Posts Tagged ‘internet’


Posted 20 Jun 2010 — by Jonathan
Category General

Eighteen months or so ago, staying at Sam and Laura’s place in Paris over the New Year period, I threw a minor tantrum because everyone, hungover and tired, voted in favour of watching Wall-E – an animated film from the Pixar stable – instead of going out to explore the city. Feeling superior, I opted to sit in silence, facing away from the screen, and read passive-aggressively. Everyone else was charmed by the film, and I quickly felt stupid for ignoring it.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson. When I was about thirteen my friends asked me to the cinema. For one reason or other, I wasn’t in the habit of going to watch films, so this was quite exciting for me. When I got to Barnet Odeon, I was appalled to discover that the film we were watching was Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Now, I hadn’t seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (I’ve seen it many times since) so I didn’t know that it was a minor classic, and assumed instead it was the worst kind of childish, goofy rubbish. Annoyed, we went in and I resolved not to laugh – and demonstrate in so doing my innate sophistication and maturity.

Within about four minutes, my face was hurting and I could barely breathe. I would not – no matter how much I wanted to – crack. So I sat in painful silence, fighting every instinct to laugh or smile. Clearly, it was brilliant and I was a tosser. Eventually I collapsed into relieved hysterics, and presumably my friends forgave me, or else never held my idiocy against me. From that point on, I not only enjoyed every moment of the film, but began to feel a reflex affection for Keanu Reeves which has never left me – although I’ve never seen The Matrix.

Clearly I’m not the only one. Here’s Kira Cochrane writing in the Guardian.

The public feel many emotions towards enormously successful, fabulously wealthy, extraordinarily good-looking Hollywood stars. Protective isn’t usually one of them. But Keanu Reeves is different. When a photo surfaced last week of him perching on a park bench, eating a sandwich, looking just a tiny bit morose, the internet went wild. Bloggers typed out a torrent of warmth, the Twitterers tweeted their larksong of love. It was as though the world had suddenly awoken to the ideal espoused in Reeves’s Bill and Ted movies: “Be excellent to each other.”

A thread started on Reddit, running to thousands of comments, including anecdotes of Reeves’s incredible generosity. There were stories of him taking out stage hands for free lunches, giving a poor crew member a $20,000 (£16,500) bonus, stopping to help a woman jumpstart her car.

How lovely. Occasionally you encounter a celebrity who, instinctively, you feel is a sympathetic, kind, down-to-earth person, and it’s a funny, disappointing feeling if and when you’re proved wrong. (I still maintain that Winona was innocent of those shoplifting charges).

Here’s Thank You Keanu Reeves, a site dedicated to just that – a rare opportunity of the internet just giving a big, happy, thumbs up.

A source who knew Reeves in the early 90s confirms the many stories of his kindness – he taught her bass guitar, brought chicken soup when she was ill, let all and sundry stay at his house, and sent flowers to his sister each week. Perhaps the simple truth is this. We want to protect Keanu because we can tell he’s good. Most excellent, even.


On interruption systems

Posted 02 Jun 2010 — by Jonathan
Category Technology

This article, from Wired Magazine, is really interesting, and raises questions that are very important for those of us who work with information technology. In my profession the provision of material in a digital environment is increasingly important, but many questions have not yet been adequately answered about how technology aids – and/or hinders – understanding. It has become commonplace to think of hypertext and enhanced interaction as an unambiguous strength of the digital world. Nicholas Carr suggests that a much more complex picture exists – he writes “the Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it”.

I don’t share the more pessimistic aspects of his prognosis, but one thing is for sure – as much as we must consider the potential of hyper-linked information, so we must also make sure we do not compromise the benefits of linear learning.

Here’s the full article, and its conclusion:

“What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilisation. We are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. In the process, we seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting”.


filesharing misfire

Posted 26 Nov 2009 — by Jonathan
Category Music

This article, published on the Guardian site today and written by Anne Wollenberg, is one of the worst discussions of filesharing I’ve ever come accross. That said, it’s worth a read simply to discover the the extent to which it is unutterable, unreadable, gibberish. Hopefully when the day comes when publishers are forced to defend their copyright in the face of mass downloading, we’ll be more eloquent – and less fatheaded – than this.


“Hey, how about I help myself to your car while you’re on holiday. It’s OK, I’m not going to deprive you of it – I’ll leave it where I found it, with the same amount of petrol and everything, so that’s fine, right?”

Christ. That analogy doesn’t even work. Someone offers a swift correction in the comments section, thankfully, replying:

“No, but if you want to buy the raw equipment and materials to make an exact copy of my car, knock yourself out”.

coxon on the web

Posted 10 Mar 2009 — by Jonathan
Category Uncategorized

Can I just draw your attention, readers, to how bloody brilliant this website is:

Turn up your computer’s volume. Click on the eye. Ace.