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Wednesday, 30 April 2003

Nothing will keep us together

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Tuesday, 29 April 2003


  • MacNN covers iTunes 4 details including auth/deauth and streaming.
  • MacSlash is reasonably sure that iTunes 4 isn't using HTML to render its storefront.
  • Panic's Steven Frank on the iTunes music store.

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Monday, 28 April 2003


So, I downloaded iTunes 4. See, Apple has a new Music Store:

The iTunes Music Store is not available in your country yet. You will be able to browse music and listen to previews, but you won't be able to purchase music unless your billing address is in the United States.

Sigh. I would like to spend money, please. Anyway. What Ben said.

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I'm a professional cynic

  • Probably fake OS X 10.3 screenshots showing off Piles.
  • Today is the day that Apple will be announcing something.
  • Engineering company with no prior education experience gets contract to improve struggling schools: BBC, Guardian and Times. Oh. They were also responsible for that Potters Bar crash.
  • Times extract on getting kids to do viral marketing for free posters and CDs, from Alissa Quart's Branded. Sounds like a Naomi Klein in the making.
  • This one for Arie: Vardy foundation plans to open six new creationist schools in the UK, Guardian trawl on Vardy.
  • Somewhat reassuring explanation for the ending to Minority Report (why does Steven do that to films?) via Sore Eyes.
  • Dear Mother of God, thank you: The Times is reporting that house prices are finally starting to fall, with properties for sale in East Anglia rising by 12% and buyer numbers rising less than 2%. There's a graphic, as well. Meanwhile, as a first-time buyer, the BBC says I'm paralysed by fear and getting older.

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Friday, 25 April 2003

Get shorty

I'm busy with apartment-bidding (for, not 'doing the bidding of') and revision for post-Easter exams. This either means that there will be more (procrastination) or less (actual revision) here.

  • Long-term backups on Slashdot.
  • Mac OS X speed FAQ.
  • Official SARS fatality rate at least 10%, new figure due to stats, not any change in the virus.
  • This for 2lmc: Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow collaborate on unwirer. Take that, Orlowski. "Put another way, he chooses his words carefully, and he chooses the contexts in which they will have most impact." - Orlowski undoubtedly does this (he's a good troll when he wants to be), but the typos in The Register make the Guardian look as if it were drafted by a battery of lawyers from a magic circle firm.
  • ... and via 2lmc, blanket wi-fi for Soho. Not jealous at all.
  • Some stuff on MSDN: XP Embedded and screen orientation and rotation for Tablet PCs.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2003

Moveable Type, TypePad and FOAF

Ben Hammersley writes at the Guardian list of Six Apart's new hosted service, TypePad, that will incorporate FOAF amongst other things. Six Apart also announced investment by Neoteny (Joi Ito's company) and the employment of Anil Dash.

Ben's RDFWeb-dev email has more details:

[TypePad is] going to produce FOAF automatically for every user, and detect the link rel to the FOAF file of anyone who you put in your blogroll...I saw it on Monday, it's very very very sweet.

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From Geek to Chic

Okay, so I was bored. I was channel surfing. I was on a superior high after watching Dr. Phil lambast Americans with dreams of overachieving for spending beyond their means. Jenny Jones was on next. They had a programme called From Geek to Chic, a compendium showcasing some of their best examples of formerly bullied geeks who'd tarted themselves up a little to rub their new-found appearance into the faces of those who'd been so caustic in the past.

Quickly, a number of things became apparent: geeky people have braces and average sized breasts. Chic people have good, straight teeth (amazing what the passage of time can do when combined with braces) and much larger breasts that defy gravity. This only applies to women. For example, there were no men who had straight teeth and bigger breasts (no offence to the male geek community, but...)

"Hello, now I have larger breasts and act dumb, people like me!"

To save future generations from psychological distress, I propose the following:

All unpopoular girls should get counselling from a plastic surgeon at secondary school. If you agree to any subsequent cosmetic surgery resulting from your counselling, you get a discount. In fact, schools could be sponsored by plastic surgeons in much the same way they're sponsored by, say, Pepsi. Instead of drinks machines lining the walls (more accurately, alongside drinks machines lining the walls) you could have a walk-in surgery for your lunchbreak. The availability of botox at the cafeteria can be discussed at a later date.

For those more complex cases, I guess breast reduction could be offered, provided it was made clear that the patient would have popularity issues later in life.

Seriously, there's money (and happy people!) to be made from this.

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Small but perfectly linked

  • Against my better judgment, this is a link to Andrew Orlowski on Gitta Salomon's piles patent. Oh look, he's capable of writing a reasonable article without frothing at the mouth. Maybe Google was nice to him today.
  • PS3 and the Cell--not likely to be together seeing as the Cell's not supposed to be coming out until 2007.
  • InfoSync has articles on the new Palm lineup and a review of the Zire Z71. Also from Infosync, control your Nokia 7650/4650 from your PC, as opposed to controlling your Mac with your phone.
  • Blogzilla says Firebird 0.6 will be released any day now, here's what needs to be fixed before it can ship.

