Poetic Review of the IPOD Touch

I got my ipod touch pre-ordered in the UK. And I have spent a long while thinking about the review and writing a poem about it. Here it is:)

Poetic review of the IPOD Touch

I have the obilisc from 2001 in my pocket,
But it has wi-fi, weighs four point two ounces
Remove the point what have I got?
This pointless meaningless life to touch
Without any real function, you do so much
You sing to me via em-pa-thee
You are so minimally more than all before
When you sleep your depths shine black
My sense of wonder blooms, you tube.
You are media-tech-love viagra
You ooze your very own vitreous lube.
But on one half turn
I learn
That your back is scratched
Your metallic ass thatched
Cracks in the egg,
Turkey hatched?

In summary, the "scratch-magnet" back is really an appalling fault in what is otherwise something close to perfect in terms of concept and design.


If we gave one of these to everyone in the world, took them back and averaged them this would give us a line on the bar.

Now I ain't saying that the single most important goal any action, on any level, should have is moving that line to the right. But I am saying, I cant think of a better goal.

People who dont clean empty their inboxes make me angry.

My dad does it, lost of people do it.

They don't empty (archive) their in-box.

The time this wastes over your email life is HUGE. Think about it... the times you scan that inbox. Up and down. Reading and rereading.

I always try to practice GTD, but, like Buddha's Dharma, it's hard, but one of the four noble truths of GTD is surely to empty your in trey. Your-in box is your in tray.

Time is the most valuable resource.

If you empty your in-tray regularly then over your lifetime you could save over 4 hours of your life (That's equivalent to 80 cigarettes).

Yes that seemed to work.

This is awesome this really awesome. Whats the downside?

This is a test post from IMified which I am currently revieweing for this blog.

I wonder if this will work

I'm in a new YoYo Relationship

Last week one of my daughters got a YoYo. It was a crummy little thing and I had a go.

I couldn't really do it but I found it interesting and almost compelling.

I realized that one of the reasons that I couldn't do it was that the YoYo I had was rubbish.

So, I went to a shop called ebay and, after a bit of wikisearching, got a yoyo that was pretty cheap but good. It was this:

And today it arrived in the post.

I went for a walk for an hour today and, after a read of the instructions, I took my YoYo and practiced.

It was quite interesting because I couldn't do it at first. I couldn't get it to "sleep" at the bottom. Couldn't really catch it or keep it and I battered my knuckles to bits - to get it to sleep you need loads of energy in the thing to engage the clutch.

The first time I got it to sleep I was like "woooot!". But I couldn't get it again for many more goes. Walking all the while I started to get the knack. The YoYo wasn't broken (as I had thought), I just lacked the technique.

But as time went by and my walk progressed I managed to get it sleeping more and more and for longer. It was exciting! For me anyways.....

So in the space of an hour I went from an incompetents novice to being able to do the initial "trick". I may never touch it again, but If I do and I can get better, I'll drop a post.


Continuing from my previously posted post on Stress, I can confirm that I am now so tired does to a week of crazy hours and no good sleep when I do sleep that the aforementioned effects of stress seem to have worn off.

I no longer feel my body is on the brink of im/explosion. I don't feel poisoned. I just feel very tired.

But not "those vitamins I took in 1995 kept me awake for 3 days tired" and not "I've been traveling without sleeping for 40 hours tired" a different kind.... more tired.

But not stressed!


This could be a momentous discovery that could save thousands of lives a year:

The more tired you are the less stress damages you.

Note that there is a slim possibility that my "lack of stress damage experience" is not due to tiredness but to the fact that the cause of the stresses seems to finally be dissipating. More study is needed - though I most certainly will not be volunteering.


In my 37 years I have had, like us all, various issues and problems in work, family, friends, travel, domesticity and so on. That is life. No, that is a lucky life.

And like us all, these problems have stressed me, sometimes a fair bit... but never really so much that I am overwhelmed by stress. In the past, I have always resorted to my mantra of "Life's too short" (The Whiteman Mantra); in the last seven years to Dharma and I guess over all to a general belief that if you are healthy in Europe you don't really have that much right to wallow in your problems.

But over the last 48 hours an issue has come up in work that's been the most catastrophic we have had in our decade. It's affected our clients in significant ways and, in terms of "work", it's looked pretty close to an apocalypse. Forgive my drama, but that's how it has seemed to myself and my Sri Lankan colleagues.

So I have been, and I guess I still am, more stressed than I have ever been before - The previous most stressful time was probably the "family famous" Guatemalan testicular cancer scare Xmas... Moving on...

But I'm not writing this for sympathy or to impart any kind of "self help" advice or anything so... emotive.

I'm writing this post because I can feel exactly how it is that stress shortens your life. Exactly.

I have this tangible sense that my body is strained. That my blood is angry and my muscles are tense. That there is some kind of toxin in my flesh that does no good.

Maybe you're a stressful person and this is how you feel often, but I'm not, and I feel that way now and it's quite blown me away.

'nuff said.

True Democracy/ Mob Tyrany/ Maximum Untidiness

Talking on a forum about democracy and politics at the mo. One thing that is cropping up (often by me) is this idea that there is something inherently and politically beautiful in "true democracy".

But "true democracy" may not be a good thing. It may be a shambles. But I think we owe it to ourselves as a species to at least aim for it and see if its better than what we have now or what has has gone before.

Review: Belikin Laptop@home Sleve Top Home Case

In my time I have made laptop treys of "Dinner treys" with aluminum foil heat dispersing manifolds. For a while, when I had my diddy little Vaio, I had a hand made wooden plate that was perfect in 90% of ways.

The problem is one of comfort and fuction. And it is close to being solved... for now.

Introducing the Belkin Sleeve Top.

Its a laptop case/rest thats designed for the home.

Carrying your laptop from one room to another,
Keeping on your laptop on your lap with more comfort than without.
Offering a modicum, of protection to the aforementioned laptop.

It's good.

It stops your balls frying.

If I lose it, I would get another one right away.

Check it out on the Belkin website:

17 quid in Staples

Spheres of Democracy

Been thinking lots about open democracy of late.

It strikes me on a global level a single open democracy would be the most preferable.

But the issues that effect different regions and cultures would change the pressures internally of that democracy.

And so surely the way is to have spheres of democracy.

Larger spheres, such as trade and military...

Contain smaller national spheres...

And perhaps, if those nations want, smaller regional spheres.

Gmail as wax

To what extent is gmail a legally usefull verificatin of content, date, sender and recipient authenticty?

How long before we have the defence cracking open the G in court?
Please reply to mat@yadabyte.com

Without unity we are punity.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

I like....

...To think about What should happen rather than make thinks happen.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


Sent in 16 seconds
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Fw: Test1

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

-----Original Message-----
From: MatYadabyte@blackberry.orange.co.uk

Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 23:48:50
To:"Blog" <mlripley.salted@blogger.com>
Subject: Test1

Sent from blackberry
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Facebook Metafreinds and The Question App

There has been sudden but minor flurry in my Facebook friends and metafreinds asking each other questions with the question app (Mine are very like MondoPondo truths).

And you see how everyone of your friends answers and asks.

I think Facebook is starting to create new kinds of metafreinds where you don't personally interact regularly but you have regular contact in as much as you watch snippets of your facebook freind's lives and characters meander down your screen.

I guess some people may think that is sad. But it is the future.

Any anyways, I would rather have some ephemeral contact with Toby or Tom, than no contact with them.

Rixhard Dwarkins For Pope!

I'm watching Enemies of Reason on Channel 4. Its another of the great shows by the great Richard Dwarkins - and he really is great, I feel.

The documentary like his recent and powerful anti-religion Documentaries (The Root Of All Evil, the Big Question), but this time the victim is movements/principles like fortune telling, dowsing and spiritualism.

I'm half way through the first of the two hours.

And it ain't looking good for the loononies.

The BBC Can Kiss My Fat Media Pipe (First poetic review of Iplayer)

I remember years ago, as I basked in foreign bytes.
The BBC I player.
The player for I.

Over years wired news flow.
My saliva;
Perhaps the very girth of my techno-fetishist-gristle, did grow.

I was alpha for the beta.
I would have been epsilon.
Just to get on.

To try.....
To try...
The BBCi(player).

This eve I was invited,
Into the beta I went excited.
I signed up.

I browser

Until the moment where truth is true,
Where reality is presented to you,

The BBC deserve a POX,
For BBCi wont chase the Fox.

Kingmaker: Prologue

  1. In the first days of God there was a Light upon the World and this Light was called into Terah to yield a son.
  2. And The World made call upon the Son of Terah to be God Abraham.
  3. God Abraham was cast in the eye and knew all of face and task. And he did prosper as man.
  4. In the seventeenth year of Abraham he did take a wife and was spoken before by God to leave the plains,
  5. “Bring all sons of the land into Egypt for there will be famine” God Abraham did say.
  6. “Bring my many sons into the into the lands were the famine is past and the fruits and the sands and the seas are ripe,” God Abraham did say
  7. And Abraham did take himself and his wife and all who wished to follow.
  8. The wife of Abraham was tall and she had the eyes of shade in sun and night in day. And all who saw her did want her words.
  9. In the land of the Pharaoh Abraham did lend his wife to the ruler for one half of a year. And the Pharaoh did lay with her upon all nights and his seed was fertile. Though she did not have child.
  10. After the sixth month Abraham did came unto the Pharaoh and said he was done with his lend.
  11. On this news the Pharaoh felt sorry to lose his consort and offered Abraham much in the way of silver and sheep.
  12. “My wife is beautiful King of Egypt and I shall take her now,” he said.
  13. With many slaves and livestock he and his wife and his nephew did leave for the north of Nagev. A journey of only two months.
  14. The Pharaoh did send extra grain in gratitude, carried by camel northwards.
  15. For less than three years Abraham traded in sheep and in slaves.
  16. When the Perizite traders would barter Abraham always found the greatest price in his favour. Abraham would brag and boast that he could trade a young slave for an old cow, with any man, such was his face.
  17. With his wealth he would call out messengers into all lands and they would say,

