Week 11: Remembering Aaron
We’ve been watching Lupin this week. It’s excellent and compelling. It’s a bit like the recent BBC Sherlock Holmes adaptations in the way that it updates the old Arsène Lupin stories to a modern setting – and in the way that it’s probably more entertaining than the original books.
The house purchase is progressing, but slowly. I had to send more documentation to the mortgage lender in an attempt to persuade them that I have an income. It really feels a bit stupid considering how much I’ve paid in rent every month for the past decade and a half. The more you’re a middle-class person in a professional job, the easier it is, I expect. The further away you go from that norm, the harder. But at the same time, my partner is a hospital consultant, a stable and well-paid job, and could easily pay the mortgage by herself, so what are we proving here?
I fixed the old Yamaha keyboard I broke. The original power supply section used a zener diode and transistor circuit to supply 5V from the input adapter. I replaced the whole lot with a regulator by judiciously removing some components and replacing them with jumpers and other components, including a diode at a jaunty angle. I could have just replaced all the parts of the original supply, but there are easier ways when you don’t have to pay attention to the cost constraints of 1989, and this was a cheaper way 32 years later. I was particularly pleased that I could fit the regulator on the same pads and heatsink as the original transistor.
I also reflowed the keyboard cable, so the keys all work properly now.
The concerted PR blitz against Sci-Hub this week (state broadcaster; billionaire gerontocrat news) is a good opportunity to remind everyone that Sci-Hub is good and useful, that you’re not depriving anyone who matters of an income, that none of the money paid for pricey academic journals goes to the authors or reviewers or indeed to anything beyond paying for a monopoly on prestige brands, that Elsevier is doing absolutely fine making nearly £1 billion a year on a 37% profit margin, that Sci-Hub is very popular with academics because it has better coverage and usability than institutional gateways, and that locking up knowledge where it can’t be accessed by people in poorer countries is morally indefensible.
Personally, I’ll never forgive the academic publishing industry for what it did to Aaron Swartz.