Brain dump

Here are a few thoughts that I should really expand into unique single posts but which currently lack the time or desire to do anything with.

Wimbledon is upon us. It’s a simple enough game, and that very simplicity does appeal to me and whilst watching Tim Henman finally beat Carlos Moya yesterday, I found myself wondering how it is possible that the dimensions of a tennis court, which as far as I know haven’t changed for … 60 years? More? … still seem to work.

The players, in general, are faster around the court, and hit the ball harder and faster as well. So how is it possible that the size of a tennis court seems ‘just right’ in the present day. It’s not too large, and not too small, yet the players and the technologies they have at their disposal SHOULD surely be making it seem that way?? I know there are limitations on the racquets and the balls used, but even then…

How is it possible that the size of a tennis court, decided many decades ago, is still right? It’s most perturbing.


Apparently we are all idiots. We must be. Why else would a blog post that suggests that a good way to be organised is to have “a place for everything” be deemed useful?

I have to wonder at just how badly the education systems are failing of we are now passing off common sense as ‘useful information’. Yes yes, I know, I know. Not everyone ‘has’ common sense, and sometimes reminders of simple things are good. But… come on. It doesn’t take much of a leap, does it? Or am I being an education snob (again)?


Being honest is very very hard. Often it may come across as being arrogant or uncaring, and I have to admit that I’ve been following the ‘hoo-haa’ surrounding Mike Arrington (of TechCrunch) with a weird mix of feelings. You can track back through what happened here, but it’s more the way that Mike approaches things which fascinates me.

As someone with a bit of a temper (ohh yes, I’m not always the mild-mannered janitor) reading how Mike reacts to things like this always produces a kind of car-crash effect. I LOATHE the way he handles things and, frankly, as a well educated adult he should learn to hold his tongue, and count to 10, before posting. BUT. That style has won him fans for being honest about things, and that part of his style I do secretly admire. If he thinks you’re an asshat, he’ll post “You are an asshat”. He won’t try and soften the blow, he won’t pussy foot around with scenarios or any form of disclaimer, he’ll say what he thinks right off the bat. If he’s wrong, he’ll admit that and patch things up.

Admirable? Partly.


Catching up on my TV viewing last night, in particular the Journey of Rock documentaries. Heavy Metal was first up last night and from that:

1. They stopped at Metallica, sometime around the mid to late nineties. Is that because there isn’t a dominant ‘metal’ group around at the moment, and if so, why is that? Vague side thoughts about the rise of the internet and the decrease reliance on the charts to find new music, so more bands get more ‘air time’ on more home stereos around the world?

2. Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden fame) popped up to suggest that the reason their first hit single (Run to the Hills) was so popular was because it was the same as My Way by Frank Sinatra. OK, technically it’s because they both use rising sixths but it caught me off-guard a little to hear a Heavy Metal band talk about musical theory. No reason why they shouldn’t of course but.. still.

The second documentary charted “stadium rock” from Led Zeppelin to U2 and got me wondering… who will be the next big stadium rock band? If you remove the current ‘behemoths’ of U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and Green Day (grouped because they also get commerical radio behind them), and also take Radiohead out of the mix… who is left?

If anyone suggest Bon Jovi I’ll punch them in the elbow.


Merlin Mann over at 43 folders is getting fedup of all the hype surrounding the new Apple iPhone. I have to agree that it’s getting a little ridiculous, although all you need to do is step outside the Mac focussed websites and it all goes quiet….

In saying that, having watched the 20 minute demo video that Apple released.. well… it surely looks like a very good product. That in itself is quite something, leaping headlong into a huge marketplace, which already has some seriously big players in it, AND producing something that will rivial rival (beat?) most of them? Quite an achievement.

And the best quote as to WHY there is such a buzz (found via Daring Fireball) is this one from Michael Mulvey: “The iPhone is the floating car we imagined we’d be driving in the future.”

Which in turn reminds me of this Threadless t-shirt.

