20 December 2000
[reading] Just finished The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. ‘…in a 1994 issue of the Journal of Development Economics Romer wrote, “Once we admit that there is room for newness – that there are vastly more conceivable possibilites than realized outcomes – we must confront the fact that there is no special logic behind the world we inhabit, no particular justification for why things are the way they are. Any number of arbitrarily small peturbations along the way could have made the world as we know it turn out very differently . . . We are forced to admit that the world as we know it is the result of a long string of chance outcomes.’
17 December 2000
[eminem hoax] Another Eminem is dead hoax using Ananova this time… ‘Mathers, who authorities believe was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was behind the wheel of a Saturn coupe that witnesses say swerved to avoid a slow moving vehicle, then lost control and slammed into a grove of trees. The car was crumpled by the impact, making extraction of Mather’s body very difficult. He was declared dead on the scene by paramedics who arrived a short time later.’ [Related Links: Explanation here?, Ananova link via Wacky Brit]
[hoax] Very well done hoax. Claims that Eminem was killed in car crash. Had me fooled for about a minute this morning….
16 December 2000
[memes come together?] Tell me… am I CLAIRE SWIRE or NOT?
15 December 2000
[email] The Claire Swire Email Meme story makes it onto the BBC… ‘The e-mail contained a couple of smutty jokes and an exchange which included a female employee giving explicit details of a sexual act. The e-mail, initially sent on 7 December, quickly passed outside the company to other prestigious law firms in London before making its way across the world. Up to a million people are now thought to have read what was meant for private consumption amongst friends.’ [Related Links: Claire Swire Story on the Register]
[tech] Interesting article on the first email message. It turns out it wasn’t in the same league as the first message sent by telegram — ‘What hath god wrought!’ ‘Sometime in late 1971, a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail message. “I sent a number of test messages to myself from one machine to the other,” he recalls now. “The test messages were entirely forgettable. . . . Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar.” It seems doubtful that “QWERTYIOP” will make it into the history books. And Tomlinson’s name hardly lives in the public mind. When he is remembered at all, it is as the man who picked @ as the locator symbol in electronic addresses.’ [via Slashdot]
14 December 2000
[reading] The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. ‘The truth was that no casual observer could say when Clark was working and when he was playing. In part this was because, to Clark’s way of thinking, the big distinction wasn’t between “work” and “play” but between “creating new technology for money” and “creating new technology for pleasure.” In part it was because there was no distinction at all.’
4 December 2000
[web] Danny O’Brien discusses web stalking‘Over the decades I have been online, it is incredible how many personal tidbits I have let slip onto the net. These days, a determined net stalker, armed with a search engine, could find out where I have lived in the past five years, my previous employers, a summary of my political interests, the names of all of my close family, and three or four of my most recent haircuts.’
3 December 2000
[weblogs] Meg’s Under.Construction has got off to a good start with a number of interesting posts… ‘Welcome to This weblog is intended as a forum for discussion of cyberculture, community, communication and other cultural facets of cyberspace. It’s also intended to be a repository for interesting stories and links – an evolving, collaborative bookmark list.’
16 November 2000
[distractions] Nice site… pixelflo. Contains many distractions… I especially like the fridge magnet toy.
[internet] Questions are being asked about the public WHOIS database…. is it right that names and phone numbers are freely available on a globally accessible database if you register a domain-name? ‘Names, e-mail addresses, postal addresses and telephone numbers for more than 24 million domain names are stored in databases called Whois. The information is available to anyone with an Internet connection. It’s like a global phone directory — without the option for an unlisted number.’ [via Slashdot]
5 November 2000
[weblogs] Dirk shows us the fundamental interconnectedness of all weblogs‘ contains a weblog. Duh.’ [via Plasticbag]
25 October 2000
[attachments] It’s not everyday that you get insulted by a fictional character‘At a guess, bored American teenagers from Buttpoke, Ohio, with nothing better to do than chart their moribund lives through a so-called weblog. Inevitably this consists of some misguided discourse, punctuated with pictures of genital torture, many of them culled from their web community, ie a bunch of equally bored teenagers with a digital camera and too much time on their hands.’ [Related Links: Everyone Hates Attachments]
9 October 2000
[drudge report] Guardian Unlimited interviews and profiles Matt Drudge — The Earl Of URL? ‘”This wasn’t supposed to happen,” he says, taking time between the non-stop ringing of his telephone to talk about himself and his book. “I was never supposed to be this successful. I just got lucky. I had a window of opportunity and I flung my entire body through it. All my dreams have been fulfilled and now I’m waiting for the nightmares.”‘ [Related Link: Drudge Report]
4 October 2000
[useful maps] UK Based Multimap have redesigned — looks good, faster — and have a great London Tube Map.
21 September 2000
[tech] Was the real winner of Big Brother Real Media? ‘The extent of the Big Brother achievement should not be under-rated. Not only did it prove video streaming could reach a massive market, it was also a technologically smooth ride. Most of the people who signed up for the Big Brother RealPlayers were novices to the Net, yet the first job they had to do was download and install an intricate piece of software, something that even baffles experts from time to time.’ [via Yungee]
19 September 2000
[net] Guardian Unlimited covers the paratrooper who was sacked for looking at too many dull websites. ‘Jim was dismissed by his employers for excessive use of the internet when he was supposed to be working. Our best point is that Jim, unlike I suspect most bored surfers, was not looking at or or any other sort of porn. Jim was looking at some very dull stuff. I’ve seen the logs. Jim spent over an hour looking at avocado recipes on one occasion. At other times he conducted searches on: his mother’s maiden name, various cricket players [and] verrucas.’
5 September 2000
[internet] How fast is your internet connection? ’56K modems also require a clean, straight through telephone connection to the telephone company’s central office switching center. Phone company line amplifiers that boost a telephone signal over a long distance, PBX switchboard systems, and other phone equipment alter the phone signal and force 56K modems to fall back to speeds of 33.6Kbps and lower.’ [via Sounding Off Column in Sunday Times]
21 August 2000
[big brother] Guardian Unlimited covers how Nasty Nick’s departure from Big Brother helped converge TV and the internet. ‘But if the convergence between the internet and TV isn’t to become a collision, these media need to work together. Being big on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean that TV viewing figures will decline. Viral marketing? Bollocks. Call it good old-fashioned word of mouth. Internet page impressions went through the roof and boosted, not hindered, the TV audience that night. If the content is compelling enough and production teams plan well, the internet and TV can feed each other. It is the viewer who wins.’
20 August 2000
[tech] Danny O’Brien takes a look at the rise and fall of Netscape. ‘At the end of the credits in the original Mozilla was a quote from Sartre’s Being and Nothingness: “All human actions are equivalent … and … all are, in principle, doomed to failure.” Well, maybe. But we have to keep on trying, don’t we?’
3 August 2000
[web] British ISP’s don’t like heavy surfers reports newsUnlimited. ‘He says one user somehow managed to clock up 29 hours of usage in one day by setting up an ISDN-style connection.”There were also several businesses using the service,” he adds, “and we had made it clear this offer was not for business users.”‘
30 July 2000
[tech] Danny O’Brien profiles Google — possibly the best web search engine around at the moment. “Google’s secret is in being a plain, almost arid-looking search engine driven by a set of abstruse mathematical principles. Its extra selling point is that it actually works. Indeed, its many fans insist that a Google search is better targeted than any other, its unique text-matching technologies yielding a more selective and relevant set of results than the overwhelming deluge many rivals dump on you. And all in two seconds maximum.”
26 July 2000
[news of the screws] Metafilter on the Jennicam scandal. ‘Because the World Wide Web is all about two things: horrifyingly stupid psychodrama, and naked chicks.’
24 July 2000
[domain-name craziness] How Network Solutions, Inc. made me a child pornographer — everybody with a domain name registered should read this. “Even more disturbing, I have no way of knowing if my name has been attached to other sites featuring objectionable material. Indeed, the only reason I learned of the present situation was because a pervert in Germany was so anxious to obtain kiddie porn that he mailed a letter to a complete stranger 5,000 miles away. That’s scary.” [via Flutterby]
22 July 2000
[news of the screws] The National Post reports on the scandal at Jennicam. ‘But today, far from being a window into the life of an ordinary young woman, JenniCam (six cameras situated around her home) provides a glimpse into a slacker’s nirvana. With seemingly no means of support besides webcam revenue, Jenni, 24, whiles away her days in her spacious well- appointed surroundings playing computer games and, quite frequently, masturbating. Last Saturday morning, visitors to the site had the treat of watching Jenni and Dex make love. Her very public betrayal of her close friend, however, has prompted many formerly devoted viewers to vow never to give her another penny. Courtney, since discharged, remains in shock. In a recent journal posting, she laments: “How am I supposed to compete with ‘Jennicam?’ She’s funny, she’s gorgeous, she’s got better furniture. This really, really sucks.”‘
15 July 2000
[web] Zdnet on Ego-Surfing. ‘[..]Fouts says ego surfing is about more than the need for recognition. “I don’t have any real desire to be in the public eye,” he says. “It lets me know how accessible I am to the world. It’s nice to know that some random person from my past could find me.”‘
9 July 2000
[net] Danny O’Brien on mailing lists and trolling. “Our new member says he has friends in high places and we should all tread carefully. He says he’s a journalist, and he’ll be calling the tabloids with stories about the other subscribers. He phones the list organiser and hangs up in midcall. He reports subscribers to their ISP’s abuse desks. He threatens another with a libel case. He hurts, too: one man who used the companionship of the list to help with a deep personal crisis unsubscribes in anger at the abuse the troll is spreading; a teenager gets scared he will call the police. He does a search on another subscriber, finds out he’s gay and hurls abuse at him. “
8 July 2000
[old school web] I used to visit these two sites frequently way back in the old days of the web. Check out Maggie Donea’s Moments and Justin Hall’s Links from the Underground
6 July 2000
[bbc] Is the BBC doing to well in New Media? “It is not hard to see why privately funded internet publishers are afraid of the BBC moving into their patch. While the start-ups struggle to raise finance and discover the so-far elusive revenue streams, the BBC has no such concerns. BBC Online’s 32m budget last year came from the licence fee, and the site does not carry advertising or sponsorship.”
