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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: This blog

Monday June 27 2016

Usually, I do quota postings in the small hours of the morning.  Today, I am doing my quota posting in the big hours of the morning, to get it out of the way before a rather busy day, at the end of which I do not want to be fretting about doing a quota posting.  Although, actually, this posting has now turned into something a bit more substantial than that, and I changed the title to something more meaningful.  So anyway, yes, cranes:

image

Ah, cranes!  Those structurally perfect votes of confidence in the sky.  Those cranes were snapped from the south bank of the river, looking across at The City, on the same day earlier this month that I snapped yesterday’s quota photo.  What that new Moderately Big Thing is, that some of the cranes there are ministering to, I do not know, but I like how it looks, in its incomplete state.

With Brexit, will the cranes vanish for a few years, until London sorts itself out and finds itself some new business to be doing?  Crexit?  (You can always tell when a word has well and truly caught on, because people immediately start trying to apply the same verbal formula to other things.  Brexit, verbally speaking, is the new Watergate.  Frexit, Swexit, Thisgate, Thatgate, etc. etc.) I thought that the cranes were going to depart after 2008 and all that, but the money people managed to keep the plates spinning on their sticks, and London’s cranes carried on.  How will it be this time?

Here is a very pessimistic piece about Britain’s prospects, for the immediately foreseeable future.  Does this mean that my crane photo-archive will, in hindsight, be the capturing of a moment of the economic history of London that will now pass?  If the cranes do go, how will they look when they return?  When the new cranes move in, in ten years time or whenever, will cranes like those above look strangely retro, like digital cameras circa 2005?

Or, will the cranes never return, but instead be replaced by magic electric guns which fill the air with muck and sculpt a building out of the muck, 3D printing style, all in the space of an afternoon?

Saturday June 11 2016

To you, yes, I hope that you had one, but actually what I’m saying is: I did.

England came belting back against Sri Lanka at Lords.  After sampling the London weather last night, I had a feeling that might happen.  It was not bright and sunny, more overcast and sweaty.  It felt like swing bowler weather, which made SL’s reply yesterday afternoon (to England’s 416) of 162-1 rather strange.  Dropped catches apparently.  Well, this morning, order was restored and SL are now 218-6.  Woakes, luckless yesterday, got a wicket with his first ball.  England now look likely winners of that series 3-0.  The longer the series goes on, and the more the Lankans get acclimatised (following seriously inadequate practising games), the more it counts beating them.  The first game, where SL collapsed twice, meant nothing, I reckon.  I’ve been following the score here.

Deep thanks to Michael Vaughan, who mentioned on one of the bits of cricket commentary I listened to that England were also playing Australia.  At rugby.  Aus 28 Eng 39.  Must have been some game, and according to the BBC live updates, it was.

And before all that, I even managed a quick (they’re often the best) Samizdata posting, about something odd I heard on the radio, about the EU.

Here is one of the funner pictures I took while out and about last night, this one taken at the Parliament end of Whitehall:

image

Great reflections in her sunglasses, right?  On the left, as we look, the two devices she is holding, and on the right, you can just see a tiny Big Ben.  Is that red thing she is holding a charger?

Plus an elephant.

The onward march of mobile phones into photography continues apace.

I haven’t always been blogging here as early as I’d like to in recent days, but today, I did it.

If you had as good a morning as I did, lucky you.

Monday June 06 2016

For years I have wondered how to put videos done by others at this blog.  My problem has always been that they were too big.  560 pixels wide instead of 500 pixels, which is the width here.  This evening, I thought I observed that “Brexit: The Movie”, as shown at Bishop Hill, was the exact same width as stuff at my blog.  So, I rootled around in the source code for the Bishop’s posting of Brexit, and dug up what seemed to be the relevant bit.  It turned out I was wrong about the width.  It was 560, same as it always seems to be, But having got this far I tried just changing the bit in the code where it said “560” to “500”, and that seemed to work.  The video seemed to get a bit smaller.  (I changed 500 to 300 just to be sure I wasn’t imagining it.) I did some more sums, which told me to change 315 to 280, and here it is, 500 pixels wide, fingers crossed:

There is some kind of EUro-metaphor or EUro-moral buried in this story, concerning believing that a straight-jacket was actually tighter and more rigid than it really was, but I’m too tired to be bothering about that.

