The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Quick News RSS reader progress

Er, it didn't really like being installed on my PC. It blew up big time on the first sync after I added my opml file of feeds. Will try it tonight on my Mac.

I read the manual, which was comprehensive and pretty clear, but the install called for me to run something called "Quick News.exe" to enable the conduit, which didn't exist on my hard disk (and, believe me, I checked). I also had to manually add the .prc file to the HotSync Installer. Not so good for an alleged Windows msi installer package. Maybe my PC is just screwed.

Will report back on how the Mac install goes.


Dave Winer is a huge proponent of outlining. I understand it is taught from the outset in US schools as a way of organising and planning just about anything. I have been using OmniOutliner on the Mac, and I like it. It's a note taker, which allows you to brainstorm, then you can iterate over it to arrange your thoughts into a hierarchical list, or just do it as hierarchical from the outset. Not being trained in the art of outlining, I'm sure there are better ways to use it, but I'm learning. Used it yesterday to good effect for the Great Garage Partioning Project, upon which I shall update you later (be still your beating heart).

I have also played with ShadowPlan on the PC, but found it a bit clunky.

Hunting about the web I found a page on outliners for the Palm OS. It looks a bit old, but has a wealth of links to various outliners out there, including some PC and Mac ones.

Palm RSS reader with podcast feed

Stand Alone, Inc. - Handheld Software. Now this looks interesting. It has the usual rss feeds, handling text, but also includes podcasts downloading them to the external card (SD). It can do the downloads via hotsync (cheap) or direct connection from the treo (probably expensive, depending on your data plan). I have looked around the blogosphere but not really found anyone who's reported back, just a couple of people who've mentioned they're trying it. OK, I'll try it, and I promise I'll report back :) Honest. I will.

The BBC are running a Podcast Trial

BBC - Radio - Download and Podcast Trial. Excellent. My bro, who spotted the link, has recommended Mark Kermonde's film reviews and Fighting Talk. I recommend the Today Programme 8:10 interview (but hey, I'm just old at 34) which is great cos I always miss it as I'm on the way/in work by then.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Building a parttition

SocksWife has decided she wants to do wood turning in the garage. This means a lathe, workbench, and lots and lots of dust. The dust won't go well with my motorbike, so I have to build a partition to keep the dust away from the bikes (and the fridge, and the lawnmower, etc, etc.

  • once built a flying machine when he was seven, in a large bush, with a small entry point.

  • Once put up shelves which my cat wouldn't put it's books on, and I found out why when they collapsed on my head at 3am one morning.

  • That's it.

We who are about to die salute you.

What's on My Treo 600

What's on My Treo 600. Useful. I have just installed Soundrec which is a voice memo. Really simple to use, does exactly what it says on the tin pretty much. Fails to record to the SD card, but fine onto the internal memory.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Mobile RSS reader

What I need next is a rss reader for the Treo. Bloglines is very cool, but only if you're on a fat unmetered pipe. Research starts tomorrow. I get impression I'm going to have to spend some dollars for a good one.


Originally uploaded by partTimeSock.
Failed to moblog from the Treo all the way to this blog, but halfway to Flickr. Will have to try again.

Anyone remember Blazing Saddles? I saw these frogs in a mate's bathroom and had to snap them. "Daddy love Froggie. Froggie love Daddy?"

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Treo blogging?

This is my first post from my new Treo 650. Just to see whether it works really. I may even have content tomorrow :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Jedi" hurt in mock light sabre duel

BBC NEWS | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Two hurt in mock light sabre duel. Trying so hard not to laugh. Almost Darwin Award time. Seriously, I hope they get well soon.

Dennis Miller Disses Dubya

Dennis Miller Quote
I'm like Bush, I see the world more like checkers than chess.
Sockswife said
More like Tic Tac Toe than draughts.

Longhorn to Get a Social-Networking Infusion

Longhorn to Get a Social-Networking Infusion. M$ getting ahead of the game? Shocker. Based on previous experience, this means they'll they're "redefine" a web standard and try to make it their own. If I'm being overly harsh, please forgive me, I speak for bitter experience. If it works out, M$ will actually be ahead of Apple because Jobs seems unable to see the light, and M$ have (shockingly) got the march on them. Not often you can say that. Unfortunately, Dave Winer may have a point.

