Something comes along and flatterns your world…

Very much in a reflective mood. As the title suggests, something comes along or creeps up and flatterns your world. And I mean really flatterns it. You can help but feel tiny in the sea of change which just hit you. It wakes you from your dream like state and makes you realise that the world is not as you figured out in your own head.

My piorities have been missed placed and I thought everything was going to be fine, but its not. Now I'm swimming against the tide trying to play catch up. But this isnt a game, this is life its self. And I'm just learning that now.

As for the less abstract part of this entry. Well I've been thinking, I adore technology but what has it done for my life? Well this isnt the time to break out the tin foil hat and hide in the desert. For me personally its done alot of good things over the years, like equalise the playing ground for me, its made my voice and views transportable throught the internet, etc, etc. fine but what about other things like install linux on my workstation at home? When I was running windows XP all the applications I was running were pretty much open source or simular. And althought I do follow the ideas of the free software movement and others. I'm simply closing the door on other much more important things in my life. Its not just a matter of juggling things to do, its about getting your piroities right and decating attention to them. I've been spreading myself far too thinly and juggling too many things for far too long. Now its all colapsed and I'm left trying to pickup the pieces, except some of the pieces are unrepairable and even lost.

I always thought its just what i do, but its not what I do well. I always thought I was in control of the technology but maybe in some cases I'm being ruled by the technology? Now is the time to do some of the things I always wanted to do, but never dare admit to myself. I'm looking back, and wondering how I could make a construct so deep that it even fools myself, as well as others around me?

While grab at pieces around me, I'm so sure of which bits of my life I can and cannot afford to lose. Its quite amazing how clear it is now. I just wish it was as simple as I'm making it sound in this entry. Believe me, Its so clear now… but too late….

I know if it all goes as it looks right now, I'll be forever thinking why did I let block some things out while letting in others? Was I seduced by the digital lifestyle or something else? Is it even fair to blame technology when its all in my head and not the only thing to blame (myself)? I actually passed all the guilt and blame stage ages ago, and I am trying to building myself a better and true to myself lifestyle now. Just wish I did this years ago…

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Whats wired, tired and expired

In the wired magazine style, these are the things I'm using and things I'm not.


Social software like and flickr
Jabber bots and semi-ai type applications
Opera on mobile devices
Mp3, AAC and WMA ringtones
Xlink Kai 7 working on Linux and the actually Xbox (PC free gaming) – nice interview
Web 2.0
XML Schema and RelaxNG, co-existing
Some rights reserved
Xbox media centre


Social networks for the sake of soical networks
Abio's without wireless
Internet explorer on mobile devices
Standard mobile ringtones
Electronic programming guides
Xbox live
The term: semantic web (not the concept)
Document type Definitions
All rights reserved
Microsoft media centre


Instant messaging on only one network
Aibo hacking
Internet explorer
Polythonic ringtones
The Radio times
Single player games
Web 1.0
Bookmarks in a browser
No indication of rights
DVD players

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metadata raises its head again

Bite my shiny meta ass

I've been thinking long and hard about the issue of photos and metadata, since using Flickr and considering the ideas open source metadata. Theres a large article in this months wired by David Weinberger which focuses my thoughts on the topic.
I'm still using pixory which doesnt have great metadata support but at least it has permalink urls, dynamic image scaling, sharing support, upload and download features (wish it was webdav over ftp). Its just a shame I'm having problems installing it on the Mac using Tomcat 5.27 at this moment.

I kinda of hoped all these problems would go away with time because we would have metadata storing file systems like WinFS which got dropped from Longhorn a while ago, DBFS which is coming to the next KDE I heard and of course theres Apple Tiger one as well as ReiserFS (which was ment to have metadata or/and db like features).
Even the newly launched Google desktop would be a good step in the right direction, but its much deeper than all this and not even the largest corps with the largest pockets have it solved. I also have to ask if this the best way to go?

Adaptive's path's Metadata for the masses raises the open source type way, forward. But points out the confusion and chaos which can happen when people start using tags which are simular but not. Following Weinberger's blog, Udell's certainly on the right path in my mind. And refering back to Harry's idea of the web 2.0 needing a decent interface, maybe that might be the problem full stop. Humans are too lasy to put in decent metadata, computers do not put in decent human acceptable metadata. Why not trick humans into putting in decent metadata by there collective actions. Maybe google desktop isnt such a bad idea now….

