Monthly Archives

September 2010

Russian spies develop Spotify Windows 7 Playlist Generator

By | Reviews | 2 Comments

After an unsuccessful deployment to the US, unemployed Cold War Russian spies have finally been put to work by Spotify. A source close to the spies was reported to have said something a bit like; “They’re just trying to get on with their lives – they’re really peace loving people passionate about music.” Very plausible.

So here’s how it works. There’s an ad in Spotify that tells you to make a playlist powered by Windows 7. But it doesn’t use your Windows 7 powered mmmputer to generate the playlist at all. You’re handed over to the Russians in a sort of Web 2.0 diplomatic exchange. After you enter an artist’s name, it just spits out music from similar genres using super duper Russian spy skills.

Looks nice and green, almost like a CSR campaign but this is woeful IA. Adding and removing tracks from the playlist panel is painful. And as for, ‘Drag and drop the above icon…’ – erm, what icon?

Hello Internet Explorer 9 beta

By | Reviews | No Comments

Hello ie9 Beta, originally uploaded by benaston.

Like an old friend with bad breath that you don’t really keep in contact with any more, Internerd Explorer 9 Beta has showed up, gingerly poking his head around the door to say – ‘I’ve cleaned my teeth’.  And he’s not lying. All the demos in ie9 are very impressive; they use the mmmmputer graphics card power and conjure up all kinds of shenanigans with css3 and html5. Looks nice too – feels more Chrome than Firefox but like someone’s tidied up the house a bit.

After the excitement of the demos which show you how a browser using all your PC’s power is super-duper, download the ie9 beta and give it a try. You’ll see it might be a bit faster and focussed on performance, but when it comes to really demanding sites, how many sites at the moment that you go to, actually need the processing power to create a fishIE tank? I couldn’t think of any either.

But the GPU powered HTML 5 and CSS3 is pretty. Border radius, Web fonts and Canvas pad all look like they’ll become good friends.

Ahead of its time? Mmmicrosoft? Internet Explorer 9?


Why do you have your own website?

By | Conjecture | One Comment

A quite reasonable question I’m often asked is; ‘Why do you have a website?’ It’s something I’ve never been able to answer particularly adequately. Personal websites as a rule, habit the realms of obscene narcissism and a strange twitterish belief that other people might actually be interested in meandering ramblings punctuated only by slightly blurry pictures.

So it’s with no small amount of pleasure that I’m proud to reveal why it is in the last 9 months of 2010, that people end up on Putting aside the slight oddity that some people are actually Googling me, according to the stats, visits seem to fall into 6 key articles which I’ve helpfully summarised below:

  • Billie Piper and Baby Winston – possibly one of the greatest tabloid stories to come from the stable in 2008. I revealed that Billie Piper named her child after our fish, Winston.
  • Mongol Centre Explosion – Documenting the phenomenal rise of Mongol Centres on a particular road in West Kensington.
  • Pizza Express finger – A slightly cheap SEM game to hop on the back of Pizza Express and their perpetual 2 for 1 offers, whilst also shedding some light on why their knives are so bad.
  • The ipad and manbags – A timely article exposing how nouveau homme will probably need a manbag to house his new ipad.
  • What is structure and agency? How does this framework help us in political analysis? –  Interestingly, the only non-blog content to feature in the top 30 items is a link to a particularly helpful politics essay exploring, as the title would lead you to believe; structure and agency. Riveting reading.
  • Beginners guide to riding a Shetland pony – A real highlight for me was seeing that my beginners guide to riding Shetland ponies was obviously of real use to visitors. Bonus. Must write more of these.

Poor excuse.

I am a tomato

By | Diary | One Comment

Tomato harvest, originally uploaded by benaston.

It’s harvest time at Aston Villa. After 4 months of watering love, the tomatoes are in full bloom. Chutney in Putney coming right up.

On a chutney fact-finding mission I embarked on today, I discovered chutney comes from the hindustan word chutni. Right now that’s about all I know about it. Come Saturday though, you’ll be able to call me chutnigella, as I’ll be totally sumptuous with the tomatoes and knock up something truly simple yet make it look really difficult.