Bill P. Godfrey et al

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The ukulele is cool, hmmm kay.

This is the last time I will ever link to anyone playing the ukulele.

(At least until next week.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Twelve reasons to be happy (5)

(Or coffee)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Animated short of the week (Futon Fever)

One for flat (apartment) dwellers everywhere.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

With his little ukulele in his hand

A video of a rather talented ukulele player. Enjoy! (B3ta)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hmmmm, I'll Bet He Loves Pudding

adopt your own virtual pet!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I've got a penguin

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A small act of rememberance

If you've not already seen this, Abdul Rahman, a man from Afghanistan is on trial for converting to Christianity. (BBC, Amnesty.) I hope he, and others in similar situations, will be allowed to live free.

I'm in the very fortunate situation of living in a free country. For this, I must thank the many people who have protected our freedom over the years.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Twelve reasons to be happy (4)


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Animated short of the week (Office Wonders)

This is (not at all) what meetings at my work are like.

  • If you could have a super power what would it be?
  • Whhhhhhhhy?

Locking Wikipedia's stable door

Step right up folks, yet another blog post about Wikipedia.

Good thing about Wikipedia:It is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
Bad thing about Wikipedia:You get the idea.

If you come along to Wikipedia and make an edit, your version will then be the new primary version, shown to the world simply by the virtue that it is the latest. High quality stuff or sheer vandalism, the latest version is the one the world sees.

Yes, people do keep an eye on other people's edits and vandalism is fixed, usually by restoring a prior version which is, in the editor's opinion, "good". Thing is, in the time between the act of vandalism and the revertion, any visitors will still be shown the "bad" version.

I often dispair when I see frantic attempts to clean up after vandals, as I feel that a solution to this problem was found a long time ago. My trade is as a software engineer and one of the tools of my trade is the Version Control System. This, I feel, is exactly what Wikipedia could do with.

(Quick aside: A version control system keeps an archive of work done, allowing the user to go back to previous revisions and look over the changes that have been made.)

I'm sure some people will be saying at this point, that it has already got one. You can see it by clicking on the History button at the top of the page. Okay, what I meant to say is that it could do with a good (in my opinion) version control system.

I dislike Wikipedia's version control because it is linear. Behind the latest version is a history of prior versions all lined up in single file behind the latest. Complexities such as vandalism reversals, edit-wars (where two people keep reversing each other's changes) and edit-conflicts (where two people start editing at the same time) are all taken apart and pushed into the single file queue.

A good version control system (in my opinion again) has branches. Say I want to add a section to an existing article, but I know it will take a while to edit. It wouldn't be a good idea to show half-finished pieces of work to casual visitors, especially if it looks finished but is lacking essential clarifications. Yet if I instead edited my new section in private until its done, I would be cutting myself off from the mass collaborative dynamic that Wikipedia is so proud of.

I feel it would be far better if I could simply start a "branch" from the main history and edit there. Other people could see my branch and also make edits there. When (if) the new branch is ready, it could be merged back into the stable realm for everyone to see.

Wouldn't vandalism still be a problem? Well, Wikipedia's current strategy to stop persistent vandals is to ban them from editing. This is quite a blunt instrument. I've been banned myself, simply because I use an ISP which gives addresses out from a pool. Occasionly, my address is "tainted" because a vandal was using it before.

If everyone had the ability to make a branch from the main history, the ability to modify the stable realm could be restricted to smaller group, perhaps experts in the subject or even just trusted contributors. Everyone else could still make edits, but they would have to be approved before the casual viewer sees it. There would be nothing neccessarily stopping the casual reader from looking at the edits under development, but the first thing shown would be the good one.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fellini Film?

Tonight while cruising through the channels at break-neck speed (I know it's odd for a woman, but I'm a TV remote control junkie. Go figure.) I ran across a biography of Richard Simmons. Yes, Richard Simmons. Did you know he was in Fellini's Satyricon? He had no lines and the scene they showed was of him sitting on a floor, leaning against a wall and playing an instrument. I didn't intend to linger on the program. But then again, Simmons in a Fellini film isn't your every day revelation. It was a "hold on now, what?" kind of moment that just pulled me in.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Twelve reasons to be happy (#3)

(Don't take it for granted)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Animated short of the week (Keep your parents off the net)

We have to protect the vulnerable people in society.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Welcome to umtm readers.

A big welcome to all readers who came here after reading the kind words of "Frinkenstein" and "Sofa - Spud".

And congratulations to "Sofa - Spud" for scoring 48.49 seconds on the Escapa! game.

Since this is a meta-post, I'll take this opportunity to refer you all to my older Newgrounds and Me post. There have been a flurry of very interesting comments, so its worth another read. This was probably because I added a Criticism section to Wikipedia's article on Newgrounds.

If you want to keep track of the comments to this blog, I've hacked together a comments blog with its own ATOM XML feed. Note, you can't comments on that blog.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Here's a delightfully addictive game, Escapa!

Click and drag the red square and avoid hitting anything for as long as possible.

Try and beat my best score...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Shortly after last week, I told myself I would make one post a day, even if I was only going to say "Parp".


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Drive legally

Driving at 55 miles per hour. Its the law.

This story tickled me. (AJC, Dvorak Uncensored)

I just wish I had the balls to take part in a similar protest. Imagine blocking a major British motorway at rush hour by driving at 70 in all three or four lanes.

Oh, wait.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Twelve reasons to be happy (#2)


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Animated short of the week (Dalek Song)

These are just wrong on so many levels.

Next week, The Irrational Song!