Thursday, August 31, 2006

Woo-hoo, Free Books! Kinda.

Remember Project Gutenberg? The war on paper continues!

In the words of Egon Spengler - "Print is dead". I love quoting that one at work.

Auntie Google, as of today, are now offering full PDF downloads of public-domain books. Okay, so they are only offering stuff with expired copyrights, and there's no substitute for paper and ink in your hand (your can't wipe your arse with a laptop) this does open the door to a rather nice pay-to-download service.

Quoting Google blog:

To find out-of-copyright books that you can download, simply select the "Full view" radio button when you search on (Please note that we do not enable downloading of any book currently under copyright. Unless we have the publisher’s permission to show more, we display only small snippets of text –- at most, two or three sentences surrounding your search term -– to help you determine if you’ve found what you’re looking for.)

Of course, this is just the beginning. As we digitize more of the world's books -- whether rare, common, popular or obscure -- people everywhere will be able to discover them on Google Book Search.

Google Book Search has been leaning towards this kinda thing for a while now, and (while nowt particularly new) it's a jolly good idea that puts a few sonnets under the noses of them that might not have the access otherwise.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Recognise Anyone?

This is the new NBC series, Heroes, due to start in America on the 25th of next month.

The artist character in this trailer? I've been playing him in the
Thursday night game for the last 4 years...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ships Cat

Extremely messed up, but very cool. Why isn't my cat that cool? My cat just sleeps, no plundering, just sleeping and whinging for food and costing me money. Mine even lived on a boat and it was still useless. Occasional mice, but that's well crap when you compare it to doubloons.

Oh, which reminded me, tis but 20 short days 'till Talk Like a Pirate Day is upon us again. Oh, how they love that one at work. "Are you sure you need me in that meeting? It's the 19th of September you know? Sorry, it's part of my religion, I'll be talking like a pirate that day. Will that be okay?"

All those in favour, say "Arrrgh!"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Self Inflicted Wounds

Okay. Fair cop. I got battered out of my tree last night.

Apologies if I was as offensive as Pig is intimating I was. It was the Gathering and so the only time I go out to get deliberatly mullered, but Tawny Port, Jack Daniels (where the hell did that come from anyway?) and watery Stella do not mix on an empty stomach. I've had a bangin' hangover headache since 2am.

I have nobody to blame but myself. I've got those clammy post session alcohol sweats. Instant karma.

Helen found a copy of this. O'Learys, from Summerfest '91. Recognise anyone? That seems like a lifetime ago, when I was young, had hair and was a damn site more hangover-proof.

I'm gonna go sweat it out in a hot bath.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Seth @ Google

Seth Godin has one of those blogs that's well worth a visit. Especially if you like your marketing.

Here he is, speaking recently at Google.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Back Home

Looks like the cat has forgiven me.

A quiet night in around Croft Manor messin' with the X-Box.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Out in a Rhib

Mike, Jems dad, hired a nature watching and razzing through waves trip for the family today. It's been planned for a while and we seem to do something most years. Mike loves to fish, and surveys and illustrates rivers as part of his architectual business.

We went up to Port Eynon and met up with the Davies clan. It was nice to see everyone with not getting accross for Rozs wedding. I'd really recomend it actually, we saw all kinds of stuff including a large and curious male Atlantic Grey Seal, Chuffs (like a crow, but has a red beak & red legs, rare as rocking horse turds apparently), masses of Cormorants etc.
"The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag,
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out.
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs."

We were with a company called Gower Coast Adventures, who seemed a family outfit and really knew their wildlife, their dive sites and their local history. To be honest, for an inherently 'boaty' family, I think we were all surprised how much we enjoyed the afternoon.

We were hoping to go to Worms Head, but strong winds made it a wee bit too choppy for some of the older family members so we headed west up the coast to Caswall. The boat, Sea Serpent, is a 33' purpose-built R.H.I.B. with a decent 315hp marine turbo diesel and water jet propulsion (which is environmentally friendly to marine wildlife and means you can get right into the shallow water). I had my GPS with me so I know we were cruising around 20-25 knots.

Roz and Rhys stayed over at the flat, so we entertained them with booze and barbeque for the evening.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mooching Around

Another slow start, then off to Oystermouth Castle for a mooch around. Looking over Swansea Bay, this 12thC building was burnt down a couple of times by the Welsh to drive out the Normans. Truth be said, it’s seen better days. A good portion of it is closed off due to being unstable and there was virtually nobody up there. It has that air of a miniature Harlech about it, pre restoration. They use it as a venue for outdoor events, and I bet it cuts an impressive silhouette with a few floodlights at twilight.

I had a meander up the beech towards Brandy Cove in the afternoon, but the tide started to cut me off so I though better of it. We sat for bit, reading and kicking sand between the showers, ‘till the tide got in enough to warrant having a go at some mediocre belly boarding. It’s not like a couple of years ago when we had the big storm. That was dangerous, this was pedestrian. Jem stuck it out a lot longer than I did.

