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Messages - JennyB [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Show us your (physical) desktop
« on: October 31, 2016, 01:45 PM »
JennyB, you inherited your mom's big house, but were afraid time & maintenance would eat the worth.
So, how did it all go? Did you leave it all  and biked out of Ulster, or such?

Considering her last active was in 2015, I think you're going to have to be content with not knowing the story.  ;D

Just found a PM from Curt in my spam folder, so I'm dropping back in for a minute. It's a bit weird seeing a large part of my life scroll before my eyes in the form of past posts - reminds me of some good conversations.

I'm still in the old house. The money's lasting a bit better than I expected - it's still (just) above the level where I can claim Income support. I've got into writing - poems and short stories, with a novel in the works. I've done quite a few public readings now with Fermanagh Writers, and edit Corncrake, a local Arts magazine There's no money in that, but I do earn a little from the odd editing job.

I was sixty last June, and not cycling quite as much, but still hosting international tourists. If cycletouring is your thing, and you're headed to Ireland, you'll find me on Warmshowers.

What else?

I can't remember if I ever mentioned it, but I'm trans. I transitioned officially in 2000. I was quite difficult at time still living in the village where I grew up, pu Mum was my greatest ally.

That all I can think of for now.

Great to hear from you again, Curt.  How have things been for you?  :P

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.  :(

Hey, come join us for RASDAK!

Looks interesting, but there's  the little matter of the Atlantic Ocean (I'm in Northern Ireland)     :)

It's good to see the old names again.   8)

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.  :(

Living Room / Re: bicycling suddenly a British speciality?!
« on: July 24, 2012, 03:34 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.

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.  :P

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.

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.   :D

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!"
 :-\ :P

General Software Discussion / Re: Redacting PDF Scans
« on: March 09, 2012, 10:02 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?

General Software Discussion / Redacting PDF Scans
« on: March 09, 2012, 09:25 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?

Living Room / Toggle: Interesting Multi-mode Remote Concept
« on: November 24, 2011, 03:32 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.

Living Room / Re: Someone's at Home - the Lights are On.
« on: November 15, 2011, 04:43 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

Living Room / Someone's at Home - the Lights are On.
« on: November 14, 2011, 10:32 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?

Living Room / Re: What's up with Google Groups?
« on: June 28, 2011, 01:39 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.

Living Room / What's up with Google Groups?
« on: June 28, 2011, 05:01 AM »
No new posts since the 25th. Usage stats all over the place.  :tellme:  >:(

Living Room / Re: Geocities Returns!
« on: June 26, 2011, 04:08 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"  :-[

Living Room / Geocities Returns!
« on: June 24, 2011, 07:02 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"


Haha, they should make the rest of the bible (and the Qur'an!) that way :D

Be careful what you wish for:
The LOLCat Bible


Living Room / Re: Wooden Horse Art
« on: May 18, 2011, 01:06 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.
-Stoic Joker (May 16, 2011, 05:28 PM)

The sculptor is based in Devon (England). Here's her website.

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.

Living Room / Re: Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading List
« on: May 02, 2011, 06:09 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.

Living Room / Re: Anyone here using a standing desk?
« on: April 22, 2011, 06:13 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.  :P

Living Room / Re: The Evil Side of Nature
« on: April 13, 2011, 11:43 AM »
That's just your mammalian chauvinism.  ;)
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.

Living Room / Re: The Evil Side of Nature
« on: April 11, 2011, 06:44 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. :P

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.

 :o 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.  ;)

Have you ever read "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"?

Living Room / Re: Movies I Love to Listen To: Dialects and Accents
« on: April 04, 2011, 06:40 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.  ;)  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!).



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.  8)

Found via Zoe Brain - my kind of geek!  :Thmbsup:

Living Room / Re: Dumbed Down Language Observation
« on: March 17, 2011, 06:08 AM »
Daffy Duck :D

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"!  :D

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