    "I am Abraham listener of God
    I have times to say what God does say.
    I am Abraham and my slave is the Many."
  18. Many people would come and bring grain and palms and the lands of Nagev and Bethel did bloat. Dances and handmaidens were plenty around the villages of the valley. Ever told, in the growth of riches was the growth of conflict.
  19. Abraham and is nephew would charge the division and they would take this charge upon the Many. In the summer they would take all into the caves and in the winter they would drive their tents around the valleys and groves.
  20. Always they had followers who thought them great.
  21. By the time God Abraham had been called a Prince there was fighting within his lands.
  22. This strife was in heart between the slaves and it did not subdue. Daily it was fierce and blood was spilled every morning for many seasons.
  23. Abraham and his nephew discussed this also each day. And when it was so that the land became threatened from inside its valleys, Abraham said to his nephew,
  24. "Yours are too many and mine are many times more. We cannot keep in the valleys or share the same tents any more, nephew. We are brothers and we must not fight or have our slaves quarrel, such there is no other way."
  25. The nephew was angry that it would be his kingdom that must leave, but such was the calm of Abraham that clear thoughts were placed before him.
  26. In that parting was to be a Great Secret.
  27. Abraham demanded that the tent was empty save for him and his brother. And then he demanded that all the tents in the valley were emptied and the slaves and the herdsmen and the wives and the children made pace.
  28. “Ride to the Ridge of Gazikern and wait there until you see fresh smoke from this place,” he did say.
  29. When Abraham saw the Many on the Ridge it was the day hence, for the sun was lighting them from the East.
  30. And then he said unto his brother a secret
  31. Abraham did make fire of the tent and remained as it burned. And his nephew did walk to his people and he said to them,
  32. "My people and my slaves. We will not walk further into the valley with My Uncle’s people. We will walk East over the Ridge and thence we will pass through Jordan. We will not stop until we find a land that can succour us and our livestock. We must say goodbye to those who have travelled with us from here to Egypt and then returned."
  33. And so there was a divide and only the peoples of God Abraham did return to the Valley.
  34. When Abraham spoke again to his flock he spoke of how the riches and the fertility of the land was now theirs to milk and to husband.
  35. There would be no quarrel, and all strife would be blown away from the setting sun, to land upon the departed.
  36. And where the tent still smoked Abraham did have an altar built, the width three men and the length of a wagon and the height of a calf.
  37. Before this altar Abraham had his people amass and he spoke unto them,
  38. "My people and my slaves, we have been handed this land by God and He will make it rich. And to the South that land is ours. And to the North that land is ours and to the West, past the sea, that land is ours. And we shall plant and herd and become as the dust is in the desert."
  39. And the people were happy with Abraham’s state. And then God Abraham did say,
  40. "My people and my slaves, others may fight about us and I will calm them. Others may feel hate for our riches and I will calm them towards us. I will send a message to the Kings of Shinar, Alam and Gwoim that any metal against us shall divert our riches to destroy. And deceit amidst these tents shall divert our riches to destroy.”
  41. And he did pick Yebel and Isla and Usler, brother of Isla, and sent them with this message and enough silver to cover a grain basket each.
  42. After more than ten years Yebel ran into the fort of Abraham in Habran, for that is where he had lived for such years.
  43. Yebel did not greet Abraham with hands such was his urgency. Yebel spoke how Anraphel master-king of Shina has struck the gardens of his departed nephew with more armies than all the mounts of Sodom.
  44. Abraham had disbelief at the messenger Yebel and he sent him to walk South into the desert to die.
  45. The wife of Abraham wept and asked of her husband why he sent Yebel into the sun where he would die. And Abraham spoke to his wife in front of all:
  46. "Yebel is a deceiver sent by the Cities of the Plain. I know this because my nephew is far past Jordan and he is well."
  47. “He has kingdom and riches and no quarrel inside,” Abraham said.
  48. And all were calmed by the words of Abraham. All who listened knew that God must burn the Cities of the Plain into ash for their arrogance.
  49. Abraham did seed no son with his wife and so he did lay with Hagar who was a new gift from the Pharaoh. With Hagar his seed was ripe.
  50. Hagar had no blood for many weeks and hence she knew that she was with the child of Abraham. And Abraham did say to Hagar,
  51. “Rest in the grove of Weq until you have born. And then bring me what you have born, if it is a son. I shall call him Yismal, for I have called God into him.”
  52. “And if it is a girl child then bring her not to me but take her to your mother so she can watch over her,” Abraham did say.
  53. When the child Yismal had no longer need to suckle, Hagar returned and said to her master,
  54. "Master here is your first son, and he is called Yismal."
  55. Abraham took his son and said his name to the sand and to the sky and he knew that his son had his Tone. For with Tone does speak Tone and with Tone does see Tone.
  56. Hagar was happy that her master had found joy and Abraham did send to her a hundred slaves and three thousands of sheep and cattle to take with her to Egypt. And he did send word to his friend the Pharoah that the mother of his first born must be freed.
  57. And so Hagar did leave and Abraham renamed his wife Sarah so that she could be mother of Yismal.
  58. All had adoration for Yismal with deepness for he was calm and had the Tone of his seed.
  59. Sarah was a mother to her husband’s son but she felt grief that she had not born. And Abraham did call on God to end the grief of Sarah.
  60. When Sarah was aged beyond other mothers she bore Abraham a new son and a daughter and the son's name was Isaac and he as Yismal had the seed of Abraham.
  61. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, did say to Abraham that now he had a son of wife and he had a son first born there was choice for his estate and nation.
  62. And Yismal and Isaac did talk with their Father but not his wife upon this matter.
  63. For two nights and as many days they did speak of this. And when all was agreed Abraham did say to his sons,
  64. "You share what I share and my Father gave me. This is Few over Many and it is our Tone that leads.” And he did take a knife in his hand.
  65. “And if I must choose which of you to lead by this blade then I could not choose my first born and I could not choose my wife-born. For either I choose would say in my head 'not me but the other'."
  66. And they listened to their Father.
  67. "And if my wife asks Isaac, her son, to love me more, then my first born will say into her head, 'not he but the other' and Sarah will listen and agree."
  68. And they agreed with their Father.
  69. "And so we must always stay as one but in the eyes of my wife and the ears of the slaves Isaac will be my first born. And in the eyes of my wife and the ears of the slaves Yismal will be lost. For Yismal shall take half of the kingdom and move in one direction,” Abraham did say.
  70. “And this kingdom will be in quarrel, but beneath all will be calm,” God Abraham did say.
  71. “And the kingdoms of Isaac and Yismal will be in quarrel, but beneath all will prosper,” God Abraham did say.
  72. And then he did tell his sons the Great Secret he told his nephew and all was made as the stone and as the dust.
  73. Yismal did take his sheep and his slaves West, after kissing his half brother and his Father.
  74. Prince Abraham took others for his seed such was his desire to pass onwards seed. And he did marry Ketura who was the daughter of his brother and she bore him six sons.
  75. Only one of those who shared his blood with Ketura also shared his seed and Tone. This son he sent East to his nephew who he knew was still alive.
  76. To the other sons he gave riches save for Ishbak who he had slain by camel-tear for the reason that he had jealousy over Isaac.
  77. When it was time to bury Abraham he had lived six score years.
  78. Isaac, who had taken his kingdom in all and everything, said to the million at Machpelah,
  79. "Today I bury my Father alone. But my brother is with us from the East and he sends his sorrows to me and I send mine to him.”
  80. “And we say this, O Great and holy father - You have made us with your seed and made the land and made the cattle and the deer and the grain. And you have given all from slave to commander a greatness with your guidance and so we bless you and we bless us all."
  81. And then did Isaac take dirt from the floor of Machpelah and cast it thrice upon his Father's chest and once more for himself.
  82. And then the sons who stayed and the sons of sons did bury their Father.

(I have renamed book one of "The Final Chapters" to "Kingmaker")

Salted Review #3: Enso the command interface?

Everything about the Enso command interface is perfect, or as close as I can imagine. With one caveat:

The available command list is impoverished. This is it:

  • calculate (four-function)
  • capslock off
  • capslock on
  • close
  • command list
  • copy
  • cut
  • go
  • google
  • help
  • hide mini messages
  • learn as open
  • lower case
  • maximize
  • minimize
  • open with
  • open
  • paste
  • preferences
  • put
  • quit
  • report bug
  • undo unlearn
  • unlearn open
  • unmaximize
  • update
  • upper case
I wanted to be dropping events into my Google calender without needing my browser.

I wanted to be zipping off one line emails in just a couple of instants.

But instead I a have so few commands to choose.

Ill keep an eye on this one. But until it has some killer commands it isn't the killer app I was looking for.

Salted Review #2: Enso. OMG Thats so clever...