As I write she’s nattering to the neighbours. Turns out the lass staying next door makes and sells jewellery (there’s no getting away from them, they’re everywhere) so they are chatting about beads.

Plans for the evening? Read the Dark Phonix Saga and a bit of pottering up and down the high tide line looking for treasure.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mumbles and Comics

We walked into Mumbles across the cliff path today (after a slow start). We had some lunch at Verdis (one has to if one is Mumbles) and bought Welsh cakes and soap in the CoOp. It’s a good hike across the cliff path but I was relieved to see I’m still healthier and less out of breath than the good lady wife ;-) Most of the heather is coming back after the fires last year. This whole area was black and good chunk of the coastal fauna got battered last August. I even got footage of the flames and stuff that came to me for editing on our South Wales site. There are far more quick growing grasses filling in the gaps now, and you can see the difference in the bio diversity of the flowers and shrubs really obviously in the burnt areas.

This evening we had a couple of visitors. Caroline and Charles, friends of Jems mum. Charles is a Professor at the Egypt centre in Swansea and (I think) lectures in ancient Greece. Jema, naturally, has a specific interest in historical clothing and jewellery, so the just popped over for a brew and to shoot the breeze. We ended up talking about Headline History, a lot, and it was interesting to hear what Wales is up to in the world of interactive education. I’d love to do something like HH, nationally, on Greeks and Romans and Saxons.

Jema settled in to some handicrafts, and I pottered up and down the high tide kicking rocks and making sand castles. The waves are still doing nothing but, if we’re lucky, we might get an hour on the belly boards tomorrow.

A cat has taken a shine to us. It’s lives upstairs with Patti, who’s lived here since the flats were built. It’s whoring around my ankles for milk. It makes me wonder if, to felines, we have some kind of uniquely distinctive musk that says ‘soft touch’ or, less flatteringly, ‘fresh fish’.

I’ve just read a load of old Hellfire Club issues. Now I’m gonna see if we can get Channel 4 for ‘Lost’ and that, with a couple of G&Ts, should round off the day nicely.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Arrived at Caswall

We decided to leave it 24hrs before we headed off to Wales, so we’ve only just arrived. We should have come yesterday but, with the pets having had operations and needing a bit of reassurance, we delayed our holiday ‘till this morning. We’ve left them in the capable hands of Paula, our pet sitter.

Every time I see the flat as Caswall I’m reminded of Tracy Island. Minus the palm trees and the big phallic thing in the swimming pool, it has that same ‘built in the 60s’ air about it. There have been a few changes since last year. The sea wall and car park have been rebuilt, the new shower door is all fitted (must try not to break that again), and Mumbles seems to have gone that little bit more ‘middle class’.

After 5 hours on the road, we popped in to see Jems folks to pick up bedding, our boards, survival rations etc. then sat around reading old issues of X-Men (Uncanny 125 to 128). We had a stroll down the beach before sunset and tomorrow we’ll probably walk up the coast path to Mumbles and grip some essentials at the CoOp.

There’s no chance of getting any surfing in cos the waves are pants. It’s low moon and we need a good storm in Lundy and Fastnet.

Right now, we’re gonna sit up in bed with a bottle of red and enjoy the luxury of not ‘having to be doing’ something :-)

Friday, August 18, 2006


Googles is a well sweet Google map api flight sim worth a mention.

Poor bloges bandwidth must be going mental, so do have a click on some banners while you're there.

There's something about 'arrow keys and spacebar' that make life so simple. I just starfed Disneyland. Sorted.

It'd be nice to see a 2 player version with tanks :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poor Again

The cat only has 2 teeth left and does not look chuffed (though nicely toasted).

She's not happy. Ha! It's not her just stumped up another £200!

Nah seriously. Poor little bugger has had a major op, has been lugged around Derby in a wicker box, and is whacked right out of her gourd on anesthetic this evening. She still eat here tea though, so I know they gave us the right cat back. The neighbours (all the other houses she eats at) were queing up outside to check she was okay. She now also has a micochip, of which I'm slightly jealous (as I've always fancied cyberware myself).

To be honest it's been an expensive month. With £900 on the car (bloody Mercedes Benz garages), a week at the flat coming up, £100 on sickly rabbits, £2500 on a new roof for the kitchen (startin' soon) and all this do with the cat, it looks like Pig and I are on a cheapy (he's saving for Oz at christmas) at IBC this year.

Oh well. W
e're meating Adam etc. for his stag do and Amsterdam's usually a laugh when your poor (to be honest, I don't think I've ever been there when I've been otherwise) cos it makes you have adventures. We can always go blag off H and eat falafel ;-)

El Googlero

Very nice of the chaps at Google, I got a 'corporate gift' off them this morning.

