Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

dirty harry

Went to Harry Ramsden’s in Glasgow last night for old time’s sake, and we probably won’t ever be back. The service was slow, the food so-so, and the bathrooms disgusting. It has lost its Harryness, alas.

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

a sometimes food

I met someone yesterday who actually believes the Nieman-Marcus Cookie Urban Myth.

Categories
o canada photo

about to be gone

This corner of Bloor & Bedford is about to be gone:

244 Bloor W

It has memories for us, as the first place we stayed when we arrived was just up the road. Breakfast was at Country Style (which became a Booster Juice after the massive Tim’s opened across the road), lunch was from Pita Factory, the daily paper from Gus at the Mac’s, dinner was sometimes at Swiss Chalet #1; all on the same block, all going to be gone.
If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that hugin neatly severed a couple of heads. It might smart a little, but with some bactine and gauze, it’ll grow back in the morning.

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

amalgam squidge

Got yet more mercury alloy trowelled into my head tonight by Dr Choi. I have to say, the best bit about going to the dentist is the squidgy noise the filling paste makes as it compresses into the cavity. It means it’s nearly over, and the burring slow drill is banished until next time.

Categories
books

big boy’s book of big things

Christmas came early. With money from Carlyle, I bought a reproduction of Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, a three-tome work from the 1870s which catalogued mechanisms, devices and machinery known at the time. It’s the ultimate nerd read.

You can browse two electronic versions online:

  • at UMich; large page images.
  • at Princeton Imaging; in DjVu format, this is a little easier to read if you have the right plugin.

I have to say, though, that the dead tree version is a splendid read.

Categories
choons

faint praise

Dylan’s Modern Times is a bit, uh, adult contemporary.

Categories
fish

stones, as current vernacular would have it

Finatics' sign, by Big Al's

I’m no fan of billboards, but I have to congratulate Mike of Finatics for sheer gall when he put up this sign. See the plastic shark on the building behind? That’s Big Al’s, one of the biggest aquarium stores in Canada. Mike’s probably not going to get any favours from them any time soon.

Categories
computers suck

the computer does work

Picked up the new computer from Canada Computers yesterday. High-end it isn’t, but it’s more than adequate. It’s an AMD Sempron 3000+ (on a Foxconn K8M890M2MA-RS2H motherboard), with 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA disk and a DVD±RW drive. There was change out of $400, including tax.

It’s running Ubuntu for AMD64. While there are a few things I don’t have configured, it was all installed in under an hour. It reminds me a bit of OS X. There’s one thing it does better than the Mac; it knows about duplex printers, and assumes you want to be able to print duplex. Under OS X, you have to choose two-sided every time you print. Thanks to Davey for originally putting me on to Ubuntu. My life’s too short to mess with linux configs.

Now I need to move the old hard drive over as a spare, and fit the various cards from the old machine.

Categories
choons

eBay.ca: music tapes 2nd imaginary symphony /neutral milk hotel (item 200017937813 end time 22-Aug-06 21:04:40 EDT)

eBay.ca: music tapes 2nd imaginary symphony: one of Julian’s original CD-Rs is up for sale. Looks like it’ll go for over $100; eep!

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

civil twilight and the inexorable creep

Noticed that this morning was the first time that the street lights were on when I got up. Yes, those nights are drawing in.

Categories
bike stuff

to work, and back again

Biked to work today, and just got back. Maybe not the smartest choice of a day — second hottest of the year, with thunderstorms threatened — but I made it. Going there was rather slow, as I got lost a couple of times, but coming back was faster than transit.

If I felt really nerdy, I’d post my route as GPX, but it’s a bit twisty.

Categories
General

mail from the city

The only downside about being part of the Billboard Battalion is that you get a lot of mail from the city. I get a separate letter for each variance contested, and sometimes duplicates, so I get between four and twelve letters after each community council meeting.
You would have thought they could have stuck them all in one envelope, or used e-mail, to save money and paper. But no; we’re a world class city, after all.

Categories
Wind Things

gone with the wind

I see that Americas Wind Energy updated their website to replace the site I wrote for them a couple of years back. It’s purty, but:

  • The page URL sometimes inexplicably switches to d3095932.ejt86.ejtechinternational.com from awe-wind.com.
  • The product page for the AWE 52-750 shows a bunch of non-operational turbines.
  • The AWE 52-900 page also has a picture of a parked turbine, and it looks a lot like Tallon Energy’s 52-750 at Pincher Creek.
  • More parked turbines on the 54-900 page, and occasionally a completely different machine is shown.

Oh wait, I get it – it’s a random turbine image for each page. Hmm.

Categories
books

what the tortoise taught us

Just finished Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, the fictional thoughts of Gilbert White‘s pet tortoise. Verlyn Klinkenborg has really captured the pace of the tortoise’s life.

The tortoise/taught us rhyme doesn’t work if you’re Scottish; we pronounce it tor-toys, not taw-TUSS. Lewis Carroll didn’t think beyond the RP.

In memory of Timothy, I’ve geotagged this post with the location of a bridge in a nearby ravine, near which a little turtle used to snooze in the sun.

Categories
choons

But I’m not singing “At A Time Like This”, I’m singing …

The Hut Sut Song, perhaps the most infectious earworm you’ll ever hear.

… or if you want it a bit more accessible, here is an mp3 of The Hut Sut Song, converted from the same source.

Categories
o canada sheesh!

M.I.N.O.T.H.

= man in need of Tim Hortons.

Categories
computers suck

the commitments

When I was testing BlackBerry typed-alike words (dactonyms?) I found that sqlite was averaging about 1 insert per second. This is by no means good.

It turns out that, under Perl, sqlite auto-commits after every write. This slows things down terribly. Here’s how to fix this:

When opening the database handle, turn AutoCommit off:

my $dbh =
DBI->connect( “dbi:SQLite:bberry2.sqlite”, “”, “”, { AutoCommit => 0 } )
or die “$!”;

Then, only commit occasionally — say every thousand writes:

while ( … ) {

…$id++;
$dbh->commit unless ( $id % 1000 );

}
$dbh->commit;

It works out about 1000 times quicker this way.

Categories
computers suck goatee-stroking musing, or something

best beat neat nest

Beware, nerdiness follows: I generally like my BlackBerry 7130e, but its multiple letters per key can sometimes give the wrong result. Using word frequency lists from the British National Corpus, sqlite, and way too much programming time, I determined that the key sequence with the most possible word results (81?2) produces best, beat, neat or nest. The device itself suggests also brat and bray, so I should try a longer word list — in my copious free time, of course.
The longest (common words in the corpus) that have the same key sequence are employers and employees, which might briefly cause hilarity in an HR or legal context.

Categories
o canada

in London

At least I’m in London voluntarily this time; on a CEAA Screenings course.

Categories
o canada

Tax Time

Phew – that’s the 2005 income taxes filed for Catherine and me, and also my GST return in. I don’t grudge paying taxes (no civilization without taxation, after all), but I hate filling out the returns. I’m also too cheap to get someone to do it for me. Sucks to be me, eh?