Monday, 30 November 2009

Blogish Juxtaposition #2

Compare this from Mark Pack about the decline or not of wikipedia

and this from Boing Boing about Switzerland banning minarets

Wikipedia is great and democracy is great. Sometimes they both get a little soggy round the edges and you don't get the results you want, but they're both the least bad system compared to political systems that don't represent the views of the people and shut out outsiders from contributing.

Old Holborn is right on the money with the Swiss thing
Missed the point by a mile, the people of Switzerland have the direct right to say how their country is run, basically they told their Government this was a step too far. In this country we would have running fights in the street between the BNP and left hired thugs, plus the Government would give them a fifty per cent grant.
Me, no political party I've voted for has won an election I've voted in, that's part of democracy.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Plimptons live videography 2000 to 2009

Paul from The Martial Arts recently put up on YouTube a video of Glasgow rock legends, The Plimptons, from 2000, purporting to be their second ever gig. They look so young, and thin.

Furthermore, they're having an tenth anniversary gig at The 13th Note in Glasgow on the 20th, its guestlist only, but see here for the Songkick event page
or here for the MySpace event page

I think this is a fine opportunity to appraise the various live videos of The Plimptons from 2000 to 2009

September 2000

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

September 2006

May 2007

August 2007

June 2008

May 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

Friday, 27 November 2009

New website idea #55 RateMyLandlord

There is an opportunity here. Local council, that we pay to run local services, no longer feel like carrying social housing. Its an issue I've blogged about occasionally in the past. Instead they feel its in the taxpayers interest to punt those low paid, unemployed, homesless and vulnerable into private renting.

Whilst others may tell you this artifically inflates and distorts the average rents for an area, I don't know. And whilst others may tell you its disrupts the natural flow of taxpayers money from one branch of government to another branch, instead showering it over the rich and the landed, I couldn't comment.

My new website idea is "Rate My Landlord"

Its basically FixMyStreet, but for private accomodation. Whenever you move out of a landlord's property, you review the experience, thus building up a picture of which landlords are cool and which aren't. Which areas have nice affordable, pleasant accomodation, and which areas don't.

Just needs a neat user interface, easy to use, to add to, and to search.

Can I have a government grant to get it off the ground?

Can I solicite reviews from people who's landlords are MPs?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Blogish juxtoposition 1

Compare this from Charles Crawford

And this from Burning Our Money

Me, I make sandwiches, I just worked 19 out of the last 27 hours because a colleague's gone on holiday and our shift covering process isn't very robust. And for little over minimum wage, in London.

The London thing completely unrelationed but important. A one-bedroom flat in London costs £120,000, in Hull it costs £20,000. The national minimum wage is the same across the UK. So 'oop nawth' a cheap flat is about 2X minimum wage and 'daan saaf' its about 10X minimum wage. The property ladder's first rung is five times as far away.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

BoingBoing on Climategate and the HADCRU hack

I love BoingBoing, its one of my favourite blogs of interesting things. I even got BoingBoinged once, which is like one of the ultimate achievements of blogging.

Anyhoo, CoryDoctorow has this to say
They read through the corpus of email and found that the scientists working on climate change often have substantive disagreements with one another, which they debate vigorously in email, and cited this as evidence of a conspiracy to cover up dissent and present a scientific consensus on climate change.

Futurismic's Tom Marcinko does a great job of putting this in context, rounding up several links to other good commentators around the web. In a nutshell: science is about the advancement of competing theories and the evaluation of these theories in light of evidence. The East Anglia Climate Research Unit's scientists disagreed in some particulars, and used peer-review to resolve them (and continue to do so). No one is paying them to cover up evidence that climate change isn't real or isn't caused by humans -- but they are conducting science the way that scientists do.

Do scientists usually email each other telling themselves to delete emails in case of Freedom of Information requests?
Phil Jones wrote:
>> Mike,
> Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
> Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment - minor family crisis.
> Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't
> have his new email address.
> We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
Its quite against the law to do this in the UK.

Phil Jones is paid $22 million, and we get code as bad as this:-

* Francis at L'Ombre De L'Olivier says the coding language is inappropriate. Also inappropriate use of hard coding, incoherent file naming conventions, subroutines that fail without telling the user, etc etc.
* AJStrata discovered a file with two runs of CRU land temp data which show no global warming per the data laid out by country, and another CRU file showing their sampling error to be +/- 1°C or worse for most of the globe. Both CRU files show there has been no significant warming post 1960 era
* A commenter notes the following comment in some of the code:"***** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********"
* Good layman's summary of some of the coding issues with a file called "Harry". This appears to be the records of some poor soul trying to make sense of how the code for producing the CRU temperature records works. (rude words though, if you're a sensitive type)
* Borepatch discovers that CRU has lost its metadata. That's the bit that tells you where to put your temperature record on the map and so on.

Usually BoingBoing and Cory are on the side of the just and the righteous, but in this case they seem to be supporting the snakes.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The future of news

Its kind of like the Damian McBride thing or the MPs Expenses, where the internet has hold of a news story, but the way to blow it wide open is awkward. These hacked emails from CRU, there's hundreds of them and many of them contain things that could be news stories, so how to handle and avalanch of so many at once?

There's dozens of bloggers and climate sceptics ploughing through, looking for dirt, but once they find it, what's to do, where to publish? other than their own blog? just adding to the information avalanch.

The Air Vent does a good job here of listing links to stories in the mainstream media

Climate Skeptics See ‘Smoking Gun’ in Researchers’ Leaked E-Mails

The Examiner has had it for a while, as has the Guardian and the Telegraph. Rush Limbaugh carried it and the Drudge Report ran a piece.

Are there any other MSM links around?

Which is neat. But will it change the minds of any politicians. Can we cut fuel duty now?

Friday, 20 November 2009

ill and ancient

I've been ill in bed for two days now, shivering, coughing, my fluids trying to escape from all facial orifices, and my head, it hurts so.

The keyboard on my wee laptop is too small to type on easily, I keep hitting caps lock or some other key that sends the cursor to the top of the screen or some other window or anywhere but where I want it.

Life goes on, the internet's still buzzing.

The latest story to hit the blogsphere is that CRU was hacked and so there are a load emails out there where climate change scientists conspire to keep the sceptics silent. Here's blogger Bishop Hill announcing the hack and here's confirmation that its for real.

And its getting a little coverage on the BBC but only on the hacking and computer security aspect of the story, rather than that the people advising world governments on climate change are a bunch of snakes.

I'm not that clued up on all the acronyms so I'll be building a glossary of them here
And I guess, just to be helpful, the main players in the emails:-
  • Professor Phil Jones - Head of the CRU at the University of East Anglia, notable for maintaining of the time series of the instrumental temperature record; this work figured prominently in the IPCC TAR SPM. He is director of the Climatic Research Unit and a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He holds a BA in Environmental Sciences from the University of Lancaster, and an MSc and PhD from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne - thought that the death of climate change sceptic John L Daly is 'cheering news'
  • Professor Ray Bradley - climatologist and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is also research director of the Climate System Research Center. Also contributing author to IPCC TAR and IPCC TAR SPM
  • Malcolm K Huges - a meso-climatologist and Regents' Professor of Dendrochronology in the Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona. He was born in Matlock, Derbyshire, England, and earned a Ph.D in ecology from the University of Durham. Since 1998, he is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union
And for completeist's sake here's a list of the crimes revealed in the emails
  • Phil Jones saying John L Daly's death is 'cheering news'
  • Phil Jones perpetuating Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.
  • Trying to get Saiers ousted from the GRL
And other blogs that have covered this story far better than I

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Dilbert strips for my life (part 1)

I felt a strange urge to track down this Dilbert strip today

Recurring motifs in Just Joans' songs

The Just Joans are a truly great band, from Motherwell, they're century's answer to both Pulp and The Proclaimers.

I saw them play at the Betsey Trotwood in London the other day, and recorded them too.

They started some time in the middle of the decade, lead singer David Pope recording a handful of bittersweet bedsit songs in his bedroom on a 1980's tape recorder. When Adam suggested I put out a CD on my bedroom based record label in 2005 and handed me the tape, I had to stop my car cos the songs caught me just there.

They've gone from strength to strength since then, with four releases on London's critically acclaimed indie label WeePop!, every show they play sells out and other bands across the world record covers.

On thing that listeners will notice when careering through the Just Joans' discography is the recurring motifs, the hooks and lines that crop up again and again. Here's a broad summary of these recurring motifs.

Lines from other songs

  • What Do We Do Now? - 20 to 25 (30 to 35 in Smittens version), years passing since you last saw your friends from home
  • Five Beer Bottles - 1 to 5, 5 to 9, beer bottles spinning on the floor and months of fear

Old and Lonely
  • Old and Lonely - When the Just Joans played their debut gig at the Tchai Ovna,their set finished with a cover of The Magnetic Fields' 'Old and Lonely', this cover has made a resurgence in their set more recently. Its a dour song, but fits well with the regular Just Joans sentiment
  • I won't Survive - Contains the line "When I was young my mother told me, not to grow up old and lonely". There seems to be this sense of inevitability in all the songs that you can't fight your destiny, and the protagonist will always end up old and lonely.

  • Coia's Empty - A song about a low key party at Coia's place "cos his folks are in Spain, and drinking in a house is better than drinking in the rain"
  • What Do We Do Now - Years later, when catching up with old friends, the song asks "Do you still see much of Coia? No, he's moved in with his girlfriend". In The Smittens' cover Coia has changed gender and is moving in with his girlfriend.
  • Does he know?

  • Friday Afternoons - "Hey Steven, Where's that pint you owe me?" asked at Glasgow University Union
  • Why are we so lonely, Steven? - New song, not sure of the lyrics

  • Murray - Coia's Empty
  • Jenny - Coia's Empty
  • Grant Kelly - Grant Kelly
  • Rowan - Grant Kelly
  • Coia - Coia's Empty, What do we do now
  • Steven - Why are we so lonely Steven?, Friday Afternoons
  • John - I hear you're the man now John

  • East Kilbride
  • Motherwell
  • The Little Green Shop
  • Glasgow Union
  • Strathclyde Park
  • Bellshill Station
  • London

Here's a couple of other bands covering Just Joans songs:-

The Felt Forum - Five Beer Bottles (Just Joans cover)

The Smittens - What Do We Do Now (Just Joans cover)

There was an Australian mob, Tiny Records, who did a spiffing cover of Back to Highschool on a NotQuiteRocketScience podcast, and here's my own cover of if you don't pull.

manc_ill_kid - If You Don't Pull (Just Joans cover) by manc_ill_kid

Monday, 16 November 2009

Back to Borders

This morning I find myself in the Starbucks in the Brent Cross branch of Bordersn suppoing cappucinos and hot chocolates like I did months ago when I was unemployed.

This time however, I'm not unemployed, I'm homeless. Sure I have fine job, doing quality assurance at a food factory, I just find myself with no fixed abode.

Weeks ago I plotted a chart on this blog showing that I spend far too much money on rent. The place I was staying at was way beyond my means, so I sought somewhere more affordable.

I found somewhere more affordable, its just not available yet. So I've 'moved out' without 'moving in' anywhere.

Its one of these things which keeps getting postponed and postponed, "tomorrow morning", "in the next few days", "oh its gone, but there's another due at the end of the week". Life's like that sometimes. At my last factory, we had a delivery of cable parts that was a year late, twelve months of putting up with promises of a better tomorrow, afeared that as soon as you order and pay for the same thing from a new supplier, the original supplier would come up with the goods. Money wasted, overstocked.

My life consists of couch-surfing, staying with friends and lulling others into thinking the storm drains of Wembley are habitable. My possessions in heaps spread across the UK, filed away in boxes hidden under stables and behind doors. I am a half-human, not all there. No keys of my own, no independence. No home computer, no blogging.

The huge silver lining is that every day I remain in this epherial state, I am £19 richer than I would be if I'd stayed at the old place, almost like a 30% pay rise.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

London Blogger Meetup - Paramount

At work I had to tell someone off cos their hair was sticking out from under their hair net and in a food preparation environment, that sort of thing is bad, however, it didn't go well as they pointed out that my hair was sticking out too. So, I've remedied this by having my head shaved.

I'm crap at telling the barber how to cut my hair, always have been, and so I talked myself into having it shaved number two all over. This'll be like the third time in my life I've sported such a hair cut. The first time was in 1995 when I was trying to join the army and then in 1997 when I got cute Genny from my course at uni to cut it.

Every time I underestimate how cold it is without a thick heid of hair.

Anyhoo, London Blogger's meetup the other night, down at Doggett's Coat and Badge, just over the water from Blackfriars. This month sponsored by Paramount Home Entertainment, those lovely people who bring us films such as Indiana Jones, Star Trek and Transformers.

They had raffle prizes of a Transformers skateboard, all of this season's Paramount Home Entertainment releases on DVD and a 32" telly, alas I won none.

Also there was a rather fun talk from Marko Saric about 58 ways to promote your blog, my favourite was (21) "Stop Planning, start blogging". Here's one of Peter Marshall's photos from the evening of me enjoying the talk.

So, as usual with my write-ups of this sort of event, here's a list people I spoke to, with links
  1. TomTiredOfLondon - From TiredOfLifeTireOfLondon its a blog about things to do in London
  2. Nina - Who writes Mapapay Dhow Trips
  3. Aref-Adib - Has a wonderful visual online diary of arty thing in London and lookalikes
  4. Cristiano Betta - On Tech and Life
  5. Mikal D - Aref-Adib, Cristiano and Mikal were chatting about Google Wave, I still have no idea about what it does, how useful it is or how to use it, can it send traffic to my websites?
  6. Hayley - The drummer from Witness to the Beard
  7. Andy Bargery - The Marketing Blagger and organiser of these meetups, some kind of benevolent dictator for life perhaps
  8. Marko - From its a blog about how to blog
  9. Zubyre Parvez - From 'Freedom for China' which collects music and artworks from around the world all expressing a need for China to be free from the Chinese Communist Party's oppressive rule.
  10. John C - I think this the right link, he was called John according to his badge. We didn't chat for long, in fact, "hi" was pretty much the extent of our discourse. He's from
  11. Godwyns - who writes poems at EroticFantasies
  12. Harry Wood - From OpenStreetMap its the Wikipedia of Maps
  13. Selena - She's into social media and meetups
  14. Pete - TheLondoneer
  15. Antony - Fresh Plastic
  16. Tom Flashboy - Haven't spoken to him in ages, and I was on my way out when I spotted him
  17. Kate- who was talking to Tom
And here's a list of people who I saw but didn't speak to
  1. Sheryl - Sartorial Pervert
  2. Andy Roberts - From DistributedResearch
  3. Pete Marshall - My London Diary, neat photography from around the capital
  4. Bruce Bird - the niche market blogger, proving that you can make money from blogging
  5. Miss Geeky
  6. Tiki Chris
  7. Al Robertson - Have seen him around at these meetups for months/years, but never really chatted to him, at this meetup he overheard me talking to FlashTom about naked chicks and indiebands which is the essense of every conversation I've ever had at meetups.
  8. Caroline - From Caroline'sMiscellany
  9. Rachel Clark
I think I've set myself a new personal best record for people I've spoken to at a London Blogger's Meetup. Here's the graph of my progress over the past year or so.
There's still some way to go.

Other blog posts about this meetup that you might be interested to read:-

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Blog stat pron - October

Good evening and welcome to my regular first day of the month blog traffic stats review. According to google analytics, for October, this blog got:-
1,132 Absolute Unique Visitors
1,924 Pageviews
Compared to September's
1,054 Absolute Unique Visitors
1,769 Pageviews
Whilst not quite at the heady heights of traffic that this blog was getting when I was a full time blogger unemployed, but up a healthy bit from last month when I resumed full time employment. To be honest though, its mostly old posts that are getting interest, rather than the newer tranche of cookery-orientated posts. Statcounter reckons I have 1,667 Unique Visitors, and an average of 66 pageloads per day, completely whupping the ass of my target of 65 pageviews. On the back of that phenomenal success, for November I'm aiming to beat 67 ppd.

Here are the metrics of of my RSS feeds on various feed readers:
21 subscribers - GoogleReader (same as last month)
4 subscribers - Bloglines (same as last month)
6 followers - Blogger (same as last month)
These are my top referers for October (not including google wanderers)
1. Twitter - 70 visitors
2. Facebook - 48 visitors
3. UK Bubble - 21 visitors
4. EUReferendum - 17 visitors
5. Mark Wadsworth - 16 visitors
6. Boy Trouble - 10 visitors
7. Daniel1979 - 5 visitors
8. Fitlads - 5 visitors
9. Zath - 4 visitors
10. Anorak Forum - 3 visitors
Lets take a brief moment to consider which were the most viewed posts during November.
1. What Have I gotten myself into - the TFTA scam - 239 views
2. Origami flapping bird animation - 77 views
3. No idea about pornography - 52 views
4. London Bloggers - Havana - 51 views
5. Facebook Scramble graphs - 42 views
6. Facebook IQ test gubbins - 36 views
7. Facebook ChainRxn graphs and hints - 32 views
8. Does Shisha kill - 32 views
9. Job Vacancies update 17-Aug-2009 - 32 views
10. Names of the dead in Gaza - 27 views
That top post there, "What Have I gotten myself into", about the training academy scam thing has been steadily growing in traffic since I posted it in July, clearly the organisation is still going and still roping people in. Using the wonders of Google's graph API, here's a bar chart showing how the hits on that blogpost have increased to date:-

Actually, due to the overwealming nature of old blogposts in that list, here are the top ten blogposts that I actually wrote in October:-
1. No idea about pornography - 52 views
2. London Bloggers - Havana - 51 views
3. SongKick Meetup - 26 views
4. Just like Delia - 22 views
5. BNP on Question Time - 19 views
6. Probably been to more gigs than you - 16 views
7. Blog Stat Pron - September - 13 views
8. Job Vacancies Update - 12 views
9. On the Minimum Wage - 12 views
10. I hate gigs that run late - 10 views
I have Aref-Adib to thank for retweeting the pornography post on Twitter and Facebook, cheers.

Another thing which has occurred to me that I ought to add in these regular stat pron updatey posts is a pie chart showing what I've been blogging about most.

Thats it for November's blog stat pron. If there's any other metrics you want to know about this blog, let me know in the comments.

Ooh, and before I depart for other topics to blog about, I ought to mention that I've started a SongKick-specific blog just here, called SongKick Dreams, so I shalln't be boring my regular blog readers with that sort of thing round here. If you're on SongKick, or like both statistics and going to gigs, then check it out. I think its awesome.