Google Calendar broken disaster

Google calendar — or rather google mail — seems to have broken for me. Instead of giving me an "add to calendar" button when an event comes in, it blithely tells me "sign up for calendar". Well, I already am! And events gets shown randomly translated into a US timezone. This is really, really bad! I’ve come to rely on an electronic calendar, and without it I am in real trouble. Originally published on my old blog site.

Bad start to the day

My coffee machine is broken. I have alternative facilities somewhere, but I can’t seem to find them. What am I to do? I am to buy a new one, that is what I am to do. Originally published on my old blog site.

James Burton

Last night was James Burton at the Cluny. It was one of those "last chance to see" experiences, as he’s getting on a bit now. So I was not sure what to expect. The support band were dreadful — acoustic, electric and double bass. The bass player slapped his fingerboard a lot, with the resultant dull thud being all you could hear. The other two were more tuneful, but didn’t appear to listen to each other. Rock-and-roll has to be in time or it’s nothing but awful. The second band were much better. Tight, together and with a sense of performance. By this stage, though, I was getting a bit nervous. Where was James Burton? Well, eventually he came on. Not that the flames on the telecaster work that well now to be honest, but James himself is still a strong pl…

Bins and Stones

On my way home today, I noticed that one of my local metro stations has sprouted rubbish bins on the main platform. This is a bit strange, as I haven’t seen them for a long time — I wonder if there is any realtion to the North Ireland power sharing agreement. They seemed quite out of place — being just bag and hoop bins, although I noticed some proper Newcastle Council bins lying next to the track outside. A hopeful sign. When I got home I decided to sharpen my knifes as they had all got blunt. I’ve been meaning to try this for years, but I pre-oiled them with olive oil — I never fancied having the synthetic lubricants that I use on my bike on my kitchen equipment. It worked rather well, and made the process rather pleasant smelling — it takes the met…


Noticed today that azureus, also called zudeo has now become Vuze. I noticed this because a new version has appeared. After an hour or so, I worked out how to switch of the silly interface. One of the ironies of the situation is that the BBC content is currently not available in the UK, just in the US. Strange. I could have sworn that I paid for this stuff first time around. Originally published on my old blog site.

Rebellion or what?

I was a little bit saddened to find the kerfuffle over an encryption key for HD-DVD being reported as a 21st Century Rebellion. Don’t get me wrong, here, I find the idea that industry should have the right to control how we watch films distasteful; I think it will limit what we can do with the digital content that we choose to buy; I think that it will result in horrible user interfaces, with limited choices; I think it will result in far more control being placed in the hands of a few people than is healthy. But in the past, rebellion meant slaves struggling for the freedom, workers struggling for the profit of their own work, minorities struggling for civil liberties. It’s a bit sad when this it becomes posting a number on a website like Lets face it, if anyone g…

BFO and Connotea

Well, I am not sure that my brain wave on conductance worked quite as well as I had hoped. Can’t win them all. I’ve been playing with Connotea which is an online reference manager, with added social networking. It’s quite cute actually. The basic idea is sound enough, the interface reasonable. It allows commenting and you can look at other peoples stuff also. But it would be a hell of a lot better if it worked all the time. It seems to fail on a lot of DOIs, doesn’t seem to work on pubmed as it is advertised to do, and can’t work at all with sites that it doesn’t know — you would have thought that some heuristics would do the trick for most pages. After all, it works for Google scholar. Originally published on my old blog site.


Spent a large part of this week arguing about conductance and how to model it ontologically, with Pierre Grenon one of the authors of BFO. The basic scenario is a membrane — is conductance a property of the ions travelling through it or the membrane? I won’t repeat the argument here, but I had a blinding flash of light last night and realised what the solution was, which I shall post tommorrow. I even know how I would represent the solution in an OWL ontology. How this maps to BFO, I have no idea, and I’ll be interested to find out how it works. It’s been an interesting discussion; I am still rather sceptical about BFO, largely on the grounds of its supposed "realism". I don’t understand this. Claiming to be representing reality appears to me to b…


Spent today fiddling around with Je-S. This is the web portal that a number of the research councils use to submit grants. It’s a delightfully baroque and obscure piece of software. They appear to have worked very hard at the usability aspects — it would have been hard to make a system this unusable by random chance. The system stores a grant in a two deep hierarchy with a small amount of information at the bottom of each. The end result of this is that you have to click down, then up, then down, then up to find out anything at all about exactly what is in the grant. They also have this fabulous system for logins. Basically, if you login, and then don’t do anything for 20 minutes, Je-S will automatically log you out. This would be minorly irritated. The designers clear…

More Hamish

Just watched the last of the second season of Hamish Macbeth. I won’t say what happens as I know Dan reads these pages sometimes; he loved the previous DVD which I introduced him to, and I can’t spoil the surprise. Two episodes in a row. And like before, they had me in tears. Fantastic stuff. It’s midnight now, and I’m away for easter. I promised to not take a computer with me. I’m left with no choice. So, I better stop typing and watch the last episode of the season. The thumbnail has Lachie jr, dressing up in drag, so I guess it’s a funny one. Originally published on my old blog site.