Sunday, July 30, 2006

British Troops on LSD

Them were the days. Gotta say, that looks like well nice acid.

None of ya cheap shitty student blotters back then. No sir-ee.

The guy with the anti-tank rifle and the bloke climbing the tree are just priceless.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Thursday Night Entertainment

Mr. Gill, our long-suffering Thursday night ref, has finally stuck some of the game online.

Taking heavily from last years live event, it chronicles much of the last 5 years table top game with some great pics and suitable atmosphere. Nice one squire. It's been a long time coming.

Unfortunately, it doesn't like Firefox much, so you'd be excused if you don't have one of those old outdated browser to view it on ;-)

Yes, that's the wife in the background and me with blonde hair, no face fur, and an eye patch. Never, ever, again...

Friday, July 28, 2006

In a Single Bound

Okay. I've always found this kinda urban gymnastics thing intriguing but inherently wanky. I don't know why but i
t's all a bit 'French' if you ask me.

You see lame arsed little student practicing on the short walls near the uni in Nottingham.They all look so proud of themselves. Sad buggas. I hope they break a wrist.

These gents in this clip are actually good at this. Really good. I mean, like, Nightcrawler good.

Unless your sickening good you just look like a nob. Give it up student and stop wasting your parents money. You'll never get this pro, and leaping over walls to impress chicks has got nowt to do with getting a degree in sociology.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Accessible Googlbility

Google Labs (bless 'em) has created itself a new alternative search engine, returning only results of sites that are deemed "accessible".

Accessible Search was an early Google Labs product designed to identify and prioritize search results that are more easily usable by blind and visually impaired users. I was starting to wonder what had happened to it.

When, a case makes it to court under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) the W3C accessibility guidelines are used to assess a website's accessibility and ultimately decide the outcome of the case. The W3C is the Internet governing body and its web accessibility guidelines can be found on its website. I dont know how Google will measure whether a site is accessible or not. Lets hope we don't end-up with some crazy half-arse double standards.

Double standards? Google? Surely not. Anyway, the FAQ about his new feature is

Interestingly, this week, I noticed an online petition being circulated around that was collecting signatures to get Google to make its word verification scheme (capcha) accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

'Bout time. This is an important audience that loves to shop online ;-)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Donald does Daisy

Sometimes I sympathise with Donald. Out of the whole Disney herd he's the chap I guess I can relate to the most.

Sometimes you've had enough, and the only way out is to cut up the wife with a hatchet.

Does nobody think before they draw these things?

It was 1941, but surely even rationing is no excuse for cannibalism...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tie Shoes Faster

A whole 2 seconds faster. That's a saving of at least 12.16 minutes a year!

Sorry. I found this on Video Finds and thought it was somehow oddly 'cool'. Check it out. There's loads of other good stuff.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Boldly Going Forward

The official STAR TREK website has released a teaser poster for next feature film. Have a look and bask in the retro glow of nostalgia.

Trek XI won't grace the big screen 'till 2008.

It'll probably be crap, but the poster looks cool.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Worship

We saw Superman Returns on the Imax at the Odeon in Manchester today. Me and Pig. In 3D. The film was in 3D that is. As well as me and Pig.

Now I like a bit of 3D and I like a bit of Imax. We were the first ones through the door. 3D makes me grin like an idiot at the best of times. I blame Disney World. But this was awsome.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not a brilliant film. Superman is rock hard and invulnerable so there's no real sence of peril. The last act is inexcusable weapongrade shmultz that blows bigtime and ruins the whole damn thing. But the 3D was fantastic and the first two thirds were spot on.

