Big Bubbles (no troubles)

What sucks, who sucks and you suck

Computational Pragmatics

Everyone should attend at least one truly memorable lecture in their university career: the one so well-presented or eye-opening in its content that it stayed with you for the remainder of your career. Mine was the last lecture of our Computer Science C235h module at UWA, in which the lecturer immediately grabbed our attention by announcing that there would be no notes as what he was about to say would ‘upset’ certain members of the rest of the department wedded to the accepted wisdom of software engineering practice. In fact, he said, this lecture might be subtitled ‘What they don’t tell you in Software Engineering’.

Plum Umbrella by Saul Leiter

“Plum Umbrella, c. 1957” by Saul Leiter. An early adherent of colour film, Leiter’s work in the medium was mostly neglected during his working career, finding few commercial outlets at the time. The rich body of images he amassed around NYC in the late 50s and early sixties was only rediscovered and promoted in his latter years.

In this shot, Leiter employs one of his favourite devices, closed framing: the titular object blocks our view of the majority of the figures underneath. Between the umbrella in the foreground, which is out of focus, and the large expanse of pavement in the background below, the middle ground forms only a minor part of the overall image and yet holds the key details we need to make sense of it.

The Basics of Baking

Having some time on my hands lately (in which to grow and flourish in exactly the way that potted plants tend not to in office environments), I did some baking. I baked a chocolate loaf, some Aberffraw (shortbread) biscuits, an apple cake and some soda bread, and they all turned out decently, to varying degrees of yumminess. But this was entirely thanks to following the recipes; had I not done so, I wouldn’t have had the first clue what I was doing or where to start - rather reminiscent of several pieces of software I’ve installed and configured under Googled recipes. I don’t actually understand how any of this stuff works; I just know to follow a recipe.

Astra Head Unit Replacement

I know it’s not a glamorous vehicle and it will never set anyone’s pulse racing, but I quite like my Vauxhall Astra. For a start, it has an engine, four wheels and a roof, all of which appear to be of adequate construction, and that’s always been a key consideration for me as a discerning car-shopper with absolutely no knowledge or interest in cars whatsoever. However, the one component that lets it down, as with so many popular makes, is the factory-fitted stereo.

Entertainment U Say?

This is the story of a time when I had poor taste. (In music, I mean. Clothing, I’ve never had much taste in.) But I wasn’t alone. It was the Eighties. And my poor taste wasn’t as poor as everyone else’s poor taste.

Must Be True, I Saw It on Telly

This week, Prime Minister David Cameron attempted to justify a fresh push on the Communications Bill to the Joint National Security Strategy committee by referring to the use of mobile data in “crime dramas” on television. (He also later urged the media to “think before they act” in relation to the Snowden revelations, presumably as opposed to “thinking while watching acting” or, to put it more precisely, “not really thinking at all”.)

SLES 11 With Mrepo

Summary: It’s possible to use mrepo and the youget utility supplied with it to download updates for SLES 11.x, but some modifications are required.

Node Inheritance in Puppet

Inheritance - specifically node inheritance - in Puppet seems like a great time saver and an ideal way to simplify your configurations. Until you encounter The Node That Must Be Slightly Different.

The Hole

We gathered at the little church of Thorn Cross at midday yesterday: myself and Mum, carrying Dad’s ashes in the compact but surprisingly heavy wooden casket; two of my cousins; and family friends both local and remote. All there to witness the final, brief act of four months of bereavement, as the ashes were interred in the churchyard. Unfortunately, it emerged that one of the three key parties to the ceremony, after ourselves and the vicar, was not amongst us - the gravedigger. There was a hole at the heart of our little community, and thus there was not a hole where there should have been one, in the ground.

Someone Should Do Something

“Apathy is underrated. If it was measured to the same degree as enthusiasm, we’d have a better idea of the merit of things.”

Aber Apathy, we used to call it. Back at Aberystwyth in the early nineties, whatever you tried to organise or inspire or lead would swiftly collapse amid ennui, poor attendance and a general lack of interest: your band playing to three old men and a dog; Rag trip takings down; your hot new club night or your exciting business venture. All for naught because “nobody here does nothin’ except go to the Glengower Hotel on the seafront every night”.