Wednesday 12 March 2008

Nature - Really Close Up

The finalists of the Welcome Image Awards were announced recently and the photographs are stunning. They remind you just how sophisticated and complex our enviroment is and how much we still have to learn

The Guardian printed them as a centerspread and they can be viewed via the Wellcome online gallery


Judges overturn libel ruling on restaurant review

Tuesdays Guardian reports that the northern ireland courts have overturned a decesion to award damages to restaurant who said they had been libelled in a review. Goodfellas pizzeria had been awarded £25,000 last year after they sued for libel.

I'm glad that the ruling has been overturned, as one of the most enjoyable parts of the papers at the weekend is reading either a really great review or a really scathing review and it would have been a shame if the media became afraid to print a bad review because they might end up being sued.

We'd then be deprived of gems such as

  • "I may not be able to call it the worst cooking in Britain, but that's only because I haven't eaten in every restaurant in the land."Jay Rayner, the Observer, on Jaan in the Howard Hotel, Temple Place, London, 2002
  • "Occasionally, you come across a restaurant that causes you to question the very nature of human existence."Matthew Fort, the Guardian, on Opium in Soho, London, 2001
  • "It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine anyone conjuring up a restaurant where the food in its mediocrity comes so close to inedible." Fay Maschler, the Evening Standard, on Chittagong Charlie in Golders Green, London, 1992
The full story can be found here - Judges overturn libel ruling on restaurant review

Tuesday 11 March 2008

German Navy Boats Crashing - Youtube Video

Couldn't resist posting one last YouTube video which has been doing the rounds. The title is fairly self explanatory, but you do wonder how with such a wide expanse of sea, radar and a full crew they still managed to crash into each other.

The Guardian cover the incident and a whole series of unfortunate mishaps in a article called German navy finds new enemy - itself

Its official - Google offers search within a site

The Google blog has confirmed that the search within a site option will be offered to users on an increasing basis. To quote from the blog...

Through experimentation, we found that presenting users with a search box as part of the result increases their likelihood of finding the exact page they are looking for. So over the past few days we have been testing, and today we have fully rolled out, a search box that appears within some of the search results themselves. This feature will now occur when we detect a high probability that a user wants more refined search results within a specific site. Like the rest of our snippets, the sites that display the site search box are chosen algorithmically based on metrics that measure how useful the search box is to users.

As per my earlier posts, if you're a site owner that relies on advertising revenue this could have some fairly serious consequences.

You can read the full post at Search within a site: A tale of teleportation

Could There Be No More Honey in Ten Years Time?

The Guardian has a worrying story on how colony collapse disorder which has affected bee colonies in the USA could be coming over to the UK.

In the US, up to 80% of colonies in some states have been destroyed and this has a knock on effect when it comes to pollination. Defra estimates that bees contribute £165 million to the UK economy by pollination farmers crops for free, so it seems a little strange that the UK government can't find £8 million to fund research into ways to stop this.

Perhaps someone should give the Hilary Benn, the environment minister a basic biology lesson in how the food chain works and what happens when you start removing an important part of it

James Lovelock touches on items such as this in his excellent The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back - and How We Can Still Save Humanity. While he concentrates on climate change in the book, his explanation of feedback loops illustrates what can changes happen and how the can have far greater effects elsewhere.

The full Guardian article can be read at Honey bees 'wiped out in 10 years'

How secure is your password?

Microsoft has released a new tool that allows you to see how secure your passwords are by ranking them as either weak, medium or best.

If your current passwords don't come out too well, I can highly recommend the Random Password Generator for creating passwords.

As well as creating good random passwords, it allows you to set options such as

  1. Showing the phonetic version
  2. No Similar characters
which are very useful when you need to create an account for someone who isn't very IT literate.

Monday 10 March 2008

Google Searches in Google Results Part 2

It looks like the Google search sites on the search results page is part of an experiment as only certain people are seeing this. In fact some people (you know who you are), suggested that I just photoshopped it.

So that you can all see, I've created a screen movie that shows it in action.

Here's for the techie bit. I created it using Techsmith Camtasia and exported it as SWF file. The file is being hosted on our Fileburst FTP server.

Welcome to the blogsphere...

You wait ages for your friends to start blogging and then all of a sudden, two start at once.

I'd like to welcome to the blogsphere

Leigh Caldwell who is blogging on business knowledge and businesses/professional services

Mark Saunders who is writing for Accounting Web on all matters accounting.

I know both from BRX Westminster, a central london business network, which also serves an excellent breakfast.