Friday, November 26, 2004

DAB design horror

On a wander around town yesterday, and the usually visitations to a series of purveyors of consumer electronics, a started to take an interest in the range of DAB digital radios which are currently available on the high street.

Am I the only person of the opinion that the design of the DAB units are universally awful!

What is it about wood paneling, bulbous 1950's retro styling or 60s modernistic design that offer themselves as the winning look for manufactures. As for leather binding ........

I mean, some of these units are truly hideous.

Just exactly which type of household are these things supposed to fit in?

I can only come to the conclusion that there is either:
a) A desire to make the technology less daunting for users by making them look old fashioned
b) An attempt to make the devices 'date' even more rapidly in an attempt to stimulate further sales.

A report last month suggested the digital radio sales were set to boom - really, looking like this?

Now I'm pretty much a function over form type, and I'm interested in getting a DAB clock radio (I have digital radio via free view elsewhere in the house), but I just can't bring myself to invest in one of these monstrosities.

I mean, just look at these!

So, a look online reveals a greater range of products and some more palatable designs, but the high street stores seem to have gone exclusively for the naff!

Kitsch is kitsch. Ironic design is delusional!!!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Winter Wonderland

The first snow of the season fell here yesterday afternoon.

So, I know I'm a 'grown up', but I can't help but get excited by such things.
My Dad always said that people loose the wonder and excitement of snow fall once they have to start commuting to work.
I'm lucky, if I look at the window and the roads are impassable, I don't have to bother heading off to the office. Thanks to the technology of my trade home working is habitual anyway.

More photos in flickr feed in right hand panel

Is technology responsible for allowing me to keep a sense of wonder, and enjoy the vagaries of mother nature for what she is, rather than seeing her meteorological mood swings only in terms the effect of my daily grind.

Maybe, or maybe I'm just an entry level weather geek!

Whatever, come lunchtime I'm off to take Monty the dog out to play in the snow!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ted Nelson - Poet, Philosopher and Rogue

One of the great things about my job is that I get to meet people who are smart, interesting, inspiring, legendary, (at least in some circles), challenging and from time to time some or all of the above.

Yesterday my colleagues and I (all four of us) spent a few illuminating hours with Ted Nelson.
He immediately endeared himself to me be mentioning his LP and his claim (as yet undisputed apparently) to have written and staged the first Rock Musical. I raised a rye smile as I considered my own album releases and the unfinished Punk Rock Musical project I've been chipping away at in odd moments over the last five or six years.

Ted Nelson has been called "one of the most influential contrarians in the history of the information age." (Edwards, 1997), and I can see why.

Ted declared himself "Poet, Philosopher and Rogue" at the age of 16, a description I'd say holds true to this day and is probably as apposite a semantic tag as one might hope to find for him.

Credited with coining the term Hypertext, and imagining a system of deep document interconnection as expressed in Project Xanadu - the Web appears to him a real missed opportunity.

As someone who has an active interest in trying to kill the browser and the application I have a great deal of sympathy for his thinking - and I can see also why it annoys so many people.
What was particularly interesting was that some of Ted's ideas gave my colleagues and I an alternative framework for understanding, debating and enhancing some of our own ideas, which are increasingly in conflict with or at least straining at the boundaries of the conventions of current Internet and computing.

I've always had a soft spot for people who force the re-evaluation of accepted truths!

Even the areas of The Semantic Web, Web as a Platform, SOA and Grid computing I am currently engaged in, though seemingly rewriting so many rules and conventions, don't seek to look at so many of the fundamentals.

Do I agree with everything Ted says - well no and I think some of his assertions need reassessing as technology has plugged some of the gaps he sees, for instance there are contemporary examples of cut and paste being reflected by visual moving of text from one place to another - but the sanity of transclusion vs linking, unbreakable links, origin connection, two-way links, deep version management and incremental publishing for example, does strike a chord and offer solutions to some of the short comings of the web as it stands that annoy me on a daily basis.

So, I'm now digging deeper into his ideas and going back to basics and having another read of Vannevar Bush etc and trying to rebuild my own opinions and conclusions of IT from the ground up.

Whether Ted Nelson is wrong or right in his thinking, isn't important to me right now, the spur to reassess my own perceptions is!

--> Wikipedia entry
--> Ted's Webby
--> Project Xanadu

All thats wrong with Apple ...

At the risk of turning this into a very iPod centric blog I have to comment on this, the most ghastly of pseudo cool iCrap - the Apple iPod Sock. Nooooooooooooooooooo!

I made my own:

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sound Tracking

I've now got a 'Sound track' section in the side bar, over there ---> somewhere.

This displays the music I'm currently listening to (last five tracks) or at least the music I'm listening to on with iTunes on any of my Windows PC's running .net framework!!! I guess we'll have to wait for my colleague's dreams to come to fruition in order to blog everything that hits my ears, regardless of source!

I've been fiddling with this idea for a few months now my initial experiments worked but I was relying on poking http Post through a browser from a desk top JavaScript - needless to say that, although the monitoring was spot on, it was less than desirable to spawn a new browser instance everytime a new track was played.

But now I found iTunesBlogger, a nifty little C# app. I've caught the output from the app with an ASP script and iFramed it into the blog template. I also write an RSS(ish) feed to my server but haven't got around to doing anything with it yet!

iTunesBlogger can be a little clunky on my desktop system, occasionally locking up, but it does the job well enough - thanx!

BBC NEWS | Business | How to make money from ideas

BBC NEWS | Business | How to make money from ideas: "How to make money from ideas
By Anne Miller

Anne Miller
Ms Miller: 'R&D is the most important sector within the $2.2 trillion global creative economy'
As part of the East of England's Space for Ideas initiative, inventor Anne Miller, who has registered more than 30 patents during the last 20 years, celebrates Britain's creative minds and asks why the UK is so lousy at making money from them.

The British are recognised internationally as being highly creative.

The workshop of the world may have long since disintegrated, but the UK still has the scientists, the engineers and the creatives to watch out for.

Our problem is that we ourselves often fail to recognise this strength, and most importantly, we are let down by a lack of understanding of how to convert ideas into commercial successes...."

Interesting article, articluating a lot of the frustrations I recognise working in Technology R&D. Read full article here.