November 29, 2005

Google and Scientology

Posted in: Google, Travel

I think I'll nominate my Google interview for a 24h adventure status. It's got the ingredients: travel, pressure (waking up <10am, come on!), and something a little random...

Continue reading "Google and Scientology"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 17:56 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 25, 2005

Fashion show

Posted in: Drivel

So tonight I went to my first catwalk fashion show, after being kindly invited by photographic ace and friend, Tom. The show was at the ever-fab V&A for a menswear collection by Ozwald Boateng, so parading back and forth the catwalk were quite the most tall, pouty, high cheek-boned, preternaturally beautiful guys I've ever seen. I bet they're a nightmare. Actually they didn't seem to be at all; rather, quite friendly & personable. I walked up to a group of them at the end and, craning my neck, asked about their moods and expressions: were they told to be like that? Did they have to saunter and swagger on cue? Was looking bored a consequence or decision? The answer: yes, the designer prompts them for a particular vibe, this time a little attitude but not to be centre stage. This made total sense as Ozwald himself came on at the end and was quite obviously all about soaking up the limelight.

With all this work on now I hardly go out much these days (er, besides to Sweden, Bali, Vienna, Brighton, Leeds, ...) so it was cool to bump into another friend Rita I haven't seen in a while. "It's a small London." I saw a couple of other people in the crowd who I think were Cambridge, ex-Kings even. Memory's going...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:30 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2005

Unmanageable email

Posted in: Drivel

I've whinged about this before but still struggling with email... I've recently acquired an extremely sexy new Mac laptop and been playing with Apple Mail, lured by the promise of full text indexing of all my mail. The truth is, it just can't cope. The best minds of Cupertino haven't yet written a mail client that'll deal with 5.1GB of email. That's right, I have the equivalent of two full Gmail accounts.

I've fired up the new v1.5 Thunderbird and it's a relief after Apple Mail: responsive, does what I expect, checks folders quickly, searches adequately fast, has an interface that I can drive off the keyboard. It's not that Apple Mail's bad it's just so goddam slow. There's some truly bizarre aspects to Mail too, like not being able to filter on unread messages, and switching a message from marked read/unread is a three key chord rather than a single keystroke. It doesn't feel like Apple have dogfooded this product too much, or maybe I just like a different flavour.

Anyway, I've spent six hours reading & replying to old emails and shuffling stuff about with Tbird's decent filtering system so am down over a 1,000 messages unread now. If I haven't replied, please just, er, email me :)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 02:43 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 20, 2005

Zombie eyes

Posted in: Drivel

So were one to go to another country to see a festival with lots of fancy robots one might expect to report on that. Well, instead here's a technique to make yourself look freaky with a digital camera.

It's quite straightforward: persuade your camera to take a long exposure shot, e.g. no flash in a relatively low light environment. On my mid-range compact there's an option to allow a slow shutter up to 1s. Second, wiggle your eyes back 'n forth while the shot's being taken. The wiggling requires your eyes to move quite fast - the trick is not to think of the actual process of eyes moving (any more than you manual coordinate your limbs picking up a cup) but rather focus, so to speak, on alternately and quickly looking at two objects at either ends of your horizontal awareness.

Click on to see the effect, it's not super pleasant...

PS I do have some pics of robots and Viennese cake I'll get up here as soon as I learn my way around iPhoto...

Continue reading "Zombie eyes"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:38 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

Roboexotica 2005

Posted in: Travel, What am I up to

Off to Roboexotica in Vienna tomorrow via Bratislava. The flight to there from London came in at the wallet-feathering sum of just £36. Ah, the joy of subsidized travel. Carbon Dioxide Karma takes another hit...

Trivia: Vienna and Bratislava are apparently the two closest capitals. (I wonder if any US state capitals are closer?)

Even more irrelvant trivia: the train to the plane leaves at 04:30. Can I stay up all night after the Squarepusher and Luke Vibert gig tonight at Koko...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 17:47 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

Software "on" ipod

Posted in: Tech

Just as Sony is embarrassed by and switches off their "copy protection" I am enjoying technological interoperability thanks to my music player, USB, Apple, Linux, and Things Just Working™.

I just checked out a branch of some BBC code I'm working on onto my ipod Shuffle. I can hack directly on it at home on my Powerbook, stick it back into the Linux development box, and then just run a commit. In the time it took to sync the repository the device got a little charge off the USB port. Now I'm listening to it. Wild stuff!

(To have your Linux box talk to your Shuffle all that's probably needed is,
mkdir /mnt/ipod
cat >> /etc/fstab
/dev/sda1 /mnt/ipod vfat sync,user,noauto,umask=000 0 0
mount /mnt/ipod

More details here)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 15:24 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

24h Brighton mini-adventure

Posted in: Travel

Inspired by a recent conversation I've been thinking about 24h mini adventures. While not exactly competing with the panache and excitement of a James Bond caper Friday's 24h adventure to Brighton contained the key ingredients of a decent adventure:

1. do, or be, something new - I rode my scooter to Brighton & back
2. learn something - attended the d.Construct Web 2.0 conference and feel pretty up-to-date on what's new with Ajax, RSS, Flash, and hairy EU DRM proposed legislation
3. meet cool people - reconnected with a guy, Aral Balkan, I met three years ago, more folks from the Beeb (one of the places I'm contracting), Paul Silver a colleague of a client and friend David Rosam, and one of Brighton's quirkiest and most charming characters who shall remain anonymous...
4. experience fear and deal with it - well, my heart wasn't exactly in my throat but there was some risk involved in riding a 125cc automatic transmission scooter 55 miles. Turned out fine, if somewhat cold
5. had fun - yep!

What adventures have you been up to?

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:17 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Google jobs

Posted in: Drivel, Google

Four years ago I applied for a job at Google and never even heard a reply. Turns out however my email stayed in their system and a few weeks ago they invited me to apply for a senior sysadmin position. (As Nik said, four years is a long time for a search engine company to return a result...) Anyway, after two hours of the most in-depth and technically demanding job interviews I've ever experienced they're flying me out to Dublin for five more hours of interview in a couple of weeks.

Would it be a CV/résumé entry that would render all the others as so much printer ink? Absolutely. Would it be a unique, incredible, and probably life-altering experience? Almost certainly. So do I actually want to work for Google? Don't know yet. Life is incredibly sweet right here right now. Besides they haven't actually offered me it yet anyway ;-)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 17:48 | Comments (5) | TrackBack