All posts made in Jun. 2000:

First steps with PHP3 and MySQL should get me started.

Smart: This article on xml/http messaging says that the W3C are considering an XML Protocols Activity.

Cool-but-could-be-annoying DHTML. Hm, clipping in a circle. The DHTML itself comes from Scriptomania at where there are more goodies to find. Some of them even work on my Mac.

I WAP in my spare time, but I don't have a phone. Handily, there's a web-based WAP emulator at

I am in love with the intro to soulbath. And I finally had a good look at the banner advert art at Click here and realised I should have done that ages ago: Highly recommended.

DJ Adams learns me real good:

In German, "both of them" is "alle beide" ("all both").
Which is nice.

Heh. And being relevant, truthful, informative and orderly, this conversation comes round to the fact that I've Got Two Legs.

It's been a while, but I've updated my Truth page: Why do some people wear clothes?

Yesterday, after we'd spent hours walking around Tate Modern:

Es Both my legs really hurt.

Matt Well, all mine do.

Es You can't say 'all' there.

Matt Why not? 'All' can still mean 'two'. Why isn't it my intonation that's wrong?

Es Because Grice's Maxims of Conversation say you shouldn't be ambiguous.

Matt Oh.

Mind you, the Maxims also say you shouldn't lie and you should always be relevant -- but they're a good starting point if you don't need to worry about sarcasm, humour, irony, and so on.

Big Brother UK has launched; the BBC covers it. The show hits Channel 4 in just over two weeks.

Imagine the set of all knowledge as a giant xml document. Now a query is simply an XPath location to the document fragment that holds the answer to the query. The document can be initially undefined, filled in only as people query it. btw, XML Fragments is a work in progress.

Think about it another way. There is some unknown function which is all knowledge. An operator acts on this function and out pops matching values; the answers. Very quantum mechanics. My point being -- the original document needn't exist. It's just a way of thinking.

And another way: The whole of Anoto-space (see my old post about Anoto) doesn't need to physically exist for you to address part of it. Now -- is this like Dave Winer's World Outline?

I have been awed today by Tate Modern. As ever, Bridget Riley was inspiring, although there were only four pieces. Although Riley's best known for her op-art, what I feel makes her (later) work really special is her use of colour. She has a way of bringing out incredible beauty from a tiny palette and her choices make even her greys luminous. I also saw my first Mark Rothkos and finally understood what I've been missing: I've never seen the internal experience of colour and light captured so well on canvas.

The gallery itself is in the old Bankside powerstation. The open volume inside has been maintained with the collections housed in three galleries which feel like an afterthought on one wall of the vast Turbine Hall. The Hall currently holds a Louis Bourgeois special exhibition, and I've never seen art this big. Three towers admit one or two visitors at a time; I felt the potential growing as I walked up the open spiral staircase (or that could have been vertigo), and at the top, as I sat on the chair with the huge curved mirrors around me and the other people watching from the balconies and higher levels, as I sat, offered into this space, I felt utter elation. There is no shame in being presented. I was conscious of my self and completely at ease.

The Turbine Hall was the only area in which I could take photographs, and I can barely wait to have them processed.

Upsideclown goes live today. This week, Victor says: I've seen the future, and it's feathered.

And, and, and: Finals are over. You ain't seen nothing yet. Just you wait. Just you fucking wait.

I was going to post a response to Dave Winer's Microsoft.NET notes, but I need to work on it some more. The rest of this post is what I thought of writing, starting with a quote from dw's post:

Hey it wasn't really Microsoft's vision, it was *our* vision. I think they've not really figured it out.

Right on! Supporting evidence from MSNBC's coverage of .NET:

"There has been an explosion of new devices and an explosion of Web sites and Web services, but no one is taking a step back and looking it at a higher level," said Microsoft spokesman Greg Shaw.

That's so unfair. W3C? Mozilla? I'm excited about what Microsoft are doing, but I'm concerned they may be going about it in the wrong way. Over a decade ago, Apple released Hypercard as a monolithic app and claimed they had perfected the Memex. It was very popular for a time, but now a collection of open tools and protocols (www, http, http post, cgi, xmlrpc, soap) do the same job and do it better. If only the vast talent in Microsoft could turn to using already existing|developing standards (XPointer, XPath, XLink, XSLT). XML is the new ASCII, afterall -- of course it's going to be supported; but what about the semantics? Watching what's happening, it's almost as if Microsoft never learnt to abstract properly.

And at that point, I run out of things to say. But do you get the idea?

It's gotta be

Apparently Oxford won't be giving Blair an honourary degree. Sorry, why is this news? Thatcher got pissed when Oxford wouldn't give her a degree too, but I was under the impression that this was because Oxford never grant an honourary degree to a sitting Prime Minister. Blair will be no exception.

