Windows 94, is that what we could call Microsoft’s first website?

Thursday, 21 August, 2014

Microsoft website, 1994

Did Bill Gates really utter the words “I don’t believe in the internet” in 1991? Whether or not the Microsoft co-founder said such a thing didn’t stop the company launching its first website just over twenty years ago though.

Maybe Gates said he didn’t believe in easy on the eye web design instead, if the inaugural front page of the Microsoft site, above, is anything to go by. Mind you, he wasn’t alone in that regard, that’s what much of the web at the time looked like.

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Earth, from space

Thursday, 21 August, 2014

Actually from a couple of months ago, not that my delay in posting makes this collection of In Focus curated photos taken from Earth orbit any less impressive. I especially like this shot of the Grand Canyon… not quite the way we’re used to seeing it, no?

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The thing about depression is it may not always feel like depression

Thursday, 21 August, 2014

Depression can be an elusive, slippery, illness to contend with, given many sufferers don’t fully realise how afflicted they are, until they start being treated:

Until I started taking my antidepressants, though, I didn’t actually know that I was depressed. I thought the dark staticky corners were part of who I was. It was the same way I felt before I put on my first pair of glasses at age 14 and suddenly realized that trees weren’t green blobs but intricate filigrees of thousands of individual leaves; I hadn’t known, before, that I couldn’t see the leaves, because I didn’t realize that seeing leaves was a possibility at all. And it wasn’t until I started using tools to counterbalance my depression that I even realized there was depression there to need counterbalancing.

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Movie props that deserve a place on the credit roll

Thursday, 21 August, 2014

If you’re a keen movie watcher, look a little more closely at the films you see… it’s possible you may notice the exact same props featuring in numerous, often unrelated, titles.

One such item is a newspaper that has been seen in several films. While it may seem absurd that producers would rather use a surely expensive prop rather than fork out two dollars, or whatever it costs, to buy a paper, there is actually a good reason for doing so:

According to Slate, the newspaper is from a small prop company in Sun Valley, California called the Earl Hays Press and was first printed in the 1960s. Movie and TV productions keep using the same prop newspaper because it’s actually cheaper to pay $15 per prop than get legal clearance from an up-to-date New York Times or other real-life newspaper.

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Pyongyang, North Koera, in stop motion

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

Enter Pyongyang… the capital of North Korea is certainly an impressive looking town, but how much of what we see here is off-the-cuff spontaneous, and how much is staged?

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Personality, sometimes it is stable, sometimes it is not…

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

Key aspects of our personality, such as extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness, vary in stability as we go through life, rather than remaining constant, with the greatest fluctuations being experienced in youth, and then later life:

Stability of personality increases through youth, peaks in mid-life and then gradually reduces again into old age, presumably in response to the variations in social and biological pressures we experience at the different stages of life.

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Is there a scientific formula for finding satisfying work?

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

Is finding the sort of work that is right for you a matter of applying a scientific formula? Whatever helps I say, but much of the science here seems more like common sense.

Given that perceptions of common sense vary considerably however, taking a structured approach might be a better option though.

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An interview with a con artist

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

I imagine that a con artist with a conscience, maybe one who sees themselves as a Robin Hood of sorts, is better than one with no scruples at all. Maybe.

GM had agreed to do an in-person interview the next morning at a coffee shop of his choosing, one with “good escape routes and foot traffic, so I can disappear if I feel you are not being forthcoming.” He would approach me, he said, and he promised not to do anything slick. In his emails, he presented himself as principled – a Robin Hood-type who used cons to teach manners to the greedy.

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The combat gear of British soldiers since 1066

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

Photo by Thom Atkinson

I was into the knights of old when I was a kid, so this photo series, by Thom Atkinson, of combat outfits worn by British soldiers from 1066 through to today, was absorbing to say the least.

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How is it that our typos can often evade us?

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

From time to time, while looking back on older posts here, I find myself cringing when I find a typo, be it a missed word, or a spelling mistake. And all the more so when the faux pas was made years ago…

I’m left wondering how such errors could have slipped by, given I write everything in a word processor that spell checks, and then copy and paste the article into a web browser that likewise spell checks, usually a day or so later. I’ve long figured that not looking at a piece of writing for a time makes typos easier to spot later on.

So much for that proof reading technique then. Well, not really. Part of the problem in error checking comes about, it seems, from a conflict with what our eyes see, compared to what we think we should see:

When we’re proof reading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent. The reason we don’t see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads.

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