Wednesday, September 27, 2006

 

Blog robot - part one


Hello Everyone,

It's taken me a little time to get this together, but I'm now ready to begin my report on WR:TW's BLOG ROBOT. (Not least, I had to check the status of my court order - apparently it's fine for me to review other people's code...)

I'm going to be dividing my report into three sections. Today, I'm going to discuss technical aspects of the software and its implementation. If you're not a web developer you might want to skip this. In my next post, I'll run through how to use the code on your blog. Finally, the third installment will provide some examples of the results. I hope you enjoy my commentary, and that it helps you decide whether BLOG ROBOT is for you. (Obviously, I think BLOG ROBOT is a cretinous waste of time, but I'm going to try to stay objective.)

OK...

From the coding point of view, I'm afraid I find little or anything innovative. As is increasingly the case with multi-author software produced by a largeish company, BLOG ROBOT relies on a suite of standard routines bolted together. Random number generation relies on the computer's internal clock and user key presses. That's about it, really. No attempt is made to optimise the code for home computer operation, although such sloppiness hardly matters these days with the speed of hardware being what it is.

I still remember the early days of webdesign - before even FORTRAN 77 - when pages were written in CPU specific assembler language. RAM and CPU speed were at a premium, so we often had to employ clever solutions. That was real design. Having written each individual statement onto punch cards, one would drop them into a reader and hope for no snags. On a longer piece of code, compiler errors could sometimes take 10 to 15 minutes to come back via the line printer. Oh, happy days. One wonders whether today's latte generation would have been able to handle it.

Anyway, I'm digressing - I have to take the wife to the optician's now (it turns out she couldn't tell the difference between myself and Martin Fry on the new Look of love video), so that's all until part two.

Dinky

Saturday, September 16, 2006

 

Dawning of a new era


Hugo - I think it's worth pointing out some of the arguments in favour of software like BLOG ROBOT.

I suppose the naysayers and moaning minnies will be up-in-arms, as usual. They will clamour that software like BLOG ROBOT robs blogging of creativity and of individuality. Some will even claim that the essence of the blog is the personal platform it provides for airing views and sharing one's life experiences. For the sake of argument, let us say that we concede these things in theory. For me, however, this is all besides the point.

What's important is the coming digital revolution. Internet penetration is empowering people all over the world to think and communicate in new ways. It's creating a flat world (although not in the same sense as I meant in an earlier post). A world, however, in which not all of us have the time, inclination, technical ability, or, in some cases, the financial wherewithal to blog. That's where I think BLOG ROBOT comes in. Easy-to-use, blog writing software will make blogging accessible to anyone. Standardised content will cut down on the need to read blogs, eventually eliminating not only the need for bloggers to write, but also for others to read the stuff themselves. (This last point has got to be an advantage in developing countries, where computers may be difficult to come by.)

I feel strongly that we should support BLOG ROBOT - whatever our personal feelings towards WR:TW may be.

And to think... We'll be able to say in years to come, "you saw it first on GFC."

I also believe this significantly improves our chances of getting an audition for the upcoming "I'm a Celebrity Blogger, get me out of here".

Dave

 

Blog robot

Some good news: today, I received an email from Natalia Wurnz, the editor of WR:TW. They've offered to help us "improve" (her word) our blog by beta-testing their new BLOG ROBOT - the software that writes your blog for you. I've decided to accept the offered olive branch (although WR:TW still insist that our review will remain as originally published). As soon as we get it uploaded (the CD's in the post, apparently) then we'll give it a test drive.

I'm pleased to be able to say that Dinky will be turning his expert eye to the new software for us. In an upcoming serialisation (a bit like Quantum Leap or Vanity Fair), he will discuss the BLOG ROBOT code, its operation and present some results.

Personally, I'm a little sceptical about the idea. Specifically, I imagine that we've been asked to try this out because no one else will. All the same, we're going to give it a go.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

 

We've got the look

It's been a while since we've posted, but I can assure everyone that we've been working hard, and that we've got some, might I be so bold as to say, fantastic content coming soon - much of it delivered through sentences as long as, or even longer than, this one.

In the meantime, it's gives me great pleasure to announce that we're re-mixing and re-releasing a popular single of yesteryear to promote GFC. After a considerable amount of effort, we identified four candidates, based on topicality, catchiness, relevance to the UK garage scene and the possibility of people making fun of us at the bus stop. After a little more thought, we abandoned that list and based our choices solely on the price of the royalties. That second list in full, then:
In the end, because we thought it would be least humiliating to perform, and because Dave obviously misunderstood the cultural significance of Happy Birthday, we plumped for ABC.

I was very pleased to find out that, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we could avoid re-recording the video by having our likenesses digitally introduced into the old film. Here, for example, is a still from the original showing Martin Fry (on the right) with his three bandmates.


And here's the equivalent still from the new, digitally remastered, video with Dinky in the same role.


The effect really is remarkable, I think you'll agree. Again, below we see (at left) Martin Fry from the original publicity material, and (at right) Dinky in the same role.



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