Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tony Blair and Satan

So Tony has responded in person to everyone that signed the anti-road pricing petition, including me. (Well, sent out a mass email, anyway - I don't count that as a personal response.) It's good to see him interacting with the public like this. Maybe now we can have a proper debate about the whole ridiculous scheme. [If you want to price people off the roads, just put petrol up. People don't want to travel when it's busy and will avoid it where possible; you don't have to punish them financially for it as well. And the 'petrol tax' takes into account fuel efficiency.]

His email in my inbox arrived next to another one, creating an interesting juxtaposition.

So now we know.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Simian antics

At the weekend, we went to Go Ape! in Delamere Forest, for Chris & Mike's 21st birthday. It's a big assault course in the trees. We got a fantastic clear sunny day for it, and I think it's fair to say everyone had a brilliant time. I thought my arms and legs would be really sore this morning (those nets are a killer), but I don't actually feel too bad. Photos will be posted on my Flickr account (and videos on YouTube) as soon as we've sorted through them. (I took rather a lot.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nice pipes

I had a look at Yahoo! Pipes (via Lifehacker). It all looks jolly impressive and web2.0ish; and it does pretty much everything it claims to do. But (as someone who likes to mess around with things) it soon became obvious that it's very beta, and doesn't have a lot of the features a developer would expect. For example, how do I merge two feeds together when they don't both have the same date parameter? I would expect to be able to create a parameter in one feed, but I can't find anything that does that. The interface is really really nice though - kind of like LabVIEW.

POP3 access in Gmail has now been rolled out for most of their accounts (well, it works in mine anyway). I've been waiting for this to be activated in my account since I heard about it last November. It seems to work pretty well - it fetches my work mail just fine, via a secure connection. It's slower than forwarding, which was my previous solution. But I get all the 'to' and 'cc' email addresses shown up in every mail, and I can take full advantage of labels and threading for my work email. Brilliant! It just makes me love Gmail even more.

One feature I want to see in Gmail is some kind of Bayesian filtering for labels. I typically assign labels by category, and most of the emails I receive for each label have many of the same words in. It would be great if I could 'train' the system to automatically filter my emails into those labels, instead of having to guess at keywords. If it worked as well as the spam filter, it would be just about perfect. A 'mark as read' button next to each email in the list view would be great too. (Richard is working on a Greasemonkey script for this.)