June 20, 2012

A new Matt Dancing Video

I think this is worth an entire inspirational video post of its own really. One of my all time favourite things on the internet, now in new mass participation mode. See it before everyone else does!

Posted by Alison Scott at 06:50 PM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2007

iClip 4

a screenshot of iClip: the clips are Creative Commons licensed pictures by Flickr users mattdork, Daveybot, Bob.Fornal, cicilief, maych and Fant, thanks to allThis is a shameless marketing gimmick, but I haven't written about iClip before, so I will now. MacZot are dropping the price of iClip today by a dime for every review of iClip posted -- until it's free. I got it as part of some previous maczotty type extravaganza -- I started using iClip 3, and then upgraded to iClip 4 as part of MacHeist. I've been using it daily ever since.

You can see from my history of using iClip that it is very linked into the MacZot way of doing things; clever marketing, small shiny apps. But is it worth your money? Well, if you get it later today via MacZot, it will surely be pretty cheap.

It's an enhanced clipboard. Very beautiful, copies in loads of different sorts of clipboard content. It works in two different ways, and I use it for both. First, there's a clipboard recorder. The recorder keeps hold of the last so many things you've copied to clipboard -- how many is configurable. So that saves your bacon if you're holding something in clipboard and then accidentally copy something else.

The second is that you can configure sets of clippings separately. I keep separate set of clips for text that I regularly want to paste into things. This is mostly boilerplate answers to common eBay questions, text I send to people who've bought books from me, that sort of thing. But I also keep my credit card number in a clip. Yes, I do know this isn't very secure, but it's dead handy. I know there are much more elaborate ways to do this using dedicated programs and keyboard shortcuts, but I am a click on the bunny sort of girl and iClip works for me.

You can see from the screenshot that iClip is very beautiful, and also that sometimes that beauty could theoretically get in the way of efficiency. You can choose to have the clips in slightly less pretty but more practical square boxes instead, and you can see the full content of a clip by mousing over it. You can also choose where on the screen it sits, and whether it seamlessly hides away. I keep it on the right hand side of my widescreen monitor and autohide it. So when I want it I just have to go and get it.

Even if you don't decide to buy the main program, there's a widget version of iClip that is free, iClip lite, and that has won loads of 'best widget' awards. Go check it out. It doesn't have as many features as the main program, but it's very well worth having for nothing. It requires Mac OS X 10.4

I should say that I also use another clipboard application, Spike, from Porchdog. It's much less pretty and I don't think it has so many neat features, but it carries my clipboard across all my networked computers, both Mac and PC. That's very cool and I don't know any other way to do it.

Update: I won a prize from MacZot for 'best iClip screenshot' in their ReviewZot, so I've won various free software licenses. Including the license for iClip, which as you will remember I already own. So first person to ask can have it.

Posted by Alison Scott at 01:39 PM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2007

Got Vermin?

Inspired by Dr Plokta, I wonder about cataloguing the local wildlife in Walthamstow. I suspect such a list would end up something like...

1. Common house mouse
2. Deformed London pigeon
3. Urban fox
4. eight hundred Canada geese menacing my local park
5. Was that a rat? Perhaps it was a water vole? Nope, it was a rat.

PS... is this thing on? I haven't had a comment since October, not counting all the people helpfully telling me that I have a great blog and they have an excellent source of viagra.

Posted by Alison Scott at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2006

Never Explain, Never Apologise

The underground is full of iPod shuffle ads that evoke the sense of wearable music. One of the commonest has three badges. Two I didn't immediately recognise, but the third is an OK Go badge. Now, most people on the underground aren't, I think, going to know that OK Go are famous on the interwebs. Therefore, I mused, this is the Apple ad designer's enormous shout-out to the band -- hey, you do cool videos!

This sort of hidden message in ads is becoming more and more common. For example, I noticed that tube ads for 'Flushed Away' invite you to text for "SLUGS ON UR MOBILE".

Plokta has been stuffed full of in-jokes for years. Our motto concerning them, and their explanations, is "Never Explain, Never Apologise". But now I realise they're not in-jokes at all, they're shout-outs. Much cooler.

Meanwhile, OK Go's video for "Here it Goes Again" has a Grammy nomination, as does the video for RHCP's "Dani California". I feel a bit embarrassed about the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I've been actively disliking them for years, and it was a bit of a shock to hear them on Jools Holland and really like the music. Perhaps I should buy some.

Posted by Alison Scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2006

101 Things in 1001 Days

I've been thinking about the 101 things in 1001 days meme for a while. It's simple enough -- list 101 things, nice specific things, that you want to complete in 1001 days. Whatever you like. 1001 days is a good amount of time; not 'before you die' which is rather too long (I hope), and not a year, which seems rather short to me these days. From looking at others, it helps if you have a mixture of easy things, one-off things, longer-term things, wild dreams, and so on. So I've tried to do that. This is yet another post I intend to update over time. Crossed through items are completed; items with links have additional information (normally progress).

One place I got inspiration was from other people's lists. You know, it turns out that I've done many of the things that appear on other people's lists! I shouldn't, I suppose, be surprised; I'm 41, and many of them are much younger. I have sufficient money and opportunities to pursue my hobbies. I've had all sorts of goals for a while, and I've accomplished some of them. I tend to learn things quickly and I've tried lots of different sorts of things.

Here's my list.

Sort out my domestic chaos

1. Tidy the house until my mum is impressed.
2. Discard everything we don't want.
3. Have a place for everything we do want.
4. Fix house so that there's nothing obviously wrong with it.
5. Get a competent cleaner, gardener, plumber, builder and decorator.
6. Get the asset register complete and up to date.
7. Have a good set of offsite backups (6 monthly) and onsite backups (monthly).

Ingraining Habits

8. Weigh 2 stone less than I do now.
9. Make my teeth as healthy as I can. Completed 8 November 2006
10. Exercise 3 times a week.
11. Have and maintain clean, healthy nails.
12. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
13. Hop out of bed early; only stay up late for good reason (good friends, exciting events, good cheer; but not to get to level 9).
14. Restart yoga. Completed 1 August 2006
15. Blog twice a week.
16. Wear a pedometer most days...
17... and walk 10,000 paces most days.
18. Don't eat in front of a screen for a week...
19...a month.
20. Take my vitamins.
21. Keep those inboxes clear at both home and work. Completed 1 March 2007
22. Laugh out loud every day; if no laughter by 10pm then take urgent remedial action.
23. Ingrain another good habit not on this list.

Health one-offs

24. Run a mile without stopping.
25. Climb a big hill -- Scafell Pike?
26. Have a full health check including cholesterol.
27. See a chiropodist.


28. Learn to play the melodeon well enough to join in sessions, accompany singing, and have fun. partly done 29 August 2006
29. Join a band
30. Either complete or discard all partially finished craft projects.
31. Learn 20 songs to sing well enough for floor spots.
32. Get a digital stereo camera that will take action shots. Completed 8 November 2006
33. Take some excellent stereo photos.
34. Take photos of my children every month.
35. Sell a piece of artwork.
36. Host an ATC swap/create event or other creative event.
37. Write some great fan writing, so I can win the Best Fan Writer Nova and have a complete set.
38. Make a fun one-day convention happen.

Obsessively Organise Things on Computers

39. Photograph and archive the things my kids make.
40. Archive all the minidisc recordings and then sell/give away the recorder and the discs...
41...and keep up to date with edirol archiving
42. Reclaim the old vinyl and archive it to computer
43. Archive all the old videos
44. Find those last few CD covers upstairs and scan them so all the music I own has iTunes artwork.


45. See Horslips live.
46. Dance regularly.
47. Have professional photos taken of us as a family.
48. Take 2 weeks off work all at once for a holiday that does not include a science fiction convention.
49. Visit 100 different London attractions -- museums, art galleries, places of interest, events. Different exhibitions count. (See list of plausibles)
50. Dine at the Fat Duck.
51. Read 50 fiction books.
52. Discard DVDs we'll never watch, and watch the rest.
53. Ride in a hot air balloon.
54. See 5 West End shows.
55. Have a long weekend away with Steven and no children. In a hotel. In another country.
56. Spend an hour in the hammock.
57. Visit Legoland.
58. Visit Venice before it sinks into the sea.
59. Go and see Shakespeare standing up at the Globe.
60. Attend at least one party per month; if there's a month with no parties, have some friends round. Amended 23/9/06 to make sure I actually go to the parties.
61. See a cool astronomical phenomenon (eg a total eclipse, or the aurora borealis) Completed 3 March 2007
62. Ride a nice big rollercoaster.
63. Acquire something exceptionally beautiful and completely useless.
64. Visit some more thermal baths -- including at least Bath and one in Eastern Europe (eg Budapest again or Slovenia)


65. Be happy at work.
66. Be happy with my working wardrobe.
67. Complete Warwick PDPFL and become CIPFA member.

Make Others Happier

68. Write letters to elderly people who were a formative influence on me.
69. Do a charity cycle ride.
70. Ingrain the habit of sending birthday cards and gifts to friends and relatives.
71. Cook interesting food each month.
72. Give blood. Completed 18 September 2006.
73. Get in touch with 5 old friends and keep in touch.
74. Send 5 letters of appreciation for excellent customer service.
75. Get my first aid certificate (St John Ambulance?)
76. Go one week without shouting or swearing.
77. Register as a bone marrow donor.Completed 18 September 2006.
78. Hold a really big party.
79. Implement a community website forum for Walthamstow Village Residents Association.


80. Read 50 non-fiction books that aren't trivial.
81. Reach tourist standard in five European languages (basic phrases, restaurants, hotels, numbers, that sort of thing).


82. Save £200 per month
83. Drive to the extent that I'm doing half the driving.
84. Implement anti-consumer month in September and February (each year)
85. Get a bread machine -- but not till we know where it goes. Completed 31 January 2007
86. Monitor all my expenditure for a month...
87. ...and then reduce unnecessary expenditure.


