Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lazy in Italy

Lazy in Italy

Have been enjoying Campertogno in Val Sesia for the last couple of days. Did a nice three from Balmuccia to Crevola, waters are a little better here than last year. Taking a leaf from the locals and having a sleepy rest day. Off to Briançon tomorrow evening so hope to get one more run before that. No really bad swims or injuries but we're all a bit concerned about the developing situation with Irish Ferries and the French dockers as we've already been messed around once so we'd be spitting nails if it happens again.

En route to France

Ciao to Val Sesia and now motoring to France and Briançon. Had some great paddling but really did more camera work for the guys. Next time will consider the straight to Italy from Shannon fly drive option as it saves so much travelling. Got some nice wood pieces from the <a href="">local wood carver</a>. Looking forward to better levels in France as Italy is done waterwise for this session. A big thanks to Alberto at the <a href="">il Gatto e la Volpe</a> in Campertogno who really does run the best campsite for paddlers.

Friday, May 27, 2005

On the road again

Heading towards Perpignan and up France for this evening before hitting Italy tomorrow. Stopped in Andorra and did the mandatory shopping stop and found more whiskey than Mike or Nev could ever drink but I'm sure they'll correct me on that! I'd love to find out if the Spanish towns in that area are undergoing a building boom or are they just catching up with the French? Any one in those areas can see the massive amount of new building. Still lovely weather but its bloody hot to be driving the country in car without air conditioning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sorted in Sort

Sorted in Sort

Survived a mammoth drive down from Orleans over the mountains to Sort in Spain. Spent a little while today playing on the wave and the slalom course. Still a nervous paddler and took a swim! Lots of construction on in the general region so must be quite a hot spot for winter sports. I think the greatest pity is nobody has more than two words of spanish, weather is blistering so bit different from home.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Moon rising over Mid France

Moon rising over Mid France

Well all the ferry protestors have been left behind and we're heading towards Le Mans and just passed the cathedral at Sées. All the posts from now on should be a bit happier and holiday related.

So close yet so far

So close yet so far

Stuck beside the quay while passengers pass insults with the protesters who're firing flares, flying flags and shooting water cannon at the ship. Emma O'Kelly has gone into hiding after what was a weak report on Six One as I'm sure several passengers who spoke to her earlier are a tad disappointed with her coverage of today's episode. So hopefully the protestors will head off for their dinner so we can get off!

Siptu guerilla action

Seems the whole farce on the Normandy is due to Siptu organising French workers to prevent Irish Ferries ships from docking. Siptu onboard claim we can dock but this doesn't seem to be reflect reality, in my mind the Siptu guy just doesn't want to be thrown overboard by the many irate passengers. So while we may make Cherbourg today our plans to go to Biarritz are destroyed and we'll have to drop that leg and go to the second leg at Sort. But for the mean while we're still uninformed and definitely out to sea.

Out to Sea to prevent photo op

Latest from the Normandy, so it seems <a href="">Irish Ferries</a> knew about the dispute at Cherbourg which is being conducted by Irish not French protestors and that we've got a corp of journalists onboard to cover the story, sounds like I forgot to check <a href="">rent a crowd</a> for the cause of the week. The entire incident has been mishandled as we're still heading out to sea whilst the protesters have left the docks and the initial reason we did not go into the docks was to avoid providing the ferry as a backdrop for the protesters. Looks like our holiday plans have had a rather large spanner throw into them, all to avoid a photo op.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Off to the Alps for two weeks

Off on another alpine kayaking adventure for the next two weeks! I've got my Flickr already set to blog straight to this page so look out for some nice French and Italian Alpine pictures.

On my phone via SMS if its really urgent otherwise normal service will resume on the 8th of June.

Visibreath sensor

Visibreath sensor

Having great fun trying to figure what's wrong with one of our latest sensors!

Green Living

Forgot to include some of the links from the eco podcast I was listening to yesterday. A nice portal is Treehugger with articles, reviews and links to products. Gems include "Very Small Homes" (for all those in apartment land) as well as links to resources such as a Eco-Design book as just two from a wide selection. Metaefficient is the a product review portal for green products available from online retailers like Green Living Now.

Educating People with Political Computer Games

Back once more to one of my favorite topics, Political Sims or Video Games. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has designed a game to illustrate world hunger. The game is called Food Force and aims to teach children about the logistical challenges of delivering food aid in a major humanitarian crisis. The game is written in Director but is not open source, and is available for download for Mac (198MB) and Windows (227MB).
These types of Web games show how they can forward a particular political argument. Worldchanging has a couple of interest articles on this type of "serious games" like A Force More Powerful, Pax Warrior, and Industrial Waste. Roll on the mainstream use of these as an engaging tool which can help us educate the Playstation generation.

Which Leader are You?

Based on Mike's anwsers to the quiz I decided to take it as well. So I'm down as Saddam Hussein!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Scandal and Tech

Labour seem to be having a bit of an internal tiff. Nice podcast from Alex Steffen and Bruce Sterling on the ecological problems in the next 50 to 100 years by the two noted futurists.

Podscope is a website that allows you to search the actual content of podcasts. For those looking for a real cutting edge mix of Ruby and Rails, look no further than which offers an interactive map of the Real Estate listings posted on using Google Maps.

Jamie has a nice piece on Elance which is a marketplace for small contract jobs. Silicon Valley Watcher has a nice report on the AJAX Summit I've mentioned previously.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Technical RollUp

For anyone interesting in who and what Hackers really are you can listen to Paul Graham (the author) on the topic. If you are a technical person or you want to understand a technical person, this book is for you, I enjoyed it immensely and would highly recommend it.

A nice piece from Chris McEvoy on Usersaurus, Folksonomy and the abdication of responsibility for design. Do you really what to see the big picture regarding the choice of baby names by social data analysis. There's a nice article called Broken Metaphors: Blogging as Liminal Practice on the tensions underlying conceptualizations of blogging. If we hadn't already seen loads of these, here's another Visualizing Online Social Networks but it does have the fun and usability angles covered for once.

Digital Web Magazine has a nice overview on the state of the web piece called Web 2.0 for Designers. There's also a nice piece on trying to make including accessibility less for a chore for designers on uiGarden.

News Roundup

One Ring to rule them - Microsoft are at it again with Windows OneCare which aims to offer a comprehensive consumer subscription service which will see it go head to head with existing companies such as Symantec and McAfee.

Apple has left the backdoor open regarding Dashboard on their new version of OS X (Tiger). Seems that it allows for the automatic downloading of new widgets which can be of a very nasty malware variety, not a shortcoming you would have expected from Apple.

In the world sphere there's a 90%+ turnout for the Ethiopia elections and a blogger reporting on what's happening on the ground in Uzbekistan.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday's Highlights

Here's a great article again on UK Electoral Reform from I'm supporting the FreeCulture movement and their manifesto. How's about a Norweigan legal view on linking. Seems that KDE has discovered usability (about time!) with guidance from the guys and girls at OpenUsability. More MP3 blogs than you can shake a stick at!

The Beeb have opened their developer site with some interesting ideas. RubyForge have some really good presentations and introductions to Ruby and Rails online.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Brave New World

Some random musings: Won't it be great if we could take a leave from Beddington Zero Energy Development regarding microgeneration. Should we accept money in its current use or should we try and broaden its use and our horizons into something that benefits not just us but the larger community ?

Currently reading a long rant (cunningly disguised as a book) so I guess including a post from Robin on Corporate Responsibility fits the theme. Harping on from some other feeds we got Ross Mayfield discussing the benefits of a virtual startup structure and net-enabled bootstrapping and the Asia Business Consulting giving a nice view from that part of the world. What about this as a topic Conscriptions and Democracy viewed from the Finnish context. Keeping an eye towards the referendum on the EU constitution in France.

In other stuff, here is a link to converting to Typo as a blogging engine. Anyone got a converter of any kind for blogger or is it as easy just to publish to a remote server and tweak / cut & paste to the new blogging engine?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

More on Ruby and the latest from Boxes & Arrows

Delving a bit better into to Ruby we got two interesting blogs and a blog report on the Ajax summit. The pragmatic programmers are still at it with Dave talking about Chad Fowler's new book "My Job Went To India (and all I got was this lousy book)", he's also talks about Scott Barron and the new book he's writing called Rails Recipes.

For all the HCI heads! Its out the latest Boxes and Arrows so we got an interview with Steve Krug, a report on the 2005 IA Summit and a Yahoo case study on "Implementing a Pattern Library in the Real World".

Elections, Accountability and Anonymity

Three topics - On Elections we've got John Quiggan calling for "Realistic Eletoral Reform", First Monday have a good piece on calling public organizations to account, very apt after yesterdays Prime Time. A nice piece by law lecturer, TJ Mctyre on Anonymity and

More interesting links and discussion from Robin Grant on Electoral Reform post the UK election.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Weekend Roundup

Well after a great weekend of UK elections, Northern Ireland elections (see Mick's Posters and Flickr Pics) and the Softday gig / radio broadcast (Listen to the radio show here) for the Horizons program at Lyric FM went off without a hitch! It's good to actually get back to work !

Elections highlights include:
How can you have an election where nobody wins?
Farewell to the Swingometer?
Seeing as all the votes are cast, MySociety can now ask

Why Google messed up with their latest idea - The Google Accelerator.
The latest on the Upload Progress Indicator for Rails (watch the video) - (see for Rails).
If you've heard of AJAX then you'll really want to read Ajax in under five minutes (watch the video), I'd also highly recommend checking out Continuations which is something akin to the Apache Chains project.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Thursday's Tidbits

Something I'd forgotten to post up early, well remember Howard and his flash mobbing seems that at least some governments are capable of understanding this type of technology. It also looks like the Shared Worlds (ongoing project in my research center) has other projects touching on the same theme (Public Spaces, Shared Places).

Simon Schama's view of the UK 2005 Election. For the latest on the election checkout the Guardian's Election Blog. If you have already gotten your Election Party Pack for tonight get it now. (all the counts and results ! I can't wait, pity they have such a crap system - now PRSTV that's something you can get your teeth into!).

Really do you want this today?
Image by the wonderful Steve Bell at the Guardian.

Also checkout this review of Cory Doctorow's new book Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town or his latest piece op-ed piece Spam and Punishment.

Seems that we're getting another some intelligent MEP's who're looking to throw out the current Data retention. hope it works as it seems to have already slipped in here by the backdoor. (This has always been Karlin's baby and she has got much better references and her stories from the Irish Times on it).

To keep with the trend.

I am 62% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tuesday View

Here's another one from Robin Grant on Retro vs. Metro: The new great divide based on the work of Chris Lightfoot and Tom Steinberg who did the Political Survey 2005. Their findings are very interesting.

From Slugger - we got a link to "One vote isn't enough for me to have my say" by Malachi O'Doherty at Belfast Telegraph on how one voter is thinking of Thursday's elections.

From the wider EU - we got the fact that the Slovaks are more supportive of EU membership than Hungarians and Czech. But this is not the case across the board. And here's an update on the state of the forthcoming French Referendum on the EU constitution.

So much for an independent site with open opinions and freedom of the press line from Indymedia. Just take a look the Indymedia history of edits.

Southpark Fun

Here's my Southpark character!


For more fun and to make your own, checkout here.

Okay - Okay - Here's the actual one!