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Little mirrors one and all

Date: 2010-01-08 17:36
Subject: Buying shares
Security: Public
Partly as a response to the potential bids for Cadbury (and the fact that cally_tmk had bought shares in them so at least she could say "No" to a takeover, however ineffectual that no might be) I've been looking into ways to buy shares.

Things what I have learnedCollapse )

I should probably add a disclaimer here that this is not financial advice, this is not reliable and you'd be a fool to let me invest your money :) I will now return you to more interesting fare...
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Date: 2009-08-24 22:22
Subject: Stumbling into controversies
Security: Public
There could be something interesting to say about the whole US healthcare saga ... though I'm sure that others are covering it well elsewhere. I don't see a lot of meeting of minds so far in the blog comments I've seen - supporters of the NHS post in one place, detractors another (usually). Having had the UK decried on account of the NHS, the release of Megrahi seems to be the big bugbear at the moment. Apparently the plan is to stop drinking Whisky and visiting Scotland. Will they stop playing golf too?

I stumbled across another "great debate" in the last couple of days. The government is keen to encourage urban dwellers to take up beekeeping and I was interested to see what it involved. I've already been lent someone's daughter's school project(!) as an introduction but I've been looking around the web ... and this was where I stumbled across another controversy. I came across a couple of analyses) of the Vegan Society's position paper on honey(unfortunately references give a 404!). There were also numerous forum postings where people battle out whether beekeeping is necessarily exploitative. Presumably, if one kept hives to maintain populations and pollination, but threw away the excess honey[*] and didn't eat it, that wouldn't be exploitation?

I'm not vegan (I am vegetarian but now as a matter of habit/taste/discipline more than principle) so maybe it's not surprising that I've missed out on all theheated forum threads... Do I need heated discussions? Probably not!

[*] It appears that some amount of free space needs to be maintained in a hive to prevent the queen running out of cells in which to lay eggs - if the queen swarms the likelihood of the swarmed colony surviving long-term is lower.
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Date: 2009-07-02 23:36
Subject: After 18 years and 267 days...
Security: Public
Tags:orderly shutdown
<181.15:35:00 DSS-63 BOT	
   181.15:40:00 DSS-63 TX ON	
   181.15:46:00 DSS-63 CMD MOD ON	
   181.15:50:00 Send time-tagged cmd with RX 1 on, 64BPS ENG, TX2/RX2 to LGA/R, TX1/RX1 to LGA/F (19:00 SCET)
   181.15:55:00 Send time-tagged cmd with AOCS configuration, open LV 2, ME-2 on, SS gain to low, CE-1 off (18:45 SCET)
   181.16:05:00 Switch off SIM HV (KET HV1 OFF)
   181.16:06:00 Switch off SIM HV (KET HV2 to Step 0)
   181.16:07:00 Switch off SIM HV (KET HV2 OFF)
   181.16:15:00 Switch on the X Wing Heaters
   181.16:20:00 Deschedule CONJ
   181.16:25:00 Switch off DSU
   181.16:30:00 Update PT and BT
   181.17:00:00 Monitor BAM-I HV off (BY TT)
   181.17:34:00 Monitor SIM HV off
   181.17:44:00 Monitor X Wing Heaters on
   181.17:49:00 Monitor CONJ descheduling
   181.17:54:00 Monitor DSU switch off
   181.17:59:00 Monitor the updating of PT and BT
   181.19:30:00 Monitor AOCS configuration changes
   181.19:45:00 Monitor RX 1 on, 64bps, some data collection at 64bps followed by RFDU reconfiguration
   181.20:05:00 DSS-63 CMD MOD OFF	
   181.20:10:00 DSS-63 TX OFF	
   181.20:15:00 Monitor S/C TX 1 off (loss of carrier)
   181.20:20:00 DSS-63 EOT		

(In more detail than is often provided...):



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Date: 2009-05-22 12:21
Subject: Low key lottery...
Security: Public
In case you thought that everything had to be high-tech these days, especially in government...

This was sent to me by one of my colleagues. It is for an entirely serious matter, see http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radio/ifi/rbl/rsls/ramadanstations09/. How else do you pick them?

