Posts from February 2004

27th February, 8:16 am

today is my last day in london. on monday i fly to vancouver for a ludicorp extravaganza. goodbye all!

threadless have finally launched an affliate program - go buy shirts and not only can you look like me, but i'll get paid too!

some beautiful valentines cards. still not as good as "roses are red, violets are blue, all my base, are belong to you" (spotted on bash) [via reitsma]

26th February, 3:20 am

teemarto has some really great tshirts. i'm escpecially keen on the 'test' ones - the tiny kearning is very tdr.

24th February, 2:12 pm

if you look under irony in the dictionary you'll probably find the yale guys from etcon04 - handing out free blank cds in the lobby to promote file sharing. but what does he do for a living? works for universal developing drm. take note - this is irony.

24th February, 1:19 pm

i wish trillian knew how to merge the logs for a meta contact. say, for instance, i was talking to some hot chick on icq about the finer points of xml-rpc. now icq goes down so i switch over to talking to them on aim. trillian lets me group contacts into "meta contacts", so hot chick is a meta contact with her icq, aim, msn, yahoo and jabber profiles (or possibly more than one of each) bundled into one. the only problem is that now when i go back to look up that conversation in my logs, it's split across the two log files. urgh. fix this please.

24th February, 9:54 am

some much to digest from conconuk, but the big highlight was just seeing people i hadn't seen for a while. all of them. in a very small pub. and of course she was there. i was expecting that. i was prepared. only she had to go and be really plesant. spoke to her for ages about everything. she's now coming to lunch on friday. i can't help myself. i. am. hopeless.

23rd February, 5:37 am

after a visit for the dentist for some routine extorsion, i'm in an undescribeable amount of pain. so bad i can't concentrate on anything. constructing this sentance is a real challenge. what have i done to deserve this?

23rd February, 5:28 am

this article on the Forer effect makes interesting reading. the average of 4.2 is suprising at first, util you try and score yourself on the paragraph.

22nd February, 10:55 am

i take back at least some of what i've said about the uk music charts - my favourite track from the latest belle and sebastian album is in the top twenty. nice to hear radio one playing something half decent.

22nd February, 7:22 am

codeville sounds interesting (and will be demoed at codecon if you want to know more). the only trick they seem to have missed is making a cvs compatibility layer - i'd love to just drop the server inplace of cvs and give it a whirl, but learning a new client syntax (and thus building new client side tools) is too much effort for a non-proven system.

22nd February, 6:42 am

is learning pi to 1500 digits any more than an impressive (geek) party trick? would it actually be useful in a mathematical sense, or even just in a memory training sense?

22nd February, 6:40 am

arp knows a thing or two about birds:

"it must be a lot easier to create a subaquatic survival suit for a bird than it would be to create a practical flying suit for a dolphin, especially as dolphins have low-mounted wings, a design which would make dolphins unstable in the air."

20th February, 10:51 am

on the advice of a indie kid friend, i bought a pair of kristin hersh albums (sky motel and the grotto). in a word: stunning. the grotto, especially, i touching and sad, but with some excellent euphoric moments (listen to "Silver Sun"). definately my favourite album of the moment.

20th February, 10:10 am

this color matcher thing is very nicely done. reminds me of some of the prototype stuff i was working on for a site several years ago which got abandonned for various reasons. after getting a call from a potential client today, i might get back into some dhtml stuff. such fun.

20th February, 9:23 am

really annoying thing #474: people who send their mail from /outlook( express)?/ and request a delivery receipt for every single mail which requires me to click a fucking confirmation :/

20th February, 9:18 am

went to see lowgold at lunchtime. they played a small set (four tracks) from their newish album "welcome to winners". in a small club under little portland street, it was for radio execs as far as i could make out (i built their website and their management invited us along). very good stuff. i recommend you buy their cd.

20th February, 8:38 am

ntk pointed to the adobe reader speedup lets you remove all the dumb plugins from acrobat reader to make it load alot quicker. very useful if you seem to spend all your life waiting for the damn thing to open.

20th February, 2:49 am

book crossing is a really nice idea and seems to be getting reasonable returns (20-25% of books are caught after being released according to their faq). if i had time i'd love to take part. maybe there's some way you could tie this into social networking?

19th February, 12:48 pm

urgh - fucking tube. ninety minutes to cross half of zone one is just stupid (it's what, 3 miles?). if i couldn't be smug with the fact that i only have six more commuting days left in this country (and at least one of them offpeak due to conconuk) then i'd be really pissed off. talking to a fellow communiting sysadmin while we wait for a train, i wonder how i manage to stand this. i guess you just get used to it and your frame of reference is blurred. now, with a new frame rapidly approaching, i can be a little more objective about current events. urgh. get me out of here.

19th February, 8:48 am

i somehow missed this piece of genius when it was first posted by jones in january:

"The BBC is about to enter a period of scrutiny, examining it's mission and output in order to review whether it should keep that guaranteed income. So my proposal is for them to radically reassess their mission - working from the money back, and The Earth outward.

"The BBC should devote all their resources to conquering Space.

