Don't tell me it's coincidence

Because I will totally fail to believe you. Back in March, I told the BBC that the Internet is the new medium for video, not television, and not even broadcast. A little over two months later, (via Slashdot) I discover the first trials of the BBC's Internet Media Player are being launched, which will allow 500 pilot users to download any BBC programme they want, and watch it where and when they want, on a variety of devices. Now, maybe I'm wrong, maybe they've been planning this for ages. But when I spoke to all those middle managers back in March and suggested something exactly like this, how come nobody mentioned they were planning this? Either way, it seems they've found a clue. Well done, the Beeb! Meanwhile, in other good news, it seems that within a decade people will be able to grow new teeth to order. Just in time for my current lot to fall out from me not taking any care of them! And finally: now I feel dirty.
0 comment

You what?

If this story (via T) is true, the US is even more unbelievably fucked in Iraq than they were after the (quite bad enough) prison torture scandal. An excerpt: “We were slaves in American kitchens. We barely got two hours of sleep. Any slip-ups and we were tortured for days," says Hameed. “Once I told the kitchen in-charge that as I was a devout Muslim I could not cook pork. I was beaten up with rifle butts,” says Hameed’s brother Shahjahan. “Iraqi militia attacked our camps several times. At times, officers used us as shields,” adds Hameed. More mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners of war? Nothing so defensible: In August 2003, 25 such workers -- of whom Hameed, Shajahan and two others were from Kerala -- paid Rs 75,000 each to obtain Kuwaiti work visas. In Kuwait, they were told they were to travel for two days to reach the work site. “When the journey ended we realised we were in Baghdad. We were handed over to another agent who took us to a military camp in Mosul,” says Hameed. The...
1 comment

Your trivia for today

Thirty years ago and more, computers didn't have monitors. They always output to paper -- remember those huge piles of fan-folded stripey-green paper? They printed out everything, one letter at time, like a typewriter. And the thing about ever-increasing piles of paper, especially when you have a room full of them, is that paper is easy to ignore, especially if (as was often the case) what the computers were supposed to be doing was printing off great piles of statistical data or payslips or whatever to be read later, if ever. So in case something went wrong, the printers also had little bells on. And there was a special character -- like a letter, or a punctuation mark -- called "alarm". When the printer received this character, instead of hitting an arm into the paper to print a letter, it would hit an arm on its little bell, and a technician could run over and take care of it. In computer systems of the 21st century, there is still a character called "alarm" that descended from this character....
0 comment

Sweet.

One presidential crony down, a few more to go. More details available.
tagged with
0 comment

Van Helsing

This was a fantastic movie. No, seriously! Let's take it point by point: It was totally, entirely, unnecessarily, completely over the top at all times, in every possible way. The crazy-knob was cranked right up to max, and it was the right thing to do. Okay, the plot was totally unbelievable -- impossibly contrived. But what do you expect from a monster movie? Realism? This movie left realism at the door, and if you do too, then you will love this movie. Nevertheless, the plot contains surprises. I don't know about you, but it's rare that any plot twist surprises me (that rarity explains why Sixth Sense and Fight Club were so popular). But this movie surprised me not just once but several times. It's low on dialogue -- it's just one liners and basic exposition -- and nobody is given a lot of back-story. This might make you think it sucks but actually, when's the last time you saw an action movie where you thought the dialogue was good, or cared about the back story at all? They are both...
tagged with
0 comment

Whoops, big gap

Sorry 'bout that... it's been a frantically busy week. Been to see the new production of Hamlet (so much fun) at the Old Vic theatre with the incredibly foppish indie Ben Wishaw (so cute) tonight. Wednesday was the London blogger meet where I finally got to stalk Tom in person, briefly caught sight of Cory Doctorow (before he went to bed at 9.30pm, the nutter), hung out with the very cool Simon and met numerous other interesting people who have all blogged about the event by now, I'm sure. Tuesday (it's been an action-packed week, I said!) was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which was excellent, spoiled slightly by guessing both the plot and the twist by about half-way into the movie. Monday was also interesting for reasons that I cannot yet go into; perhaps news tomorrow but don't hold your breath. Right, bedtime...
0 comment

On Trinidad

You don't realise when you grow up in a place how it's different; you don't realise what is special about it. You take the extraordinary for granted, because to you it seems ordinary -- you don't have any experiences to the contrary. But recently I was discussing growing up in Trinidad and I was struck by how diverse it was, and how much we take that for granted. Trinidad has two major races, a handful of minor races, 4 major religions and dozens of smaller ones. And yet there's never been religious tension; in fact, the heads of the major religions in Trinidad sit on a common council whose purpose is to ensure that they don't step on each other's toes or preach messages that belittle other religions as inferior. Nor has there been a racial disturbance of any kind since the 1970s. Our constitution guarantees equality of all races and religions, and our national anthem sings about it... what other country in the world makes equality so central? And so growing up I was subconsciously taught to...
0 comment

New job!

