Weblog entries for January 2005

One thousand bars
This man is intending to visit 1,000 bars during 2005. He's already done 140. I wouldn't want to be his liver.

Bill Gates' doodles
Apparently they mean “struggling to concentrate” and “not a natural leader”.

Watermelon art
Some pretty impressive sculpting.


Wedding dress shopping

What better way to spend your Saturday than going to try on wedding dresses? If you answered, “Watching someone try them on,” then I'd wager you're female.

Continue reading… (313 words)

How to make a life poster
A very cunning use of iPhoto's print service to create your own posters.


How to use mod_rewrite to create clean URLs

I have just published this article. It describes how I removed cruft from my URLs and contains step-by-step instructions on how to do it yourself. Comments welcome as usual.

Escher's “Waterfall” in Lego
This is pretty amazing. Follow the links at the bottom of the page to see more of his Lego Escher creations.

Cheerleader toss
The movie that's been going around of the cheerleader being thrown through a basketball hoop has turned out to be part of an ad campaign. Who'd have guessed? Nice game though.

Ivan Noble's tumour diary
The BBC's Ivan Noble has been keeping a diary of his fight against a malignant brain tumour since August 2002. This will be his final column.


The clocks strike back

I have previously written about the clocks at the fire station. Today brought a dramatic development: the clocks both showed the same thing.

Continue reading… (231 words)

Some good news at last.

The sheet music archive
Free editions of public domain classical music.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
He's not getting married, that's the name of the film. I love this style of animation.

Google Video Search
Google Labs has just taken the wraps off this. 2005 looks very much like being the year of video.

More Google Browser rumours
Ben Goodger, lead developer on Firefox, has announced he is now employed by Google. Now watch ‘Google Browser’ speculation go through the roof again.

Famous unsolved codes and ciphers
My favourite is Kryptos, a sculpture at CIA headquarters. It consists of four encrypted messages, only three of which have been solved.

Wetherspoon's to ban smoking in their pubs
Bravo to them for sticking their necks out on this. It will be interesting to see how it affects their business. Where will the dribbly old men go?

This isn't London
“The Internet's first, best and only source of untrue, made-up and false facts and information about London.”

Bunny suicides
These cartoons are genius.

A cryptographic compendium
“This site contains a brief outline of the various types of cipher systems that have been used historically, and tries to relate them to each other while avoiding a lot of mathematics … ranging from pencil and paper systems performed by hand to today's advanced block ciphers.”

Methane rivers on Titan
“Liquid methane rain feeds river channels, lakes, streams, and springs on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan, images from the Huygens probe show.”

Fantastic Four trailer
That looks rather good.

Europa Dart
Another European geography quiz, but this time you have to throw darts at a map of Europe to show where cities are. Oh, and it's in German.

Waiting for Star Wars
Top tip of the day: if you're waiting in line to see Revenge of the Sith, relieve the boredom by writing a weblog about it.

Cliché finder
Perfect for sports journalists.

Hong Kong architecture
Some really amazing photos, showing how closely the population is packed together and how enormous the buildings are.

Test your geography knowledge
I got 99 out of 111 on the Europe quiz, but I didn't do quite so well when asked to identify the US states.

Titan Calling
How a Swedish engineer saved the Cassini-Huygens mission through sheer persistence, insight and lots of improvisation.

Big and bad: how the SUV ran over automotive safety
Small cars are safe because they make their drivers feel unsafe. SUVs are unsafe because they make their drivers feel safe. That feeling of safety isn't the solution; it's the problem.

Cryptic crosswords are civilisation
Amazingly, cryptic crosswords are unique to Britain. Nowhere else in the world has them.

When in Manhattan…
An excellent tourist guide. Next time I go there I'll carry a printout of this.


My top 100 songs

I like lists. I also like music. I have a smart playlist set up in iTunes, which contains the songs I have played most often. Here it is, completely unedited.

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Darth Tater
If only I'd found this before Christmas. This is what would happen if Mr Potato Head joined the dark side.

