Monthly Archives: June, 2005

Soggy in Seattle?

Hap and I headed off for a fabulous day’s kayaking in Puget Sound yesterday.

This is Blake Island, WA. Legend has it that Chief Seattle was born here.

Radio reborn

iTunes 4.9 is out and splashed across the front of Apple’s site with the tagline ‘Radio Reborn’. Why? Because it has built-in support for subscribing to podcasts. This is quite big news. More info.

I’ve been surprised how much I’ve used the RSS facilities in the Tiger version of Safari. I had assumed beforehand that the facilities in a general-purpose browser would not match up to those in NetNewsWire Lite, the RSS reader I had previously used. They don’t, but in fact Safari provides all I need – an indication on my bookmarks bar of which pages have new material.

So I expect that iTunes will now replace my copy of iPodderX Lite, though I’d still recommend the full iPodderX for anyone needing more substantial facilities.

Somewhat sneaky Orange

Here’s something to watch out for; I switched my mobile from Orange to T-mobile recently. To do this, I requested a PAC code from Orange, which lets me take my old number to the new provider. When you do this, they tell you that it’s valid for a limited period (60 days, I think). What they don’t tell you is that your contract includes a one month notice period, so you will pay the service charge for the next month regardless of when you use the PAC code.

If you’re like me, you normally request the code immediately after opening a new account. The right thing to do, if you can, is to request it a month before you want to move..

Small is beautiful

I came across this a while ago and forgot it. is a free redirection service which takes your big URLs, like this one:

and turns them into small ones which do the same thing:

Much less messy in your email messages. Much easier to dictate over the phone.

The New York Times Photo Archives

I’ve just come across The NYT Photo Archives. Prints seem to cost a fortune to buy, but it’s fun to browse even the thumbnails.

The mobile phone challenge

And while I’m thinking about the past, here’s one of those posts from 4 years ago in which I issued a challenge to mobile phone manufacturers. I don’t think things have really improved since then.

Wilde things

It occurred to me, after a recent conversation with a friend, that not everybody will necessarily appreciate the staggering wit behind my little tagline about “something sensational to read on the net”. Since it’s been on the site for a little over four years, I should perhaps explain it for those of you feeling left out.

The character Gwendolen in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest pulls out her diary at one point in the play in order to check something, and comments:

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

So there you have it.

And now, a topic for dinner-party conversation:
Which fictional character’s blog would you most like to read?


The buzzphrase of the moment is AJAX. If you’re a programmer, and you don’t know about this, you will soon. It stands for Asynchronous Javascript And XML, which is an increasingly common technique for updating parts of a web page from a server without having to update the whole thing.

It’s being heavily used by Google in Gmail and Google Maps, for example. And I think it my duty to keep Status-Q readers up to date with such terms so that you can casually drop them into conversations around the water cooler. “Oh no, it isn’t using Flash. It’s based on AJAX…”

While my ukulele gently weeps…

A truly fabulous version of ‘While my guitar gently weeps’ played on the ukulele by Jake Shimabukuro.

(Update – that link is now dead. Try here.)

Thanks to the Creative Generalist blog for this and lots of other great stuff.

Three stories

If, like me, you normally only hear Steve Jobs talking about the latest Apple product launches, you might like the
Commencement Address
he gave at Stanford recently.

Who remembers the Armenians?

My wife’s family, on one side, are Armenian. Her grandparents managed to escape the ruthless Turkish ethnic cleansing of 1915 by getting a boat to America, but most of the rest of their families were wiped out.

This is one of history’s biggest and yet least-known atrocities, so it’s refereshing to read Ben Macintyre’s article What’s the Turkish for Genocide?, which suggests that Turkey really ought at least to acknowledge its past before being allowed into the EU.

The question “Who remembers … the Armenians?”, by the way, was used by Hitler to reassure his generals that another holocaust they were embarking on would not be a long-term problem. It would be sad if any future dictators were still able to use the same reasoning.


Podcasts are becoming more and more important to me. Every day, while shaving or dressing, I get to listen to about 20 mins of interesting, educational stuff, usually talks from conferences that I didn’t get to attend. Now I can ‘attend’ them without any cost in money or time! If I had a daily commute to work, it would be even more valuable.

I’ve always been a big fan of radio. The quality of radio & TV broadcasting here is one of the few things about Britain that still makes me proud of my country. The more I travel, the more I realise that our publicly-funded BBC really is the best in the world. And I’m ever more aware that, despite this, its days in its current form are numbered.

But if I, as an enthusiastic supporter of radio in Britain, find myself spending more time listening to podcasts than the radio, no wonder it’s taking off at such a rate in the rest of the world! I don’t expect, for example, when I turn on the radio, to hear any commercials, but for most of the world the simple matter of podcasts being largely advertisement-free is probably enough of an incentive in itself.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser