Interesting question (but not a terribly good discussion) at Slashdot: Rebooting The World. "Say some cataclysm occurs that fries all microprocessors and scrambles the contents of all existing ROMs, disks, CD-ROMs, and any other machine-readable media in all computers. And the same fate falls on all high-tech manufacturing equipment. What would be the fastest way to 're-computerize' the world?" And what would we do differently?
Things I never knew, but wanted to: What the crime the A-Team did not commit actually was.
Addressing into the information space that is the www: What are URIs? Simple, fundamental, short and interesting definition of terms.
Impressive looking enormous Unix timeline.
Get this, bees have hearts. And arses. Ants do too. I've been a bit stumped over the weekend trying to find out the truth in these matters; it just didn't seem right that bees did (I mean, they're too small, surely. The blood vessels just wouldn't be right -- aren't they only a couple of blood cells across? So the scale would be all wrong).
But ants have hearts: "The heart is a long tube that pumps colorless blood from the head back to the rear and then back up to the head again. The blood kind of coats the insides of the ants and is then sucked into the tube and pumped up to the head again". And this Introduction to Insect Anatomy confirms that those tiny things do have arses. Stunning.
But no lungs. Ants do not have lungs. But snails do -- and I just thought they were kind of full of goo and magic stuff.
I'm truly stunned by all of this. Thank you to Catherine whose l33t Googling skillz are far l33t-er than mine.
More questions: What is the smallest animal you can milk? And I know they make snake wine in China, but could you make bee jam?
There are some funky fonts and very tasty dingbats over at Font-a-licious.
Victor is setting the world to rights in today's fresh Upsideclown: "Steven Katz, screenwriter for Shadow of the Vampire, has got it spot on. Vampires should be vampires. You can't have people pretending to be vampires if they're not. It's a gross infringement on self-definition".
Setting clear boundaries and definitions for the blood-drinking undead, in Goth's Dinner.
evolt.org: news and discussion for web professionals. And today, a whole page of articles worth reading.
Here I am. AIM me on metadirk if you fancy.
You know, it's been one of those days. Cvs hell/ signoff hell/ process hell/ rush hell/ people hell/ everything. Too much to do, and all of it top-priority urgent. But it's all okay, because I'm fucking magic, no matter how bad it gets. I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
All of which (those slashes) reminds me: I did some fantastic freeform poetry the other night, sleep deprived and slightly mad. Hot doggerel.
Meg tells us all how projects are signed off. Made me laugh. In between the tears.
Alas the immortal classic, "What do you mean change it? Why did you sign it off if you weren't happy with it? It goes live in 10 minutes, you've had a week to think about it, why on earth did you change your mind now?" isn't there.
Excellent article in the mediaguardian about the Daily Mail. Paul Dacre: the most dangerous man in Britain? [via linkmachinego]. Paul Dacre is the editor of a newspaper which - for those who don't know - promotes all that is worst about Britain. It will use lies and hypocrisy to push ideas with no good foundation. The Daily Mail dripfeeds a certain attitude into this country, and what makes it worse (as the article says) is that it's deliberate.
Others might say that it's just a standard conservative newspaper, but I wouldn't agree.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure Body Painting [via Nick Jordan] can be a valid art form, but surely people only do it because they get to stare at naked people all day? For my particular favourite, follow: See Photos, February 2001, Red Lilly, Next page, bottom right photo. You're a bodypainter, man, not a gynecologist.
This Thursday, it's my fresh Upsideclown.
Your arms stretched out to the sides you are drawn into one with the hill, together you cup this enormous space and suddenly everything turns upsidedown -- space becoming tangible, a mass around which your world is molded. One of the imperfections in this space flies over your head and you can hear the steady beat of a gull's wings as the push displaces the space and the space displaces the feathers. You have never heard this sound before. If this reverses the way you regard your universe, go to paragraph 2. If the insignificance of your self against the canvas of reality terrifies you, go to paragraph 3.
Earth, sky. Something, nothing. The fundamental dichotomy of the universe explored in today's Upsideclown: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages.
php code to make a POST request, php3 compatible.
