Monday, December 31, 2007

Out into the new space of a New Year

And here's a photograph from lorissa shepstone to go with that thought!
Happy and a safe New Year!

Seeking a team vicar

Graham writes:
We are looking for an outgoing and adventurous person to come and join us in our close knit staff team. You should enjoy working with others and not be afraid of change.

The job spec is available from here. Applications welcome :-) but not to me...

And back again..

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
In Belgium/Luxembourg on the return journey of the 1975 European trip. Photos of the complete trip are now in a set on flickr, though I might add a few more!
The van became unwell when we got to Calais and had to be pushed on and off the hovercraft!


Cobweb - a cat we had for around 6 months - he disappeared shortly after we had him done.. perched on a tiny monitor which Beth is using to play a game on a ZX Spectrum when you used to have to load games from a cassette drive..
Photo taken from another slide scan.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Be afraid!

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
At least those of you who recognise this photo, there are more to come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Say ahhhhh!
Been given a slide scanner for Christmas and an initial play gives this picture taken back in 1983 of our then cats Perdita and Thisbe (they were found under a wall). I need to make sure the slides are a little cleaner!
I'm also having problems getting the Veho scanner to work with various flavours of Linux so this was done using XP (grrr)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas (again)

I'll leave you with this rendition of Holy Night. (Wicked grin!) Do listen to the end - I have heard it before but hadn't seen it linked before tonight, I believe it is a joke and the singer is capable of better.

Cat in the Manger

Didn't know this poem of U A Fanthorpe

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Projecting outwards..

Happy Christmas - the above title was prompted by an interesting talk at last night's carol service - what we project outwards (and what we see - and object to in others) is all too often a function of what's inside. May you project peace and joy this Christmas. The talk is now available on Graham's site as an mp3/wav download.

That conversion

(well reception actually), thanks to Mad Priest, this is the latest news

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Among the Gypsies

Via plep come these photos from Stacia Spragg, of life among the gypsies in Bulgaria.
As in Blagoevgrad, most Gypsies nationwide live in ghettos on the outskirts of the city, comprised of poorly constructed houses lacking running water. Residents often do not have access to sanitation or other public services. Gypsy children are mostly placed in schools for Bulgarians with learning disabilities, where the emphasis is on learning low-skill trades, dooming them to perpetuate the poverty cycle.

Click at the top of the essay for the photos - here's one

Christmas letter

Most of this is already on here by searching back though the year, but here is the annual round robin letter - at least I hope it's there - the new router prevents me from checking that url as the file is on my home network and I've not yet found how to work my way around it!
Note to self - use ps2pdf rather than's pdf conversion tool - it bloats the output something horrid. Looks like there's an on line version of ps2pdf here - if you're not sure how to get a ps(postScript file) then 'print as file' will usually get you there!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More bad taste

But not Christmas presents this time. Via r.m.c.r and Alex Ross comes this set of LP covers. Unfortunately I remember seeing most of these - I don't think I bought any though!

Two links

one tecchie (and very funny and sad tooo) from the Daily WTF and - a day late - I got around to reading this account of a funeral - make sure you pick up your tissues on the way over.
And, by the way, firefox 3 beta2 is now out and looking even more splendid, though it does give CSS issues with the latest version of work's new website (in development).
(at this rate I'm going to have more posts in December than there are days in the month..)


or schizoid or something!? I thought my current lastfm top artists ought to be preserved!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Double reeds are offensive

From today's Guardian
The BBC was forced into a very public U-turn yesterday over a decision to censor the perennial Christmas hit Fairytale of New York. Radio 1 had bleeped out the word "faggott" from the duet between Pogues frontman, Shane MacGowan, and the late singer Kirsty MacColl, saying the term could be offensive to listeners.

Bassoons are far too rude for Radio 1 listeners...and as for tenor-oons.

Railway Reading

Just completed Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods - I thought it was great fun and definitely on form, though it bears somewhat of a debt (IMHO) to Douglas Adams - there's an interesting conjunction. The Asylum has some interesting comments. I also was stuck by this bit
She stood like a lighthouse, like a pulsar, and I was a radio telescope that caught the signal. There she is, a star the size of a city, pulsing through the universe with burned-out energy. I know you’re there, I know where you are, I can track you because we are the same stuff.

I see there's someone from Jodrell Bank referenced in the acknowledgments - must contact my source there.

Heading towards Christmas

.. an early morning picture as we get towards the shortest day. It should also keep the folk who end up here when searching for Arighi Bianchi happy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007


:-) - nailed it!

Modern Music

When Christians talk about modern music they generally mean the Carpenters
- Lucy Winkett from the Inclusive Church conference - recommended listening, as an mp3 is downloadable via the link. Lots more (more) thought provoking stuff though not so reducible to a quick quote.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cold morning. White sky.

An account of Stockhausen's funeral. Radio 3's here and now programme last night was a tribute (a late change) and is accessible for the next 7 days.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Advent calendars

.. getting a bit late now but here's a small one -
The rectangular Advent calendar measures 8.4µm by 12.4µm and is etched onto a semi-conducting gallium arsenide wafer coated with Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) - used to make Perspex.


