Monthly Archives: October, 2004

More radio news

[Original Link]

Following my last entry about the absence of the BBC this morning, Dave pointed me at this site. There was a fire at the Peterborough transmitter last night, apparently, and the mast collapsed, and great, I imagine, was the fall of it.

Picture of mast
(Click image for more photos)

It’ll take them a while to get that back up.

That site has some interesting links, actually. I like Frequncy Finder, which will tell any UK readers about their local stations and where they’re coming from, or alternatively, tell you about a particular frequency and how it’s used around the country.

Update: This is what that mast looks like now, apparently:

The iPod Powerpoint?

I wonder how many people have realised that the iPod Photo could be a great way to carry Powerpoint-style presentations around? Or Keynote presentations, I should probably say. The video-out connectors would plug happily into most projectors. It’ll be interesting to see what the quality of the TV output is like; it may be rather low resolution for presentations involving much text or many diagrams.

Apple Event and iPod Photo

[Original Link]

Just watched the Quicktime feed of Steve Jobs doing the iPod Photo launch, with the aid of U2. I have to take my hat off to Apple – I’m biased by my enthusiasm for their technology, but even without that I can think of few companies with their marketing and branding skills.

I’ve sat through plenty of roadshows and product launches in my life, and, in general, I detest them. So why would I voluntarily give up an hour of my weekend to watch a CEO telling me about his latest product? If you need to ask that, I suggest you watch one. This latest isn’t their slickest, and Steve Jobs, though on good form, is perhaps a little below his normal par, which is understandable after his recent major surgery. But there’s still no other company that comes close.

Get a good connection, expand your Quicktime window to a good size, sit back and enjoy. And remember that it’s Apple technology that you’re using to view the stream as well….

Cambridge Monopoly

[Original Link] The prefect Christmas present for all those Silicon Fen millionaires?

The world is changing

I woke this morning to find a situation almost unknown in (my) living memory. I turned on the radio, as is my wont, to listen to BBC Radio 4, and it wasn’t there! Nor were any of the other national BBC stations. All our local transmitters are offline, which must have left hundreds of thousands of people, at least, offline. The Beeb don’t seem to be doing a good job telling people about it – it’s not obvious anywhere on the web site, for example.

Fortunately, the BBC website is in all other respects excellent – they have all of their content on line, including the live broadcast streams. And ‘wireless’ is a term we now use more about in-house networking than national networking. So I can simply take my laptop anywhere in the house instead of the radio. (And while listening, I could IM my friend Dave, who lives an hour’s drive away, to find out that his radio was dead too).

This is, to a large extent, the future of radio, though the device won’t always look like a laptop.

Update, 20 mins later: I spoke too soon. The BBC website is now down as well, no doubt swamped by the number of people trying to find out what’s happened! Perhaps there’s something to be said for broadcast technologies after all!

Another update: Actually, I think it was the DNS rather than the website which had a problem – I managed to get the site back almost immediately by finding an IP address for and putting it in my /etc/hosts, though this wasn’t needed for long. The main thing is that the online BBC came back before the broadcast version.

Dog saves woman’s life by dialling 911

[Original Link]

A great story on CNN.

Faith, a 4-year-old Rottweiler, phoned 911 when [her owner] fell out of her wheelchair and barked urgently into the receiver until a dispatcher sent help. Then the service dog unlocked the front door for the police officer.

The iPod Photo

[Original Link]

This year’s must-have Christmas present? I keep a backup of my photos on my iPod, so I guess being able to view them makes sense.

I think John’s going to beat me on this one – he can justify it if he keeps posting such nice pictures on Memex.

Guardian calls it quits in Clark County fiasco

[Original Link]

The Telegraph, of course, revels in the end of the Guardian’s “Write to a Clark County voter” campaign. This follows an earlier article rejoicing in how it had backfired. The Guardian is saying that it was only shut down early because somebody hacked into the site and downloaded 20,000 personal addresses (which is deemed to be worse than 20,000 people downloading one address each).

The original Guardian article turns out to have been rather insightful:

It’s worth considering at the outset how counterproductive this might all be, especially if approached undiplomatically. Anybody might be justifiably angered by the idea of a foreigner trying to interfere in their democratic process.

And while the Guardian’s Albert Scardino is describing the project as “an overwhelming triumph”, I think the original piece may also prove to have been right when describing it as “a unique experiment”.


I’m not naturally an early riser, and for some time I have, inexplicably, felt slightly guilty about this. So I have developed a philosophical principle which can enable all ‘evening people’ to, well, sleep soundly at night. Here it is. Read it, learn it, tell your friends, and it will change your life:

The late worm avoids the early bird.

Windows maintenance

Ah, I’d forgotten what fun it was maintaining a Windows machine. Looking today at a friend’s computer which was running rather slowly, I went to defragment the hard disk. “You last defragmented this disk 1417 days ago”, said the dialog box…

Guardian Gaffs

[Original Link]

It’s not often that I’m ashamed to be British, but this is one of those times. The Guardian newspaper has the names of many thousand supposedly undecided American voters which it will give out to those Brits who sign up to send them a letter telling them which way to vote. They stopped short of actually saying that you should tell them to vote for Kerry, but nobody who knoows the Guardian would assume otherwise.

They no doubt had good intentions here. It is important for every country, and particularly America, to be aware of what the rest of the world thinks and to take that into account when voting. But such initiatives should be invited from within the country and should not be proposed from outside. As Rose said, can you imagine the uproar in the UK if it were the other way around, and large numbers of Americans started writing to individuals suggesting how they should vote?

Function keys on Powerbooks

[Original Link] Here’s a hint I found quite useful. On the Powerbook, the function keys, by default, do other things like changing the brightness of the display or turning numlock on and off. To make them operate as function keys, you have to press ‘fn’ at the same time. If, like me, you use them more as function keys (for exposé etc), you can invert this behaviour in the Keyboard section of System Preferences.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser