The Blog


29 May 2014

Mary Meeker on the State of the Internet.
http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends

Much to comment on here!

Glad to see the X market is still projected to increase by Y% in Z years!

Note: Laptops are mobile devices but not counted in the comments about smartphones and laptops. And mobile page views is still under 25% of total page views. This may be a "post-PC world" but clearly PC is still very important and 75% of the total. My sense is that PC total is not declining but the growth in the total is from mobile. So mobile's rising share is growing the whole market.

Digital Universe growth 50% y/y. That's for end user generated content. I'd suggest that total data generation has passed 100% growth y/y. Exponential growth with a doubling period under a year (or two) is very hard to get your head round. TL;DR, there's no past (it's tiny proportion of now) and no future (now will be  a tiny proportion in only a year or two). Now is getting shorter and shorter.

We need a new name for a "data generating consumer"! What do you call an end user who generates more data than they consume? That's not the internet as glorified TV channel any more. And when did we stop lurking? Does that mean that it's not "90% lurk, 9% comment and 1% post" any more.

Tencent (and alibaba and ) is huge. it's just not that visible because there's no need for them to try and expand into the English speaking world.
 2014 Internet Trends — Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers »
Partnering with great entrepreneurs to build the next big thing.

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27 May 2014


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19 May 2014

Here's a puzzle. How do (UK) camera vans work with motorcycles that have no front number plate? Somebody[1] might well be doing an alleged 40 towards them in the 30 limit or 85 in the 60 limit. But by the time the bike has passed them and they can get a readout of the speed superimposed on the picture of the rear number plate, the bike is doing 27 and 57 respectively. So there's no record of the speed that would stand up in court. Is that how it works? Or if you're seriously taking the piss do they have a signed judgement call that the bike in the two pictures is the same one? Or is it all fully automatic and the intention is not to catch anyone (except the very stupid) but to get the public to pay more attention and stop playing silly buggers?

So that's St Neots - Higham Ferrers, Mkt Harboro- Melton Mowbray and Melton Mowbray - Kegworth roads where not only have they got loads of signs that say "MOTORCYCLE DEATH ROUTE" and "BIKER ACCIDENT HERE" along with long stretches of 50mph limit, but also camera vans out on a Bank Holiday Sunday evening. This modern world, eh?

[1]Somebody else I was following. Not me. Obviously.
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11 May 2014

Facebook Nearby Friends
I see Facebook is introducing some new location features that let you publish a rough location and to see rough locations for your friends, especially the ones within a small radius.
https://www.facebook.com/help/629537553762715/

And like Google Plus, it's iOS/iPhone and Android only. For some bizarre reason it's unavailable from laptops, Chromebooks, or other devices. There's no desktop browser or mobile browser interface. Why? I can understand a small company with limited resources only rolling out a new feature on certain platforms. But why do these big companies only do half the job?

Location does seem to be something that everyone assumes is only interesting from a smart phone. That just assumes:-
- Nobody travels with a laptop. And yet I still see people using laptops in cafes and out on the road
- Chromebooks aren't portable and used on the road. But they are.
- Nobody would ever want to get an overview on a real browser. But then why is the big browser version of Google Maps used so much.
- That people never want to add a location to a post when using the most convenient interface for long form posts; The Browser version.

I don't get it. Do the people making these decisions and setting the development plans never use a laptop?
 Nearby Friends | Facebook Help Centre | Facebook »
Turn on Nearby Friends to choose who sees when you're nearby or on the go. They will only see this information when they also share theirs with you. To see friends who are nearby on an iPhone or Android: Tap More; Tap Nearby Friends; Choose who to share your location with (ex: Friends, ...

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10 May 2014

Apple's plan for Beats assuming the sale goes through. It's a 4 stage process.

1) Change the b to an a
2) Change the red to white
3) ???
4) Profit!

Now come on Apple, where's my 1TB iPod Classic by Beats by Dre ?
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08 May 2014

So Mr Bond, 
http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2014/04/the-prospects-of-the-space-and.html#comment-1953430

This one made my day.

My idea for an anti-bond story is along these lines: Bond discovers villain is setting up a tremendous under-ice colony in Antarctica. He's planning on global warming upending the world economy and ecology and the return of tropical conditions to the frozen continent. He's handpicked 50k bright, handsome youths to make the colony a success.