For interest, and for reference:
We take it for granted now that the World Wide Web has grown out of control and out of understanding. But then, when the people working on it could remember the times when a new server was a novelty, imagine how incredible that must have felt -- like watching a child grow up.
The papers have all too familiar themes: Distributed applications, semantic markup, browser-based editors, annotations and metadata. All fascinating. And why are we still arguing about these things, five years later?
Text, music and digital art at ctheory multimedia, the new 'site from ctheory. "What's the smell of blood on the digital tracks? What's the sound of static deep in the wires? What's the color of electronic discharges as they bond flesh to the machine?" Pretentious, but all the best stuff is. An interesting place to lose yourself for a while.
Monday was indeed fresh Upsideclown, but I forgot to mention it.
Welcome! This is the nomination form for the 2001 Leamington Spa Entertainment Awards. This is when you get the god-given chance to choose your favourite entertainment events from attractive Leamington Spa over the past 12 months. The bands that made you laugh; the films that made you cry; the art exhibitions that loosened your bladder control - if they happened in Leamington in the last year, they'll be here now. Please feel free to add comments about your choice.
George makes her vote in Formal. Funny clown, made me laugh.
I saw Unto This Last's studio on Brick Lane yesterday. "Exploring the application of digital technology to the creation, production and distribution of furniture" doesn't really do the company justice. Based in a derelict pub where you can see through the ceiling to the floor above, they create wooden furniture that looks like it could never have been carved at all. Wow.
Interconnected is one year old today -- which means I have a whole year of content to repurpose. You'll see it, day by day, in the new box on the Forest skin ("what, you mean this weblog is skinnable?"). I'm particularly proud of the first week, in which I post nothing but demands that this is not a weblog and one or two very weblog comments. Stunning doublethink.
Looking through the archives, I'm also impressed (read: rather alarmed) that my basic themes (geekdom, the kitsch and the rude) are the same as a year ago. Have I really changed so little?
Oh, the One year ago box continues my trend of breaking the design in Netscape 4.x. I can't help it, I like stylesheets. And I'm having some css problems with Netscape 6, which concerns me a little more, but it's only a minor display issue. Once again, Mac IE 5 renders perfectly.
Arg. Mothers. Arg. Members of the Interconnected mailing list were yesterday treated to my mother sending public birthday greetings:
what no 'dailies' since the 16th! it's now the 18th and your birthday... i won't go into the description of your birth...but HAPPY BIRTHDAY, lots of love Mummy (mothers are supposed to be embarassing, aren't they?)
Yes, so it means she's technoliterate. Yes, so she's being stereotypical in a most self-aware way. But still! Ouch. (-but teehee.)
Extremely handy cvs faq. If you've never used cvs before, it's a way of storing code/documents so it's automatically versioned, archived, and you can have different development branches (cvs homepage). I can sum this up in two pieces of advice:
Fellow cvs victims will sympathise.
It's James' Upsideclown today. His life hasn't been going too well...
I stood watching the green-grey waves collapse and run up the shore, hoping that one of them could be bothered to run far enough towards me to make my feet wet and cold. But the tide was going out, so that was getting less likely by the minute. Just like the rest of my life; what was once so full of promise, was now looking utterly hopeless. Young, fresh, just out of a reputable university course and yet it had proven impossible to find work. I was faced with a mountain of debt, had no way of clearing it, and could not see any way out of the problem. I was totally alone in the world, and saw no hope, except for disappearing Reginald Perrin-like into the infinite distance.
James reveals all in Confessions Of An English Sand-Eater.
Because there is no-one like Chris Morris, because everyone who tries to be like him makes just a pale shadow, and because the man himself has spiked both London and new meeja Best Bar [None], London bar reviews: this is why I am happy. [Thanks Flat James.]
So I finished university back in June and wow when I finished it I was sick of it, sick to the back teeth of learning stuff I didn't care about anymore, didn't have to time understand fully anymore, and all that shit. Soo much shit. And now it's, what, eight months later and I find myself really wanting to learn more, really needing to have stuff crammed into my mind. That challenge that comes not from saying "yeah, I can do this", but from saying "I can't believe you gave me this to do, but fuck you I'm going to do it and do it well. Then you'll see". (Which of course is exactly what they want at Oxford, but we'll leave that to the side.) And I miss this. I'm moving along in my own way, learning techniques and languages and new skills, etc, etc, but still there's been something missing.
