T-Shirt Site of the Week

Sunday June 19th, 2005

When it comes to clothes I’m really really picky. I mean, I’m really bad. Some people can go into a shop and just pick out t-shirts and trousers and shit and say “yeah, that’ll suit me”. I can go into thirty shops and not find one thing, seriously. So whenever I do see a t-shirt I like, I usually end up buying it with a reasonable amount of disregard to the cost. This has proved expensive in the past, but not always, thanks to the wonder that is The Internet™.

I’ve been browsing the archives of a few of my favourite designery sites like Lounge Seventy-Two and Surfstation, and clicking on any links to t-shirt and merchandising sites. It has paid off, in no small part to the wonderous exchange rate between the USD and the GBP at the moment. Buying stuff from the States is so cheap right now, you may as well buy loads of shit from there just for the hell of it!

So, onto the subject of this post! I shall be recommending some of my favourite t-shirt selling type sites on a semi-regular basis, and your job will be to go and buy lots of t-shirts from them (but not the same ones as me obviously).

First up is Faveur Fashion which is possibly not a very good site to start with, but I will anyway because I bought a tee from there just last week. There appears to be very little reassurance on the site that it’s a legit business or in fact whether you’ll even get your stuff. They don’t even ask what country the stuff will be sent to when you enter your address at the checkout, but saying that I got my stuff quickly and with no probs (ok it went via Canada but it still only took about 7 days). Also, there’s some religious thing going on but it’s a job to tell if they’re being serious about their faith or not.

Anyway, the tee I bought was imaginitively called Faveur and I also got the superfine Faveur Beanie, even though it is approaching midsummer. It cost me just over £30 including postage, and the stuff is sweet, so I’m chuffed. I give my official recommendation to Faveur Fashion!

Lame Lotto Ad

Saturday June 18th, 2005

The UK National Lottery, called Lotto, usually has a top prize of a couple of million pounds. Tis much, yo. With a top prize of more than most people’s entire lifetime’s earnings, you think they’d be able to come up with a more alluring advert than this one, which suggests the top prize could be around fifty quid…

Lotto Advert

Yeah that really makes me want to play Lotto.

Windows Movie Maker

Thursday June 16th, 2005

I’ve been playing around with Windows Movie Maker today. It’s pretty crap, but quite easy to use just for knocking some videos together and sticking a soundtrack on there. It does quite good fading between clips too, but that’s about it. Also, it’s really badly unstable. I’ve found myself saving my project about once a minute because once you get more than a few clips in there it starts suffering and will lock up at disgustingly regular intervals. Only ctrl+alt+del can come to the rescue then!

And that concludes my indepth review of Windows Movie Maker - easy, handy, but basically shit.

The Summer Burn 2005

Tuesday June 14th, 2005

This is cool shit. Everyone should sign up for The Summer Burn 2005.

What happens is you submit your name, email and postal address, and after the signup closes you get emailed the address of two other people who signed up. You burn a couple of CDs of your favourite tunes and wham it in the post to them and you’ll get a couple back from other random people in return! A brilliant way to discover new music! They had over 200 people participate last year, and what with it being featured in the b3ta newsletter, there’s bound to be plenty of people doing it this year. Update: There’s almost 900 participants this year!

N.B. This whole thing relies on trust - if you don’t send CDs in turn, then you’re nasty, and someone will be sitting somewhere tuneless and with no smile on their face. Now why would you want to do that?

I think it’s supercool so you should all go and sign up now! But hurry! Entry closes on June 20th (only 6 days)!

Blake Ross on Today’s Software

Tuesday June 14th, 2005

Blake Ross is one of the forefront developers of Firefox, so he should know a thing or two about software. He’s just written a bit of a rant about the state of software today after some guy asked him what he thought “the next big thing” would be.

It should be clear from my writing how I feel about software in 2005: it’s atrocious. Here’s what I mean: put a digital picture and an instant message window side by side and ask Mom to share the picture. Even though the windows are approximately five pixels apart, sharing them is about as intuitive as a W2 form. It’s actually easier to share a picture sitting on a server in China than it is to share your own stuff.

Read the rest of his article entitled “The next big thing is not my concern”.

BMW 325i

Thursday June 9th, 2005

I want this car!

Update: Bah! Someone bought it!

Bon’s Favourite Films of All Time

Wednesday June 8th, 2005

If someone were to ask me what my favourite film was, I don’t think I could give a definitive answer. If I was absolutely forced to give an answer, however, I would be inclined to say The Shawshank Redemption as it’s a bit of an epic compared to the other films in my top list. Speaking of which, here it is in no particular order and for no particular reason:

  • Heat
  • City of God
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • 28 Days Later
  • Garden State
  • Gangs of New York

Some more of my favourite films which don’t quite make it into my all-time favourites:

  • Bowling for Columbine
  • Black Hawk Down
  • Natural Born Killers
  • Life of Brian
  • Monsters, Inc
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Forrest Gump
  • The Italian Job (1969 original)

Thank you. This is not a meme.


Wednesday June 8th, 2005

Apple have this thing of naming lots of their products with the letter i at the beginning, the iPod, iBook, and iMac being the most popular of course. A relatively new product of theirs is the iSight (Yam’s got one) which is like a little webcam thing which clips on top of your iBook. Anyway I think it looks boring. It hasn’t got the design flair or ingenuity of any of Apple’s other products. This is where Bon’s patented iBrows come in…

iBrows by Bon

Available from all good retail outlets, RRP £49.99. MSPaint owns!

Quote of the Week

Tuesday June 7th, 2005

Justin says:
  i’m so hyper
Bon says:
  u been on the red bull or something?
Justin says:

This Rocks

Friday May 27th, 2005

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

The Rise of lud.icro.us

Friday May 27th, 2005

JohnBlackbourn.com still comes top when you Google for john blackbourn. lud.icro.us currently sits in third place, below a page about me on Britblog.com. Wonder how long it will be before lud.icro.us rises to the top, if ever?…

IE 7: so much for Firefox

Thursday May 26th, 2005

Rey linked to this article about Internet Explorer 7 which is entitled “IE 7: so much for Firefox”, from which the following quote is taken:

Firefox is great, I use it. But it’s a chore sometimes, what with most sites using that pesky nonstandard IE code.

WHAT. THE. FUCK? What is this mysterious “nonstandard IE code” that “most sites” are using?? I mean, seriously, what the fuck? That’s like… like… a butcher saying “It’s a chore sometimes, what with most people being pesky nonstandard vegetarians.” It’s just plain not true! Sure, there are a lot of vegetarians out there, but it’s certainly nowhere near being most people. It’s the same for websites, there are a lot which use “nonstandard IE code” but as a percentage of all websites, it’s a nominal amount.

I could go on for a very long time about this, but I’m just going to brush over a couple of points. The majority of sites which don’t work in, or are faulty when viewed with, Firefox are:

  • Those which use ActiveX, and how many sites do you visit nowadays that rely on ActiveX? I personally haven’t come across one in at least 6 months. Plus, there is a plugin available which will enable you to view pages with ActiveX if you wish.
  • Sites with bad JavaScript implementation, which again is very few sites nowadays.
  • Sites which are just plain really fucking poorly coded - but why would you want to look at these websites anyway? There are plenty more fish in the sea, as they say.

The author goes on to say the following (letter bulleting my own):

a) Why is there no way to check for updates from within the browser, for one thing? b) Why does it take so doggone long to launch? c) Why, why must it crash every single time I open a PDF? I mean, every single time.

My answers: a) This is just plain false. Go to Tools > Options > Advanced > Software Update. Bam! There you are. b) I’ve never had any problems myself, but I have heard other people complain about this - but mainly after your computer has either just booted or has been on for ages. You will find exactly the same problem with any substantial application in those situations, IE included. c) This is nothing to do with Firefox. PDF files are opened by a plugin which is written and distributed by a team at Adobe Systems Incorporated. Also, Ms. Author, there must be somethig wrong with your computer if Firefox crashes every single time you open a PDF. Sure, mine hangs for a few moments, but it doesn’t crash. You can make PDF files open in the Adobe Acrobat Reader application if you like, but I’ll still make your PC hang for a moment while the application starts up.

The author doesn’t limit her unreasonable complaints to Firefox, though. Now, I’m certainly no fan of Opera but this is harsh:

It’s too clunky, and I was raised on IE. I don’t want to learn something completely new.

Eh? Ok, Opera’s interface is cluttered and a little overwhelming at first, but you can get used to it. The basic functions are the same as any other web browser. There are Forward and Back buttons, Stop, Reload, etc. The address bar is pretty obvious. The tabs work in the same way as any other multi document interface application, such as Microsft Excel. There is lots more to Opera, but it takes a bit of learning just like any other program you install on your computer.

And I shall abruptly stop there because I could go on and on about this for ages, but it’s not good for my blood pressure. I just wish people who write for a living would get their facts right, and not write stupid and pointless articles. Sure, IE7 may pull back a few of the people who have migrated away to other browsers, but certainly not for any of the reasons above.

A Musical Baton

Friday May 20th, 2005

Total music files residing on my computer: 2.88 GB

Last CD I bought: Evil Nine - You Can Be Special Too (album)

Song playing right now: TV on the Radio - Dreams

Five songs I listen to a lot or mean a lot to me: (None of these mean a lot to me, I just listen to them heaps)

  1. TV on the Radio - Dreams
  2. Yellowcard - Believe
  3. Yellowcard - Gifts and Curses
  4. Chemical Brothers - The Private Psychedelic Reel
  5. Haywood - Devon Lanes

Four or Five People I’m Passing The Baton To:

  1. Hazel
  2. Muf
  3. Shough
  4. David Hasselhoff

Mr. Robot

Thursday May 19th, 2005

Mr. Robot video screenshotIf you’re a fan of zefrank then you’ll like this. It’s a video of a guy sitting in front of a camera telling you he’s a robot. It’s funny and it could be quite convincing if you’re, er, gullible.

Watch him show off the radio in his finger, bend a one million pound rod of titanium, and immitate your problems. He also thinks at one hundred bibabops per boo. Great stuff!

Shrieking.net 2

Thursday May 19th, 2005

So there’s this guy called Reyhan who links to used to link to links to this guy called Matthew who links to this guy called Mac. I started reading Mac’s blog but then he had some troubles with his server and has only just got it back up and running.

So, what happened was that after 133 days of blissful uptime, our beloved linux box, Shrieking, bit the proverbial dust. It wouldn’t boot, so we opened it up and found that half a year in a student kitchen had filled it with cooking grease. The moral of the story is “never put your server in a dirty kitchen”, something I think we could all learn from.

Anyway ’tis a good site and you should go read it. He juggles and chucks Poi (cool-looking stunt things which you spin around - similar to fire twirling) and he wants to join the circus, so I think that all adds up to guaranteed good reading! Also, I think this may well be the first time I’ve linked to a site with little dudes with balloons running round at the top :)

Amarillo Spoof

Thursday May 19th, 2005

Amarillo spoof video screenshotFrom BBC News:

A spoof video of the song (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, performed by British soldiers in Iraq, has crashed Ministry of Defence computers. Troops in the Royal Dragoon Guards shot a home video at their Al Faw base of their version of the video sung by Tony Christie and mimed by Peter Kay. The MoD said the spoof was “brilliant”.

You can download the whole video from Slowdown (first link on the front page at the moment) - and you should because it is brilliant!

Feed the Ducks

Tuesday May 17th, 2005

feed the ducks part 4 Get these great pictures of some ducks looking rather attitudinal while being fed down at the pond. This duck looks like he’s about to say "Don’t even think about coming any closer with that!"

Then there’s this duck who is just about to murder the guy behind the camera…

The Internet, Explained

Tuesday May 17th, 2005

This has turned out as an uberpost! Read at your peril!

Recently I’ve noticed that a lot of people who use the internet don’t seem to get the entire concept of it. My understanding is that if you want to share something (be it photographs, stories, songs, movies, practically anything nowadays) with other people then you can use the internet to do so. If you want to get unparalleled worldwide exposure for whatever it is, then you can use the internet. There’s a vast number of technolgies and services which make it really fucking easy to share your stuff with the rest of the world. Wanna put your photos online? Use Flickr. Wanna voice your opinion? Give Blogger a try. Wanna let other people know what you’re looking at on the internet? Del.icio.us can do just that. Everyone is doing it. And it’s easy. That’s the whole point, it’s easy to put your stuff on the internet, and it won’t take long before it starts circling the globe if you do.

Alas, some people seem to have got a little bit confused when it comes to that last bit.

Last week Flickr changed the way photos are displayed on each photo’s individual page. Prior to the change, Flash® was used to display the photo which meant several things could be done easily without you having to leave the page - for example you could add the photo to your Flickr favourites, add notes to the photo, or, if the photo was one of your own, you could rotate it or add it to a set, among other things. The downside to using Flash® is that it takes longer for the picture (and therefore the whole page) to load, as you have to wait for the entire picture to be downloaded before it’s displayed. This is especially noticable on a slower internet connection, and it also meant that people who didn’t have the Flash® plugin installed on their browser couldn’t see the picture at all.

Flickr have just solved this problem. They’re now displaying the pictures as regular, er, pictures, and they’ve got some spectacular DHTML to deal with all the functions I mentioned above. Everything which was done with Flash® just last week is now done with DHTML. Now, if you’re not hot on internet technologies, let me brainwash you just a little: DHTML is better than Flash® for every single application, with the exception of complex anti-aliased animation. It was unnecessary to use Flash® for what Flickr was using it for.

Here’s where I get to the point. Some members of Flickr* have realised that people browsing Flickr can now save photos they see on there much easier, just by right-clicking on the picture and clicking on "Save Image As…". Previously, if the owner of the picture had disabled the option for people to view all sizes of the picture, they would have needed to take a screenshot and then paste the picture into an image editing application in order to save it, as you cannot save images displayed in Flash® in the same way. The point is that a few members are pissed off that "just anyone" can steal their pictures with more ease than before. Note that I’m only really talking about the Flickr members who have their pictures copyrighted, as those who release them under a Creative Commons license don’t seem to be [as] bothered about this.

I have a counter-argument for this point of view (If you’re not fed up of reading this post by now then you may as well keep reading, because otherwise you’ll have just read the last five paragraphs for nothing). Although it is indeed easier for Joe Public and all his computer-savvy grandchildren to pinch pictures off Flickr, this is no great reason for concern. What is the average person going to do with a picture they lift from Flickr? They might save it as their PC’s desktop wallpaper, for example, or they could set it as their exciting new screensaver. They could even print it out and stick it up on the wall. This is not a reason for concern. Protecting your intellectual property (in this case, your copyrighted pictures) is about preventing other people from profiting (either financially or otherwise) from your work without your consent.

The kind of people who will be stealing copyrighted pictures off Flickr and using them unlawfully will not be stopped by embedded pictures in Flash®. If they decide they want to use that picture then it is very little work for them to get a screenshot and save that picture. For Flickr to now be using regular pictures makes it easier for these people to steal your pictures, but that is not the point. If they can see it on their screen and decide they want it, they will steal it no matter how it is displayed.

