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Home > Weblog w/e 9.6.2001


Saturday 9 June 2001, 23:30 BST
"Hey Aibo - watch me make a memory stick!"
Looks like Christina Aguilera's dress sense is even worse than I thought. [Via Jejune.net]
The Scarlet B, or, How Bigfoot Ruined My Love Life.
Screensavers can be hazardous to your PC's health. [Via Pigs & Fishes]
Friday 8 June 2001, 23:55 BST
Oh bugger! It looks as if Suck, Feed and Plastic are on the way out. Plastic is at heart the bastard offspring of MetaFilter and Slashdot, so I can live without it if I must. The prospect of Suck and Feed going under is a very different matter. It's most likely too late for such half-measures now, but I'd seriously consider paying to get access to both sites, as they've been surprising, amusing and delighting me for years. [Via MetaFilter]
Microsoft introduces ActiveDeath technology in XBox.
A brilliant collection of quotes from the mighty Sluggy Freelance. My favourite? It's a tie between:
"How about we play a silly game of bullet tag?" - Bun-Bun

and

"Should I just live with the traces of Satan, Chuck the archangel, Alanis Morrisette, Gilbert Gottfried, and Carrot-top on my system or should I copy over 100 gigs of nudie pics to back up important documents so I can reinstall my operating system? There are some choices no man should have to make." - Riff
Pamie really does love music.
Yes! It's a woman!!! [Via House of boo-boo's]
Photographica. A terrific collaborative site dedicated to showcasing some really striking images. Eye candy galore. [Via a fire inside]
Further to yesterday's posting about Microsoft's new Smart Tags, here's an example of what they'll look like in action. Yuck! [Via rc3.org]
Thursday 7 June 2001, 23:55 BST
Do you remember the debacle last year when Deja.com started adding hyperlinks to product adverts to the contents of their Usenet archive? Now Microsoft are planning to expand on that idea by building the ability to superimpose such links on top of any web page viewed using Internet Explorer 6 under Windows XP.

