2014 — 6 December: Saturday

Hello, pension. Say 'hi' to my bank account.

Having finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, Terry Pratchett's collection of various bits and pieces of non-fiction stuff,1 I suspect it's time to head for bed. Mr Pratchett sparked a train of musing you can follow here. G'nite.


Just sniffed the outside air. The porch thermometer suggests it's -2C, which is a story backed up by the thickness of the icy coatings of my various neighbours' cars and roof tiles. On with the second hour of Brian Matthew. In with the first cuppa.

Out with the Old Guard at The New Republic:

But Hughes' new CEO, the former Yahoo News executive Guy Vidra, seems bent on ditching TNR's ruminative style. Instead — those close to TNR who read between his lines fear — he's hoping to emulate modern, quick-hit outlets that thrive on churning out less meaty work from squadrons of inexperienced writers. Hughes' new editor, Gabriel Snyder, is formerly of Bloomberg Media and the Atlantic Wire, and hails from the whiplash world of reactive Web journalism — not the staid, chin-stroky milieu of a century-old journal of opinion.

Seth Stevenson in Slate

I loved Tina Brown's reported 'tweet'. Not being a twitterer I have no way of seeing such things other than at at least one remove.

I was more interested...

... to spot the publication of an expensive ($125) new book of 100 parodies? tributes? homages? to "Little Nemo" called Dream Another Dream and rather dismayed to see it translating into a £100 price tag here in the UK. Just a little too rich for me, alas, despite that incoming pension.


... in the slightly more real world, here's a comment to an article in the Grauniad on our proposed set of wonderful new improved surveillance laws:

Don't fear the RIPA?

Cue the REM music "Don't fear the RIPA"? (Not quite sure about that spelling of "Ecuadorian", though.)

After a morning...

... unexpectedly spent persuading a neighbour's PC screen / system back into some form of usable life (entailing among other things untangling and discarding a heap of surplus power and network cables — been there, done that), and then sorting out the about-to-expire paid-for antivirus measures2 on her really-not-powerful-enough-to-run-Win7-comfortably-on tiny little HP netbook just for fun, it's mysteriously very nearly past time for lunch already. The outside temperature has soared to about +3C, the ice is disappearing underfoot, and the sky is blue.

I'm starving hungry, too.

I'm trying, though...

... so far without any success, to work out which of my recent mail-orders for films on DVD or Blu-ray has sadly metamorphosed into today's delivery of an undesirable shrink-wrapped piece of unenticing rubbish family fare called "Nativity" and "Nativity 2 — danger in the manger". Short of being in a pneumonia-induced fever, I cannot imagine I would ever have been caught dead selecting either of those titles.

This pair...

... of submarine-based Cold War films is more to my taste:

Ice Station Zebra and K19 BDs

Being (at the time) still a fan of Alistair MacLean thrillers, I took a train into London to see "Zebra" at the Odeon, Leicester Square, when it first came out. It was just about my first exposure to such a large screen and I was a bit taken aback to see the submarine visibly 'bending' as it crossed the Super Panavision 70 screen.

I don't know either of this next pair, but will be interested to see how Helen Hunt does as a director:

Extra Day and Then she found me

And I already know this book is a fabulous read from well over 40 years ago:

Line of Fire book


... Ben Goldacre piece here on "creepy data" took me to a most interesting web freebie. Professor Ross Anderson has persuaded his publisher to post the entire 2nd edition of his book on "Security Engineering" in PDF form.


... Reith lecture was pretty amazing.



1  Delivered (or, to be more precise, picked up) yesterday morning.
2  Amusing to see Avast struggling not to be removed, and AVG remarking on three pieces of AdWare actually in the Avast installation files that had been tucked away in the Downloads folder for the unwary (me) to click on by mistake. Long story.