The Blog

25 Aug 2015

These are the ones you should pay attention to.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Not sure if this will ever get updated given the problems with It used to be on my profile but I'm no longer allowed html and only 200 chars. And the remote oauth at no longer works. I'm not sure which end that is caused by but I bet it's

24 Aug 2015

Editing old and long abandoned Flash SWF code.
TL;DR. I need a lazyweb recipe or help for swf->decompile->edit->recompile->swf

Today's trip down the computing rabbit hole is all about Flash and old code. I was a user of a bit of clever code called Tuneglue that allowed you to wander round and visualise the links between music artists. You put in one artist, hit expand and it would query for similar artists and then build a rubber band mesh of the links. It was a great way of exploring musical artist space. The people who wrote it disappeared, leaving a ghost web site behind[1]. The people who hosted it[2] were bought by EMI who then killed the web server. We found the page on the internet archive[3] and amazingly the Flash code still worked. So I grabbed a copy and put it on my website[4]. All went well till about 10 days ago. Then[5] went live with their beta and killed the V1 of their API used by the flash code[7]. The example data[8] and V1 is really not that different from V2[9].

So I thought, maybe I can decompile the flash .swf file, make a few changes to support v2 or the API and then recompile it. I found an online site that will decompile swf[10] Deep in the code, the call to and the xml parsing looks pretty simple.
  Xml.load(("" + UrlEncode(this.Artist)) + "/similar.xml");
  while (E < EMIArtists.length) {

This doesn't look hard. There's only half a dozen lines that need changing to support API v2 and I think I can puzzle out the syntax and make it work. So then I started looking for tools to do the swf->decompile->recompile->swf round trip.

And that's when I fell down the rabbit hole into other decompilers[11], IDEs, numerous support environments (Java! Ugh!), confusion about what language I was looking at, missing project files, huge downloads that wouldn't install, install files that the anti-virus took 10 minutes to decide were ok, support forums populated by idiots, trial versions of software, abandoned open source projects, and so on and so on. Right now, I've just given up in disgust.

So, dearest Lazyweb. Is there anyone out there who's ever successfully done swf->decompile->recompile->swf and can provide a recipe? Or even better is there another music obsessive who wants to take a stab at doing it?

Always assuming that don't just resurrect the API V1. They're looking hugely incompetent at the moment so I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

[7] Data
[from: Google+ Posts]

21 Aug 2015

Is there an RSS/Atom feed for Google Photos? And preferably one that's as easy to use and consume as Flickr's that has content that contains the html to show the photo imgs.

And if not, why not?


[from: Google+ Posts]

20 Aug 2015

It's so sad to watch a web site that you've been using for more than 10 years screw up and slowly destroy all the goodwill they've built up.

Come on Last.Fm, please don't fail us now.

They've mistakenly gone live with a complete redesign when the beta clearly wasn't ready yet. And yet again, 10 years of communities and discussions have gone AWOL probably never to re-emerge. It also seems that most of the APIs are currently broken so there's a lot of developer goodwill lost as well.

Thanks, CBS. - Listen to free music and watch videos with the largest music catalogue online »
The world’s largest online music catalogue, powered by your scrobbles. Free listening, videos, photos, stats, charts, biographies and concerts.

[from: Google+ Posts]

19 Aug 2015

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

03 Aug 2015

Some satirical humour.
In view of the acute crisis caused by the threat of exhaustion of uranium and thorium, the Editors thought it advisable to give the new information contained in the article the widest possible distribution.

One wonders what Otto Frisch would have made of oil, gas and lignite as fuels for power stations. Or Solar Thermal.
 Feasibility of Coal-Driven Power Stations »
The following article is reprinted from the Yearbook of the Royal Institute for the Utilisation of Energy Resources for the Year MMMMCMLV, p1001. In view of the acute crisis caused by the threat of exhaustion of uranium and thorium, the Editors thought it advisable to give the new information ...

[from: Google+ Posts]

23 Jul 2015

Maybe my memory is going (it is!) but something quite strange happened on the BBC news last night. There was a report about Tony Blair's speech telling the Labour party that lurching to the left would make them unelectable. This was followed by a whole series of young Blairites (who didn't look old enough to actually remember the birth of New Labour) spouting the same line. Then we cut to Jeremy Corbyn describing how Blair destroyed the Labour party and involved us in the "disastrous and illegal Iraq war".

It seems like a long time since a major UK politician has described the Iraq war as "Disastrous and Illegal".

Blair's suddenly looking old, but he looks just as driven and criminally insane as ever. And this unshakable belief in a New Labour that is a lite-clone of the Tories is increasingly bizarre. It's not enough to have failed to learn anything from the last 20 years, he apparently wants to keep pulling the Labour party to the right and into a lacklustre place where it's indistinguishable from, and provides no real opposition to, the Tories. In which case, why vote for them?

It feels like this struggle for the soul of the Labour party might easily produce another split like the one where the SDP broke away. Perhaps this time it will be the Left that leaves and gets absorbed elsewhere rather the the Centre-right.
[from: Google+ Posts]

21 Jul 2015

A couple of good posts here about the state of Labour in the UK.

Labour's dead now and we probably have to suffer the full 13 years of Tory mis-rule.  So it's time for Labour to remember what it's actually about and to pull the Overton Window[1] to the left. They need to find some spine and create an opposition party that’s actually in opposition to the Tories.  Maybe real Left Socialism is unelectable in this part of the election cycle. But that doesn't mean the reasons for it and need for it have disappeared.