SUPERMAN RETURNS, directed by Bryan Singer, is the world's first live-action Hollywood feature to be converted into IMAX® 3D. Using proprietary 2D to 3D conversion technology, select scenes (20 minutes worth) were converted into An IMAX 3D Experience®, the most immersive cinematic 3D in the world. On-screen cues alert moviegoers when to place the 3D glasses on, and when to take them off...
All I'm gonna say, and BIG SPOILER COMING here, is Lois Lane trapped in a Jumbo Jet that's got the Space Shuttle, on full burn, strapped to the roof of it. Superman, his first time in the public eye since returning to Earth, catches the damn thing. Wind. Fire. Smoke. Flame. He blasts away the shuttle supports, with his heat vision, and wrestles the Shuttle up into space. Then he returns, like a bloody caped missile, and tries (with staggeringly realistical physics and bits of fuselage and whole wings and stuff smashing into him) to bring down the plane safley. Inside, Lois and everyone are getting thrown around and battered about like a piñata. Supes, finally, gets in front of this 400 tonnes of self destructing aircraft and, by the nose, brings her down into the middle of baseball stadium full of supporters. Inches to spare, he lays her gently down on the pitch as the crowd goes mental and showers him with well deserved applause. All in 3 bloody D, 8 stories soddin' tall, and to John Williams original score!

I have never, and I mean never, seen a scene like it. I can not ever attempt to describe it.

In that moment, Pig and I confessed afterwards, behind those glasses we wept.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cool Google Vid Thing

Did you know you can link Google video at a specific timecode?

Just add a hash (# like you would an anchor tag) then the timecode after the numeric identifier like so:

And if you havn't seen this vid, The Sultans Elephant, well, you should. Here I've gone directly into it at 00m56s. Piece of cake.

The same principle doesn't seem to work with embedding though, which is a shame.

This is Movies

This afternoon, we finally recorded the first ThisIsMovies podcast.

Now this has been a project we (Mary [right] and I) have wanted to do for a while but (and my bad here) time has just not allowed. Mary is my long suffering editor for the increasingly speradic reviews I do on the DVD reviews section on the ThisIs sites.

There isn't, untill today, a single decent 'what's-on, what's-hot, what's-pants' movies podcast for the UK.

In steps Adele [left]. Adele is a fellow movie reviewer for the ThisIs Network and knows here stuff. They've both got a good cheeky repartee going too and, with a few of these under their belts, could really be something that people will actually want to listen to. This is great for our audience as well. I'd have never thought of a 'gossip section' and these 2 are genuiunly interested in film. They have brought so much to it. I think the dynamic of having 2 ladies doing this is a great one for the web as well. Our demographic is going to love 'em, and they aren't shy of the odd witty asside about Superman's tights or the cheak bones of Johnny Depp.

In the background there is Claire, who oversees the regional podcasts from Stoke, North Scotland, South Devon, Nottingham etc. by our regional reporters. She also goes out to the centres to show them how to connect up their kit and stuff.

Me? I just play sound engineer and maintain format. Not that I'm needed with these lasses. This afternoon they picked up Audacity and the whole shabang in minutes (which makes a refreshing change) and is gonna make this painless for me.

So now on Friday afternoons, as well as helping Paul with his excellent UK Parlimentary cast, I get to waffle movies, drink coffee, and eat chocolate with the ladies for half an hour.

All these people who moan about their jobs and the companies they work for on their blogs. Not me mate :-)

You can contact Mary and Adele at, or check out the podcasts at as of Monday.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

When 900 years old you reach...

... look this good you will not!

It was Andy Ravenwoods surprise 40th birthday do this evening and Zoe, his Mrs., had contacted us, his workmates, as part of the cladestine assembly of relatives and mates.
He looked 'mildly stunned' to be sure.

There was, as you can see, an outstanding birthday cake, and
Dexter took a load of quality pictures that you can see here.

Me, Jema, Andy S, JW,
Dexter, Fitz, Ginger Si, Flyss etc. were there to wish him well and it was cool to see Andy out of work. I've sat opposite the geeza for the last 3 years, wandering around Derby like lost souls with each other of a lunchtime, and we've never been out for so much as a pint. He's a top bloke, even more Star Wars obsessed than my good self, and a pucker artist who helped secure us that BAFTA for Headline History.

