Archive for November, 2005

Blogpimping #9

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

It’s been a while since I had the opportunity remembered to do some blogpimping but New Year’s Resolution #2 is to once again give it a regular slot on these ‘ere pages.

So what would a black, gay father in Maryland and a beautiful redhead from Florida have in common?


Talking of which, I’m off on a hot date with a distinguished looking bearded gentleman so excuse me while I go panic at the fact that I haven’t seen my makeup bag for over a year and have nothing to wear*.

* that’s the female version of “nothing to wear”.

BBC Archives

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

I think I just died and went to heaven: “The BBC plans to open up its archive to make a treasure trove of material available to everyone.” [via Ben Hammersley]

Ever wondered what’s in that archive? Who looks after it? It turns out there’s a huge database that’s been carefully tended by a gang of crack BBC librarians for decades. Nearly a million programmes are catalogued, with descriptions, contributor details and annotations drawn from a wonderfully detailed controlled vocabulary.

I’m the lucky developer who gets to turn this hidden treasure into a public website. No programme downloads yet, but a massive searchable programme catalogue.

In the early part of next year, you can look forward to a public beta with extensive programme details and broadcast histories. There are “On This Day” schedules that go back to 1933. It’s got full contributor histories, and Really Good Search. I can’t begin to describe the depth of this dataset – it had an entry for the one time in the 1990s when my dad was on local TV news as a spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council. The cataloguers have worked hard on this stuff for years, and it deserves a wide audience.

If you’ve got ideas on how you’d want to track down an obscure sci-fi drama from the 80s or a radio play from 1962, drop me a mail.

First request: the Woman’s Hour serialisation of Rebecca from the 1990s. I thought Mrs de Winter was played by Joanna David and Mrs Danvers by Anna Massey but I might be getting confused with the BBC tv adaptation. Or maybe they starred in both.

What about you, anything from the BBC radio archives you’d love to see available for download?

Corporate lessons

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Corporate Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you £800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her £800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?”

“It was Bob the next door neighbour,” she replies.

“Great!” the husband says, “Did he say anything about the £800 he owes me?”

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Corporate Lesson 2

A priest offered a lift to a Nun. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand down to her leg. The nun said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?”

The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide down to her leg again.

The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?”

The priest apologized “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.”

Arriving at the convent, the nun went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, “Go forth and seek, further up you will find glory.”

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Corporate Lesson 3

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.”

“Me first! Me first!” says the administration clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Poof! She’s gone.

“Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep. “I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.” Poof! He’s gone.

“OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Corporate Lesson 4

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day.

A rabbit asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”

The crow answered: “Sure, why not.”

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.

A fox jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.

Corporate Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull.

“I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” the turkey sighed, but I haven’t got the energy.”

“Well, why don’t you nibble on my droppings?” replied the bull, “They’re packed with nutrients.”

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was soon spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bullsh*t might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

The Taming of the Shrew

Monday, November 21st, 2005

If you have access to BBC1, get thee to a television set by 20:30 for a modern version of The Taming of the Shrew. If the last two (Much Ado, Macbeth) are anything to go by, this should be another cracker.

Later that night…

And indeed, it was a corker. I found Shirley Henderson‘ s performance as Kate a little disconcerting, too over the top at first (had she watched The Exorcist too many times) but perhaps it made the later scenes more effective. And did anyone else get the feeling that Eddie Izzard was meant to play the role of Petruchio but Rufus Sewell came in at the last minute? Wonderful script, great acting, a real treat.

Best line: Kate’s mother, during a discussion on why Kate has never married: “You don’t… shop around the corner, do you?” Now that’s a new one on me.

Monday, November 21st, 2005

I might have linked to Longmire before but I’ve just been enjoying the site all over again so here is Longmire Does Romance, Naughty submissions from readers and more reader submissions.

If you liked those then you’ll also enjoy Cap’n Wacky’s Unfortunate Cards.

And finally… David Shrigley‘s photos would normally come in a photography post but I think you’ll agree that it sits happily alongside the two previous links.

