Random, Tech

Our Very Own Millennium Bug


Our company has a piece of software that was built in the nineties using C++, designed for Windows 3.x and still to this day refuses to accept which century it’s in.  Most customers, and presumably their accountants don’t notice (or perhaps care about) the date on their invoice.

Last month we sold glass, according to the invoice dates, on the very day in 1912 the Titanic sank.

Design, Tech, Typography

Edits – A Beautiful Online Magazine

Edits Magazine Front Page

Gizmodo UK reported a few months back about an online magazine about photography that is unlike any other and I’ve been meaning to post about it on here as it is very much a pointer to how digital magazines should embrace the possibilities of the technology.

Edits Quarterly, by Ian Coyle, doesn’t try to recreate the look and feel of a paper magazine, you simply scroll down it, or rather the images and pages smoothly, seamlessly slide upwards revealing the next article.  The use of typography is wonderful, the imagery striking and the articles are superbly written.

It is a truly innovative and beautiful publication.

[Edits via Gizmodo UK]


Crowded Mountain

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems you just can’t go anywhere to be by yourself these days.  Not even Mount Everest.

Outside Magazine reports that at the start of the spring summit season last weekend there were 300 people on the mountain.

I know the feeling of going up a mountain in the Lake District and finding the summit crowded with people, that can be frustrating enough when you want to take photos of the view but to mount an expedition up the world’s highest mountain and have to queue for the summit – that’s frustration, even for us English who have made queuing an artform.

[Outside Magazine via Gizmodo UK]

Bag Fiend, Bags & Storage, Health

Bag Fiend – The Best Kind of Bag is the Free Kind of Bag

Bright Green Rucksack

While riding my bike to work this morning I was caught by the fuzz.  Ok, it was neither as painful as it sounds or as serious.  The local police and road safety campaign were out again asking cyclists to complete a short questionnaire about our cycling habits and as a reward you receive the bright and shiny rucksack you see above, free!  As I cycle every day I applaud this effort as anything that helps drivers see me is a bonus.

It’s a nicely made bag, very visible with reflective stripes, has a couple of sizable internal pockets and a couple of decent sized external pockets that have elestic straps inside but open mesh lower parts which is the only downside – though I’m not complaining as it was, as I say, free.

As I sat down, about to put the bag under my desk Nick, one of our window fitters, walked by “ok, we know you’ve got a new bag, stop playing with it,” he said.  “But it’s new and shiny,” I replied, “and free.”

Society, Tech

Pay Attention People

Heads up

Heads up (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

A couple of years ago I was on my way home from work, it was December, raining, cold and I’d just walked two miles.  I was just approaching my street when a loud group of youths came walking the other way down the narrow path which was separated from the road by a railing.  Most of the group passed by me except one lad who was busy texting on his phone, not looking where he was going.  I walked as close to the wall as I could and he passed by.

The next thing I know this lad is shouting at me about how I should look where I’m going and that I nearly knocked his phone out of his hand, I carried on walking while he continued to rant, apparently about how important and the centre of the universe he was and that I should have moved for his lordship.

Having had a really lousy day I turned, walked back and firmly told him that it was him not looking where he was going and was only looking at his phone – “yeah, cos I’m busy” he replied – working on a multi-million pound equity deal no doubt – while his friend held on to him and his girlfriend crowed “it’s not wurf it mate” to me.

I agreed with that at least so turned and carried on walking.

It turns out that this condition afflicts many people these days – the inability to move from one place to another without tweeting or updating facebook – so much so that in New York signs have been put up to try to prevent collisions in future.

The signs are actually the work of street artist Jay Shells who campaigns for better social etiquette and whose previous works have included signs about not flicking cigarette butts on the ground.  Of course it’s not just pedestrian collisions that happen because of people not watching where they’re going, people have actually been hit by vehicles too so the message is serious.

So mind where you’re walking out there and if you’re reading this on the move for goodness sake LOOK UP!



Former Lemon Meringue Doughnut

When I first saw the Maple-Bacon Donut on Man v Food when Adam Richman visited Voodoo Donut in Portland, Oregon I knew I had witnessed something special, something beyond what I knew doughnuts* to be, what they could aspire to beyond being filled with jam or occasionally chocolate and iced.

I still want to visit Voodoo Donut but I have found something equally impressive closer to home (three minutes away on foot, I’ve timed myself, and I wasn’t running).

