Tag: Internet

  • SuccessWhale.com Discontinued as of Today

    As far as I know, SuccessWhale is not being actively used by anyone any more, so I have chosen not to renew the domain name successwhale.com when it expires today. Like most of my past web-based projects, it will continue to live on at an onlydreaming.net subdomain, in this case sw.onlydreaming.net, but will not be actively maintained there.  As well as its graphical web interface, SuccessWhale also has a back-end API that used to run on a SuccessWhale subdomain. This has now moved to https://successwhale-api.herokuapp.com/. The OnoSendai Android client already uses this address for the API as of update 479, so you may need to update.

  • Migrating from Jekyll to WordPress

    The final, and most difficult, part of the plan to wind down some of the more complex stuff I do on the internet was the migration of this site from Jekyll and Hashover to WordPress. It’s a decision I took with some trepidation, as I well remember ditching my old WordPress site for Jekyll (via Octopress) four years ago and enjoying the speed and security it brought.

  • A Quick Change of Comment System

    One of the reasons why I’ve recently been simplifying the number of things I run on the web is the difficulty of it all—not that I’m incapable of running mail servers and Minecraft servers and a dozen websites, but that I can achieve 99% of the benefit with only 10% of the effort by using other services instead.

  • Farewell to Facebook

    My blogging history has not been lacking in posts where I consider deleting my Facebook profile. It’s been a common thread throughout that time that Facebook has its advantages (having become my sole practical means of contacting many old friends) and disadvantages (that it is a privacy-devouring monster). In the main, we have been willing to make a deal with the Devil in order to use the vast network of communication possibilities it opens up for us.

  • The Open Source Disadvantage

    Three years ago, Google shut down its popular RSS reader web application. The decision angered many users, and I penned a long rant about how horrible proprietary services are as they can be taken away from the users at any time without their consent.

  • How I Blog Now

    It’s fifteen years today since I first posted something—specifically, terrible teenage poetry—on what would become my blog. Back then my website was a purple-and-black exhibition of my poor teenage sense of humour, and I started posting snippets of poetry to it under the category of “Thoughts”.

  • Pokemon Going

    Bournemouth Gardens is packed on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Shoppers bustle past, teenagers play on the grass, but today more than usual their gaze is directed downwards at their phones. Kids, adults, old and young; cyclists, bus drivers and big hairy bikers all alike. In a parallel universe, the place is dotted with spinning cubes and buried under a thick drift of cherry petals.

  • The Long, Slow Death of Facebook

    “Facebook has a big problem”, the tech media breathlessly cries. Despite using it every day, I’m not a fan of Facebook, and so am drawn to these articles like a moth to a flame. Let’s all enjoy guilt-free schadenfreude at the expense of a billion-dollar business! So, what’s Facebook’s problem this week? People are sharing more web pages and news stories, but fewer “personal stories”—plain status updates that relate to their lives.

  • Optimising for Download Size

    If, by some vanishing small probability, you are a regular visitor to this website, you may have noticed a few subtle changes over the past few weeks. In part due to trying to access it from a slow mobile connection, and also in part due to a series of tweets courtesy of @baconmeteor which got me wondering how much data is required to load a simple page on my own website.

  • Android Without Google

    For several years, I’ve been considering whether I could—and should—dispose of my Google account. Since I wrote the linked post back in 2011, my use of Google services has declined anyway, and I no longer use GMail, Google+ or Google Calendar. At the same time, it has become apparent that users are at the whim of Google’s decision to close unprofitable services (even beloved ones like Reader), and to force us into using others against our will. “Don’t Be Evil” is starting to look hilariously naïve.

  • Preparing to Leave Heroku

    An email today announced a beta test of some new features that Heroku are “excited” to introduce. New service levels are available that include a “hobby” tier that does… exactly what the old “free” tier used to do. For $7 per month per app!

  • The End of the Road for SuccessWhale’s Facebook Support?

