Days: it’s a blog thing

Since August, 2001. Surely it can’t last…

Wednesday, October 09, 2002 ↓


I’ve mentioned before Mil Millington’s wonderful Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. I do so again

  • because it’s worth it
  • because I saw Mil on the BBC Breakfast News programme this morning, talking about the latest developments.

The popularity of his site led to him landing the gig of writing columns for the Weekend Guardian (you can get a flavour from a recent issue), as well as a novel based on the things that he and his girlfriend argue about. The latest news is that there’s to be a film of the novel. Not bad for a guy who started as the IT Manager for Wolverhampton University Library who built himself a funny little home page.

And once again, just for the sake of balance, I offer you Deena Stevens’ Things That My Husband Has Done To (Deliberately) Annoy Me.

Posted at 10:41 AM

Tuesday, October 08, 2002 ↓


It’s quite appropriate after my little bit of theft that Eric Janssen should remind us in his nicely designed webraw blog that tomorrow in the good ol’ US of A, the Eldred vs Ashcroft case goes before the Supreme Court.

Now I’m all in favour of the creator of an original work being given reasonable and fair protection under copyright laws. But it seems to me that extensions to copyright terms that have been introduced over the years in the USA and elsewhere often have more to do with protecting the “rights” of big businesses (or wealthy and powerful individuals) to persist in charging the rest of us exorbitant sums of money for their packaged versions of the creator’s original work. (I couldn’t possibly be thinking of the music industry, for example, could I?)

The situation is made all the more stupid when the copyright owner is unknown or simply doesn’t care, as this page on the Eldred vs Ashcroft web site points out:

But more important than the few valuable copyrights that these extensions protect, this case is about freeing the vast majority of creative work still under copyright that no one seeks to protect — indeed, work which the current copyright owner doesn’t even know he or she owns. Many films from the 1920s and 1930s are decaying in vaults because current copyright holders cannot be identified. Many books and songs published in the early part of the century are unavailable because the cost of finding the copyright owner is just too high. Congress sacrificed all these works, just to protect a few valuable copyrights.

If you’re interested in dedicating your creative works to the public domain or licensing them on terms more generous than copyright, you might be interested in the efforts of Creative Commons, even if, like me, you’re not resident in the USA.

Posted at 7:25 PM


“Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of , and the home of .”

(Shamelessly stolen from a rather good blog by David Sung Kim. But I think he pinched it from somewhere else anyway, so that makes it all right. Maybe. Or not.)

Posted at 7:20 PM

Sunday, October 06, 2002 ↓


Bebel GilbertoBebel Gilberto’s Tanto Tempo. This first album is every bit as good as you might hope it would be, coming from the daughter of one of the founders of bossa nova, guitarist and singer João Gilberto. Given that it was released in 2000, I guess you could say it’s taken me tanto tempo to find it — but better late than never.

Tanto Tempo brings a wonderfully accessible, cosmopolitan approach to this lilting music. The self-penned title track on her debut teleports us back to bossa nova’s golden age, while Bebel’s take on Marcos Valle’s “So Nice” makes that classic sound brand new. — New Yorker Magazine

You could buy it and earn the girl a few bucks.

“Makes a change from Van bloody Morrison,” I can hear my friends say.

Posted at 4:15 PM


The ever provocative Joe Clark — whose blog postings have become as irregular as my own — remarks in his latest entry that he “cannot think of a single really inventive Weblog”, and wants “to see something new online”.

(Actually, during his discourse he does point to a different kind of blog: different in that it has a specific theme, and the posts are non-linear: This is a nice idea, but you’ll probably get the most out of it if you are rather more familiar with Nabokov’s work than I am.)

