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Blogging

Friday, November 19th, 2010

OK This is going to be very media oriented, a meta post about blogging.

Should I be blogging?

One answer to this, http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller/archive/2008/01/25/should-i-blog.aspx, just a quick Googling away.  Yeah I should blog.

So #lovelyGF and I are still pursuing the argument about what I should be blogging; sometimes I’m inflammatory, sweary, ranty, bloodyminded and polemical, you only have to look at Femininist, and Covering Up to see that this is the case.  Sometimes I put very personal things on, (Dad), and these things can be very difficult.  Sometimes I’m just pushing things out so they’re not in my way, sometimes I push them out because I think  they might help someone else even if it is too late for me.

#lovelyGF worries that I’m damaging my career, future career.

There’s a few things happening here, in my opinion.

One is that we self-censor to buy the future.  Another is that we self censor for fear that common sense won’t prevail.  (See #iamspartacus, plenty of people have done this now, including professional people that I respect and I *know* are looked at by their bosses, and whose careers WILL be affected.)

Another thing is that I’m always pushed for time, and I’m a rubbish content generator. I’m really interested in generating content as such, I have things to say, but up until now they have mostly been private, but I can’t play in social media without giving, so for example I took all my Facebook Pictures down some time ago, but I can share some publically if I want, so I posted one, my graduation handshake.

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By the way, Tempest probably have copyright to this.  Do I give a bugger about this?  Well yes, on the one hand; I think Copyright laws are increasingly draconian and punitive beyond reason, but the principle that people essentially should be acknowledged for their creative work isn’t a bad principle, it’s just mis-applied.  That’s the general case.

In detail, no I don’t give a bugger about this, because Tempest have far too much control over photography in school and Uni, we couldn’t possibly have got this shot, and it’s a photo of ME for crying out loud, and it cost me another £15 on top of the artificially posed graduation photo, for which I should have asserted myself more.  Oh well.  There’s always a PhD.  Anyway, I’m not putting it on the web for monetary purposes and while this doesn’t excuse copyright violation, they can just get over it.  Photo’s of me are MINE, I’m the owner of the image of my own face.  I have rights to my person.

But apart from all that, I’m rather proud of this moment, so I’m just showing people, not sticking it to Tempest, who are actually lovely lovely people.

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Anyway, point is, should I be self censoring just in case?

I don’t think so no.  Femininist in particular is a piece of creative writing, there are many truths in it, but the point about it is that it written creatively.  I’ma great fan of Charlie Brooker even though I don’t always agree with the sentiment, in fact I consider myself to be well, let’s face it, not stupid, but I often have to decode what Mr Brooker has said.  He always write creatively though, taking risks about how he is saying what he is saying, (I think he failed here, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/15/charlie-brooker-twitter-terror-conviction because I think he missed the target), and thus sometimes he is going to say quite controversial things and say them in a controversial way.

He is not alone in  this approach, Jeremy Clarkson does this to a lesser extent, let’s pass over his daft approach on Top Gear, it’s funny, mostly, but he has the approach of saying something quite absurd or right wing and then examining it.  I think he’s a lefty, as am I.  Never mind all the self-aggrandisement.  (ahem!  his not mine).

Point is that we seem to be in a divide.  If you write for a newspaper, if you’re a journalist, if you’re been trained, you can write any amount of absurd, challenging, controversial things without fear of career ruination.  It seems that if you do the same and you’re not specially trained, you might be at risk of losing your potential career.

Now, although I disagree with#lovelyGF about this, the source of my disagreement is that I think that there should not be one rule for the rich, well, in this context, trained, and one rule for the practising.  (Right, let’s get this out of the way, rules of libel still apply, and don’t slag off your employer in public, because well, that’s a bit daft, and Sons take note, don’t slag off your teachers in text like this because you’re not mature enough to understand what you’re doing yet and you shouldn’t bully them on-line, teachers have enough problems as it is.)