    My SuccessWhale application has long supported both Twitter and Facebook social networks, despite both networks’ relatively developer-hostile stances. The worst offender by far was Twitter, with it’s 100,000 user limit that has deliberately crippled many third-party clients in order to drive users to the official website and app, which make money for Twitter through adverts. While I was never under any delusion that SuccessWhale would be popular enough to reach 100,000 users, it’s not a nice thing to have hanging over your head as a developer.

  • On GamerGate

    Dear GamerGate supporters, trolls, flamers and everyone associated:

  • SuccessWhale 3.0 Released

    It turns out that my previous post about SuccessWhale, bemoaning how it had stagnated and become more trouble than it was worth, was just enough venting to kick me up the arse and get me going again. And so, not long later, I am proud to announce the release of SuccessWhale version 3.

  • State of the Whale Address

    It’s no secret that the current state of my SuccessWhale social network client is not a good one. It currently exists in three forms:

  • Cyberpunk

    The early years of the twenty-first century.

  • Google for your Dinner

    I run Google Analytics code on a number of my websites, as I like to know what’s popular—and maybe deserving of attention—compared to those sites and pages that languish unvisited. But while Analytics is handy for confirming the obvious and pointing out a few unexpectedly popular pages, it’s at its best when it reveals something surprising.

  • The Last Straw for LinkedIn

    LinkedIn Intro in action (picture from LinkedIn blog)

  • Sharing Isn’t Caring

    Like many angsty young adults, I spent the last few months of my time at University wondering what would become of the friendships I’d made there — which friends I’d keep in touch with; how often I’d see them. Having lived and worked with many of them, and shared each other’s lives in such minute detail, how could I deal with not having that constant interaction any more?

  • Your System is Compromised

    I’ve spent much of the last few months resolutely not commenting on the NSA spying scandal, Edward Snowden, PRISM and all the other revelations that have been published by the Guardian and the New York Times recently.

  • The End of Westminster Hubble

    Three years ago, after a two-month secret development period working with my old school friend Chris, we announced Westminster Hubble.

  • Never Say Goodbye

    As my previous post on closing my Last.fm account might indicate, I’m currently on something of an account-closing spree.

  • The Last of Last.fm: Seven Years in Pretty Graphs

    I started using Last.fm back in 2006, in the final months of my time at University, and have carried on using it up until a few months ago, despite coming to the conclusion that I should stop back in 2011. Although the social media narcissism of “everyone must know what I’m listening to!” is no longer appealing in these days of over-sharing, I kept my Last.fm account around for its free “recommendations” streaming services until deciding earlier this year that a Spotify subscription was a worthwhile investment.

  • Announcing: "Can I Call It…?"

    There are a whole host of decisions involved with starting a new software project. What’s my target audience? What language shall I write it in? Which libraries shall I use? And of course, “What shall I call it?”

  • From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee, Thou Facebook Privacy Model

    This morning I tweeted my annoyance with Facebook’s privacy model, and since that provoked some (albeit minor) reaction, I thought I’d follow it up with a better explanation of what I’m on about.

  • Fuck it, Let’s Remake TweetDeck. Only Better.

    It’s no secret that, since the launch of version 2.0 back in July of 2011, my SuccessWhale social network client has stagnated somewhat. It had reached that point at which it did everything that I needed it to do, and so my enthusiasm for updating it kind of disappeared.

  • Google Reader vs "Do No Evil"

    Today, Google announced that its popular RSS reader, Google Reader, would be retired. This has provoked an outcry from certain corners of the internet, as GReader was a well-loved product. In many ways it was – and still is – the gold standard of RSS readers. It was massively more popular than the alternatives, so much so that many other RSS reader applications added a “sync with Google Reader” option so that the offline application could stay in sync with what the user read on the web in GReader.

  • Alas, Poor TweetDeck

    It should have been obvious when TweetDeck was acquired by Twitter back in 2011 that it wasn’t long for this world. Even more so when the only significant update in the intervening period was to remove a feature (handling tweets over 140 characters).

