Apr 25

Dooce reveals some nasty emails sent to her, and how she deals with the abusive elements of her public. I can’t understand why people would feel the need to write in to say how much they don’t like her, or her site. If you don’t like it, surely the most reasonable course of action would be to…oh, I dunno, not look at it? That said if they did that, it would rob us of the treat that is seeing her deal with the bunch of utter wankers in exactly the way they deserve.

Science fiction fans now have their very own online dating service. Finally, a way to deal with that embarrassing moment when you have to explain to your date why there are 400 mint in box action figures on your shelves. Can you imagine the fights that will come out of such a service? “I’m telling you darling, I only watched Spock’s Brain once! And…and…it meant nothing! Nothing!” (says the guy, I hasten to add, who met his fiancĂ© at a Star Trek convention, and who has at least five other sets of friends who married people they met at conventions too. Bear with me while I enjoy this steaming big cup of shut the fuck up, would you?)

Daring Fireball on the debut of boot camp, the application that allows Macs using intel chips to run Windows as well. It’s an interesting development and the article makes a good point on how this changes the personal computing landscape – Macs are no longer different, but special. Users can now choose between a computer that can run both Mac OS and Windows, or one that can only run Windows. With the introduction of one application the map has changed so much…I wonder where this is all going to end up.

Be careful what you wish for, says Botch, with good reason. Especially if you’re wishing for free zombie porn. Mind you, if you’re searching the net for free zombie porn then I think you’re in trouble already. And robot animal porn? Suddenly I’m looking at Grimlock in a whole new light.

Trek returns, with a movie set during Kirk’s Starfleet Academy days. I really want this to be a good film, but I also worry that it’s going to turn out like Beverley Hills 90210 with phasers and warp drive. I think Star Trek needs to move closer to the feel of the original series and reclaim some of the charm it’s lost in recent years. Interesting choice of J.J. Abrams to produce and direct…wonder if a shuttle will crash on a deserted island at one point in the film?

Waiters, it turns out, lead an interesting life. This is one of the best things about the web for me: it allows me to see things from perspectives I might not have considered, or even known existed, before. I found my way to this blog through a fascinating story about the waiter rule on Kottke.org. I’m pleased to say I always try to be polite to staff in restaurants. It’s good to be polite, and besides, I don’t want sneezers in my salad.

Boffins manage to accurately model the process of black hole mergers, much to the excitement of the scientific community in general and the amazement of one mediocre Scottish blogger in particular. The potential of this research is staggering, and you don’t need a cardigan, pipe, elbow patches and more letters after your name than a Welsh roadmap to glimpse the infinite possibilities this could offer us. Man, who would need online dating when you had that to drop into conversation with the opposite sex? “What do I do for a living? Oh not much, I just invented a method of seeing back to the creation of the universe.”

Bill Thompson explains why life offline has an appeal even in this world of web services exploding all over the place. Interesting idea, that the services might be there but lack the trust of the wider public. After all, would you want all the files on your hard drive to be backed up onto a service that might go offline, or be hacked? Also, what about connectivity – if you drop out for a few days, are you then critically out of touch?

Apr 19

Over the last week or so I’ve been giving more and more thought to what it means to have a blog, and what it means to be someone who accepts the label of being a blogger. I’ve found some interesting reading on the subject too, which has given me some more to think about. I started off the boiled egg of infinity a little over a year ago with, I admit, no clear idea of what I was going to do with it. I wanted a blog to blog, simple as that. It’s only now as I start to get into it a little more that I realise it’s a little more complicated than that. What do I want my blog to communicate? What direction do I want the information to flow in?

Greg Knauss wrote on Kottke.org a few days ago about this subject and explained his theory that there are two distinct types of blogger – experiential and referential. Experiential bloggers draw on their own experiences and present them to the world, but the focus is always drawn towards the blogger themselves: here is what happened to me, or here is what I want to talk about today. Referential bloggers use the link as the basic building block of their operations – they point to things, and maybe add their own take, but the essential focus is outward: look at what I found, or here is something I found and what I think about it, but go look for yourself. This is the kind of thing I’ve been thinking about lately as I consider what it is to be a blogger and wonder just what the egg means to me after a year of it being in my life (and the lives of other people, no matter how small a role).

I realise that up to now, the boiled egg has been pretty much an exclusively written in the experiential style of blogging. I’ve talked, in my time here, about various aspects of my life, my observations on what I see around me and how I interpret others in their relationships with me. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but lately I have also started to experiment a little with the referential style – the “things wot caught my eye” posts are my initial steps into that area, ungainly as they might be. I’ve also started to think in a wider sense about my blogging experience over the last year and how I’m going to keep going as the egg rolls on into its second season. Stupid as I know it makes me sound, it’s only now that I’m thinking about where I want this to go. Talk about your delayed reactions.

At the moment, I have to own up and say the referential style is one that I feel very comfortable with, but I’m not sure how much stock to put by that gut feeling. Does it mean that I should start to move down that route more? Have I found a style of blogging that fits me? Or is it just an indication of my own lack of confidence in myself? One of the first questions I ask myself whenever I’m about to click the “publish post” button is “why would anyone want to read this?” because I’ve never been all that sure that what I’m writing is what people would want to spend some of their time reading. If I’m going to be a blogger, I want to try to do it right. I want to try to say something. It doesn’t have to be world shaking, it doesn’t have to be massively popular and I’ll even manage to keep my upper lip stiff and get by if it doesn’t turn me into the next big thing. It just needs to be something with a little substance to it, something I can look at and not be completely embarrassed to own up to having written.