Sobering though, this birthday lark, when I think I'm only 8 months off 40 myself...

Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex

A pretty well known article by famed SF author Larry Niven, about what might be the results of human/Kryptonian interbreeding, which, after the recent film, bears reading: Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.

Thanks to The Admirable Crichton for reminding me that people really do think too much about this sort of thing and, staggeringly, that they write it down for all to see.

I'm probably off to see the movie at the weekend. Please god it's better than X3...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Carbon Swipe-Cards

Laugh? I nearly shat.

If this happens it could well save me a packet. There'll be a public outcry and it's probably unworkable. Shirts buttons to granny bonds, all those buggers with their own personal little holes in the ozone layer will be up-in-arms...

The environment minister, David Miliband (the UK's first officially sanctioned Ministerial Blogger), today unveiled a radical plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by charging individuals for the amount of carbon they use.

Under the proposals, consumers would carry bank cards that record their personal carbon usage. Those who use more energy - with big cars and foreign holidays - would have to buy more carbon points, while those who consume less - those without cars, or people with solar power - would be able to sell their carbon points.

...and you can read the rest of this article from the place it was cribbed, todays Guardian.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Google Video Ads Best Practices

In follow-up to the article I mentioned on Click-to-Play Vids for AdWords (back in May), here's a brief article on Video Ads Best Practices with some well sweet examples. The one for Fishermans Grotto, by TurnHere, is a pearler.

I gotta get the guys here to let me have a play and do one for one of our new homes portals or something. Or maybe something for DCFC or Headline History?

Online marketing and
video. My bag, or what?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Houlgate Time

It's that time of the year again.

Time for our usual weekend at Houlgate at Danelaw Village in York.

A weekend of Dark Age food and sitting in the sun doing nowt.

Just me doing the pig this year, and it was a big'un that took 6am to 7pm to be servicable. It looked about 50kg, which was way too much and someone had seriously overbought. I couldn't actually physically lift the damn thing to the fire on my own it was so big.

We usually just go for something 35kg to 40kg an' I gotta admit, it was a long day in the sun by a very hot fire (but with free beer and apple juice to keep me from deydrating) on my own yesterday. I'm knackered and glowing with mild sunburn.

I well enjoyed my 'pigs kidneys butty at breakfast perk' and my tripe and onions in milk which, while hardly the gormet heights, was well enough recieved by them brave enough to give it a go. It was a rubbery blast from the past.

After a chaotic year so far, it was nice to have the break and a spot of honest graft.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pig or Peach?

Here's a new Captcha (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart).

I've mentioned this kinda thing before. This is the sort where you show a series of pics and get the human visitor to click on the kittens, or in the case of Hotcaptcha, click on the three attractive young fillies (and you can also choose blokes, if you're so inclined).

Even though looks are subjective, it appears machines can't tell the subtle differences between the munta and the hot tomali, at least not yet. No double chin, burberry detection, facial fuzz or goth make-up analysis software available as yet.

The code for this is available to use on your own site, and it's way more entertaining than just typing in some bog standard wiggly text. It's also an outstanding and commendable abuse of technology.

Respect to the Green

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Zoop! & ElectoSmart

With world oil prices continuing to rocket, alternative energy is a "hot topic".

The Mrs, for example, has a bright yellow Duplo Smart car that's a good step in the right direction.

The ZoopCar is a leap. Here it is, however, the latest design in electric cars comes not from the drawing board of a Bond villain but from a
Paris-based fashion house.

Unveiled this week, the Zoop is a high performance 150 kw three-seater electro cutie. The Maison de Courrèges, the fashion house run by the supposedly famous André and Coqueline, is a long-time promoter of electric vehicles and has been using them in their shows since '69.