Tomorrow, I will watch it.

Thursday March 31 2016

I’m posting the photos below of these various ladies which I took yesterday outside Westminster Abbey, (a) because I like them and hope that you do too, but also (b) because I am checking out a new way to present photos here.

The problem has been how to contrive horizontal spaces between little photos.  I’m doing it a different way here, which I hope gives me tighter control over the ultimate width of space occupied, and thus avoids the final one of a horizontal set of them (in this case just the two) spilling over, at some magnifications and/or on some devices, onto a newly created next line.

Here goes:

imageimageimage
image

Well according to my posting software, that’s working.

If anyone sees anything weird of ugly, rather than two photos on the top next to each other (with a small gap in between) and then another below them and exactly the same width as the combined width of the two photos above plus the gap, please leave a comment.

All three photos are the result of my quest to make faces unrecognisable to computers.  The top two show no faces at all.  The two faces below?  Well, do those sunglasses do the anonymity job?  I hope so.

Reflective sunglasses like these certainly provide me with lots of photo-fun.  The lady on the left as we look has both Big Ben and the selfie stick she was using reflected in her glasses, twice.  The lady on the right has this church, next to Westminster Abbey, reflected in her specs.  Click on it and you’ll see all this more clearly.

And I love those coloured finger nails, top right.

Wednesday March 30 2016

Indeed.  While searching through the archives for this picture, I came upon this one:

image

I’d just seen a Superman v Batman poster in the tube, so this 3D Batmovie advert jumped out at me, metaphorically speaking.  The photo was taken in May 2008, so anyone who cares can work out which Batmovie that would be.

I like the highly appropriate architectural background.  That being, I think (supercommenter Alastair may want to correct me), County Hall.

Here’s a Superheroine, photoed moments later:

image

I’m guessing that’s Lara Croft.

Later I took this snap, of the appendages of a slightly less superheroic figure:

image

The South Bank of the River Thames abounds with people dressed up in strange costumes, soliciting money.  I say not so superheroic, but these figures do at least remain superheroically immobile.

Now that the weather has at last changed from wintry to springy, I am about to go out to take more snaps, and I wanted my blogging duties here done before all that.  And now they are.

Friday March 11 2016

Well, the New Year (even though the New Year is actually getting quite old now) Resolution here, to blog early, and sometimes even to blog often, is working well.  I haven’t delayed going to bed because of this blog for about a week, and I sense that this may even continue.

Friday is my day for cats, and now also for other creatures, and already this Friday, even though it not yet even the middle of the day, there has already been a posting here about dogs.  Republican dogs.  That posting is right below this one, but there’s the link anyway.

And here now is another creature posting, about a truly unique other creature - half cat, yes, but also half dog, half bee, half zebra, and wholly suitcase - of the sort that kids can ride, at airports, to stop them getting bored:

image

Apparently Trunki made the first of these, and then some Hong Kong guys did a cheaper knock-off, and Trunki complained.  Trunki lost.

These cases - the physical (suit)case and the legal case - illustrate the fine line that divides a design from an idea:

But five Supreme Court justices unanimously disagreed, and ruled in favour of PMS on Wednesday – stating that while it had “sympathy for Magmatic”, the “Design Right is intended to protect designs not ideas”.

It looks a lot like a design being copied to me.  Not that I mind.  And actually, I think the Hong Kong version is better, because the original can’t make up its mind whether its eyes are eyes or horns.  HK case resolves this by having eyes and horns.

PMS website: here.

Thursday March 03 2016

I have found that if I write things down here, I tend to remember them, and think about about them.

This has worked when I needed to train myself to do searches for things, rather than just living in a perpetual state of ignorant curiosity, like you had to before the internet came along.  Being quite old and set in my ways when the internet arrived, I found adapting to the new reality rather hard.

