In the time I was a “real” photographer and in the time since when I’ve been armed with an iPhone camera, sad bicycles have caught my eye. Back in the day in London, very often wheels were bent or stolen completely. More recently in Amsterdam, the bicycles have just been collateral damage from the crappy weather. Anyhow by special Reddit request, here are the pictures. I believe the EXIF data should be intact, so if you really care, the phone photos should locate themselves. Why couldn’t SLRs do GPS?
Taipei is less about bicycles, although they are present, than scooters. I couldn’t find the photo I really wanted which was of a swarm of scooters waiting for a light to go green, pouring out fumes. I believe now there are many more electric ones, with convenient battery swapping stations. I do love the guy with gas bottles stacked on the back of his scooter.
So there you have it. The people of Amsterdam clearly value their bicycles more than Londoners, which given how much the Dutch travel by bike is only to be understood. Given the amount I’m walking at the moment, I daresay I shall encounter more, especially if I go to particularly bike-dense areas.
In the macro, the combination of Covid, Brexit and Ukraine conspired to make the U.K. an awful place to be. The utter stupidity of twelve years of conservative rule basically ruined the country. There are now more food banks than ever, energy has become unaffordable for many and many industries are striking to have their pay and conditions reverted to pre-Tory levels.
On the micro level, I conspired to blow up my life. One careless throwaway comment rendered twelve years of what I thought was a happy marriage null and void and it is now in the hands of her solicitors. I was made homeless and ended up camping with friends from a previous life. On the slight upside, I got a job in the Netherlands so skipped there, negotiated the bureaucracy (I hate you, Brexit) and found an apartment in basically the Camden of Amsterdam. I go into the office maybe one day a week, so there’s that.
The swimming pool I used to use is still here, and I got myself a museumkaart which is good for 450 museums here. So far, I can say Van Gogh is great, it’s sad he died so young. Vermeer’s paintings are vibrant. Banksy is inspired.
I can safely say that native Dutch cuisine is pretty awful. Asian food is plentiful and good, however. When they get round to opening it, I’ll be practically living above a Vietnamese banh mi place. Thanks to Duolingo my Dutch is coming on by leaps and bounds and thanks to market traders who speak good English anyhow, I can generally negotiate the market in Dutch.
I’m slightly annoyed that the Dutch prime minister has apologised for slavery but not for the genocide of villages of Taiwanese people.
So that’s my life now. I’ve resurrected a few friendships of survivors from the last time I was here, I’m still cranking out Perl, doing loads of corporate training and negotiating an extremely secure environment. 300 people doing what half a dozen of us did ten years ago, with an interesting mix of nationalities.
It’s a bit unfair to call Buxton a baby Bath, but it is. Built to service the spas by the 5th Duke of Devonshire it’s cute. It has a station with an hourly service to Manchester and beyond, though I suspect it had a much better service back in the day.
It has the obligatory park, lots of pubs and craft beer outlets, some decent restaurants and of course the assembly rooms in the crescent:
Let’s start by asking the question: “how on earth in the 21st Century do we still have inherited wealth and privilege on this scale in a monarchy?” Most other civilised countries seem to do OK without it, and all the pomp and pageantry that goes with it. I’d sooner see an elected figurehead looking solemn than an inbreed who got there by chance of birth.
I’ve been collecting choice nuggets about the royal family on Facebook, so here they all are, and more, in one place. It’s by no means a complete list. Can you tell I’m not a fan of the monarchy?
Due to my upcoming job having a large part being Oracle, I figured I should install Oracle on my Mac. I found this article on the Oracle site that made running it in a virtual machine look easy. Simply, it’s:
git clone https://github.com/oracle/vagrant-projects
# Optional: download the Oracle Database installation file and place it in this directory
And that’s where the wheels fell off. I haven’t used Vagrant for a couple of years. My Vagrant fell into a wibbling heap. I needed to do the following to drag everything up to date:
brew install vagrant
And then install Virtualbox from the Virtualbox downloads page. Bringing up vagrant then refreshes the vagrant image, brings the oracle image up to date and runs it.
oracle21c-xe-vagrant: INSTALLER: Started up
oracle21c-xe-vagrant: Oracle Linux 8 BaseOS Latest (x86_64) 3.3 MB/s | 49 MB 00:14
oracle21c-xe-vagrant: Oracle Linux 8 Application Stream (x86_64) 3.2 MB/s | 37 MB 00:11
oracle21c-xe-vagrant: INSTALLER: Oracle preinstall and openssl complete
oracle21c-xe-vagrant: INSTALLER: Environment variables set
oracle21c-xe-vagrant: INSTALLER: Downloading Oracle Database software
You’re going to need the instantclient libraries. Do the following in the instantclient directory, you might want to have copied *.dylib* into /usr/local/lib:
So I happened to be up in the Peak District and obviously had to visit Chatsworth. Ok, between paying for parking, a tour book, access to the house and garden and finally spending money at their farm shop, it was not cheap. It was worth it! The Cavendishes are currently showing off their art collection which ranges from the ancient, through Picasso to Damien Hirst and a collection of sculptures in the gardens.
One thing that really stood out to me was the chairs. Having been to the chair museum in Copenhagen, it takes a lot to impress me, but these did!
Obviously the wildlife was amazing. Aside from finches begging for crumbs, I also saw a load of wagtails.
he geology was impressive. I didn’t even walk through the coal tunnel. Yes, the Chatsworth greenhouses were lush.
And finally, the farm shop.
So, if you’re in the vicinity and want to kill a day, do visit.
The funny thing about the Star Trek universe is how they pushed technology and some of it has even come true. Here, I look at some of the tech they use and how it relates to where we are.
I have one in my hand almost all the time: it’s called a smartphone. Not only can I make a voice call, but I can also use it to make a video call, I can use Skype or Signal. It’s with me 100% of the time. On earth, I think landlines are dead. I only have one because BT says I have to have one. It has Wifi.
On the subject of tricorders, see above. It knows where I am, what the weather is going to be like (more or less), can identify plants and birdsong, do my banking, if I were female, keep track of my periods. It can show stars in the sky. It can track my cycling and daily steps. When coupled with a smartwatch it can keep track of a lot more of my health data like blood oxygen.
The original Star Trek had these. Is this where the idea came from? This can store my photos, let me produce great art, play games, do my shopping, do office apps and so much more. Largely stylus-free.
True story. About ten years ago we were in Hong Kong meeting friends who only spoke Cantonese. We only spoke English and Mandarin. Guess what, alongside a little writing, Google Translate got us through a meal and beers. I suspect ten years on now, it’ll be even better. I use it today to decipher Welsh. I want a Babelfish.
These are coming. The technology is asymptotically approaching something useful.
Another technology that appeared to arrive, was useful to a minority and seems to have faded. We can 3D print things (slowly) in plastic. I’ve seed 3D food printers, but more excitingly machines that can 3D print buildings. Scale that up and it’ll be a game-changer.
Some news fragments floating ideas a few years ago, but nothing since then. File under Too Hard (for now). Some cleaners use sonic cleaning but the item needs to be wet, defeating the point.
Beyond the quantum level, forget it.
You cannae change the laws of physics. I’ve just been reading about space and learned that the vacuum of space is made of stuff and something about that prevents us from going faster than the speed of light. Ever wondered why aliens haven’t contacted us? It’s a long way, which means it’s a long time. That said, the stuff we know a fair amount about is only 5% of the universe. We know nothing about dark matter or dark energy. *Maybe* when we do, breaking the speed of light becomes possible. After all, during the big bang, the universe exceeded the speed of light. Briefly. Wormholes are an intriguing idea, too.
There were some news items 5-10 years ago about tractor beams on the micro-scale but nothing since.
This is by necessity a personal list of guitarists. I’m sure I’ve left some out, and I’ve left them out because I’m just not familiar with their work.
This is by necessity a personal list of guitarists. I’m sure I’ve left some out, and I’ve left them out because I’m just not familiar with their work. Some I’ve put in because I really ought to get to know them better! But many of these are the guitarists who have touched me. Oh, by the way, the really good music stopped in 1976!
We have to start with him. Of those of his era, like Jimmy Page, for me, Blackmore stands head and shoulders above them. Starting off playing pop-rock and doing sessions for Joe Meek, it all came together when Deep Purple was synthesized. Starting off with slightly psychedelic rock, and Hush which took America by storm, at Ritchie’s behest they sacked a couple of people, brought some others in and took the world by storm with Machine Head and Made in Japan. Ritchie has a reputation for being difficult (or a total asshole) and indeed in the Rainbow years, for terrible pranks and attempts to set keyboard players on fire. If he likes you, fine. If he doesn’t like you, watch out.
One of Deep Purple’s other guitarists was, briefly, Tommy Bolin. After Blackmore left, they got together and suggested names and Tommy’s name kept cropping up. Tommy is the opposite of Blackmore: he’s a feel player, not a technician. I like him. His only album with Purple has a mixed fanbase but his solo albums are well worth checking out. I have them on vinyl.
A guitarist who formed the backbone of Ian Gillan’s solo band, did an ill-judged but actually very good stint in Ozzy’s band, plus Atomic Rooster. I heard some of his later stuff with John McCoy which was rather good too.
Here’s one I should know better. A great blues-rock player with a lovely, throaty voice.
Another one I should know better. For example, I had no idea he was in Procol Harum!
Same again. Listening to his stuff makes me wonder why it’s not part of my rotation.
He has to be on any list. To be honest, he’s like vanilla ice cream to me. He’s good, but to my mind, there are better. It did take me a while to “get” the outro to Layla though!
What’s there to say about him? He reinvented the style, stormed Woodstock, had a great band and came to the UK to get great management. I know at least two other guys trying to emulate his style! Deep Purple even covered one of his tracks.
Another guy I should listen to much more. He’s the master of understated playing and knows just how to hit the right note.
Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, George Harrison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Uli John Roth, Brian May, Michael Schenker, Peter Green and Lyndsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac, Scott Gorham and Brian Roberton from thin Lizzy, Paul Kossoff, Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden from Blusesnake and a few I’ve left off (which I’ve been reminded of).
In the overrated department, I’d put John Sykes. It was lovely seeing him guest with Deep Purple for Smoke on the Water, throw his guitar in the air at the climax and have it land on his head!
I used to do photography. I did some at the University of Bath, a year of nights at three different Central St. Martin campuses and I’ve taught in London and Taiwan. When I was in Camden I’d be out a few nights a week shooting people from Logan Plant to Midge Ure. Obviously, I’ve travelled around following Deep Purple, the US, Canada and much of Europe. I gave up my camera and lenses a few years ago and now rely on my phone and for zoom a Canon point and click. Well, here are a few of my better photos from the past. I *do* have a load of Cardiff, as you can see from this blog of Cardiff tourist stuff. I think my best is printed on Moo business cards but I can’t find the originals.
This list of lists of falsehoods is a great read. The programming ones are good for for me, especially, but everyone should read the ones in their speciality. Better still, it’s on GitHub, so you can add to it!
I especially like the Big List of Naughty Strings. This is something software testers should use daily. Dates, times, timezones, names and addresses are all problematical.