  • Ingress and the ELI5 Test

  • Two Lessons in Running Web Servers

    First of all, a big shout out to les hommes et femmes at http://korben.info/, who today have taught me an important lesson.

  • The Ego, the Social Graph, and the Great Unfriending

    Long ago, in the early years of Facebook’s rise to power, it became apparent that it had another key feature alongside feeds and wall posts – the friends list. Not only was it a good way to keep in touch with friends after University, it also became a good way of declaring who those friends were. This aspect was emphasized more and more as the site’s user base increased; you could now keep a quite exhaustive catalogue of who you knew. There were even apps on Facebook’s fledgling platform that allowed to to map those friends, and see interesting groups and connections form.

  • Lament for Web 0.1

    With every passing day, my Facebook feed is spending more and more time informing me that old school friends “like Amazon”. (No shit, really?) In the background, it’s fiddling our feeds, showing and hiding entries according to what it thinks is relevancy, and also what it thinks is profit for itself. Game spam is constant. On the other side of the fence, Twitter is trying to force out the third-party clients that made it great, so that it can monetise its users more easily.

  • Anti-SEO Spam from iProspect (for British Gas)?

    Today, I received a rather unusual e-mail.  Or more precisely, nine rather unusual e-mails within about a second of each other.  They were of the following form, altering only the onlydreaming.net link in the middle to use another WordPress tag (always ending with /feed):

  • "Goddamnit, PHP", Episode 587

    If any of my readers are also SuccessWhale users, you may have noticed that for the last few days, clicking the “Conversation View” button for a tweet has resulted in a message declaring that you have tried to look at a “protected or deleted tweet” even though that is plainly not the case.

  • The Need for Mobile General Computation (aka, why I’m stuck with Android)

    My mobile phone contract has well and truly hit the “18-month itch” stage – although I still have six months until an upgrade is due, I can’t help but look at adverts and scan gadget blogs and think “ooh, I want one of those”.

  • On Very Small PCs

    With my recent acquisition of a Bluetooth keyboard added to the PowerSkin, my phone has completed its transition from thin, attractive polycarbonate slate to the monstrous assault on product design you see before you.

  • Dawkins, meet 4chan

    When Richard Dawkins first coined the word “meme”, he described it as “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” The mental equivalent of a gene, it is something we pass from parent to child, though the mental rather than physical nature of the meme allows it to be passed from any person to any other person regardless of their parentage.

  • Skeuomorphism Must Die!

    There have been a lot of rants around the internet of late about “skeuomorphism” in software, largely targeted at the latest versions of Apple’s operating systems. They’ve almost all been negative, possibly because designers hating on the concept are the only ones who felt sufficiently incensed that they looked up the name for it. I’m afraid I’m going to do nothing to buck the trend.

  • Gaming is Over

    Dear Sid Meier,

  • We, the Web Kids

    Occasionally, I read a piece of writing that sums up my thoughts so well, so exactly, that I sit and try to blog something comparable and just fail.  Try as I might, I can’t outdo the original.  I’m not sure what Pastebin.com’s retention policy is, so just in case, here it is in full:

  • Whither the Facebook Purge?

    The other day, a bout of online drama made me wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to make my online activities a little more private – hide my Twitter feed, for example, and maybe un-friend some people on Facebook to restrict it to just my “core” friends.

  • Progressiveness and the Tribe

    As a former supporter of the Liberal Democrats, I found my support leaning toward Labour due to the Lib Dems’ ongoing disastrous coalition with the Conservative party.  But in truth, the Labour party are just a convenient political marker for some of my opinions on economic and social policy.  What I really care about, I suppose, is progress – changing things that are broken, trying new ideas until we discover something that makes the country work better.

  • Designing for Granddad

    Slate’s recent article, “2011 Was a Terrible Year for Tech”, coins the term “mom-bomb” for the moment that technology journalists declare a gadget so easy-to-use that it is actually useful to people who aren’t technology journalists:

  • Not So Fleeting Anymore

    I took my first faltering steps “online” in the mid-90s, courtesy of Trumpet Winsock under Windows 3.1, followed by AOL’s UK Games Chat, doubtless a gateway drug to the life of Usenet and IRC that followed; hoping and pleading that my parents wouldn’t pick up the phone and hear the telltale 14.4 kilobit buzzing that gave away my illicit internet usage.

