Year: 2009

  • Farewell, 2008

    Two hours left of 2008 (2G8?) and just like with Christmas, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. There were some fireworks, earlier, set off from the balcony of our flat block – but they didn’t last long, and soon enough people disappeared back into the warmth of the indoors. I suspect I’ll end up staying awake until midnight, provided there’s something tolerable on TV, but no-one around here is going out or doing anything.

  • Neo Garlic!

  • A Silly Day

    Today has been a silly day. I present: why roleplayers should not watch pre-school television shows. I will run this game one day, mark my words!

  • Old Before My Time

    The flat upstairs appear to have acquired Guitar Hero: World Tour – judjing by the songs that I can hear all too clearly from my living room and bedroom. I’m assuming their drummer plays on Easy, as once every two seconds or so, there’s an almighty thump that you can feel in the walls.

  • The City of Bath, and its DOS Prompt

    I had a very strange dream last night.

  • A Weird Combination

    In last night’s dream, courtesy of no alarm-clock wake-up this morning:

  • The Thousandth Obama-Related Blog Entry You Will Read Today

    A black man is the leader of the free world. Not only that, but one in whose inaugration speech favourably mentioned Islam, atheism and scientific reasoning.

  • Dreaming of a White Candlemas

    Candles burn in the windows of the flat, dividing the warmth of the inside from the darkness and the snow that still coats the ground outside.

  • Gunboat (Early Preview)

    As part of my irrational desire to teach myself OpenGL programming, I’m making a game that’s (currently at least) called Gunboat. It’s a fairly slow-paced 2D shooter that has the player in command of a ship, protecting a harbour from an attacking fleet.

  • A False Sense of Difference

    Travelling alone, riding a cross-country train into the darkness of evening, enraptured by music and by story, I experience a strange feeling that something is different, something has fundamentally changed. Wrapped up in fantasies, I revel in what pathetic part of my wanderlust I am allowed to exorcise.

  • Thought for the Day: Watching Pots

    “A watched pot never boils.”

  • Vaccination Complete!

    Vaccinations over and done with! I am now resistant to:

  • Defence Industry Still Insufficiently Cool

    Right, so, I watched Iron Man again, and came away with the same three conclusions. To whit:

  • Six Inches!

    Six inches of snow this morning! Settled! In March! In Bournemouth! That just… doesn’t happen.

  • A Question for DS / PSP Owners

    Dear lazyweb,

  • To Arid Pastures New

    In just over 12 hours’ time, I’ll be off for two weeks of joyous business trip to sunny Saudi Arabia. I’ve no idea what I’ll get by way of an internet connection out there, but I’ll try to pick up mail if I can.

  • Inbound

    I have watched the sun set over Iraq, seen the lights of cities glow beneath me, and further out the flourescing military bases, square and uncomfortable amidst the desert. I have watched the first stars come out over Kuwait, reflected in the orange plumes of oil platforms in the Gulf below.

  • Alas, Poor Culture

    As you step out of baggage reclaim at Bahrain Muharraq, the first smells that assault your senses are cinnamon and coffee, exotic spices from the lands of “Cinnabon” and “Costa”. We drove through the eternal traffic jam that is Bahrain, spotting the BHS, the Debenhams, the Carrefour. We drove across the causeway to Saudi Arabia, its passport control presided over by the twin golden arches of a McDonalds. I drank Coke on the way to the compound.

  • Square of Britain

    In here, behind the twenty-foot walls, the razor-wire and the cheerful-looking chap with the 50-cal machine gun, there is a square of Britain. There is a restaurant, which is functionally British. (Today’s lunch was chicken, chips and broad beans.) The villas have 240V plugs. There’s a bar, and a bowling alley, a pool table, and a library stuffed full of Andy McNab and Mills & Boon books, all threatening to separate from their spines.

  • Highway Lolcode

    Thus far, I have discerned the following differences between driving in the UK and Saudi Arabia. They are presented here for your edification.

  • Now, Hyper Ninja Baking Soda!!

    Is it wrong that every time I see an advert featuring a woman in a burqa advertising something, I mentally replace her with the “Ask a Ninja” guy?

  • On the Subject of Ian Tomlinson

    Beware, here lies ranty and possibly-controversial opinion.