The news that's been brewing for the last few days is that I have a new job! I found out Friday but was only able to give notice today, so I couldn't break the news before that. But come 8th June, I will be scooting along to the wonderful, fabulous boltblue, purveyors of high-quality ringtones, logos and Java games to the UK masses. Go now! Buy something! It pays my (new, improved) salary! It's very tempting here to go into a rant about how unhappy I was at Wide Area Communications: how my fresh-graduate enthusiasm was crushed by poor management, how my morale was destroyed by an aggressive and pointless culture of blame driven and executed by the CEO. I could recite the examples of his mean and petty behaviour that have been shocking all who've heard them into silence at the fact that anyone in charge of employees could be so oblivious that his behaviour would make their work worse, not better. But that would be petty. I could make claims of misogyny and homophobia, but that would be positively...
0 comment

Scratchpad

A few random links for you, in a big rash of posts -- this is the first of three. Joining a fan club, with my friends... Jellyfish are an amazing band, and I love them. Everybody should listen to them. Amy points out that there's nothing un-American about the abuse at Abu Ghraib. In fact, the US does it all the time, in US prisons, to US prisoners, in the USA. John Stewart gave a commencement address at his alma mater. Very funny, and very clever. And somewhat insulting to the university, but so what? Smart Mobs looks interesting. Kerry leads Bush in the latest poll, even with Nader in the equation. Supergirl has come to Smallville! And she's got some fantastic powers. If there were a god, it would have been Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Or, possibly, Sarah Jessica Parker. A chain-smoking, neurotic thirtysomething Supergirl would have been hilarious.) This blonde chick is interestingly sinister, but not really cutting it as a long-term supergirl. I'm liking the whole way Smallville is heading. It's...
tagged with
0 comment

Meet me where?

In the absence of blogging, I have been commenting on other people's blogs... first of two, this one a comment on Rainbow Villa: I need to meet more gays. Even though I have a large group of friends, none of them seem to know any gays to introduce me to. I tried the LGBT group of the university, but that ended in disaster. There is nothing for me there. Online dating is only useful if you're looking for a dirty 50-yr-old guy to rag you. Really, the only viable option is going to gay clubs. I quite like gay clubs as a matter of fact.... I like the music and the fact that I can act like a gay and not feel forced to withhold myself, as I do in a straight place. But since I only have straight friends, the power of majority always dictates I go to straight bars and clubs. If I had some friends (gay or straight) to go to the clubs de homo, I'm sure I'd find some love on a saturday night that wasn't on the TV. Clubs are by no means the only or best way to go to meet people. If you go to clubs, the...
tagged with
0 comment

Losing by numbers

Chez was crazy enough to venture this opinion: Two British soldiers were wounded. Over twenty terrorists were killed.... If this carries on the terrorists will simply run out of people. We win. Are you CRAZY? The numbers are against us. There are 150,000 US and UK troops in Iraq. There are 25 million Iraqis. We'll make optimistic assumptions like they won't let women, old men or children participate (none of which are true of the Palestinians next door). We'll completely ignore the thousands more in Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia (where all the 9-11 bombers came from), Sudan (who sheltered OBL), Yemen (who hate our guts). So assuming there are only 10 million able-bodied Iraqi men, and that there no other countries who hates us, then if only 1 in 1000 of them wants to fight us, there are still 10,000 of them - how long does it take to kill 10,000 people, 20 at a time? If the number is 1 in 100 (and really, do we really think 99% of Iraqis love us?) then there are 100,000 of them. If only 2 out of...
tagged with
0 comment

