Monthly Archives: October 2008

October 2008 Round-up

Another month has passed, leaving me wondering where the year went. But enough of such philosophical nonsense, and on with the monthly report.


October 1: 216 pounds (15 stone 6 pounds, 98 kg)
October 31: 215 pounds (15 stone 5 pounds, 97.5 kg)
Difference: A probably quite random fall of 1 pound (0.5 kg)


Yes, yes. Still overdoing it.


Ah. Yes. Well. I sort of lost the will to record anything for a big chunk of the month, so I don’t have proper figures this month. Overall, I’d say I mostly walked to work, and almost entirely got the bus home.


Oh dear. Back into a dip this month, with a good few days when I couldn’t even get it together to post a weight report. Total for the month: 29.


I did get out with my new camera a few times. I may even get round to doing something with the pictures soon.

More on WordPress 2.7

There’s a detailed and informative post on the WordPress Development Blog which talks about the new admin interface, and in particular why another drastic change is being introduced so soon after the drastic change that came with WordPress 2.5.

Usability Testing Report: 2.5 and Crazyhorse

A lot of people[1] made a lot of fuss about the 2.5 redesign, and I get the impression that the developers weren’t expecting so much negative reaction. But they took the very sensible step of having some formal usability studies done, using both 2.5 and the then very rough development version known as Crazyhorse. And the results were overwhelmingly in favour of the latter, even in its unfinished form.

And it’s the ideas in Crazyhorse, which are not too far away from those in Fluency Admin, which I’ve been using to make 2.5 a more pleasant experience, which in turn inherited ideas from an earlier admin theme, that have led to the actually rather nice new design we’ll be enjoying when 2.7 is released next month.

The new interface looks like a major step forward for WordPress – it makes it look a lot more like an application than a webpage. I’ve been testing it, and so far everything works – including some nifty new features which I’ll talk about later…

[1] Including me

My Geek Meter Broke

Ooooooooh. I mentioned the other day that xkcd was running an extended story this week. So far, it’s been good fun. But today’s episode takes it to a new level of sublime geekiness:

xkcd - click to see it all

xkcd - click to see it all

Nice references in that. If you don’t laugh at the sound effects, you’re not geeky enough.

David Tennant is leaving Doctor Who

David Tennant has announced that he’s leaving Doctor Who after next year’s specials. That’s a run of four years[1], which is as long as most actors have stayed in the role. Apart from Tom Baker’s majestic seven-year run, of course.

David has, for me, become the Doctor like no actor since Tom. While I’ve enjoyed and appreciated the other Doctors, David’s performance and total possession of the role has been, as his predecessor would have said, FANTASTIC.

While I would have liked him to carry on for at least a little longer, I’ve always said that he should stay for as long as he wanted to, and not a moment longer. From the video diaries on the DVD sets, and interviews that I’ve seen, it’s been abundantly clear that David has loved being the Doctor, and this love has shone through in his performances.

He was briefly tempted to change his mind and stay for the 2010 series, which will be the first under the control of the wonderful Steven Moffat, but ultimately decided that it was

better to go when there’s a chance that people might miss you, rather than to hang around and outstay your welcome

And while I’m sad to see David leave, this does mean a few Good Things will happen:

  1. Russell T Davies will go even more over the top than normal in next year’s specials. There may only be four of them, but they’re going to be huge. And you can be sure David will get a massive send-off, bringing an end to his era with the style, drama, passion and emotion it deserves. Those shows are going to be lots of fun. :bouncy:
  2. In 2010, there will be a new head writer/show runner, new producer, and a new Doctor. In other words, the series will get one of the periodic restarts it needs to keep it fresh, exciting and worth watching. Steven Moffat is promising us more scares and more new enemies for what we now know will be a new Doctor. And with a new Doctor, it will be easier for him to put his own stamp on the series. The Doctor will still be the Doctor, he’ll still be the essential hero he’s always been, but he’ll be different again. And that will be a Good Thing.

Now of course, we’ll be treated to a few months of speculation: who will be the next Doctor? Personally, I have no idea, and I’m not inclined to play guessing games. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough – certainly by very early next year.

BBC NEWS: David Tennant quits as Doctor Who
BBC News: David Tenant Interview
[1] Even if one of those years is a bit short on episodes

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre is something of a National Treasure. His Bad Science column is by far the best thing in The Guardian on Saturdays, and is always excellent reading. Ben’s a doctor working in the NHS, he knows how scientific experiments are supposed to be done, and he’s a wee bit annoyed about some of the nonsense that newspapers and TV report.

His focus is on medicine and related areas, as (1) he knows about the subject and (2) it has a major impact on people’s lives. In this excellent book, he takes a good hard look at the claims of “Detox” merchants, “nutritionists” who have no real qualifications other than the ability to sell books full of dubious information, garden shed labs occupied by people the dumber segments of the press believe are world-class experts who mysteriously find bacteria in samples that proper labs believe to be clean[1], and much, much more.

This is a very serious and important book. Even if you don’t agree with Ben’s take on matters such as homoeopathy and food supplements, you’ll find yourself better equipped to interpret claims, and to ask the awkward questions that the press tend not to bother with.

But while the subject matter and the motivation are very serious, Ben’s style leads towards the humorous. Yes, it’s fun to read, not least the bit about the amazing (or not) Aqua Detox system. This involves you putting your bare feet into a bowl of warm salty water. An electric current is passed through the water, which (allegedly) creates something called a bio-energetic field which will encourage your body to release “toxins”. Sure enough, the water turns brown. Amazing!! But Ben asks the question that credulous[2] journalists don’t:

What happens if you leave your feet out of the bowl?

He then goes on to explain how to make your own Aqua Detox, with a warning about electricity, of course. And as anyone who wasn’t asleep in their basic science lessons will be completely unastounded to learn, the water goes just as brown without any toxin-exuding feet present. Could it be electrolysis? Well, of course it is…

And there’s a lot more to read and learn from. Well worth a read, as is Ben’s column, which you can catch up with on his Bad Science blog, so you don’t even have to buy the paper.

[1] The word “contamination” would come to the mind of anyone who knows anything. Sadly, most of the offending articles are not written by the science correspondents of the papers – people who have had at least some training that would help them filter out the more ludicrous claims – but by general journalists who want a big dramatic story, facts optional.
[2] Or in this case, I think the word “stupid” might be more appropriate

A new story begins…

Oh good. The always fun xkcd has begun what looks like a series. The first two episodes are up now, so click the image to get started, then click the Next button to see the next part[1]. Oh, and if you haven’t spotted it – make sure to hover your mouse over the cartoons to see the alt text…

xkcd - click to see it all

xkcd - click to see it all

[1] Well, :duh: