We don’t do music!

In researching the previous post on children’s TV theme tunes, I noticed something I’ve never noticed before: Google doesn’t do music.

You can search for web pages, within books, for news, for images, videos, the list goes on. But you can’t search for music.

Is this because of the dominance of Apple in this market? Or is music simply not relevant to Google’s model?

Top three children’s TV tunes

Admittedly I have a lot of experience of this subject. But the three examples below all have fabulous theme tunes, each with a link. So, in no specific order, the top three children’s TV tunes are:

Comedy sans

An amusing conversation about my hatred of Comic Sans the other day.

Me: my mum loves it
Simon: if my dad knew how to change the font on his computer, he would too

What’s the yardstick?

I was surprised when reading the news of the Schiphol air crash that the BBC uses yards as its primary unit of measurement:

"The Boeing 737-800 aircraft came down at 1031 local time (0931 GMT), several hundred yards (metres) short of the runway."

Seems rather archaic for a global news organisation operating in a largely metric country.

What time is it?

Among other things, my wife bought me a watch for Christmas. I’ve not worn a watch for about eight years, and apart from feeling a little lopsided at first, I love it. I’m still getting used to looking at my wrist instead of my mobile phone when wanting to discover the time, but that will pass.

The most amusing thing about the watch is its nighttime feature. Each of its twelve digits comes with a luminous blob that glows green in the dark. But the hour and minute hands come with no such blobs. So while I can find my watch on my nightstand in the middle of the night (via a circle of blobs), I have no means of working out where the hands are pointing. Not a feature I’m bothered about, but one that tickles me.

Acceleration and deceleration: the facts

There was an article on BBC News today covering the court case of a man convicted of dangerous driving after driving his Renault Kangoo with an officer on the bonnet. Below is an excerpt.

"Christopher Evans, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, reached speeds of 40mph (64kmh) with Pc Fran Donaghy holding on with one hand, Mold Crown Court heard.

"The officer had been trying to stop banned driver Evans, 40, in Hawarden in Flintshire when he drove off for 125m (410ft) before coming to a stop."

Let’s analyse the data.

America’s Drive and Stay Alive website claims that the stopping distance from 40mph is 80 feet (pure braking distance, not including thinking distance), or 24.4 metres.

The Renault Kangoo’s performance data suggests seven seconds will take it to 40mph. The graph therein suggests an average speed of around 24mph during this acceleration, which gives a total acceleration distance of 74.7 metres. Although I’m speculating, neither of these tests was done under the unusual circumstances of a police officer being attached to the car’s bonnet.

So 100 metres have been used up with full-on acceleration and deceleration, The following factors will likely increase this:

Given the above, I have to question how likely it is that he reached 40mph if his stopping distance was genuinely 125 metres.

I’m just saying.

Grammar: supply and demand

As grammar and spelling standards continue to slide and txt-speak continues to gain prevalence, will demand for skills in grammatical correctness (e.g. proofreading) increase because of the shortage of skilled resources, or decrease owing to the reduced demand?

Like watching format paint dry

Why on earth does Excel 2007 take so long to react to CTRL+1 (format cells)? My stopwatch just recorded 13.26 seconds before the dialogue box popped up.


Hiding errors where data doesn’t appear

Imagine a bunch of formulae copied down columns B, C, D etc. that are all driven by the data appearing in column A. An example might be a staff reference number in column A, with associated details (forename, surname, gender etc.) populated through formulae in the subsequent columns.

The trouble is, I don’t know how many rows will contain data—that is the decision of the operator of the spreadsheet. So I usually copy the formulae down beyond the point I think they will ever be used.

In the past, I’ve always added logic in the formulae in columns B and beyond to get rid of the horrible N/A# errors that appear when you try to look up a blank value, usually through one of the following

=if(A1=””,””,[INSERT LOGIC HERE])

The former checks whether the logic will return an error, in which case it will blank the target cell. The latter checks for the presence of data in column A.

Thinking about the problem today, I figured it probably makes more sense, both from a presentation and a memory perspective, to cater for this circumstance using conditional formatting as follows:


The conditional format for the columns to the right of column A would simply contain ;;; as the custom number format, which hides the cells’ contents.

(In the course of writing this post, I remembered that the conditional formatting of number formats was only introduced in Excel 2007, so this tip is only applicable in the latest version, I’m afraid.)

Present: I tweet; future: I will tweet; perfect: I twat?

Below is one of Stephen Fry’s recent tweets

Reception SO fragile. My iPhones don’t like the weak signal, BBerry sometimes gets thru. Off in 12 ms to paddle our pangas with the whales.

(He’s currently in Mexico, but that’s not important right now. Nor is the fact that he’s tweeted (twot? twat?) ten times in the last 24 hours, a very quiet day for him. Nor his favourable comparison of the BlackBerry over the iPhone(s).)

The reason for this post is my image of him wandering around wrapped in the equivalent of a builder’s belt, iPods, BlackBerrys and other mobile devices strewn around his waist to cater for every eventuality, a suitcase wheeled behind him full of the chargers, wires and interconnectors needed to support them all.

Mobile technology indeed.

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