Sliver's Journal
20 most recent entries

Date:2007-11-22 19:08
Subject: What has now become an almost Annual event
Security:Public

This blog that is. For many and varied reasons I dropped off writing in this. I may begin again, I may add new exciting content.

Or I may not.

Anyway, the blog itself though the same Zope software as before is now running on an entirely more reliable host. More reliable because it isn't mine and I'm not having to adminster to it and because its not throttled to death by MSN at 11am every morning the way the objective2k.com server is.

What probably isn't connected yet is the automatic post to the Livejournal original journal.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2007-06-26 21:04
Subject:Examining the Joost Blog Widget
Security:Public

Without attempting to astro turf the product I work for I'm just seeing how the blogging widget works.

More Information about the program.
Title : Reuters Oddly Enough: And Finally... - June 15th 2007
Description : Purchasing fullfillment, baby tiger cuteness, brides chow down top this week's Oddly Enough video. Chad Ruble presents the best of this week's Oddly Enough video.

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Date:2007-02-26 07:48
Subject: Belgium Man, Belgium!
Security:Public

Now I know why Douglas Adams coined Belgium as the worst swear word in the Universe.

I've just come back from Fosdem, which I think was my fourth and very pleasant and interesting it was meeting people again and for the first time.

But in travelling up from Leiden to Brussels on the train we stopped at Brussels North and a couple of guys (some said 4), came up the corridor, dropped change distracting everyone and made off with my laptop bag with the two laptops in it.

So thanks for that.

Belgium!

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-12-27 10:50
Subject: A walk in the woods
Security:Public

As I said, yesterday we went for a walk in the Wyre Forest. Given the nature of our winters now, the ground is still waterlogged and the churning of mountain bikes can make some of the paths off the wide limestone roads a thick chocolate cream. Its when you walk in the woods at this time of year that you really want it cold and the ground as hard as iron.

We didn't see any deer in the Forest, which given the number of dogs roaming around isnt that surprising. Sometimes its the owners that need putting on leads.

This is one of the photographs I took and I've messed it about a bit with Photoshop, the rest of the set are completely untouched apart from the addition of the watermark with Imagemagick. If you bother to go look at them, yes they are dark, it was fairly gloomy and I shot them at ASA 60. I'm still pondering whether to warm them up a little.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-12-22 14:28
Subject: Five things
Security:Public

Pushed to do this by Andrea


  • I was a Student Union President at 16.

  • I have lived fewer days than I've been alive by the calendar.

  • I have one book published, too remote of interest to be of any interest.

  • My hair was, for a period during the reign of Pope Paul VI, longer than Sander Striker's, there are no known photographs to prove this.


There are other facts so little known about me that even I don't know them, like the size of my big toes but that's probably not what you're looking for.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-12-22 09:49
Subject: Applications are now closed...
Security:Public

The form where you could apply yourself to join the Beta test for The Venice Project™ is now closed. Those that have already applied should either have received their invites now or will be in the very near future.

This doesn't mean you can't get to play with it, but you will need a direct invitation either from someone involved directly in the project or an existing beta test user that have been granted their own set of invitations. This is pretty much similar to the way that gmail was given wider exposure by Google.

So if you have already applied don't panic, you will get an invite. If you haven't then being nice to me probably isn't going to work (like that's a surprise). Yes I will invite people when I have spare invitations but I won't acknowledge it here and they're scarce even for me (for good reason).

I've seen pleadings for invites in a few places, JOS and one Ebay auction (nothing to do with us), which just goes to show that this method does work. Yes of course we want to create a buzz about The Venice Project but at the same time we do need to manage the ramp up.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-26 11:38
Subject: Desire Lines
Security:Public

J taught me something yesterday. We went to Worcester to shop and have something to eat before going to the ballet and parked up in the car park towards Shrub Hill which is just by the canal. Its a relatively new car park and there's a path that runs from the bridge over the canal down onto the towpath that passes by at the lowest point and the most direct path to the road for the pedestrian. And its fenced off, there is no way round except by the planned entrance.

If it wasn't fenced off then there's no doubt that there would be a well worn, if muddy in the wet, path tramped by all the people that used their heads and worked out which was the best route for them.

In Planning these are called Desire Lines, the routes that people prefer over and above whatever it is that Planners would themselves prefer.

Which started me thinking as we trundled around Worcester how that applies to software and to the interfaces we allow people to use.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-19 01:08
Subject: And on the right...
Security:Public

I've added a new module thingy, which is the current collection of fellow travellers willing to be public about The Venice Project.

The chances are you'll find out different and probably more interesting things on these journals than mine (never did like that word blog), if only because they're all far friendlier than I am.

Oh, unfortunately, if you want the list of bloggers you'll have to go to the other journal.


The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-18 12:08
Subject: Like a Virgin, seen for the very first time
Security:Public

In many ways I'm loathe to speak too much about The Venice Project as an application until it really is public and available and people can have their own virgin experience.

