Delayed coverage from Wellington NZ


Archive for May, 2003

Gravis web site

The Cue from Gravis

Gravis Shoes – they rock. Unfortunately the same thing can’t be said for the web site. I guess what happened is that a designer without much knowledge of designing for the web had been in charge of the site. This morning when I tried accessing the site it took AGES to load (this is over a 56k connection). The whole site is done in flash, which is not necessarily a bad thing (although I’m not a huge fan of Flash). Many (although not all) of the features on the site could have been achieved without the use of Flash. I’m sure we’ve all used Flash sites that may initially take a little while to load, but once loaded presents a catalogue which is then usable without a long delay between pages. I think that this constitutes reasonable performance.

The worst thing about the site that there is not always a ‘loading’ graphic. The upshot was that at first I thought that site was dead and wasn’t rendering pages. I tried again and figured out that the page was still loading. It must have taken about seven minutes to view the page for one shoe! That page consisted of a fancy menu and a picture of a shoe. That was it. When I clicked the ‘details’ link I again waited for nearly five minutes. I gave up in the end as I couldn’t be arsed waiting. It was the same story with the ‘dealers’ link. It would be easily solved with a link to a non-flash version of the site.

When I tried again later it loaded a lot faster, still a couple of minutes for each page to come up but this time a loading indicator appeared nearly as soon as the link to the page was clicked. Hmmm. I will forgive them but I still think that there should be a non-flash site.

Maida Vale, London, Monday, May 26th, 2003

Dinner with Flatley

I’ve just had dinner at the local Indian restaurant – and guess who should also be there? Well, if you read the title you’re already one step ahead – it was none other than Michael Flatley , masochist and creator of Riverdance. I use the term creator loosely. You have to question the merits of the creation of something as diabolical as Riverdance. A bit like the creation of chemical warfare, line dancing, or Brussels Sprouts. Anyhoo, Rene and Kirt texted their mothers on the other side of the world to say the man himself was sitting at the table across from us. Yes, he is still a big star in some peoples eyes.

What did he eat? Who was he with? Lamb korma and Pilau rice with nan bread; a sexy blond wearing a little too much war paint who’s hips are about as wide as my thigh. He apparently lives just around the corner from the restaurant, in a huge house on the canal. I managed to grab his post-meal lemon scented refresher towel which I will be converting into a retirement fund after I auction it on e-bay.

On the stereo….. Chicago. Due to a tragic case of mistaken identity I have a copy of Chicago ‘s (‘The Chicago Story – The Complete Greatest Hits’- ‘greatest’ and ‘hits’ are wildly exaggerated claims surely) but I actually like two of the songs on it. I am twisted and evil. It’s even digitally remastered. I took issue with the phrase ‘remastered’, it is a careless use of the term, applied to any rehash of tired sounding music by a marketing committee. Was this music ever mastered in the first place? What hope would ‘digital’ remastering have on this band? Chicago is emblazed on the album cover in dubious ‘Cheers’-like lettering. I’m up to track 5, and this CD is going off like the fish that’s been in our fridge for too long. It’s going back to the record store tomorrow.

All this talk of Indians and curry reminds me of why American Indians are called Indians. According to Michael Moore, Columbus got lost and thought he was in India, and thus the indigenous people of the America’s are known as Indians.

Maida Vale, London, Monday, May 26th, 2003

Tainted coffee and tainted software

This is what I’m thinking of doing with the redesign. Andy commented that he quite likes the current design. Alright! I like it too, but it is time for a change. I will definitely keep a copy on the server for old times sake after I redecorate.

A few months ago I noticed that my coffee plunger was producing rancid cups of foulness instead of coffee. I put this down to having not cleaned the plunger one day, and then leaving it for about three weeks. In due course the contents went mouldy and smelt bad. One day I cleaned the plunger, made some coffee, drank a sip and nearly threw up. It was the worst tasting coffee I had ever had. Rather than clean the plunger thoroughly, I rinsed it out and gave up making my own coffee.

This morning I had to have a cup of coffee and used the plunger again. The first cup was fine, but the second resembled in flavour the very urine of satan himself. The plunger must still be tainted. I decided to search the net to see if this was a common phenomenon. Coffee makers can become tainted, but in my case it might be the jug I use to boil the water, or the plunger, or is it my lucky cup, which also goes mouldy periodically?

I got caught in a rain shower yesterday and took shelter in a bookshop. I ended up buying one of those “Teach Yourself in 24 hours” books on PHP, MySQL and Apache.
Hour 1, install MySQL. Easy.
Hour 2, install Apache. No sweat.
Hour 3, install PHP and get it to play with Apache. Hmmm.
After about 4 hours of trying all sorts of things I discovered that the version of Apache (2.0.43) and PHP (4.2.3) provided on the CD that comes with the book are incompatible. AY? finally provided me with the answer:

Apache 2.0 SAPI-support started with PHP 4.2.0. PHP 4.2.3 works with Apache 2.0.39, don’t use any other version of Apache with PHP 4.2.3.

