Oct. 7th, 2012 09:24 pm
ewx: (Default)

We went to the Bronze exhibition at the Royal Academy Of Arts. This features dozens of works from all over the world, reaching back millenia into the past, and grouped loosely by what is depicted.

Pride of place, on entry, is given to a dancing satyr (which is rather more impressive than Wikipedia’s picture might suggest). The piece that most caught my eye however was the Trundholm sun chariot, made around 3,500 years ago and found in modern Denmark.

Most of the items were representative of some person or animal though in some cases the primary purpose was functional: weights shaped like (and apparently cast from) beetles, a strigil with an attached figure who is using a strigil.

There is a thin scattering of modern works, the more abstract of them seeming rather out of place, and suffering from the tendency of artists to provide wordy justifications for art or craft works made for their own sake.

We’d previously had afternoon tea at Brown’s for lunch, which was nice enough but really quite expensive l-)

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I can’t remember a great deal about the places we ate and kept only the scantiest of notes. But…

Food )

All holiday articles:

  1. Brussels
  2. Ghent
  3. Bruges
  4. Food


Aug. 24th, 2012 12:59 pm
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> And what lot there are

… am I missing any that are worth the effort?

ewx: (Default)

I had a persistent Matty Groves earworm on the way to work. There are worse possibilities, and it reminded me of this poll.

It’s funny how social networks (as they’re now called) come and never quite go, isn’t it? Usenet hasn’t died as such but as a discussion medium it’s hugely declined: measurements of their (text-only) feed peaked at 20GB/month in 1999 and fell to about 6GB/month in 2009 when they gave up. My own measurements only start a while after that and cover a smaller set of groups (I think - I don’t know exactly what were carrying) but also show decline from 70Mbyte/day (about 2GB/month) to about half that a couple of years later.

(Binaries groups are still going strong, as far as I know; but they are a bulk copyright violation medium, not a discussion medium; they just happen to share some infrastructure.)

Similarly Livejournal seems to be much quieter than it used to be (although they seem to have stopped collecting posts-per-day stats in 2003, so it’s harder to quantify this).

In the case of Usenet’s decline there’s a lot of argument about its visibility (i.e. it’s not web-based), its limited feature set and its surly user base. Some of the claims are more convincing than others; for instance Google Groups may be a bit rubbish but it does provide Usenet access to anyone with a web browser.

It’s harder to identify anything about Livejournal that could explain its apparent decline. (I count Dreamwidth as part of Livejournal for these purposes; while it’s doubtless drawn some traffic from it, it’s not enough to make up for the decline.) People seem to have just drifted away to the (now more widely known) alternatives.

And what lot there are. As well as here and Usenet, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr and Tumblr (twice), and that’s only counting the ones that I look at more than once a year (, I’m (not) looking at you.)

I’m currently finding it unreasonably time-consuming to keep up, and I think this is likely to be an important factor in the decline of the older systems; most people are simply not very willing to try to keep up with half a dozen of these things (even if each is relatively low-traffic in its own right), and therefore pick just one or two.

Other thoughts:

  • Some people crosspost their Twitter into Facebook (etc). This doesn’t really help with the keeping up - indeed if anything the duplication can make it marginally worse, since there’s sometimes a parallel set of comments to read. (Or to ignore…)
  • Amusingly, “tumblr” is now as popular a Google search term as “blog”.
  • Google+ wins the prize for most opaque profile URL. I guess the idea is for every individual for the next few generations to be able to have billions of distinct identities?


Aug. 6th, 2012 10:57 pm
ewx: (union penguin)

My WAP has been getting increasingly flaky so I’ve now replaced it with a new one. I was extremely tempted to do this

It’s also capable of acting as a print server, which means the printer has gone back downstairs and I get back some desk space.

(Does anyone want a dodgy old 3COM WAP?)

ewx: (union penguin)

Probably at least as many still in the ground.

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I caught a cold about two weeks ago. I’m still coughing slightly.

I put a deep cut into my thumb while chopping vegetables this week. (There will not be photos.)

Our landline isn’t working at the moment. Now fixed.

I’m still pleased with my phone:

  • I spent too much time playing World Of Goo on it and then too much time playing Sprinkle. I also have Osmos though I’d played that a fair bit on desktop.
  • Having Kindle books on it is handy though the Kindle itself is a better device for reading books.
  • I tried out SwiftKey X and bought it as soon as the trial expired.
  • Having a small tablet for poking around the kitchen putting together a food order is one of the applications I had in mind when buying, and it doesn’t disappoint.
  • Most of the photos I’ve taken recently have been through the phone. It’s been interesting watching the new MS building going up…
  • I occasionally even make phone calls with it.

I’ve been posting my photo backlog to tumblr. It turns out that silly graffiti and baby cows get a lot of attention. It’s also rather easy to spend an awful lot of time browsing other people’s postings.

I’ve got the next two weeks off work.

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In Naples our priorites were pizza, a dish which reached its modern form in that city, and Pompeii. The former we managed both nights we were there, and very nice it was too. I don't know if the waiter at the first place had misidentified us as French or was just using it as a lingua franca, but he spoke to us as much in (restaurant) French as anything else.

Roman ruins )

Links to the rest of this account:

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Our next stop was Catania. As with the previous trip the train had in theory been replaced by a bus, however after waiting for around an hour and bemoaning the complete absence of any bus with some friendly Australians the heavens opened. Rather than stand in the rain we gave up on the rail-replacement bus and took a coach instead. I hope the Australians got where they were going…

More )
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After a week in Palermo our next stop was Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily. In principle getting there was a train trip; in practice a combination of engineering and poor information meant it was a train trip, a bus trip, a two hour wait in the sun at Aragona Caldare, and another bus trip. With better information the last three steps would have been a single bus trip.

Since we spent the remainder of the afternoon on the beach, with occasional breaks for the local ice cream/drink vendor and I to practice our English and Italian on each other, it wasn’t so different to plan in the end anyway.

Temples! )
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We stayed in Palermo for a week. It’s a crowded and chaotic city, with high buildings lining the streets (often providing some much needed shade) and full of constantly hooting traffic. Crossing the road seems to be entirely negotiated, even to some extent at signal-controlled crossings and certainly at zebras. Scooters are ubiquitous (something which won’t be a surprise to anyone who’s ever been in Italy).

Narrative + photos )

Food and drink. We ate a substantial amount of fish of various kinds, that being a dominant theme in Sicilian cooking. We discovered Panelle, following the advice from a waiter at the Trattoria Piccolo Napoli, probably the nearest restaurant to our hotel. Good food at Ristorante Santandrea was enlived by a visit from a miming magician. We greatly enjoyed the tasting menu at the Osteria Dei Vespri, a restaurant with a wine list so voluminous it required a separate stool. Throughout our holiday we stuck to Sicilian wines, chosen either at random or more often on the advice of our waiter, and all were most drinkable.

ewx: (edna)

I plan to go to lots of films at the Cambridge Film Festival.

My notes so far )

I haven’t figured out how to resolve the clashes yet, or decided which of [maybe] will become [yes]. If anyone wants to coordinate (or say “Don’t watch X, it’s awful” or alternatively “How could you possibly miss Y?”) please comment.


Aug. 27th, 2010 01:36 pm
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I was on my way to buy a new bike when this happened to the old one:

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