Link Dump 30/03/06


From today's Guardian g2

I couldn't help myself. Really.


Google Talk Annoyance

I've been using Google Talk for the past 2 months, as it's pretty good for covertly talking to people who are still at work (I don't however, get the internet at work, thank god - I'd never get anything done). I have but one complaint - what the hell is up with the bolding? I mean, why can't we have a toolbar (preferentially one that autohides) where we can choose to bold/italicise/underline chosen words? Why does the *star* character bold (thus making for some clumsy action words), yet the /me command does nothing? IT MAKES NO SENSE AND NEEDS FIXING.

Link Dump 27/03/06

  • - The Writing on the Wall by the awesome Banksy. "This is not to say that every city should aim to look like the south Bronx, or that regeneration cannot be a good thing, but society's headlong march into bland conformity should not necessarily be welcomed with such open arms."


Livejournal Feeds

RSS feeds are (along with the communities) one of the aspects of Livejournal that make it invaluable. Since I switched to a new LJ account a few weeks ago, I've found that my Friends Page is lacking in regular activity - so after rediscovering the list of top 1000 LJ feeds (random trivia: the NIN Hotline is on the first page), I decided to run a few feeds (mostly webcomics) through it, instead of through Sage. While Sage is useful for immediate gratification of news and information, my LJ Friends page is casual, more for fun. I think this is why I have a weblog, and a secondary LJ account - because mentally, I find it easier to deal with the two as separate entities.


Link Dump 25/03/06

  • - F this Job, the "I hate my Job" blogging community. Perfect for Monday mornings where you really want to cave in your skull with the butt of an axe rather than leave the house.
  • - Nintendo WiFi for the UK is going to grow drastically in the next month or so. You shall find me sat inside the doors of retailers such as GAME, Gamestation, HMV and Toys R Us et al, as apparently, there will be much free stuff to be downloaded. Nice.
  • - Wikipedia: Mystic Quest. This is a Final Fantasy game that was released in the UK without the FF brand, and one of the first games I bought for my (bought secondhand) SNES. I still haven't completed it. It's been ten years. I think I'm saving it for my retirement.

Hmm. Very gaming-geekcentric right now.


Snakes on a MF Plane Update

The cast have been called back in for reshoots and guess what! The line "I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!" has (allegedly) been added! This is going to be the most torrented movie EVAR. I can't wait.


Link Dump 22/03/06

  • - Underground Robot is a proof of concept piece that Nickelodeon rejected. So the makers just put it on YouTube instead. I think it would have made a neat little 1 minute between-cartoons cartoon.


The Tool Hotline

Hey. Did you all notice that The Tool Hotline launched just over a week ago? It's pretty cool.

One of the problems with bands like Nine Inch Nails and Tool, is that because the bands have been around since the 90s and only intermittently release albums, the fansites that persevere tend to be from the era in which the music first gained popularity. And unfortunately, 99% of them don't really work at full capacity any more - either they are chock full of too much irrelevent information, they aren't updated regularly, or the site design is just plain awful.

The benefits of what is now becoming the Hotline network, is that it's turned into very lean efficient way of getting information made available (and distributed, thanks to RSS). Over the last six years or so, Matt has trial and errored his way through database modifications, staff changes, and news sources to pare the system down to doing exactly what it should without any troublesome fluff. What you see right now has come from a lot of work on his behalf, and he still (rightly) won't put ads up.

At the moment, although I'm lacking time to actually contribute much in terms of news posts, I'm enjoying watching the old system transfer over to a new format and function - you never know how people will approach a new site, especially in terms of there being an existing network of fansites in place already. There's always a great danger of the roof collapsing in on the whole thing based on speculation and mistrust, no matter how awesome the reality is. I still feel quite lucky to be involved in the two Hotlines, even if they are just 'dumb fansites'.


Moment of the Century

I have a new favorite band for a little while. Their name is The Long Blondes.

Link Dump 20/03/06

  • - Invisible City. Chongqing, China is rapidly expanding and changing as a city - increasing by half a million people each year, and yet (like a lot of non-capital foreign cities) barely anyone has heard of it. The Guardian sent Jonathan Watts to interview various people that work the streets (or the sides of buildings, as they may be).
  • - Unwinnable Freecell! Freecell is my favorite pre-installed Windows game. I'm currently riding at an average 43% win rate, so it's good to know that there's at least one game no one can beat.
  • - Da Bomb. "Wait... Advent Children isn't out yet?" "I got sick of waiting for it to release, so I downloaded it."



Snakes on a Plane*, the new movie from Samuel L. Jackson. Yes, I thought this was an internet joke. No, it really is his new movie. YES, THIS IS HILARIOUSLY AWESOME.

Snakes on a motherfucking plane.

*Now a completely dead link, as YouTube have removed all traces of the trailer. Fah.


Reason #1 to buy the Nintendo Revolution

From Go Nintendo:

Nintendo of Europe: "What’s the latest on Twilight Princess?"

Shigeru Miyamoto: "I would say that we are progressing well with completing it... And one of the most important features is that, because Revolution can run GameCube software, when you play Twilight Princess on Revolution you can take advantage of the Revolution controller."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what is going to cinch the deal for me. OMFG.