I downloaded and installed a different version of PHP and it worked first time and with no problems. I wrote to the publisher and told them it was a ‘poor show’. It would have sucked even more if I’d been a real newbie and never done any kind of development.

But it all works now and I’m happy. Now hopefully I’m gonna get to the bottom of this coffee conundrum.

Maida Vale, London, Tuesday, May 20th, 2003

Aircraft line drawings from NASA

I found these on K10K/Kaliber ! Bitchin’.

The redesign is going well, I’ve ‘sketched’ a page in html that has got the look I want, now all I have to do is sit down and start coding. I’m quite excited about it.

Maida Vale, London, Monday, May 19th, 2003

Last days and birthdays

Alright! Last day at work. For a month or so anyway. It’s a bit like the last day of school. It was easy getting out of bed this morning, and the day is flying along.

I’m going to use the time off to do a little more exploring of Europe (shopping in France tomorrow, Greece in a couple of weeks), and start the redesign of the site. I hope to have the redesign done in time for the 1st anniversary of bucket_fountain, which is late May. Speaking of birthdays, ben poole marks the anniversary of the start of his blogs today, although I seem to remember that I’ve been reading his articles for longer than a year.

Jeez, I really can’t be arsed working today.

Maida Vale, London, Tuesday, May 13th, 2003

Moby Bogie and the War on Snot

I have been plumbing the depths of my nasal regions in search of ‘Moby Bogie’. I discovered the presence of Moby one evening before bed. For some reason I found myself looking up my nose with a mag-lite. I know that it’s weird, but that’s what happened. Anyway, deep within nose, up between the outcrops of flesh, I could see a through a slit at the top of my nose a large white formation. It was huge. I couldn’t do anything about it and assumed that soon enough it would descend.

Over the next day it played on my mind. I actually thought I could feel it, growing larger and more powerful by the hour. I checked again the following night, and sure enough Moby was still there. I asked Tash if she had any cotton buds. In the absence of those, I tried twisting a piece of toilet paper into a stick so I good try to dislodge the monster. I had no luck and resorted to trying to blow it out. That too failed.

It is still there, and I’m beginning to wonder if it might actually be an infection. What would Freud have thought?

Maida Vale, London, Monday, May 5th, 2003


I read at Leto that Sarah (who writes it) had been dreaming about other bloggers. I was struck by that – dreaming about blogging and bloggers? I can’t quite figure out what is with that…. I guess the fact is that I’m just not hard core enough when it comes to writing this log. Funnily enough she was dreaming about a dude called Tom who does the famous ‘’ and actually lives just around the corner from me.

Maida Vale, London, Monday, May 5th, 2003

The long walk to redesign

I actually made a change on the site today! It was minor, but a change none the less. When I set up my ‘previously’ links (to your right) I made a hash of the html in the view that builds the panel. I finally got around to fixing it (after the best part of, hmm, 10 months?) and am feeling rather pleased with myself. As to redesigning the site, I’m just no further ahead. Where do the likes of Ben Poole and others find the time?

Maida Vale, London, Monday, May 5th, 2003

David Gale

Just saw ‘The Life of David Gale’. Spacey was his usual brilliant self – but Kate Winslet sucked big time. I’ve just never noticed that she is a rubbish actor. Interesting story, didn’t like watching the girl die though.

I also just finished reading ‘Stupid White Men’. I like Michael Moore and saw him when he spoke in London, which was fuckin’ A. The book was irritating at times, I think that his speaking style is a lot better than his writing style. But he makes some great points and he is generally quite entertaining.

Maida Vale, London, Sunday, May 4th, 2003

May fools day?

Dude. Someone sounds like a fool.

In fact – I get a feeling that he’s going to take it off his site soon so I better keep a copy here. Is this the work of a disgruntled employee? Or a rebellious teen?

We know that you’re too busy fighting off your biological urges and being l33t
hax0rs to Get Involved, but politics is cool, m’kay?

Nobody ever seems to do anything for The Kids! All the decisions are made by
suits, man. That’s so lame!!! We know you think of yourselves as responsible
citizens, but what you wanna do is turn that thought into an action, dudes.

Get involved – to the extreme!

The BBC politics for kids/teens site is, like, totally wacked! Ditto for the
Parliament education site, which even has a section for younger yoof. Fanta-stick!

YoungGov is totally the business for having your say, and there are even wicked
Youth Parliament sites for the UK, Scotland and Europe.

(Hey, chill with the anti-Europe vibes already! You totally won’t be able to
wear the word ‘fcuk’ on your shirt anymore if we break our connection with France,
y’dig? ROFFLE!)

So, cut it with the bling bling and do something for the community, man. Join
in and take action with any of the groovy sites we’ve listed, or just drop Tom
a line for a quiet rap by the electronic e-mail. Tom’s well-up on the Interwebnet,
and he won’t harsh your buzz or dis you down the line.

WARNING: Getting involved in politics may cause premature ageing and a sudden
loss of friends.

Maida Vale, London, Thursday, May 1st, 2003


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