"Animal Quackers"

I’ve just realised that I never wrote about Ben’s latest tricks! He’s into animal noises at the moment, and is really good at matching animals names and pictures to the noises they make. Ok, he doesn’t always get them right, and you do sometimes need a little bit of imagination to distinguish between them, but he does them very sweetly. “Ben, what noise does a snake make?” “ssss” “What noise does…. a dog make?” “ooof” “What noise does…. a crocodile make?” “nap nap” (accompanied by a hand opening and closing like a mouth) “What noise does a cat make?” “eee-oooo-UUUU” […]


I’m starting to feel like an old hand at this travelling game; or is that just old? 🙂 Anywhere, here we in Oxford for our annual project workshop, sort of a bit like a mini-version of the jolly in Nottingham last week. My talk is a bit more involved here, as I’ve got a 30 minute slot to fill (plus various live demos), and we actually spent most of the train journey finishing it off, which was time really well spent – my boss had great suggestions that improved it no end! Mind you, he was talking about using it […]


Found an excellent but under-advertised tool called Synergy, which lets you control multiple machines from a single keyboard and mouse… Ah, you say – isn’t that just a KVM (keyboard video monitor) switch. Mais non, because with this handy bit of software you have a monitor per computer, and seemlessly change which one you’re controlling using the mouse.. So if I go off the right hand side of this screen, I end up on the monitor next to mine. Even this is borderline passe, until you realise that the computers can be running any combination of Linux, Windows, and MacOs. […]

"Passport humour"

My new passport arrived this afternoon, and I have to say it looks much the same as the old one. One thing that’s quite amusing is that I spent ages agonising over whether to put “Dr” as my title. On the one hand it would be cool, but on the other hand it might attract unwarranted atention, especially if I happened to have a medical doctor as a travelling companion. So I decided against it, and sent off the renewal form. So what’s funny? Well new style passports don’t have any space for title anyway!! (although perhaps they squidge it […]

"More Nottingham"

Here I am at the University of Nottingham, in Cavendish Hall (one of the students’ halls of residence), and I must say that the connectivity has been fantastic – good wireless coverage everywhere in the conference centre, and wired network in all the rooms. A major part of the All Hands meeting is the ‘booths’ that house all the major players in the e-Science business, and there seems to be an unofficial competition to see who can give away the best freebies, and I must say they’re pretty good!! PPARC (who are particle physicists) were giving away “Micro OpticalMouse” USB […]


Off to Nottingham for most of this week, for all the “All Hands” conference. This is an annual get together of all the EPSRC e-Science projects, where we demonstrate our work and have various talks about e-Science and Grid Computing stuff. I’ve not been to one before, but I’m not a huge conference fan at the best of times and by all accounts I’ve heard this one is a particular circus. Still, it’s a good opportunity to catch up with the other project partners, and even to see what other people are up to. I’m planning to slope off to […]


So the wife and I have been watching Lost on Channel 4, leading to much speculation as to what exactly is going on. One possible urban-legend doing the rounds is that every characters back story incidently features one of the other characters from the crash – so in the background, or on the TV, or something. This got me thinking about what all the characters have in common, and of those whose back-story we’ve seen so far on UK terrestrial (Jack, Kate, Sun and Jin, Charlie, Locke), they all have two things in common; namely (1) they were on the […]

"White (elephant) Goods"

There’s been a “piece of research” recently that says that we all lots of gadget appliances lying around our kitchens that either never have come out of the box, or have only been used once or twice. Things like toasted-sandwich makers, food processors, coffee makers, bread machines, ice-cream makers, etc. In one sense I’m not too surprised, but we actually don’t have too much of this sort of stuff just lying around. The only complete diaster was a yoghurt maker, which never worked reliably, and even when it did left you with litres of yoghurt to eat within two days. […]

"Barn Dance"

Going out to a Barn Dance this evening!! A couple at church are both celebrating their 40th birthdays this year, and so decided to have a big party – should be fun. Feel like we’ve earned an evening off as well, after another bout of painting today (ceiling finished, tester colours up and under consideration) and I even mowed the lawn. In amongst all this was a trip into town to buy Ben an outfit for the wedding on Saturday (A’s cousin in Bristol is tieing the knot). Other news is fairly thin on the ground, although I’ve added a […]

"Want One!"

So the Sony PSP was released today. I had to come home a bit early for reasons that I won’t go in to – but ended up wandering through town; past Dixons, Woolies, Game and the like. It must be said that all of these retailers appeared to have stock (they certainly had the empty boxes out) – but they had a few on display, and they just look lurvely. Seem plenty of pics and vids online, but not the same as actually seeing one doing it stuff. Didn’t actually get to play with one (felt a bit naughty when […]

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