Rob Bevan

Google Analytics

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A few months ago Google bought Urchin, provider of web analytics software ‘used by over 20% of the Fortune 500′ and also, until their recent move, by TextDrive where this site is hosted. TextDrive seemed unable to re-negotiate a site license for Urchin (and began work on a home-grown Ruby on Rails solution code-named Anemone). Here’s the reason why: Google Analytics, released today, is essentially Urchin 5 for free. And I was just thinking about buying Mint.

News from Norway

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In the first in an occasional series of ‘linked links’ and by way of tribute to Merlin Mann’s 5ives here are some great stories from the English version of Aftenposten, Norway’s ‘leading quality daily’ that I’ve bookmarked at* recently. (I’m half-Norwegian, so I enjoy keeping up-to-date with what’s happening in the ‘motherland’, but it’s a great feed nevertheless.) Giant boulder closes highway A boulder weighing roughly 50 tons has shut down highway 715, one of the traffic arteries to Trondheim.

Comment using the Skype API

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I spent some time yesterday playing around with the Skype API because I wanted to see if I can initiate text-to-speech calls for a project we have in development. Seems like the Mac OS X API, like the Skype app itself, lags a little behind the Windows/Linux versions and the Applescript interface (which is easiest to use from a cgi script) is only partially implemented. I did manage to get a simple web-based IM sending app running on OS X server.

More on semi-private bookmarks

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Jon Udell’spost (via Lifehacker) on Alex Bosworth’s hack to save semi-private delicious bookmarks using the for:yourname tag prompted me to fix an aspect of my use of delicious that has been bugging me recently. For a while now, I’ve been using a variation on Frasier Speirs’ AppleScript to post to delicious directly from QuickSilver, tagging these GTD-style with @review, for those times when I want bookmark something quickly without going to the trouble of describing, annotating and tagging the link.


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For some reason, my PowerBook decided not to recognise me this morning and wouldn’t allow me to log in. Eventually, I figured out I could reset my (corrupt) account’s password from the login window using my ‘master password’, but then I wasn’t able to start up to anything other than a blue screen. (Coincidentally, I’d earlier read that one ofMac OS X 10.4.3′s fixes – released today – addressed (an unrelated) issue in which high ASCII characters in a password could lead to a blue screen at startup, or prevent log in.

Working with Flex 2 on Mac OS X

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(Note: this post was originally written on release of the Flex 2 alpha. I’ve since updated it for the Flex 2 beta.) Macromedia recently announced Macromedia Labs and the availability of the Flex 2 product line alpha, which includes a new Eclipse-based IDE and a new high performance client runtime (Flash Player 8.5) alongside the development framework. Unfortunately, for now, development on the Mac is not supported and Macromedia only provide an installer for Flex Builder 2, the Flex Framework 2, Flex samples and command line tools for Windows.

Giving .Mac the chop

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Today I let my .Macsubscription expire. I’ve been a .Macsubscriber since Apple began charging for what was once a free service, but I can no longer justify the ‘equivalent of £5.75 a month’ for Apple’s suite of Internet services. I’ve grudgingly paid the $100 fee for the past couple of years, largely for the ability to sync my bookmarks, calendars and contacts across machines, even if each time I’ve felt vaguely conned at having to pay for something that ought to be free (the same feeling you get on finding out you need to purchase a new QuickTime Pro key with each version bump).

Plat du Jour live

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Went to see Matthew Herbert and his apron-clad ‘brigade’ perform Plat du Jour at the Barbican on Monday night. Unfortunately I couldn’t shake the feeling that Herbert and co were a little bored by the idea of a last London performance (they delayed the start for a few minutes trying to work out if they could do the whole thing in reverse, just to make it more interesting for themselves) and his slightly irritating assumption that most of the audience had seen it before seemed like a reason not to try too hard.

The mystic claw

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My arrival back from Halifax with a live lobster for dinner re-ignited the ‘is it cruel to dispatch a lobster in boiling water’ debate in our household. I’ve always had a bit of a lobster fetish (I once had a fabulous Katherine Hammnet lobster t-shirt, now faded beyond recognition), so the mere presence of a live lobster in the house was a big thrill for me and especially for the kids.


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A few years ago, after we had first created the fictional world of XPT, my brother (who’s a lot more familiar with the art world than I was then or now) alerted me to Finnish artist Alvar Gullichsen’s Bonk Business Inc. > …a multiglobal industrial enterprise at the forefront of 3rd millennium technologies. The company is the world leader in fully Defunctioned Machinery, Cosmic Therapy applications, Advanced Disinformation Systems (ADS), Repacked consumer products and LBH (Localized Black Hole) technology.

Plat du Jour

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The long-awaited (by me at least) new album Plat du Jour from Matthew Herbert was released last week. Over two years in the making this is a ‘concept’ album about “the international language of food” with some great tunes, including two standout tracks: Celebrity, made entirely from food aimed at children endorsed by celebrities and the only vocal track (“Go Gordon, go Ramsay, go Beyoncé…”) and The Nine Seeds Of Navdanya, generated from seeds provided by a conservation organisation in India.