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

Saturday November 30 2002 at 12:28 GMT

Last night was cool - another visit to Rogue (excellent food and service once again) then on to Tonic for some cocktails with Amanda & Iain and some of their friends.

Today is definitely the day the lights are switched on, so be there at 4.30pm if you can.

SomaFM returns to the air again today at full strength, which is great to see. That has just made my festive period complete!

Have a look here for some cool desktop images.

Friday November 29 2002 at 18:26 GMT

Click here to find out just HOW weird.

Friday November 29 2002 at 18:03 GMT

hello world

Friday November 29 2002 at 17:55 GMT

Alrighty - slight mistake. Lights are turned on at 4.35pm *tomorrow*, Saturday. Uhm ... see you there.

Friday November 29 2002 at 14:50 GMT

Today is the big switch on for lights at Castlehill. Jams and the boys have been working double late getting things sorted out and it will be something that has to be seen! If you can make it today at 4.35, you can see them being turned on. Otherwise ... any day between 4.30pm and 1am, and you can see them in their full glory.

Wednesday November 27 2002 at 16:30 GMT

See some more nice Christmas lights, a large Norwegian (tree) and get free chocolate (apparently) here.

Wednesday November 27 2002 at 11:54 GMT

Tuesday November 26 2002 at 14:10 GMT

This article says that the lights will be switched on at 4.30pm on the 30th. Another reason to come and see it happen is that it will be free to get into the castle. If you've not been, it is WELL worth going to - the place is huge.

Tuesday November 26 2002 at 13:40 GMT

Jams and his team have been working away setting up lights on Castlehill, between the Hub and the castle esplanade that are going to turn the place into a winter winderland! The official switch on is going to be on November the 30th by Gavin Hastings. See here for more details, but you'll need to be there to get the full experience. From the amount of work Jams has put in to this project, it is sure to be a visual extravaganza!

Tuesday November 26 2002 at 13:33 GMT

On Saturday I decided I needed some new trainers for going out. I picked up these guys. Nopt only do they look super cool, they fit my feet like a glove. In addition, they have secret powers. If you look closely at the sole, you can see that they enable the wearer to climb any surface. For example, on my way home, I knew I could walk over a building and save myself five minutes - very handy when it's cold and you just want your bed. They are not to bed used flipantly though - I accidently climbed a bus on Sunday evening and ended up on the far side of Edinburgh!

Tuesday November 26 2002 at 13:25 GMT

Last Thursday I saw Bowling for Columbine, a documentary-style film by Michael Moore covering what had happened at Columbine, but also the USA's fascination with firearms. Sometimes I find Michael Moore overpowering, but he has really made a great job of this and I would highly recommend seeing it.

He made a very interesting comparison between the USA and Canada. Apparently they have a similar ratio of guns to households (Canada has seven million guns and 10 million households, if my memory serves me right) yet in terms of deaths each year by firearms, it is less than 1% of the US total (11000 vs 100 *ish*). He ran though the arguments given on a regular basis for why US citizens use their firearms so often, and really none of the arguments stand up - Japan creates violent video games and Europe has a bloody history.

Anyway, get to the cinema and see it - well worth the time.

Tuesday November 26 2002 at 13:08 GMT

Well, quite a lot actually.

Friday night was pretty quiet - just a few beers with Jams and Rich, and bumping into a girl from school I haven't seen for years. Cool.

Saturday was busy busy though. It was my brother's birthday last weekend and his girlfriend's flatmate's birthday next weekend, so they decided to have a joint celebration. Following the success of a previous night, they decided to go to a ceilidh (definition here) at the Caley Brewery. There was a truly fantastic mix of people there - it was something like an international get-together. We had loads of fun dancing and drinking - good deal. I managed to get a few pictures which will be online soon.

After that, it was on to a club where a friend had organised a night with a variety of DJs from all over the place, as well as a bongo player, a sax player and a stilt walker/dancer. It was a great venue and more fun, including the afterclub party and the afterafterclub party. Vague recollections of getting to bed around 6am are in my mind ... and I managed to sleep all Sunday! Ah, just what I needed.

