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January 31, 2007

That Mitchell and Webb Ad

So, Apple have put out some UK-centric "I'm a PC - I'm a Mac" ads starring Mitchell and Webb.

They don't work, do they? And it's because of Robert Webb.

OK, ok, it's not because Robert Webb's doing his job wrong, it's because of the existing, established dynamic between Mitchell and Webb and how it doesn't work for this purpose.

Now, David Mitchell's usual schtick works just fine for PC - he's an earnest square just like his character in Peep Show, so that plays to our expectations.

The trouble with that is that since we've been primed for the Mitchell and Webb Peep Show Double-Act TM, we expect Webb to play his part, i.e. obnoxious, selfish, sarky twat. Trouble is, for the purposes of advertising, Apple need the Mac character to be likeable, so Webb doesn't get to rip into Mitchell in the same way he would in the duo's comedy work. As a result, our expectations are confounded and Mac comes across as simply lame.


Well, while I was faffing about over the weekend, pouring half a bottle of wine into my laptop, Charlie Brooker's put something up about the new Mac ads here.

Posted by Jonah at 11:28 AM

January 30, 2007

SF Writer quiz

Here's another one of those "Which <foo> are you?" quiz things:

I am:
Philip José Farmer
This prolific author brings surprising depths to he-man adventure tales, and broke science fiction's prudery barrier.

Which science fiction writer are you?

(from #void links)

Posted by Jonah at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)

More whoblogging

Aaaaaaaahahahahahahaha! Haaaaaaahahahahahahaha! Oh, man, that's beautiful:

... according to this story [Jason Statham] has been offered the title role of "Doctor Who". Evidently, this rumor assumes that David Tennant will not be returning for a fourth season ... To quote the article "...It will be Doctor Who meets gangland. He will do a lot more thinking with his fists and will be a sure-fire winner with the ladies." Blimey! There are some reaction [sic] to this story on the SCIFI.COM forums, which can be found here. But, it can't be true. No way - he just does not fit the mold (at least in my mind). I'll give it a 1 out of 10 probability rating.

No shit, Sherlock! Heh, oh, that made my day, but not as much as this:

The report is that Davies wants Spears to appear as a "raunchy bunch of sex-mad aliens," using special effects to create multiple versions of her.
Now, without any knowledge of Russell T. Davies, I would suspect that he (A) Had a little too much ale and was joking with the reporter, or (B) Really wants to see Britney act 'sex-mad' (not a bad pick for the casting couch...).

Yep, Britain's most famous non-fictional gay Welshman wants to cast Britney Spears in Doctor Who because he wants to shag her. You've got to love our more credulous brothers and sisters in fandom, haven't you?

Posted by Jonah at 8:53 AM | Comments (2)

January 25, 2007

Jac's Back!

So, Derek Jacobi is returning to Doctor Who! According to the article he'll be playing a character called "the Professor" which, given that he has played the Master (albeit in the online version, which I'm not 100% sure is canon), makes me wonder if this Professor character is in fact a cunning BBC decoy to cover the fact that he's going to be reprising his role.

After all, we've had the other two Dr. Who arch enemies return in the new series so far. Which other enemies, after the Daleks and Cybermen, are as iconic as the Master? The Sontarans? The Ice Warriors? The Sea Devils? Frigga, please. If they're going to be bringing back other major Doctor Who adversaries to the new series then it's either got to be the Master, or failing that, Davros (now I would love to see Davros come back). And if they're bringing back the Master then they have to cast someone like Jacobi - a proper thesp who can give the character the appropriate gravitas, class and hammy villainous relish, not Peter Fucking Kaye.

Other actors who are less than ideal for the role of the Master:

  • Jim Carrey
  • Brian Blessed
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Steve McFadden
  • Samuel L. Jackson

Who would you cast as the Master? (Cres, if you're going to just put Johnny Depp again, don't bother.)

If Jacobi is playing a character called "the Professor", I wonder if he'll be another Time Lord? After all, it is an academic title, like the Doctor and the Master ...

UPDATE (WARNING - SERIOUS SPOILERS): Well, what do you know? Via Outpost Gallifrey.

Posted by Jonah at 3:32 PM | Comments (7)

January 24, 2007

Suffer Little Children

So, the C of E and the Catholic Church are uniting against the Equalities Act 2006, with the Catholics threatening to close their adoption agencies which apparently handle around 4000 adoptions per annum (almost of one third of which involve children with special needs).

Christianity: proudly putting religious bigotry before the needs of disabled children. With priorities like that it's no wonder it's a dying institution in this country.

UPDATE: Apparently it might not be 4000 adoptions per annum: the source I quoted said that the agencies were responsible for 4000 adoptions, but not per annum. Other sources puts the annual figure at 200-odd. Sorry about that.

Posted by Jonah at 11:53 AM

January 23, 2007

The sincerest form of flattery

Punrise, Punset imitates #perl.

Also ...

Posted by Jonah at 3:18 PM

January 21, 2007

Cheapo gaming

Wow, looks like you can get the expansion pack for Doom3 for just 20 new pence!

Posted by Jonah at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)


So, iTunes has been running dog slow on my windows laptop for some time now, often remaining unresponsive for well over a minute after launch (and this is after the obligatory annual OS reinstall that windows machines seem to require). I've been wanting to replace it but haven't 'cos a) cres wants to be able to synch her iPod and hasn't got to grips with the Mac yet and b) Songbird and the free version of Winamp don't rip to MP3 or OGG.

Yesterday my mate Ed pointed me in the direction of this featureful windows jukebox called MediaMonkey. It's got a really usable, intuitive interface (I really dig the way in which your library is presented in that expandable tree on the left), rips to and plays all the formats you'd want to use (and WMA, too) and will also synch most MP3 players including iPods. It launches fast and takes barely any time at all to scan my whole (relatively large) MP3 collection acoss the network (I suspect that might be what iTunes is taking so long to do at launch). It'll also import your ratings and playback history from iTunes or (gawd help you) Windows Media Player.

When I first started ripping things to MP3 back in the 90s I was a bit of a numpty and didn't give any of them any info in the tags, instead identifying the tunes by their filename. The software I was using didn't tag automagically like modern ripping programs do (translation: "young squirt couldn't lance a pimple without an electric vibrating scalpel with automatic drain and suture"). So, as a result, I have masses of files wth bugger all tag information but accurate filenames, and MusicBrainz was just taking too damn long. So, the "auto tag from filename" feature of MediaMonkey looks like it could be what I'm after (but I've yet to try it so we'll have to see how that goes).

Did I mention that it also supports the JAWS screen reader for the visually impaired? Now that's both nifty and virtuous.

All in all I'm very happy with it so far. I'll let you know how I get on.

(This entry brought to you by the Society for the Abuse of Parentheses.)

Posted by Jonah at 8:16 PM

January 19, 2007

Goody Goody Dumb Dumb

Ah, now this is some comedy value right here!

Posted by Jonah at 8:25 PM

January 18, 2007

I Love Celebrity Big Brother

No, I haven't lost my fucking mind. I'm simply hoping that this time round it might - just might - put an end to the inexplicable popularity with the British people of that cackling harridan Jade Goody. Here's hoping!

That is all.

Posted by Jonah at 8:18 AM

January 17, 2007

Thurrock Thief

You'd think that an advocate of the Tory Party, party of Law, Order and Personal Responsibility would know better than to go around thieving, wouldn't you? Well, apparently not.

Thurrock Tory wanted to put a picture of that naff old Blair "Demon Eyes" poster on his blog, and he found one on my site. However, instead of simply saving it and uploading it to his site, he embedded it directly into his page from mine, meaning that I pay for the bandwidth for that image every time someone visits his site.

On the other hand, it also means that I can replace the image on my site and the change will be reflected on his (see see here if he's had the good grace to pay for his own bandwidth by the time you read this).

Lucky I'm a nice guy and didn't have him displaying horse porn or anal maldies to all his readers, eh? Tories: couldn't trust them then, can't believe them now!

Posted by Jonah at 5:36 PM | Comments (2)

January 16, 2007

Jonah and the educational psychologist

Gaw, reading Misty's latest entry really took me back. You see, my dad taught me to read before I went to school as well. When I finally arrived at primary school I got pretty bored with the basic literacy lessons. A combination of this and my (then) over-active imagination led me to dick about at school a lot in rather weird ways.

After a couple of months, the headteacher decided that the school needed to find out why I spent many lessons hiding under the tables, peeling magnetic strips off the classroom toys and sticking them to my wrists and engaging in other odd behaviour. So, an Educational Psychologist was called in ....

Now, said kiddyshrink was apparently fresh out of kiddyshrink college and was full of (at the time: it was the mid-seventies) trendy ideas. His schtick was observation of his subject, in secret so that he didn't influence their behaviour (we've all been there, mate - *cough*). Basically, hiding and watching so as to minimise the Hawthorne effect.

To this end, he set himself up in the headteacher's office. He put a big A2 sheet of sugar paper and some marker pens on the table to give me something to do and to provide him with some free-form doodles to analyse later, hung his jacket over the chair so that it looked like he'd just popped out for a minute, and hid behind the door. Then the headteacher sent me in to wait for the nice man who was coming to see me.

Now, I like me some doodling now, but as a kid I downright loved it. Being taken out of lessons and being told to draw was a real stroke of luck. I set to the sugar paper with gusto, scribbling robots, tanks, cars, spacehips and monsters with abandon, chin jutting. (Some people stick their tongues out while concentrating, I push my chin out like I'm entering the all-nations Desperate Dan lookalike regional finals.)