  • On the Right to Bear Arms

    My last blog post got me thinking about how much worse the whole protest could have been if anyone was in any way armed. So why (hello America) the right to bear arms? As far as I can tell, there’s two arguments:

  • In Which I Disparage Great Works of Literature

    To follow up blog posts on gun control and police brutality, back to my normal standard of blogging: In The Night Garden.

  • Stuck in a Culinary Rut

    I know “cook” and “parent” isn’t a common combination in my corner of the lazyweb, but here goes anyway.

  • Pirate Bay Defendants Found Guilty

    So, today the defendants in the Pirate Bay trial were found guilty, sentenced to a year each in prison and fined $3.6M.

  • Routine and Axiety

    The commonly accepted wisdom is that babies and toddlers need a set routine in order to thrive. As someone who quite passionately hated routine and stasis for most of his pre-fatherhood adult life, I wondered how I’d cope with doing the same thing, day in, day out.

  • TFF Team Picker hits v1.0!

    After a spree of lunchtime coding today, my Telegraph Fantasy Football Team Picker has finally hit v1.0.


    Okay, how hard can it be to get a doctor’s appointment?

  • TFF Team Picker went Cloud-wards

    For the three of you who care, my Telegraph Fantasy Football team picker just got fiddled with.

  • Review: HTC Magic

    Mostly at Mark’s request, but possibly also of interest to others: A review of the HTC Magic. I’ve had mine for 6 days now.

  • World’s Rudest Toddler?

    We appear to have unintentionally produced the world’s rudest toddler. His favourite words at the moment seem to be:

  • The Summer Solstice

    So, without warning or any kind of realisation as to what was going on, the Northern hemisphere passed from Spring into Summer, neatly dumping us off at the Summer Solstice. Barely yesterday I was fretting about Joseph waking up earlier and earlier with the light, and yet already we sit at the longest day, the mornings getting steadily later again from here.

  • Ripping and Streaming

    I’ve been on a tidying binge this evening, and having found a bunch of CDs lying around in cracked cases behind the sofa, I’ve decided to rip them. So that my poor long-suffering NAS drive doesn’t have to think about two things at once, I’m listening to streaming music from while I’m at it.

  • Leveru Uppu!

    I am now, apparently, a level 4 Software Engineer!

  • PLFF Team Picker Now Online!

    In a fit of last-minute coding, I’ve produced version 0.1 of my automated team-picker for the Premier League’s Fantasy Football game. (If you’re intending on playing, you only have 12 hours left to get your team in before the start of the season!)

  • Software Development: Experiment 1

    Yesterday Morning

  • A Manifesto for Open Democracy

    This is a thought exercise around the idea of an idealised democracy. I do not pretend that it is likely to be achieved at any point, nor do intend to actively campaign for it. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

  • Forgotten Children is Getting Written

    “Forgotten Children” is an idea that’s been kicking around my head for a long while, and it’s always felt like it ought to be novel-length, albeit possibly a short novel. For several years I’ve laboured under the misapprehension that it might be publishable, and that if it was, I should keep it to myself until it’s done.

  • Announcing: SuccessWhale!

    For the last few days I’ve been working on a simple web-based Twitter client, to fill the void between the simplicity of Twitter’s own web interface and the broken-in-IE6 complexity of BeTwittered and Seesmic Desktop’s web interface.

  • Announcing: Full Width Facebook Lite

    Do I blog anything these days apart from new software? Oh well, here goes:

  • DRM, on My BBC Broadcasts?

    The deadline for responding to this proposal was Wednesday 16th September 2009. Since you are reading this after UK office hours on that date, it is probably too late for you to have your say. Sorry!

  • From Lovecraft to Slash Fic

    So, as Joseph’s tastes in kids’ TV shows changes, so does the range of programmes I have to complain about, comment on, and generally be weirded out by. Thus I have probably posted the last of my “Night Garden = Ry’leh” brainfarts on this blog. On we go to the next thing he’s exposing me to non-stop.

  • Carter-Ruck Solicitors vs. Freedom of the Press

    EDIT: Victory. Original post follows:

  • Letter to MP: Freedom of the Press and the Guardian’s "Gag Order"

    This letter was sent to Sir John Butterfill MP (Conservative, Bournemouth West) on 13th October 2009.

  • Letter to MP: The Intercept Modernisation Programme

    This letter was sent to Sir John Butterfill MP (Conservative, Bournemouth West) on 22nd April 2009.

