What do chameleons eat?

June 28th, 2015

When this question comes up in a children’s book these days, what do the characters do?


Zoe (and Beans) rushes inside to Google it.

Which brings me to Mr Christmas and his flying teapot:20150627_073030

All you do is refuel every thousand miles, and you can fly up to three times the speed of sound!

Nic was sceptical.¬†¬† Google couldn’t give the answer, but Wolfram Alpha did.

At three times the speed of sound, he’s going to have to refuel (with teabags) every 26 minutes and three seconds. For a trip round the world’s circumference that’s nearly eleven hours travel not counting time taken to deliver presents. On top of that he has to stop at least every half hour to brew up. Now add in loo breaks… he’s not going to make it.

Exaile as a DJ workstation

May 6th, 2015

Turning This…

Exaile out the box

Exaile, out of the box, is a smart looking multi-platform music player. The Exaile website lists “Simple interface” as its number-one feature, and mentions that it has lots of plugins. Exaile should be the first choice for Swing-dance DJs, and anyone else who wants to build play-lists on the fly.

Into This…

Screenshot from 2015-04-01 21:15:04

Exaile does stuff other music players haven’t even heard of. To get the most out of it you have to enable and configure some of its plugins. Here’s how I set up mine:
Read the rest of this entry »

Loss of language

May 30th, 2014

brang01 brang02brang03 brang04 brang05 brang06

Silly World

May 18th, 2014



May 11th, 2014


Re-thinking dates

April 6th, 2014

Thinking about how to tackle an up-coming open-data project, I found the impressive RethinkDB. Rather than convert the data on-import into a relational database, I want to load the raw data into a NoSql database, and then map to a converted table with links back to the raw source-rows. RethinkDB imports csv out of the box. And it’s ReQL query language is expressive enough even to parse arse-about-face ‘dd/mm/yyyy’ British dates (though that turns out to be a bit of a mouthful):

  newDate: r.time( 

Apache upgrade

January 1st, 2014

We use the Ubuntu biannual releases as reminder to do backups. Backup; upgrade; work through the bugs. Just upgraded to 13.10 Saucy Salamander without noticing much change. Played with Unity for an hour or so, to see if it had become amazing; then switched back to Xmonad, and back to work on my website project.

Ah! Local websites not working. I just got the default page for my local apache instance.

First off I tried to re-enable the site with ‘a2ensite’, which complained that my config file didn’t exist. But it was looking for the file with ‘.conf’ extension. Easily fixed.

Next I was told permission to access the site was denied by the server configuration. At this point I got derailed. I thought there was something wrong with my virtual host setup. Lots of websites told me I had to have a ‘NameVirtualHost’ directive. So I added one. And was then told by apache that this had no effect and would be removed in future.

Although this was a change, the conf files had been upgraded properly, as you’d hope. Problem was, of course, with my virtual host files. I have worked round the permission error by adding

<Directory "">;
Options  All
AllowOverride All
Require all granted


December 29th, 2013


The Dark Geek Rises

October 23rd, 2013

Screenshot from 2013-10-23 14:41:59

I recently switched to a dark desktop theme. I’ve wanted to for ages but most the themes I tried didn’t have nice round window borders and I felt sad. But having switched to Xmonad as window manager (which is another whole story), Ambience Dark just looks great. Read the rest of this entry »


August 23rd, 2013