Category Archives: Geeky Stuff

A Miscellany

First of all, thanks Ian for your comment on the previous post. I can’t really recommend a good place to start with Thomas Merton, since The Seven Storey Mountain is the first thing I have read by him. It is, my comments from the other day notwithstanding, very readable and interesting.

I’ve had a really busy couple of days in the parishes, so did not see twitter at all for 48 hours or so. Lots of interesting things to read. Here are a few of them.

It seems there was a Panorama programme about chocolate, more specifically about child labour within the cocoa trade. The fairtrade chocolate people have been responding (here and here and probably elsewhere as well), pointing out that the part of the programme showing a fairtrade producer was dealing with how the fairtrade organisation stops child labour when they find it happening. Good. I shall continue to eat Dark Divine.

An incredible knitting project has finished. Most people knit one sock at a time. Some knit two at a time on one long needle. This guy knitted 14 at a time on one humongous needle. One pair for each day of the week – makes sense when you think about it. His knitting bag is even bigger than mine.

I don’t often blog about maths but, given I studied it first time round at uni, I feel the need to reassure Joe Taxpayer that their contributions were not in vain and I am still interested in the subject. A famous mathematician (yes, there are others) has apparently refused or is about to refuse another big prize for his work solving the Poincare Conjecture. He is Russian, and some Russian charities are asking him not to refuse the prize, but to accept it and donate the cash to good causes in Russia. Interesting. Should charities hold people to ransom like this? I don’t think so. Should people turn down legitimately earned money because they have enough? Maybe if the money would then automatically go to support another mathematician and further the course of human knowledge. Maybe not, if they can see a better use for it that they can influence. I’m in danger of siding with the charities here, and I’ve not even started in on the relative merits of academic work and child poverty.

Finally, I’m very excited about this software. Openshot: A non-linear video editor for Linux. I’ve looked at video editing stuff for the Mac and rather liked the look of it – this seems to be a start for Linux. I’ll install it after my next Ubuntu upgrade. Why do I always seem to have a hankering for upgrading a month before the next release? The end of March/beginning of April seems to send me into software envy every year. It is worse this time – I didn’t upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 since I was too busy when it came out. I’ve since tried it on a live cd and found that the touchscreen on my laptop works! I cannot overstate how cool I find this to be. My laptop has a turny-roundy screen that folds down so you can use it like a piece of paper. I’ve never actually used it because it only worked in Windows up to now and I only use windows once in a blue moon and have no data on that partition at all.

In other news, I’ve nearly finished the book my book group started reading in December. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I read it 10 years ago and loved it, but could remember nothing about it. Loving it even more this time. I suggested a Jasper Fforde book for this month, on the grounds that I have read it and so get a month off! I hear it is being quite well-received.

So exciting…

After much waiting with baited breath, the email announcing my new blog arrived today, and was promptly filed by Thunderbird in my junk folder. I am wise to this propensity and usually manage to check before merrily deleting all spam.

Anyway, I’m far too excited about tweaking the knobs and twiddling the settings on WordPress to have anything remotely sensible to say, except a huge thank you to Dave, Chris and Rhys for making the new site happen.

It has been quite an eventful week so maybe I’ll be back later with more to say. Must do more work before picking up Rusk.

Exciting book link

In my meanderings around this evening, I came across a link from Rhys’s blog to an article all about various ways of organising and classifying books, particularly using the colour (or rather, color) of the spine/cover. I know that book classification is a subject very dear to the heart of at least one of my readers, as well as being something I can get ridiculously excited about, so I thought I would pass it on. I will read the article in more detail and follow the links when I have time.

One of the joys of moving house was working out how all my books fitted in. (Easy answer – they don’t). I’m still not completely happy about their arrangement, but the broad strokes of the classification is there. I think that once I get them all onto Library Thing, I will be able to use tags more effectively. It is like a great big n-dimensional Venn Diagram. Mmmmmm maths and books, two of my favourite things.

Would I ever arrange my books by colour? I don’t think so. However, our DVDs end up being somewhat arranged by colour since colour often indicates genre: generally, romcom = white, action/thriller = black. A friend who has a large collection of videos arranged by colour first pointed this out to me some years ago and it still holds true in the most part.

Lectures today were very exciting, challenging and stretching. Learning is fun!

And that is all for now since I set myself a limit of 11pm for coming off the internet. Ooops, just overun. Sshhh, dont mention it, I might not have realised.

Sing when you are winning

Today has been a hard day of studying, learning how to read properly i.e. in a way that means I actually take some of it in and have some notes to refer to in the future when I have forgotten about it. It is going to be an uphill battle and I think the main difficulty is going to be remembering to read little and often. The longer the day, the less productive it seems to be: this morning [*] I was managing 15 pages before a break. Now I am down to about 5.

I must have achieved things, because my whiteboard has lots of things crossed off. In fact the thing I am most proud of today is that my printer is working under Linux. It was getting quite tedious having to reboot into Windows to print anything.

I am now off for some well earned rest, but I leave you with a short quote to ponder:

There is no place in the worship service where vanity and bad taste can so assert themselves as in the singing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Ch2

How true!

[*] Well, I say morning, but really it was very close to the afternoon before I started.