The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Chilling Dog Part 4?

Have we moved on? Is she growing up and learning how not to sleep stupidly? Compare to last week.

Gates "Unstable"?

Blair blames Gates for 'day-dreamer' doodle
Downing Street went on: 'We look forward with amusement to explanations by a variety of psychologists and graphologists of how various characteristics ascribed to the PM on the basis of the doodles, such as 'struggling to concentrate', `not a natural leader', 'struggling to keep control of a confusing world' and 'an unstable man who is feeling under enormous pressure', equally apply to Mr Gates.'

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Blair debates with teenagers

A teenage girl fumed: 'You can't get democracy by dropping bombs on people, by killing people.'

MP3 Sunglasses!

Brilliant. Want, want, want. Can't afford, can't afford, can't afford. Victim of advertising culture still.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

My First Podcast

After writing last nights post, I decided to podcast it. It was my first podcast, and I think I cocked up posting it on It seemed to blow up ipodder after I screwed around with the ID3 tags (idiot). I have posted it again tonight.

If anyone got it twice, sorry about that. I'll not do it again. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Fahrenheit 9/11

Just watched the Michael Moore film about the justification for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me be very clear that I am opposed to the "war on terror", and the massive infringement of civil liberties, including the deprivation of life, that this debacle has allowed the Bush regime and Blair government to inflict on the USA, Great Britain, and Iraq. I also must be clear that my boss (and friend) died in it, along with members of my team (most of whom I knew as voices on the phone) died in the World Trade Centre on 11th September, 2001 and I'm still pretty pissed off about it.

Intellectually I knew most of the arguments for and against the invasion of Iraq. When Tony Blair lied so convincingly about WMD and the links of the Saddam Hussein regime to Al-Qaeda, I was sure of the necessity to go to war, with the agreement of the UN as pretty much my only proviso. It was with the victimisation of Dr David Kelly that I remember thinking "hang on, what's going on?" It started becoming obvious that I had been lied to on a grand scale. They don't call me "Trigger". I wish now I had been more questioning at the outset. I wish now I had added my voice and my presence on the Stop the War march. I wish now I had said "not in my name, Mr Blair".

Moore too shows the bodies of Iraqis and Americans. He shows the anguish of bereaved Iraqis and Americans, and it strikes deeper than a mere intellectual comprehension of the issues involved. However people who disagree may seek to discredit Moore, the facts of those dead children, maimed civilians and soldiers, and bereaved mothers cannot be hidden by rhetoric. I'm ashamed of what our countries have done in Iraq. Unfortunately, the situation in Iraq has been caused by what we did, but I have no solution to offer to resolve it.

I do not ask anyone who reads this to agree with me. I just ask that in the future you question, question, question everything you hear from politicians where military solutions where we are the aggressor are seen as a viable option. Question everything that may seem to be "necessary to help in the War against Terror", where it erodes a freedom, and therefore your ability to hold those in power to account. Question your elected (and unelected) representatives every step of their way, and never take what you hear from journalists, politicians, bloggers, anyone who may have an undeclared or unknown interest, at face value. If we don't question these streams of information, there may well be another Iraq, another World Trade Centre, another Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

If you read this far, thank you. It may be the first time I have done something that
may make a difference. It may not. This post stands as is, bad grammar, spelling mistakes, opinions, and all.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Trying to Explain Podcasting

Poor Gerald at G-Wh!z loses it with confused publishers.

Have to admit Gerald, I'm having trouble explaining it to my guys too. They dictate a morning report to some poor secretary every morning and then have it compiled in a pdf and emailed out to every client. How difficult is it to understand that they could record the dictation and deliver a sound file automatically (podcast it) to the clients and point them at a website for the supplementary material?

Warning: rant mode engaged.
  • The clients get free mp3 players setup like Christopher Carfi suggests in his podcast

  • our clients get to LISTEN to our reports on the way into work

  • can link off their Blackberry/Treo/Pocket PC/K700/whatever to our "show notes", graphs and shit on decently viewable blog, rather than pick up a choddy great PDF off their email, then phone us to say they can't read it, and we say they've got to install the older version of Acrobat cos 6.whatever has problems reading some stuff generated by blah, blah, blah.

