website ideas. why …

website ideas. why isn’t there already a website listing or rating all the big bonfires and firework displays in the uk? i neeeeeed it. now.

the poor quality …

the poor quality of microsoft windows costs the world economy $170 billion per year in lost productivity due to crashes. this is four times bill gates’ net worth, so we are not talking pocket change, even for him, if he were forced to cover the cost of his deeds.

the flaw in this argument is that almost no one’s life is really ruled by any os or software. we choose to use these things. ‘lost productivity’ is a meaningless phrase in many situations. if a 24 hour cake factory’s machines go down and they can’t put battenburgs together for six hours they’ve lost production since they can’t get those six hours back. that most desktop machines crash occassionally and we all lose a little work is rarely such a major problem. i’ve pulled my fair share of all nighters rewriting, rejigging, refinding or rebuilding in the aftermath of computer madness and i generally feel that having the chance to redo adds greater long term benefits to the world than the lost work subtracts.

also on the point of people losing work time in futile attempts to print out power point slides: upgrade to acetate and ohp markers. i have no sympathy. [found via cafe au lait]

we narrowly miss out …

we narrowly miss out on a blue moon in the uk tonight. the moon was full on the 2nd of october but it isn’t officially full again until quarter to six tomorrow morning, by which time it will be november. that does mean that november will be a blue moon month though because the full moon will be back on the evening of the thirtieth.

in fact depending on where you are in the world you may have a blue moon in october, november or december.

  • in places up to 6 hours behind GMT the blue moon is today. these include hawaii, la and chicago.
  • in places where the time zone is set to be from 5 hours behind GMT to 3 hours ahead of it the blue moon will fall on 30th november. these places include new york, london and moscow.
  • in places more than 3 hours ahead of GMT the blue moon occurs on 30th december. these places include islamabad, tokyo and sydney.

apparently the “two full moons a month” idea isn’t the only definition of a blue moon. another definition is when there are four rather than three full moons in a season as defined by the solstices and equinoxes. it’s the third moon in the season that’s blue. it seems that the idea that a blue moon is the second full moon in a month has been popularised by a question in the game trivial pursuit.

personality tests seem to …

personality tests seem to be the thing of the moment. today in what animal are you? i’m either a fox

largely misunderstood to be a shy, retreating individual, … it cannot succeed in the world using brute force alone, it must rely on its sharp mind and engaging personality to garner resources, and it consequently spends a lot of time in its head — giving the impression that it’s trying to outsmart its friends. so the fox is often surprised to learn that its intellectual pursuits are intimidating.

or a bat

often appears clumsy in social situations. Hence the term acting batty.

but i may be an owl

a penchant for remaining above the fray and can be quite eccentric in maintaining their individuality. with a tendency to lose themselves in the pursuit of knowledge, owls are prone to disconnect with the relationships that are so important to them.

the bits that i’ve picked out probably say more about me than the test.

the collective noun for foxes is a skulk. the collective noun for bats is a cauldron. the collective noun for owls is a parliament. i fancy being part of a skulk.

times have changed. welcome …

times have changed. welcome to a world where the programmer who knows how to tap into other people’s brains and experience using the internet has a decisive advantage.

shussssssh, joel! you’re giving my secrets away! i heard a quote a long time ago; i can’t remember quite how it went, but the gist of it was “good programmers plagarise”. before i heard that, and a story to go with it, i had an idea that i’d be a better programmer if i learned to do everything from scratch. then i realised that i didn’t have to invent the wheel myself. i can use other people’s wheels and i can see how they work and so i can make better software myself because i’ve tapped into their knowledge.

i googled for the quote without getting anywhere. i’m sure “plagarise” was the word used in the original. i found stacks of computing courses with warnings to students not to commit plagarism in the execution of their labwork. but the real world differs from the world of the student lab. if i find a tool that does the job i want then i try to use it rather than rewrite it. if i find a piece of code in the public domain that solves the problem i try to understand it and use it. sometimes one has to trust in black magic but, as joel rightly points out, it’s the ability to tap into brains and understand that’s useful not just the ability to help yourself to those brains.

i want at least …

i want at least a bit of a wireless network in my home. i haven’t found it particularly simple to find out info about wireless networking. zdnet uk have been about the best source of info i’ve found so far. part of my problem is that until i know exactly what i can and can’t do with this hardware it’s hard to know exactly what i want to do. that i want my laptop to be wireless is a given. whether i want wireless desktop machines depends very much on the abilities, reliabilities, upgradabilities and cross-platform-abilities of the hardware and software involved. and the price of course.