Why is that tart texting me?

Yesterday was a really long and hard day. I did smile, however, when the first words heard on arrival at IKEA Croydon at 9.30pm were "Why is that tart texting me?"

They were uttered into a mobile phone by some local teenage girl. I smiled.

Mind maps

A lovely, short programme called Design Classics on BBC4 this evening focusing on Harry C. Beck’s London Underground map. It’s an old programme, indicating that the Docklands Light Railway is "due to open next month". Thanks to Ben for pointing it out.

In one comment, a design expert indicated that for many people, the map (or "diagram" as some experts call it, given its non-geographic representation) is their primary representation of London.

It reminded me of my first few years in London. My London world consisted of small areas surrounding primary Tube stations. Every so often, I’d enjoy a small revelation, whereby my ventures would connect two previously distinct areas. Gradually, through these revelations along with overland bus journeys, I built up my now comprehensive knowledge of central London. Holborn suddenly connected to Covent Garden, Leicester Square to Piccadilly Circus, Embankment to Charing Cross etc.

One big thing hindered this. For some reason when I first came to London, I thought that Soho was on the north side of Oxford Street and Fitzrovia on the south side. This made connections thereafter very illogical, and it took quite a while for my mind to reverse the inferences I’d made.

DotP is dead

So, it seems that DotP is dead. Its death was sealed by the Department of Health’s website moving off the DotP platform on Wednesday, 40 days shy of DotP’s fourth birthday.

It could have lasted longer and been more successful; it could have died a death. In the end, it achieved something in between. It would be interesting to know how many clicks it supported during its 1,420 days’ existence.

The new £20 note

I was surprised the other day when I got some cash out of the ATM. The £20 notes were completely different, and for a brief moment, I thought there was a problem. Then I remembered the recent news stories about Adam Smith, the first Scotsman to grace a Bank of England note, and all fell into place.

The note itself is nice. Much nicer font for the £20 on the front, and very clean design. I do find it slightly odd, however, that the image of the Queen used is from many years ago. (The same image adorns the old note as does the new one.) And I can’t help but think that Smith was a rather strange choice on the back. He wasn’t an attractive chap. Dreadful nose and bulgy frog-eyes.

Pakistan’s Gaelic football prowess

So, the Irish beat Pakistan at cricket, sending them home. Surely that’s the equivalent of Pakistan knocking Ireland out of the World Gaelic football championships.

Breadless deli

Back in August, Chris sponsored me for the October 10K run subject to my refraining to compare the US and the UK in blog posts for six months. The six months are now over, and so is the embargo.

We have a deli at the top of our road. I call it a deli, because that’s what its signage indicates that it is. And generally, when it sells things, it lives up to this name.

But rarely is it stocked well enough to sell things. Yesterday, I went in just after 2pm to buy a couple of sandwiches, to be greeted by a chalkboard reading "No bread left". This experience is far from rare. During yesterday’s short visit, a lady poked her head around the door to ask what time thy closed. "Five o’clock", was the reply, "but it’s not a question of when we close, more a question of when we run out of food", the owner proudly clarified.

While I fully understand the need to stock according to expected demand, for a deli to run out of bread three ours before closing is a crime. Nowhere in New York would that be considered acceptable.

Happy pi day

“Happy pi day”, I said to my wife as I left home this morning.

“Ooh. Is it pie day? I love a pie.”

Happy pi/pie day everyone.

You’ll never see an old man eating a Twix

Karl Pilkington devised a quiz a while ago on XFM whereby he’s string a sentence together using clips from songs. Called Songs of Phrase, the listener had to identify each snippet to win a bunch of tat.

Examples included My girlfriend had a problem with her marrow, My neighbour had a horse in her house and You’ll never see an old man eat a Twix. For the final one of these, he couldn’t find any songs containing the word Twix, so he settled for Mars Bar. It made for a great 5m22s of radio.

Here’s the online equivalent. Type in a sentence and it will sing it back to you. Enjoy!

Greasemonkey magic

I’ve just been futzing around with Greasemonkey. It’s basically a Firefox extension that allows you to install little scripts that can do cool stuff.

The original reason for installing it was to exploit Matt Cutts’ advice on more efficient management of Google Mail. That needed Google’s own saved searches script installing. That works very nicely—thanks, Matt.

I then had a look around for other scripts, and found a gem: postcode linkify. It basically identifies postcodes when a page loads, and displays them all as links to the relevant Google Map. I can’t begin to estimate how many times I’ve copied a postcode from a page, opened Google Maps and pasted the postcode in to find out where something is. I love this.

There’s also Tin Foil Hat, which displays the correct URL of all TinyURLs on hover. Quite useful if you don’t trust the source.

Time-sensitive stylesheets

What a wonderful idea. Katherine Gallia has developed a set of six stylesheets that present themselves depending on the time of day. She has sunrise, morning, noon, afternoon, sunset and twilight.

Lovely concept. I might even implement it if I had the time and skill to develop six stylesheets. I have enough trouble keeping on top of the one.

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