Following this post - shouldn't have bragged - I see the figures are now back to IE 50% and Firefox 40% - probably due to my circulating the Christmas 'do' link around work..

Friday, December 14, 2007

USB Wine

Wine! - in French but not difficult! Thanks to Lindsay Marshall's Bifurcated Rivets

On xkcd this week...

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe:
we have a complicated pedestrian crossing by the offices, maybe we should see if we can identify our visitors?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A familiar corner

After noticing an update of a facebook friend, I see that Tom Körner has his own facebook fan club - which I can't join as I don't have the right email address...he was my director of studies 30+ years ago at Cambridge - don't think I was very good though I've been making up for it by doing lots of numerical analysis type applications over the past 15 years. I read his 'The Pleasures of Counting' (quite) a few years ago and I must see about giving it a re-read (so it is recommended, by me anyway!). His web page - on the other hand - I don't think it has changed since I first saw it back in the late 1990's!
There appears to be a more recent book`Why Was The Computer Invented When It Was?' - well more recent than the web-page..2002

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Browser percentages

Looking at the very select (!) stats on accesses to this blog the browser percentages have finally come right!

Very pleasing! Yes, you are being observed - but if you think the internet is anonymous, you've not been paying attention!
I am excluding accesses from my own IP address for when I read my own blog(!), but as I do sometimes blog about Linux/FSF/Firefox I suppose that does bias the stats.

A couple of links

First this on lightning farms as a source of electricity.
And this off the Stockhausen site cartoon page

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The TNEI Christmas do

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Yes that's orange jelly and blue (bubblegum) ice-cream. This was the Nawaab Restaurant so no gentle alcohol but serious blue.

More serious photos are here

software complexity

Well it is complex but somehow I don't think this is the right way of measuring it!

Market Place

Market Place
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
A deserted Macclesfield market place caught on my way to work this week with the Christmas tree

Flash! Bang!

Been off net (at least at home) for 36 hours due to the router dying - its death throes tripped the electricity circuits twice before it wouldn't come on again and I then identified the culprit. Trying a Lantech router from aria - a swift walk over yesterday's lunchtime. Currently having problems getting it to forward http requests to this machine - so my web server (link to the right of this) may be impossible to get to at the moment. Also it appears to stop working when I boot up a machine (the one that is directly connected to its inbuilt switch rather than via a hub). Will see whether I'm misconfiguring it or whether there's a fault.. At least I am now able to download all the spam that was waiting for me!

A time to dream

From Ivan Hewett's obituary of him in the Guardian
Those ideas are strenuous, boldly speculative, and high-minded in a way that doesn't really suit our more cautious age; but when the time to explore and dream comes again, Stockhausen's music will be waiting for it.

Pliable has a fairly discursive life summary here, I remember taking part in a back stage invasion at a Stockhausen conducted concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall back in 1973(?). I wonder whether his death means that some of the Stockhausen discography will become available in the shops again? (it wasn't the shops fault!)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Don't ask

The Guardian reports that a number of ex US military generals have called for the scrapping of the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy over gays in the military. It reports that there is still opposition amongst the serving military and this quote from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Peter Pace caught my eye
I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way

they must have pretty high entry qualifications in the US military...certainly no remarried divorcees, let alone any other malefactors!

Sleeping with cats

Want kitten...but maybe not!


I've been trying firefox 3 - the first beta - and it looks pretty good, it even fixes this bug, and seems to be less of memory hog. It got installed elsewhere too after an upgrade on that machine from 2.0.4 to 2.0.11 caused firefox to crash on startup...I suspect something in a profile.. but I upgraded to 3.0b and that runs fine.


Hat tip to Pam for this link - wonderful...

Better than I thought...

via Niles (though I got the html wrong when editing this entry...)

My Architect

I was meaning to mention our visit to the silk screen (our local cinema club) to see My Architect, two weeks ago now. I wasn't over keen on going to see it, no doubt therapeutic for the son, but an evening watching a film about an architect I hadn't heard of?? I found myself gradually drawn into the story of Louis Kahn with his unconventional living arrangments (multiple households), the son telling the story was the child of one of his colleagues - he seemed to treat the female ones as a bit of a harem and the film told of the son's visits to the father's buildings and of his meetings with his half sisters.
For me it started to take life when there was an interview with a Philadelphia ex-councillor who explained why Kahn didn't get a job - and wonderfully betrayed himself in the process! Kahn eventually died at a railway station near bankrupt but the son's last visit to Bangla Desh and the Capitol meaning where a local explained, in tears, how much Kahn's commitment meant to them was for me the moment that made the evening out worthwhile. Well worth seeing.
This blog has this quote
In one of the interview[s] about Louis Kahn, an Architect said, In Jewish Mysticism: God can only be known through His Works. ... thus the work of any Jewish Artists can be considered as the work of God. When you see Louis enjoying his silence with his finger on his lips looking at the light, you know as if he was connecting with something. You can not be impatient.

Musings from a New York architect are here