Guided Society

I woke up this morning to the Today show on BBC Radio 4. I can’t remember the exact context of the term, but I remember hearing the phrase “guided society” being used in connection with the added levels of control that we now live with.

It made me shiver.

Who will do the guiding? I suspect that ID cards, which we will all have for our own protection of course, will be central to the concepts of a “guided society”. What’s happened?!!

Blogs Web Stuff

Is there a new WordPress Dashboard Widget for OSX?

Does anyone out there know of a recent dashboard widget that allows posting to WordPress blogs with support for tagging, preferably by hooking into Ultimate Tag Warrior?

I’ve done a bit of Googling, and can only find references to RapidMetaBlog and WordPressDash, both of which are quite old now, and certainly don’t do tagging and/or images.

Suggestions anyone?

Mac Software

On NewsFire an other feed readers

My feedreader of choice is, and has been for some 2 years, the excellent NetNewsWire Lite on a Mac. It handles my 244 feeds very well, and they’re all nicely categorised into groups.

But I’ve had a bit of trouble recently in that NetNewsWire Lite has begun to randomly jumble up individual posts. Rather than sorting them by arrival order, it’s just mixing them together. I’ve checked “View > Sort By > Arrival Order” and it’s checked. I’ve clicked everything and double-checked settings, and it should all be OK.

Just out of curiosity, I thought that I would try out NewsFireRSS. Its interface looks very clean, and I do actually have a license bought through the recent MacHeist promotion (I bought the MacHeist bundle primarily for Delicious Library and Rapidweaver). So I thought that I would give it a whirl.

NetNewsWire allows you to export your RSS subscriptions to an OPML file with two options: first, as a flat file, and second, preserving your subscription groups. I opted for the second option, as I’ve got them all nicely grouped, and it would takes ages to sort them again by hand.

Sadly, when I imported the OPML file into NewsFire, none of the groups were preserved. I had one huge list of subscriptions. Not good!

Just to test the exported OPML file, I imported it into the open source feed reader, Vienna. My groups were preserved, thankfully, so the OPML file did export correctly from NetNewsWire. It seems that NewsFire just can’t cope with OPML groups – a big shame! I might have to relent and re-group by hand – or just stick with NNW or Vienna.

Cornwall Kernow Random

Wikipedia in Cornish

A while back I stumbled ‘pon a curious URL –

That’s right – there’s a Kernewek Wikipedia! It currently has 1,288 articles, and will hopefully grow.

A lot of people might be thinking “what’s the point”, but it’s very important for the Cornish language. It gives Cornish speakers a place to compile articles in the language, and it’s a perfect place for people who want to learn to go and have a read of a good body of material.

It gives Cornish/Kernewek/Kernowek (call it what you will) exposure on the web. The language nearly died out, and it’s wonderful to see a resurgence of interest that’s making this a truly living language once again. A Cornish Wikipedia is a truly noble project in my (admittedly Cornish) eye..

3D Random Rumour Software

Google Metaverse?

GigaOM reports that more evidence is turning up that Google are developing their own metaverse, i.e. a virtual 3D world like Second Life.

Google themselves have said nothing about it themselves, so this is pure rumour/wishful thinking.

What with Google’s acquisition of SketchUp and Keyhole which demonstrates their keenness in 3D, it wouldn’t surprise me if a Metaverse is up their sleeves. We shall have to wait, watch, and see…


Get A First Life

I’ve been using Linden Lab‘s Second Life for a few months now, not obsessively as some have, but just to see what all the fuss is about. It’s an interesting system, renowned for being full of porn and men masquerading as virtual women (and vice-versa), as well as virtual museums, an internal economy etc. You can spend a lot of money in Second Life, and some charities have taken out advertisements on the system to remind people that their money spent on virtual things would be better off being spent on helping people in the real world.

