Talking to Microsoft

I dont believe theres anything wrong with mentioning the recent conversations I had today. One with Mike Munn from Apple and the other with Sean Lyndersay from Microsoft. I didnt plan it that way, it just turned out that way. Anyhow I wanted say the phone conversation with Sean was very interesting in regards to Microsoft's love of RSS. So I had to blog a couple of things.

Simple List Extensions.may not be the only module from Microsoft and although writen with RSS 2.0 its not exclusively for RSS 2.0. Sean's fully aware of rdf:Bag and rdf:Seq and all the beautiful fuctionality of RDF but suggests that the marketplace has spoken when it comes to RSS 1.0. However there parser will support all the extensions/modules which are practical and bring some benefit to the end user including the well known syndication, dublincore, etc modules. I asked about commercial type modules like Yahoo's and now Apple's iTunes Media module and Amazon's Opensource modules. Sean was clear that the same benefits need to be met as with all modules but they need to be very careful about the licences with commercial modules, Microsoft putting out there module under a creative commons licence was mindblowing and Sean suggests thats only the start of things – but also hopes it pushes other commercial modules makers to consider how they licence the modules much more. He actually hopes Microsoft have set the standard and all modules will be very clear about there licencing from now on. xml:lang at the item level was discussed and may make it into the microsoft rss parser as a way to tell language and somewhat directionality. We talked about the smaller language bases which tend to be ignored or at least missed by the mainstream media outlets and how we could foster RSS usage and subscription within these languages with IE7 and World Service content. Interestingly IE7 is coming out in to public beta quicker than I first imagined. However network/bamdwidth usage was discussed and Sean was serious about the huge number of undisclosed users IE7's release could send to
our or anyone else website. Its certain, this is the year when RSS grows up and hits the mainstream

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Cass Creatives: Read All About It, but where exactly?

I forgot to mention the Cass Creatives event I went to last week. Paul at work gave me the heads up on this series of events/talks which are also free and full of interesting creative people just like the AIGA London ones. Anyway, after finally finding the place in the city near London wall, there were a small selection of drinks to wet your mouth before heading into the nicely cooled (it was about 27 degrees outside) lecture theatre. I wont go into much detail about what people said as its much better covered here at interactive knowhow. My own thoughts on the discussion was first why didnt they show the Epic 2005 version which is much better and realistic. I was quite amazed when a huge percentage of the audience said they had never seen Epic 2004. Anyhow if you seen these pieces and look at the Panel, you will know roughtly how the night went. Nico Macdonald wrote a very good piece in net imperative titled Media replies to the bloggers while on the other side Sunday's Observer has a piece. Yes generally the Death of the Journalist was debated but no conclusion was ever met, as expected. Interestingly enough Jemima Kiss from wrote a piece titled Yahoo! editor slams mainstream news. I would quite call it that but it would have been really nice to have had someone from google or even digg there to back up some of the points Yahoo's Simon Hinde made.

The talks went on for about 90mins and seemed to fly by. There was about the right amount of discussion and questions from the floor as well talking from the panel. And although we went around the forrest a bit in the discussions it was enjoyable and well worth it. After the talks, there was nibbles and drinks to further discuss the death of journalism with the panel and others. So generally the night was very enjoyable and I look forward to the next one in November sometime.

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iTunes 4.9 with podcast support

iTunes podcasting icon

So I downloaded the 21meg iTunes and Quicktime bundle from Apple last night. and honestly I'm not very impressed with the new podcasting support. But then again was ever going to be that impressed?
Generally it works quite well, except you need to actually copy and paste the url into iTunes or register your podcasts in the iTunes music store. With later testing I found you could drag and drop but it will accept any url, which it doesnt seem to check for a RSS feed. The big question for me now is if it will run without crashing every few minutes on my Dual Pentium 3 Xeon setup. Anyhow, ipodlounge has a complete guide to iTunes 4.9 with podcasts which is worth reading for much more information. Enhanced Podcasts sounds quite interesting and I imagined my full house of rss extensions was going to come true. I had imagined Apple have either added a module/namespace to RSS or are using some RSS elements for different purposes but it seems all the enhanced features are all in the aac file not the RSS file. Oh well, but I bet there will be further discussion about this move by Apple elsewhere soon.
So generally iTunes 4.9 does not do away with the need for a decent podcasting client/reciever but it certainly does do away with the older generations of ipodder 1.x.

Update, I was wrong about the RSS extension from Apple. There is one and Edd Dumbill has a great review of all the elements and there usage. He sums it up nicely by saying.

What could have been a useful and reusable addition to the world of RSS is really rendered only fit for the single use of adding content into Apple's own iTunes store. Apple prove they know how to be cool, but they've got no idea about making friends on the web.

From the point of view of XML and the web, iTunes RSS extensions are somewhat disappointing. From a professional point of view, I'd say this looks rather embarrassing: Apple clearly don't have enough people who really understand XML.

I agree its a bit of a shame and honestly in the light of the other (as such) commercial extensions its the worst yet. Theres also further evidance to suggest Apple are a little out of there depth here. Why would you add a bit torrent feed to a client which doesnt support it? What a great way to advertise your product eh? And i'm sorry the unintentional denial of service attacks is unforgiveable if its true and it certainly looks like every podcaster was hit really hard because of iTunes.

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A bad day for Grokster, worst day for creativity and innovation

If you've not heard already, the case Grokster vs MGM was yesterday won by MGM. Yep you heard right MGM won and Grokster lost. I was stunned when I first heard about it yesterday, this case has been going on for so long I almost forgot about the case when Ben from Work came over and told me, I asked which case? But yeah soon after my smile turned down on its self as I realised what this mean. Its best explained by others, so heres some of the best comments about the future of innovation. Boy am I glad not to live in states, its just a shame this will now spread like wildfire to other western markets such as europe.

MGM – Grokster: The Calm Before the Storm
MGM versus Grokster – Geeks are going to win
Grokster loses, trouble in digital land
Not a Good Day for Innovation, Customer Rights and Free Speech
Major ruling in digital copyright: Supreme Court weighs in on intent
Grokster Loss Sucks for Tech
StreamCast CEO talks to p2pnet about Supreme Court ruling
Will Google survive Grokster?

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While Microsoft gets RSS, others ponder the future of the web

IE7 with RSS support

So while Microsoft shows its RSS hand at Gnomdex 5.0 just recently, Miles was posing the question about the future of the web (and I mean the web not the internet).

How often do you look at the web?

It was posed after talking with him about an idea floating around recently and getting side tracked into a talk about Jabber and XHTML 2.0. Some of the justification came from the lack of interest in moving forward the XHTML standard and the move of internet content and services on to the desktop and beyond. Miles showed some of the clients he's been using including netnewswire and a experimental one which has only 4 letters (which I cant find or remember right now) Flow. And explained how access the web was not so much needed as it use to be. I had to agree, I can even do google, yahoo, etc searches directly from Blogmatrix Jaeger along side with RSS search. Then if you add watchlists, marking and categories to the mix you got a lot of the features which make browsing the web not hardly needed anymore. I mean generally you got everything except services and commerce.

But there is nothing to stop even the services and commerce sites from also serving the RSS marketplace. For example my online bank could supply less sensitive information over a secure http connection to my RSS reader, they already supply updates and bank statements over SMS, so RSS isnt that far off realisticly. But then hey why not skip the reader and go striaght to the application? A secure RSS feed which goes straight into Microsoft Money or Quicken can not be far off. I'm sure Microsoft are well aware of the possibilities within this idea and may provide a bridge between your service and there application.

I'm not a fan of huge applications but check out Flow's interface.

I can imagine there being anything this advanced on the pc platform, actual Blogwave is an attept at taking RSS beyond the pure reading point of view but relys on a hacker/development mindset and applications around it (which is not a bad thing).

I actually quite like Blogwave because like cocoon it can serve as a great pipeline arcitecture for directing structured content around without human interaction. Say for example it would be great to not only have my watchlists in Blogmatrix Jaeger but redirected to my email or instant messenger. I know its possible but would take some time to do, Flow seems to be working towards making this happen without development effort.

