September 26 2002 at 01:44 GMT

Man, been so busy of late. I'm doing some work in my house, and it seems to be taking longer than I expected. If anyone feels like doing some painting after 6pm today, let me know...

Wednesday September 25 2002 at 11:12 GMT

The BBC posted this article yesterday. It is a pain that people cannot get broadband, but there ARE options. If you can get line of sight to someone who can get broadband, then you could set up a cheap wireless network (costing about the same as an ADSL modem, never mind the monthly connection charge). There are several options - I really wish people would stop complaining and do a little work to get online!

Tuesday September 24 2002 at 17:03 GMT

If someone had time to call me and tell me to put this site on to my blog, would you think they were not busy enough at work???

Sunday September 22 2002 at 23:54 GMT

Last night, I did not make it out for a beer - so I had to make do with one in my house. To make up for it, I had over an hour long conversation with my dad, on the phone. We talk most days, but I don't think I've ever spent an hour on the phone with him. Cool.

This morning there was a Farmers Market in George Street, mixed in with Car Free Day. I got along there pretty early in proceedings, and grabbed some sausages from Hilton Wild Boar. They were VERY VERY tasty, so I went to their site to find out where I could get some more. Poor show to not even have contact details on there. One of my pet hates is sites that say 'something really cool will happen here soon'. If a business has a site that does not have cool/useful things on it ... why have a site? Either way, if you can find their sausages, try them!

Some pics here. Check out the crazy bike scenarios at I quite fancy one of these - looked like great fun.

Saturday September 21 2002 at 21:17 GMT

My favourite Northern Irish Buddhist nun in Mexico, Sangden, sent me a picture of Carlos on his day of ordination. His new name is Gyaltsen. View it here.

Saturday September 21 2002 at 21:08 GMT

I've been pretty busy over the last few days. On Thursday night, I stayed over at my Godson's house so that I could look after him on Friday morning. He stayed awake quite late on Thursday, so slept until about 6.30am on Friday morning. He always looks pretty sceptical when he wakens to find someone with a beard lifting him out of his cot, but I got him changed and dressed before he fully realised what was going on. He was on good form and we had lots of fun having breakfast, playing football and ... grabbing a piece of coal from the fire (it was not on, don't worry). Literally, I turned my back for two seconds to *run* to the kitchen, and when i got back his hands were black and his face looked like he was on a secret army mission. I caught him just before he tried to eat it, thankfully. Trying to clean the hands of a small person who is much more keen on wriggling is not something to be undertaken lightly - my lesson has been learned! Normally, by the time I get to his house, he is asleep, but I managed to sneak some pictures of him on Friday morning: have a look.

On Friday evening, I went down to John's to watch Once Upon a Time In America, a movie he has been telling me about for ages, but which is almost impossible to get on any format, so I had never seen. It was recently on TV, so we watched the video (a contact-media contraption, apparently ;-). It really is an EXCELLENT film, with a good soundtrack. I then caught up with Christie and Rich, and we managed to find a quiet corner in a bar called Fishtank. All good.

Today I have dedicated to getting my gallery sorted out. I think the look and feel are getting there. The back-end process is not there, but at least I have managed to get lots of pictures up! The front page of the gallery will now get some attention. Please have a look and if you have constructive criticism, let me know.

After all this work, I deserve a beer - and that is exactly what I am going to get!

Thursday September 19 2002 at 13:44 GMT

Sometimes the BBC seem to really be scraping the barrel, too scared to miss reporting on something ... even if it is nothing. Today they report that Nokia say using someone else's bandwidth is wrong and that warchalking is bad. More specifically, they say that sitting outside an office, using a wireless network is stealing.

There are two aspects I would argue here.
  1. if, after all the coverage of wireless networks over the past few months, a network/system administrator still *accidently* leaves their Access Point open and access to the network available, then their employer should be looking for a replacement, sharpish.
  2. some organisations are viewing themselves as part of the bigger 'community', recognising that an AP can be set up securely (working alongside other networking technologies) and that rarely is a 1/2/10Mb Internet connection used to capacity, especially out of regular office hours; in this case, warchalking is of real use, letting people know where to get access. The majority of people do just want to hop online to check some mail or grab some information, not to hack. Who wants to pay $tarbuck$ a fortune for something that is available free?

Warchalking can also play a part in the burgeoning home broadband market, where people, like myself, have a connection sitting doing very little most of the day. Indicating to tourists or local residents they can have access to the Internet for the cost of a wireless card should be encouraged - just make sure you secure your AP!

Nokia: enough already! Focus on making some better mobile phones, and leave the chalking on the street!

[UPDATE] The story has just been /. - read on for more geek response.

Thursday September 19 2002 at 03:49 GMT

I would know nothing about this kind of activity.