You'll see a lot of the blogs talking perhaps about it being TV the way you want it, ( no onion rings please ), and that's one of the aims as is the encouraging of community behaviour. That, for me, isn't the first impact that people will get and which I try and retain and make myself remember when the damn thing doesn't work.

Unlike any other video experience on the net its not about downloads, its not about having an account (though we'll have them but they'll still be optional) and its not about watching stuttery first time run throughs then playing it again so you get it with a full buffer.

Its about starting it, a few seconds of black, and then TV, all the time. The first time you see that, that's your virginity lost.

One of the challenges following the first time is to try and keep that initial reaction throughout the experience, not by people thinking 'hey, this is amazing its still running' (that's the experience we have in developing and QA'ing it so you shouldn't have to), but by it fulfilling that initial promise both in the content that we deliver and in the ways that we deliver it.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-16 07:49
Subject: Letting comments flow
Security:Public

As I'll be keeping an eye on this more I'm letting the comments go through un moderated (comments, what comments?), so get your unrestricted medications here.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-16 07:46
Subject: Being an idiot and causing people work
Security:Public

There used to be two things I was paranoid about when travelling, my passport and my air ticket. Now that air tickets are bits of paper or electrons and not gorgeous thick card with fare pay codes you could collect like a train spotter (Oh look I've got a K, oh a K is just a Y you can't change), I don't have to be paranoid about losing the ticket.

So all i have to take care of is the passport.

Which I've managed to do in over 20 odd years of travelling for work around the world.

Until Friday.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-15 11:50
Subject: No longer Super Secret, The Venice Project
Security:Public

So, the veil is lifting the image in the crystal ball is sharpening and now I can reveal.

That the Super Secret Project is....



So, this may or may not mean anything to you, so a short precis follows.

The Venice Project is a product development based on lots of open source projects, proprietary gubbins and whatchamacallits to provide TV across the Internet. A TV experience on your computer.

You can queue up for the invitational betas, tokens and such at http://www.theveniceproject.com

More later...

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-11-11 19:26
Subject: Static cling
Security:Public

For the past week or so the keyboard on my own silver 17" wide laptop has been dead, completely.

I got around to emailing Novatech support thinking I'd probably have to end up sending it back to get plugged in properly or that I'd not bother with that and open the thing up myself. But instead I got an email from them suggesting that I remove the battery and power cord and press the power button a few times to clear any static buildup.

And it worked.

In retrospect, like all these things, it seems eminently reasonable now. But I didn't think I'd have have static cling in my keyboard.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-10-31 01:00
Subject:The Economics of Risk assessment
Security:Public

It was extremely interesting listening and from time to time watching to reactions to the Stern report on the radio and TV. It was like this long exhalation of breath from all these pundits and politicians. At last, they seemed to breathe, we can talk about it.

Not that the Vox Pop was all that welcoming, the general reaction being that its just government being government as it was only expressed to them in the form of taxes. The Stern report is more than just about taxes, indeed it barely mentions them and doesn't identify particular taxes. What it does do is cost the environment, or rather the risk assessment of cost if nothing or very little is done.

And for that Stern needs more than commending, since if for no other greater reason, governments around the world, the US government in particular will take it seriously, far more seriously than they take the science that underlies it. Because now it is a tangible risk with a tangible price tag.

1% Mr Pisspot or 40-60% for you in the future, choose now, yes I thought so.

There are other recommendations in the Stern report which are also heartening especially as I proposed them (in very small voice), more than ten years ago.

If poor countries with rich resources use up those resources then the likelyhood is that green house gas emission will increase and if those resources are largely rain forest the cost of renewal will be even greater as it takes 25 years to replace trees to clean the air.

More than ten years ago I suggested that we pay those countries with the scarce and important resources the exact value of those resources in rent for them to manage and not utliise them in any way. I called it marketingtheworld.com and it had a (very tatty) web site.

This is exactly the argument that Stern uses and he uses economic magic formulae to prove it works.

But I'll take no credit, other than the credit for being able to reason.

I must remember to take the recycling box to the pavement tomorrow morning...

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-10-15 11:38
Subject:Being brought to my knees
Security:Public

No this is nothing in the least bit salacious and there are no pictures of me on my knees, kindly pass on by.

Two events did bring me to my knees this week, my own personal virus which started at the top of my head and then made a semi permanent home in my throat and upper respiratory tract. It is currently still causing my nasal membranes to pump ever more quantities of mucus and I have no energy.

The other event, or series of events, was Microsoft's second Tuesday in the month which I forgot all about. I don't know why, perhaps its like your partner's monthly cycle that you manage to forget about it until it gets in the way of what you want to do or something.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-10-01 09:52
Subject:Scottish Power, the incompetence of billing
Security:Public

The capped agreement we had with Scottish Power ran out in June and we made a new one, the rate having doubled in the meantime, which we were expecting but its capped again anyway.

At the same time as the cap ended the direct debit per month was changed to £76 from £90 and then this month we get a notification that the direct debit was going to change to £156 per month.

That would make our costs for gas and electric around £1800 a year. In the past when they've changed it by some rate we've just rung them up and said we'll pay whatever seemed reasonable to us and that's been accepted.

