Battlestar Galactia is the Sci Fi Sopranos. I am watching series 2 right now (The new series) and it is just quality.

Professor James Lovelock Is A Plagiarist

Professor James Lovelock, the pioneering environmentalist, who for the last 30 years has been coming up with radical environmental concepts like the Gaia theory, is a plagiarist. He was just on the news... and what was he recommending? For us to use Nuclear Power! Hang on a moment..... didn't I suggest that last week in this blog post.

And, what is more interesting, is that so far only about a 5 people have read this blog, and they are all my dad. I sense something sinister afoot.

MSN Chat with Elena(Spanish) from work

ELena: hi
ELena:could you please explain me what is "nutter"
Mat:hey there
Mat: a nutter is somone who is a little but of a mental
Mat: a bit like a looner but not as bad as a basket case
ELena: thank you

(I havent spoken to her for 2 weeks I bet)

Gmail Spam Thought Bug

A “thought bug” is a bug in a bit of software or a website etc that is caused not by bad programming but by designers not thinking.

Here is an example of a thought bug.

If you use gmail , login, if you don’t, sign up.

Take the person you most commonly email and find an email from them and click the "Report Spam" button. They will now be sent into the spam folder, as will future mails from them. That’s the thought bug. Gmail should say "You have emailed that person 8,345 times, are you sure you want them to be CONSIDERED SPAM now?"

Everyone Makes Thought Bugs

What is Todoque?


Todoque is a life, task and project management system that can be used by literally anyone and is free. It is not a website or an application but rather a concept and convention that can be supported by all software, all devices and all languages (Both Human and Computing).

The core principle in Todoque involves having items that need to be done/answered/checked/fulfilled and so on.

If you have a shopping list on a bit of paper and you cross out the items as they are in the trolley, that is a Todoque.

You have probably been using todoque since you were a child so there isn’t much to learn.

Where Todoque becomes really powerful is when it is used in modern documents that can be shared and that have inbuilt revision history.

Clarity. Simplicity. Functionality.

The Todoque Basic Convention

These 3 conventions below are all you need to accept to todoque. The only thing you might not know about is what a “bullet point” is. It is just one of these:

  • This is a bullet point
  1. And so is this.

The basic convention is itself a Todoque:

1) All items are indicated by a bullet point.
2) All items that are resolved are crossed out.
4) Comments to an item are kept on the same line as the item.

So, a Todoque in its simplest form is a bullet list of items that get crossed off when they are resolved (Completed, answered, purchased, sold etc..). an example todoque might look like this:

  • Get shampoo
  • Call John about Saturday.
  • Varnish floor by June!
  • Take shoes in
  • Ring Bank about changing account details.

Note that this Todoque can be on a piece of paper, a whiteboard, word file, a website form, a file on your smart phone or PDA.

The Assigning Convention

Although todoque is great for keeping control of all the things that are specific just to you, where it becomes really powerful is when you start involving other people, family members, workmates, clients and so on.

  1. The < assigns an item from person to another.

For example:

  • Jim<Alice: Make sure the CLG brochures are with the printers by end of Wed 7th.
  • Debby<Alice: I need the correspondence for the Atkins account asap.
  • John
  • Brian<Alice ; The photocopier is out of ink in my office.

We have been using this method to handle all tasks in work for the last month and it works really well. We say that the person who is assigned the task has the job of crossing it out when done and the person who assigned it confirms this by moving the item to the “done” list.

The Label Convention

Being able to label items in your todoques is really handy. It also is where much of the power of todoque can come from when used with other systems.

  1. Anything in square brackets is a Label. There are currently 5 “hard labels” these are:
    1. [I] = [Idea]
    2. [Q]=[Question]
    3. [A]=[Answer]
    4. [T]=[Task]
    5. [E]=[Event]
  2. Square brackets will only be used for Labels.

For example:

  • [e] Meeting at 17.00 on 4/4/2006 in Smorgers.
  • Mat
  • [Idea] end 3rd world poverty and crime and terrorism.
  • Ken< style=""> Do you want the Vat price mapped to the tax price?
  • [Accounts] Bob [Q]: Are the phone accounts in with the utility accounts?

Labels, even when just using todoque on paper, add some great clarity and functionality to your todoques and they also provide powerful means to find, filter and organize your todoques and their items.

Also, because of the Label Convention there are huge possibilities for importing todoques into other software. Its this human<>digital portability that I see as the future of todoque in the business environment at least.

The Big Whiteboard

We have started experimenting in work with this list/task/information/project/shopping/life management system we are calling "todoque". It is looking surprisingly powerful.

I am also going to get a big whiteboard for the kitchen at home to see how todoque translates to:

a) Analogue
b) J's use.
c) Kid graffiti resistance.

It’s the wipe-clean skunkworks.

I Want a Perpetual System and Data State: Deep Information.

I want to be able to return to any point in the life-time of a document or system, seamlessly.

There will be no need for a save button.

I want every bit of data to be deep, in the sense of having a full temproal record.

Go Nuclear

So its all hotting up in the news about whether we should go Nuclear in terms of power.

Of course the answer is yes

Many of this worlds problems are fuelled by our dependence on fossil fules. From environmental problems through to wars and in some senses the current "war on terror"; all have been supported or amplified by fossil fuel use and production.

"Atomkraft Nein Danke". A sticker I remeber seeing on a toilet wall in Pfortzheim, germany.

The Real Argument For Nuclear Power

Lets assume that we go nuclear as a planet. Gradually and as safely as possible. There will be deaths. There will be accidents. There will be leaks. There will be two-headed newts. Make no mistake on this, no system that coverts power on such a huge level is without risk. But, even all this damage, is surely just a fraction of the damage that we will cause to geopolitical stability, the environment, the future, If we continue to use up the rest of the fossil.

Its a no brainer. We have to go nuclear.

Traditional environmentalists are very against nuclear power. I have never understood this really. They don’t want fossil fuels and they don’t want Atomkraft but we cannot get the power we need from the wind and the waves and the sun. Not at feasible technology levels in any time soon.

Put the Nukes Where Its Crap

There is a fact about our planet that is this:

Some parts of Earth are more crap than others.

Big chunks of Siberia, for example, are just so harsh and hostile and unfun that for the tiny population that the land sustains its a living hell of vodka/petrol cocktails and always not enough layers.

Is it wrong to ask people to move from their homes so that you can build a Nuclear Power station in their homeland, if you reimburse them for lifelong great quality of life, in somewhere like the Bahamas?

Can we not just be adult as a planet and say to each other “Lets move the people from the bad areas of the planet and put the bad stuff in the bad areas.”

Whenever you are thinking of an issue in geoethics. Whatever righteous solution you have in your head its useless if it doesn’t feed and water everyone alive.

And all of their children.

Sleep Easy Lightweight Travel Cot Amazing


This is perhaps the most awe inspiring Travel Cot ever made. It combines supreme design elegance with that compact fold away methodology that real world class travel cots should have. If there was a magazine all about TravelCots this little marvel would be on the front cover EVERY MONTH!!!!

But don't take our word for it,read the facts:

  1. Made of Durable Polyester that is not only easy to clean but will form a fetching compliment to any early 90s shell suits you have left.
  2. Comes complete with a hand washable soft mattress to pad the little babies as they dream away contented in their simply beautiful travel cot.
  3. Has a special Zipon mesh cover to protect babies from insects and pets. If your pet is an anaconda I'm not sure how much protection the mesh will afford. Never leave babies and dangerous pets in the same room unattended, with or without the mesh covering.
  4. Product size 90L x 50W x 55H cm. Suits babies from birth until the child can sit up.

Comes supplied with fold away bag with the label even attached. You will be amazed as to how small this thing folds away to.The best way I can describe it is about the volume of a rugby ball that has been squashed so that it is 4 inches thick.

Putting it away is really easy....once you have the knack, which takes about 2 attempts and not only requires mastery of Kung Fu but Sudoku as well!!!

Fold away instructions included and easy to follow.
Allin all, if you have a baby or want one this is the ideal travel cot.

Happy bidding and remeber, a child is for life not just to try out a this great travel cot.

A Brief History of the Smiley

We all use the smiley :)

It is a symbol that not only evokes a smile, but also elemnds of happyiness. But WHat of the history

The origins of the Smiley can be traced back as far as the origins of humanity. The earliest recorded use of the smiley pictogram is in the 14, 000 year old cave paintings at Scredda, in the south of England.

Here we find one, admittedly rough, representation of the face. It appears to be placed in the sky, almost sun-like, and shedding its radiance over a herd of bull or cattle.

Thanks to Professor Canesten for permission to use this image

This is the only use of the Smiley until the Roman times, although both Linear C and Fang Dynasty writings have smileoid characters. During this time it was used to represent the deity Bacchus, even becoming an adornment of the High Priests and Priestesses of Bacchus. This symbolic relationship lasted until the prohibition of Bacchanalian worship by the Roman Senate, in BC186.

Following this prohibition the Smiley disappeared from history until the middle ages when it became the symbol, "heureux le visage", used by quality French mistresses. Even Molière, in l'École des Femmes (1662), has the protagonist ask:

"Quel visage heureux brille de son coeur et la musique la peint-elle des mots?"

From the 17th century onwards the Smiley makes an appearance in a variety of art and literature, from Cervantez to bawdy Great War ballads. But it is not until the 1960s that the Smiley has its first wide-culture resurgence since the Roman period.

In the 1960's the popularity of a group of drug using degenerates changed the world for a decade. These 'Longhairs' or 'Hippies' believed in Free Love, Free Drugs, Freedom and Peace. What represented Peace to them was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the symbol of the CND movement was nothing other than the Smiley.

Some Hippies or 'Longhairs' in what appears to be a rug shop.

The cold war ended at the end of the 1980s. Global multi-lateral nuclear disarmament finally occurred in 1990 and CND was disbanded a year later. These changes in the cultural landscape left the Smiley a bastard symbol in a world becoming ever more populated by the New Icons of Commerce. The Nike swoosh, the Coke-Cola double swirl and the Irn-Bru slash became the dominant, if unholy, trinity. Smiley was left out in the cold.

Out in the cold but not for long. 1991 saw the birth of a new phenomenon which soon swept the globe. A youth movement unlike anything seen before; illegal parties, clashes with the police, protest and rebellion. All of this to a soundtrack of heavy proto-dance music that forgave the few and rewarded the brave. The future would never be the same; Grunge was here.

The Grunge Movement was an explosion that began in London but engulfed the planet. If Grunge had a flagship then it was the band Nirvana and if that ship had a flag then on that flag was the Smiley. Still fighting, only now for Grunge and all that she stood for. Even though Grunge lasted only 2 long months its followers refused to let go of the style and motifs that had made it so popular... apart from, that is, the Smiley.

In its 14, 000 year life the Smiley has had ups and downs, reverence and rejection, but what of the future? What will the next 14, 000 years hold for this, perhaps the greatest of all pictograms?

Tom Cruise Come Out Of The Closet

This is a 5 min clip from an episode of South Park that is definatly funny.

Which reminds me...

"A Gay Icon Called Tom"

If Tom Cruise is not Gay, then which famous Toms might be?

Here are the contenders so far....

Tom Selleck, the darling of the Hawaii set. A prime example of Homo Erectus.
This Tom has the smile and the accent, a real god of Welsh gyration. He is smart, but is he kind?
He was "Glad to Be Gay", then he was not gay and now, guess who wants to be a Gay icon again? Mr Robinson, can you be trusted?

Who will win the title "A Gay Icon Called Tom"?

Will Tom Selleck become champion of the bout? Will he be battered around the ring by Tom Robinson? Will Tom Jones deploy his infamous Sex Bomb? Will outside forces play their hand by combating Tom Hanks and Tom Beringer against the victor?

We will never know.

Why cant the blogger system know that:

If are on the create tab and then click settings without entering anything, then, of course you dont want to save the thing.

There is a line in John Boorman's excaliber where the super-doopa Merlin (The Wizard) says, "Every time a man lies, he kills a part of the world."
And I feel a bit like that about wasted mouse clicks and key presses.

I have a few years on this planet,

I want to spend as little of them pressing a button as possible.

Why cant they tell the search form at ebay that:

"digital amera" most probably means "digital camera" and offer that as an option.

If you use more than one PC then you should try

The idea is that these version of common applications like Firefox have been changed so that they will run of a USB Keyring, preserving settings, cookies, logins, everything.

This in itself is nifty, but where it becomes really cool is that the Apps can also be just kept in a folder on your PC . This folder can then be synced directed to another PC using Microsoft’s SyncToy or any other network synchronizer.

Not only are you duplicating seamlessly where you go you are also backing up your data as you do it.

It works really well. Once you get used to running applications on the disk, setting up short cuts etc, it is just like normal. There is also the Pstart application which does all this for you really well.


Having your data so liberally splashed around various systems might raise a security concern for you. There are a number of portable encryption apps, I use the free open-source, and great, KeepAss for my passwords. In my PPC and wallet and laptop and phone and desktop I can have everything stored, and If I lose it the important stuff is protected by strong encryption (Rindjel).

If you wanted to be really anal about your information security there must be a program out there that can encrypt and decrypt into halves of the same Card, Folder. If not we should make one:p

Which Portable Apps?

I haven’t tried them all, but the ones I have ill say what I think in a one liner:

  • Portable Firefox - So good. So good.
  • Portable Filezilla - If you need a FTP client I think this is .
  • KeePass - This isn’t from but its the best password manager I have found, its open source and it is Portable.
  • Portable Sunbird – I don’t use this much I’m thinking of using it, its calendar program from the people who make firefox.

I would like To see Portable Gimp and portable Picassia (The free and awesome photo catalogues from google) for when we get the terabyte cards:)

The future is portable

Surely this has to be the way forward. Card based operating systems that can be inserted and run on any/many systems. When my Browser settings from my PC are carried over to my phone portably that has to be the near future.

Some people may think that we don’t need cards if we have a ubiquitous network where all devices are connected. I am not sure. Perhaps cards and portability will have a role even when not technically necessary. There is something very intuitively comfortable about “to have and to hold”.

Invest in Sandisk.


This is to picture cataloging what Google Maps is to cartography.

Download Picasa free from here

If you have a digital camera you wont find a better way to catalog, browse, display, share and even "tweak" than this free software from Google labs. (Man, I seem like such a Google fetishist in this blog. I'm really not, but they do operate at the outer edge really well and very often.)

I think really I cannot be bothered to write ba really long review of it. Maybe a Zen review.

Yes. A Zen review of Picasa.

It does not take the pictures. It does not make the pictures. It is just the path. The looking glass through which pictures may be seen. And it has red eye reduction.

The Nifty Pocket Mod

As I will probably say many times in this blog, I have had loads of handhelds over the years... as well as... and this and that.

Today I made something that is very nifty. Its called a Pocket Mod. And the best way to describe it is as a disposable, modular filofax, made from one sheet of A4. Check it out here

The first attempt failed. But that's because I am on origami suppressants. The second one however was a success. I don't know if I will use it but its a great analogue idea.

Crocker's Rule

This is something I was shown a few months ago and just thought it should go up here:

Crocker's Rule: people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you ... One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone's afraid to tell you you're wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.

Here is a link


This last week I have been distracted by a system that is emerging in work that we are using to manage all of our tasks.

The system we are calling ToDoQue and I think it really might be great. But I could be wrong. The problem I am having with assessing it is that is just sooooo very simple. Perhaps to simple.

Anyone can use it on any computer and most mobile phones and handhelds. It can even be diverted into and out of pen and paper.

Its a collection of, currently, 5 conventions to do with managing items. I have been working on the detailed doc of it for a week and ill link to it here when its done in some sensible state.

The potential is huge because its so fundamentally simple that it can be passed from a noivce user, consistently and coherently, right up a task chin into say, Project or backpack or any kind of management system

And when you use ToDoQue in a system like writley, ms word or even email/ file renaming (any system that preserves version changes and allows collaboration) the potential for analysis and project management really erupts.

I have in my life written a number of note taking kind of idea/project management software and in work we have tried to design 2 sophisticated business management systems, one of which is still in development. But I am starting to think that ToDoQue might be the key for management systems from personal shopping lists, to life goals, business projects and organization interactions.

Doing Customer Support

For various reasons a number of us have started doing the customer support in work rather than just having it all done by the support staff. Its a hassle but what an excellent way to get to grips with whats going on at the customer end of the company. I have been doing it 4 days so far and already seen a wide array of things that could be improved to increase efficiency, support quality and of course, software quality. I don't intend to do it for ever, but I think from now on every few months I will do some.

Review of GIMP - The Free Photoshop?

A long time ago I wrote an image editor for the Psion handheld with effects, and animations and brushes and loads of other features. it was called Photo 5 and I still think its probably the most advanced image program written for any handheld. But I am bias.

I have been using photoshop for ages and tried most others too. What is bugging me of late about Photoshop is how long it takes to load. Ages. No, not ages, Aeons.

So recently I have been trying more lightweight image programs, and the best one I have found so far is Ultimate paint. It loads in a couple of seconds and, though not super polished is easy to use and functional.


Its never going to be able to handle the things Photoshop does. So, what I have just installed is Gimp. This is the big daddy-o of Free Open Source image programs and can be downloadedprecompiled for windows from here.

Its just been installed and I haven't run it yet. So here goes.....

Its installing... nearly done..... takes about 4 mins to install. I'm going to close it and restart it to see that all important load time..... 12 seconds. Not too bad.

Using Gimp For The First Time

I wanted to do a picture of me for this blog. So I opened it up in GIMP and started messing. The controls and filters are pretty easy to get to grips with. It doesn't feel as unified as Photoshop but it is feature packed and fast. I think I just need to get used to it more.

Initial Comments

  • The filters don't seem to pack that "wow" factor that Photoshop filters have. Most artists don't rely on filters really, they are better than that. but for chumps like me who do a good set of filters are great for messing around. After playing for an hour or so I am not gripped by the quality of the GIMP filters. Also no main image preview for the filters<<< that's bad.
  • The Interface is actually pretty nice when you get used to it.
  • I think this will be ideal for the cropping/resizing things that most people need to do with their photos.

Its free, open source, low bloat and small download. Even with its short-fallings those facts make it a Photoshop contender.

Gmail Spelling

Gmail has just (Within the last 2 hours I am guessing) improved its spelling engine and it is much better.

It was way fiddly before, but now its much more easy to see what needs doing.

It still needs a user dictionary, Writley has one.

I am a man who needs a very good spell checker.

Control Tab Firefox

I was just looking for an extension to firefox to mimic Task Switching (Alt+Tab) only between Tabs rather than windows.

Its there already by default. Ctrl+Tab. Doh!

Thats so good.

I think I am having an actual affair with Firefox.

Top Chess

Danny's new band:

Microsoft vs Google: The Consumer Equation

There may be a clash of civilizations going on elsewhere in the world, but in the technology sphere there is is the obvious clash between MS and Google (There are many other clashes but my point is specific to this).

I won't take sides right here right now but I will suggest the two choices as a stripped down account of what the end user is faced with:

  1. A company that wishes to sell you its product in a competitive environment and further that the product is not something you really need in the majority of instances.
  2. A company that has no product to sell you. What it provides is a means for other companies to sell you their products AND it will try to make the companies that sell to you as close as possible to what you want, or at least can be convinced you need.

Whatever happens, we are going to want to spend our money on "stuff". That's inevitable. We also have only a certain number of hours per day to spend. That's a fact. So, that means we want to waste the minimum amount of being sold stuff we don't want. It is this equation that Google is trying to satisfy.

The second choice is surely the preferred choice..

Why I love Gmail, Part One

I have been using gmail now for about 6 weeks. I got invites yages ago when it first came out but never really thought much of it.

Im never one for vacant praise of evil mega-corps but credit where credit is due, Gmail is really something special.

