The Blog


10 Mar 2015

Louis Gray on the end of Friendfeed
http://blog.louisgray.com/2015/03/friendfeeds-closure-another-painful.html

One of the amazing things about FF was that you could stand in the full stream and watch snippets of the global conversation float past every 5 seconds or so.

It's also reminded me about a long standing FAQ about G+. The Profile.About.Links YASN-Roll really ought to grab the content and feeds from those links and present them somehow. Not by auto-generating posts but perhaps filling another tab on the profile. It's still a missing piece in the Apps puzzle to aggregate all the posts and all the comments and conversations across all the platforms. The Buzz problem (and FF problem) was the potential for spammy abuse. So the answer is to make it private to the profile pages so you only get to see it if you specifically go and look.

The other challenge is that when FF was built everybody, but everybody, produced RSS/Atom feeds so there was generally something to pick up and aggregate. But then location apps like Foursquare stopped doing it. And shortly after, the major platforms stopped as well, requiring authentication, went to custom formats and generally stopped playing ball. In some ways, FF was the peak of the Web 2.0 dream of open common formats before the tide rolled back.
 FriendFeed's Closure Another Painful Loss from a Vibrant Era of Social Media »
Amidst all the Apple watch hoopla today, FriendFeed's blog announced the long-ignored social networking pioneer was finally going to be taken out back behind Facebook's brilliant new campus and be put down for good. With the ...

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09 Mar 2015

Well that's a bit sad.
http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/03/09/facebook-is-killing-off-friendfeed-on-april-9/
 Facebook is killing off FriendFeed on April 9 »
Remember when Facebook bought FriendFeed back in 2009? Amidst the mania of Apple Watch news, the platform today announced it's shutting down.

The reason, as you might expect, is ...

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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by post-modernism,
starving, hysterical, bearded,
dragging themselves through the Hackney streets at dawn
looking for just one more tune.
Angelheaded hipsters,
burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the blacked-out sub in the machinery of the night.

My god; It's full of stars.
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08 Mar 2015

When will the world properly achieve nuclear disarmament? 1-10-100-1000-10k years? And what's stopping us?
http://blog.longnow.org/02015/03/05/richard-rhodes-twilight-of-the-bombs-02010-seminar-flashback/

Why isn't Trident and UK nuclear disarmament an election issue in 2015? The Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP are against Trident. Everyone else, including the LibDems, are pro-Trident.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/11/the-trident-test/
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/04/clegg_must_stan/
 Richard Rhodes: Twilight of the Bombs — 02010 Seminar Flashback »
In September 02010 Richard Rhodes spoke about Twilight of the Bombs his history on nuclear weapons from the end of the Cold War to the 21st...

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07 Mar 2015

Gah! I really hate it when you find out about events 2 days after they happen. This time it was via TheWire's facebook page and their weekly newsletter.
http://www.fvu.co.uk/programme/detail/stay-where-you-are-jem-finer-and-ben-rivers

I've got a bit of a fascination going on for Jem Finer's work, especially around Trinity Buoy Wharf and the LongPlayer project. And also a fondness for the Whitechapel Gallery. Oh well. Maybe next time.

https://www.facebook.com/The.Wire.Magazine
http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/
http://www.trinitybuoywharf.com/
http://longplayer.org/
 
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Programme |
Film and Video Umbrella »

Film and Video Umbrella commissions, curates and produces artists' moving-image works and presents them in collaboration with galleries and other cultural partners.

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Yesterday's excitement is that I finally got to see the Great Crested Grebe courtship dance on the river Lea between Hertford and Ware. There's quite a lot of these birds round here and each spring I hope to see it, but have never been lucky. This time I watched them for about 5 minutes before they got bored and went back to nest building.


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Testing a share from Google Play Music.

It seems you can only directly share to G+, music in your library that matches music Google already knows about. The more obscure stuff tries to get you to share from Youtube but suggests some terrible matches. The warning is "Uploaded music is shareable only via Youtube".

Google Play Music is powerful but annoyingly primitive as a music player. Lots of missing features I've become used to in desktop music players.


Anyway, Al Dobson Jr. needs more love so here's a link.
http://www.discogs.com/artist/3558831-Al-Dobson-Jr
http://www.last.fm/music/Al+Dobson+Jr.
Still only 2342 listeners.

And the GPM problem is that it knows about "Rye Lane Vol One" but not "Sounds From The Village Vol​. ​1"

I imagine that "Listen" option in the attached link is going to want money from you. Sorry about that.



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02 Mar 2015

The Future of the Future at Futurefest. As seen from hipster London in Borough Market, Hoxton and Hackney, late Mar 2015. It's also tied in with a series of concerts put on by Convergence.

I've got my tickets for Portico+SnowGhosts. I'd quite like to have seen Tricky+Gazelle Twin but missed the tickets and that's probably 20 years too late.

I maybe should have done the full Futurefest weekend but £80 is a bit rich for me. The speaker list though is curiously hilarious. Edward Snowden, Vivienne Westwood, George Clinton, Maggie Philbin; Together at last!

http://futurefest.org/
http://www.convergence-london.com/

I hope somebody there talks about AD 02100 and the 22nd Century.
 FutureFest »
What might the world be like in decades to come? FutureFest is Nesta's flagship weekend event of immersive experiences, compelling performances and radical speakers to excite and challenge perceptions of the future. Join the conversation #futurefest. Updates. Tickets on sale here.

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25 Feb 2015

Google Play music has upped it's limit to uploading 50k tracks instead of 20k. This may take some time!

It's still annoyingly hard to upload .pls or .m3u playlist files.

And I still find it hard to understand the benefits of uploading your music to the cloud so you can download it again, played through a web music player that's a lot less effective than a local player.

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/25/google-play-music-50000/
 Google Play Music now lets you store 50,000 songs in the cloud »
Even if you're not paying for All Access or YouTube Music Key, Google Play can be a useful way to stream your personal music collection. With its free "l

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21 Feb 2015

Not your typical track day bike
http://bikeweb.com/node/2952

Here's the Press Release.
http://bikeweb.com/node/2951

---
In Feb 2015 at a Niche Vehicle Network supported MIRA wind tunnel session, the British designed and built Monoliner race bike recorded an aerodynamic coefficient of drag that was one of the lowest ever demonstrated.

“Getting efficiencies close to the historic benchmark Cd figure of 0.19 at our first attempt is very satisfying” said Monoliner team Principal Colin Russell.

“The figures we recorded are nearly 3 times better than any other current production road or racing motorcycle”. “It is a vindication of the research and development of pioneering FF designer Royce Creasey”.

“Monoliner is our petrol-engined 'development mule', but results in the MIRA wind tunnel has given us the confidence and motivation to progress our plan to design and build an even more aerodynamically efficient, all electric Monoliner race bike and enter it in the MotoE electric motorcycle racing series”.

Rob Anderson programme manager Niche Vehicle Network R&D programme said “The Niche Vehicle Network has provided funding and support to enable low volume automotive manufacturers to develop new technology and test prototype vehicles. We are thrilled that our wind tunnel funding has enabled a pioneer such as Monoliner to test and validate their innovative motorcycle design, showcasing how the Network is playing a vital role in supporting UK engineering innovation.”

Rupal Patel Director of MotoE commented: “Our goal is to drive competitive innovation and provide a platform to test, prove and market the technology that ultimately succeeds in the championship. Racing has been proven to accelerate development, raise interest as well as educate and ignite passion. We are very pleased to welcome the Monoliner team to the MotoE grid, becoming part of the next generation of motorsport. Their unique aerodynamics expertise and chassis design will add to the excitement of the series.

Colin concluded, “I believe that e-Monoliner will bring significant technical interest to the MotoE motorcycle racing series and this will be our target for 2015/16”. Colin is quietly confident that he's on the path to building a championship winner.
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Build photos here
http://bikeweb.com/image/tid/143

The engine is a BMW F800 Twin.
 Prototype FF at MIRA | FF Web »
Prototype FF at MIRA · Newbie to FF website · Voyagers - hunting in a pack. 2010 Cmax for sale · Peraves advice and info sought · Insuring an FF 3 · Positive media reponse to race FF, shock · Rob Horne's back catalogue · Insuring an FF 2 · FF racing, next installment ...

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This is all very well and I like the style. But when will I be able to buy the outfit from M&S for £250 instead of £2500 from Saville Row?

Not entirely convinced by the pink stripe in the light grey pinstripe. A darker grey and a chalk pinstripe would have been better.

