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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...


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


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More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone

www.flickr.com
More pictures from my phone


Tuesday September 30 2003 at 12:31 GMT

Oh dear, the Science Museum in London has banned cameraphones to avoid people photographing some LotR models. Lucky I got there when I did!

Tuesday September 30 2003 at 11:17 GMT

It seems that bottled waters and fruit juices are making good headway in the Scottish (non-alcoholic) drinks market. There is some discussion as to whether Coke is outselling Irn Bru, though. All they needed to do was ask a Scot what the answer is: Irn Bru is king!

Sunday September 28 2003 at 23:03 GMT [via mobile]

Today is Robbie\'s second birthday. The whole weekend has been Robbie-oriented, and I am exhausted! Kids are a full-time occupation. :-)

Today is Robbie's second birthday. The whole weekend has been Robbie-oriented, and I am exhausted! Kids are a full-time occupation. :-)

Friday September 26 2003 at 18:51 GMT

Woohoo! After being shut for quite a while, Rogue Bar is now open ... although their site seems to be down at the moment. It is indeed very cool. Pics as soon as I get there. :-)

Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar
Rogue Bar

Friday September 26 2003 at 13:54 GMT

[Via Simon]: HowManyWouldItTake.

Friday September 26 2003 at 13:43 GMT

Just released:link.

Friday September 26 2003 at 00:27 GMT [via mobile]

Need a Lexorian Sword Of War?  I know just the place!  How this shop (let alone anywhere) in Scotland is allowed to sell this stuff is WAY beyond me.

Need a Lexorian Sword Of War? I know just the place! How this shop (let alone anywhere) in Scotland is allowed to sell this stuff is WAY beyond me.

Friday September 26 2003 at 00:21 GMT [via mobile]

Mitch, Charlie & Barb are in town for the weekend/week. Hello!

Mitch, Charlie & Barb are in town for the weekend/week. Hello!

Thursday September 25 2003 at 23:47 GMT [via mobile]

Post-dinner loud rock underground. Yes, I am hardcore. ;-)

Post-dinner loud rock underground. Yes, I am hardcore. ;-)

Thursday September 25 2003 at 21:01 GMT [via mobile]

Ah, tasty!

Ah, tasty!

Thursday September 25 2003 at 20:46 GMT [via mobile]

This one is for the guys on #mobitopia. :-)

This one is for the guys on #mobitopia. :-)

Thursday September 25 2003 at 10:09 GMT

Talios mentioned this over on #mobitopia. A Thursday Night Curry club. Seeing as tonight is Thursday, let me know if you're on for it. This seems like an ideal MeetUp candidate to me...

Wednesday September 24 2003 at 00:06 GMT

I'd really hoped to blog considerably more than I have done recently. I've got one or two great posts stored in my head, but that makes them somewhat harder for you to read. Hopefully tomorrow will allow a slice of productive time.

After my hiatus from the gym whilst kitchen work was ongoing it has taken quite some pain to get back into it. Tonight seems like I finally got over the hump. I thrash-metal-cored the whole thing, and felt so much better at the end of it! Tonight I've eaten a phat amount of food and I'm feeling pretty satisfied, all in. It's possible I'm still cooking for two...

Having the entire flat to myself is taking some getting used to. Allan (currently having some blogging problems -- resolution imminent) left on Sunday morning. When he moved all of his stuff back to my parents I really was not a happy camper. Thinking back to when he first moved in eighteen months ago, I was pretty dubious on how long we'd last before killing each other. Thankfully, the absolute opposite happened. Our friendship has gone from strength to strength and we both ended up learning a lot about each other in the process. It's really great that he's done his hardcore thing, fighting himself into a mighty job, changing city and all that entails. He's great inspiration! If you happen to be walking down London High Street and see him, be sure to say hello and offer to get him a beer.

It's been a strange New York news week. One of my uni friends I haven't seen in years sent me a mail via this site, I guessed she might be on Yahoo! Messenger and lo! She is. Sounds like she's having a lot of fun, paying for nothing and living the high life. Another friend has almost (right?) got an apartment purchased. The whole process seems fraught with difficulties. I think this has to happen so that you really appreciate having somewhere cool to live. Just walking straight in would be no fun. Hopefully pictures from both people will be forthcoming. :-)

To end on a fun note, here's some Stealth Disco [via Joi Ito]. Advertising certainly seems like a lot of fun!