Unfortunately I meant to link to two or three of Dave's points off but his archive is down, Godamnit.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We have a Eurovision Winner

Be still your beating heart:)

Greece, 230 points. Won it by a mile. I'm a bit surprised as it is almost as bad as the UK entry, but apparently it was the favourite. Ah well. Roll on next year.

What is with the UK Voters?

12 points to Greece? OK, she was fit, but everything else about it was crap (OK, the dancing got a 6/10 from me). It's the red button disease.

What are they saying?

Top tip from the Eurovision Song Contest Drinking Game
One thing that we discovered during the 1998 event was that if you're in the UK and have a teletext-enabled TV set, turn the subtitles on!!! You can see what the people are actually singing, only translated into English.

Will know for next year, and might try the drinking game too.

Norway are doing well. Just got 12 points from Finland. Quelle surprise.

The Netherlands Spokeslady

She's not wearing any clothes!

Eurovision Results from the Sock Jury

Norveige 39 points! Shocker.

I usually score it totally wrong, so they've no chance.

Rather horribly I've scored the UK last (7), close run with Croatia (8), which I also did last year, and I think they came last then too. Romania have def won the "best use of power tools during a song" award. Grinders on their (steel) drums. Quality.

Next year I think I'm going blog it live. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) I only just thought of it.

I need to go back through the video when it finishes because I'm sure I saw The Emperor (Palpatine) behind one of the spinning mirrors at 1hr 32 mins in.


There's a reporter's blog, which is really cool. And it all kicks off at 2000 tonight. We have the scorecards printed, popcorn and beer in. Terry's warming up. I love Eurovision ;)

Friday, May 20, 2005

iPod Health Warnings

iPod Health Warnings - view the best | The Register. Quality entries. Particularly liked the comments from James Dowling.

Sonorix Bluetooth Audio Player OBH-0100

Sonorix Bluetooth Audio Player OBH-0100. Nice toy. Unfortunately, a very "nice" price too.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Revenge of the Brick

LEGO Star Wars Video: Revenge of the Brick. Excellent, esp the end when Darth conducts us out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

So, you want to be a computer scientist... | The Register

So, you want to be a computer scientist... talks about a competitiion for non-comp sci people to get onto a comp sci degree course and have all their fees paid for them. It also has competitions for graduates, both comp sci grads and non-comp sci grads. Links to Brain Academy are in the article. Damn good idea. Tuition fees are a terrible barrier to entry (unlike A'Levels) soo the more of this sort of competition around the better.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Andrew Marr reckons we need Journalists

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Tales from the coffee shop
'The arrival of a coffee house culture, where party politics, Whigs against Tories, began to be played out, marks the real start of informed public opinion. And for public opinion there must be journalists too,' [Andrew Marr] writes.

Hold the phone. A statement of part fact disguised as flat fact. I really hope the next line in his book qualified that statement, but having heard Mr Marr's avoidance and dismissal of troublesome news on the Beeb recently, I doubt it.

I reckon he might have been nearly right about 10 years ago, before Dave Winer et al started blogging and before the net became ubiquitous. They started publishing themselves precisely because journalists kept getting it wrong, used sophistry and obfuscation, and/or were not reporting all the facts for whatever reasons (maybe not wanting to offend advertisers which support all the main newspapers... advertisers == corporates?).

Since services such as blogger came online (1999), offering blogging for all, anyone that maintains that journalists are the purveyors of "informed public opinion", with no qualification, or mention of the net, is remiss. Bulletin boards, newsgroups, community fora, email groups, etc have all played a part in knowledge dissemination and opinion forming since about 1985 (maybe earlier as I'm only young(ish) really and I can't remember). Blogging, coupled with RSS and a decent aggregator (try bloglines, very good) have really brought the ability to create your own newspaper and your news without those pesky skewed journalists to the fore in the last couple of years.

I'm ranting, but you get the idea. Journalists are no longer the guardians of public opinion and messengers of public outrage. We can do it ourselves now. Get your news from as many sources as you can, and form your opinions. "Unbiased" journalists are full of it. Be honest. Outline your influences. Press publish. Prepare to be flamed. Job done.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Trailer

Lookign forward to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Each Potter film is better than the last... so far.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

How Men Screw Up Romance

Sun spits out tiny squirt of plasma

Sun spits out tiny squirt of plasma | The Register. Could be a problem for solar sailing if the weather goes bad.