I don't know. Maybe I have this need to combat something that is fundamentally out of my control.
You would have thought that without this battle I don't even really want taking up my time I'd have loads of creativity to go round, but it ain't so. Without this driving force making me up my level I drop down and don't create anything. And besides, I do want these difficulties. It's like:
It's like this. When was the last time you fell down and cut your knee, really cut it? Not hospital cut, but so it really stings, and there's blood and all the rest? It was probably about ten years ago for me. But when it happens it feels great because it's so different, so new. It sharpens your sense of reality, makes you live in the moment. That's all too rare - what else can do it? - but you'd never go hurling yourself at the ground, deliberately. It's like that. (I have a similar relationship with climbing, on the occassional times I do it: Half way up the wall I hate myself for putting me there, but there's nothing I can do and it becomes a great battle. And it feels good.)
In this vein... Work has suddenly become really busy. Over the next few weeks I'm going to feel stressed, annoyed, rushed. Undoubtedly there will be late nights. And although I feel a little hard done by, there's this feeling of trepidation similar to that I felt before those final exams, and I'm sure I'll love it. I'll be living in the moment. And the more I do this, the more creative I feel. The more I want to do.
(Of course, really good music is helping considerably with this conquer-the-world mood.)
And while I'm on a personal post, cos they don't come too often, it's my birthday on this Sunday (the 18th). And it's the first anniversary of this weblog on the 19th. Just so you know, just so you know.
Just a brilliant concept, and great implementation. WhoWhatWhen does "Interactive Historical Timelines" from 1000AD to the present. For example, you can look up a person and see their lifetime on the graphic timeline. Overlaying that you can choose to display wars, inventions, lifetimes of famous politicians, and so on. Hovering over a bar on the timeline brings up more information, and clicking jumps into the search engine of your choice [via Bud].
Good article at ctheory.com about associated meanings and the idea of the 'North': The_Blank_Space. I find it very interesting how often we're guided by second and third degree idea associations.
The patent is owned by Lazy Software for their associative model of data concept. I've got no complaints with the applications they build on this idea, but what if someone had patented relational databases and not let them go? It's a too low-level and too obvious a technique.
Interconnectedness: So I reckon I own prior art. What should I do?
Hooray for Google! I can't think of a better company to look after those Usenet archives, and I can't think of a group of people more likely to get some startling things out of all that data. Try the Google Groups Beta -- just type in your favourite Usenet group and wonder at the Google interface. Cool.
Jef Rackin's Down With GUIs! from Wired 1.06. Extremely interesting, especially in the light of:
In Mac OS X the gui and the terminal provide completely different views of the system: hidden files and gui shortcuts enhance what is already a different interface. But what if when you cd'd to a directory with the terminal the gui reflected this in the background? What if the gui and the command-line were linked in an analagous way to the source/rendered-page views of Dreamweaver?
And beyond this, the way we store files is wrong. Why shouldn't documents just be stored in a central location, with no explicit 'Save' command. The primary interface would be search results that look like folders, eg Documents Modifieds Yesterday; Documents Containing The Word 'insurance'. The system would come with some of these predefined, and you could set your own primary keywords -- but how is the current system any better than this at all? (While I'm at it, we should have versioning, but that's a different story.)
It's Neil's Upsideclown up today:
Gordon turned out to be just what we expected, a management oaf who probably thinks that Dewy-decimal is a polygon. He wasn't even wearing a suit, not even a shirt, just this green sweater with a collar on it- some kind of sportswear, so far as I could tell. He can't be more than thirty.
There's something about Neil's writing that I just can't put my finger on which really appeals to me. There's something under that gentle tone which works on me without me knowing -- well, until it ends. Today's 'clown is the same. Recommended: Bibliofile.