I mean, who gives a toss? Get it in sound, get the visuals on a blog so they can read on mobiles and they'll love us: they'll do business with such a forward thinking, go-getting, ground-breaking bunch of guys... maybe. It's a worth a try isn't it? Deep breath. Apparently not. It's "too much trouble" and "one more thing to maintain".

I will not give up. I got a wiki in there by skunkworks which everyone uses now, and I'll damn well get this in by hook or by crook. Yeah, goddamnit, I'm pumped. I feel like the Dean (or Senior Wrangler?) of Unseen University. Bonsai! Rant Mode disengaged (why the hell is it disengaged? Shouldn't it be disgaged? I mean - why?).

Microsoft Flying Car Update

More chuckling

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Secret Pentagon spies confirmed

The Pentagon was re-interpreting US law and trying to bypass the CIA, it said.
It just keeps getting worse.

Sun unleashes huge solar excuse for IT failures ;)

Solar flares have been known to wreak havoc on radio and telephone communications and power lines. They are a wonderful excuse when you don't want to
talk to somebody (``What's that, honey? I can't hear you. It must be the
solar flare activity').


I'm an IT wonk, and occassionally, if a user is really annoyed and doesn't want to talk to the support guy anymore, I have to try to explain why their hard-disk/memory/power cable fried and ate their Excel worksheet that they had been working on for three days without saving :-s

My fallback when reason fails (after even the-car-tyre-gets-worn-down-over-time analogy has failed) is the "sun spots" excuse (insert references to neutrinos, quarks, whatever springs to mind here). This solar flare makes it even more plausible!

I know it's bad to lie to users, but sometimes they demand you do by not believing the truth. Here's a dilemma: You have explained (again) that you have no control over the performance of the internet and can't guarantee emails will be delivered in a timely fashion. You suggest they use the various alternatives that your team have put in place to solve precisely this issue. The user then demands that you "get control of the internet" and "fix the relaibility problems" as he "can't continue doing business like this". What do you say to them? I'm ashamed to say I just laughed. I will never be good at office politics.

Slashdot Review - whoo-hoo!

Andy McCaskey mentioned my podbothering on Slashdot Review yesterday. I was listening to it on the train on the way in this morning and I fear my jaw hit the floor and commuters thought I was a mentalist. I only wrote the article so my computer illiterate Bro's (sorry guys ;) could get into Podcasting, but hell, if anyone else uses it, great. Sorry about the spelling mistakes and missing brackets though.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Small dog chills part 3

Back to Part 2

Is Microsoft preparing a flying car?


Bit of a round up

Phew. Been a while. Let's see:

The US are likely to lose the "war" in Iraq according to a Knight Ridder (which I can't link to properly, guess you have to pay for it) analysis summarised at the Detroit Free Press. I really think it's going to hell in a handbasket out there. I really don't know what the answer is, but I do feel strongly that we were (and still are being) lied to by our leaders, and that it was a terrible mistake which has ultimately cost more lives that it saved, and has stored up trouble for many years to come by pissing off whole nations in the Middle East. I don't blame them, how would you feel if some blokes turned up, bombed your house to smithereens, told you were free, got blown-up themselves, and then shot your family because they were driving fast away from gunfire? In between you're getting shot at by your countrymen who're pissed at you cos you had a chat with the occupiers. Bush seems determined to do it all again in Iran and/or North Korea. Hopefully, somehow, we'll all manage to kibosh that.

Swedish is made simple(ish) in this sketch by the Two Ronnies. You have to say it unless you're far more right-brain than me (which wouldn't be difficult).

Professor's Saturn Experiment Forgotten: I just feel so sorry for this guy and his team. 18 years to build and send an experiment to Saturn and some git forgets to switch it on. What a nightmare.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Darth Tater

Darth Vader Mr Potato Head due in sping 2005. I'm a stupid consumer. I want, I want.

Peacifying The World

PartTimeSock says:
Dunno whether you heard the news this morning, but Blair is saying Bush is going to be "more consensual" (how many times more? zero times a million is still zero), whereas Bush's inaugural speech is going to say he will continue to "spread liberty" although he's refusing to who he's going to peacify next (Iran is heavily hinted as the next date in Bush's Liberty War).
TheBro says:
IM Administrator: This IM conversation is being archived for compliance and security purposes
TheBro says:,9115,1394269,00.html, apparently
TheBro says:
And yes, I heard the words "Rogue states" and Iran and North Korea in the same, so-oft-said-so-easily-repeated sentence on Radio 5 this morn. It's become like the "Great" in "Britain"; you almost notice when it's not there
PartTimeSock says:
the man is frightening. He's not going to calm down. he wants his name is history unequivocally a reformer of the world, and since Iraq and Afghanistan haven't quite panned out as planned, he's going to keep going until he gets it "right". Did you see this yesterday? Someone ought to put that on the screens while he makes the address (from Doc Searl's weblog).
TheBro says:
TheBro says:
I was thinking about it on the way from the bus this morning, as I walked past the new exhibition at the Royal Academy, "The Turks (600-1600)". It's about an American Empire (called "Democracy/Freedom/Sovereignty/Genocide") and, at the time in history in which one lives, does one try to become the most powerful? Does one make the most of the fortuity in being in the right place in the right time
TheBro says:
(cf Emperors of Rome) and give all the cash to all your mates to protect you (Dubya) at that moment?
TheBro says:
everyone else after can sweep up after, but opportunities like this come around rarely, and to very few, so does one milk the fck out of it, sod the consequences, and let future generations tidy up. Sort themselves out
PartTimeSock says:
It's a h3ll of a thought. I'm going to blog this, then, if you're cool, continue on the comment thread? Better than Mrs IM Monitor hanging over our shoulders.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Why does blogging exist?

Here's Dave Winer's explanation at Scripting News.

Why we need an iPod competitor

Doc Searls' IT Garage explains why Apple needs some competition.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Back to the trenches

I keep thinking about the bunkers down the road. If I can just finish the job we may survive a nuclear war... although as it's at the bottom of an escarpment, we may not survive the rising sea levels. Nuts. Foiled again.

Chilling dog?

Our weekly (as of this post anyway) look at the small dog's chilling habits. Doesn't seem to have changed much since last week.... Please don't call the RSPCA, she does this of her own volition!

Wartime bunkers down the road

So we're walking through the wood with the dogs when we see this hut with a chimney.

Further exploration we find a "door".

And then inside...

we check up the "chimney", and it's a entrance with an ladder!

We know there used to be a wartime airbase here and we think that these bunkers must have been being built when the war ended as they were obviously supposed to be buried up to the top of the chimney. Pretty cool stuff. Also found a George Rex (1944) tea cup and an ink bottle.

Monsanto Suing Seed Users

As predicted by TheBro at TheFamily Easter dinner last year, Monsanto are suing farmers who plant seeds grown from last years harvest. Soooo, GM crops are going to help the 3rd World farmers by... costing more and getting them put in gaol?

There's a discussion about it over at Slashdot.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Huygens Info

The Planetary Society's Huygens Weblog is written by the Planetary Societys Science and Tech Co-ordinator. She's getting the images as they come into Darmstadt. Rather brilliantly, there's also Nasa TV... Live!

The Same Story?!

An excerpt of a convo about media spin I had with my bro this morning.

PartTimeSock says:
How's this for two different interpretations of the same events: The Telegraph versus the BBC

TheBro says:
Mrs Lilley: "Very Impressed" (BBC) or "Unimpressed" (Toryg) - fantastic example of our beloved, objective media!

PartTimeSock says:
jaw kinda hit the floor. first time I've really appreciated just how much the different media entities can change things. I mean, it's two different stories!

TheBro says:
unbelievable (or, in the Mail, "PartTimeSock brothers say story 'completely believable'")

How the Earthquake affected Earth

The earthquake that caused the tsunami has changed Earths shape and the length of a day

UPDATE: The earthquake moved Port Blair by a metre

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Problems with Media Player

At the Register there's a report that there's a loophole for virus (trojan) writers.