Monday September 22 2003 at 19:34 GMT [via mobile]

Robbie and Sophie having fun on the carousel in George Street yesterday.

Robbie and Sophie having fun on the carousel in George Street yesterday.

Monday September 22 2003 at 18:26 GMT

Sunday September 21 2003 at 10:00 GMT [via mobile]

It\'s turning into a busy day already!  There\'s a big farmers market in town, in association with No Car Day. Ricl is en route, for some mighty produce action.

It's turning into a busy day already! There's a big farmers market in town, in association with No Car Day. Ricl is en route, for some mighty produce action.

Sunday September 21 2003 at 09:32 GMT [via mobile]

Lovely day for a race.

Lovely day for a race.

Sunday September 21 2003 at 08:24 GMT [via mobile]

Man, this weekend has been all about early mornings! Today Allan left for London, so Grant and I are now grabbing some breakfast. It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day here!

Man, this weekend has been all about early mornings! Today Allan left for London, so Grant and I are now grabbing some breakfast. It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day here!

Saturday September 20 2003 at 16:43 GMT [via mobile]

Mr Baxter is in Edinburgh for the day, after his sojourn.  Word.

Mr Baxter is in Edinburgh for the day, after his sojourn. Word.

Friday September 19 2003 at 09:43 GMT

I'm sure I blogged this ages and ages ago, but I can't find it now. Anyway, in my early morning newsreading, I found a link to Ramon's site, which covers his 570 days travelling around with no money. Have a look -- it's a good way to spend a few hours.

Wednesday September 17 2003 at 11:42 GMT

John, Polly & MaxIn a polar opposite from Robbie's birth, Polly was home about five hours after giving birth to Max yesterday -- really incredible. We managed to persuade her to have a celebratory glass of Champagne, and everything was good. Robbie managed to almost say Max on his first attempt and seemed OK with having a little brother.

I've posted a few pics I took last night. There were SO many cameras on the go last night, that I'm sure there will be some better shots to post soon.

Tuesday September 16 2003 at 20:04 GMT [via mobile]

All together.

All together.

Tuesday September 16 2003 at 19:27 GMT [via mobile]

Welcome home!

Welcome home!

Tuesday September 16 2003 at 17:52 GMT

Talking to a friend just now, and we got round to him having a vasectomy recently. Quote: let's face it, it's not every day your balls generate smoke :-).

Tuesday September 16 2003 at 16:01 GMT

***CONGRATULATIONS***

WOOHOO! Polly has just had a baby boy. Here are the details:

Time of birth: 2.54
Weight: 7lb 5oz (2.26kg)
Length: 53cm
Name: Max Leo

From what I have heard, the birth went 'routinely' (well, as routinely as these things go!) and Polly may be home tonight. Robbie has been informed, but did not see overly concerned.

Tuesday September 16 2003 at 12:04 GMT

Over the last two days, I've deleted about 90% of the bookmarks I once used to use, distilling them to a mere 30, most of which are internal work links, or forums. Why the cull? I've replaced them with RSS feeds, of course, and boy does it feel good. I've decided to use Bloglines as a handy way of storing all my feeds (you can see what I read here) plus I can easily extract an OPML file from it. If you think I'm missing a great feed, leave a comment.

Enough RSS-evangalising, here's some links:

Monday September 15 2003 at 00:51 GMT

I was looking for a solution to my P800 RSS reading activites -- or actually some answers to 'is it practical'? I kicked off on the basis that I didn't want to pull huge feeds of data over my GPRS connection when, in reality, I often read the short entry, but not the full article. So, finding some kind of online aggregator that I could use via Opera seemed to make sense.

I'd read in an Online Journalism Review article about a few different options, and I found a few more. As I was putting together some kind of comparison, I realised a primary/secondary potential target market for this -- newbies! So, here's a quick rundown on my findings, in alphabetical order. My key criteria boiled down to ease of use, in terms of both setup (adding feeds) & daily and responsiveness of the site. All of the sites I checked are currently free, although I would fully expect them to start charging/asking for donations at some point.

