Archive for June, 2004

Hitchhiker’s Movie Blog

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

Phil pointed out this blog from the set of the new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Movie Blog

They have a video posted with the prototype Marvin android moving around in it - looks like they’ve taken the “brain the size of a planet” thing literally this time around.

EOTN @ Buffalo Bar

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Continuing my series - “Blurry pictures taken at End Of The New gigs”

#3: A Timnami rolls across the stage


#4, #5, #6: Jamie, Tim and Nat

Jamie Tim Nat

#7: Almost in focus!

This one's almost in focus! Wow!

Update: Here is the review from that notepad wielding web journalist: “Lyrics could be about anything, but whatever it is, IT MAKES THEM MAD.”

When the zombies take over, how long till the electricity fails?

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

For anyone else who has wondered how long the mall music could keep playing in Dawn of the Dead:

Straight Dope Staff Report: When the zombies take over, how long till the electricity fails?

“Bottom line? My guess is that within 4-6 hours there would be scattered blackouts and brownouts in numerous areas, within 12 hours much of the system would be unstable, and within 24 hours most portions of the United States and Canada, aside from a rare island of service in a rural area near a hydroelectric source, would be without power. “

However, I disagree with the assumption that zombies won’t need power to play Everquest… in fact, from what I’ve seen, an outage of the Everquest servers seems quite a plausible root cause of a zombie plague.

Flying Saucer!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

Dad’s birthday yesterday. Along with some other bits and pieces, we gave him this Fly Saucer gadget from the Maplin store on Tottenham Court Road. It flies, it’s a saucer, it has incomprehensible and hilarious Engrish instructions! What more could you want?

Fly Saucer Curly Fries!

Update: Motor burnt out after 2 days! So we got all this excitement and a full refund before we lost interest!

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

Monday, June 14th, 2004

Hey! - I want a “Ghost in the Shell” style invisibility cloak:

BBC NEWS | Technology | Inventor plans ‘invisible walls’
Professor Tachi said that he had first had the idea of developing something to make objects invisible in 1977.

But he said it was “hard to make it into reality,” as the image looked flat and unrealistic.

Article on

Engrish explanation and videos here

I’m trying to work out if this will work without the viewer giving you a camera feed from their position - I suspect it won’t, which makes this useless for most of the really fun applications. Some of the articles mentioned using it to hide distracting objects on runways from incoming planes etc.

Further update: This video suggests some fun applications for stage shows at least.

EOTN @ Gossips

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

Another picture in the popular ongoing series - “Blurry pictures taken at End Of The New gigs”.

Number 2: Tim Rages!


Frozen Bubble For Series 60

Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

Spotted by DaveH - Frozen Bubble For Series 60

Frozen Bubble on 6600

It works nicely on my 6600 and it’s cheaper and better than most of the downloadable offerings on the Orange games portal!

Phil’s RSS feed

Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

Yay - Phil has fixed his RSS feed so it contains full post contents and not just excerpts:

the terrible beauty Helter Skelter

Also, WordPress supports PingBack, which should mean this post gets automatically added as a comment on Phil’s blog as well as a post on mine.

I wonder if any of the Brighton bloggers could be convinced to follow and fix their RSS feeds - it looks like the default Movable Type behaviour is for articles to get trunc…

I’ve just seen Venus traversing the Sun

Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

Thanks for reminding me Ant! I still had my eclipse glasses at work and the whole company has just used them to spot Venus and keep their retinas intact.

This picture was stolen from Trondheim observatory just after I saw it for real:

venus transit

NotCon ‘04

Monday, June 7th, 2004

I made it to the first half of NotCon ‘04 this morning before fleeing back up to Barnet to spend some of Sunday with Sarah. I hadn’t been to Imperial College Union before, so was impressed to see it was right next door to this fairly impressive building:


Before the talks kicked off there was a screening of the pilot, and only, episode of Heat Vision and Jack - after which the LCD projector decided not to work in full colour for the rest of the morning. I sat in for two talk sessions:

Life Hacks

Owing to technical difficulties this was a partially monochrome retelling of Danny O’Brien’s talk from the Emerging Technology Conference in February. For those who won’t recognize the name, Danny is the one who writes the top half of weekly email bulletin NTK.

I won’t bother writing much about this session as it has already been comprehensively covered and Danny has made promises to put some meaningful content on once he has given his third and final version of the talk some time next week.

Hardware - 6 mini talks

  • As advertised, James Larsson managed to move a solenoid controlled clock to within an hour or two of the current time by measuring the capacitance of a decaying prawn and comparing it to prawns he had known in the past. Cute, but not terribly useful.
  • Matt West had both compact flash and ide interfaces for his ZX Spectrum and impressed everybody by playing some video with it.
  • Stephen Goodwin talked about communicating with mencoder and X10 appliances via email - nothing too thrilling for people who already run TivoWeb
  • The villainous Reverend Rat soldered a 10 kilowatt powered antenna onto a usb bluetooth dongle, and muttered a bit about “penetration testing” and other nefarious plans for making money by finding security flaws.
  • George Wright from the Beeb gave a short presentation about how they were starting to get some things right with interactive tv, apparently they are now World Leaders in the area. Most interesting point was that all itv content has to be vetted by platform owners, as nobody wants to be financially responsible for knocking over a million sky boxes before a pay per view cup final.
  • Most interesting for me was the short presentation by of Anil Madhavapeddy of High Energy Magic who have been doing some very insteresting stuff with small 2d barcodes and using them to control user interfaces - watch the videos on the site to get a good idea how it works. Their freely downloadable (but no source…) BangoSpot demo works on my nokia 6600 and is the first realtime barcode identification I’ve seen working on a camera phone.

The event was a little over-capacity so by leaving I let someone else get into the building. Hopefully selling some tickets twice should give good odds of financial success, and maybe we’ll see more of this kind of thing in the future.