Archive for May, 2007

Optimus Maximus OLED configurable keyboard nears launch

May 16, 2007

Vlad points out that the “Gadget of the year (not iPhone) is shipping soon :)”, i.e.

An led based (I mean a serious display embedded in each key) fully reconfigurable keyboard, the Optimus Maximus:

I say: v cool – as a keyboard FANATIC I would welcome this on only three conditions:

a) it needs to be trivially reconfigurable by the end user [I don’t care what my “@” key *LOOKS* like —
remember, I use a 100% blank Das Keyboard I have blogged about both when I first ordered it and after extended use — but I care a lot where my “@” key is *LOCATED*…]

b) it needs to FEEL great (only time will tell)

c) the ‘ENTER’ key needs to be in the correct place (it seems to be already), i.e. the resting’home’ place for small right finger +2 (as opposed to +3 default on most UK/European keyboards).


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Help find Madeleine McCann – $5M reward

May 13, 2007

Simply propagate the picture, and the links to, which has breaking news and numerous distinctive photos and PDF posters to download and distribute, ‘just in case…’

I know I know, there are many worthy causes, but I don’t have to explain….

If you don’t know the case, let me just quote from a typical blog posting

[About 10] days ago, 3 year old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bed in an apartment on holiday in the Algarve, Portugal. Just yards away her parents were eating dinner, checking on Maddie and her younger twin brother and sister in their beds every half hour.

Tragically, when her mother checked in on the children at 10pm, only half an hour after their father had, the window was slightly open and Maddie had disappeared.

Their are increasing rewards being offered for information leading to Madeleine’s return, and the hope is that at least propagating the story and the pictures, that someone somewhere may make a chance sighting or it may jog someone’s memory.

Madeleine has a distinctive ‘blotch’ on her right iris if you look carefully at the photos on, which will help to identify her.

Oh, and you Twitterholics – spread this round the Twittosphere too… thanks!

UPDATE: there’s an informative press release from the Virtual Global Taskforce which includes links to some useful sites and phone numbers in multiple languages here, including the following:

Disappearance of Madeleine McCann Web Appeal for Information

Wednesday May 9, 2007

Portuguese Police have extended a web based plea for information following the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The latest appeal has been issued by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) at the request of the Portuguese authorities.

The appeal is sited at and It appears in English, Portuguese and Spanish and urges people to come forward with any information that could help police find the missing youngster.

Both sites receive extensive daily hits from browsers in more than 130 different countries. It is hoped the move will help extend the reach of the appeal to as many people as possible, including holiday goers who may have recently returned from Portugal, or be intending to visit.

Any information should be passed to directly to the Portuguese police on 00 351 282 405 400.

Two forensic behavioural analysts from the CEOP Centre have been assisting with this inquiry. They have been made available to the authorities to ensure they have the full range of expertise available for every possible avenue of investigation.

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5 minute YourMinis demo? No way!

May 11, 2007


In response to my previous UK YouTube / eGov 5-minute demo posting, Tony Hirst, who of course tipped me off about the existence of YourMinis, NetVibes, and numerous similar build-your-own feed-driven-portals in the first place, emailed me to ask about ‘how much advance prep’ was needed to make a 5-minute live demo, and where and how did I have those links stashed?

Heh, great question, and right on the nose: it only works live if it is well rehearsed! So here’s the behind-the-scenes story:

(1) the night before the gig I surfed around for some relevant feeds, bookmarking SOME but not all of them on;

(2) I did a practice run on YourMinis, using their great drag-and-drop interface to set up a decent-looking portal, and saved it with the name mentioned in my posting,, then cleared away all the content to have a clean slate (from memory, this probably took an hour – which means in fact for steps (1) and (2) I easily spent a couple of hours on it!);

(3) an hour before the live gig, I set up the demo machine at the KMi Podium to have a Firefox browser pre-opened with a pile of ‘relevant’ tabs: to do this, I first went to my page, leapfrogged from there to about a dozen ‘relevant’ sites that I had already determined the night before, opening each in a fresh tab;

(4) Being something of a CTRL-TAB and ALT-TAB fanatic, i.e. using those keystrokes to cycle around quickly amongst open windows and tabs, I was able to navigate fairly quickly through the pre-set pages DURING the live gig, using the following sequence: (a) CTRL-TAB to ‘good’ previously-loaded page, e.g. one showing some eGov material or related news or info (like Police Auctions!); (b) find the ‘RSS Feed’ label or icon on that page; (c) RIGHT-CLICK and copy link (which gives me the URL for the intended feed); (d) CTRL-TAB or click back to the yourminis/egov page; (e) click on ‘Add feed’ in the lower left of that page (seen highlighted in blue in the screen grab at the top of this posting); (f) fill in the New feed portion as requested in the popup dialogue box (see highlighted in black in the middle of that screen grab); (g) click on the [SAVE] button; (h) drag the just-created feed ‘mini-window’ into a nice position on the yourminis layout. Then repeat the whole process for each ‘relevant’ feed!

Whew… ok, I ought to do a screen recording of the process at some time, which would be a lot clearer. Thanks to Tony for asking me about the missing steps. This ‘5 minute job’ clearly took a good few hours!!

[UPDATE: on the other hand, if your life depended on it, AND you remembered your login details and a few keystroke combinations, it is possible to recreate the entire thing from a standing start using a blank yourminis page and or Technorati to bring up a list of ‘decent’ content, easily in less than 10 minutes]

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UK Gov + YouTube… better than YourMinis demo?

May 10, 2007

Various postings such as this Wired news story have referred to the Number 10 Downing Street YouTube site set up in the last few weeks….

Hey, this is obviously coincidental, right, but I have to note we had a UK-eGov-related team visit KMi on November 27th, so for my own part of our collective presentation I decided that, as a ‘Web 2.0 existence proof’, I would show them how to build a (rather mundane) eGov portal in real time in under 5 minutes using YourMinis… so I bagged the URL (and froze the November 27th 2006 demo) at … check it out!

Naturally, I included YouTube and other relevant feeds, and since it is feed-driven, that YourMinis site will self-referentially pick up stories about the recently launched UK Gov YouTube activity…

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Blog tidy-up

May 10, 2007

Ho hum, 5 main changes

a) shiny new blog header complete with custom meisenstadt-Twitter-aware talking-head-widget (thanks to Peter Devine and Chris Denham… nice one!) … there were some legacy (Internet Explorer) compatibility issues that took some extra time to resolve (Peter and Chris solved these too – thanks again!)

b) Long-overdue installation of Rob Marsh’s Compact Archive plugin, found at the WordPress Plugins/Archive page to get rid of the tedious month-by-month archive listing in the lower right of the sidebar. There are many rivals, but Rob’s is exactly what I need – thanks Rob!

c) Changed default home page to list only 10 most recent posts instead of zillions

d) Got rid of some embedded flash video stuff in my sidebar as I had a lot and I was starting to drift into the realms of MySpace-llike home page launch times…

e) In a similar vein, for posts of mine that themselves had cool embedded Flash clips, I deployed the WordPress –more– tag so that from my main page you would have to click on ‘Read the rest of this entry…’ to get the glitzy bits. Tough tradeoff, as it makes the main page more dull, so I’ll try to pepper these back in occasionally.

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Jabber rocks on, thanks to Google, Jivesoft

May 2, 2007

Good thing KMi is ahead of the curve (by approx 7 years) on the use of Jabber/XMPP (BuddySpace, MSG)… here’s a very promising report on major interoperability (with AOL/Yahoo/MSN) progress thanks to Google and Jivesoft (Wildfire -> Openfire):

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