So there is a danger that someone might not like what you said.  It’s a level playing field, I might not like what some else said.  (I tend to only right to people to encourage them though, no point in being negative, though I do like to argue about things, because I might be missing their point, even if I disagree, I might learn something).

So what is conclusion here?

From my point of view, we can be mice, leave commentary and controversy up to the “experts” or we can own the blogosphere, which is in my opinion the greatest thing to happen to ‘net navigation since the browser was invented.  I dunno about the content, but I get a hell of a lot out of blogs.  All anyone gets out of this blog is opinion and commentary I think, but I need a meaningful presence on the web and this is it.  Caution, it might occasionally be NSFW, and might include a swearword or two. But only if I’m being polemical.

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I was asked the other day if wearing skirts made me more or less accessible educationally.  Was it too peculiar for students and too distracting?

The answer, with experience, much experience, is a resounding MORE ACCESSIBLE.

Yeah I have to own a room, and be confident beyond compare when I do it.  And yeah I like doing girl stuff in clothing, but I make a real effort not to be in drag, because that would be a distraction, and if you’ve now read the polemical entry, you’ll see that it would miss the point entirely.

Why more accessible?  Partly because it is clear to students that I’m not too conservative, so that whatever they bring is ok, what is important is the intellectual work and achievement.    I’ve been harangued by Student Unions to do it more, “because students will know they can be whoever they are going to be at this institution…”  and harangued by departments to do it less, (A mail to me sent via someone else because out new marketing manager in Bangor was scared that I would scare prospective parents off when giving a tour, when in fact I had never worn a skirt when doing that, precisely because it would interfere with the message, come here and get your kid educated.  I feel that the fallout from that, I did get to the bottom of it, was that students volunteers were required to wear “uniform”, and that I will never work in my beloved department again, stuff it, a skirt is narrowmindedness filter).

Point is, I tend to divide the world into those that look below the waist first thing and those who pay attention when I’m talking.

Since I have made good and impressive business contacts while doing this, I think it’s the right way to go.

And yes, I do provide greater accessibility, because after only a minute of talking to me about technical things, people know that I know what I’m talking about.  In Bangor I led a peer workshop, I initiated, set it up, ran it.  Passed it on the next year.  People came because of what I and my compatriots knew, not because of what we were wearing or not.

Flip side, parents at my kids school, primary school have sometime yelled at me out of their cars, and effectively given their children to be bigots, which they have done.  Nowadays the boys generally cope with it by being HUGE and telling people who try and rag on them to take it up with me if they’ve got the balls.  They haven’t.

Actually, that’s generally a lesson, people haven’t got the balls to really have a go abut it, but they will be sly, treat me as if I’m deaf or blind, and Goddess knows get really aggressive if challenged.

Anyway.  There it is.

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Award for Best Overall Performance

Award for Best Overall Performance

Oh, my camera is hopeless, but here is me getting an award from Pete Wraith (Great teacher, really great teacher),  at Graduation for being the best in my class.

I worked hard.  I still left some things until too late, but so much less than ever before.

The Context

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Here is an idea, I haven’t seen this idea anywhere, I might have talked about it some form in the past, but never to this detail, and certainly it is an idea that is now clear in my mind.  Maybe someone else has had this idea also, parallel things like that happen, but just in case that hasn’t happened I’m writing it down.

It’s for free, I would like to claim it as my own idea just to stop the big companies claiming it and owning us all over again; what it really needs is a small developer to do it.  It is beyond my technical expertise and time to execute, so take it and make some dough.  I don’t want any, well I do, but I couldn’t possibly justify that, and what I REALLY want is to see it out there and be able to use it.  Hint my current phone operating system is Windows Mobile 6, but it needs developing for all platforms.

I call it “The Context”

I carry my phone everywhere.  (My phone doesn’t have GPS but I’m going pretend it does).

It can know where I am by three methods, GPS, Local Mast, Wireless Networks local to me.

It can initiate a dialogue, and, lastly, it knows what time it is.

Since it knows when and where I am, it can just ask me a couple of questions to establish some context.

Let’s do some scenarios, because I think best when I’m doing that.

I set a sensitivity in my app that gives me five minutes somewhere before it decides that I might be actually doing something rather than just walking around.

Say I’m in a coffee shop.  The Context tracking me in here, but lost the GPS because coffee shop is in a mall, but it knows I’m in town.  (I’m assuming a little history here for out narrative).  We’ve been sitting in the coffee shop for more than five minutes and the app buzzes me without turning on the phone screen.

There are two possibilities, I don’t want to be bothered, so I ignore it.  It takes note and saves it for later.

I want it to know, I want a context, so I get my phone and answer the buzz.  It’s giving me options

  1. I’ll talk.
  2. Go away.
  3. Later.

(Because I might have had the phone out already see and been using it).

I talk, it asks if this is a new place I want to remember.  Yeah ok, it’s Starbucks.  What sort of place is it?  It’s a coffee shop. (It might already know that Starbucks is a coffee shop, but that would make it bloatware, it can’t know everything, so don’t try, just answer the question).

You coming here regular?  No.  (Because I just came for coffee out of the blue)).

Or a yes would give.

At this time?  No/yes/maybe.

Cool, Remembered.  Want any more context words?  Nah, I’m good.

OK So it knows I’m in the Starbucks in town.  What use is it?

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Let’s try a different place.  First time I go to the supermarket we have the same dialogue, but this time I tell it that (say) Sainsburys is a supermarket, and I add some more words, “shopping” “Food”.

That triggers a little search in my text documents for these words, I’m asked if these docs are relevant.  I can pick out that shopping list I keep on the phone, (yeah I do that, I forget things).  I tag one of them and say the rest are not relevant.

I shop and the phone leaves me in peace.  But now I can do two things, or rather, I can do one thing, and the other is done for me.

I can look at that list before I leave home, and The Context can remind me of other linked things, because Sainsburys is in town, it can pick up that tag and look at other places in town.  It might start by asking if I want to do in town related things.  I haven’t got time, so no.  It goes away.

But supposing I decide to shop while I’m in town, I go to Sainsburys, the context picks this up by detecting the GPS, the local mast and then the id of Sainsburys broadcast wireless id.  Note that since hiding Wireless ID is worthless in security terms, people let it broadcast now, which can help us know where we are without violating rules or privacy.  It’s just an SSID and we don’t have to worry about it, we’re not picking up their traffic in any way, we’re not interested in it, only in knowing where we are.

So The Context knows where I am.  It buzzes me.  This time I know it’s buzzing me because it has something useful to say, I whip out my phone.

“I think you’re in Sainburys shopping, and you can look at your shopping list, and your don’t forget list.”

“By the way, I know you usually shop at this time, but there is only 3/4 of an hour to go before you pick up the kids.  You usually take 30 minutes shopping, so there’s time”

Why can it do this?  Because it knows where we are in time, and I pick up the kids  at whenever.  If I had started shopping much later, it would have been quite a different dialogue.

“You haven’t got time for this now.  Get the kids.”

This is logistically easy to program, but it’s 2.30 in the morning practically and I’m not doing a flow chart at this time in the morning.

Point is, it’s not too hard to do for anyone who writes phone apps.  I’m not one of those people.  But I need this.  So does everyone else.

Freedoms

Friday, November 12th, 2010

#IamSpartacus

Supposing you all get prosecuted?  You should, because the judgement was clear, it was a clear menace.

Let’s settle a few things before we start and I get the hate mail.  I was pretty ignorant this morning, and tweeted my two-pennies worth really just for my friends on Twitter, but my tweets are not protected, they are public, so anyone can read them.  I said, and have repeated,

You wouldn’t shout fire in a crowded cinema.

