The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

A merry Christmas

I now know where the merry in Merry Christmas comes from. It comes from Ireland and it harks back to the state you find yourself at 2 minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve. A merry state. A drunk state.

I've never so much as thought of spending Christmas Eve in a pub but here, here, in Ireland, here, they get into the pub at 11am and don't leave till Santa has delivered all his presents.

To be drunk on Christmas Eve is a strange thing to this South African. I've been to Midnight Mass, I've been up waiting for Santa and I have been fast-asleep late Christmas Eve but this is the first time I have been both hungover and drunk on the night. We visited three pubs, quaffed countless pints and sang many a good Christian soldier Christmas song.

It's mad. It's crazy. It's all spirit. It's Irish.

Happy Christmas all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Trevanian

With quite unexpected quietness Trevanian passed away on the 14th of December, 2005. The author of The Summer of Katya is dead and not such as a cricket noticed. The man was a mystery while his works were celebrated. How tragic yet fitting, the pseudonym protected him till death and beyond.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Nina didn't kill Teri

Nina Myers did not kill Teri Bauer. That is my theory and I believe all will be revealed in Season 5 of 24. If you don't know what I am talking about then you should do yourself a favour. Take the next 4 days off work and watch all 4 seasons of 24. Forget about Christmas day.


For those who do know what I am talking about my reasoning is that it makes for an explosive season 5. Remember that in season 1 you don't see Nina shoot Teri. You see her hesitate and then a cut to her by the door as she tries to get out of CTU. Jack then finds Teri tied to the chair, bled to death. Going by the usual 24 plot standards this leaves Teri's death completely open. It could have been any one of a dozen other characters. From Tony Almeida to George Mason and even Kim Bauer (we have already had one psycho daughter remember.)


Yes, Nina admits to killing Teri in later seasons and she does have some motive (Teri may have overheard the conversation about Germany.) But you see that is where I think it gets interesting, the German connection. Season 2 and 4 don't explain who Nina was working for and I am told season 3 doesn't either. So the back-story to Nina is not yet revealed. Nina could simply be covering for a deep-cover mole in CTU, one working for some shady German organisation. There is no limit to the onion layers in 24.


So my hunch is that in season 5 we find out who Nina was working for and the ultimate CTU mole is revealed.

On work

Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Finger licking Irish

KFC in Ireland

So the KFC you get in Ireland is very strange, different to what I have had in South Africa and England. The basic deep-fried chicken pieces looked the same (Brian had them) and the chips are normal but the Zinger Tower I had was a bizarre affair. The bun was one of those fancy seed jobs that you expect from the Health & Eco Warrior Bagel Shop, no reconstituted cardboard burger bun here. The chicken bit was a suculent fillet breast which was as thick as my thumb and damned tasty. Then there is the lettuce which is more like Haute Cuisine butter-lettuce than good old refrozen iceberg.

Now I love Zingers. That spicy mayo sauce is just out of this world. Well, this burger didn't have that. No. It had the normal mayo sauce and then on the inside of the bottom bun there was a reddish, salsaish, spicyish sauce which when poked talked back. It didn't taste of anything so who knows.

And horror of horrors, they put a freaking slice of cheese on it. Cheese on a Zinger! Who the hell puts cheese on a Zinger? Oh, the Irish, right.

Actually, the burger was great. It just wasn't what I was expecting and, you know, when you lower your standards to that of KFC, Burger King and fast food joints you don't want surprises. You want the same mush they served you in Calcutta served to you in Bangkok, New York, Honolulu, Cape Town, Rio and Waterford, Ireland.

Google's Zeitgeist

Every year Google publishes their fascinating, if normally terrifying, Zeitgeist. I say terrifying because sadly idol worship is still the bane of our one God (Google) web existence. So is tragedy, it always trumps pleasure, joy, triumph, love, happiness, achievement and so forth.

Take the Top searches for 2005:

  • Janet Jackson

  • Hurricane Katrina

  • tsunami

  • xbox 360

  • Brad Pitt

  • Michael Jackson

  • American Idol

  • Britney Spears

  • Angelina Jolie

  • Harry Potter



The tsunami I can understand, people get their news and citizen journalism from the web and it was a life changing event, something important to the world. A similar story for Katrina with the added benefit of far more coverage (a thousand people died thanks to Katrina, over two hundred thousand died thanks to the tsunami. You do the accounting.)