Just so you know, this weblog will be encoded one hour in four over the next few days. If you can't read the rest of this page, please come back later. (Whfg fb lbh xabj, guvf jroybt jvyy or rapbqrq bar ubhe va sbhe bire gur arkg srj qnlf. Vs lbh pna'g ernq gur erfg bs guvf cntr, cyrnfr pbzr onpx yngre.)
Now obviously I can't see this because I'm stuck on a freezing platform at Earlsfield, but I seem to remember it was quite good -- and just because I'm here doesn't mean you, dear reader, should be deprived of quality links. With that in mind:
There is a worthwhile archive of serial killers and cannibals at mayhem.net. And it's well drawn too. Enjoy.
Here's a new word for you: If your train mysteriously fills with smoke, if you sit for ages waiting, if then the only way to get home is another train (already full, naturally) that is helpfully stopping at this station in the middle of nowhere but meanwhile you have to stand in the cold waiting; if all of this is happening on a Friday night and the train guard has to announce this, it can all be summed up into "We're going to detrain you".
So I've learned something new, but that still doen't make my fingers any warmer.
Fighting. If we fought, I'd win.
I've not read The Cathedral and the Bazaar before, because I didn't realise it was available online. It plots Eric Raymond's (aka ESR) move from the cathedral model of software development (Emacs, Microsoft) to the bazaar model (the Linux kernel). Interesting, insightful, and not too long. [via Scripting News.]
The crush fetish is probably one of the stranger I've come across (what is crush?). It's a kind of cross between the giantess fetish (see also: Big Gulp) and killing insects/snails/frogs, with a little foot fetishism thrown in (although this is peculiar to this 'site; other fans prefer fingercrushing or titcrushing). There are pictures of women treading on popcorn, but I prefer this graphic encounter between a foot and a snail. And these badly photoshopped pictures of tiny crushed men are just funny.
Presenting Thursday's Upsideclown:
Here's how it used to work. After a hard week's grind, we'd relax for a few hours in the pub, then head on to the local totty centres. As long as you flashed lots of cash, wore a smart suit and generally behaved like a twat, you got plenty of unmerited attention. Then you plied a few kids with plenty of vodka (or Bacardi, depending on their level of sophistication) and appropriate mixer, declined the persistent pestering to 'ave a dahnce' in a token effort to preserve your dignity, and took home your pick of the two or three buzzing around you, like ordering fish in a fancy restaurant. Only cheaper and in many ways more satisfying. The next few hours you can imagine.
To be honest, I reckon Jamie's just showing off. Today's article is Spent.
PC4P is a php-class library for creating pdfs. Includes support for tables, workwrap, and so on. (Yum.)
Premise: That people with more education are more likely to be left-wing and liberal. This seems to be the case. Why?
I can't accept that it's that education exposes a person to more cases and because of this they develop a greater sense of social justice and a smaller emphasis on self. There are so many people without a formal education but with experience ranging far wider than any academic. I also don't believe that it's that somehow people are taught out of right-wing ideas into left-wing ones. Both ends of the political spectrum are valid answers to the governmental problem; why should education - of any but the most specific kind - enable people to see that a right-wing answer is somehow simplistic and that liberalism solves the hidden complexities? Both right and left wing stand up to solid debate and academic rigour. Politics, instead, is a gut feeling.
No, I think that knowledge is a meme, and memes want to spread. You never see an educated person wishing that they didn't know so much, or that they'd never learned. Knowledge carries with it the spirit that knowledge is intrinsically good, and that other people should also be educated. And if a person makes a political judgement with that in mind, perhaps they're more likely to conclude that left-wing policies would best promote that kind of spread of knowledge they would like.
What goes on at these oh-so-popular conferences anyway? Here're the panels for SXSW01- Interactive. Hm. Wouldn't mind going to a few of those myself.
(And here are the Interactive panels from SXSW 2000 -- but watch out because the page immediately refreshes to the 2001 'site, so click that Stop button immediately.)
Alright then. So I went to the British Museum, which is where all the stuff that was stolen during those ol' empire days is kept. Anyway, I took photos which I've put up here for your browsing pleasure: My visit to the British Museum.
Oh, and they're all 800x600 so you can stick them on your desktop. My favourites: rapanui and scarab.
