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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 10th Anniversary - long time member check-in thread on: March 10, 2015, 05:57:49 AM
I got my head back together mostly by reviving an interest in long-distance cycling. I worked up to doing a couple of 200+ mile rides last year, and have hosted a few passing international tourists.   I'm still looking for enough employment to stop the savings eroding.  Sad

Hey, come join us for RASDAK!

Looks interesting, but there's  the little matter of the Atlantic Ocean (I'm in Northern Ireland)     smiley
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 10th Anniversary - long time member check-in thread on: March 09, 2015, 05:19:09 AM
It's good to see the old names again.   Cool

I was full-time carer for my mother from 2007 until she died in July 2013 at the age of 98.  She developed dementia, so I didn't get much sleep in the last year or so. Now I'm stuck with a house far too big for one, and not much chance of selling.

I got my head back together mostly by reviving an interest in long-distance cycling. I worked up to doing a couple of 200+ mile rides last year, and have hosted a few passing international tourists.   I'm still looking for enough employment to stop the savings eroding.  Sad
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: bicycling suddenly a British speciality?! on: July 24, 2012, 03:34:23 AM

Could be the other way around - all the others stopped doping... and suddenly the British are best ;-)

There's something in that. It's been a lot more consistent lately, and easier to spot the suspicious performances. The nucleus of the Sky team (not just the riders) is the same squad that was so successful at the Beijing Olympics, so it's been about seven years in preparation.

They had only one aim in mind - to win the General Classification.

The last three years Cav was riding with a team that specialised in getting him into the right position to win the sprints: this year he was leading climbs, fetching water, doing everything he could for Wiggins.  

To win the GC you have to be either a great climber (like Contador) and not lose too much on the time trials, or a great time trialler like Wiggins and not lose it on the mountains. Wiggins proved he could get over the mountains two years ago when he came third, but he was on his own in the end. This time he had some great climbers to help him.
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Next big opportunity - ditching the laptop in favor of mobile computing on: April 10, 2012, 12:21:07 PM
I got a BlackBerry PlayBook after I sat on my Kindle, and am now using it for most of my simpler tasks (such as writing this reply!). I really like the smaller 7" format - it is large enough to work with but will fit in a small bag or a large pocket, so it goes everywhere with me.  tongue

There is certainly a great opportunity for developing really productive apps. The PlayBook has a great multi-tasking OS that allows several to be open at the same time, but it would be nice to have a framework that allowed them to communicate with each other more.

Predictive typing has got much better recently, but it still has problems, particularly in quickly correcting mispredictions, or indicating that a predicted word has the right stem but the wrong ending. A really good predictive command line could replace menus for many apps, with each simply supplying a tree of the commands to which they can respond.

5  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Those "Boy's Own" type comics from the 40's & 50's on: April 02, 2012, 06:20:16 AM
I'm not that old, but I can remember "2001 AD." It might be interesting to have a look at some issues of that again.   cheesy

Also, I can recall back in the '70s reading a 'WWII fighter ace' story (Matt Braddock?) full of esoteric details about French fighter planes and the like, and when one character mentioned Hitler in passing, it stopped to explain that "Adolf Hitler was the German leader!"
 undecided tongue
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Redacting PDF Scans on: March 09, 2012, 10:02:30 AM
I don't have them to hand, but I think that most of them are image scans from pre-PDF days, not even OCRed. Does that make a difference?
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Redacting PDF Scans on: March 09, 2012, 09:25:37 AM
I have some PDF Scans of old computer magazines from the 1990's that I'd like to put online, but they contain some names and addresses and other private and probably out-of-date info that I'd rather not display.

Is there any easy way to black that out without rescanning?

8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Toggle: Interesting Multi-mode Remote Concept on: November 24, 2011, 03:32:36 PM
“There are lots of people trying to solve this,” explains Peter Bristol, industrial designer at Carbon Design Group. “Some are trying to solve it mechanically with touch in one spot, a little mini-screen, and 5000 buttons.” This “more is more” approach is rarely satisfying. And most of the technology in these devices is decades behind the touch experience we’ve become so accustomed to through smart phones and tablets. A true touch-screen remote with a $400 cost of goods isn’t financially feasible. “You can give someone a remote app, but that doesn’t make it a communal interaction device that lives at home next to the media, and it means they can’t easily use their smart phones while watching TV.”

Their solution:


Basically just a silkscreened touch pad, but the mask on top can be slid to reveal any one of four sets of 'buttons' through the holes.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Someone's at Home - the Lights are On. on: November 15, 2011, 04:43:56 AM
In particular, what is that ribbon of light at about 3:47?

