Penguin suits

Penguin suits [wotever].

Flo Control

Flo Control. [milk]

“She also has a habit of catching various animals, dragging them inside through the cat door, and letting them loose so they can be chased for hours. Very cruel. To put an end to this we have built a computer-controlled device that visually determines if Flo is carrying anything in her mouth when she enters, and if she does, it simply does not let her in.”

How to spot Comet Ikeya-Zhang

How to spot Comet Ikeya-Zhang. [robot]

2002-04-04: And here’s a picture of the coment. [also robot]

America on the road to Fascism?

America on the road to fascism? [null] Not terribly well written, but interesting nonetheless. As Andrew at null says, the neighbourhood watch stuff is probably the scariest bit:

“The commercials, narrated by Ed McMahon, suggest that you cooperate with the Neighborhood Watch Association and the Civilian Defense Force. You will be told how to spot “suspicious” characters or even people you might have known all your life, who are suddenly acting “out of character.” Then the camera pans down a row of townhouses, and there’s an American flag in front of every house. The voice-over says “inform the authorities of anything you see that’s suspicious” and then the camera stops at the one house that doesn’t have an American flag flying outside — and then it continues to pan down the way.”

One big Buddha

Wow, that’s one big Buddha (thanks, Malc).


ht2html – a web page template processor as used at

Finding haiku in linux documentation

Finding haiku in linux documentation. [ntk]



Spam Radio

Spam Radio! [ntk]

Python still amazing!

God, I love python. Once again it amazes me. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say it took less than two minutes to go from “hmmm, wouldn’t it be nice if…” to “wow, that was easy”. Again.

Screen dream

Potentially interesting: Screen dream, a webring is for those who keep journals of their dreams online.

Logic puzzles

A couple of logic puzzles.

France legalises mobile-phone jamming in public venues

Mobile-phone jamming in public venues has become legal in France. [fark]

Jamming devices make it impossible to make or receive calls, voice mails and text messages on a mobile telephone. France is the first country to legalize jamming devices for public use.

Absinthe & Thujone

Absinthe & Thujone. [null] – debunking everything you’ve heard about absinthe in the pub.

I particularly liked: Modern variations involving setting the absinthe alight are mere cheap melodrama.

Fear leads to anger…

Fear leads to anger…

Colchester Climbing Club

Colchester Climbing Club, operated by the venerable Piemaster.

“Wicker Man” remake gossip

“Wicker Man” remake gossip – not sure if I like the sound of this or not. Probably not… [robot]

Honku – excellent

Honku – excellent. [robot]

Main airport time-lapse

Cool time-lapse photograph of an airport in Maine. [robot]

Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures

Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures including such old favourites as towers of Hanoi, 8 queens, dining philosophers, and – who could forget – the travelling salesman. Damn, that’s real computing. ;-)

Sustrans – a sustainable transport charity

Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity, including a map of the UK’s National Cycle Network.

Unfortunately their website is rather broken in Opera. Sigh…

Weblog interconnections

This is super-duper cool… A Picture Of Weblogs – a representation of many, many, weblogs and their interconnections. You can search for a particular weblog and see what other blogs it connects to, and which connect to it.

It’s not perfect, for instance it didn’t pick up any link from gimboland to misterpants, despite there being a link in the sidebar since gimboland started, but it’s funky and fun nonetheless.

Hey, I just realised why there’s no misterpants link… My link goes to his splash page (‘cos I love it), not straight to the blog page. Cool.


Ninjaburger – Guaranteed delivery in 30 minutes or less, or we commit Seppuku! [drivel]

Overcoming ICANN

Overcoming ICANN – an open letter to the internet community.

Begins: “Despite its best efforts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has proven overall to be a failed experiment in Internet policy development, implementation, and management. ICANN’s lack of meaningful representation, and its continuing pattern of drastic and seemingly arbitrary structural and policy changes (among other shortcomings), have created an unstable and suspicion-ridden environment that is detrimental to the interests of the vast majority of Internet users around the world. The resulting overly politicized situation not only threatens the stability of the Internet itself, but also invites drastic and undesirable interventions by a variety of vested interests.”

