Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Glasgow 2020 - the dreaming city

I have seen this gradually take form since the event last year. Intend to read it through the week. Oh, it's free!

This book maps out the story of our cities - the places they are now and the places they will become. It is told through the experience of one city - Glasgow.

The Dreaming City contains the journey of an experiment in opening up a city's future. The experience of Glasgow 2020 - and a programme of events which reached out accross the city and its citizens - shows that people have the capacity and imagination to make their own futures.The project used stories and storytelling to provoke thinking about the future across the whole city.

This book contains a selection of some of these stories, as well as examples of other materials. It offers a different perspective to the world of 'the official future' and breaks new ground in how we think about the future of cities.

Get it!

Scratching the surface

If anyone doubts Microsoft's ability to innovate, i ask you to check out Surface Computing.

This is probably the most innovative technology that i have seen in recent times that is actually being used in the real world. The juke box thing was very cool and with this flipped upright and available as part of your media centre, this could really be the future of video and music in the home.

I watched the video with my 4 year old who was fascinated by it and he went off to get his own surface computer ... (one of these magnetic writing boards for kids)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I'm on the new Plazes alpha - looks very exciting but i don't think i can post anything about it quite yet.

Looks pretty exciting anyway!

Designing and Evaluating Mobile Applications for New Social Experiences

I went to an event tonight entitled "Designing and Evaluating Mobile Applications for New Social Experiences" which was presented by Dr. Lynne Baillie.

It was a last minute decision to attend (i never knew about it) but i was glad i went as some of the ideas presented touched on many of the things i have been thinking about and working on for some time now (in fact i created my first WAP site way back in 1998!).

Much of what she discussed reminded me of some of the concepts on nexet generation technologies discussed in Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs. It was however, exciting to see it actually working (or at least the results of it).

Lot's of cool stuff i'll be following up on.

Clyde Property

I know a number of you from around Glasgow have emailed me in the past so you may be interested in my latest issue.

Clyde Property Letting. Yep, we left our house after 3 and a half years (when Xavier was brought up) and they are now hoping we are happy to pay for the cleaning of the whole house, despite us putting a lot of work in to ensure it was clean.

As an example, they want us to pay for the cleaning of arguably the leakiest windows in the West End and a 5 year old smoke stained CREAM couch. There are a number of other issues i wish i had the time to go into, but let's see how this goes....

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Glasgow Science Centre

Had a great (and very long) day at the Glasgow Science Centre today with my wife and kids.
We were lucky enough to see the bridges being raised for the boats to pass as well.

Took a lot of pics, but three best are below.

Xavier's "floating head" ....


Xavi in the cockroach house (actually a photo of a video screen capturing Xavier watching the cockroaches in another part of the building)


A boat on the Clyde, the Science Centre behind, BBC Scotland headquarters on the left and the IMax behind the Science Centre...


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ben Lomond Summit!

Well, after my last attempt a year or so back, we finally got to Ben Lomond. I tweeted the summit.

We even managed to get caught in a freak snowstorm which nearly froze my hands off - managed to forget my gloves for the first time ever.

Here are some pics, with more on flickr. You can now see where i was on a map ...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WS Enumerations in ASMX

String little error i have run into when using enumerations from an ASMX.

Just in case you don't know, enumerations aren't automatically serialized when you use the XmlInclude attribute on your web service classes. Hence you can create a method called someything like "GetMyEnum" which return it. You don't ever actually have to call this method, but having it there forces .Net into serializing the enumeration for you and including it in any web service proxy definitions.

Now, we also know you can add the [Flags] attribute to any enumeration to allow you to perform bitwise calculations on the enumeration without created properties to store each setting. In most cases you simply apply the [Flags] attribute and that's all you need to do.

However, I found an issue here (anyone else?). On the actual enumeration definition, the integer value start from zero; on the web service proxy generated enumeration, it starts from 1 ! In other words:

On the server ...

public enum MyEnum
myfirst, //set to 0
mysecond, //set to 1
mythird, //set to 2
myfourth //set to 4

In the WS proxy ...

public enum MyEnum
myfirst, //set to 1
mysecond, //set to 2
mythird, //set to 4
myfourth //set to 8

The result is that your bitwise calculations that are sent from the client to the server are screwed up. The fix is irritating, but simple. Simply modify your original enumeration definition and start from 1 rather than 0.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Open ID on a mobile

Just a screen shot for just now, but kinda neat :)

UEFA Final Video

My first (slightly delayed) You Tube upload or the UEFA final build up - again with Owen doing the recording.

Another ...

UEFA Cup Final Build Up

The UEFA Cup final is being held in Glasgow tonight. Here is the build-up in George Square.... (we were at the Seville end - Espanol later). Taken by Owen at Conscia (he wasn't christened that full title, but i don't think he's got a blog).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jason Calacanis Twitter Request - translation

I read this twitter :

"JasonCalacanis: i'm on the backcover of La Vanduardia in Spain today I hear... wish someone would translate this for me!"

I'm always looking to improve my Spanish, so with help from my wife (she is Chilean), we have this....


Today We Read and Write More than ever

I am 36 years old- its a relief to be able to stop being a child prodigy(cause he’s
an adult). I was born in Brooklyn, I have done films with Paul Auster. I was
married in July : now we are making babies. My policy is to be useful. My religion:
anyone can do what they want to do without making anyone angry. The Internet
has now made us read and write more than ever.
My father and I were waiters. I learned to ask and listen to people and to know
what they wanted and how to get it to them.

