Bike Lane Disaster

I don’t like the bike lanes that I ride on every day to work; it has to be said that there are many worse ones around. The BBC News site had a great set of photos of these today. It’s a pity; bikes lanes are normally put into to fulfil government targets, but not actually to be useful. A little more care would improve the network’s usability enormously. Originally published on my old blog site.

Wave Power

"Unlike solar, or wind power, the tides move all the time" Interesting story on the news about the first commercial wave power system. This is happening in Portugal, despite the technology being developed in this country because Portugal gives preferential treatment to energy from renewable sources. It’s great to hear that this is happening, regardless of where it is happening. It fits quite nicely with stories earlier in the week about gas prices. Currently, the problem with all renewable energy supplies is there high, up-front costs. But, energy supplies are getting less dependable and more expensive with time, and renewable technologies are getting cheaper as they are moving toward mass production. The quote is from a listener to the radio. I’m not su…

Versioning Madness

Started to have a look at Darcs today. It’s one of the first distributed version control systems that I’ve looked at in detail; I couldn’t see how they worked myself, but it’s not that difficult. Everything is a branch and you pass patches around; obvious — at least, once you think of it. Originally published on my old blog site.

Broke my NAS

Spent about an hour trying to work out why the aforementioned NAS box was totally failing. The ftp server seemed to be working, the machine seemed to be identifying itself. Turned out to be the firewall. Windows can cope without a call-back it seems. It looks rather like this was also the cause of poor performance on small files. I’ve managed to get my network card up to 30% utilisation; saturday it was rarely more than 2%. Originally published on my old blog site.

Garlic Flakes

Finally got around to buying some garlic flakes that I saw being used in t a resturant a short while back. Combined with a bit of chilli, as well as being garlic flavoured, this are actually quite hot. Cooked them with some potato, tofu, red onion and bulgar wheat. Very nice indeed. Originally published on my old blog site.

Teaching Clusters

Finished teaching today for year; well, ignoring the research projects, which might be a mistake. I don’t understand exactly why I find the teaching so tiring; probably the main reason is getting on top of so much background material. Still, it’s been a good thing; I’ve needed to get on top of MIAME for quite a while. The lecture actually went okay. Rather than go through the data model, which would have been dull, I think, I did a "clustering exercise", which I learnt at last weeks LSI meeting: everybody wrote down terms on post-it notes; then, they get arranged on the board, into related clusters. In the end, we got clusters which fell neatly into the six points from the MIAME checklist. Fairly pleasing, really. Originally published on my old blog site. …

Bought myself a NAS

Finally got around to buying myself a network attached storage box. I needed this for home backups and mass storage. I bought a Buffalo Linkstation — I’ve had some reasonable experiences with their Terastation while I was at Manchester. This is much the same; simple, well put together. It would have been nice if it had sftp or rsync servers on them (particularly the rsync!). The only problem I have with this box is that it seems very optimized for large files; if you are transferring lots of small files, then the speed at which you can get stuff across the network is very, very slow. Perhaps this is windows though, who knows? Originally published on my old blog site.

Fat Men in Saunas

The image of a fat man in a sauna is a bit of stereotype. This never made a lot of sense to me. Surely, thin men are as likely to go to a sauna? Think I finally solved this conundrum today: fat men have a good layer of insulation around them; so, they will heat up more slowly than otherwise; which means that they will be in the sauna for longer. Which means that, at any one time, there will be an over-representation of fat men. Originally published on my old blog site.


Went out for a curry tonight, with an old friend of mine. Fortunately, he knows lots of nice places to eat in Newcastle; this is good, because, currently, I don’t. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it’s near the Quayside, and rather pink. But the food was excellent. We had a daal, a strange pancake bread, a cabbage dish, dosa and some vedna. I’ve been a fan of dosa for ages, since discovering them in the Punjab Tandoori in Manchester. I’ve only had then in one other place, so it’s great to find another resturant cooking them. I even tried making them for myself once, using some of the wonderously named "Mr Git’s Dosa Mix". It never worked. As well as his dosa mix, Mr Git also makes vedna mix. I did buy some, but never tried …

Veggie Mixed Grill

Went to Bob Trollope’s today. It’s a veggie pub, near the quayside. Went there before, but got confused — I ended up looking at the menu of the pub next door. Wasn’t bad at all. Had a pretty good menu. As I’d been standing outside in the cold for most of the day, I went for the mixed grill. Was alright, but I think they need to make it a bit different from the meat version — it was too dry. I couple of pots of dips (a light chilli sauce, some brown sauce and something a little sweet, perhaps) would have been perfect. Still, it’s a pleasure to be in a veggie place, with lots of choice on the menu. It’s not been that easy in Newcastle. Originally published on my old blog site.