Paul Chambers himself acknowledges that with hindsight, perhaps his frustration was expressed in a ill thought out way…

…and I certainly realise now, it was ill-advised. But it was clearly frustration, caused by heavy snowfall grounding flights and potentially scuppering my own flight a week later. Like having a bad day at work and stating that you could murder your boss, I didn’t even think about whether it would be taken seriously.

So at the time I would have said “you daft bugger, you know everyone is a bit freaky about this sort of thing.”

But since this morning I’ve read a lot more about this, and I am concerned.

Paul Chambers certainly has had a severe battering since the initial case, he has lost two jobs, and is landed with the costs of the case, which various famous people have offered to pay.  But having the case paid for isn’t going to make this pain go away, there is a livelihood to recover, and a criminal conviction to write down on many many forms in the future, including all job applications.

The deeper pain, however, is the attitude of the authorities.  I didn’t know for example that the Robin Hood Airport staff had seen the original tweet and dismissed it as the obvious expression of frustration that it was. http://armyofdave.com/2010/11/12/something-important-happened-here/ has a much more concise blog entry and a link, http://cripesonfriday.tumblr.com/post/606531386/paul-chambers-related-links-in-one-post relaying all the information gathered in news sources about the matter, I confess I have not read all of it.

So as far as I can see, the authorities went a bit mad.  I’m sure we can agree about this if we review the material, and a lot of people think Judge Davies judgement was wrong, I’m certainly swinging around to this view myself, even if for no other reason than the idea that so so many people think that it’s an unreasonable judgement.  I’m not one to follow the crowd, however.

The various reactions have been appalling, I didn’t know Paul Chambers had lost jobs, naive of me?  Maybe, but I thought this matter was a personal matter and I would have expected to remain as such.  Not a very good employer I fear, but I don’t know who they are, so can I pass judgement?

Ah, judgement.  look we all do it, we have to make judgements about things every day, and Judges are supposed to be experts in this sort of thing.  They must know the law.  They are human and can get it wrong, but they are supposed to be experts, what did Judge Davies think about this that we didn’t?  I would have to see the full text of her judgement to know, and that won’t I suspect happen for while yet.

But look, I said at the beginning that we wouldn’t shout fire in a cinema.  And I have said that this SHOULD have been tested in open court, we need to know what is ok and what is not.  Everyone seems to be up in arms because our freedom has been impinged, our freedom to speak, express, even moments of frustration and hyperbole.  That does worry me, but what worries me more is that we don’t seem to have a rational, harmless and fair way of the state criticising its citizens for doing something that was a moment of foolishness.

Wait a minute.

We do, it’s called a caution, and it carries no penalty, but is warning that in the opinion of an officer you’ve done something wrong.

Or godamnit the discretion of a sensible police officer who could have nipped around and said, “well that was a bit daft wasn’t it?”

The mechanisms are in place, but over-reacting is a way of the state “making an example” and keeping us under the thumb.  Yeah I said that.

We’re scared enough of terrorism as it is, let’s keep up the rage of the people.  This should have been a trivial matter, and it is occupying all our minds, because it was made important by the actions of the state machine.

I said that it should have been tested in open court.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  It shouldn’t have been tested at all, because there was no real threat here, just a frustrated man expressing feelings which we express, collectively, every day, that sometimes we’d like to see something crumble to the ground.

You wouldn’t shout fire in a cinema, and Paul Chambers didn’t.

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Actually I’m not scared of terrorists at all.  You’re just big bullies.

And as for Paul Chambers, I hope he gets another job, or better still writes a book and makes a fortune and never has to work again.

Armistice Day

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Irrespective of your views and attitudes towards war, today is Armistice Day.

We should not forget those that have lost their lives, their health and sometimes their humanity in the cause…

…and while we’re here, let us remember that every life is precious, and those on the “wrong” side have families and loved ones.