- Good Schooling
My father was a great waiter: everyone adored him, because he knew everyone
and he introduced everyone. After I became a computer technologist but I still
kept asking everyone what they wanted.

- How
I would go through offices with dirty hands with ink toner and i realized that in the
computer world there was no real communication and that is how i founded the
Silicon Alley reporter.

- The reporter from the Silicon Alley
It was a joke about the Silicon Valley in California trying to be converted into a
New York alley. In reality is was a bunch of various files, but full of juicy
information. We were in the movement of spontaneous and fresh "zines" (less
formal magazines) as opposed to the formal magazines.

- And you earned money with that?
We gained almost $12 million per year and i have hired 74 journalists.

- And you've bought yourself a Porsche?
I bought a motorbike: much more comfortable and fun to move around in
Manhattan. I have become very famous because everyone wants to be in the
Internet boom.

- Has The New York put you in the clouds...
The connector is the nickname because of my ability to connect people and from
my experience Malcolm Gladwell has theorized about connectors - people who
enjoy putting people in contact.

- Why do you like to present?
It is instinctive. People want to know people they are interested in and i am
interested in everyone and i have another secret...

I never think about how people may get along - that's their problem - i'll just
introduce them.

- And that's everything?
I never ask for favours so that is why everyone likes me. In New York none is
happy with what they have and when they get something they are already thinking
of something else.

-How stressful!!
It's amazing. I love the energy flowing through the city. Don't ever bet against
ambitious people!

- Why not?
You will lose. When the Internet came out the NYT pronounced that it would not
have any publicity; and then the bet that no one would use their bank cards on the
web. Ha!

- The truth is that the web did have problems
Don't tell me. NASDAQ went down and i had to fire 62 employees who had
believed in me as an Internet guru.

- Is that not part of being an entrepreneur?
When i was telling my guys about the firing, some of them would cry and some of
them would insult me and the smarter ones had already smelled it and had other
jobs lined up; and the good ones felt bad for my fall and they still collaborate with

- How did you survive
I transformed the Silicon Alley into the Venture Reporter. I would announce the
startups and would give access to our database at $1000 per query. We had 6000
clients a year and in the end i sold it to Dow Jones.

- And then you created your own blog?
I made spelling mistakes and i don't know how to write, but i am a reporter. A
couple of my old reporters opened their blogs and started earning money with
their publicity.

- Would anyone get publicity from a blog?
Let me first explain a blog.

- You are a reporter alright!
It is a type of personal diary that you have on the web and however wants to read
it can read it and participate in it.

- And you bet on the idea?
I smelled the boom! Before the only way to respond to a newspaper was to write
a letter but in New York only groups of interest and some [obsessive’s] would write
letters and the editors would only select a few.

- Some of them are still interesting.
Blogs allow people all over the world to respond with contradictory information to
the official views. Dan Rather the great presenter lost his job when they put false
information about how Bush avoided doing military service.

- I remember: that was very humiliating for him.
A blogger explained that that false report could only be done with a word
processor and when Bush did his military service, that processors did not exist.

- Any more detail?
A secret of a good blog is to be authentic and not give just on opinion. You have to
be a reported and speak with many other fountains of information and those
involved in the situation and if you can, also, include pictures and illustrate your

- And you can live from that?
Yes, you can do it very well, because the blogger give you the possibility of
speaking directly to the consumer and listening to critiques, suggestions and idea.
Good journalism is always going to sell - be in on the web or on paper.

- And is that what you used to do being a waiter?
Exactly! Ask the people what they want and give it to them - that's how i created a
weblog. It seems easy but there are a lot of reporters who only aspire to put their
opinions without researching information and telling the audience anything new,
and there are people who hate the opinion of their readers. After betting on
journalists on the web, i sold weblog to AOL for $25 million.

- Bingo
Yes, it's not that big a deal!! That's very little in the US. I wanted to buy a house in
LA but with that i felt very poor. Just as well i don't really care about money.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Morphing myself

Hey folks, it's me, me when i'm older and and me as a baby, courtesy of the face transformer from Scotland's St. Andrews University...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Is it a URL?

Oh how can one not love regular expressions. Anything that can use the following string to actually successfully validate a URL (an Open ID URL in my case) must be good. Reference.


Thursday, May 10, 2007


Twittervision is actually worryingly addictive - more so than twitter itself.

It is a mashup of twitter and google maps and although it doesn't display everyone (i never appeared in any of mine) it is nevertheless quite interesting - well, for a few minutes anyway.

I can already think of a plethora of ideas around this, but in most cases you'll go, say "that's cool" and never, if rarely go back. Still, the real time display is neat :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Secret of Apple Design

Excellent article on Apple.

What is also nice about that site is that it provides audio downloads which allows me to start using the audio features of this PDA more! Unfortunately their link is breaking at the moment, but hopefully only temporary (i'll ping them anyway).

Monday, May 7, 2007

mobile, media and image recognition

Yikes - a week since my last post. Been busy on Windows Mobile app development and deployment, image recognition, an open id portal and dynamic mobile forms and media.

In the course of it all, we are moving house.

I will hopefully have some time to write up what i have been up to. I've missed out on the blog world, magazine articles and anything else outside my personal tech bubble, but hopefully the load will lighten now.....