140+, my twitter overflow

Stuff that won't fit on twitter @dsparks83

Content overload

I read a lot of stuff month to month, in fact day to day. I have a newspaper subscription so start with that every day, I then have a rugby league magazine I get through every month. I have a massive (and growing) list of RSS feeds currently sat in Feedly and on top of that I pick up article links from twitter and facebook. That’s just online, I’ve normally got at least one book on the go, sometimes more. I used getpocket.com as a great relief, somewhere I could save everything, but now it’s just full of stuff I never get around to reading, the list in there is now massive.

And that’s just reading, I have a lovefilm list of DVD’s that is in triple figures, my sky+ box is full of movies and if I watched one a day it’d take about 3 months and that’s before I even get to the TV series on there - I’ve only watched one season of the wire so far.

Then to add to all this I have places I’m producing content myself - on here from time to time, on my freelance site, on my blipfoto blog, blogging about music at Mumubl.com, I have 2 other tumblr blogs and I also post irreverent nonsense to twitter.

Something’s got to give at some point, either that or we have an amnesty from people producing stuff whilst I catch up - which is it to be people? 


in Man of Steel, both of Superman’s dads are Robin Hoods

(Source: hamishmash, via deantrippe)

Don’t give people reasons to walk away

The PS4 was announced with great fanfare by Sony yesterday with one glaring omission  it won’t come with backwards compatibility. It won’t play the library of PS3 games that some gamers have amassed.

Why console makers do this amazes me - backwards compatibility for consoles may be a pain in the arse to implement but it should be as much of a standard feature as a power button or a TV out socket. No one is asking for compatibility with every PlayStation console, just the last one would do.

There’s a very very good reason why this should happen. Gamers are loyal to brands, I bought the first xbox and stuck with it to the 360 and will probably continue to stick with it when the next one comes out - though I won’t be buying it straight away, maybe a few years down the line. In spite of this loyalty people may have their heads turned, most will be thinking of getting a new console and replacing the one currently under their TV, they won’t be keeping both, and if you offer something that plays their existing library of games then that is a plus point straight away. It also means you’re launching the console with a back catalogue of titles ready to go and play on the console, you’re not starting from scratch with a handful of launch titles.

If you take all that away then you’re removing a reason for them to stay loyal to your brand and console, you’re giving them a reason to look around and see what everyone else is offering. 

Do you think people would still be buying iPhones if all their apps stopped working on the new version? If every time a new iPhone came out the entire back catalogue of apps in the app store wasn’t available until new versions had been coded and released?

Put simply not including backwards compatibility is giving people the opportunity to walk away, they may not do but it is a stupid thing to do.

33: How To Decorate Your Home


If you’re one of those people that still takes a Sunday newspaper, you’ll be faced with the distressing sight of an interiors feature in the colour magazine almost every week. If you’re a real glutton for punishment you can even read entire magazines full of interiors features. Page after page of pictures of houses that are better decorated then yours, tidier than yours, cleaner than yours.

But where, in all these achingly tasteful pictures, is all the stuff?

On my sofa right now there is;

  •  A TV remote control
  • A Sky remote
  • A remote for the Blu-ray player
  • A remote for the surround system
  • Last week’s Private Eye
  • Controllers for 3 different games consoles
  • A wireless mouse and keyboard for the little Mac under the telly
  • And me.

Oh, and the dog’s just popped up now* 

And that’s just on the surface of the sofa. If you count the stuff that’s concealed between the cushions that I’m not supposed to know about there’s a superb collection of biscuit crumbs and about £1.73 in change and a scrunched up Green and Black’s wrapper and it’s about time someone came clean about that.

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What’s that fancy thing in front of Boehner?
notthatkindagay replied to your photo: What’s that fancy thing in front of Boehner?

the president.

Well played.


What’s that fancy thing in front of Boehner?

notthatkindagay replied to your photoWhat’s that fancy thing in front of Boehner?

the president.

Well played.

(via deantrippe)

Super Bowl Sunday, what makes it so popular in the UK?

The Super Bowl is the one time a year I actually watch any American Football, unless you count watching Friday night lights on TV (great series BTW, need to get hold of season 2). It’s a huge event not equalled by much else, especially for a colloquial sport with very little foothold anywhere out of the USA. There are other sports huge in their own country but with little appeal anywhere else - AFL and Gaelic football spring to mind - I guess it’s to do with the fact that it’s an American sport and it is quite simply huge there.

The popularity of the event always interests me, just why is it so popular? - not in the States (read Seth Godin’s “Why do we care about football?" for that) - but in the UK. I’m from a rugby league town (Widnes) and grew up playing rugby league but outside of those I’ve played with I’d probably find more willing volunteers amongst my mates to sit up to some crazy hour and watch the Super Bowl than I would to go down the road on a Sunday afternoon to watch Widnes play. I’m also involved with rugby league website Love Rugby League and so the promotion of sports and popularity is always a hot topic.

To start I think American Football is an inferior product on the pitch compared to many other sports. It’s stop - start lets have a break every 30 seconds nature, it’s use of completely different teams for attack and defence and a specialised kicker who does nothing but kick. The fact that an entire 60 minutes of play can spread over a number of hours - especially if you turn the lights of midway through! The pinnacle of Rugby League is in the NRL - the Grand final and the State of origin games produce equally as much if not more skill, intensity and drama than I’ve seen in any Super Bowl or NFL game. In fact I’d maybe go so far as to say it’s only a level of drama that the NFL can compete.

Yet as I say American football has captured the imagination of many people I know where other sports have failed and I still enjoy watching it myself. I can only guess, but I assume many other people found an interest in the NFL the same way I did. The first is weekend morning TV, growing up early on on a Saturday and Sunday the schedules had plenty of sporting programmes, Transworld sport introducing the weird and wonderful, but amongst those shows was an NFL show. In the same way that many people of a certain age will watch serie A with a fondness and the sound of “Lazziooooo” ringing in their memories from Football Italia, so people were introduced to American Football. It’s one of the reason the Cowboys are so high on my list of favourite teams as I watched them on Sunday mornings throughout the early 90s. 

The second reason is Madden NFL. Launched in the 80s as consoles started to become popular Madden grew with those consoles. It was far and away the best sports sim available and the nature of the game fitted well with the level of development available at the time. Flowing football games were far from replicating a gaming experience as compelling as the Madden games did.

Maybe I’ve got it completely wrong, maybe it’s nothing to do with the young imagination that the sport captured through a period of my youth - maybe that’s just where my interest comes from and even if I don’t think it’s as good as other sports I do still enjoy it.

I’ll leave a closing statement to Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer though:

Ms. Calendar: “It’s just such a rugged contest.”

Giles: “Rugged? American football? Heh heh.”

Ms. Calendar: “And that’s funny because…?”

Giles: “Well, I think it’s rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby.” 

Games Workshop and the changing face of the high street

The high street is changing. Not a shocking statement for anyone to read I know, but with the recent administration of stores like HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster, the effect of both the credit crunch and rise of internet shopping, is being keenly felt.

In the case of Jessops and HMV I think there is at least the possibility of something being salvaged from administration. Blockbuster though I think have had it, their business model has been obliterated by the likes of Netflix, LoveFilm and TV services like SKY anytime. What reason would you have to go to Blockbuster to pick up a DVD or Blu Ray when you can download a HD movie to watch at home without setting a foot out of the door?

But HMV in particular is still in a functioning marketplace, there is still a viable market for sales of physical media, even if there isn’t one left in rental of that physical media. If HMV can back up a resurrected high street store chain with a working competitive online operation they can certainly do well again.

In amongst all this doom and gloom in the news I saw that Games Workshop have had a good year. For those not familiar Games Workshop is all about table top gaming - think Dungeons and Dragons, little figurine soldiers battling in a fantasy realm or a far war torn future. They also have the rights to the Lord of the Rings table top gaming. The major part of their success is their stores. The stores are places to meet, places to go - importantly people do not always go to a store to buy - they are a social hub for those interested in Games Workshop.

It makes me wonder if this is something other areas of the high street should look at? Making their stores a place to come, to socialise, making them more than just somewhere to visit and buy something - after all you can do that on a website.

There are many parts to resurrecting the high street, parking is one of them that is right up there, and town centres will change. But I don’t think high streets and town centres will die off. They’ll be different for sure but they will still serve a purpose. I think we’re simply seeing a time where those who run retail units are coming to terms with running them in a way that works alongside the web.

I don’t understand the basis of Argentina’s claims to the Falklands

There’s been plenty written about the Falklands over the last week after the latest bit of sabre rattling from Cristina Kirchiner, plenty of it I’m sure more eloquent that what I’ll put down here. 

Now I’m no expert on the Falklands Islands (how about that for massive disclaimer!) but I have certainly read a bit about it over the years and I quite simply do not understand the grounds on which Argentina stake a claim to the islands. It seems to boil down to the fact that the Islands are closer to Buenos Aires than they are to London, which isn’t really a valid argument now is it? We can’t go around claiming all the land closer to one capital city than the other, after all the Polish city of Poznan is closer to Berlin than Warsaw and well, it’s a bit crass but I’m sure you see the point there.

The whole thing has prompted me to think about what defines the land we live on as belonging to a certain country or other. Essentially it’s a historical legacy of the people who got there first, settled it and now live there and what they choose to do and who they choose to side with. Yes there have been wars, land grabs and forced occupation but generally borders in the modern world are pretty set. Apart from some disputed areas in the world, military land grab doesn’t really happen anymore when it comes to modern developed countries.

So what makes England English for example? Well because that’s what the English people want and choose. In those areas where there have been forced land grabs and occupation and the like there are resolutions and agreements to help hand the land back to those to whom it belongs - those who were there first as it were. In which case the Falklands are more French than anything else.

But the Falklands, since first being landed on in 1690, have a settled population of people choosing to be British since 1833, 180 years this year. The re-establish of English rule in 1833 was, from what I can tell, nothing like the big bad colonial British Empire asserting itself. As such I think that the right to choose who they are governed by should fall to the islanders themselves, if they choose to remain British we should stand by them 100%, if they choose to pass over to Argentina them I’m sure there will be no problem here with that. However to pass over their opinion and disregard it is a practice much more in tune with that of a big bad colonial empire and one contrary to the very resolutions Argentina is using to claim the islands.

So I can’t see a particularly valid claim to the islands and I can’t see why there is support for handing back the islands when the people there want to remain British, I can only guess at a possible confused misunderstanding of the islands history and an imagined spectre of the big bad colonial Empire looming large in people’s minds. 


A quick post on my other blog for this years resolutions, http://kamikazemusic.com/general-stuff/resolutions-they-come-and-go/

I’ll be using this tumbler a bit more as well but for non webby stuff, here’s to a 2013 with a bit more typing!

Interesting reading

Some more stuff I’ve read recently and not shared

Mo pixels, mo problems - http://www.alistapart.com/articles/mo-pixels-mo-problems/ (web design)

Failure is a feature, how Google stays sharp by gobbling up start ups - http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/17/3322854/google-startup-mergers-acquisitions-failure-is-a-feature

Making a better internet - http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/09/14/make-better-internet-story-three-acts/

The web aesthetic - http://www.alistapart.com/articles/the-web-aesthetic/

The classics 2001 a space odyssey - http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/15/3323354/classics-2001-a-space-odyssey