A web log, a test of my web design software, stories about the absurd, the dumb & interesting stuff.
Android is going to be huge
For those that don’t know Android, it’s a mobile phone operating
system created by Google. And Android is going to be larger than
the iPhone, by far, for exactly the same reasons Microsoft Windows
beat Apple the last time a new platform emerged.
I can’t stress how significant Android will be to the future of
Android is actually crap. It's a broken robot.
‘Hang on, you just said it is going to be BIG, in capitals no less’ I hear you say.
Ah yes, but big doesn’t mean good. Just look at Windows. In the early days the Mac
was better, and Windows merely adequate. But ‘adequate’ was all that was needed
when it was a cheap as peanuts and everyone wanted to get on the PC bandwagon.
Apple was not interested in licensing the Mac OS. So Microsoft cleaned up.
Eventually Windows got a lot better and after a while it was actually better than the
Mac (back when Steve Jobs was no longer there and Apple was run by a bunch of
corporate types who had no clue). Over this period of relatively few critical years,
Microsoft gained the world. (See above.)
So why is Android bad? There are some major technical drawbacks to Android.
Google Chrome is a fine web browser. You should really try it. The best things
about it are;
It combines the address bar with Google search. Just type a web address or a
search string. It's just smart. Obvious, nice.
It has a clean and simple GUI. And this is really where they deserve credit, a
super-clean, simple user-interface with almost no window clutter. OK they
break one of the basic GUI tenets that you really should not break (no
standard File, Edit...menus). You can get away with this on a browser
because so few menus are needed. (Note, break this rule in mainstream apps
like Word Processors at your own cost - are you listening Microsoft?)
Small points like the status line that pop-ups up only when you need it (e.g. when
hovering over a link. It slides into view at the bottom and then slides away,
maximizing document viewing area). Nicely done.
And then they go spoil it all by some unforgivable screw-ups. It doesn’t handle
pop-up blocking properly. It’s hard to believe, but you can only block all pop-ups
or none. You can't make exceptions on a site-wide basis. So websites that rely on
pop-ups are unusable (and a lot of perfectly legitimate, commercial websites use
pop-ups). Yes you can choose to see any individual blocked pop-up, but you can't
say ‘allow pop-ups for this website’. So Chrome simply can’t be used for all
practical purposes for some mainstream websites (like my banking website
So all in all - you’re probably better off with Firefox still until Google fix this. I
gave up on I.E. a long time ago, and by all account (from colleagues that use it),
I’m better off staying away.
You can download Chrome from here.
The level of technical ignorance in the UK is
Two examples that want to make you cry.
I always liked the TV show QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, and assumed it was, at least
reasonably, accurate in its myth busting. But today’s ‘Fact of the day’ on their
website, is one of the dumbest things I’ve read in a long time. From their website:
It's not just that, as surely everyone knows, nothing travels faster than the speed of
light, but it would be ridiculous to suggest it goes the speed of sound, let alone the
speed of light.
Are QI playing some game? Some test to see how many viewers / readers (idiots
like me) can be cajoled into writing and pointing out their ignorance. (Perhaps the
show should be called Quite Ignorant). Perhaps this is some type of reader
intelligence test perhaps? ‘Just how stupid a fact can we publish to provoke our
readers to react?’
The calculation to work out the speed of travel of the crossing point of a pair
scissors is so simple a 10 year old should be able to do it. The answer is about 16
miles per hour. So much for ‘faster than light’, it’s not even faster than a bicycle!
Like an idiot, I wrote to QI to tell them they were idiots also. So I got an answer
back from the QI elves, as they call the researchers, (credit where it’s due - I didn’t
expect an answer) and they clarified that they was talking about a pair of scissors
one light year long - which by my calculation is about a 6 trillion miles long.
Oh good. So that’s fine then. Silly me, I should have known their scissors were 6
trillion miles long.
They even point at an article about it:
The trouble is everyone goes around believing rubbish like that 'scissors go faster
than light’, because they forgot to qualify they meant a pair slightly larger than you
could fit in your pocket. And then, as the above article explains, even with a pair of
scissors 6 trillion miles long it would not close faster than light! Arrrarrarrahgg.
QI (Quite Ignorant) example number 2
In the Telegraph a few days ago (now I’m not so stupid as to believe much if
anything written in this paper), someone has written in saying that we should all
be driving steam powered cars because they do not pollute as much as petrol cars.
And it's been printed as if the guy is serious.
So again, it’s not just that the idiot writing is ignorant, but the editor is so dumb he
can’t work out for himself this is just absurd.
Consider how does a steam engine works - you burn fuel (usually coal) to heat the
water to create steam to drive a piston. You can use any combustant of course,
even petrol (which would be a lot more efficient than coal).
Even this record breaking steam powered car uses LPG to boil the water. And it got
to a rather measly 140 mph.
Anyway, to the point. How can anyone think that burning petrol (or worse, coal) to
heat water to create steam to push a cylinder is going to be more efficient than just
burning the petrol in the cylinder directly? The guy’s an idiot and the editor’s an
idiot for printing it. This doesn't require you to be a scientist, it probably requires
you passed an O-Level science. (So that would be an A-level nowadays).
So even using the most efficient steam turbine, instead of cylinders, (which this
record breaking car does) it’s still really, really not going to be likely heating water
to produce steam to drive anything is going to be very efficient, or green. And
think of all the water that would be required! We'd have to fill up not just with
petrol (or coal) but also stop every few miles a fill up with water to generate the
steam. Just a like a steam train does.
The level of technical ignorance in this country is truly staggering. Depressing
An optical illusion
Creating this website and messing with various colour backgrounds I just
discovered a great optical illusion. Below are two rounded rectangle panels, but on
different backgrounds. One of them is a slighter lighter or brighter colour. Which
If you’re familiar with optical illusions, you’ll probably guess that in fact both
panels above are exactly the same colour. For some reason the grey background
under the right example makes the left one look more grey. Weird.