Monthly Archives: May 2005

The New Job

In response to my legions of demanding readers…

The new job is going pretty well! I work in a team of about 10 people, all of whom are jolly friendly. Essentially the team pimps itself around the Council doing bits of work for other departments. This can range from doing one off pieces of work, such as designing processes and peforming surveys, to managing whole projects. I think most people have several jobs on at once, so it is all very varied.

At the moment I have two things on the go. One is on the Council’s BroadBand project. Confusingly, it’s not that broadband, but rather a way of extending the County Council’s network to satellite offices and schools. A name change is in the pipeline. The other thing is that my boss is managing the project to create an all-in-one Customer Service Centre for the Council. I will be his gimp.

So it’s going well. The office is really relaxed and everyone seems to get on jolly well. They have booked me in for a few courses, which is always nice. And I can access the Palimp without too much difficulty! Hurrah!

Palimpsest’s Big Day Out

Yesterday was the Big Day Out for members of Palimpsest, the arts discussion site I help maintain. It was also my birthday, and what a great way to spend it. Whilst in the pub I discussed blogging for a short while with someone, and they remarked on the fact that (these are my words, not theirs, by the way) that this was a bit of a secondary blog, contentwise, in that I don’t post much original stuff. Most of the time I comment on what other people have written about. So here’s an attempt to actually compose something myself…

We all met up in London, at King’s Cross station. I was there first, as the guy nominally in charge of things, and soon people drifted by. Soon enough there were eleven of us and we headed to our first stop, the British Library.

Bdo

A word here, perhaps, about the Palimpsesters themselves. I remarked several times on the day that under what other circumstances would this group of people ever meet? Of course, the answer is (probably) none. But what makes Palimpsest stand out as a web site is the politeness and interest that everyone takes in each other. This meant that no matter what someone’s background or age or interests, they were treated with respect and friendliness the whole day. It was like the way we deal with each other online is a genuine reflection of the way we are in real life. It was great.

Anyhow, the British Library was pretty cool. One thing I found remarkable was the ‘King’s Library’ – a glass shaft that goes right through the heart of the building containing what looked like, er, Big Old Books. Must do a bit of digging into what those books are. The exhibitions were great, we saw stuff like the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Canterbury Tales, da Vinci’s notebooks (strangely no da Vinci Code manuscripts were there…) audio recordings of the Beatles and Florence Nightingale. Amazing. I reckon you could spend a week there and not get bored. We only had an hour, but it left us all wanting to return, which was a good thing.

Stpauls

We split up into two factions at this point, some went to a Chinese restaurant they knew well, and the others, including me, went to the pub, The Citie of Yorke. It was packed with guys in pin stripes, who, to be fair, didn’t take any exception to the rather disparate bunch in their midst. A discussion took place about the author Sean Wright (I would link to his site but can’t bear the thought of being responsible for the horror of it – just Google him if you must) and a few of the uninitiated got to browse some of his latest work. I had brought along my one interesting book – The Unfortunates by B.S. (NOT BORIS!) Johnson, the infamous ‘book in a box’. To my shame I was forced to admit that, of course, I am yet to actually read it. But Hey! It looks nice.

The pub session turned into an extended one – about 3 1/2 hours. The beer flowed freely as we talked about books, movies, art, TV and everything in between. Actually no, mostly we talked about how much younger we actually are than we thought we were. If that makes sense. A few photos were taken, more as the beer went down quicker. I think it was during this piss-up that acquaintances became friends.

Still, we had to leave the pub eventually, and when we emerged blinking in the sunlight, we headed to St. Mary at Woolnoth, a church mentioned in the Peter Ackroyd novel Hawksmoor.

Church

It was a beautiful building, and a very calming after the rushing around and busyness of the city. Afterwards we posed for photos outside, and Bakunin_the_Cat provided one of the days funniest moments by performing a most remarkable impression of a corpse in front of the Church.

Next stop was room 43 in the National Gallery, where we met up with the splinter group of Palimpsesters. This provided gil with the opportunity to show round some of his wonderful old books and curiosities. Then we moved onto a local hostelry for more drinks as everyone drifted off home one by one…

It was a great day. I know a few people from Palimpsest read this blog, so thanks for making it such fun. So many people asked me the question over the day of how the site got started, which is easy enough to answer (there wasn’t a site that did what we wanted, so we started our own) and how it got to be so good, which isn’t so easy. After all, we don’t choose who joins up, but somehow all of those who stick around are universally polite and helpful, and attempts are made wherever possible to be sensible and intelligent about things. It’s nice to have somewhere to be able to do that. And it’s even nicer when you can do it in a pub in London on a sunny May afternoon. Long may Palimpsest continue and thrive, and roll on the next Big Day Out.

