Sunday, 29 March 2009

Linkables 29/3/9

Something of a bumper crop this time around, what with my recent lack of any kind of posts, let alone links ones. Enjoy:

A ridiculously lucky Turkish guy.

Addictive multiplayer acronym game.

The daft punk's console.

Intriguing they-must-have-faked-it fantasy football adverts from America.

Chinlone, the traditional sport of Myanmar.

Via David Mitchell (I've never found a columnist who seems to steal the thoughts out of my head quite so easily), we have the marvellous spEak You're bRanes, which mocks the ubiquitous Have Your Say commenters about whom I've complained a couple of times, but with less humour and less sucess.

Astounding lack of mathematical nous from an American phone company.

An example of a great graph from Graph Jam.

Two more columns from Dr. Ben Goldacre, examining data presented in the news or advertising - on prostate cancer and carbon monoxide.

A very moving Touching-the-void-esque account of a mountaineering tradgedy on Everest. Found via this discussion on ask metafilter.

Tactile Illusions from New Scientist.

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweed

So, March 2009 is set to be the leanest blogging month for FOTSLJW since its inception*. Is it the time of year? March 2008 suggests no, seeing as there was an entry for every day of the month then with one spare entry to boot. Is it that the writers here have lost interest in this place. I would claim a resounding "NO!" to that, as many of the writers have commented on entries even if they haven't created any new ones recently. Plus I just know that's not the case.

Maybe its just the fact that everyone here is a human being with a life that sometimes allows for indulgence in blogging, and at other times becomes continually busy, with some things being placed on the back burner out of necessity. This blog is a hobby more than anything for me. I don't have wild dreams of anyone picking up my film reviews, opinion pieces or esoteric ramblings and starting to pay me for writing them. This place is great for me to use, but sometimes, whether I like it or not, other things in my life need to take priority. My school breaks up for Easter on Thursday this week (with an INSET day on the Friday - when you're a teacher you have to go in on those days, surprisingly), so hopefully over the two weeks of holiday I'll have a chance to start writing here a little more regularly. This term has been three weeks shorter than the winter term, but it's felt a hell of a lot more tiring. I'm certainly not the only teacher I know who feels that way either.

Anyway, here's to April being a little more fleshy in terms of bloggery here. I'll leave you with a video of a dog having a very vivid dream.

*Following this entry, March 2009 now actually has one more post than July 2007, the month this blog was started. However, seeing as the first post here was written on the 20th day of the month, I reckon March 2009 wins as least bloggy month overall.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Yeah, shut up, I know.

Sometimes you just need to inexplicably stop blogging for a month, ok.

I'm pretty busy at the moment, but will be trying to find time to post the odd nugget or two, hopefully working back up to a reasonable schedule.

In the meantime, watch Charlie Brooker's new show. Right now.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Sweet View

So, google launched street view in england. Less than five minutes later (actually not kidding), I managed to find myself!!! How cool is that??

Joe on street view

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Google me up

Sorry if this is at all incoherent, I ended up getting a bit distracted, so I've lost my train of thought (although I think it may have finished) and can't be bothered reading it through, sorry.

There's many things I don't like about the internet, which I can't be bothered listing, but there are also many things I do like about it, and Google is one of them, more the company than the search engine.

I currently use Googlemail and blog using that account, I also have all my contacts in Googlemail now (something that didn't take long to set up) and use Google calendars, which I sync using Google sync with surprising effectiveness, meaning that I no longer fear that if both my PC and phone die at the same time I loose all my contact details. The concept of a single unified system for storing my important data, whilst a little scary in many ways, is also quite comforting. I trust Google to have decent security and systems set up that if a server does fail somewhere, I'm not going to lose all my data and I trust them not to sell all my various details to third party companies resulting in massive span. What makes it all so wonderful is that it's free (and I tempt fate saying such things), but I think that if it came to it, I wouldn't mind hugely paying a small amount for it, but I really hope that doesn't happen any time soon. I'm a huge fan, for obvious reasons, of free alternatives to stuff, Thunderbird for example (with it's various add ons and easy interface it makes outlook mostly pointless).

Which incidentally leads me further into my joy of Google and open source type things. When I finally decided to bite the bullet and try as best I could to own the stuff I had or get rid of it entirely I was left with a slight problem. Outlook gave way to Thunderbird, I was already a Firefox convert (from it's relatively early days) so why not use their mail service as it must be good too, and the rest of office went for OpenOffice, which is a reasonable replacement. However, I had recently moved to Googlemail, as my Hotmail account had become the latest victim of spam, and at the time Thunderbird only supported POP3 for Googlemail accounts resulting in a messy situation where if I ever used the online email viewer I'd have to select all my previously read emails in Thunderbird and set them to read, which was a bit annoying, but live able. It didn't take long however for Googlemail to release IMAP compatability meaning that my emails where now synchronised on both their servers and in Thunderbird, happy days. Thunderbird being part of the Mozilla project meant that it had a variety of add ons which could be used and one which I downloaded was Lightening as I was looking for a way of having an integrated calendar system like I had with Office that would sync to the phone I had (either a smartphone or an old PDA phone), but again, unfortunately I was foiled and had to resign myself to the fact that I didn't really have enough appointments to warrant it. So finally I decided that instead of having to always installing Outlook so I could backup my contacts whenever I changed phone or reformatted my computer, I'd prefer a more central place to store them. As it happened Googlemail had a contact system which I mostly used for email contacts and had very few other details, but the thought of going through all my contacts (which admittedly isn't that huge, but will still take a while) and add them into Googlemail was not exactly appealing. So I finally get an iPhone and sync all my contacts from outlook onto it and go about my merry way still wondering what's the best thing to do, having also noticed iTunes telling me I could use Google Contacts to sync that stuff, my interest was again aroused, but my laziness held me back. And then Google Sync came along, in beta, I do like betas they're always so much fun to try something that could potentially not work properly. Yet this isn't the case with Google Sync. I can't quite remember what I had to do, but it was pretty painless and the results are brilliant. It allowed me to relatively painlessly sync all my contacts to Googlemail (I did have to merge a few contacts and trim some excess fat from my contacts, but it was all quite simple) and set up a calendar on my iPhone that syncs with Googlemail too. All that automatically sync when I add new data on either my iPhone or my computer all via an exchange server set up by Google (currently for no cost). Finally back to my Thunderbird woes, Lightning has a Google calendars add on which sync with the internet and thus my iPhone and I'm currently looking into having all my Google contacts sync with Thunderbird too, I forgot to look at this earlier, but it should be easy enough.

So all my various information is now up in "The Cloud", lets hope it doesn't rain and they all fall out.

Things to do with the internet

#1 Find a place from a picture using Google maps.

Click here

The amusing bit being that the building wasn't fully built when Google maps photographed it.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Charlotte hornets...

I've been a little quiet here in terms of my own posts recently, but I'm aiming to change that in the near future. But, for now, here's a shameless plug to my sister Charlotte's brand new blog. At the moment her focus is mainly on social and political commentary and her entries are genuinely a good read. So get over there and wear your opinions on your sleeves.