Bond is like "You're going to destroy the world to conquer it? You're mad!"

The villain is all like "What? No! I've sunk half my fortune into fighting global warming. But I don't think I'll make any headway against these jackass governments so Plan B is the Antactic colony. I'm not trying to destroy civilization, I'm just trying not to be crushed in the debris when it collapses. So, you look like a handsome gent of good stock. I think I could find a place for you here."

Bond considers. "How are you stocked for gin and olives?"
 The prospects of the Space and Freedom Party reconsidered in light of the crisis of 21st century capitalism - Charlie's Diary »
The current buzz-topic of the month is Thomas Piketty's magisterial tome, Capital in the 21st Century—currently at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, #5 in the UK, and in the sights of every right wing pundit, goldbug, and economic quack globally. I have not read Piketty (yet) so I am ...

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30 Apr 2014

When the seasons change in the northern hemisphere, animals that like colder conditions migrate north and upwards.  Think summer reindeer or the Swifts that are just about to move to the UK. So one personal response to climate change is to migrate to where conditions are better suited to the kind of life you'd like. So instead of retiring to Spain where it's nice and warm, you might decide to retire to Norway or western Eire where it's not unbearably hot and there's some rainfall.

Now given that borders generally (even in the EU) are closing. And you currently live in SE England, where would you move to in the next 20 years to survive the following 20 in reasonable comfort? 

BTW, this is one of the scariest essays I've read recently. You'll probably want to give it a miss.
http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/
 Climate-change summary and update »
Updated frequently, and most recently 28 April 2014. ** Latest additions are flagged with two asterisks on each side. **. I'm often accused of cherry picking the information in this ever-growing essay. I plead guilty, and explain myself in this essay posted 30 January 2014.

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27 Apr 2014

Time for EBR to go home. Being lapped is just embarrassing. But having both bikes blow up and the 2nd one causing a red flag screws it up for everyone else.
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29 Apr 2014

My old, much loved, much tweaked, improved and worked on Suzuki Burgman 400 has been stolen. Well, that sucks!

http://bikeweb.com/node/1426
http://bikeweb.com/image/tid/24

When it was stolen it had the Tucano Urbano lap cover fitted underneath the estate agent sign side panels.

That top box was 20 years old. The bike was 10 years old. It had a battery charger, soldering iron and kit, 10 year old bike boots, Frank Thomas jacket inner, wooly hat, cap, glove inners, assorted bungees, an old favourite pair of waterproof trouser outers, several bags of nuts and bolts and no doubt some other random stuff in it. The backrest came from a last millenium Helix. The Givi screen had been much modified. The more I think about it, the more emotional investment there was there. So there's a large slice of Buddhist detachment needed here.

How did that happen? Work on somebody else's bike all day. Right outside a ground floor flat in Tower Hamlets down near Mile End in dodgy East London. 6pm go and get pizzas from Tescos. Return to park on the pavement right outside the flat in the same place it's been parked all day. Cook and eat the pizzas. Look out the kitchen to see the bike has gone. WTF? The bike's worthless (in the sense of what you'd get as a stolen bike or as parts rather than what it would cost to replace) and a bitch to hot wire. There really is almost nothing on it that's worth anything. I guess it's just disappeared into the local estates and will end up in the canal. They literally just pushed it away. The Police[1] will do what they can but unless it gets dumped somewhere obvious, I don't expect to see it again. I kind of hope it doesn't come back because it's bound to be broken in all kinds of new and not so interesting ways.

So shall I buy another one? Think I'll have a drink while I ponder that.

[1]Incidentally, the Met have another scam going. If you agree, and they find it, they'll put it in the pound. You get to pay for their collection and then by the day till you collect it. The alternative is they just tell you where it is.

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27 Apr 2014

Quite irritating that Orphan Black S2E1 was a week ago in the USA on BBC America but not till Wed in the UK on BBC3. Why, BBC, why?

Still at least it is being shown free to air. Unlike Justified that has no outlet, and Mad Men, Game of Thrones and so on that is Sky only since Virgin cable doesn't carry Sky Atlantic (even for money).

I guess they must actually want us to use quasi-legal streams and torrents then. And this might come in handy; https://immunicity.org/
 Immunicity - Simple Censorship Circumvention »
Immunicity provides a simple way of accessing censored content. Just one browser configuration change to make.

