Tuesday 10 August 2010

More things that suck about my iPad

  1. It won't charge over the USB of my Dell Inspiron 1525.
  2. Some text boxes, e.g. when you're editing a Wikipedia entry in Safari, don't have a scroll bar when the text extends below the fold.
  3. Google Apps email accounts are harder to set up than they should be.
  4. How are you supposed to send email attachments e.g. if you want to email yourself a number of screenshots you've taken using the iPad's nifty screenshot function do you have to send them one by one using the Photos app and the Mail client?
  5. The iPod app doesn't let me sort my podcasts by release date or title - or if it does, I haven't figure it out yet. (User experience, anyone?)
The list has grown from six to eleven! On the whole, I am pretty computer savvy and usually don't have too much trouble figuring out how to use things, but the iPad (and Apple generally) aren't as intuitive as I was led to believe they were.

Friday 6 August 2010

Things that suck about my iPad

I was given an iPad my employer, Torchbox (yay! and thank you very much indeed!). I've been playing around with it for the first time this evening. I do like it and I don't want to seem ungrateful...but...I have found a number of things about it that bug me:
  1. It can't play Flash. Duh!
  2. iPhone apps look stupidly small on it.
  3. Every time you click "Show More" apps in the App Store on the iPad and then install an app, you are forced out of the App Store and have to click "Show More" again to get back to where you were on the list of top free iPad apps.
  4. The Twitter and Facebook apps sucks. I much prefer TweetDeck for iPad, although when I first installed it, it repeatedly closed itself down before I could eventually set up my Twitter account.
  5. The keyboard labels don't toggle between lower and uppercase as they do on my Android HTC Desire.
  6. Worst of all, iTunes thinks I have authorized more than 5 computers and doesn't make it easy to deauthorize old computers that I can't deauthorize individually because I don't have them anymore! Besides, I've only ever authorized iTunes on two laptops. I'm nervous about deauthorizing all of my computers in case I wipe stuff I want to keep or can no longer play music I downloaded on iTunes.
I thought Apples were supposed to give a brilliant user experience. Can't say I'm much of a fanboy yet. I expect this list to grow from its original six items.

Saturday 31 July 2010

Cornbury Festival

Very happy memories of a wonderful day spent at Cornbury Festival with my parents to celebrate Kidney Independence Day, the second anniversary of their kidney transplant, when my mum gave one of her kidneys to my dad. (Click on the photo to see the whole album in Picasa.)

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Was that apartment in "Manhattan"?

Near the beginning of Woody Allen's new film, Whatever Works, in the scene when Boris talks to his first wife at 4am, the spiral staircase reminded me of the apartment in Manhattan (0:10:45-0:12:20) in which Isaac and Tracy (Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway) have a long conversation about their relationship in an apartment which also features a spiral staircase.

The two scenes are shot very differently: Whatever Works has a moving camera with various different angles; Manhattan has a single, static long take in long-shot.

Did anyone else make this connection? I thought at first it might be the same apartment, but now I don't think it is.

Manhattan (1979)

Update: OK, so it's not the same staircase. Compare image below.

Whatever Works (2009)

Thursday 29 April 2010

Virgin Media and easyJet respond to my Twitter critiques

Yesterday I blogged about corporate Twitter accounts. I followed it up by tweeting @virginmedia and @easyJetCare with my criticisms. Here are my tweets and their responses:
@virginmedia Are you aware that your feeds are hidden in the sidebar of your Twitter background? Screenshots here: http://bit.ly/8YF37R
12:59 AM Apr 28th via TweetDeck

@domeheid There's a lot of information we need to put on there, will pass on your feedback all the same so thanks =) BMc
about 13 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to domeheid
@easyJetCare Are you aware that your Twitter background is pixellated? Screenshots here: http://bit.ly/8YF37R
1:00 AM Apr 28th via TweetDeck

@domeheid Thanks for your comments. We will have this checked. ^DB
about 15 hours ago via CoTweet in reply to domeheid
It'll be interesting to see how long it takes them to actually fix the glitches - if they even intend to. Watch this space. Or better still, follow me on Twitter!

Wednesday 28 April 2010

What makes a good corporate Twitter account?

My first homework assignment for the IAB social media practitioner programme is to write a blog post critiquing two corporate Twitter accounts: one who gets it and one who doesn't get it. Examples that Henry Elliss gave in his talk at the first session included @twelpforce (25,542 followers), @easyJetCare (6,048 followers), and @virginmedia (10,775 followers). All three of these companies use Twitter for customer service - a brave choice. The nice thing about this is that they are able to respond quickly to their customers. Virgin Media and easyJet initial their tweets to that you can trace them back to a particular employee.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Geek, dweeb, dork, or nerd?

Image source: BuzzFeed.

I'm coming to terms with the realization that I'm a geek. This nifty Venn diagram makes me feel a little better about it since it could have been worse: I could have been a dork! Although I'm at times socially awkward, I don't quite reach into social ineptitude and - falling heavy objects permitting - I at least have my intelligence. I'm tickled by the fact that a Venn diagram is such a geeky way to display this information, but it does describe the subtle differences between these social categories so much better than words can. I wonder, however, whether this Venn diagram was designed by a geek, since geeks come out of it so favourably.

Thanks to @Dr_Whut for sharing this on Jabber team chat at work.

Saturday 20 March 2010

How to make a screen capture in Windows

This should work in any version of Windows. There's no need to download any special screen capturing/clipping/grabbing software. I wish I'd figured this out before!
  1. Navigate to the page/screen you wish to capture.
  2. Press the Prnt Scrn (Print Screen) button on the top right of your keyboard. This will capture the whole area of your screen and place it on the clipboard.
  3. Open a graphics program such as Paint.
  4. Paste the Print Screen image from your clipboard by pressing Ctrl + V.
  5. Crop the image as desired and save.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Turning out the light in bed

Is what defines the life you lead:
The last thought in light[1]
Before you are left in the darkness
Of the recesses of your head.

Pledge allegiance to your latest loved one:
They don't know you do it
Nor that you can't
When you speak to them by day.

Daily ritual; or rehearsed argument:
Say the things you want to say
But never have the courage
Nor the wit to pull off.

Open your heart, express yourself,
Be honest, plain and true;
Be the person you want to be:
The one they fail to see.

Or unplug your care-free life,
Disconnected from the current.
Delve immediately into drowsy sleep
And ignore, once more, the open door,

The welcome waiting, watching, waiting,
Talking to you with silent eyes,
Silent sighs, silent lies
To himself and all the other fantasies
That he has dreamed up in waking sleep.

Charisma crush, wishful want,
Wont of company: to be,
But not to be, the thing it is
I know you see: the want of me.

[1] "The last word on today's news and sport, and the first on tomorrow's!"

[Tuesday 31 May 2002: after a day of not revision]

Monday 15 March 2010

Written words on the page

Written words on the page. Act your shoe size not your age. Why are you looking at me, freak? Everyone must think I'm such a geek. Sitting here all alone. John Peel playing, next to the phone. Eyes catching something they cannot see. Mind flowing and nothing going. I want to be a writer, he says. You have to have talent. But I have. No you don't. You talk to yourself. You have no friends. If you did, you'd give them the bends. Like the Radiohead play: "My baby's got the bends" well take it away. That is no thing for a kid with to play. Lexical grammar, words messed up. The chokey bits at the bottom of a tea cup. I can write this shit without a thought. Words flow like the champagne I bought. The pain taker-awayers that come in a packet. You give it a push and it goes pop. You pop too as you pop them in. Swill them with water. Let the pains begin! No, dumbass. Motherfuck. The pain goes bye-bye, you go pop. The brain splatters upon the page. Act your shirt size not your age. Oh fuck. I'm forty-eight. You didn't tell me, waiting at the gate. I always get the wrong one. The train at the station. My reading mum. There she was reading a book. There was the get off she was supposed to took. Isis. Si, sis. Next week: Brighton, the bright town. Seaside memories of a black gown. Sitting in front of the Oxford Don. Blink and you'll miss it. There, it's gone. Gone to see whom, to see what, to see her? I don't remember. Can I confer? Paxman, taxman, humpty who. Hold on a minute, I'm married to Lou. Writing is easy. It's all for a lark. You look into your mind and read the dark. I don't think. My fingers do. They do it all. I type for you. You being me and being being it. The writing's on the wall, they say. Clich├ęs abound. They're not actually true. The writing's on the screen. In front of me. (And you if you read this.) But what if it's printed. Well, then it's on the page. Act your breast size not your age. So I'm a male. I white Caucasian not-blonde. A non-bimbo Baywatch watcher in the past. The days of bad telly in the land of multiple bacteria. Gibberish. Jobberish. What a job this would be. I write the words so that you can see. I see the sign of a pound pop up. Popping pills to stop the hurt. The pain in my shoulder, my arm, my leg. The pain in my heart, before you start, is the one that I want to take away. My heart used to be there, before a girl with a stare, on the stair, came and punctured it. Oh look at him. All up himself. Up the stairs and onto the shelf. That photo of her you still keep on display. One part of you hope that return one day, she won't, she will, to make another kill. I am the rabbit, you are the hare, the hair, I remember the smell, the taste, the waste, oh the waste of time, of heart, don't start. Just stop. The rot. The pain. Start again, with a new refrain. Take a new line, turn a new leaf. Think of something stupid: the Queen Mother a thief. Royalty plays about in your head. No it doesn't. I couldn’t care less. The blue aristocracy, they make us regress. They eat our money in a caviar pool. They've never lived the life, you tool. The tools are my fingers. They do the work. I'm the one sitting here. Schizophrenic jerk. Clerk. Kent. Country Antrim. Isles of Scilly. Shepherd's Bay. Think of something amazing to say. But don't tell me just yet. Write it down. Red is the colour they will paint the town. Red in honour of your honourless blood. Noah's Ark rode the flood. No it didn't. It didn't exist. My word makes more sense than the word of the Word. Capital letter. What if I call him a Turd? An Irish threesome, but God was a Jew. He knew, he knew, he knew. He kneed the feller in the balls. String him up, the soldiers obeyed the calls. The might of the crowd. The might of the maybe. The starlight glittering above the new born baby. Or so the story goes. Once upon a time, there was blasphemy. And the word made God. He really meant Dog, who still isn't here. I'm starting to get pissed, she said. The bloody cheek. I'll give her a bloody cheek! Just you give me my childhood memories like you said last week. You don't even have to pay for it, bitch. Pitch it in the post, let the boat do the rest. Give it a rest, and I'll give you a rest. That's all I want from you now. I've had enough. I'm taking my bow. The war is over. You've won, I lost. I used to have a heart. I met you, at a very great cost. The phone bill, the presents, the post, the guilt. The amazing little memoirs packed into the silt. The silt of the sand on the beach on the sea. The sinking sun and the watching gaze. The haze of hilltops on a clear-skied night. We walk home in heaven. I ask you. You said we might. I couldn't find a place where they sold. These things at school we weren't told. I'm bored. I see bed. I leave alone the voices in my head. The Ayrshire, the pride, the post and the past. The written words forever will last. So Shakespeare said. So why not me. I know who I am. Did he? I know my name and how it to spell. He didn't. Though on it did he dwell. Not. Grot. Sick. Poor Jen. Three and a half bottles of wine? I doubt it. But then I wouldn't know. I tasted it once. I had a go. It's rank. It smells. It rings like the bells. The New-lawn singing. The hey watcha cock! The Skinhead Hamlet. The Polonius grim. Helen of Troy. Troy's R Us. Bed. Go. Now. Mate. Get some sleep, before it's too late.

[7 March 2002]

Sunday 14 March 2010

Tuesday at The Union Library

As the annoying drizzle soaks with stealth outside,
A lonely reader seeks a change of scene
To unpack Pope's epistle against learning.
The doors swing him through into the auditorium
Of neglected dust. The Battle of Books ensues,
But no one's fussed. Old, fat, haggedy hag,
Slumps in chair with papers of Tory trivi'l.
Armchairs, stained with port and mud from the stirrups
Of Charlie's twenties sport. Jolly good ol' chap.
Sweeping round the cosmos of soiled volumes,
The reader spies a table side, with dim light
Wasting its breath. Lecteur no. 2 spreads his broadsheet
Of sloppy student stories, peering at the crossword
With microscopic wit through his greasy specs. He sniffs
And snuffles, and fidgets and fuffles -
The street would suit him better -
But his life-fee was paid in sixty-three.
His critical career took a period and never went up
After he went down. (Now working on a barmy monograph
Of some political obscurity.) How sad, how miserable!
And the reader thought he was lame!
The grizzly hack still chastes his youth,
But the yellow stain creeps up his long tooth.
The reader makes his nest at the oaken top,
Only for his legs to be violently attacked 'cos the chair
Don't fit. Typical. Some useless Librarian Elect (by one)
Must have watched his budget on the horses run.
Uncompetence is this place's speciality.
The seat of learning and future government? My Rs!
Craned over, the Pope sets sail, but sense appears to no avail.
Meanwhile the street-spirit snorts away, shifting chair
And leg and nose and bag, making more noise
Than the greasy-spoon hag. The odd turn of Tory-graph
Is all, perhaps: no chance of nap for Mr Reader.
Another comes in - no one looks up. Papers too -
Just a quick check-up. Too quick for grizzly
Green-shirt, who spouts with corrupted breath,
"Do you think you could make less noise with the papers?"
The cheeky cunt! How dare the little runt rule
The roost - it's not as if he was defaming Proust.
The Popish lines still waste away, while memory-man
Lives back in his day. Old hag now haggered off
To mingle with some barred toff, they sit alone,
Side by side, a few worlds apart: some sorry urchin
And a lonely Hert.
Book II all done, no room for legs on either side
Of unmatching chairs, reader moves his stuff
With quiet care, to share a table with bio-Eden,
O'ergrown with moss, but within, some hacking sprite
Seeks secrets to the Downing world, the forgotten life -
Needless to mention off for a break. Alas!
No room at the inn on this side of the Oval either.
Just one more book then it's so-long-farewell,
Wicked, conniving, book-selling hell.
It looks quaint and feels as if it's stuck in time
With photographs of Asquith - or whoever it was
Who was erie before. Ploughed shelves, plundered,
Blundered - SOLD! for a pound, a priceless volume
In leather bound. The shelves will wait, falling
And forgotten, but The Union will remain forever rotten.

