Writing from April 2003

What’s that? It’s a CV!

In case you happened to be looking for it, this is my CV in unattractive but easy to email form (my timeline is a less authoritative but more fun accompaniment). If you have any comments on the CV, I'd be glad to hear them, and I'll be thinking more about exactly what I want to do, but initial options are:

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In Personal on 2 April 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Geo-encoding UpMyStreet

UpMyStreet is already geo-encoded in a way of course, as almost every page contains specific information about the user's postcode. However we've now linked things together using latitude and longitude in three ways:

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In Web Development on 3 April 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

UpMyStreet Falco

Of course, my news about geo-encoding on UpMyStreet may get a little lost in the fact that UpMyStreet is falco-ing, I mean, up for sale. The quick-witted among you may also link this to my last-but-one post pointing out my CV -- while I've been wondering whether to quit for the best part of a year, due to lack of challenge, my mind has obviously been made up for me. No doubt I'll be writing more about this soon (along with the other webloggers people with weblogs who surround me and are the reason for me staying until now).

In Personal on 3 April 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Tax-efficient giving

I thought there must be some schemes that made donating to charities more tax efficient than simply saying goodbye to chunks of money. And there is, as The Giving Campaign describes. The simplest method for individuals to donate is Gift Aid: When you give money to a charity you tell them you want it to count as Gift Aid, or fill out a form to that effect. The charity can then claim 28 per cent of the donation from the Inland Revenue, boosting their income. And if you are a higher rate tax payer, you can also claim 18 per cent of your Gift Aid donations back when you fill out your tax return. If you're a member of any charities you can also pay your membership fees through Gift Aid (depending on what you get in return from the charities), as this Inland Revenue leaflet on individual giving describes.

In Misc on 7 April 2003. 2 comments. Permalink

London tours

My dad just mentioned that it's possible to look round the amazing St Pancras building, and they also do organised tours (you may recognise the interior from the Spice Girls' first video!). I've also been meaning to go on a tour of the Freemasons' Grand Lodge in Covent Garden for ages. This page says "Tours are generally available during the week between 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Saturday tours must be pre-booked and there might be a fee."

In Misc on 8 April 2003. Permalink

Haddock Blogs problem

Live Journal appears to have changed its URLs, meaning Haddock Blogs has filled up with all LJ users' recent entries. Grrr. Anyway, I'm just posting this so that people who read Haddock Blogs via RSS get a message explaining what's gone wrong.

In Misc on 10 April 2003. Permalink

More UpMyStreet

Tom has a round up of press about UpMyStreet's continuing administration. He misses out Mike Butcher's comprehensive analysis of the situation (although Butcher's attributions of some ideas aren't, ahem, wholly accurate).

Meanwhile, I'm trying to come up with the best analogy for having a group of stern suit-wearing strangers take over a company. Current front runners: A foreign state setting up government in a newly conquered country; and a group of Internal Affairs agents setting up office in the NYPD Blue precinct room, while Sipowicz et al continue their daily business. Any others? Collective nouns?

In Personal on 10 April 2003. 5 comments. Permalink

Byliner RSS feeds

At last, I've got round to implementing RSS feeds for your favourite web writers on Byliner.

Back when I was wondering whether to dump Byliner one of the things that swung me back towards keeping it was the idea of producing RSS feeds for each users' stories. RSS wasn't used much when I originally wrote Byliner but when Yoz and then Ben Hammersley suggested RSS feeds I became enthusiastic about the site again.

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In Byliner on 17 April 2003. Permalink

Heading to EtCon

It's all very last minute, but next week I'll be attending the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and camping in Danny's back garden, otherwise known temporarily as Emerging Man. So, if you're around and want to meet up, email me. (Thanks Stef.)

In Personal on 17 April 2003. Permalink

Walton from the air

Right now I'm in San Jose, but I spent the first two days of the Easter weekend in a very windy Walton-on-the-Naze, a seaside town on the Essex coast I've visited pretty much every year of my life. My sister found some great aerial shots of the area at this site of Walton photos. This one is particularly fine, showing the "backwater" inlets in the centre of the image. The backwater is bleakly beautiful, and reminiscent of the landscapes in Lawless Heart, one of my favourite films of last year, shot in the Essex town of Maldon. The backwater was also the setting for the getting-stuck-up-a-pole-when-the-tide-comes-in antics in Arthur Ransome's book Secret Water (US UK).

In Misc on 21 April 2003. Permalink

Riding on city buses for a hobby is sad

American public transport is always a mixed experience. The vehicles themselves are usually great: the massive silver AmTrak trains, the practical buses with their clever bike racks jutting from the front bumpers; the occasional light rail or tram system. But given the country's endless sprawl and the disappointing level of demand for public transport, it can be a challenge to get from A to B. On Sunday I landed in San Francisco at 1.30pm, and five hours and two buses later (the train not working at weekends) I was picked up in San Jose and finally reached Emerging Man. The population stood at Danny, Quinn, Gilbert, Ada and Gavin, with Ben arriving in the Jones-mobile later.

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In Personal on 23 April 2003. Permalink

Another day in San Jose

We got a lovely reception when we arrived to register at Etcon on Tuesday morning. The lady with the badges was very pleased to see us and Ben was all excited when handed his badge and bag of goodies. But when she realised Gavin and I weren't speaking at the event she sent us to the ordinary punters' registration room. Where a glum woman told us we couldn't register for another four hours and, no, we couldn't have lunch. That would have been really annoying if we'd travelled all the way from where we were staying just to get registered or something.

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In Personal on 24 April 2003. 2 comments. Permalink

The first day of EtCon sessions

The conference proper kicked off first thing Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, so did the worst migraine I've had in several years, resulting in me spending much of the day half-comatose, throwing up or sleeping in a kindly donated hotel room. I emerged in time to catch Brewster Kahle talk about the Internet Archive's Bookmobile, the bad effects of lengthy copyright periods, and other wonderful text-related projects. It shouldn't be amazing that this much good stuff is happening in the world, but it is. Matt Webb took some notes.

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In Personal on 24 April 2003. Permalink

EtCon day 2

The day got off to a blinding start with Alan Kay's keynote bemoaning the direction software has taken over the past decades. He ran through some of the early developments like Spacewar on the PDP-1 computer and Douglas Engelbart's 1968 demo of collaborative computing (among other things). Early innovations that were powerful and flexible. But forty years on we've ended up with clunky and complicated operating systems and applications.

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In Personal on 25 April 2003. Permalink

EtCon day 3

After packing my tent in the rain I missed the first keynote on Microsoft web services, but that wasn't much of a hardship. The second was about Google and how it works... not from a technical point of view, but as a company; how new ideas are pursued, creativity encouraged, new staff hired. It was inspiring, and one can only wish that other *cough* companies followed similar principles. Some collaborative notes were taken using Hydra. (More on how Google functions in these Fast Company articles: 1, 2.)

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In Personal on 26 April 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Home and catching up on EtCon

Hmm, something seems to have gone terribly wrong... I appear to be in a city lacking endless gorgeous houses and stunning hilltop views. Ah, I must be home. Oh well.

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On 29 April 2003. Permalink

EtCon photos

I'll shut up about the bloody thing soon, but until then, here's the handful of photos I took last week.

In Personal on 30 April 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

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