Simon’s Backup Weblog


A knighthood for the Web

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 31, 2003

Congratulations to Tim Berners-Lee, who has been knighted in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List.

The web has had a huge effect on my life. I first came across it while doing research at the University of Bath, when I tried the first text browsers as an alternative to the now long dead WAIS. Then, one Sunday afternoon, when I was living in Borehamwood, I popped over to Watford to visit , who dragged me into his office to see the first graphical web browser at work.

It was one of those life changing moments.

Web technologies became a key part of my research work at Hirst, and I found myself writing about them for one of the first Internet magazines in the UK, Online World. I remember writing a review of the earliest Windows browsers. That led to my being hired by UK Online, and two years building and running the technology side of a national ISP. Then I moved into cosultancy, and helped build some of the biggest and most complex web sites and applications around, through boom and bust.

I’ve seen CGI replaced by application servers, web servers evolve from simple page delivery tools to complex development environments. I’ve seen the web move from simple pages and a few pictures, to a general purpose application user interface that’s a familiar part of the everyday world. And I’m watching the evolution of the semantic web, and web services, and watching them change the world of business, with the arrival of a truly service-oriented way of thinking about problems.

Today I’m still writing about, and working with, the web and web technologies, with a regular column on web development.

And I’m using LJ, a superb example of the current generation of web applications, to write about the web and what it’s done for me.

10 years that shook the world. And me.

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Shiny and glowy!

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 30, 2003

…it’s the light-emitting transistor.

“Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed the world’s first light emitting transistor (LET). The hybrid device is similar to other transitors except that it produces an optical output signal in addition to the usual electrical transistor output.”

Premonitions

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 30, 2003

Is this to be my eventual fate?

Best random spam header yet…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 30, 2003

“prolate ambling spintail”

Ah, the delights of dictionary-based message constructors at work…

The Read/Reading/To Be Read Meme

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 30, 2003

1. What did you last read?
The Red Star by Arthur Byron Cover, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, The Wailing Wind by Tony Hillerman, 1610 by Mary Gentle

2. What are you reading now?
Clade by Mark Budz, Snare by Katharine Kerr, Natural History by Justina Robson

3. What do you plan to read next?
Famous Monsters by Kim Newman, Finding Helen by Colin Greenland, The Separation by Christopher Priest. Oh, and the rest of the to-be-read bookcase someday….

4. What would you like to read, but don’t have?
Accelerando by Charles Stross (finish it Charlie, please!), Joy of Tech by Nitro and Shaggy, Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctrow

5. What would you recommend for others to read?
The Wreck Of The River Of Stars by Michael Flynn. The best SF novel of 2003 by far. Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson. Math can be fun! Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. Space opera rethought and reworked for the modern world. Desolation Road by Ian MacDonald. Mars the way we always dreamed it.

6. What’s your favourite book from childhood?
The Mysterious Greatwood Michael Clark. The great lost book of my childhood….

7. What book last made you laugh?
The Second Channel Island Jokebook (though you do have to read it to yourself in as broad a northern parish accent as possible)

8. What book last made you weep?
1610 by Mary Gentle. Some desperately moving scenes.

9. What book last made you angry?
Hard to say. Probably Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. Too many cop outs from a set of interesting ideas.

For <lj user=”green_amber”>

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 23, 2003

Two Fran icons…

Season’s greetings to one and all…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 23, 2003

…as I am off to Jersey for a few days later this afternoon. Blogging will be limited, if at all, while there…

Enjoy the break (from my LJ spammage!).

Back Sunday.

GIP: Take that man’s DVD capture software away…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 22, 2003

Today I have been grabbing from Black Books

Manny

…and from For All Mankind

Mission Control 1CountdownMission Control 2Fire and IceSeparationStagingDrifting

As always, feel free to take and reuse!

More is better

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 22, 2003

“More” is actually a wonderful stop motion film, by Mark Osborne, with a New Order soundtrack. Only 6 minutes long, but filmed for IMAX, it’s a tragic tale of the price of dreams fulfilled.

Wonderful, wonderful work – watch it here.

(Happy Product comes courtesy of Despair Inc.)

(linkage from )

Making a new Windows XP box…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 22, 2003

…inside a Windows XP box

“Angle grinders are almost as much fun to use as chain saws.”

[link from as always]

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