Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sometimes, I'm such a child...

In recognition of North Korean despot Kim-Jong Il's 69th birthday, I present... "Ronery"

You can buy Team America: World Police, from which this juvenile (but unashamedly funny) twaddle is taken, here.

Friday, 5 February 2010

No, they're not all the same...

An election is looming... how will you be voting? In the immortal words of Mike Reid, "Runaround... now!"

And yes, I am aware of the quirky order of the choices on display - the polling widget I'm using seems to randomly order the options, it's not a subliminal political preference being expressed, I promise.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Browser wars II - this time it's more... well, browsery

I did this once before and it proved mildly interesting so, if you can control yourselves, I'll do it again. These are the browsers that have brought the last 500 visitors to New Amusements.

Browser stats. Control yourselves, ladies...

So what's changed in the last nine months? Well, lots, actually, but let's keep this to browser usage. Internet Explorer is the big loser here, down 13% since May 2009. This translates neatly into small, and roughly equal, gains for Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Expected more of Opera though. Anyway, other points of interest from these figures are firstly the increasing diversity of browsing platforms that arrive at this site, and the growing use of mobile browsing devices. Interesting, though hardly unpredictable trends.

Also, though you can't tell it from this graph, nearly a third of the IE users that have been to this site recently are still using IE6 (it's nine years old people - what are you doing?). Given yesterday's news, isn't it time to move on?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Shaking hands with death

Much has been written lately about the legality, or otherwise, of assisted suicide. The flood of coverage is, in part, due to the trial of Kay Gilderdale, a woman accused of attempted murder because she helped her chronically ill daughter die. For once, common sense has prevailed, and after a protracted trial a jury took just two hours to throw the case out, and Kay can get on with trying to rebuild her life.

With this in mind, it seems entirely fitting that the BBC's annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture should be on the subject on how we, confronted with an increasingly older and often ailing population, need to redefine how we deal with death. The lecture was written by Sir Terry Pratchett, the author, but, because of the constraints a form of early-onset Alzheimer's places on him, it was delivered (with passion and style) by his friend, the actor Tony Robinson.

In case you think I'm a Pratchett fan, I'm not. I've never read anything of his - somehow it just doesn't appeal. But his thoughts on death, and how we deal with it - specifically, what might constitute a sensible approach to dealing with deaths that may warrant "assistance" - seem to me to be entirely realistic, pragmatic, and well thought out. Beyond that, I'm not going to try to convert anyone to my way of thinking - how we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, as a great man once said, but whilst the law remains unclear then that choice will rightly remain a personal ideology.

Having said that... whatever your views on the subject, Pratchett's Richard Dimbleby lecture was 50 minutes of compelling and thought-provoking television. It's available to watch for the next seven days on the inestimable iPlayer, and I urge you to go and catch it whilst you can.