88. Label every plug in the house, replace every n-gang socket that's used for chargers with a switched n-gang socket, and then turn off all the chargers except when they're charging.


89. Win something cool. Completed 27 August 2006
90. Eat 20 foods or drinks I've never tried before.
91. Get a nice clean Buccaneer set on eBay & then play it with my brother and our kids.
92. Find a good jeweller and turn my green stone into a proper engagement ring.

The List

93. Renew the list every 3 months; extend the targets that are too easy, replace the now-impossible, but keep going and celebrate success.
94. Make all the lists inherent in this list.
95. Celebrate sucess by buying a fabulous memento on day 1001.
96. Scrapbook/ATCBlog the completed goals Amended 23/9/06.
97. Persuade three other people to do 101 things, or some other formal goalsetting & checking process.
98. Create a new list before the 1001 days is up.

Three extra things -- perhaps suggested by friends?

99. Learn to identify and collect edible fungi.

My 1001 days is up on April 28, 2009.

Posted by Alison Scott at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

Songs as Bullet Point Lists

Over on LiveJournal, people are rewriting songs as bullet point lists. Here's an example:

(via David)

Posted by Alison at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2005

I love Marmite

I put this in Trinkets first, but decided to blog it properly. The wheeze is to compare Google scores for "I love [foo]" and "I hate [foo]", and then develop an index based on the positive or negative vibes, and the passion with which they are held. Apple, for example (you knew I was getting there) has one of the most passionate fan bases, and 23 times as many people love them as hate them -- or at least are prepared to say so in their blog. That's the highest score so far spotted for a brand; but that's because Apple's user base are members of a weird sick religious cult (for comparison, Jesus scores even higher). Marmite, surely the iconic brand for this riff, has about 3 times as many lovers as haters out there in webspace. The lowest score so far spotted is Walmart, with nearly ten times as many haters as lovers. But maybe you can do better?

Posted by Alison at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2003

A List of Songs

There's an Internet meme going round about songs that remind you of things. I find it hard to answer these properly; I keep thinking of other songs that mean different things, that the quiz doesn't remind me of. And then there's loads of questions I can't answer. So here instead are some songs.

A song that reminds me of lost love: "The First Picture of You" by the Lotus Eaters. It was, obviously, a holiday romance; but quite a successful one as these things go. I still stalk him on Google sometimes.

The first time I realised songs could be really meaningful and speak to my heart: "Forever and Ever", by Slik. Sometime later I realised that some art only speaks to certain people at certain times; and for this one you had to be a misunderstood ten-year-old protogoth.

A song to chop onions by: "Lies" by Stan Rogers. Floods of tears, every single time. I cannot even read the lyrics on a website without crying.

Most unlikely cover version ever: "Oops I Did It Again", covered by Richard Thompson. Bitter, vitriolic, superb.

The song we got married to: We played a set of five tracks at the register office, but nobody could hear them because the sound was turned down. If just one, it has to be "Maybe Then I'll Be a Rose" by Les Barker (as sung by June Tabor). (Marianne, who was 20 months old at the time of our wedding, had a shirt to cover up her bridesmaid's dress that included a line from this song: "ten out of ten for true true love, nought out of ten for timing"). If we'd had dancing, the song for the first dance would have had to have been "Blood Wedding" by the Oysterband.

A song I'd be quite happy to never hear again: The BBC's version of "Perfect Day".

A song I'd like to wake up to: I don't really like to wake up, so I don't really like to wake up to music. I especially wouldn't want to wake up to "I got you, Babe".

A song I wouldn't know about if it wasn't for an efficient PR girl: "Kiri's Piano" by James Keelaghan. I first saw James Keelaghan because his PR agent had read a review I wrote of an Oysterband gig at the Borderline, and suggested I might like to go see Keelaghan there. I did, and I took some friends; which was a good thing, as there weren't very many people at that gig who weren't card-carrying Canadians.

Speaking of card-carrying Canadians: This isn't really intended to be an all-Canadian music post, but I have to mention something by Moxy Früvous. It could be "Fly", or it could be "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors". Or it could, really, be almost anything in between. We saw them live, at the Mean Fiddler, on the evening of a tube strike. It was quiet. They called out "any Canadians here tonight?" And then, surveying the response, "is there anyone here tonight who isn't Canadian?"

A song I like from my parents record collection: They had one Beatles single; just one, to register the phenomenon rather than because they liked it. I've always liked the B side, "Thank You Girl". And of course, my father has many, many records by the late Jimmy Shand.

A song that reminds me of Steven: "Oh Baby I" by Eternal. Not our sort of music at all. But it was a huge hit when I first moved to London, and we used to chortle at its gloriously conditional declaration: "for as long as we're together I will cherish this everlasting love".

(via Swiss Tony)

Posted by Alison at 10:06 PM | Comments (3)