Archive for the ‘Things You Find’ Category

Electrical Storm

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Peacehaven saw a much anticipated thunderstorm last night, I say much antcipated as it has felt very close and muggy all day. It was actually the most impressive storm I have seen whilst living on the south coast, for some reason we don’t get very many over the land on the coast.

It started off with just flashes of lightning and claps of thunder moving closer and closer, then came the rain, when I say rain I mean a torrent of water coming from the sky so much so that gutters and drains were overwhelmed making it all the more impressive. During this time I needed to get from a front door of a friend’s house to a car and the four of us, plus the other people going to other cars got soaked in the few seconds we were out in the rain.

Once in the car it started to rain more, I am glad I am not driving yet because I honestly wouldn’t be happy driving in that amount of rain with the experience I have at the moment, again a reason we are not let loose on the road quickly. A few minutes later the hail started, this was not just normal pea sized hail this was marble sized hail stones, I got a few pictures. It was one of those days in the year that I really wish I had a camera that I could take more control over the picture, manual focus would be a great start. Also being able to set cameras on tripods and then set it up to take time delays of lightening. Would be very very cool.

The hail and the heavy rain did not last very long, by the time we had travelled the half mile home it was little more than drizzle. The thunder and lightning lasted well into the night, Catherine and I fell asleep with the lightening flickering in the distance.

Update, elsewhere on the net, High Quality (?) Coverage from The Argus.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

I have been meaning to post about this since I first heard about it, and spectacuarly didn’t. As of Tuesday last week www.drhorrible.com was host to the first of three episodes of Dr. Horrible‘s Sing Along Blog. The title is great in itself, however as it has been said seeing is believing and honestly if you have enjoyed any of Joss Whedon‘s work then you will really love this.

The mini-series covers a snapshot in the lives of Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) the protagonist and his arch-nemisis Captin Hammer (Nathan Fillion of Firefly/Serenity fame). Unusally for Joss Whedon’s work it dosn’t have a strong feminist female character as such, however you will have to watch it to see why that may be!

It is no longer available for free on the web, although US and Canadian iTunes users can download it, international iTunes users have been promised it Soon™ and a DVD and Soundtrack look pomising.

SMART Notebook File Format

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

The SMART .notebook format is simply a zipped set of XML and SVG files, This may be common knowledge but it is certainly the first time I have come across it.

To test it you can create a file in SMART Notebook rename the extension from .notebook to .zip, double click to open, you will be presented with several files named pagen.svg where n is a number, as well as a series of other files and folders including settings.xml, preview.png and metadata.xml.

The XML and SVG files can be edited in notepad, or perhaps more useful for the SVG files in a program such as Inkscape.

Artists Open Houses

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Several of my friends and one of my colleagues are presenting their work at the artists open houses as part of the 2008 Brighton Festival. In no particular order other than that of the Fiveways Artists Group trail listing:

Rex Matthews – A colleague of mine.

Deborah Fleming – A friend from church, who is also displaying work with Liz Calmiano and Maureen Hawthorne.

Impressed with how creative everyone is!

Lakeland Revival

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Catherine and I have been watching the GOD channel over the past three days, there has been and still is a great outpouring of the holy spirit in Lakeland, Florida, and the GOD channel have been broadcasting it to the world (well most of it).

I don’t know what God is going to do, but I am sure that he is changing lives there in Florida and all over the world through the ministries of the leaders there. It is not without criticism, I don’t know enough about everyone involved to make up my mind, chances are I will never know till I get to meet my Lord face to face.

Bartle claims victory in battle

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I am sure that title is going to annoy someone an awful lot, but never mind. Richard Bartle submitted an opinion piece to The Guardian today, and as he puts it in his blog it is “Opinionated”.

I like it! I think it is something I had realised and accepted a long time ago (I was born in 1981) games are part of the norm for me. I learnt to program on a ZX Spectrum when I was 8, what did I write – computer games of course – pong, breakout, Thunderbirds (TV Series), rolling shooters. I even tried to write a Windows like GUI in BASIC (yes it had some serious design flaws). All of that was normal to me.

In case you missed the link above, here is opinion piece:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/apr/28/games.censorship

Rescueing Kittens

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

I did something today that I have never done, that is rescue a kitten (maybe it was a young cat) from a tree.  Initially I was going to leave it, as it is going to have to learn how to get down somehow, then it tried to get down forward and ended up clinging on to the tree. It was quite happy for me to coax it down as I stood below till I could reach down and lift it from the trunk.

Chances are the same kitten will be up another tree in the next few days, maybe its experience today will have taught it a better way to get down in the future, or perhaps just to meow until a kindly stranger comes to the rescue.

Did make me think about how we learn by trying things and making mistakes, I know it has been said over and over again about children being wrapped up in bubble wrap dosn’t help them develop good judgement. I do wonder if we protect our children and indeed ourselves too much by not taking risks when perhaps the reward is only to learn not to take the same risk again.

I am not advocating being reckless or careless in our decisions, just perhaps taking a risk once in a while when we don’t know for sure and, perhaps more importantly, we can’t practicably find out by other means.

HP 22″ Widescreen Monitors

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Now, I know that the larger monitors of this world have some interesting technological issues to overcome, however I think HP has made one too many sacrifices with this monitor:

w2207h 22 inch WIDESCREEN TFT

For those of you that didn’t spot it:

HP w2207h 22 inch WIDESCREEN TFT

As pointed out on the E-O forums, the perfect monitor for fleet battles.

Quantifying Ourselves

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Some friends on a forum I frequent have spotted a web application called The Political Compass the premise is you answer 6 pages of questions that gauge your political views. The result is two numbers which can be plotted as X and Y axis onto a graph that represent your political views.

My result was Economic Left/Right: -3.25 and Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.15.

Political Compass for Richard Slater

This is a result I don’t disagree with, however I don’t think it is as clean cut as this. Peoples views change over time, moral choices are affected by different influences to economic or financial issues, those influences can change regularly. When it comes down to it a decision needs to be made at the moment it is required to make, if I am presented with an problem be it moral, social, financial, technical, etc. I make a decision based upon experiences, morality, knowledge and in my case and more importantly for me prayer.

Academics and interested parties come up with these scales and measures to enable them to categorize people, this has been seen everywhere from Business (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to online gaming (Bartle Test). For their purpose they serve their purpose and serve it very well.

They are however a hash function of an aspect of our personality at a specific point in time. I may be a INTJ in Myers-Briggs parlance or ESAK in Bartle Test parlance but that does not mean that all people who get INTJ in Myers-Briggs and ESAK in the Bartle Test are the same as me.

Microsoft attacks Google Apps

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

I was reading Pete’s Images of Broken Light, specifically the interesting post about Microsoft’s public attitude towards Google’s Apps, it seems fairly typical of modern corporate America to rubbish someone else technology, brushing over their own failings without a second thought.

I don’t quite understand companies that do this, who are they targeting these comments at? Perhaps home users? surely they would use the free Google Apps Standard Edition as opposed to Microsoft Office Standard at £200 – £300, anyone could use Microsoft Office Live in the UK for free as well however it is still in “Beta” itself – how is that different from Google Apps “Beta”. What about Enterprise decision makers, clearly a press release is going to swing the opinions for a multi million pound roll out of a particular productivity suite – or not. Perhaps it is just sour grapes, after all Office Live hasn’t made nearly the impression I thought it was going to, certainly not in the UK.