Writing from July 2010

Sieve filters

My email is all hosted at Tuffmail, which a friend recommended a few years ago, and which I now recommend to other friends in turn. Yes, you have to pay, but the spam filtering is wonderful, you can buy loads of storage, and it’s never down. One of the best things is being able to filter mail directly on the server — I never use my mail client’s rules, as all my email is in the correct folders already.


In Misc on 2 July 2010. 1 comment. Permalink

Week 367

That was a busy week, on work and social fronts and in the overlap between.


In Week notes on 4 July 2010. Permalink

More than a million

Catching up on some articles I meant to blog but didn’t get round to at the time, this is a review by Christopher Turner of An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected The World by Frances Larson. It’s stunning when you realise the scale of Wellcome’s lifetime of compulsive collecting: “By the 1930s more than a million archaeological artefacts, ethnographic specimens and objects pertaining to medical history were jam-packed in warehouses all over London.”


In Periodicals on 5 July 2010. Permalink

Cool down, little girl

A couple of book reviews I read a while ago made me realise how it’s the little human details that can bring alive big, over-familiar events. In these cases sexism and racism. (No, read on, it’s less worthy than that sounds!)


In Periodicals on 6 July 2010. Permalink

Making a web page fit an iPhone screen

When trying to make Today’s Guardian work better on the iPhone I had a strange problem with the pages sometimes being too wide for the device. It took me a while to figure out the solution, and it seems a bit odd, but here’s what I found out.


In Web Development on 6 July 2010. 12 comments. Permalink

A pint bottle full of HeLa

This is a fascinating article from the London Review of Books by Cathy Gere, reviewing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.


In Periodicals on 7 July 2010. Permalink

30 tons of baggage

Even though I’m not really one for reading travel books, or books of daring escapades, there’s something about tales of Victorian exploration that tend to boggle the mind. Earlier in the year R.W. Johnson reviewed The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa by Bertrand Taithe in the London Review of Books.


In Periodicals on 8 July 2010. Permalink

Pirate economics

There’s a good bit about the economics of piracy (the classic ARRRRRR! kind of piracy, rather than the modern Somali kind) in this article by Stephen Sedley in the London Review of Books, discussing The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter Leeson:


In Periodicals on 9 July 2010. Permalink

Publishing with old dates in Movable Type

Jon Udell recently posted about trying to get a WordPress.com blog working well with content that has historical dates. This reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write up how I got Movable Type working well with the 17th century dates of The Diary of Samuel Pepys.


In Movable Type, Pepys' Diary on 9 July 2010. Permalink

Week 368

Things eased off a little this week, sandwiched between a way-too-hectic week and what is, currently, a long summer free of any commitments.


In Week notes on 9 July 2010. Permalink


For the past few months I’ve been working off and on at Somethin’ Else on a project for Channel 4 Education. Yesterday it launched: SuperMe, a site to help teenagers cope better with setbacks.


In Work on 13 July 2010. Permalink

‘Cognitive Surplus’ by Clay Shirky

I just read Clay Shirky’s latest book Cognitive Surplus. Here are the bits that jumped out at me — either made me think about something differently, put something vague into words, or seemed otherwise worth remembering. It’s not a summary of the entire book, and I haven’t added my thoughts. The book’s worth a read.


In Books on 16 July 2010. Permalink

Week 369

No client work this week, which was a welcome luxury.


In Week notes on 17 July 2010. Permalink


An idle thought… Websites are experimenting with ways of getting people to pay for their content. Pay $ to read this article! Pay $$ to read all our stuff for a year! But I’m not sure this works in the Age of Point-At Things.


In Misc on 17 July 2010. 3 comments. Permalink

Ignore the naming of objects

I just came across a scrap of card on which I made a note to remember this review by Jonathan Lear in the LRB of two books by Christopher Bollas, “perhaps the most prolific and widely read psychoanalytic author at work today”. I think I wanted to remember these paragraphs in particular:


In Periodicals on 24 July 2010. Permalink

A better afterlife

Another article I meant to note at the time was this, by Stefan Collini, in the LRB, about three reports on British aspiration, social attitudes, and inequality. The whole thing is worth a read, not least for the latter part about how stunningly, and increasingly, unequal the UK is. I’ve pulled out a couple of other interesting bits.


In Periodicals on 24 July 2010. Permalink