Monday, 30 December 2013

Work is quiet

Hardly anyone in today. Not surprising as tomorrow is New Year's Eve.

Had to call out the breakdown recovery as one of my rear tyres (on the car, not on me) decided to deflate and go down to the rim. Delighted to say the came out within the hour and fixed me up with my spare (which was flat...) on the work car park. Excellent stuff.

Set up a new project on sourceforge - tree-ident, the aim of which is to use pattern matching to identify trees from their leaves, which could then be GIS/GPS mapped to give some useful environmental data. If anyone is reading this (is anyone?!) who would like to join in, please do.

Did a little bit more thinking about card sleights today, some cosmology reading and that is pretty much my day. Excellent stuff.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Netbook update

Updated my Ubuntu netbook today. Toyed with wiping and going over to lubuntu but as I have lxde installed anyway I thought there was no real gain.

Deleted a load of emails and gmails, uninstalled some software, updated din is noise, got cheesed off by firefox wanting to reset and having to be resynced (why?!) and the battery running out during an install...

But all seems well. I was going to go to 13.10 but then decide 12.04 LTS was the smarter choice.

Tried elementary OS in a VM on the desktop and was a little underwhelmed. Looked nice, but not for me. Thought about going Mageia on the netbook but I am not keen on the KDE netbook interface.

A bit more card handling and stuff, tidied my G+ circles and all is well with the world.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Mostly most agreeable

A marvellous Christmas time had by all - way too much food and drink, but hey! it's (generally) only once a year.

Delighted to get a couple of books of the wish list, and have started working down the Royal Road - just a simple little sleight on a shuffle, but nice to start spending a few minutes a day on.

Not got around to rebuilding the netbook (yet), but have printed off a few more chapters of my cosmology textbook.

Which brings me to my moans...

1) Kubuntu took an inordinate amount of time to print the pdfs (from evince), and managed to make a meal of fonts and things, so...
2) I booted into Win7, which similarly took ages (thanks to Acrobat reader), and then decided it wanted to update and reboot overnight without my agreement, partway through a print run - aaagh!
3) And then I had to replace two cartridges in the printer, which cost me more failed print runs - aaagh!

Oh, and this OpenSUSE laptop refuses to find the printer over wifi. Grrr. And I refuse to manually tinker with CUPS, this is 2013 for goodness' sake!

Monday, 23 December 2013

The fun of finding things out

A bit of research tonight:

1) Yellowhammer dialects, as per previous posting
2) UK Constitutional Reform - thinking about Thomas Paine, here
3) Loqualia
4) Epimetric
5) Magic

And stuff like that.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

'Tis the season

As we head into the festive season, no doubt the rate of posting on this blog - which is already slower than I'd like - will slow even further.

But have no fear!

I have already started plans for 2014 - NOT New Year resolutions, but plans - which currently include:

1) More regular posting here
2) More progress with healthcare planning/Epimetric (probably with a new name)
3) Two new blogs, unconnected to this one
4) A new podcast - we've already had a go at recording, I reckon we should do it
5) Some kind of project on tree identification with GIS
6) Some kind of activity on Yellowhammer Dialects
7) Some kind of BSD-related activity, FreeBSD, PCBSD or FreeNAS
8) A home cloud server, ideally with email server capabilities
9) Progress on "The Empty Room"
10) Some more photography/video
11) More music
12) Philosophy stuff
13) Something with the RPi
14) Something hardware-related, maybe automotive with the RPi (?)
15) Learn some more coding stuff and develop my skills/knowledge there

I don't know if this will all come off, or even if any of it will, but planning it will help.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Travel and data

Spend a load of time on trains today, which should have meant I had plenty of time to think about writing something interesting.

Well, I did have plenty of time. And I thought about nothing, mainly.

I have downloaded a bunch of prescription data which I intend to start sifting, to give a postcode-based map of how much/many of a given drug is prescribed where - in the longer term I see this being cross-referenced with (for example) demographics and used predictively, but that is a way of yet.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

That Sunday night feeling

Remember when you used to get out of the bath on a Sunday night, and your heart would sink because you'd realise that you had a fresh week of school starting the next day?

Well, I have some of that feeling right now - another week of work looms.

On the upside, though, I have a wodge of job applications in, some of which sound quite promising, and some grand plans for 2014.