New Year’s Resolution #1

Monday, November 21st, 2005

What’s that you say? It’s weeks until the new year? Not on the daisy calender. That’s the one where I start rembembering resolutions made in December 2003 in your calenders. Anyway, today’s Resolution To Be Fulfilled is: one post a day. So no time like the present.

First up is CronyJobs.com, followed swiftly by If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History.

This clever advertising billboard from Nicotinell came to me via email but in searching for the source I came across Billboardom, a blog dedicated to billboard advertising. I especially like this one. Hmm. Further googling and it seems that this is not a particularly new idea, see this advert.

I came across Paul Schmidinger’s site eigelb.at earlier today (via MetaFilter). It’s jam packed with creative tools, my favourite being the Grappa Sepia. I think with a little skill and some practice you could come up with some lovely images. In fact, I might have a go at making a banner with it later this week – I’m trying to write chasing daisy with a sort of shooting star effect but as you can see, my artistic skills are about as advanced as my debating skills so it might take a while. A long while.

Next up: the art of book cover creation.

Buffs nails, grins widely

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

You Are a Blogging Expert

You got 8/8 correct!

You know so much about blogging, you should blog for a living.

Is that a Zippo lighter in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

Friday, November 11th, 2005

I can’t afford one and I can’t justify buying one but damn, they’re sexy:

chrome finished, 42mm high portable hard drive

[via 3 couleurs]

Useful tools #1

Friday, November 11th, 2005

I’ve spent most of the day believing it was Thursday so to celebrate it being a Friday, a few useful web-based tools:

Internet Frog: a cute way to test your upload and download connection speeds.

Browser Size: “a nifty online tool for setting your browser size while doing Web design”.

Want to try out different blogging/cms softwares but don’t want to install them all on your server? Try Open Source CMS.

This site was created with one goal in mind. To give you the opportunity to “try out” some of the best php/mysql based free and open source software systems in the world. You are welcome to be the administrator of any site here, allowing you to decide which system best suits your needs.

The administrator username and password is given for every system and each system is deleted and re-installed every two hours. This allows you to to add and delete content, change the way things look, basically be the admin of any system here without fear of breaking anything.

Snook Colour Contrast Check: I normally use the desktop version of the Nils Colour Contrast Analyser but the Snook web-based version includes a useful (and fun to play with) slider to adjust colours so that you can achieve an aesthetically pleasing combination and check that the colours contrast enough.

Why is color contrast so important? Here’s the layman’s version: we’ve all been on sites that use red text on a purple background. We peer and squint at the screen, muttering obscenities before beating a hasty retreat to the calming waters of more readable pages but if you have any of the various forms of colour blindness and/or low vision, colour contrast becomes even more important. Read more at the W3C.

And finally…

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that my father had written this: The internet is shit.

Running out of clean knickers

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Isn’t English a wonderful language? That phrase popped into my head as I wandered past the laundry basket a minute ago, followed instantly by the image of a woman tripping along the street while running out of a pair of knickers.

But that’s not the quote of the day. For that we turn to today’s edition of The Weakest Link. We have “Nici”, a mortgage advisor with an attitude problem and an aging hag in black:

Question: The first Christmas radio broadcast in 1932 by King George V was written by which well known poet and author?

Answer: Oliver Cromwell.

Hmm. Back to the links eh?

Howard Stone is an odd man. Happily, he has shared the results of that oddness with us via the interweb in Pavement Terror.

My name is Howard Stone. Briefly, some years ago I had a delivery job in Southampton, England (I won’t say what I was delivering or for whom). It was very boring and badly paid but I soon found a way of livening it up.

I discovered that the van I had to drive could very easily be persuaded to produce very loud, frightening backfires as and when I wanted it to (I’m not telling you how, find out for yourselves) and as I’ve always been keen on photography, I tried an experiment. Read more…

I hate Graeme. For it is he who first pointed me toward Guess-the-Google. Do not click on that link if you have supper to prepare, children to bathe and get to bed – in fact, don’t click on that link if you have any sort of life at all. It will suck you in and bleed you dry. Really…

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