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.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I got fed up with the font rendering in Vivaldi (shame - nice browser, but stuffed by upstream changes to Chromium).

I used to use SeaMonkey a lot, so I tried that again, and found that I could fix most of its annoyances. The addons I needed were:
  • Adblock Plus

  • Dorando keyconfig (the only way I could find to add a second key that also opens a tab was: "BrowserOpenTab();")

  • Ghostery

  • Mouse Gestures Suite

  • "Shift+LeftClick opens links in a new active tab" (delightfully named)

  • Speed Start

  • Tab Clicking Options (had to hack this one to make it work with the latest SeaMonkey, but only to change the compatibility labelling!)

  • True Full Screen

  • Undo Close Tab Button

  • British English Dictionary

There are still a few things bothering me:
  • Can't put tabs at the bottom

  • Single key shortcuts (can't stop pressing 6 to reset the zoom!)

  • Side bar pops up whenever I search from the right-click menu Edit: in the side bar, you can switch off the search tab!

  • Tab tiling (but I can work round that easily enough)
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Here are two things that annoy me.
  1. Sometimes someone asks me a question and I answer, but only later it becomes clear that they were really asking something else, which bugs me no end.
    Them:
    What time is it?
    Me:
    Half past twelve
    Long pause where they feel hurt that I didn't realise that they wanted us to go for lunch...



  2. Sometimes when I ask a question, it's completely obvious that there's a reason for asking it, so I don't say that part, but the other person completely misses the point.
    Me:
    What time is it?
    Them:
    Half past twelve
    Long pause where I feel hurt that they didn't realise that I wanted us to go for lunch...
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
When Blackberries were popular, people called them Crackberries because the users spent so much time on them. Now that's just phones.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I had fun today. We had a problem on our live servers. An end user reported it. It hadn't been noticed by the developer, the code reviewer, the QA team, or the acceptance testers.

Why was it fun? Because just for once, we get to do fix-it-now, fly-by-the-seat-or-your-pants work. There's no lead time, no meetings, no prioritisation. "Find out what's wrong and fix it today."

Tomorrow, back to dull production line normal.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
It turns out "quandry" should be "quandary". I never knew.

Ambulances

Oct. 21st, 2015 03:19 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I saw Ghostbusters recently. It was pretty good. When the song asked "Who you gonna call?", lots of people answered.

One thing that I remembered clearly from seeing it years ago was the car they used, because I as a child had had a toy ambulance that shape.


But the strange thing about it was that I'd never seen an ambulance like that. Ambulances looked like this.


To resolve the confusion, child me decided that Americans are weird.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I've never been married, and I've never wanted to get married. I don't get it. What has my private life got to do with anyone else, never mind the church or the government? So I was always a bit puzzled why gay people wanted to get married. However, I know that I'm the weird one. Most people think marriage is A Good Thing, and I'm quite happy for anyone to marry whoever they like if that's what they want. And I quite like weddings. So I'm quite content for straight men to marry each other to get some rugby tickets.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting.
T. H. White

Hmm. I shall try consciously avoiding that, and see how it goes...

Books

Jan. 17th, 2014 04:30 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I finished (eventually) reading Foucault's Pendulum, and I can't really recommend it. There are any number of interesting things in it, but also a huge quantity of the most tedious padding. Or perhaps I missed something.

Anyway, some things in the book are just annoying. I could give you a spoiler alert, but that would imply that you might read it. You needn't bother.
  • The village visited by one character in his childhood is referred to as *** but the next village up the hill is named. Every time I saw the three stars, I started inventing names for fictional Italian villages.
  • The narrator could have tried to save his friend from death-by-pendulum by convincing people that their conspiracy theory is invented, but instead he just watches him get killed and philosophises about it. He doesn't even think of doing something but decide against it.
  • The book is heavily sceptical about the occult, but there's a scene with ectoplasm that left me wondering why (after about 600 pages) we were suddenly supposed to suspend disbelief.
  • We're supposed to know any amount of arcane stuff - what Cabala is (usually spelled Kabbalah - oh, that thing that made Madonna tie string round herself!), and in particular the sephirot (no, me neither) - but some other things are explained at length - the history of the Templars is much less obscure, I'd have said.
All of this (and more) nonplussed me. I was also confused by a review quote on the back cover that said it was funny. No it isn't, even slightly. I am still amused, however, by the fact that my only point of reference to an esoteric religious group is from celebrity culture. Perhaps I can find out more about Rosicrucians from ONTD...

