Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Mon, 28 Jun 2004

Back off!

I have to drive nearky 40 miles to work each day. That's about 30 miles on the A1M and the rest on London's dual carriageways. Generally it's an easy enough drive with most people showing consideration, but there's always a few who can't go as quick as they would like. On the way home today I had two occaisions when I was overtaking and someone came right up close behind me. I'm talking less than 5m, at 60-70mph. SO I slow down. If they had stayed back I would have overtaken quicker and moved over, but these people really annoy me. They are going to kill someone one day.

I keep thinking of making up a sticker for the back window saying "I slow down for tailgaters", but I'm not sure my better half would approve. I think there should be a national campaign on this to change attitudes. People should not be trying to bully others out of the way on the road.

I just needed to get that off my chest

[20:15] | [Motoring] | Comments | G

Fri, 25 Jun 2004

New Bjork album coming soon

It's to be called Medulla and will be purely vocal, i.e. no instruments. There's a brief quote from her on Rolling Stone. Simon and John may be interested that it features Mike Patton of Faith No More.

I'll be watching Bjork.com

[09:36] | [Music] | Comments | G

Simon's Glastoblog

Mr R set off for Glastonbury last night. It's probably going to be a bit muddy, but I'm sure he'll have a great time. Maybe I'll get there one day. The point of this story is that he is repoprting on his trip by using his mobile phone to send pictures and text directly to his web site. This is a very nice use of trechnology, that would have been impossible until very recently. The pictures are not of brilliant quality, but for some subjects that doesn't matter too much. Phones with megapixel cameras are appearing now. The blog is here.

I just noticed he's ended up with a glastoblog and a glatsoblog due to a typo.

Personally I have a phone with very limited capabilties. I bought it because it was cheap and I don't use it very much. It does WAP, but I've never used it. Mind you, I do have my Palm with a camera, so I could do something with that, but I have no way to transmit the pictures. I may go for a phone upgrade if I travel to the USA again.

[08:04] | [Friends] | Comments | G

Fri, 18 Jun 2004

Zire to get Wi-fi too

After endless delays it looks like my Palm will get to do the wireless thing too. It seems that Palm themselves have beem holding up the process even though they don't have much in the way of wireless options themselves.

Anyway, the SanDisk card should be available very soon, but just for the Zire 71 for now. See here.

I'm not desperate just now, but it might be a nice thing to have one day.

[12:49] | [Palm] | Comments | G

Palm Zire 71 can now be a webcam

When the Zire 71 came out with it's built-in camera lots of people wanted to know if it could do more than just take still pictures e.g. record video or act as a webcam. The expert view on the forums was that this was unlikely, especially the webcam, due to limitations of the hardware.

A while back Movierec and Movie Maker appeared, offering video recording. I've played briefly with the latter and it works. No sound though due to the lack of microphone. The Zire 72 should do it though.

Then today I saw this. A shareware webcam program. I've given it a try and it works. Unfortunately it managed to blue-screen my PC, but I'll let it off as it's new software.

So the number of uses for my Zire keeps growing. I mainly use it as a calendar and address book, but it does a great job as MP3/OGG player and e-book when I'm travelling. I just bought some lovely Sennheiser PX200 headphones. They fold up quite small and sound good to me, with better sound isolation than the crappy earbuds I was using before. I'll report on them when I've had more time with them.

[07:48] | [Palm] | Comments | G

Mon, 14 Jun 2004

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

I got into Neal a few years back when I bought Snow Crash. Since then I've read most of his books and enjoyed them despite his issues with writing good endings. Basically he's a geek and he writes about stuff I find interesting, often in great detail.

His previous book was Cryptinomicon, mostly about cryptography, that wove stories of WWII and the present day linked by certain, fictional families. Quicksilver takes a sizeable leap into the past by dealing with those same families in the 17th century.

I've been getting into history generally lately so this ties in well with what I've been reading about Isaac Newton. He features as a character in the book along with Pepys, Hooke, Leibnitz and various royals around Europe. What the book seems to be about are money and the flow of ideas. This was a fertile time for both of those with international money markets springing up and organisations like the Royal Society being formed.

My historical knowledge is too limited to know if it's a very accurate account of the events, but it is encouraging me to read more.

This is the first part of what he calls the Baroque Cycle. It's three books, but he shies away from Trilogy as it's more complex than that implies. The second book, The Confusion, is already out, but I need a break before I tackle that.

Neal has set up a wiki that annotates just about every page of the cycle as a way to find out more.

Thanks to Simon for lending me his copy of the book for a couple of months.

[13:18] | [Review] | Comments | G

Sun, 13 Jun 2004

Bill Bailey at Cambridge Corn Exchange

I've admired Bill's mix of surreal comedy and music for some time so I leapt at the chance to get tickets for his Part Troll tour. Milton Keynes was already sold out, but I just managed to get a pair of sets right at the back in Cambridge.

The stage set consisted of a pair of keyboards plus electric and acoustic guitars. Bill himself seemed to pace around a bit nervously whilst talking, but seemed more relaxed with an instrument in his hands. He claims not to be good at jokes, but his stream of vaguely connected themes had the audience in fits. I wasn't so sure about his use of questions to the audience as it just encourages show-offs to shout silly things, but I liked his use of 'heckle waiting'.

The musical parodies were excellent. Portishead, Kraftwerk, U2 and Chris de Burgh(?) all got the treatment. There was some nice use of lighting and projected images.

I keep smiling to myself as I remember some of the lines. It's not really stuff you can tell to other people. I can't make it as funny as he does.

Overall an excellent night.

BTW I noticed a few kids there. I'm sure some of the stuff goes way over their little heads, but he hardly swears, making him pretty family friendly.

[21:35] | [Review] | Comments | G

Fri, 11 Jun 2004

Welcome to the prototype new site

This is my attempt at a site using Pyblosxom. More to come soon
[16:33] | [Site News] | Comments | G

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