Here is what is so good about it:

  1. Its a Web Software: Web Software (Web serbvices) is the future. In many ways they have been around for ages but it is only recently that they are coming into their own as viable alternatives to disk based systems. I want my entire system to be available from any connected PC, and gmail plays a big part in this.I wnat it to be the same interface as much as possible and the same data wherever I am.
  2. Fast - From start up to inbox Gmail is about as fast as you can get. It knocks the socks of Outlook, outlook express, other webmails. Its fast to use, fast (lightning fast) to find any email. The general speed in every sense is faster than desktop components.
  3. Predictive addresses: I love the predictive email address. I dont use the address book anymore. Yes, outlook has something close and so does hotmail I think, but this just works better. Its as if the design brief for this feature was "You whatever it takes to minimize the amount of characters a user has to type to get the email address I want." And it works, the list of suggestions seem to change each time, and each time, you seem to be miraculsly close to what you wanted.
  4. Low Spam - I have tried them all for spam hunting and until now the best for me was defo MailWasher. But the Gmail spam fighting is even better. I get alot of spam, it doesnt really bother me, Im not "Spam Anal", but i dont want it. if I go to my spam folder in gmail, which i clean lots, there are 406 spam mails. Whats impressive though is how confident I am that none of those will be false postives.
  5. Conversations - These are not done perfectly, but the fact they are done close to perfection makes a huge difference to how I see email.
  6. Archiving - Outlook appreciates the importance of archiving, but the way it implements it, is really slow and cumbersome. In Gmail you archive everything as soon as you have answered it. We have been using a similar system to this in work for a couple of years, but this is much more streamlined in its implementation. It also turns your inbox into a de facto todo/task list.


These next points are really for those interetsed in technology and software architcture.

  1. Unlike Web Software, desktop software "Bloats" constantly. Web Software must stay small in terms of code size and high in terms of speed and efficency - because to be sucessfull they must serve more and more users efficiently.

Im in no way associated with google however pro-them this post may seem.

Peter York

Peter York is on telly and J just reminded me of when we were at a party and Peter York was there. J was telling me how much she hated him. I went up to him and told him "My Girlfreind really admires your work", and introduced them.

Definatly do what the next post says.

Ok, I posted it and its date was set to the time it was written, so its now the first post not the penultimate post.

Its post in accordance with the time the blog was last changed I think. Thats good.

Now, definatly do what the next post says, all will be clear.

For reasons to be explained, please read the next post last.

skip it and read from the first post UP to the last post backwards, it will make sense.

Thats better, it worked.

So yes, I have had about 4 blogs before this, maybe 5. And they all have failed becuse they were too specific.

So this blog is going to be general. Very general.

I will try not to ramble.

I have just lost a post.

Ok, this is bad. I have just posted my second post, or I thought it was. I wrote a longish post about why this blog was happening. And that was the first post and that is gone. Vamoosh. No more.

So its gone. In essence, this is my 5th blog, and it will probably fail. This now should be second post wheras it shoildnt have been needed. If its not my now second post I am going to another system.

Why doesn't have a spell checker?

I cannot belive that this things doesnt have a specll checker. thats just ridiculous.

Gmail has it, writley has it I bet the new Yahoo mail has it and probably Hotmail too.

All webforms should have spell checkers.

At least anything meant for any sentences.

This is The Salted Solution

So its 2006 and all is well. I have started about 4 blogs in the past. Things about specific things, software devlopment or philosophy.

The fact these things were so specific meants that the blogs just died. Im to flitting of thought to be able to be specific for too long.

Then just now I had the idea of starting a newpost about things I like about Gmail. And then that idea grew into an idea of a gmial blog (I know there are some already). But, what with other things getting me off technologicaly (Writley, Portable Apps and second life) and conceptually right now, I thought, How about a blog of it all.

The whole pile of stuff that I could write about if i think about it.

So this is it, this is my diary and my notebook. Ill try to avoid rambling, I will be 100% honest I will try to be 100% Typo free, but I will fail. Drastically.

Bear in mind this is the 5thish blog I have started, the odds are not good that it will last.

But I have a fair bit of material already written for this that I can always call on. So the chances are good.

Can I just say, (This is a phrase I use allot), that just a few mins ago I tried to create an account in Jive journal and the little "random characters" a the bottom didnt show. So here I am, on blogger.

Bye for now!