Face it…

For every action, a reaction. Face-recognition privacy-invasion spurs new youth fashion looks that defeat facial recognition technology.


Latest Microsoft update totally destroys Office, Publisher

What the hell is happening at Microsoft? They have totally botched yet another update/patch, making Microsoft Office and Publisher un-startable. Their advice: open the Office program you can’t open, and update from there. Seriously? Or… just completely reinstall the software. /Sigh/



B-Side Brum: 150 long-list

B-Side Brum, the long-list of 150 tracks. No Terry and Gerry, so here they are with Reservation on Spotify. It’s a slow burner, the real singing starts around 3:30.

Rise of the bots

Our Work Here is Done: Visions of a Robot Economy, a new free ebook from the UK’s NESTA. PDF only: no bot can yet convert it to .mobi format for Kindle ebook readers. Which is kind of ironic. Or hopefully, depending on your point of view.

For the chop

“Algorithm automatically cuts the boring bits out of videos”. Godzilla now a twelve minute short…

“According to the fashion and the time”

Coole job in ye Midlands: Digital Innovation Programme Manager, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford–upon-Avon.

Zeppelin relaunched

An excellent summary tribute article on Led Zeppelin (fronted by Robert Plant, from West Bromwich) to celebrate that the albums…

“Led Zeppelin,” “Led Zeppelin II” and “Led Zeppelin III” have recently been given deluxe reissues by Atlantic Records


Out the Windows

Microsoft’s patches appear to be getting even worse. Their most recent update has broken Microsoft Office for thousands of users. Perhaps it’s just as well I’m not getting them (I’m one of many not able to install the Windows 8.1 KB2919355 update patch, so Microsoft is no longer updating my OS for me). Seriously, Microsoft… after decades of being loyal to Windows, you’ve lost me with Windows 8 and then the Windows 8.1 update farce. I may be grudgingly looking at Windows 9 (or more likely at good ol’ Windows 7) next summer. But I’ll then be looking for a totally new OS with my next purchase of a desktop PC — it won’t be Windows.

The New Cultural Data Revolution

A one-day free event in Birmingham on “The New Cultural Data Revolution“, on Big Data and cultural institutions and groups. Loadsatickets currently available.

[Hat-tip: Chris Unitt]

“Use the Universal Translator, Spock…”

Microsoft is set to bring real-time audio translation to its audio/video chat application, Skype, by the end of 2014.

Survey off

Superb design, instantly ruined by a stupid survey pop-up that loads within milliseconds of you landing on the page. The sooner we have pop-up blockers that can reliably blank all this “oh, oh, take our survey!” and “take a look at another article, before you’ve finished reading this one!” cruft on magazine and newspaper websites, the better.


Better, a plugin that just bypasses the graphic design / ads / surveys / videos altogether, and just goes straight to the clean Instapaper version.

Break the frame

The great bard of Northampton is on the job of making open source, open access comics, with a little nudge from some of NESTA’s Digital R&D Fund dosh…

“we are assembling teams of the most cutting-edge creators in the industry and then allowing them input into the technical processes in order to create a new capacity for telling comic book stories. It will then be made freely available to all of the exciting emergent talent that is no doubt out there, just waiting to be given access to the technical toolkit that will enable them to create the comics of the future.”

“Yer wot?”

Giant directional listening cones. Definitely something for the likes of the Birmingham Library balcony, if they could get past the Health & Safety squadistas…


L Fest lands in North Staffordshire

L Fest

“is the UK’s award winning lesbian music, arts & comedy festival, returning in 2014 from 18th-21st July in Staffordshire. L Fest is a weekend celebration of live music, lesbian authors, workshops, lesbian cinema, comediennes, games, river cruises, speed dating, camping and more held at a new location this year at Uttoxeter Racecourse in North Staffordshire.”

Peaky Snappers

The nearby Peak District National Park is getting the Google Street View treatment, via a new Google Trekker backpack camera system…

“we are the first UK national park to get the Trekker backpack. … From the backpack protrudes the Martian-like head with its 15 lenses.”

Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways, a new $1m IndieGoGo campaign.

“Solar Roadways has received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for research and development of a paving system that will pay for itself over its lifespan. We are about to wrap up our Phase II contract (to build a prototype parking lot) and now need to raise funding for production”

Maybe those few ‘bankrupt’ US cities that are starting to gift their smaller side-roads to residents (for want of the taxpayer funds to maintain them) may come to regret that choice, if small quiet wide roads can be turned from liabilities into power generators?


They panels are very tough, designed to withstand heavy trucks and storm water inundation. Their installation would entail a slight redesign of the roadway, which could slow traffic a little — and thus contribute to the economic viability and liveability of the urban fabric alongside the roadway.


Microsoft borrows Apple motto: “Insanely Impossible”

Microsoft have issued a partial fix for their botched Windows 8.1 Update patch. Sadly it didn’t work for me, just like before. Another 890Mb download, leading to another “Failed to install” message, with a unhelpful generic error code 80070002. I’ve been there before, when I worked through all the suggested solutions. There’s no way I’m wasting another day running around the forums trying to solve Microsoft’s impossible puzzle. Like a million or so others, including highly-skilled Windows veterans like myself, I now just give up on the KB2919355 update: I’m going back to a restore point, hiding the Update, and simply ignoring the damn thing. Microsoft has blown its chances of ever getting me to attempt another installation of it. Which of course means that Microsoft won’t send me any future security fixes and patches, or at least that’s their threat to their users. So be it. I’ll just have to live with that — and make it through to sometime in 2015, when a Windows 9 install will (hopefully) wipe away the mess that is Windows 8.


Blurb’s self-published print-on-demand photobooks are going to be listed on Amazon UK. There doesn’t appear to be a listing fee but Amazon will take 15% of the cover price, on sales.

Hari & Deepti

3D done the old way, by Hari & Deepti (Denver, USA). Made by cutting out stiff paper and then positioning it in a LED-lit light box…



Video for presentations

Just a tip for those called on to do public or client presentations and who want to show a short video from YouTube etc, having seen a couple last night. Use a free plugin to download the video beforehand, and place it on the desktop with a name that reminds of you of the time it needs to start playing. That usually saves a load of fuss about dropped Internet connections, ad skipping, giving your audience glimpses of links to unwanted ‘related’ videos, etc. Ideally, an advanced media player would have the ability to generate a desktop / Powerpoint shortcut with embedded time commands in it the shortcut name, such as “start: 01:34 .. stop: 06:23″ etc, but I have yet to find one that offers that.

For YouTube downloads I use Download Flash And Video for Firefox.