All posts by flotsky

And so that was Christmas

Well, nearly done with the Christmas season now. Not back to work until the 4th, so taking it nice and easy. Managed to watch the first series of the Sopranos in just a tad over 24 hours, so that was something approaching an achievement. Have also done some tidying, sorting and organising, which also counts. And some home coding.

New Year is planned to be a quiet one, with a touch of champagne to celebrate the transition into dry January. Gym and no drinking is the plan. The first time I typed that previous sentence, I typed Gin and no drinking. My subconscious seems to be less keen than I thought.

Home Fabbers a step closer

A recent tweet from Bruce Stirling pointed me in the direction of the kit for a new home fabber unit, the Cupcake CNC machine.

Makerbot Industries – Cupcake CNC from MakerBot Industries on Vimeo.

Fabbers (Fabrication Units) are essentially 3D printers, which can cut or form an object out of materials, normally plastic. In the case of the Cupcake CNC, it extrudes thin molten plastic precisely to form the object. There have been industrial versions for many years, but the idea of the home fabber is something I think I first heard mentioned about nine or ten years ago, quite possibly by Bruce Stirling.

This idea has interested me for some time. It’s the prospect of manufacturing in your own home, being able to download new designs for objects, make new ones yourself. Possibly being able to recycle plastics into new objects, making cups or plates when you need them, rather than having to buy them. It really is a device I can foresee being in most homes eventually. And devices like these are the transitional ones, just like the computer kits that Bill Gates and Clive Sinclair amongst many others sold in the 70s that quickly became the first commercial home computers, these are the first steps towards that idea becoming reality. I can’t wait!


It’s a little odd and great all at the same time that I can refer back to myself eight years in the past.

I'm now sold on DJ Hero

I think I’m going to have to get it. Was very tempted already when I heard that DJ Shadow was involved. However I’m a sucker for Daft Punk. Ideally I’d spend several hours a day wearing one of their robot helmets, dispensing short advice on my face screen. Maybe in a bank. I digress. This looks very good.

9 changes I wish to see promised by the next government of the UK

1) BBC4 to become BBC1. It should be on 24 hours a day, and just be more of the same. All the daytime stuff and indeed the night-time stuff is pointless, it just drags us down. I blame The One Show for the current economic climate, banking and big business was doing fine before it, then all of a sudden when the leaders of our economy came home and settled in for a nice quiet evening in front of the telly, they were being bombarded with a death ray of the banal, that shook their very faith and confidence in life. It isn’t a co-incidence that the last real recession followed the rise and fall of Nationwide.

So it should go, replaced with fine documentaries on motorways and synth-pop. The Thick of It can go back on there where it belongs. Any shortfalls can be filled up with James Burke documentaries and random episodes of Now Get Out of That.

2) Three brand-new sports to be invented in time for the London Olympics. We should do alright in terms of medals this time round. Is alright good enough though? I want to see an absolutely cracking medal haul, and I feel the way forwards on this is new sports. We’ve got a wonderful track record in creating sports, but we then let other countries have a go, and we really suffer as a result. So I propose we create these new sports, then keep it really quiet until the day before.

3) The blind fury of Daily Mail readers to be harnessed as a sustainable energy source.

4) A new cheese named after an imaginary county. Close friends will know of my passion for Lymeswold, a long-lost unsuccessful rival to the classic French soft cheeses that died on its arse in part due to its slightly burnt taste. I’ll give a lot more leeway than most people to a blue cheese, even one with a few design flaws. So I suggest we try again, same sort of cheese, less burning, and call it Northambria.

5) Repurposing of the Royal Mail. Sadly I can see few ways forwards for the Royal Mail in its present state. We’re simply going to stop sending cards and letters altogether over the next decade or so. However I love stamps, and the idea of this causes me a little sadness. I can remember the excitement when they showed a new commemorative stamp issue on Blue Peter (it was the 80s, I lived in Darlington, you took excitement where you could get it). So instead we need a Royal E Mail, lovely little banners designed by the artists of Britain, that can be pasted into the header of your emails for a month or so.

6) A commitment to improving computing and monetary literacy. My notes got a bit damaged in the rain the other day, so all I can make out of this concept, having previously considered it carefully in some depth, is the sentence “therefore unemployment benefit could be topped up with Zynga dollars for use in Mafia Wars on Facebook”

7) Becoming far closer to Europe. We’ve simply got better as a nation the more we have embraced our European friends, traveled there more frequently, learned about proper cooking from them, nicked their nice drinks. If we hadn’t joined the EEC, Masterchef would consist of people heating up Lean Cuisine microwave meals and drinking Blue Nun. So let’s move to the same timezone, replace all our pubs with bars and cafes, get even better at cycling, and follow all their practices with meats. I’m prepared to be flexible on this one, I will accept a few more local branches of Aldi and Lidl instead.

8 ) True proportional representation. Everyone gets a percentage of a single vote based on their mass.

9) The end of the 6 episodes per series sitcom model. This is just an outdated practice, and has held us back as a country of comedy. Everything should be at least 13 episodes long. Except My Family.

Learning to love Forza 3 slowly

I’m playing a fair old bit of Forza 3 this week. It looks lovely. It plays fine. It’s just, hmmmm, a little hard to put my finger on it, but it’s just not there at the moment. I think it might be that it just isn’t any big jump from Forza 2, it looks a bit nicer, it’s got more cars and tracks, but there just isn’t a wow factor that lets you know it is a new game. I’m going to keep going, maybe when I’m in the better cars I’ll love it more.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with it either. It’s all done right, but I just want that X-Factor (X-Forza?) to push me over the edge, make me love playing it.

You know it is time to stop writing when…

You write something like the following:

Horne and Corden are travelling through time, stealing ideas for sitcoms.
Doctor Who is chasing them, trying to stop them destroying the history of comedy.
He stops them by writing an entire series of Terry and June in 1978 which uses all the main elements of Gavin and Stacey, thus foiling their rise to fame in the first place.

I think it’s probably time for bed.