Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Waves across the Ocean

On Monday I went to one of the regular lunchtime talks at CRASSH. totally fascinating discussion and talk by  Margaret Rigaud-Drayton lecturer in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages about Word and Image in Guillaume Apollinaire's 'Lettre-Ocean'.

This, apparently, is a fictional letter written to his brother in Mexico. Personally I think it's a neat way of expressing your opinion without having to endure any more defamation lawsuits. Margaret found many meanings contained in both the language (French, Arabic, ) and the words used (eg chirlMOYa).

  The layout of the text also has many meanings, visually like Paris pointing out to Cuba and Mexico or the opposite Paris being colonised by foreigners (the writer was Polish by birth with an Italian mother) or even in the shape of a women's pubis, also the waves to symbolize the ocean and distance . Many other asides like Bleriot and the modern abolition of distance with The telegraph and air travel (and now the internet) the visual emptiness of the letter O as a mirror into the soul. All totally fascinating and would love to learn more.

A day in The Valley of the Nar

On Sunday I ventured with Caroline into the Nar Valley, we met Ellee at the Ostrich and my new found friends JollyMolly, Sally in Norfolk, Adrian_rtq, The Hound and Millstream from The Ramblers forum for a walk on either side of The Nar from Castle Acre to Narborough.

The profile of the walk from someone whose just finished the Alpine GR5 is interesting. Notice the giddying height reached of over 60metres!

Adrian had his GPS working (OK, I forgot to enable the Track log on mine) and so we have a nice plot of the actual walk.

Actual length walked, including the three little detours :-) was 26.4km / 16.5miles in about 7 hours.

We found ourselves walking 90 degrees out twice, which is about par the course for me. Thank goodness for GPS systems.

Thanks to Ellee I even have a decent piccy of me - just look at that sky, a perfect day, temperatures close to 20 I reckon and a decent OPEN pub at the end Oh, and many thanks to The Hound the best behaved dog I've met in a long time.

On the way back we called in at Jeff's Halloween party with loads of scary kids. Kirsten introduced herself to me as she recognised me from one of Caren's parties. I wish I had that ability :-) Told her the story about the previous night where I had forgotten the face of the lady who I had started the practice dance with, much to my embarrasement.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A busy Saturday

First back from Nicks having completed, at last, the installation of his Arke compact staircase and then straight to Cambridge Rugby Union Football Club for the lunch and match against the Bees (Bradford and Bingley) who Cambridge soundly thrashed at 41 -17 an excellent game and also good lunch in the Camstead suite with Philip and his friends from the Judge Institute, especially Maria Fernanda from Argentina.







Jeffery Archer and Rod Bishop admiring the pitch at the start.

  Jeffery Archer, Rod Bishop

Then in the evening it was A Charity Ceilidh at Michaelhouse organised by Melissa from The Cambridge University Press. Excellent fun and well attended, mainly by CUP people and their friends.Charity Ceilidh Thanks Jason for telling me about it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Kentmere Horseshoe

 On Saturday George and I did the Kentmere Horseshoe in The Lake District. The weather was foul with a couple of very heavy showers and low visibility virtually all the day. Still it was very enjoyable.

  The image  is the memory-map route that we fed into the GPS. For those of you who want to see where we actually walked (:-)) a Google earth file is here for you to download. Unfortunately, as off this post the Google images are not of the highest quality, However, it still gives you a feel of the walk. We did about 1000 metres of ascent in 14 miles. Walking time of 4 hours and total time out of 5 hours.   George was struggling a bit onthe  last ascent but I'm sure it won't take him long before the boot is on the other foot!


Here is George towards the end of the day when we suddenly saw some bright light in the sky - Yes it was the sun about 5 hours to late!

A day on the beach..

On Sunday George works on Southport pier so I thought it would be a good excuse to do a bit more of the round Britain barefoot coastal walk. George dropped me off at Crosby so that I could walk the 15miles on the beach back to Southport.  