Where books go to die

Where books go to die. [robot]

U.S.A. teen slang after Sept 11th

U.S.A. teen slang after Sept 11th 2001. [null]

November banquet photos

I’ve uploaded a load of photos from a banquet I helped run last November at Caerphilly Castle. In particular: in full swing, the castle.

My girlfriend, the ghost

My girlfriend, the ghost.


Yummy. [milk]

The 1955 Good Wife’s Guide

The Good Wife’s Guide from Housekeeping Monthly, May 1955. [girl]

Spark up the iBong, dude…

Spark up the iBong, dude… [girl]

Spoon! Tah-dah!

Little things please little minds… I now have The Tick triumphantly exclaiming “Spoon!” with a little fanfare every time I get a mail. Happy.

The Soundbug

The Soundbug, “a British-designed gadget aimed at young people that turns any hard, smooth surface into a loudspeaker.” [robot]

Alas, not high quality – “It’s audio, not hi-fi. We’re aiming at the eight to 16 market,” Olympia’s president, Richard May, told BBC News Online.

Post-autistic economics

Post-autistic economics – an intriguing New Statesman article discussing (and hoping for an end to) the “cult of measurement” underpinning economics and management today. [plastic]

“So-called efficiency,” says Richard Scase, professor of organisational behaviour at the University of Kent at Canterbury, “takes the place of effectiveness, quantity of quality. The means become an end in themselves.”

I also know of at least one local authority that achieves government targets for separating waste – at great expense – but then simply mixes it all up again in landfill. Scotland Yard figures that showed it had recruited 218 people from ethnic minorities between April and September 2000 turned out to include Irish, New Zealanders and Australians. The useful figure was four.

Rejection massively reduces IQ

Rejection massively reduces IQ. [robot]

Rejection can dramatically reduce a person’s IQ and their ability to reason analytically, while increasing their aggression, according to new research.

Tourette’s Syndrome Simulator

Cruel but slightly amusing: Tourette’s Syndrome Simulator. (Also see, which for my money is actually a better gag). [ntk]

FAM, the File Alteration Monitor

FAM, the File Alteration Monitor“provides an API which applications can use to be notified when specific files or directories are changed.” Groovy.


Tamponhenge. [ntk]

The tables are turned in favour of the kittens

The tables are turned in favour of the kittens… [ntk]

Whip it, baby

Whip it, baby. [ntk]

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia – butt ugly but informative.

Britian to back European rival to GPS?

Britian to back European rival to GPS?

The US would like to kill Galileo, but with Europe having its own rocket launching facilities in French Guyana, its own Ariane rocket and positioning technology more advanced than America’s (European atomic clocks in the Galileo system can position to within 45 centimetres compared to GPS’s 100 metres), the EU has sovereignty over its choices.

The US has breached too many international treaties and shown such a disregard for anyone’s interests but its own that we cannot trust it over satellite positioning technology, a public good that will rank beside water and energy distribution in importance in the decades ahead.

Freestyle Walking with DJ Cyber and Sidepocket

Freestyle Walking with DJ Cyber and Sidepocket – excellent. [wotever]

Live like there’s nothing more to watch on TV. Walk like hot girls are watching.

Gallery of mad skills.

Made up country surprisingly popular

Thousands apply for citizenship of non-existent country over the internet.

The Proclamations of Emperor Norton

Excellent! The Proclamations of Emperor Norton I, the first and last Emperor of the United States as seen in Sandman 31, Three Septembers and a January. [null]

For the full skinny on the Emperor, check out this well-written wikipedia article.

Emperor Norton I was clearly much loved and revered by his subjects. Although penniless, he regularly frequented the finest restaurants in San Francisco, and the proprietors of these establishments took it upon themselves to add brass plaques in their entrances that declared “By Appointment to his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States”. This vanity appears to have been tolerated without complaint by the Emperor. By all accounts, such Imperial “seals of approval” were much prized and a substantial boost to trade for such businesses. No play or musical performance in San Francisco would dare to open without reserving balcony seats for the Emperor and his two mongrel dogs, Lazarus and Bummer. (As a sidenote, the tragic death of Lazarus, in an 1863 accident with a vehicle belonging to the Fire Department of San Francisco, led to a period of public mourning. In 1865, when Bummer pased away, Mark Twain was sufficiently moved to write an epitaph for the Imperial Canine, saying that he’d died “full of years, and honor, and disease, and fleas.”)

