The Smith's Journal - February 2008

Home / Words / Journal / February 2008


Ruth Ford's meditation and singing group

Tags: Music, Pro

I took an empty mind and a full voice - oh, and some bowls too - we had fun!


We've all been tied up

Tags: Pro

"it's as if we've all been tied up, and the most agile and loosely tied people get out first, and then help the rest".

Wow. This is the most insightful essay I've read this year.


Algorithmic Animation and Mathematical Art

Tags: Arts, Computers

It's nice to see that the demo scene is suddenly all back in vogue:

There are some real gems in there.

Other amazing graphic art is at Check out the Free Images page: Cloud Canyon, Endless Blue, Sakura, Arctica, Idyll, The Overseer, etc.

[UPDATE: See also Cory Ench's incredible Fractal World Gallery - WOW! Nanopolis I and Boxcity look like my homeworld :-]


Anti-Social Notworking

Tags: Computers

Like most people on the planet, a few of my friends have sent me emails suggesting I go and see their Facebook page. But to do so I'd have to join up to something that is very bad for many reasons:

As more and more people are sucked in to this viral business model, there is increasing pressure to feel obliged to create an account, or face being isolated from your friends. It's become the new AOL. The scary part is that these are intelligent people who should know better than to be sucked into such gross advertising schemes. Somehow they've been drawn in by the shiny-ness and KewlPlaceToBe virus that they don't care that they've sold themselves. Worst of all is that they are by now so locked-in and brainwashed as to be spouting the benefits and advantages of the 'free' and 'spamless' service (neither is true), eager to persuade anyone not yet ensnared, as if employed by Facebook's own sales team, who smile at each other over champagne on yachts, happy that the world is doing their work for them.

I don't want to upset people, but I've got to say that I hate BaseFook and all similar fads described as (anti-)Social Notworking, a new 'emerging' 'trend' that sees people wasting all their company time online when they could be working effectively reading my website instead. All this corporate dross about "bringing friends together through Social Networking" makes me ill. Web 2.0 just keeps everyone chained up in their playpens.

I am not a sheep. I stick by my principles, however 'unfashionable' that makes me. If friends scorn me for not selling out, well obviously they weren't real friends. Those of us who are left will continue to evolve in benevolent ways and shun the advances of capitalist machinery. Now that technology allows us to forge our own paths independent from The Man, let's not just lie back and allow ourselves to get ensnared in the jaws of big business dinosaurs yet again.

Thankfully, many people are now growing tired of the incessant pings and pokes and hot girls vomiting on their wall interrupting their trains of thought, not to mention the worms attacking their computers. The honeymoon period is over. Facebook is tending to attract children rather than adults.

Twitter is this cool

Tags: Computers

While I'm on the subject of social networking, I have to agree that Twitter is overhyped, and as someone once claimed, "the No.1 most annoying thing on the Internet" (no mean feat!). It was a mind-numbing idea in the first place, and all I've seen of it has been inane drivel from attention-seeking twits who have sad lives, desperately trying to make themselves look hip/savvy/kewl. It's yet another excuse for a me-too .com wanting to make a name for itself, by providing a worthless 'service' that is wholly unnecessary, cluttering up the wires with idiotic noise. In one ear/door, out the other, like the nice 1990's <marquee> banner above. Come on people, humans are capable of better things.

All Your MiceBase Are Belong To Us

Tags: Computers

Some goons from MiceBase decided to hotlink some large images from my website and post them onto someone's profile with heavy traffic. Suddenly my website usage stats increased tenfold overnight to 1GB per day (!) due to thousands of requests for one image. While I accept that deep-linking is a key feature of the internet (despite idiots trying to argue otherwise), excessive theft of other people's bandwidth usage is teh lame. Luckily I use a good web hosting company and my hosting package can handle it without incurring excess charges.

What makes it even more stupid is that the hotlinkers were just resizing my big JPEG into a small thumbnail, despite my own site having a smaller sized thumbnail available. But of course, this is the level of MicePace we're talking about here. Reaching new heights guys...

So I renamed the original file and made up a nice replacement image (over-compressed to tiny file size to minimise download traffic) with text advertising my own website instead of their lame party. In future, hotlinkers may not get off so lightly...

A place in the wilderness

Tags: Music, Computers

I can understand that for some folk, FakeSpook and MiceBass are easy ways to put content online, albeit with little control over who sees it. Sadly many musicians now believe it's essential to have their own MiceBase, but this is largely from fear that they will be 'left behind' without one, the same pressures as Facebook. With CD sales evaporating surprisingly continuing and the online monsters of Apple and other download dealer$ trying to seize control of the music industry, impoverished musicians worry about disappearing into obscurity or being thought of as olde-fashioned, and are desperate for any exposure however it taints their reputation. Sure, they need a web presence and somewhere people can download their music from. Yet it's hardly "sticking it to The Man" and eschewing the corrupt old ways of the music industry now that Rupert Murdoch pwns MySpace; the old dinosaurs have merely taken over again.

Luckily, nowadays having your own website or blog is so easy and affordable, so why tie yourself down and limit your audience? Instead of looking like total cheapskates using free download hosting sites, why not have an official band website like proper musicians? Be independent, in charge of your own destiny! "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"; Facebook users pay to use the 'free' service in other ways, by being the playthings of advertisers.

Using htaccess you can control who has access to various parts of your website, by password-protecting directories containing private data. [This page used to be secret until I removed the protection, but now you can know the secret within!]. It's easy to create your own safe haven on the web, in as far as anything that is hosted on a public-facing website can be considered 'safe'; in reality, one should consider any website crackable given enough time and reason to do so. But I would trust my own website to keep secrets much better than I would that of a corporation driven by advertising and shareholders, who may suddenly change their Terms Of Service (which you did read, didn't you?) for the worse and lock you out or charge money where things were once "free".

If you'd like your own place on the web, I can make a page or a nice website just for you - just ask me!

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2008-01-01 - last updated 2008-10-26