phil wilson :: a geek commodity

2:48 PM

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Friday, January 30, 2004

It’s interesting to note the slow but inexorable march of blog-content on the BBC website. First of all there was the Scotblog and then more famously the reporters’ log during the Iraq war. Now (and since who knows when) there’s the Gamesblog which is just what you think it is. :)

In addition, more and more viewer-written pieces are appearing in blog form such as the Blog of a non-smoker.

When you couple this with the fact that you can run your own weblog on the BBC Collective site, I think it’s fair to conclude that the BBC has gone utterly weblog-crazy. :)

Does this mean anything in a social networking, cutting-edge weblogging, lowering-the-boundaries-to-personal-publishing, acceptance of blogging-as-a-form-of-legitimate-journalism kind of way?

Probably not.

5:16 PM

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Belle De Jour in “not an authentic hoorSHOCKA!!! (via linkmachinego)

1:07 PM

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I recently started a new job at Zoo Digital Group, employed as a Java and Web developer. There are a few other Java developers here (although the main trade-in-stock is C++), but I’m now the web development department. Me.

This is actually quite good, and I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve had to do so far, but now a couple of others have had to start putting web pages together, and without my expert guidance (read: slap to the back of the head), there are tables-for-layout, font tags and all sorts lying around. How am I supposed to teach, quickly, how to do layouts with CSS? Well, Colored boxes an article from MaxDesign (whom I linked to recently for their all-round top-notch tutorials) does just that. Eleven easy steps and even includes print style sheets! What more could a man ask for? Oh, apart from his girlfriend/wife/dog wearing the HTTP 200 - OK knickers of course (via Charles).

12:55 PM

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Developing XUL-Applications with Mozilla is looking to be an excellent and practical look at constructing a functional XUL application with Mozilla. Genius stuff. I know that whenever I try to get something even mildly complex going, I keep running into problems, as I’ve voiced previously.

In fact, Gerald Bauer was so keen on that previous post of mine that he saw fit to copy and paste the entire lot to a mailing list without telling me, which I actually found quite rude. The only reason I even found out was because I happened to look at my recent referrers for November. Is it that hard to find out my contact details?

I don’t think so, I publish contact details in both my FOAF file and my RSS feed (although not my Atom feed, which is auto-generated by Blogger), both of which are auto-detectable, and this was certainly enough for Ian Hickson to get in touch with me via Jabber. Interestingly Ian and Gerald have had several run-ins, perhaps most famously on the same mailing-list as above where Gerald tries to say that XUL can mean any old XUL whilst Ian defends Mozilla’s registered trademark.

I’m trying hard not to get too carried away with bile, but it’s always hard to hold it back when Gerald gets mentioned – he always seems to be full of sound and fury (on mailing lists, java.blogs,, comments in people’s blogs and just about anywhere else you can think of), but consistently fails to back up any of his arguments with anything solid, which in my eyes at least, makes everything he says completely meaningless. Anyone associated with Java at all will know him at least vicariously, and if especially unlucky will have read his FUD first-hand.

12:13 PM

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Blogging on the breakfast news, not often that happens, but it happened today when Dominic Holland (stand-up comedian, writer and part-time host of HIGNFY) was talking about his new book, which apparently has something to do with football, which of course, everyone loves. And some geek *cough* ardent fan offered to set up some kind of blog about it. Dominic was very excited and started getting very animated about this new-fangled interweb thing.

Maybe this means he might one day object to his own website being absolutely atrocious.

10:37 AM

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Well, thank fuck for that. Blogger finally starts publishing my posts again, after days of failing.

This is possibly due to the fact that Blogger is now publishing atom feeds for all its blogs. It’s an opt-in process so unless you switch it on you don’t get it, but hurrah! here’s my atom feed

4:01 PM

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Friday, January 23, 2004

BBC to arm journalists with mobile video phones

Interesting stuff. I wonder if they’ll be using off-the-shelf phones that you and I could get our hands on? I also wonder how they’re planning to send their videos through to the studio – you’d think that if they don’t have access to their video camera, they’re not going to have access to their satellite. :)

On a more sinister note, I wonder if this will become the de facto covert reporting tool for a little while, at least until the junta being investigated discovers it of course...

10:36 AM

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Monday, January 19, 2004

wireframe (via CSSVault via Whitespace) is an exceptionally good list of CSS demonstrations, many of which really blew me away (Beehemoth in particular). They demonstrate what the power and flexibility of CSS - there's no way you could replicate these kinds of layout using tables and retain the usability of the underlying HTML.
These are definitely worth looking at for anyone even vaguely interested in CSS-based design and layout.

On a quite, quite different note, Mazda have decided to branch out into making giant robots

12:06 PM

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Newseum: The interactive museum of news provides a summary of today’s front pages from 274 different newspapers from 36 different countries. There are only three from the UK (the Telegraph, Guardian and Mirror), but the breadth is amazing – how *do* they do it?

12:01 PM

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From on Robert Scoble’s post about meeting with the head of the IE team comes a link to jeffdav’s weblog – Jeff is a member of the IE UI team! The first IE-team blogger? Looks like it, and it looks like it’s going to be a good read.

(there’s also a follow up to Robert’s original post)

10:32 AM

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Sadly my new job has been too busy so far for me slip back into the blogging vibe, but may as well try and kick myself into gear....

After I was looking for one on Tuesday, yesterday I saw this: Sketsa is a vector drawing application based on SVG. via Erik

How to write in plain English

Seemingly free Email->SMS service from O2 via Jeremy Rayner

Connect .NET to J2EE apps with Janeva

UML Quick Reference card via Cheah Chu Yeow

Shatner to release new album via

A visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and interaction design via Cheah Chu Yeow

Stop using motherfucking href=”javascript:” pseudo-links, or Links & JavaScript Living Together in Harmony also features a nice dissing of Flash-driven sites in the comments.

Following up from my previous “Why I gave up on J2ME development” article, Russ has written an article about lack of MIDP Quality Control in which we learn nothing much has changed.

MaxDesign presentations and articles web design and graphic design. Nice walkthroughs and tutorials here. Includes the now-famous Building a site with web standards.

5:28 PM

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Friday, January 09, 2004

Britain's Top 50 sitcoms (unordered).

I've not read the whole list, but the fact that both 'Dinnerladies' and 'Gimme Gimme Gimme' are in this list, as well as the pretty poor 'Thin Blue Line' films me with horror.

1:05 PM

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Holy crap! I’m not dead! Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and a Happy New Year (and other capitalisations).

Mid-December, I successfully trashed the server that hosts all of the resources this site uses (rss, images etc.). Finally back up now.

Then it was my holiday, then I changed job. Goodbye lameass ibase and hello new lord and master Zoo.

Yesterday Leigh wrote a bit about lazy photo annotation, and mentioned my RDF skin for JAlbum.

Leigh’s entry reminded me that my skin is still quite lacking in a few areas, some of which he and I spoke about via email at the time and others of which I have still to resolve. Since then though, the skin now publishes:

  • an image index with links to each image
  • an RDF index with links to the describing RDF file for each image
  • each image separately
  • each RDF image annotation file separately containing image details such as dimensions, comment, creation time/date and co-depiction

I don’t describe location, nor keywords like Bryce does in his MT photo annotation template mainly because a) I’m not happy with the current means of location description and b) I’m lazy and wordnet is just too much effort.

It’s my birthday at the weekend, so I shan’t get time to finish my photo annotations then, but as soon as I can, I will, and publish with all the new data. It’s a shame I didn’t bump into anyone FOAFy in Bristol, it would have been nice to be linked in to the co-depiction club. :)