Anyhow the point I think Miles was making is the internet is evolving and RSS is a huge part of this. With RSS being structured content, its easy to take advantage of different feeds to do different things. Why not a Meetup feed going straight into my calendar? Flickr feeds into a screensaver or wallpaper/background changer? Local Government debates appearing in my email ? Software updates via RSS? etc etc. Some people disagree such as RSS the next plague?. But you only have to look at Apple's RSS Screensaver to get a feel for how great timely and relveant information can be in the correct context. With Widgets, RSS at the OS level and Applications which are RSS aware all coming or almost here, will we all be using the web less and less?

There is something else very interesting about the Microsoft announcement and reflects with the use of the web. Microsoft releases under Simple list extentsions for RSS under a dare we say it ShareAlike, Copyleft type Licence. Prof Lessig can't help but be perfectly balanced about the move while I cant help but say were all communist now Bill Gates. But yeah this quite mind blowing and could actually be the start of a Microsoft which can share, contribute back and play fair while still making a profit? Only time will tell. Its also interesting that between, Yahoo, Amazon and Microsoft there has been propsed extentions to RSS while in the HTML world, things have come to a stand still. Yes XHTML 2.0 is around the corner but how many developers of browsers are using it? I bet there are lots of developers keen to intergrate opensearch, rssmedia and Simple List Extensions. The only worry now is if people start pushing RSS into a place to compete with X/HTML, adding forms, css, etc. Its going to happen because all the innovation is happening in RSS not in XHTML at this moment, even with all the remote scripting (Ajax) stuff. So the question remains, how often do you look at the web?

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Finally my bluetooth keyboard is in sight

Bluetooth keyboard with P900 phone

So at long last I'm finally going to get one of the Think Outside Bluetooth Keyboards. According to Nizam its going to be Dell branded but I couldnt give a crap as long as it works well and looks somewhat like the normal version. I was saying to Tom today that I use to be quite quick with the ipaq on screen keyboard but since getting my laptop all that time ago I have become much quicker with a normal sized keyboard although I prefer the ergonomical keyboards for work and long typed documents like my paper which I still need to rewrite soon. I'm also finding that now I'm using OPML for all my note taking having a outliner on my ipaq and laptop means I can choose which device I use. But recently the battery life on my laptop has pushed me into using the ipaq more while the lack of speedy input on the ipaq makes it not as perfect for note taking. A Bluetooth keyboard should make the ipaq the prefered choice now.

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What have I been up to? and what do I have planned?

Yamaha YP250 scooter

(If the picture above never gave you a big enough clue)

Well I have not been blogging as much recently, thats one thing.

Recently I have been messing with Apache Cocoon 2.1.7 and been trying to get it to play nicely in a shared JVM environment. It looks like Cocoons security manager can not be turned off, so this may mean the end of the road for cocoon in this case. I've also been trying to sort out some of my ideas and projects. I see a personal wiki as an ideal way to do this but want to deploy one which might be able to do more content management type things later in the day. The two I'm looking at our xwiki and daisy. I was very impressed by the papers and presentations they both gave at Xtech and feel I could use them for myself and bigger.
Daisy is servelet based and basicly uses cocoon to do a lot of its transforming which means I can easily hack it into doing anything I like. Xwiki on the other hand seems to be a typical LAMP (linux, apache, mysql and perl) project and requires me to install all this other stuff which I dont normally use. Yes it is odd, but I find Resin 3 quick enough to server static files for me not to need apache on the front end. The Mysql server option is needed for both daisy and xwiki so it looks like I need to install that no matter what now. I'm hoping if all goes well I will end up moving either wiki to my live webspace in america.

