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Imported From Epistula weblog

Science in rap form

This is a rap about particle physics and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and what it’s for.

CERN Rap from Will Barras on Vimeo.

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Imported From Epistula tv weblog

Muppetry

Things that have amused me today:

Follow the profile. It appears that Disney/Muppet Studios are publishing a series of new muppet sketches via YouTube. Trials for a new Muppets series?

I’d hope that Disney are able to let them make it fun.

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Happy pi day

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Cannon Fodder


bq. Our 25 Inch Field Cannon is our loudest carbide cannon! This cannon features an automatic charger mechanism for rapid, multiple firing plus an automatic flint ignitor. Weighing 7 lbs, it operates on the same principle as a gas engine in an automobile—using gas, fresh air, and a spark. Powdered calcium carbide “ammo” is added to the water in the chamber of the cannon. The auto flint firing mechanism creates the spark to give perfect combustion. This 25” cannon produces a realistic flash and boom that makes celebrating a real bang-up time. Adult supervision for children under 16 is recommended.

25’’ Field Cannon. Please send to the usual address…#

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Because when you need to know, you need to know now

How to say ‘Oh my god! there’s an axe in my head!’ in 117 languages

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Imported From Epistula intertwingularity social trutap web development weblog

It's not for you

Chris Selland:

But as a biz dev guy (who doesn’t have time – or a reason – to be online much) – and despite the fact that my job is all about relationships – I find twitter to be pretty pointless. LinkedIn, on the other hand, I use every single day.

Oh.

Good.

I’ve been watching the Social Networking backlash with something of a professional interest, seeming as I’m working for a company whose primary product is to interact with many of them, and my primary response to “I can’t use Facebook as a professional Customer Relationship Management system” and “Twitter’s no use in maintaining business relationships” and “Google’s not helping my website get more hits” is… er…:

Oh.

Good.

Twitter is ambient sociality. It’s what it is good at. It’s for “this is what I’m doing” and – more often – a ping in the background with something that someone else is doing. Attempting to use it as a network management tool, either for people or servers, is not what it is designed to do. It works suprisingly well as a command-line interface to remote websites (I’m a new convert to remember the milk), but complaining that Twitter doesn’t help you manage your business is kin to complaining that you can’t use lego for your corporate HQ. It may look the right shape, but you need a heavier tool.

Facebook is at its best as a social – in the “go out with friends” sense – network. Not as a network of everyone you have ever met, but as everyone you’ve ever wanted to keep in touch with. I have a simple criteria for adding people to facebook. a) Can I remember something you’ve said to me, b) Were you on fire, would I look an extinguisher or piss on it if the former is not an option. Subquestion: If the former _is_ an option. As a kind of online contacts directory of everyone I’ve ever met or worked with, or wish to maintain a professional relationship with, it’s not really the target market.

LinkedIn is, though. Facebook I use daily – more this week than ever before – LinkedIn I’ll visit periodically to add someone I’ve worked with/for, or more often if I’m looking for people to work with (trutap is, incidentally, hiring perldevs, Ops team & QA folks), but I wouldn’t use it to keep track of – for example – my best friends from secondary school.

There appears to be a tendency within the web technologist literati to see there only being one online social network to which you throw your allegiances and all others can hang, but they’re all better at some things than others, and until we can transport all our networks from one place to another though an defined standard format (I have my doubts as to this ever actually happening, but leave the floor open to the more optimistic) you’re always going to have more people on one network than another, so you have to decide on whether you’re going to miss out on a person for a website account, which – to me – isn’t any choice at all.

There is no silver bullet. There’s no best language as there will never be a best social network, best operating system, best text editor (though emacs will retain it’s bottom position, obviously), there is merely the best tool for what you’re looking for right now, and you can find me on most of them.

And if just one of them is perfect for everyone you want to list as a friend,

Oh.

Good.

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Current Affairs Imported From Epistula music web development weblog

Pandora closes the box

I just got an email from pandora

It says:

As you probably know, in July of 2007 we had to block usage of Pandora outside the U.S. because of the lack of a viable license structure for Internet radio streaming in other countries. It was a terrible day. We did however hold out some hope that a solution might exist for the UK, so we left it unblocked as we worked diligently with the rights organizations to negotiate an economically workable license fee. After over a year of trying, this has proved impossible. Both the PPL (which represents the record labels) and the MCPS/PRS Alliance (which represents music publishers) have demanded per track performance minima rates which are far too high to allow ad supported radio to operate and so, hugely disappointing and depressing to us as it is, we have to block the last territory outside of the US.

I would gladly pay a fee to have access to Pandora, it is a wonderful thing from wonderful people, and it is depressing that the organisations who think they are protecting the artists are doing so by fucking over their customers.

Yes, there are technological ways around the IP block, though I won’t discuss them here. This is a sad day for online music.

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Four Glasses

Rory Parle has posted a puzzle which is the kind of thing a number of people who still read this would be interested in, so:

You have in front of you one of those tables you get in Asia restaurants with the rotating centre—what one of our product managers described as a lazy susan, though I’ve never heard that phrase from anyone else. Picture the restaurant from the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom if you really want to set the scene.

On the table are four glasses, each of which is either standing upright or turned upside down. They’re evenly spaced around the table, in a square. You sit at the table blindfolded. Your aim is to turn the glasses such that they are either all upright or all upside down, subject to the following rules:

now go read the rest of the puzzle

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Kudocities

So, London By London, the list by the people behind The Friday Project, became the wider scoped project “Friday Cities, London” with the aim of becoming the definative guide to various cities around the globe. But then they split off from the rest of the Friday Project company, and the Friday Cities name stopped making sense.

Now, with absolutely no fanfair at all, they’re called Kudocities based around the new central mechanic you can give and receive kudos for interesting bits of information about London. If it’s got a major limitation right now, it’s that currently it only supports London. I assume more will come later…

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Complete Twit

If you go to the front page of Aquarionics.com, you will see that my last few twitter updates are included, interspersing the entries between which they came.

If you subscribe to “all.rss”, which is what most people do, you’ll never see them, unless you’re also on the Twitter list. I may take it back further than that, and exclude them from everywhere on this site bar my current twitter status, which is in the about box to your right. Er. Left. Somewhere, anyway. The problem with opening up the CSS of the site is that I’m not entirely sure anymore 🙂

This is why: Twitter status is not something that should be archived, it’s not something you generally want to see all the twitters a person has sent, you just want the latest one. It’s ambient “This is what the people around me are doing” rather than a stream of what they want to talk about. That’s the definition – for me – that divides the tweet from the journal from the Article. Tweets are instant, Journal entries are of their time, Article entries are more timeless (though, obviously, age).

Sam Ruby strips all Tweets from feeds for that reason, and Russel Beattie got a significant backlash when he did it, and I think this is why. Tweets seem to be a more social, rather than publishing, medium; and it’s going to be interesting to see where they eventually fit into the (nrrrrrgh) Blogosphechochamber.