And I’ll stop there or I’ll never finish this post (because THAT T-shirt reminds me of this one, which takes me to Matt’s site and on to a video clip of an airplane landing at St.Martins and… on and on annndd onnnnnn).


Almost forgot. I love all my readers, sincerely I do. But please, PLEASE, I can’t vote for ALL of you in the Big Blogger house!!

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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…and it was you mentioning Threadless many moons ago that made me visit the site and buy Damn Scientists (amongst others).

Also agree that the iPhone hype is too much. However next Feb when my contract expires there will need to be a pretty special phone on the market to stop me buying one. Maybe a 3G version?

“I can’t vote for ALL of you in the Big Blogger house!!”

Ah, but you *can* vote for all of them if you have an ISP that allocates random IPs. Most poll software seems to work on IPs not cookies. Off with router-on with router-vote, repeat ad infinitum. I found this out quite by error.

Ooops, I shouldn’t have mentioned that, should I, now they’ll all be doing it 😉

Tennis – have you thought that it isn’t that the court is perfect for the players, but that all of the current technology and training techniques are based around becoming as efficient as possible at playing on a court of exactly that size.

Stadium bands – did anyone say Muse?

Alan – not sure what you are getting at… if they players are training to become as efficient as possible on a court of exactly that size, surely by now some of them would be able to move around the court so well that the size of the court would be negated?

Another example, the 100m sprint. The world record hasn’t changed dramatically in decades, so it would seem that human performance in that event has reached it’s “peak”..

So, somehow, whoever decided on the dimensions of a tennis court, way back when it was decided, managed to get the dimensions ‘right’, and we still have competitive tennis matches today. If they got it wrong, if it was two metres wider it would be too easy to hit passing shots, two metres narrower and there wouldn’t be the space to hit passing shots.. but the players are now fitter, faster, bigger.. so a weird equilibrium has been found, even though the designed the court decades ago….??

I think your right about the dimensions of the tennis court being ‘correct’ but technology has runined the men’s game on grass… just not enjoyable to watch anymore.

As for the next being thing in stadium rock…

…awesome spectacle!

By the way, your comment posting policy link goes to an old page.

‘I have to wonder at just how badly the education systems are failing of we are now passing off common sense as ‘useful information’.

Or am I being an education snob (again)?’

Yes, yes you are – did I miss something? Was that post written by a teacher, or anyone else who works in education? Was it aimed at school children, or was it likely to be read by grownups?

Why does everyone in the world feel they know best about education and have a pop at teachers any chance they get? Just because everyone went to school, so that makes them an expert? Is the educational system responsible for every single aspect of a person once they’ve left school, down to their organisational skills, their manners, whether they brush their teeth regularly or stand up for old people on the bus? What about their parents, aren’t they a teeny bit responsible for some of that? Hey?? Nnnnnnnnnggggg…

(Sorry Gordon. Hit a nerve there.)


Cheers Neil, I’ll never look at music the same way, what an AWESOME band!! Not sure about the dodgy looking bloke on the left of the main picture…

“Damn Scientists” was the first t-shirt I bought off Threadless. The first of ooh… a hundred?

Not counting, of course, the ones I get for free when people click through the Threadless link on my site to buy shirts.

Or the club ones I get every month, either.

My name is Matt, and I’m a t-shirt-oholic.

Donalda Bint says:

I agree with Neil. The game was destroyed some time ago. If you look at cricket (dear God! No! Ok, not tooo closely) then the first time someone came out onto the field with a metal bat they were walked back inside again until they came out with a wooden one. I really think the tennis would be better if they had never left the wooden raqucet behind…*sigh*

Donalda Bint says:

‘racquet’ even. I was using the Old Middle French, of course…

Look, I don’t care who else you love. Just vote for me. Please.

annie – my parents are both teachers so I have some idea of where the education system is failing (why DO teachers have ‘targets’ to meet, shouldn’t they be allowed to teach?).

And yes, it’s a nerve for me too, and yes parents should be MADE to shoulder MUCH MUCH more of the responsibility. It’s not an easy problem to solve that one.

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