Santa’s little helper

It’s the end of September and here’s a six year-old boy, an Argos Catalogue and a letter that starts ‘Hello Santa’ (Santa is helpfully provided with page numbers)…

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Classical music’s mess

Twenty years ago, when I started listening to classical music, things looked pretty good for the form. A small revival was under way – lots of gorgeous new music, influential movie soundtracks and superstar ensembles seemed to promise some kind of renaissance. The subsidised concert halls were full and radio deregulation promised a wave of… Continue reading Classical music’s mess

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And in other news…

Google has Bush to win. Fascinating (and very simple) statistical analysis – shows that you can use a very large body of continuously updated information from extremely diverse sources (like Google’s index of the web) to model… practically anything, including elections. Techies at Earthlink have built a nifty test application using SIP, which is a… Continue reading And in other news…

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Geek? Moi?

Is it geeky of me to find this history of ISO paper sizes absolutely gripping? I suppose it is… Here’s an entertaining Slashdot thread on the same topic. Why are geeks so pro-standards? I guess there must be some primitive comfort in their predictability. Dare I say it: standards are a borderline-autistic response to a… Continue reading Geek? Moi?

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One thing at a time

Seth Godin links to Woot, a clever ecommerce site whose USP is the kind of gonzo experiment you can only really do online – one product per day. That’s it. Come midnight it’s history and they’re on to the next one (or earlier if they run out). Neat, but I guess it might become a… Continue reading One thing at a time

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The great glass elevator

As usual, the space scientists leave me open-mouthed with wonder. Latest preposterous challenge: getting stuff into space is expensive – rockets and space-suits and beef stroganoff in a tube and all that – so why not forget the big bang and winch your satellite up a long cable ‘anchored’ 100,000 km up there in an… Continue reading The great glass elevator

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A Burma veteran at Foyles

John Giddings was at Foyles the other day for an evening of poetry and literature from the war in Burma. I took his photograph in the coffee bar – you can’t sit and ignore a man with a row of medals like that! The one on the left is an MBE, by the way. Mr… Continue reading A Burma veteran at Foyles

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Anti-corporate sneakers

Business baiting is back in fashion. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in hassling corporations mercilessly until they meet their obligations – to societies, communities and economies – but I’d like to see some balance and maybe a less dogmatic appreciation of the benefits of the corporate model too. Sure, if you eat… Continue reading Anti-corporate sneakers

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