A few little projects

Recently I’ve made available two little mini-projects…

If you find either of these useful and would like more motorways or rivers added, please let me know!

20140107-170500.jpg

Twitter Wordle for 2011

This morning I published (two) Wordles based on the content of my Twitter timeline for 2011 which I’ve been archiving to a SQLite database since July 2010.

Basic method:

  1. Export tweets
  2. Process into words
  3. Count word frequency
  4. Upload to Wordle

Wordle accepts data input in the form:

word1:55
word2:23
...

First output was:

Raw Wordle for 2011

This was a little skewed towards the various travel and weather related feeds I follow (@SEtrafficnews, @nationalrailenq, @NRE_SEastern, @SEplaying, @KentWeatherObs) so I then excluded them…

Much better...

And finally… a Wordle of my TwitteringsRamblings:

fooflington

Continue reading

BBC News site redesign

Sent to BBC Comments today regarding the new style on the BBC News website…

I may be in a minority, but although my screen may be 1024×768, that
is not the resolution at which my applications run. I often (nee all
the time) have many applications open at once and the most efficient
way to know what’s going on in all of them is to have them layered and
*not* filling the whole screen.

The old 600 wide layout was perfect for this and was a design concept
I would reccomend to others too. The new design, however, doesn’t
actually provide any more space for actual content but, instead, makes
the navigation bars around the edge much “bigger” (that is wider and
fatter). This means I need to scroll off the side to see some of the
sidebar content (which annoys me greatly on any page — sideways
scrolling should never be required).

Furthermore, what were considered headings further down the page under
“AROUND THE UK NOW”, the section headings used to be bold and are no
longer. This makes it much harder to skim down for what you’re looking
for.

I am aware that people far cleverer than I have had a hand in creating
this new design, however it is, in my opinion, a step too far into the
“Web 2.0” idiom. The site was, previously, clean, concise and easy to
navigate for all. That is no longer the case, I fear.

Thumpers at Dreamhost

My current webhost (Dreamhost) seem to be trying out (maybe even moving to) Thumpers from their traditional NetApps.

Thumpers are (up to) 48 Terabytes of storage in 4u… that’s pretty amazing really.

This has had the slightly annoying side-effect that the .snapshot directory has disappeared meaning user-driven restores aren’t possible on some of their servers (the functionality is there on Thumper, but called .zfs and appears to be hidden further up the tree, or maybe disabled at the moment).

Go Go Dreamhost! πŸ™‚

BlackCT

So, today was the day I had scheduled to upgrade our ageing WebCT 6 system to the latest version.

Four hours into the upgrade of the first of three updates I needed to apply, the following error is produced:

Installation error. com.webct.platform.installer.InstallerException: Unexpected error executing [webct_stat.sql]. ORA-04021: timeout occurred while waiting to lock object WEBCT.WEBCT_STAT

Great.

So I try and call it in, rather than log it on the web as a P1 as they recommend calling instead only to sit on hold for 5 minutes and then get dumped off to voicemail… ok, I’ll log it on the web. That was at 14:00. It’s now 15:30 and I’ve talked to an engineer who will phone me back soon with some advice. There are two more updates after this to apply…

Procedures involving rusty nails, hammers and kneecaps are springing to mind.

Digital Rights Management

Just a notice to say I’ve had a ePetition accepted on the Number 10 Website regarding the application of Digital Rights Management — the ability for software and hardware to decide if users are “allowed” to do something: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make DRM and associated technologies illegal in IT hardware and software.

Below is the petition text, I encourage you to read and, if you so wish, sign your name here.

Digital Rights Managment (DRM) is a technology by which content distributors can dictate what consumers can do with their content to the extent that, for example, the PC that you own at home hides things from you, refuses to do something because it thinks you’re trying to “tamper” with it, and potentially notifies the content distributor of this action.

Currently, Microsoft Windows Vista is pushing this technology on users with various hardware manufacturers complicit in it including Intel, ATI, NVidia, S3 and Matrox.

This petition asks parliament to make it illegal for software to actively disallow and subvert the operators intention even if it “thinks” that it “might” be illegal — hardware is owned by the consumer and should remain such in the same way as cars do not disallow a driver to break the 70mph speed limit on UK roads.

Camera Update

Ok, so after much dribbling… they went and took away the decent 350D deal I was looking at (350D+18-55mm+55-200mm+grip). So, instead, I’ve gone and got myself a Canon 400D with standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 and dmc‘s 75-300mm f4-5.6 to go with it… along with a rather swish looking backpack to keep it all in.

Oh, and “yay for Jessops” for price matching. Shame the only black 400d in Kent appears to have been in Maidstone… oh well, it’s in Whitstable now πŸ™‚

In search of…

I’ve been umming and arrings (and drooling) over getting a new camera for some time now (seriously thinking since about March).

Most of this time, I’ve had my eyes on a Canon 350D with some combination of lenses. [1]

What I’m after is a low-end, but extensible DSLR which I can experiment with, have fun with and, hopefully, take some nice pictures. I have borrowed a number of FD lenses from my dad which I’d like to be able to use (there are converters around), at least to start with.

I currently own a Fujifilm 2850Z which I’ve had for just over 4 years now and, although it’s a great camera, it’s showing its age [2]. I’m going to keep it, if anything, for Sarah πŸ™‚

I suppose what I’m asking is: Any advice?

Footnotes

  1. Probably either the kit Canon 18-55,55-200 lenses or the Sigma equivilant.
  2. 3 cyan pixles, only 2 mega-pixels…