Monday November 25 2002 at 09:52 GMT

Thursday November 21 2002 at 14:53 GMT

I should also mention Aural Delight, a Blog covering online radio. Good for recommendations.

Thursday November 21 2002 at 14:52 GMT

SomaFM is back with two channels, following the passing of HR5469 with 'Helms Amendment'. I've not had a chance to read the whole story, but, as usual, Slashdot has something to say about it.

Since SomaFM has been off-air, I've been listening to quite a bit of Flaresound, so they deserve a quality mention. The breadth of choice is not quite there, and the content of the channels seems to vary quite a bit, but it is good stuff!

Thursday November 21 2002 at 14:03 GMT

Thursday November 21 2002 at 14:02 GMT

My idea of how phones of the future will work, as stated in 2001, took a step closer today with the announcement of Reduced Size MultiMedia Cards. See here for more details.

Thursday November 21 2002 at 13:46 GMT

Apparently only 36% of young Americans (US Citizens, not North Americans) were able to answer the question 'which two countries have a longstanding conflict over the region of Kashmir?'. Why not test yourself here - I got one wrong.

Tuesday November 19 2002 at 13:09 GMT

Through personal experience(s), I am able to vouch for the danger - to person and finance - of drinking and surfing. Encouraging users to have a beer whilst searching for a job, sounds like telling a child to play in traffic. Imagine all the jobs that will sound so much more interesting after a few beers, and how a person's skills increase dramatically with each sip.

Sunday November 17 2002 at 15:03 GMT

Apparently Orange are planning to set out a whole new concept in stores with areas to relax in whilst your phone is charged. Sounds cool, and it should be here pretty damn soon. More details are availablein this job advert.

Sunday November 17 2002 at 14:52 GMT

I nearly forgot this... On Friday, Jams, Rich and I had a pretty quiet night in. We ended up watching some great jazz on BBC Four (I think I may now need to get digital TV), but at some point, started considering the options for airhorn use. The discussion rapidly turned ridiculous - and this was with two of us completely sober. Marching on-stage during a clasical concert and letting off a huge blast could be quite amusing, as could running into a pub toilet or a shop changing room (note: I am certainly not condoning or encouraging these kinds of actions - unless you call me first). I just found this site which actually sells a whole selection of horns. Am thinking I may need to invest, just for some test purposes...

I have an idea of writing an airhorn symphony, but that is only likely to happen after Rich and I have completed our ridiculous short films idea - for example:
- James Bond gets caught by the bad guy at the start of the film and killed. The End.

Yeah, too much time on my hands right now...

Sunday November 17 2002 at 14:35 GMT

50 places to see before you die. Edinburgh ranks number 5 on the UK list; Glasgow 8. Humph.

Sunday November 17 2002 at 14:24 GMT

After a few ... uhm ... years, I found my watch again. It is a really smart watch, given to me by my parents for my 21st birthday and for graduating university (neither of those events were anywhere near guaranteed, even when I was 20 3/4 years old!) but I just don't really need a watch. My phone displays the time on it and I carry that everywhere. My watch had stopped working, so I guessed the battery was dead. After leaving it with the jeweller for a while, they told me the watch actually needed serviced at a significant cost. I decided to go ahead with it, before the service doubled in price; 130 pounds later, my watch is ticking away. Now I really do feel a need to wear it, so I'm getting used to having a weight around my wrist. If you notice that I'm lopsided, don't worry.

Sunday November 17 2002 at 14:17 GMT

Neil sent me a link to this: There was one scheduled for Edinburgh, but only one other person signed up. For it to happen next month, I have to 'spread the word' - so, if you're a blog and live in/near Edinburgh, sign up. The closest meetups to me are now in Amsterdam, Dublin or London. Given that it's a school night, I think I'm going to have to pass this time.

However, there is also a WiFi Meetup, which I have signed up for. The venue selections for this are, to my taste, a little weird (as for the blog meetup) but I've voted for The Royal McGregor on the High Street. There are 24 days until this one, so I'm about to mail all my WiFi friends and tell them to sign up too. Perhaps this one may happen!

