Elly Williams' Weblog

Caught Between Industries

Can We Have Your Kidneys?

While skimming through my news feeds this morning and came across an article about a new campaign to get people to give up one of their kidneys for relatives needing a transplant. Now why did this article grab my attention… well, I’m blaming that on the headline.

Living organ donor drive launched .

A little too reminiscent of Monty Python: The Meaning of Life, and that scene where “an organ donor card holder has his organs forcibly removed in his own front room.”

Sunset Flight

Glowing Clouds during a sunset flight to NewcastleI’m not a huge fan of flying. Waiting for an hour to be treated like a criminal by airport security and then squeezed into a tin can with a hundred other people is not my idea of a fun time.

But a 40 minute flight, with a window seat and views like this is about as good as it gets!

Lib-Dem Quote-of-the-Day

Putting John Prescott in charge of a committee looking at electoral reform is like putting Herod in charge of a maternity ward, said [Leader of the Liberal Democrats] Charles Kennedy.

I must say, I love the quote – it’s a fantastic image. Although I’d argue that putting any Labour MP in charge of electoral reform won’t get anywhere, as the current system is working in their favour at the moment…

BBC NEWS | Politics | Kennedy attacks ‘Herod’ Prescott

4 + 4 = a phish?

Concerns about identity theft are beginning to put people off shopping and banking online.

In a survey commissioned by software firm Intervoice, 17% of people said they had stopped banking online while 13% had abandoned web shopping.

Concerns about how secure identity is online have risen following high-profile phishing attacks.

The term [phishing] refers to the practise of creating look-alike websites, often of banks and other financial institutions, and duping people into visiting them and giving out personal information such as pin numbers and passwords.

Fifty seven percent saw ID cards as the best way to protect themselves against identity theft.

Stealing identities is often a piecemeal affair, as thieves garner small bits of information bit by bit and gradually create a persona.

There’s a couple of things in the results of this survey that worry me…

Concerns about how secure identity is online have risen following high-profile phishing attacks.
The real life equivalent of this is stating that “Bogus Doorstop traders gaining access to your home and stealing all your valuables is causing people to lock their front doors when they go out”. The problem with phishing is that it’s a confidence trick rather than a security breach…While it’s great that people are becoming aware of phishing, it worries me how little understanding of it there appears to be of the actual problem.
Fifty seven percent saw ID cards as the best way to protect themselves against identity theft.
Let me get this straight… having a card on you, at all times, which contains large amounts of personal data, about you, which can be read by anyone with the correct equipment, is the best way to protect your identity…? Oh, and all that data is also stored centrally, and you have no idea who has access to it. The logic of the British Public is staggering!!

By the way, anyone else think that 57% stat is going to end up being used by the government as an approval rating…

BBC NEWS | Technology | Public worried by online ID theft

Headteacher shows understanding of Pupils

A school could help restore the reputation of the notorious hooded top after making it part of its uniform.

Richard Haigh, principal of Coombeshead College, Newton Abbot, Devon, has criticised “hysterical” stereotyping of ‘hoodie’ wearers as thugs.

Bluewater shopping centre, Greenhithe, Kent, last week banned hooded tops.

[Mr Haigh] added: “If you know how young people’s minds work, the best way of encouraging them to do something is to ban it.

“The more fuss we make about hoodies and baseball caps, the more a certain type of young person will want to wear them.”

In a letter that he described as “tongue in cheek” to the Times on Wednesday, Mr Haigh wrote: “I am disappointed by the lack of subtlety in dealing with the hoodie problem.

“Follow our example and make them part of school uniform. How uncool does that make them?”

Well said sir!

BBC NEWS | England | Devon | School adopts ‘hoodie’ as uniform

Revenge of the Sith leaked online

The final Star Wars film has been leaked on to an internet file-sharing network just hours after the movie opened in cinemas.

A “work print copy” of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith with a time code, rather than the finished version, appeared online on Thursday.

A tracker site showed more than 16,000 people were downloading the film.

Hands up anyone who’s suprised? Anyone….? No….?

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Film | Revenge of the Sith leaked online

Musical Baton

Meri passed me a musical baton… I was reading a whole load of these yesterday and wondering if I’d get it.. and now I have!!!

Total volume of music files on my computer:

On this computer 10.1Gig and rising (I’m digitising my music collection)- I have more stashed elsewhere…

The last CD I bought was:

Strange Little Girls by Tori Amos

Song playing right now:

Bob Dylan – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

I”m going for the meaning rather than the listen to a lot… some of them I do listen to a lot, but at least one means sufficient that I can’t listen to it any more…

  • ?Imagine? ? John Lennon
  • ?All Star? ? Smash Mouth
  • ?Kryptonite? ? 3 Doors Down
  • ?Lady in Red? ? Chris de Burgh
  • ?The Sweetest Thing? ? U2
Five people to whom I?m passing the baton:
  1. Fatty
  2. Ben
  3. Elmyra
  4. Jo
  5. Jane

Malarkey Redesign

Aristotle supposedly said “There was never a genius without a tincture of madness” (although presumably not in English). I think Andy Clarke proves that today.