I remember a story, I don't know if its true, that a man went to Bryant and May and said "If you give me a millionj pounds I will tell you something that will save you many millions over the years."

They said yes to the offer and paid up.

The man tells them, "Only put the strike paper on one side of the box."

When you have installed Endso you end up at a web page that tells you:

Hold down Cap's key
Look up

I paused. And did as the she said. There it was. The "command bit". It's a bit of the top of your screen that is there when you have the caps key down.

And it has gone when you lift it up.

There when the caps key is down.

And gone when it is not.






I am starting to feel that the metaphore here is apt. This is so clever. Nobody really uses. I mean you might get SOME FLAMERS WHO REALLY LIKE TO BATTER YO' ASS with it or my cousin Marcus. Nobody should use the caps lock key and yet every keyboard has one.


Now... lets just take a peek and see if when you do hold down the key you can do cool stuff....

1st Salted Review of Enso

By one of those weird and wonderful circuitous routes for which the internet is famed, I ended up at a website that proclaimed to be offering just what I have been looking for. A command line smart adaptive text based interface.

And not just recently, I mean, like.... for aeons.

So I have downloaded it and I have just installed it and I am going to review it in real time, as it were. So if you don't hear me post about this again, then its probably not the fix that this troubadour of tech was looking for.

I have downloaded Enso on Trial from: http://www.humanized.com/products/

But will I spend the twenty dollars on it?

This is like the end of the Sopranos in terms of cliffhanging.

Top Tips For Kids: Google Earth

I'll be posting videos of funny cats next. Yikes. But anyways, though I am a man who thinks on the very edge of the point where technology, philosophy and daftness collide, I am also a dad. And as a dad I have to say that the interface for Google Earth is really good for teaching kids about computers and using interfaces and... I guess.. the Earth. All in one low hassle package.

So, get your kids at your PC. Wash their hands first. Load up Google Earth. Press F11 for full screen and now the hard part: Hand over mouse control and leave alone for ten mins.

Would you drink from a drink that a cat had drunk?

We have two new kittens. Awwww......

Printed with permission, todays email chat with my friend the vet:

Hi Jon

So the last 3 nights I get into bed with a pint of squash on the bedside... and within moments one of the kittens is drinking from it. I'm like, "yuck" and I throw it away. Would you drink from a drink that a cat had drunk?


Thanks in advance....

And Jon replies with the only answer you need to such a question:

Frequently do – one of my cats (and we have seven now) has a real thing for Baileys.

The only two common problems that you stand even the remotest chance of catching from your cat is :-

  • Toxoplasmosis – about 80% of the UK population have antibodies against this anyway from eating under cooked lamb. Causes flu like signs for a few days then cured for life.
  • Toxocara – only really a problem to children under the age of about 14yrs.

Remember that every time you stroke your cat and then don’t wash your hands, you are effectively picking up saliva residue from their fur where they have groomed earlier on in the day.

I might be a little more cautious if your cat had been bottom washing ten minutes previously as that is just starting to get a little gross for me then!


Jon says if any of you want the answer to any vet/livestock, exotic animal related question just email;P

Why use Gmail?

Why Use Gmail

I'm always recommending Gmail to people and when they ask why each time I write various bits about why... well NO MORE.. I'll just send them here:)

Gmail is google's answer to email. Its free and fantastic. Here are the pros and Cons:

General Gmail Pros

  • Gmail is very fast. When I think back to the old days of waiting for outlook to send and receive... well... frankly I have nightmares. Gmail is modern and fast web-app page that loads and refreshes in an instant or two and there are all your mails. The only thing that is slow is the downloading of attachments, but that's only if you want to download them. In normal use this aspect of Gmail alone will save you about two days a decade.
  • Gmail is very secure. You cant really get infected is you use Gmail. I mean, maybe there is some exotic exploit that could in theory drop a malware nuke right on your hard drive, but Ive never heard of the possibility. If you just used Gmail I think you wouldn't even need a virus checker.
  • Gmail No Spam. I get more spam than the guy who has been joining porn and mortgage sites, on the same email, since 1995. Right now I have many thousands in my Gmail spam folder but they are of no concern. All the power of all the gmail users and The Google itself combine - Gmail is the best spam filter, period.
  • No backup Required. - I have had an email address since about 1993 and I have lost all my emails many times. With Gmail you don't need to worry about backing up, Google does it all. And frankly, id rather trust them than me to manage back ups.
  • Never Loose A Mail - Because you never delete mails with Gmail you never loose them.
  • The Conversation - Gmail groups emails into conversations. Its hard to get your head around when used to linear emails but its a huge huge huge shift in productivity.
  • The Other Google Apps - With your Gmail account you get seamless access to the vastly useful other Google Apps like Google calender, Docs, blogger, Notebook, Photos..... and on and on.... Google Docs is one of the most important applications for two decades in my opinion.
  • Search fantastic - This is one that I hadn't really thought of until this list. With gmail you can find any mail or mails so easily using the full power of the Google's engine on your Gmail. If you need it you also have the full set of google search expressions at your disposal on your inbox.
  • Office Anywhere - I can walk into a cafe in any country in the world and I have all my emails, documents, bookmarks, photos... everything... right there safely in the browser. Ahhh the liberation of technology!
  • The Inbox Task List - Way before Gmail I was using my inbox as a task list, but gmail makes it sio easy. Just archive the actioend emails and its done.
  • Google Mobile - Gmail works so well on mobile phones using either Opera Mina or the free Gmail mobile java applet.

Gmail Cons

  • Contacts - With Gmail you don't need an address book really. If you have send an email to fred@ it will ALWAYS remember that. That's great, but if you do want to have Freds phone number etc, the contacts system is pretty crap. I'm sure it will eb improved but for now accept that its cruddy.
  • You Are Googl's Bitch - I blogged about this here. Its as much of an issue as you want to make it. Until I have reason to believe otherwise I'm 100% happy with The Google having all my stuff.
  • Offline - This is the big gripe some teccies have with Google Apps - that you cant work offline. And its true, we have had issues in the Sri Lankan office where some net downtime meant we just couldn't work. Google are pioneering some pretty funky technology called "Google Gears" to address this exact problem. Its still in beta,but looks very promising - it is currently available just for Google Reader.

I may add to this list as time goes by.

Remeber the Milk and Google Calender . Seamless

If you use Google Calender and need a task list try remeberthemilk.com - this now has a one button seamless integration feature. You end up with the RTM task list inside your colander.

What with this and it's great mobile interface compliment, RTM could be just be the missing gap in the personal task list/Google App vicinity.

This is the online calender equivalent of ancient man discovering the seasons. Only free.

The Google Fresh Liner

One thing about Google Search is that although its totally amazing as a search, its results are, by default, a tad on the musty side.

You want to know about the latest research in transfinite anti-calculus. You do the search.... bugger... your getting all those old papers from 2006; which we all know are now just considered "folklore" nowadays.

You can go into the advance search.... but who wants to do that. Don't we have lives!

Try this tip I just came up with...

In Firefox (If you don't use Firefox, get off my blog!) go to "Organize bookmarks" right click on Google quick search>properties and replace this:


with this:


If it isn't there all ready I would change the keyword to just g.

So now when you enter in the Firefox address bar:

g world overpopulation issues

You get only all pages updated in the last 3 months about world overpopulation issues. Plus the Google search will now show the date drop down so you can change the search date range yourself.


First Salted Review: Desktopondemand.com

I saw This:
And was blown away.
I signed myself up,
For Free, easily...
But then I logged in,
Was the swan song sung?
My window froze,
My Firefox hung.

Application Reminiscences: Photo5 on Psion Series 5

I was just chewing the cud with Amila from work and I was reminded of a programme I wrote as a hobby called Photo 5.

I used to love writing programmes. Sadly, since I work with much more talented programmers than me, I don't do it any more. Boo Hoo :(

So here... if you're even remotely interested... is a brief dip into the software developments I have published on my own. Or at least one of them. Might add some more later.

Photo 5

Photo5 was a an image editing and photo manipulation on the Psion Series 5 computer, that came out in the late 90’s.

Essentially I wanted to write the first ever handheld Photoshop - in the days when Photoshop was version 4. And I think I achieved it.


  • 20 Levels of Undo
  • Supporting Plugins - quite a few plugins were written for it by 3rd parties, such as jpeg export, printing and stuff.
  • Animation Support - including frames, paths and animation brushes.
  • Image Modification: resize, bend, shear...
  • Image Filters: distort, emboss, negative, glow, solarize, pointalize....
  • Custom rendered font types and text objects.
  • Vector based shapes and B-Splines (They were so much fun(i.e. nerd fun))
  • Many kinds of drawing tools, like pens, brushes, sprays. I seem to remember all were very configurable.
  • Smart adaptive GUI with custom sliders and interface elements; trying to get as close as possible to Corel Draw and Photoshop.

Photo5 was huge in Romania, and many people cite its ability to make true creativity truly portable was a key factor in the collapse of the Ceaucescu regime, as this article testifies.

Reminiscing, as I rarely do, it was a pretty ground breaking application that did stuff that still hasn’t been done on handhelds, even today.

I’ve lost the Zip install but I have a Psion 5 still, so if by some freaky chance anyone has the install I'd love a copy!

I'm sorry Tom

One of the things I hate about XBOX Live is typing in stuff. Its so awkward without a keyboard.

Tom is my cousin and a dude. he speaks in MSN:

Tom says:
hi mat, whats your gamertag on xbox live
Mat says:
Anus Expansius Nexus why?
Tom says:
i got a 360 now
Mat says:
Ace ADD me!
Tom says:
will do
Tom says:
thats too long isnt it
Tom says:
can only get Anus Expansius
Tom says:
no Nexus

My gamer tag is not Anus Expansius Nexus.

Im sorry Tom.

Bullet Points on the New Big Brother Racism Thing

  • White people shouldn't use the N word. They shouldn't use it because of its history, no matter how much it gets used by black people.
  • Emily on Big Brother used it foolishly rather than maliciously. Drink driving is foolish. Being foolish doesn't stop something from being very wrong.
  • Emily repeatedly said to Charlie, "I didn't mean it". Which implies that at some level she found it to be an insult rather than a term of "camaraderie" that other aspects of her talk suggested.
  • Emily was in Big Brother for hours after saying it. This to me suggests that Endemol were calculating various factors: ratings, racism, opinion, legality..... In fact if their convictions for removing her were a purely moral , "it was wrong," then she should have been removed from the house immediately.
  • White people shouldn't use the N word.

I'm writing a paper on racism here: Racism Viewed from Nowhere, Draft 1

George Bush and the central problem of moral philosophy.

The "Is/ought problem" is the central problem of moral philosophy.

George Bush: "You shouldn't interfere with a missile defense system."

I mean, I'm kind of in agreement with him, but I don't see how the ought follows from the is.

Better Google Reader is Certainly Better

If you read news on the internet it would be better if you use Google Reader than any other method.
If you use Google Reader it can be made even better than the norm with Better Google Reader from the good people at Lifehacker.

"Better is better than worse " Confusedus

The Hold Era of Foldera

Well, we have decided to put Foldera on Hold, its so close to being so just what we want but some speed issues and a general blocky betaness about it mean that it isn't right for us.... yet.

Personally, I still have high hopes for it and will bet hard cash that it will be assimilated into The Google.

This wont be the last The Salted Solution says about Foldera.....

Getting a Facial From Google

Google Search has just slipped in facial searching.

So, If you want to find images of Don Johson's face (whichy lets face it, we all do) then do a search for Don Johnson and in the address bar add &imgtype=face

You get something like this

Its not ideal. Its not documented but it shows the shape of the future.

Portable Firefox and Foldershare: A great way to do stuff.

If like me you use the internet and use more than two computers then things exactly like the following will surely have happened to you:

  • Your sitting at work, browsing the web in your very extended lunch break. You find a website you would love to browse more, but in the privacy of your own home. You add the bookmark.... back at home you realise that the bookmark is still on our computer at work. You try to remember UR:, but the site was in Russia and had characters that don’t exist on any keyboard within thirty miles. You spend the rest of the night crying your eyes out because you realise that there’s not much point in living without that bookmark.
  • You sigh up to a very special members only site, this time in Venezuela . You need to go to an internet cafe that allows you pay by cash and wear a hoodie and shades. You’re there sitting with the homeless prostitutes and the online crack dealers when you realise your cookies are not with you so you can’t login to the site.
  • You wish that you didn’t have to worry about synchronisation of all of your browser data and tools and settings between computers.

If, like me, any of these issues have concerned or confronted you, then read on... there are solutions.

There are in fact many solutions and over the years I have tried most of them. The one I’m going to suggest has been mine for many months in various guises. There have been problems, these are now solved and I am ready to unleash it upon the world. Go wash your hands, button down the hatches, I am about to unleash:

Five simple steps.

  1. Download Portable Firefox. Portable Firefox is a version of the world’s best web browser that has been tweaked to make it Portable; it can be run from any folder, USB Drive, IPOD etc. Download it here and install it in a place you will remember. I have it in My Documents>My Applications>Portable Firefox.
  2. Set everything up in this installation of Portable Firefox, your bookmarks, extensions, web sites, layout. Make it just how you want it and back it up. One great thing about backing up Portable Apps is it means simply copy the folder.
  3. Download Google Browser Sync This will synchronise all of your Settings and bookmarks and cookies . Once installed, set it up. It won’t synchronise Extensions and themes and interface changes, however.
  4. Download Foldershare. This is an amazing bit of free software, recently bought by Microsoft. You will need to download it and install it on all PCs you want to sync. Have a play with it and a read of the help files if you get confused, but its very easy once you get the hang.
  5. Using Foldershare, share your Portable Firefox on all the PCs you want to sync with and let Foldershare do its magic.

Note: The Portable Firefox cache can become corrupted if you switch between different PCs before Foldershare has had the chance to update. I always wait a few minutes between closing one Firefox (on Desktop) and opening another, say on my laptop. This gives Foldershare the time to Sync the changed files.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you can become more productive, more helpful around the house and better within the community you live in.

It would be churlish not to.

First Days in Foldera

We have been using Foldera tentatively for a few days now. And this is my first (non-poem) review - it is a brief mixture of initial reactions and-in-the-field use.


The first thing to tell you is, it's slow. Painfully slow. I think there is a guy In Folderaville shuffling floppies (and I aint talking in the "fluffing" sense).
Foldera is so slow that it's burnt my monitor. Foldera is so slow that by the time I have logged in to add a new project, the project has been completed. Online, there is one thing slower than Foldera, and that is SETI@home (which is slower than Fold(era)ing@home by a long shot).

Foldera is this slow in a years' time, it won't be here. And seeing as you're probably not reading this until then, then clearly they have speeded it up.


They have some quite hard design hurdles to cross, I think. They need to supply a lot of information, links and other interface items on the page at the same time. And this creates clutter, as you can see from this grab of my current Foldera:

I really should get some screen wipes.
And that's just part of the page. The blue links on the left are the folders, and the right hand side are the folder contents. They are already using some neat AJAXy dropdowns which work really well but they have a ways to go to get the screen ergonomics nailed. I think some compromises and extra steps will have to be juggled and see no reason why they won't get it right in the long run.


Though Foldera is new, there is bloat. It has an email system which I imagine won't get that much use. Not because of the system per se (it might be great) but just because people already have an email, and the kind of people who might use Foldera are probably pretty happy with the system they use now. What Foldera needs isn't its own email but to hook in seamlessly with Pop or Gmail in a configurable and filterable way.

Any task/project system nowadays has to use email as a core conduit, but that doesn't mean every task system needs its own email system.


Despite the speed and clutter and babybloat of the early version, there must be a reason why I/we at work are still using it and, so far, increasing our using it of it. Small projects first, but projects nonetheless. I said in a blog post last week about how Foldera is heading straight up for a Google buyout. So much so that the UI proportions are almost exact with Gmail. The Foldera colour scheme is a panchromatic (though mainly pale blue) celebration of the Google colour scheme. The lack of a task and project system in the Google Apps is, like the lack of a Powerpoint contender, a well discussed omission. Foldera is very very Google like, much more than Basecamp or Activecollab.

And there is another similarity with the Big G.
Foldera has that feeling, like when I first tried Gmail, Writely, Gcal, you can't but help think: "It may not be there now, but when it's there, whoooo-hoooooo, this baby is going to roll me over and butter my balls 'til Christmas," or at least the website/software equivalent of that sentiment.

Skagen Cartesian Doubt

I like watches. I have had my new watch for a week; A Skagen Titanium from Denmark. Very nice.

The strap is not the normal strap I am used to. It is a locking clasp.

But this morning my affair with this watch changed.

It has just come undone as I ate my breakfast.

And now there is always the doubt, and always will be the doubt, that this could happen again. My confidence in the watch is gone. All beauty is lost. Around my wrist I wear a band of uncertainty.

Between Google and The Government

I want someone to look after my data,
And relate my data to me.
I want someone to look after my data,
That someone who isn't me.
So who should I choose to do this,
To manage my freedom's edge?
States who in the past,
Have shifted from their pledge?

Or should I choose a group,
Whose currency is truth,
Assured that all will test them,
In critical rolling proof.
The slightest mote of doubt,
Their empire does implode,
I pack up my bag, my mail, my blogs:
Yahoo. F5. Reload.

The one hundred dollar laptop is here (from digg)

Review - Tom Tom Drum WUSB Touchscreen.

In the days before Google I used to work for TomTom, so this review might be biased, but the Drum is awesome! I got my hands on prototype and its the dog's kahunas. It's 100% right there, bang-smack exactly what I have been looking for for the past two decades: it's a very feminine transsexual masseuse/tech-philosopher. No! No! I mean it's one of these babies:

Its the first - to my knowledge - WUSB Touch screen (Control4 and Panasonic did some WiFi ones a few years back). The technology has been possible for a couple of years I guess, but this is the Walkman. The Drum has no real CPU or GPU, it has no memory, no drive. No moving or thinking parts. Think of it like a really cheap, light, rugged, weatherproof Tablet PC that goes for 12 hours, weighs a bit more than an average paperback and doesn't get hot.... or make a sound.

I have one of the Logitech WUSB keyboards and proper mice, and so I use them around the house when I am not in the mood for typing on the screen with a pen.

In terms of the tech that's all you can really say. I could go on about the nice crisp screen. I could whinge about the lack of any speaker in the device - a Drum with no sound: those crazy Dutchies:P!

I could eulogise on how it's nice to have so much power (that's really on my desktop) in something light and cheap - 200 big ones.

But whats the point?

You know if it's like the other TomTom stuff it's going to be well built and look good. Sub-Apple looks, but good looks. Most of all, you know its a great idea and you want one.

Playing C&C in the bath with never be the same again.

Order at TomTom.com

Non-Haiku Review Of Foldera

I have signed up and signed in for the first time.
I am in darkness.
It has asked me for my first folder.
A folder is like a category or project.
I need to invite another.
I invite two.

It has the functional googleesque aesthetic,
Chunky. Ajaxy... and the cascading style.

It doesn't have a mobile view.
Rememberthemilk has this.
That is close to essential.

It has some interface elements,
I haven't seen before. And they are good.
There is a wholeness and unity,
I haven't seen before. And I have sought;
from the base-camp to the summit.

But like all babies that splatter into the web,
Mewling and puking,
This one has a slowness about it.
The need to grow.

8/10 (So far)

I'm watching alot of Google video right now, accessed from Digg.com. Nice combi.

Foldera is nearer

I have blogged a number of times about Foldera.

Over a year ago I asked?:

"Foldera.. [a design/technological] leap and bound that if they are pulling it of with the kind of quality that we expect of software today, it is going to be truly huge.

Is it vapourware? Answers on a postcard please."

Well I just got a "we're ready to roll" email from the beta sign-up made moons ago... and I am on the start line.

I might even review it, I haven't reviewed anything in ages. Ohhhh hhhhooo how exciting this technology stuff is.

Racism Viewed from Nowhere, Draft 1

Over on my local blog, midcornwall.com, a post hit off about the BNP and caused what is, for that blog, a comment storm. Racists and non-racists battling it out in the safety of total anonymity. I didn't censor anything (save for some dumb insults) and after about 60 volleys I started writing this post.

The racist arguments in the comment were not the kind of nonsense I was expecting, and the 2 or 3 people wielding them seemed smart. The problem the racists were having wasn’t so much with what they believed it was that they weren’t listening to the others. It wasn’t that they were ignoring them, but that they were deafened by their own convictions.

I started writing a comment to the blog and that comment essentially turned into this essay. What I want to know is simply, "Are the racists right?" I am not, in any sense of the word, a racist.
I know the racists think they are right, and I know the non-racists know the racists are wrong, but where was the answer?

That’s what I wanted to find.
I want to stress that I am here only discussing the rational racist position, that is, the racist who argues a biologically significant distinction between races in terms of any given race’s value from evidence. People who just hate the "darkies” but don’t think about why, well, this essay isn’t for you.

The View from Nowhere

If you want to provide scientific arguments and evidence that whites are better than blacks you can find this. If you want to disprove these arguments then you can find counter-evidence and counter-argument. And because racists are very passionate about their racism and non-racists equally about their non-racism, it means that you can't really get any further into the debate this way. It just ends up as lots of intellectual shouting and little intellectual listening.
The only way I think you could really attempt to approach the issue is as objectively as possible. The issue of race is entwined with so many other concepts (cultural, social, moral, biological....) and so much subjective opinion that non-objective debate is meaningless and pointless.
What I want to do in this essay is really, and for the first time in my life, strip away all my beliefs about race and the race debates. Forget the fact that for a middle class white guy I have always been about as non-racist as you can get.

If you are a racist and you read this its really important that you accept that I have tried to be maximally objective. If you can’t accept that then you should stop reading now.

  • I'm not going to rely on any science or studies or assumptions supporting or refuting any racial claim.
  • As much as possible I am going to keep things logical.
  • I’m going to try to be impartial.
  • I'm not going to worry about offending anyone but I won’t try to offend anyone.

What is a race?

Clearly there are races. To say that there are not really doesn’t help the objective methodology. Chinese are a different race to Australian aborigines, who are a different race to Europeans who are a different race to Africans who are.... and so on.

  • Non-racists: It seems to me that the non-racists do not like to admit this fact. They bandy around terms like "social construct" and "cultural classification” which don’t seem to do justice to the wonderful diversity of the human species.
  • Racists: the racists on the other hand take the racial distinction, the fact there are races, and from this create huge bastions of racism; the core foundation being the premise that one race can be superior to another race.

If the non-racists won't accept there are racial differences then they are not entering the battle field: they cannot put themselves in a position to really fight the racists. You can see evidence of this on the comments on the midcornwall.com post: the non-racists seemed reluctant to accept racial differences. To fight racists you must accept that there are racial differences.

One way you might want to make this palatable for the non-racists is to say:

There are no races, just racial differences.

  • African people generally have more frizzy hair than European people.
  • Chinese people generally have straighter hair than African people.
  • African people have a higher propensity for sickle cell anaemia than Arabic people.
  • European people generally have a lower tolerance to sunlight than Australian Aborigines.
  • African people generally have a higher tolerance to alcohol than Polynesian people.

So far so good. I think the racist and the non-racists, if we are being objective, can agree on these racial differences. The schism comes when the racist camp tries to take the same methodology of difference and apply it to what are considered significant differences culturally.

  • Europeans are more intelligent than Ethiopians (A position in the midcornwall.com comments)
  • Black people are more likely to be criminals than white people (Again, a position argued)

And so on... all just catch-alls for the idea that one race is superior to another.

The Importance of Significance

There are racial differences, but what is crucial is whether or not these differences are significant. If Africans have frizzier hair, so what. That’s not an issue. If Africans really are generally and demonstrably more stupid than Chinese then I think it would be naive to say this wasn’t a significant cultural issue.
So in light of this I see the racist debate so far as:

  • Racist: there are significant racial differences
  • Non-racist: there are no significant racial differences.
  • Irrational non-racist: there is no such thing as race.

The Importance of Origination

If you take any purported racial difference, be it the potential for a long term, high-sheen, sustainable afro, or being more likely to be in prison compared to the white guy, the very first thing you must ask about this purported racial difference is this: what is the origin of this difference? The way I see it there are two core starting points for any purported racial difference:

  1. Prenatal Origination: the difference occurs because of something before the birth of individuals in the relevant group: genetics/ biology/nature
  2. Postnatal Origination: the difference occurs because of something after the birth of the relevant groups: culture, education, media, society... life and death and the world: nurture and environment.

The rational racist needs the differences he finds significant to be prenatal in origination, otherwise there is just no purchase on his notion of racial superiority or significant difference.

So with these points in mind, I’m going to take a look at some of the racist arguments on the midcornwall.com discussion.