But Janet, Brad, Michael, Britney, Angelina, Harry and American Idol? Do you spend your days searching for more information about the Jolie-Pitt tryst? Potter was fun no doubt but come now, it is not the high point of culture folks. Jackson we all just wanted to despise more, how progressive. As for Janet, well... well actually I have not a clue why she came up. Did she release another painful ditty or is she up for molestation too? And then there is the console that nobody loves but everyone hyped which has no games yet. I doubt Google.jp had xbox 360 anywhere in its rankings. No comment on American Idol.

One interesting blip is that more people were interested in the new pope than the death of the old pope.

Lastly it is good to see how mainstream the world wide web is. All the technology items are mass-consumer items, no Ruby on Rails or Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. This shows the common man, for better or worse, uses the web, not just us geeks.

Will 2006 be any different? No, just swap a few celebrity names around, throw in a couple of natural disasters and don't forget the Playstation 3 is coming out. Joy to the world.

Countried

I feel conflicted having to choose a country when signing up for websites. Do I be boringly honest and select Ireland or do I keep the home fires burning and represent home by choosing South Africa?

For some websites it has to be Ireland as they depend on your location but for others I am tempted to select South Africa.

The Level

As I was reading Google's Secret Weapon, an article on recruitment which is more interesting than it sounds, I kept having to adjust to the first world, low unemployment mentality.

Companies here fight for programmers.

Back home there is very little to none of that. I interviewed at a range of I.T. companies in South Africa and for entry to mid-level programmers you had to bend down and take it to have even a chance of getting a job. With 40% unemployment you don't have to wonder why. Every offer is taken with gratitude. Perks are just that, perks and not expected rights.

So when I read an article like this or listen to co-workers talk about the job market I am often left feeling angry. The ungrateful bastards. But it is different here, companies fight for good recruits. I didn't really understand this before coming to work in Ireland. I was ecstatic I was offered a job and did not haggle over salary or benefits. I took what I could and moved.

Now that I am here it will be different next time around, whether it is staying with my employer or moving to another.

Come to think of it, this attitude permeats every aspect of European life. What I see as whining, ungrateful demands by Irish citizens are really just part of the status quo, the expected level of life. It wouldn't happen back home, the level is a good deal lower.

Murder at Channel 9

Murder at Channel 9

The lads and I put together this masterpiece of extortionist cinema yesterday. It has been delivered to a coworker along with a ransom note and a significant body part of our hostage. If our demands are not met the same fate that befell this Channel 9 Guy will happen to our hostage.

(We got a bunch of Channel 9 Guys from Robert Scoble. Brian and I placed them around the office as many of the chaps here are those evil Java types. Sadly over the last month many have lost their prongs, some have been drawn on and a few beheaded. Hopefully this educational video will show the world the horrors that befall Channel 9 Guys in a Java environment.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Asphalt

Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii, has produced enough lava in the past 100 years to pave a 2 lane highway which would encircle the Earth 50 times.


Which begs the question; Why does Hawaii still not have a highway to the continent?

(j/k)

Outer space

Virgin Galactic

I love getting emails from Virgin Galactic. It is like getting an email from Bugatti asking if I would like to put down a deposit to buy the Veyron. Why certainly, I'll take that out of my friday fish & chips money mate.

Link out

Some web-based journalism really bugs me.

AutoExpress.co.uk has an interesting story entitled Revealed: Missing MGs. The article is short and explicitly mentions a website. In fact the website is the whole reason for being for this article.

Yet they don't link to the website in the article. Not even a text-URL.

Why is this? Do they not understand web-based media at all? Do they think they are making a "sticky" site by not allowing external links? I had to use Google to find the website they talk about but don't link to.

I won't go back to a site that does such practices.

Movie: King Kong

Stupendous

Dec 20, 2005 by Paul Watson King Kong

★★★★★ I went in expecting to be amazed by the technical merits of the film but did not expect to find much in the way of a story or emotion. Afterall, it is a story of love between a great, big monkey and a blonde broad. By the end of the movie I was more impressed by the character interaction than by any of the effects, some of which were decidely dodgy (though made up for by some effects which were quite incredible.) It is the best movie of the year. Movie in the sense of entertainment and spectacle. Mr. Jackson, well done.

