Daily Archives:June 21st, 2008


I posted my quick reaction the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty a few days ago. The Economist is saying the same sort of thing (only rather better, of course):

Europe’s political leaders react to these unwelcome expressions of popular will in three depressingly familiar stages. First they declare portentously that the European club is in deep “crisis” and unable to function. Next, even though treaties have to be ratified by all members to take effect, they put the onus of finding a solution on the country that has said no. Last, they start to hint that the voters in question should think again, and threaten that a second rejection may force the recalcitrant country to leave the EU. The sole exception to this three-stage process was the Franco-Dutch no in 2005. Then, after two years of debate the politicians hit on the cynical wheeze of writing the constitution’s main elements into the incomprehensible Lisbon treaty, with the deliberate aim of avoiding the need to consult Europe’s voters directly again.

Now the Irish, the only people in the EU to be offered a referendum on Lisbon, have shot down even this wheeze. And as EU leaders gathered for a Brussels summit, after The Economist went to press, most had duly embarked on their usual three-stage reaction, all the while promising to “respect” the outcome of the Irish referendum—by which they mean to look for a way round it. Some have had the gall to argue, with a straight face, that Lisbon must be brought into effect despite the Irish no because it will make the EU more democratic.

Full piece here.

The charger of the heavy brigade

I’ve just bought a new battery charger, which recharges standard AAs or AAAs in 15 minutes. You may be able to see the grill behind the batteries – for ventilation. Yes, this is a charger with a 60W power supply and a built-in fan, which cools the batteries as they charge.

It certainly seems to work as advertised, but does anyone know if there are implications, good or bad, for the life of your batteries if you charge them this way?

I bought it here, by the way.

280 Slides

A small group of developers at 280 North Inc (I think there are three of them) have shown that you can do some pretty impressive stuff within a browser if you work hard enough at it.

Their 280 Slides application is a Powerpoint-like presentation package which does a lot of things that you’d only expect a desktop app to do, and it’s written in Javascript, not Flash.

Mind you, ‘written in Javascript’ doesn’t really explain enough; they wanted to build a framework for creating such apps based on their good experiences with Apple’s Cocoa, so not only did they have to recreate much of the Cocoa API (their version is called Capuccino), but they also needed to create Objective-J, which brings to Javascript the features that Objective-C brought to C. So the browser first loads a preprocessor which can handle the ‘.j’ files in which the app is actually written.

Some may say this constitutes trying a bit too hard – a browser isn’t an operating system, after all – but it’s pretty impressive that it works, and works in several browsers.

More info in an interview here.

One day, the browser will be your operating system, and then this will all seem completely normal.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser