King of the fishes

Olly, our four year-old, is on his way home dressed as a fish after his impeccably multi-cultural, non-denominational Xmas concert yesterday.

Telecoms mast toppled – singularity deferred

Here’s a tough reminder that technology always exists in a (potentially hostile) human context. People respond to technology and to change in complicated and often contradictory ways. As a result, technologists and businesses cannot assume unhindered forward progress. It’s this kind of human friction that practically guarantees we’ll never arrive at the dreamed-of ‘singularity‘ but also that we’ll probably never create a breed of self-replicating robots that turn on us as prey!

“Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy” – Tim O’Reilly

I’ll join the throng bookmarking this cogent defense of file sharing from publisher Tim O’Reilly. Tim is the man who made a fortune by selling his early portal, the Global Network Navigator, to AOL and has been able to pursue the life of the Libertarian Gentleman Publisher ever since. His books (with their beautiful Dover Press animal woodcuts) are the backbone of the geek culture and his conferences and events increasingly organise the whole geek mindset.

A ‘documentary musical’

I have no idea what it’s like to live in a young offenders’ prison like the notorious Feltham but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the arrival of Crime TV veteran Roger Graef, poet Simon Armitage, pioneer documentary director Brian Hill and Channel 4 to make a ‘documentary musical’ in which the prisoners themselves, their wardens and counsellors perform rap tunes about their lives and aspirations made a dent in the routine. The result, Feltham Sings, shown on Channel 4 tonight, was chilling and moving and often surreal (a particularly disturbed boy rapped about suicide while two of his warders sang a chorus about paracetamol) and reminded me of what Channel 4 was invented for.

Barbie is among us

My daughter Billie is three today and yesterday we had a party. Barbie came. I mean the real Barbie. Then she left and fifteen dumbstruck three and four year-olds won’t ever be the same again.

RSI and accupuncture

Danny’s got RSI. You can actually see me getting RSI in real time here. My RSI – numbness and loss of strength in my left arm and a horrible pain in my shoulder (I was pretty sure I’d had a stroke) – coincides with leaving my job and my Aeron chair and taking up residence in my ergonomically-unsound shed. The cure? Accupuncture (plus a proper keyboard for the laptop). My excellent NHS GP gives me five minutes with the needles and I feel miraculously better. But the NHS won’t fund accupuncture and the inflexibility of the system forbids my doctor from charging me for it so he’s giving me this mysteriously effective (I still don’t really believe in it) treatment for nothing.