Fun Stuff

Do not send your ducks to eagle school

An open letter from Jake to Albert.

Dear Albert,

I decided not to respond to your sarcasm and threats for these reasons:

  1. It is not one of ours.  Check the top of the invoice, it has a different company name
  2. Calling me a cupid stunt does not incentivise me (Edited for family readers)
  3. I am sorry “file permissions are incorrect” does not make any sense to you.  There is no need to let me know if you find a better way to say it
  4. I do not like you.

I was going to leave 4 out as its getting personal, but it is in direct response to your question why I do not respond to your messages instantly.  Perhaps if you were Kimberly Stewart asking me on a date you’d have better luck.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/do-not-waste-my-time-HQ.mp4 width=450 height=285 /]

If you are truly tired of living in Jerk City, If you don’t want every day to be a walk down Asshole Avenue, then learn to be civilized, learn to be reasonable.  Or don’t as there is no point sending ducks to eagle school.


Elevated Traffic – The Promo Video

Beth, Owner of Elevated Traffic receives the last free promo video. It has been great fun doing these and I want to thank everyone for their kind comments, and those not so kind as they too have been a great help!

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/elevated-HQ.mp4 /]

You can also save the files to your disk by right-click save-as: elevated-HQ

See How to add a video to your site for instructions on how this can be added to your website.

How to add a video to your website

There are hundreds of ways to add video to a Wordpress blog, Flash Video is a good place to start.  If all you want is to embed a Youtube then Smart Youtube from Vladimir Prelovac reduces the complex to the ridiculously simple. If you can find the V on your keyboard then you will master it in a nano second.

But what about a website?  Raw HTML?  Where do you go for that?

I guess I should create a video but until I do here are a few pointers that have worked well for me.  The process from 30,000ft up is:-

  1. Locate the place in your HTML you wish to add your video
  2. Paste in the video code
  3. Save the file

If you are an HTML webmaster guru this will be elementary stuff.  All you have to do is decide which flavour of video player you are going to offer your visitors.  I tested a few and like flowplayer although their demo videos were broken when I tested them!

How to install flowplayer on your website

  1. Download from the free version
  2. Create a folder off the root of your website and call it flowplayer
  3. Upload these files to the new flowplayer directory you just created
    • flowplayer-3.1.5\flowplayer\example\flowplayer-3.1.4.min.js
    • flowplayer-3.1.5\flowplayer\flowplayer.controls-3.1.5.swf
    • flowplayer-3.1.5\flowplayer\flowplayer-3.1.5.swf

The version of flowplayer you download maybe different but the principle is likely to stay the same.

That’s all there is to the installation so let’s see how we can use it in our web page.  Much of this depends on how you prefer to edit your pages, if you do not know how to edit HTML then search Google for HTML tutorials, there are many companies offering top quality training with free books and videos to get you started.  There are plenty of free editors available too, so if you are starting from scratch google for free html editor too.

Ready to integrate video in your web page

Now you have installed your flowplayer all you need to do is add a few lines of code.  First add the Javascript file in the header.

<script type="text/javascript" src="flowplayer/flowplayer-3.1.4.min.js"></script>

Which should look a bit like this when you’re done:-

Locate the position in the HTML where you would like your video and use an Anchor tag and another line of Javascript.

<a href=""  
<script type="text/javascript">
flowplayer("player", "flowplayer/flowplayer-3.1.5.swf");

Alter the size of the video to suit your page design and make sure you keep the ratio between the height and width the same so that it doesn’t distort the output.

Download an example
Click here to download everything you need to get started. This uses flowplayer 3.1.5 so don’t forget to check their website for updates and new features at

Looking forward to the Tablet not sure about an iPad though

Mr Gimpy Releases The iTamponI have never been enthusiastic about Apple.  I’m not sure if its an irrational dislike of them or some professional jealousy, probably a mixture of both.  As a programmer since the late 70′s I watched in frustration as hardware and software companies took proprietary routes which held back progress for us all.

As soon as the IBM PC released it was clear that generic hardware and OS development would drive progress.  So companies like Apple that greedily protected everything they did and kept their prices artificially high under some waspish excuse that they did things in more style could well be the reason for my dislike of them.

Their constant attack on everyone else probably another.  I had always thought they were part of the Apple Music label and is probably why I bought my first (an Apple II), the public battle between them and the Beatles, which I think the Beatles lost, was astonishing news to me.  But they continue to steal names from my memory for which I thought were other things.  At the early launch of the net for example “iPhone” was a name given to an early VOIP application, and again I had mislead myself into believing that their new phone was going to be little more than that with a 3g connection.  How far from the truth, but I am not an iPhone protagonist.  Its the device that sets the standard for other manufacturers.  Even a blind chicken finds corn sometimes.

But its not just product names they have taken, its design too.  In the early 80′s I contracted to a hardware manufacturer based in Aberdeen.  They created a PC which was identical to apple4iMacthe iMac pedestal in every way except it had a plastic arm rather than a fancy chrome one.  It could also be purchased in multiple colors rather than just white.  When Apple released their version 20 years later and claimed it was “a world first” I confess it took me back.  I contacted the founder of the PC manufacturer (a household name in the US and UK in its time)  and asked him if he was aware of Apples claim and would he not be doing something about it?  “Martyn..” he sighed “I’m retired at 67 with just enough to see me through, why should I care?”.

