Ways to waste time #2 – Twitter wants you!

A guide to Twitter for the unconvinced beginner.  By Alice Sage

Do you find yourself muttering things like “oh look, Countdown is on” or “I think I’ll have a biscuit” or generally talking out loud when no one is around?  Then Twitter is for you.  The ranting crazy lady of social networking, Twitter is basically a neat kind of socially-acceptable thinking-out-loud.

Click to go to Twitter

If your friends use Twitter, then getting started is a no-brainer.  Setting up an account is easy, as it is a simple case of picking a name, password and profile pic.  Personalising your page is annoying but doable and really not that necessary.  I spent a coupleof hours fitting a good photo for the background of my page, which now just gets on my nerves.  However, if you don’t have lots of friends on Twitter then having fun with it takes a bit more forward planning. Continue reading


Ways to waste time – best of the blogs

If you are thinking of wasting some precious time online, non-Twitterers, do it here.  The Editor’s top arty and news-based blogs for the discerning procrastinator…By Alice Sage

Not everyone spends all day religiously keeping up with blogs, Twitter, RSS feeds and Facebook updates (I do.  Yay me) – but you are online right now, and obviously not busy, so why not see what else is out there!

Four arty-types:

Comics, jokes, diaries and doodles – the pretty blogs I love best… Continue reading

Sex, drugs, and gobs of gore! – the books that make you love TV

Sex and the City, Dexter or True Blood?  When TV turns to modern fiction, every one’s a winner – so says Hattie French

Last week, writing up the best of the Big Read, I was struck by how many popular books are made into films.  Maybe it started with the blistering success of Gone with the Wind in the thirties.   Today, books are getting optioned for film before they go into print.

There are varying degrees of success for these adaptations.  Peter Jackson‘s The Lord of the Rings had more money thrown at it than the London Olympics, and yet only really scratched the surface of Tolkien‘s original.   And as I’ve expressed previously, the great advantage of the Harry Potter books over the films is that you don’t have to look at the smug, grinning face of the multimillionaire Daniel Radcliffe while you’re reading. Continue reading

The Best of the BBC’s Big Read – five-ish better picks!

The BBC’s Big Read best-loved books were not all a waste of trees – here are a scattering of gems that slipped through the net, according to Hattie French

Two weeks ago I poured scorn upon the results of the BBC’s Big Read poll to find Britain’s best-loved book.  To redress the balance, this week a look at some of the books which, in my view, deserve their place on the list.

I’m well aware that, in the pantheon of English literature, the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and their ilk are regarded as deities who look down upon the rest of us from unassailable heights of cultural superiority.  For the purpose of this list, however, they have been branded bores and pushed off their pedestals by authors who can resolve a sentence in under half a page. Continue reading

The iPad – because Mac loves you back!

There has been hype.  There has been backlash.  And we can’t even buy it yet.  You know there’s no real reason to buy an iPad.  But this is why you want one anyway…By Alice Sage

Now, I’ve not read everything there is to read on this subject.  I have googled.  My thought is this –

Both Martin Cloake and Will Sturgeon on The Media Blog have made the point that the iPad is not quite all that.  Also, that the press coverage of new apple tech is always disproportionate to mac’s sales figures (apparently).

There’s the argument that the iPad will revolutionise ebook readers, thus revolutionising newspapers, books, human literacy itself (plus the fabulous argument that anything by Apple will be revolutionary simply because it always has been).  This is not really news, as ebook readers are yet to make any substantial impact and the web is already important as a main focus for journalism – our news-digesting trends are moving in a digital direction so surely that a better kind of ebook (or at least a more appealing one) seems to be beside the point. Continue reading

The inevitable Salinger…

If you’re tuning in for the best of the Big Read, prepare for a disappointment.  This week, there is genuine news from book world: Salinger is dead. By Hattie French

Of course the news reports have gone on and on about two things only: the classic status (with occasional plot summaries) of The Catcher in the Rye, and Salinger’s notorious hermit-like existence.

Two things wrong with this approach, in my view:

Continue reading

What do we know – continued – what are you looking at?

Sense data fills the gaps between our eyes and the world around us.  But is it a straw man in the argument for experience?  By Lisa McLellan

My last article introduced you to Descartes and his famous statement ‘I think therefore I am’.  Descartes rejected all beliefs that he considered even remotely doubtable in order to arrive at a foundation of absolute certainty.  One of the first categories of beliefs to be rejected was beliefs based on sensory information.

Descartes recognised that a particular experience, e.g. the experience of seeing an apple, is no guarantee that an apple is actually there.  The experience may be an illusion, and in fact there is a nectarine that looks particularly apple-like.  Maybe the experience is a hallucination and there is in fact nothing there at all. Continue reading