Hungarian Poetry

[This is another non-serious post, I’m afraid. I’m writing a lot of serious stuff offline at the moment, and I can’t bring myself to be serious on the blog without feeling like a broken record]

My friend Ruben writes poetry. He blogs some of his work. By all accounts, he’s quite good. The only problem is he writes in Hungarian…

Now, I don’t speak Hungarian. Not even a word. I have a few friends that do, but I have no talent for languages what so ever (I’m still learning English). Translating Ruben’s poems is just not going to happen.

So, I have a new hobby – something that keeps me wryly amused on dull days. I translate Ruben’s poetry via Google. The results can be hilarious…

Today’s offering:

takarítok mintha én mindig is
takarítok takarítok
mintha egy foltot bujtatok


cleaners as I have always been
cleaners cleaners
like a patch of loop


“drótok a levegőben
néma szegek
huszonnégy órák

Which becomes the rather wonderful:

wires in the air
without pins
twenty-four hours

My best guess is that telefonfák is a mobile phone provider…

Have a go yourselves. Ruben’s blog is here, and the translation tool is here. If any Hungarian friends would like to provide true translations, I’d be interested to read the results…

Facebook is scary, and other things we’ve learnt this month

I spend far too long reading tech blogs. Too much dross. And you know, as you’re reading about the latest buzz around this, or the controversy around that, sometimes you learn some things you’d rather not…

Like, just how much of my information Facebook has access to. And how they use it. This interview is just plain scary. For those who haven’t left Facebook yet, it might just push you over the edge…

But, while you’re pondering that, I just wanted to throw a thought into the mix. If Facebook knows all this about you, what does Google know? Google who handle my emails, my web searches, my video watching, my work blog and analytics… and probably a lot more. Just how much of our lives are we handing over to multinational corporations. Is Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg right when he says that our whole concept of privacy is evolving? And if so, are we happy about it?

Other, slightly less scary, things we’ve learnt this month.

Just in case I’ve depressed you completely, I’ll leave you with a couple of videos that cheered me up. The first shows the wonderful levels of innovation that still exist in music. As long as people come up with things like this, long may they continue.

The second just made me smile. Fast forward to 1:50 and enjoy.


10 Predictions for 2008

OK, these aren’t really that serious, but I thought I’d have a go… 10 predictions for things that might just happen in 2008. Some are more plausible than others; none of them should be used to elevate me to a position of sage or futurologist (unless they all come true!)

  1. The American presidential election race will comprise at least 50% of all international news on TV and radio in the UK this year.
  2. This will be despite the fact that violent political instability will continue in Kenya, Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar) and (eventually) Zimbabwe…
  3. Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) will look increasingly incompetent and will continue to wobble precariously in the poles, especially as his collection of neophytes cabinet ministers will continue to be inexperienced, anonymous and ignorant of basic law (like data protection).
  4. The Conservatives will capitalise on this instability, without ever actually looking electable (never mind a plausible alternative government). Dave Cameron will continue in cheeky-chapy status; no one will know who the other guy is…
  5. An utterly disproportionate amount of media attention will be given to every product released by a small California-based technology firm named after a piece of fruit. Carla Harding will blog about her lusting for each new item.
  6. Capitalising on the moves of mobile phone companies towards IP-based infrastructure, the mighty Google will continue its move towards total control of the whole world by releasing a mobile phone that can operate across all networks simultaneously. Everyone will want one.
  7. Technology pundits and Google staffers will say that this finally “[makes] the mobile internet work properly for the first time
  8. The Anglican Church worldwide will spend the whole year talking about gay bishops (ok, occasionally about women bishops), continuing to reinforce the media’s perception that Christians are totally obsessed with sex. They will end the 2008 Lambeth Conference by utterly failing to resolve the issue, proving yet again that their greatest weakness is their greatest strength*.
  9. The phrase Emerging Church will only be used by people who are attacking it, allowing the good work of individual churches to continue under the radar, while really confusing irate Reformed Evangelicals.
  10. Towards the end of the year, I will finally get round to buying a laptop, after talking about doing so for more than 2 years. It will probably have a piece of fruit on the front…

* They never actually make a decision on divisive issues, meaning that people with utterly opposing opinions can (somewhat) successfully coexist.