Most definitely not "Under Construction"

I've not updated the static part of this page (the yellow half; for readers browsing in black and white, that's the one to the left of the grey half) for literally years. I'll get round to spring cleaning it when I get a chance (like, say, when I'm retired), but until then, here's the old version.


  • The Register: UK IT News site; pleasantly sarcasitc.
  • Brunching Shuttlecocks: Bizarre articles and features, film reviews by the Self-Made Critic, and of course the Bjork Song
  • TV Go Home: Spoof TV listings (not for the easily offended). The home of Nathan Barley. (It used to be every fortnight, but now it's only update very sporadically.)
  • The Onion: America's finest news source, apparently. (Every Wednesday, as far as I can see.)
  • BBC News: My favourite news site. As you may expect, it has a bit of a UK bias.


  • Bobbins: Alas, the wonder that was Bobbins has ceased. However, you can always console yourself by reading the archives, or checking out the authors new offering...
  • Scary-Go-Round: The new comic by John Allison, the creator of Bobbins. After initial pay-per-view confusion, it's got it's own site and is coming along very nicely indeed.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Strange. And with a homicidal mini-lop rabbit.
  • GPF: Great story, great jokes (most of the time) - it's in the middle of a long-running story at the moment though, so you'll have to read the archives.
  • Dilbert: The one everyone's heard of. It's usually fairly funny, with occasional flashes of brilliance.
  • It's Walky: Martians. Smurfs. A big robot monkey. It's Walky has it all, and also happens to be very well drawn and written.


  • The Arts Picture House: Nice art cinema that also shows some of the more high-quality mainstream releases. Situated above the biggest pub in the country (the Regal).
  • Warner Village Online: Online booking and times for Cambridge's multiplex (and all the other Warner Village cinemas in the country - the site is frustratingly opaque, so I can't link directly to the Cambridge section).
  • Cambridge News: All the Cambridge news you could possibly want, and lots more besides.
  • CamMap: An interactive map of Cambridge

Computer Stuff

  • The World Wide Web Consortium: The first port of call for anything web- or XML-related.
  • Instant messaging done properly. It's open-source, well specified and interopertes with all the proprietary systems in wide use (AIM, ICQ, MSN etc...)
  • Debian: My Linux (sorry, GNU/Linux) distribution of choice. You can download it for free, and the packaging system makes keeping your system up-to-date and installing new software a breeze.
  • Home of the Open Source Initiative, with lots of resources about open source (aka free) software, including a list of approved open-source licenses. Generally less radical than the FSF, they see open source as a good idea as opposed to the One True Way.
  • Free Software Foundation: Pioneers of the concept of free software ("free" as in "free speech", not "free beer"), and home of the GNU project and the GNU General Public License (GPL). While I don't agree with them about proprietary software being evil, the GNU project has produced some very useful and widely-used software, notably the EMACS editor and the GCC C/C++/other stuff compiler.


  • Apple: Obviously...
  • Apple Developer Connection (ADC): A good range of developer support, tools and documentation. You have to join, but internet-only membership is free.
  • Mac OS X Hints: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • Fink: Unix software on Mac OS X; it's based on the Debian packaging system, with a ports system built on top of it.
  • VersionTracker: Shareware, freeware and similar software. I gather it's popular with Mac people.
  • 1984: Apple's seminal Superbowl commercial, and one of the best TV ads in history (better even than the Pixar-created Luxo Junior ones, and an incredible contrast to their current risible campaign).

(See also my Mac page.)


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Thu, 22 Jun 2006

Surprise Delivery


I got into work this morning to find a package on my desk - PLAY.COM had delivered my new DS Lite. This came as something of a surprise, as the official European release date is tomorrow. Not that I'm complaining - it means I get to play Mario Kart DS, which PLAY shipped separately last week.

Tue, 28 Mar 2006

Raising The Drunken Rant Bar


For the last week or so, I've been dipping into Stevey's Drunken Blog Rants, a disorganised collection of essays written by Steve Yegge, a software engineer at Amazon and now Google. He has lots to say on various aspects of programming, ranging from interviewing to Emacs to lanugauges to continued learning. All good stuff, and he even references Cthulhu and Amber.

(Actually, I'm slightly miffed that he's beaten me to the Amber/Lisp simile that's been rolling around in my brain for a while now. Ah well, it's sufficiently obvious that I'd be a little surprised if it hadn't turned up somewhere before...)

Mon, 20 Feb 2006

When The Long Tail Wags The Dog


Dan Bricklin (of VisiCalc fame) has posted When The Long Tail Wags The Dog, an interesting essay on the appeal of general purpose applications (e.g., spreadsheets) compared to specialised ones for popular cases (e.g., tax calculation). His argument is that, given that you can only learn a finite number of tools, you're going to pick at least some general purpose ones, as those are more likely to fulfill your specific needs when said needs diverge from the popular. My view is that he doesn't properly consider hard problems, where solving the problem, in your way or any other, is too difficult or costly for the user, but nevertheless he makes a good point.

A good book on the subject is A Small Matter of Programming, by Bonnie Nardi. The copy I borrowed proved invaluable during my PhD, and I've just picked up a copy to reread (under a tenner on Amazon Marketplace - thanks, Bournemouth University). I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in end-user programming.

Tue, 14 Feb 2006

The BDFL Has My Phone!


Guido van Rossum has just got the same phone that I have - the excellent Nokia 6630. He's raving about the Python port for Series 60, so I may have to actually get round to using it as opposed to merely having the icon sat in the menu. Actually, I think this will really come into its own when Nokia introduce the E-series in a few months time; two of the models have full QWERTY keyboards (one Blackberry-style, the other folding), which will make using Python (and PuTTY) on the phone a whole lot nicer.

Tue, 04 Oct 2005

McCarthy - the Zach Braff of Computer Science


Turns out that John McCarthy didn't just invent pretty much all of the concepts in modern programming languages four decades ago, he also predicted the web. Yes, I know that various people from Vannevar Bush onwards have done so, but it's still impressive.

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