I wish I had more time. When I do, needs a very good read.

Paul Simon's 'Graceland' is my all-time favourite album; Graceland itself a song that I can feel playing on and under my skin. Graceland, the album, was recorded in 1985 with a number of South African groups. I'd like to quote from the sleavenotes about Graceland, the track.

Graceland is less typical of South African music than most of the other tracks, largely because of the flexibility and collaborative musical gifts of two extraordinary musicians - fretless bass player Baghiti Khumalo and guitarist Ray Phiri. In fact, it almost has that feel of American country music. After the recording session, Ray told me that he'd used a relative minor chord - something not often heard in South African music - because he said he thought it was more like the chord changes in my music.

Paul Simon doing South African doing Paul Simon. Hey, and get this: Paul Simon had his eye on the internet way back there in the 1980s. From the lyrics to Boy In The Bubble:

Scaccato signals of constant information
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires and baby
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call

These are the days of miracle and wonder.

Excellent Simon & Garfunkel FAQ (homepage).

As they move advertising and capitalism into virgin territory, I want the pyschologists there to watch.

XML Linking Language (XLink) is currently in committee. One day, the www hypertext won't suck:

This specification defines the XML Linking Language (XLink), which allows elements to be inserted into XML documents in order to create and describe links between resources. It uses XML syntax to create structures that can describe the simple unidirectional hyperlinks of today's HTML, as well as more sophisticated links.

The XLink Extended Links look interesting.

More interesting still is XPointer (XML Pointer Language) which provides a way to reference fragments of xml documents. The possibilities are intriguing; I could see someone building a whole document CVS on top of Mozilla with these kind of tools one day.

"Beware the Pikachu, my son/ The jaws that bit, the claws that tore!" -Pikachewy. [cheers George]

"TITLE attributes don't show up on Netscape," says Nick. "Gnnnnng," I reply. Okay then, titles are now only used for context. My first dhtml project can be to implement them properly.

Me-mo: Add search to this site. [via Blogger howto]

Question: Dirk now works by parsing the path in the url /dirk/path. This is useful [extra information is in the 'title' attribute of the span around 'useful'. You can tell by its colour]. I've done this by putting an ErrorDocument 404 in the .htaccess of /dirk/ with an internal redirect to the main cgi which returns a status 200 OK so older browsers don't get confused. Randal L. Schwartz has a column on a 404 handler that dynamically generates icons.

Now here's my problem. Every access to a url under /dirk/ gets listed in Apache's errorlog: Ugly. http-analyze lists all of these in it's Not Found report. Okay I can make http-analyze ignore anything under /dirk/ but it's not an elegant solution.

So my question is: How can I let Apache know that 404s under /dirk/ aren't really errors and to record them as hits instead? Is there a better way of achieving what I've done? All this given that I can only use .htaccess, not httpd.conf, and mod_rewrite isn't available. Your thoughts most appreciated.

My name... is Baltor. My sworn enimy's* Altor and Zaltor. My name... is Altor. I come from a planet far, far away... My name! Zaltor! I come from a planet much, much further away...

It's going to be chaos tomorrow.

Keep up to date on UK unmetered ISPs.

BT owns the patent on hyperlinks and hear this, you're going to pay. Twats.

Two of the stupidest trademarks in the entire world: flake-ectible™ and Petography™. Words fail me*.

I like monkeys. Other people don't. How do we meet in the middle? How do we resolve this conflict? Answer: put monkeys in their bed, monkeys up their nose. Stuff their pockets with monkeys. Monkeys for breakfast, monkeys for dinner. And keep on feeding them these fucking monkeys until they say "Okay, okay, just keep your damn monkeys!". That works. The moral of this story: disagreements are only in the mind.

I followed Dirk's latest piece of knowledge (it wasn't me) and found all these things connected to spelling errors. I should do something about those. Thanks, whoever put all them in.

btw, there's a new way of accessing Dirk. Use the base url then, if you want to use metadirk, inverted or low graphics modes, add state/n/ where n is the state number (you'll find it in the url when using Dirk normally). You can leave out that state bit if you just use Dirk in its default mode. Now add /thing/yod to look up yod.

For example /dirk/thing/interconnected takes you to interconnected. I'll be migrating Dirk's functions over to this kind of mechanism more in the future. The url is the command line.

LynchNet is your premier resource for all things David Lynch. They've even got The Angriest Dog in the World, Lynch's comic strip about, uh, the angriest dog. In the world.

Richard Dawkins replies in an open letter to Prince Charles' Reith Lecture:

But where I allow feelings to influence my aims, when it comes to deciding the best method of achieving them I'd rather think than feel. And thinking, here, means scientific thinking. No more effective method exists. If it did, science would incorporate it.

I must say, Edge looks pretty shithot.

