From January 2004

Anti-Imperialist Political Activist

Nothing ever lasts for ever and today saw the last of the snow turn into slush. After all the hype the ‘great freeze’ wasn’t really that great, not in Durham at least. Amazingly I actually learned something useful at Uni this week – I used the tools ‘sed’ and ‘awk’ to be able to sort out a few bugs in my ‘Torrent Station’ scripts having been given a lecture on the them in the Software Tools module. I guess pigs will fly after all!

In other news I found out today that a prominent ‘anti-imperialist’ political activist who is currently in prison has the same name as me, making the Google results for my name rather interesting to say the least! And I thought sleep walking was bad enough!

Its Snowing!!!

…well it was half an hour ago at least! At last we’ve had some snow this year and some pretty good stuff at that. Durham is now has a nice couple of inches covering it with hopefully more tonight or tomorrow. I took the opportunity to take a few pictures and although none are brilliant I did get a few worth posting.

Lost Footage

We may be more than a year alway from Episode III but already leaked footage is beginning to appear. Although whats turned up so far doesn’t really show anything that special (behind the scenes stuff mostly) if you’re into that sort of thing its worth a look.

Saw the film ‘Lost in Translation‘ over the weekend – It was pretty good to see Japan from a touristy sort of perspective but the plot was lacking a bit. It works in a very clever way with the minimalism of the film representing the emptiness that the characters feel in such a foreign city as Tokyo and the culture shock is shown by the juxtaposition of this with the busy metropolis that is Japanese culture. Definitely worth seeing but not Sofia Coppola’s best work in my opinion.

This and that

Went on a bit of a photographic tour yesterday night, the intention being to get some nice pics of Durham Cathedral all lit up, but unfortunately the lack of a tripod meant none of them came out very well 🙁 Another opportunity might arise next week if the forecasted snow turns up, so fingers crossed it does!

Today has been fairly boring with the subject of the day being UML yet again. Having reached the ‘Design’ phase in the SEG project we’re now busy drawing lots of complex looking diagrams which all have to interlink and reference back to previous sections – fun. On the plus side though I finally managed to get Mac OS X printing over the network to the server.


A magazine article which could inadvertently kill? Sounds far fetched but when ‘Trail Magazine‘ published its latest issue it forgot to check the compass bearings it had given on one of its walking route articles which if followed would lead the unsuspecting rambler straight off the side of a 4,406-feet mountain. Opps. They have apparently apologized for their mistake!


Last couple of days have been very busy, but somehow I managed to find time to upgrade the Durham server to Slackware 9.1, with Kernel 2.6.1! The speed improvements were instantly noticable and everything feels a lot faster, especially X. It’s great to see Linux continuing to get better and better at a fairly rapid rate – less than a year ago I wouldn’t even have considered using it on my desktop full time but now I wouldn’t be without it.

Up North

After a fairly eventless train journey yesterday I’m now back in Durham, where its “always winter and never summer” (TM), or so it sometimes seems!

Another link to add to the ‘cool but pointless’ catgory would have to be this where someone has gone to the pain to convert secions of various movies into moving Ascii video! Obviously another case of way to much free time.


Those up fairly early this morning in Norwich (around 7:30am) would have seen the most amazing sunrise, of which I managed to get a half-decent pic:



Less than a week left now till I return too coldest depths of the North. With the possible arrival of snow next weekend it could make for an interesting trip!

After a suggestion from a friend I’ve been investigating the possibility of building a Beowulf Linux ‘Supercomputer’ Cluster some time in the future (probably next summer). Although it would take a fair amount of planning it’s very possible given the availability of old computers and could be quite interesting to be able to investigate the concepts of parallel computing.

Freedom of Speech

Something fairly unusual happened to me in a well-known British book store yesterday – I was looking for a fairly obscure translation of a Japanese novel and upon enquiring as to its availability I was told that I could not buy/order it from them because it had been banned from import into the EU!!! It was then recommend to me that I buy it off the Internet. On further investigation it turns out that it is not officially banned per-say but the publishers have just been refused a license to distribute it in the EU/US, the grounds for which were not noted. My guess is that this is simply another case of senseless censorship by western influences who are too scared and PC to allow the widespread distribution of anything which challenges their inherently flawed way of life, or perhaps I’m just paranoid!