Teaching union wants to teach kids to walk
Shellfish and slavery
The end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the British Empire is being commemorated this weekend, two hundred years after King George III granted royal assent to the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. That slavery was (and remains) morally repugnant, and that its abolition was a good thing, is generally considered to be an incontestable truth.
Tokai Love Rock
I was idly wandering around the guitar shops in and around Denmark Street last weekend, looking for a new guitar. (I’m on holiday this week, and since I wasn’t actually travelling anywhere, I felt justified in splashing out). I wanted something with two humbuckers and a fixed bridge, something that could handle some blues and jazz and that didn’t look totally metal. (Pointy guitars aren’t my style.) I tried a couple of archtops, a Yamaha and an Ibanez, in the £250-£300 price range, but they failed to inspire me.
Speeding up a random query
(Warning: this post contains extensive discussion of SQL. Persons of a nervous disposition should exercise caution.)
I’ve finally tied up all the loose ends and released a significantly updated version of my HTMLEntities library that deals with named (X)HTML entities in Ruby.
Microsoft’s HD Photo JPEG challenger
Microsoft apparently want everyone to start using their HD Photo image format as a replacement for JPEG. They have pledged not to assert patents over it and are going to submit it to an as-yet unnamed standards body.
So long, unpasteurised Camembert
After arriving home from work, I like to tide myself over until dinner with a snack. As I was eating some excellent Camembert—appellation d’origine controllée, unpasteurised and a stranger to refrigeration since I bought it last week—with a glass of red wine this evening, I recalled a story I heard on the radio last weekend.
Zoom G2 first impressions
Having upgraded my guitar, my thoughts turned to upgrading my effects. I’ve had my faithful Zoom 505 for about a decade. It was an affordable multi-effect device at the time, and I was pleased with its versatility despite its shortcomings. The biggest flaw was probably the inconvenience of changing the settings with only six buttons: once I had set up some patches I liked, I mostly left them alone.
My favourite guitar is a Pignose travel guitar which I bought when I lived in Japan. Although the body is diminutive, the neck is full-sized and it plays very well—better than many normal electrics I’ve tried. Unfortunately, its single-coil pickup also picked up a loud electrical hum in my current flat. Hum by itself is annoying; overdriven, it becomes obnoxious.
Great job, chaps!
One of the roads on my route to work was dug up recently for some cable- or pipe-laying. Whatever they were up to, they’ve finished now, patched up the holes, and moved on.
GHC in MacPorts
MacPorts, formerly known as DarwinPorts, is a mixed blessing. Sometimes, it performs: it compiles and builds the software requested, and it just works. At other times, one or more of the packages is broken. It literally changes day-to-day: stuff that used to work may not work any more when you want to install it.
E-voting in Estonia
Most of the coverage of Estonia’s election I’ve read has been positive, spinning their online electronic voting as a world first and example of the forward march of technology.
London: city of yesterday
The BBC reports on work to replace hundreds of miles of leaky old water pipes in London.
Boot an old Compaq PC without a keyboard
Old Compaq corporate PCs can be picked up very cheaply (I got a Pentium III/1 GHz/512 MB RAM machine for a project for £59 the other day). They are well-constructed, slim, and it’s easy to access the innards. Unfortunately, their utility as headless devices is hobbled by one frustrating annoyance: they won’t boot without a PS/2 keyboard attached.
The eating of the moon
The lunar eclipse tonight was particularly good from where I was: despite rain earlier in the day, the sky was clear, and the moon is one of the handful of celestial objects bright enough to be visible over London’s absurd light pollution.