I'm pretty sure I heard something about iTunes being tweaked to avoid digital rights management flaws. Anyone point me at the info, if I'm not imagining it?

Choose your pub quiz wisely...

Otherwise you may end up in clink: Not just a trivia matter

US gives up search for Iraq WMD

This BBC article confirms what most of us have thought pretty obvious for a while. Rising Hegemon is pretty peeved it took so long, and at the spin the right-wing media is putting on it:
Take Fox "news" -- discussion of the end of the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq... not once did they mention that NO weapons were found. Clearly, only crazed right wing media nut michael savage cavorting before the cameras with his suggestions that the weapons must be in Iran and Syria and we must stop them before these illusory weapons are used against us.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mac mini

The newly announced Mac mini is competitively priced, and looks great. Does everything the average PC user wants - surf the net, email, play the odd dvd and cd, rip cd's, and occasionally write a letter. It appears plenty powerful enough under it's fluffy exterior as long as you're not a programmer, pro video editor, or serious gamer.

Allegedly it "just works". I think Apple will be trademarking "just works" if it hasn't already.

More Ipods in Socks

Further to ipods in socks, this quite old article on Engadget describes socks for Ipods from Apple. I feel them calling to me. I am a victim of the advertising culture.

Update on Garageband

CCMixter has posted a story about Garageband: not always podsafe?.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Podsafe Music

If you want Creative Commons type licensing My Virtual Band might be worth a look.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My bro's mate Jeff

My wee bro is back from uni and this is his mate's page. I particularly recommend Lion vs Hippo and People I Met.

Child Support

Children are helping their parents with PC Support

Classic Aversion Therapy

The BBC is reporting that classical music is getting rid of "yobs"


Check this out. I just don't know what to say.
I created this website because it seemed to me important that Americans said thank you to Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British people.

Thank you Tone, for taking us into the most godawful murderous manmade disaster since the Vietnam War, lying through your teeth to the electorate, and helping the US keep the oil dollar strong.... Jeez, words fail me.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

RIAA Radar

Quick summary from CCMixter on how check music to make sure it is RIAA safe using RIAA Radar. Useful tool for mixers and podcasters I guess.

Old Friends Causing Problems

Well, this old article and this new article from the Register saves me explaining to anyone AGAIN why I won't sign up for it. Not that I'm bitter you understand :)
Something else in your life has got to give if you make room for dimly-recalled friends (and enemies). Remember, you have forgotten these very nice people for a reason.

Another Elegant SD Solution

But Ambassador, wizz zese memory solutions you are spoiling us. Is it USB or SD flash memory?

Tell It To The Machine

Looks like dictating to your computer has got a damn sight better. Jon Udell has a demo of Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 on his blog.


Screw the music companies

Good rant by Matt May on Staccato. I'm going to check out the latest Staccato show. Matt doesn't seem to have an RSS feed for the blog or podcast which is a bit weird. I'll email him.

--Update from Matt: his feed is

Geniune tat available

See internet. e.g. Labrador Retriever Chalkboard

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Strange Way to Chill Out

One of our dogs has taken up the "broken backed" sleeping style.

And this is comfortable? 


I've got a gmail address. Can't work out a real position on this right now, but I'm pretty impressed with some of the stuff that's available for/with it. It's either Google greatness or they're potentially the new Evil Empire ;)

GMail, has an ATOM feed for new mail. So you can have your GMail in your News Reader. I'm impressed. Will see how it works round a firewall on Monday.

Viksoe came up with this in Oct last year a GMail Drive shell extension that integrates the storage available on your gmail address to Windows Explorer.

Adam Curry's Podcast Today

Adam Curry's podcast today was a work of genius. Notes are on Adam Curry's Weblog

Elegant Hardware

Check this out for an elegant solution to MMC/SD card reading. I love stuff like this. Simple, functional, good looking.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Check out the Robot!

Robosapien 2 is on the way. A lot taller that before. Cool.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

2005 the year of the MP3 phone?

Engadget reckons it might be 2005 the year of the MP3 phone. Only if they make downloading to a phone as easy as downloading to my ipod. Too much of a pain in the butt currently.

