Simon’s Backup Weblog

The Exercise Mouse

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 31, 2005

Why waste all that USB power, when your mouse can be connected to a set of electrical muscle stimulation pads. Yes, you can spend all day in front of the PC and still get a work out!

That has to be the weirdest thing I’ve seen all day. Even if it does have cute little paw-shaped stimulation pads…

[via Engadget]



Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 31, 2005

The Pokia folk have a new name…

Hulger. And their retro-handset is now the P*Phone.

A press release just dropped into my mailbox, noting that the handsets will be on sale in Selfridges and in Hoxton from June 1st.

The pink P*Phone looks quite cute, though I think I prefer the green…

They even have a a manifesto (of sorts) :

Mr Hulger loved his leather armchair. Every night he would wind up his grandfather clock. He drove a nineteen fifties Opel around Denmark up until the day he died. He felt a connection to these objects; they reflected who he was. He understood the value of things.

Cute, but I think I prefer my headsets a little smaller.

Mind you, I seem to be carrying three phones most days now.


Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 31, 2005

A Cardiff church has installed wireless broadband. The minister, Rev. Keith Kimber is quoted as saying that he hopes the hot-spot in the church’s north aisle will encourage more people to come into the city centre church.

“All we ask is that they respect the church environment and do not to use loud mobile ring tones or play music on their computers, especially when a service is in progress.”

I guess he’s been to an Apple Store recently…

End of an era…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 31, 2005

The classic phreaking and hacking ASCII-journal Phrack is shutting down, after 20 years…

Since 1985, PHRACK MAGAZINE has been providing the hacker community with
information on operating systems, network technologies and telephony, as
well as relaying features of interest for the international computer
underground. PHRACK MAGAZINE is made available to the public, as often as
possible, free of charge.

I remember reading the first few on amber-screen terminals hooked up to the University of Bath UNIX mainframe. I carried on reading it through my time in research, and until I left UKOL (it pays to read things like that when you’re responsible for the security of a national ISP). It’s been a while since I looked at an issue, and now I discover a call for papers for the final issue.

Still, at least there are the online archives.

London will be invaded soon…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 29, 2005

The Little Giantess and The Sultan of the Indes (with his time-travelling elephant) will be in London on the 8th to the 11th September…

It’s a massive four-day long puppet show created as part of Nantes’ commemorations for the centenary of the death of Jules Verne.

[via ]

I see dead rockets

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 29, 2005

A rather fascinating photo essay covering the fallen hulks of rockets launched from Baikonur.

All space-bound rockets consist largely of fuel tanks and booster stages that fall back to earth when spent, never reaching orbit. In landlocked Baikonur, Russia’s primary launching complex in Kazakhstan, these spaceships crash to earth. This photo essay visits the areas where the supporting rockets land, and shows the people living under the flight paths who contend with flaming spaceship wrecks several times each month.

Rag and bone men scavenging the ruins of the space age – it’s another of those “we’re living in an SF novel” moments. Only now it’s more The Centurai Device than Neuromancer

[via Amygdala]

Strolling in the Gardens of Glass

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 29, 2005

Kew Gardens’ new exhibition “Gardens of Glass” opened yesterday. Scattered throughout the gardens are a selection of new and older works by Dale Chihuly.

I’m a big fan of Chihuly’s work, and an opportunity to see more than 25 installations of his glass works less than 15 minutes from our door was too good to miss.

The weather was fine, and the bright sunlight added reflections and colour to Chihuly’s massive (yet oh so fragile) art. Passing clouds and the slow moving arc of the sun’s path made each moment with each sculpture new. Sometimes finding the art was an expedition in its own right, the installations hidden amongst the green of Kew’s immense greenhouses.

There’s a Flickr photoset here.

The Sun The Sun (Detail) The Sun (Detail) Un-named Dale Chihuly glass work Un-named Dale Chihuly glass work Basket Sets Reeds Reeds (Detail) Reeds (Detail) Green Grass (Detail) Herons (Detail) Herons (Detail) Herons (Detail) Herons (Detail) Nijima Floats (Detail) Nijima Floats (Detail) Nijima Floats (Detail) Herons (Detail) Thames Skiff  (Detail) Thames Skiff  (Detail) Thames Skiff  (Detail) Thames Skiff  (Detail) Thames Skiff  (Detail) Walla Wallas  (Detail) Thames Skiff  (Detail) Thames Skiff Wall Wallas (Detail) Wall Wallas Wall Wallas (Detail) Yellow Palm House Tower (Detail) Yellow Palm House Tower (Detail) Scarlet Palm House Tower (Detail) Scarlet Palm House Tower Palm House Star Palm House Star

Of course, we only visited two of the three main sites (the Palm House and its lake, and the Princess Of Wales Conservatory) – so next time, it’s off to the largest collection of glass in the Temperate House…

The Gardens of Glass exhibition runs untl the 15th of January 2006.


Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 27, 2005

…it’s the cellphone thong.

Available in red, black or black with studs…

It’s even got corset laces…

Scared now!

I think I’ll stick with my Fortnum & Mason leather tissue case. It fits my SPV C500 like a glove, and is nicely supple and soft. Hard to believe something so nice came out of a cracker!

[via Gizmodo]

From the folks that brought you XCOM 2002…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 27, 2005

…comes Open Tech 2005

A one day conference on DIY technologies, from the UKUUG and NTK.

Sponsored by, Open Tech 2005 is an informal, low cost, one-day conference about technologies that anyone can have a go at, from “Open Source”-style ways of working to repurposing everyday electronics hardware.

Taking place on 23rd July, 2005, in Hammersmith, London, the line-up currently features:

  • Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext, on where the web went wrong
  • The official launch of the developer network, opening up BBC content for you to play with
  • Plus: able to record an entire week of all Freeview TV and radio channels, probably the UK’s largest (fridge-sized) PVR

Worth attending just for the Ted Nelson talk, I’d suspect.

Looks like it could be the geek event of the summer…

Small World

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on May 27, 2005

Last night we went out to dinner with Phil Zimmerman (who created PGP) and Jon Callas, the CTO of PGP Inc.

A very interesting set of conversations kept the evening buzzing, covering everything from civil liberties, the politics and morality of cryptography (of course), the problems associated with hashing functions, and British sports cars, but it wasn’t until the end of the evening that we started to realise that there were other connections…

…at which we point we discovered that Jon and his wife knew not only and , as well as and (oh, and too!)…

…and then we got onto the stories of a young Eric S. Raymond at SF conventions…

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