Monthly Archives: May, 2010

Thoughts from a Baggage Claim area

Some luggage trolleys have no brakes. Others require you to press or pull the handle to stop. And some have brakes that are on by default and require you to take some action before they’ll move.

Can you deduce anything about a country’s psyche from the option they choose?

Brotherly Love

Downtown Philadelphia tonight.

Twaintieth Century

After a hundred years in a vault, Mark Twain’s autobiography is soon to be published. Memo to self: remember to achieve something significant enough in your life that anyone will be interested in reading about you a century later…

It sounds, though, as if the renewed interest in him may be a mixed blessing, which reminds me of a little poem I learned as a child:

Lives of Great Men all remind us
As we o’er their pages turn
That we too may leave behind us
Letters that we ought to burn.

Sunshine below, blue sky above

On my walk this morning with Tilly. More info about the walk, and further photos, on Wagipedia.

No dogs please?

I disagree. I think some do!

Primarily used for blogging

The designer Mike Purdy has created a rather nice WordPress theme, called ‘Quentin’. It looks like this.

His page has some sentences which I find strangely charming:

“Quentin is… designed to be pretty, paper-like and easy to set up.”

“Quentin is designed to be primarily used for blogging.”

“If you find Quentin useful, a donation is appreciated.”

Screened from the future

Last week I gave a talk at ScreenMediaExpo, a UK trade show for the Digital Signage industry, entitled ‘Are you un-future-proofed’?

In the unlikely event that you want to listen to it, it can be found here.

Curvaceous Computing

I miss being in UI research.

About 10 years ago I put together a plan for a cubic computer, where every side of the cube would be a touchscreen, and it would also contain accelerometers so you could scroll around maps and things by rotating the cube. The only imperfection would be a small power socket in one corner so you could recharge it. That, at least, was the idea. I had to abandon the project when I couldn’t find a manufacturer that would make square touchscreens at any sensible price, even for research purposes.

Microsoft, however, have gone one better, with a spherical multi-touch interface. I hadn’t seen this until now, but I think it’s beautiful.

More info on the Sphere project home page.

Calling all dog owners! Wagipedia is live!

Wagipedia is now officially online! Find the best places to take your dog for a walk! Tell others about your favourite spots!

I created this because I realised, after getting a puppy, that the places I had gone for walks in the past weren’t necessarily the best places to take dogs, and that there were a whole range of really good dog-walks that I had never discovered.

The database is still small, but if you can contribute even a small entry – or ask your dog-owning friends to do so – I hope it could become a useful resource. After all, you may think that the park at the end of your road is nothing particularly special and that everybody knows about it anyway, but what about the person visiting your area for the first time? Or on holiday? Or dog-sitting for a friend?

You can also comment on existing entries.

Eventually, the site may expand to include all sorts of other canine-related resources, advice, discussion forums, etc, but I had to start somewhere. And, of course, most of these are also good spots for a stroll even if you don’t have a canine companion…

Feedback most welcome…

Living in the past

One of the great things about video rental services like Netflix and Lovefilm is the easy access to TV favourites from the past. Even better, you don’t have to buy a whole series if you find the first disk a disappointment.

Rose and I have always liked Ultraviolet, a modern vampire miniseries from the late 90s, and the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes adaptations from the 80s.

Now we’re going further back: we’re currently half-way through Danger UXB – wonderful stuff – and are looking forward to Wings, of which I have only the vaguest childhood memories beyond the good theme music. Actually, the end of the eighties was about when I stopped watching TV, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Any other recommendations?

Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of revisiting these. Will Blake’s 7, a favourite of its time, and roughly contemporary with Star Wars, stand up to several evenings’ watching when the cheapness of the BBC’s special effects is viewed through modern eyes?

Ah well… if things prove disappointing in outer space, there’s always All Creatures Great and Small

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser