February 21, 2006

I made a bit of a mistake dropping in to my local on the way home this evening for a swift half and to pick up email. There's a football match on, and there seems to be a fair amount of interest - the place is heaving.

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid. Anyone heard of either of these two?

Posted to Apropos of nothing by Simon Brunning at 08:20 PM
London 2.0rc3

Sam is organising London 2.0rc3, the latest of the combined Python/Django/TurboGears/CherryPy/Ruby/Rails/Java/Spring/Hibernate/the million other things you need to build a Java web app these days/Groovy meetup for Monday the 13th of March. He's not mentioned a venue, but the last few have been at The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street, so I shouldn't be too surprised if this one is there also. Keep an eye on his blog for confirmation.

I'll try to get along, but I can't guarantee anything this time. I'm on Jury Service at the time, and I have little idea what to expect.

Posted to Python by Simon Brunning at 02:24 PM
Why creationism is wrong

I go to a lot of the public talks at The Royal Society, but this one promises to be something special - Why creationism is wrong and evolution is right (via Dave). According to The Guardian, "the award-winning geneticist and author Steve Jones will deliver the lecture and challenge creationists, Christian and Islamic, to argue their case rationally at the society's event in April". Should get pretty lively!

(Not, I must point out, that I'm a huge fan of Steve Jones. I'm very much with Richard Dawkins and Stephen Pinker rather than Dr. Jones and Stephen Jay Gould on the sociobiology issue. But when it comes to putting the boot into the superstitious, we are all on the same side.)

Posted to Science and technology by Simon Brunning at 01:51 PM
There's a shocker

The Buncefield fire was apparently caused by "a mixture of air and petrol". What, a fire at a petrol storage depot involved the flammable liquid stored there in large quantities? And who'd have thought that there's be air there, on the surface of planet Earth?

You can see why they need experts for this sort of work. I had assumed that the fire was caused by a mixture of orange juice and custard.

Posted to The Big Room by Simon Brunning at 12:59 PM
About Time Too!

I'd like to welcome Jay to the blogsphere. Hi, Jay!

Jay's the bloke who introduced me to Python, oh, six years ago or so. And warned me off of Perl, too, which puts me doubly in his debt. Go and read him.

Posted to Blogs by Simon Brunning at 12:52 PM
February 15, 2006
Calling All Geek Girls

Sarah is running another Girl Geek Dinner. ("Girl" is her choice of term, by the way, not mine, so please don't accuse me of being patronising. I would have gone with "Geek Women". Or "Geek Dolly Birds", perhaps.)

You going, Katherine?

BTW, while we are on the subject of gender imbalance within IT and attempts to combat it, I'm intrigued by Miss Rogue's comment here; "So, why aren't there more women in technology? Or...to rephrase it...why aren't there more prominent women in technology?". Is the latter just a natural result of the former unfurtunate fact, or is there more to it than that - are women even more woefully represented amongst prominent geeks than they are in the geek population in general? I don't have any answer to this, BTW, I'm just asking the question.

Posted to Beer by Simon Brunning at 05:26 PM
Google Mail

WTF? For the past two days, Google Mail has been making all off the effbot's posts to c.l.py as spam! How the hell did that happen? You'd be hard pressed to find a higher signal to noise ratio than you'd find in the effbot's posts - they are the complete opposite of spam.

How does Google Mail decide what is and is not spam anyway? Is it based on what I've marked as spam, or is it a community effort? Might I perhaps have marked one of Fredrik's posts as spam by accident?

Other than that, Google Mail just keeps on getting better and better - Google-turning-evil concerns aside. The new integrated chat works very well. (You may have to pretend to be a yank to get it, though.) One less widget that I need hanging around my desktop. The only thing it's missing is some prominent way of notifying me that someone's trying to message me, but they've done the best they can given the limitations of the browser window, and I'm sure that forthcoming versions of the GMail Notifer will have something.

Posted to The Internet by Simon Brunning at 04:46 PM
Here you go - any old crap

No post yesterday, unlike some lucky so and sos. Trouble, she calls it. Sigh.

Anyway, Steve pointed out literary speed dating to me. Sounds much more my speed than Michael's suggestion. If only I was in Belgium. And it's not often you'll hear anyone say that.

Posted to Apropos of nothing by Simon Brunning at 04:25 PM
February 13, 2006
Today is developing a theme...

Congratulations also to Katherine - another notice handed in today. Must be something in the air.

Worried, El P?

Posted to Apropos of nothing by Simon Brunning at 02:57 PM
The Horror!

I overheard rumours about something rather nasty during a pub quiz last night, and a quick Google confirms its existance - Rentaghost The Musical!, written by Joe Pasquale. Is it possible to imagine a more sinister triumvirate than Rentaghost, musicals and Joe Pasquale?

Posted to Funny by Simon Brunning at 02:33 PM
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Congratulations to Steve for making his escape from Pergatory. I hope the new place is at least mildly less hellish.

Steve and I will be celebrating at The Horse Bar this evening if you fancy popping along and buying him a pint.