So I rang them up this time to do the same thing...

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-09-26 16:20
Subject:On how to close the show down
Security:Public

We had the unfortunate experience of watching Casualty on BBC 1 on Saturday night. Yes it had become hackneyed and the thinly veiled attacks on government policies on the Health Service and they'd pretty much run out of actors with liverpool accents. Oh no, they hadn't they'd moved to Holby City instead, I forgot that.

Anyway in one of these generational lurches that the BBC does from time to time they decided to give a new lease of life to the aged Casualty by sending it to Cambodia. ER in the Sudan this was not. Apart from the arthritic plot that had look now!, look here is this plot point!, yes here!, right this one! punctuating it it had some of the most grotesque acting I've seen since, well Eldorado.

It wasn't just the 'Charlie' guy waving his hand in front of his face and mouthing 'Phew' at the heat, when he wasn't sweating and it looked more like Chertsey than Cambodia; it was Simon Mc Corquindale who was acting as if melodrama had just been invented, the timing was bad, the words thrown on the floor.

In fact it was so bad I think it was on purpose. Not only was the script execrable and the acting paper thin but the cutting was clumsy, the timing between McCorquindale and the asian guy afraid of asians on the same phone was attrocious.

So, I think the entire production, the crew, the writers, the actors, their wives families and far flung aunties have all conspired in the face of a 48 week series to bring it to its knees and have it taken off.

It takes an awful lot for the Beeb to take a show off, but this time I think all those involved in Casualty have succeeded.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-09-26 16:11
Subject:Getting there
Security:Public

Well the Super Secret Project trundles on. I still can't say what it is yet, but soon, very soon. But it will be worth it, honest.

And in anticipation of that I'm extending the fingers a little in waking this slumbering blog.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-06-25 11:11
Subject:In which my Lap almost acquires a Bottom
Security:Public

In an extremely occasional, if not plainly almost abandoned series, of reviews and things found interesting last night we went to the opening night of the Ludlow Festival and saw A Midsummer Night's Dream.

This is around the third Dream put on at the Festival over the past 40 years and given the time of year and the setting, the sloping bank inside the ruined castle, that's no real surprise. It's also the second production for the same directory, Glen Walford, who happens to be local, born in Areley Kings, and shares the same hairdresser as J.

The set is really very good, a large gossamer oak tree with fairy lights, and a stepped stage around it.

We had seats right over on the right but in row C, with no one in front of me, which had repercussions that I'll explain later. Being over on the right meant we couldn't see the stage left entrances and exits but great care had been taken with the sight lines and there was very little that we missed.

The cast is the usual ensemble of young actors surrounding an experienced older actor, Matthew Devitt as Bottom. In an interesting juxtaposition Titania is played by a ballet dancer, Sarah Wildor, who has a reasonable repertoire in cattishness but her dancing is certainly more accomplished than her acting.

The one actor that stood out other than Matthew Devitt was Emily Watcher as Helena, she has this ability to be gauche and worldly at the same time and overwhelmed Emily Parker's Hermia. Helena is a difficult character to get right, the other three are set in their ambitions, Helena is the one that is really suffering as Lysander is as shallow as can be.

This is very much a director'r production, from the use of music, the Mechanicals all play instruments (or mime them very well), and there's an accompanist at the front of stage the entire time, each moment is punctuated by music; to the staging of the extended play on words about the relative height of Hermia and Helena with Helena at the top of the main stairs and Hermia on the stage itself allowing some sense to remain when the two actresses are almost of a size.

But it is Bottom that rules this Dream, as he should. Devitt makes Bottom a yeoman version of Falstaff, not so much a drunk perhaps but a jolly blowhard yet still amazed. During the final Act, the Mechanical's play (which has been often rushed through in other productions), drove the audience (and me), to fits of giggles and snorts of laughter. The amount of physical comedy and slapstick, including Bottom sinking into his breastplate such that his head disappeared and was left with his helmet wobbling on the top of it, underlining that this was never really a play but an entertainment.

At some stage during this byplay, Bottom stumbled down the stairs and towards me, he is not a small man, though short and I almost thought he'd collapse into me when he stopped and forged back on stage. Given where my seat was I'd been half expecting something of the sort. At the end the fairies went out into the audience and sprinkled 'fairy dust' around. S was covered.


The jarring details were the ludicrous flowers, looking like something a poor stage magician might employ.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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Date:2006-03-11 12:00
Subject:I Just Heard Moves
Security:Public

Well I've bitten the bullet and moved http://www.ijustheard.com to the same server as http://ectopia.us in the hope that it will cope better than my server at the load.

It seems my half gig importing of the site caused problems though as I've just been slapped on the wrist and told not to import it again. When I did the import the first time Apache came back with a proxy error, so I did it again and got the same error but the content all seems to be there. I think it was the repeated attempt that irritated them. For which I can't blame them and have apologised.

Now to see if the traffic builds again as it did before Christmas.

The original posting in the new journal is here

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