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Tuesday, 22 April 2003


Huh. No UK huh yet (new store, new iBooks).

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There's a chair in my head

  • MacRumors covers Panther's user-centred design, USB2 and the iPod and an update of the 'communicating device' rumour.
  • Apple has a story on Liam Lynch's United States of Whatever.
  • Athlete's El Salavador is pretty good--you can see the video online here. Seen on BSkyB's new music channel, The Amp, and followed by The Avalanche's Frontier Psychiatrist (can't remember which version of that video). Not bad.
  • Today's Guardian trawl: NUT leaders want to make maths post 14 optional, how the middle classes saw off the graduate tax, that five cups of tea story and 'empirical evidence' that the BBC was pro-war.
  • RealAudio: George Galloway on Today refuting the Telegraph story that he was receiving oil earnings from Iraq.
  • Get thee to Paul Debevec's site and download every single absolutely stunning CGI movie there is to download from there. Now. Debevec is part of the inspiration for the engineering behind the Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions' special effects (check out the Campanile Movie).
  • Chandler 0.1 is out.
  • Half-Life 2 will be shown at E3. The original was a great game, though most people raving about it choose to forget about the godawful last act.

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Monday, 21 April 2003

OS X stuff

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Overly linky log entries return!

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Friday, 18 April 2003

The Honda Accord Cog Advert

Remember that stunning advert for Honda's Accord that was floating around a while back? If you haven't seen it yet, I've still got a mirror up here [4mb Quicktime temporarily unavailable].

If, on the other hand, you live in the UK, you can get a free copy of the full advert on DVD, including a music video of the track that plays at the end, an illustrated guide to the parts used and a four minute making-of documentary. Oh, did I mention it was for free? I've got mine...

Call the Honda UK Contact Centre on 0845 200 8000 to get your copy. It'll take about two business days for you to receive the DVD in the post.

Note to advertisers: make a good enough advert (this campaign reportedly cost three quarters of a million pounds), and you'll end up with people like me raving about it and telling everyone I know to check it out. Please, make more adverts like this.

Update 26 April 2003: UK residents can order the DVD online, as well.

Update 28 April 2003: The music in the Honda Accord Cog advert is Rapper's Delight, by the Sugarhill Gang. You can buy their greatest hits from Amazon UK or Amazon USA. You also may not have seen the Telegraph article that revealed the advert was completed on its 606th take.

Update 5 May 2003: The Quicktime video mirror of the Honda Accord Cog advert I put up is temporarily available: it looks like the academic account I was hosting it on has been disabled for a while. I'll see if there's somewhere else I can find to mirror it, hopefully it will be back up soon.

Update 6 July 2003: You can now download a zipped copy of the video from Honda's UK website here.

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Wednesday, 16 April 2003

And you shall have my axe (I'd rather have a deposit, thank you very much)

The laptop's back, but it's where I'm not: I've been in Cambridge since yesterday (and will be leaving tomorrow), hunting houses. You'd think that hunting for a house would be quite easy (stupid, large, immobile objects hunted by small, intelligent, car-driving objects) but apparently--as I'm quickly learning--it's not easy at all.

For instance: I've come to realise that the universe does not apparently revolve around me and that other people have taken it upon themselves to bid for properties that I'm interested in. Bastards.

Those who a) vaguely know me, b) wish to take part in the house selection process, c) have some sort of trading spaces/changing rooms fetish and d) genuinely have nothing better to do should email me to join in on the fun if they're not playing already - vicariously experience all the thrills, spills and excitement involved with buying property, all without having to speak to an estate agent or mortgage lender!

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Monday, 14 April 2003

The kids aren't alright

There were some kids in the street today, riding bikes.

I slowed down and stopped because they were riding around in circles in the middle of the road. It's Easter, so most of the kids are on Easter break. They were around seven to ten years old, and looked like they were having fun.

They got out of the way of the car--we were on the way to the rubbish dump to throw away some junk--and as we drove past, they shouted "Chink!" at us.

I'm glad everything's all right with the world. I suppose I'm glad that I notice when it happens, as opposed to when it doesn't.

How was your day?

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Sunday, 13 April 2003

SARS Sequenced

Via the Calgary Sun, Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre has the first public SARS Coronovirus draft whole genome assembly available for download: 29,736 base pairs in a gzip file. More information at their SARS page. Slashdot monkeys can celebrate when they spot the phrase "Beowulf cluster" further down the page.

