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Writing: 2004

  1. Combining RSS feeds into one feed and page

    After tinkering for a few weeks I’ve written a script that combines my writing, notes, links and Flickr photos into a single RSS feed and creates a single chronological front page for my site. Feel free to nab my script.

  2. Combining things into one RSS feed

    Sucking up four RSS feeds and spitting them out in one combined feed. But it doesn’t quite seem to work in some feed readers. Help appreciated.

  3. Posting links from to Movable Type

    I wrote some perl to transfer links — both today’s and old dusty ones from the past — to appropriately dated Movable Type entries.

  4. More fiddling

    A couple of changes to what I’m doing with - if you bookmarked my page or feed you may want to change it slightly…

  5. My links have moved to

    Migrating to was made easier with a handy guide, but I’m still having problems getting things to work.

  6. Haddock Blogs working better

    Like a toilet unblocking, a big flush of blog posts erupts…

  7. Haddock Blogs a bit broken

    If you follow the aggregated weblog feeds at Haddock Blogs you should be aware that it’s…

  8. Adaptive design course

    I’m running a five-afternoon course in London called “Designing for Adaptation”, starting next week.

  9. How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

    It’s taken me years to get round to buying and reading this book (and months to type the…

  10. New Jamie Oliver website

    I’ve been working on the site for Jamie Oliver’s new book at Poke — there’s some nice stuff in there…

  11. Walking on the right

    It seems there’s a convention of pedestrians passing each other on the right in America. If so, is there also a convention of passing on the left in the UK and I’ve been oblivious to it my whole life? Am I dumb?

  12. Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

    To be honest I was a little disappointed by Amusing Ourselves to Death, although this may have been…

  13. Encoding with the very latest LAME in iTunes

    An easy way to use the latest version of LAME with Blacktree’s handy iTunes-LAME Encoder thingummy, without touching the command line.

  14. Andrew O’Hagan on the Republican convention

    Two quotable passages from O’Hagan’s London Review of Books report from the US Republican Convention. A relentless summary of the state of America and a frightening conversation.

  15. Movable Type 3 problems solved

    Mainly so that anyone Googling for solutions to these problems is satisfied, those handy folk on the Movable Type support forum have solved the problems I was having.

  16. Movable Type 3 problems

    I’m having two problems with my upgrade to Movable Type 3.11: The Scheduled Posting script generates errors, and I get lots of “403 Throttled” errors when Pepys’ Diary generates a load of TrackBacks. Help appreciated.

  17. Morning News interview with Alex Ross

    A very quotable interview with the ‘New Yorker’s music critic. Lots of good stuff.

  18. 1 bed flat for sale in Hackney

    I’m selling my flat in the art deco style Strand Building in London. Come buy it!

  19. Seeing the light flicker

    Finally discovering the joys of Flickr, months after everyone else, getting annoyed with its information architecture, and revelling in the growing number of small pieces joining loosely.

  20. Euro Foo Camp: Simon Wardley - 3D Printing

    Wardley and his two Canon colleagues aren’t working in this (I think) but have been…

  21. Euro Foo Camp: Tomas Krag & John Naughton - Digital Divide

    A small group for this one… John Naughton: Ndiyo — the Swahili word for yes. (Most…

  22. Euro Foo Camp: Jo Walsh - Literate Programming

    Jo Walsh started a discussion about what literate programming is, how practical it is, what we can…

  23. Euro Foo Camp: Steve Coast - OpenTextBook & OpenStreetMap

    Steve Coast (physics student at UCL) on OpenTextBook and OpenStreetMap both of which could do with…

  24. Euro Foo Camp: Matt Webb - Brain Hacks

    Matt Webb entertains the crowd with his descriptions of experiments on psychology undergraduates.…

  25. Euro Foo Camp: Ben Hammersley - Better Living Through RSS

    Debonair man-about-town Ben Hammersley talking about what he’s been squeezing into RSS.…

  26. MP3 blogs and the record labels

    A roundtable discussion of MP3 bloggers seems remarkably optimistic about the record labels’ stance on people giving away their artists’ music. A flurry of letters from lawyers seems much more likely to me…

  27. London Review of Books, 5 August 2004

    Contents page online here Only one review really grabbed me this issue, which I paraphrase here.…

  28. The Art of Fiction by David Lodge

    I read this when it was a series of columns in the Independent on Sunday. Nice to read it again.…

  29. Let’s live today, anyway. Change me, change me, change me once again

    It’s not often you get a chance to see characters in a film genuinely age ten years. ‘Before Sunrise’ gives you this and much, much more. Magic.

  30. London Review of Books, 22 July 2004

    Contents page online here ‘Stainless Splendour’ by Stefan Collini It’s not just…

  31. St Pancras Chambers

    Yesterday I went on a tour of the elegant building at St Pancras station, currently derelict, soon to be converted into a new hotel and apartments, and took some photos.

  32. Anyone for a greasy?

    Mourning the passing of the New Piccadilly cafe in central London and celebrating other simple caffs.

  33. London Review of Books, 8 July 2004

    Contents page online here ‘Reasons to Be Miserable‘ by James Meek Lengthy quotes, but…

  34. Big head

    Those cheeky chappies at Poke stuck my big face to a wall.

  35. Disk Inventory X

    Playing with the utility that gives you a brighly-coloured treemap (a la Market Map or Newsmap) of your Mac’s drive, showing exactly what’s eating all that precious space.

  36. Inaccessible Odeon

    Odeon has forced Matthew Somerville to shut down his accessible version of their site. All the more amazing when Odeon’s official site is completely invisible in some browsers.

  37. What webloggers are reading this summer

    I asked a bunch of webloggers what they’re reading this summer. Because I was more interested in that than what celebrities are reading this summer.

  38. Blogloops

    Bloglines’ first birthday revamp introduces public blogs, shrinking the incestuous blogging cycle a little further.

  39. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo by Saskia Sassen

    While the book is undoubtedly oriented around cities, very little of it is about the structure or…

  40. RCA and CSM degree shows

    My highlights of the Royal College of Art degree show and a brief comparison with the Central Saint Martins show.

  41. Byliner stats

    A graph showing the rate of new registrations at Byliner (on the up), and the most popular search requests.

  42. New and improved Jamie Oliver

    This year, when I haven’t been coding I’ve been employed at the lovely Poke working on the new Jamie Oliver website, which launched yesterday. Here are a few highlights.

  43. Beach hut photos

    Photos of the brightest beach huts on the Essex coast.

  44. Bishopsgate Goods Yard demolition

    You can’t see much of the demolition from the street, but from a few stories up you get a better view of the brick mountains. Photos here.

  45. We’re gonna need a bigger pipe

    I’ve been grabbing music from Mostyn’s Music Page for some time, but I only recently realised that a whole MP3 Blog scene has been blossoming out there. It’s official: I am now several weeks behind the bleeding edge.

  46. Upgrading to Movable Type 3 (or not)

    I upgraded to MT3 on my development site, but haven’t rolled anything out live, having hit some problems. I’ll wait for them to be fixed officially, rather than spend time hacking…

  47. Installing DBI and DBD::mysql on Mac OS X Panther

    A guide to installing DBI and DBD::mysql, which I completely failed to find anywhere online (or at least, in a form that worked).


    Our new project launches today after several months of work… track your MP’s most recent appearances in parliament, search all the speeches and written answers, comment on proceedings…

  49. London’s Elections - The Designers

    Analysing the London mayoral candidates based on their grasp of design. Few have any.

  50. Less metadata, more music

    Having thrown away my to do list, I recently finished transferring 342 songs taped from the radio to MP3.

  51. Dabbling

    Last summer I tried my hand at painting, after nine years of doing none. It went OK, and I did three paintings I was quite pleased with, but damn, it’s hard work.

  52. External scaffolding

    I’ve started taking notes when reading non-fiction, in an attempt to hammer facts and ideas into my broken sieve of a brain. So I though I might as well put them online, starting with three books.

  53. Homeostatic envelope

    The idea that there are boundaries defining the limits of normal experience, from joy to depression, and

  54. Belgrade and Novi Sad

    Lots of traffic, even more sports shoes and a couple of photos.

  55. Goof of the day

    The official Parliament website plumbs new depths of cluelessness.