None of the sites I reviewed really worked on my phone, though. I have no doubt that that will change over time. If you're just looking for the outcome of my findings it is thus: use Bloglines. The tool is simple, yet powerful enough for most users. To see how it works, just click here and you can see my setup.

Bloglines - http://www.bloglines.com/

Setup
Adding feeds either by entering a URI directly or importing an OPML feed worked superbly. Gathering related feeds together into folders is a point and click operation that works in a nice straightforward manner.

Daily use
The total number of new article is presented at folder level. Clicking on the folder name displays all articles associated with the feeds in the folder in one long listing. Expanding the folder by using the + allows individual feeds to be viewed. Items can be bookmarked, and then appear in the system bookmark folder. For each article, as much detail as the feed provides is displayed. The layout is good, allowing articles to be easily read.

Responsiveness
The site was speedy throughout.

Gripes
The two pain points I found were that feeds are only updated once an hour, and the top frame which says Bloglines is MASSIVE, taking up way too much screen real estate. I dropped them a note, and Mark Fletcher assured me it was one of their priorities to change, and that it should be visible in the next week or so. I'm going to see what they say about the hourly gathering. Perhaps after some time regularly updated feeds can be identified and updated more often.

Summary
I would recommend this site over all of the others listed here. It is nicely designed and does its job well. It is suitable for beginners and advanced users alike. View my setup here.

feed-me.info - http://feed-me.info/

Setup
Setup initially confused me (I didn't add a view), but after that I was able to import my OPML file. Groupings set up within the OPML file were ignored, and I was back to setting up views.

Daily use
I ended up with some very very long pages, making the whole process rather slow, as well as very hard to read. Full items were displayed in a page-wide, long list manner. Items can be added to a bookmark folder, rated (questionable functionality), emailed or printed from the article display.

Responsiveness
The site seemed to be slower than others, and given the huge pages I ended up with, this likely added to the problem.

Gripes
Again, this seems like beta software. It didn't seem very happy with me using Mozilla Firebird.

Summary
Just not quite there.

freshnews.org - http://www.freshnews.org/

Setup
Can't add specific RSS locations or upload OPML.

Daily use
All news presented on one page, in small boxes. Colours can be themed.

Responsiveness
Fast enough.

Gripes
The number of feeds available is heavily limited.

Summary
This is a nice site for reading a limited amount of tech news. Seems like a personal project which has been shared out to the world.

Fyuze - http://fyuze.com/

Setup
Didn't seem to want to find any URIs entered directly, and no OPML import.

Daily use
Box-like structure. Article headings only -- no content.

Responsiveness
Fine.

Gripes
Any gripes I had have to be tempered with the clearly labelled beta release of this aggregator.

Summary
This is very much a work-in-progress, which will be worth revisiting again. The ability to link into Yahoo! Groups is neat ... but didn't work when I tried it.

MyWireService - http://www.mywireservice.com/

Setup
RSS feeds could be easily added. My OPML file just would not upload, though. No error or problem, just no joy.

Daily use
I didn't quite 'get' the interface, and I couldn't be bothered to enter a stack of feeds after my OPML was rejected.

Responsiveness
Fine.

Gripes
Site seemed cluttered and overly complicated, plus OPML import didn't work.

Summary
Could well be a runner in a while, but not now.

NewsIsFree - http://www.newsisfree.com/

Setup
NewsIsFree is one of the big news syndication sites. Adding feeds is done using their IDs, as opposed to simply entering an RSS URI. OPML was not on the cards.

Daily use
The site seems to use the least readable format possible -- items are displayed in full, but in a kind-of boxed style. This means a blog with multiple entries displays as about three inches wide, but the entire length of the page. Feeds are grouped by page.

Responsiveness
Fine

Gripes
No OPML import.

Summary
Not the most intuitive site to use and hard to read entries.

NewsLine - http://www.intersmash.com/newsline/

Setup
Easy to add RSS feeds. No OPML import.

