Friday, March 10, 2006

More Happy Feet

The Happy Feet trailer is even funnier!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Google breaks the web!

Hundreds of thousands if not millions of websites use Google's Adwords and Adsense programs to attract traffic to their websites. In order to track the traffic generated they all use a little bit of code like this:
<script src=""
<script type="text/javascript">
_uacct = "UA-156123-1";
Unfortunately the domain '' has not been resolving all day, which means that every page with this code has to to wait the browser has decided that it has waited long enough for a respose from '' before they finish loading. This time is usually around a minute.

This means that millions of pages around the web are taking over a minute to load. Or in other terms, Google broke the web!
On the subject of Google, I found some nifty HTML comments which should make my adwords more relevant to my posts and therefor more attractive to visitors.
<!-- Google_ad_section_start -->
This one tells google what content is suitable as a basis for generating adverts.
<!-- google_ad_section_end -->
This one tell Google where the suitable content ends.
<!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->
And this one tells Google what content is in advertising terms gobblygook!
On a final Google note. My Adwords campaign has been, how shall I say; a bit impotent. I managed to earn a grand total of $4.44 for the entire month of February. March is looking more promising. God bless the person who visited the site today (09 March 2006) and clicked on the advert. You earned me $1.04 with that click, please visit more often.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Vote tampering!!!!! The BBC wont let me vote.
BBC - Techincal Problems
I am beginning to see why the World Wide Web didn't get enough votes to make the final three. First ITV-F1 and now this.

I'm going to bed.
The BBC's Great British Design Quest is now down to three finalists.

Those of you who read my previous post about the quest will know that I voted for the World Wide Web in the last round. Unfortunately my vote wasn't enough to tip the scales and so its a final shootout between Concorde, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Underground map.

I was tempted to vote for Concorde, but as it was a joint effort with the French I don't think that it would be right to do so (unless of course we a rewriting history, and conveiently leaving that fact out). So that leaves a choice of either the Spitfire or the Underground map.

The Underground map is definately a stroke of design genius but is a London thing, so I suppose I'm going to have to vote for the Supermarine Spitfire.

Agree with me, disagree with me? VOTE!

The death of a beautiful relationship

About 14 months ago I bought a Fusion FVRT100. It is a Freeview PVR and at the time I bought it, it was rated as one of the better PVRs available. It since has been replaced by the FVRT200, which is essentially the same machine in a new case with a bigger hard disk.

The first six months were the honeymoon period for me and FVRT, after a few awkward days of getting to know each other more intimately, things went smoothly. Oh how we enjoyed out time together. I would tell it what to do and it would just do it, "record this", "pause that", "rewind", no backchat, no complaints; just blind obedience. We were I was so happy.

Then slowly but surely the honeymoon period ended. First it was the occasional "I've got a headache so I'm going to stop responding to your commands now" or "If you want me to change channel I'll take 3 minutes to do so", but a quick unplugging would sort that out. Then things got a bit nasty. "FU, I've only recorded half of your program!" and "Sod this, I'm not updating the EPG!" became regular events along with the aforementioned "I've got a headache so I'm going to stop responding to your commands now" and "If you want me to change channel I'll take 3 minutes to do so".

We tried counselling of sorts. After a series of long telephone conversations to the Fusion technical support department and lots of prodding and poking of the FVRT, it was decided that I had been malnourishing my PVR. Technically the FVRT was out of the warranty period, but the nice people at Fusion sent me a new up rated power supply, and for a day or two FVRT and I were back to halcyon days. But it didn't last. Before long we were back to the same old issues.

Frustrated and angry I decided to forego further counselling and that it was time for a little DIY surgery! Armed with a trusty screwdriver I slowly (but not particularly carefully) dismantled the PVR and removed its frontal cortex (the hard disk drive). I then inserted the frontal cortex into a PC and ran a battery of tests. The testing proceedure was rigorous and it took a few hours to recieve the results. Hoping for the best but expecting the worse I finally worked up the courage to check the test results. They didn't look good, FVRT was suffering from Alzheimer's disease (or in Maxtor talk: Error 2F040L0, Diagnostic code: cba2d972 - Terminal Fault!). I wanted a second opinion, and so I got one but the test results were the same.

So it looks like my trusty PVR is due for a partial brain transplant. Unfortunately it doesn't have a standard sized frontal cortex so I'm having a little difficulty finding suitable replacement. I might just have to try to shoehorn a larger, standard sized frontal cortex in there and see what happens.

Monday, March 06, 2006

F1 technical problems reaches new lows!

I know that there are lots of technical problems in F1 racing that prevent cars from completing races, but ITV has taken this concept and metamorphised it into a whole new F1 segment.

Even though the season hasn't started yet when I went to get my weekly fix of F1 news I found this...

ITV F1 - Techincal Problems

Any bets on who will be the first driver to retire from a race in 2006? What about the cause of the retirement?

The Tao Of Programming

'Let the programmers be many and the managers few - then all will be productive.'
A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least.

For more pearls of programming wisdom visit The Tao Of Programming


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Chewbacca Defence

In the annals of the history of American legal argument there is one argument that has stricken fear into the hearts and minds of every prosecutor who has ever been unfortunate enough to encounter it during a jury trial. Its use is frowned upon by the judiciary which is of the opinion that it perverts the course of justice and makes a mockery of the American legal system, but despite attempts to curtail its effectiveness, constitutional law makes them powerless to dilute its devastating power.

The defence itself strikes so much fear into lawyers that I have decided that to post it here would be irresponsible and possibly dangerous so I have provided a link to it instead.

For those of you who are not lawyers (or lawyers with medical aid at the ready - remember I'm not resposible for any psychotic breaks, emotional turmoil or cardiovascular distress that you may suffer), I give you the Chewbacca Defence.


Scary, funny, innovative.
Caution when viewing.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1I've only just seen photos and a brief specification of the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 announced a few days ago at the PMA 2006 show in Orlando. It looks like a really interesting camera. Interesting because as far as I know this is Panasonic's first digital SLR camera and is also the first non-Olympus Four Thirds camera. Really interesting because of the image stabilisation and the Leica lens attached.

Sharing a number of components with the Olympus E-330 EVOLT, the new camera features many of the benefits of the E-330, the most important being the full-time live view not available in any other digital SLR camera.

The most appealing features of this new camera in my opinion are;

  • Leica D 14-50 mm F2.8-F3.5 lens,

  • Aperture control on the Leica lens (no fiddling with little buttons),

  • Shutter speeds on a knob on the body,

  • Bounce flash on the body, and,

  • That it looks like it handles like a largish rangefinder camera (apart from the focus mechanism)

It should also be compatible with Four Thirds lenses from Olympus and Sigma, which means that there is already a wide range of optics (5 newly announced from Sigma and 15 from Olympus) with focal lengths ranging from 7mm to 500mm (angles of view of 14mm to 1000mm in 35mm terms).

The Four Thirds system has been around for a while now and although the cameras have been technologically interesting and have been fervently supported by celebrity photographers like Lord Litchfield (which probably helped them to sell quite a few more than they would have done otherwise), they have never really appealed to me.

Panasonic has been making some very interesting digital point and shoot cameras recently, the Lumix DMC-LX1 and the Lumix DMC-TZ1 are two that I have liked the look of but was I disappointed with the resultant image quality of the LX1. I still want my 20D/30D but I really wouldn't mind borrowing a L1 for a few days to see what the handling and results are like.