Got a new bike

After 12 years of trusty service, with 5384 miles on the computer, my old bike, a Dawes Giro Audax, has finally given up the ghost; it was an excellent purchase. I got it just after I moved to London, really didn't have much cash, immediately post-PhD. At around 600 quid, it was expensive, but turned out to be worth every penny. It was quick, comfortable, usable for training, usable for commuting. And after 12 years, the paint job and most of the rest of it is still flawless. Well except for the STI shifter which finally popped on me and is essentially unfixable, especially as the bike has a 7 speed block at the back, which they just don't make any more. I have to sigh a bit at this; the economics of planned obsolescence might make sense, but it's a pretty stupid way to manufacture things.…

We are live

Well, this is it; although I have been using this blog for a week or so now, I haven't told anyone about it because it wasn't quite ready. Today, with a little VirtualHost hacking and it's finally up and running. I'm not totally happy with the theme yet, but that can change over time. The basic content uploaded, commentary and permalinks seems to all be working. Many thanks to Dan Swan who set up wordpress and has lent me a bit of his virtual machine. An excellent job, as ever. Say good bye to my old trusty site which is now decommissioned. Exercise in irrelevance is dead, long live...​.

The Sea Cylinder Storage System

I got this great idea a few months back, but never got around to writing it up; in the course of doing so, I realised that it's not entirely novel. Still, as this is going up on my all new blog, I'm going to post it anyway. It serves two functions now: firstly, it's got an image it it, which I've not done before and need to see whether it works; and, second, the image has been created with Inkscape, which I haven't used before. Okay, onto the idea. One of the problems with many forms of renewable energy is that it comes when it comes. Wind Power is available when it's windy, solar power when it is sunny and so on. Of course, the requirement for power does not fall into the same pattern; we mostly need it during the day and the evening, when it's very cold or very hot and so on. So, here is…

The Comparative Advantage of Bees

I've been thinking about the decline of the honeybee population after watching a BBC documentary on it; I've decided that it is all the fault of the theory of comparative advantage. To provide some background. The honey bee population is a massively important insect population; of course, it's important for the production of honey, but a more important function is that of a pollinator. Many of our agricultural crops require pollination to be of use, to produce the fruit or nuts that we eat. Bees do this task as part of their natural life-cycle. But so do many other insects. So why bees? Why not just let it happen, which it will do anyway. The problem is that honey bee is now suffering from massive collapses in it's population numbers --- this is typified by "Colony Collapse Disorder&q…

Identifiers for Science

While it's not a major problem, the inability to uniquely and reliably identifier a particular scientist is a niggle; a few years ago, I was distressed to find that I was scheduled to give a talk at an eScience conference about security; anyone who knows me, will understand how implausible this was. I hadn't considered the possibility that there was another Phillip Lord in eScience. It's not that common a name. So, what would we want form such a ID system? I've think that the basic requirements would be: the IDs should be unique; one ID only ever refers to one scientist. the reverse should also be true; one scientist should not need to change their ID. the ID should be printable, so that it can appear in papers. the ID should be usable with a resolution system. I think that this …

New Day, New Blog

It's finally happened. I've decided to move from generating my blog with muse to using a Wordpress hosted version. The muse generated version is a set of static pages; I like the simplicity of this, but it's just not powerful enough. I wanted to keep the ability to edit my posts with a text editor; for this, I am using asciidoc and blogpost which I hope will function as easily as muse. It's going to take writing a bit of support code, but it should be relatively light; in the meantime, it should stop people moaning about my awful blog design. As I post this, I've not gone 100% live yet; there are still a few things left to do. When it's all finally ready, I shall post my last note to my old blog, and the change over will have happened. Feels a bit sad, after three years using the old techn…

DCC/RIN data management workshop

Just coming back from this Digitial Curation Centre/RIN data mangement workshop. It was an interesting meeting with lots of discussions; I know relatively few people there, so it was a new environment for me. A lot of it was about establishing value for data sharing — something which is hard to do because, by definition, there is a time lag between the lodging of data and the point at which it actually gets used. One of the problems with establishing value was that the talks seemed to cover two different types of repository; for example, Matthew Wollard for the UK Data Archive really is maintaining a data archive. The datasets there are curated for metadata, but other than that, it’s the raw dataset. On the other hand, most of the value that Jenny Walsby of the British Geological S…

Waiting for Godot, Show of Hands, Swing out Sister

Been to so much recently, that I’ve hardly had time to keep up. Waiting for Godot was on at to Royal Theatre. Looks impressive but is not a good venue. The acoustics are bad and the seats are uncomfortable. Still, it was Ian McCellan and Patrict Stewart on one bill, with Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup thrown in for good measure. What can I say, really. The cast made the occasion. The play was funny and engaging, even if it makes no sense. The set was wonderful. Seeing Mr X and Magneto at the same time, though, what more could you want? Well, apart from comfortable seats, that is. Show of Hands. Yep, great. Barn storming, folkie-inspired, throw some politics in. They really filled the hall (Sage one which is famously hard to fill, being cold and antiseptic). Heard about them many …

iPlayer still rubbish

Today, iplayer tells me "You have download 2.22 of content" with a checkbox saying "Do not show this message". Robbed of a unit the former looks messy, robbed of "again" the latter looks a bit "Do not press this button again". Download times have come down a bit. Still — 4 hours now for a 60 min programme. I even managed to get something to play today; the frame rate appeared to be about 5/second. Originally published on my old blog site.

Web 2.0

What a flurry of posts? I went mad today and joined twitter and friendfeed both at the same time. Gosh, what a time waster this stuff all is. Right, just got to twitter about posting on my blog. Originally published on my old blog site.