Veyron

I am not sure what to make of the Bugatti Veyron. On one hand it is blindingly fast. At full clip it will cross the length of a football pitch in one second. One second. Think about it. As Ronaldinho's boot connects with the ball the Veyron crosses the goal line. The ball travels about ten feet from Ronaldinho's boot and the Veyron is now at the other goal line.

That's mad fast.

The Bugatti Veyron is as fast as a Hawker Hurricane in level flight.

The Bugatti Veyron is so fast that the door mirrors create enough aerodynamic downforce to make a difference. You won't want to stick your hand out the window or let Ol' Yella have a tongue wag out the passenger side.

On the other hand it is blindingly ugly, blindingly expensive and blindingly bad for the environment. In this day and age you have to wonder about the excess, especially coming from Europe.

Clarkson calls it more than a car. The only reason it is called a car is that it passes noise and emission standards and has four wheels. Otherwise it is a low flying fighter jet.

And that is where I think it is less than a car. It is a marvel, an achievement of the highest order but it is an engineering achievement. It is applied science. Lets hope various industries can learn from the aerodynamic and heat management accomplishments of the Veyron but otherwise it is nothing like a car.

Given the chance I'd take one for a drag down the strip and then hand the keys back. Thanks chaps, mad fast it is, but I'd never drive it anywhere.

Tagging

...the buzz around tagging is not because we can create tags to help ourselves, but that we can create tags that will help others.

from The Tagging Hall of Shame: Amazon by Jennifer Golbeck.

The buzz is misplaced or misreported in my opinion. This whole idea of social tagging has not been investigated and yet claims are made against it all the time.

I use tagging every day on Blinklist and Flickr. It is great, a real revolution in how I organise my data. I honestly wish I could do the same for local and networked files, for my email (through Thunderbird), for my music and every other bit of data I own, produce or consume.

But I don't tag for others.

For instance on Blinklist (or del.icio.us to be popular) I have very rarely gone searching for items by tags. When I have done it has been for a specific case e.g. a person or service name. More commonly I will do a Google search.

I have used social tags more on Flickr but the impact has still been far less than what it has been to my personal organisation habits.

From the article also one sees that people are using the tags for purely personal purposes; Next book to read, Gift for dad, Good book, etc. Those are tags by people who want to come back and pickup where they left off or for making a list of potential gifts.

Waiting

This time next week I'll be in an Austrian village set between snow covered mountains. The week cannot go fast enough.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Review: PC-memory-upgrade.co.uk

Who?


http://www.pc-memory-upgrade.co.uk/
PC hardware reseller.

What?


I ordered:

  • 1x 1Gb DDR PC2700 Transcend memory @ €124 each Incl. VAT

  • 3x 512Mb DDR PC2700 Transcend JetRAM memory @ €50 each Incl. VAT

  • 1x 2.2Gb Magicstor Microdrive @ €84 each Incl. VAT



Shipping cost €5 for DHL Express Domestic Shipping.

When?


Placed my order late on the 14th of December 2005. Delivery was made late on the 16th of December 2005.

The good


Cheap, fast and seem reliable.

The bad


No order tracking, just one email communicating the placed order and a rough website.

Conclusion


Good. Co-workers have used PC-memory-upgrade before and had no problems.

Guinea Pigs

But I live in the District of Columbia, which has one of the nation's toughest gun laws... ...if one of us feels a need to discharge a weapon, we are supposed to file a request with the chief of police asking for permission. (He must spend all his time answering yes, as D.C. has one of the country's highest murder rates.)


from Guinea Get Your Gun.

Emily Yoffe's Guinea Pig series is entertaining and interesting. Every "episode" she takes on something that many of us would never do. From singing to shooting to posing nude for an art class. I admire her steely disposition to see these tasks through. Not only that but she takes them on with relish.

On being drunk and doing things

The key to a successful drunk is the application of the "one thing at a time" principal. Do not multitask. Commit to a task and see it through. For instance, do not try and open the door and put your wallet back into your back pocket. Open the door. Ensure the door is open. Put your foot into the door to keep it open. Then, put your wallet back in your pocket. Now push the door open fully, ensure it is open fully and then, placing one foot in front of the other, walk into your apartment.