Daily use
This site simply displays the entire RSS feed in a nicely formatted way. There is no way to mark items as read, or bookmark them.

Responsiveness
Fine

Gripes
This site is clearly positioning itself as a beginners site, and it works fairly well at that.

Summary
A basic site, with nothing too exciting, but it works.

Sunday September 14 2003 at 13:52 GMT

[Via MysteryMan]: The results of the Scottish Census are now online. My dad was involved in gathering the results, so it's nice to see the data being made available to one and all (well, one and all with access to a computer and Internet connection).

Sunday September 14 2003 at 13:42 GMT

[Via mazzanet]: An ebay auction for a sheet of A4 paper (blank). Currently standing at AUS$1.25.

Sunday September 14 2003 at 13:32 GMT

[Via Joi Ito] I'm a pretty big fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto, so it was cool to learn that he has an online project (I think) called chain music. It would be great if he managed to sort out a blog too!

Saturday September 13 2003 at 21:19 GMT

I've just this second noticed that James over at MMSMemo has (finally) got an RSS feed on his site. The downside is that it is b0rked just now. Those funny characters can really mess a feed up.

Interestingly, James is using an online service to create his RSS feed. I was sure that someone would sooner rather than later create one of these tools, and I was really pleased when I thought I could finally have RSS feeds of friend's sites who don't have RSS functionality. Unfortunately, the results were useless. I'm going to check back tomorrow, hoping tonight was just a glitch.

Friday September 12 2003 at 22:19 GMT [via mobile]

My blue ropelight has arrived. lt\'s going to look sweet above the kitchen door.

My blue ropelight has arrived. lt's going to look sweet above the kitchen door.

Friday September 12 2003 at 21:31 GMT

Thursday September 11 2003 at 01:12 GMT

Rich does Yahoo! lunacyOn a somewhat lighter note, Rich arrived back from London tonight. Apparently he'd had a beer or two when he fired up the webcam and got busy being the Yahoo! IM emoticons. Some of the pictures are just classic. They may not be online for long once Rich realises what I've done, so enjoy now. [For some reason I can't thumbnail the first picture - it will be sorted ASAP.]

Thursday September 11 2003 at 01:05 GMT

Wow - yet another year has flown by. As I recalled last year (and will likely recall for the rest of my life), I was in California and woken by a call from Jams when all craziness broke loose in 2001.

It would be nice to be able to look back after 730 days and say that we, as the world, had moved on in a more positive way, but I honestly don't feel that we really have. For me, today is:

  • a time to remember those who lost their lives (yes, I knew people)
  • a time to be thankful that others escaped with their lives (yes, I am glad to still know those people)
  • reflect

Wednesday September 10 2003 at 23:19 GMT

Nice one! Story is here. Tracks are on lofi.

Wednesday September 10 2003 at 16:25 GMT

Via dwlt: A Scrabblog! PLAY!

Wednesday September 10 2003 at 11:18 GMT

This morning I received a mail from Evan, co-founder of Pyra/Blogger. Apparently, the paid-for section of Blogger, Pro, is disappearing (I used Blogger Pro before I rolled my own).

Blogger Pro did me fine for quite a while -- I was glad to pay for the product and contribute towards keeping Blogger (as a company) going, even if they were a little slow at implementing some of the promised features. I was glad to have an RSS feed and titles in my posts. The email thanks me for being there to support development, and in return for paying all that time ago, I get a Blogger hoodie (hooded sweatshirt, for those not in the know ;-).

Then it gets a little confusing. First of all it says: I wanted to give you a heads-up about something we're announcing shortly: We're no longer offering Blogger Pro as a separate product and we're folding most of the features into regular (free) Blogger. OK, so Pro is gone, but most of the cool stuff is moving to the free version. So far, so good. Then it goes on to say: Don't worry - nothing you paid for is going away. And while you won't be charged, your subscription is still valid. You will continue to have access to features like RSS and post-via-email that are still not in the free version. You'll also have priority support from our expanded team and new support system: http://help.blogger.com . So, from that I take, if I still used Pro, I would be able to have an RSS feed until my subscription runs out (which it may actually have done -- weird), but after that ... who knows.

