The Revisionist History of Mad Magazine


(Or, watching culture evolve in real-time.) I love Mad Magazine. My mother introduced it to me as a child. Although half the jokes flew over my head, I was hooked. I've spent years scouring bookshops for ancient Mad paperbacks, and picking through the discard pile at comic-book stores. One thing which always struck me was […] Read More

The Gender Politics of Conference T-Shirts


I spent my Saturday crewing the reception desk at the amazing UK GovCamp Unconference. Part of our task was to check people in, hand them their name badges, schwag, and offer them a free conference T-Shirt. If you're anything like me, you've got hundreds of conference Ts stuffed in a drawer somewhere. They're all the […] Read More

What's Your Christian Name?


I have a childhood memory of my father having a blazing row with a census-taker. It must have been around the 1991 census, the person collecting (or perhaps dropping off) the forms was determined to find out my father's name. "But you must have a Christian name!" He cried. "And I tell you that I […] Read More

It's Pronounced "Reading"


English is a funny old language. That my mother tongue doesn't bother with internal consistency doesn't bother me much - except when it comes to Text-To-Speech. Using Google Maps to provide route guidance in the UK is a challenging affair. Driving through Reading, the computerised voice continually mispronounced is as "Reading". Err... that is to […] Read More

QRpedia - Custom URLs


This blog post is designed to foster a technical and logistical discussion. In much the same way as the earlier QRpedia language discussion did. One of the most requested features in QRpedia is to have custom URLs. For example, the British Museum may want a URL of "bm.qrwp.org". This has two main advantages. Better analytics. […] Read More

Mobile Badvertising - Language


One of the joys of the Internet is that it is international. Anyone, from anywhere, speaking any language can visit any page on the World Wide Web. This makes life difficult for advertisers. Not only do they have to ensure that what they're showing is applicable in the viewer's country, but also that it's legal […] Read More