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Thursday, 10 April 2003

Why my laptop isn't on my lap

I've become incredibly anal about dealing with customer service just so I could present to you (well, okay, not just you) this epic: Why My Laptop Isn't On My Lap.

26 February
Airport stops working for no apparent reason: won't find the D-Link WAP automatically, if I enter an SSID manually it picks up the WAP's MAC address but refuses to play. Won't even create an ad-hoc network. Reboot lots. Repair permissions lots. Furrow brow. Call Applecare. Applecare closed. Don't feel cared for.

27 February
Call Applecare, on hold for eight minutes, get a case ID. They refuse to believe it's a problem with anything in the laptop, and tell me to go to one of two authorised service centres in my general vicinity, both of which are at least an hour's drive away so I can have it tested with an Apple base station. One of the two authorised service centres isn't, in fact, an authorised service centre and gets quite stroppy, the other is apparently deciding not to answer the phone. Remember that there's a third authorised service centre that I nearly bought my laptop from, and call them, instead.

28 February
Take laptop to authorised service centre. They play with it for about half an hour, ask me for my password (No, you can't have it, I'll create a separate user for you) and pronounce the airport card dead. I ask them if they can give me a replacement. They say they don't have any. I point at the boxes with airport cards in. They say that they can't give me one, I have to call Applecare and they'll sort it out. Still not feeling particularly cared for.

28 Februrary
Call Applecare, get through to an airport specialist who admits that they'll have to ship me a replacement card. They will need the serial number of the card that's in there. I do not have the serial number of the card that's in there. There is no way for me to get the serial number of the card that's in there without opening the machine up. I do not have a Torx T-9 screwdriver. Order a Torx T-9 screwdriver. Wait.

March 7
Torx T-9 screwdriver arrives. Open laptop. Marvel at lots of small things packed inside it. Take down serial number, wonder if I should get the serial number of anything else while I'm at it. Call Applecare. Get put through to an airport specialist. Get put through to an actual airport specialist. Airport specialist fails to read casenotes, so have to explain what's going on again. Airport specialist decides that I should be shipped a replacement card, it should arrive within five business days.

March 13
No replacement card. Call Applecare. Ponder renaming Applecare just "Apple" as care is severely lacking. Get put through to airport specialist. Airport specialist puts me through to some sort of repairs department. Repairs admits that they never actually sent the replacement card because the other airport specialist never asked for my credit card number. Why do they need my credit card number? In case I don't return the broken card. Give them my credit card number. They promise to send a replacement card.

March 18
Replacement card arrives, no note inside apologising from Apple, nor, say, a slice of cake. Have sinking feeling that replacement card will not work, either. Install replacement card. Not surprised at all when replacement card fails to work. Call Applecare. Put through to most knowledgeable airport specialist yet (Thomas is now my favourite), who not only had read casenote when I got put through, but also suggested a whole bunch of stuff that no one else had suggested (but that I had already tried: reseating aerials by pressing inside battery compartment, resetting PMU, etc.). Thomas very sorry that I will have to return the laptop. Asks when will be the most convenient: most convenient will be when this semester ends. Reformat and reinstall 10.2 in the meantime in the hope that this will fix things. Doesn't work. Buy lots of CDRs and learn joys of backing up to iPod instead.

April 4
Call Applecare. First tier puts me through to an airport specialist. Airport specialist has clearly not read casenote as tries to explain to me how it's not their problem because I'm using a D-Link WAP. Patiently explain to airport specialist that no, it's entirely their problem. Am told that they will have to collect the laptop. Ask for it to be collected on April 10. They book the collection and tell me to call back on April 8 to confirm.

April 8
Call Applecare. First tier attempts to put me through to airport specialist, but head him off at the pass. Inform him to read my casenote and he admits that they never actually put through the order to do the pickup on the 10th. Decides to put through the order for the pickup on the 10th, and contacts the third party authorised repair people, since Apple won't actually be repairing it. Speak to third party repair people, they say the laptop will be collected on the 9th in the afternoon. This is good, it's earlier than the 10th.

April 9
Laptop not collected. Call third party repair people. Third party repair people tell me to call local courier depot. Local courier depot never received pickup order. Call third party repair people, they say they sent it at 9am, and decide to call depot. Third party people call back, tell me that they're going to fax through an order to pickup tomorrow (the 10th), and that they will call the depot to confirm, as well.

April 10
1:05pm: Laptop gone.

Update: Other things about Applecare
It was nice in the US. I walked into an Apple store (fine, I was near one at the time), said "Oi, my battery life isn't very good", they thought about it, asked me to try some power saving settings, then gave me a new battery as soon as they were in stock. Unfortunately, the Applecare I bought was the old non-global kind, which means I can't do this again. Also, Apple people in the US are weird: walking around in a mall after buying an iPod some woman came up to me and said "Ah! An Apple user!" and walked off. Weird.