John, their AdWords rep for our big account, is moving to pastures new and it was a "So long and thanks for all the commission" kinda thing. Bless him, and knowing I like to throw myself under moving vehicles, he sent me a full set of Google cycle wear.

I look absolutely, and in all ways, ridiculous in it. It's good quality stuff, don't get me wrong, but I look like some kind of Duplo coloured Mexican wrestler. It really is outstandingly comfy and well 'protective' in all the right place (so I'll be using it for sure) but primo
luchador and verging (as the would say on eBay) on 'gay interest'.

"Submit before the
righteous power of El Googlero, champion of El Libre and SEO justice..."

I'll post a pic here when I get one. You'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Wilhelm Scream

I've been aware of this for a long time but never managed to actually pin-point one. Nobody has ever said "There it is. Thats a Wilhem scream". Until today.

Okay. Some basic history. The Wilhelm scream is a stock sound effect first used in 1951 for the movie 'Distant Drums'. It's been featured in shed loads of hollwood movies since and was rediscovered by Ben Burtt for the Star Wars movies and who tracked down the original recording. Although
'Distant Drums' was the first known use of the sound, Burtt named it after "Pvt. Wilhelm", a minor character who emitted the same scream in the 1953 pic 'The Charge at Feather River'. Andy (now Anna) Robinson put me on to this back in my college days. FoxyTallChick put me on to this YouTube special today while we should have been working.

Now I know it, I guess I'll hear it all over the place and it's as ubiquitous as the likes of anything on 'BBC Sound Effects 1', the 'Universal Telephone Ring' or looking for Alan Smithee and fake shemps.

Mixing Dex

Check this post on Dexters blog. It's a thing of total beauty.

proof that Firefox was built by a higher intelligence.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

SEO People Wanted

Things are pretty darn busy right now.

Are you an SEO expert? Are you now (or would you like to be) AdWords accredited? Do you have a penchant for hanging around forums with other geeks who have a thing for the latest Google algorithm? Do you even know what SEO stands for? Do you want a full time job with decent wages and stuff? Do you want to work in Derby? Okay, that last one is probably pushin' it and is probably just there for spamdexing...

We're recruiting and can't find anybody. We had someone booked in for an interview last week and they were a no show. The rest of them had no AdWords experience and we have the 2nd biggest (by keyword #) campaign in the UK.

If you’re curious, contact me. Seriously. I'm chaotically busy at work and we need to farm some of this out. I know some of my old SEO buddies pop by here occasionally.

This is a full-time and permanent post working in a large multi-media company (with nice folks). I'm gonna start battering the agencies tomorrow but that'll put me in the firing line and once you put your head over the trench with those buggers there’s no going back.

Go on. You probably hate your job and this one's a lot better than whatever it is you're doing now. Trust me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Coked Up

This isn't the usual sort of
Coke you expect from Grand Theft Auto. I feel kinda 'sullied' by fake corporate love...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bloody Thing

55 quid! 55 quid! I could buy around 5 and a half new cats for that! Bloody Sunday opening hours.

Pixie, o dear little kitten of mine, has indeed smashed half her gob out. We've still no idea how, and this mornings unwholesomely early trip to the V-E-T produced no answers and a woppin' bill.

She now has to go in for full dental surgery on Thursday too. Another journey with her whining and mewing all the way. This isn't the end of it. This is gonna rush me at least another £100. This is my holiday spends up the wall. I spend another £50 on a full run of moggie injections at the posh surgery in Duffield only last week.

Then she looks at you with blind adoration that even the good lady wife can't muster, so the only place you can vent your anger is on your blog in front of total strangers...

That animal better either get a job or learn to open beer and fetch slippers, that's all I'm saying.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Quiet Night In

I just got back from Lancashire (having been seeing my folks) after 5 hours on a train.

Mum is back home again but still ill (it's all a very long and convoluted tale), the cat seems to have smashed one of it's teeth out (it's sticking out of her gob at 90 degrees and we'll be at the vets first thing tomorrow), Jema has lost her mobile (at the opera in Buxton), I've got loads of work to do (including a 6 hour long multimedia training course thingy), it's chuckin' it down with rain (the down-pipe appears to be blocked with dead leaves or something and there’s rain water going everywhere) plus my mother in law is here.

Ah well. My new copy of Star Wars Battlefront 2 has arrived (ya gotta love eBay) and sometimes, the best way to deal is to go out into the woods, with a high powered sniper rifle, and to shoot an Ewok in the face.

At least I got another day off tomorrow :-)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back Inside

As if life wasn't complicated enough, my dad just rang and said mum's back in hospital again. It looks like she's anaemic and having reactions to the medication she's on (the unlikely named 'clopidogrel'). Not good. She's fail enough as it is, 3 sheets to the wind, and has only just got back in their own house after 3 months+ stuck in a ward.