I had grand plans for 2012 and 2013 (in fact, all the way back to 2009), and some of the stuff I wanted to achieve I actually did, so I think that's a fine advert for the to-do list.

2014 is going to be marvellous, I am sure.

I know it's talking about the past, but as Dennis Hopper said in "Flashback":

"Once we get out of the eighties, the nineties are gonna make the sixties look like the fifties!"

Friday, 13 December 2013

Numbers, numbers everywhere

Just downloaded a whole bunch of data on prescriptions to look through to try and map a time series from - I have no idea at all whether or not I have what I need, or how I'm going to do it, but you know what? I don't care!

I just reckon that it's worth a go, because if it works it will help people.

At some point I think I want to switch to ZFS on this machine, by the way, so I've worked through a handy tutorial on - excellent stuff - ready for taking the plunge before the new year.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mavis Beacon? Who she?

Pounding away on the keyboard on an email just now, it occurred to me that no-one seems to be that fussed about typing speed any more. Is it that touchscreens, predictive text and numeric keypad entry have become so common that the ability to navigate around QWERTY, QWERTZ or similar actually doesn't matter that much any more?

I'm actually reasonably nifty and accurate on the old keyboard, even if I do say so myself, so have never really been bothered about trying to learn "properly". Maybe I'm just too aware that ZX Spectrum keyword entry spoilt the chances of my learning to touch-type forever!

Other than that, mainly I've been thinking about Christmas, and getting myself geared up for buying the presents that I need to, writing the cards that I need to and generally entering into the spirit of things without wondering when/if I'll get a new job, which I am desperately trying to get to break out of the rut I feel myself getting into.

Quick question - can anybody recommend a good, reasonably light, multimedia/ogg/mp3 player for FreeBSD? Amarok seems to want to refuse to install, and XMMS is just a bit plain. I'm going to chuck gPodder on here for good measure, too, as I do like my podcasts.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Magic, mathematics and time to finish things

Today, in fact the past couple of days, I've been catching up with some guitar stuff - scales, and as I mentioned before trying to improve the consistency of my picking technique.

On top of that, picked up a couple of handy card moves - although I really need to work on these. I have a couple of splits down, but need some shuffles and forces better, as well as some coin moves.

What else? Oh yeah, been doing some cosmology stuff - bare bones of some assignment answers, which will need some tidying up and improvement. And I confess that I've steered clear of the maths-based stuff up to now, because I reckon I need a solid hour of concentration to do these.

This is what I want to get better at - setting time aside to do something to completion, rather than dabbling.

I need to install taskwarrior on all my machines, or work up the task manager I started writing. Probably the latter, as that will force me to learn to code properly, too!

Friday, 6 December 2013

General activity

More of a post for the sake of it than anything else, this one.

First up, my attempts to install Audacity either using pkg (yep, pkgng) and ports of FreeBSD failed for some reason, and tbh I thought I'd just leave it for now. Autoclean etc. just told me that there's nothing to do, too, so I'll just leave my working system working for now rather than mess any further.

Oh, and for good measure I just made a donation to FreeBSD - please do the same!

OpenSUSE is prompting for updates, Kubuntu has updated today, too and generally all is well with the world.

Waiting to hear on a few job applications - fingers firmly crossed here - and slotted in some guitar playing, working on my picking technique thanks to a really handy YouTube video, and even a bit of magic reading and stuff.

Where do I find the time?!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Treated myself to a proper, done-by-a-professional-not-done-myself-with-a-set-of-clippers haircut today.

Shaved all over, looking sleek and aerodynamic, even if I do say so myself.

Tonight I need to try and set up pkgng on the FreeBSD machine, and then download some data ready for the weekend and I should be all good to go.

Basically I'm resurrecting my healthcare trend mapping stuff, albeit with a slightly scaled back ambition (at least for now) but at least it's a start, eh?!

OOOOH! SciFi UK have just trailed "Robocroc" - I MUST SEE THIS FILM!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

OpenSUSE updated to 13.1

Updated the installation of OpenSUSE from 12.3 to 13.1 on this very laptop - a bit tense as it needed to download a load of data, and GRUB2 needed a bit of fiddling afterwards to show 13.1 rather than 12.3, but so far a success!

Oh, and the KDE login and logout sounds had to be reinstated after the update. Weird.