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Science FTW, suckers!
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140418.html

Measuring the Earth Moon distance to under a millimetre by bouncing a laser beam off the Apollo 15 retroreflector. The laser is visible in the photo because the full moon's light is dimmed during the total eclipse.
 APOD: 2014 April 18 - Red Moon, Green Beam »
A different astronomy and space science
related image is featured each day, along with a brief explanation.

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Nothing new to see here, move along. Just some wild speculation about lizard people and the short term future of energy supplies in the Guardian.

Pent up demand, rising extraction costs, reducing ROI and EROI, an economy built on unlimited $30/barrel oil/gas, all leads to increased volatility.

So what does the current UK gov do? Promote fracking and down play renewables. Yeah, that'll work. Well, it will work for the people selling fracking technology and their friends, perhaps not so much for the rest of us.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/28/global-market-shock-oil-crash-2015-peak
 Ex govt adviser: "global market shock" from "oil crash" could hit in 2015 »
A former oil man calls for renewable "Renaissance" to ward off shale dystopia

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This is a fairly extraordinary thing. Heat map of 77,688,848 rides and 19,660,163 runs representing about 220 billion total data points.
http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#13/-0.10957/51.50642/yellow/bike
 Strava Global Heatmap »
100 million rides and runs, 220 billion data points visualizing the best roads and trails worldwide.

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26 Apr 2014

The Palmetto and (not)Master At Arms - Fri and Sat cocktails

Here's a pair of dark rum cocktails. The Palmetto is quite well known and is in the Savoy cocktail book. Savoy recommends St Croix rum but since they make several it's not clear which. They appear to be quite dark so Myers seems a good alternative. Curiously, although it's a classic French-Italian, Regan doesn't mention it, and neither does Degroff.

I've mentioned the Master At Arms before. It comes from Zetter Townhouse in London. They make it with a Port evaporation and home made Grenadine. Since I have no evaporator and a bottle of Monin Pomegranate syrup, that'll do.

They're both easy drinking and lush. However they do need care with the quantities as there's the danger of ending up with something that tastes like cough mixture. I'm going to try increasing the rum and reducing the other ingredients to try and get nearer what I remember from Zetters.

Palmetto
30ml Myers rum,
30ml Antica Carpano Red Vermouth
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Stirred, Martini glass, Orange twist or Maraschino cherry

(not)Master At Arms
40ml Myers rum,
15ml Tawny port,
Barspoon(2.5ml) Pomegranate syrup
Stirred, small coupe or small tumbler with one ice cube.
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22 Apr 2014

Downing College-Cambridge, 1978. Special Consumers Association. Where are you now?  There was a white Cortina Mk1 automatic with Jamaica flag roundels round the headlights driven by a guy who worked in the record biz. It expired just short of Harston. There was a vague connection with Regents University and very temporary digs behind Bond St station. Later there was a flat in West Hampstead. There was also a couple who lived in a flat in a big block on Steel's Rd (??? and Carrie). Some of you came to a post-wedding party in 1984 in Downshire Hill. There's a possible connection with Nigel Sharpe. I also kind of think you knew people from Queens and Cranbrook, Kent

Then there's Alex the guitar player who had a flat above Trinity St and played God Save out the window in the style of the Hendrix Star-Spangled. Later had a Guzzi Le Mans, lived in Crouch End before moving into a self build in Docklands. Alex's mate (who played Bass) and was into BASE jumping.

Mentioning Cranbrook. What happened to Ant? And the guy we always thought got recruited by the security services due to his fluent German, frequent trips to "Switzerland" and slightly dodgy dad. The others in that house on Chaucer Road. And what about Sue from Birmingham who went to Goa.

The three Dumont brothers, Max Bell and one or two others from Trinity. Especially the guy who looked after a flat in the posh bit between Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith and a penchant for Tootsie's burgers. There were a lot of people I kind of knew at that afternoon garden party in Trinity Gardens '78. Bring white wine and we'll empty it into a dustbin and add fruit, mixers and spirits.

Did you have a house in Manchester and came to Rivington Pyke in '78 in a VW camper van with a dodgy gearbox? They wouldn't let us up the hill, so we ended up in a field. There was a guy there well known for making hot air balloons. He walked round with one on the end of a string above his head. The student house had a circular "door" hole into the sitting room and was mostly painted in purple.