Example 1: Ethiopian Intelligence

"The lowest average IQ in the world is to be found in Ethiopia, where it is 60+.”

One of the cornerstones of the racist framework is the argument that some races are less intelligent than others.

According to one contributer on the post Ethiopians have the lowest IQ. The contributer clearly believes that this fact is unquestionable and irrefutable - although how you can get a good range of test subjects in a water, nutrition and economically impoverished country like Ethiopia is anyone's guess ("If you can align the triangles I'll give you a biscuit"). But for the sake of argument let’s grant him that: The Ethiopian IQ is lower than the world average.

We have seen that, when presented with any purported racial difference, the rational approach is to ask if it is prenatal in origination and if it is significant. The racist needs a yes to both of these conditions for her arguments to work.

In the case of racial differences of IQ there is a huge amount of literature both for and against the differences being prenatal/postnatal. I think the Flynn effect really undermines the racist assumption that these differences are prenatal. We also know that nutrition and early education and stimulation play huge roles in brain development. I could go on, but then I’d just be rehashing non-racist arguments and there are plenty to do that already... so... yet again I am going to concede the racists their point: The Ethiopian IQ is lower than the world average and this difference is prenatal in origination.

The Outdatedness of IQ

If we won’t take the argument on the prenatal/postnatal distinction then we are left with the significance of the difference. And here, for many reasons, there are many ways to show that this is not a significant difference.

The IQ test is over 100 years old. Modern measures of intelligence see the it as a combination of many combining intelligences, for example:

  • Linguistic intelligence ("word smart")
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
  • Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
  • Musical intelligence ("music smart")
  • Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
  • Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
  • Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")
  • And so on....

So Ethiopians may be the worst at solving Puzzles and lateral thinking. That doesn’t mean they are on average more stupid. It means they are worse at puzzles. I'm crap at spelling and puzzles. Nodoku! I don’t know what studies there are for the above intelligences across the various demographics but it would strike me as odd and counter-evolutionary for one group of people to be better in all of them.

The Irrelevance of IQ and Multiple Intelligences

I have many friends, and I assume they are not all of equal IQ. Some will have higher IQs than me; others won't. What's important is that I couldn't tell you whether Dave's got a higher IQ than Adam. Is Mark's higher than mine? Is Pip's higher than Paul's? I really don’t know. Nor do I really care. People’s IQs just aren't relevant in normal interpersonal relationships.

Nor really are the multiple intelligences above. Kev is a better drawer than Mark, but Mark is a better musician.

I think the point I am trying to make here is that even if you go all the way with the racist argument and end up admitting that there are prenatal differences of intelligence between races, so what? There are differences between people within racial groups and within families and within friends. These are not significant, so why should a racial difference of intelligence be significant?

Example 2: Black Criminality

A lot of the racist comments on the post played on the idea of black criminality. And I think you will agree that, if you're being objective, they were pretty compelling. It certainly seems that in the English speaking world, most criminals are black. Forgetting all other facts, statistically that’s what am betting. Most people in English speaking prisons are non-white.

This one is a bit different to intelligence. With intelligence we focused on the insignificance of any purported racial difference of IQ. Intelligence can be quantified and dissected into constituent parts, but criminality is really just a fact about people being criminalized. You are more likely to go to prison if you are black. That’s the fact.

What is the origination of this fact:

  1. Are black men in English speaking countries more likely to go to prison because there is something established prenatally in them that promotes this trait over the traits absence?
  2. Is it because black men, postnatally, are influenced by factors that increase the probability of imprisonment (the factors I am thinking of here are social, cultural, political etc. etc)?

The racist needs option 1. She needs there to be some aspect of the "African genome” that makes Africans more likely to end up as criminals. Thinking with a blank slate here, I can't see what this could be. Racking my brains the idea that something so complex as "criminality” could be contained in a human sperm and egg just befuddles me.
As an attempt to explain this prenatal propensity to criminality, one of the contributers on the post quoted the "fact” that: "Orientals have the lowest criminality of any group - they have the lowest average testosterone levels and blacks have the highest.” But hang on a minute, testosterone isn’t criminality. They are not the same thing.

Maybe it’s true that "blacks have the highest" testosterone. I have no idea if this is true or not. This could result in aggression and a higher likelihood of ending up in prison. But the only prenatal "fact” we are allowing here is the "higher testosterone” one.

I think the argument for a prenatal black propensity towards criminality can't stand up. At best it get get as far as 'blacks have higher testosterone', and from there one must make a big leap of racism. (And last time I checked, the sportsmen and high flying businessmen and politicians who we all assume pack in the testosterone don’t get any negative vibe because of this 'fact'.)
So having found it impossible to find any convincing argument that black criminality is prenatal in origination, let's turn to the postnatal.... Do I really have to go over this?

Racist or non-racist, if you accept that there is a statistical propensity for black criminality you have to explain it, either as being to do with prenatal factors like testosterone or to do with upbringing, poverty, education, legal systems, media... all the stuff we call life.

If you stand back from your passions and with a cold heart ask yourself which is most likely, surely, racist or not, if you are smart and rational you must see that the simplest most coherent, most consistent, most in tune with common sense and the way of other things, is that it's the postnatal effects by a very significant margin.

Conclusion for Now

I think to argue with a rational racist you can't fight them at the evidence level. Not because you would loose, but because nobody can win. It is like trying to argue what’s best between red wine and white, using mice as test subjects. Humans, all of us, are so massively deep and complex in so many ways that trying to judge and value us, based upon statistical evidence (the main stay of the racists arsenal, it seems), just can’t latch on at the level it needs to.

Apart from one drunken insult to a Turkish or Greek Kebab shop proprietor in Kings Cross in 1990 I have always been fundamentally non-racist (he refused me an extra green chilli and I told him to "go home"). When one of my friends was racist about the Best Man at my wedding, I told him were to go and haven’t spoken to him since. But my non-racism has always been from the heart, like I think most people's.

Over the last few days writing this and reading the comments on the midcornwall.com blog I’ve taken an objective and philosophical look at racism and some of my thoughts I have written here, and I’m sure I’ll put more up too.

But what I know now is that even when you say, "I will walk with you, racist. I will agree with your assumptions,” the racist arguments don’t have the sustainability against level, passionless argument. You can be a passionate racist, but you cant be a rational one.

Jah man, Crazy.....