So how far have I got with Daisy? Well I ran through all the instructions and have everything run except Starting the Daisy Repository Server causes a nasty error on my laptop. I type daisy-repository-server c:daisydata and get

C:daisy-1.3repository-serverbin>daisy-repository-server c:daisydata
—- exception report ———————————————————-

Exception: org.apache.avalon.merlin.KernelException
Message: Kernel startup failure.
—- cause ———————————————————————

Exception: org.apache.avalon.merlin.KernelException
Message: Cannot deploy application.
—- cause ———————————————————————

Exception: org.apache.avalon.activation.LifecycleException
Message: Unable to create a new component instance in appliance [/daisy/jmsclien
t/jmsclient] due to a component deployment failure.
—- cause ———————————————————————

Exception: javax.naming.NamingException
Message: Failed to connect to JNDI provider
—- cause ———————————————————————

Message: Connection refused: connect
—- stack trace ————————————————————— Connection refused: connect Method) Source) Source) Source) Source) Source) Source) Source) Source)
javax.naming.spi.NamingManager.getInitialContext(Unknown Source)
javax.naming.InitialContext.getDefaultInitCtx(Unknown Source)
javax.naming.InitialContext.init(Unknown Source)
javax.naming.InitialContext.Unknown Source)
org.apache.avalon.composition.model.impl.DefaultDeploymentModel.commission/images/emoticons/laugh.gifefau Source)

If anyone knows what could be the problem I would be greatful. Otherwise I may try it on my server and see if its just my unconfigured laptop which could be the problem.

For Xwiki I will install it directly on my server and see if thats any good.

Some of the other things I'm planning on doing at somepoint in the future includes.

Calendaring – Getting Sync4J up and working with Outlook, my 3g mobile and pocketpc. I assume this will stay on my local server. SchoolBell Calendar server (unless I can find a servlet version) looks very simple and seems perfect for calendaring between me and sarah. This might not be so needed with us both using Outllook again, plus sync4j should help in this area.

Email – Finally getting Zoe if its still being worked on up and running to store all my email so I can do away with the silly email problems I currently get when away from home.

Wiki – Explained above, either xwiki or daisy to store thoughts and do something which doesnt quite work in a blog.

XMLDB – I have done quite a bit of work with xml databases but would like to try it out for total replacement of flat filesystem files. Theres also quite a need for some serious search logic and I see Lucene being really useful in this area, which means I need to learn and understand what it can and cannot do. This could be quite challenging but thats a good thing.

Aggregation – Rome is a Java API for RSS and ATOM feeds. Cocoon can deal with these feeds no problem it seems to be lacking on caching ability? ROME seems to have caching sorted which means it shouldnt be too hard to use the ROME jar in Cocoon if needed.

IM – Not only am I really interested in learning jabber bots but also using IM as a transport network for content. Punjab seemed to be perfect for my needs as it was a XMPP to SOAP/XMLRPC/REST bridge. But it seems to need to be installed on the actual jabber server which is a pain because who would install it then open it up for all to use? I really do not want to run my own jabber server any time soon either. Theres are also some interesting projects opening in the area of Transporting ATOM notifications over XMPP. I also still need a decent jabber client for my Sanyo S750.

Wireless – I have yet to get deeply involved but I would like to help Bristol Wireless or some south London community wireless some time soon. I also signed myself up at warchalking London and should hopefully be delivering some nice blog posts from South London where there is open or cheap wireless access.

Webservices – I'm still generally collecting a load of RESTful APIs using idea being I will start using them to generate some quite unique services and applications. One I can let you in on is simpleflickr which will simply turn flickr into a image search engine. Yes I know flickr is quite simple already but I remember introducing my mum to flickr over the holidays. She found flickr quite confusing because there are so many aspects to every single part of flickr. So simplfying it so my mum can use it to see and print great pictures sounds like a nice easy project. Many afterwards I could use the APIs and routines which I've built up to generate something a little more wild and creative. Oh and I still need to do my attach images to bbc worldservice news stories for Maybe I'll do it in time for Open Tech 2005