Two things spring out at me here. One, for Blogger to keep going as a product and bringing new users onboard, it has to keep improving its offering. To me, this is screaming RSS feeds. For someone who blogs, and is likely to read an increasing number of other blogs (and news sites), RSS just makes sense.

Secondly, blogging by email. At the moment, the easiest and most common way to moblog is via email (if you're looking for a way to do this, don't pass Moblogging For Other People 2 (MFOP2)). I'm pretty sure that Ev gets it (even if he calls it a MoCamBlog), so why is this function not going to be available to everybody? Moblogging is taking off at a nice pace these days, but users want simplicity - one place to do all their blogging, without caring where the input is coming from. From the email, this looks like a pretty bad error of judgement!

The full announcement should be out this afternoon, I guess. Let's see what it brings, and hope that my interpretation is somehow incorrect. I'll be happy to eat my words.

Tuesday September 9 2003 at 00:20 GMT

On Sunday my cousin and a friend were here (the guy who can't be named ... for legal reasons -- he was giving me my two Macs back ... now I have even more junk computing history in my flat). I was demonstrating some IM with Russ, when he suggested I tried out Skype (he did the same the previous day). WOW -- it worked really nicely. Almost impercetible lag on the 'line' as we chatted with Russ in Madrid. I was nicely surprised by it, although I've played with that kind of thing various times over the years. My cousin, however, was really, really impressed. It's great when technology can do that. I guess a lot of the stuff my friends, fellow Mobitopians and I do on a daily basis sometimes is actually kind of far up that mythical tech curve. :-)

Monday September 8 2003 at 23:59 GMT

Another one gone. This one involved my cousin Andy appearing for a few beers on Friday night, a very quiet day on Saturday, my brother leaving on Sunday morning (more on that later), me attempting to tidy my flat in time for Sophie to arrive (thankfully now mostly sans tonsilitis) and John's hairdresser opening on Sunday night, which was a great laugh.

I think I've now managed to pick up a cold, so tonight has been spent at the gym and in the sauna. Now it is time for some quality sleep!

Monday September 8 2003 at 23:56 GMT

Monday September 8 2003 at 15:15 GMT

This is some weird stuff from MIT. They're taking a whole lot of online radio feeds, doing some crazy analysis and signal processing on it, then pumping out the result. Not quite listening pleasure. ;-)

Saturday September 6 2003 at 22:18 GMT

Room with a view

Ms Lopez is currently sunning herself at home in Gibraltar. She sent me this picture, taken from her terrace. Ah... We are looking towards Morocco and Spain.

Friday September 5 2003 at 18:27 GMT [via mobile]

Really, this phone is actually in daily use. The newspaper is purely for date validation purposes!

Really, this phone is actually in daily use. The newspaper is purely for date validation purposes!

Friday September 5 2003 at 16:56 GMT

This is cool - this film, This Is Not A Love Song is a low budget (apprently GBP 500k is low) film that's being put out in five cinemas here in the UK and can simultaneously be downloaded in its entirety for a few GBP for personal viewing pleasure ... assuming you're based in the UK, have Windows & Windows Media Player 9, are over 18 and can pay by one of the methods offered (not showing right now). The site is claiming this as a first (simultaneous release) - John Cleese has already made the first for-Internet film, back in 2000.

Those hardware and software restrictions aren't great. They probably cover a good number of people, but those with the bandwidth to download a film and the wish to do so, are more likely to be scattered across a variety of less popular platforms, so if the experiment is to be repeated, something needs done about that. The BBC have an article here ... and there's a slashdot thread here. The streams come online at 6pm BST - I think I'll be viewing.

Taking this model of personal cinema one step further is where it gets really interesting, though. Say, for example, I get 10 or 15 friends together, all wanting to see a particular film. We don't really want to crowd around a laptop screen! If, for example, we could rent a relatively small cinema space with good quality sound, comfy seats and a good viewing screen PLUS we selected what film to watch, then we're rocking. Taking this even a step further ... say we get together and decide we'll watch a true all-time classic (not the violated version), The Italian Job. We reserve 15 out of 20 available seats. Meanwhile, other people interested in seeing the film have pre-registered an interest, and get a text message saying "The Italian Job is showing tonight at 8.45 at the Cameo". They reply back, confirming a they want a seat, and thus the spare seats are filled up, and you meet new people who enjoy the same film(s) as you.

