Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Spotify uncensored

[Thanks to Nick for figuring this out.] I was listening to the latest Lily Allen album on spotify today (here). Lily is partial to the odd swearword, and they were being bleeped out, which detracts from the song a little. It turns out that spotify have both versions of the album, here's how to find it.

First, search for Lily Allen, and then click on her name. You now get the overview/top hits/albums page. Top of the album listing is the latest "It's not me, it's you" (but this is the censored version). To the right of the this is a little downarrow symbol. Click on this and you'll get two versions of the album. The second one (here) is the uncensored version (you can see as track 8 is listed as "Fuck You" instead of "F**k You"). I don't know how one would know the difference if none of the track names were deemed offensive.

Anyhow, I repeat that spotify is Way Cool.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Alex Summers' thesis

I blogged a while back about Alex Summers' work that I had the privilege to examine. It took a little longer than I expected, but the final version is now available (here). I encourage you to take a look!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Well done Lucy!

We went to London today to cheer on our friend Lucy, who was running in the London marathon. We waited for her just beyond Cannon Street Station, and after much anxiety on our part (we didn't want to miss her), she came running up to us looking in fantastic form for a first-time marathon runner after 23 miles:

It was a fantastic day in London, warm and sunny, and very exciting with all the runners and supporters. After high-fives with Lucy we walked to St Paul's Cathedral, which impressed the girls. We sat on the front steps in the sunshine drinking lattes and smoothies. Moments like this are what makes London so great!

We then walked to the Barbican to meet up with Lucy, David and other friends/family/supporters. Lucy looked incredibly relaxed and we all munched on pizzas of varying degrees of well-done-ness and drank champagne before we ran off to catch our train back to the sticks.

Well done Lucy!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Office in a shed

There's an interesting article in today's Guardian. It's about "shedworking" which is, apparently, The Latest Thing (TM). I was particularly taken with the OfficePod; although it would require me persuading the girls to forgo their climbing frame...(never going to happen!)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Like everyone else, I'm being wow-ed by the super coolness of Spotify.

Last night, I was re-living my youth and listening to this.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Weapon of mass frustration

Now Obama has closed down Guantanamo and is publishing dossiers detailing the Bush administration's use of torture, he is perhaps in need of new and effective measures to pressurize nasty people. I humbly suggest a simple and cheap device guaranteed to drive any adult into insanity within a short amount of time: Hama beads.

Anyone with a small daughter will know about these things. They are small, hollow plastic cylinders in a variety of colours. You place them on pegboards to form a design and then iron them (not forgetting to cover them first with special ironing paper (unlike my friend Andrew!)). This causes the beads to melt sufficiently to bond to their neighbours and, hey presto, you've made a picture. Take a look:

Hana and I made this beauty just before leaving for the deserts of Arizona. It drove me mad! The beads are tiny - perfect for six year-old fingers but a friggin' nightmare for an adult. Plus there are 29*29=841 pieces in there! No child can do this many, so I was left with hundreds to do whilst Hana lay in bed sleeping. Plus, there's never quite enough space on the peg board, so when you get to the end, inserting one in the middle pops out 20 around the edges, and vice versa...arghh...Which sadist devised this stuff?!!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

RV manhood

I'm now a real man[*]:

Yep, that's me behind the wheel of an RV :-) Here's a picture of the girls just after we collected the RV.

We're just back from a really wonderful two-week RV-ing holiday in Arizona (and a little bit of Utah) with our great friends "Long walk" Luke and "Two drinks" Jo, and their two kids Ciaran and Hannah. We had a ball. (I'll blog at length in another post.) Our itinerary was: Phoenix -> Grand Canyon -> Lake Powell -> Monument Valley -> Canyon de Chelley -> Sedona -> Phoenix. All in all, I drove 1102 miles (1773km) in our RV (and around 10 pants-wetting-exciting miles (16km) in a 4x4 jeep).

[*] Byron suggested that a real RV man drives at least 40 foot of RV, tows a 4x4, and carries a concealed weapon, but for a chap from Berkshire I still think I qualify.


I just found out that James Hamilton has left Microsoft. This is a real shame - he's a great guy. Scanning through his blog whilst contemplating this, I noticed that he had written an interesting article a while back arguing for a new server-side implementation language, and proposing Erlang as a possibility. See what you think.