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Category Archives: General

Great quote from Gizmodo about marathon runners banned from using iPods stateside: 

“In the US, the USA Track & Field governing body has banned the use of iPods, and any other music players, claiming that they are a distraction and a threat to runner safety. It’s a load of bollocks really but then this is the type of irony you can expect from a nation that bans iPods from marathon runners but where everyone watching can be armed.” 

 (via Gizmodo


I’m now working on the final chapter of the PhD. Once that’s done, it’ll be time for major edits and reworking on sections that need it. I need to check that everything references to everything else correctly. I’m pleased with my progress at the moment, but there’s still a lot to do by April.

This story about a 110,000 year old Polar Bear jawbone. The jawbone was found in the Arctic on the Svalbard peninsula.A recently-released film adaptation of an equally popular book called “The Golden Compass” (or “Northern Lights” in the UK) in which a polar bear has his jaw ripped off in a land called Svalbard.Spooooky. 

After a hiatus of some months pursuing a career in the Big Smoke (Londinium), it appears that I’ve found myself slap bang, finishing this PhD full time again. I have a time limit until April 2008 when the Ol’ Smokey will beckon once more…

Draft of chapter 4 due 23rd  November. Eek.

Cycling past a couple of traffic cops yesterday armed with a radar gun, one shouted at me:


If I’d known I was being clocked I would have at least tried to hit the speed limit.

I really am beginning to wonder about the current parliament in the UK. A story on the BBC reports on how MPs have voted to exclude themselves from the Freedom of Information act – an act that was widely seen as a positive step toward making public bodies more transparent and accountable. What with the recent law to prevent anybody protesting within a mile of the Houses of Parliament, it seems that MPs are increasingly building a legislative moat between themselves and the British public. In my opinion, a government that makes a habit of creating one rule for the nation, and another for themselves is not representing the best interests of that country, and is losing touch with the people. Are politicians really working for their public anymore? Or is the public becoming their enemy?

There’s a good post here about the use of gamma (a unit of luminance) and colour profiles as used by PCs and Macs. It’s really only important if you create graphics for use on the web – the effects can be seen here. The upshot is that if this applies to you, then it’s worth changing your mac gamma setting to 2.2, rather than the 1.8 that is default on macs. Even Apple suggest you do this. You can do it by going to System Preferences > Displays > Color and then selecting the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 colour profile.

So what’s been happening over the last few weeks?

  • I lost my wallet somewhere in Richmond Park
  • Someone was kind enough to hand it in to Fulham Police Station
  • But I’d already cancelled my bank cards.
  • But at least I didn’t have to go through the ordeal of getting (and paying for) a new drivers license.
  • I no longer keep my drivers license in my wallet.
  • At least I didn’t have to wait as long as this guy before getting my wallet back
  • My Powerbook hard drive died on me, causing me to lose everything on it.
  • Fortunately I had anticipated this day and had the important stuff backed up on an external HDD.
  • It took me about a day to get everything back the way I like it, although I’m still finding little useful things that I’m missing.
  • For example, the custom dictionary in MS Word needs to be repopulated.
  • And I didn’t back up any of my RSS feeds.
  • In other news, I’m working on my methods chapter and am running a little bit over schedule. I now plan to get it done by the end of the week.
  • What a great story about a guy who bet he’d make it to 100 at age 90. With odds at 250/1, he made himself a tidy £25,000. It appears the key to long life is being care-free, having a good sense of humour, and porridge.

    Well I managed to lose my wallet over the weekend. I can narrow it down to a time frame of about 2 minutes between having it and realising we had parted company. I went back but no sign of it, so either someone found it and has yet to report it or it’s been stolen. Luckily, I was borassic at the time so whoever has it only has a few rectangles of useless plastic and my drivers license.

    The most annoying thing about losing it is having to go through the motions of cancelling the bank cards, and reapplying for new cards including a new drivers license (£19). Of course, to pay for a new drivers license I need a credit/debit card neither of which I have at the moment.

    My passport expires pretty soon too so I’m in danger of being without any ID at all. Not only that, but with my drivers license having gone AWOL, my chances of being a victim of identity fraud just rapidly increased. Apparently these guys can help. Let’s hope so. Otherwise I could find myself in a potentially dire situation.

    RFID’s in passports
    Talking about identity fraud, it seems that new UK passports feature an RFID chip as part of the biometric passports now being issued. The US is also issuing RFID passports and there’s a good post here about why it’s not such a good idea. Especially interesting is the argument that RFID chips in passports need to be rigourously secure for at least 10 years (since that’s the standard duration of a passport), and that this is equivalent to getting a new version of MS Windows and not expecting an update for 10 years. While I’m a big advocate of gadgets and new technology, I do think that perhaps we’re jumping in a little too early on this one. Will I need to download firmware updates to my passport in years to come?