This does somewhat beg the question: why don't I use my lovely home cinema setup? Two thoughts. Firstly, these mini-cinemas have a better range of titles instantly available, and with the bandwidth to stream a great quality version, not a 1024x768 flavour. Secondly, very few people can actually afford a top notch home cinema (or the ten seats to go with it).

So, where does this leave cinemas? Well, they ditch those massive big screens and go with some smaller rooms, varying in size from large -- there seem to be some people always going to see the latest Hollywood mega film, apparently -- to smaller, more intimate rooms. The people get to see what they actually WANT to see. It's kind of the Apple Music Store of film, whilst recognising that seeing a film is a somewhat different experience to listening to a music track.

I'm off to the new Odeon (don't try THAT in Mozilla!) that's just opened on Lothian Road to sell them my idea. Enjoy the weekend!

[Update at 17:25 GMT]: It would appear there is good response to the film. The site is currently displaying this message:

Due to overwhelming demand, this site is temporarily unavailable.

We are currently working to resolve the problem and anticipate that the site will return shortly.

Thank you for your patience.

[Update 2 at 20:00 on 6 September 2003]: Looks like the film has been a victim of its own success - it is still not possible to download due to much higher than expected demand. There is a full explanation here, which also (kind of) addresses some of the cross-platform complaints that had been levelled at the project.

Thursday September 4 2003 at 23:43 GMT [via mobile]

Jams and I fired out to B&Q (UK-wide DIY store) tonight to get a circle saw and connector block for kitchen light installation. In thc electrical aisle they had this great diagram showing how to set up a home network. Jams and I immediately felt embarrassed at not having any main frame action going on, so purchased an IBM S/390 each. ;-)

Thursday September 4 2003 at 14:29 GMT

Thursday September 4 2003 at 14:24 GMT

Scotsman newspaperI've had some pretty messy news issues over the last few days. nntp//rss was using over 70MB of memory, and then it simply refused to start. I'm not quite sure if it was an Outlook Express of nntp//rss issue, but it's taken me a few days to get it sorted.

I'm finally back up to speed now, and I remembered I'd seen some RSS buttons on The Scotsman newspaper site last time I was there. I went back to investigate and found the Webfeeds section (here's a direct link to the list of feeds). It's absolutely incredible! Absolutely! Incredible! The have hundreds of feeds on there - everything from the headlines to wheelie bin issues (a big deal in Edinburgh at the moment), rugby to broadband. This is *exactly* how I want to get my news - diced into categories, which I can easily view. Someone at the Scotsman really, really gets how to grab readers - well done!

After making this great discovery, and subscribing to eleven feeds, I decided to see what other UK national newspapers were doing about it. So far, I've dropped a mail to the Indepedent, FT, Telegraph and Times, all of which have nothing obvious on their sites. The Guardian is currently having some technical issues - I'll mail them as soon as normal service resumes. No responses from the papers, but I'll update here when I receive anything back.

Interestingly, two of those papers, the Independent and FT, have chargeable content which brings me back to Dave's thoughts of a while back on secure access. I'm assuming something has progressed since then, so the technical issues of offering feeds should be fairly limited. Perhaps we can even see decent versions for mobile devices coming up - I'm going to suggest to the Scotsman that they make that their next project.

If you're still saying "what is he on about", then have a read of this article that the Scotsman also points to.

Wednesday September 3 2003 at 00:25 GMT [via mobile]

On Saturday evening, I took a load of photos with my phone, but it\'s taken me a day or two to sift through them. This one was taken towards the end of the display, and was one of the loudest fireworks I\'ve ever witnessed -- mighty!

On Saturday evening, I took a load of photos with my phone, but it's taken me a day or two to sift through them. This one was taken towards the end of the display, and was one of the loudest fireworks I've ever witnessed -- mighty!