Sunday November 17 2002 at 13:52 GMT

I actually had lots going on this week, but didn't hugely feel like updating.

Last Wednesday was weird - I got a message from my mom to say that my (great) Uncle Tom had died - on one hand a very upsetting event, but, on another, he was not really 'doing' too much, so it was slightly a relief. He was 92+, we think - he never really told us his age, and until very recently, looked and acted a lot younger. Funeral is on Monday... Besides that, I had a half day set to go to ONE SPA with Sandy for her birthday (a cunning plan this - get a present that really needs someone to accompany the receiver :-D ). I was in two minds whether or not to cancel, but I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to sit and reflect on things. The day was fantastic, although the one thing we had wanted to do, the outside Hydropool, was out of use as someone had poured bleach into it. We both left very relaxed... We had food at Rogue, which remains my favourite restaurant in Edinburgh - the place is just absolutely fan-tas-tic. The food, service, decor, wine list, cocktails and location just make it perfect for me. There site seems to be down at the moment, however read here for a good review (although it doesn't say when it was).

On Thursday I went to see a flat with a friend, then caught up with some others and saw Rabbit Proof Fence, which is about three Aboriginal girls being taken from their family and home and sent to an 'education camp', where they were being taught to be like white people. Two of the girls then walked 1500 miles home, through some hardcore terrain, and it was this journey we were following. When describing the film to two friends, they both used the word 'worthy', which I suppose it was. The whole thing is quite an embarassment to the Australian government and, I guess, the British, still. The night finished with a visit to the Candy Bar, which is a new-ish place on George Street. Jams and I felt pretty out of place on two counts - we weren't rich snobs and we were forced to drink Kronenbourg as they had no Stella. They did have Knob Creek though, so we *may* go back.

Today is my brother's birthday, so we were at home for a meal yesterday and are having a big meal somewhere tonight. Happy Birthday!

Sunday November 17 2002 at 13:30 GMT

I overheard this quote from a funny story over the weekend. The person was describing the horror a friend's boyfriend had felt when introduced to his girlfriend's flatmates: "I thought I was being introduced to your friends, not the cast of Star Wars". Quality.

Saturday November 16 2002 at 17:47 GMT

Somehow I got on to the AOL mailing list - at my parent's house, my flat and at work. They are, really, just environmentally damaging junk, so it amused me to find this site, I gave a load to a friend for an art project, but still have a few somewhere. Must send them on - I'd encourage everyone to do so.

Saturday November 16 2002 at 11:18 GMT

I've not had a proper chance to dig about and read the background on this Linux-running, Bluetooth-supporting Smartphone mentioned here, but on first glance it sounds incredible. Linux on a phone would be great to see.

Tuesday November 12 2002 at 22:17 GMT

Every day, almost, on my walk home I walk past a shopfront that now sports a pretty cool frosted glass/silver front - I watched as it turned from a poster-covered 'window' to this new design with interest, thinking something cool must be coming. I finally got round to looking at their site only to find it is one of the most boring on the Web. In fact, I still don't even know what they do apart from being involved in telesales. What I do know is that their address is either wrong, or they are pretending that their new place doesn't exist. Shhh.

Tuesday November 12 2002 at 09:38 GMT

This is just weird. A baby doll with a 'real person's face'.

Monday November 11 2002 at 00:39 GMT

I've posted them - they're here. I'm not entirely sure what was going on, but most of the rugby pictures I got are very blurry, so I have not posted them. Ah well...

Sunday November 10 2002 at 15:27 GMT

My very good friend Nitesh has just had a baby boy! His name is Pushar, which means 'winter season' in Sanscript.

Sunday November 10 2002 at 15:20 GMT

On Friday, I had a quality night. We ordered The Score via cable, some mighty pizzas and then relaxed. The film was really good - it's about an older safe-cracker (Robert De Niro) being persuaded to do one last job by a yonger thief (Ed Norton). I really was on the edge of my seat towards the end and the final twists are superb. There is a slice of romance in there too, although it works well in the mix.