  • E-mail to Ofcom: DRM in Next-Gen BBC TV Signals

    This e-mail was sent to Andrew Dumbreck at Ofcom on 16th September 2009.

  • Diesel and Autumn

    A cool breeze blows in through the crack where my door doesn’t quite shut properly, promising the Autumn ahead, but yet hanging on as long as it can to the sunshine. Now and again helicopter downdraft blows the door open and closed again, wafting in that thick, sweet, black smell of diesel.


    Allow me to share with you one of the most bizarre and infuriating login forms I have ever seen. This is it, the one for CPP Identity Protection.

  • November

    Once again, the world has whirled its way around its orbit and arrived back at what us mammals call “November”. Perhaps it’s the shortening days, the wind and rain, or maybe just the after-effects of Hallowe’en, but November has had a strange effect on me in recent years. At University, certainly, after a Summer away and an October of re-settling in, November was when the drama started rearing its ugly head.

  • Oh Look, a Totally Normal E-mail

    Ahahaha WHAT.

  • Changeling 2: The Anti-Changeling?

    I have thought up yet another setting for a roleplaying game that I will probably never get to run. This may be of interest to my former “Changeling: In Love and War” players since it’s in the same world, though the feel of it is completely different. Pretty much the opposite, in fact.

  • To Run, or Not to Run, That is the Question

    Right, having pitched a roleplaying game setting with the caveat that I wouldn’t run it, I appear to have acquired four potential players. So, here’s the deal.

  • Cold November Rain

    The rain here is not falling or even pouring. It is constant, pervasive. As you look into the grey mist a hundred metres away in all directions, if you’re lucky, you can make out the merest hint of an angle to signify the way the squally wind is buffeting the maelstrom.

  • Today’s Really Bad Plan (TM)

    Joseph has a bad effect on me. =S

  • Dial M for Mandelson

    I can’t be the only one thinking along these lines right now, so… have blog, will rant.

  • Dishing out Google Wave Invites

    I’ve tweeted this already, but just so it goes out to LiveJournal and other blog-followers too:

  • Overpackaged Much?

    The Envelope: Vast, Thin, and Oily.
    The phone company Orange appear to be giving out free headphone adapters as part of some promotion or other. So, naturally, on the bandwagon I jumped to see if I could grab some that would work with my phone. I filled in the form, clicked Submit, and thought nothing of it for the next two weeks.

  • Coming of Age

    Yes, she's legal.

  • So Farewell, Psion 3a

    No idea why the hell I bought a Psion 3a a lottery ticket? Check out my previous blog post, “Coming of Age”.

  • Endings and Midwinter

    Winter has well and truly closed in, with black ice laying in sheets across the roads, scarf and gloves on, and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” stuck on a permanent loop in my head. I had Cliff Richard’s “Mistletoe and Wine” in there this morning, though, so John and Yoko are definitely a step up.

  • 2009 in Thoughts, Words and Pictures

    It is a very strange feeling indeed to increasingly shuffle towards adulthood whilst also having a young child of your own. Time twists and stretches, unsure of which way it ought to bend. There is the adult mind for which time is speeding up, one year blurring into the next until each is indistinguishable from the last, and then there is the child’s development pulling the other way, slowing things down, big changes happening in weeks instead of years.

  • SuccessWhale is Terrifying

    On 29th August, I released my PHP/JavaScript Twitter client, SuccessWhale. I would like to take this opportunity to say HOLY FUCK.

  • Book Review: The Book of Mormon (!?)

    Last night, in an attempt to rectify my broken sleep patterns, I sought out the most dull work of fiction in the house so that I could bore myself to sleep. My choice, understandably one might think, was the Book of Mormon, which we got from a couple of missionaries for the price of two cups of coffee and half an hour of pretending to care.

  • Farewell, Noughties

    Ten years ago today, I was sitting in the house of a friend’s grandparents, drinking champagne that I didn’t really like, and watching some celebrity or other count down the minutes and seconds to the year 2000. We stood on the cusp of the third millennium, wondering what the future would hold for us personally, and us as a society, as a species. I was 14 years of age, and I was putting up with second-best as my parents hadn’t let me go to the town centre to celebrate. As fireworks burst around us, the four of us formed a tiny drunken conga line in the street.