Archive for the ‘People I know’ Category

Women’s Football (Oh, And A Happy Birthday)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I’m sitting around my Mum’s house watching the English Women’s football team playing against Japan in the World cup. While I can’t stand football at the best of time, women’s football interests me – but not for the reason you might think.

Why I like it is that the women have more aggression than the ‘normal’ man’s game. They spend less time rolling around on the floor, they don’t cry when the national anthem is played and they aren’t horribly overpaid*.

But even if they do really well, they won’t be allowed to play in the Olympic games. For which I blame the Welsh and Scots.

The (female) commentator said something that you wouldn’t hear during a men’s game.

“She’s really missing her children”.

Because, of course, the men don’t think of their children when they are away from home. That or women just worry more.

…And why do they keep calling them ‘girls’?

Anyway – the reason why I am sitting at my mum’s house is because it is my brothers birthday today – for which I made this email birthday card that has a special resonance for those of us who indulge in a bit of World of Warcraft.

Happy Dingday

*Of course, as I write this Aluko missed an open goal, resulting in a cavalcade of shouting, swearing and abuse from my mum.

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Congratulations

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Quite simply one of the nicest things I’ve ever read.

Woke up (late) to email from
Laurenn, switched on the phone to
find text from Fraction: at 8pm
local time, Henry Leo was born to
Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt
Fraction in Kansas City. Text ends:
“mother&son totally awesome.”

Brian Wood once commented that
when his daughter Audrey gets old
enough to Google, the first entry
on her will probably be on my
website, written a few hours after
her birth. Hank’s first entry will
be on Laurenn’s: but what an
interesting thought, that soon an
entire generation will find their
births recorded by friends as live
entries on a global communications
medium.

And, in little Hank’s case, that his
entire gestation has been recorded
online by his mother as a globally-
accessible lifebook.

And that he was born into an
extended circle of friends that
encircles the planet, who will watch
his back for his entire life.

Welcome to Earth, Henry Leo. You’re
going to do just fine.


From Warren Ellis (who normally writes much nastier stuff)

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Two Things I’m Awaiting With Bated Breath

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Two things on the horizon that I am extremely excited about.

First up is this


“Pok√©mon Diamond (Nintendo DS)” (Nintendo)

Which I know is ‘sad’, but I really do like the games, it just appeals to some small but important part of my brain.

The second is this


“Crooked Little Vein: A Novel” (Warren Ellis)

Because he writes some of the best comics out there and I want to see what his prose is like. You can read the first chapter from here.

(And I’m sure he’ll be happy to see his name mentioned in the same post as a Pokemon game).

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HDTV (And The Weirdness Of Not Allowing Comments)

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Kevin Marks, a very nice chap who I had the honour of chatting to a couple of days ago (or was it longer), has posted on his blog some thoughts on HDTV.

I spent a chunk of time looking at HDTVs in Best Buy and the Sony shop yesterday, and wasn’t impressed. Overall, what I saw on the displays looked full of compression artefacts, with poor colour.

I wanted to comment on this, but his blog doesn’t have comments – fair enough I suppose if you want to avoid comment spam, but I personally think that the immediacy of a response to a post is one of the strengths of blogging. Instead, to ‘comment’, you post something on your own blog and link to the originating post. It then shows up on Technorati and Kevin can read it.

Which doesn’t help if you don’t have a blog.
At least I originally thought it might be about stopping comment spam. If I were being cynical it may just be a cunning ploy to get people to link to his blog thereby increasing his google-juice…

But no matter, we have all moved past that desire to rise in the various rankings haven’t we?

So, on to the comment that I wanted to make. The reason why HDTVs look so cruddy in shop displays is that the store often has one input which is amplified and split between huge numbers of televisions. This makes the pictures look incredibly awful, often worse than the traditional television which, due to it’s low resolution, is a little more forgiving.

Until shops start arranging better displays of their goods, your average person off the street isn’t going to be sold on the benefits of HDTV.

To be honest, I’m not sold on the idea of HD TV, or the HD DVD replacements, but then I have crappy eyesight and don’t watch much broadcast TV at all.

(…And as I was about to post this Kevin used Twitter to point me to something he wrote in the past – it seems that I do have a nasty cynical mind… And I agree with Jeff and Ben’s comments in that post, that comments are a good thing and are more natural than using Technorati to backtrack conversations. And have a happy new year in a few hours Kevin.)

[tags]HDTV,Comments,New Year[/tags]

Twitter

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I’ve been using Twitter for a little while now, it allows you to post short snippets of text that get circulated to people who subscribe to your Twitter identity. For example, I may post that I’m making a cup of tea, everyone who has subscribed to that will get that little bit of information.

So far, so good, but it has something that makes it a little special. It integrates very smoothly with your mobile phone via SMS. I can be walking down the street and the desire to post overcomes me, I can then simply send a text message to the Twitter service and it will be pushed out to my contact’s mobile phones.

At first glance it seems utterly worthless, the posts are limited to 146 characters which makes it hard to write anything of substance. It is promoted as “A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?” and this lends itself to posts about making a cup of tea, or about how you hate tinsel. I am no better for my last Twittering was “I think, Like DG, I shall make myself a nice cup of tea before tackling WordPress install.“. Hardly ‘War and Peace’.

However, this belies the beauty of it. Once you have added a few friends (and more and more people are signing up as this meme spreads), then the inflow of short messages become like a Zen cloud of how people are feeling. Sure, Alice may be getting grumpy, but Bob is gearing up for a fun night out. You instantly become more connected to your friends even though this is a mostly one way communication.

In a world where many of our friends are our ‘blogmates’, where we are more likely to email than phone and where physically meeting people is becoming more of a rarity, Twitter allows us to feel more connected. The desire to keep in touch with friends, and to let them keep in touch with you leads to regular posting, and the less ‘important’ the post, the more you feel you are being allowed into that poster’s life.

It does spark some questions on privacy, while adults who have grown to use technologies like this are perhaps better prepared to self-censor, I worry a little about what children may divulge without considering the consequences. I also think that it is only a matter of time before someone drunkenly lets slip some ‘indiscretion’. We may have learned to not blog drunk, but with the ease of posting from a mobile phone it will be so much easier to slip. While you may make a fool of yourself at the office Christmas party, with Twitter you could reach a global audience.

I’m wondering what use other people or companies may put it to. It would be ideal for the organising of ‘flash mobs’ and on a more serious note it is an easy way to update people on the weather, local traffic and news or even sports results.

What Twitter may have unleashed is an ‘Open Source’ SMS subscription service and I am intrigued to see where it leads.
I think that Twitter is a lovely, lightweight web-app that may find surprising uses in the future.
You can see my Twitter here.

[tags]Twitter,social,sms[/tags]