Other things holding me back from blogging recently. I am 100 percent legal to drive my Yamaha YP250 Majasty Super Scooter around the UK. I passed my A2 motorcycle test on the same day as the Geek dinner which was the 6th June. The A2 licence basicly means I can drive any automatic motorcycle up to 33 bhp for 2 years. After those two years (2007) I will be able to drive any automatic bike I like regardless of power or size. I have my eyes on a Yamaha Tmax (500cc) next or even a Honda silverwing (650cc), but till then my Majesty (250cc) is fantastic during this hot summer were currently having in London. Honestly I adore driving it around in everything except the rain. A lot of people ask why I went for automatic only? Well if you look at the range of touring bikes you will see Tmax's, X9's, Silverwings, Burgmans, etc all running between the ranges of 200cc and 700cc. There all automatic and work really well. So I see a great future for scooter driving. Maybe the first 1000cc scooter will launched soon and I bet it will still use a automatic engine. For me personally 500cc scooter will do nicely and I dont see the need for more.
I also just recently finally got Orange to swap my old 3g handset for a new firmware version which solves most of the bugs with bluetooth connectivity. It also comes with a few extras which the previous firmware never had but generally its the same handset and works no differently. Sanyo did launch there 2nd european phone which is the same as the S750 but with a different design. Yes you guessed what the model number is, yep Sanyo S750i.
And last of all, my main workstation computer went down recently and I have no idea why. All I did was put in a new fan/heatsink and a pioneer dvd burner. Neither should cause the machine to go crazy and not boot ever again. I tried swapping things in and out, but no matter what I do, I can never get the bios screen back. So I shifted everything over to my spare linux box /images/emoticons/laugh.gifual Pentium3 500 xeons) and reinstalled windows xp. You'll be glad to hear I also put Ubutu linux and BeOS (5 max edition) on the machine too. Maybe in the future I will beable to put Apple OSX on there too…

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Knowing the world

Some of the best design is simple and effective, this is certainly a key example of well thought-out and clever design. I had been meaning to blog this for quite some time didnt quite know if it was public or not as I recieved the flag pictures in a email at work. But after a talk with the person who sent me the email and a quick search on blogdigger, I was assure it would be ok.

In May 2005, a Norwegian diplomat Charung Gollar was asked to present the UN with a graphical representation highlighting the main problems in the world in 2004. He presented a set of 8 pictures entitled “The power of stars” and was applauded for the simplicity of his idea.



Burkina Faso


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Free Municipal Wifi in London

First seen here then later slashdotted with more background information.

Well this is certainly an interesting move by the council. I am interested to see what extra business or experience it will bring to Upper street in Islington. I certainly know where to go next time I need somewhere to chill out with my laptop.

There was a comment about Streetnet being quite evil. I kinda of agree, I know someone who was involved in Bristol mobile but its happened now and there is little which will change now.

Generally the uptake of independants like easton wireless, etc in the UK is a good thing while local councils slowly bring public places like Libraries online via wireless.

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London’s Geek Scoblized Dinner

Robert scoble at London's Geek Dinner

Trust the United Kingdom to out do the American's, Scoble believes the biggest geek dinner in the states was 60. While tonight's Geek Dinner in London had about 200 people in total. No wonder Scoble and his wife are so happy in the picture above. Good night, good people, good conversation, shame about the food. Next time we'll have to get somewhere much better for 20 pounds a head.

So how did the night go, well generally pretty good. I was one of the first ones there because I had finished up what I was doing else where earlier that expected. The whole event took place on the top floor of the Texas Embassy which was big enough for more people that 200 but felt good with the people who turned up. By 8pm there were over 100 people and some well known names from around London. Scoble was also walking around a bit but was surrounded by a circle of people who wanted to talk to him about different topics. Small amounts of food was being circulated and people were happily buying drinks from the ok-ish price bar. I think around 9pm was when the real food was rolled out. I say real but I honestly dont mean real! A mixture of Tex-mex and hints of Mexican spices were involved but honestly I dont think it was eatable. During this time I had a really good conversation with a guy from Deutsche Bank. I cant remember his name but we were talking about emergance inside of companies and why ceo's are so cut off from whats actually going on. A lot of the rules of the cluetrain manifesto was discussed during our long discussion over dinner. Ben Metcalfe somewhere along the line ended the conversation and we started talking about how great is. At somepoint scoble stood up and gave a really brief speech which was nicely recorded by Jon Kosso at After which there was little time left and everyone started making there way home. During the geek dinner I finally met Kosso as mentioned before, Tom Coats again, Dr Jo Twist at long last, Hugh MacLeod, Robert Scoble and many many others…

The Night was Highly recommended specially in the light of the Apple announcement (which I have yet to talk about on my blog) and the secret Microsoft announcement which is meant to happen at Gnomedex soon. Something to do with RSS aggregation and podcasting is what a lot of people are saying including Scoble himself. There are tons of photos on the geek dinner flickr group and the wiki has changed to reflect the post event status.

