Jim's Inchoate Weblog
link dump blog at inchoate satellite
hits since 18th June 2002
oxford blog >
links, many links
improve the world!
Chiarina - musician for hire
Oxford Music Agency - book a band
We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!
Friday March 19 2004
Balti, food of gods and supermen
When I was spending much of my time in Brum, my curry fiend urges were in overdrive caused by the massive number of balti-houses. There are two things you need to know about balti: it's very, very reasonably priced and it's generally great. I had a field day. Must return, in fact. Have a look at these two sites for a grounding in balti. The Balti Guide, and the relevant part of beinbirmingham.com. They will enlighten you considerably...
Posted at 12:06 pm by Jim Woods
Why do people give up weblogs?
Well, for various not entirely unpredictable reasons. Seems that the effort of blogging is a leading reason. It can seem like a bit of a job sometimes, particularly if you're trying to post stuff that comes from earnest research and surfing. I notice that even the big guys in the blog world nick most of their content from other blogs, and it's interesting how links make the rounds. I've seen evidence of this while testing out RSS feed software like BottomFeeder. There's nothing like seeing a load of post titles in close proximity to illustrate similarities.
I'm not about to jack in doing this blog, by the way. If I find it all too much effort I'll just post less frequently. I'm not pretending to give an online account of my life here; I'm just posting stuff I think is worthwhile and interesting as and when I find it. Sometimes I'll produce a lengthy rant, but don't take it all that seriously. I don't preplan anything here, and if I could be bothered my natural tendency as a person would be to add, amend and delete like fury all through the archives. I expect I've said some silly things, got some stuff wrong or whatever. I've probably done some neat stuff and not mentioned it too. This blog is sold as seen, and is worth every penny it costs you...
For what it's worth, I have little interest in reading blogs. I don't have the time to get caught up in all that to any great degree. I notice that some of the blogs I do read - and they number about six or seven at any time - link to an incredibly large number of others. Well, I'm not in that game. I haven't even implemented comments here, because frankly I lack the skills and the inclination. I like to write, but I don't like to code. It makes me feel weird, so I don't do it any more. Sorry. I'm not trying to win awards, and I'm quite happy with my level of readership thanks. I'm not someone who lives for blogging, and I'm not going that way in the future. It all, to be honest, takes too bloody long. This simple blog is what you'll get, and from the minimal feedback I get - and I imagine that's normal enough - my readership is content.
So I hope that's clear then.
In the interests of making a little nod towards blog culture what I will do is tell you the other blogs I read. Again, please don't assume that these are culled from a massive frenzy of reading. I can't even remember how I stumbled upon most of these. But I like 'em, and find them comforting somehow, and these are they:
prolific.org I'm in love with Amsterdam, and Prol writes well.
little.red.boat is pretty funny
me(ish) has nice photography - loads thereof
Downwind of Amsterdam reminds me of my own cycling in Holland
greenfairydotcom amuses me
laurieandfahim.com contains much I like about the writer of Blog and his wife, who live in Sri Lanka. Not only does great free software come from this couple, but a lot of curry gets cooked. Incomparable.
And that, my merry crew, is what I read.
Posted at 5:37 am by Jim Woods
Here's a useful little piece that'll tell you what you need to know about digital cameras. Given the confusing and misleading state of specifications in general, this is a refreshing breath of fresh advice.
Posted at 2:28 am by Jim Woods
Wednesday March 17 2004
The Tao of programming
Here's a chuckle or two. Fortunately my programming skills are so idiosyncratic that I could be described as knowing just enough to be dangerous. So I don't have to do any. Yes!
Posted at 8:07 pm by Jim Woods
Were you to be filled with lust,
the kind of lust that can only be sated by spending an obscene amount of money on an item of audio gear, then you could do worse than talk to Nagra. These people make tape recorders which are so high end that it's unlikely that anyone much outside the film and television industries really knows of their existence. Swiss, like Revox, their kit is built like a Rolex. Neither you or I will ever possess a shelf full of this stuff. But that doesn't prevent me dribbling, and nor should it you.
