Not sure why

Today’s entry is just a random selection of probably-hard-to-explain things:

I saw the term “cogito ergo sum” being used in three totally different contexts in just one morning. It makes me think that the term is becoming quite fashionable. Not sure why though …

The other day I took a call from Australia on my mobile phone just before I set off for work. But the signal strength inside my house is not very good on the bottom floor – so I went to the top floor and found an optimal position near my bedroom window where I could get “5 bars”. Whilst I was speaking – I was staring out the window – and at one point I happened to spot a youngish kid walking away from the house next door. Nothing unusual. Except a few seconds later a police car screeches to halt outside my house and two officers jump out and run towards my next-door neighbour’s house and jump on another youth who was obviously trying to get away. They pinned him down, handcuffed him and waited until another police van arrived to take him away. I later found out that it was an attempted armed robbery; the “kids” (armed with knives) had climbed up on the conservatory at the rear of the house next door and clambered into the bathroom through an open window – not realising that someone was actually at home at the time. So – they locked themselves in the bathroom until they worked out what to do next – by which time the police had arrived and they decided to try and get away. Throughout the entire incident I continued to talk on my mobile phone as if nothing unusual was happening. Not sure why I did that …

I hardly ever watch TV – and I certainly don’t ever plan for it – but I’m planning to watch the TV drama “The Brief” (on ITV 1) tonight at 9pm – but not because I want to watch it – but because I want to watch an advert that will air at about 9.20pm during a commercial break in it. Not sure why I am going to such lengths to do so …

And finally – a few weeks ago I saw the following sign on the fence of the children’s play enclosure in my local park. I didn’t really “get it” at the time. So I took a picture so that I might try to “get it” later. I’m not at all sure what the underlying meaning of the sign is …

I still don’t “get it”

Wake up! Time to die!

… so says Leon to Deckard in Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner” – just before he is about to kill him.

That was the opening line to my very first blog entry a few years ago.

Whilst staring at a bunch of flowers in a vase on my kitchen table I come to the conclusion that there are just too many things to do – and not enough time to do them. “Life’s too short to worry about xxx” was something an old friend of mine used to say to me every time I had a great new idea to pursue – and it always irritated me that did. All these years later his words sound almost theraputic.

The flowers will be dead in a week or so. Good karma is short-lived.

Flowers in bloom on my kitchen table – will be dead in about a week.
(By the way – you can see the fuzzy form of a new bag of atta [chappati flour] in the corner of the room!)

Some blogs are like that. They are born – and then they die. By now you’re probably thinking that this my final posting! I suppose it could be – but so could have the last one – or the one before that – or even the very first one. When it happens – I don’t think the end here will be declared. It will just have to be inferred.

The reason for this posting is to actually highlight a few recently born blogs (selfishly derived from my own sociable-work circle):

Rubi – the most energetic young lady I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing – she climbs mountains, jumps out of aeroplanes, party’s hard, and dabbles with Macromedia Flash. She is the original WAPQueen – she used to work for me – but now she works for the enemy. Her blog is here – but if you can tolerate her Macromedia Flash skills – then click here instead (cringe) – and try navigating to her blog from there.

And then there is Enrico Salad – his name is actually an anagram of that (he sometimes uses Oscar Denial though) – he sits only a few desks away – but I’m not sure if he’s just experimenting with his blog or not.

And finally David (from the other side of the floor) – who almost as geeky as I can get sometimes – but nowhere near as artistic – even though he likes Apple Mac whereas I don’t. He has just started blogging about his unwired life.

And a recently retired one – someone I never knew in real life at all:

Pewari May Be – but she’s now gone – one of the very first blogs in my blog-roll. I will miss her observations and stories of life as a parent of young children. Thanks for sharing them Pew – you will be sorely missed.


It’s that time of year again: Autumn transitioning towards Winter brings with it the fog.

Which reminds me that it always mystified me as to why North Americans in particular always associate London with fog – “London Fog” in fact. Perhaps it’s to do with too many people growing up with a false impression that London is always a really “foggy” place. Perhaps fuelled by too many TV documentaries about Jack the Ripper set in the dark foggy streets of Victorian London?

Who knows? The reality is that the mornings can tend to be really foggy at this time of year – but only for a few days in my experience. And today was one of them:

London fog: Autumn has arrived – and visibility is low.
(This is the view as I walk down the street towards my nearest Route 79 bus stop this morning)


There’s been too much news about tragedy in the last 12 months. Tsunami, hurricanes, famines and, more recently: earthquake. Much of them too far away for me to experience first-hand – but most of them only a few clicks away to learn and be horrified about. That’s the Internet for you.

