Thursday, 31 January 2013

Great meeting

Really great meeting at Shropshire Linux User Group (SLUG) tonight, talking through a wired home, firewalls and more...

Had some thoughts around training, and conferences, and listened to a whole bunch of podcasts... My favourite being, as is often the case, the Partially Examined Life, in particular the episode on Foucault on power.

What else... can't think of much at the moment, but I am sure more will come.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Join in and learn

Everybody should head over to Ubuntu Developer Week on IRC...

Today has already been productive, finished my 3,000 word story treatment (sort of mystery/horror story) ready for a proof-read and hawking around, tidied up some files, started building a website with Bluefish, applied for two jobs, got in touch with Makers Academy and so much more!


Oh, and big thanks to Dave from DVD infatuation 2,500 movies challenge for the RT of this blog!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Frustration and non-frustration

I'll be honest. I couldn't think of an antonym for "frustration".

More progress on Javascript on Code Academy, moving onto objects which (personally) I've thus far found more straightforward than in Python or (gasp!) C++.

Managed to get a job application submitted yesterday, which is good - be nice to think that it'll get somewhere. I have a few more to fill in tomorrow, which to be frank I'll probably do with a copy and paste and fingers crossed.

Also made contact with Remember The Milk with some crazy ideas - did I say that yesterday? I can't remember now.

What else... oh yeah, spent a day staring at spreadsheets full of numbers, got home with a splitting headache, have a serious caffeine deficit and missed large chunks of Ubuntu Developer Week. I did catch the end of one IRC session, which was good - hope I can do more tomorrow.

Also listened to a History of Philosophy podcast or three about Platonism (the cave and all that), which was a really useful experience. And started a PEL podcast about Nietzsche, which is always fun... I could actually empathise with the view that truth started as a way of warning about poison and predators...

Have fun, people.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Wanting but waiting. And plugging (away). And plugging.

Now up to 41% on the Code Academy javascript track - plugging away nicely.

Update the RPi (again), and had a couple of Spectrum games. Loads of fun. Need to update openelec next.

Got some further stuff to do on job applications - sadly had to miss the Oxford NHSHackday this weekend... gutted! But I'm hoping I can pick some stuff up on related subjects tomorrow.

What else... oh yeah, got some TWiT stuff to watch (FLOSS, Security Now) at some point, cleared some podcast backlogs (History of Philosophy bits, and Boys and Ghouls), and some other bits.

Didn't finish a lot, but made progress, and can't say fairer than that.

And I found a cheap vintage guitar - if it's still there on Friday I'll buy it - and decided I'd like a new (additional) netbook.

Oh yeah... quick plug for my online shop!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Briefly updated!

Further into the Code Academy Javascript course, a few more badges earned and getting on top of some the slightly baffling ways of doing things. Curly braces are just SOOOOO 1980's!

Had some fun on the RPi, too, having a bash at a Scott Adams adventure (The Sorceror of Claymorgue Castle, by the way) and the classic Time Gate, which I finished quickly on level 1.

What else... well, not a lot, really. This has just been a quick update. I have a lot more to do...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Racked up a few more courses on Code Academy, ripping through the Javascript course nicely, although I have slowed down a little bit after the initial burst!

I'm hoping to have this finished in the next week or so, so if anyone wants to then pay me inordinate amounts of money to code (and yes I know that these sort of sites aren't "proper" whatever that means).

AND... intrigued by some Coursera stuff, but I need to think hard about how much time I want to set aside to this on top of everything else, and not over-commit.

There is more I could blast out here, like how I've found the Speaker's Chair which is jolly interesting - in a way I like the impartiality, but in a way I wish it actually had a bit of an agenda.

More in due course.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Codeacademy and other things

Finished the first section on Javascript on Code Academy, actually quite impressed with this - it works really well and actually progresses at a fair old lick. I like it!

Started a job application, got more to do on this tomorrow.

New TV this morning - the old one gave up after 5 years' loyal service, which was a shame, but the new one is bigger, less than half the price and has multiple HDMI inputs, and a USB port - yay!

I will need to set up the display modes on my four RPi images, but this is a small price to pay, really. I should get around to this tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Quick update from the netbook.

Yep, really happy with Lubuntu and if I get chance I'd like to submit an entry for the community wallpaper.

Also had a play on a couple of guitars today, and made a decision to make a push on three fronts over the next couple of days around a piece of fiction where I'd like to develop a couple of themes as I think I know the outlet I'd like to work with, some mathematical modelling (making contact with other projects) and finally some community activities.

