I probably hoard too much, since this page is essentially the hoarding of random, possibly broken, thoughts. I may be the king of hoarders.


Java or JavaScript?

Lego bricks or Play Doh? I pondered the question which is better, Java or JavaScript. Or, more generally, are strongly typed languages better than those that are loosely typed? My answer was the rhetorical question “is Lego better than Play Doh”?

It’s possible, with enough care and skill to make very convincing Lego bricks out of Play Doh, but their properties will be very different. On the other hand, you can’t quickly make a hamburger in a bun out of Lego – you’d need a lot of time and patience. Or a heat gun.

So there’s probably a good reason that I like both. Just don’t make me build a rescue helicopter out of Play Doh, nor a hamburger bun out of Lego.

Rise Above It

As a kid, When reasonable people would say “Rise Above It”, I used to hear “Just Ignore It”, which is entirely different. To rise above something is to detach oneself emotionally from a situation and look more broadly and objectively at it. In that light it was good advice.

If giving advice to rise above something, make sure to explain what you mean by it.

Stewart Lee, Comedy Genius

I recall when I was very young, we had this clunky old radiogram with tall speakers which my dad was about to fix. As he was opening the back, I was filled with wonder about what would be inside this seemingly magical device – having just heard a BBC DJ talking, I expected to see at least one man.

I still remember the sense of disappointment I had when I saw this large empty cabinet with almost nothing of substance inside.

Essentially for this reason, I deliberately try not to understand why I enjoy Stewart Lee’s comedy so much.

Well ,if you’re not going to use it…

Before we had proper broadband, computers were relatively slow. Microsoft was still able to waste RAM, CPU cycles and disk sectors without seriously being challenged. Data transfer was measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes. There was no room for megabytes of tracking and ad-analytics code, so it didn’t exist, at least not in any meaningful way.

Today, it’s hard for any operating system to justify consuming most of 8GB RAM, 8 CPU cores, and a terabyte of disk space that could easily be offered in an entry level PC; even initiatives like Electron have failed to keep up with the increase in resource capacity. Phones have a fraction of such resources, but since their raison d’être is tracking and analytics, there are fewer motivating factors to needlessly consume resources.

So what better way to use an idle computer and under-utilised network than to analyse every possible aspect of your nature?

Kate Tempest – Circles

This is a little masterpiece.

Ellen Allien – UFO

Another masterpiece. The title track of this album.

Rory Gallagher, Musical Genius

Strangely not as famous as his talent deserves, but it seems he shunned the commercial side of music. Really talented musician.

Rory Gallagher on Old Grey Whistle Test

A documentary that’s currently hard to stop watching, despite being 3:15am.

Ghost Blues – The Story Of Rory Gallagher

Nook Simple Touch – Registration Fails

It was hard to find a solution to getting a Nook Simple Touch (BNRV300) to register, getting the error AD1133. This is because the registration server no longer exists. Thankfully, there’s information available on hidden features that allow the device to start up without registration.

Someone kindly (and concisely) documented these on this link http://heeed.net/resetting-a-nook-simple-touch/, that I include here simply to increase the likelihood that it gets found by someone who needs it.

As an aside, it’s shameful to leave a device entirely dependent on an external server. All possible utility of the device, that is the product of drilling, mining, fabrication, moulding, assembly, transportation, is needlessly gone.

Of course, since the OMAP SoC is quite well documented, there are certainly other ways to solve this, but without prior knowledge, they require time and focus that could otherwise be used elsewhere.

Davy Graham – She Moves Through The Fair

One of my favourite tunes, performed by an amazing musician Davy Graham. Here’s the audio in a YouTube video – Davy Graham – She Moves Through The Fair. Since YouTube can be a bit fickle and transient, I have the audio as an mp3 here for safekeeping. It’s probably quite a rare recording.

He plays the tune in an Indian style, to show similarities in music between Irish/Scottish music and that of India. Interestingly Martyn Bennett, another exceptional musician with Scottish heritage, also talked of similarities between Celtic music and that of parts of the Middle East.

A beautiful solo vocal version of the song, as it’s traditionally sung, by Anne Briggs – She Moves Through The Fair. I find that the song often loses its impact when instruments are added, but this version by Blackthorn is mesmerising.

It’s a dark song for all its beauty, so here’s a slightly less terminal tale from the voice of Maddy Prior, There’s something about the way she detunes her voice with such control that makes for tireless listening.

Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica on covertly manipulating people online.

“We just put information into the bloodstream to the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape”

“And so this stuff infiltrates the online community and expands but with no branding – so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

To me, that’s deeply creepy. It sinks far below even the worst kind of advertising into covert manipulation of individuals and their social groups. My guess is that the commercial motivation for Facebook to allow harvesting ‘apps’ such broad access to Facebook profiles was to drive advertising revenue that inevitably followed when these companies finished gathering and analysing user profile data.

In other words, Facebook could then ask “Now that you know your demographics, how do you want to allocate your budget?”


Brexit uncertainty is a disgrace, says Airbus

Taken from a reader’s comment on article “Brexit uncertainty is a disgrace, says Airbus” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46984229) on the BBC News website.

Kaloody is either a great satirist, or a dangerous idiot.

Amazon is spending our neighbourly goodwill.

On a number of occasions now, I have heard the doorbell ring, followed almost immediately by banging on my door. It’s alarming – it invokes a sense of urgency, perhaps danger or some terrible news.

On each occasion, it has simply been an Amazon driver enquiring whether I’d be willing to accept a parcel for a neighbour; asking me to do them and my neighbour a favour.

Given that this only happens with Amazon drivers, and given that, on each occasion, there was a different driver, I assume that they are being taught, one way or another, that this attitude of impatience is the best way to maximise deliveries within a given period of time.

On the most recent occasion, I refused the parcel and sent him back to my neighbour’s door. It turned out he was, in fact, home to receive the parcel. The driver’s impatience is profound!

So from now on, I’m going to send the driver back to try once more, on the basis that if they’re so impatient as to rudely harass my front door, then they were probably impatient at the intended recipient’s door too.

If nothing else, it will encourage them to be more polite when asking me to do them a favour.

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