"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

OpenDNS - Internet Navigation And Security

As my 7 year old daughter now googles things I thought it was time to get some parental controls installed for my home network's internet connection. After a bit of researching OpenDNS seems to be an excellent (and free) solution. Much better than paying for iffy software that would then have to be installed on all the PCs in the house.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Brian Keenan / Jah Wobble

Claire and I went to readings / Q&A sessions with first Brian Keenan and then Jah Wobble at the Book Festival yesterday. Both of them pretty amazing individuals.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moray Place BBQ

From Moray Place BBQ

Seumas your attendance is definitely required at the next one. Plenty of money left in the adwords kitty...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cycle ride home as tracked by Google Latitude

My cycle ride home (KML data exported from Google Latitude running on my Nokia E72 and imported into Google Maps).

View Cycle ride home 20100816 in a larger map

Google Latitude location history

I thought you might be able to do this - track Google latitude location history. Interesting and slightly unnerving, have just turned mine on.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fitzroy meet up

We should do this actually. Where and when though? I personally think we should have a bbq in my back garden in Edinburgh.

Monday, June 28, 2010

mypccare scam

Interesting. We've had three phone calls from different people local to here, saying that someone phones up saying he's from Microsoft and there's something wrong with their PC. Seems like a persistent guy. The website www.mypccare.info (be careful visiting these kinds of sites: don't do it in IE!) seems at first glance to look legit, but a closer look shows it's pretty shoddy.

Anyway, whois tells me that the domain was registered by Abhishek Jaiswal in Calcutta. Not as UK as that flag on the website suggests then. Googling for the text on the page, shows the exact same quote on a list of similar "support" sites.

The scam is that they try to get you to allow remote access to your computer. People have lost lots of money through these types getting access to their financial information. Be careful out there!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I've been busy-ish

Hi guys, long time no post from me. I've been...well, all over the place...

I'm now mainly involved with a local Internet radio station: Siar FM (we've just recently renamed).

Actually, I'm going to be a guest on a show going out on next week. It's at 11am or 6pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Have a listen! Cool show. A woman from KMUN Astoria, Oregon, was touring through the islands and I suggested she record one of her shows from our wee studio. So it's a mix of Gaelic, Blues and Jazz stuff (with a couple of poems).

Anyway, I'll try and tune in a bit more often, particularly since there's that £100 in the beer fund (at least, I assume that's where the adwords cash goes ;-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cabinet of Horrors

Okay, apologies for the ghastly image. But interesting, I think, that many of the most stridently right wing and revolting cabinet members (Liam Fox, Eric pickles, philip hammond) are actually those that went to state schools. As someone said to me a couple of years ago - we don't have anything to fear from Tory Etonians. It's the grammar school boys who do all the damage.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

London Orbital

It's taken a couple of months, but I've finally finished "London Orbital" (which is more than I've managed with anything else by Iain Sinclair). Must admit, felt more relieved than satisfied to have finished it. I liked the idea of the book (an off-beat attempt to walk the M25) and where he's coming from, and found many of the digressions illuminating but find his writing style to be too dense and heavy going to really enjoy it, and his propensity to conceptualize everything into some kind of grand inter-connected metaphor just ends up being a bit tiresome.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Goodbye to Widdecombe

I don't know if it's a sign that I'm getting old, she's got better or the world has got an awful lot worse, but the news that Ann Widdecombe is retiring from the House of Commons left me feeling (ever so slightly) regretful. Ten years ago she was a figure of utter hatred and I would have been thrilled to see the back of her, but now she seems more like an eccentric old aunt.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Taken with my new Nokia E72 yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Dunning Kruger effect

I came across this reference to the Dunning Kruger effect. "The paper compares people's skill levels to their own assessment of their abilities. In hindsight, the result seems self-evident. Unskilled people lack the skill to rate their own level of competence. This leads to the unfortunate result that unskilled people rate themselves higher than more competent people." This poses the question - am I so competent that I downgrade my abilities, or am I just incompetent?!

Friday, January 29, 2010

1963 as seen from 2010

Just watched Episodes 1 & 2 of Madmen series 3. Total genius. Urgently need to move to upstate New York and start commuting to Madison Avenue.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Are environmentalists bad for the planet?

Just caught the end of quite an interesting Analysis on Radio 4, in which Newsnight's 'Ethical Man' asked whether environmentalists were bad for the planet ? His point being that the green movement's hard line approach makes other people hostile and resistant to environmental issues. It's a debate worth having, I think. Personally, I like the sound of most of what they have to say, but agree that most of the population are so offended by the implications of a lot of it that it makes them resent and reject the whole issue, often angrily. Think I'll Listen Again and get the beginning.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 as forseen in 1972

Somebody's unearthed a child's book from 1972 which predicts how we will all live in 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ah takes me back

The Buckfast Code

The Secret Life of Chaos

Did anyone see The Secret Life of Chaos on BBC4 last night? Excellent documentary on chaos theory. You'll have heard some of it before (Turing, Mandelbrot etc.), but it was a very watchable and well put together overview, nicely directed, and not much actual maths! They get into the relationship between chaos and evolution, and there's a fascinating bit where some maths geniuses develop a programme that enables a computer to learn how to make a little virtual avatar guy walk around without falling over. What they actually do is produce 100 different avatar-controlling programmes, then let the computer evolve a better programme through natural selection. It ends up with a far more sophisticated ability to control the avatar than a human would have been able to programme from scratch. It's repeated a few times (see the link), including next Saturday (17th) at 8.30pm, or is on iPlayer.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Will Self on catastrophe books

"Just because we've been crying wolf for decades now it doesn't mean that there isn't a whole pack of them, it just means they haven't come to blow your house down yet."

(I just read elsewhere that 'catastrophe' literally means a 'down stroke' in fortunes.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

mathematical constants

If I was going to make two sure-fire predictions for the future, they would be that the world is going to get warmer, and that some weirdo will calculate an even higher number for pi.

Sunday, January 03, 2010