Sunday, December 31, 2006


According to a highly scientific methodology, the superhero I am most like is ...

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Scorched Tortoise redesign phase 1 complete ...

After a complete rewrite of the layout code for the site template I have now got Scorched Tortoise working correctly in Firefox, IE and Opera. Safari isn't quite right, but it will work for now.

There are more changes on the way, but that's for phase 2 ... of course.

Friday, December 29, 2006

When will we take web video live ...

It has been a huge year for video on the web; Google buying You Tube; cover of Time magazine; launch of the Edwards campaign etc. So what will the next trick be? In the spirit of New Year predictions from opinionated bloggers I am throwing this into the ring.

Redistribution of streaming video.

Web 2.0 is not just about the funky technologies such as AJAX, it is also, in a large way, about bringing people into the network, about the conversations between people. With the current generation of web video applications the conversation is still languishing in the realm of comments and forums, asynchronous posting. In this current era of Instant Messaging and Blackberry addicted mobile workers this is not going to be good enough for long.

At some point in 2007 one of the big web video players, or some small outfit out to disrupt the market, will cotton onto this and launch a product that will allow people to stream live video to the web.

Obviously this can be done now, but not on the web scale. It is at the moment in the same state that web video was in 2005. People can stream live content on a personal, small scale only.

This is not going to be a separate function, but instead will enhance their current offerings. Shows will be recorded and offered in the same way that web video currently is, but the live aspect will create an event experience which is missing.

I have for some time being struggling to find a way to express this idea better, and I'm still not there yet so any suggestions on how to do this better would be welcome. However right now the best way I can say this is that it is the difference between a collective experience and a shared experience.

Right now web video is at the collective experience stage, where people browse the videos on offer, find something great and recommend it to friends. Collectively people have then viewed this video and talk about it, spurring new ideas.

With the launch of a live video platform people will be able to have a shared experience, where everyone can see something at the same time. This is like the difference between TV and DVD. It is an important difference.

What difference would such a platform make, would people use it? Well ask yourself what Ask A Ninja would be like as a live phone in show? How many parents working away from home would appreciate being able to see little Timmy's football game as it happens? These are shared experiences.

The only project on the horizon that seems even close to doing this is The Project Venice from the team that brought us Skype, but they don't seem to be targeting the User Generated Content market.

Finally, one of the driving forces for a change like this would be financial. Currently people have not cracked the web video advertising problem, this model is one that is more closely related to the current TV advertising model.

Well that's it. My take on a major change for 2007. What's yours?

Updated 30/12/2006: Forgot to mention, iCal would be the RSS of this new live world.

Internet Explorer display issues ...

It appears that the new blog template that I spent so long crafting and which works wonderfully in Firefox and Opera, breaks completely under IE (at least v 6.x on Windows). I am yet to get myself one of those spiffy new Intel Macs so I have not been able to test under Windows till today. I will try to get it working as soon as I can, but it is not massively high on my priorities. Sorry.

You may notice something a little different ...

Today I spent almost 8 hours wrestling with the new Blogger layout language which is very confusing. This is a little worrying to me, as this is what I do for a living so I hope it's not just me that finds this hard to get to grips with. There is very little documentation available currently so I am sure that this is part of the problem, and I should point out that this is part of the new Blogger Beta.

The look of the site is considerably different, going for something a little more simple, less busy than previously. Please post comments on the change, and point out anywhere that the look or layout is obviously broken.

There are more changes on the way, but getting to grips with the new Blogger system was the major hurdle so I wanted to get this done first.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas is a time for makeing a fool of your self...

Last night I attending our team's Christmas night out which involved drinks at a local pub (good start), dinner in China Town (not traditional Christmas fare but okay) then a karaoke bar ! I've never done karaoke before and that evening made it very clear why. I really wasn't sure that I would have a good time but in then end, once several other people had made fools of themselves I relaxed into it and really enjoyed it. Can't say that I have am going to become a regular, but would definitely do it again, with the right crowd.

Just now I found something online that made me think about last night, but more than that just made me smile. So sit back and enjoy as the YouTube Community Choir present The 12 Days of Christmas.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ch ch ch changes...

It's good to be back, and good to see She-ra back in the comments as well. I have spent the last couple of days pondering what to do with Scorched Tortoise now. What topics to post about and what changes to make to the site. Since the start I have only changed the site around a couple of times, but the world of the Web has moved on considerably. All going well you will see a new look to the site in the coming weeks, including a few techie changes that probably won't make any difference to you all, but will make me happy to work on.

Now I am back I hope to see some updates to some of the other blogs you see listed over on the left hand side of this page ;)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best laid plans and all that...

I am pretty religious about backing up, which is why I can lay the claim that everything of any significance that I have produced digitally, at least personal stuff, I still have. All the way back to school physics experiments results. Tonight I have realised that a lot of it got backed up to CD a while back and that CD is somewhere in the flat. So that's one job I have to do over the Christmas period.

On that CD should be all the articles I wrote over a 3 year period for a website I ran called NGS which focused on network games, something of a niche in those days. I hope I do manage to find it as there is some good stuff in there.

The other posts I was planing on putting up were DVD reviews that I wrote for another, much shorter lived site. Those I had hoped would still be scurried away on Yahoo's servers, but alas they are no longer. Of course being the pack rat I am they may also reside on that CD.

The final set that I had hoped would still exist were a series of Star Trek TNG season reviews I wrote back in 1996 (I think) but those are almost certainly lost to the ravages of time. Probably for the best.

None of the above, despite what I have just written, was any good. But I wanted it to continue to exist and so wanted to post it here. I might not be too late, all hope rests on that CD ...

... In the meantime that puts my original plans out of action, which means I must think of some stuff to write up here pretty damn quick.
Hurrah, I'm back...

Ignoring my last one off post it has been over a year since I stopped blogging on a regular basis. The simple reason was an over reaction to the terms and conditions for my, back then new, job. Since then I have got to know the organisation much better and can now, I believe, blog safely. However, as always, things must change.

To prepare for my return to the blogosphere I have spent the last few days re-reading all my old posts. The first thing that I noticed is that there are a hell of a lot more of them then I thought there would be. My first entree was on the 7th December 2001, but after a further entree on the 10th there was nothing until the 25th April 2003. After that there were a couple of sporadic posts until the entree on 14th December 2003 when I began to hit my stride. A few things happened around that time that made me re-evaluate the way things were going and from then until a little over a year ago I was blogging with some form of regularity.

While I looked back over these years of blogging I realised how much I enjoy remembering those times in my life through what I posted. This only made the large gaps with no posts all the harder to stomach as those are now periods in my life that are in some small way a little lost. But I also began to remember previous online publishing adventures which have never been represented on this blog. This was because they were long dead, and also not appropriate to whatever the theme of the moment was for the blog, Java, Web, programming in general.

Now that I am planning on returning to blogging, but avoiding those things that my current employer would not be happy with me posting, the field for topic of conversation is wide open again. In that spirit, and also to ease myself back into this world, I plan to post some articles, reviews etc, from my past lives that I do not believe any of you will have read before. Please remember that while I may be no literary genius now, I am still a world away from when these articles were written. I do plan to edit them a little, removing some of the awful spelling mistakes, I do not plan to re-write them so please go easy on the criticism.

So good bye for a little while, and in the mean time I hand over this blog to my previous self. Enjoy.