Monthly Archives: November, 2004


How many Microsoft
programmers does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. Let’s define
darkness as the new industry standard. [seen here]

Sky pictures

More shots from my recent visit to the Netherlands:

Farming the wind


The good ol’ BBC are now experimenting with making some of their programmes available as MP3 downloads. Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time” is the first, and I can now listen to it on my iPod/Italk combo.   I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again.  This is the future of radio.

Public Service Broadcasting is a wonderful thing when it’s as good as
this.  The BBC is the thing I miss most when I’m in the States.

Exploding Phones

[Original Link] A warning for those of us who carry unexploded phones in our, errm, hip pockets.

Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue

[Original Link] Ed Felten’s splendid lecture on understanding digital media and the
associated copyright issues.  You don’t need any knowledge of
technology to understand this one.
An issue Ed doesn’t touch on, which should also be exercising
the minds of the media industry, is that content of this quality is
freely available on the web, and is certainly better than anything on
offer on my TV channels tonight.  There’s always been good stuff
to read on the web.  Increasingly, there’s a lot of good stuff to watch, too.
Thanks to John for the link.


[Original Link] A very clever broadcast from 2014. This is beautifully done.

Update, 2012: now seems to be here.

Breakfast in Bruges

Spent a day and a night in Bruges recently – a wonderful city. We stayed in a small hotel by a canal – here’s where we had breakfast:

More pictures from that trip in due course.

iTalk therefore iAm

Well, not only have a recently become the proud owner of an iPod Photo, but today I went and got a Griffin iTalk for it.

italk picture

This works very nicely as a voice recorder, but also incorporates a small speaker. This allows you to play back your memos without headphones, but also to play back anything else that you don’t mind hearing through a tiny speaker. Not great for music, but OK for listening to audiobooks while shaving…

Of Macs and Monsters

[Original Link]

The Delicious Library application is out for the Mac, and it’s appropriately named. I have never really felt the desire to catalog my books and CDs. I certainly never felt like putting in the time and effort to do so. But on the other hand, I tried this software and almost immediately registered it.

Why? Well, in a bizarre way, almost because I wanted to reward the creators and because it was something beautiful that I wanted to own. It’s very rare that a bit of software does that to me! I was going to write a longish piece about it, but I came across the Ars Technica review by John Siracusa and it says it all. Anyone involved in software development should read this, or at least the first couple of pages. Anyone who wonders why we Mac enthusiasts become Mac enthusiast should at least read page 2, which asks some serious questions about the nature of the software & platform experience.

This is an example of the best kind of peer pressure. There is simply a “climate of excellence” on the Mac platform. Any developer that does not live up to community standards is looked down upon, or even shunned. Commercial, open source, freeware, shareware, it doesn’t matter: pay attention to detail, or else.

In the meantime – a couple of screen shots:
Part of my library:

How did I get this information in to my machine? By scanning barcodes with my iSight:

Studies in grass

Have just come back from a wonderful four-day trip with friends through Amsterdam, Delft, Bruges & Dunkirk. At one point we stopped at a beach on the Dutch coast not far from Rotterdam amidst tumultuous weather, and I took some pictures of grass on the sand dunes.

I was intrigued by how different it looked in different lights. These shots are of the same type of grass, within a few metres of each other and within two minutes of each other:

Factory of the Future

[Original Link] A scary Newsweek article about Nathan Myrhold’s company Intellectual Ventures.

Why am I so propyl ?

Quentin’s helpful hint for the day. Remember audio cassettes? You know those cassette-head cleaning kits? They would cost a few quid and come with a little bottle of cleaner which you’d drip onto Q-tips or some special device which would clean your cassette heads so that everything would sound nice and crisp and you could turn Dolby back on again?

Well, that cleaning fluid is basically Isopropyl Alcohol, and it’s jolly useful stuff for cleaning all sort of things. About 14 years ago, I went into Boots, our local big chemist, and asked if they could sell me some because I was fed up with paying three or four pounds for a tiny little plastic bottle of cassette head cleaner. Sure enough, for 85p, they provided me with a cute little 50ml glass bottle.

Well, I only use this stuff in small quantities, but recently, the level in the bottle has been getting a little low, so I went back yesterday and asked for some more. Sadly, they no longer keep the stuff. I presumed this was on the grounds of public health or something, but thought it was worth trying again, so I went to the nasty new Superdrug around the corner. And sure enough, I was able to purchase a pint of isopropyl alcohol, which at my rate of usage should keep me going sometime into the next millennium.

And it still only cost me three or four pounds. But I like the old bottle better.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser