Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edinburgh Festival & Fringe 2009

Absolutely loved my holiday in Edinburgh, enjoying the sites and sounds of the various festivals. It truly is a fascinating and beautiful city, vividly brought to life in August by the thousands of shows and their lively promoters.

I was a festival/fringe virgin until now and absolutely loved the heady mix of booze, comedy and music. It brings back those lovely, lazy student years.

Well, my highlights of Edinburgh -

  • The National Museum of Scotland - great interactive as well as historical stuff (plus see Dolly the Sheep).
  • A-team the musical, really.
  • Bec Hill - cutesy but fun stand up exploring the nature of super heroes. With free cheese on toast.
  • John Robins - excellent stand up, with great observations on relationship breakdown. Warning - your girlfriend will want to take him home and look after him
  • Book Festival - meet authors, buy books, listen to readings - great!!!
Also found out they give awards for the funniest jokes at the fringe. My fave:

Marcus Brigstocke - "To the people who've got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn't invent it!"

The best (and worst) fringe gags are here -

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why search engines are like buses

What is it with search engines? You wait ages for one then 3 turn up at once.

  • Bing - Microsoft's (reportedly) last stab at getting search right. It boasts improved search results (don't they all), a range of innovative features and a shiny look and feel. Mmm, nice picture though.
  • Wolfram Alpha - described as a "computational knowledge engine". Oooh get her. Anyway the brainchild of an English academic, Wolfram alpha attempts to fully answer simple or complex requests using jazzy algorithms and huuuge data sets. Not so good for finding a local restaurant.
  • Google Squared - always on the prowl, Google released this cross between search and spreadsheet, spreadengine? searchsheet? Any good? You decide.
  • Not really a search engine at all but one to note for the future is Google Wave, which purports to be the time saving collaboration solution we've all apparently been looking for. A mash up of email, chat, twitter and facebook. It aims to consolidate these disparate means of communication into one easy to use interface. Lots of hype around this one...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Google Balls

Google Bad

Google made a mistake! Really. Well one of their junior engineers did apparently.

For a brief period of a time every search result returned in the SERPS was marked with their infamous "This site may harm your computer" tag, usually reserved for only the most scurrilous and scummy of malware purveyors.

Where did it all go wrong? Someone entered a slash where there shouldn't have been, basically - thus adding all SERPS results to the scum file. Read more.

Its comforting to know that a human hand still steers the tiller over at Cyberdine though isn't it?

Google Good

On a related note Google have announced a few new toys:

  • Tasks in Gmail - a handy to do list which pops up a la Google chat.
  • New and improved Google Earth - it now includes detailed ocean info. Yep, really. You can splash into the Marianas trench and have alook around. If you really want.
  • Google Lattitude - this is quite interesting. You can advertise your geographic location to friends and family via your smartphone or laptop. Clearly this has some intense privacy ramifications and G are quick to point out that everything is opt in. So if you are playing away make sure your phone is off...
Not bad, I think we can forgive them their boo boo, don't you?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Stephen Fry, Twitter and a move

Hellooo! I know, I know so much time has passed since my last meaningful post dear reader, but things have been afoot.

Love bites

First of all news: I am quitting Spain for a possibly ill advised attempt at re-integrating myself into the arctic conditions of the UK. The move comes about not, I hasten to add, because I have fallen out of love with Spain, but rather because I have fallen in love with a girl. [Vomiting noises off....]

Yes I know it sounds a little saccharine and twee but its true and there it is. 

Interestingly I have been looking at the UK jobs market and find myself a bit adrift. Yes there is a recession on, but there also appear to be plenty of IT posts kicking around (hundreds everyday on jobserve for example). 

My problem is I am not sure of my value and how up to date my skillset is compared with the demands of the UK jobs scene. One thing I have noted is that SEO/SEM positions appear to pay more handsomely than straight coding jobs and that there are more .NET than open source jobs. 

I am actually looking forward to getting back into the fray, I think my time spent working freelance has somewhat blunted my inquisitive/acquisitive bent. Translation: I've become lazy.

Twittering On

Anyway enough of my personal drivel, time it seems for everyone else's:  two things have caught my attention recently. One is the rise of twitter. I still am not sure of the value of this message vomit. 

The whole world from celebs through to my gurus and even my girlfriend appears to be tweeting. The constant stream of consciousness from millions proves addictive to many, I am not sure yet whether I will become such an addict. Perhaps I need to be more selective.

Ironically the second thing I wanted to share comes from following a Stephen Fry tweet to his blog where he muses excellently on the iPhone for example. The joy is to find a great wordsmith such as Fry is also an avid techie and keen early adopter. His blog is now on my reading list. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Man babies. Erm...

This is odd, but funny. And I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere about men are just little boys with more disposable income. - Dad?

Anyway have a look at Manbabies. Even the name sounds a bit unsettling doesn't it?