I met a soldier once and he told me this…

“Every time I pull the trigger with someone in my sights, I push away my conscience and my soul, or I could not do my job, even if someone is trying at that second to kill me, because otherwise I remember that these people are desperate and angry.  We’re sent often ‘to keep the peace’, but I don’t want to die, and sometimes it’s him or me.  Sometimes I have to not care, it’s a pall on my soul.”

The Lego Habit

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Just a quick one.

I know that logic fails me sometimes but this seemed noteworthy.

I was saying yesterday, for reasons that are best left, that I would not develop a drug habit, with the associated criminality to feed it, say burglary, because I don’t do drugs, (apart from obviously, caffeine), but I might feed a Lego habit.

Obviously I’d feel guilty, but I imagine that if I fell into the life of a hardcore Lego user, I have to feed the habit at least once a day with new bricks, and this would be terrible strain on my finances, which would mean that I would have find the habit with dark nefarious activities that paid well; “I’m sorry to rob you, man, but I got a habit to feed, a Lego habit.  Gimme all yer money.”  I’d probably have to graduate to knocking over garages, because people don’t carry that much cash any more, and for really big sets I’m afraid it would have to be poorly maintained security van with scowling men who get paid minimum wage to risk their necks for filthy moohlah.

I’m become a hardened criminal with a huge stash of Lego in a lock up somewhere, spending lonely nights building the latest Star Wars Giant Model, or taking pictures of my minifigs and posting them on the internet anonymously to show other hardcore Lego criminals that I’m doing better than them.

I’d probably get caught sooner or later as new forensic techniques trace minute quantities of Lego plastic adhering to my skin get left at the scenes of crimes.  They trace my Lego DNA, made of Duplo (as @iskandarv once did at our house in an idle moment, until then we didn’t think it was possible to build a double helix out of Lego, the man is a genius), and bang me up in isolation in case I brick the other prisoners with improvised Lego weapons…

You get the idea.

#lovelyGF pointed out that I could get banged up for the lesser crime of obtaining Lego by stealing it directly from shops.

That hadn’t actually occurred to me.

STEALING from a SHOP?  Yurg, no thanks, someone might see.  I wouldn’t be able to shop there again!  I might get barred from shoe shops!

Maybe I’ll just get the boys to buy me some for Christmas.

I’ve cooled on a life of crime.

Why men don’t get up

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

In contrast to this morning’s post here is some audio I recorded a few years ago.  It’s not brilliant, and I should redo it, but nevertheless…

http://www.ourcafe.org.uk/why-men-dont-get-up/

Dad

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Herein is a piece of my life, some of it may make harrowing reading, and it may not be suitable for minors, or people of a sensitive disposition.  It’s about my Dad and my relationship with him, and as such is personal, but there may be lessons to be learned here.

My Dad died on 1st November 2005 after what I think was about a six month fight with Prostate Cancer.  He chose not to continue treatment, which was distressing for him, and he died in his own bed about 8 in the morning, as far as I know.

I’ll go backwards.  You need to know some things.  I’m called Friday because I changed my name, ALL of my names when I was 21.  It is who I am.

I last saw my father during a dash to Scotland, far northern Scotland where he was living with my Mum and my Uncle in an old mill.

My last words to him were “I love you Dad.”  It cost me, because I still do not know, even now if they were true words, but he was a dying man, and I knew well that I was seeing him for the last time, and I could not be so cruel as to make him believe that I did not.  I got a few minutes alone with him at the last, because my wife, as I was still married at the time, intervened with my family.  Until that point, I was not trusted, for reasons I have yet to discern properly, with him, to speak to him alone.  Maybe it was because of our history; for all the punches and kicks and beatings I endured as a child, I never backed down, never gave in, not once did I ever say or do the things he wanted me to simply because he wanted it.

Why would I say it, is it because I’m better?

