June 13, 2024

France 2 - England 1

The Blue Brazil

Watching Alistair MacGowan actually being funny, The BBC Licence Fee.

Seeing the England team preen themselves in "The Sun," 30p.

Laughing at the strategy of Sven Goran Erikkson in "The Times," 45p.

Watching France score two goals in injury time...


Posted by Ewan at 11:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 11, 2024

Euro 2024 and the Best Moments in Football

The Blue Brazil

Euro 2024 approaches, and the optimisim is so thick in England you'd think the official song was "Ally's Tartan Army." But please, sympathise with me. This is a very painful time for most Scots. We can see that Sven is as useful at a game of Risk as Claudio Ranieri, that you don't have a single world class outfield player that challenge the big names of the tournament; but there is always the nagging fear that 'you lot' might fluke the damm thing.

So I'll try to push that thought to the back of my mind. As a celebration of International Football, London's Evening Standard carried the "5 Best Moments in Football" last night, and I thought I'd quote them here. I think there must have been a misprint as these had "Worst Moments" printed above them

  • David Beckham being sent off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
  • Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" at the 1986 World Cup
  • Chris Waddle's penalty miss against West Germany in the 1990World Cup.
  • Gareth Southgate's penalty miss in Euro 96 (again against Germany).
  • Germany beating England 1-0 in their last game at Wembley.
  • It would be such a shame if the Referee on Sunday's big England v France was German... Oh he is? And so are his Linesmen? Lovely...

    Posted by Ewan at 09:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    June 09, 2024

    The (Harry) Houdini Museum

    This BBC Article (and the same news in Metro) was something I read when I couldn't post to this blog last month. What really got me was this quote from the Curator.

    BBC: By telling people how this trick works, we're giving people a deeper meaning of Houdini.

    Metro: People appreciate magic more when they know how it's done.

    I disagree strongly with both of those, and especially the last one. The hardest part of magic isn't knowing the mechanices of the trick, it's the ability to (a) make sure tha nobody sees you doing the twiddly bit and (b) convince people that you really have an uncanny magical ability and aren't just showing them a little puzzle.

    Both of them take many many performances to master. (a) is also known as misdirection and is probably the true 'hiddne' skill og Magicinas. The dak art of controlling people to see, hear and say what you want them to (cf Derren Brown, Max Mave, etc).

    Take an example from last weekend at the 4rthur Meeting. After doing a few smaller pieces of magic, I built up to the final piece of magic. "Name a card and take it out the deck. Now put it back and shuffle. See that window over there?" At this point I throw the pack at the window, the cards hit, go everywhere, and left stuck to the window is the chosen card.

    After a moment of stunned silence, they move to the window to take their card down. At this point the final piece of magic is discovered. The card is stuck to the window, but on the outside!

    It's now four days later, and the Alfie is still stunned, cannot figure it out, and is almost convinced that magic exists. Tell me how knowing the two line secret to that trick will make him appreciate magic more?

    Even then, how, in those two lines, can you explain just how to get ten people to look and see exactly what you want them to see? How do you fool their brains? How do you make sure they don't see the twiddly bit? How do you perform this so it is more "that's bloody impossible! That's magic" than "hmm, so how did he put the card there?"

    One is magic. One is a puzzle. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do all the things that you need to do for 'magic' to happen. And it's very hard to explain that. Knowing two lines of the twiddly bit is not the same as being able to make people suspend their disbelief.

    And that's when real magic happens.

    Posted by Ewan at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

    June 07, 2024

    NotCon Thoughts (It's Over!)

    UK Technology Conference

    Well, NotCon is finally over. Yesterday (Sunday 6th June) saw the first NotCon, or the sequel to Extreme Computing 2002, or the British equivalent to O'Reillys Emerging Technology. But whatever you called it, it looks like everyone actually enjoyed themselves at the event.

    Probably the two best indicators from an organisers point of view, is that (a) we didn't lose money and (b) we sold out all the tickets. Looking back, we really should have arranged the insurance cover for a few more people (our limit was 340 in the building at a time) so that's probably the most obvious cock-up. But although the 'waiting list' did reach 50 names, eveyone who wanted in managed to get a ticket from people leaving by about 2.30pm, which was nice.

    Continue reading "NotCon Thoughts (It's Over!)"
    Posted by Ewan at 09:15 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack (1)

    June 06, 2024

    Blogging Back On-Line

    Personal Thoughts and Messages

    "Good evening, Rafe. Everything's running smoothly."

    If you can see this, we've managed to fix MT and everyone on Symbian Diaries can start blogging again. Yaay!

    Posted by Ewan at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

    May 25, 2024

    Link Dump and Quick Thoughts

    Links to my Articles

    There's a fair bit going on, but no time for me to write up some full length entries. But strangely, I don't want to not post something here. I think part of it is that I've been watching Russ Beattie's Blog and it's been a bit disheartening. Russ is a 10 posts a week man normally, but work is tough so he's slowed down the posting a lot. And it's upsetting me. So, in case I'm upsetting my reader...