Tuesday September 2 2003 at 14:36 GMT

As I was brushing my teeth last night, I suddenly realised exactly how quiet Edinburgh has become — no-one was walking home drunk, singing at the top of their voice, and no cars went past. Weird. Midweek going out has stopped for the moment, too — not that I got to do too much of that thanks to decorating, but the phonecalls have stopped.

Of course, this state of affairs is not set to stay for long. I've got a kitchen to finish decorating, my Godson is about to have a sibling (last nine days of countdown!) aswell as having his second birthday, my brother is moving to Lahndan ... and possibly having a few drinks at some point, Sophie is moving into my brother's old room for September to help look after her new niece/nephew, John is opening a hair salon (is that the right word?), Jill is taking a room at John's place to use as a massage and treatment room, we're having a huge family get-together, Grant is going to be in the vicinity and Des is also leaving for London. September is looking like fun!

Tuesday September 2 2003 at 12:58 GMT

Back in the heady days of the dotcom boom, I used to pick up a copy of Business2.0 for reading on planes etc. Then it went WAY downhill and I stopped reading. Recently, I've picked up reading the newsletters and site again [no RSS feed - comments later]. They have some good writing, and I decided I'd take the plunge and pay for the additional content.

I clicked on the subscribe link [may not work - uses sessions] and found that not only did I *have* to be in the USA or Canada, but I also have to receive printed copies of the magazine. USD 4.99 for six issues is not too bad at all (or USD 7.49 for 12 here) but both are useless to me as someone outside North America.

Next step - does the FAQ or customer service center[sic] help me? Nope. So, finally I get back to the front page, and finally find a link to let me subscribe to the hardcopy magazine, for a bargain USD 59. However, that is not the end of the quest - to gain access to the site, I have to get a code from the hardcopy magazine address label and enter that. Based on past experience, it could be three months before I actually have that code, assuming I didn't bin the wrapper as soon as I got the magazine ... adding a further month to the process.

Now, does this entire process not seem a bit on the stupid side to you??? This is a publication about the newest ways business is being done, originally about how the Internet was changing things, including globalisation, and yet I need to wait months, pay a vast amount of money AND receive a bunch of pulped tree (the content of which I could already have read online by the time it came through my front door) to view that content online. I'm going to contact them and attach a link to this post. Hopefully they'll either reply or comment, putting their side across. So far, it looks like I'm going to send a friend in the US 7.49 dollars and get them to sign up for me. At least that will only take a week or so to get the money over there. It's somewhat ironic that a magazine talking about new business methods and ideas doesn't get some basics down in the very area it covers.

For this type of magazine, it's also interesting to note that they don't even make any mention of a handheld (phone/PDA) version or RSS feeds. I'm thinking they're really Business 1.1.

[Update at 11.40GMT]: I've had an interesting email discussion with Josh Quittner, the editor of Business2.0 over the last few hours. He said he'd had a good number of requests for site subscription from overseas readers, and it was frustrating for him due to the lost revenue, but that the regulations for overseas selling were such that it was giving the circulation department headaches. I suggesed they stop trying to tie the hardcopy magazine to the subscription and simply offered access to the site as a straightforward USD payment, a la salon. He's passed my suggestions on the circulation department. If anything happens, I'll be looking for my free access!

Tuesday September 2 2003 at 12:12 GMT

This one comes via Jams, so please direct any ... thoughts to him!

Q: What is ET short for?
A: Wee legs!

Monday September 1 2003 at 13:02 GMT [via mobile]

This graffiti has been on l the shutter of the Princes Mall shopping centre, at the steps into Waverley station for ages and I kept meaning to see if the site actually existed. After finally photographing it, I checked, and John Pilger is actually  a fairly serious documentary maker. Perhaps it\'s an anti-war statement. We prefer our graffiti to mean something, here in Edinburgh!

This graffiti has been on l the shutter of the Princes Mall shopping centre, at the steps into Waverley station for ages and I kept meaning to see if the site actually existed. After finally photographing it, I checked, and John Pilgeris actually a fairly serious documentary maker. Perhaps it's an anti-war statement. We prefer our graffiti to mean something, here in Edinburgh!

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