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Sunday, November 26
On the importance of hyperlinks and other miscellanea

Tim Berners-Lee, for all intents and purposes the inventor of the WWW, on the importance of hyperlinks:

On the web, to make reference without making a link is possible but ineffective - like speaking but with a paper bag over your head.
- Tim Berners Lee, in Links and Law: Myths


I really love this quote. I also love how he dismissed the urge for developers and startups to label themselves as "2.0";

Berners-Lee has dismissed Web 2.0 as useless jargon nobody can explain and a set of technology that tries to achieve exactly the same thing as "Web 1.0."


Of course, none of this is new news, but I feel that many people still forget that none of this 2.0 stuff came about by accident. To me, Web 2.0 is just people realising that suddenly, things they were always able to do are now en vogue once more - and if they slap some bevelled edges on everything and add some nice, shiny graphics, bingo: Web 2.0-ified. It's also the realisation that they can peddle these things as real innovations, and rake in the cash from venture capital firms by flogging them as new, clever inventions - and yeah, while some of these things are really innovative, pretty much all of them have been done before in some shape or form, just slightly less elegantly. That's through no fault of their own though, the technology enabling people to realise their ideas has always played catch-up to the ideas themselves for a long, long time.

Don't go mad kids, it's just progress... With a drizzling of paradigm shift for flavour.



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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 11/26/2006 02:43:00 PM. Roughly.
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Saturday, November 18
VHS Is Dead, Long Live VHS

Ladies, gents and crossgenders, doff your caps for the timely passing of a modern-day legend: the humble VHS cassette. And so it came to pass that on the 16th of November, 2006, the VHS was officially declared dead:

Its pretty much over, concurred Buena Vista Home Entertainment general manager North America Lori MacPherson on Tuesday.



VHS, we had some good times, some bad times (favourite tapes getting mangled up inside the machine, and Dad having to CUT THEM OUT WITH SCISSORS NOOOOO), and some great times (Fireman Sam and Thomas The Tank Engine on near-constant repeat during my younger years), but unfortunately all good things must come to pass, and well, I've not bought a VHS cassette, blank or otherwise, for at least 2 years now.

Actually, it might be three years.

So, sayonara VHS. JVC made an absolute FORTUNE from licensing your technology rights to other manufacturers, and I don't think you had a bad run. However, all is not lost - we get to enjoy the VHS/Betamax war all over again now. I have a bet on with my housemate that by 2008, HD-DVD will be the dominant format, and Blu-Ray will be either obsolete or the least-favoured format, but that remains to be seen.

It's going to be fun though, we won't forget you.

Read more: http://dlisted.com/2006/11/16/rip-vhs/

Also, don't discount HVD, being developed by Fuji, the next next-gem storage format which could, provided it receives enough studio backing (THE crucial factor) win the contest on its own... Technologically, it has astounding capabilities, even compared to BD or HD-DVD, but it's allll about how willing the studios and big businesses are to reinvest once again in a new format having already spent millions (and committed, in some cases) to one particular format.

Sadly, I see it only becoming popular in the retail and business storage market areas, but home users could also make good use of it given a few years for the prices to reach acceptable levels (imagine backing up entire images of your largest hard drive five, six times over - and being able to store ALL of those complete hard-drive backup images on just the one holographic disc! That's mind-boggling.

Oh, but then we have companies like InPhase who are ALSO developing and bringing to market holography-based storage solutions... Ah, I can't WAIT for the next decade to arrive. :D



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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 11/18/2006 04:56:00 AM. Roughly.
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Saturday, November 11
UK marks Remembrance Day

To save your world you asked this man to die: Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?
Epitaph for the Unknown Soldier W H Auden

PoppiesToday marks the 61st Remembrance Day since the cessation of the Second World War and the beginning of the Armistice ("at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month"). Some also call this day Armistice Day, as Remembrance Sunday is traditionally scheduled to be on the second Sunday of November.

As is customary, in central London The Last Post could be heard , as could the traditional Reveille (both performed by lone bugler), of which the latter follows the two-minute silence to remember those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars, and the former marks the beginning of.

The silence was brought to an end by the bugler's Reveille and a fly-past of four Typhoon jet aircraft by the RAF - the sudden noise prompting the square's pigeons to take flight.


More: BBC News article on Trafalgar Square service

As the grandson of someone who participated in the Second World War, and whose grandpa was an active serviceman before WWII, I strongly advise everyone to find out more about Remembrance Day, the Armistice and about the British Legion - and donate, if at all possible, to support those who fought to defend our freedom through two bloody World Wars.

Also, a little-known fact: some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action. I never knew this until one of my Uni lecturers told me in a lab session on Thursday.

Also, read more about the day's events on the BBC News web site.

Images: the British Legion's Poppy Appeal web site.



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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 11/11/2006 09:57:00 PM. Roughly.
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Monday, November 6
QuizUniverse knows all...

I don't normally do these things (because they're shit), but I did find this genuinely funny. You stick in your name, and it tells you what sexual activity you'll get sent to jail for. Here's what it thinks I'll be incarcerated for:


Christopher will go to jail for ...


Quoting the Marquis de Sade to some school children



'What sexual activity will you go to jail for?' at QuizUniverse.com



Hahaha :D



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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 11/06/2006 09:07:00 PM. Roughly.
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Sunday, November 5
The Plan (or, how to NOT implement a business strategy)

I saw this and immediately liked it. Sums up managerial strategies very cleverly, and explains where a few of these companies' 'bright ideas' may well have come from (I'm thinking particularly of the music industry... 'DRMed music made available at the same price as physical copies of the same material? Yeah, that's a great idea, the consumers love that').

Anyway, down to business.

The Plan
In the beginning was the plan
And then came the assumptions
And the assumptions were without form
And the plan was completely without substance
And darkness was on the faces of the workers
And they spoke amongst themselves, saying
"It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh"
And the workers went to the planners and sayeth
"It is a pile of dung and none may abide the odour thereof"
And the planners went to the supervisors and sayeth unto them
"It is a container of excrement and it is very strong such that none may abide by it"
And the supervisors went to the managers and sayeth unto them
"It is a vessel of fertiliser and none may abide its strength"
And the managers went to the directors and sayeth
"It contains that which aids growth and it is very strong"
And the directors went to the vice president and sayeth
"It promoteth growth and it is very powerful"
And the vice president went to the president and sayeth unto him
"This powerful new plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of the department"
And the president looked upon the plan and saw that it was good
And the plan became policy...


Gloriously pinched from the webpages of one of my University's ex-lecturers, Remco van Veenendaal:
Friday, 25th June 2004 was my last day at work in the tic.
I have enjoyed my 2 years as a technologist/lecturer,
but am returning to Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands.




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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 11/05/2006 10:10:00 PM. Roughly.
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Friday, November 3
A Wintry Update

Cor, with the hour going back, it really does get dark quickly now. And the cold is upon us, too; a high of 10 celcius today, with freezing at -1. Yay, time to start wearing my new scarf.

Did we even have a winter?

I've been surfing various sites of note, most of which however are on my desktop (I'm posting this from my laptop, sat on my bed :) - one site I've (just!) found though is an insanely useful site if you're into Terry Pratchett's fiction (or just enjoy learning something): The Annotated Pratchett File. Fully cross-referenced and hyperlinked, this site lets you uncover more information or read up in greater depth about all the odd little references to this and that which Pratchett includes in his expanse of Discworld books.

Trust me, if you've only even read just the one Discworld, this site will do two things: 1) teach you things you never even considered whilst reading one of his books, and 2) it'll make you want to go and buy more of them!

Go check the site out: http://www.lspace.org/books/apf/

In other news, I updated my University-related blog recently. And the Borat film ("Borat: Cultural Learning's Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan", to grace it with its full title) came out on full release today! I'll be seeing that this weekend - you miss that, you ARE a total square.




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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 11/03/2006 10:06:00 PM. Roughly.
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