2 July 2000
[web] The Sunday Times goes Around the World in Eighty Clicks
30 June 2000
[web] Douglas Rushkoff talks about the “social currency” of the media and internet. Social currency is like a good joke. When a bunch of friends sit around and tell jokes, what are they really doing? Entertaining one another? Sure, for a start. But they are also using content – mostly unoriginal content that they’ve heard elsewhere – in order to lubricate a social occasion. And what are most of us doing when we listen to a joke? Trying to memorise it so that we can bring it somewhere else. The joke itself is social currency. Interesting in regards to weblogs — I hope LinkMachineGo provide social currency in the form of interesting/useful links… [via Metafilter]
26 June 2000
[spam] Spamcop… for when your Inbox is full of weird porn sites, crap share deals and bad philosophy.
25 June 2000
[web] Danny O’Brien on time wasting and log watching. ‘I look at the parts of my logs that show users who stumble on my site while searching for pornography (it’s amazing what searching for “hot”, “water”, “Japanese” and a couple of other terms can point you towards); and I don’t have the ability to track down their e-mail addresses, but I do wonder whether they know they have a constant audience for their movements online.’
22 June 2000
[web] newsUnlimited reports on’s recent problems. “What advice would they give to other dot.coms? Billam says: ‘The main thing is don’t expect too much from other people and expect everything to take twice as long as you planned. Keep a close eye on what everyone is doing, and if you do trustpeople to do things for you, make sure you have got goals, and assess their progress. Also don’t be afraid to question the experts.'”
14 June 2000
[tech] UK ADSL Guide. [I have a crazy dream — cheap unmetered internet access in my lifetime… ]
10 June 2000
[web] newsUnlimited reports that Tim Berners-Lee doesn’t like ads on web sites. “Newspapers insert a line saying an ad is an advertisement when it looks confusing. I want to see something similar on a web page. Perhaps the mouse should change shape when it passes over an ad to alert you to the fact.”
1 June 2000
[internet] BBC News reports BT Internet has been having problems with their email server. [BT Internet are pretty awful compared to Demon or Freeserve, I’ve been having various connection problems since I joined and my flatmate has not been able to download his email for the last couple of days. How do BT manage to reliably run the phone network in the UK?]
26 May 2000
[dotcom] Scan — impressive e-commerce idea. Basically, bang into your mobile the bar code number of any book or CD you see and send it to Scan as a text message. Within thirty seconds or so you get prices and delivery times from three online retailers back to your mobile and if you are registered you can buy it straight away….
24 May 2000
[dotcom] Nice inside story/analysis of where went wrong. [via Metafilter]
[dotcom] newsUnlimited covers how the staff feel after their redundancy “[..]As for the founders’ alleged profligacy, Thomson is diplomatic. “Getting through 91m in a year is quite lavish,” she says simply.”
23 May 2000
[weird science] Potato powered webservers… [this one is going to get blogged everywhere]
22 May 2000
[old school web] Browsing the old bookmarks again… I find The Couch. [Unlike Geek Cereal it’s still online but the last entry was in 1997…] We want love, success and power but our neuroses get in the way.
19 May 2000
[book] 253 a novel for the Internet about London Underground in seven cars and a crash
[old school net] Whatever happened to Geek Cereal?
18 May 2000
[dotcom] Slashdot has the answer to why failed: My wife never heard of (Score:5, Insightful)
14 May 2000
[tech] Much of the Internet leads nowhere according to a recent mapping project. “If you picked two random pages and tried to click from one to the other, “there’s a 75 percent chance that you will never get there,” LaMore said. If a path did exist, the average click separation would be 16, the researchers said.” Hmmm… I always said you were never more than four clicks away from porn on the Internet… I guess I was wrong!
12 May 2000
[tech] Embrace, extend, censor — Microsoft goes after Slashdot. Here’s the original article
10 May 2000
[film] filmUnlimited on trailers being released on the internet. Mat Snow, former editor of the mature gentleman’s rock monthly Mojo, once explained how he had fully enjoyed Godzilla without ever having seen the film. For the months of build-up beforehand, he had the pleasure of getting excited about the film, imagining the monster and the movie in his head, getting off on the hype. By the time the film actually came out, he had been reliably informed that it stank. So he didn’t go to see it. But he didn’t feel cheated – he had had four months of enjoyable anticipation at no cost.
8 May 2000
[internet] BBC News looks at’s prospects — competition from Microsoft Napster and Shoutcast seem to be the main problems!
7 May 2000
[web] I’ve been trying to find the best on-line bookmark manager on the web — blink seems to be the best of the bunch (at least for me).