Focus. One thing at at time. These are the keys to a successful drunk. Abuse them at your peril.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Web 2.0 down

Openomy down

Openomy is an interesting idea. Provide file storage online but with a flexible API that developres can code against. So, for instance, instead of your photos being stored on Flickr, Flickr would just be an interface to your photo store on your Openomy account.

So I had a few minutse to kill as my unit tests ran and I thought I would go and check Openomy out, see what use I can make of it. Sadly, it is down. A text error, see above, mentions a user surge.

I love the idea and a lot of web 2.0 projects have great ideas but are we forgetting the infrastructure that needs to go behind ideas to support them? Openomy is in beta, true, but we can't carry on saying "oh, it's beta, you can't blame it" because at the same time Openomy and co. want people to be using them. They want adoption but don't blame them when too many adopt and they fall over.

It is a problem though. A lot of web 2.0 ideas are bootstrapped. Too little cash in hand to invest in suitable hosting. They start with a spare machine in a corner and then as demand crashes that upgrade to whatever can be afforded at that point and so on.

I love the model but I am not sure it is suitable for critical services. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft or a big ISP needs to do Openomy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Unit tests plus Code Coverage, that is the kicker

I just had a bit of a tada moment with test driven development. Unit tests are nice to have but lose a lot of value without code coverage results. The idea is that you want to be confident your code can handle what it is supposed to handle. You need to be confident and so you write unit tests to bang it about and make sure bits don't fall off.

If you don't do code coverage reports against your unit tests though you can't be confident that all of your code is being tested. And believe me you will come across routes through your code that you never thought possible. So don't fool yourself into thinking you don't need code coverage because your master genius brain is all knowing. It isn't, take a hit of humble juice man.

All of that I was told and understood and thankfully I am a humble programmer who is happy to have anything that can sort out his mess of wires.

The tada moment though came today while doing some unit tests for validation code I had yet to write (test driven development, remember.)

A class was meant to have a Validate method in which a series of checks ensured the values in the properties were all above board. I started out with some length checks on string data, did some numeric tests and then started on making sure that the string properties were not null and not empty. The Validate method would throw exceptions if it came across invalid data. These were ArgumentOutOfRangeException exceptions and almost all of the checks threw the same exception. The unit tests in turn ensured that as the bad data was passed-in the code threw the exception.

So all hunky-dory (that is a programming term for "I haven't got a flying clue what is going on but it hasn't fallen over yet so all's good.") and code coverage was at 100%.

I then did the null test on the Title string property and implemented the null check in the Validate method. That, and all the other tests, passed but suddenly my code coverage was way down to 34% or something awful. I nearly cried, our test manager was sure to beat me for having just 34% code coverage. What the hell was going on.

It turns out that because the null check threw an ArgumentOutOfRangeException and because the null check was at the top of the Valdiate method it was throwing for the other tests which were testing for other things but expecting that very same exception. So to the other tests it passed. But to code coverage there was a big chunk of code below the null check that was never run.

So the unit tests all passed but code coverage didn't and that is what alerted me to a problem in the validation code. I was then able to fix that and have passing unit tests and 100% code coverage again.

My test manager will be so pleased.

Sleeping kills

a six-year study of more than one million adults ages 30 to 102 has shown that people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate.


from Sleep study.

Maybe there is some wisdom in the saying; Sleep when you are dead.

Joke aside, what an hilarious sentence. Read it a few times and think about it. Everyone dies folks, no matter how much or how little they sleep.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My nick is not my username

I have noticed this in a few websites of late. They replace "Username" with "Nickname" on registration and login forms. Frankly I think it is a poor choice of labelling. Firstly my nickname is not my username. Secondly the details I log in with should never be displayed to the outside world. Not because I am paranoid but because my username is ugly and rather long. It is ugly and rather long because that guarantees that I can consistently use it when registering with new sites. I don't want that long and ugly username to be how other users of social websites see me.

In Plazes case (the screenshot is from them) I was a bit confused by the registration form too. I wasn't sure if the Nickname field would be my login ID or whether it would use my email address. To be safe I put in my long, ugly username and thankfully so as it turns out the Nickname field is the login ID. If I wasn't playing it safe I might have ended up with a login ID of CrazyMonkey which I'd be regretting by 8 tomorrow morning.

Nicknames change. They are display names. They go in and out of fashion, some days you want to be fun and vibrant with it, other days you want to tell the world to back off with it. Over the years we all get nicknames, some stick and others fade.

To have that as the basis for your login is a bad idea.

Flickr has it right in my opinion. Your login ID is your email address and you can change your display name whenever you want while your Flickr URL is a once off, unchanging URL (to avoid link breakage down the line.)

Sensational

Huge. Terrible. Crushed. Ravenous. Deadly. Awesome. Power. Massive. Deafening. Blinding. Titanic. Disastrous. Death defying. Razor sharp. Massively powerful. Shockingly big.

And those are just from a show on termites. You should have heard the words used in the show before it where natural disasters where sensationalised. The worst part is when a scene is shown that does not need any dramatising. Three guys are being washed off a boat and into icy seas. Instead of giving a well weighted report of what is happening the narrator has kittens and talks about "deadly, savage, back crushing rocks that will tear you limb from limb" which are about three boat lengths and a pomegranate away from the swimmers calmly waiting to be picked up (because the coast guard is there and are trying to avoid the stupid news chopper about to fly right down the mouth of one of the swimmers.)

Americans, the main target audience, are not stupid. They, and we, don't need to be lied to to make it more exciting. Good god man, it's a 50 foot wave, do you really need to tell us "the oblivious onlookers" are all in mortal danger? The British have their faults but I love their understated ways. Let us reach the death defyinly dizzy peak of stunning realisation over the scene we see unfolding before us. If you talk us through it as if we are 5 years old we switch off and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Resolve resolved

So I asked her, or would have had she not dropped the fact that she was already seeing someone. I assume she figured out what I was on about. My resolve was there though.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Paul Watson

Sweet Jesus, I knew by reputation that Hunter S. Thompson was a righteous son of a bitch, and dead now, but you don't have a clue until you read something he has written and even then I suspect you are as far from the reality as you were before reading what you just read.

I bought Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas yesterday afternoon and with a few put-downs to have a steadying breather I finished the last sentence at 3am. They recommend you get twisted and polluted when reading this book but hell no, I'm a bleeding innocent virgin in comparison and reading this on some trip would be a one way ticket to the looney bin. I'd be sucking the ink from the pages like blotter.

The illustration above is by Ralph Stead and his work is dotted throughout the book. Awesome but scary stuff.

Now I am going to take a few days off To Kill a Mocking Bird before trying out Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail.

Some screwy people in this world. Harsh they can be so brilliant.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The great cull

I have spent over an hour going through my feed subscriptions and that was only to mark the interesting ones for reading later. Barking mad I tell you. Time I became a producer rather than a consumer in this webbed world.

So, my subscription list. Here is what I am keeping and why and then afterwards what I am removing and why (numbers are just for easy reference, links are to the feeds, not the sites):



  1. Ask Yahoo!

    It is daily, quick to read and surprisingly interesting.





  2. Blog of a Bookslut

    It's literary, interesting and Jess Crispin is a fox, a fox of the mind. Rowr.





  3. Dictionary.com Word of the Day

    So words rock my world, bite me.





  4. Dilbert

    It's like getting a daily prediction of what is about to happen in your office.





  5. The Dilbert Blog

    It's the comic expanded into lovely words.





  6. the Past Tense

    Making history sexier than Lara Croft ever did. And more accesible.





  7. Sexerati

    It's new but lets see if it is better than Fleshbot. For a world of consensual, fun, caring, understanding, intelligent porn.





  8. design in-flight

    Helping code jocks like me get a clue.





  9. Devil's Details

    Sporadic but good focus on design elements.





  10. Stylegala

    Stylegala actually comments on the designs they post, thank god. Not just thumbnails.





  11. unmatched <style>

    Good designs, not too many, not too few. Like Goldilocks.





  12. I Like Cameras

    I write for them but it's handy keeping track of what the other writers are... uh.. writing.





  13. 'Change, Culture, Creativity, Communication'

    Close to being unsubscribed but when he does post it is usually good.





  14. kottke.org remaindered links

    Good mix of personal, creative, cultural and techy links.





  15. reditt

    Just good linkage porn all day (not actually porn folks, tech porn.)





  16. Slashdot

    I never read the comments, unless I am feeling suicidal, but the links and commentary is still grand.





  17. The Best of 2005

    Just good photos.





  18. PhotographyBLOG

    Some suckage but always up to speed.





  19. DPReview

    When they move, they rock.





  20. TechCrunch

    Stay on the web 2.0 ball folks.





  21. Signal vs. Noise

    Teetering a tad but still grand.





  22. plasticbag.org

    Excellence in general.





  23. eHub

    Web 2.0 linkage porn.





  24. Radrails

    Good way to stay up to date with this good Ruby on Rails IDE.





  25. PC Mag Reviews

    Oh no! MSM! But good MSM... that's main stream media folks, not what you were thinking ok.





  26. Workhappy

    Good, sharp, quick reviews of interesting binary things.





  27. microformats

    I keep waiting for this to go big.





  28. A List Apart

    Decent, monthly.






And now the tossed aside present wrappings. Some are good, they just have a fatal flaw like too much or too little:



  1. Chef Vault

    I try to stick with food blogs but I never make anything they detail, so to hell with it. McDonalds it is.




  2. Louis Cars

    Why are all car blogs run by disprespectful mother fuckers?




  3. Successful Blog

    I am finished with blogging about blogging. Move on people.




  4. Digg

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dear Digg users. Some great links but, please, learn English. No sentence needs more than one exclamation mark and even that is pushing it. You annoy the screaming loonies out of me with your juvenile commentary. Number of visitors is fine and all but you are nowhere near competing with Slashdot. They have dictionaries over there and most of the story posters have finished high-school. So, grow up Digg and then I'll be back.




  5. Read/WriteWeb

    I can only fit one web 2.0 blog in and that has to be Techcrunch. Sorry mate.




  6. MSDN Just Published

    Was it ever good?




  7. Scobleizer

    See above about blogging about blogging about blogging about meta-blogging about blogging. Oh sweet jesus.




  8. Anil Dash

    Been grand you purple nut but you haven't said much in the past year or so. I am sure you are working hard for SA rather than blogging, which is fine (except you make blogging software. Use it.)




  9. Writerly blog

    Eh. Word on the web. A blog about it. Eh. Shit, Word just crashed. Typical. Eh.




  10. Songbird blog

    I just realised blogs about a single product are normally a bit naff. Especially products not out yet. I'll keep track of Songbird via other blogs rather.




  11. Jeffrey Zeldman

    All respect to the master but his blog is now more or less a "Hey look, new ALA articles" regurgablog.




  12. :: CSS-MANIA ::

    Too many guys. Do some editing.




  13. CSS Beauty

    Design gallery or CSS tips and tricks list? Focus boys, focus.




  14. CSS Vault Gallery

    1 post a month, outer space!




  15. css Zen Garden

    Great while it lasted.




  16. Webcreme

    Some great, pure design but an awful lot of fluff.




  17. WithStyle

    Used to be good.




Just in case I have done something awful like unsubscribe from my mom's blog, I have archived my Bloglines OPML.

Like there is no tomorrow

Like there is no tomorrow by Paul Watson


The TSSG Christmas party was a blast.

Resolve

Why is resolve so much more real at 2am lying in bed than at 8am when sitting at your desk at work? At 2am there are no misgivings, no clauses or worries, just a pleasant feeling of resolve. The next morning though and the cold light of day pierces your logical, self-evident rationale. All resolve crumbles.

If I don't ask her today I'll never ask her. It was a lot clearer last night. Bugger.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mighty C

On the south-western most tip of England lies an ancient land. Wild, special, rugged... Cornwal


from a show on BBC. It sounded quite exciting right up until the narrator said "Cornwal." I am sure it is lovely but it just sounds totally... flat.

Movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

I rather enjoyed this movie. A faithful, lovely re-telling on the silver-screen of C.S. Lewis' classic. It wasn't a great movie but it was worth seeing.

My advice is this; If you have read the books, or had them read to you as a kid, and you liked the story then go and see the movie. You will more than likely love it. If you have children, they will love the movie. But, if you have not read the books and you aren't a kid anymore don't go and see it. It is a simple story, the characters are simple and the movie is simple too. For those of us who spent our childhoods in Narnia it is a case of us adding so much more to the movie experience. Like an old friend come back for a visit that nobody else gets.

