August 2007 Archives

What is Britain, you ask? Let me tell you

It's 4am on a Sunday before a Bank Holiday, and I've been telling myself for about an hour now that I should go to bed, but I Have The Internet and it keeps on sucking me in, Just One More Click, and I was playing around with Google Earth, trying to remember which city it was that supposedly has more canals than Venice, and I typed in "Birmingham", swore when it took me to that American Birmingham, typed in "Birmingham UK", got to the right place, zoomed in, couldn't see many canals, Googled "more canals than Venice", and found this gem of a comment (no direct URL - search for MrPikeBishop) which is exactly what being British is all about:

"Now whilst I have no problem with those in the midlands speaking in their pigeon English"

It's "pidgin" you illiterate southern ponce.

Sadly, according to xyzzy, it appears that Birmingham has more canals than Venice because Birmingham is much, much larger.

The article that spawned this comment thread is worth reading too. For instance:

5. Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice and more trees than Paris. But, unfortunately for the canals and trees, they are in Birmingham and not Venice or Paris. This makes them all quite sad.


First of all, theweaselking: this photo and that t-shirt.

Secondly, via Daring Fireball, Pictures with Flash vs Pictures without Flash.

Finally, via Neil Gaiman, a wonderfully lyrical tribute to Alan Moore.

Sometimes I think I should do this sort of post more often. And sometimes I want to keep these things that I've found on the Internet somewhat private; I want to keep them as transient memories, emprisoned in tabs or Safari windows; things that I'll show to Cleodhna and then banish; a way of keeping weird Internet phenomena rare and elusive.

And then I discover a secondary aspect of Furry porn, and decide not to share. You should all worship me for that.

Dear US Media: scandal names do not have to end in "gate"

Case in point:

Addendum: I meant to add a tag called something like "Neil Gaiman writes better tags than I do", but fucking LiveJournal decided that it was too long. Fuckers.

Neologisms we could have done without, but in retrospect needed


For ROTFL, needless to say.

Or not. Fucking Wikipedia doesn't have a helpful entry for ROTFL (at the moment, if you search Google for "ROTFL" you find a whole bunch of definition pages, but if you search for "Wikipedia ROTFL" you get a stupid first entry about some ironic album from a random band, and then an entry about Internet slang that doesn't actually mention ROTFL in any useful way.)

Incidentally, you should read Mike Smith's LiveJournal if you've read, or will read, or will never read, the last Harry Potter. He's reviewing it chapter by chapter, and the comments are unmissable.

How many big cat names are left for Apple?

Here's the big cat names Apple have used (just internally at first, but as official codenames from Mac OS X 10.2 onwards), according to wikipedia:

10.0: Cheetah 10.1: Puma 10.2: Jaguar 10.3: Panther 10.4: Tiger 10.5: Leopard

The problem is this: there are precious few big cat names left. There's "Lion" and, er, that's it. After that, you've got Ocelot, Bobcat, and you're done.

This is the same mistake as companies who decided to name servers after planets, which is fine as long as you only have a few - Mercury, Venus, Mars etc. - but gets problematic very quickly.

Jokes that don't work

"I've got a dog with two noses." "How does he smell?" "Pretty well, actually - we're thinking of breeding puppies from him to use as drug- or mine-sniffer dogs."

Spam of the future

I got a spam today. The subject heading said "Read me!"

I've turned off "auto-load images" in Mail, so there's no harm in opening spam - it won't phone home, via web bugs, and tell the spammers that I've read the message. So I opened it. It had a link that said "Click me!"

My immediate response was "Bite me!" and I deleted the fucker.

Then I got to thinking. In the future, we'll have a post-scarcity society where we all have machines that get build pretty much anything out of a raw supply of nutrients with the right recipe (we already have machines that can build fairly complex 3D objects out of sugar, using updated inkjet technology). They'll be connected to the Internet (or its equivalent), and I'm pretty sure we'll get spam. Like, say, a tasty cupcake popping out of the machine with a label saying "Eat me!"

Alice in Wonderland spam. I can't wait.

Simple answers to simple questions, part 94

Says the BBC:
Anne Weyman, chief executive of the FPA, said: "We have to ask why in the 21st Century when sex is so widely portrayed in British culture, talking about using condoms is still embarrassing."
It's because we're British. Brits can get embarassed about anything.

Locked out

The Yellow Pages is full of ads for 24 hour locksmiths, all promising 1 hour response, no call out charge, etc. etc.

Fucking liars. All of them.

We got back at just after midnight tonight to find out that our keys didn't work - a dog had jumped up and caught the snib on the lock. So I knocked on friendly downstairs neighbour's door, borrowed his Yellow Pages, and started going through the list of 24 hour locksmiths.

Over the course of about 40 minutes, I phoned 17 of the bloody things. 3 of them answered; 2 to say that they weren't available, and a third to say that they'd try and find out whether any of their locksmiths were available. (Phoned back 15 minutes later to say that they weren't, and that the earliest we could have one would be at 8am.)

Meanwhile, Cleodhna's upstairs trying to calm down the dogs who are, of course, frantic, running around barking and whining.

While I waited for the "24 hour locksmith" to phone back, I phoned my insurance, on a whim, to see whether we'd be covered for stuff like this. They had an emergency helpline which I got transferred through to, within 5 minutes we'd got a locksmith booked, in a further 20 minutes the guy turned up and started drilling through the lock and jemmying the door open. He's now finishing off installing the new lock.

So here's the lesson of the day: don't trust locksmiths in the Yellow Pages. They are, to a man, dishonest lying frauds and crooks.

Oh, and if you've got dogs who are liable to jump up and accidentally snib the door, make sure you own the place, rather than renting.

(The replacement lock's snib locks the door when pushed up, which should hopefully mean we won't get this problem again.)