I love My City

I Love My CityI Love My City (detail 2)
I Love My City (detail 1)


More Street Art

Stop The PandaCustoms DeclarationGLCPurple Thing

I feel like I have achieved plenty during my four day weekend. I caught up on my media reading, my gaming, and had not one, but two photo-walks. The above is from a selection I took earlier this afternoon, in which I walked around for 2 hours. Here's a fairly straightforward line through where I walked, but obviously there were detours and diversions as I went along. I only stopped at Rownham Hill because that's where the pavement randomly decided to end, which was quite annoying. I'll be posting pictures on my flickr account in fat chunks so that no one misses anything - I found some great stuff, especially rooting around beneath the Bower Ashton one way system. I tried taking scenery landscape type pictures, but it was quite overcast and everything was brown anyway. Trees, rocks, ground, buildings - all brown. That doesn't really make for good viewing when you're partnering it with technicolour graffiti. So it goes!


And so it begins.

Livejournal are bringing in ads. Kinda. Basically, they are opening up a third level, between Free and Paid, that gives extra features in return for ads on the journal. So far this is completely optional, and an interesting way of bringing in extra revenue to the site. I personally really really hate ads (Communist!), and I am finding it hard to imagine a scenario in which I would enable them, something that I know Matt at the very least, agrees with me about. I think that making ads an option (and from the sounds of it, it could be something along the lines of Google text ads) is the only way this can possibly be tolerated by the 8 million + livejournal users, and it seems as if the Livejournal staff have thought long and hard about how to approach this change.

I do worry about how this will change what people say on their journals though - are certain topics (anorexia being the obvious one) going to be clamped down on, because the advertisers do not approve? And is this the start of a slippery slope to permanent advertising for all unpaid accounts? This issue skates on very thin ice. I'm guessing that I'll enable the ads for a day to see how they look, but I won't keep them. The extra features of LJ just aren't anything I need, despite being a habitual visitor/user.

*edit* LJ_Ads is a community that has been set up to discuss the issue.


Link Dump 11/03/06

  • - Jonathan Jones wrote an awesome essay on Michelangelo in this week's Guardian. It lasted me through not one, but two shifts of work.
  • - OMG OMG, Mamoru Oshii's next film TACHIGUISHI RETSUDEN/FAST FOOD BANDITS has a site and a trailer and it looks absolutely nothing like I would expect. The only comparison I can make is to Angela Anaconda.


Link Dump 10/03/06

  • - Amanda Everett is the latest female character (the bad guy girl from the next Tomb Raider release), and she looks like she just stepped out of a concentration camp. Seriously, which designer actually thought 'it would be totally cool if we could see her ribcage'?
  • - Looks like the Revolution is due for a 2006 US release, but does that mean it will make it to the UK before Christmas? I doubt it :(
  • - Tougher hacking laws? There is absolutely no definition of 'hacking' in that article. I guess that means that they'll catch the criminals first and define the exact crime second.

Monkey! Knife! Fight!

Monkey! Knife! Fight!


Thought for the Day

Is it me, or have we not had a good solid worm/trojan/virus hit the stupid section of the internet this year? I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent growth of WoW?


Britney's Pregnant Again (?)

More at Oh No!. Gross gross gross. You would have thought she would have got a clue when she heard his 'music' or noticed that he still hasn't got a regular job. Or that every single tabloid magazine and their readers are calling for her to ditch him. Srsly. Old Britney, come back! YOU ARE KILLING POP MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT.


Link Dump 05/03/06

  • - 101 Free Games. We love free stuff, we love gaming, we love free gaming.
  • - A Jewish Wedding. Akira left a comment on my side-weblog Impressions of Vienna a few months ago, and since then I've been reading his blog. I can't say I agree with his vehement opinions all of the time, but his viewpoint is interesting.
  • - First NBC, now CBS sucks. Seriously guys, you're making a big mistake. You know how you pay all those marketing people to hype up your product on internet forums? Well, these sites are doing it for you. For free. It's not like they are capable of hosting the whole show, so run with it! God knows how long it will last.
  • - Sign of the Times by Rebecca Atkinson. This was in last week's Guardian Magazine, and ohboy, DJ Chinaman is cute. Shame these articles don't come with pictures (I kept it, if anyone is interested, leave a comment below and I'll scan him in). There are also some interesting points raised in the article about disability in British society.
  • - Wil Wright presented a thirty minute demo of his new game Spore recently. If you have any kind of interest in creative gaming (Civilisation, The Sims) you need to watch this. It will blow your mind. Wright is a funny chap too, I like him.

Natalie Portman SNL Digital Short

What you want Natalie? TO DRINK AND FIGHT!
What you need Natalie? TO F**K ALL NIGHT!

(Watch it before NBC get wind that it's online!)


The System is not the Education

High Achievers - What price are they paying?

"Peter had scored two 800s on his SATs and was recognized as a National Merit Scholar. As we spoke of his favorite high-school classes, I asked whether he had ever challenged any of his English teachers' opinions in class. Looking down at the floor, he spoke softly. "Sure, I used to disagree lots of times. I mean, there's no absolute right answer when it comes to knowing whether an author was using her own life or not as the basis for the main character, right? But every time I'd disagree with this teacher or our textbook's opinion I'd end up getting marked down for it. So I learned it's better to tell teachers what they want to hear so you'll get a better grade." Sadly, there was no anger or disappointment in his voice."

I believe that in today's society, there is a distinct lack of focus on knowledge acquiring and enjoyment of it. One of the (many) reasons I dropped out of education, was because I was sat in classes where the scope of the mind was being ignored in favour of grades and the pursuit of a University placement (to spend 3/4 years drinking away a student loan before leaving with a useless degree). The fact that this attitude towards education is actually the standard... that just scares me. And then it begs the questions: do I a) ever want to re-enter this soulless rat race, and b) ever put a future child of mine into it to suffer the same sense of disappointment? I mean, what the hell is the point?



Having a few personal issues right now, just plain not in the mood to come up with content. Sometimes life swings that way - hopefully it will come clean in the wash, as I have time off from work next week.