  • SuccessWhale is Terrifying: VPS Edition

    Just under two years ago, my SuccessWhale Twitter client was gaining new users at a steady rate and, as I noticed with alarm, was about to blow through my then-limited bandwidth allowance.

  • Announcing: SuccessWhale version 2.0!

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet, I am pleased to announce that SuccessWhale version 2.0 has just been released and is now live on sw.onlydreaming.net.

  • My BlackBerry Week

    My phone, an HTC Desire HD, is a gorgeous slate of metal and glass; thin but with a huge screen, and when I bought it back in December of 2010, it was the most powerful and capable phone on the market. It is part of the future of ‘computing’, capable of 99% of what I use my laptop computer for. It’s also irresistible to my Cut the Rope-completionist son, and unfortunately, heavy gaming use drains the battery in a little under three hours. Normal use, for me, toasts it in between 8 and 12.

  • "Quick Energy"

    Late last night, my wife thrust into my hands a bottle of something called “Quick Energy”, with instructions that I should drink it in the morning, and a minor warning that it might be absolutely disgusting. Well, as a man who is still trying to track down a way of importing Four Loko, I guess I have no grounds to decline this.

  • Could I Live Without…?

    A couple of months ago, I was particularly scathing about the crop of Facebook games that I was playing, particularly ones that had no end. The result? I no longer play any games on Facebook whatsoever. As I bemoaned at length, not one of them was adding to my life in any appreciable way.

  • IE6, WordPress, and Dick Moves

    For years, anti-IE6 sentiment on the internet has been rising – and justly so. It’s ten years old, and cares so little for standards that web developers often have to code for it specifically. Quite reasonably, they – we – are a bit fed up with that. Successive versions of Internet Explorer have become much better at standards support, and it would be great if every IE user would just upgrade to IE9 tomorrow.

  • Geo-IP Security: Option Three

    Facebook, and many other online services, have an almost-clever security measure that tries to protect users against account theft. It uses your IP address to do a “Geo-IP” lookup – that is, to figure out roughly where in the world you normally access the site from. If an access attempt happens from elsewhere, the user will have to supply extra information to log in – often an “identify this person from their tagged photos” quiz.

  • A Place for Google Plus?

    “Google+”, Google’s new stab at social networking, is doing the rounds of tech news sites today. So what’s it like – if you scored an invite, should you be using it, and if you haven’t yet, are you missing out?

  • Twitter, Facebook and the Expectation of Privacy

    I’ve been asked a couple of times why it is that my status posts on Facebook are locked down, visible only to friends or sometimes friends-of-friends:

  • Cultural Travesty Pizza

    Over the past couple of hours, I’ve been encouraging the people of Twitter and Facebook to help me create the world’s greatest culinary cultural travesty. Starting with a pizza base, as probably the easiest thing to hold all the other stuff, I intend to pick one of the suggested foodstuffs for each country or region, and add some to the pizza.

  • An Ending in Darkness

    I lie unmoving on the floor of Joseph’s bedroom, stretching my back into shape as I listen to the splattering of raindrops against his window. A cold north wind blows them on, a rare wind in these parts. So rare is this wind, and so sheltered is our flat from all other directions, that the sound of rain against glass seems alien for a moment.

  • Preaching and the Defence Industry Choir

    CertificateThis week at work has largely been taken up by a Usability training course, borne out of the HMI team’s desire to have at least some sort of formal training in the area, rather than just being chucked in a team together because we were the only people that gave a damn that users liked using our software.

  • Data and the Generation Gap

    I returned to my parents’ house after my final year at university approximately an eternity ago* to discover that they had at last entered the Cretaceous and acquired a broadband internet connection. I was less than impressed with the limits imposed on this connection, though – it came with a measly 1GB monthly data limit, which of course for them was perfectly adequate. I don’t know how much they get through these days (and I’m willing to bet they don’t either), but I suspect their 1GB limit is still firmly in place.