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Date: 2008-08-30 00:16
Subject: Thanks, and this should actually be fun. Well as fun as anything gets if you’re a manifest dweeb.
Security: Public

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Date: 2008-07-24 22:37
Subject: The waiting is over...
Security: Public
Tags:cats, decided not to retain, matbaea, new experiences
...I received my rejection email from ESA today, though they do point me in the direction of their other careers. It shouldn't come as any great surprise that in cutting down from 8000-odd applicants to 700-1000 (the figure quoted for the next stage) they have to adopt a fairly strict regime. It's a disappointment but I have the good fortune to have a job that I really enjoy despite the lack of space focus or an amusing microgravity environment!

And last, but very certainly not least, our beloved Corky's health worsened significantly (and unexpectedly) over the weekend and he is no longer with us. We had to make the decision in the car back from Kutna Hora to Dobrovice on Sunday - we would have liked to have been there but under the circumstances it would have been unnecessary suffering to have waited the 24 hours until we were back from the Czech Republic. We miss him lots.

Next time: a jollier entry?
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Date: 2008-05-19 23:52
Subject: Firing up the ancient technology (advisory: some geeky content)
Security: Public
Tags:audio, geeky, matbaea, old technology
We possess a venerable scanner, that I'm sure cost £200 when we bought it quite a number of years ago - it was bought somewhat at the last minute to scan photos for the first issue of Dark Times in 1996. I had not been going out with cally_tmk for very long back then...

So we bought it to attach to my PC - then a P75 dual-booting between Windows 95 and Linux (0.99.15 followed shortly after by 1.2.13). The scanner is a SCSI scanner so it comes with an ISA card to drive it. Well, the scanner is still used on the oldest PC we have working here now (the P133 that replaced Cally_tmk's Dell 386) whose sole purpose now is to drive the scanner. Of course, typically, the network lead I found for it was faulty and Win95 is not very forthcoming with diagnostics on the networking front.

We accept we probably ought to get a new scanner sometime - we do actually have a couple of USB ones sitting on the floor here that might be worth a try...

Anyway, the medical certificate from the last entry ago has been scanned and dispatched. I await a confirmation email...

In other news of rather more modern technology, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably best to use computers for decompressing audio files. I have spent the best part of 8 hours (across two days, it would be too much otherwise) getting to grips with mpeg audio (layer 2 so it is a bit old fashioned). I reckon once you got up to speed it would only take a couple of hours per 24ms frame to decompress by hand... In case you're wondering I have been asked to explain why one audio file works and the other doesn't...

The real revelation was that it is quite hard work tracking down bit-stream level documentation of MPEG formats - it does exist, but the actual codec implementations are not fabulously well commented - and it seems pretty clear that most people would rather just use codecs as black boxes (sensible!) and don't necessarily understand how the bytes in an audio file (or on DAB or Digital TV - same audio format) get decompressed. That bit is left for geeks like me to babble about bit allocation and scale factor selection.

Just as well I do audio - I reckon video is probably lots worse!
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Date: 2008-05-03 00:19
Subject: Medicals (episode 2 ...)
Security: Public
Tags:geeky, matbaea, medical, silly
Well, I went for the promised medical. Aside from the serious diagnostics, it seems that quite a number of things are tested less formally...

More tedious detailsCollapse )

Thanks for all your interesting comments about sight - I shan't rush into any unusual eye exercises...

Oh, and you have probably all seen LOLCatBible and heard of LOLCode - now also available as a language for PostgreSQL - Real Example
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Date: 2008-04-30 18:17
Subject: Episode 1 of a sort...
Security: Public
Tags:eyesight, matbaea, medical
... I had an eye test today - the first time since I had an over-the-top-thorough eye test in 1993 (when I needed one to confirm the state of my sight in case I subsequently ruined it with a big laser and sued). That test involved peripheral vision testing and retinal photography, and was at least in part an exercise for optometry students to practice!

Today's test was a more basic affair...

Tedious optometric detailsCollapse )
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Date: 2008-02-05 20:39
Subject: On the internet, [fill in blank]
Security: Public
After a moment, it stopped walking into my wall, and turned to stare at me. - obviously if you get fond of your patch in Second Life, the robot menace may be a bit much,

There's a lot of stuff to say about game engines for exploring archaeology. And I really must write something about the "systems game" concept.
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my journal
January 2010