Archive for January, 2009

One man’s mission to occupy his time…

January 26th, 2009 by Ian

Proving that job seekers allowance isn’t the worst thing in the world, my pal Andy has started blogging again.

He’s pretty funny, but I give him 2 months. Max.

Democracy 1 – Shady MPs 0

January 22nd, 2009 by Ian

Thank you internet! Or more specifically I think we need to thank the ever-brilliant mySociety and other grassroots organisations. Parliament wanted to vote to ensure that MPs could conceal their expenses from the public (i.e. the people who pay for them) but the vote has now been cancelled. I’m not sure if MPs are aware of the irony of such secrecy. In a period when ID cards, national databases and cameras on every corner are being forced upon us by the government, those in power don’t even want us to see how they are spending our money! Hell; we may not trust them but at least we don’t suspect them of being terrorists, as they do to us.

Anyway, the vote was cancelled in part due to a huge internet campaign that let MPs know how unpopular this was. This is great news for anyone with a passing interest in living in a modern transparent democracy.

The argument made by Harriet Harman that publishing all 1.2 million receipts would have created “a blizzard of information at great expense” is again, an ironic one (given the massive cost of the national big brother database) and one that shows an ignorance to the possibilities of web and technology in general. Again, the web as a tool to ‘rally the troops’ has, like the Obama campaign,  shown itself to have a positive effect on real democracy and the important freedom of information campaign.

Cheney turned up to inauguration in a wheelchair

January 21st, 2009 by Ian
Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney

I’m pretty sure that’s the right picture.

Quotation “marks”

January 17th, 2009 by Ian
It could just be an angry swan

It could just be an angry swan

Do you like to cowardly allude to things without actually saying them outright? Do you write for the Daily Mail? Are you confused by punctuation? All of the above?

If so, I’ve found the blog for you: The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.

Childish twitter app #1: Twick Size

January 13th, 2009 by Ian

3 inches. Not great, but even more worrying is that, according to the ‘Newest Twicks’ column, lots of girls are a lot bigger than I am. Never have I felt like less of a man. Honest.

Find yours at twicksize.com

MS determined to piss off IM users

January 12th, 2009 by Ian

Pidgin logo

I use a 3rd party MSN client. In the old days, I used Trillian, then MirandaIM and now Pidgin for the PC/Linux and Adium for the Mac. Both those clients give me the ability to use many different networks (ICQ, Facebook IM, Google Talk) at the same time using just one client. Plus I don’t have to tolerate the horrible adverts and pathetically large memory footprint of the official MSN client.

Today, presumably because they hate us, MS decided to change the protocol of their instant messaging network without telling anyone. This left many who use non-crappy clients without the ability to talk to their (usually less tech-savy) MSN friends. The reasons for MS doing this are unknown, but probably something to do with MS’s unwillingness to give any sort of control to OpenSource projects and those who believe that the MS products are inferior to the close-source alternatives.

Still, I have been given a fix for Pidgin at least (thanks Ed!). The plug-in based architecture of Pidgin allows a different MSN integration in the form of msn-pecan which, at the time of writing, allows previous service to be resumed. I think both Aidum and Pidgin teams are working on fixes for their clients. Now begins the work of getting my friends to use a rather more reliable IM network!

edit 12 Jan 9.10am: Due to the good people at Adium, it was a screw-up rather than an attempt to screw users. Everything is now back to usual it seems.

Magnetic Fields visualisation

January 7th, 2009 by Ian

When I was at a school we ‘learnt’ about magnetic fields in what felt like hundreds of physics lessons. We’d be given a load of iron filings and some magnets and make a great big grey mess of the science labs. People would try and wash the filings off with tap water, which didn’t work and so every desk was wet and metally. I’m not sure what it taught me, a visualisation like this excellent video may have helped a little more (or even explained why my massive speakers do funny things to my monitor):


Magnetic Movie from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

MacRumours live stream pwnd by 4chan

January 6th, 2009 by Ian

I watched the Macworld Live stream last year. I just like seeing a load of shiny stuff I can’t afford, basically. So I tuned in this year to catch some shock news, which turned out to be a fiction created by those pranksters from the place which we dare not speak.

4chan Vs MacRumours

4chan Vs MacRumours

Someone tried to do something on the internet without involving 4chan. WHEN WILL WE LEARN?

Redesigning the Stop sign

January 6th, 2009 by Ian

Of course I have never experienced anything like this sort of ‘design by committee’. Ahem. Very reminiscent of Make My Logo Bigger! don’t you think?

via function

Twitter hacking on the rise?

January 5th, 2009 by Ian

It seems rampant right now. Lots of speak about of account hacking and all sorts of nastyness. Perhaps this is why twitter needs a proper API key system? Flickr has one and that’s usually pretty safe. People seem perfectly happy just to give away their twitter username and password to any site or firefox plug-in (some of these are almost adware) asking for it! My advice is don’t! As with all great ‘web2.0’ *spit* apps, Twitters strength lies in its expandability and openness, but I think more work needs doing to get a secure, working, framework in place.

Still, at least there is a comedy upside (thanks to a thousand twitterers for re-tweeting this).

Scrawny racist slags off new first lady

January 4th, 2009 by Ian

Happy new year! Lets start with something predictable. Anne Coulter, the blonde Fox News Sturmführer, has a new book and she’s already being such an unbelievable bitch about new first lady, Michelle Obama. From the Daily News:

Coulter wrote, “Her obvious imitation of Jackie O’s style – the flipped-under hair, the sleeveless A-line dresses, the short strands of fake pearls – would have been laughable if done by anyone other than a media-designated saint.”

Coulter said Cindy McCain, the wife of vanquished GOP nominee John McCain, “dressed well without freakishly imitating famous First Ladies in history.”

I found this amusing for two reasons; Firstly, Jackie dressed exactly how a first lady should. Any emulation of her look is common-sense for any woman lucky enough to be able to pull it off (read: not the Bush wives). Secondly, Cindy McCain? Well dressed?

A 'well dressed' Cindy McCain

A 'well dressed' Cindy McCain

I can’t remember if that was before or after she stopped playing with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Yup; lets hope Coulter gets that jaw un-wired again and we can enjoy her dropping bitchy lol-bombs well after the inauguration.

via Huffington Post