New draft chapter from Edward Tufte's next book
The chapter is called “Corrupt Techniques in Evidence Presentations” from the book “Beautiful Evidence”. Brilliant (and damning) stuff.

Huygens probe lands on Titan
The Cassini-Huygens mission has been an unadulterated success. New images and sounds are constantly being added to this site.

Google Mini
I think ‘Mini’ as a product moniker has just reached saturation point. “And with a price of $4995, it's practically an impulse buy at the Google Store.” Perhaps not quite so impulsive as the Mac mini.

Apple's Tipping Point: Macs For The Masses
A great infographic showing how Apple are moving towards the consumer end of the market, far better than a textual description could.

The ESP Game
Guess what your partner is typing when you both see an image, without being able to communicate with them, and without being able to use the most obvious words.

Eames exhibition at the Library of Congress
Charles and Ray were two of the best designers of the 20th century. There's some really fantastic stuff in here.


What's Apple's strategy for the Mac mini?

The Mac mini is about much more than enticing people switching from Windows. It's also a poorly-disguised media centre device. Here's why.

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The food timeline
Popcorn was first used in 3600BC, Brussels sprouts in 1587. Kebabs date from the 14th century, hot dogs from 1484.

Super Mario sheet music
The first one is in A flat and has loads of accidentals, but the rest don't look too tricky. I'll give it a whirl later on.

NASA details the Asia earthquake's effect on the Earth
It reduced the length of each day by 2.68 microseconds.

Mac mini
Wow. Take your existing keyboard, mouse and monitor and plug them into this tiny machine. Prices start at £339. So now what's your excuse for not getting a Mac?

SmartDeck — cassette adapter for iPod
It's like one of those cassette adapters that have been around for years, except it also sends back forward and rewind information to the iPod. Forehead-slappingly brilliant.

ISBN numbers will soon be longer
As of 1 January 2007, all ISBN numbers will grow from 10 digits to 13. This looks like yet another mammoth IT task.

Tall Persons Club GB & Ireland
“… dedicated to providing information for and promoting the interests of tall people.” Finally!

Keeping your life in Subversion
(Non-geeks, please look away now.) Replicate your home directory across multiple computers, keep a version history of every file, and have distributed backups. I already backup with rsync but this takes it up several notches.

Resignation speeches and letters from throughout the 20th century.

Building a better blog
An excellent list of ten useful pieces of advice. I don't think I'm even doing half of these.

Everything you always wanted to know about sleep…
…but were afraid to ask.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy teaser trailer
It doesn't give away much, but the signs look promising.

Web applications — the wave of the future
An excellent article on the benefits of web applications. This is the future of the web.

5 reasons to enjoy watching Southampton v Fulham
Interesting to read an American point of view. Although the correct label for Peter Crouch is not ‘skyscraper’ but ‘freak’.

Money origami
Many more ways to fold a dollar bill. Some old, some new, all good. And at only 54p a time, you can easily afford to make them all.

Halifax say house prices rose by 1.1% in December
But their national figure masks a fall of 1.6% in the south east.


Crossword clues

If you do cryptic crosswords often enough, you probably begin to notice similar words or phrases being repeated from time to time.

Quite often I can't quite remember what the answer was last time, so I've created a database of crossword clues to try to solve that problem.

When you get stuck, type in a key word from your clue. The database will find other clues which contain the same word. They may help you to explore oher lines of thinking.

This is a bit of an experiment. I don't know how useful it will be. The clues which share words are often the easiest, but some clues are so hard that anything is worth a try.

Floating logos
Signs floating in mid-air. Good photos, well edited.


You're going down. Are we?

Here we are again, just over halfway through the football season. It's time to repeat last year's relegation predictions and see if I can improve my guesses.

Continue reading… (618 words)

A blog about t-shirts. One each day.

It's an origami wallet, made out of money. So if there's nothing in your wallet, simply pay with the wallet itself.

Work Your Proper Hours Day
25 February 2005 will be the day when the average UK worker who does unpaid overtime finishes the 38 unpaid days they do every year, and starts earning for themselves. Almost as scary as Tax Freedom Day.

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