So these people who are now making a fuss about people being able to get at their pictures easier are missing the point of the internet (see where I’m going with this?). If you put something copyrighted on the internet, you cannot possibly expect it to be protected, and, unfortunately, you cannot expect people to respect your copyright notices. Why? Because it’s too fucking easy to lift stuff from the internet. There is a simple solution to this though. If you don’t want people to nick your stuff (particularly photographs), don’t put it on the fucking internet! There are plenty of ways to distribute your stuff using the internet, without actually putting up on the internet for all to see. An example of this would be email. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near as effective if you are trying to get your work noticed, or whatever reasons people have for putting copyrighted stuff on Flickr and the likes. You can’t have it all ways though - you either hand it out so you get exposure, or you don’t and you, er, don’t.

The internet’s whole notion is that whatever you put on there is accessible to a few billion people**. It’s just about the worst place to put something that you don’t want people to pinch. I mean, it’s like saying "Ok, I have this photo. I would quite like to show it to people, but I don’t want anyone to steal it. I know! I’ll put it up on an internationally publicly accessible network of computers where it is almost instantaneously redistributed to tens of thousands of computers right across the globe, in a universally used format which allows anyone who sees it to just keep it if they wish."

I suppose it’s a shame that there are so many people who don’t seem to realise that although the internet is now firmly a part of many people’s lives, it is still a relatively unlawful domain. This isn’t due to things not being policed on the net or anything like that, it is due to the format in which stuff is sent across the internet. The internet was never designed to do what people ask of it today. It is, for all intent and purpose, impossible to protect something which goes sailing across the high seas of the world wide web. And that’s the whole idea… that it’s superfuckingeasy and almost incomprehensibly quick to share data with people all over the planet.

* Please excuse the vagueness of this. I’m not sure of the number of people, but it seems to me (when browsing through the Flickr forums) that it’s the minority of users. Correct me if I’m wrong.

** Rough estimate.


Friday May 13th, 2005

wormfeeder.com screenshot After a long while of neglection, I’ve knocked up a fresh new wormfeeder.com for Spring/Summer 2005. It’s nothing much but it seems to keep people happy. Wormfeedersoonforever!

Such Great Heights

Friday May 13th, 2005

Garden State. One of my all-time favourite films, due in no small part to the wonderous soundtrack which sounds really great when you listen to it with your ears. One of the most outstanding tracks in the film is a song called Such Great Heights by the Postal Service. It was originally written by Iron And Wine, however the original version is not a patch on the Postal Service’s cover.

One odd thing about the Garden State soundtrack which you can buy on CD (from Amazon UK) is that Such Great Heights included on it isn’t the version played in the film, it’s the original by Iron And Wine. This put me off buying it because the original isn’t my style of music at all. It’s a lot slower and quite dull, almost bluesy.

Now, I was browsing download.com last week and noticed that they now have a music section at music.download.com where you can download MP3s from all sorts of popular and not-so-popular bands and genres for free. I had a wander over there and, lo and behold, the first track I saw (featured on the front page) was… Update: The link has been fixed!

Turns out the song was actually redone for the Garden State soundtrack, and I have faint memories of hearing the song beforehand, however I’ve failed to find it anywhere on the interweb. I shall have a hunt around when I can be bothered. Meanwhile, the Postal Service’s page is right here and there’s another song of theirs which you can download, but from what I can remember it’s nothing special.

If that’s not enough for you, I’ve found another cover of this song by a relatively unknown artist called Fellows Touring Paris. I actually heard this song (and became quite a fan of it) months before Garden State came out, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear it on the trailer. Unfortunately the song has since been removed from somesongs.com where I found it, so I’ve uploaded it to wormfeeder.com fo’ y’all. Hey Justin, this is the song I’ve been going on about at work, so you should download this one mate :)

If you’re into your indie, your synth-pop (that’s what it’s called apparently) and your lo-fi, those two tracks should keep you going for a little while. For what it’s worth, there is a Fellows Touring Paris home page but it’s a bit outdated and there’s lots of broken links on there.