Yaz - Me mate the DJ :)

Rich is playing another blinder tonight on RiseFM. The playlist is here or on his RiseFM page. Listen on your player off here. Big Smiles!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Summarising Pages, Emails, Anything Really

I am boringly bed-ridden currently due a viriulent and persistent case of coughing, sore ears, you name it. I am also an ex-smoker as of 1st Jan, 2005, about 15:35 (I like to be a bit different).

The combination of these has meant I have ample time to read my books, but that ain't working cos I keep getting the nadgers. So I am surfing like I have never surfed before.

One of the benefits of the internet and broadband is that it easy to find info, and an awful lot of it. So a full-on summariser of some sort would be useful (not RSS as that is too summarised usually). I want to be able to click a button on my browser which will summarise the page I am looking at into a couple of paragraphs. I can decide whether I need to read all of it or not and whether the info reaches my - ahem - exacting standards (whether it's worthwhile to you or not depends on your viewpoint, what you were looking for in the first place, and whether you consider the source trustworthy).

I noticed this is available in mac email and wondered whether I could get it on my Firefox browser on the PC.

There's this on Sourceforge which looks OK, but they're less than helpful to Windoze users. Hey guys, chill out, be excellent to each other and you'll get more karma. Jeez.

So I downloaded Copernic Summarizer 30 day free trial. Doesn't integrate directly with Firefox. Bad start. You can copy the link you want to summarise and paste it into Summarizer, or point it at a document or text file on your hard disk. It'll summarise it to 25% it's length, reasonably well too. You can then change the summary size to 5%, 10%, etc, and, interestingly, to a number of words. This can be quite useful depending on the size and clarity of the original doc.

Bummer is, in some cases, if you've tweaked the info on a web page using session or cookie info, this doesn't get passed across to Summarizer.

A way round this on Kuro5hin is go to the print formatted page and use that URL. This may work on other sites.

How to Podcast

A Podcasting How-To for the PC. The Mac version is over at Engadget. These guys are on a complete no cost jag. Hopefully these are permalinks.

Nice to see open source solutions being plugged.

Also liked this
cautionary content how-to from Oristus.

iPods in socks

iPods in socks. I laughed.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Problem with the Press? And Blazing Saddles

Scripting News: 1/3/2005.
Net-net: the professional journalist is totally part of the story he or she is writing. That they believe otherwise is the major bug in their process.

Could this observation be the the real trouble with the standard press? It may appear a trite observation, but think about it: How many times is this point actually made and debated? Pretty much never. So do many people take it into account? I guess so cos so many buy the paper that most conforms to their opinions (or continue with the first they read that helped form their opinion). But do they really think about why they have these opinions in the first place? Do they really think about maybe listening or reading someone's work who disagrees with them? Q&A, even if it's in your head, is what makes you refine your ideas, principles, and attitude, instead of being like an empty McDonald's paper cup that fills up with generalities and insipid racisim (he said, generalising - sorry), only to pour out again when someone requires an opinion.

Watched Blazing Saddles again today. Quality film. Highly recommended... esp for Mail readers and BNP supporters ;)

Sunday, January 02, 2005 : Electronica Lots of sort-of-free music. Check out the listen to all-time top songs button. Some minted. Some not so minted.


Just for laughs we have ordered an Apple Powerbook to replace the laptop. Due end of this week. Should be interesting. If anyone gives a monkey's (possessive cos primate?) I'll post my experiences on starting it up and the all important wife test will follow shortly.

Mutt's or Mutts?

Does anyone have a copy of Ministry Presents... Tech Trance. Starts with Boiler by POB, remixed by Humate. Is the mutts nuts.

Question: is "mutts" not avec possessive apostrophe because it is a thing rather than an entity? Now, someone explain that again? Is this not speciesism? I mean, if an alien turned up, had visible nuts, would talking about "its nuts" be correct, or would it be "it's nuts"? Maybe even "his nuts", which sidesteps the problem I feel. It's not human. It hasn't been proven to have feelings, etc, etc. So according to the current rules of grammar (I think), it would be "its nuts", which seems kindof not nice if it's (check it again, contraction quick draw) come all that way. I'll shut-up now.


