A while back I had an idle wish for a firefox extension that autogenerated a 2d barcode (semacode or other) from the URL of the current page/thing/resource, so I could quickly snarf it into my mobile and take it with me.

Instantly-mobile deeplinky goodness with no fiddly typing.*

A random thought tonight while staring at my browser: how much info could I store in a favicon, if I made it a 2d barcode?


A favicon is 16×16, and readable datamatrix 2d codes go down to 10×10 and 3mm. Of course, readable here means by an industrial scanner from a crisp printed sticker, rather than a mobile phone and a fuzzy LCD display.

Here’s the semacode for the wikipedia entry on Blogjects (it was the 2nd workshop that Julian and Nicholas have run on those blighters this week, so it seemed an appropriate choice!)


As you can see, a fair slice of the data is cropped if we try for 16×16 in order to make a favicon.

Still – I wonder if there’s anything doable there? Could something useful and/or diverting be done in this little space in the address field?

If not, my original lazyweb wish for a firefox extension to create instant takeaway datashadows still stands…

* Yes, before Charlie gets all-up-in-my-face (;-) – I know winksite has semacode integration – but I want EVERYTHING I visit to have a code ,whether they like it or not!

Worldchanging, unfortunately.

Al Gore at the Hay Festival:

“We now have the capacity to literally change the relationship between the Earth and the sun.”

Now if only that nice turn-of-phrase were being used in the audacious-superfuture-planetary-scale-engineering-Dyson-Sphere sense…

And, via LMG, here’s the trailer to Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth”

The Super 8 ages of man

Momus has been watching Super 8 home movies:

“I’ve been watching these movies in tandem with The Private Life of Plants, the David Attenborough TV series from 1995. Trees, of course, can live hundreds of years. Watching humans, in comparison, is like watching something speeded up, fleeting. We’re born, we reproduce, we die. We’re gone in a flash; there’s a yellow flare, some numbers, some leader and the spool runs off the bobbin.”


One for the diary: Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture 1956-2006

Jonathan Glancey in today’s Guardian, on an upcoming must-see exhibition at the Barbican:

“Cities built out to sea. A city that encircles the globe. Houses that look like space pods. An “instant city” that can be constructed almost overnight. Visions like these are the stars of Future City: Experiment and Utopia 1956-2006, an exhibition opening next month at the Barbican in London. It will include some 300 intriguing and often baffling drawings, models and animations of attempts by the most radical architects of the past 50 years – from Archigram to Zaha Hadid via Shigeru Ban and Superstudio – to create the architecture of the future.”

And in his closing paragraph of the preview, Curly’s almost channeling BLDGBLOG:

“If only the members of Archigram or Superstudio had been able to buy, in the 1960s, the kind of cheap digital technology available on high streets today. They may not have been able to get their dream cities constructed, but they could have visualised them in mini-movies – much more enticing than so many drawings, lectures and models.”

Of course if he really was on the BLDGBLOG tip, then he would have followed through into newer media of the 21st century, i.e. gaming and avant-garde architecture…

Here’s the link to the Barbican website about the exhibition. It starts on June the 15th.

Design for mobile services: nice, little details matter

I’ve started playing with Radar.net from Tiny Pictures.

Nothing much to report yet, but there is one little design detail that I’ll be stashing away for my own stuff (as long as Mr. Poisson et al don’t mind) which is not only going for a URL that is t9/predictive-text friendly, but also issuing identity elements (an auto-generated unique posting address to MMS pictures to, in this case) that are t9-compliant.

This makes it far, far easier and more pleasurable to set-up the service and integrate it with your mobile, which with these sorts of things is 75% of the battle won. Makes the thing feel very polished and considered from the start, which gives me the confidence to trust radar.net with a little bit more of my digital life perhaps.

My feeling is that despite all the hoo-haa about uglydesign/undesign’s success in Web2.0, it just won’t carry in the Mobile Web 2.0 world.

The RSA Library has a blog…

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This is great… A blog describing new acquisitions and goings-on at the library.

I have no idea if this is widespread now in libraries but it’s the first I’ve come across in my everyday life.


Governing the High Frontier

The NASA Ames Summer Studies of Space Habitats from the mid to late 1970s have recently been linked by BoingBoing and O’Reilly’s Make Blog, principly for the evocative, nostalgic images therein.

The text of the Summer Studies makes for fascinating read though. Here’s an extract from the 1975 study, suggesting that the future inhabitants of the L5 Lagrangian Libration point would be left to orginate their own forms of government and policing…

“Distance and isolation also affect the governance and social order. Whether space colonization is a unilateral effort on the part of the United States or a cross-national enterprise, it will most likely be sponsored by a public or quasipublic organization with a bureaucratic structure which permeates the early settlement. The sense of isolation may stimulate the organizational development of communities away from the organizational form of the sponsor as the interests and life circumstances of a rapidly growing population change and develop. The form of governance depends very much on the preferences of the settlers, in much the same way as allowances for individual choice have been emphasized in other considerations of life in space.

Maintenance of order and of internal as well as external security initially falls to the Earth-based sponsoring organizations and then to the organized community which is expected to rise early in the colony’s history. The small size of the settlement, combined with a rather precarious manufactured environment, may emphasize a concern for internal security. Any individual or small group could, in prospect, undertake to destroy the entire colony by opening the habitat to surrounding space, by disrupting the power supply, or by other actions which have few corresponding forms in Earth-based settings. Whatever organizational form the colonists evolve, it must be able to assure the physical security of the habitat and its supporting systems, and this need for security may infringe upon other desirable features of the colony and its operation.”

Surely there has to be a TV series or two here – Deadwood in Space? I guess a Russell T. Davies reboot of StarCops is out of the question…

Computer Baroque

My new favourite style of everything, as coined by Jonathan Glancey in his review of UN Studio’s Mercedes-Benz Museum:

What is difficult to grasp, until you have spent some time wandering around the building, is that this plan is far from being two-dimensional; instead, it curves and loops up and away from the floor in smooth concrete folds, twisting and turning in ways that makes floors become walls, and walls ceilings. The interior is, in fact, one fluid, continuously unfolding space.

More on computer-baroque soon, I hope.