Forgotten Possibilities

I’d totally forgotten about the upcoming John MacLaughlin gig; in got tickets on the day of the gig. Glad I did. He was playing with Shakti — mellow, acoustic (well except for half the instruments), Indian. If you’d only heard him recorded, you might feel that a John MacLaughlin gig is to be impressed, rather than entertained. The speed, fluency and virtuosity of the performance is astounding; but on record, you wonder whether there is more. This music needs performance, though; live, the flurry of notes blends, the music Star breathes; it’s hypnotic, engrossing, compelling and, frankly, exhausting. I came out with knees hardly working. I was slightly irritated by the formality of the setting of the music, though: the introductions were Hollywood-gushing; a 2 hou…

Waving at Copyright

I’ve been trying to get the University to fill in a copyright disclaimer for the Free Software Foundation. This was painful at the Manchester and looks like it’s going to be similarly so here. So far no one has any clue about who I should even email; I’m working on the business directorate who are supposed to be in charge of IP. So far, they are ignoring my email; soon, I am going to go and sit on their door in person, till I get a reply. This doesn’t bode well though. When I tried to get a login for, it took about a week and a paper chase of 6 people before I finally got to the one who knew. Originally published on my old blog site.

Lubricating Middle Age

Yes, today, I have officially become middle aged; I have reached that time in life where I have had to buy my second can of WD40. For some people, WD40 is a passing thing; mechanics get through tons of the stuff. For most of us, though, it’s that essentially accessory that you can’t do with out, but rarely need. Losing the straw can be a highly traumatic experience, which can leave you scared for minutes afterwards. Your first independent can is a rite of passage, a move to adulthood. It’s, perhaps, a sobering reflection that at the current rate of usage, I will own two more cans before I leave this mortal coil, or have no further use for the stuff. Still, bike’s running better, so mustn’t grumble, eh? Originally published on my old blog site.

Pension Costs

"The public sector does not generate wealth for UK plc, only spends the wealth the the PRIVATE sector makes for the country. We the tax payer funds the public sector pensions and therefore I feel that the pensions playing field should be level for all." Today, UNISON were on strike over changes to their pension rights. The comment above came from the BBC news website. It’s an odd point of view; the private sector magically creates wealth, the public sector spends it. So, someone on tax exempt business lunches is creating wealth — at least if they are private sector. I, on the other hand, when researching new knowledge that enables biologists to do new things, am just a sponger, because I work in the public sector. At least now I understand the PFI: while the …

Multipath Unison

I’m a huge fan of Unison, the file synchroniser. I use it religiously; half of my system is based around it. It has a few quirks, however, and today I fell into one of them. I’m sure I’ve been here before, but I couldn’t remember the cause. Essentially, it gives a cryptic message about the transferred file disappearing. The basic reason is this; Unison can’t cope with a path been included for synchronisiation twice; it twices to synch the file twice, and each time messes with the other. Originally published on my old blog site.


Well, two gigs, and one night of extreme technqi-ness, had left me tired, so I spent the weekend doing very little; more vids. I’m trying out online DVD rental and managed to get hold of a copy of the first season of Hamish Macbeth. I was a bit nervous: when this came out, I thought it was great, and I didn’t want to find out that my memory decieved me. Sure enough, it was fabulous; funny, tightly plotted, closely observed, cynical and black. The rest of the weekend has involved stupid quantities of Star Trek — also good, but continually spoiled by the tendancy for the script writers to want everything to turn out swimmingly. And, of course, Wesley Crusher who is as irritating now as he was then. Originally published on my old blog site.

Warm Stew

Simple meal today; onion, a suede and quorn mince, fried for a while (yes, with chili and garlic flakes), then simmered with tomato puree, and thicked with Oxo cubes and gravy granules. Add mashed potato, peas, beans and spinach. Thick, warm and filling. Pity, really, that I got around to this just as the weather is starting to get warm. And, yes, it should have been a pie. I’ve clearly been scared by the pastry experience of last weekend. Originally published on my old blog site.

Contract Law

Was good to see some friends from Manchester up north. Michael Parkin and Dean Kuo came up and talked about a protocol that they are developing which is based around contract law; the idea is that this is a form of negotiation which they should just be able to lift and reapply to computer science. It was a good talk which caused lots of interest. Indeed, I was surprised that they got through all their slides; there were so many questions; felt like much more of a discussion session. Originally published on my old blog site.

Salsa Celtica

Thursday night was Salsa Celtica at the SAGE. They’re a large band which combine, obviously enough, Salsa and folk. They were absolutely amazing; the two forms of music blended naturally; perhaps, this is not so surprising as they are both hard core dance music. Rhythmically, the mix was better than melodically; I wasn’t sure about the Northumbrian pipes which are difficult instruments. The chanters are nasty to tune at the best of times. This was also the first time I’ve been in hall 2 of the Sage. Much nicer than hall 1; oddly, though, despite having a dance flour on the lowest level, they choose to lay out seats right at the front; get up and dance guys! Originally published on my old blog site.

Teaching creationism

Should we teach creationism in science? I have to say, I think, we should. I don’t like the notion that you should separate out science from the rest of the world; is it alright to teach creationism outside science, but not in it; should we not be teaching, within science, the impact that science has on society? I’m happy for science to stand up on its own merits; by attempting to protect it from creationism, we are also preventing from describing its strength. Originally published on my old blog site.