Thursday September 19 2002 at 03:43 GMT

Tonight I caught Monsters, Inc.. It is really not the sort of thing I would normally watch, but I accidently caught a small part of it, and had to see the entire thing. It is very lighthearted and a nice way to relax after a hard day in the office. Apparently there are lots of take-offs of other films in there, but I only caught a few. My viewing of 'big' films has been limited - I more enjoy the indie film arena, when I do go to the cinema.

Thursday September 19 2002 at 03:30 GMT

After much humming and hawing, I decided I'd better get a start on putting some of the pictures I have taken with my new camera up on the Web, or else I would never get it done. My aim is to have the whole process pretty automated but, for the moment, only the display portion is anywhere near automatic. Still, that is better than before and will save me a stack of time! So far, I've got a gallery of when my parents and I went to the Falkirk Wheel and Matt and Julie's wedding. More to come, real soon now(tm)!

Wednesday September 18 2002 at 15:37 GMT

Yesterday was Blaise's birthday, so a few of us got together at Pivo for a few drinks. It's the first time I've been there, although I have tried to get there many times before... It was a cool place, although the drinks were not cheap, and we weren't having any of those fancy foreign drinks - just Guinness, Stella Artois, Kahlua and G&T. ;-)

In related bar news, our regular Sunday (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, ...) haunt, Oloroso, is closing on Sunday evenings from October due to a lack of business on Sunday night - even though we are there. We're going to offer to close up after ourselves - that seems to be the best solution!

Tuesday September 17 2002 at 13:53 GMT

Everything, apart from the rumour mill, seems to have gone a bit quiet on the P800 front of late. I know of know one who has actually used one, which, if they were going to launch in 2003, is a bit strange - normally someone on a mailing list has had a play. This article from The Register (citing a French article) suggests there will be very limited availability of the phone in 2002 and that it is much more likely to be a 2003 phone.

On one hand, this is good as I'll get more use out of my T68 and more time to save and more time to complete some of the other projects I have whirring round my head at the moment. On the other hand, I'd love a new phone that I could write apps for. A watched pot never boils...

The Register article links to this amusing image of the Microsoft smartphone.

Monday September 16 2002 at 14:11 GMT

A friend from uni days contacted me this morning - sounds like he's having a lot of fun making a film in New Zealand. Check out some nice pics here.

Sunday September 15 2002 at 16:50 GMT

Today has been pretty slowwwww. Last night involved many games of pool at Diane's Pool Hall (not the most salubrious of locations, but 20p per game) as well as a few cans of Red Stripe with Senor John and then our regular tussle with the Trivial Pursuit machine in the Haymarket pub ... which we usually lose. Last night was no exception.

Tonight I am off for dinner, though. Food is the way to my heart... or at least the way to get me to fix your computer! ;-)

Sunday September 15 2002 at 16:41 GMT

My good friend Graeme just mailed me to say his band are playing at La Belle Angelle as part of the Fortuna pop tour. If you are in Edinburgh, go see them!

Saturday September 14 2002 at 13:11 GMT

I finally made it on here. Get an RSS reader now!

Saturday September 14 2002 at 02:47 GMT

Friday September 13 2002 at 13:26 GMT

My favourite online radio station has KIND OF come back online, if you know where to look. It has made my day!

Friday September 13 2002 at 13:25 GMT

I *never* dream .. or at least I never remember my dreams. Yesterday morning I had the most mental dream, though. It was in both colour and black & white, at different times. It involved being in a Buddhist class, being the third person in a two-seater car (somehow), one of my friends who was about to get married being approached by a gay friend and the first guy having to decide whether or not to get married the following day, something like the 'crowning' of a Russian Czar/Tsar in the 1950s and we all had to jump in to a fountain, and then sitting in a big pub-type-room, which was knee deep in water. This all took place in California, early in the morning.

If anyone would care to explain what that means to my life, please let me know!

Friday September 13 2002 at 10:59 GMT

How cool is this - they just found the first smiley!

Thursday September 12 2002 at 14:28 GMT

Thursday September 12 2002 at 13:13 GMT

Another crackpot idea, until phone networks are FAST and cheap. Like ... never.

Wednesday September 11 2002 at 21:02 GMT

Well, everyone is going to have their own personal memories of September 11th, 2001. Mine was being in California on business, when Jams called me early in the morning (VERY early considering I had been up until about ~4am PST), just after the first plane hit the towers. Watching the whole thing on TV Stateside was crazy - it was ALL that was on. I was working in a data centre that is made to be resistant to earthquakes and tornados and had already tight security (particularly after the shootings the previous night). Getting in there with my Indian colleague became an experience at times...

One of the biggest surprises was the response from *some* of my fellow colleagues, who are pretty much all educated, sensible people. My views that immediately bombing the life out of the entirety of Afghanistan was not the right path, were not given too much consideration. Getting the plane home was also an experience. There was no additional security in the airport ... but we were late leaving the gate. The pilot came on and told us that five people had not been allowed to board due to incorrect documentation and their baggage was being removed. Talk about building confidence...