Posts may go sporadic again but as I've not actually written anything worth a damn for ages that shouldn't exactly be a hardship to the world. Gee, there might not be a fresh Google Video on Saturday. How will you coupe?

As it happens, I'm off up to see them at the weekend anyway.

If I may reiterate today’s earlier comments about how getting old can seriously suck. We have all this to look forward to.

Personal Observation

On an personal note, I am aware that as one's body gets older it goes through certain changes to prepare one for later life.

What, on gods green earth, could possibly be going to happen to me where I will need this much soddin' ear hair?
Embarrassingly, this ear hair also appears to be, well, ‘ginger’.

Getting old makes no sence. 200 years ago I'd probably be dead by now.

With advances in medical science comes longevity. With longevity comes the Remington nose and ear hair trimmer.

I look forward to skin tags and a hair style like Mr. Fantastic...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Loads more inspirational trek posters and, while we're on the subject, some RPG motivational posters too.

To be fair, I laughed more at the latter (but I'd already saved off the picture for posting). Which probably makes me a bigger geek than a hardcore Trek fan.

I am Jacks wasted youth...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Future Publishing

What in gods name is a 'futurologist'? Is it another word for 'made up job title by nobby wanker'?

I digress, and this is interesting nonetheless.

The gist of this article? The publishing industry is on the change, barriers are crashing like the Dukes of Hazzard, magazines are going out of business in all those tech-savvy places and with those tech-savvy demographics. We'll see way less paper and way more content. On the whole, a great thing for consumers, a good thing for the environment, and a terrible thing for the established publishing industry (in which I kinda work). So, embrace technology or loose out to those who do. Old school reporters, get into what's coming and find your niche...

Have a read, I don't think it's 'futurology' (but I don't know what that means anyway) and I do think it's prescient (just to prove I do know some big words).

Monday, August 07, 2006


Occasionally, B3ta (and, more oftern than not, that chap named Cyriak) pulls off something so funny I can die a happy man.

Click the pic, for the full unbridaled glory of 'Jones the Decepticon'.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Return of the Rani

Footballers’ Wives star Zoe Lucker is being lined up to play Doctor Who’s evil arch-enemy The Rani.

Show bosses are bringing back the terrible Time Lady, who was originally played by Kate O’Mara in the 1980s.

And sexy Zoe — superbitch Tanya Turner in racy ITV1 hit Footballers’ Wives — is a dead cert for the part.

An insider said: “The Rani was a classic character — pure evil. She’s ripe for a return and Zoe is perfect to play her. There are similarities between The Rani and bitchy Tanya.”

The Rani is a time traveller like the Doctor but channels her energy into evil — a scientific genius who creates monsters.

TV sex symbol O’Mara — who turns 67 next Thursday — featured as The Rani in two special serials in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

She also played Joan Collins’s sister Caress in US drama Dynasty and was on our screens in Five soap Family Affairs last year.

I was never a big fan of The Rani. According to the The Sun she's back for the next series, but it sounds like serious barrel scraping to me.

If we're gonna get some old timelords, I'd rather have The Master. Anyway, the BBC have denied the whole thing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dust at Home

The Planetary Society, in conjunction with the University of California at Berkeley, is looking for good dust-spotters to join Stardust@home, a project where internet users search for microscopic interstellar dust particles captured by NASA's Stardust spacecraft.

This is great for my mum, who is a bit house ridden at the moment and can spot a spec of dust at 900yds.
Go have a look, literally: HERE.

Clocking On

Check the power of spamdexing.

Go into Google image search. Search for 'Tag Watches', and spot the odd one out...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Google Patent List

A tiny bit sad this one, but, if SEO presses your buttons like it does mine it's well worth a once through.

For anyone else the sheer banality of this information can no doubt be effectivly used as an anitidote for insomnia.

This goes a small way to understanding that elusive Google algorithum and to having a guess at their roadmap for the future.

this out.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

La Fée Verte

I was looking for cocktail stuff for the next 20s event and I found this. The old fashioned way of prepping Absinthe.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sarah Jane Investigates

Outstanding news. The BBC's in-house newsletter thingy had this to say today:
"CBBC is developing a spin-off series from Doctor Who based on the adventures of investigative journalist Sarah Jane, played by Elizabeth Sladen, and to be written by Russell T Davies. Sladen, who originally played the Doctor's assistant in 1973, returned for the last series where she was seen vying with young Rose Tyler for the Doctor's affections."
Oh happy day. There's no official press announcement yet, but I could see this coming to be honest. I'm sure I've made my feelings on Sarah Jane quite clear in the past ;-)

I hope it's not too bloody kiddie and Cbeebies. Even as a 'fan', back in Christmas '81, I remember thinking K9 and Company was a load of heaving bobbo...