We have a duty, I feel, to be better than our parents, our greatest gift should be to see our children surpass us; as in some important aspects my boys surpass me.  (For another time).

But no, not because I am better, I’m not sure I am; but because he reached out to me.  At the last I understood that he wanted me to be proud of him…

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I learned to read by myself, essentially.  My father could not read and write, and my mother’s vision was so poor that she could not see anything I was reading; but these factors pale compared to the idea that I was a natural reader.  I started reading for myself at the age of 1½.  How do I know this to be true?  Because in those arguments that families have about what is right, the truth comes out, and the boasting Dad to the new wife of his eldest son was corrected by the realistic Mum, who said:-

“Don’t be foolish, Dad,” in the habits of parents a a generation ago, they often called each other this because it was a title as much as anything, “Don’t be foolish, no child reads at 1, he was six months older than that before he started reading off the jars.”

Naturally I investigated this; I could read most books by age 3, and newspapers, including broadsheets.  Apparently I was insatiable.  My vocabulary was broad, much broader than it is now, and I would even solve crosswords that my Mum who WAS very literate, could not solve.

My dad, in his dying days bade me look at his kitchen.  I didn’t get it, but he was insistent, he used up a great deal of strength to insist.  My wife made me go and look.

My father, who has been a lifelong car mechanic, a very good one, a sprayer, a body repairer; in fact a car restorer when the occasion called for it who was matchless in his attention to detail, his care and love of the vehicles he was working on, had turned in the last three years of his life into a master woodworker.  I have worked informally with such people, I know what to look for, even though I have not the skill to do it.

He built a new kitchen not from units and sections and chipboard covered with veneer; but with the care of an artisan making the doors and panels from Oak, raw Oak one step away from the tree.  In fact, when my Uncle showed me the raw material, it was still tree shaped, just cut into 4 inch thick planks and dried out.  My Dad and Uncle had made their own drying room and dried the Oak out in a year, rather than the four it should take.  (This is why hardwood is expensive, it must be kiln dried or air dried, if it is air dried then it takes about a year per inch of the thinnest dimension, but I’m not an expert, so YMMV).

He plumbed, rewired and built the entire kitchen from scratch, (it needed it, including floor), in six months.

I examined it, because I wasn’t sure what I was looking at.  It was the work of an artisan.

He made the bed he died in, in the same way.

This is a man who couldn’t read and write anything except his name.

I had surpassed him in this respect by the time I was three, in fact, by that time in literary terms I had surpassed every adult I knew.

So I was an arrogant little shit at times.  It might have been nice if I hadn’t felt so patronised all the time.

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An aside.  I didn’t learn to write until I was 12, it took me nearly three agonising weeks to learn, and I count myself as semi-literate now because I barely write anything down in handwriting.  It’s an essential skill, but sorely neglected because we type and tap.  As a programmer and technophile I really do this, handwriting isn’t very valuable for me on a day to day basis.  When I need it though, I really need it.

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I knew my Dad couldn’t read from age 3 and I was required to keep this knowledge a secret.  That was hard. It was an adult responsibility in the hands of a child, a child who knew things, (I knew where babies came from and how they were conceived from age four, Encyclopaedias are a great source of knowledge; what I didn’t know was the social complications involved in procreation, because I was too young to understand, or even know what I couldn’t understand when I read books about human social interaction and mores.

Dad was a control freak, and a very violent man, with a violent temper and a low frustration threshold.  (I have that, see me code, I’m easily annoyed by things that don’t work when I think they should).

He thought discipline came from a bloody good hiding, and wouldn’t take any lip from us.  Well, that wouldn’t do for me, I was at one and the same time a sensitive child but FULL of lip.  Because I knew stuff.

I was curious about the world I wanted to know everything, right now, and he was not well read, well educated, or patient enough to explain to a child what the world was doing.

