Humming Bird in the UK? – Photos

Now not being an expert on ornithology I wasn’t definately sure what I was looking at this morning when my girlfriend woke me up to enquire what kind of an animal was happily buzzing round our carnations.

However, I was pretty sure this was a humming bird (although other suggestions on a postcard please), I was also pretty sure they don’t tend to visit Stoke Newington, North London too often.

Anyway, make your own mind up:

Humming bird
Humming bird
Humming bird

Humming bird
Humming bird
Humming bird

Lomo

Am loving the lomo technique for photos. Makes things look aged and a little spooky.

Kind of intesting that, as we canter headlong into the digital age, with increasing ability to produce perfect imagery, so we see the rise of techniques such as this to reproduce imperfect finishes. Although on the flip side, is it the increasing ability of programs such as photoshop to produce any effect imaginable that fuels this rise? Either way, I like it. It’s similar to TV and film now where directors are using interferance and snow as mechanisms to convey certain feelings.

Is that post-modernist? I truely have no idea any more. The term is starting to mean everything and nothing to me.

Lomo

Getting Real

Just finished reading the rather excellent Getting Real – The smarter, faster, easier way to
build a successful web application
by 37 Signals

This has to be the best $19 I have ever spent. A truly excellent and calming read that reaffirms ones belief in all that is good. If you have ever felt that many processes in IT (and any other complex system for that matter) are bloated, over-complex, over-rationalised, self-defeatist, ya-da and ta-da, then this is the (e)Book for you.

From my own perspective simplicity is something that we should start from not strive to achieve. Why should things be so complex all the time, decide what goal the product needs to achieve and measure all details against that main goal. I accept the author’s declaration that for certain systems (e.g. banking) simplicity is not always possible. Overall this book calms my fears about complex systems and as much the way as in nature, we should look for the patterns inherent in the system as well as the fine details. Or more simply, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Some fresh air snippits:

Getting Real is about skipping all the stuff that
represents real (charts, graphs, boxes, arrows, schematics,
wireframes, etc.) and actually building the real thing.

Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features,
less paperwork, less of everything that’s not essential (and
most of what you think is essential actually isn’t).

Getting Real is staying small and being agile.

Get Getting Real

Football/Soccer, let’s call the whole thing off

Blog on the Guardian about why the Americans just don’t get football.

Some pretty hefty commentary both by the author and respondents. Both seem to be saying that the other is wrong, but I think we need to go into the history and development of sport in America to understand the reasons for them not liking football (albeit some hard-core fans and various ethnic minorities).

American football, Baseball and Basketball are believed to be based on older games; Rugby (itself a version of football), base-ball (of 18th century England), Duck-on-a-Rock (via Canada). So at first glance there is nothing uniquely ‘American’ per-se about ‘American’ sports. What does strike me as ‘American’ is the development of these sports throughout the 19th and early 20th century. And for that we will need to look to the development of America itself. Geographically the late 19th and early 20th century was one of extreme development with the population rapidly moving west across America at such a rate that city centres were often many miles apart. Naturally this lead to less opportunity to play one another so a certain individual, insular nature must have pervaded. Just as the many varied accents of Britain developed due to little cross-pollination (due to the ruling classes insisting French as the language of law and rule) many different nuances, rules and variations of the games must have developed. As popularity grew of these new games, rules were created (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knickerbocker_Rules, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Naismith) allowing all to play on a level playing field as it were. And ofcourse mirroring the constitution in its simple and direct approach to definition of the rules. And so giving America it’s own unique sports governed by the same rules.
Initially it is simple to see that the rules that were developed were few in number. This I believe has led to the very heavy reliance on tactics in encounters, as well as the fascination with statistics.

As professional teams were only really found in major cities, colleges became the best place to watch a sport and so rather than allegiance to a geographical a major geographical tribe, allegiances to the local college team took its place. Maybe because competition was of the more local variety, less tribalism developed as in football. And ofcourse let not forget less time for such tribalism to develop.

So to summarize: Due to population diversification many different sports developed based on the old folk games of England and Canada, as communication and transportation improves unification takes place creating unique sports. Minimal rules are applied encouraging tactical diversity and statistical analysis. Strong influence of college teams leads to a very amateur framework, possibly resulting in less tribalism and the promotion of the game as an event that is to be enjoyed.

Thus in many senses it is difficult for many Americans to understand why football is so revered in the rest of the world. Football is indeed a simple game, and a certain amount of luck is involved as well.

The driving force for football is often the raw passion invoked by relatively few scoring occasions and geographical allegiances fueling that passion. Throw in some unabashed tribalism and we have the sport of football we see today.

American sports seem to have developed much along the lines of how the country has developed; quickly, uniquely, and individually. Anyway that’s my 2 cents.

Droughtragious!

Drought alert! For those of you not in the UK you may be forgiven for not knowing that we are apparently in a drought.

Drought, defined by google as:

A prolonged period of below-average precipitation.

The very concerned people at Thames Water have even taken to sending letters urging us to ‘beat the drought’ (Thames Water, profits of £385.5m in 2005, leaking 915 million litres a day).

Drought
Now I am certainly not an expert on precipitation, but it has been fucking tipping it down here over the last few weeks. I am sure its the wrong sort of rain or something, but damn its wet. Maybe my concept of a ‘drought’ is just wrong?

Drought

Drought

Drought

Drought

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