All posts in Outer Monologue

Just a very quick post to let you all know that my community-driven music recommendation site Where to Start With has just left private beta. Not only that but we have launched what we think is a killer new feature, there is a lot more detail (and a screencast) in the blog post over at our Where to Start With blog.

Screenshot of my new F1-focused site
I have been thinking about writing articles on F1 on my here for quite a while, as I have found myself getting more and more interested by the sport (as of writing it is currently less 4 days, 1 hour and around 10 minutes before the start of the 2009 season and I can’t wait!) and getting more involved on F1 sites, with comments etc. I have also started to notice that in quite a lot of places that I would like to write more than short comments (I don’t like to read essays in comments, so I try not to leave them too) but also I feel that I have more to add with original articles of my own.

So I’m going to give it a whirl, it might be rubbish – but lets hope not.

However instead of posting on this site under an F1 category I decided to start a new site entirely dedicated to my F1 musings, to keep it separate from all the techy stuff I write here, so behold

Just to get you up to speed if you don’t know what Hulu is and what situation is before I get to the rebuttal I found today:

Hulu is a (US only) website which allows you to stream TV shows (in pretty good quality) to your computer via Flash, it has deals with some of the major US TV companies and has shows added very shortly after they are originally aired and seem to stay available online for a long time (e.g. much more than the 7 days you get with the iPlayer). You get very few advert interruptions, roughly 4 or 5 for a program that would run an hour on TV, and the adverts generally only last around 15 seconds or so, aiming to take the amount of time that you would normally spend fast forwarding through 3+ minutes worth of adverts if you recorded a program on your PVR.

It really is a top-notch user experience and it is the kind of thing that could really take off big, and from what I’ve seen of other services is the closest thing in to my In an ideal world thoughts when I wrote about the BBC iPlayer over a year ago.
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I’ve just come across this post on dead simple task scheduling in Rails by the guys at intridea. It looks like a really nifty way to setup scheduled tasks in your Rails app, previously I had my tasks in rake files which I would then hit with cron.

While that is working perfectly adequately for my current setup it does have one downside, when I setup a new server I will have to setup the crontab file too. With this method when I deploy my app my scheduled tasks would get deployed and be running out of the box. Nice.

Yesterday I went for a root canal. I wasn’t entirely sure what the process involved and somewhere in the past I had gotten it into my head that a root canal could possibly be quite unpleasant. However I have never really had much of a problem with going to the dentist or having work done on my teeth so I wasn’t worried (much), but I can imagine that others might not be so lucky.

I had been referred to a dentist that specialises in doing root canals, so this was my first visit to this dentist and he did a few things that showed he really empathised with his customer.
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For the past 10 minutes or so every search I have performed on Google ( has brought up the “This site may harm your computer” warning page on almost every result (except for Google owned sites, like YouTube). Just take a look at this search for the term “Something”:

A screenshot of Google search results

I also tried on different browsers and get the same issues – is anyone else getting this? Either way it’s a little disconcerting that a bug like this can find its way into Google, but also in its own way a little reassuring that everyone has bugs.

Update: Yep it appears to be everywhere, this TechCrunch story covers it.

Update: The BBC have a bit more detail, seems an import of data from flagged everything as dangerous – do you think someone updated the query recently and missed out the WHERE id = [id] part, I know I’ve done that on in dev more than once. :)

At one of my previous jobs we had a massive amount of CSS to handle; we had the global styles, then section/page specific styles and on top of both of those we had different styles for various versions of the application (as the same application and content ran many sites).

The solution we came up with was not too dissimilar to the one discussed in this months A List Apart article Progressive Enhancement with CSS and that article is well worth a read. But I also thought I’d write a little about the setup that we came up with and how it worked out for us.
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I just came across this great site via Techcrunch called "Please fix the iPhone". It’s basically a list of issues which people are having with the iPhone and allows you to vote on ones you’d like to have fixed.

It’s quite a nice idea and really well executed. What I really liked is the fact that they’ve obviously spent a little time designing this thing (both from a UI and functionality point of view). It’s really quite refreshing to see something like this appear in an era when most simple ideas I see like this end up running on a blog or a wiki platform.

So if you’ve got an iPhone head over there and vote, if you haven’t head over and take a look at the design.

Dave Gorman asked the question "Where does money come from?" earlier today, obviously the economy is on a lot of peoples minds at the moment (and not least my own — more on that another time). It was a simple question and there was a couple of really great links in the comments: Money as Debt video on Google Video, which is also available from and a quick summation of the "Money as Debt" video.

I, like many others no doubt, thought that it was all based on the money that we deposit in banks; they invest some of that and keep some aside to let other depositors (and me) have access to some of that. But that still didn’t answer the question as to where the rest of the money comes from but the video does a great job of explaining it.

And if after watching that you’re not a little concerned then you must be a banker.

I was asked a question a while back over IM. The question and my subsequent answer made me think about my coding style, decision making process and evolution over the years and I decided that I would share those thoughts with you (aren’t you lucky).
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