Older, wiser, same bad hair

This is the last of the astounding barrage of posts today... I promise. Since Rik is posting embarrassing pictures of himself at 15, I thought I'd reciprocate with an embarrassing picture -- nay, a collage of embarrassing pictures -- of myself at 16, which is the earliest I could find. Before you think I spend too much time on this, the collage was the only form in which this pictures survived, from an old website of mine :-) Note that no matter what else goes on in my life, I always have really, really stupid hair. Oh, and the one with me in shades is an attempt to be Neo, which dates that particular photo nicely, as the movie had just come out that summer and it was Halloween.
0 comment

Enough with the bad hair jokes

Linklog, just to get that one out of the way... Tontie. Is this the most ridiculously addictive flash game ever? There is a gene for self-harm. Before you engineer the fuck out of it, perhaps you should find out why such an apparently harmful gene is present in 40% of the population? To be that widespread, it has to be very useful indeed to overcome the side-effects of self-harm. An excellent use of everyone's time: setting the world record for "naked people on a rollercoaster" Excellent comparison of free speech and spectrum licensing, in comic-book form. Get ready for a whole new generation of voyeurism. London is putting its CCTV cameras on a wireless LAN -- making them OCTV cameras, actually. And given the government's excellent record for cyber-security I'm sure it will be up to 15 minutes before someone's hacked into these and set up a web page where you can view them yourself. Cocaine now more popular than ecstasy. And significantly more fatal.
tagged with
0 comment

It just keeps getting better

A rather creatively edited chat excerpt. This isn't a conversation that happened, more a summary of conversations that have been going on all day... ed: The news isn't covering this Chalabi story. The man turned out to be a SPY! FROM IRAN! And he is the reason we invaded Iraq! Can we please put two and two together here? ed: Iran tricked us into invading iraq! ed: WE WAS DUPED! Seldo: Actually, if he were a spy from Iran that would be better, since that would mean a whole organization was trying to trick us, rather than -- as seems the case -- we paid several million dollars to a con-man previously convicted for banking fraud for false information. Oh, and then invaded a country based on that information. Jesus, we're so dumb. Seldo: But I need more proof than an article in the NYT. Seldo: And nobody else is running the story. What's up with that? ed: people are idiots. ed: actually, CNN is dealing with the allegations tonight Seldo: Hehe, it's the cover of Newsweek! I take it back. Seldo:...
tagged with
0 comment

Pssst...

Heard of Soulwax (of the amazing Smells Like Teen Booty mashup)? Heard of 2 Many DJs? Then say hello to your new best friend: the new 2 Many DJs album, "as heard on Radio Soulwax part 9". I'm four songs in, and it's sounding good so far :-) On the off-chance that the above link gets pulled, I've also got the songs available on my personal FTP server.
tagged with
0 comment

An ode to

There are many reasons to love your Oyster card. These pretty, blue, credit card-sized pieces of plastic and circuitry house a wealth of lovable convenience: you can save time buying tickets online or paying for dozens of tickets on a single top-up, save money buying cheaper tickets and of course there's the invaluable effect on one's credibility: Oysters are only useful if you live in London, so only true Londoners have Oysters. It's like a passport to the nation of London. But my joy today in owning an Oyster lies not in any of these admirable features, but in another, less-advertised one: British rail ticket-checkers can't read them. Thus, once you're on any overland train within the zone system, your ticket is essentially free: wave your Oyster, and the sheepish guard can only shrug and take your word for it that your little blue treasure has a valid ticket buried within it. So as I travel slowly back into London on my free train ride, I say: god bless you, Oyster.
tagged with
0 comment

Big ol' link-dump

Jellyfish are amazing, and everybody should have their album Spilt Milk (and hell, even Bellybutton is amazing). Oh, and that Fan Club four-disc box set is now on my wish list, hint-hint. No gay for pay day promises to show the world what it would be like if you didn't have any gay co-workers. In homage to Rik's daily pussy extravaganza, I humbly present this deviant pussy picture, in which deviantART throws all that credibility out the window. Ace the Interview: zillions of technical interview questions and answers. Can you tell I got a new job recently? techinterview.org has more, and Joel on Software has a great guide to giving interviews which is just as useful if you're getting the interview, even if he can't produce meaningful URLs for his permalinks. In case I haven't mentioned, I am really tired of American fuck ups in Iraq. Torture and slavery? Enough! Stop now! Fuck John Ashcroft. No, literally. "So I showed what it could do, and they all started clapping." Great! How about telling us...
tagged with
0 comment