I take Joe’s point about the banality of the blog. During a period when my feet don’t seem to be touching the ground, I could (if I had the time) post daily entries along the lines of: Flew to Sweden. Did job for client. Flew back to Scotland. Drove to Cambridge. Spent three days doing jobs for clients. Drove back to Edinburgh. Flew to Sweden… but who wants to read my timesheet? Sometimes along the way I do actually find an interesting link, or there are earth-shattering world events on which I have an opinion — but the time it takes to find, hear or read about them leaves nothing over to blog them.

Anyway, the curmudgeonly Mr. Clark promises in a future episode to show us “some signs of hope” that he has tracked down “in sectors of the online demimonde that are as obscure and ill-viewed now as Weblogs were two years ago”.

I can’t wait. Meantime, his closing paragraph seems to have a certain appropriateness to my own situation:

The NUblog posting schedule may improve marginally. Yet we are not willing to commit to a regular schedule. We never held to one before, but then it was more palatable because we posted so frequently. But the truth was and is that we post only when we have something to say. If it takes longer now, then it takes longer.
We adamantly insist, however, that this Weblog is not f<asterisk><asterisk><asterisk>ed.


Posted at 4:04 PM


A few days ago I got a strange e-mail with a stranger attachment from a colleague, sent from a real address but not one that she had ever used to send me e-mail before. Looking into it, it appears to have been the work of the Bugbear virus. The Guardian has a rather Mickey Mouse write-up on this latest nuisance, while Symantec tells you what it is and how to get rid of it.

In my case, the worm seems to have picked up a Subject from another e-mail in my colleague’s outbox to use as the subject line, and sent itself around the various addresses in her contact folder. No harm done to me, because I was immediately suspicious of the double extension .xls.pif borne by the attachment.

Posted at 3:26 PM


The revelation in Edwina Currie’s diaries that she had a four-year affair with John Major has led many people to revise their view of the former Prime Minister as the “grey man” of British politics. However, I do wish she hadn’t bothered to tell us. It was all a long time ago, and should have been kept entirely between themselves. For those who want to get all moral on the issue, well, they were both married at the time (not to each other, obviously), and you might reasonably say they were equally responsible for their actions.

Currie’s contention that leaving the matter out of her published diaries would somehow have been dishonest fools nobody. Her motivation for exposing their affair is obvious: she has a new book to sell. On the face of it, the diaries of a minor MP who once held a junior ministerial position in the Department of Agriculture until Margaret Thatcher sacked her does not hold the promise of a fascinating read. But tell the public that it carries stories of three-hour sex romps with The Man Who Would Be Prime Minister, and all of a sudden, you have a much bigger audience for the book. By so doing, she shows herself to be no better than those girls who queue up outside the offices of The Sun or The Daily Star to sell their “I shagged [enter name of your footballer of choice — Dwight Yorke will do]” stories.

Geordie Grieg gives a thoroughly appropriate review of the book in today’s Observer.

Still, for a few days this week, Edwina did manage to distract attention from peer/author/jailbird Jeffrey Archer. Not for long, though. By the end of the week, good old Jeff was back in the headlines with the publication of his new book, a diary of his first weeks in Belmarsh nick. The prison authorities will be scouring the text to see if he has infringed any more rules in its authorship. Kamal Ahmed reports in The Observer.

Posted at 3:09 PM


It’s reached that time of year in Gothenburg when all the pubs and restaurants along Kungsportsavenyn dismantle their pavement extensions and awnings, and retreat indoors for autumn and winter. The town becomes much quieter of an evening, and bars that were crowded throughout the summer are suddenly much easier to get served in. One evening last week when I didn’t have the energy to walk from Hedens Hörna down to my usual watering hole, the Dub, I dropped into Jamesons Pub at the south end of the Avenue. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that the bar staff outnumbered the punters, but it was a close run thing.

When I go back to Gothenburg later this week, I expect the transformation of the Avenue will be complete. It’s sad to see the end of summer, particularly this summer, which was the hottest in Sweden since records began. And it’s going to be months before we see all those lovely Swedish girls again, with their skimpy tops and bare midriffs… {sigh}

Posted at 2:27 AM

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