Also, invariably, you will compare it to The Lord of the Rings. It is hard not to and in the movie you will wonder if the director has not lifted scenes directly from The Lord of the Rings. This is inevitable as C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were good friends and, if I remember right, C.S. Lewis even convinced Tolkien to have faith again (in Christianity, which runs strong through Narnia.) Even direct movie to movie comparison wise this movie is not the finely crafted piece of work Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings was. Story wise too, Narnia is a lot simpler.

I hate having to even validate this movie. It really is simple; See it if you loved Narnia as a kid. Like I did.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Scrivs on History

In High School I was really good at history because everything you needed to know already happened.


from The Past Tense by Scrivs.

Look, I know if you analyse it to death it is one of those nonsensical sayings but I still think it is brilliant.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Annie on men

And the third reason is because I like men. Men are very interesting to me... ...And I suspect that whoever told you that he writes about women because it's a challenge is lying. He likes women.


from An Interview with Annie Proulx on Bookslut.

Say it like it is, Annie. Awfully unfashionable to show an interest, a fascination, in the opposite sex these days.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Procrasti... ah sod it

I want to read this article on procrastination but it is a bit long, the text is so small it is hard to read, I have other priorities like a cup of tea, I can't decide if it is worth it, it may not help and I have ten thousand other links to visit...

Romantisme

Romantisme by alibaba0
Romantisme
Originally uploaded by alibaba0.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It begins

On this day, the 6th of the December 2005, coding of Henry began. Watch this space.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lethal stereotype

Oh dear. Sitting here with Lethal Weapon 2 on in the background and I am apalled. I thought the South African stereotypes in Die Hard were bad but this just takes the cake. First of all, the accents. Only one of the so called South Africans in the movie actually sounds South African and then he is an Afrikaans (think Dutch) South African. The rest of the Saffas in the movie are Americans and Australians trying to put on South African accents. Then there are the names; The female lead is called Rika van den Haas. Never met a South African called Rika and van den Haas is very Dutch, not many van den Haas in South Africa.

And the whole apartheid thing. This movie was made in 1989, pretty much the year the timetable for free, open and fair general elections was set. Pretty much the year South Africa officially ended apartheid. Yet the movie is full of apartheid South Africa.

Damned Hollywood.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A moan in the dark

A moan splits the dark
I'm alone, white shoes the only light
Rasping caress on neoprene warmth
My hands stuck deep, back home I'd be dead
Her lust is taunting
She doesn't know where I am coming from
A park is her parlour, my loneliness a target
I'd be slashed and torn, wallet gone
Her boy a ploy, drink drives the uncaring walk
I desire to turn but then I'd be bled
She leaves me be
I walk into the light
A park so dark, survived

Friday, December 02, 2005

F1 2006

The F1 GP teams for 2006 have been announced with plenty of changes.

It is sad to no longer see a BMW-Williams team even with their poor performance this year. Webber and a new guy, Nico Rosberg, head up the Williams team now. I thought BMW was going to have their own team but it seems they are backing Sauber which is now BMW-Sauber, driven by Heidfeld and Villeneuve. Good luck to them. Rubens and Jenson at Honda is an interesting one. Yes, Honda. No more BAR. Jordan is gone, replaced by Midland (British Midland Racing?) and is helmed by Tiago and Albers. Red Bull still has Coulthard but no word on the second Red Bull driver. Maybe it will be Sato, I can't see him in the rest of the list.

I can't wait for the 2006 season to start, should be another good year.

Blinklist spam?

Just a notice that you should be wary of my Daily Links sidebar for awhile. It is a Blinklist RSS feed spliced into this page via FeedDigest and it seems as though spam is entering it at some point. The original Blinklist RSS feed has the spam so I'd say it isn't FeedDigest. I have alerted Blinklist but till then you'll have to skip the feed and view my Blinklist web-page which doesn't have this spam.

-- UPDATE --

Another reason I love Blinklist is that they reply to your emails. Just got word back from them that they did a major database update last night and that they are aware of the problem above. It should be sorted out "soon."