  • Debt Rating for the Internet Age

    With the recent financial crisis, and unrest in the Middle East and north Africa, there has been much talk in the news of changes to countries’ debt ratings – usually for the worse. But their scale, not to put too fine a point on it, is mad.

  • SuccessWhale: Considering the Reply UI

    What was once my simple Twitter client, SuccessWhale, is undergoing a lot of changes in the build-up to version 2. One of the biggest changes is the support for multiple services, of which Facebook is the first to be integrated. This, combined with the Twitter website’s new design, brings into question SuccessWhale’s “reply” UI.

  • The Pulse

    Another afternoon of high-volume Pendulum and high-caffeine brain, blazing through work on one screen while flicking my attention over two others. Two news pages and four Twitter lists are open, poised. They all refresh automatically, but each time my eyes focus on them I reach for the manual refresh button purely on instinct.

  • Inbox Many

    There’s been a recent increase in productivity-related posts on Lifehacker, so inspired by that I thought I’d share how I “get things done”, and hopefully swap tips with others!

  • The Rise and Fall of LiveJournal

    Once upon a time, accounts on blogging site LiveJournal were precious commodities indeed – the site gave out invites for its members to use, but there was no public sign-up page. I got my invite in the autumn of 2003 thanks to sasahara (Account active 2003-2009) from the IRC channel that I frequented at the time.

  • Adventures in the Diaspora Ghost Town

    Diaspora*, for those unaware, is a distributed and privacy-conscious social network currently in development by students at New York University. It raised $200,000 of funding via Kickstarter back in June, and is currently in alpha testing state. By virtue of my pseudowife’s donation, we have been sent both the developer preview software itself, and invites for the Disapora “pod” at joindiaspora.com.

  • Stuxnet is in the hands of Bad Guys?!

    Hey! Do you like fear? Do you like bullshit headlines? Well, has Sky got an news for you! “Super virus a target for cyber terrorists”, which bears the even more fascinating <title> tag of “Stuxnet Worm: Virus Targeted At Iran’s Nuclear Plant Is In Hands Of ‘Bad Guys’, Sky News Sources Say”, is their latest fantastical fearmongering piece. Let’s butcher it together.

  • The Sticker Economy

    I find it remarkable how much my 3-year-old son – and presumably by extension most kids his age – go crazy for stickers. They don’t do anything, besides stick to a wall-chart. They don’t even necessarily have to lead to any better reward (10 stickers and we buy you a toy, etc.). It’s a completely false economy, and yet kids will modify their behaviour just to obtain stickers from their parents.

  • Waning Technological Desire

    What seems like a long time ago, I blogged about the unrelenting pace of technology and Internet-borne social interaction, and how much I loved it. But that was a February day with the promise of Spring in the near future. Now it is Autumn, and I am not altogether sure I feel the same way.

  • A Farewell to Marmablues

    May 1998, half a lifetime ago. It was my 13th birthday, and my parents – no doubt annoyed by four years of me messing with the family computer – bought me my own. It had a 333MHz processor, 32 glorious megabytes of RAM, and most exciting of all, a 56k dial-up modem.

  • Alarm Apps, and the Lulz that can be had

    I am in the middle of creating an Android app that’s a kind of super alarm clock. (God forbid I should have less than six projects on the go at once.) In the run-up to your chosen alarm time, it pulls down various feeds from the internet so that it can wake you with news, weather and traffic information. A typical wake-up message might be:

  • Alright Government, Hands Off Our Internet

    And that is an ‘our’ that does not extend to those inside Westminster, because with a few notable exceptions, MPs have shown an almost complete lack of understanding of the internet and how it works.

  • For the Discerning Lady or Gentleman, SuccessWhale version 1.1

    The sudden proliferation of peoples’ syndicated tweets from sources such as Foursquare and Fallen London annoys me far more than it should. Any more sensible old grouch would pick up his pipe, don slippers and write a strongly-worded letter to the local newspaper about how this ‘checking in’ business is corrupting society.

