Archive for June, 2005

Astronomical calculations

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Kepler introduced the idea of elliptical orbits and increased the accuracy of prediction of planetary positions by a large factor. He based his calculations – essentially a curve fitting process – on the observations of Tycho Brahe, the first observational astronomer to produce continuous nightly observation records.

I’ve parked an old site of mine that contains [...]

Sunday walk

Monday, June 27th, 2005

Chromagenic monochrome again, but this time with some tweaking. Curves on the door (corresponding to a two bath developer characteristic) and contrast on the roof.

Unusual writing style

Sunday, June 26th, 2005

A Quick (and Hopefully Painless) Ride Through Ruby (with Cartoon Foxes) actually starts at Chapter 3. It has cartoons and an unusual style (for a programming book).

A sample: “Most variables are rather temporary in nature. Some parts of your program are like little houses. You walk in and they have their own variables. In one [...]

Free reading

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

An editor assembles a book called The Best Software Writing from Web based essays on software and interface design. The book is published (typeset in sabon). A blogger assembles a page pointing to the original essays .This can’t be a copyright issue can it? I mean the originals all existed available for free before the [...]

Fans and laptops

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

Ubuntu 5.04 and acpi – setting the temperature trip points for a Pentium 3 coppermine processor.

Independent events

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

Probabilities can only be multiplied if events are independent. Sudden child deaths in the same family cannot be regarded as independent.

Copyright free images

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

LaTiS Centre Image Archive from Essex University

Thanks for this resource – about 400 free pictures. Mostly .jpegs and around 400 to 600 pixels wide with white backgrounds.

Computers need to be like toasters

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

Neal Stephenson’s essay: In the Beginning was the Command Line
Eric Raymond’s essay: The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Did either of these geezers need to cope with fan control in Linux on a 3 year old laptop and a wobbly combo drive on a brand new iBook?

Why can’t computers be like toasters – sealed units that just [...]

Wall with paint

Saturday, June 18th, 2005

Kodak chromagenic black and white film… has a cyan mask on the negatives so the photolab prints come out close to greyscale with a nice duotone look.

Wall on outhouse in a yard in Wallasey.

Maths Posters

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences published a series of 12 monthly posters on tube trains in London during the year 2000. The posters are available at moderate resolution on the Web and can still be purchased as a set from The Mathematical Association’s online shop – a nice tie in.

The posters were designed [...]

Algebra practice

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

By popular request… Remember that a multiplying mixed signs gives a negative answer and multiplying same signs gives a positive answer!

Multiply out the following

2(3x – 2) – 4(2x – 1)
2xy(x + y)
2(4x + 3) + 3(2x – 9)
4(x + y) – 2(x + 2y)
2x(x2 – y3)
2(5x – 4) – 3(2x + 7)
4(10x + 3y) – [...]

Climate change blog

Monday, June 13th, 2005

Real climate is a ‘commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.’

Nice to see scientists in a controversial area using the Web (and a blog to boot) to keep people informed. Plenty of backstory here.

I owe this interesting Web site to the current issue of Seb Schmoller’s [...]

Ubuntu modem drivers

Sunday, June 12th, 2005

The Ubuntu Forums page for Modems on L400
Source code for Lucent Winmodem used in Dell L400
You get a warning when compiling
The Wiki page routine for Ubuntu 5.04 misses out a step – adding a statement to the Grub configuration file. This second method didn’t work on my computer so I used the compile from code [...]

Online map creator

Saturday, June 11th, 2005

The original Online Map Creator Web site provides an online interface to the GMT package
Planiglobe is the new simplified interface – faster but currently has few options

The original OMC has been around for years and will plot contours of ocean depth and continental height. You can pull the plots down as PS files or [...]

Steel bridge

Friday, June 10th, 2005

Kettles and HiFis

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

“Computers feel more like appliances than they used to in the days when we hand soldered memory chips onto the motherboard or fiddled with DIP switches. A little, but not much – but they’re cheaper and more disposable, and so there’s less concern about what’s really in the box.”Andrew Orlowski, The Osborne Effect Spooks Apple [...]

Recent History (Web security)

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

It all started in May of 2001. I began getting calls from companies I had tried selling security services to in the past but were never interested. Now they needed my help because something happened. It seemed like dozens of people had their websites defaced with the words: “fu*k USA Government, fu*k PoizonBOx.” It was [...]

Homework: explain Open Source

Wednesday, June 8th, 2005

“I dont really get all this open source malarkey. Do you know some where that spells it out S L O W L Y for us clueless folk!”

The homework was set by a student (who is not clueless at all by any means). Its my own fault for trying to interest people in using [...]

Fazeley St

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

Photos from my route to work

Wallasey Photos

Monday, June 6th, 2005

Liverpool photies

Sunday, June 5th, 2005

Mark Shuttleworth, modems and windows

Saturday, June 4th, 2005

Mark Shuttleworth interview with Slashdot explains the dot com millionaire’s approach to making Open Source software work for Africa and pay.

Ubuntu update: The 5.04 Hoary install on this little laptop needs to have the modem drivers compiled.

wiki page for Lucent Winmodems
I used the Warty instructions after having tried the Hoary procedure first
I suspect this might [...]

Linux modem

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

Modem working in Ubuntu Linux
The Lucent Winmodem drivers may already be part of Ubuntu Hoary
You have to set up a connection using System | Administration | Networking
You may have to set up details in pppconfig (a terminal application) as well
I’ll be doing a re-install to see what works as I have lost track of all [...]


Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Ubuntu installs easily on a P3 700MHz laptop.

300,000 Words

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005

“It seems like I wrote “Alertbox Five Years Retrospective” just yesterday, but another five years have passed. Since writing my first column in June 1995, I’ve published 247 columns comprising almost 300,000 words. That’s a lot of writing and a lot of content to give away on the Internet. Has it been worth the effort? [...]