Weblog entries for December 2004

The year in verse
2004 in rhyme, from The Economist.

Last survivor of the ‘Christmas truce’
“‘I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,’ he said. ‘Only the guards were on duty. We all went outside the farm buildings and just stood listening … We shouted “Merry Christmas”, even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.’”

Scared of Santa
Some kids really don't like having their photo taken with Saint Nick.

A very, very good photo weblog.

Mathematicians crochet chaos
Over 25,000 stitches representing the Lorenz equations. “Prof Krauskopf asked her: ‘Why don't you crochet something useful?’” Well, quite.

Joel on Software — Camels and Rubber Duckies
All you'll ever need to know about economics and pricing models, with a few choice morsels of humour thrown in. This man is a genius.

Health advice through your TV
Digital TV viewers will be able to access health advice from the comfort of their sofa from Thursday with the launch of NHS Direct Interactive. How about, “Get off the sofa and do some exercise, fatty”?

Two-page Firefox advert to run in today's New York Times
My name's in there somewhere.

Beatles Christmas records
The Beatles recorded these and sent them out to their adoring fans every year.

The tyranny of email
Overwhelmed by email? This manifesto will help.

CAD program that uses an evolutionary algorithm to design weird-looking but strong Lego structures.

Half-Life 2 photo journal
750 screenshots taken all the way through the game. It looks gorgeous. “It is not very evenly dispersed throughout because sometimes I got too into it to take screens.” Fair enough. :-)

Hotel rooms from £5 a night, from the people who brought us easyJet, easyCar, etc, etc. But would you find it, ahem, easy to sleep in a bright orange room?

A new kind of technology news site. Clever idea.

Homemade iPod ad movie
Really impressive movie. How long till this guy gets signed up by Apple?

How to make tiny oranges out of modelling clay
At least I presume that's what it says.

Company name etymologies
“Apple - for the favourite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computer if his colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 p.m..” That's how to run a company.


A maths problem

The fire station has a clock whose meaning I cannot fathom.

Continue reading… (301 words)

The 25 most difficult questions
A 1983 article about job interview questions that's still completely appropriate today.

The original chocolate fountain
I want one.

Google Suggest
“As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time.”

What's in a name?
Boy oh boy do I feel his pain.

Why you should always brush your teeth
Soldier in Iraq survives being shot point blank by the skin of his teeth. Literally.

Change the graphics on your iPod
Cool! Anyone with an iPod want to try this out and let me know if it works?

4,000 Santas, five arrests
It's the season of goodwill, you know.

Top 100 overlooked films of the 1990s
Great list, with the possible exception of what's at number eight.

Illegal Engineering
Tim Hunkin, of “The Secret Life of Machines” fame, attempts to train up a new generation of safe-breakers.

Honourable Fiend
Interesting UK political blog. Lots of stuff you simply couldn't make up.

Thunderbird's Extreme Mac-over
One of the Mozilla graphic designers shows the evolution of the new look and feel in Thunderbird.

Roads Gone Wild
A way to manage traffic without signs or even kerbs. I remember reading about this on the way to Cornwall. Stuck in traffic, of course.

Most hated advertising techniques
‘Only’ 95% of people dislike popups.

From mobile phone to sunflower
“Scientists said on Monday they have come up with a cell phone cover that will grow into a sunflower when thrown away.”

Cartoon character skeletal systems
Really nice set of drawings showing what some cartoon characters' skeletons would look like.

Best of 2004
An exhaustive collection of 'best of 2004' lists, which I suppose makes it the best of 'best of 2004' lists.

New York changing
Photos of New York in the 1930s alongside the same shots today.

“Luxist is a blog … obsessively covering luxury products.”

Origami boxes
Origami boxes of all shapes and sizes.

Weighted lists
Interesting design idea: use type size to indicate which items in a list are more important.


A trip to the cinema

I made my first visit to the cinema in Winchester this week.

Continue reading… (376 words)

Karma in the Life
John Lennon's vocals from A Day In The Life, over the music from Karma Police by Radiohead, with some Oompa Loompas thrown in for good measure. Wow.

Cluster ballooning
Flying strapped to a giant bunch of balloons.

Merriam-Webster's words of the year
‘Blog’ is number one. Is it time for me to abbreviate the name of my weblog?

The Band Aid dilemma
What to do if you don't like the Band Aid 20 song.

Puzzle Donkey
Aaaaaargh! Fiendishly hard puzzles. You'll get no work done today.

5.25-inch drive bay storage box
The most forehead-slappingly obvious use for a spare 5.25" drive bay I've seen.

Lego advent calendar
If only I'd seen this earlier. I want one.

Best fast food restaurant ever.

Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle
Elmore Leonard's tips on writing. On exclamation points: “You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose…”

2004's best albums
Reading this has made me realise I can't remember the last time I bought a CD. You can buy me any of these for Christmas!

Do They Know It's Christmas?
It's now available on the iTunes Music Store, as is the original version, which is much better. Does that make me sound old?

Bridget Jones' Diary, 80 years early
A 1920s-style equivalent of Bridget Jones' Diary has been discovered among donations to a Bristol charity shop.


You must be joking

At Angel tube station this morning, there was a busker playing “Here Comes The Sun”. It always reminds me of that old “Mary Whitehouse Experience” sketch in which it's the only song any busker ever plays. It's funny because it's so close to the truth.

Quite apart from that, it's the first day of December today and it's freezing cold! So perhaps not quite the most appropriate choice of music, unless he was being ironic.

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