The Farage/Trump deal seems to be recognising that it doesn't matter if you get elected or not, if you can say what others dare not say and so pull the conversation your way. The Left should understand that they can play that game as well.

Meanwhile it's the SNP that are standing for 20th century, mixed social-democracy in the UK not Labour. If the current Tories are Blair-Lite[2], then current Labour is Blair-Lite-Lite. To the point where there's nothing there at all.

[2]Cameron vs Brown was described as Blair-Lite vs Thatcher-Lite
 Labour’s already dead, but who killed them? — Chocolate and Vodka »
Journalist Simon Ricketts wrote an excellent piece about Labour in which he argues that because there’s no real way that Labour can win the next election, they need to get a hold of the narrative and own it. They need to

[from: Google+ Posts]

07 Jul 2015

For the first time, then, we know that in private, British and US government agencies are taking seriously longstanding scientific data showing that a business-as-usual trajectory will likely lead to civilisational collapse within a few decades - generating multiple near-term global disruptions along the way. 
The question that remains is: what we are going to do about it?

What's interesting here is an attempt to update the Limits to Growth models with current data and fine tuning the parameter set. LtoG was broadly correct but we can improve it.

With a US election cycle coming up that's likely to set US policy for 8 years, and with the Uk election cycle just started, the question is what are they going to do about this? How will it inform policy? 
Some times it feels like the politicians approach is to build a defensible bunker for them and their friends. Maintain business as usual for as long as possible but put civil control mechanisms in place to try and contain the resulting chaos.

Too cynical?

[from: Google+ Posts]

29 Jun 2015

My first public post in G+. 8 July 2011, a week or so after the launch.

I've been searching for something in G+ that let's me see all the posts I've commented on. I can't find it yet.

4 years later. There's still no way of getting a list of all the posts you've commented on.
 I've been searching for something in G+ that let's me see all the posts I've… »
I've been searching for something in G+ that let's me see all the posts I've commented on. I can't find it yet.

In the process I discovered a whole set… - Julian Bond - Google+

[from: Google+ Posts]

27 Jun 2015

The dubstep pioneers talking about how it happened.

Well it's History now.... 15 years since its earliest years or so since it got hijacked  / "went down the wrong path"  - leaving the faithful bereft, making them disperse, or launch the postdubstep era


If you're interested, that oral history is well worth reading. 
 The VICE Oral History of Dubstep | VICE | United Kingdom »
The story of a genre, as told by some of its most pivotal players.

[from: Google+ Posts]

The Essential Guide to Cyberpunk

It's not a bad starting point and you could do worse than read everything any of those authors have ever written. Or just start with Mirrorshades and follow the links to each author. But also these books and everything by these people as well.

Paul Di Filippo - Ribofunk
Lucius Shephard - Life During Wartime
Michael Swanwick - Vacuum Flowers
Mink Mole - Alligator Alley
Jeff Noon - Needle in the Groove
Walter Jon Williams - Hardwired
Ken Macleod - The Execution Channel
Jack Womack - Random Acts of Senseless Violence
Samuel Delaney - Dhalgren
Ian McDonald - The Dervish House
Misha - Red Spider White Web
Martin Bax - The Hospital Ship
Paolo Bacigalupi - The Windup Girl
St. Jude (R.U.Sirius, Mondo2000) - Cyberpunk handbook : the real cyberpunk fakebook

Back in the 80s and 90s I read everything cyberpunk I could find. My tastes veered off though towards Slipstream and the sort of cross breed between Cyberpunk, Slipstream, Magical Realism and the late 60s New worlds crew like JG Ballard. Part of the reason for that is that the writing is generally better. It's a common criticism of early books by new SciFi authors that the writing is often terrible even while the ideas are interesting.

What's a bit sad is how much of that stuff is getting really hard to find now, long since out of print and pulped. Anyone got a copy of Lewis Shiner - Deserted Cities of the Heart?
 The Essential Cyberpunk Reading List »
It’s now been over three decades since cyberpunk first exploded, and in that time we’ve seen gorgeous movies, read fascinating books, and seen dozens of offshoots like steampunk (and my new favorite, deco punk) develop. Here are the 21 cyberpunk books you absolutely must read.

[from: Google+ Posts]

18 Jun 2015

It's 200 years since Sean Bean saved the day at Waterloo. He was younger then.
 Sharpe's Waterloo (TV Movie 1997) »
Directed by Tom Clegg. With Sean Bean, Daragh O'Malley, Abigail Cruttenden, Alexis Denisof. Based on the novel by Bernard Cornwell, "Sharpe's Waterloo" brings maverick Britis...

[from: Google+ Posts]

17 Jun 2015

Today's surprising mini-beast in the garden. A Rose Chafer beetle. Approx 20mm. Ware, Hertfordshire, UK.

[from: Google+ Posts]

It may look like big picture planning but actually it's just emergent behaviour from the Hive Mind.

So which Ant Hive in the Hive Super-Collective gave the nuclear launch controls to a Google autonomous car? It's probably OK because the only accidents the robot cars ever have is when they're rear-ended by cars driven by humans.
 xkcd: Planning »
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors). BTC 1FhCLQK2ZXtCUQDtG98p6fVH7S6mxAsEey ...

[from: Google+ Posts]

12 Jun 2015

30 years this month since the Battle of the Beanfield. 1 June 1985.
 Twenty years after, mystery still clouds Battle of the Beanfield »
This month marks the 20th anniversary of what has become known as the Battle of the Beanfield. 537 Travellers were arrested - the most arrests to take place on any single day since the Second World War.

[from: Google+ Posts]

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