First up, there aren't five of them. There are four. Four and a dog. I don't give a damn how much the English love their pets, a dog does not have the same legislative rights as a human. It isn't a human and it certainly doesn't deserve to be allowed membership of a group which would exclude the Jews and the Irish like a flash. Timmy was there to keep George happy on the nights when Anne was praying for forgiveness to the God who never wanted her to be thus unworthy. That's it.
Upsideclown, bringing you blatent and open attacks on childhood value systems. Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy are up against the wall in Blyton the Face of the Earth.
'Sites with php library collections, ready to use. No point reinventing the wheel, is there?
I've been looking at the styles of rss feeds of weblogs [from Weblog Madness]. There seem to be two main styles, both having each item in the rss document (what is rss?) correspond to a single recent post. Each item has a link and a description.
For one style, the link is to the weblog post, and the description either the post itself (with more links embedded) or a summary of the post.
The other style is dependent on there only being a single link in any single post. The link element is filled with the subject of the post, and the description is the post with the link no longer embedded.
I'm not sure which style I prefer, but I don't want to alter my type of writing. And I don't want to give myself any extra work. But I'd like to provide an rss of this page.
Because I still can't get it working, and this might be useful: php for pdf at phpbuilder.com. I'm hoping that somewhere among the many comments and pages there'll be a hint to what's not working for me.
(An hour later, and it works. zlib needed to be compiled as a shared library, or something. Or maybe it was one of the other things I tweaked. But anyway. I'm getting somewhere.)
Bloody hell. Introducing the Lazy approach to database tables [via haddock]. A British entrepreneur, Simon Williams, invents a revolutionary new kind of database that works by associating object, object, connection (where a whole link triplet can also be an object). He's patented it, and got several million in funding. Patented? wtf? Dirk has been working like this for over two years. I own prior art, big stylee.
A dissertation on The Taboo Of Sexual Discourse. Cunt: Taboo, Patriarchy and Liberation.
There's a plateau on Mars that has carved into it motifs of sacred biology. It is the BioMesa, and it's a signal from intelligent beings. Well. Quite.
Funny post today at lysdexia about cognitive mapping. Go read. I'd love people like this to write for upsideclone, when that eventually launches.
Ecologies of technological metaphors and the theme of control: "This paper explores the theme of technologies out of control as it is reflected in the metaphors of two cases: 100 years of theorizing about organizations, and the development of recombinant DNA techniques and their regulation". Looks extremely interesting, and random articles in the rest of the journal look to be similar. Much bedtime reading here.
Today, I feel magical. Today, I feel like I'm standing at the top of a mountain and that the path in all directions is clear. And then I read that Pyra is now just one person [MeFi thread] (Pyra make Blogger and the ease of use of the product have helped create a new wave of personal content). Yesterday, I think this would have concerned me. It would have bothered me, at least a little bit. I still feel for the people involved. It must hurt a great deal.
But today, I feel like we've been cut free. I feel that the fallout from this will be beautiful. Think of the tools that will get created. Think of the collapse of monolithic applications into tiny utilities that all work together to give people greater flexibility to express themselves online. Think of what will be created now people have stopped, thought, and decided that yes there is space to compete. Blogger has been humanised, it can return to being just something people use rather than the roots of the community (and there is a community here). Interoperating personal content management systems. Standards. Growth. Taking over the world. Letting a thousand flowers bloom. Etc.
I'm feeling like this about so many things. We lose roots, we gain the chance to fly on the wind, spreading spores where we go. Today, I feel magical.
(Later. This post sounds insensitive, doesn't it? I don't mean for it to. An awful thing has happened to people who have given a lot but they've got so much they can be proud of. And out of this, there's potential and opportunity.)
Hens are fat, cos they are full of eggs.
Thursday, new Upsideclown! This time, the arts: musicals.
I have successfully taken control of the International Arts Council, with the aid only of fawning and cunnilingus. My first piece of policy is to be the strict enforcement of new regulations on the content of musicals.
Victor gets those musicals sorted, good and proper, and about time too. Today's Upsideclown is Les Miserables.