Yesterday, I went along to give Jams and Rich a hand (read: see the game for free) at the Scotland vs Romania rugby. They were doing the lights for the half-time entertainment and had a mad projection of the SRU logo into the middle of the pitch. We were standing in the south tunnel, just feet away from the pitch. The lights at half-time all went well, so we just had to wait until the game finished. Scotland won 37-10, which was nice to see. Hopefully they can do as well in the Six Nations!

After the short firework display at the end (YAY - more fireworks) we coiled the cable and packed away the lights on the ground. Then we headed to the roof of the stand to collect the pitch projection light. After going up all the 'normal' stairs, we climbed a ladder, walked along catwalk with side barriers and finally walked along catwalk with just a steel wire running along each side, above the perspex roof of the stand. The view from there was quite incredible and my fear of heights managed to stay at peace!

We finally got the van packed up superbly, head back to the yard, dropped the van and got ready to go out. We managed to squeeze in one quick pint before we went to the pub. ;-)

The Brass Monkey was our venue for the night where John Robb(sp) was having his birthday. We had the entire back room to ourselves, which was very cool indeed - we lounged about and watched a DVD of The Old Grey Whistle Test, featuring some classic tunes. Closing time came around way too quickly, so we visited a few more pubs (in one of which I was repeatedly assumed to be a security man!) and finally ended up back at Jams and Rich's, eating cheese on toast and popcorn at 4.30am, washed down with a vodka and Coke. Busy busy!

Pictures will be online later today.

Thursday November 7 2002 at 15:05 GMT

This update just in from Neil. I've left the spelling error(s) in my earlier post.


a unit of quantity equal to 10100 (1 followed by 100 zeroes). The googol was invented by the American mathematician Edward Kasner (1878-1955) in 1938. According to the story, Kasner asked his nephew Milton Sirotta, who was then 8 years old, what name he would give to a really large number, and "googol" was Milton's response. Kasner also defined the googolplex, equal to 10googol, that is, 1 followed by a googol of zeroes. These inventions caught the public's fancy and are often mentioned in discussions of very large numbers. In the traditional American system for naming large numbers, the googol is equal to 10 dotrigintillion.

Thursday November 7 2002 at 14:48 GMT

Neil came up with an interesting 'fact', that the largest number in the world is called a googleplex (following on from a discussion in the difference between UK and US 'billions') - you can find more information on that here.

I came up with an intesting site called which has a link to stuckism, which I saw a TV program about a few weeks ago, and also to Hank Chinaski, the main character in the Charles Bukowski novel I am reading just now. The Bukowski page has a link to the store, which, I am sure, leads me back to the pub, which leads me back to where Neil and I first had the discussion on billions.

My life is a circle.

Thursday November 7 2002 at 13:32 GMT

This is a quality (short) story.

Thursday November 7 2002 at 00:58 GMT

As I have said previously, the only magazine I buy religously is Wired. Back in the old days, they used to only show the articles from the latest magazine well into the month, ergo you had to buy the magazine if you really did want to stay Wired [sic]. Nowadays, they put the magazine online before I can actually get me hands on it here in the UK! Pah, how times change.

Anyway, this article on wired houses is quite cool. My next house will have a LOT of things different to this one (my first). I will not hang about with the electrics - sockets ARE required everywhere ... but in brushed chrome. Light switches, on the other hand, can be dispensed with. Zoned audio - NOW we are talking! Wireless connection to everything is, of course, taken for granted, as is a phat Internet connection. What I really need is an automated Stella dispenser - although that may well become way too dangerous in a very short time. ;-)

Wednesday November 6 2002 at 09:30 GMT

The fireworks last night were great. They really were aimed at the kids (not literally ;-) though - they played SClub7 before the fireworks as well as several other popular tunes of the day. The fireworks went on for a good 15 minutes and were set to music. We had great seats centre front of the fireworks and got a great view. They had a firework something like a catherine wheel, but spinning horizontally as opposed to vertically, giving a smart fountain effect. I still love fireworks!

