Big Bubbles (no troubles)

What sucks, who sucks and you suck

Bell Tolls for the Fountain Restaurant


Back in 2016, BB sang the praises of the Fountain Restaurant, an overlooked and increasingly neglected modernist gem in the centre of Chester Zoo. (The design of the Fountain was apparently driven by the availability of the original windows, offered by Pilkington Glass after an order was cancelled.) Forced to close during the pandemic, the zoo spent the time catching up on various planning and administrative tasks, one of the results of which was a planning application in May 2020 to demolish the old Fountain building.

A New Light Has Come

2020 has, I think we can all agree, not been a vintage year. Other than a brief, late burst of schadenfreude from across the Atlantic this month, it feels like the news has been unrelentingly grim, our lives are paused and nobody can foresee what will be left to us in twelve months time of the life outside the home we used to take for granted.

On the other hand, if you just want to stay inside and listen to records on the old Dansette this autumn, it may yet be a good year for a trio of remarkable albums released fifty years ago that have still not received due notice outside the circles of collectors.

Secure Boot With Cobbler

It doesn’t appear to be much discussed but you can perform secure boot of UEFI clients from a Cobbler build server. We managed it recently, under pain of needing to install Ubuntu on 400 Dell laptops before an imminent start-of-term deadline, and with only a modicum of dirty hacks.

Skin Alley’s Final Coat

Here’s early 70s prog band Skin Alley playing Norway’s Ragnarock Festival in June 1973, the only live footage I can find from their short career:

Panasonic GX80 With Darktable

This is a quick summary of how best to set up and use Darktable for processing raw files from the Panasonic DMC-GX80 (GX85 in USA).

For reference, I’m using Fedora 28 with the current Darktable 2.6.0 release. I mainly shoot landscapes or architecture, so some of the following may not apply if you’re a portrait photographer.

A Tale of Two Roadhouses

20181230-113901 “Fibre Broadband is here”, proclaimed the sign on the BT cabinet next to the A41 layby grandly. Behind it lay the quietly mouldering remains of the Cherry Tree Hotel, the multiple voids in its shabby walls exposing its black heart to an apathetic 21st Century. Really, they had fast Internet?

A Note About Benches

crop0003 If you’re familiar with a certain place BB knows well, you’ll probably recognise the distinctively ornate and serpentine end of this public bench, being as it is entirely redolent of only one place. Yes, this is, of course, located in…

An Ansible Pattern for Lists of Files

Problem: In this scenario, we have a potentially long list of usernames (accounts) and a directory containing SSH public keys, one per file with each file named after the user that owns that key. We want to deploy all the keys for the users in our list.

An Ansible Pattern for Parameter Configuration

Many of the Ansible roles we write are concerned with installing and managing the configuration of a particular application or package. For example, we have a role that installs PHP and configures particular settings in the php.ini file according to a Jinja2 template.