Matchstick Rockets

fun for all the pyromaniacs - Matchstick Rockets


iPODs are not the only fruit

We could be our own mobile jukeboxes...

"Sharing an iPod through its headphone jack is also a crude, low-tech version of what some predict is the real killer application of future iPods: transforming them into short-distance broadcasting devices by adding Bluetooth or similar radio technology, coupled with Rendezvous, an Apple-developed networking technology that allows devices to discover each other automatically." Link


not sure what you're searching for? - try BananaSlug

add a random word from one of 8 categories (or all of them) to your search terms to bring wilful weirdness to your searching - BananaSlug Link

a whole lot of Google

Those nice people at Ars Technica with a very brief outline about Google, e.g. "Employees at Google tend to work in small teams of three.", ""Google" was actually a misspelling of the word "googol", meaning 10 to the power one hundred" link, then if you're on a break 13 pages of googley goodness from wired, yum.

note also the Googlealert link to your left - creates RSS feeds of google searches so you can keep up with mentions of things across the net without lifting a finger, well just the one to open your aggregator, which for me is Bloglines (also filed under geek)



Aaarrrrgh! CRIMSON ROOM in English, I got out after shaking the curtains.

Ars Technica: Portable headphone roundup

if only i had two good ears i would invest in some decent headphones, like these ones in Ars Technica's Portable headphone roundup.

spotting a fake smile

more smile related things via shambolic jigsaw, a quick flash pychology test - can you spot whether a person has a real or fake smiles?

Try asking strangers on the tube what they're listening to...

Radio Takes Music From the Street and traffic island discs an interesting idea, I was hoping for a more seruptitious method of scanning people's headphones without consent, but asking them and recording a conversation seems much more civil.


Throw rocks at boys and snowballs at penguins


Brian Wilson plays Smile at the Royal Festival Hall

Last night was the second time I have seen Brian Wilson, the first was two years ago when Tree and I went to see him and the Wondermints perform Pet Sounds. He looked a little more frail, having to back down the stairs, and sounded a little more croaky, but his genuine childlike love for the music shone through.

The concert was in three sections, the preamble, with acoustic mini set followed by the more down-tempo numbers, the the 45 minute Smile suite, and finally a feel-good greatest hits as encore(s). I would have written a set list, but I was too busy grinning like an idiot at the sheer bloody marvelousness of it all. The sound was a good, the crowd eager (Audience:'WE LOVE YOU BRIAN!' 'Security! No, this time I'm serious...), and other than the volume getting a bit loud in the rock out bits (I think I'm turning into Jonathan Richman!) it was fantastic.

Smile was itself in three sections, beginning with an acapella Our Prayer and winding its merry way through an exploration of Americana. I'd heard the bootlegs, the session backgrounds and the sound effects, but it really didn't prepare me for what is the only Pop Symphony I've ever heard that isn't crass or crap. 45 minutes felt like 3, band members switching intruments constantly, string sections and brass sections donning firemen's helmets for a surreal (Ives inspired?) segue between motifs, with twenties big band sounds and banjo bleeding straight into psychedelia and giddy percussion.

He may not be the man he used to be, but I Brian Wilson, and in a funny way I know he me too.

goodbye surfing, hello god
NME review
Guardian Review


When networks collide

An interesting article about the amalgamation of RSS and social networks, via elearning space blog, networking and the blogosphere

my eyes! my eyes!

the world's most miserable sweater model at Sweet Smelling Sweater Salad @ gemsweater.com

fancy dress japanese style

angel turned into muppet

one for the wife...

Tetris anologous to Consulting manning/resourcing levels?

It's Friday and I have no idea why I found this quite so amusing, it's been a long week.Link

Step aside Tiger

Tokyo Times reports North Korea's illustrious leader's golfing prowess in Step aside Tiger, where does he get those sunglasses?


It was a dark and stormy night

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest - 2003 Results for most preposterous (first?) lines of novels.

The Idler's crap towns

The Idler's crap towns, dover, bath, but no folkestone, west drayton or hamilton, but hayes and high wycombe make a good showing.


Family lives alone for 20 yrs and loses their language


You sell out the first time you take money in return for playing a musical instrument

and from there on in the money flows the other way - The BBC's 21st Century guide to selling out

Free Services

Geobytes have a few interesting toys an IP locator giving an indication of where an IP address is coming from, or a spam mail locator.

this scares me because I know it to be true

The extensive use of Microsoft office to create learning materials. According to a recent brandon-hall.com organizations use the following tools to create learning
* Microsoft PowerPoint (66%)
* Microsoft Word (63%)
* Macromedia Flash (47%)
* Microsoft FrontPage (26%)

Remember, when you buy major label CDs, you're paying companies to sue families and marginalize independent music...

a little late for Christmas, but still valid - What a Crappy Present - CD Gift Advice, Parents and Kids.

I have reached saturation point with music at the moment, making mp3s has reminded me of how much music I already have, and how much of it I can live without. I am seriously thinking of disposing of some (once I've got digital copies). Certainly with the vinyl that in truth I haven't played, bar some 7"s, for over a year.


The dullest blog in the world

The dullest blog in the world more than lives up to it's name.


Ananova - Seven out of ten can't tell Ant from Dec

J-Z and the Grey album

a new toy and a trip to the seaside

Yesterday I picked up my very first ebay purchase - an FM transmitter for my mp3 player.
I figured I'd go with the portable one and see if it was any good, and then maybe splash out on a USB version later.So for a little under £20 - the shops on Tottenham Court Road were single frequency and £50, I have a little box that plugs in to the headphone socket and lets me pick up my MP3 player on my car radio. It works brilliantly, although if the volume is too low on the player you can hear a high pitched whine between songs as the HD shuffles to the next song.

It works quite well around the house too direct from my PC - the kitchen and dining room picked up the signal no trouble, although the EQ and volume needed tweaking flat on the PC to stop distortion at low frequencies.
Then we went to Holkham Bay in Norfolk. It was beautiful, cold and I soon realised why so many people had wellington boots on. It took 20 minutes to get to the sea over dunes and flats, then home for tea with lashings of ginger beer.


Smarties vs M&Ms


Smiths sightseeing

Getting into the hang of this lark now...

Salford lottery ticket buyers fund indie boy shrine. Bet they're delighted. Poke fun here

Anti-Valentine's Day Cards

Celebrating my first ever blog entry with one for the more embittered amongst us. Celebrate or commiserate by sending an anti-valentine here

The Morning News

The Morning News - somehow the pieces on Men's wear seem to echo the NY blah of Queer eye for the straight guy in a very entertaining manner, and the quote about men in suits:

‘Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.’
– Cary Grant

made me smile.

Sadly no article on shoes.

Adobe Reader Speed-up

pdf files were taking an age to load, so I got a speed-up plug-in from tnk-botn-block which works a treat.


Did you ever wonder what it would be like to see a water balloon pop in space?

bands play toilet circuit for charity

I spent a long time deciding which band to go and see from those playing: PASSPORT back to the bars, in the end I plumped for the darkness because they were, other than the cure and the pet shop boys, the only act on the list I wanted to see that I hadn't already seen in a bar some years ago, which made me feel old.

photoshop googling

FARK.com: Photoshop Google with my favorite:


Extension Room :: BlogThis

Firefox BlogThis extension, and the rather nifty user agent switcher

Extensions and bookmarklets for Firefox

Whilst getting to know Firefox I came across the following rather useful extensions: edit css which allows you to view all style sheets for the current page in the sidebar, make edits and see the result as you type

also the web developer

and a set of Web Development Bookmarklets, that all appear to work with Firefox.


Lynx Lips

Thanks Geert for pointing out these Lynx Lips.

the counties what I have been to

Now this might not give you Northern Ireland to play with, but I was surprised to find out how much of our dainty island I had visited (I thought that driving through/service station only shouldn't count), and that Yorkshire is taken as one huge lump, depite Sussex being split West/East (maybe they're from Hove, or even better Haywards Heath)

English, Scottish and Welsh counties


Firefox 0.8

There must have been quite a rush to download Firefox from the mozilla site today, I had to try several times to get a connection. I'm glad I persevered, so far so good.

20 Jan 1994 Compilation tape

Another one my sister found, as she pointed out a bit more wilfully arty, and as she put it "So there you have it. A few contenders in there for the 'records you should bin' I think. "

A bit of an understatement really...

Side A
Stereolab - French Disko
Disco Inferno - The Last Dance
Pale Saints - Kinky Love
Thrum - Crying
Sebadoh (making an early appearance here) - Gimme Indie Rock
Boo Radleys - Boo! Faith
Moose - Merangue
Marc Almond- Lost Paradise
Pet Shop Boys - Dreaming of the Queen
Insides - Bent Double
Submarine - Learning to Live with Ghosts
Nation of Ulyssess - Look Out! Soul is Back!

Side B
Spoonfed Hybrid - Heaven's Knot
Pram - Radio Freak in a Storm
Mercury Rev - Boys Peel Out
Archers of Loaf - Front in Web
Compulsion - Little Miss Whirlwind
Blur - Let's All Go Down the Strand
That Dog - Family Functions
Sidi Bou Said - Vapona
Linus - I Wanna Be Like You
Huggy Bear - Her Jazz
Urge Overkill - Emaline
Stereolab - Lo Boob Oscillator
Pulp - Lipgloss
Boo Radleys - Peachy.


Bloglines - a Free, Web-Based News Aggregator

I spent a long time trying to get a couple of news aggregators working with mozilla, then even longer trying to uninstall/extricate them from Mozilla's comprehensive, but bizarre file structure.

Basically i don't want to have to install software to collect RSS feeds - i want to be able to access those feeds from any computer that is on line, and I want a monkey, that steals ice cream.

So Moe recommended
Bloglines - Free, Web-Based News Aggregator which after less than ten minutes is doing what I want on someone else's computer - genius.

Mp3tag - the universal Tag Editor

Mp3tag for the more obscure CDs in my collection I think i might use this, unless someone has a better idea?


Computer Languages History (preview)

imagine a mind map of computing languages, no I couldn't manage it either, this goes beyond geek, into ubergeek, someone somewhere at work will enjoy this very much - Computer Languages History (preview)

One Hundred Albums You Should Remove from Your Collection Immediately

I have 21 of these records, maybe 22 if you include records that have sneaked into my collection from my wife's, jaguaro.org, if I was drinking tea it would have come down my nose with laughter.

the responses at the bottom are patchy and predictable.

from my own collection I would definitely add Can's Tago Mago, Greatful Dead Live, Mingus Ah Am and the Auteurs

English to Geordie translator

I could have done with this when i was in newcastle/jesmond the other year doing stuff for theCSA English to Geordie translator, this comes via not you, the other one who appears to have a car named Dave and has a great way with words.

Bikes galore at Velorution

Looking at Wiki - tools reviewed

more wiki usage over at Life With Alacrity: Looking at Wiki, I think this could seriously be considered as part of a [jargon]blended learning solution[/jargon], providing group support, tasks and evaluation of learning. Projectforum and TWiki in particular are worth looking into.

The world according to Google - no it's not a verb

Whilst waiting for the who to sell out I came across this Google Guide: Interactive Tutorial Making Search Even Easier, I think I'll be including some of it in my next impormptu training session next week.

The great MP3 conversion, new personal Escape record

I'm still working through my CDs converting them to mp3s, I've already got a nagging doubt that I should have had them converted to ogg, but I went with variable bitrate mp3s - EAC and lame working together to put my CDs into a less tangible format.