A Picture of Weblogs (Java): A great big interconnected graph of how weblogs were linked to each other on June 4th last. [via Bud]

Things that have been sold in vending machines. I like Honeyguide, a web log, too.

And I quote: The basic design philosophy of XMLterm is that the user interface is a dynamic XML document. Superlatives have just totally failed me. covers XMLterm in a good intro article.

Yeah baby. The State of XML speaks to me. Check out the Other Network Models subsection. That's what I've been going on about. Now if only there were some links to the 'interesting technologies'.

Snood is - and I'm not bullshitting you here - the best game since the dawn of humanity. If not better.

This is something you don't see every day: My mate Andrew, his mate Phil, and Harold Bishop out of Neighbours, all making obscene gestures at the camera.

More awesome www and print design at paranoid79. Check out the portfolio. The print stuff is especially impressive. (As there are more cross-discipline designers, web norms are going to start feeding back into print. I'm still percolating with this; more another time.)

I wish I could draw like typo5.

Man, this is really harsh.

The RIP Information Centre is a comprehensive portal to media coverage of RIP [via The Register].

I just bought Dynamic HTML (Amazon US|UK). It's from July 1998 which I know is pretty old, but things can't have changed that much. Updates and errata can be found at Danny Goodman's support centre.

XML and how to secure it (part of's XML Special) covers the need for encryption and signing of xml, and the problems involved in signing just part of a document [via Crypto-Gram].

Beautifully drawn new issue of dirt, plus a couple of free fonts and some great links. Especially: which launched pretty recently but what's there now is extremely promising. Lush. Lushlushlushlushlush.

jwz's Intertwingle looks interesting. As does the Insidious Big Brother Database.

Just got a cracking email from my aunt, who says: What are you doing with yourself and what are your plans? Just remember the world is your oyster go for it but not where there are spiders and it is more that 5 hours to visit.

Spirituality in science. I've never read such bollocks. Holistic science? Of course it's better, it's just a higher order approximation of the universe. And to claim that (his usage of the term) holistic science is the same thing as the study of complexity in biology -- Gah. I don't care if I agree with some of his suggestions, they've got shitty foundations. I can't stand pseudoscience.

Almost mundane not very good daily confessions, apart from these two (one, two) which made me laugh until my eyes popped.

What is CCTA? Is this the group that actually chooses and implements the technology for the e-government strategy? What and when is the conference for which there is this agenda? I want to know who the people are. I can't even figure out the organisational structure of this tiny part of the Government. There must be a better way.

Although the term 'eMinister' makes me feel physically nauseous, I held down my chyme for just long enough to read Patrica Hewitt's speech about GovTalk (among other things). nb: GovTalk appears to be based on BizTalk, but I can't find anywhere that says that outright.

Dan points me at BizTalk, a collection of schemas that define BASDA eBIS-XML (BASDA being an organisation representing many of the major business and accounting software developers.) which is used by the Inland Revenue for internet filing.

Wow. appear to be converging on something called GovTalk (a collection of xml schema) to interconnect the processes of government. This interoperability document outlines a system based on xml/xslt/rdf to merge data and make it better available to the public. These Information Age Government Champions (see their faq) really seem to get it.

The Inland Revenue publishes the communications schema, example xml and calculation spreadsheets (in Excel (xls) format) in their Internet Filing Technical Pack (off the Technical specifications homepage) for vendors: The pack contains all the documentation required to support the development of software for the electronic submission of Tax Returns (99/00) via the Internet. I wonder which vendors are developing around this. Who developed the system in the first place?

Some interesting comments about the title tag, at Flutterby. What I'd like to see: Every connection between two units (pages) should have information associated with it. (We do, to an extent, with the title tag but it's not very useful.) Minimising entities, we should encode that information in the same way a unit (page) is encoded, that is in html. By convention, this connection unit should be some kind of microcontent, but this shouldn't be dictated by the markup language. This connection information could be a list of reference links (indicating whether they are expansions, objections, supporting evidence, etc.), a photo thumbnail, the complete text of a footnote -- in short, context and descriptions of the link(s) at that anchor point. (This also removes us from the problem of having to shape our writing to include context in the text itself.) Of course, this connection can also include its own anchors which in turn have their own connections so the browser needs a way to move focus. These connection units should have backlinks so they can be used in many places in the source text and when you move focus onto one you see where it was referenced and also its context. This would help www hypertext in so many ways. Note: In the argument over whether hypertext needs one type of connection or >1, I'm on the >1 side.

On a similar note, we need a better way of having conversations. I would much prefer to have that Flutterby conversation across a number of weblogs, tracked and threaded by permalinks. I wonder if I could write a system to do this? It's on my Summer project list.

