All very well-mannered and polite

no2id demo in bristol
On Friday I nipped down into bristol town centre for a protest against ID cards, sparked by the government’s somewhat secret ID card roadshow and organised by Bristol NO2ID. I don’t usually like demonstrations, prefering to rant on my blog and annoy my friends instead (though I made an exception for the anti-war demos). I was a bit nervous about what might happen, after Gateshead. But it was very civilised. David Gould did a bit of a Paxman on the minister Andy Burnham (“how much will it cost, minister?”) but the rest of us gave out a few leaflets, had a bit of a chat with some passers-by, held up some banners for the cameras, and made the BBC local evening news in a rather lighthearted piece, and a bit in the Bristol Evening Post. After about an hour, the security guard asked us very politely to leave, and we’d run out of leaflets any way, so we left, happy that we’d provided a bit of a counterpoint to the government information.
Very nice to meet people – about half were women, and there were a few geeks too. Blue Lou: “you’re all so respectable!”
My photos, NO2ID site, Liberty.
Update: mp4 of BBC Points West news item (thanks shellac!).

Ajax and Sparql

As part of the Gargonza experiment Damian Steer and I hacked togther a bit of javascript that takes a SPARQL query, passes it to a url that can produce results from it (e.g. Joseki) and then parses the resulting XML into an array of rows, each of which is a dictionary of results keyed off the variable name.
I use it for my cross-searching image database demo and Damian’s got it working over some TV data, both using Joseki.
I mention it now because Damian’s updated the code for the latest version of the SPARQL resultset format.
p.s. it needs some hacking to make it work with IE, sorry.

Inky pinky pinky

comparing the new Guardian to the size of a Scientific American
The new Berliner format for the print Grauniad makes it the cutest little newspaper in Britain and has very high quality colour printing. It’ll take a while for a Guardian reader of 20 years’ standing like me to get used to it though – the format change brings with it subtle changes in readability from the new font, changes in column width, and relearning the visual cues you look for to determine the interestingness of a story. Plus – where’s Doonsbury? and Passnotes has gone. And Lost Consonants…
Still makes a mess of your fingers though. I once asked a very charming ex-army B&B owner if he would mind picking up a Guardian for me in addition to his usual Telegraph and got the retort “inky pinky pinky!” and it’s still true of me. (He very sweetly went against all his natural instincts and did look for one for me – but in that part of Dorset there were none to be found).
Update: Maybe Doonsbury will come back.