[Tuesday 11 February 2003]

Saturday 13 March 2010

One, but not the other...or perhaps not

Dazed and confused,
Fond, but not in love,
Blinded by the moonlight,
Overshadowed by the sun,
Together in an emptiness,
Alone in a crowd,
Awake but not aware,
No eyes but still a stare,
Close to nothing,
Far from anywhere,
Thoughts without a meaning,
A blankness that tells all,
Living life in miniature,
When you should be ten feet tall,
Beckoning to the mist,
Of a pale and listless sea,
Resting in the rush-hour,
Rising above what?
Ants scuttling scattered,
In a world that turns to rot.

[14 September 2001]

Wednesday 24 February 2010



"Seems, my lord? I know not seems."[1]
For nothing ever as it seems is.
You look at something, like an unknowing colour-blind,
And fail to see that which you know not is there.
You translate the confounded babble of everyday life:
You assume what is meant by trouble and strife;
Yet daily you are unaware,
The true nature thereof, the things at which you stare;
It might sound the same (to you at least),
But even when you borrow someone else's headphones,
It is still in your head the tones you hear:
You list only with your own ear.


"Seams, madam!...I know not seams."[2]
My engineered genes® curl round
                                         my leg:
Serpents of Capitalism (made by a workers' co-operative).
How it does fall apart at them [...]

When, even though they sell on High Street hell,
They do not seem to be what they are:
Seams, it seems, bind our society together,
While seaming women and children seem to live,
But rather daily seem to die, seaming well
For little, which seems more than it really is
In this, our World of Appearances, where it seems
All is not as it seems: the seams do s t r e t c h and waver.

[1] Hamlet, Act I Seam ii.
[2] Ibid., Act I Seems ii.

[23 October 2002]

Tuesday 23 February 2010

The second drawer up from the bottom

Is where all the miscellaneous items congregate;
The categorical asylum seekers,
Too diverse to find their own faith;
Their own bulging, over-filled filing folder.

Even the most organised have one.
Sanctuary for the camera-shy lottery ticket of yesteryear
(When you still clasped hopeless hope),
Random paper clips, separated and abandoned,
With rusty tips where the bright plastic coating has worn away
To reveal a harsher, cankered core,

Grains of sugar you spilt but couldn't be bothered to clean up,
That candle stub you kept from the carol service -
Now broken and useless, but you never chuck it
'Cos you think it still has the potential
To rekindle.

Other wastage too:
Half-finished compilation tape
(You never could decide what to put after "Paint It Black"),
Frayed piece of string: too short for peanuts
But you now can't remember why you laid it by
(Someone must have tidied it away),
Packet of sunflower seeds,
Free with summer special -
Must look out that issue to re-read
"Top Ten Tips to Put Your Life in Order...Number One:
Empty out that drawer you always tell yourself you'll 'do'
Next weekend."

[May 2001]

Monday 22 February 2010

The Box

The box rests solemnly
on the dusty rafters.
Musky brown sides
bound by broad tape,
with red prints of wine glasses
labelling the cardboard
and intructions of
"This way up"
so that nothing is ever broken.

Inside rest my childhood memoirs;
frozen snippets of time,
that may be momentarily forgotten
but never lost in the wilderness.
An abandoned board game,
an unloved teddy bear,
a piggy bank, a Matchbox car, a bag,
a collection of unusual stones
clustered in a wicker-woven basket,
and a shoe box full of junk,
that I just cannot bring myself
to throw away.

In future years
I hope to revisit.
To unleash the comforting smells
and fond memories
of my life as an infant.
But for now,
it shall rest there
forever overhead;
my box of childhood toys
in the loft above my bed.

[April 1999]