The kiddyshrink had been taking copious notes on my posture and the various nonsense noises that I made when I was concentrating on something I enjoy (I still hum when I'm eating really nice food, to this day). Now, A2's a good size bit of paper for drawing, but after a few minutes I'd filled it right up because all I had to draw with were the thick-tipped permanent markers that the kiddyshrink had left out for me. After a minute or two with nothing to draw on, I began to get bored of the dusty office and looked around for things to do, maker still clutched in my ink-stained grubby hand.

There was absolutely sod-all to do: the head's office was all filing cabinets, shelves of thick books with plain covers and, being the seventies, not even a computer on which to play solitaire. I was growing impatient. Where was this visitor I'd been told about? I had nothing left to draw on! He was supposed to be here - look, there was his jacket over the back of the chair!

His brand new, beautiful suede jacket.

I looked at the chunky marker pen in my hand, and then back at the jacket.

What can I say? I was bored, bored out of my mind. I reached over with the pen ...

The next instant a strange man erupted from behind the door, shouting at me and grabbing at the pen. Now, I'd been warned all about strangers as a kid, and here was one coming straight at me. Needless to say I went from bored out of my mind to scared out of my wits like that. I screamed. I cried. I won't deny that a certain amount of urine may have been involved. The head and half the admin staff came running.

I don't think that the kiddyshrink got anything useful since he obviously didn't get to complete the interview section of the analysis, leaving him with just a bunch of pictures of robots and cowboys (conclusion: subject is a small boy). All in all a bit of a waste of time all round, really, after all, I wasn't "troubled", I just needed more of a challenge.

Still, although I didn't manage to get a dot of ink on his new powder blue suede jacket, I'm glad to say that I manged to cover a lot of it in piss.

Posted by Jonah at 1:20 PM | Comments (1)

Star Trek as a debating tool

You know that nerd culture is in the ascendancy when Star Trek references are used in US Congressional debate on Iraq ...

I particularly like the phrase "... unlike the real Kilngons of Star Trek ..." (my emphasis).

Posted by Jonah at 11:40 AM

January 15, 2007

Whoooooo are you?

Saw this quiz on davorg's blog and thought I'd give it a shot and put the results here as part of my resolution to post at least once a weekday from now on. (We'll see how long that lasts!)

What Kind Of Whovian Are You?
Your Result: Laddyfan

You are the all drinkin, all shaggin god's gift to whoviankind. although sometimes wish you werent a whovian at all, and into football or something...

Hard Living Demon Fan
Classic series n00b
New series n00b
Good natured jumper wearer
Frothing fanboy
What Kind Of Whovian Are You?
Make a Quiz

Seemed a bit inaccurate to me - I was expecting "Frothing Fanboy", but the fact that I like a few beers and a curry when viewing (it's saturday night for crying out loud!) makes me some kind of stunted, Nuts-reading, hairy-palmed pisshead.

For the record, I have never wished I was into football instead of Doctor Who. Have you seen Huddersfield Town?

Posted by Jonah at 1:31 PM | Comments (3)

January 12, 2007

So long and thanks for all the Slack

Robert Anton Wilson, author of Schroedinger's Cat, the Illuminatus! Trilogy and much more has died. That's a damn shame.

See you on fnord the next cycle, Bob.

Posted by Jonah at 9:51 AM

January 11, 2007

More iPhone

A lot of Apple-watchers, notably John Gruber of Daring Fireball, have expressed scepticism about whether or not Apple would (ever) unveil a tablet computer. However, it occurred to me last night: isn't the iPhone essentially a very small tablet computer? And should Apple ever decide that it's worth making a tablet computer then they've already got the interface R&D pretty much done and dusted ...

Just a thought (that probably occurred to everyone else about 36 hours ago) ...

Posted by Jonah at 9:39 AM

January 10, 2007

Paging Alanis Morissette ...

I wonder if whoever made put this image together is feeling so fucking clever these days?

Posted by Jonah at 1:46 PM


So, I've just been catching up with yesterday's MacWorld Expo gubbins and the iPhone looks rather groovy, doesn't it? I saw a couple of amusing things in the reliably Apple-bashing Register's coverage both before and after the announcement:

I've rather liked the multi-point touchscreen pinch/zoom interface thing since I saw it in this Jeff Han TED demo from February last year and Atlasgloves.

Posted by Jonah at 11:16 AM

January 9, 2007

For all the ladies out there who want to impress ...

Wow, a bit heavy on the old youtubing lately. Still, this made me giggle too much to pass up:

(See here if you've been without bandwidth for the past six weeks.)

Posted by Jonah at 1:55 PM

January 3, 2007

Frequently a bit patchy

Via my bro Sam in comments:


(Sam, you can post to this thing direct you know - remind me to show you how).

Posted by Jonah at 5:32 PM | Comments (2)