And he was a big man, as a car mechanic he was stocky and his muscles has muscles.  He did things manually, including, on more than occasion picking up a Mini, yes, the car, and turning it around in a confined space.  Little wonder then that he had perennial backache.  I have seen him like up an engine with one hand, it was about to crush my Uncle because a chain failed, I have seen him catch a car that was about to fall off the end of a ramp, it was about to crush HIM.

It was with this strength and this anger that he “corrected” us.

BUT….

This was not his parenting failure, though it may seem strange to say it.  While the physical punishments were damaging, time softens these so that they are not the focus of memory and angst.

It was the possession.  We were, including Mum, HIS.  His chattel, his possessions; a position I never gave in to, and the cause of more of his anger and spite, and yes there was spite there too, than anything else.  The beatings meant nothing, I was not his possession and he could never understand that.

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This is a shame really, because it colours all of my memories of him, and poison my relationships with the rest of the family, wherein I don’t any longer have any contact with them, because they cannot accept who I am, my name, the way I dress, how my relationships are; and I cannot take the inevitable emotional damage any more, so I stay away.

And yet, I say, it is a shame, because I never went to his funeral, because I was barred, mis-trusted for I might “say the wrong thing, or harp on about the past”, so I never got that closure, and I never got to say the important thing, the thing that would have made it ok.

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My Dad was great artisan, his ability to turn his hand to anything that was mechanical, metal or wood or plaster, was matchless.  He wanted me to be proud of what he could do and in his dying days this was important to him; more important I think than anything.  He wanted me in particular to be proud because he saw that at the age of 3 I had surpassed him and it galled him because he was a proud man who wanted more than anything to be sufficient to anything as head of his household.  He told me, at the last, during those few private moments I had with him, that he was proud of me that I returned to study, (my undergraduate degree), that I was doing at last what I should always have done, that it was the right thing for me, and that he hoped it would go well.  I was proud of what he could do, irrespective of anything else, I was always amazed and awed at his skill.  I have never had those skills, (though I am “handy” and can do things that I would be able to, were I not his son), and I was always aspiring to be that person, the one people turned to because he knew things.

I know that despite his behaviour, my good opinion was the thing he waited for before he died.  I know now, that he loved his eldest son.

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I have left out many facts that might be considered pertinent and I shall not apologise for it; but you may wish to know that were essentially estranged since I changed my name, so for 20 odd years.  I saw him four times before his death, and on two of those occasions I left prematurely because the visits did not go well.

@chickenprincess

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Or shall I just hope you have an air conditioner,
Because you live in California, or somewhere near,
Where the sun always shines,
And it’s not foggy,
Like here,
Right now.

Creepy but Useful

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I have decided that I shall start an occasional series called Creepy but Useful, to illustrate how strange our lives are in the modern world.  It reflects my belief that there is discord between our various desires, even within ourselves.

Creepy

My car registration is on so many databases that anyone can look it up and know all about it…

Useful

…and know exactly what parts to get for it.

Star Map pre-alpha up – Progress

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Just to say that you should look at the map at Star Map which takes you to sector (10,10). The map is NOT TO BE RELIED UPON, as the algorithm WILL change before I do a full release. This is just is how that I’m doodling around with it and not just talking about it.

It may interest you to know that there is no database now. The whole of the map is generated using reproducible pseudo-random seeded sequences, to be specific, a Perlin Noise generator. Since there is much calculation involved, the final thing will take some processing time. This is an issue on a shared server, so much of my time is spent optimising the calculation sequences, for example, division is a sin; it has to go.

So anyway, there it is. The map shows blue dwarfs to red giants. The whole thing a is a probability field based on an image generated from a photo of a galaxy, chopped up in to 8×8 hex sectors, that look taller than they are wide because the hexes interlock.

Roleplayers often use hexes because they interlock and are better than square because they avoid the √2 problem, (A unit square has diagonal √2 which messes up quick and dirty distance calculations).

Cross posted on CoActionDrama and StarDark