If what I write down concerns something I have photoed and want to hot more of, then I tend to be more alert, having written about whatever it was, to further photo-ops along similar lines.

And now, I am hoping that if I write here about doing stuff here first thing, or nearly first thing, in the morning, that will make me more likely to do that.  That way, I won’t be scrabbling about, as I was last night, putting up any old rubbish here, to keep my one-a-day record here going, for however long it’s been going.  The big problem with that being that it keeps me awake at the exact time when I need to be getting to sleep and then getting up decently early the next morning, and have time to get my blogging here done nice and early.  I want the right sort of feedback loop rather than the wrong sort.

So much of success in life is habit, and I want to cultivate the habit of doing my self-imposed duty here nice and early in the day, so that the rest of the day then becomes freer for me to do more consequential things.  Late is better than nothing, but early would be much better, and when I do early it is much better.

Everyone says that the rule for these sorts of resolutions is to phrase them to yourself positively rather than negatively.  Say and picture what you want, rather than what you want to avoid.  If you say and picture what you want to avoid, your subconscious will see that picture, and do that, while not attending to the “don’t” bit, the subsconscious being strong with pictures but not so good with words and with weird abstractions like “avoid”.  Phrasing and picturing it positively means you are presenting to your subconscious the kind of picture you want your subconscious to take absorb and act upon.

And the reason everyone says all of that is because, if my experience is anything to go by, all of that is very true.  So here I am picturing what I want to do.  Not hard, since I am now doing that exact thing.

Tuesday December 22 2015

At that excellent party last night, the one that gave rise to last night’s spectacular non sequitur of a posting, Rob Fisher mentioned that he had thoughts from time to time which are too inconsequential and un-thought-through for Samizdata, but which are still definitely thoughts that he wants to put out there, but for which he has no outlet.  He used to have a personal blog, but not since he started writing for Samizdata.

My response was this: Write these thoughts down.  Send them to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom, explicitly identifying them as submissions to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom.  And the chances, overwhelmingly, are that I will post them here as guest postings.  After all, as last night’s spectacular non sequitur of a posting illustrates, the quality control here is very, very relaxed.  Sometimes stuff here is good, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be.  It just has to be stuff.

I just wanted to make that clear, in case Rob has forgotten, or has remembered but thought that I was just rambling drunkenly and didn’t mean it.

This is not a general invitation to all of my acquaintances to bombard me with drunken would-be bloggage.  And it is certainly not an invitation to wanker social media PR slaves to “submit” boring pieces about things I don’t care about by people I don’t care about, sometimes hinting at money that I will never get, and causing my email address to get onto yet more lists, wielded by yet more wanker social media PR slaves.  Not that me saying that will put these wanker social media PR slaves off.  But I just wanted to get it out there.

