May. 24th, 2017 03:37 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
We had a message from YC the other day that he was OK, which made no sense until we realised there had been a bombing.

Lots of young people are dead, and I'm pleased that my kid isn't one of them. This is uncomfortably close to being pleased that someone else's kid died.

The next day I read the news about what happened. The government had responded. So what? There were stories about people helping - free taxi rides home for the people in the area, cafes giving food and drink to people affected and the emergency services, and people offering a bed/sofa/floor to anyone who couldn't get home. I had a little cry and missed an on-line meeting that I should have been in.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I was sceptical that the beans in the coffee machine were actually used. Today I hear from my (less sceptical) colleague that he's seen the coffee machine open, and the bean hopper is in fact quite large (not just a display thing in the door) and the woman who replenishes kitchen things was filling it up.

So when you get coffee from the machine, it grinds some beans to make it. Thanks heavens.

Then it adds powdered milk.

This may be the last coffee post, but I can't guarantee it.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
The topic of discussion at work today is the coffee machine. It has a window at the front where you can see some coffee beans, so you might assume that it grinds some of those beans to make your coffee. But my contention is that they are just for show, and the coffee inside is already ground. I suggested this to a colleague, and he didn't want to believe me because he would feel cheated. Now he's told me that he thinks that the bean level in the window has gone up. I think that he might be seeing what he wants to see.

Rest assured that I'll keep you up to date with developments (if there are any).


May. 17th, 2017 11:15 am
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Writing email in Outlook, I used the sentence "So will I." It put a squiggly line under "I", and suggested "So will me."

Thanks, Microsoft.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Still listening to the Bamboos.
  • Happy - mmm, had to play this one through three times in a row
  • King of the Rodeo - strange video where the band plays the audience, and women play the part of the band. Singer is the right person, though.
The singer on that song also has a pretty severe stutter, but only when she talks. She gave a Ted talk about stuttering which is surprisingly entertaining.

Title explanation


May. 8th, 2017 12:19 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
No time for breakfast this morning, so imagine my delight when I found that I still had some custard creams at work. Healthy and nutritious!
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Went to see Their Finest and enjoyed it. Good film, and the cinema had plenty of legroom. Kept trying to figure who one woman in it was: Rachael Stirling who was in Detectorists.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I went to see Joan Osborne. It was a somewhat unusual show. She's only appearing once in England, she's not promoting an album (because she's in the middle of recording one), and it was in a church (the Union Chapel in Islington - architecture!).

The album she's recording is Bob Dylan covers. Now I'm not a big fan of Bob Dylan, and covers can be a bit crap, but she did several excellent versions of songs by him. I particularly like Tangled Up in Blue (not a song I knew) and Highway 61 Revisited (which I did). A few times with the songs I knew I felt like she was making up the tune, then but Bob Dylan often isn't doing much more than speaking the words, so if you're a real singer you need to sing.

She did some of her own songs too. There was a (well deserved) big reception for Work on Me and when the clapping stopped she said "So you like the sexy ones, London. Mental note!"

The crowd was mostly older than me, so there was a lot of grey hair. We all sat politely in the chapel pews, although most people stood up to applaud at the end of the night.

Joan Osborne can sing like no one else I know and I had a great evening out. You should too if you get a chance.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I bought a t-shirt in Brighton, and it came with a free CD by The Bamboos. Lots of good funk choons, but Can't Help Myself jumped out.
And I can't help myself
Don't want to funk with no one else
Simple, but done well.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I wrote a desktop thing for symmetrical doodling (doodling image, doodling video), but it's not so easy for other (non-techie) people to install, so I tried a web version - decreased usability, increased availability. You can't win.

Hmm - software development is like thermodynamics?

Anyway, here's a doodle I did with the web version.

Click to embiggen
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I've just spent a while playing A Grain of Truth. It's a simple game but well done. Nicely drawn pictures, music that I could have turned off but I didn't want to, a setting that didn't seem contrived even though it was weird. And finally the game play seemed more like storytelling, which worked for me.

So, recommended.

I got frustrated a couple of times but was saved by googling a walkthrough. The first time I'd just missed something (pale circle on a pale background, plus not thinking enough about how to use the things I'd found). The second time it turned out I wasn't stuck at all, if only I'd realised it. Oh, and finding the ending wasn't nearly as hard as I was making it.

Oh dear - there's another one: Teller of Stories. There goes more time...

Edit: ...and a third: Bell's Heart. Finished them all now - can rest!
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I've never seen or even heard of the TV programme Crossbones before today. It was about pirates. I can't say if it was any good, but it looks like they put some effort into the set dressing. Here's Yasmine Al Massri sitting on some fancy stuff.
Woman sitting on richly woven rugs
I'm a bit jealous of the photographer. Or maybe not - most of the work was already done before anyone pointed a camera at it.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I wrote about reading binary data formats and I wasn't happy. The other day I had another look and I found Katai which seems to be exactly what I want.

If I ever get around to using it, we'll find out. I have a new thing in mind that this might be good for, and I have parsers for EXIF and Java class files that could do with some love.

Edit: ...or maybe Preon?

Another edit: I was considering writing something to read and write .ico files, which seem to be reasonably well documented.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
After looking at photos of real snowflakes, I doodled this.
Snowflake doodle


Feb. 6th, 2017 11:54 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I made a thing for doodling symmetrically. Here's one of my attempts. I thought it was a bit Indian looking, but an Indian colleague at work saw it and didn't seem to agree.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Software releases come and go. Today I found something that have been around for quite a while, but was new to me. Plain vanilla Java includes a UI design language, FXML.

This is significant for me because I wrote something very similar, but for Swing instead of JavaFX. Maybe I should abandon that and migrate stuff to FXML. It's a little depressing.

Cycling off

Nov. 2nd, 2016 01:10 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I ride a bicycle to the station on my way to work. Yesterday the velcro on my hi-vis jacket came undone, so I was doing that up with my left hand, and I tried to change gear with my right hand, but I pulled the brake lever instead of the gear lever, the front wheel stopped, I teetered a bit, fell, and hit my knee on the ground. Comical, if it hadn't hurt.

Since I've cycled regularly, I think that this is the fifth time I've come off. I've got a metal plate in my arm from one of them, but no permanent damage from the others. I usually ride when it's early, so I may not be that alert. Only one of them happened on the way home.

Obviously I should stop to adjust things. Catching the train is less important than physical safety, and cycling one handed was a contributing factor yesterday.

Also cycling is just riskier. I've never fallen off a car, and accidentally applying a car's brakes still leaves you sitting in the car.

I did once fall off a bus, but that's a different (but equally ridiculous) story.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I was looking at the Shard from my office window. It occurred to me that a tall thin pyramid is a silly shape for a building.

Cuboid volume: length × width × height
Pyramid volume: length × width × height ÷ 3

So the Shard is three times the height it needs to be for its floor space, if only the walls didn't lean inwards.

(OK, not quite, because the top few floors are an empty "spire", but they're small so it doesn't make much difference.)
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I posted before about what's wrong with elections. I think that I got it wrong. The real problem is the candidates (and therefore the selection process). Everyone in the world thinks it's mad to let Trump anywhere near an election, but Clinton's approval ratings are poor. So Americans will be choosing between the crazy bloke and the woman they dislike. WTF?

Less distressingly, in the last US presidential election straight people were split down the middle (if we believe the Wikipedia stats) so it was the gay, lesbian and bisexual vote that won Obama a second term.
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