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Sat, 24 Apr 2010
Saturday Stroll
# 19:44 in ./general

A beautiful sunny day, maybe the first of summer, and a slow stroll round the back roads and then down Clapham High Street. I say "slow" because I left my crutches at home and am trying to walk normally, un-aided. I walked past the pub where I broke my ankle in January. Feels like another life now ....

Clapham's changed tremendously over the last 10 years, mostly for the best. It's just a shame there are always roadworks around just now!

See my (mobile phone) pictures

Fri, 09 Apr 2010
What iPad Would Jesus Buy?
# 18:34 in ./general

Hold your iPad. Gaze at it. Pray to it. Let it transform you. And do it soon, because before you know it we are going to release version 2, which will make this one look like a total piece of crap. Peace be upon you.

-- An open letter to the people of the world

Wed, 07 Apr 2010
Modern Political Discourse ...
# 09:47 in ./general

I don't watch much TV but listen to quite a bit of radio, usually BBC Radio 4. I'm not particularly thrilled that it's going to be wall to wall election coverage from now until May. It feels old already.

Listening to the Today program, two things I hate about the way both journalists and politicians work :

  1. Journalists constantly interrupt the interviewee. Sometimes the interruptions happen so often that it's all a waste of time trying to make any sense at all. Having said that ...
  2. The politician will talk and talk as long as they can, with as few breaths and gaps as possible. It is an obvious attempt to make sure fewer questions or interruptions are possible. A lot of talk, but little of substance said.

It has been like this for a long time. Both these complaints are related of course and are just two of many. Modern political discourse is enough to make me want to scream sometimes ...

Mon, 05 Apr 2010
Brian Kernighan at IAS
# 20:32 in ./tech

Brian Kernighan, the K in the "K&R" book, is well known to those that know some computer history as one of the fathers of the C language, and UNIX tools like awk.

A lecture he did last year at the Institute of Advanced Study, past home of Einstein, Von Neuman and many other greats, is a short and sweet introduction to some basic do's and don't when programming. It's well worth the hour spent watching :

Talk : Elements of Programming Style

I actually own the book (from a long time ago) and remember it because it is thin, and it was very expensive ....

Sat, 03 Apr 2010
Business (Over)Complexity
# 20:45 in ./general

Clay Shirky has written an article suggesting that Big Media have problems fitting into and making money from the internet because their business is too complex.

Joseph Tainter wrote a book explaining the theory that the accumulation of complexity pushed some well-known societies over the edge (e.g. Roman Empire) causing their collapse. Shirky extends Tainter's theory to great Business Empires (e.g. News International).

There seem to be a lot of pages about Professor Tainter and his theories of complexity around. He defines complexity himself at the top of an article in the The Oil Drum about human resource usage and sustainability.

This discussion is quite apt. The sort of complexity that should seriously trouble us now is that which almost sunk our society a year ago. This is the complexity that still encompasses our financial system and our Too Big to Fail banks.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010
Start Here
# 21:16 in .

Well, well ... what have we got here? So, I've decided to have a go with this new-fangled blogging stuff ...

Well, actually, I've been reading blogs for years, in fact almost from the first appearance of "weblogs". This was the dim and distant past when blogs were few and far between, and I was drawn to a blog called Scripting News by Dave Winer. Perhaps because it had "scripting" in its name, and I was fresh and new to the web and Perl. In fact, there was no Perl at all, but a lot of cogent and interesting discussion of the new frontier of web applications.

It was all very exciting actually. In fact, it still is, with the added advantage that everything's much faster now.

As I said, quite a while ago. PG - "Pre-Google". When access was by modem, slow and noisy, and the idea was to grab as many cached pages as possible and then shut the link down. And hope Netscape didn't crash ...

It's much better now. And I maybe I'll write about that.

Onwards ...

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