2016 — 1 September: Thursday — rabbits!

There's more than a whiff of autumn on offer1 as I lurch into my (ill-defined, but not quite non-existent) Thursday morning routine. Today, I shall be doing the picking up, and conveying, (to lunch) of another. Before then, there's morning music while I confirm the completion of a series of web page generation scripts weaving their Pythonic magic around a few lists of books and videos extracted from a pair of well-normalised SQLite DBs, and sorted in the capacious 16GB halls of Skylark in aid of maximising my chances of tracking things down.

Most of these...

... lists — revealing, as they do, my horrifying expenditure on my hobbies over many years — are strictly for my own benefit and use inside my very own little version of Trump's wildly popular/unpopular Mexican (fire)wall.2 But one or two may yet see the light of day beyond the boundaries of Technology Towers. All now use a consistent and more visually lightweight CSS style. And Brian's code generates them amazingly quickly. Thus giving me more time for reading and watching the things!

And next?

Well, there's the rather larger climb up my mountain of digital audio files. I'm not yet quite convinced that Kodi is the best way of wrangling these. However, the possibility of listing them and being able to click on any for immediate playback is an entertaining one. Just like the BBC's digital music mis-management, I suspect.

I'm homing in on a working "strategy" for how I arrange computing life around the two i7 monster PCs, the i5 NUC, and the latest tiny Pi3. Wouldn't do any harm to tidy up and rationalise networked sharing and systematic backing-up of data files, either. Amazing what can be done in this Brave New non-Windows world of Linux.

Are all aristocrats bonkers?

Just askin'. Source and snippet:

Another of Portsmouth's relatives kidnapped the woman he loved at pistol-point, and later declared that he was the figure described in the Book of Revelations as bringing peace on earth. He also challenged Napoleon to single combat. He, too, ended up in what was politely known as a Private House. The family were well schooled in how to close down any members who threatened to become a public embarrassment, and Wallop could be forgiven for suspecting that he was next in line.

Terry Eagleton, reviewing a book by Elizabeth Foyster in LRB

I enjoy reading...

... contrarian viewpoints... up to a point. Example:

... undergraduate degrees have no value to society: they enable employers 
to pay higher wages to smarter workers, but lower wages to everyone else — 
and in order to enjoy these higher wages, smart people must waste time and 
money going to the trouble of acquiring a degree...



... don't I miss the 'modern' workplace? Let me 'count' the ways!


Speaking of "monster" PCs...

... Brian's been interested to note the effect of disk cacheing, and the difference between his spinning rust on his PC — my former BlackBeast Mk II — and my somewhat speedier M2.SSD on its 4 PCI channels on Skylark. So he ran the same "Video inventory" Python script twice in a row. This script generates an HTML list of all my DVDs and BDs sorted by their CaseLogic physical folder location. It reads all the XML stub files for all 2,900 or so Movies and those for the first episode in each season of each of the 320 TV shows.

Time differences between his two runs suggest that, once read, the stub file data must be staying in disk cache (not Python memory because the program is shutdown and restarted for each report) and so is available for all subsequent Video reports, given their much faster run times. To do the obvious comparison, I have just rebooted Skylark and run that same script twice in a row:

SSD speediness

His spinning rust PC takes initially 11.5 seconds, dropping to 0.353 seconds on its repeat run. Skylark's time starts at 0.704 seconds, reducing to 0.195 on the repeat. Quick enough, I suspect.

Kitchen sink monsters

The only way to keep my "new" stainless steel kitchen sink pristine is either to give up drinking tea (never going to happen) or step up the frequency of my cleaning routine way beyond the level Peter's g/f categorises as needed for the attainment of "boy clean". The fancy "stainless steel cleaner" gunk had far less effect than simply leaving it for 30 minutes with an inch of hot water and two "biological" laundry tablets dissolving in it.

That's quite enough 'housework' for one day!

This is but one...

... of numerous "intelligently designed sarcastic t-shirts" that gave me a smile:


Sadly, dinosaurs still walk our Halls of Learning. [Pause] And the top office of the FBI, it seems, too:

"The conversation we've been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that's fine," Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. "Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country."

Eric Tucker in AP

Not with President Trump, I'm guessing.

Although one of the finest...

... single collections of SF stories I've ever read was this 1962 batch (my 11th SF title, according to the John Bull Printing Outfit stamp inside the cover)...

Hugo Winners

... I've not kept that close an eye on 'Hugo' winners over the years. Latterly, I gather the award nomination system has been gamed, too. One can just imagine the Good Doctor's reaction to that!

Ansible tells me that "Slan" has finally been rewarded with a "Retro Hugo" for 1940. Heinlein took both the novella and novelette awards (just don't ask me to explain the difference between those two) and Asimov the short story award. Campbell, of course, got the Editor award.

Here are several gems...

... from my 1964 book purchases — or outright theft from Big Bro in one case! — containing between them at least half a dozen of my favourite SF short stories:

Some 1964 books


1  If, that is, one is brave enough to open the skylight and stick one's sleepy head out.
2  The lunatic candidate (I can think of no other adjective; sorry) has just been reported as describing this ludicrous proposed/promised wall of his as "Impenetrable, tall, and beautiful!"