Confirming an offer I made last night to Rob Fisher
Stormtrooper phones home?
On going ahead with a posting anyway even if I don’t have all the photos to hand that I would like
Some quota reflected cranes and a quota white van
On photos and headlines
The wait continues
Blog interrupted
Feline Friday – an apology for yesterday’s premature posting about cat recognition
Knackered
Posting difficulties so see you tomorrow
Touch typing or no typing at all
Playing away
Database blues
On the rights and wrongs of me posting bits from books (plus a bit about Rule Utilarianism)
MicheldeMontaigne.fr
Only with a computer
Godot nearly ready
Blog down
On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
Big Things through a gasometer
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
Why aren’t people happier about amazing new stuff?
My blogging software is behaving badly
Sorry for the outage last night
Mysteriously losing my internet connection and then mysteriously getting it back
My 110 percent problem
Bits of music at non-musical blogs
Long Title (with italics)
A quota thought that (luckily for me) went nowhere
The Heron Tower restaurant
Blepharitis
Testing again
Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
And another posting from my smartphone
Posted from my new smartphone
More March 5th photographers (and more spaces between pictures)
Looking along Victoria Street to The Wheel (and on how to be liked (or disliked) by Google)
All change at Samizdata and another outage here
More photographers photographed
Outage here last night - and the possible Wordpress future of this blog
Patrick Crozier has just arranged for accessing ancient comments here to be much easier
PID at Samizdata
Turning back the spam comment tide and allowing proper comments from way back still to be read
Back there and now back here
Internet connection problems
Outage
Back to at least one a day?
A happy British Summer Time to all my readers
Steve Baker MP
Happy New Year
A Happy Christmas to all those still reading this
My personal Fixed Quantity of Blogging unfallacy
Summer blogging break
Possible light blogging for the next week
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom not threatened by the end of the Big Thing Boom
Merry Christmas
Problems here (now sorted)
I can do squares!!!
A laptop but not in my lap
Is this blog somewhat broken?
Back to the future
Summer break
If you can’t read this don’t worry
Is Timberland guilty of spam commenting me?
Yesterday and today
Service interruption
On cricket and death
Choosing the best pictures by waiting a few days
This is not Mohammed
Three cheers for Molly Norris but also a few small grumbles
Getting well soon
Climategate and a blurry and artificially lit roundabout
Four recent bits by me at Samizdata
Possible holiday interruption
Happy New Year and how to save seventy thousand quid
Short posting (with short photo) about SpaceShipTwo
In which this blog indulges in an I Told You So moment concerning Speaker John Bercow
It’s now something at least once every two days
Back
Me and Michael Jennings talk tech trends
Busy day and busy night
Thinking thin at the top
Register for your free pack and five £1-off-coupons
British Summer Time is better for this blog
God is dead but Jesus saves
God moves in mysterious ways
Redesigned Bishop
Brian Micklethwait’s Education Blog is now on indefinite hold
Advice to daily bloggers
Another Samizdata piece
First picture posted to this blog from the wild
Test
Baffled
At Liberty 2008 all day
Blogroll dilemma - question I already know the answer to - irrelevant photo
Connection problems - now sorted
Profundity and silliness
Not in the top twenty
Mainstream media bloggers and the problem of my blogroll
Posting here may be sporadic for the next few days
An impulse posting about procrastination
The return of Friday cat-blogging
Screen problems
On hating and not hating commenters
Customer service
Blogging – the end of the beginning
I don’t understand it either but don’t worry
What kind of blogger are you?
Italics in Expression Engine titles?
RSS feed news
Link
Alisher Usmanov is now better known for being nasty
Links and guns
Back from the dead and soon to be duplicated
Service interruption
Christopher Hitchens on the Rushdie knighthood
A mention of your book guaranteed!
Today I ate something that disagreed with me
Internet problems solved
Internet problems
More internet connection problems
Internet problems
John Holloway plays unaccompanied Bach on the baroque violin
At least I got today’s obligatory posting done before midnight
Firewall nonsense
Screen back
Screen out
Airship photos loading tri-incidence
Testing picture loading
Loading problems
Groan
[new addition to my blogroll]
I’m back
Blogging pause continues
29th and 14th
Blogging pause
Not much here today
Something to bore everyone
Lords pictures pending
Attacks of the mad robots and the little red crosses
Banana phone
Boo hoo
Sound files take up a lot more space than photos
Uploading problems
Hello and goodbye
Another Natalie
Grief
Thank you
Unplugged and writing about sport because sport Doesn’t Matter
For the next two weeks or so service here will be abnormal to nonexistent
The new comments arrangement – why and how
Comments welcome
Flickr blog in and Flickrzen out
Another view of the BT Tower
Expression Engine text input weirdness
A Happy Christmas to all my readers
No comment
Why the problems?
Problems
I kept going after all!
Testing
Posting oddities
This and that at 9.07am
So that’s this done
Total Combined Page Hits?
Picture problems (again)
Wider
Housekeeping
Rules
Picture testing
On short postings
Today I am going to break the record here for the number of postings in one day
From now on I’m going to try to put something up here every day
To hell with experts
The joy of blogrolling
An east London photo on the right
Clickable photos
Look what I saw from the airplane
I’m still at the housekeeping stage which is why I haven’t deliberately told anyone about this blog
Photo!
I now have a blogroll
Testing how the linking works
Second post
First post