 I was lucky enough to see some of Antony Gormley's (Caution: Flash site) "Another Place" sculptures gazing out across the muddy sea. Very eyrie and splendid. The icecream man was raising a petition to prevent their removal in November to the USA. Previously they have been at Cuxhaven in Germany, Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium. More close up photo's off the figures on the  Blueshawk website.

The beach became more deserted as you approach Southport and in fact Southport had the muddiest sand complete with embedded  oil on the whole stretch of the walk, coupled with the rain starting up meant the last stretch of the 15mile walk was not the best. Made me realise why  they needed a pier!




However there are great views (weather permitting) across to Wales from the pier.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You Tube powering ahead

Great analysis of the youtube phenomeme by Jay Meattle who has posted the graph below. (Thanks to Techmeme and ZDnet for the link). It makes Myspace look really pedestrian. My guess is that Murdoch must be getting a bit rattled. Hence the reason for yesterday scare stories in The Times (also owned by Murdoch) about the  TV Without Frontiers Directive. For what the directive is really about see this page and you can see its that old chesnut "aimed primarily at protecting children" because parents are singularly incapable of doing that as how can you expect oldies to understand technology! The directive also seeks to encourage diversity and basically making it a right that everone in the EU can access the same material (stopping censorship by individual governments).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Palm datebook record cleanup.

Today I bit the bullet and finally cleaned up the date book on my Treo 650. I've been hotsyncing the calendar data for the past 6 years and had accumulated 25,509 records. I got this dire warning in my HotSync log:- "Some handheld records were not copied to your PC. Your computer may be full or you may have reached the maximum allowed records on the desktop. To correct this situation, delete some records and perform a HotSync operation again.
Desktop = 25509, Handheld = 25508"

The question was how to archive the old records and clean them up. I discovered the Dimex application by LinkeSOFT this takes the Palm .dba file and converts it into a .csv so that all the records can be read by Excel and Google desktop. After cleaning you can re-import the .csv back into a .dba file. The DIMEX application sits in the Palm Desktop under Tools/Addins.

Worked brilliantly well (cost $22 USD), my 25,509 records are now down to 385 for the past year. So HotSync errors should be a thing of the past  and when I do desktop searches Google will pull in calendar data too. Also if I do succumb to the Treo750v (although I'm tempted to wait for the Treo680) I can import all the records into Outlook from the .csv file.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bonds and signs

For those of us  who are interested in brickwork bonding and can tell the difference between Flemish and Stretcher bond. Here is a bit of a challenge discovered in Bury St Edmund's today.


And for all you roadsign buffs here is the first illuminated road sign in the UK put in place in 1935 (by special decree as it didn't conform to the MOT standards of the day). Note the capitalisation a big no no these days.

Many thanks to Judith for a pleasant couple of hours wandering around her home town of Bury  St Edmund's.

Message sent from mobile number 07971428715

A Message was received from the mobile number 07971428715 with the message:

First post using SMS via the sms to email relay at www.aql.co.uk as used by the beeb on www.bbc.co.uk/radio1 Its free apparently

If you want to send emails from your mobile, send a message like this:
"the@emailaddress.com message to person" to 07766 40 41 42. Please
see http://www.sms2email.com for more details.

When you send an email via sms to our gateway, the recipient will see
that it is from yourmobilenumber@sms2email.com. You can arrange for
email replies to be re-routed back to your phone as an sms message if you
sign up for an (aq)sms account. To see how this clever stuff works,
please goto


sms2email.com is a service provided by (aq) limited -- http://aql.co.uk.
Text messages to 07766 40 41 42 are charged at your normal
mobile rates.

This service is purely a forwarding service. (aq) limited are not
responsible for any content or for any loss, damage, upset or
offence caused by any messages sent via this service.

If you would rather not allow people to be able to send you emails
via our service using their mobile phones, we offer an OPT OUT
service. This means that by clicking on the link below, we will
block any emails sent to you via our system.