"The chairman of the BBC, Gavyn Davies should nominate Dr. Colin Pillinger as the next director-general, and announce that from the end of 2004 there will be no more TV, no more radio, no more internet services. All of the licence fee income will be ploughed into space exploration.

"2.5billion pounds a year is 4.55billion dollars at today's exchange rates. In one year, the newly rebranded BSC: British Space Command, will have outstripped Bush's recently-announced 5 year NASA budget increase."

19th February, 8:23 am

i wonder if this was ofoto?

19th February, 7:34 am

might be true: plastic surgery in the uk, including breast augmentation, is governed by the british association of plastic surgeons. or baps for short.

19th February, 6:42 am

chips for lunch: if food stuffs were humans, chips would be your reasonably attractive friends who are great fun to be with. but who bitch about you behind your back and ultimately lead to your (social / health) demise.

19th February, 6:41 am

textures you don't expect: a semi-frozen can of (diet, urgh) coke which expands rapidly when opened - not an explosion but just a gradual expansion as it flows from the top of the can all over your desk. drinks which have the consistency of jelly. wet, shiney floors which aren't slippy.

19th February, 6:03 am

i love death is beautiful (cyclic, symmetric, depressing), if a bit of a large download.

19th February, 5:39 am

the world needs more magic eye porn

19th February, 5:30 am

office stories: someone in my office has just gone on a five minute rant about sainsburys selling him a fillet of snapper without descaling it. apparently he didn't realise they hadn't ("they always do, don't they?") cooked it and subsequently covered the entire meal in scales (cue wife: "what the fuck is this? i'm not eating it"). cooking seems way too difficult - i definately need a geek girlfriend who's in to cooking (or alternatively, just eat in resturants the whole time).

19th February, 5:24 am

ah, also, you can join the dbdi mailing list by sending a blank mail to dbdi-dev-subscribe[at]

19th February, 5:22 am

i'm about a month behind reading the perl6internals lists, but the dbdi announcement from tim bunce is interesting. this would almost force php and ruby to get good dbi layers in core. i, for one, can't wait.

19th February, 1:03 am

the (poignant) guide to ruby is just great: "A range is two values surrounded by parentheses and separated by an ellipsis (in the form of two or three dots). Think of it as an accordion which has been squeezed down for carrying. (Sure, you can build a great sense of self-worth by carrying around an unfolded accordion, but sometimes a person needs to wallow in self-doubt, carefully concealing the squeeze-box.) The parentheses are the handles on the sides of a smaller, handheld accordion. The dots are the chain, keeping the folds tightly closed. Normally, only two dots are used. If a third dot is used, the last value in the range is excluded. When you see that third dot, imagine opening the accordion slightly. Just enough to let one note from its chamber. The note is that end value. WeBAD+92ll let the sky eat it."

19th February, 12:34 am

i was just asked "Is this 'social software' new then?". my response: "yes and no. the term is new, the concept is old. read these if you're interested: the_excesses of social software, my working definition of social software

19th February, 12:00 am

apparently mocha ssh client runs fine on the p900 (i hadn't tried it yet). i'm reticent to install it, as at least i have some small periods of time (while travelling) when i can't do any kind of server maintainance (not true of course - i can always dialup via bluetooth). getting the balance right between accessability and responsibility is tricky.

18th February, 11:56 pm

overheard: "football is like sex as far as i'm concerned - i'm much rather take part, however bad i am, than watch it."

18th February, 9:30 am

is it me or is stinger one of the most ufesul bits of software available? (along with adaware). it seems kinda crazy that it's free. it certainly stops me from wanting to buy any antivirus software.

18th February, 8:04 am

spotted on the company intranet by a colleague: "Please remember that all Internet sites visited from an **** network or that you visit from your workstation can now be easily captured for reporting. Thus making it easier to monitor and manage Internet traffic and usage. If in doubt, see the guidelines on Internet usage in the **** staff handbook or use this link". nice.

18th February, 7:03 am

ConConUK is something not to be missed. given that i'm bunking off work on friday to go and see lowgold, then taking monday morning off to go to the dentist, i'm not sure how i justify taking monday afternoon off with only a few days left until i leave. hmm, some pleading might be in order.

18th February, 5:45 am

now this is interesting: Operational Transformation in Real-Time Group Editors: Issues, Algorithms, and Achievements. the paper on which the sub etha edit protocol is based. the concept of operational transformation could probably be applied to many other forms of realtime interaction and collaboration.

18th February, 5:40 am

it's odd, but registering as self-employed with the inland revenue seems far more final than the act of resigning from my job. scary stuff.

18th February, 5:39 am

after using it a little on osx, i'd love a windows port of sub etha edit. the developers say that this is very unlikely - it relies heavily on cocoa and can't really be "ported". there must be some equivilent windows app out there already? like ms word's "track changes", only in real time. maybe ms word will get add it in pretty soon.

18th February, 3:38 am

honey is hard to get hold of in the uk now for some reason - some sort of health scare i think. none of the resturants i go to serve it as parts of other dishes any more. this makes me sad.

