Learning From Others

Tom’s great post on the uRL structure on the Radio 3 web site deserves to be widely read. Of course, we need to do more than just read it we need to learn from it.

The story goes that cool URLs don’t change. Valid in theory and very hard in practice – somebody always has a better idea two years down the line. That’s why it’s very encouraging to read Tom’s article on the reasoning behind URL’s on the new BBC Radio Three site. I’m hoping they do something similar for the other radio brands for it would be very useful and is a great example to other web designers/developers and producers. I guess many people are not afforded the luxury of the time Tom and company spent thinking about this so his post should be committed to memory. Now if only rest of us could learn …

Olympic Dreams

Went to see Jonathan Edwards and the Olmpic torch today

jonathan edwards and the olympic torch in wandsworth 26 june 2004This morning PY and I went into Wandsworth to watch the Olympic torch make its way across our part of south London. It had started the day at the Wimbledon tennis tournament with Tim Henman and Sir Roger Bannister. By the time it made its way to us, Jonathan Edwards was the bearer. The whole thing was actually over in a moment and it was somewhat sad to see that although there were plenty of people braving the rain to see the torch they were somewhat outnumbered by officials, police and media people – which made me think the whole thing was not really for the people but for the sponsors and the coverage. The torch itself made its was off by taxi (it seems to be being transported by all forms of London transport today – including the tube) but Jonathan Edwards stayed around to talk to people. Although the moment was brief, the weather damp and the steel band hidden under-cover it was still a great moment to see this part of the chain.

A couple more pictures from the day. Jonathan Edwards CBE stays around to talk to fans, the Olympic Torch relay is a fully sponsored media event and then the torch left by taxi for the next stop on the route to The Mall where a concert was held in the evening.

jonathan edwards cbe in wandsworth 26 june 2004the olympic torch comes to london 26 june 2004the olympic torch left wandsworth in a black cab

Why Would You Be Interested?

I’ve had a good day and feel compelled to mention it.

It’s been quite a bizarre day as I have churned out a ton of documents at work. I particularly hate writing proposals to customers, work-orders and other documents related to my work but today i have cleared a nice backlog which makes me happy. There is, of course, no reason to tell you any of this except I feel I am ending the week on a high.

In totally unrelated news I am still trying to work out what to do with my new gmail storage. However, I did read a fantastic idea over at Jeremy Zawodny’s blog: Google should make an instant messaging product but make it open so other people could connect to it. Finally I would have to stop updating Trillian every time Yahoo changed a protocol or two.

Entertainment Trivia

To take your mind off the football I present some useless entertainment trivia.

After last night’s disapointment on the football field regular readers will be pleased to hear the ITV is bringing back Popstars to make our lives better. This time, according to Digital Spy, the show will look to create the UK’s next musical male-female duet. To make it even more depressing the same source also reports that ITV are planning an ITV3 – presumably so we can have Popstarts on ITV1; Popstarts Xtra on ITV2 and an additional behind-the-scenes-of-the-behind-the-scenes show on ITV3.

While I was redaing the excellent Digital Spy I had cause to update the Man of the Moment entry for Colin and Matt.

We Wuz Robbed

I don’t think I have any nails left after that match.

michael owen on the pitch - click for a larger versionWhat an entirely nail biting match that was and how very, very depressing. I imagine most of the country was watching as Michael Owen scored for us in two and a half minutes. I made the tube and the train which were – I am certain – much quieter than they normally would be at 7pm. I just made it into the house just in time for the start and for Owen’s goal and was watching all way through to Helder Postiga’s equaliser after 83 minutes for Portugal. So everything went to extra time and we all had to watch for another 30 minutes. Thank goodness for Frank Lampard who kept us in it at the end of the second half of extra-time but who on earth would want to sit and watch those penalties? [match summary]

Despite the result, it’s games like this that make me enjoy the game of football!

Come on Eng-er-land

An entry about sport. Me?

the cross of st george is the english flagWell I guess that there’s not a lot to say. There is only one topic of conversation in London today and it all revolves around the football.