If you have any enquiries, praise or a complaint which cannot be
handled by using our opt out service, please email
enquiries@sms2email.com. We will answer your email as quickly
as possible. Thanks for using sms2email.com.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mortality and the famous over the centuries.


An excellent chart produced by Douwe Osinga, of Google Trends fame, where he has taken the age of deaths from everyone mentioned in Wikipedia ('famous people') and plotted against the year they died. I've always speculated that rich people, in the past, never lived much longer than their poorer counterparts ie that medical intervention didn't really help you. So I need to get the other set of data and plot it as against this one..

Douwe is hoping to show if painters or composers have different death ages.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cambridge Entertainment

One of the excellent reasons for living in Cambridge is the diversity of entertainment on offer. Last week for me included:-

Hazel O'Connor at the new Junction4 theatre.

She appeared and sang even though she had a throat infection. I found it moving the way she explained how each of the songs came into being. (She wrote all she sang) from finding close friends blue with drug overdoses to her hairdresser dying. Afterwards we could all have a chat with her. The theatre itself is excellent . Small and intimate, excellent legroom and angle on the seats.

Afro Tema at Cellar Bar 8

Great live African music by the Senegalese Makhou N’Diaye.

Here's Bruce playing tremendous Sax fantastic band to dance too. Great evening pity that it has to stop at 12am

CHASE talk at Mills & Reeve

Excellent talk given by Eben Upton "an expert in mobile games and content. He was a co-founder of Ideaworks 3d, a well-known developer of mobile games, and CTO until 2001. He has been involved with with teaching as Director of Studies in Computer Science at St John's College, and with local startups, including PodFun, a developer of mobile game titles. He is currently with Broadcom.

Eben will be discussing episodic content on mobiles, and more"

Walk to Downham Market by Simply Social

I led a group of six ladies from Ely to Downham Market, about 19 miles. Continuing where we left off on the previous Cambridge to Ely walk. Next will be Downham Market to Kings Lynn. hus completing the Gen Rivers Way

A great day fine weather, endless chatter a change from the silence of my GR5 walk :-) Pity about the miserable landlady in Littleport and the pub at Denver Sluice who insisted they were closed even though everyone was still drinking.

So a small selection of one week's events in Cambridge!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Google search site

Here is a search on my name using the new idea of Google's called searchmash It seems pretty awesome to me ranking me in the top 3 positions :-). However, as always the image searches are very poor. I have never worked out how they select images or when they last indexed them. So well done googleplex but please beef up your image search stuff.

Thanks to techmeme and zdnet for the link.

Ellee on her way up.....

Here is Ellee on her way up in the Conservative blogging community after visiting some of her Conservative blogging friends in London last Friday see her post.

I went along as the minder and taker of the official photo. For me as an attendee at numerous tech blogging events in the past it was a bit strange.

Firstly, well these guys are Conservatives, whereas the previous folks I've met at events like Reboot are liberal types. eg Doc Searls and in fact the whole concept of blogging to me is liberal anti big business and media moguls.

Secondly, the deference shown to Iain Dale when he arrived. Never seen that before which was kinda weird. Kind of 'A' lister stuff Which Scoble(and Robert your blog sure doesn't suck!), Winer and the other old timers object so strongly too.

But all in all it was a very good evening and Ellee sure enjoyed herself and come the next election here in the UK I'm sure her ratings will rocket too. Certainly my star blogging pupil by a long long way.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Biologist's Listening Guide to Bacteria

Fascinating story on how bacteria communicate with each other such as Chlorea that only produces toxins when in groups. Maybe it works for people too....

NPR : A Biologist's Listening Guide to Bacteria: "'So they turn on and off 100 different genes, to let them turn off behaviors that are good when you're alone and turn on genes that are good when you are a community. And for reasons we don't understand, the gene that lets them make this beautiful blue light is one of the genes they turn on,' Bassler says."
Listed on BlogShares