2007 — 3 May: absinthe makes the eyes go funny

Actually, I've never tried it. But I'm beginning to suspect a good Photoshop session makes a fair substitute, and is a bit easier on the head, if not on the eyes. For example, consider the humble cornflower:

Small cornflower

See what happens if you do this! However, response so far is far from wholly positive. Shall I stick to my guns or return to my Photoshopping trolley? Well, first, I shall catch up with today's "advertorials". <Slight pause> Gosh! That didn't take long. Just time for part #4 of William Donaldson (and the phrase "apologise, express grovelling regret, and then do it all over again..."1) before heading, somewhat circuitously, for lunch on or at the Hamble (after catching a cuppa, I trust, at the house of the Morgan [cars]).

Near disaster! At Hamble Point, be careful how you park, to avoid bashing in the thinly-cased alternator drive belt assembly, lest your return journey be lacking in sparks. And the indicator switch is now in need of a degree of re-attachment. Finest French engineering, heh? I must say, pootling round in a low-slung open-top 2CV derivative gives you a whole (and unwholesome) new perspective on the state of British roads, driving, and exhaust systems.


Dell gets Feisty

But only in the US for the time being, it seems. Wonder what effect this will have on the prices. Guardian I.T. correspondent and ex-photographer Jack Schofield estimates Dell would need to sell 2.5m pre-installed Ubuntu machines to get 1% of the PC market. As they can ship about 40m PCs per year, sales of 100,000 would represent a production line run of 22 hours (I think this is the Guardian's attempt to cast the story into understandable terms).

Watched any movies?

Well, Mr mid-afternoon Postie has just dropped off a first for me — a DVD with a Catalan 5.1 soundtrack. It's called Fausto 5.0 and did rather well in the film festival awards in 2002/2003. To be honest, I'd never heard of it, but I think it popped up in one of those Amazonian customers who bought 'AAA' also bought 'BBB' suggestions. I admit, these have sometimes let us down!

We watched the Charlotte Rampling film Summer Things last night. Excellent little movie, co-financed by BBC4. There's an amusing featurette on the DVD, too, showing some of the drawbacks of life on a crowded film set. And I replaced my LaserDisc copy of Scorsese's Casino for the entirely reasonable sum of £4 in Woolies, too.

Say what...? department

I subscribe to a Microsoft newsletter, the MSDN developer Flash to be precise. It has many links in it. Occasionally, I follow them down the rabbit hole. Here's today's mind-numbing example:

Both Microsoft and Akamai believe in enabling lower-cost, highly available media delivery solutions that push rich user experiences to new heights. Silverlight represents a significant leap forward for customers looking for cost-effective rich media solutions with assured application delivery using Windows Media technologies. We agree that facilitating a standard way to distribute rich media is in the industry's best interest, and will be releasing tools in support of the Silverlight initiative to work hand in hand with our new Stream OS media management solution.

Microsoft's Silverlight site

It sometimes amuses me to recall that I worked in this industry. Mustn't be too rude, of course. Currently my XP systems are showing greater stability than Ubuntu and OS X. Maybe I just hit the keys too hard?2

To re-stretch your mind, I commend Roger Kimball's essay on Friedrich Hayek here.

Day 181  


1  This sounds disturbingly similar to the statement by a bishop today after the latest parish priest has just been successfully prosecuted, and sentenced, for "fiddling with boys" over (apparently) a 30-year period.
2  Glancing reference to an old joke about an I.T. manager dubious about the "strong typing" of a modern programming language (and the deleterious effect he assumed that that would have on his systems' keyboards). I love the bit in this Wikipedia entry, by the way, that says "Note that some of these definitions are contradictory, while others are merely orthogonal. Because of the wide divergence among these definitions, it is possible to defend claims about most programming languages that they are either strongly- or weakly-typed". Glad that's sorted out.