This means that regardless of my wishes, IE6 could create a hyperlink to Amazon.com against every book listed in my Recent Reading list . Which sounds like a really nifty trick, except that this will happen even if I don't wish to point users to Amazon, or any other online bookstore, for that matter. This is all set up in the user's browser, so it's not something I can easily block as the author of this content. If I want to link to something, I'm entirely capable of adding the appropriate HTML code for myself, dammit! It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will come up with a workaround of some sort, but I don't see why I should have to change my pages to stop this "feature" being applied to my site. I'd prefer it to be an opt-in system. [Via MetaFilter]
Let's play spot the parrot. [Via Techdirt]
Wednesday 6 June 2001, 23:35 BST
Lady Sings The Blues. One more reason why the Tories deserve to be buried tomorrow. [Via linkmachinego]
Bible II: Jesus Strikes Back. Ben Affleck is Jesus. George Clooney is Moses. Sean Connery (who else?) is God. Gary Oldman is John 'The Butcher' Baptist. I particularly liked the tagline: This Time, He's Not So Forgiving! [Via MetaFilter]
I know worrying about nuclear fallout is so 1980s, but this is still rather neat. Find out just how dead you'd be if a 1 megaton device was detonated over your nearest city. Note that despite the instruction to "Enter a location in the United States" it will in fact accept UK cities. I checked it out, and discovered that if someone targets Newcastle I'm toast. [Via SeeThru Weblog]
Historical Atlas of the 20th Century. This is exactly the sort of site that makes the concentration of web traffic I mentioned a few days ago less worrying than it might otherwise be. Matthew White has put together a site that's simply crammed with facts and clever illustrations. (I particularly liked the map showing how the political complexion of Western Europe's governments has changed in the post-war period.) It's clearly a labour of love, which is why it'll survive long after the dot.com craze has been consigned to the pages of the history books. [Via MetaFilter]
Tuesday 5 June 2001, 23:10 BST
Wendy McAuliffe reports on the odd ideas naive users have about computers. Most of the tales are pretty routine - I mean, she even mentions someone using a mouse as a foot-pedal - but she does relate one gem:
Confessions included those of a new employee, who on her first day snapped at IT support for not responding to her calls for help. “Well I pressed the F1 button marked ‘help’ ages ago but nobody came,” she protested.
[Via BlogJam]
The perfect automotive accessory for men. [Via MetaFilter]
NerdSigns: the Y2K-compliant horoscope. I was born under the sign of Tux, the Penguin. [Via /usr/bin/girl]
Parents Say Web Sites Teach Fucking Profanity.
Monday 4 June 2001, 23:35 BST
Anthony Quinn, RIP.
New research suggests that US web surfers spend 50% of their time at just four web sites: AOL, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Napster. That's a pretty impressive concentration of web traffic. Having said that, the presence of Napster in that group is heartening evidence that such dominance of the web isn't set in stone: who knows what left-field idea is going to appear in such a list two years from now? [Via Techdirt]
SGI do a very nice line in 404 pages. (Be sure to refresh the page a few times.) [Via Three Way Action]
Dancing on the author's grave (I). C S Lewis' estate has agreed (New York Times: free registration required) to let Harper-Collins produce versions of the Narnia books which tone down the Christianity, and even to let them find authors to write more books set in Narnia. The fact that the publishers are said to be "developing new novels" before they've even found authors tells you all you need to know about the sort of marketing-driven exercise we're talking here. [Via MetaFilter]
Dancing on the author's grave (II). Douglas Adams' agent is currently searching the author's Mac's hard disk for scraps of his last, unfinished novel to publish later this year. Because of course parading an unfinished work is such a great way to pay tribute to the author's talent. Blech...
Feline Reactions to Bearded Men. Another gem from the Annals of Improbable Research. [Via Q Daily News]
Annalee Newitz on the delights of ASCII pr0n.
Clay Shirky takes a long, hard look at Microsoft's HailStorm, and pretty much nails the reasons why Microsoft's idea of "open" isn't quite what it seems. In short, it's "embrace and extend" all over again. [Via rc3.org]
Sunday 3 June 2001, 23:00 BST
Just a couple of election-related links today. First, an entertaining look at Boris Johnson's campaign to succeed Michael Heseltine as Tory MP for Henley. Second, a reminder that no matter how often we hear that one party or another is looking to their transatlantic counterpart for inspiration, all mainstream British political parties are still a million miles away from the Republicans and Democrats policy-wise. [Via linkmachinego and Red Rock Eater]
Have you been finding a lot of pop-up ads for X10 wireless video cameras appearing in your web browser over the last week or two? I'd noticed them, but the odd thing was that I didn't see when they opened. This article explains why: "pop-under" ads, which are only revealed when you close the parent window, are the online ad industry's latest attempt to snare our attention. Fortunately, it looks as if the ads can be disabled by setting a cookie appropriately: clicking on this link should shut down the X10 ads for 30 days. [Siliconvalley.com article via NewsScan, X10 cookie-setting URL via Q Daily News]
The world's stupidest defendant? What's really sad is that it appears that until she tried to mislead the magistrates she wasn't in much danger of a custodial sentence. Ironic, isn't it... [Via The View From Here]
Women in Waders. Whatever turns you on, I suppose. [Via world of jill matrix]
We all know that film studios can be a tad creative in obtaining quotes for film posters, but now it turns out that Columbia's marketing department has actually invented a film critic whose quotes they used in four recent US ad campaigns. [Via MetaFilter]
Redefining the art of calligraphy. Not to mention providing a practical demonstration of the wonders of multitasking. [Via /usr/bin/girl]
Sometimes even Linux isn't the answer. A look at attempts to close the "digital divide" in Africa. [Via David Brake's Blog]
The Radioactive Boy Scout, or, Building A Nuclear Reactor In Your Garden Shed. And to think, I never even knew Boy Scouts could get merit badges in Atomic Energy. [Via CamWorld]

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