Posted at 7:51 pm by Jim Woods
Do be sure
Posted at 4:58 am by Jim Woods
Tuesday March 16 2004
Rather a beautiful idea in this piece. Mappa Mundi in general is a site which I've always found stimulating; if you are at all interested in geography, cartography and communications - and the relationships between them - then you probably will too. There's something that really fascinates me about the way that our perceived environment relates to our actual environment, and the subjectivity of the whole. Probably something to do with studying human geography under the eminent Pepper and Jenkins in the mid-eighties - they were the guys who'd written the book, after all. I've looked at all the software I could find that represents the internet in various pseudo-cartographical ways, and I'm still looking for something that really does the job (more on that in a later post). But for now, I'll read Mappa Mundi.
It's not the user interface, of course, that has given us this new form of communication and the associated ways of perceiving our "world" and its connections. It's not the operating system or the toolbars, the graphics or the applications. That's the icing, the human-intelligible side of things. The cake is the ports and protocols - the whole interoperability of the net, and the agreements which enable anyone's email software or telnet or whatever to talk to others of its kind. That's where the magic lies, and that's what we as users notice only by its absence or arcane mention in log files or error messages. Right where everything is connected, right where communication is established as two geographical points meet virtually for a moment. And it's where the prayer wheel is.
I'm still not entirely sure about that Wernher von Braun, mind you.
Posted at 8:33 pm by Jim Woods
Here's an idea - write yourself an email and have it delivered to you on some specified future date. Wow, neat. I'm sure this is widely used by people who want to tell themselves "surely you're not still a saddo who dishes their email address up to any stranger on the flimsiest pretence?".
Call me a cynic if you will, but other than getting your email address I can't see how a site like this gains from your custom. And there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, much though we'd all love to believe otherwise.
Posted at 7:51 pm by Jim Woods
Monday March 15 2004
of the old Weather Watcher, I am. I haven't seen a better free weather program than this one. It even manages to integrate the ability to look at satellite weather photos which is nice if your a, well, a weather fetishist or something. Like me.
It's one of those programs that's just right. Works as it should the whole time, does what you'd expect, and it's attractive and clear too. And really, really easy to set up. Just a delight, all in all.
Posted at 2:08 am by Jim Woods
Sunday March 14 2004
The reasoning behind
is an arse with a brain. No, no - that's not what I meant. I mean that the reasoning behind my last post was not entirely to gloat over my MTV'dness. It was a genuine attempt to be helpful, because frankly if one were to rely on the Sky EPG and the UK MTV website for one's information one would not get any information. Is the MTV site the ugliest load of out-of-date crap in the world? Quite possibly. And why does the Sky EPG fail to give any useful description of 28 out of 30 Osbournes episodes currently upcoming?
Could they be relying on their viewers being so glued to the channel that they will have been told a thousand times that the new episodes are starting on the 24th before that hallowed day arrives? More than likely. But it doesn't ingratiate them with me, because I'm an old-school televisioneer. I tape stuff that looks like it will be interesting, then I watch it at leisure. This way I can skip the ads and get on with my life. MTV has a few good shows, but it's muppet TV. You tend to know what's on it by watching it, which is less than handy and flies in the face of recent progress with the EPGs. Last night I got four episodes of f*ck-knows-what on my TiVo, despite being reliably assured that it was going to be four episodes of Ozzy and co. Sky airs MTV, and it's Sky that get my TiVo sub-money. So why can't they get things working accurately? This dearth of specific info in the EPG has been a blight for as long as I've had the whole shebang. Preposterous.
I deleted the four episodes of whatever-it-was. It was a load of intellectual giants in baseball hats playing elaborate pranks on unfortunate individuals. The chief characteristics were sheer waste of time and resources, and the tendency for a certain kind of American male aged around 25-30 to be hell-bent on ruining what tiny credibility the US still has in Europe (or proper, non-muppet land as we call it here). One of the prank victims actually said something along the lines of "why don't you put some of this energy into helping people?". Because it wouldn't help breed a generation of baseball-hatted f*ckwits, that's why not.
I must be getting old.
Posted at 4:17 pm by Jim Woods
The Osbournes Series 3
starts Wednesday 24th March, for those with access to MTV. For those without, I suggest trying to pretend that you don't especially care. You'll be wrong, but you may not know that.
Posted at 3:02 pm by Jim Woods