Miscellanea

Many Twelves

Well, you don't see that every day.

The Avant Cellist

I stumbled upon the music of Zoë Keating (specifically, Tetrishead) some years ago in, of all places, an early Dawn and Drew podcast. The latter fell victim to my "unsubscribe from one thing every week" rule four or five years ago, but I come back to this hypnotic music again and again.

You should, of course, run out and buy all of her music directly from her web site in order to increase the likelihood that we'll all have more to enjoy in the future. The thing that prompts this post, though, is a short documentary film. It was made by Intel as some kind of advertising ploy for a semiconductor product that they happen to manufacture, but thankfully that's not too blatant and the film is well worth its six minutes. The soundtrack is superb, as you might expect.

Moving Experience

…and we're back. After more than 22 years in one place, we've finally moved a whole third of a mile to a somewhat larger and generally much nicer flat.

In doing so, we've swapped a view of the Daintyland wool shop for a view that actually has a few trees and even a distant hill or two for those with good eyesight. Huddling round a candle flame in winter has been replaced by gas central heating. A bedroom full of boxes of books we had no room for has been swapped for a hall full of boxes of books we probably can now find room for.

This has been a pretty stressful process, but not nearly as bad as we originally feared. Lots of people deserve kudos for this, but as well as the buyer of our old property and the sellers of our new property (who have all been very accommodating), our solicitors, the removal company and my new ISP come particularly to mind.

Having said that, I don't think we'll be doing this again any time soon. It will probably take us a few years just to get all the boxes of books unpacked…

Moving

After more than two decades, we're finally moving flat at the end of the week. We're not moving far, so things like our phone numbers won't change. If you need our new postal address for some reason (how quaint, unless you want to send chocolate) then contact me directly.

There is likely to be a significant break in connectivity to those parts of the iay.org.uk empire that are hosted from the home systems as, unfortunately, there is something peculiar (perhaps a DACS) causing trouble on our new phone line. I can't even order broadband until this is resolved, apparently. And that's ignoring the secondary problem caused by the telco forgetting about part of our order, the result of which at present is that we'd need to install our router in the bathtub.

This will mean badly degraded e-mail, and downtime for SSH, CVS and the iay.org.uk Shibboleth entities. Much of the rest, including this blog, is hosted in California and shouldn't be affected.

Blast from the Past

This 1986 Promotional Video for Computer Science Dept, Edinburgh was made a few years after I graduated, so I don't think any of the thin, bearded, bespectacled computer scientists in the film are actually me. I can recognise a fair number of my old friends and colleagues, though (djr, rwt, gdmr, gb), and of course many of my favourite toys are featured.

Two 300 mega byte hard disks, eh? What riches!

[Updated 20070409. The video has been made private, so you may find you can only access it by talking to the uploader directly. Sorry about that.]

Buy a Better Future

At the turn of the year, you may well be thinking about donating some of your hard-earned to one or more worthy causes. After you've thought about more conventional charitable giving, I'd like to suggest the following organisations as candidates for a few more of your local currency units. Such a donation may not have the direct effect that you'd associate with something like disaster relief, but it might just increase in some small way the prospects of a better future for everyone…

  • The Wikimedia Foundation asks you to "imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge". If that sounds a bit grandiose, consider the number of times you use Wikipedia every day and how much you're therefore saving because you don't need to buy Encarta any more.

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting to defend your rights in the digital world since before most people thought there might be rights in the digital world. If you join them, or send them a donation, there is more chance they will be around to defend your rights the next time they are threatened. And anyway, who wouldn't want to support an organisation that sued Barney the dinosaur?

  • Our digital world is as vibrant as it is in large part because of the way that creative people build on the work of others. I love being a part — however small — of that creative universe; that's why I use Creative Commons licenses to mark many of my own works as free for other people to use, under certain conditions. For example, my flickr photostream and (as of this week) this blog are marked as free for non-commercial use as long as you give me attribution. You can support this approach to creativity by donating to Creative Commons. Of course, licensing your own work where appropriate is like a donation to every creative person out there; doesn't that make sense too?

Happy New Year!

Knife Sharpening

I've always had a respect for good tools, and taken a delight in a kitchen knife that cuts well. Cook Ting I am not, however, and when I have blunted my blade I go to my toolbox and take out the sharpening stone my father gave me.

A haphazard half hour later, I have usually managed to put a frighteningly sharp edge back on the knife, at least for a while. Until today, I had only the vaguest idea of what I was doing; this changed after reading Chad Ward's Knife Maintenance and Sharpening tutorial. Now that I actually understand how sharpening works, I'm hoping I can be a little less haphazard about it.

[via Megnut by way of Boing Boing]

86401

Dec 31 23:59:59 morbius kernel: Clock: inserting leap second 23:59:60 UTC

Happy New Year!

Virtual Vanity

Every so often I vanity-google my own name, just to see what happens. I'm sure you do the same; who can resist?

I've been the number three "Ian Young" (according to Google) for a while. At number four is a chap at Intel who also shares a middle name with me, although as he apparently has 34 patents and invented the insides of lots of cool things he really by rights ought to be higher. He gets top billing for "Ian Alexander Young", though.

Judging by the logs, some people find it easier to google for "Ian Young" than they do to remember the URL for this site. When looking at the server logs for the last month, though, I discovered that a fair number of people look for "iay" too. I've been using that identifier to log into things since about 1979 and sometimes have difficulty remembering my "human name", but I didn't realise this applied to other people too. Of course, they may have been looking for The Institute for the Study of Antisocial Behaviour in Youth, which comes above me in that search. No, the picture of the antisocial youth on their web site isn't of me.

This is all rather strange but to me the most bizarre thing of all is that my Second Life avatar gets two of the only six hits for "Alexander Daguerre" (with the quotes this time). I suppose if I had thought about it, I could have looked for a combination Google had no record of and had the results page all to myself. How long before people start choosing names for their children that way?

Five Nines

So here I am, another year older; five nines. Sometimes I think I can only achieve all of my goals by reaching the mythical five nines measure of uptime, but I do like a little extra snooze at the weekends.

Assuming that averages out to 60% uptime, the standard formula comes up with an availability of only 0.4 nines… must do better.

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