22.09 seconds in Escape - come on where's that competitive streak in you?


I've been to this site twice today alone, via completely independent routes (well as independent as the internet can be) The SWIPE Toolkit, you can find out the worth of information you may choose to give out in submitting to various things online, it also has a 2D barcode decoder, which I think is probably a US only affair, but interesting none the less.

Quote quiz - BBC - Are you wise with words?

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Are you wise with words? 11/12, no-one likes a smart alec.

Czech Flash

This Czech animation is fantastic, interact within a detailed, very Eastern european environment to help avert a collision of worlds. Now if they'd do something similar with Clangers for the BBC...

Disable Windows Messenger Service

I've been plagued by pop-up spam just lately from an anti-spyware firm. I did a bit of delving and found an address for their technical support, rather than the sales (although it could be the same person, you never know), they responded by directing me to: How to stop Messenger SPAM: Disable Windows Messenger Service which seems to have done the trick, I think I read something similar last year, but had failed to notice the difference between Windows Messenger service and MSN Messenger.



If I watched more TV I know I'd love lowculture, nevermind when they provide links to the excellent rubbish gays[erm, not work safe, well depends on what you do I suppose...] and TV Dregs.

Black holes on Earth

If a black hole were created on Earth, I wish I'd done that PhD on Froths and Foams, in Dublin, for Guiness now..., then where would I be today? Not here that's for sure, probably on a park bench somewhere...

zooming in and out


stood at the back watching the band over a pint

Amused by the Onion's Concert Ruined By Guy Enjoying Himself, - "Everyone at a show is standing there, arms folded, having a great time, and then someone decides to get crazy."

I'm often uncomfortable with the lack of interaction at concerts, mainly my own. I used to pity the middle aged men with paunches stood at the bar during gigs, now I'm working on that paunch and seem more reluctant to get down the front.

Having a wife only 5 feet tall means that in order for her to see anything we either have to be on the balcony, be a fair way from the stage or go to seated concerts. next thing you know it'll be jazz, shoot me when that happens.

I wonder if there is a Charles Roger Peregrine Swinfen Eady v2.0?

US father names son 'Version 2.0' I have often pondered on the process by which my parents named me and my siblings. I think we all came out quite well, at least I think we did.

Search wars

Google vs Microsoft in The Coming Search Wars [NYTimes registration required]

Cuckoo game

Bell end sebastian cuckoo game with real prizes attached!

iPOD is better than your POD

You are what you like, you are not what you own, or maybe you are...

Is the market for mp3 players, and iPODs specifically, big enough to sustain an outbreak of shops selling peripherals like FM transmitters, cameras etc. in the same way as mobile phones?

Probably not, other than the already thriving eBay stores, portable music just isn't destined to reach the same breadth of demographic.

Having started to convert my CD collection for transfer to my mp3 player, I was amused to read this article: iPOD rip offs [excerpt]

"As a violent expression of your cultural identity, an iPod is every bit as dangerous as a concealed Glock. The old High Fidelity mantra that "You are what you like" still holds true, and nothing declares what you like more forcefully than your CD collection. Most people collect CDs solely to arrange them -- alphabetically and by release date, of course -- in a comically oversize CD rack and just stare at 'em, arms outstretched, beaming. This Is Who I Am, the divine accumulation of my fabulous eclecticism. And in the event of an earthquake, Who I Am can tip over and literally crush me."

Escape to victory, well 12.57 seconds anyway

Arrgh, graphics do not always win out over gameplay, not in Escape! anyway. Do not click if you have work to do.

Go! Sushi! Go!

what you need fist thing monday morning is a sushi race, link via lee chapman's tokyo news, choose your piece and race around to avoid being eaten. beautifully done Flash.


Clingfilm wrapped Roy

You can find almost anything on the net if you look hard enough, or in my case don't look at all. Don't go looking for reasons when reading stories about wrapping Roy Orbison up in clingfilm.