Why Johnny joins the Taliban

Why Johnny joins the Taliban. [null]

Authorization by Hostname or Address in Zope

Authorization by Hostname or Address in zope.

Fancy some bunnylingus?

According to popbitch, the Colombian word for rabbit is “bunnylingus”. Not that I believe everything I read in popbitch, mind… ;-)

imghdr python module

A handy module in the standard python library which I wasn’t aware of until today: imghdr, which “determines the type of image contained in a file or byte stream”. Similarly, sndhdr.

Python web frameworks overview

Python web frameworks overview, and Templates (from a WebWare-centric perspective).

American atheists becoming increasingly marginalised

American atheists becoming increasingly marginalised, ostracised, demonised. [null] Worrying article, with some very interesting quotes…

Scary stuff from former President Bush during a 1988 presidential campaign stop: “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.” This is a democratically elected president speaking, apparently ready and willing to remove citizenship (hey, why not go the whole hog and say human rights?) from a group based solely on their (lack of) religious belief. Go USA!

How about the atheist position on ethics: “We are very ethical. We do the right thing because we think it’s right — not because we think we’ll be rewarded or punished in the afterlife based on our actions.” Definitely – and that’s much harder to do, which should, I think, result in even greater rewards in the afterlife for decent atheists. Oh, hang on…

And finally: “Children grow out of belief in their make-believe friends, even though they bring them comfort. For me, growing up was realizing that reality is what I can see and feel and reason out, not what I wish for.” I don’t completely agree that reality is “what I can see and feel and reason out”, I personally think it transcends that, but I like the general sentiment.

Text Processing In Python

Text Processing In Python – online draft of a dead-tree book yet to be published (or, indeed, completed).

World of Spectrum!

World of Spectrum including the games archive. Nice.

Related stuff: Poke frenzy and the SNA file format.

apt-get install spectemu-x11

So you want to be a pimp?

So you want to be a pimp? [ntk]


Quines. A quine is “a program that generates a copy of its own source text as its complete output”.

The Crackpot Index

The Crackpot Index.

I particularly liked the parenthesised part of: “30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).” [wotever]

The Guide Horse Foundation

The Guide Horse Foundation – sweet. [wotever]

Groovy python idiom

Groovy python idiom: Making the members of a list unique by converting it to a dictionary and back again.

Gimbo on the web in 1997

Oh. My. God. My homepage five years ago.

Oh wow: the twinkle. Memories…

I hope you’ll agree that I’ve come a long way…

Useless python

Useless python – actually looks quite useful, if only as a source of ideas…

Fun with lampreys

Fun with lampreys.

The Water Margin

The Water Margin. I must find more Water Margin links – and, er, read the books. :-)

Tips for talking with the hearing impaired

Tips for Talking With the Hearing-Impaired by aahz, a python developer.

Now That’s What I Call Martin

Now That’s What I Call Martin – 4!!!

links – like lynx but more so

links, a text-mode browser like lynx but somewhat more fully featured (eg it can render tables). Very nice.

The Optik library

Optik, “a powerful, flexible, extensible, easy-to-use command-line parsing library for Python”. Might make my proposed “using getopt” howto obsolete… ;-)

Skip Montaro’s ideas on how to contribute to python

Skip Montaro’s ideas on how best to contribute to python.

Stuff I could write a howto on:

Using urllib to fetch webpages.

Using mimetools/mimetypes/multipart/etc. to build a multipart MIME message.

Using getopt.

Dynamic imports using __import__

Bugs I could attack:

Use of “except:” in modules

filecmp.dircmp case sensitivity bug

setup.pyalways return 0 command status

base n integer to string conversion

Improve the ZipFile Interface

Plenty there to be getting on with, I reckon…

And on this subject: Becoming a python developer.

Battle of the browsers!!!