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The Power of Nightmares

Currently watching BBC2, 1st part of interesting documentary, titled The power of nightmares.

In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams weren't true, neither are these nightmares…

Enough said for now. Should be a torrent for you guys not in the UK soon.

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Jon Stewart on Crossfire

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

I've been meaning to blog this for ages now, but if you have not seen it. You need to find it! When I last checked suprnova had 1000+ seeders, I believe you can also get it through ifilm too. Theres also links on boingboing to Crossfire's response. I love the way Crossfire just blow it off, I just think he's a pompous ass. and Let me say something about Jon Stewart. I don't think he's funny. And I know he's uninformed. Jon Steward is a smart and capble man and played the whole thing pretty much perfect, others disagree. I mean come on, he did a excellent job with the content he was given. I would like to see him on the O'reilly factor sometime soon, feed some thoughts into bill o'reilly's head and the fox watching audience. Its also a real shame the daily show is only available though comedy central which is a subscriber only cable channel in a america. Thank goodness for the internet, I would say…

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Opera 7.60 Technical Preview on Smartphone 2003

I remember Fravia telling me in May of this year that Opera were bring out a version of there browser for the Microsoft PocketPC and Smartphone market. And I didnt believe him, till I saw the official announcement. Well through Scoblizer I found there is a technical preview available for Smartphones. Now I'm going to try it out and see how it performs next to IE. I'm hoping the PocketPC version is not far behind.

First day useage – Yes its a little bit of memory hog, but damm is it fast! Doesnt like Javascript much, but who does? Not test CSS yet. But it loaded my blog very quickly and remembers the last page even after a exit. Neat stuff for a technology preview.

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Blogging from inside

Robert Scoble posts some thoughts about getting the green light for blogging within a company. His arguments are very convincing and worth looking at if you feel the fear of webblogging. I keep reflecting back to the fact that I am a BBC employee and my views are not all shared by the BBC. I wonder how many people would care if I did not disclose who I worked for? Anyway theres a follow up by someone from Jupiter research here.

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Projectsyzygy is now complete

S.Marchant 148 AC City Archives

Looks like the Alternative reality game – project syzygy is now ready to be played? There is a link which goes on to Which then has cgi to take email addresses. I shall sign up soon, but before I do I'll be checking out the new forum on Oh by the way, did anyone else see there is a image map on the image which clicks through to this and that leads to the first image.

Good to see theres a primer for newbies like me. And as someone else pointed out, its almost impossible keeping up with two ARGs, so I'm giving I love bees the boot now. Oh by the way theres a arcticle on Wired about the ending of i love bees, which I got from Slashdot. The general view is that i love bees sucked as a ARG but was a neat advertising campaign for Bungie. I think it also was good way to push ARG's out into the mainstream, not to say that it wasnt already.

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The mobile phone as an Mp3 player

Russell Beattie and many others have been talking about the mobile phone as a mp3player. To me this is nothing new at all. God since I first saw the Ericsson Mp3 attachment in early 2000, I always wanted one.

Ericsson T28 with Mp3 attachement

And I did end up buying one, I mean two. Now if you can get them on the market, they cost 25 pounds. It used MMC and came with 32 meg and a nasty card reader which would consume the mouse and keyboard ports for power. Thanks goodness for 8 in 1 card readers!

Anyway since the old ericsson days I've progressed onto the Microsoft Smartphone range. I wanted the Ericsson Bluetooth Mp3 Headset but there was no way I was going to get hoodwinked back into using Sony Memory stick, specially the Duo versions. I thought in advance that the SPV with large SD card could play not only music on the go but little movies if needed. And in that lies the issue.

The Bingo which Russell talks about is just that, with enough storage your mobile phone can be a great mp3 player. Maybe even better than the ipod? As Russell identified, why carry all your music with you when you can stream it on demand? Yes I know GPRS and 3G are expensive at the moment, but its getting cheaper plus there nothing stopping you from copying files over beforehand. Obviously there are those who disagree.