Steve's new place of work is within walking distance of mine, so I'm anticipating my hangover rate will increase somewhat next year. He's such a bad influence on me, you see.

Posted to Beer by Simon Brunning at 02:16 PM
February 07, 2006
4 Things Blog Tag

So, Tom gave it to Suw, who gave it to Euan, who gave it to Gia, who gave it to Andrew, who gave it to Adriana, who gave it to Lloyd, who gave it to Helen, who gave it to me. Here goes.

Four jobs I've had

Youth Leader
System Operator
Developer/Programmer/Whatever you call it these days

Four movies films I can watch over and over again

This is Spinal Tap
Life of Brian
Shaun of the Dead

Four places I've lived

Muswell Hill
Colliers Wood

Four TV shows programmes I love

Have I Got News For You
Scrapheap Challenge

Four places I've vacationed been on holiday

The Gambia

Four of my favourite dishes

Pesto pasta
Lamb dhansak
Quattro formaggi pizza
Marmite on toast

Four websites I visit daily (sorry - mine are dull too.)

BBC News

Four places I'd rather be right now

At the Science Museum with the kids.
At Cubana drinking Daiquiris and Mojitos.
At PyCon 2006.
In bed with a good book or a bad woman.

Four bloggers I'm tagging (you're it!)


Posted to Blogs by Simon Brunning at 03:20 PM
I Love You Blah Blah Blah

"Nothing says "I Love You" quite like saturated fat and slutty underwear." Be My Anti Valentine. Brilliant.

But - who to send it to?

Michael, taking advantage of his sobriety in the small hours of New Years Day morning on the way home from a party, suckered me into a resolution to have a "proper girlfriend" by the end of the year. ("Proper girlfriend" is defined one who has introduced you to her parents.) Bizarrely, he made the same resolution himself.

Still, I have 'till December to start looking, right?

Except that worse still, he's signed me up to some sort of speed dating event, the bastard. I'll get him for this, I swear it.

Via Adriana.

Posted to Funny by Simon Brunning at 02:23 PM
Are you Shure?

I picked up some new earphones last week, to go with my shiny new iPod - some Shure E2cs.

The Good

The sound. Just that really, but oh, what a sound! Now, I'm no audiophile, but I can tell the difference between these and the other 'phones I've had. Everything feels so much more lively, and I hear things that I've not heard before.

Sound exclusion is very good, too. It's possible to listen to classical and jazz on the tube now, which is fab, and I can listen to things much more quietly if I want ti, which has got to be good for my ears in the long run.

The Bad

E2cs are awkward and uncomfortable. Part of that us just a function of their sheer size, but I also dislike the way the wire goes over and behind the ear.

The top of my ears is where I am accustomed to keeping the arms of my glasses, and the two just don't sit well together. The other day as I was removing my 'phones to buy a pint of milk on the way to work, the wire caught and I flung my glasses at the checkout girl. Now, fair enough, this is probably mostly due to the Brunning spanner gene enthusiastically extending its phenotype halfway across the supermarket, but didn't anyone with glasses try the design out?

Err, maybe not. They seem to come from Texas, where I'm sure that anyone unable to see while on the back of a bucking bronco doesn't live long enough to breed. Still, it's a minor pain for me.

Oh yes, and they weren't cheap, either.

The Ugly

The ugly? Just look at the things. Hideous. They look like NHS hearing aids - huge, molded from cheap (looking) plastic, and the cables look like you could charge a car battery with them.

Still, looks don't bother me too much. And since the kindest thing that anyone's said about my appearance recently is that I look like geography teacher, perhaps I don't have that much to lose anyway.

The Verdict

Well, for me, the sound's the thing, so I'm happy.

Oh, and if you do get any of these, do look before you cross the road, as you certainly aren't going to be hearing cars coming.

Posted to Music and Film by Simon Brunning at 02:13 PM
Why no posting?

Mum rang me yesterday, nagging me about my lack of posting. There's a combination of reasons for it, I think.

Firstly, there's time. This sprinting business is fun, but intense. I just working too damn hard. That can't be a good thing. Hard work never killed anyone, they say, but why risk it?

What spare time I do have seems to be mostly soaked up by reading. I was subscribed to over three hundred and fifty blogs last week. That's just not sane, is it?

What else? Well, there's del.icio.us. Whereas I would sometimes post a link and a sentence or two of comment, now I just bung it on del.icio.us.

And, well, lastly, I have a horrible feeling that I'm developing a sense of perspective. I start writing something, then think to myself: "
Who's going to be interested in that? Nobody, that's who." A true idea of the worth of one's writing is not a helpful thing for most bloggers if they want to keep going.

So, what to do? Well, I'm going to slash my Bloglines subscriptions, and I'm going to make a rule that every time I subscribe to a new blog I have to drop an old one. I'm going to hide my del.icio.us links. And I'm just going to write any old crap, like I used to. Wish me luck.

Posted to Blogs by Simon Brunning at 02:06 PM