18th February, 3:13 am

it's not possible to really describe what etcon was, so a word-dump written on the plane back is the closest to an explanation.

ludivan, eight people in a car, sociologist influx, hippie threat, dentistry by mutual cultural apocalypse, quantum dots, not gold colored - real gold, killer robots, kill people for peace, ask a policeman, smores, wrong orders, the height of jeff veen, jeff bezos (comedy stooge), apple 23" cinema display, rendezvous, brit swarm, coronado, electric sheep, intensive dev, lack of bandwidth, password sniffing, 3m3rging loft party, 3m3rging loft sofa, shopping, pixel a.shun, meg's green shoes, overheating laptops, the plaza labyrinth, the yale boys, wifi, late night hacking, $5 water, sex toys, jones' childhood fears, webb's glancing info-burst, centrino keys (broken), frys, in'n'out burger, lax, driving to san diego, oh brother where art thou soundtrack, bluetooth, prussian food, mexican food, missing breakfast, todo.txt, flickr launch, wallop, dumpster, syncing, staging, deploying, firewalls, load balancing, nfs permissions, postfix, authorized_keys, email clocks, dannah's hat, ada's napkins, nokia camera phones, nokia cto, free ice cream, molly's memory, walking fast with helen, jelly margaritas, back channels, blank cds, heavenly hotel.

urgh. total sensory overload.

18th February, 2:52 am

this stuff looks beautiful and innovative (collaborative drawing tools that don't suck!). unfortunately it doesn't work through the firewall of doom (tm) so i'll have to check it out later. all built by Jared Tarbell from and open source.

18th February, 2:33 am

london agency wilson fletcher showing that you can use css for layout without lookinb like you're using css for layout (if that makes sense). unfortunately suffering from the "Flash of Unstyled Content" bug which makes for ugly loading. Blue robot suggests a couple of fixes.

17th February, 11:49 pm

ludicorp's transcendant interactions presentation gives much food for thought. do any of us really use applications for interactions (between people, at least) that don't transcend? applications that lock us into their own little microcosom which we don't aspire to find a way to componentise into our bigger picture interactions? i can't think of any this morning. maybe it's less about application shift and more about a new way of looking at interaction design. applications as non-discrete elements of "bigger picture" interaction.

17th February, 12:20 pm

the image on the bottom of this page is big. not just big, but huge. a full 1024x768 screen. when i first put it on there i thought it was a great idea. now trying it over dialup, i think it's an even better idea. gives a sense of intrigue, not knowing what's coming. it requires a certain patience in direct opposition to my usual feelings about speed of action. it's kinda soothing.

17th February, 9:26 am

the atom feed validator is borked, which has made me loath atom before i've even created a single feed. luckily (for me or for atom?) the alternative at (which appears to be the same validator, in style at least) works fine. the scripting news validator does atom validation too.

my initial atom thoughts: too many required attributes. entries wont necessarily have titles (these don't). annoying date format - it might be a standard, but it doesn't mean i have to like it. really just like rss with the tag names changed. again.

17th February, 7:46 am

BAD+A3280 seems way to much for just a laptop battery, but might just be worth it for 11 hours of battery life. It weighs a third of the laptop's weight too - i wonder how far it sticks out the back. when i'm running the country, batteries will be cheaper. and smaller.

17th February, 5:29 am

i think i might be missing the point of the CSS zen garden - sure, you can create some purty design from css, but you still can't fucking do any kind of useful layout. like a couple of columns which size liquidly and don't jump under each other. and, you know, work on all the browsers that people are using. long live tables. or, of course, someone could add some layout stuff to css that doesn't suck quite so badly.

17th February, 5:08 am

you know what's really annoying? css. you know what's even more annoying? css in ie. luckily for us there are a whole bunch of designers out there having a css hack wank fest and finding work arounds for everyone else. yay for them.

17th February, 5:08 am

having this in reverse chronological order without any kind of post delimiter is going to drive people mad. go me.

14th February, 12:38 pm

cal's back today and I haven't posted anything in the weblog yet, so I'd better do it quick. I like [Lodger](, my favourite song out of the bunch being "Fickle" which you can listen to in the Audio section. The videos are definately worth a look too (though perhaps not for minors, even if they are stick men).

Did anyone see Harry on Faking It the other night? I think she's fantastic. Have a look at her videos for "So Real" and her cover of "Imagination".

Just in case you haven't noticed them around, Franz Ferdinand are quite cool and I can't stop playing their "Take Me Out" single. I'm sure it was in the charts a few weeks ago at No 2 or something.

My final offering is this rather bizarre flash thingy.


10th February, 6:53 pm

you need [flickr]( in your life

6th February, 2:23 pm

I'm away at etcon with ludicorp for the next nine days. King Sal has been left in charge, so be nice.

If you use a Sony Ericsson phone (oooh, new P900) and a os 10 mac, then these modem scripts are very useful.

The future is asses [via anno]


This is the personal website of Cal Henderson, Slack co-founder & CTO.

I give occasional talks, write code and sometimes articles.

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