I wanted to go one step beyond Russell's argument. Most phones now have Bluetooth, hell some even have wifi now. How long have apple fans been screaming for Bluetooth or wifi in there ipods? Well I'm thinking Bluetooth with something simple like the file transfer stack or even some kind of mDNS (zero-conf) protocol on top of Bluetooth. Could open the door to p2p sharing or listening on the go… How interesting would that be. That regular train ride to work would be that more interesting. Think about toothing someones music collection while waiting for the train to Crystal Palace?

Oh by the way, Mark Eichin, makes a good comment about audioblogging. Don’t worry folks, there's no way I'm going audioblogging anytime soon…

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Autumn in the garden

leaves by Joshc

Sorry if you've been having problems with my blog over the last few days. I'm having to tidy up issues which include falling leaves in the garden. But seriously, I've upgraded my blojsom recently and not followed the instructions on upgrading. My own fault, should be solved by tonight.

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Audio and PDF Excerpt

Doug Kaye's post about Audio Excerpt Blogging is great reading and put a smile on my face. If it is possible to grab a subpart of a mp3 file using a RESTful interface, i would be very happy.
However, something hits odd about using all this other methods to do it (flash, quicktime, etc). Why not just use Smil to do this? It has features to deal with snips of audio already. Plus it has features which you guys will be pleading for soon. I mean who wants to listen to a 2min piece at 56k when there on a T1 connection. Using the switch element you can draw from different sources based on connection speed and other things. Hell, you can even use the same method to take a subpart of a video file… Smil is the way forward for sure, trust me on this one gillmor gang.

However Jon Udells post about Page addressable PDF is pretty cool and I'll be using that more from now on.

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Web 1.0 heads and the digital renaissance

Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age
by Paul Graham

Recently I've been using Web 2.0 to describe the evolution of the web from pages to webservices, syndication, blogs, wiki's, etc. It comes mainly from the web 2.0 conference and from talking to miles recently. But I've been thinking about this in more depth. Am I too hard on people around me for being transfixed on web 1.0 and not interested in web 2.0? Well I was thinking that till today.

I was talking to a Student about how his disertation. And he told me his disertation tutor pointed him at and, cos he thought they were the cutting edge of the internet. I put my face in my hands when he told me this. And I felt the urge to drop a email off to a couple of key people. He's the key points after the a couple of replies.

From the student
I hope I haven't tarnished this guy's reputation too much – although he has a total 1995 mindset he's open to knowing about the new stuff and he promised to go off and research the semantic web and web standards like a good little student, err tutor.

I think the basic thing this all boils down to (and should form the basis of my dissertation) is that the visual approach to problem solving is getting left behind. Web 2.0 is amazing, but its only powered by linguistic and scientific thinking.

This means that apart from a few examples like nicely designed RSS readers, and newsmap, Web 2.0 *looks* and *feels* like shit, and until it looks and feels nice no traditional design tutors will understand it. This is the vicious circle which is keeping visually-thinking designers and artists from getting involved in Web 2.0.

Fair point by the student but flawed because why should web 2.0 have to pull along those who are interested in life long learning and evolving?

From Miles
Err. I think the problem is that visually thinking designers and artists are stuck in 1995 and not getting involved in Web 2.0. There's no point complaining something looks crap if you don't get involved. One would have thought that that's precisely where designers find business oppprtunities. It's not that your tutor has been alienated by all the geek-speak, it's that he hasn't seized the artistic and creative opportunities and got involved. Semwebbers tend to alienate linguistic people and cognitive scientists, too, because their ontologies and semantics are algorithmic, and pay little attention to the way people use language. The difference is, linguists and cog-sci people are getting involved, whilst designers are still saying, I hear you can earn a ton of money if you learn Flash.

Part of this is the tragic two cultures divide in the English speaking middle-classes, but another part is the speed of change. Designers are still gabbing about how the web's not proper design because they can't do precise page layout and font control whilst web 2.0 is moving on with a whole new set of ideas saying, Look, this page layout thing is a bit of an irrelevance. Deal with it and move on – if it even cares what a bunch of quarkheads think.