Robert Scoble in Dublin

Robert Scoble in Dublin Robert Scoble dropped by the INDA event in Dublin this evening and gave a talk on blogging. He also was part of a Q&A panel afterwards with Nick Grattan, Paul Fallon and Kieran Lynam. another guy whose name I missed (Brian, who was he?)

He seemed a bit bombed, the Cork guys must have kept him up yesterday, and his talk was hesitant and disjointed but even so some interesting points were brought up and it was worth being there. I also got to see his beautiful wife Maryam whose blog got 64,000 hits in its first two months.

It is a bit late, we left Dublin at 11pm and just got back to Waterford now, so I'll just bullet the interesting bits I noted down:

  1. Scoble really likes Gaping Void. He used his cartoons in all his slides and Robert's business cards were scribbled by Gaping Void.

  2. Robert can down two pints of the good stuff within the course of a panel discussion. You know you are in Ireland when the bottles of water are left unopened and the main speakers have pints of Guinness in their hands, while they talk.

  3. He made a good point about people who really can't, or shouldn't, blog even though they have interesting things to say. e.g. a librarian for the Library of Congress who has congressmen, senators and the like who wouldn't appreciate anything going onto a blog. Scoble said "probably one of the most interesting people [the librarian] I have met."

  4. He mentioned how the media landscape has changed from just a couple of news-breakers (e.g. Walt Mossberg) to millions today, through blogs e.g. a kid in Australia (he really likes mentioning this kid in Australia) who knows the CEO of a company with journalist around the world using Pub Sub etc. watches on their "beat".

  5. This is me; There is still a divide between the United States and Europe in technology. He brought up the Tivo and while most of us know what one is, nobody in the room except Scoble had one. I see the same thing happening with many web services e.g. Google Local

  6. Memeorandum watches just 1000 Scoble picked blogs for breaking news. You need roughly four of those blogs to link to you to get onto Memeorandum. Also the faster you talk about a subject the better your chances. If you wait too long to post your item on an article then that window of opportunity in the conversation'osphere will have moved on. I feel we shouldn't be going down this "next hot thing" track, but oh well.

  7. TechCrunch is Scoble's favourite blog at the moment. He mentioned how 6 months ago it didn't exist and has now blossomed into a leading voice on the web.

  8. The Channel9 forums are run on Community Server.

  9. Scoble talked about how there is a kind of membrane you can stretch so far with your corporate blogging. That Google chap who got fired for blogging was also mentioned and Robert reckons the main problem was he didn't understand the risks properly and didn't go in with a plan to stretch that membrane intelligently.

  10. Duplicates are irritating Robert. Some feed search engines treat his RSS and Atom feeds as separate sources; dumb, dumb, dumb.

  11. In the panel discussion...

  12. Robert mentioned the Windows Vista network stack was rewritten and that they have seen a 40x improvement in networking.

  13. Paul Fallon and Nick Grattan talked about 64bit and what it benefits. SQL Server gets a big boost but there was some disagreement on whether it helped out on client machines.

  14. WPF was mentioned and I asked if any of it would port over to the XBox 360 since it was going the home entertainment route. I was told that actually the 360 was a Media Center Extender and a typical household would have a separate Media Center box and a XBox 360. The 360 would simply stream video and simple apps from that Media Center box.

  15. Robert said a developer he knows quotes "No good code is written before midnight." Amen.

  16. Paul Fallon talked about how Microsofts reach is now so broad that no developer can have even a reasonable understanding of all Microsoft aspects. He sees us all specialising. To go with that Scoble said how he has for the last year been wandering around Microsoft with a video camera and has only seen 500 out of 60,000 employees and probably only 60% of the product groups.

  17. Nick Grattan's advice on the CLR in SQL Server is "If you are thinking of using Server Side Cursors, that is the time to use the CLR. Otherwise, use TSQL."

  18. Scoble says that Live.com will be the homepage for Windows Vista. Wonder what that means for MSN?

  19. An Argentinian developer in the back talked about how the 5 Star developer program in Argentina had skilled up 10,000 developers with .NET. We need something like that in Ireland (though 10,000 Irish .NET developers is unlikely.)



Here is a photo of a diagram Robert drew in OneNote (click for the full-size):
Robert Scoble diagram

I thought it was interesting. I brought up Project Comet which I think will fill that gaping boid at the bottom left.

And that is about that. Thanks for coming Robert, was good to meet the legend.