Let me start by saying you don't need an ipod to check out the following! Anything that plays MP3s, portable, or static will do.

Did you know that the average Ipod has 4Gb of space used on it? That's average of all ipods, the 4Gb mini-Ipod, the 3G ipods were 10Gb, 20Gb, 40Gb. What to put on it? FM radio doesn't work on the commute (let's face it, it's never really delivered on a walkman or phone unless you live in Norwich). Solution: auto-download your own radio station to your MP3 player each morning.

Just so you have something to listen to while I blether, right click on this and select "Open Link in New Window" (or "Tab" if you're using Firefox) and click "stream lo". I heard it on a podcast. Radio for the mp3 generations, chaps. Read on whilst listening to ole George croon....

Beeb article, what is podcasting? and wikipedia's take on it.

Yeah, it's geeky. But I believe people with pods, rio players, zen jukeboxes, and gargantuan hard drives, etc are getting more willing to try stuff purely cos they want something, anything goddamnit, to fill that gaping hole that is half the 5Gb/20Gb/40Gb hard drive on their MP3 player.

If you decide to have a listen, you don't need an ipod, ITunes (free download), Winamp, Windows Media Player let you do it all on the PC). I reckon ipodder is the rss aggregator to use initially. Easy to set up, simple, and makes sense. Took about two mins to download, install and start using. I think it's straight out of the box for Linux, and works on Windoze as long as it has the .Net framework installed (if it's XP, chances are it has, otherwise nip over to the evil one's site and search it out). JPodder freaked me out cos it didn't seem to work the way it said it would and I wasn't at all patient. It looks like it's got a better feature set than ipodder but was less easy to comprend for a total podcast newbie. Maybe I'll play harder another day.

So, if you fancy a go at doing a podcast, record a wav file, convert it to an mp3 and upload it. Top tip: Headphones work as mics in the line in.

There seems to be quite a few places willing to host rss feeds and mp3s free. hosts "audioblogs" for free, and the rss feed attached to the blog can include an enclosure. Should be disgustingly easy to post a blog and/or audioblog (and therefore a podcast) then. Can also just phone up openpodcast and leave a podcast on their answering machine (seriously) or upload an MP3 to them.

It's a craze just waiting to go nuts man! I think it's started already.

Here's a few podcasts I've checked out (paste the rss.xml addresses into ipodder Add Feed to subscribe):

1. Adam Curry's Weblog - Inventor of Podcasting, chilled out yank sounding dude, used to be VJ on MTV I believe, lives in Guildford. I think someone mentioned he liked a smoke but I may be confused -
2. Scripting News - Dave Winer's daily podcast. He was the guy that helped out after Curry had the idea finally got people into it -
3. IndieFeed: Electronica - I have high hopes for decent new music off this one, good so far -
4. Engadget Podcast - gadget blether. Heavily American, some interesting stuff -
5. - mostly harmless weirdos. One bloke occasionally posts his own answer-phone messages. Mostly people telling him he's a c**t. Most amusing. There's another guy reading all of the New Testament in 5 min pops.
6. Slashdot Review - 10 min round up of slashdot headlines for the day and usually some mad music at the end.
7. Insomnia Radio - Grunge/skateboarder/Hip-hop music. As far as I got cos not really bag. All from Creative commons/Garageband. Depends what type of music you like, but it's worth giving the guy a go.
8. Celtic Music News Podast - no idea but thought it sounded funny and I can try and talk seriously to dad about it... or not. (Update: it's totally... er... not my cup o'char.)
10. Shanti's pirate radio - Just cos he sounds like he may be amusing and generally pissed off -

PodcastAlley has a pretty damn fine list of podcasts, voting and comments against them.

Be interested to see some feedback if any of you have a look at podcasting.

And remems, you don't need an ipod.

I have started trying to convince Yaz at to post his weekly shows, but I don't think they're podsafe. Not sure how much of an issue that is yet, but will look into.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Fix Hangovers

How to fix hangovers - quite possibly the most important page on the web.