Did you run a record and buttons stall in Camden Market, lived in a basement flat in Camden and briefly had a record shop in Hampstead? What about the artist who had a flat in S Villas at the back and was in the ambulance to Rivington and later to LA.

Annie, Sue, Droid, John Mac, Peter Walsh, Pete, Tim Palmer, Nick Froome, Dave Harris, Kevin Metcalfe and Steve Angel in the cutting room, and all the others hanging round Utopia studios.

Does any of this ring a bell? Get in touch.
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21 Apr 2014

What a curious character. Worth investigating.
http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/
 Paul Kingsnorth »
Welcome to my website. In these dusty e-stacks I store essays, books, poetry, strange maps, scrappy jottings, diaries and other yellowing papers. Enjoy rummaging.

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20 Apr 2014

Proper, full on rant about the evil that is pet cats and dogs.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/nature-up/2013/dec/09/1

I approve of this message. Not only do they need daily emptying which leads to the poo-fairy and cat shit in the garden, but they kill song birds, and the pet food industry causes untold havoc. Have you any idea how hard it is to get organic, free range, cat food? Even in Waitrose? Never mind the happiness of your cat, what about the happiness of the animals that were bred to feed it? Eh?
 Greenish kitty plague spreads through US websites »
A blight of mindless cat and dog stories has infected US enviro news sites. Who's to blame?

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Here's a thought experiment for futurists and especially the Californian Long Now enthusiasts.

Imagine for a moment that Spartacus had won, Roman slaves had been freed and a mercantilist middle class had grown up. The Roman Empire hadn't collapsed under the weight of decadence and the Goths. And so a Roman Empire version of the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment had happened around AD500-600. A Newton and/or Leibniz would have appeared around AD700 (notwithstanding the problems of trying to do Principia Mathematica in Roman numerals!) The industrial revolution would have followed in AD800 and computers, electronic and computer revolutions would have appeared in AD970. Peak oil would have happened around AD1020.

So now in 2014, we'd be about 1000 years into a post industrial, post global-warming, post unlimited-resource world.

What would it look like?

This post was inspired by http://blog.longnow.org/02014/04/19/the-knowledge/ I'm really quite conflicted by the Long Now foundation and the idea of getting futurist darlings like Eno to produce lists of books for a "Manual for Civilisation" or rather a "Library to reboot civilisation". Somewhat in the style of A Canticle for Leibowitz, because this civilisation is doomed and it would be a shame if the last 200 years of growth were lost when it inevitably collapses. See http://blog.longnow.org/category/manual-for-civilization/ It feels like this has changed from a thought experiment to try and get people to think about what we're doing to ourselves into a business selling books and seminars, feeding vampirically on a very western insecurity.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a Clock for 10,000 years ( http://longnow.org/projects/ ) or the Long Player song that doesn't repeat for 1000 years.  ( http://longplayer.org/ ) I just wonder about the way Doom (with a capital D) is becoming an industry in the same way as Self Help, Lifestyle Coaches and all the other WooWoo. There's VC, donations from unbelievably rich tech people, celebrity endorsement, TED talks and so on and on.

Remember the words of Philip Dick; The Roman Empire never ended.
 The Knowledge »
One of the early inspirations for creating the Manual for Civilization was an email I received from Lewis Dartnell in London asking me for information...

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"Because Darwin" is NOT the answer to everything. If the Social Darwinists weren't bad enough here's the Cosmological Darwinists. Apparently the universe is just the black hole's method of producing more black holes.

http://io9.com/whats-the-purpose-of-the-universe-heres-one-possible-a-1564636270
 What's The Purpose Of The Universe? Here's One Possible Answer »
It's tempting to think of the universe as a meaningless repository for celestial objects like planets and stars. But an intriguing theory suggests there's much more to the cosmos than meets the eye — and that black holes play an integral role in what our universe is actually trying to achieve.

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16 Apr 2014

What a most excellent collection of images.
http://datacide.c8.com/what-is-this-future/
 What Is This Future? | Datacide »
 In late 2012 HSBC, a large international bank, executed an advertising campaign dubbed “In the future...”. These ads, appearing in business magazines and inte

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