Battle of the browsers!!! I’m interested to learn that both Galeon and Mozilla now support tabbed browsing, which is one of the reasons I love Opera so much. Also interested to see this note on improving Galeon’s load time. Time to have another look at Galeon I think…

Hmmm, yeah – it’s definitely improved greatly since the last time I looked and it’s quite nice. But I still have a few gripes with it:

It renders the tables on Gimboland badly (some spaces between cells are one pixel, some are two – ugly (I later realised this was because my stylesheet specified the gap in points instead of pixels – now fixed)), which is a Gecko/Mozilla thing, I realize.

When downloading a page, there’s no graphical indication that anything is happening – no progress bar, etc. Sometimes I wonder if it’s doing anything, then the page suddenly appears. Compare with Opera, which tells you how many images are left to load, etc., and it’s much less fun.

The zoom control doesn’t have a drop-down selector like Opera does – big lossage – I usually view at 100% or 150%, and it’s a drag to step through 110, 120, 130, 140 on the way…

I don’t like its text input much, eg the box I’m using to write this – for some reason it’s put in a horizontal scrollbar, and is showing 90% of the width of the text – why???

I think I’ll stick with Opera for now, but I’d like to switch to Galeon soon, as it’s ideologically far more sound. ;-)

Mingus on feline bathroom habits

Toilet training your cat by Charles Mingus. The main thing to remember is not to rush or confuse him.

Just another day on the river

Just another day on the river.

Please, think of the kittens

Please, think of the kittens.

She’s gonna blow!

On Saturday, the London Eye was stopped after it started rotating too fast. Nice.

I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday and went up to the Golden Gallery, at 280 feet. Strange, it didn’t look like I was much lower than the London Eye (450 feet), but I guess appearances can be deceptive, especially witn the Thames in between us. ;-)

The advantages of the gallery over the wheel are that it’s stationary and you can stay there as long as you want. The advantages of the wheel over the gallery, on the other hand, are that it’s not bloody freezing cold, and you don’t have to climb hundreds of steps to get there…

Sketch – a vector drawing program for Unix

Sketch – a vector drawing program for Unix. Written in C/python, scriptable in python.

Playing with it a bit, it’s not exactly CorelDraw – but hey, it’s free! ;-)

Insane Spaniard attempts to cross Atlantic on jetski

Insane Spaniard attempts to cross Atlantic on jetski.

Greg Egan – he’s good

Greg Egan – he’s good. Complete short stories online: Oceanic, The Planck Drive, Border Guards.

Was Marlowe Shakespeare?

Was Marlowe Shakespeare? [robot]

Bunhill greats

I visited William Blake‘s grave at Bunhill Cemetery, London, on Friday, and was delighted to find that someone had left some flowers on the grave: a jam jar with some bluebells in it. Sweet.

Here are some of Blake’s paintings. In particular, Ghost of a Flea.

Joan Bakewell to be prosecuted for blashphemy?

Joan Bakewell to be prosecuted for blasphemy? [robot]

The 1996 Electronic Domesday Book is now unreadable

The 1996 Electronic Domesday Book is now unreadable. [null]

pyboids – flocking simulation

pyboids – flocking simulation in python and Tk. Nice.

Playing an mp3 with 5 lines of python

Playing an mp3 with 5 lines of python.

Dead Man’s Switch

Dead Man’s Switch [ntk]

“… a system that, if not reset by a given time, will automatically carry out a series of tasks, such as posting messages to websites like Ars, sending e-mails to loved ones (or hated ones), and encrypting or destroying sensitive files…”

Disturbing auctions

There’s some really scary stuff at [null]


Wasabi! [null]

Guido speaks: Unifying types and classes

Guido speaks: Unifying types and classes in Python 2.2. Related pages by Andrew Kuchling: What’s New in Python 2.2 and Python Warts.

Python algorithm snippets

Python algorithm snippets.

Avoiding bogus encryption products

Avoiding bogus encryption products: Snake Oil FAQ


TCPWatch, “a utility written in Python that lets you monitor forwarded TCP connections or HTTP proxy connections. It displays the sessions in a window with a history of past connections. It is useful for developing and debugging protocol implementations and web services.”