  56. The Balkans by Mark Mazower

    The fact that the recent troubles in the area only get a couple of the 135 pages shows what a…

  57. Audioscrobbler

    Having lots of fun with Audioscrobbler, which is, really, kind of like a social networking site without all the annoying “Are you my friend” stuff, and with lots and lots of music.

  58. Donald Barthelme’s reading list

    81 works recommended by Donald Barthelme, and why such reading lists are far more intriguing than ‘50 Essential Albums You Must Own’ style lists.

  59. Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web by David Weinberger

    I never expect much from net-related books, assuming I’ll have heard it all before elsewhere.…

  60. Bye bye HyperCard

    HyperCard has been put out of its misery, which seems inevitable but a shame. But you can download a stack I made a dozen years ago. About tea.

  61. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World by Kevin Kelly

    Reading this for the first time, ten years after publication, it’s a mix of comfortingly…

  62. Powergen’s negative energy

    How can one company do so many simple things wrong: Powergen sent me a gas bill a while back,…

  63. Goodbye frames, hello CSS

    Live After Dark, a site I developed at Poke around the New Year, went live last week and despite the design’s flouting of many of today’s best web design practices, I’m proud of certain aspects of its construction.

  64. Houston’s transport

    Houston’s got light rail. But it didn’t when I was there, and I’ve provided a handy set of bullet-points outlining my experience of travel in the city.

  65. Goodbye spam

    A graph demonstrating what a difference using has made to my incoming email over the past month.

  66. California photos

    My photos of sunsets, palm trees, blue skies, and few people, from my recent trip.

  67. Goodbye

    I’m unsubscribing from the the Well after seven years. It was OK.

  68. Back from California

    Etcon highlights, a couple of days in LA, and a tempered enthusiasm for America.

  69. Why not to buy a Roomba

    The cute little robot vacuum cleaners have rather less ethical cousins.

  70. Pre-conference fun

    What I got up to on Monday in San Diego. Walking, CDs, books, burger, horse shoeing, Mexican.

  71. I forgot to pack my cynicism

    A worryingly seductive train journey from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

  72. I’ve had it up to here

    After 5,000 MyDoom emails in the past couple of weeks I’m signing up to Knowspam, to get my email back.

  73. Whither Ikeaphobia?

    Many people say Ikea and Starbucks are evil. Adam Greenfield says they’re fine. I say the world’s not so simple and these black and white arguments don’t help anyone.

  74. MapQuestster

    My frustration at spatial annotation ideas and social networking nonsense spouted gently onto the Geowanking mailing list.

  75. Their first movies

    Quotes from ‘My First Movie’ on how driven (or otherwise) first-time directors have to be.

  76. Back when 1KB was more than enough

    A photo of my family gathered around the roaring flicker of a ZX81’s black and white display.

  77. Bah, kids today…

    The excitement and thrills of living in London, where you too could get knocked off your bike by a gang of aimless teenagers!

  78. Weblogs, unexplained

    Watching the word “weblog” appear in the press with gradually decreasing amounts of explanation.

  79. Pepys TrackBack: fixing the problems and a new layout

    I had to write some tools to manage the duplicated TrackBacks at Pepys’ Diary, but it meant I could then create a whole new (un-TrackBack-like) layout for the TrackBack listings.

  80. TrackBack problems at Pepys’ Diary

    Sending several dozen pings from a Movable Type entry sometimes seems to make things go a bit wonky.

  81. The Poetics of Space

    I was unexpectedly disappointed by Gaston Bachelard’s book, so I’d love to know why it’s so highly rated. Enlighten me!

  82. National Theatre vs Burning Man

    How did Denis Tricot’s fire scuplture at the National Theatre compare to Burning Man? Well, they had poi…

  83. This year’s non-resolutions

    Things I hope to do more of in 2004 that really aren’t resolutions at all, oh no.

  84. And then the bar code reader breaks

    ‘Seinfeld’s Newman on the mail.

  85. The Sky at Night

    Three old white-haired men in bow ties! On TV! It’s crazy!

  86. Bolero, Houston, R&B, The Office and Pop Idol

    Stumbling across great radio and TV, and ending up in tears.