Once again my local Asda provided me with a Saturday treat – Lemon Meringue Doughnuts.  Filled with lemon curd, topped with lemon icing and sprinkled with meringue pieces they are heavenly, the tangy lemon providing a nice counterpoint to the fried doughnut with the sweet crunchy meringue finishing things off.

I would have provided a picture but, well, you know how these things are.

* I’m English, I spell it both ways.


Doughnut Heaven


A Slower Pace

Aerial view of Moyenne Island, Seychelles

Aerial view of Moyenne Island, Seychelles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If modern life is all rush, rush, rush for you then you might not want to see this.

The BBC reports on an 86 year old Yorkshireman who has, for many years, lived alone on a tiny island in the Seychelles he bought in 1962.  Over the years he has spent his time reintroducing the indigenous giant tortoises to the island  of Moyenne which has now become one of the world’s smallest national parks.

Follow the link for a short interview.

[BBC, via Gizmodo]


Future Computing – Gestures in Thin Air

A comparison between a Eee PC 900 and a 22 inc...

LCD monitor and a standard keyboard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After giving the world intuitive, natural game control with Kinect’s position sensing technology – and all the Star Wars Brrzz, Brrzz Lightsabre action that goes with it.  Then also adding voice control to your Xbox at the same time, Microsoft research continues to bring us closer to a scifi world of computer interfaces by using sound to detect gestures and control your desktop PC.

The new technology, which is still early in development, uses the doppler effect, bouncing ultrasonic waves off you and detecting their return times to detect hand movements for scrolling screens and even detecting your presence as a security measure.  Demonstrations at this stage are impressive and it is another step toward intuitive interfaces.

There’s still a place for the keyboard and mouse for the moment but soon your PC will sense your motions, see you, know who you are and hear what you’re saying to it.  Just don’t let it control your front door or you might have to be careful what you say in front of it.

[Gizmodo UK]

Design, Meta, Tech

Traditional From Modern

My PocketMod

I forget things, regularly.  I also find that I want to make a note of something I need to buy or do but haven’t got access to either paper or a computer.  I have found the solution to both these issues in a website.

Huh?  I hear you ask.

Ok, the solution is in the picture above, it’s called PocketMod and I’ve known about it for some time but kept forgetting to make one.  And that’s not actually a pun either.

PocketMod is a origami-style notebook that is folded, after you’ve printed and trimmed it, to form a small notebook without the need for staples or glue.  It’s been around a while and the website contains templates to print out and  very good flash-based designer tool that lets you put together your own mini notebook with exactly the pages you need – including lines, diary, squares, formulas and emergency information about you.

Put your mobile number on it and someone can contact you if they find your wallet, and you can easily find your own number too.

Just need a small pen now…



Man's face screaming/shouting. Stubbly wearing...

Man’s face screaming/shouting. Stubbly wearing glasses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was just outside on the balcony, watching the rain, listening to the gentle drumming of each drop on the timber beside me and the car roof below me; listening to the birds twittering, the gentle rustling of the early spring leaves in the breeze; listening to the… THUMP THUMP THUMP of music from a nearby house, so loud I could hear it outside and down the street.

FFS, as they say.  I muttered to myself how they should go take their music, in their cars with the loud exhausts, and go play in the shopping centre car park.  I’m all for having fun, I play music loud sometimes but if my neighbour wanted to listen to it I’d lend her the CD.

This is part of the obsession with being noticed, of desire to be the centre of attention that leads some to crave fame via TV “talent” shows and others to make their presence known not by making or doing something creatively, significantly, interestingly, or even the age-old way of being stylish or glamorous but by effectively shouting LOOK AT ME!!!

Some ways they do this are amusing, you hear a loud, rasping exhaust note outside and when you look the car isn’t a throbbing V8 muscle car or a grunting V12 Ferrari, but then you didn’t expect it to be, it’s a 1.2 litre Fiesta, Corsa or Saxo being thrashed to within an inch of its life and trundling by at about 15 MPH.  It’s driver thinks it sounds powerful, he thinks everyone’s impressed, he thinks his girlfriend in the passenger seat is impressed.  Nobody’s impressed.

Others stand outside pubs, conversations escalating in volume as though the switch on the TV remote’s got stuck, all needing to be the loudest and probably paying little attention to what everyone else is saying, ironically.

The same extends to work, Facebook, Twitter – people saying anything to be seen, to be recognised.

Is anyone reading this.  Hello.  HELLO!