Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Markdown on the fly

I'm still using John Gruber's Markdown for, even if it doesn't get updated much at the moment. So this impressed me:

Showdown - Markdown in Javascript

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

China makes the world wobble

[ftse 100 over last 2 days]

Oop, there go the stock markets again. Interesting bit:
Traders said it was highly unusual for events in Chinese markets to have a global impact, but saw it as a sign of China’s increasing influence on the global economy.
Will have to watch this one over tomorrow, probably just a re-settling. China knows it can't expand too quickly, contrary to global hopes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Hmm, 2 new(ish) rabbit holes. Trying to decide how much I should follow them, it's not like I have a thousand and one things to do already...

Trying to Believe, Meigeist.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More on Multi-touch screens

Over on YouTube, Jeff Han gives a talk at TED back in February last year. (Link via Nooface.) The functionality is mostly what was in the previous video, but it's nice to hear someone talking about it too.

I think this is brilliant, and I expect to see people like Apple taking it pretty seriously, especially as Jeff's philosophy seems to line up. The only thing that sticks out is the use of virtual keyboard; this is a criticism I've seen of the Apple iPhone - there's no tactile feedback for virtual keyboards. As I write this, I don't have to look at the keys to know if I've hit one correctly, or even if I'm hitting the right stuff. Good typists type without looking, and that's only possible through "real world" design.

But then, it's not exactly difficult to combine multi-touch with keys. Hell, this laptop has a simple multi-touch thing just under my wrists...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Pre-shower mobile industry consultation rant

I don't really get this "how podcasts and mobiles could merge" piece (via unmediated). It sets out the objectives of the mobile industry quite well (i.e. that operators want a cut of the media scene so people keep using phones, rather than just VOIP-enabled mp3 players), but - thanks to the title - all the way through I was expecting something else.

Podcasting on phones could, I think, be sizable. But not with thinking like this. The recommendations at the end are that 1) compression should be increased to reduce file size, and 2) files should be transferred (automatically) at cheap rate time, i.e. overnight.

The thing that bemuses me is that you're talking here about downloading audio files (I'm ignoring video cos I think video on mobile is mostly a dead duck) to, um, a mobile phone.. which you use to talk to people. Hello? Am I missing something? If not, here's my $1000-an-hour consultation to the entire mobile industry (damn it's fun having a blog):

1. Ignore video podcasts, groo and ick.

2. Use what you have. Let people listen to podcasts by calling a number. Maybe some kind of personal portal that lets you choose podcasts to subscribe to, and have a simple touch-tone menu system to let a caller listen to whichever podcast they like.

3. Don't bother charging extra for listening time, treat it as a normal phone call (in fact, an external company could set this up. And probably has. Bah. Will have to look this up later...)

4. Optional Extras: Let people record over "normal" lines too. Text people when a new podcast is released.

5. Encourage people to produce 5-minute podcast "diaries" - even though people are quite happy (it seems) to stay on the phone for half an hour or more, tying up the line isn't great. Shorter podcasts are easier to "squeeze in" when people are waiting around/travelling, so more likely to get listened to. You could even have some "reduced rate" service that limits podcasts to 5/10 minutes.

Finally, the UK mobile industry golden rule: Anything based on data is going to be niche (read "deaded").

Right, time to get clean.

Update: I'm sure I saw something that did this a few weeks ago, but can't remember what it was called. It was semi-famous at the time, so maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. Still, TechCrunch points to two things, one called Podlinez, which lets you assign a phone number to a podcast, and then dial it to listen, and one called Fonpods which has one access number, and sounds more like what I'm describing above. So why aren't operators picking up on this? And when's there a UK version (if there's not one already)?

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Hmm. After splitting up all of my thoughts into lots of separate blogs, I'm now trying out re-collating them, having discovered Feedshake. (Not to be confused with Feedtree.) So far, the uberfeed feasts violently upon the flesh of all 5 of my blogs (5? When did I get to 5?) as well as sucking noisily on the brain of my Flickr stream. (But not, for I am lazy and have forgotten how to code.) I have no idea how to stop it from expanding. It has taken over my whole house, Akira-style.

RSS my whole life why don't you?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Flexibility vs Life Story

Very interesting piece in this week's New Statesman on why skills don't matter any more:
Modern capitalism's emphasis on flexibility, he says, has deprived most employees of any sense of narrative in their working lives. They no longer acquire skills, develop them, gradually become better at what they do and thus rise up the pay and promotion ladder.
Do more intense networks (technological networks, techno-social networks, consumer networks, etc) encourage this push towards short-term flexibility?