Solar Sails - Science Fact Before Fiction

Further to my post about solar sails, it seems it was science before it was science fiction. I found this letter on the Register.

One teeeny, pedantic point is that my father, Prof. Maurice Cohen, wrote a paper in 1959 showing that a solar sail powered orbital device could break earth orbit eventually. That was of course assuming the properties and characteristics of materials and technology appropriate to the age.

So I'd have to say that has been the stuff of science, as opposed to science fiction, longer than most people realise :)

Jeremy Cohen.

Big respect to Prof Cohen.

Winer vs Curry

Dave Winer has gone a bit ballistic at Adam Curry.

I wouldn't presume to know who has the rights and wrongs of the situation, but I understand that it would be galling for someone else to claim credit for my work. It does look as though Radio Userland provided a commercial iPodder early doors, and that others including Dave were doing podcasts before the Daily Source Code started, but Adam hasn't rebutted (yet?), so I'll wait for that before forming an opinion, if one is needed from me ;).

On the other hand, for the vast majority of podlisteners and podcasters I guess whomever came up with podcasting maybe a moot point because it's great, it's here to stay, and we're all standing on the shoulders of giants, as in most other areas of human endeavour.

Harry Hill has a great solution for these kind of situations, when celebrities argue. Good spectacle, guaranteed ratings winner: FIGHT!

That was tongue in cheek before I get flamed.

Friday, May 13, 2005

OpenPodcast - Good News, Good News

With a Rusco P Coltraine type chuckle at the end of it.

Anyway, got an answer from Ben about OpenPodcast. It should be back at the weekend! Result. Here's his letter:

Thanks to Niall! Yeah, I'm bummed about the downtime. The hosting I had planned for the summer fell through at the last moment so that's the cause for the outage. I have another one lined up now and I'm just waiting for some final pieces to fall into place and then it should be back. I'd expect no later than the end of the weekend.

Thanks for the kind words. And spread the word that openpodcast will be back. :-)


I will be contributing monthly to Openpodcast from now on. It's a resource for both podcasters and podlisteners alike that I don't think we should be without. True free-speech. If you don't like what you hear, argue back in your post, email the author, flag it with one star and press fst-fwd, or write a script to bin the ones you don't like (thanks to Shawn Milo for that idea).

Where's OpenPodcast? has been down since 9th May. The blog of Ben Tucker (the guy who built it) has been down since about 8th May. At podcastcorner we're wondering what's happened, and I for one hope it'll back again soon. There may have been some crap on there, but there were gems too, and it was a free speech soap-box with no barrier to entry for anyone.


If you've read any of the books of Asimov's Foundation "trilogy" (there's about 7 or 8 of them, and connections back to a load of his other stories too), Philip Ball's Aventis Prize winner looks like science starting to catch-up to sci-fi again. It's a start anyway.

In Critical Mass, Mr Ball argues that the application of the laws of modern physics to the study of human nature can enrich our understanding of how people behave.

Psychohistory is the gross prediction of events based on statistical analysis (para-phrasing) as created by Hari Seldon towards the end of a human galactic empire that has lasted 12,000 years.

I had a quick look around and there is a website of The Institute for Psychohistory which has nothing to do with the Asimov stories, and seems to be a "real" science.

I enjoyed this article called "Was Hari Seldon pulling our leg?"

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight

This article has been spreading round virus-like. It's kinda horrifying, but funny too. Maybe that's just warped. Anyway, I googled it because it seemed a bit too... er... Sunday Sport I guess, for the Beeb and guess what I found? The explanation of the fakery.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Laugh a minute...

My first proper laugh of the election from the BBC comments site
I'm slightly worried about the result here in Oxford East. The monster raving loony party entered a candidate called Blair and it was first on the list. I spoke to lots of people who got confused and ticked his box. Will we have a new MP?
Kevin, Oxford

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Space Sailing

Excellent news, as another idea first posited in sci-fi stories years ago sees the light of day. And what a great idea. Interstellar travel anyone? If we can just get that pesky suspended animation for humans working....

Ohio Lab Tests Space Propulsion System - Yahoo! News