Oh, and my replacement card was shipped from the Netherlands, and my broken card was also shipped back to the Netherlands. My laptop, though, is being sent to London. Where they probably have replacement cards.

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Updates will be light over the next seven days or so: after reporting to Apple that the wireless networking on my laptop was misbehaving in a puzzling manner a couple months ago, the whole thing is finally being collected for repair today.

For the next week--hopfeully shorter--I'll be slightly slower in replying to email, and linklog entries will probably be short or nonexistent.

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Wednesday, 09 April 2003

I'm your late-night headrush

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Tuesday, 08 April 2003

It's only in your head you feel left out

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Monday, 07 April 2003

This bed is on fire with passionate love

Update 6 August 2003 00:16 BST: If you got here from Google, you're probably looking for the lyrics to Laid by James. You can find them on this page.

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Sunday, 06 April 2003

I see you baby

  • Most useless Mac rumour ever at Loop Rumors: Panther to be "unlike anything else out there", will "end comparisons" and "will have Amazon's one-click technology built right in so shopping becomes part of the OS", everything will "just work". Not a joke site, just stupid.
  • New Scientist reports what could be the closest gammay ray burster yet.
  • Ben Hammersley and the coolness that is John Simpson.
  • New unofficial build of Phoenix for OS X. Not Phoenix, more like "Phoenix and stuff".
  • Everyone at #evanchan, please take the metric quiz. Stick your results in the comments so I can ritually humiliate you when you visit.
  • Compare and contrast the US version of Faking It with Channel 4's original.
  • Keeping up with all things Avril: Chretien admits that he likes Sk8er Boi and Complicated and that he was "very complicated" at school. He's possibly as down with the kids as Tom Watson.

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Saturday, 05 April 2003


  • The Salina Journal: "Ah, the French. They are like the schoolyard coward who won't stand up to a bully, yet readily pick his pockets once others have him subdued."
  • La Cross Tribune: "So we've gotten rid of some french fries. Big goony deal. When was the last time you ordered anything except fries and a Coke anyway?"
  • Lewisville Leader: "Calls for boycotts of products and tourism, renaming french fries as freedom fries -- even though they didn't come from France -- and other silly forms of pouting show just how childish and immature even the most senior of humans can be."
  • AP Wire: "'Freedom fries' follow long tradition of patriotic bashing"
  • Concord Online Monitor: "[W]ith the American-French political divide opened by the debate over the Iraq war, what used to be camaraderie has suddenly grown a sharper edge."
  • Aurora Sentinel Online: "I was one of the lucky few to be an American in Paris a couple weeks ago. After packing myself into Parisian buses, stores and elevators, I discovered quickly that there's nothing as French as an American, and the other way round."
  • The Washington Times: "A congressman from Colorado is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to immediately sever ties with a French-owned marble company that is the main supplier of headstones for national cemeteries in the United States."
  • Herald Tribune/AP: "Republican U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin yanked the French version of his Web site this week in protest of France's stance against the war in Iraq."

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She gave you everything she had

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Friday, 04 April 2003

I'll be forever blue

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Thursday, 03 April 2003


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Replacing OS X's Finder

2lmc discuss OS X's Finder and, amongst other things, ask how it can be replaced. There's a slightly less hacky Apple's Tech Note 2062 - Guide to Creating Kiosks on Mac OS X has a section entitled Replacing the Finder. The hacky method is featured in Apple's System Overview documentation.

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Go insane and out of your mind

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Wednesday, 02 April 2003

He was a boy, she was a girl

The linklog entries seem to be quite popular: is there anything you'd like more of? Less of? Anything I'm not covering at all that I should be? Comments appreciated.

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Your reminders for tonight

I sound like some sort of continuity announcer:

BBC Radio 4 starts two interesting series tonight: the first of the Reith Lectures is on tonight at 8pm BST and at 9pm, Living in the City explores social engineering in the design and layout of towns and cities.

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I wanna get you some good frequencies

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Google Broken (again?)

09:23 BST This doesn't feel right at all. http://www.google.com/ is resolving, but impossible--or just very, very slow, but I haven't succeeded yet--to get to. Anyone having any better luck? No one I know in the UK can get to them yet.

09:27 BST Ah. There are other search engines. This list of Google links. http://news.google.com seems to be working, as do URLs like http://www.google.com/press/. Matt says he can do a GET request fine from the commandline...

09:32 BST Some people say that the localised Googles are working: http://www.google.co.uk/, http://www.google.ca/, http://www.google.com.au/, but I can't get them to work.

09:50 BST Yay! http://www.google.com/

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Tuesday, 01 April 2003

Pity the foo'

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I'm not the milk and cheerios in your spoon

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