The Home Office have a home page for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill. There's an open letter (March 13th) addressing concerns about RIP which makes for interesting reading. Better still are the links to Hansard so you can follow the Bill as it goes through Parliament. I can't help being impressed with the standard of argument in the Lords (I hope it never becomes an elected chamber). Question: Do they always refer to the Commons as another place?

We've got a site, we've got a team. Upsideclown launches June 26th. Fresh every Monday.

Oh my god this has to be the coolest stereoscopic animated hypercube I have ever seen. If you don't have red/green glasses, then hit the 'stereo' button a couple of times and do that funky cross-eyed thang.

Revising. I can feel myself learning but it doesn't feel right. Every little piece I take in feels like it's balanced precariously higher and higher. I keep on having to go round and refresh everything, giving each equation, each bit of knowledge a bit more spin to keep all those plates in the air. Other times, when I'm learning, when I'm absorbing information through readmes and howtos and mail list archives, it feels so different. I'm sculpting. Chipping away, defining a subject by the topics around it. Understanding not by looking at the thing itself but by looking at how people relate to it. And I reread those readmes and howtos again and again and as I understand where each piece of information goes I sculpt more, completing a fractal surface. It's solid knowledge. Proper understanding. True magic, not this plate-spinning memory trick.

Government web sites are shit says the Commons Public Accounts Committee. And here's a nice snippet: You know it was promised that by 2005 100% of government services should be available electronically? Well, 'electronically' includes by telephone. That's so cynical. Do they think we're stupid*?

Government web sites aren't bad, if you know where to look. It's a grim situation where all these reports are posted but we only hear about them when there's a press release. Lazy journalism? Services, on the other hand, aren't well delivered at all. For some reason the independent committees responsible for advising policy are made up of older, less involved people, not the young people from inside the industry who use the web every day. Solving complex problems has as much to do with what you ask, and that part should be goal driven otherwise you'll never be able to push the envelope. Hm, I'm not getting this across very well. The BBC summarises the report.

Here's why right wing parties don't like the euro: A large block sharing a current and interest rate will not be able to use exchange rates to even out geographic differences. A group like the Conservative Party don't have any other mechanisms for influencing the economy, so the euro naturally doesn't make sense. The left of centre parties are happier to micromanage. They understand that you can put money in specific areas by local regeneration, or by building infrastructure. What's more, the lack of currency exchanges empowers the individual and takes the big banks out of business decisions. Moving the private sector out of people's lives, and being able to reduce the effects of the market on government policy is irresistable to these political parties.

That's what I think anyway. And what's more I think that's what the Third Way is about: Not using government money to support industries at the end of their life cycles or subsidising ventures that the markets would never allow (like the old socialist parties), but using that money to build permanent infrastructure that brings in and uses the leverage the markets can bring.

Silence will not defend the euro from its enemies. Spot on. People are anti the euro because they don't know better (oh yeah, so you aren't influenced by what the loudest voice is saying. And advertising doesn't work either).

This country should join the single currency. The Government aren't going to convince anybody of that if they get dragged into the debate in a general election situation in six months to a year's time. They should embrace Europe, fully, now. When legislation passes through the Commons that is because of an EC Directorate, make it clear that's the case. When money is given for regional development, tell everybody. Demonstrate that European policy is Westminster policy because we helped make it. Stop pretending that we lead the EU and tell people what is really happening. And once it's obvious that we're not part of Europe but that we are European, it'll be obvious that it would be stupid to keep sterling.

"We give you the dog and then sell you the dogfood." A thoroughly respectable idea, and I admire their business plan. There's even a company weblog, Blogs for Dogs, and it's good to see corporations participating in the community, but there's something in their tone I don't like. Come on guys, if you want a successful company then stop your sniping.

What are Blocks? Note to self: Stop asking questions and answer them.

I used to think David Siegel's homepage looked so cool. I never thought it would be an archive of how the web used to be. Check out his final journal entry. Look familiar? Everything old is new again. The collective memory of the www is only its e-folding rate.

While you're there, his essay on The Balkanization of the Web is worth reading. It's a non-linear essay, not very interlinked. It's got entry and exit tunnels. It works, dammit. There's a lot of text and it's actually readable. Then see Severe Tire Damage where Siegel lists improvements to be made to the www/browsers. Given so many of his suggestions have arrived, perhaps we could really make something out of the ones that haven't.

Another article: ICEing the Web at from March 1998. Good grief, where have I been? Nice short article, to the point, and lists some of the companies involved in the ICE consortium which tells you as much about ICE as reading the spec.

Self-Service Syndication with ICE. Short and sweet ICE intro.

Writing Webtext at Uncle Netword's Editorial Content on the Web compiles most of the major thought about how to write for the web and links back to their sources. An excellent resource. Also some good notes and pointers for copy editors at The Slot. Just the information I was after. Thanks to Bill Brown for these.