Today I came across a wonderful parody: Get A First Life

  • Go outside – Membership is Free
  • Find out where you actually live
  • Access your closet to build your First Life look
  • Etc Etc. Brilliant!

    Get A First Life

    Even better, Linden Lab commented on the blog of Get A First Life’s creator, Darren Barefoot, with a “Proceed and Permit” letter, as opposed to the usual “Cease and Desist” ones that such parodies often attract. Hats off to Linden, and here’s to healthy parody 🙂

    (speaking of which, the same chap has a wonderful parody about Apple – iCryptex – wonderful!)


    Video from the top of Salisbury Cathedral’s 404′ spire

    Scared of heights? Don’t watch this video, taken by conservators working at the top of Salisbury Cathedral’s 404′ spire. That’s a long way up, with not much to hold on to. With lots of wind.

    To those familiar with Salisbury, here’s a closer view of that little red light we see way up in the sky when it’s dark.


    Apple’s iPhone will be a closed platform?

    I’ve been a Mac user for over 3 years now, and like most Mac users, I was excited when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld San Francisco on Tuesday. Apart from the device looking utterly amazing in every way, it was revealed that it actually runs a version of OSX. Wow. Or so I thought.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in first thinking “Wow! A pocket Mac!”. David Pogue’s blog reveals further disappointments. It won’t run iChat, it doesn’t have GPS (despite having a Google Maps app), and the web browser doesn’t run Flash. I thought it was meant to be an “internet communicator”, Mr Jobs!

    As reported by Macrumors, the iPhone will not be an open platform. Apple want to control everything that runs on the phone. An article in the New York Times, where Steve Jobs is interviewed about the iPhone, states him as saying:

    “We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”

    I disagree. I used to have a Nokia 6600, which ran the Symbian OS, on which I ran lots of 3rd party applications and none of them ever prevented me from making a call. Ever. Is the ‘OSX Lite’ that runs on the iPhone really that flaky?

    Or, more likely, maybe it’s because of Apple’s obligations to Cingular. Because of the iPhone’s built-in WiFi, 3rd party applications could be developed to use the device for VoIP, which could damage Cingular’s revenue from voice and data calls. Who knows.

    Still, it’s easy to be cynical before the device is released, and there’s still 6 months to go. Maybe once it’s on general release, people will find a way around things, or Apple will add some more features. I’m sure that it will do what it does very well indeed, just without the flexibility to do things your way…


    Making Money

    I’m going to experiment with some good old capitalist techniques beginning today. I’ve already slipped in some affiliate links (which I will declare on a post by post basis), and a few Google ads will slip in from time to time.

    This is all in aid of the “Help Tom’s Hosting Bill” fund.

    Wish me luck! When I tried ads on Past Thinking, I made $9 in a whole year, which isn’t enough to actually claim…


    Pzizz – software that helps you relax?

    I received an email today from Pzizz, which reminded me that I was going to blog about it ages ago.

    I first heard of Pzizz back in July 2006, from Chris Messina‘s blog. The thought of software that helps you nap, relax or sleep sounded rather dubious to me. So I downloaded a demo to see what it was all about, and my, was I pleasantly surprised.

    What the software does, is create a ‘guided meditation’ for want of a better term. You can get two versions – one for a short ‘energizer’ nap, and one to help you go to sleep. Suffice to say, I now have both versions.

    A voice guides you into relaxation, whilst a nice soundscape is built up in really wide stereo. It’s astonishingly relaxing, and a number of techniques are applied to help you have a nice daytime nap, or slip off to sleep:

    pzizz is a remarkable invention that combines several different proven techniques to help keep you feeling energized throughout the day. It combines Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques along with especially composed music, sound effects and a binaural beat to induce a wonderfully relaxed state, similar to that of the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.

    You can generate naps to put on an mp3 player as well, which is a handy feature if you don’t want to have a computer switched on while you relax.

    What a marvelous invention!

    Link: Pzizz (Disclaimer: affiliate link!)