The Prince Of Wales (Charlie of that ilk), has been wearing this for 40 years or so, taking after his father and uncles. And it's still a classic. So why did it need to be re-discovered?
 A suit fit for a kingsman - FT.com »
The suit is the modern gentleman’s armour,” observes Harry Hart, the hero of Matthew Vaughn’s new action film. “And the Kingsmen are its knights.” Released this month in the UK, Kingsman is a spy drama in which a Savile Row tailor’s shop serves as a

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15 Feb 2015

We need a design philosophy for sustainable, post-peak, technological living now more than ever. And preferably one that will last till the 22nd century and beyond. The Viridian movement needs a reboot.

Without it, we run the risk of being distracted by futile arguments between Radical Greens and Techno-utopians. Better living through science is no more an answer on it's own than an extreme localism that is busy knitting yogurt into yurts. It's not just a choice between Catastrophism and Denialism.

http://www.viridiandesign.org/
The Last Viridian Note. The end of a design movement. Being a re-statement of ways of living in the 21st century.

This post brought to you by
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/15/green_party_policy_uk_election_economics/
https://plus.google.com/104092656004159577193/posts/A9T8Jysd6tj
http://shift-magazine.org/magazine/see-no-evil-the-morality-of-collapse/
 The Viridian Design Movement »
The Last Viridian Note. Key concepts: summaries, farewells, Papal_Imperial sermons, the end of a design movement. Attention Conservation Notice: This is the last one. Links: A new steampunk manifesto. Wow, steampunk is a LOT older than Viridian, and look how lively steampunk is now.

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09 Feb 2015

Remember this next time somebody tries to tell you that climate change and unrestrained economic growth is probably not that bad in the medium term. Because they read something that refers back to the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Bjørn Lomborg and Richard Tol. Because it turns out the Copenhagen think tank probably accepted money from Paul Singer, billionaire funder of the Republicans and one step removed from the Koch brothers.

Tainted by association? I think so.

http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/02/09/exclusive-bjorn-lomborg-think-tank-funder-revealed-billionaire-republican-vulture-capitalist-paul-singer

Of course this is just one news report and might be an inaccurate smear. But it has the smell of truthiness.
 Exclusive: Bjorn Lomborg Think Tank Funder Revealed As Billionaire Republican 'Vulture Capitalist' Paul Singer »
A billionaire “vulture capitalist” and major backer of the US Republican Party is a major funder of the think tank of Danish climate science contrarian and fossil fuels advocate Bjørn Lomborg, DeSmogBlog has found.

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08 Feb 2015

Looking for a book to read? Pretty much everything on this list is worth reading. It's Bruce Sterling's 1988 announcement of the Slipstream Genre.

https://w2.eff.org/Misc/Publications/Bruce_Sterling/Catscan_columns/catscan.05

I'd add Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Paul DiFillipo, Pat Cadigan, Jeff Noon, Michael Swanwick. But mainly, Lucius Shepherd's entire output (RIP). 

I do have a small problem though with the Slipstream genre name. I really like Slipstream. The problem is that what I think of as Slipstream doesn't necessarily match what everyone else thinks it is!

And I think we need a replay of the New Worlds group. Where's 2015's JG Ballard?
 Bruce Sterling CATSCAN 5 "Slipstream" In a ... »
Bruce Sterling bruces@well.sf.ca.us CATSCAN 5 "Slipstream" In a recent remarkable interview in _New Pathways_ #11, Carter Scholz alludes with pained resignation to the ongoing brain-death of science fiction. In the 60s and 70s, Scholz opines, SF had a chance to become a worthy literature; ...

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Today's physics question is brought to you via the Russian self defence firearm carried into space. The TP-82 is basically a sawn off shotgun with a 3rd rifle barrel, and a butt that can be converted into a shovel or machete. It's there in the landing module to help you survive an attack from Siberian bears and to kill an Elk to eat when you land 500 miles off course.

In the comments was this: EVA on the ISS for no other reason that to blast skeets in low earth orbit

So let's get all XKCD about this. You're on an EVA untethered, and wearing your Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (AMU). The Clay Pigeon Launcher MkIV on the ISS launches a target for you. You give it both barrels of your TP-82 sawn off shotgun. What happens next? And where do the pellets and the cloud of clay pigeon fragments end up? More to the point, where do you end up!?!

http://io9.com/did-you-know-soviet-cosmonauts-carried-a-bear-killing-s-1684410938
 Did You Know Soviet Cosmonauts Carried A Bear-Killing Shotgun To Space? »
Anything can happen during a launch or landing of a crewed spacecraft, and just in case the crew would end up stranded in a remote area of the world, astronauts and cosmonauts undergo survival training and carry survival kits. The kits contain items such as food rations, water, extra clothing, items for making a shelter and other miscellaneous survival gear.