The auto-scrolling-look-ma-no-hands feature on the text repository is the funniest thing I've seen today. And I'm sure the need for the make-the-font-huge-for-easy-reading feature confirms an old wives' tale or two aswell.

What is ICE? ICE is Information & Content Exchange, a standard for syndicating information in xml. A subscriber can customise the information it receives (by push or pull) as dynamically generated xml from the syndicator. The latest ICE spec includes delivery options and is built to grow. A promising sentence: One can envision ICE implementations where the location URL and UUID are not the same, as in the case of a third-party subscription brokering service or clearing house. Compare and contract with RSS. Hm.

Objections mount to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill. Lord McNally: We're not going to accept a pig in a poke like this. Tim Berners-Lee: It gives a government great power to abuse personal and commercial innovation. Learn more about RIP at Stand.

The BBC keep a daily pollen forecast. I find that what's happening locally is a lot more important. I can be fine one minute, then walk past a particularly bad tree and not stop shaking for a quarter hour. Thomas Ogren says turn back the pollen clock (New Scientist Opinion section): The rise of hayfever is due to the replacement in cities of elm (which are mixed male/female and were wiped out by Dutch Elm Disease) with exclusively male trees (females litter seedpods) which produce a lot of pollen. Hence hay fever. Don't take this idea too seriously though. When The Times covered male trees and allergies they quoted an allergy professor at UCL. Paraphrasing: The rise in hay fever cases is occurring in June/July, which is when grass pollinates. Trees pollinate from February to April.

Nice work. Somebody managed to mention RIP (check out the 3-minute and detailed guides) on Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned.

I'm a fan of Chomsky's system of transformational grammar. 'Government and Binding Theory' is Chomsky's take on transformation grammar. His theory is a mesh of subtheories, one of which, the bit I really like, is x-bar. It's an incredibly elegant way of parsing sentences and transforming between the internal structure and what we actually say. Not that it works exactly, and I'm not sure whether it's made any predictions, but it's on my list of things to learn more about when I finish this physics course.

English Language at Britannica covers the history and characteristics of the language. Also see articles on the Germanic protolanguage and Proto-Indo-European.

I find this kind of stuff fascinating because I'm a bit of an armchair linguistician. Alas Es* studies linguistics and my two flatmates have in some way in the past aswell so I'm not allowed any bullshit. It's just an incentive to learn more, that's the way I see it.

Random Reality: Nearest-neighbour networks emerge from random connections.

Nick points me at Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen as the book to answer my prayers. Given this is the book, I can't let it go without noting Being Jakob Nielsen on A List Apart.

I'm not sure whether the most archaic thing about the Old English Computer Glossary is the language or the the entry 'half duplex mode' ('healftwifealdhad', if you're wondering).

Good descriptions and tree of Germanic languages. See where it all fits in with the Indo-European language tree.

Anglo-Saxon England online resources, part of ORB. Seems pretty comprehensive, but still didn't point me to a dictionary that could tell me if 'cunny' is an anglo-saxon word or not.

I remember reading somewhere (not www) that English isn't just a pick & mix of different languages, but that certain categories of words tend to come from different sources. It may have been The Language Instinct but I don't have my own copy so I can't be sure.

My mistress is a hive of bees. My, weren't they rude in 1719?

Ooh, Wired Style: Principals of English Usage in a Digital Age appears to have been reissued and updated (at or on 28th December 1999. Unfortunately, looking at the reviews, this doesn't seem to be what I'm after. It's a glossary of modern terms (like 'email' with/without the hyphen, and the plural of 'mouse'). What I wanted was a guide to writing for the www: Single-topic paragraphs, differences from daily newspaper writing, that kind of thing. I'll have to take a look at the book before buying it.

Tonight, I had four 3.60.20s for dinner. I quote: The Eurocode 2 Food Coding System was originally developed within the European FLAIR Eurofoods-Enfant Project "to serve as a standard instrument for nutritional surveys in Europe and to serve the need for food intake comparisons". Funky. And now we need to hook this classification scheme into some meta system with all the others, and then we can communicate in hierarchic nouns.

I've finally got the Filly Inn webpage up. Mother was on at me for ages to make her a webpage, and one night she had a couple of glasses of wine and completely bent my ear about the subject. This is the result, and the reason I've been searching for loads of resources about writing for the www recently. I'm quite pleased with it actually.

Great. So now David Icke think's he's Morpheus as well as the son of God.

In other unbelievably cool news: You can define the KDE UI in XML. See also KMieSculptor. Reading around the KDE2 developer's pages I see some great tech with scripting and rpc prominent. I hope my path crosses with it in the future.

Memo to self (me-mo?): I've had quite a few very good comments on the xml syndication topic. Enough, in fact, that I could probably move on to the next revision of the notes and start burning bridges about how to make an implementation. That's going to be the toughest part because I'm going to have to make decisions about how easy, lightweight, extensible, etc the system will be. It can wait, though, a few weeks till after Finals. For the moment I hereby decree that a 'memo to self' shall be known as a 'me-mo'.

My favourite Stating The Obvious article is: A Standard for Site Organisation. I've just noticed that it's written by Greg Knauss. Is it a. www incest, or b. the cabal?

Michael Sippey (of Stating The Obvious and responds to my XML syndication notes by mentioning Jabber. The underlying Jabber protocol supports subscriptions (aka buddy lists, complete with online/offline checks. A useful feature for node-to-node communication.), streaming XML (oh baby baby), and dumb clients (ie Jabber implements the transport and the client just lies back and thinks of England). Read this first: Jabber Technology Overview. Also to read: Jabber developer documentation, and details on the Jabber XML protocol.

What do I make of all this? It's stunning. Once again I can barely believe that people give so much of their time and intelligence to construct such beautifully abstracted technology. They're building the greps, makes and perls of the networked era. To give this kind of thing away for free, libraries, documentation -- I love it and I want to be part of it. (Which reminds me: I must dig out my notes on co-operatives and do some more research.)

But what do I think in a technological sense? There are certain things that the syndication system has to do which aren't directly involved with syndication. One of those is keeping track of other nodes (another is propagating information about new nodes). Jabber would make a lot of this easier. But, and this is the biggy, I'm not experienced enough to know whether it's a good thing to bind as much as possible to the transport layer. This syndication system could quite easily by a 'Jabber app'. Perhaps it could also be a 'World OS app'. Should it however just bounce around xmlrpc and implement everything else itself? I don't know. I'm very taken with the xml streams. Processing...

TellThemNow lets you send your thoughts to organisations and individuals in the public eye. Power to the people! Er, isn't that just email? "Hi. We've got a great idea for a company and a well-developed business plan. This is our Chief User Interface Designer - she knows how to use <textarea> tags. And this is our Chief Technical Officer. She's going to download from Matt's Script Archive. Can we have several million dollars now?" looks brilliantly drawn*. A must see are Sassyfonts for some great free fonts (Windows ttf; shareware Mac TrueType converter), and Mouse a dormant weblog which given the hub it's on should have some very promising links when it comes back to life.

ps = Mouseover the * in the previous paragraph. I got a bit carried away and wrote something serious for a change.

I'm still trying to get my head round Anoto. I think it's really cool, but I'm not quite sure yet. This is the Anoto technology as I understand it:

Paper. There exists a pattern of dots which does not repeat. The pattern contained in a square less than 2mm side is unique across the whole pattern and maps to a 'position' in pattern space. Okay, so this pattern is printed onto paper, or newspaper, or shown on your monitor. Only a tiny part of the pattern need be printed at a time, and by looking at it you can tell where it's from.

Pen. The Anoto pen is like a ballpoint pen, but when used on the Anoto pattern it stored what it sees then sends what it sees to a computer, via Bluetooth.

Sell the map. Now you're moving your virtual self (your pen) around a map. Does this sound like a cursor in a GUI to you? Anoto AB will license out parts of the pattern to organisations so they can attach services to them. Imagine a newspaper advert with a 'send me info' box, inside which is a tiny fraction of the Anoto pattern. You check it using your Anoto-enabled pen which tells your computer what you've seen. Your computer looks up the pattern in the Anoto databanks, which triggers whatever actions have been associated with that checkbox. Paper GUIs.

Oh, and another thing. It's not one of those systems that simply has to be used by everyone to be useful. It could capture and store/send your sketches, writing, handwritten macros. It's an input device for your computer or palmtop.

I admit the whole Anoto thing is very cool. I hope it catches on. I'm a little concerned about the proprietary nature of it all. The internet's done well because it's quite hard for large organisations to carve out huge spaces; the volume grows as we need it. But this map... If it's successful (and I hope it is) they should be nationalised by the UN.

Currently downloading: GNU Emacs for Mac OS [via Whump/Apple].

Update It's perfect! Oh god, Perl mode. Perl mode! Mmmmm, yum.

~carl goes all Patrick Bateman for a moment, then pulls it back right at the last minute. Wow. And he's got a radiometer. Cool.

When I grow up, I want to have an acronym as good as this. Whois

Do all version of Internet Explorer track how often you visit your favourites? From Favorites.html in my Preferences folder: <A HREF="" OBJECT_TYPE="LINK" ADD_DATE="960201928" LAST_VISIT="960583807" VISITATION_COUNT="22">Haddock Directory</A> Perhaps it's used to optimise the address autocomplete feature?

Eyecatching advert from FT Weekend (click on 'Look around the room').

