Writing from July 2003

Getting there, slowly…

Six months in and only 3,000 or so days left to go with Pepys' Diary. At current rates we'll have 85,333 comments posted to the site by the end!

In Pepys' Diary on 1 July 2003. Permalink

Birkenstock

You'd think that someone writing an article about how Birkenstocks are accidentally fashionable would have done some, any, research and then pointed out that in the US the company is going out of its way to appear trendy with an entirely new range of footwear.

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In Misc on 2 July 2003. 5 comments. Permalink

Freelance charging

I've been doing a spot of freelance webmonkeying at Syzygy where everyone seems to work, rather than have fun. No wonder they're still in business five and a half years after I was last there. It's no way to run a dotcom I tell ya!

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In Misc on 3 July 2003. 12 comments. Permalink

Greil Marcus

One of the few writers I used to use Byliner to track was Greil Marcus and his 'Real Life Rock Top 10's on Salon.com. Most music writers seem to drain music of all excitement just by writing about it, but Marcus doesn't lose a drop. He can describe a track by someone I'd normally dismiss out of hand and after a paragraph I'll be hunting the MP3.

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In Byliner, Music on 9 July 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

And Nancy Banks-Smith too

Yonks ago (less than five, but certainly more than a couple) I wanted to add Nancy Banks-Smith, the Guardian's masterful TV reviewer and national treasure, to Byliner but I couldn't find a suitable page to index. Then -- duh -- I realised I could monitor the paper's search results for 'Nancy Banks-Smith'. So here she is, all Bylinered up. While her writing doesn't make me wish I'd caught, say, last night's EastEnders, the turns of phrase at least have me relishing her reviews of it, a talent no other writer can match.

In Byliner, Television on 12 July 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Doonesbury via RSS

I love 'Doonesbury' but I rarely buy a paper or visit the website. So I've whipped up an RSS file that will link to the past week's strips. Feel free to use it.

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In Misc on 12 July 2003. 8 comments. Permalink

HTML is for grown ups

Creating HTML professionally is an odd thing, because many people assume it's not difficult. This isn't, perhaps, surprising when most peoples' oldest relatives could knock out an HTML page with a few minutes of coaching, even without a friendly WYSIWYG editor. Which is, obviously, a splendid and wondrous fact, and one of the things that makes the Web a miraculous place.

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In Web Development on 17 July 2003. 3 comments. Permalink

Removing languages

My Mac's been getting gradually slower and more horrifically crash prone for the past week, to the point where it was unusable. So I'm spending the weekend reinstalling everything which, so far, is making it feel much zippier. In the process I've lost email for most of Thursday and Friday, so if you sent me something and I don't reply, that might be why.

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In Mac on 27 July 2003. Permalink

Encoding with LAME in iTunes revisited

If you ever followed my guide to encoding MP3s with LAME in iTunes, you may find v2.x of iTunes-LAME Encoder better than the old AppleScript version I originally pointed to. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks nicer and apparently has the LAME code built in.

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In Mac on 27 July 2003. Permalink

Great ‘24’ review

I don't watch 24 but I loved this Sight & Sound review of it by David Thompson.

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In Television on 27 July 2003. Permalink

T610 dimness

Like everyone else who bought a mobile phone in the past month, I've replaced my clunky old freebie Motorola with a Sony Ericsson T610. While it satisfies all my criteria -- small, cute, tri-band, bluetooth-syncable with Mac OS X, non-Motorola interface, polyphonic ringtones -- and has a camera, he was right about the dim display. While it lights up a darkened room like a pocket-size sun, outside on a bright (but still cloudy) day, the screen was only just readable. So, it'll be perfect for you if you never go out. Although the camera only works in decent light. But apart from that it's as lovely as I hoped.

In Misc on 27 July 2003. Permalink

Essex signposts and milestones

My mum pointed me at Milestones Online, a site cataloguing signposts and milestones, mostly in my home county of Essex. Not the modern green reflective signposts of course, but those old cast iron posts that you see on country roads between villages with names like Stapleford Tawney and Tolleshunt D'Arcy. Among the good old fashioned homepage styling (centered text, background images, confusing navigation, etc.) there are photos of dozens of signposts (actually, "guideposts") and photos of milestones on different routes such as the road between London and Harwich. I love it when the web makes you take more notice of things in the real world.

In Misc on 27 July 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Open mapping

In Osnabrück, Germany, a group of people have "developed a free dataset of geographic vector information" for the city using free software. (As their site states, such map information isn't freely available in Europe, unlike the US.) Apparently the city donated the satellite photos used to create the data. Great stuff, I assume, not that I'm able to read the rest of the site.

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In Misc on 29 July 2003. Permalink

Three web widgets

Three things I may never need again now this project's finished, but just in case:

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On 30 July 2003. 1 comment. Permalink