Fragile world. Small. Fragile places.

And fragile societies. It’s hard to forget the suicide bombings closer to home that triggered my postings of 7th July – and the week after the alleged attempted bombings of 21st July.

Which brings me to Rachel.

Rachel is a Londoner. A survivor of the 7th July bomb on the Piccadilly Line at Kings Cross. She has a blog – which details her experiences of that fateful day – and also her stories of getting to grips and coping with life afterwards.

Although her most recent posting refers to my own (semi-satirical, but very real) experience of life travelling the transport systems of London in the weeks following the bombings – her own stories of life travelling the tube and meeting up with others who were caught up in the bombings are extremely fascinating and insightful. Sometimes depressing. But they bring about another dimension to the whole thing. A must read.

As Annie Mole said on her own blog: thank you Rachel for sharing it with us.

Piccadilly Line tube – blown up at Kings Cross on 7th July 2005

Hamleys & Cycle-rickshaws

Spent the best part of Saturday browsing around Hamleys. Once the biggest toy shop in the world – now still thriving not only as a successful private enterprise that can trace it’s roots back to even before Harrods, but also as a visitor’s attraction to rival Buckingham Palace. The best thing about Hamleys is not just the toys that appeal to all ages – it’s the in-store demonstrations by staff – who apparently spend about 90,000 hours a year doing so with the latest toys. This is what makes Hamleys so special.

And several years on – cycle-ricks in the West End are, also, still going strong.
(Taken outside Hamleys on regent Street)


It’s not very often that I write (blog) about “work” in this journal. There are too many “life” things that consume my brain cycles as I travel to and from home on the buses every day- but I would be lying if I said that some of these weren’t consumed by all things “work”. It’s when the boundary between “work” and “life” blurs so much that I find it difficult to comply with a self-imposed rule to separate the two things – especially when there are exploitable art-forms in both – as indeed there are.

Ever since I embarked on the “Genie” adventure a few years ago “work” has been a long quest to to get something that vaguely represents the Internet – on a mobile phone. And (without this sounding like an advert on behalf of my employer) for the last 18 months I have been working on a project (in both my “work” and “life” time) that I really believe represents a step towards this most personal of missions – and that thing is something called “i-mode

i-mode is arriving soon

i-mode has been incredibly successful in Japan over the last 5 years – and its success has been reproduced in many European countries as well. The i-mode service will arrive in the UK and Ireland over the next few weeks too.

I don’t have enough space in the margin of this journal to explain why the Internet as we know it on PC/laptops/TV-sets hasn’t been able to cross-over onto mobile phones so readily. Some of the reasons are obvious – some aren’t. And this is despite the fact that “WAP” technologies have been around for a while – and some WAP services are really popular. But whilst the vast majority of people are absolutely comfortable using their mobile phones to make and receive voice calls, and send and receive text messages, the vast majority do not use their mobile phones to browse Internet content or send and receive emails.

The challenge for the industry has mostly been one of “usability” and “performance”. For the price you pay – it’s really hard to figure out how to get online – and it’s sometimes a really slow, poor experience doing so. Also, mobile phone operators have far too often been preoccupied with the concept of “walled gardens” in WAP – which have limited the customer choice for content browsing- and often penalising the customer for venturing “off-portal” for Internet content by charging very high prices. Even the manufacturers of mobile phones have not made it easy to get online. Heck: do you know how hard it is just to find the menu option that allows you to type a URL to go to on a mobile phone?

Hopefully – it will be a lot easier with i-mode. A good next step.

Anyway – I’ve produced a musical video demonstration of the sorts of things that you can do your i-mode mobile phone in the UK soon. It’s a 3.5 minute Windows Media Video (WMV) file – just under 6 megabytes in size. I have tried to keep the file size down by limiting the video to 15 frames per second at 320×240 frame size – which should be fine for viewing on most PDAs as well as PCs. If you have broadband DSL or cable it should only take a few minutes to download. Just do a RIGHT-CLICK and “SAVE TARGET AS” on the “Windows Media” icon below.

Download the video file on the left to your computer by doing a “right click” and “Save Target As” to a folder of your choice.

In the video – you will see how easy and fast it is to get into i-mode – and how fast it is to go browsing for content and send and receive emails – as well as an example of sending pictures to Flickr. Some parts of the video are speeded up so that you don’t have to spend ages watching my helpful assistant type out stuff on the mobile phone – but the critical parts of the demo are played back in real time (next to my ticking watch) – so that you can witness how fast the service is.

The background music is a track called “Hole in the head” by a local-to-my-neighbourhood girl-band called “Sugababes” – who made it big in the UK in the last couple of years. Turn up the volume and enjoy!