Not a clue, but it is a rather fascinatingly long red line.

From the comments:
It's the India - Pakistan Border.
I couldn't see it in other nightmaps of the world, so it could be new. The line matches the Borderline if you look it up on a map, just inverted, so on the left is china (the blank area is the Gobi Desert) and on the far right is the arabian sea (or. indian ocean). The cities on the left, on the lower side must be lahore(7Milion People) and Multan (2,6Mil). On the upper left side the bigger bright blob could be New Delhi (13Mil. ppl in metro area).

Other things to watch for:

"UFOs" (actually satellites) at 1:39 and 3:59
2:03 is of the Mediterranean, featuring Italy, Sicily and Sardinia
2:40 the Nile Delta and Suez Canal

Original NASA footage
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Someone's at Home - the Lights are On. on: November 14, 2011, 10:32:12 AM
Amazing time-lapse video from the International Space Station shows the Aurora Borealis and massive lightning storms, but the most striking feature is the blazing artificial light from cities.

It's fun to try to work out which is where. In particular, what is that ribbon of light at about 3:47?
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What's up with Google Groups? on: June 28, 2011, 01:39:13 PM
It seems to be only the Usenet groups that are affected. I've checked in Opera, and more recent posts are showing there, but as far as I can see, nothing posted through Google Groups since the 25th.
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / What's up with Google Groups? on: June 28, 2011, 05:01:42 AM
No new posts since the 25th. Usage stats all over the place.  tellme  Angry
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Geocities Returns! on: June 26, 2011, 04:08:55 PM
Everytime I see that sign the only Men at Work song I know starts playing in my head.

I hear Bernard Cribbens singing "Hole in the Ground"  embarassed
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Geocities Returns! on: June 24, 2011, 07:02:05 AM
Not really, but if you have a perverse desire to see what your favourite site would look like "designed by a 13 year-old in 1996"

15  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 03, 2011, 05:44:36 AM
Haha, they should make the rest of the bible (and the Qur'an!) that way cheesy

Be careful what you wish for:
The LOLCat Bible


16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Wooden Horse Art on: May 18, 2011, 01:06:02 AM
I've never really been much on horses or art ... But those are cool!

Is there a back story/website for those? I know some people that may be interested in one of them.

The sculptor is based in Devon (England). Here's her website.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: A real bicycle that you can grow?...from nylon? on: May 16, 2011, 06:20:20 AM
Looking at the bike, it instantly make you think of 3D printing, and:

Similar in concept to 3D printing, the bike design is perfected using computer-aided design and then constructed by using a powerful laser-sintering process which adds successive, thin layers of the chosen structural material until a solid, fully-formed bike emerges.

But they don't really explain the difference.

Still, it sounds very cool. I wonder how long it will be before it hits production.

I think the difference is that the layers do not necessarily have to be flat. This is definitely interesting, though nylon is a poor material for a bike. Those bearings may look cool, but they must make for horrendous rolling resistance.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading List on: May 02, 2011, 06:09:29 AM
Not on the list, but the book I always recommend to SF fans is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  In case you didn't know, it is considered the first SF novel by many.  It's one of my all-time favs.


Indeed. Not at all what you might expect from the movies, and it's fascinating to see how its themes are revisited in more recent SF/fantasy.

For a more modern (very) short story with a deep impact, I would recommend Ursula le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, the Hugo award winner of 1974.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Anyone here using a standing desk? on: April 22, 2011, 06:13:54 AM
I used to use a standing desk at a job that had them to save space. I only worked there 3 days a week, on weekends (Fri-Sat-Sun) answering phones and writing down orders. Halfway through the day (often sooner) my feet would start killing me. I would end up having to grab a chair and adjust the height so I could rest one knee on it, in order to keep one foot off the floor, alternating feet, for the rest of the day.

I've been using a standing desk for about six months, and had the same problem, until I got a little step-up stool and put that under the desk. One foot up on that every so often gives me a rest. I work at home, so it's easy for me to walk away if I get stuck with what I want to write next. Sometimes I'll bring my wireless keyboard with me, lying down on a couch, and type away without looking at the monitor. Then I go back and edit.  tongue
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Evil Side of Nature on: April 13, 2011, 11:43:41 AM
That's just your mammalian chauvinism.  Wink
Of course!
Have you ever read "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"?


That's where I first read about the Ichneumon wasp. If the mother wasp does not find a host the eggs will hatch inside her and, yes, eat their way out.

The book is a classic, filled with arresting images of how Nature in heartless and wonderful, often both at the same time.
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Evil Side of Nature on: April 11, 2011, 06:44:58 AM
But I'm glad I *didn't* see mice crawling in and out of the innards of a still-living animal at the same time. tongue

I saw something like that in person when I was a young child. My older brother had a small pet lizard of some sort and fed it mealwormsw. Well, apparently the lizard ate them whole, without chewing or otherwise killing them. They ate their way out from the inside of the lizard.

 ohmy That is just wrong, dammit. Of course I've heard of such things before, mostly with wasps laying eggs in say a spider and then them eating their way out when they hatch. But somehow when it's not insects/arachnids, it's more creepy...

- Oshyan

That's just your mammalian chauvinism.  Wink

Have you ever read "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"?

22  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies I Love to Listen To: Dialects and Accents on: April 04, 2011, 06:40:30 AM
+1 for Fargo and Glengary Glen Ross

I'd probably add

  • Shakespeare in Love - it's the Bard after all! Thmbsup
  • The Number 23 - some of the best narrative voice-overs
  • The Usual Suspects- something about that back and forth between Kevin Spacey and Chazz Palminteri
  • Serenity - gotta love that neo-antebellum dialect spoken in Josh Whedon's 'Verse
  • Chocolat - as pleasant to listen to as it is to watch. Binoche, Olin, Moss and Dench all in the same film? Plus Sally Taylor-Isherwood doing the voiceovers? What's not to like? (Great soundtrack which includes some fine Gypsy jazz guitar if you're a Django Reinhardt fan too!)

I haven't seen The Number 23, but I agree with all the rest. Chocolat is one of my all-time favourites. Strange how with just a little change in the direction it could have been a real chiller.

I haven't seen the recent True Grit either, but I can quote ad nauseam from the John Wayne version! Likewise The Shootist and The Quiet Man (though any resemblance to an authentic Irish accent there is purely coincidental.  Wink  It's not so much the dialect, more the delight in the formality and rhythm of language. The Magnificent Seven (the original, not the cheesy sequels) is another I could listen to over and over.

What else?  Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen. Any number of Thirties "screwball" comedies, but especially Bringing up Baby, His Girl Friday, and The Philadelphia Story. Scaramouche. Kiss Me Kate. West Side Story.

I suppose I'm just hooked on the oldies, but I must mention a couple more recent but in the same mould: The Princess Bride (of course!) and the magnificent Cyrano de Bergerac with Gerard Depardieu (in French, but the best /ever/ subtitles - by Anthony Burgess, no less!).


23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Babbage Difference Engine & Antikythera Device - in LEGO!!! on: March 30, 2011, 03:54:42 PM
Having always loved complex mechanical devices, and never having fully outgrown LEGO, I decided to explore where computational mechanics and LEGO meet. This is not LEGO as toy, art, or even the MindStorms® fusion of LEGO and digital electronics. This is almost where Steampunk and LEGO meet. Hand cranked devices that perform complex mechanical tasks.

The Antikythera Mechanism, based on an original from 150 B.C.E., predicts solar eclipses.
The Difference Engine model can compute 3rd order polynomials.  Cool

Found via Zoe Brain - my kind of geek!  Thmbsup
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Dumbed Down Language Observation on: March 17, 2011, 06:08:06 AM
Daffy Duck cheesy

I'm wondering if the "of me" structure could be of Irish origin - one common expression is "s/he'll be the death of me". In spite of having the Irish language beaten into me for 13 years at school, I'm not familiar enough with it to say if this structure is taken directly from the Irish. (There are other expressions/structures directly translated from Irish that have travelled abroad, well, to certain countries/areas.)

I don't think it is. You can certainly say "my boss" in Irish, and I can't think of any other common "of me" constructions.

Fun fact about Irish: it has no direct words for either Yes or No. "Do you tell me that?" "I do indeed"!  cheesy
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: In Western societies, how can a man have a hyphenated name? (and why!) on: March 03, 2011, 04:27:52 PM
hmm, not sure what the legal requirements are here (in the UK) but plenty of "posh" people take on a hyphenated surname when they marry. it's all about them showing off their exceptional breeding, i suppose.

More to do with land, which is why the breeding is important. If you've inherited more than you husband, he adds your surname to his own. If you've inherited a lot more, he takes yours and drops his own. At least, that's how it worked in the days when he took all the land too.  mad

Here in Ulster we have a tradition of christening a son with his mother's maiden name, or the surname of a closely related family from whom he may have - expectations.  tongue  Lots of people called Johnston Thompson or the like.  Back the 19th century there was a landowner by the name of Porter Archdale for that very reason. Then he inherited the Porter estate, and changed his name to Porter Porter!
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