The point is that creative innovation has always taken place at the nexus of both cultures. As any fool knows from a trip round the national gallery, the revolution in aesthetics in the Renaissance (the reason you can spot a mediaeval painting a mile off, but have difficulty dating post-renaissance painting unless you are an expert) was the marriage of science (perspective, optics) and technology (oil-paints, optical tools) with a new aesthetic vision (expanded trade of European city states, and early colonialism, and the “outside look” that brought with it). Renaissance painters were more like Silicon Valley entrepreneurs than “artists” – they were businessmen (and women), technology innovators, inventors as much as artists.
The ones who stayed painting out-of-perspective pictures of knights, dragons and madonnas on wooden board with gesso, who stayed out of all that Painting 2.0 stuff because it looked and felt shit, and was dominated by technical thinking, those… you never heard of.

A book comes to mind when reading this – Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age. This isnt what Miles is talking about, but the idea of hackers and painters is interesting and consistent with my idea of the current renaissance. The hackers are the painters…

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If can get it right…

Sarahs a regular at and noticed during the show today that the stylesheet was missing for a couple of minutes. Then the new style came into effect. I had to natrually check it out. There using Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2.0. Theres a bit of Javascript mainly to control the multiple stylesheets which is pretty nice as the default yellow is not great on top of white and the open and close elements which work on all the browsers I've tested it on (opera, firefox, ie and mozilla). Two other things which impressed me. Decent print stylesheet and RSS versions 1.0 and 2.0. Shame the RSS feeds dont contain more than a single paragraph, but its pretty much what everyone else is doing anyway. What I find also really interesting is the link to Mezzoblue about what is RSS and the Accessability statement which is pretty good. On the bad side, its a really shame there not using more semantic elements instead of divs with multiple ids and classes but its all a huge change from the old website.

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Xbox media centre and enclosures

I upgraded my Xbox media centre version about 2 weeks ago from 1.0 to a September CVS compiled version. Well before anything else, the speed is great and everything seems a lot tighter than before. But there's also a whole host of other things which can be easily missed if you dont look for them. Theres tons of screenshots which I did myself to show some features.

New submenu system

First obvious thing, there's a new submenu on the first screen. This can easily be over looked because it looks like restart rather than a menu. I have not looked into how to control this yet, but I will. In the menu there is a couple of Python scripts. Xbox trailers and Movie trailers do what they say on the menu, stream the latest clips to your xbox.

For example the above is what happens when you select movie trailers. It queries and lists them like most other things in xbmc. You can then select a trailer and it will give you options to progressive stream the low, medium or high quality version. Its that simple and its pretty much the same for xbox trailers but a different site.

So I've been thinking about this feature. First thing I really want to learn some Python so I can mess with the scripts and learn to point the scripts and site media I would love to watch on my tv. Also is there a way to do this without hardcoding the url into the script? So maybe you can type it in using the onscreen keyboard or even using the onscreen keyboard type in a url and it returns all the links and media links? So pointing it at something like the bbc world service site would you give you loads of links to pictures and a couple to the real audio stream. This really could do away with stream pack if it worked well.

And talking of streampack, I have been pretty impressed with the ability to watch live tv from all around the world and watch webcams etc. But Streampack is ignoying because its all messy and very flat in structure (even though you could change it yourself). And sometimes I just want type listings. Well I got it now using the KML browser?

Very cool you have to admit…? But I want more! This got me thinking, with the whole hype around audio enclosures. Why doesnt someone write a RSS reader with enclosure support? So everyday I could read the news or blog headlines briefly and opt to download the audio or even video? This also reminds me, xbmc can rip audio streams to the hard drive but it doesnt have the extra logic of streamripper. Come on you know the xbox would be ideal for ripping music legally from shoutcast and the like. I guess the only thing to add before this would be the ability to rip to a smb or xbms connection as the usual 8gig xbox drive would be filled up with tunes before you knew it. And that would also go if the ability to rip video existed for xbmc. Imagine that? The way I see it, xbmc caches loads of streams anyway, theres no reason why it cant just build a complete file and offer it the filesystem as a complete file. is there?

Anyway theres more bits and pieces in the newer version, I've added some screen shots instead of talking about each little feature.

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