This is rambling on a little, I know, and I’m going to wrap up for now. I just wanted to make some sort of attempt to get across the thoughts I’m working through right now. Maybe I’m taking the whole thing too seriously (which wouldn’t be unusual for me) but I want to work out where I’m going as a blogger. I want to see if I can do this right, find a style that works for me and maybe, if I’m phenomenally lucky, create something that will make me smile in years to come as I look back on it. It doesn’t have to set the world alight, just stand on its own as meaning something. All I need to do now is work out how.

Apr 14

The 2006 Presidential election was a close one, but it’s over. The votes are in. The counting is done. The ballots are closed. Ladies and gentlemen of the free world, the United States has a new President. Is there a tune for “Hail to the (fake) Chief” or should we just hum the theme tune to Star Trek and hope no-one notices?

When you’re out of fuel, just steal some from your neighbour. Easy as that, really, and I wish I could follow this example when I’m paying over the odds for petrol. That said I’m not millions of miles across with a terrifying explosive potential, but a man can dream.

Hey, this isn’t bad. I always feel kind of silly getting into a TV show after it’s become a big thing, but for once I’m glad I made the effort because it really is excellent stuff. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even start to watch Seinfeld and see what everyone else loved so much.

The new series is almost here! Whenever a trailer comes on TV you can almost hear my inner cynic screaming in pain. “Disdain, you idiot, not excitement!” he shouts. “Yay! Cybermen!” hollers back the majority of my sad fanboy psyche.

Japanese cinema to be fitted to allow for “smell-o-vision”. Man, when they think a movie is going to stink, they don’t mess around. I just hope, for the sake of the people in the cinema that night, that the Colin Farrell movie they’re showing isn’t as big a pile of crap as Alexander.

Just how far can you fire a hamster? My best is about 788 feet for a group of five, with a single hamster best of 306 feet. Hideous animal abuse, or an oddly compelling little flash game? Click the link and decide.

How much are your pennies worth? Quite a lot, it seems, which is the worry for governments in the U.S. and the U.K. If the cost of making them keeps going up, then they’re going to be worth more for their metal content than for their actual worth as money. Interesting – didn’t the West Wing cover a similar point a few years back?

South Park creators get into the Muhammad issue, and criticise their network for banning them from showing an image of the prophet in the show. While I don’t tend to watch too much South Park these days, I still think it’s a good show and I agree with the last point made in the article.

Apr 11

Yesterday, as we were driving back to Glasgow town centre after meeting with the wedding staff at the hotel, we passed a sign welcoming us to Kirkintilloch. “The canal capital of the world!” the sign boasted. Except that someone had put white paint over the C in “canal”. Kirkintilloch, you saucy minx. I never would have known. I swear, if it wouldn’t have meant me wrapping my car around a tree, I would have tried to take a picture.

Apr 03

It’s been a busy weekend, and tomorrow we have the first meeting with the hotel to start to get our wedding organised. I’m pretty frazzled right now, so here are some stories that are taking up some of my headroom at the moment:

Smart brains grow differently says the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. According to this study the difference between a clever person and his/her peers isn’t down to different amounts of brain matter, but the way it developed during childhood. It’s an interesting idea, and surely the first time I’ve ever heard that being thicker actually makes you cleverer.

UK music chart history made
as a track hits number 1 based on download sales alone. That Ostrovsky kid? Yesterday’s news. It’s an interesting turning point to reach, I wonder what will follow. If movies move down the legal download route, will this be taken into account when calculating the film’s takings? What about ratings for TV shows available for download on iTunes?

Ethan Phillips in the new Transformers movie? I’m tempted to say that as long as he’s not being Neelix, whatever he’s in is fine by me. Along with the announcement that Shia LaBeouf is negotiating for a role, this is starting to get exciting for me. What can I say? A part of me is still that excited kid in 1986 getting scared as Orson Welles threatened to eat entire planets.

Bill Thompson: Apple hardware has had more of an impact than the Punk culture. I was a little late for the whole punk scene, being but a slip of a lad. I was more into the embarassing shellsuit fashion phase. Makes for interesting and amusing reading though, especially when he talks about a mac being used at a music event. “I couldn’t help thinking that if a Windows desktop had been revealed then there would have been a collective gasp and some of the more sensitive members of the audience would have fainted.”

Fingerprints may give hints as to lifestyle. Who needs the National I.D. card system or the nationwide database so beloved of Charles “1984 is for pussies” Clarke? Let your fingers do the talking…or, in this case, the turning you in.

A roundup of this year’s April Fool’s Day stories in the papers. This year I didn’t even get a chance to search them out. For my money the Panorama Swiss Spaghetti Harvest is still the best, but some of this year’s efforts are worth a look.

Later this week on the egg: time travel and advice to my younger self; the importance of glazed nipples; and all go on the wedding front. Keep ’em peeled and keep that browser turned eggward.