HTML help!

Can anyone vaguely HTML-literate view source and tell me why the GIF at top right doesn’t display in Mac OS X Mozilla 1.2? It works in Explorer. Apologies in advance for inevitably embarrassing rookie error.

Blogging from my camphone

I wondered if I could ‘blog real life’ from my new camphone. Cynical Matt Jones says ‘don’t hold your breath’, optimistic Azeem Azhar says ‘watch this space’, clever James Cronin claims to have some code to do it, helpful May Woo points out that info-celebrity Joi Ito in Japan is already doing it. Thanks everyone. Meanwhile, I can’t actually get the phone to work…

DIY Coffee Table Book

Which brings the number of links on the left of this page to a frightening twenty, if you take into account the two external ones. It is way too much. So, dear reader, as I stare at this design (which dates back to the beginning of the year 2001) and long for a change, I’ve decided to re-think the site architecture as well.

Docherty repulsed!

I can’t help but warm to David Docherty’s image of greedy Cookie Monsters spoiling the broadband party for the unfortunate content creators. The geeks, in particular, never warmed to David and his increasingly shrill Guardian columns gave away the scale of the challenge he was set. Broadband content in the UK is a total wash-out – for reasons that are now becoming clear. The pressure on David to deliver must have been enormous. I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did.

Bragg snooze

What winds me up about Melvyn Bragg’s appeal for Ofcom’s scope to be extended to include the BBC is not the sentiment itself, which is unexceptionable. It’s the fact that Bragg’s establishment status should buy him a double page spread in a national paper on a topic now so well-worn that most readers will have snoozed right through it while the genuinely pressing matter of the redefinition of ‘public service’ for the networked era doesn’t get any mainstream coverage at all.

Ofcom could valuably examine the online activities of the Beeb and the other important players and could do useful work helping to rethink the public service requirements of Big Media now that half the population is regularly online and TV viewing is in decline. Sadly, though, it can’t. The Communications Bill explicitly forbids Ofcom from examining the net. MPs could amend the bill to change Ofcom’s remit but, on the strength of yesterday’s second reading in the House of Commons, it doesn’t look likely.

Nocturnal logic

Four O’Clock this morning. Olly, our 4 year-old, wakes for a half hour tantrum. Nothing will quieten him, nothing make him happy. Everything is wrong. Nothing can make it right. If mummy tries to help he wants daddy and vice versa. He wants to be in our bed until we agree to let him and then he wants to be in his own… until I try to take him there. He wants a drink until I try to go and get it. He yells ‘go away daddy’, heartbreakingly, until I go away, then he wants me back. The whole thing is a lesson in the implacable illogic of a small child. I suppose this is pre-rational behaviour – primitive, unarguable, terrifying. Discussion is pointless, reason redundant. Right now, the least helpful question in the world is ‘what’s wrong?’ but it’s all you can ask.

In the end, it passes, like it always does, and he’s sleeping again. In the silence I wonder how on earth human beings ever jump the giant gap from scary, tearful there to happy, settled here. Or if we ever really leave it behind.

‘Bible codes’ recycled

The very human desire to find pattern in random data – meaning in a cold, unmeaning world – is alive and well. The pop media have decided it’s time to recycle the not-particularly-urban myth – straight from the pages of ‘Puzzler‘ Magazine, in fact – of premonitory codes ‘hidden’ in foundation texts like the bible. So I’m happy to note that most of the top hits at Google for “bible code” are links to sceptics’ sites. Since I’m hardly the first to point out that you can produce these amazingly predictive strings from almost any text, provided it’s long enough, I’m writing this mainly to improve the Google pagerank of this excellent analysis.

Essential broadband reading

The clever people at The Work Foundation have done some ethnographic research (the first in Britain, they think) into the use of broadband. Their conclusions are fascinating. In summary, pretty much everything that the access industry has been saying in its broadband marketing is wrong. I urge you to read the PDF file referenced here. I particularly like the subtlety of the distinction they draw between ‘always on’ and ‘always there’. I made the case for ‘always on’ in The Guardian a couple of months ago but ‘always there’ is more descriptive of real user behaviour – computers are turned off, people go out and live their lives – but broadband connections are ‘always there’.