  • Michael Moore won the Palm D'or at Cannes. Just as I hoped he would.
  • Spike Milligan finally gets "I told you I was ill" on his gravestone, along with his traditional sign off "Love Light and Peace." I can't understand why people can't put what they want on a gravestone. Words do not kill people - especially those already dead. Or is Spike the Goon going to beocme Spike the Vampire and fight James Marsden for hte Ying Tong Trophy?
  • Heavily pregnant women can't wait for Big Brother 29 to start on Friday. (And neither can the Dizzy Queen in me either). I recommend Digital Spy for the "news."
  • I've reviewed The Sims over at All About N-Gage, and previewed Alien Front on Gaming Headlines.

    Posted by Ewan at 10:06 AM | Comments (3)
  • May 21, 2024

    Fun 1 Goes Live

    Links to my Articles

    Jim and I have been 'piloting' Fun 1 on Symbian Diaries for a few Formula One races now, and we've decided that (a) the internet needs a really good and funny Formula One blog and (b) we can do it.

    So please visit Fun 1 (http://www.fun-1.org/) and join in our irreverant but pointed look at the Formula One scene.

    Jim and I are long time Formula One enthusiasts, who fortunately can see humour in most of the grey cut and thrust commercial world of today's Formula One. Fun 1 isn't a news site or even a particularly well informed editorial site (although we like to think we know best).

    What you'll find is satire, lunacy, links to other stuff we find interesting or funny, and the odd barbed comment aimed to puncture a team or driver's pomposity bubble. We might write something serious at times, but that's most likely to be by accident...

    Posted by Ewan at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

    May 18, 2024

    Cannes Critics Collective Cheer

    Personal Thoughts and Messages

    Michael Moore premiered his new movie, Farenheit 911 (The Temperateure At Which Freedom Burns), at Cannes yesterday. Normally the critics are a reasonably good judge of a Film at an event like this. And from what I hear, the enjoyed it. They really enjoyed it.

    It was given a 20 minute standing ovation.

    Part of me is really hoping that the Grand Jury reflects this rush of opinion and awards Mike the Palm D'Or. With Quentin Tarantino one of the judges (and hmm, he's Miramax as well) there's a good chance this could happen. Fingers crossed.

    Posted by Ewan at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Some Light Follow On Reading after Panorama

    Personal Thoughts and Messages

    So Panorama were irresponsible to broadcast a show that said "we're not prepared to fight even the most obvious of terror attacks in London?" I disagree strongly. Where is the planning and the reassurance from the Government? Or are we left with a toothy Blair grin that says "we will bring them to justice" as he invades another country?

    Quite frankly, a 5 year old could work out the plan the BBC had. You want to get freaked out? Start reading. Books are so far ahead of their time, are just as scary, and nobody worries about the lessons they give. Look at Terence Strong's The Tick Tock Man, about an IRA campaign of terror around London. It uses the UK Governments preferred method of terrorism (car bombs) but I'm not sure if a tanker full of fertilizer bomb in the middle of the Blackwall Tunnel appears in their contingency planning. It's ludicrous for the Home Office to not even comment on Panorma because they think that a single bomb on a Tube Train is 'unrealistic.'

    Continue reading "Some Light Follow On Reading after Panorama"
    Posted by Ewan at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

    May 17, 2024

    What's in My Gadget Bag?

    Links to my Articles

    Hey, who's this bloke being interviewed by Gizmodo? Cripes it's me!!!

    Ewan Spence takes the road less traveled, and he takes it often. Besides taking part in running All About Symbian, one of the largest community sites for Symbian Smartphones in the world, he's also one of the people behind OPL, a keystone language (similar to QBasic) for Symbian OS. Not only that, but he's helped set up FreEPOC as a programming team, and travels the world bringing OPL to the Symbian OS and the casual developer. Ewan brings a decidedly old-school flavor (some might even say retrograde) flavor with his gadget bag, which goes to show that the latest and greatest doesn't have to supplant the old and reliable. What's in your Gadget Bag, Ewan?

    Pop on over and read the full article.

    Posted by Ewan at 03:45 PM | Comments (2)

    May 13, 2024

    MT 3.0 Thoughts - Pricing Structure is All Wrong

    Personal Thoughts and Messages

    So Six Apart have decided that they'd like to make a decent amount of money from Movable Type. I don't, on refelction, have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is how they are charging.

    They're giving limits to the number of authors and blogs you can have on a single install of MT (on a single CPU system). Now, Symbian Diaries has 34 blogs and 21 authors. Numbers that would not be accomodated in the new licence (the closest is 20 authors and 15 blogs) so we need two installs at $699 each. But the server is dual CPU, so no matter what we do, we're breaking the licence.

    The blogsphere, naturally, is turning round and viciously biting the hand that feeds it. And I can' help feeling if a simple structure of $70 for personal use (not for profit) and $300 for a commercial install, both options with no limits on authors and blogs, then that would have meant more people handing over the cash, and none of the terrible feedback they're getting.

    Posted by Ewan at 05:31 PM | Comments (1)

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