There have been football songs on the radio all day (it’s simply the worst music you can listen to) and there is an excitement outside. Everywhere you go there are English flags which is really quite pleasing to see. Now, all we have to do is win!

Thousands of England fans are gathering in Lisbon ahead of tonight’s crunch Euro 2004 quarter-final against hosts Portugal. [Sky News]

The only other thing of interest I can come up with is that, apparently, “Simon Le Bon himself has heaped praise on boyband Phixx’s cover version of the 1984 Duran Duran smash hit Wild Boys” [source]. And even I don’t think that’s interesting.

So I’ll leave it at that and go and watch the match.

Online Customer Service Ratings

Just to show that some of the biggest names on the web have poor customer service.

Over the past two weeks I have had cause to contact two online companies that happily take my credit card details for services (and I happily pay them as I want to use the paid for features). You may recall I’ve mentioned contacting Yahoo. I also have had cause to contact Sonic Selector. So far, both companies are rating 0/10 for their customer service when it comes to billing enquires. At this moment it is at the point I would cancel both of the services and find alternative providers – especially as I just got an invite for a gmail account! Such a shame that companies behave like this. Just reminds that sometimes a real-world store that you can walk into is better.

UPDATE: Interestingly – and totally unknown to me until I posed this – the ‘On This Day‘ link is also about poor customer service.

A Little Update

An update on previous entries.

In case you’re searching for an update on this: well, OK so the extra storage is great. The fact they haven’t replied to any of my messages sucks. I am a paying customer 😉

Oh, and I didn’t get to see the England game in a pub as I was on public transport. The trains were empty. It was very strange.

And finally, proof that digital downloads can be good for the music industry.

Just Some Things

Just a few things that I found online today.

Things that caught my eye today:

  • Are your SMS text messages being intercepted? Spy Blog seems to think that they may be. A terrorism export quoted on the site says, “Having this kind of surveillance is the price we have to pay in a modern society to protect us from terrorists”. While in principal I agree with that I do think we have a right to be told that this is happening. Wonder what they make of my late night drunken texts home?
  • If you thought teleportation was just in the realms of science fiction then think again. I had always assumed it was just something inventive story-tellers made-up. Well, BBC News reports that there have been some advances in teleportation. We might be a long way from Scottie beaming us up but it’s fascinating, don’t you think?
  • Do you have a cool idea for the future of the web browser? If your idea might require some machine learning to implement it then Blake Ross wants to hear from you.
  • I made a conscious decision this year not to get start watching the current series of Big Brother – it can suck you life from under you. Naturally, this is the year I wish I’d been paying attention. If you missed it there’s been a punch-up and the police were called. Tonight’s eviction is cancelled. According to The Scotsman, a BB spokesman said, “We want to let the housemates continue to work through their differences rather than be faced with an eviction”
  • And if you haven’t seen this year’s Ascot hat collection you should for they look frightfully dull compared to some years.

Two Years Ago

Today is the first day with a full two years worth of back entries on this site.

Today is the first day that the ‘On This Day’ link has two years back which has me slightly excited! One of the original reasons for starting the regular updating of this site was to serve as a personal memory archive. I have always loved flicking through old diaries and address books – this somehow brings that function into the new millennia.

Last year I was at Shrewsbury Carnival. A carnival is one of those things that your remember as being a great deal of fun when you were a child but doesn’t always work when you are an adult. Of course I was just be grumpy about it last year.

In 2002 I seem to have seen Spiderman around this time which has me admitting I can’t wait for the next one. I have some film-loving friends who hated the first one (I think it was too dark for them) but I loved it and can’t wait to be sat in the cinema again.

This day in 2002 was also the day of possibly the most memorable link I have ever posted on this site. New Scientist asked: ‘Does beheading hurt? And, if so, for how long is the severed head aware of its plight?’. Of course with recent events abroad it’s a little more topical and less far-fetched but, nonetheless, it remains the one of the links that have appeared here that I haven’t forgotten. Every time New Scientist change their site I go back and fix that link.