Wednesday September 11 2002 at 00:55 GMT

I really don't view much TV, but, by any standards, tonight has been TV Night at Chez Martin.

I've seen all of the programs in The Ship series. They are good, quality and educational programming, well presented.

After that I watched the Biggie and Tupac documentary on channel4 by Nick Broomfield (here's a link to Nick's site, that opens a short blurb on the front page). I remember reading some things about how it took him quite a while to be persuaded to make it. I am a big fan of rap/hip-hop/[insert your classification here] and remember clearly the deaths of both Biggie and Tupac. Initially I thought Nick's voice was going to ruin the whole thing for me, but I'm glad I perservered - it really was well made and included interviews with all the key players/playaz. The boy also had balls of steel: walking into Suge Knight's (very high security) prison recreation yard and then walking over to find him in his cell block deserves respect.

Drawing any conclusions to why these guys died or who was involved remains tricky, however from what I have read and what was on there, I do believe that Death Row, Suge Knight and the LAPD all have something to do with it. Good work, Nick.

I'm now catching the Top Ten of Rap, again on channel4. It's good to hear all those old tunes again and the show is presented by Flava Flav! Keep it real.

Tuesday September 10 2002 at 23:19 GMT

Rich Lloyd quoteth:"It's 23.18. We're in the very good Kings Head pub in Kensington, London. We are being turfed out before 23.30. What is wrong with this picture???"

Tuesday September 10 2002 at 13:58 GMT

Apparently very few people have taken an interest in the Big Brother 3 auction that is currently going on. In fact, a quick visit to the site suggests there are just 86 registered users, at time of writing. Here are the reasons:
  1. BB3 was ... another Big Brother
  2. people who used the online services felt severely ripped off at the end of the show (the RealVideo coverage was woeful)
  3. the auction site looks like it was put together for under a tenner, inspiring little confidence - there is no logo or even link to BB3 information and very little, if any, customisation has been done to the software (it asks for state/province and zip code, when the target market must surely be the UK)
  4. you have to PAY just to use the auction system - OK, it is only one pound, but WHY?!?!?

I admit that I was going to sign up, but my PayPal account is US-denominated, and I can't be bothered being hit with rubbish FX rates.

Try again...

Tuesday September 10 2002 at 01:57 GMT

Yeah, I just stole this from Garrett Walker, but it is good, and I'm sure he won't mind!


A Texan walks into a pub in Ireland and clears his throat to the crowd of drinkers. He says, "I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I'll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back." The room is quiet, and no one takes up the Texan's offer.

One man even leaves. Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. "Is your bet still good?" asks the Irishman.

The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Irishman tears into all 10 of the pint glasses, drinking them all back-to-back.

The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement.

The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and says, "If ya don't mind me askin', where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?"

The Irishman replies, "Oh... I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first."

Monday September 9 2002 at 12:19 GMT

This is quite a cool idea - getting credit for your phone from an ATM. Sadly, it is only on offer to Abbey National customers.

Monday September 9 2002 at 12:14 GMT

I finally got round to re-doing my warchalk last night. I had planned to do it after Neil and I got back from the cinema. To that end, I had a piece of chalk wrapped in cling film so that I would not end up with a white pocket. Somewhere along the way (pub/street/cinema) I lost the chalk. There is potential for some high comedy value there if someone picked it up thinking it was, say, an illegal substance...

Sunday September 8 2002 at 22:59 GMT

Just got back from seeing The Bourne Identity. Overall ... perhaps it would get a five out of ten. The whole story was pretty ... prolonged and obvious. The final scene where Jason Bourne and the girl get back together was almost too much. I was waiting for the children to appear and call Jason 'daddy'.

Seeing as the film was set in Paris and even used foreign languages (Swiss German and French), I was hoping that some of the Hollywood-ness of the film would have been tempered. It was, to some degree, however assuming that every house in Europe (or at least France and Germany) has a gun in a handy drawer/on top of a kitchen cabinet was just too much. When the Ford Explorers/Expeditions were rolling along the banks of the Seine, it became just too much. Staying on the car theme, I have to say how impressed I was with the performance squeezed out of an original-style Mini. At least there were no tyre screeching sounds, that I can recall.

Thankfully, Neil and I had a good chuckle throughout, which did aid the passing of time.

I am tempted to read the book to see if it is more enjoyable.

Sunday September 8 2002 at 17:47 GMT

I've survived! Yes, I made it through a return journey with Sandy, Jill and Tania. We were all off to a wedding at Brunchrew House on the shore of Loch Ness - pictures to come as soon as I get my gallery sorted (PDQ)! Even the weather tried to make our journey more eventful - have a look at the crazy floods that happened overnight here.