  • Cold War II: Once More with Botnets

    In a press conference at the RSA Conference yesterday, Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, suggested that the principles of “cyber-war” could be influenced by those of nuclear deterrence.

  • i-Dosing is a Thing Now?

    So, not only does October’s edition of Wired UK suggest 4chan in its list of unusual places to make friends online – yup, that would indeed be an unusual place to look – but it seems to have decided to enlighten its readers on the wonders of i-Dosing too.

  • Engineering and Enterprise

    I stoop low over the table, squinting in the flickering light of an incandescent bulb not long for this world. My fingers clutch and twist wires, forming tiny twigs of copper into shapes that would join and hold fast. I am Making Ethernet Happen. Without benefit of crimping tools or solder, or even sellotape to separate each contact from its kin, I have zero technology, and with it I bring our species’ greatest technology to this place.

  • a thousand words: Finishing Touches

    The vast majority of user-reported bugs and requested features on “a thousand words” have now been sorted out. As requested by my co-conspirator Eric, we now have an ‘adult content’ filter based on a date of birth field in users’ profiles, and a ‘report’ button to bring problematic stories and pictures to the attention of the moderators. There’s also a DeviantArt-style “request critique” option to let users know what kind of comments you’re looking for.

  • a thousand words: Alpha, Beta

    “a thousand words” has now reached a stage where every feature that I give a damn about is implemented. Thus, we’re opening it up to a limited beta test to iron out the wrinkles and get a list of any features potential users would like to see us launch with. If you’re bored or simply have a love of breaking other people’s shit, head along to http://athousandwords.org.uk and see what hell you can raise. As the Big Red Box Text warns you, really don’t submit any work of fiction you care about, just in case some kind soul finds an SQL injection vulnerability and trashes the database.

  • a thousand words: Hot Profilin’ Action

    A few days’ laziness (by which I mean a few days’ Starcraft) have passed with not much work being done on “a thousand words”. That came to an end tonight, with a productive evening resulting in a working profile system so that users can now add and display personal information, change their registered e-mail address and password, etc.

  • a thousand words: GETting and POSTing

    Another day, another bunch of functionality added to a thousand words. With the main public-facing interfaces largely complete, I have moved on to the guts of the site’s user interaction. The site now has working, but ugly, implementations of:

  • a thousand words: First Sketches

    With the main browsing UI for a thousand words up and running, it’s time to bore the world with more pointless trivia before moving on. Today: design sketches!

  • a thousand words: A New Timesink has Arrived!

    Somehow unable to cope with actually having free time of an evening, I have taken on yet another project which will doubtless push me deeper into the dark, untamed wilds of the internet, the land stalked only by the mysterious beast known as the “web developer”.

  • Adrift in Time

    As Mark pointed out to me, it’s probably rather strange to pick for your Best Man someone who you’ve seen only three times in as many years. But although some small part of my brain insists that some time has passed since I left university, it’s easily overruled by the rest.

  • Raoul Moat and the Facebook of Lulz

    For some unimaginable reason, two weeks and counting after the whole Raoul Moat business kicked off, it’s still plastered across the papers. Why? Because someone created a Facebook tribute page. Facebook refused to take it down. Then the owner removed it. Then someone made another one. Then the Prime Minister waded in. And one of Moat’s victims.

  • The Technology of Westminster Hubble

    For anyone interested (yes this is mostly for you, @HolyHaddock), Westminster Hubble is written in a combination of PHP and JavaScript, with a MySQL database as its backend.

  • Announcing: Westminster Hubble!

    Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I am proud to announce the release of a new website. This is what I have been winding up most of my Twitter followers for the last two months by referring to it only as “Super Secret Project #1”. Its name is Westminster Hubble.

  • The Open Government we Campaigned For?