Palimpblogging

As a sweetener for members of Palimpsest who made a donation towards the hosting this year, I offered them an @palimpsest email address.

This got me thinking about what other services could be offered to those who might be interested.

How about having a Palimpsest hosted blog?

I have a spare database that isn’t being used, and with WordPress being able to run multiple blogs, it would be easy enough to set up. The one downer is that the URL would be palimpsest.org.uk/blogs/user but as most people read these things through an aggregator (don’t they?) it really wouldn’t matter.

I’ll give it some thought. If anyone has any comments, just let me know.

Great Computers of our Times, part 1

From the Guardian Online blog:

In praise of Amiga

Apropos of very little, I had a bit of a retro memory flashback the other day (actually it was when I dug out an old copy of Lemmings) and started thinking about what probably ranks as my favourite computer ever:…

And it’s the good old Amiga 500! I used to have one, and loved it…

Evangelism Lessons

Neville Hobson writes:

Three lessons about evangelism:

  1. Always consider another’s point of view – and listen to that point of view no matter how anxious you are to get across your own point of view
  2. Be passionate but consider how you ‘deploy’ that passion – others may view your evangelism as rigid and self-righteous proselytizing
  3. Know that evangelism will fail in the face of a closed mindset

He was recently interviewed on The Red Couch.

Huffington Post is Go

US based celebrity blog thing is now up and running, as reported by Dan Gillmor:

The Huffington Post has launched, and it’s part-Drudge (though from a different perspective), part blog of blogs. It’s obviously version 1.0, which means you should give it time to settle down.

The great Harry Shearer will “Eat the Press” — this could be fun.

Overall, the site seems to be aiming at the role of op-ed page of the Net. I’m watching with great interest, and reading some of it, too.

To give more of a flavour, here’s an excerpt from the announcement email:

The Huffington Post is serving up-to-the-minute breaking news and blog posts from hundreds of the most interesting figures in politics, entertainment, business, the arts, and the media.  In addition, Harry Shearer will be moderating a section on the media called “Eat the Press” — where, besides documenting and discussing the absurdities within our news cycle, he will regularly be posting raw satellite feed of our nation’s politicians and broadcasters in their most unguarded moments. 

Already, John Cusack, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Simmons, Mike Nichols, David Mamet, Michael Isikoff, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brad Hall, David Corn, and Marshall Herkovitz have posted their unique takes on issues as diverse as gay marriage, the war in Iraq, and what “SpamAlot” and political leaders have in common.

The Huffington Post is also your source for breaking news.  Today, the Post offers an exclusive pre-publication look at the explosive new book, “Secrets of the Kingdom,” by best-selling author Gerald Posner, which reveals the unknown story of how Saudi Arabia’s oil fields are rigged to turn into a radioactive nuclear wasteland in the event of an invasion or internal revolution.

Using Blogjet as an FTP Server – kinda

Just gotten round to filling in the FTP details on BlogJet, which means that if I have a photo on my PC, BlogJet will upload it for me in a specified directory on the web server, when I get round to updating the blog. Here’s a quick test:

Megson

Look – it’s Gary Megson, the man who failed to keep Forest in the Championship this season. Well, at least BlogJet works.

From Common Sense Journalism

Doc Searles on blogs

What is a blog? The oft-cited Doc Searles shares his thoughts in a PowerPoint from the “Les Blogs” conference in Paris. Or, if you’d like the html version

Try slide 17 for the nub of things:

  • Blogs are journals
  • They are not “sites”
  • They are not “content”
  • They are not “media”
  • They are not here to “deliver an experience”
  • They are not an “emergent synchronization mode”
  • There’s no argument about “who’s a journalist.” We all are.

Searles’ basic argument is that blogs are individual writings — speech — that turn into conversations through the linking ability of the Web. Treat them like content, he says, and we run the risk of censorship.

This is why news media and blogs struggle to find compatibility. We in this business see such things as content. That’s fine. Call them online columns, which is what most really are when we produce them.