There's no arguing that it's a striking little guy. This is no slouch when you think it can do 280 miles on a charge charge and uses "Lithium Polymer batteries that are lighter, have greater power density don't overheat, charge quicker and offer many more recharges" and can touch speeds of around 112 mph. Commutertastic! That said, I haven't seen a price tag yet...

Jema will want one, and even more kids will point and stare.

On a further Smart and green(ish) note, DaimlerChrysler just released their plans to sell an all-electric version of the Fortwo Smart. The EV version allegedly performs "even better than its gasoline brother" and it'll do 0 to 30 in 6.5 seconds, no word on how fast it gets up to 60 (though it does actually do 60, and a bit beyond).

The EV Fortwo Smart Car is slated for release in the EU in 2007 and a year later in the US.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's only a model...

Bit pony round the edges, but a nice idea.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Creaming Myself at Work

It was Dexters birthday yesterday and (unsurprisingly, as it's him) he's just set a new standard in 'cakes you have to bring to work as a moral obligation because you're a year closer to death'. Way superior to my usual ring dougnuts or the tubs of genric cheapness.

He actually asked us what we wanted!

Hmmm, vanilla slice. That's around 758 calories, just under a third of my daily recommended intake!

Damn, it tastes so good and yet tastes so wrong. Pardon me while I (and my keyboard) get covered in it.

I'll purge myself on the treadmill tomorrow.

Yeah, honest...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Malaria for Teens

I read a story last month about how someone has created an alarm that only people under the age of 25 can hear. The longer someone is exposed to the sound, the more annoying it becomes.

The system is called 'Mosquito' and is 'designed to prevent loitering by young people' by emitting one seriously evil 'tone' that makes them 'disperse'. Laugh, oh hell I.

Apparently, it's a kinda load pulsating 'schreech'.
I just found an MP3, and imagine the fun you could have with this. I tried it at work and, sure as eggs are eggs, the young ones could hear it and us older ones sat there oblivious, unable to hear a damn thing.

I might leave it on over luchtime to see if any of them crack...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Excellent News

My mum had a 'home visit' with the nurses today. Dad pampered them with jam tarts and had spent 12 hours (over 2 days) cleaning the place.

With a lot of support and a few home alterations, she can go home on Tuesday.

Awesome. There was a time we never dared even hope it would happen. Obviously, as you can see in the picture, dad and I got pretty damn over excited about it all.

This weekend coming will be tha last time I'm over there for a bit. It's the village next weekend and I want to give them some time together. I need to spend some time with Jema too, I've been neglecting my 'household duties' over the last few months.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Dalai Lama

For over 50 years, Tibetans have been trying to get a shadow of international attention for their unjust and humiliating occupation by China. More than a million Tibetans have died as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation of their country. Today, it is hard to come across a Tibetan family that has not had at least one member imprisoned or killed by the Chinese regime.

In their latest attempt, inspired by the successful Make Poverty History case, Friends of Tibet calls upon bloggers worldwide to write about Tibet-related issues. Every little helps I suppose.

Today - also celebrated as the Dalai Lama's birthday - is declared as Bloggers for World Tibet Day, aimed to create awareness for the plight of the people of Tibet and a cross-linking network.

Is this what the world has come to, when hope lies with something as shallow as the blogging community?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ice Warriors?

In a story in today's Mirror on the casting of Freema Agyeman as the new Who assistant, the rag makes a cryptic comment about other old Doctor Who baddies for Series 3:

"Filming starts later this month, and insiders have said the pair's first storyline will pitch them against the green monsters from Mars who first troubled the Doctor in 1967."

I wonder who that could be? Surely not the Ice Warriors? Aren't they peaceful members of the Galactic Federation?

Personally, I'd rather have Sontarans...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Rose by any Other Name

If you worked in a news room and found out who the next Dr Who assistant was going to be before people were supposed to, would you blab to the world?

Yeah, me too...

...follow THIS LINK.

Monday, July 03, 2006