There’s a bit of a story to this.

This morning, I notice amongst my Bloglines feeds a number of new posts from And All That Marlarkey. Skim reading, I learn that that’s because there’s been a major redesign over there. So I head across and have a look. In Internet Explorer (due to some unfixable mess in my default settings), I notice a high contrast black & white, fixed width design. A little bit later Jon Hicks notes in his sidelinks that the new design is liquid. As I’m fairly sure it’s not I head back. This time in Firefox…. and I am greeted by a completely different design in red, white & blue. After some initial confusion, I find out what he’s done.

Using attribute selectors is a useful way of getting the best out of browsers with good standards compliance. It is also a useful way of screening out browsers with poor CSS support (they simply ignore the selectors)…The new site makes extensive use of attribute selectors for that very reason. Not to be elitist or to discriminate, but to demonstrate what might be done for more modern browsers.

What clever things we can do with technology these days.

Cars safe from computer viruses

A security firm has proved that todays cars cannot catch computer viruses.

After exhaustive testing Finnish security firm F-Secure has failed to make a virus leap from a mobile phone handset to a car’s onboard communications system.

F-Secure did the tests in response to rumours that some Lexus cars had been infected by a virus.

But the phone system on the vehicle did not respond to any of the attacks tried out by F-Secure researchers.

Well, that’s a relief!

BBC NEWS | Technology | Cars safe from computer viruses

Women wanted, but not understood

A UK university [Derby] is trying to get women to apply for a computer games programming degree…. making a special effort to persuade women that solitary hours in front of a computer screen can be good for their career prospects.

Acting programme leader, lecturer John Sear, said: “Girls do want to play games but no-one is making games for them.”

He said there had been some attempts to make, as it were, “pink” games specifically for girls, but with limited success. So summer schools were one idea to let young women see what was available – and that programming did not have to be all about “boys’ toys”.

So, let me get this straight… in order to make games programming more inclusive, less about “boys’ toys”, and generally more appealling you’re going to tell me that I can’t play with the boys, that I need my own games (specifically made and marketed for me) and that sitting in the dark on my own is good for my career!!??? No wonder there aren’t any games for girls, if the people at the top think this is in any way appealling.

BBC NEWS | Education | Women wanted as games programmers

My First Plugin

About a month ago I updated my blogroll to add in XFN relationships. Not being a coder I was fairly proud of myself at the time.

Anyway, after a month of not getting around to it, I’ve released it properly for anyone who wants to use it and the plugin now has it’s own page.

Election Day

Time to cast those ballots…

Robots to help out blind shoppers

[The Robot Shopping Assistant] uses radio frequency identification tags to locate items and a laser range finder to avoid collisions.

It was created by professor Vladimir Kulyukin at Utah State University and shop floor trials have already begun….

“People think we’re trying to replace guide dogs, bur we’re not” Prof Kulyukin told the BBC News website.

“The idea is that you simply come to the grocery store, grab the shopping assistant and it leads you to the different products. When you leave the store you leave it behind.”

Cool…. how long before I can get one at home that I can send to do the shopping for me?

BBC NEWS | Technology | Robots to help out blind shoppers

When Blue LEDs aren’t Cool Anymore..

We’ll switch to soft white ones. Oh, and help save the planet while we’re at it!

British Professor Colin Humphreys is working on a novel way to help ease the problem with a new form of lighting.

The Cambridge University scientist is making a material that he and others believe could help to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 15 per cent – by making low-voltage, longer-lasting and more efficient lightbulbs.

“At the moment the white LED is a harsh white -coaches and cars will soon have white LEDs inside but for homes it will not be very acceptable,” he said.

He estimates it could take about five to 10 years before the technology to produce gallium nitride LEDs with a more subtle white will be available but when this happens it could lead to real savings.

Scientist unveils bright idea to fight global warming. 01/05/2005. ABC News Online
via Treehugger

Liquid Layout – Learning to Lose Control

After writing my own Fixed Width Article last week, I decided it was time for a change. If people are building fixed width layouts because it’s ‘the done thing’ then surely having a fixed width layout puts me in the ‘part of the problem’ camp, rather than the ‘part of the solution’ camp.

So, yes, I now have a liquid layout. What used to be a single image in the header is now a three part sliding door, and I can now be much more liberal with the length of my post titles.

And anyway, it’s been quite fun to do. And I fully intend to do lots more exciting things with sliding doors having only discovered what they’re called at SXSW – despite the fact I’d been using them since January

is an Architecture Student and Web Designer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (UK)