June 25th, 2005


What the bleep do I know?

1) Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the LiveJournaliest of them all? Or, at least, who was the LiveJournaliest of them all at the end of last year? undyingking points to an attempt to work out which the highest-regarded LJs are, using the declaration of Friendship as analogous to links and a scheme along the lines of Google's PageRank. (It's also a bit like the TrustFlow stuff we played with a year and a bit ago, if you remember it.) I'm not sure about all the details of this implementation - it seems to reward you higher if you have fewer Friends, which seems counterintuitive to me, but it's the best thing we have at the moment and it goes down a lot further than the LJ Top 40. Fun stuff!

Looking at the top 100, it's remarkable how interconnected (and, hence, high-ranking) the Russian LJ community is and how interconnected the Harry Potter fandom is, both of which punch well above their weight in the top hundred here. (I also think this gives us as objective an indication as possible as to who the BNFs really are, at least in the LJ segment of the HP fandom.) The associated research paper (PDF) even points out how remarkably interconnected online RPG communities can be, particularly HP ones.

2) I have a ticket to go and see Gyles Brandreth on his "Confessions of a Failed Politician" tour, coming to town on Sunday night! Fingers crossed there'll be some shaggy dog tales about the great and the good. Anyone got any awkward questions for him, just in case audience questions are sought?

3) There is not enough fanboyish analysis of the World Puzzle Championships, I have decided. The best way to encourage more is to establish a World Puzzle Championships communal weblog to which all with an interest can post. I've written some articles for it already and have more to post to see if we can get discussion going, but if it turns out only to be me who's interested, then we shan't bother. More to come there in future days, but feel free to dive in. Incidentally, Byron Calver reckons he's better than you at Sudoku - see his comment on puzzle #19. I wouldn't like to argue against him. Carol Vorderman, are you listening? (No - Vordermonitor Ed)

4) Michael Adams, British chess #1, is playing a chess computer and doing very badly, having started loss-draw-loss and having a tricky RPPP v. RPP endgame to defend in game four. He's being paid by results ($25k per win, $10k per draw) so this represents bad news for him. Come on, Mickey! More locally, someone called Cheung Tai Law won $311,000 with a second place finish in the World Series of Poker the other week; apparently he lives here in Middlesbrough and owns a Chinese restaurant. There is a C. T. Law in the phone book and he lives in a nice area of town, so it might be him. Wow.

5) Was greatly amused to find the "Internet TV" option in Winamp 5. There seem to be lots of stations streaming South Park episodes, which can't be legal, but also Demoscene TV, streaming demos (of better graphics than you would have thought possible from a home computer of the day) and intros from the '90s and onwards to your Winamp: lots of 3-D effects, graphical joy and text scrolling in thousands of ways. Mostly Amiga, with large representation for Atari ST and Windows, and a brave shout-out on the "old skool" channel for one low-res but gutsy Z80 MSX demo. Respect! I also enjoy the mostly rave-style music prevalent among the demo scene; ooh, it's the '90s coming back. There must be some way to put Winamp video on full screen mode but move other windows in front of this effectively animated wallpaper, mustn't there?

6) When a new would-be employer checks one's references, is it at all known, or at all usual, for the would-be new employer to contact not just your old boss to see how good you were at the job but also your old co-workers to see how easy you were to get along with as a co-worker? If not, why not; is it expected that the boss will be able to assess this aspect of a worker's suitability and report it neutrally? (I'm not looking, this is just in the most general terms.)

7) I'm not saying which naughty My Little Pony I am, but I will say that it's a shame that nobody seems to get Subversion as it's clearly the cutest. Incidentally, I didn't realise that GreatestJournal had in-built Quizilla-quiz-like functionality - it keeps people on the site, I suppose. Next time someone moans about wanting 1,000 icons here like one has at GJ I shall po-facedly suggest they decamp there.

8) Like most of the rest of you, I'm a science genius girl. Well, bloke.

9) By far the most interesting film I've seen over the past year has been What the #$*! do we know!?, with the bowdlerised expletive usually pronounced "bleep", hence the web site at http://www.whatthebleep.co.uk/ . I saw it first in Boston and again in London last week. On balance I don't think it's convincing and I cannot call it completely good, However, I found it interesting and think it has provoked fundamental thoughts in me to a greater extent than any other movie that springs to mind. Accordingly, I recommend it to the open-minded. Collapse )

10) Er... er... LiveJournal tags! Aren't they fantastic and won't they get even more fantastic still soon?