But I know this will be fluid to-do list...

Oh, and I wonder if there'd be any takers for a GUI for taskwarrior, which I think is excellent?

Oh, and how is exactly Brian Cox going to describe how science explains life using "the fundamental laws of physics", when there is no clear definition of what "life" is, anyway? Hey, even Schrodinger struggled with that one!


Interesting that I'm typing this on my Windows laptop, running Lubuntu 12.10 from a LiveCD.

Really nice - Chromium browser is superquick, but I think I'll stick with Firefox when I install for real.

Nice experiment anyway, and it's made my mind up to go with Lubuntu when I do install.

Hopefully I'll get to try Scratch out on the RPi a bit more later, too.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Spent some time on the computer today - not too much, but enough to learn something.

1) I think that when I get my Vista laptop properly rebuilt with a new HDD in it I'll stick with Ubuntu, but probably Lubuntu as a lightweight alternative. Primarily for consistency across my machines, and I'll stick with 12.04LTS for now.

2) Philosophy in Pubs looks interesting - I wonder if there is enough interest near me to make it worthwhile trying to start a local group? I'll see if I can find out.

3) Found a number of interesting Sourceforge projects which seem aligned to what I'm interested in doing, so I'll be firing off some emails over the next few days to make contact. For example Sispread, epigrass, talend-studio and stianafor.

4) I still think it's worth following Antix (which I think is great), Salix, KDE and Fuduntu on G+. And others, too. Like Full Circle magazine.

5) My netbook is cool.

6) I don't like Jolicloud using Facebook login (even as an option). Can't say why, I just don't.

7) I can't wait to try and get MESS working on the RPi. Loads of fun to be had there.

8) I'm really enjoying working through "Philosophy for Dummies" - it's a bit superficial in places, which makes me please I know at least a flavour of some of the subjects in more detail, but it's a great thought-prompt. I have no doubt others will disagree vehemently.

9) Watched a DVD by Jay Sankey from the Merchant of Magic. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

10) That is all.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

C64 on RPi

Yessss! Got VICE running on the RPi. It's a bit slow on some stuff but the point is IT WORKS. Impressed myself with some command line mad skillz to tidy up the LXDE start menu or whatever you want to call it, too!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Volte face

Well, a great day.

Found a job to apply for. Done some thinking around what I want to do.

Need to find time to do the whole Codeacademy thing, then get crunching on some stuff. Delighted to see Facebook (no, I'm not going to link to that one) have introduced graph searches with and API to follow, which makes my future plans a whole lot more viable.

AND as if that wasn't enough, disappointed to find I'll have to compile firesheep myself on my machines, still waiting for my replacement HDD for the old Vista laptop (hey, don't laugh, it's been a good servant) to arrive and typed this up.

This weekend should be fun - got some keyboard hammering to do on a piece of fiction (any takers?!) and I also have an idea for a new music/TV show which I'd like to write up and get out there. The former is more important, as it's a bit more exciting to me, and I'd like to get some feedback on it.

Amazing how much more positive about things I'm feeling today after a bit of reflection and thought.

And by the way check out my shop.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Crisis of confidence

Feeling a bit down at the moment - got a bit over-sensitive about some constructive comments about my dig data project, which has caused me to doubt what I'm doing.

But after a few minutes reflection I've decided that maybe I do to focus on one really strong aspect.

Alternatively I might actually generalise a little and go into wider MI/BI...

Food for thought!

Still feeling a bit down, though. Ha ha.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Statistically valid

Right, so it's Sunday afternoon and I've escaped onto the desktop PC for a few minutes, after half an hour mucking about with OpenElec on the RPi.

Downloads running in the background of KNIME - delighted to see it's GPLv3, which matches the licence I'm running my stuff with. I'll install it and get it running on my old Windoze laptop, for which I've ordered a 40GB HDD (recon) for under £15 off eBay, ready to install Antix (probably...) on, or maybe Ubuntu... but as I'll probably be going with a lighter desktop it'll most likely be the former.

Anyway, on the subject of KNIME, it looks like a pretty powerful little engine for analysing health stats - which will be handy for the upcoming weekend in Oxford, which I'm really looking forward to.

Hopefully I'll make some progress!

Oh, and I've also discovered some local enterprise accommodation, should I get funding, and some funding sources. Sadly it seems that the UK financing tends to be loan-based, which in my eyes cripples start-ups before they've even begun as they're saddled with unsustainable levels of debt even before they have an income stream secured.

