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 "">;
OptionsĀ  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



August 18th, 2013


Acquisition of language

July 27th, 2013


Chili sin carne

March 31st, 2013

I’m feeling delighted that someone has asked me for my veggie chili recipe. When I turned veggie, back in ’87, chili was one off the last things to go, because I couldn’t build the flavor I wanted… Until I discovered the secret ingredient (iled and drained, or user tinned, probably 2 tins)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Black olives with stones removed, aboutĀ  a cup full, this is the magic ingredient.

Chili powder
Caraway seeds

Dried soya mince

Two tablespoons of Marmite
Three tablespoons of dark soy sauce

Fry garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add red pepper and spices.

Two tablespoons of Marmite
Three tablespoons of dark soy sauce

Fry garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add red pepper and spices. Cover and braze, turn occasionally to prevent burning.
Meanwhile boil kettle and pour over soy sauce, and Marmite. Add soya mince and leave to hydrate.
Add kidney beans, olives and tomatoes; simmer to reduce until tomato juice is thick.
Add the soy mince and stir lightly so as not to spoil its texture.
Bring to back to boil and you’re done.

Mail constallation

February 16th, 2013

As earlier posts suggest, there have been no cartoons here for a while because such spare time as I can steal these days has been absorbed by the mail project. Thunderbird just can’t hack my work email any more. It’s search functionality is broken (why is there separate quick search and find in messages?) and the dark thunderclouds of compiz fall upon its face if I ask it to find some useful or important message.
Mutt Mindmap Switching to Mutt (actually Mutt-KZ — with built-in support for Notmuch) was more work than I expected. There isn’t just one program but a whole constellation. Most have their own configuration files; tweaking those is a lifetime’s work.
Today I compiled Notmuch 0.15.1 from source and then recompiled Mutt-kz to use the new version of libnotmuch. I don’t enjoy building source packages. Fortunately it’s easy (./configure; make; make install) and the results are rewarding.
Notmuch searches my mail very fast and with a convenient command-line interface. Mutt displays the results and lets me live in a world of vim-like key bindings and dark console colours. The new version of notmuch allows convenient date searches, e.g.: “date:last-week..”, and I’m starting to play with custom tags.
Mail is coming coming under control. What’s this button next to the keyboard? Oh, my laptop has a stylus…


January 10th, 2013

Today I sent an email from Mutt (well Mutt-kz actually), which means from msmtp (well msmtp-gnome, actually). Read the rest of this entry »