Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel R.I.P.

Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel has died at age 69.

All the money in the world can’t buy your way into heaven, it can’t buy your way out of hell, it was made to be spent right here. And I’m gonna have the best clothes, best boots, best diamonds, best cars, trucks, motorcycles, booze and women on the face of this earth, just as long as I can keep going.

Below, the crash at Caesar's Palace that put him in a coma for 29 days

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

A new computer class

Bell’s Law for the birth and death of computer classes says that a new class of computer comes along every ten years or so. Outside of these revolutionary periods the computer makers keep price constant but add more features. So, today's laptop is somewhat cheaper than older laptops but it is much more powerful. We are now seeing the dawn of a new class of computer, the ultra cheap portable. One example is the One Laptop per Child project, another is the Asus Eee. These computers are revolutionary because they offer less functionality (small screen, Linux based software) at a much lower price.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Family Portrait in Boots

Click for a bigger picture.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How to build a Cathedral, part 10

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, California, 9 November 2007

They have started to put glass in to form the Omega window. It is plain green glass which matches exactly the colour of the office building I work in. In the original architect's drawings and on the cathedral's own web site the glass is shown as white. At present I don't understand why they chose this green colour. Another new feature is the spikes that have been added at the top of the sides. They look as though they are continuations of the metal framework but clearly they are an ornamental addition. Also new is the tempting ladder that ascends the side.

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, California, 9 November 2007

Flight of the Darned

Very silly but wonderful mix of doctor who stuff.

Oracle 1: Oracle 1

Oracle did well yesterday, offering me a free print subscription to the Economist. I was pleased. I like that magazine, but never quite enough to pay for it regularly. So I was feeling benevolent towards Oracle until I went to bed last night. There was a loud thumping noise. Was it our annoying neighbours with whom we have a feud? Nope, it was the Oracle party at the Cow Palace, two and a half miles away. It must have been horrendously loud. Lots of other people heard it too, but it's OK as we all live in the unfashionable south end of the city. And who was performing at the party? Lenny Kravitz? Of all rocks stars I may despise him the most for his blatant ripoffs of dead heroes .

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Björk & PJ Harvey duet on Satisfaction

This is from the BRIT Awards 1994.

Ads on BBC news page

There are now ads on if you are outside the UK. I hadn't noticed them as trusty adblock was filtering them out in Firefox. There is an ad for Hublot watches and a link to an explanation of what's going on (at the right hand side). Both are evil flash, which at least makes them easy to block.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Nightwish @ Slims, San Francisco, 2 Nov 2007


If you look at this evil flash tool from Gracenote you can see what music people are actually listening to. This reveals that, whoa, the Beatles are very popular and that Pink Floyd have not been destroyed by the punk revolution. If you look at Finland you will see that the number one band is Nightwish. They are a sort of symphonic goth metal band. The keyboardist is the main writer but the focus of attention is the female singer. Two years ago their current singer was fired by the rest of the band using a not very subtle open letter. Now they are touring with their new singer. I'm not a big fan but I thought it would be fun, so I went to see them.

The support band was Paradise Lost who reminded me of Sisters of Mercy, perhaps it was the singer's Yorkshire accent. Then a long wait for the main act was made bearable by old film of Iron Maiden from the 80s. This caused great amusement for the guys behind me who marveled at the youth of the band. Metal crowds are so friendly (despite what they look like), however I did not reveal my dubious credentials of having seen "Maiden" in 1980.

Nightwish eventually appeared. In many places they are a stadium band and they had a funny stage setup with two screens at the back of the stage behind which the band would occasionally retreat. They have a good drummer, the aforementioned pretty boy keyboardist, a fork-bearded bass player and a shortish guitarist. New singer Anette looks relaxed and bounces around gleefully. Basically I found this band very agreeable. Maybe it's the Nordic connection but they remind me of Abba with their pleasant natures. Although they play a longish set I would have happily heard more. I would like to hear more of the guitarist, and even the bassist's support singing was pretty good. Anette has an unenviable task of replacing her classically trained predecessor, but she looks totally at home on stage. She is that goth girl who looks fierce but is fun to be with. She hugs the other members and they look like they can't believe how long they put up with the previous prima donna.

Nightwish aren't exactly my favourite type of band but I had a good time seeing them. Like the Donnas their professionalism makes for a fun night out.

Read a nice report from a real fan.

Eisenhower on planning

Dwight D. Eisenhower said:

Plans are nothing; planning is everything
or, to paraphrase in the modern vernacular:
Planning is important, plans not so much.
In the software world a lot of time is spent making plans, which are carefully written down and stored safely. After that they are not often referred to. Pretty soon circumstances have changed and a new plan is required. So I agree with Ike.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween 2007

So what did I do with all that blood I made? I was a Halloween Zombie (click on the above picture to see a bigger version). I had a good time walking around with a young witch. I think she was a little disgusted that I got a lot of attention. It can get pretty tiring doing that lurching zombie walk for a long time. A few people wanted to have their photo taken with me, though the guy who put his arm around me found that blood can be sticky.