Monthly Archives: April, 2003

Good news

Two related recent announcements are both welcome:

A US court decision that file-swapping is not illegal.

“The ruling means that the labels and studios cannot ban 21st century technology in defence of their inefficient and outmoded 20th century distribution model,” said President of Grokster, Wayne Rosso.

And Apple’s very cool new music store means that people who wish to purchase music legally in a 21st-century way can do so. As long as they have a credit card with a U.S. billing address.

University finds innovative uses for iPods

[Original Link] (from MacCentral)

Browsing is just the beginning

[Original Link] John helps get RSS into the public consciousness.

Status-Q: Always on the bleeding edge…

[Original Link] Here’s a view of this weblog as seen in Chandler 0.1:

Good to know that it runs on Mac OS X. Even better to know that it’s mostly written in Python.

Taking Note of Journalism’s Worst

[Original Link] Richard Cohen: A Media Empire’s Injustices. “Since 1917 the Pulitzer Prizes — named for their creator, the 19th-century press baron Joseph Pulitzer — have been awarded to encourage excellence in journalism. I happen to think that more could be accomplished with a prize for the worst in journalism. It should be called the Murdoch….” [link from Dan Gillmor’s eJournal]

Vertical Keyboards

[Original Link] [link from the Guardian Online blog]

The new Honda ad

[Original Link] An advertising classic. More info about how it was made here.

Deserves a place alongside the Apple ‘1984’ ad, of which more here. If you want a really in-depth look at the Apple ad and its place in history, I suggest this paper by Ted Friedman.

Mitch gets misrepresented

[Original Link] While not wanting to compare myself in any way with Mitch Kapor (!), this has happened all too often to me, in minor ways, so I can understand his sentiments:

“… Journalistic misrepresentation like this is fairly common. CNET also got it wrong, something I wrote about early on in this weblog. I used to get really angry when this happened. Lately, I feel more half-irritated, half-amused by life’s foibles. Journalists taking the easy way out is a fact of life I’m not going to have much impact on.

In hindsight, I think it was naive of me to believe in the assurances I was given. . I’ll bear it in mind in the future and pick my interview spots more carefully.

Finally, it’s fortunate that a weblog is a wonderful, alternate, and complementary forum in which to speak directly, thus by-passing the intermediation of formal media. “

Upside down maps

[Original Link] Thanks to Adam Curry for the link.

Hat is the question

[Original Link] John has been discussing millinery. Actually, it isn’t millinery, because that’s women’s hats. Is there an equivalent term for men’s headgear? Hattery will get you nowhere.

Anyway, John and I have the same problem, which is a need to protect our heads from the sun, in much the same way as Cray supercomputers require substantial cooling systems. But we both have a natural aversion to baseball caps, and John, who has been experimenting with various options including a rather elegant panama asks whether I have a secret hat habit?

And the answer is yes. I also have a panama, which I bought one year at Henley Regatta, but I don’t think I can carry it off except when wearing a blazer, which isn’t often. My other hats tend to be sufficiently embarrassing that I don’t wear them except when well away from my home turf where, let’s face it, the heat of the noonday sun is seldom much of a problem anyway.

My first hat I bought in Ambleside because it cost less than the tube of sun cream I was thinking of buying. I call it my “guess which country I’m from…” hat because nobody but a Brit on holiday would be seen dead in it. Looking back through my photos, I don’t seem to have a picture of it. Which is just too bad.

My main hat is made by the Henschel Hat Co. of St Louis, Missouri and was purchased in Georgetown in Washington DC.

Mmm. Works in all weathers, too. This is Brussels in mid-winter:

The trouble is that it doesn’t fold, roll or collapse in any way and so takes up quite a bit of my suitcase, so I often don’t have it when I need it, like last week.

So last week I bought this rather fetching little number:

OK, say what you like, but it’s comfortable and fits in my pocket. Not sure any of these suggestions would be quite right for a man of John‘s standing, though!

The Death of the Media Lab?

[Original Link] John Naughton’s blog had a link to this interesting article by Philip Greenspun about the MIT Media Lab’s mode of operation, which in turn was a response to this Wired article about its current funding crisis and likely future.

When I visited the Lab a few years back, I, like many others, thought, “this is fun, but who pays for it?” I was a student at the time, and so I didn’t worry too much about these things. But I was working on similar stuff, and so was glad that somebody, or some bodies, had the vision to fund the wacky stuff.

The Media Lab is a bit like manned spaceflight. It probably doesn’t make sense, the funders seldom get their money back, there are more efficient ways to use resources, and so on. But the world would be a much less interesting place to live in without it.
I hope it survives. Or that something more exciting, rather than just more practical, rises up to replace it.


Just back from the Lake District, which was as beautiful as ever.

This time, however, we had a week of the best weather I can remember ever having in many many visits. A real joy.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser