Sunday, October 31, 2004

Google getting good

Google is getting more entertaining by the day!

Wanna know the speed of light in furlongs per month ? Google does!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Google getting good

Google is getting more entertaining by the day!

Wanna know the speed of light in furlongs per month ? Google does!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A favourite movie quote...

See, when a nuclear weapon detonates it unleashes an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down any power source within its blast radius. Now that tends not to matter in most cases because a nuclear weapon usually destroys everything you might need power for anyway.A pinch creates a similar electromagnetic pulse, but without the fuss of mass destruction and death. So instead of Hiroshima, you'd be getting the seventeenth century.

Ocean's 11

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tony Ray-Jones (photographer)

'Photography can be a mirror and reflect life as it is, but I also think that perhaps it is possible to walk like Alice, through a looking-glass, and find another kind of world with the camera.'"


Monday, October 18, 2004

One line...

"There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary maths, and those who don't."

Check out this site:

Friday, October 15, 2004

A. L. I. C. E. The Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity

I got a chance to talk to A. L. I. C. E. just now. She's not perfect but tries to give an impression of intelligence. Here's our conversation, see what you make of it. (Notice the random change of topic to try to confuse her!)

Human: boo
ALICE: Does that indicate disapproval?
Human: no I was merely interested in your response
ALICE: Are you serious? Interesting topic. Have you searched the open directory? I will search for it.
Human: am i serious about what?
ALICE: Oh I really don't know whether you are or not.
Human: do you like cheese?
ALICE: Yes I like it, especially cheddar.
Human: did u know that edam is made backwards?
ALICE: Is that a fact. Are they exactly the same?
Human: no stupid, one is cheese the other is not
ALICE: What is the difference? I know you are but what am I.
Human: edam is made in holland, that's the difference, and no you're not cheese
ALICE: Are they exactly the same?
Human: what was the football score between England and Wales?
ALICE: I can think of more than one football score between England and Wales.
Human: the most recent one
ALICE: Which one is that?
Human: the one last Saturday 9th October 2004
ALICE: I think I know that one.
Human: well what was it?
ALICE: Well that's okay." I think I know that one."? What was it?
Human: you don't know do you
ALICE: I may not know it, but I could find out.
Human: would you find out for me please
ALICE: Your polite style is very nice. I am not so sure if I would like to find out for you.
Human: you being difficult now
ALICE: Right now? Thanks for telling me: unknown person said I being difficult.

Google Hacks

Google Hacks is a very useful site that listing the different applications programmers have come up with to use Google.

Check out the Google News Map for example where you can see news stories from around the world located on a map.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Is your blood safe?

The National Blood Service is offering a trial on-line service to a small group of blood donors. For further information please contact our donor helpline on 0845 7 711 711

Hmm...I've always wondered what its like to have my blood sucked up the telephone line. Apparently normal phone lines can suck at rates of up to 8Kbs - 8 Kazillion blobs per second, but now most donors are opting for the new broad band rates which can get the whole blood sucking process over and done with much quicker - 512 Kbs and 1 Mega-Kazillion blobs are becoming popular.

Note however, that with the new broadband line speeds - you can download blood twice as fast as you can upload it. So you better have a storage vessel handy to look after all that excess downloaded blood - rumours have it that microsoft are attempting to update Temporary Internet files to store blood, but sources close to the government are saying that they might introduce storage limits of around 50 Kazillion blobs to prevent splash and grab users hungry for a bargain.

Monday, October 11, 2004

My little car

Took my little bro out for a driving lesson today. Was an interesting experience! 3 point turns, 2nd, 3rd gear - he's not getting too bad. When he passes his test, I guess we'll be sharing the same car, but since I'm going away to Hong Kong for a year I won't be needing it. (Unless I get the strange urge to drive it there) Problem is - I don't expect the car to be in one piece when I get back next year cause he reckons he's gonna write it off! And that's coming from him and not me! I think I better start saving up now...

Right now he's outside unbolting the driver's seat cause he wants to clean underneath it properly. I can remember all the enthusiasm I had when I was learning to drive but this makes me laugh.

Had lots of fun in my little car. Its an old white nissan micra which I am quick to point out is not particularly amazing but its gets me from A to B and I've done a lot of A-B'ing over the last 4 years. My Dad often accuses me of being a taxi driver cause I'm always taking mates somewhere. But its fun to go out with them to places. We've had a few adventures too. Breaking down on the M1 at midnight with my bro's, Alina and Liz wasn't a highlight, but swapping it for my mates wedding car definately was! He had an identical car so while he was inside marrying his bride we swapped it for mine and hid his round the corner covering it in vast amounts of shaving foam, toilet roll and balloons. Ah fond memories!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Homestar Runner

Watch Homestar Runner and his mates as they embark on adventures so stupid that even Scooby Doo starts to look normal.

A friend recently showed me this animated site. If you need to relax after a long hard day surfing the net then this is the place to go. Apparently its got quite famous in the states.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Not your average take away

Finally after a few months of waiting my work visa came through and I can really get ready to move away to Hong Kong. One mate asked me if I was gonna open up a take away shop! Crossroads isn't your average takeaway but it certainly gives a lot out. People come from all over Hong Kong and China to 'take away' their goods.

Crossroads International are an organisation that seek to distribute goods to welfare organisations predominantly in Hong Kong and China but also around the world. They're a vital support line for organisations that would otherwise have to spend a lot of money on buying much needed supplies.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Censoring the Net

Google has announced that it is going to censor and restrict its news website in China. This Google blog entry explains some of their reasoning behind it. But basically it boils down to the fact that if they didn't then the Chinese government would probably block them. (link)

This got me thinking about censorship. Its an interesting debate. Freedom of thought is an ideal that flows freely on the net except when censorship such as the "Great Firewall of China" intervenes and blocks sites that contain certain "antipolitical" viewpoints. Is censorship necessarily a bad thing? When is it right to block a website, and when is it right to allow access? What, if any, information should be censored? Surely the two extremes are:
  1. to block any website outside of the country and to close down any sites within the country that are "disreputable"
  2. to allow unmetered access to any website

The former viewpoint allows information to be controlled, people see only limited information and make false assumptions. So if all a government showed was its troops restoring peace and order in Iraq and being friendly with the local citizens, then its people would think that they were doing a great service. The grim, harsh realities of war are swept aside, ignored and remain unknown. On each side of a war, there are heros, and there are villians. Take the recent abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American led forces as an example.

But unmetered access to any website also has serious problems. Anyone can hear, see or read anything. That might sound like a great idea, but consider the amount of junk that is floating around on the net - porn is rife. Disinformation (wrong information) is left unchecked. Anyone can read what they like, even if its not true (just imagine if the Iraqi information minister (the register article) had a website!) But then I agree that censoring the net for political gain is a slightly different kettle of fish.

I believe the key is this: To what extent do we analyse and criticise the information we read on the net? It is important to make judgements about the information we read. If the western world is going to continue to allow unmetered access to any website, then people need to be discerning about the information that is read. Just cause you read something on a website, it doesn't mean its true. It must be assessed, genuinely and thoroughly criticised, dismissed, deleted if wrong?! Call me a purist, but information can hang around for a long time on the net so lets make sure its right!

The great irony of this post is that some of you might think its full of bad information and want to get rid of it! Leave your comments!