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An alternative friday nights fun in London

The scientology church on totterham court road london

I was unsure where to put this entry, socially offline seemed a good point between culture & politics and science & theory. Anyhow while I write the rest of this on the Croydon Tram today, you can imagine a night with the London 2600 crew and the Scientologies

So I have been ill for the last few days since coming back from Amsterdam, I didn't really plan on going out on the Friday night. Anyhow I didn't want to be a crowded bar because the Smokey and somewhat hot atmosphere may have started my terrible cold off again. This is when I received a im from nizam asking about going to a 2600 meetup, so I thought what the hell – been meaning to go for ages anyway. So long story cut short, we ended up in a large pub snooker room (college tavern I think) not far from totterham court road. Interestingly enough there was little or actually no smoking from the 2600 guys. It started out with 6 of us then increased to about 10 when we found the pub. Which increased to about 20 by the time I'd finished my poisoned shark drink (Tabasco sauce mixed with shark energy drink, I much prefer to mix using redbull). Anyway the conversations mainly centered around wireless and RFID which were interesting but not at the levels it got to in the end (no offense meant to anyone). So with Nizam wanting to leave a hour ago, we finally left and started walking to Goodge street tube station. This is where my Friday night became very interesting indeed.

Before I go on, if there are any scientologists reading – please note, both me and the woman involved below (huggs) are over 18, we both were able to terminate the conversation and I actually offered her a chance to walk away many times. Also note I have had similar conversations with other religious pushers (call them followers if it makes it sound better or makes you feel better) including the witnesses, alphas and christen right. I'm not picking on scientology as such, its just I have never blogged a religious conversation.

There are times when I have felt like spending some time talking to religious pushers. Why? Because I love being sold to, its somewhat educational to hear and figure out the new moves and tricks used by the pushers. Religious pushers tend to pickup the best (worst) of management, advertising, media, etc. (Or is it the other way?).
Anyhow, I was walking along Tottenham Court Road with Nizam and didn't have any thoughts about the Scientology Church till we were offered a stress test. So playing dumb I asked why and whats wrong with stress? isn't a certain amount of stress needed in peoples lives? Well the woman who had stopped us (who I later found was named Huggs) tried to explain how some people deal with stress better than others, but wouldn't it be great not to have any stress at all – and she could show us the way to have stress free lives. Well I couldn't resist! I started to push the point about certain levels of stress are good and keeps you feeling human and alive. She bite that hard and somewhere along the line we got stuck on the subject of drugs and drug abuse. Although the mistake Huggs didn't talk about was the differences. I kept talking about drugs and how they could have a positive and negative effect. While she was saying all drugs which alter the mind were bad. I asked her why? She came up with something about altering the minds state (interesting point which we shall go back to later). So while Huggs was thinking about drugs like the hard drugs which are commonly thought about, I added sugar, coco powder, caffeine to the mix. And learned our sweet heart Huggs is still a smoker. Indeed! What fun I had with her on the fact she was still addicted to fags.
But oh no I was only just getting started. Nizam came back as he had been looking in a shop window and wanted to go home. He suggested that there all nuts and that we should go. Trying not to blow the conversation I dumbly asked what he meant. So quickly explained that they were a religion of some kind and crazy to boot. Along this time I think I asked (playing dumb again) could Nizam (who is muslin) join if he wanted to? Huggs made it clear that anyone could join, and about this time she pointed out that she was actually jewish and a scientologist. Well before I could start, Nizam handed out the killer blow, how can you be both? there must be conflict between the two faiths? There must be one you follow over the other? Well this about the only time when Huggs started getting very defensive. She really didn't have a answer to supply us, so instead she tried to sidestep around the issue with some rubblish about do we believe in spirituality? But like a pain in the ass, we kept pressing her about her faiths. I believe this about the time when Nizam went home and I stayed because I wanted to keep the conversation going. And yes I did ask her if she want to leave or end the conversation as it may be getting a little too personal talking about her drug habit and faith conflicts. Huggs was happy to carry on…

So Huggs what do you make of this dialects stuff I asked. Cue ridiculous speech about how amazing the author was/is and what a mind and life changer it is. After she finished, well I say finished it was more like prompting me out of my light sleep. But yeah I started on the fact that religion is/can-be like a drug and has all the same effects if your not too careful. Lost of personal time, lost of work, people hating to be around you, lost of money, people taking advantage of you, etc, etc you all get the picture. Huggs made the mistake of trying to separate religion and drugs which was a hoop I had made large enough for her to just jump through. On the otherside of the hoop was a minefield of hot sticking points, so to start off I suggested she may want to call it quits right now. Huggs was fine about carrying on and so I used her speech about how dianects can change your life into explaining why drug use may also not be so bad. Huggs asked if I was on drugs myself and I laughted – however Huggs wasn't.

That was about the moment when the pin dropped for myself and I realised Huggs was so deadly serious about conversation. Now I guess I felt a little sorry for this brainwashed lady so layed off a little – not too much though. It turns out that she was born into scientology through her parents. Her dad was heavily into it and married her mum who was jewish and obviouslybrainwashed converted her into it too. So for Huggs, scientology has been in her life forever. Shes never known of anything different. I was tempted to compare her parents who take drugs (including smoke) while the woman is pregnant and risk causing there unborn child permanent damage. But then again most parents do a similar thing when it comes religion and kids. So I guess i'm actually saying is, scientology is somewhat far below most religions. And honestly that wouldn't be far wrong. Anyway before I start to airing my religious views, on with Friday night.

The last sticking point was around openness. So I started questioning what influence Huggs could have on Dianetics. She came up with the usual line that it was great and perfect, why would it ever need changing? Then about 20mins later she explained how the guy who wrote the book will return and write another chapter. Well I was away, what a reversal of what she had just said 20mins earlier and I launched into why she wouldn't be involved in the process of Dianetics 2.0 (as such)? Well Huggs was well on the backfoot now and she made her position much worst when she explained to me that Dianetics says all people who are gay, are seriously distressed. I asked Huggs if she really believed this? She replied that she has friends who are gay and she always feels pity for them. I was outraged but kept my cool head on. I suggested to her that if Dianetics was written 20 years earlier, it may have a lot to say about people of different cultures and colour. Hey and even futher back maybe a lot to say about women. Huggs was well on the backfoot and kept trying to change the subject. In the end I let her change it but not before she admitted that I may have a point.

Over the 2 hours we talked about many topics but kept going back to the issues of openness, transparency and pyramid selling. Huggs commented that honestly it was one of the better conversations shes ever had with a stranger because I was quite educated about scientology. I suggested she may need to stop preaching and do something else. Generally, we both had fun talking and although Huggs was only a Level 2 sciencetologist could debate and hard sell like the best of them. I expect someone higher up would have simply walked away earlier but to Huggs credit she never till we both really needed to go home. In the end Huggs felt sorry for me and I felt a little sorry for her. Oh well, another smart brain wasted.

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Project Mayhem 3 skin

Project Mayhem 3.0

Ok I was so wrong about the Xbox mediacentre's Project Mayhem 3 skin. I adored Project Mayhem 2 and was quite verbal about my dislike for the new version and it replacing project mayhem 1 and 2 as the default skin for xbmc. Till I installed a june cvs build and minimised some video. Damm it, real time transparency of live video behind the GUI of xbox media centre – Chokemaniac you really are spoiling us! Yes its simple but I'm telling you its beautiful to see in action. Its so slick and sweet and certainly adds extra level of professionalism to the xbmc. Add this to the audioscrobbler support which I'm also loving and you pretty much got a perfect media centre now. I have added some pictures to flickr with the tag projectmayhem3 but I really need to take a movie to express what really goes on when you do certain things. Full repect to Jon for coverage of the new features.

How Project Mayhem 3 deals with music now.

Listening to Slusher while browsing around xbmcProject Mayhem 3's new transparency feature

How Project Mayhem 3 deals with video now.

Yep thats real transparencyCould you watch a movie like this?

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