I'm now reading Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart, which is something of a contrast.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I once saw a small statue of Ball in a portrait exhibition somewhere. It stayed with me, perhaps because I knew who he was, or perhaps because it was quite a dramatic little thing.

Now thanks to the internet I found out where I can see the little fellow again - walking distance from my office:
http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw00307/Albert-Ball
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I was reading about Slope Point, the bottom end of New Zealand's mainland. Their peculiar wind-battered trees are worth a look.

But what really caught my eye was the distance sign. I thought that New Zealand was quite a long way south, but almost all of it is nearer to the equator than it is to the south pole. Antarctica and the southern ocean are extraordinarily large. Britain is further north that New Zealand is south.

Cape Horn is further south than New Zealand, but the Scottish mainland extends further north than Cape Horn does south.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Occasionally I've heard people talk about miscommunication that can occur when westerners do business with eastern cultures. This revolves around an eastern concept of politeness. Easterners will avoid saying "no" or directly disagreeing with someone, not because they agree but because they want to avoid rudeness. Westerners think they are too straightforward for that sort of thing. Er, perhaps not. Here's a 15 point guide to what people really mean. Well, in the UK, at least.

If you know the phrase "Up to a point, Lord Copper" then you'll know what I'm talking about. If you don't, never mind, but it's from a book by Evelyn Waugh (and Evelyn was a chap).

Wii'd off

Jul. 4th, 2013 11:07 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Wii channels are closing down. No news or weather, and now Nobody Votes. Internet channel still works - using it to type this. Can't help but remember the fuss and bother we had getting the thing...
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Life gives with one hand and takes away with the other. As many marvellous things as there are in life (and there are loads, from physical safety to intellectual stimulation) and as much as I want to be thankful for all those things, I'm worn down by wading through the treacle of day to day occurrences.

Other people have to be negotiated with, compromised with and taken into account. They want different things, and they have needs and desires. Dealing with them all takes energy away from actually doing things.

Events overtake intentions, and the physical world gets on and does its thing despite what one might want, and despite how inconvenient its actions might be.

Can I sit under a fig tree until I've figured out how the universe wants me to deal with this, please?

I'm not keen on figs, though, and I have a lot of other stuff that I need to be doing...

Cycling

Apr. 18th, 2013 10:59 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I noticed the following about cycling:
  • the wind is always against me
  • it's easier without a backpack
  • longer days means I can ride in the daylight, morning and evening
Where do I apply for my Nobel prize?

Roundabouts

Apr. 8th, 2013 01:11 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I like roundabout sculptures. I saw one the other day that was a lot of "paper" planes on sticks, and the Dorking cock had a bonnet at Easter.

Now I read this:
...the sheep are back on that roundabout by the flyover on the A283.

They arrived in 2011, but immediately met with problems.

Passing drivers were worried they might be sheep that had lost their way, even if they were green, and plastic. West Sussex County Council then sanctioned the installation of a fence so that the sheep would appear to be safely grazing.

To no avail. Drivers still worried. So now, after a temporary absence, they are guarded by an impressionistic life-size steel shepherd.
That's just grand.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
This clears up some things that are easy to confuse:
If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday”, that’s advertising.

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.

If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity and if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.

If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.

And, if you planned the whole thing, that’s Marketing!
Source: http://www.chewie.co.uk/quote-of-the-week/marketing-quote-of-the-week/ - found because I wanted a picture of an elephant.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
In the corridor at work, there's someone using a floor buffer, but the corridor is carpeted.

There's a smell of cleaning fluids, so I suppose there's some carpet shampooing going on, but how come the machine can rotate at all? There was too much smell of cleaning fluids, so I didn't hang around to ask.
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