That's a lame duck, out the window. We have to feed bread to it and its drake, because it can't fly. Earlier, I was asking Es why she hadn't eaten the fruit she'd bought; it turned out she'd got sour grapes. It's cliché city here. Only a few weeks ago I said boo to a goose.

They're getting younger all the time. Self-promotion and born in 1982. Christ. Thanks for the link, George, now I can see them breathing down the back of my neck too.

Two million viewers, 50 callers, one complaint: Keith Chegwin's cock.

I don't know whether to file this under Does he realise what he said? or You can't say that to the Queen!:

Ground Force star Alan Titchmarsh, 51, got an MBE at the ceremony. The Queen told Alan, who recently gave a lecture to her and Queen Mum at Sandringham WI*: "You've given a lot of ladies a lot of pleasure." Alan joked: "It took me ages to get the dirt out from under my nails."

From today's The Sun. Also in the rag: A boy standing on a chair and using a snooker cue as a pogo stick falls off and impales himself on it. Worth a read.

Freedom is privacy software (Win95/98 only) that encrypts your http/news/smtp/etc requests and routes them through a private network to ensure your privacy on the internet. You purchase timelimited Nyms (pseudonymous identities) which have a public and private key (as far as I can make out). Hm, so as long as your own computer is secure, all your requests appear to be going to a single IP and are encrypted anyway. Clever. They're still going to fail because of the bad karma from trademarking 'Cookie Jar'. Yeah, because that term's not already widespread and used everywhere.

Come one, come all, and witness the marvel that is the Beer Zoo.

Nice! The pop-up menus when you mouseover certain navigational buttons on the PHP homepage really add to the site. I want to be able to do this to all links.

IMP is the Internet Messaging Program, a GPLed webmail system implemented in PHP3 (later versions PHP4), with SSL included, that lets you use your POP3 and IMAP accounts. Looks like I might have to learn PHP then. What I was actually after was an already existing web-based IMAP client, but this'll do.

One for the favourites list. Virtually every article on WriteTheWeb is fascinating [via camworld]. Especially interesting:

  • WorldOS; article
    WorldOS is distributed computing protocol similar to Gnutella. It consists of a TCP server, an XML application server, and tools for peer-to-peer networking (description culled from their site). Can this help with XML syndication? It is possible (looking at the HelloWorldOS example) that WorldOS is low level enough that the traffic optimisation suggestions I have made could be built on top of it. I'll have to learn more, and get back to it (learning Java first would help).
  • The web and text styles; article
    Writing style on the web is something that has interested me since I started trying to get people to produce content without them ever actually having used the www. Something that I hadn't come across before was Wired Style, a book which I'm going to have to track down.

And more, and more -- but I don't want to duplicate their entire front page here. Go to WriteTheWeb and read.

Now I understand more, the LPMud FAQ makes more sense, especially when they talk about LPMud drivers and mudlibs. I'll mention the ones that grab me:

Drivers. DGD is a streamlined driver, but immature and without networking support at its core. MudOS is one of the fastest and most feature-filled with good TCP support.

Mudlibs. LIMA is a new MudOS mudlib is modular and features a UNIX-like shell with output redirection and command piping. LPMoo is a DGD LambdaMoo simulation that I mentioned earlier. TMI* is good for tinkering and has good www and intermud support, but low performance and design quality.

See also: An httpd written in MudOS; Resources at

Also, if anyone would like to tell me where to find TMI-2 I'd be most grateful. I'd like to use MudOS and TMI, I think.

Back to muds. Okay then. An LPmud is a mud written in LPC, that is, the environment is defined by the server parsing files written in LPC. LPC is a high level programming language similar to C. The driver, or server, manages the networking and the objects using LPC internally. MudOS I mentioned earlier, and is one such driver. DGD is another such driver, on top of which has been built LPmoo, a simulation of LambdaMOO, which defines the objects and methods necessary for building a mud. Unhappily, it doesn't have great networking support.

Too many lambdas hanging around today. This is getting confusing.

Ah, here we go: Lisp/Scheme notes for stupid people like me. These are really good. If you share my interests and my ignorance, this looks like a great place to start. I'm beginning to understand.

What is LISP? And from MIT's Scheme site: Scheme is a statically scoped and properly tail-recursive dialect of the Lisp programming language. Well, that settles that then.

Perl contains the Lambda Calculus (incase the site isn't up, try the Google cache for this page), and I quote: Unlike most popular programming languages, Perl is powerful enough to express the lambda-calculus directly, without the need to write a simulator.

What is Lambda Calculus? The Lambda Calculus Directory includes an introduction and www-accessible interpreter.

Also to read: A Calculus for the Algebraic-like Manipulation of Computer Code, and An Introduction to Lambda Calculus and Scheme from which I pull this quote:

The Lambda-calculus is a universal model of computation, that is, any computation that can be expressed in a Turing machine can also be expressed in the lambda calculus.