Conversely looking at some other EU countries there are oodles of GRANTS available, and seed funding to get companies up and running, especially in the research/tech fields where it can be some time before the true benefits start to accrue, and they tend to be in steady streams rather than one-off craze bubbles.

Says something about why the UK economy is the way it is... in my humble opinion, at least. Too much short term focus, and not enough real investment.

Oh, and check out Makers' Academy, Code Academy and the School of Data while you are online!

Thursday, 10 January 2013


OK, so here we go.
I totally, massively underestimated how long remastersys would take to run on my netbook. Never mind, it gives me a chance to catch up here and work through my to-do list. The first item, by the way, is to install Taskwarrior...

I have a number of projects to get moving. In no particular order - epimetric, some stuff on IRC, some stuff on music/TV, some stuff on set-top boxes, getting my RPi working even better, some political article writing, Broadleaf, Jaspersoft, The Foreman learning, Webmaker badges... Oh, and NHS Hackday, some theatre bookings and thinking whether it's feasible to organise a conference!

By the way if anyone is interested in funding epimetric (Epimetric) then please let me know... I'm trying to form it as a start-up, as I am with Broadleaf, Jaspersoft and Foreman support - e.g. using customised Jaspersoft components to serve Business Intelligence. If you're interested in the services I can provide on this please get in touch via this blog.

I'll leave you with a Zeno paradox. In order to get from A to B I have to travel to halfway point C. And to get to C I have to travel to halfway point D... and so on.

In fact I would have to travel through an infinite number of halfway points, which would take an infinite amount of time. Therefore how can I possibly travel from A to B at all?

There you go, Brian Cox, one of the reasons why philosophy has value!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Just wanted to say that Ubuntu is cool. I do like the variations, too, particularly Lubuntu. And I like Unity.

Monday, 7 January 2013


How hard can it be to try and get a USB install of AntiX Linux? Ttied to get a Virtualbox VM across only to find you can't resize virtual disks to fit onto a smaller stick. Grrr!
Might try Salix or Slackware. Just for jolly.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Is movement impossible?

Been thinking further about The History of Philosophy podcast episode 008 about Zeno... Wow. The more I think about it the whole idea of an infinite number of places you have to travel through the more I think what a brilliant idea it is to break things down like this.

Not in a reductionist way, but in a metaphysical way... so what is space? Is most of the stuff we see is actually made of space, how do you measure the relationship between the things because the space is effectively infinite between each point? And what about time?

Fascinating stuff - I thought that ethics was the area that was interesting me most, and getting me back into thinking about what it is to be, but it turns out that actually metaphysics is pretty appealing, too.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Repairs, retro and repletion

The RPi MAME image had to be redone - it seems that reconfiguring to use the whole 8Gb card before sticking a load of ROMs on there is safer. I had encountered a bit of a problem with the sound going wobbly (in fact just screeching) but a fresh set up and half an hour later - delayed because I made a bit of a hash of resetting the overscan in config.txt, it should have been less - and Track & Field was running nicely.

Shame the Gauntlet and NBA Jam are too much for the poor little Pi to handle, but... fun nonetheless, and a learning experience. I never knew ssh sessions could be such fun!

With the New Year also comes the sense that one has eaten and drunk too much over the festive period, but more significantly the sense that enough is enough in other aspects of life.

So to address this I'm delighted to say that I've started putting my CV 'out there' and seeing if things can start happening. I'm also more regularly writing my plans and thoughts down (like here!) as research suggests that this makes them more likely to happen because I have committed to them etc. Or something like that.

Final thought for now - I do rather like The History of Philosophy without any gaps, just listened to Episode 8 yesterday. Fascinating stuff.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Project progress

So I've been making steady progress with a couple of projects, with some irons in the fire on funding and marketing, thanks to some helpful connections.

I've also been cramming some Python, Ruby and Django in there, as well as being interested in a Jaspersoft podcast on FLOSS weekly.

I know it may not last, but I am feeling positive.

I may return to these subjects in due course, as well as The Foreman.

Arcade games

So, the Raspberry Pi is up and running nicely.

Thanks to Shea Silverman I have a working MAME installation on one card, a Wheezy install with a Spectrum emulator (yes!) and a nice openelec install on a third for some Smart TV-type activity.

So now when I can find the time I can indulge in some Vimeo or YouTube action, or some Hobbit and Sherlock, or some Wheelie - the game that made me physically sick, twice - or some Defender.

Oh, happy times!