Archive for June, 2009

Firefox 3.5 download

It’s out. Sadly, the Blocksite addon does not work in 3.5, which means the return of the horrible Google Suggest feature (now even worse because it’s started including “Sponsored links in suggestions”). To turn off Google Suggest completely and for good, instead use the Adblock Plus addon, and in its ‘Options/My Adblocking Rules’ simply block […]

Ghibli : the Miyazake Temple

A 50-minute TV documentary on the work of Studio Ghibli, from 2004, with an interview with Miyazake and Moebius at the end. While certainly not the definitive documentary on Ghibli (which could probably run to an eight hour DVD set or longer), what it packs into 50 minutes is mostly thoughtful and entertaining.

Grass-eating boys

The latest update on the Japanese nerd class. They seems to have left the bedroom, and given up spending on collectables — instead they’re going on cost-free photography walks and growing radishes. Still not much interest in real girls, though.

British Council to be cut by a third

Oddly, the story that the British Council plans to cut 500 jobs seems to have had almost no coverage beyond obscure titles such as Personnel Today and Crain’s Manchester Business News… “the British Council, which promotes the UK overseas, announced that it intended to reduce its staff by between 400-500 jobs — about one-third of […]

Personal search profiles in browsers

With the release of the long-awaited Firefox 3.5 tomorrow, I was wondering why web browsers don’t ask (on install) about the sort of items you like to see in search results? Just enough questions to establish a basic ‘search profile’ that could then improve search results — or maybe even silently rework my dumb search […]


A new augmented-reality app for mobiles. Having seen Wikitude in October 08, I don’t think that Layar is “the world’s first”, but it certainly looks very polished… It seems like a step towards Microsoft’s vision for augmented reality for 2019. But, as always, I can’t help thinking that the big break will only come when […]

Ur doin it wrong

Just published online, in full, a new Cambridge University Press book on the design of search-engine and other search interfaces.

Pressing on

From the latest Standpoint… “In November 2008, ACE [Arts Council England] was employing more press and communications officers than Sports England, UK Sport, the Museums and Libraries Archive and English Heritage combined.” Yet it seems that Arts Council England, West Midlands has managed to squeeze out a mere five press releases since April 09.

Opening Windows

Note to self: Windows 7 will be half-price if pre-ordered from Amazon UK during 15th July – 14th Aug. £79.99 seems to be the likely price. (Update: it was actually better, £48) Although I’m also thinking of dual-booting Ubuntu. Much as I dislike the seemingly endless dependencies of Linux apps, there are some rather tasty […]

Blurb brings in PDF-to-book

At last. Blurb has introduced a “PDF to book” service, with Adobe InDesign templates.

OutWit Docs

You’ve probably heard about site rippers (aka harvesters). Now there are search rippers. OutWit Docs is a free Firefox plugin.


JURN has a new pet. Earworm is a new search-engine for intellectual and higher education podcasts.


A 50-minute podcast documentary about the re-invention of Mongolian folk song, happening in the grasslands of Mongolia. It sounds superb. I’ve ordered the Hanggai album from Amazon (review and NPR profile with full sample tracks).


News just in from Canada… “Small magazine publishers and editors are fighting proposed changes to Canadian Heritages’ magazine funding criteria that will bar subsidies to any publication with an annual circulation of less than 5,000. That’s most academic journals, art magazines and literary magazines in Canada…”

Midland History

The venerable academic journal Midland History has quietly made some 350 back-issue articles freely available online in full-text PDF form (the section Existing Subscribers / Browse issues by Year now freely offers up the linked PDFs). There’s no on-site search — but the Googlebot has visited, so you can use Google: your-keyword filetype:pdf Example […]

BIAD bliss

From 12th June 09, the BIAD summer art & design shows in Birmingham. Free and open to the public!

Funded by 4iP

The Guardian‘s PDA blog posts a survey of the ventures funded, so far, by the Birmingham-based 4iP fund… “Six months into the three-year fund, these are the lucky projects so far” Two of the six will launch in beta form with a distinct West Midlands focus.