The strength of the lambda-calculus is that it is easily used as a "glue" on top of a richer world of primitives. Its advantages as a glue are that it has a natural correspondence with the way that people program, and natural compilation techniques yield high-performance code.

Hm. So there are languages based on Lamdba Calculus? Are all language Turing compatible? Why is it important? Is it important? I wish I could take a course in compsci.

Basic and intermediate LPC textbooks.

An LPmud is a mud written in LPC. MudOS is an LPmud driver (server?) that includes support for various network protocols, including www and smtp. Things I still have to find out:

  • What's the difference between this and LambdaMOO, apart from the programming language?
  • Which is better for making http connections and parsing xml?
  • Which would be easier to build instant messaging support into?

And more questions as I think of them. This is part of my mud project.

A page of links about muds and mud-related research.

Hm, the descriptions and sites on this links page seem oddly identical to those on Is that bad? It's a bit cheeky certainly (at least they added a linkback to but I'm not objecting because I'm a trafficwhore.

Channel 5 are getting desperate for ratings. What sounds like the worst game show in the world, Naked Jungle, has such challenges as abseiling and swinging on ropes without any clothes. One episode only, on Tuesday. Shoud be worth a watch.

You are a point in space, and the position of that point describes who you are and where you are. Look at this point as you live your life and it makes a curve. It starts when and where you were born and moves along roads and from town to town and around the world. As you learn it moves across, too, in some direction perpendicular to space. Here I am, at this point, and by looking at this point you see I am at my computer typing this. Yesterday when I was typing the point was almost in the same place, but it was shifted slightly because I wasn't quite the same person (and I was sitting in the kitchen).

Cut out the loops. Go somewhere, come back. Does it matter that your point has made this excursion? No, all that matters is the little change in who you are between when you left your house and when you came back. I have a cold. My curve spirals out, passes through hot flushes and waxy skin. I go to the pub to watch the football. My line follows me, and extends into the territory of headaches. In a couple of days, I'll feel normal again; I'll be sitting here again - and my line will have looped round, knotted itself off, and I can forget it. Everything is like this. If you want to remember something, don't cross your curve. And if that something has changed you as a person your curve won't loop. If something terrible happens, return to the place of your childhood and close the loop.

Yesterday I had my last lecture. The venue was moved and I ended up sitting only places from where I first sat nearly four years ago. I can feel the loop closing. As I do things for the last time I cross the places where I first did them and the knot gets tighter. I can feel the potential of the beginning and end of the loop getting closer and memories from along that loop keep coming back to me. In a few weeks, after my exams, the loop will close and the only way you'll be able to tell I've experienced it is the different Matt I am.

My curve is straight. From where I am now it doesn't look like my curve is heading anywhere near where I've been before. How could it? - the university loop is closed. It's exciting. It's the open road. It's the top of a hill and I can see all around me and ahead of me the land stretches out and it doesn't go down. I felt this before when I was finishing my Sixth form, back when my first major loop was closing, back when it didn't loop very far anyway. I said something that doesn't really have any meaning but it resonated then and then I forgot what it meant and now I'm feeling that resonance again. It's blue sky. It's a cool breeze. It's wishing for great times and not feeling nostagia but trepidation. It's looking around as if for the first time with open eyes and saying These Are My Hands, This Is My Life, and the world is bright and the air is crisp and you can feel creation, happening right there, for the first time in the longest time, in the centre of your head, and you shake your head and you realise as never before So this is where it all begins.

Apache virtual host documentation. nb: I just bought I haven't stopped laughing yet*.

Honest-to-goodness it happened to a friend of mine bizarre true stories.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. This is the story of the wanking clown.

Nazi and East German Propaganda. Read this material. Could it happen again? We're no more intelligent now, as people, as individuals, than the people 50 years ago or 5000. Look at Hitler. Who was he? Try and see past the iconic features, the second-degree connections. See a man. That terrifies me. That Hitler was just a person, and that everyone else was a people too. Should we ever let ourselves to believe in something that strongly? How do we decide what has 'meaning'? Meaning can't be objective, so how can we be sure that what we believe isn't wrong? On a deckchair, in a field, with a dog, Hitler sits.

I didn't expect Dave Winer's voice (temporary link from today's Scripting News). He sounds so... American. Normal. Weird. Now I want to know what everyone else sounds like. When I'm King, you'll have to put your voice on your About page.

Bunch of links to free storage on the internet.

Anti Billie Piper Online (site 1 of 1 on the Anti Teen Pop Sluts webring) has an alarming amount of links to like-minded organisations. Of course, anybody with half a brain would know that Billie isn't a mid-teens wide-mouthed B-list pop-star flaunting flesh and filth at all - she's simply a web puppet [on].