I am now off to get some food and then see The Bourne Identity.

Thursday September 5 2002 at 14:25 GMT

The one thing I feel really lets me Canon IXUS V2 down is the connectivity. The only two ways to get pictures back to my PC are either using the special Canon cable and attaching to the camera, or by removing the Compact Flash card and putting it into a read of some kind. I would really love it to have Bluetooth, Infra Red or, ideally, an 802.11 connection available. Sont have just released a Bluetooth-enabled camera. It will be interesting to see what the transfer speeds are like, but hopefully it is a step in the right direction!

Thursday September 5 2002 at 12:07 GMT

My site, in da Ali G language. Check out the boyakasha translator here.

Wednesday September 4 2002 at 00:47 GMT

Anyone in Paris any time soon?

Tuesday September 3 2002 at 12:46 GMT

Tuesday September 3 2002 at 02:46 GMT

Tuesday September 3 2002 at 02:09 GMT

This NY Times article on SMS usage in the States is interesting. I fundamentally think that many of them (absolutely not all) don't get SMS. The point is to send a short message, which can be done very quickly and efficiently from a phone keypad. You do not need a QWERTY keyboard and a 6" screen. That just makes the device bigger, not more useful.

Tuesday September 3 2002 at 01:56 GMT

Auburn University in Alabama are offering a degree in wireless technology. How cool is THAT???

Tuesday September 3 2002 at 01:04 GMT

Three blue links for today:
  1. I caught up with Senor John tonight, and we watched Deep Blue Sea. Initially I was not expecting too much from it, but I really was kept on the edge of my seat throughout most of the film. Most of the graphics of the sharks themselves were pretty painful, but the time sped past, which generally marks out a good film in my book. LL Cool J's part was a little too ... corny, but it brought a few smiles. If you haven't seen it, I recommend some home viewing.
  2. Samsonite have brought out a Bluetooth enabled case. Samsonite are suggesting that you can keep travel details on the Bluetooth chip in the case, as well as it being an anti-theft device. Now, as a lot of my friends will testify, I don't always need justfication to buy the latest tech item, but even I have reservations about this one. Surely a) someone who is tech enough to have a Bluetooth case would have either an electronic ticket or a PDA/phone with the details much more easily to hand. I am wondering how one would enter and retrieve details from a suitcase; b) someone who is not really tech enough to have a Bluetooth enabled case would just be confused by the functionality, and never use it (like, say, your average businessperson ;-). Mmm - if anyone finds a real use for this, let me know.
  3. Finally, a nice upbeat story story on why Bluetooth will succeed, thanks to Apple. Apple really seem to be getting a lot of good press at the moment, and quite deservedly so (from what I have read). I would really love a TiBook with Jaguar, and the ability to play with my *NIX toys whenever I wanted. If only the things weren't so blooming expensive!

Monday September 2 2002 at 13:35 GMT

I support the adoption of XHTML for use on the Web as I think it will open up ways to use data from other sites in new and meaningful ways. The W3C have announced XHTML 2.0 is coming - but won't be compatible with XHTML 1.0/HTML 4.0, so I'm guessing it may be a while before we actually are all using that standard.

From the perspective of making it simpler to manipulate a site's data for display on a variety of devices, XHTML is getting there. For me, this is really a big plus.

Monday September 2 2002 at 08:52 GMT

I can only guess that my invite to help eat this monster kebab got lost in the post... :-(

Monday September 2 2002 at 08:33 GMT

This article on UltraWideBand (UWB) technology is really interesting. Described as "Bluetooth on steroids" it will (allaegedly) enable moving large amounts of data in seconds, wirelessly. Nice.

Monday September 2 2002 at 08:22 GMT

I just found this site, courtesy of the Pavement mailing list (which has pretty good longevity considering the band split up in 2000). Succint biographies of most bands are on there, including Pavement, Smashing Pumpkins, Drugstore and Mazzy Star. Ahh, memories...

Sunday September 1 2002 at 22:41 GMT

If you want to see just exactly how cool the SonyEricsson P800 will be, check out this link. It is a reasonably large PDF file. :-(

Sunday September 1 2002 at 21:05 GMT

If you have five minutes, this is an interesting article on Raw Foodism. Basically, no food can be cooked (or heated over 118F). You may have to register for the NY Times, but it is interesting to learn what the latest ideas are. It may well work well in California, but I doubt there will be too much take up here in Scotland, when some days you *need* a big, hot bowl of soup just to get you through.

Sunday September 1 2002 at 20:22 GMT

This is pretty cool ... if you have an email address. You can have them played back to you over the phone (dial 177 or else 07973 100 177). Yes, you could do this ages ago with talk21, but this is a nicer implementation. I like the Orange lady's voice.

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