Saturday, December 29, 2007

Not a Windows Vista Fan?

I've now got 2 computers running Windows Vista Home Premium. As usual, it seems to be fashionable to criticise the latest version of Windows, but having used Windows 3.1, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, I find the latest incarnation more visually attractive and no more likely to crash or freeze than any of the previous versions. Perhaps I should have higher expectations than this, but having worked with computers for 20 years or so I have learned not to hope for too much!

I'm periodically tempted to defect to a Mac, and their machines certainly look trendy. The user interface looks good too, but at the end of the day most of the software I use runs just as well, I suspect, on pc's as it does on Macs. The rest of the stuff I do is on the Internet, and I doubt if it matters what sort of computer I use to access the Web.

As far as work goes, it seems to me that it tends to get done more often in spite of the computers rather than because of them.

But maybe I'm just an old cynic?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sex Still Sells

Teflon Girl 2
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.
A while ago I discussed the history of this fine image and compared its popularity on Flickr with an image accidentally showing this young lady in the background and holidaying Wosog, Gdog and Gsog in the foreground. Surprising as it may seem, this picture appeared to be the more popular of the two. I thought regular readers of the blog would be interested to hear how the two images have fared in terms of popularity in the intervening period of more than two years.

The family picture is my 9th most popular photograph in terms of views with 890. The "lonely girl" photograph is my most popular image with 4072 views.

I wonder why that should be?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

If anybody out there is reading this, I wish them a Merry Christmas. I'm having a great one so far, even though I've not had anything to drink yet.

Speak to you later after several units of alcohol and several kilocalories.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've been fascinated by robots since I had a teenage interest in science fiction. Isaac Asimov, who wrote "I, Robot" was one of my favourite authors. At the time that I was reading these science fiction books I don't think I considered it likely that many of the things the stories prophesied would come about in my lifetime. I've posted several times on this blog (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) about robots, referring directly or indirectly to the amazing progress currently being made in robotics.

One of my other obsessions is the website Wordie, and it was there I first came across the term "robosexuality". There was a link to the Uncyclopedia on the subject from the Wordie page, and the whole thing was treated in a lighthearted manner. Imagine my surprise, however, to read in this article that a Dutch artificial intelligence expert is predicting humans marrying robots by 2050! "At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky" he says. I'm not sure that "geeky" would be the first adjective that would spring to most people's minds. Again according to Levy, "It may sound a little weird, but it isn't. Love and sex with robots are inevitable."

The Dutchman seems extremely sanguine about the prospect of romantic and sexual relations with these machines but I'm not so sure. He sees it as a dream come true for people who for one reason or another have difficulty forming close relationships with other humans. On a more lighthearted note, he sees it as a solution to the "randy husband-wife with headache scenario".

Postscript: For those who want to read more on this subject there is an interview with David Levy here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Killjoys at Christmas

I can't actually find it on the website, but I'm reliably informed that the NHS Information Centre is able to tell us that there were 1,328 admissions to hospital in England in 2006/07 after people fell in slippery conditions. Another 4,235 were admitted after falls involving ice skates, skis, rollerblades or skateboards. The implication seems to be that crossing the threshold of your house is too hazardous to contemplate at this time of year. Indeed, staying indoors may be too dangerous if your lino is on the slippery side!

Other festive potential sources of trauma include contact with plant thorns, spines and sharp leaves (238 admissions) and climbing ladders (6,002 admissions). It's even worth giving mulled wine a body swerve since 1,638 people were admitted after contact with hot drinks.

I say all this with my tongue resolutely pressed against my cheek, but don't you get the feeling in the UK that our 21st Century politicians seem to have an irresistible urge to try and legislate any activity considered remotely risky out of existence?

To me this undoubted trend is a far bigger threat to our civil liberties than any form of terrorism.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quite simple, really....

I've always wanted to become a famous blogger, sharing the stage with Cory Doctorow and other Internet Luminaries at international conferences in exotic places. It seems the process of becoming a famous blogger is simpler than I thought. This flow chart explains the process in an easily assimilated visual form:

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

I'm going to get right onto it, pronto...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wake up Cat

Continuing the cat theme, anyone who has ever had a cat will recognise how accurately the beginning of this little video represents a cat's attempts to wake up a reluctant human.

Hopefully, the latter part will be less familiar....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Now I've Heard Everything....

Wosog and I are both great fans of cats, and we have had a few cats as pets in the past. Unfortunately, Wosog started developing increasing allergic reactions to them, however: initially in the form of conjunctivitis, but later in the form of asthmatic symptoms. We ultimately had to find new homes for the two cat brothers we had at the time.

Some people are even more fond of cats than we are, and a tiny minority are virtually obsessed with the furry little creatures. On Flickr, these folk's photostreams are riddled with feline portraits. I've not been aware, up till now, of cat obsession in the blogosphere, but I think this blog definitely "takes the biscuit"! Purrcast not only talks about cats in great detail, but features streamed soundclips of purring cats: hence, Purrcast!

I believe there is evidence that having a cat and listening to it purring has beneficial psychological effects. Maybe reading and listening to this blog has similar effects?

Or maybe not...