And honestly what does it matter? So Apple succeed again due to apathy and a cult following that live and breath everything they say.

Along comes yesterdays announcement of the iPad.  I had resolved that I was going to overcome my irrational attitude towards Apple and investigate with a view to buy.  I decided rather than go for the iPhone I would save the cash and investigate Apples Tablet PC (I assume they are not going to claim they innovated this idea too).  But that name!  Check out #itampon on twitter and you will see why I have become reluctant again.

I am going to find it hard to be proud of my purchase with a name like that (and I know just how irrational that sounds).

Sungha Jung Plays Bolero

I have been fortunate enough to follow Sungha Jung’s progress for a couple of years.  I guess he can only improve with age yet for someone so young he has a superb head start.  Already an Internet star I hope we get to see him live in concert soon, just as soon as he finishes school!


Changing a nations attitude with twitter

1148072_blogSo if Twitter has people thinking it can change a nations attitude towards its own government, and it appears that it is, it’s not illogical that it might be.  Some would say “My dog has four legs and so has my cat, visa-vie my cat is a dog” is nonsense, but I had a cat that once thought it was a dog, well it would attack any dog no matter its size and never lost (probably because he overcame dogs brain dead cat-n-run instincts with confidence and a vicious set of eye-scratching claws).  Watching Bull Mastifs run in fear of their lives being chased by a small white cat had anyone who saw it in fits.  Could facebook be a Bull Mastif?

Here’s a link for CNN to help them with breaking news: is it spam or scam?

4307993_blogJust lately I have been getting an infuriating amount of spam from a company calling itself boxbe – and there’s no way to stop it.  Like most people I rarely take notice of spam, but feel taken when something non spammy looking get’s me to open it.

When you signup to a company and decide later you don’t want anything to do with them it’s usually an easy process to remove your account.  All good forum software and traffic exchanges do that but not these boxbe people.

Somehow their rubbish finds a way through boxtrapper and spam assassin, and because I get caught each time I am wasting more and more time.

They want me to share my contacts with them, maybe they think other people want to receive their spam too!  Or perhaps they think they should be allowed to because facebook does?

They are mad, why would anyone want to do that?

London Bridge seeks relationship with a Telescope

towerbridge_falls_for_telescopeA friend doesn’t “get twitter”.  He thinks it’s a place for teenagers to pass the time swapping pictures, which it might be, but there is a lot more potential. is a good example.  An engineer has programmed the bridge to tweet it’s opening 5 minutes before and again once it has been closed again.

This information may not seem that useful.  Perhaps if you use the bridge regularly it might be handy to receive a text with a 5 minute warning.

But wouldn’t it be great if TomTom linked IQ Routes to this kind of information?  Without the need to think your GPS can change your route if it discovers the bridge is closed to traffic.  A godsend for ambulances and emergency services for sure, and convenience for everyone else.

What about aircraft?  If each one had a twitter address we could monitor landing times and diversions.

How about an RFID sown into under 10′s clothing reporting their position to a protected twitter account?

How about your fridge listing items you need?

Companies maintaining equipment could visit your PC/Server/Freezer/Oil Well/Car etc. and make maintenance decisions without charging you for on site visits.

The list is endless.

What makes a competent programmer?

Ever wondered how to tell if you are hiring a competent programmer?  In the following video Ron Burk discusses the Psychology of Incompetence in which he leaves you with no illusions.


If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization

New York cabbies are not for the faint hearted

There are probably as many stories about cabbies as there are cabbies with stories about “You’ll never guess who I had in the back of the cab” stories.  On a recent visit I was on fifth street, about 20 minutes walk from the Guggenheim.  I prefer walking, even in the rain, but time was short and I had arranged to meet someone there, so decided to take a cab.

“Guggenheim please” I asked as the force of his acceleration slid me across to the other side of the cab.  He raced into a free slot in the heaving mass of traffic which appeared to move like a slug in molasses as soon as he joined.  A tape began to play welcoming me to New York.  I thought that was a bit odd, is everyone taking a cab in New York a visitor?  Why don’t the locals use the cabs?  Two minutes later the cabbie asked me what I was doing for lunch.  His thick eastern European accent reminiscent of a cab taken from Tottenham Court Road to St Pauls in London last week.

Discussing lunch with a New York cabbie wasn’t something I wanted to do.  Deciding how to deal with his question wasn’t hard, ignoring it seemed the best option except before I got the chance he glanced in a rear view mirror aimed directly at the passengers, presumably to keep an eye on them, make sure they’re not taking a dump on his highly polished fake leather plastic seat.  “Ricki’s is great, they just had a makeover, cost him quarter million bucks, why not take your friend there, I’ll drive you half price?”.

Reminds me of the string of restaurants along the beach in most Spanish resorts where they punt for business, except for the acidic smell of overcooked cabbage…