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So there goes Zero the Hero
Turning on around the wheel of births and deaths
And meanwhile the Octave Doctors
And the Pot Head Pixies
And all the other characters of the Planet Gong
Have to leave you now with a last little song

bye bye

http://www.factmag.com/2015/02/05/gongs-daevid-allen-tells-fans-he-is-dying-of-cancer/

http://www.planetgong.co.uk/

http://lyrics.wikia.com/Gong:You_Never_Blow_Yr_Trip_Forever

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31 Jan 2015

#FridayCocktail (a day late!)

Rum Martinez
- 40ml Myers rum
- 40ml Carpano Antic, red Vermouth
- Barspoon Luxardo Maraschino
- Dash orange bitters
- Dash Angostura bitters
- Stir, Martini glass, lemon peel twist.

Not a whole lot different from the Palmetto which is basically the same but misses out the Maraschino. Some people may find it a bit sweet but it should come out all silky smooth. A good winter drink.
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I ain't going to work on Maggie's farm no more.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/31/i-quit-my-job-to-set-up-commune

If you're waiting for the apocalypse so you can be free. Or you want to try some post-apocalyptic living as preparation, it's probably not going to happen the way you think it will.

And that's the challenge. How do we engineer a soft landing to the decline and fall of the global civilisation, this time around. Because a bunch of yurts on a scottish hillside is fun for a few weeks but it's not an answer.
 I quit my job to set up a post-apocalyptic commune »
Dylan Evans was worried about the end of the world. So he sold his house and headed for the Scottish Highlands with his cat, Socrates, and a couple of yurts. What could possibly go wrong?

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27 Jan 2015

I wish I could be as optimistic as this.
http://blog.longnow.org/02015/01/26/jesse-ausubel-seminar-media/

Why nature is rebounding – a summary by Stewart Brand

Over the last 40 years, in nearly every field, human productivity has decoupled from resource use, Ausubel began. Even though our prosperity and population continue to increase, the trends show decreasing use of energy, water, land, material resources, and impact on natural systems (except the ocean). As a result we are seeing the beginnings of a global restoration of nature.

Some of the examples are a little bizarre. eg 10,000 foxes in London is an example of nature returning? And it's repeating some of the old canards about increasing CO2 levels and temperate region temperatures is leading to greater plant growth. Mostly it feels like trying to say that if we can just put a few more sticking plasters on, we'll be able to mend the broken leg.

So what are we to make of the relentless optimism of the Long Now people? Or the relentless pessimism of the environmental people?
 Jesse Ausubel Seminar Media »
This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation

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26 Jan 2015

Ah, Politics. The sentiment below is of course about Scotland and the SNP. But lots of us feel exactly the same way about England. Remember that when the election comes round and all the choice you get is various colours of Tory.

The Party leadership remain infected by managerialism. It is easy to convince yourself you are doing good things while not changing anything fundamental, and at the same time building a very well paid career and a personal powerbase. I don’t want devo-max, I don’t want more powers, I don’t want something “as close to federalism as possible”. I want freedom for my country. I want independence. I want to live in a country which does not illegally invade other countries, collude in torture, carry out mass surveillance of its citizens, or possess nuclear weapons. The idea of running the Union a little bit better, making it a teeny bit more humane and competent, does not interest me. Nor does dulling the edge of austerity, when it is going to behead us anyway.

The article as a whole is about Greece and the way that they are not alone in being caught up in the wholesale corruption of gifting the citizen's cash to the bankers. And paying for it with a debt that we'll end up paying for forever in tax and VAT.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/01/greece-london-scotland-and-europe/
 Craig Murray » Blog Archive » Greece, London, Scotland and Europe  »
The entire purpose of this blog is to ask you to think outside the box. It therefore cuts across the lines of dogma of any group, and is formed purely by my own independent thought. As I have frequently stated, if anybody agrees with every point I make, something is wrong.

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