    This morning, Liberal Democrat supporters and others unfortunate enough to have made it onto Nick Clegg’s mailing list received an e-mail from the Deputy Prime Minister announcing the Your Freedom website.  Which is great, although a good 24 hours late.

  • Farewell, Dynamic Democracy

    Back in April, the Digital Economy Bill was rushed through the wash-up procedure of the outgoing government without the due debate and consideration that I and others believe such a far-reaching bill deserved. My disillusionment with the government decision-making process over the following week led me to set up and announce a new site, called “Dynamic Democracy”. It was an experiment to see what would be discussed if everyone was involved – on an anonymous basis – rather than just our elected representatives that often do not do a good job of representing us anyway.

  • This is your Brain on Electrodes

    Two interesting articles surfaced on the internet today that have resulted in rampant frothing from my location. The first, linked by @CampaignReboot, is this: “A Pacemaker for your Brain”.

  • When Mark met David

    After the recent visit of Mark “I’m the CEO… bitch” Zuckerberg to No. 10 Downing Street, Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for culture and media, tweeted:

  • Tiring of Lock-In

    My main argument against owning an iPhone, despite their shininess, has been one of vendor lock-in. Once you have an iPhone, you are virtually compelled to also use iTunes, as it won’t sync with anything else. And that dictates your choice of operating system and primary media player, both of them towards software that I’d not otherwise pick (Windows or Mac over Linux, and iTunes over virtually anything else).

  • An Experiment in Dynamic Democracy

    Dynamic Democracy

  • Dating the Techno-Thriller

    There’s little greater testament to the incredible pace of technological progress than the rate at which books set in the present day become dated.

  • Proxies and the Law

    In light of the passing of the Digital Economy Bill, and Ben Bradshaw’s intent to push for government power to force ISPs to block sites that are “likely” to be used for copyright infringement, the government could in a few months’ time demand that ISPs block access to the likes of Wikileaks, The Pirate Bay and Rapidshare, all sites that have perfectly legal uses. And I’m sure it can’t be long before the government and the IWF together have a go at 4chan.

  • Welcome to the New Digital Economy

    Despite its sponsorship by a twice-disgraced and unelected politician, despite the fact that it was transparently lobbied for by companies representing the record labels, despite it carrying disproportionate punishments for file-sharers, despite it seeking to undermine the work of content creators, despite a promise to oppose it from the Lib Dems, still the Digital Economy Bill passed through the Houses of Parliament.

  • The In-Between Devices

    Saturday’s launch of the Apple iPad, and the ensuing fanboy circle-jerk, have thrown into the public eye yet another category of device to further muddy the gadget waters. It is by no means the first tablet, nor will it be the last by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s probably the device that’s most widely spread the idea that “hey, tablets exist”.

  • The Web’s Syntax Problem

    As @aefaradien notes, the web has a syntax problem. It’s this: A user wishes to post something complicated – text with links, formatting, even inline graphics. They go to a website and are faced with a text box and a flashing cursor. What do they type? What syntax will help them achieve their goal?

  • The Public Human

    One of the greatest trends in technology over the last decade seems to have been the erosion of privacy, and I don’t see this changing in the decade to come. Our greater dependence on the internet, social networking, blogging, sharing, status updates – they are all leading us towards a world where nothing is private anymore.

  • Multitasking, the new "Doing Things"

    I am beginning to wonder if it is possible for me to single-task anymore.

  • Breaking Out of Twitter

    Earlier this evening, @HolyHaddock linked to an entry on Brian Hurt’s blog entitled “Why I Quit Twitter”. In it, he argues for his leaving Twitter on the grounds that it is not a good place for debate and extended discussion:

  • 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.

  • Coming of Age

    Yes, she's legal.

  • 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.

  • Dishing out Google Wave Invites

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

  • Oh Look, a Totally Normal E-mail

    Ahahaha WHAT.

  • OMG WTF CPP

    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.

  • Carter-Ruck Solicitors vs. Freedom of the Press

    EDIT: Victory. Original post follows:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Higgs Boson

    Eric bought a plushie Higgs Boson off t’internet.