Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

4th April 2013

The Argonauts fight a Troll
Posted by at 7.59pm | In the News, Web | No responses

I’ve been on the Internet since August 1997. When I first got online I had an Acorn computer running RISC OS. Setting up Internet connections on these machines was a long-winded affair – you either forked out for the professionally-developed ANT Internet Suite (which cost in excess of £100) or cobbled together a solution with the freeware apps available. After much fiddling with settings, you might (if you were lucky) find yourself with a working connection. It was doable, but an onerous task for a networking newbie.

An enterprising company called VTi spotted a gap in the market and created a package called ArgoNet – a complete internet access solution, including a modem and pre-configured software, all bundled up in an AOL-style, user friendly package called Voyager. Simply install the software from the four 3.5″ floppy discs, plug in your 33.6 kbps modem and go.

I still have the software discs – I came across them recently while having a clear out. ArgoNet is long gone (as are floppy disc drives) so I don’t think this will be very useful:

ArgoNet Voyager Software

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20th November 2012

This time it’s personal
Posted by at 11.42pm | It's My Life, Meta | 1 response

We’re just over four months away from “celebrating” the tenth anniversary of this blog. 22 March 2013 will mark a decade of my writing borderline nonsense on a little corner of the Internet.

The only problem is, I’m not sure I want to carry on for much longer. Ten years is starting to feel less like a milestone, and more like a millstone. Around my neck, that is.

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7th March 2012

Viral Infection
Posted by at 12.14am | Web | No responses

I had an interesting experience last week on Twitter. I was going to blog about it, but I decided this was momentous enough to make it the subject of my second YouTube video. Enjoy!

28th January 2012

Where the Tweets Have No Name

Ironically, the latest victim of a Twitter mob is… Twitter itself.

On Thursday the microblogging site announced a new policy on deleting or withholding Tweets. A lot of users have interpreted this as censorship and have gone so far as to call for a Twitter blackout in protest.

I’m all for a good Twitter mob wielding virtual pitchforks, #flamingtorches and 140-character protest chants. But in this case the mob is wrong – here’s why:

  1. The new policy is almost exactly the same as the previous one. Twitter has always responded to legitimate demands to remove illegal content, such as DMCA takedown notices against tweets linking to pirated content. The main difference now is that content can be removed on a country-by-country basis rather than censored worldwide.
  2. Oppressive governments will block Twitter anyway. During the height of the Egyptian protests last year, the internet was effectively turned off in that country. During the disputed 2009 election in Iran, the government blocked access to Twitter and other social networking sites, forcing users there to find ways round the block. In China, Twitter is blocked entirely. Is a censored Twitter worse than no Twitter at all?
  3. Twitter is being open and accountable about their policy: affected users will be informed when a Tweet has been “censored”, and Twitter has teamed up with Chilling Effects to list all takedown notices it receives, so users can see for themselves what is being censored.

Mashable has a good post about Twitter’s announcement and why the new policy could actually be good for activists in the long run.

6th October 2011

Chimes of Death

Screenshot of web page showing "Steve Jobs 1955-2011"Oddly enough, I heard the news of the death of technology giant Steve Jobs this morning not through a computer or iAnything, but via that most old-fashioned of sources – the 7am news on BBC Radio 4. However, I immediately fired up the Twitter app on my iPhone, where everyone from Barack Obama to Wil Wheaton was weighing in with a tribute.

It’s impossible to overstate Jobs’ contribution to the world of technology, but his finest hour must surely be his masterminding of the turnaround in Apple’s fortunes. When Jobs returned to the company in 1996, it was near bankruptcy, seemingly defenceless against the rise of PCs and Windows. Many analysts believed that a return to profitability was impossible, and with a lesser person at the helm, they would probably have been correct. Without Jobs, Apple would have gone the way of Acorn, Commodore, Atari and countless other names from the early years of home computing.

With Apple’s co-founder back in charge, the company not only came back from the brink, but went on to incredible success with a new line of products. It’s true the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player and the iPhone wasn’t the first mobile phone, but Apple’s take on the concepts (with the influence of Jobs tangible in every detail of the designs) resulted in products that were genuine game-changers.

And now he’s gone, leaving some enormous shoes to fill. Apple, and the world in general will feel his loss for a very, very long time.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

31st December 2010

Twenty Ten – again. Again

July brought big changes to the newspaper industry, as The Times started charging for access to its web site. This was supposed to ensure a steady income stream for the newspaper, putting it on a secure financial footing for the future. However, it also resulted in the Times being completely removed from the online chatter of the blogosphere, as its news coverage and columnists were no longer accessible to the internet hoi-polloi. Still, I’m sure this decision made sense to someone somewhere.

The Supreme Court ruled that gay people facing persecution are entitled to claim asylum in the UK. I welcomed the decision, although my blog post is curiously vague about precisely why I welcomed it. Hmm…

In other gay-related news, I reviewed, with sadness, a booklet from the US Military discussing its anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Elsewhere, health and safety went mad as one person suggested banning rugby scrums. I felt uncomfortable on a train full of Orange Lodge marchers and I defended the traditional sitcom from an onslaught of criticism from trendy TV reviewers.

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30th December 2010

Twenty Ten – again

What a year 2010 was! It had twelve months, each consisting of at least 28 days. On some of those days I made blog entries. Here are the highlights.

I began the year in January fretting about an alleged Crystal Maze remake starring Amanda Holden. This story fortunately turned out to be utter bollocks. Ginger people again proved that (yours truly excepted) they have no sense of humour or perspective. Britain experienced a deluge of snow, and Merseyrail impressed everyone by soldiering on throughout, a feat which they would surely repeat next time we experienced awful weather… right?

I finally joined the Wii owners’ club, just as the console stopped being cool. My rekindled love for video games did not result in me getting rickets. I also celebrated my first Twitterversary and cautiously welcomed the iPad.

I also took time to blog at length about a US comedian no-one has heard of over here, illustrating my post with YouTube clips which have now been removed for copyright infringement.

In more serious matters, the Haiti earthquake occupied people’s thoughts as a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the devastated country.

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11th May 2010

Blown Up Out Of All Proportion
Posted by at 6.04pm | In the News | No responses

I was going to post about the ridiculous outcome of the Twitter “bomb threat” trial, but Graham Linehan has summed up the farce far better than I ever could.

5th April 2010


I haven’t been blogging much recently. I wish I could say that this was due to me having more important things to do, but that would be completely untrue.

The looming general election might provide some material for me, but at the moment all I have this well-timed demonstration of old-school Tory unpleasantness, so I will leave it at that for now.

Also, you could follow me on Twitter, where I’m posting all sorts of interesting stuff:

Just argued with my sister over whether vegetarians can eat fish. I say they can't, she says they can; but that's because she is WRONG.

15th January 2010


One year ago today, I made my debut on Twitter. My first tweet was somewhat underwhelming:-

Why not? Everyone else is doing it

I wasn’t sure I’d stick at it — many people who sign up to the site post a few Tweets and then never use it again. Nevertheless, I persevered and am glad I did, for Twitter has now become a genuine phenomenon. It’s proved to be a valuable source of immediate news during major events; has changed the way we interact with celebrities; been a focal point for public outrage, and even (nearly) started a revolution.

So, ignore the idiots (most of whom have never used the site) who say the site is pointless and nothing more than ego-stroking for self-obsessed nerds, and may those 140-character messages continue to entertain, until the inevitable day when Twitter is sold to Google.