I am sorry to announce that the 0736 service to Manchester Piccadilly is delayed by approximately 40 minutes due to engineering works. I am extremely sorry for the severe disruption to the service. Luckily I wasn’t trying to get to Manchester Piccadilly, but from the reaction on the platform someone was. This well-spoken automatic pre-recorded announcement was clear, and told us everything we immediately needed to know. It was spoken courteously in perfect Recieved Pronunciation.

Read more →

I love Spotify. I refuse to participate in the ‘social networking’ aspect of things. Indeed I find the idea of assuming I want everyone knowing what I listen to, and the assumption that I want to see what other people are listening to mildly offensive. That’s ok, I don’t mind being offended. That said, here is a list of songs (not a playlist) which use the gradual onset of distortion to great effect.

Read more →

I have a couple of WordPress installations running on Apache (on a non-80) port, and I’m reverse proxying them through nginx. Somewhere along the line WordPress is getting its knickers in a twist about the port not being the same as it expects. This results in WordPress going into an infinite redirect loop. To solve this, I put this in the nginx virtual server config: proxy_set_header Host $host; Fixed.

Read more →

I’m not normally given to taking photos of my commute, but in the case of the snow I made an exception.

Read more →

I’ve just been bitten by scoping in Python. If you gave me this code and asked me what it did, I’d probably guess that it was a trick question and look carefully at it. What would you say? def demo(): number = 100 one = number / 100 numbers = [one, one+1, one+2] big_numbers = [number * 100 for number in numbers] bigger_numbers = [big_number * 100 for big_number in big_numbers] print number  

Read more →

Whilst going over (and deleting) unwanted content on Facebook, I came across a few bits and pieces. I miss busking. Found this old post from 4th August 2007. Day five of ‘my’ Fringe, and the thought police are out in force. It feels like day two to me, but a lot has happened (including a technical rehearsal that finished at midnight, a street urchin and a stand-up routine about health and safety).

Read more →

I put my rubbish out on the deck last night. Today I heard a rustling and looked out to see a polecat had come aboard, unbidden, and nicked some pasty packaging. For those unsure what a polecat is, wikipedia defines it thus: A polecat is an animal. Here is a video of the encounter. I can see why they named this animal ‘polecat’. It’s a bit like a pole and a bit like a cat.

Read more →

Má Vlast is a set of pieces written by the composer Smetana in the late 1800s about his homeland, Czechoslovakia. One of the pieces in the set, The Moldau (Vltava in Czech) is one of my favourite symphonies of all time ever. It could be something in my partially Czech blood, it could be the fact that I’m soppy about Romantic-period orchestral music, whatever it is, I love this piece of music and know it intimately.

Read more →

There’s an old sailor’s trick that comes in useful when on the high seas, when stuck with safety matches and no box to strike them on. They can be turned into strike-anywhere matches with the use of a hot stove. This also helps pass the time on the long unending days when the ship is becalmed at sea. Gloves were used because it wasn’t physically possible to get my hand that close.

Read more →