Last night people were letting fireworks off literally all night. As I was walking to my Godson's house, there were some great displays going on - unfortunately he did not appreciate them, and woke this morning in a not-so-great mood. I suppose he's allowed one day a year!

Tuesday November 5 2002 at 14:35 GMT

I just found this handy page showing how to add an icon showing if I am online or not with Yahoo! Messenger. Not sure where to put it on my page though...

Right now, I am:

Tuesday November 5 2002 at 10:55 GMT

For my Hindu friends, Saalmubarak! (Today is the start of the new year.)

Tuesday November 5 2002 at 10:41 GMT

Tonight is Guy Fawkes Day, AKA Bonfire Night, in the UK. We celebrate(?) that our parliament was not blown up by Guy and his co-conspirators in 1605 by having huge bonfires, but also lots of fireworks! Tonight I'm going to the hugefirework display at Meadowbank and then I'll probably purchase a few rockets, just for fun. Mmmm - I *love* fireworks! NOTE: Always stay safe. :-D

Monday November 4 2002 at 23:52 GMT

Tonight was some gently inspired fun - I worked late, then caught my bro for a quick beer in the newly refurbished Montpeliers. I have to say that I quite liked the red decor (completely NOT reflected in their site - poor show) - I'm so glad that they skipped the whole blond(e) wood/glass/blue light/stainless steel deal. As part of their new style, they have a load of new bottled beers and, to my delight/surprise they had Anchor Steam, a beer I used to scoff in California. I was right there tonight... My brother had Victoria Bitter, which took him back to his time in Sydney. Good night all round.

Monday November 4 2002 at 01:13 GMT

I've literally just got back from seeing Iain and Amanda in Burton. I hopped on a train down on Friday night, enjoying a few beers. Iain and I then sat and talked for ages, over a few more beers, and a lot of espresso.

Saturday morning zoomed round way too quickly, but we had to get on and get things sorted out for the barbecue/fireworks party - so we did. I finally had to take a kip at three in the afternoon, and when I woke we were in full party-prep mode. After realising we'd missed a few things and racing round to the shops to pick them up, we got the barbecues lit and Iain got in charge of them. I managed to mostly look after the fireworks with Alex and our self-named Firework Bitch, Lindsay. The rain and wind did put in some regular appearances in an effort to dampen our fun, but we carried on regardless. Well, mostly regardless - thanks to a huge gazebo!

The night rolled on with lots of fun, drink and serious conversations, and I finally stumbled to bed somewhere about 5.30 - I was actually sleeping with the fishies.

Sunday kicked into action with a proper fry-up and some lazing in front of the TV, then some quick tidying-up, before it was time for me to head home. This is the point it all went so wrong! The first train we saw going to Edinburgh was packed beyond belief - and late. So, being a cunning chap, I decided to let everyone squeeze on to that train and I'd take the next one. It rolled in, stuffed to the gunnels too. As Iain and I had been waiting for about and hour and a half now, I took the decision to get the next train, no matter. It too was absolutely packed, but I squeezed on... Some pictures of my fellow passengers are here and here. After standing/sitting/crouching for almost three hours, I finally got a seat. The train experience did not put a damper on the weekend though - it was all fantastic!

The full set of photos are here.

Friday November 1 2002 at 11:55 GMT

It will be interesting to see what this database does to the number of crimes relating to the stealing of mobile phones. Hopefully, it will be chopped - it is all getting too scary.

Friday November 1 2002 at 01:29 GMT

Everywhere seems to be full of random links just now. The Surrealist is fun. Apparently:

martin little
martin little is a cufflink that can go from 0 to 60mph in three seconds and weighs anything you put on top of it.

Googlism is the new black. You can enter anything and it will tell you what google thinks of it. My name turns up:

martin little is a systemic therapist
martin little is known about her past before her teen
martin little is co

I think the last line means that google thinks I am half cool, which is cool.

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