If you happened to look at yesterday’s entry you would have seen the link to the ‘On This Day’ for 14 June 2003. All I can say to those that mailed me – I will still not tell you which one I am. Gym buddy has, however, assured me my arse is a lot less flabby now.

Yahoo Extra Storage

As the cool kids play with gmail – Yahoo just upped their mail limits.

You know all the cool kids are signing up for gmail accounts through nice invites from people. I didn’t get one and I even know somebody who works at Google. Still, nice to see trusty Yahoo! greet met this morning when I logged into my Yahoo mail account:

Virtually unlimited storage
A whopping 2GB means you should never have to worry about managing storage again! Keep thousands of messages, photos, and documents – think of it as your online archive. [Yahoo Mail]

The new Yahoo interface is cleaner and I am about to start experimenting with using it as an online archive for something (although I haven’t yet decided what). The only problem I ever have with Yahoo is actually getting an answer out of them for a query – which in theory should be OK for free services but I do pay them for some services and can still not get an answer. Ideas for ways to test the extra storage!

Personal Information Management

A little rant about data synchronisation is brewing. This isn’t it.

I have such a long post ‘brewing’ about data that we all need to transport around with us regularly. I have Microsoft Outlook at work; a palm-powered Treo ‘phone and a Palm desktop/Mozilla combination at home. I occasionally back all my data up to Yahoo’s organiser (calendar, address, memo). There is no reliable synchronisation tool which can handle everything well for me and this is one of the things that truly frustrates people who are trying to utilise all this technology. It was one of the reasons I switched to a Palm-powered Treo rather than my old Nokia favourites (at least a good part of the synchronisation works). There are some immovables in the equation: Outlook is in use in my office and I can’t change that and I am attached to Windows-based computers. Although I have heard some reports that Apple’s i-sync isn’t as great as it’s claimed it is – at least – an option for Mac users. I notice another satisfied user today: Jase and his Sony Ericsson T610. Maybe that post will eventually see the light of day!

Cameraphone Backlash

A little tech news I have found: camera phones are bad, seven year old bloggers are getting eductaed while the rest of us are supposed to be old and rich.

BBC News has an article on camera ‘phones and a backlash against them. I read it and the main thing that stuck out to me was the fact that I have both the phones pictured and I don’t think either of them are good at taking photos. Sad isn’t it?

Meanwhile they also have an excellent article on the use of weblogging tools as learning aids for school children which I think raises some very interesting ideas for the use of software in education. Meanwhile, MediaPost links to an item that suggests bloggers are “they’re older and wealthier than what’s portrayed by their stereotype” [source]. I think we all wish we were wealthier but to be told I am older than other people thing is alarming!

Already It’s Mid June

It gets to the middle of June and I haven’t written that much. I must have been enjoying the sunshine.

It doesn’t feel like last week since I wrote anything here but it is. Given the May was possibly the most prolific month on Listen To Musak I think I am subconsciously giving myself a day or two off. The weather has been wonderful for the past couple of weeks and I’ve been extra busy in the office so there has been little time to get into the writing spirit.

Interestingly, the vote is in for the Mayor (Ken is back) and the local council elections. The results of the European elections were announced last night and it seems like the new countries didn’t get a very high turnout – which seems odd given their recent arrival into the community. It seems that a good number of people in the UK wanted to get the message across that they are not happy with plans to take us further into Europe. I think this is sad and wonder if it’s only a shot across Blair’s bow in the mid-term or a sign of something more powerful. The two main parties all lost and I watch with interest what their reactions to the recent votes are going to be. Turnout in the UK was up – which was certainly one good thing to come out of last Thursday’s poll.

Of course the main news pushing Europe to the middle pages is last night’s football defeat at the hands of France when it looked so certain that we had the game in the bag. Even I could tell there was some silly mistakes in injury time. And then I wake up this morning to see Ralf Schumacher was disqualified from yesterday’s Canadian Grand Prix resulting in a podium place for Jenson Button. And then we beat New Zealand at Cricket. I could almost take an interest in a summer of sport.