Archive for October, 2009

A central repository for UK environmental impact assessments?

An idle thought struck me today. There’s no central online repository for the millions of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) that have been done as part of UK planning applications. Could such a resource, if mined in the right way, be a valuable scientific tool for monitoring things such as species distribution across the UK?

Showing the recession a clean pair of heels

You know times are hard when you’re at a local business event, the bloke in the row of chairs in front of you puts his feet back — and you realise that both his heels are falling away from his shoes due to wear and tear.

Picasa 3.5 adds face recognition

Google’s Picasa 3.5, just out, has added automatic face-recognition… “Picasa 3.5 scans all the photos in your collection, identifies the ones with faces, and groups photos with similar faces together. It’s easy to add name tags to dozens of photos at once by clicking “Add a name” below a photo and typing the person’s name.” […]

Windows 7

My £45 pre-order copy of Windows 7 arrived this evening, sneaking in under the nose of tomorrow’s looming national postal strike. I’m not a Mac-style box-sniffer, but as a tactile retail box it’s a suitably no-frills “recession-style” cardboard outer + a DVD-style slide-out frosted plastic case inside — quite a contrast to Vista’s thick shiny […]

NoiseFloor Festival, Staffordshire Uni

The NoiseFloor Festival of sonic art will be held at Staffordshire University, from 16th to 17th January 2010… “There will be a series of concerts throughout the weekend which will present eight-channel electroacoustic works. The concerts will progress to a less formal two-channel setting in the evening, where other forms of electronic music will be […]

Post goes weekly

The Birmingham Post is going weekly from 12th November 2009. The weekly issue will appear on Thursdays.

Halloween picture

Out the Windows

Oh gawd. My Windows 7 pre-order is to be delivered by one of the worst couriers, rather than Royal Mail. Apparently, in the face of the postal strike, Amazon has… “reportedly shifted one of its delivery contracts to Home Delivery Network” [for Windows 7]

International Open Access Week

Whoopee, it’s International Open Access Week, 19th-23rd October 2009. For the layman, “open access” here means that anyone can download full-text academic papers and books for free — no passwords, no payments, no subscriptions. And, let’s be honest, no real logic in how such research is placed online amid a tangled jumble of badly-managed repositories, […]

A year’s working sabbatical, every seven years

To cap it all

Purveyors of wearable men’s caps in the UK: Village Hats Hanna Hats of Donegal. Sadly, they price in Euros — so their hats can be expensive if the pound is weak. 7Headz caps Outcast Hats

Digital agency clusters in the UK

Clarity surveys the UK’s regional digital agency landscape, with the aid of the new New Media Age annual guide to the Top 100 digital agencies in the UK… “The first thing we need to realise is that digital is strong everywhere and Birmingham is behind the curve and not ahead of it…”

Public inconvience

The cost of The Public in West Bromwich spirals to £72m. “Consider demolition” say the auditors.

Initial Tube

Wolverhampton’s Initial Access has launched their YouTube channel, containing all the excellent HD SteadyCam video-tours of the shows, and an archive of TV coverage. The Initial Access website is also starting to offer podcast interviews with curators. From the current Minimal Means show, at Initial Access.

Dear Esther

“Dear Esther” is a Half-Life 2 mod created by the UK’s TheChineseRoom, aka AHRC-funded University of Portsmouth lecturer Dan Pinchbeck…. “I wanted to create a unique game which would blur the lines between computer games, art and film and draw people in. Dear Esther contains fragments of story which are randomly triggered by players moving […]


An open-source text to speech application, eSpeak (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X), from Coventry’s Jonathan Duddington. The default voices that come with it are very harsh and robotic. But it also works straight away with the acceptable Microsoft ‘Anna’ voice that comes pre-installed with Vista / Windows 7, and with the excellent commercial Acapela Telecom […]

The rights stuff

Dance is doomed unless it can be archived on the web as video, says a Guardian pundit. But, as I was once told by an expert on the subject at a conference, it’s unlikely to happen except as the occasional handful of promotional clips on a dance troupe’s YouTube channel. The theatre producers, trade unions, […]

The church warden

The church warden.

Jeppe Hein

Mirror labyrinths by Jeppe Hein…

Dead fly art

Dead fly art…