23 Nov 2007

What's 'Eureka' in Hindi?

Thanks to a short chain of indirection from John Peel Everyday I've stumbled across quite a blast from the past. Years ago Peelie made his way through an album of Abba songs vastly improved by being rendered in Hindi. Today's crucial rediscovery is that the artistes were named Salma & Sabina, and Mister Google (who knows *everything*) tells me there are mp3z to be had from part way down http://www.aprilwinchell.com/audio/

So here is Super Trooper in Hindi

And some of the other treasures therein:
Hey Mr Tamborine Man by The Chipmunks -*love* those high notes
Blue Suede Shoes by Eilert Pilarm the Swedish Elvis (another Peel featured artiste)
Smells Like Teen Spirit as Gregorian chant (spoilt a bit by American accent)

22 Nov 2007


Why didn't I know about these until now?!!
and torrents at
This may be the tipping point to get me off 512/256...

16 Nov 2007

The joy of eBay

The eBay marketplace for N gauge model railway rolling stock is quite vigorous, and getting a bargain isn't easy. Even when a listing isn't optimally described, people usually manage to spot it, and they bide their time, and up up up goes the price in a last-second sniping orgy. And then there are the bloody newbies who come in and spill silly money indiscriminately on both the good stuff I'm after and utter crap alike, and I snoop into what else they've been buying (can't help meself), and it turns out to be stereotypical GWR tripe and Thomas the bloody Tank and Cliff Richard albums. Pah!

So I wasn't too optimistic when I saw six Dapol Dogfish wagons described as hoppers, ending at a time when I had to be out of the house. But the bid history was a bit of a giggle. Bidder One (we'll call this mug with 85 feedback "Rotherham Tuesday") had started it off a couple of days ago at £9.99. Considering these things go for upwards of eight quid *each*, this was never going to be the last word, and sure enough Bidder Two (let's call him or her "Blackadder") popped in a more realistic bid the day after; exposing that Rotherham had bid *exactly* the starting £9.99.

Sure enough, three hours and a conjectural outbid notice later, back comes Rotherham Tuesday. Idiot bonce proceeds to pop in *ten* more bids in six minutes progressively trying to top Blackadder in one or two quid increments. His last bid - after a thirty-three second pause for reflection - was £24.99 and it had pushed Blackadder's original bid all the way to £25.01. Anyone with eBay nous will realise that Blackadder's bid had just topped out and Tuesday had missed out by three pee. And they were still looking cheap... so...

As it panned out, neither of them came back, and nobody sniped me. Blimey! Result!

How does someone get to 85 feedback without learning how to bid? Oh well, I've just written a cheque for six unboxed Dogfish at £4.83 apiece including postage. That'll do.

(Epilogue: there's enough information in this entry for an astute cyberstalker to work out what car I drive. In Scott McNealy's words, "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.")

14 Nov 2007

Multics source available

Looks like the news I recently alluded to has now broken: El Reg, Slashdot

As usual the Slashchildren are parroting complete and utter bollocks. One writes:

UNIX can in fact be considered to be a 'simplified' successor to MULTICS.
Which is precisely why Unix matters and MULTICS doesn't. The simplifications in Unix are its most important contribution to the art of OS design. For example, we now take it for granted that the OS should implement a disk file as a simple byte stream, with bigger structures, such as records or indexes, being implemented on the application level. But when Unix appeared, that idea was novel and controversial."


Score 5 Insightful, my arse.

Another writes:

It is not yet known if it will be possible to emulate the required hardware to run the OS.

Surely it's possible, it just may not be much fun or very practical. Unless perhaps that old hardware has some black boxes that talk to spirits or do other magic things.

This child, from the depths of its ignorance about Multics' interdependency with undocumented long-lost intelligent peripherals such as the FNP (front-end network processor) and IOM (I/O Multiplexer), by some fluke actually managed to state the exact problem. I will henceforth refer to such a process as 'aleatoric wisdom'.

The ongoing disevolution of computer science would appear to be some sort of immersive spinoff from The History of the World Backwards.

11 Nov 2007

I know something you don't know!

Just seen some momentous (fsvo) news on Usenet, the people involved don't intend it to be public for a few days yet, so no blurting here, but it's something I thought we would never see. Huge, huge thanks to Tom Van Vleck and Groupe Bull for finally making it happen. I just wish I was competent enough to make some use of it...

In other news from the same thread, apparently there is one site somewhere out there still running George 3!

10 Nov 2007

Lochnagar crater, Thiepval, Vimy - May 2007

Lochnagar Crater
(panoramic image assembled using Hugin)

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing

Thiepval memorial - interior

Thiepval memorial - interior detail

Thiepval memorial and British section of cemetery

French section of Thiepval cemetery - 'Inconnu'

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Trenches at Vimy Ridge

Trenches at Vimy Ridge - the barren concrete reconstruction is antithetical to the original reality, but feels entirely appropriate

9 Nov 2007

Pozieres Cemetery and Mametz Wood, May 2007

Pozieres Cemetery

Pozieres Cemetery

Pozieres Cemetery

38th (Welsh) Division memorial, Mametz Wood. On the day of our visit, the valley resounded to the calls of song thrushes from the wood.

38th (Welsh) Division memorial, Mametz Wood - detail

Flatiron Copse Cemetery

Flatiron Copse Cemetery

Flatiron Copse Cemetery - for detail of the headstones below the trees top centre, see next photo

Flatiron Copse Cemetery - the inscription on the pillar reads: "To the memory of these nine soldiers of the British Empire killed in action in 1916 and buried at the time in Mametz Wood Cemetery whose graves were destroyed in later battles. Their glory shall not be blotted out"

8 Nov 2007

Photos from Ypres, May 2007

Over the next couple of days I'll be posting a selection of photos from a trip to Ypres and the Somme back in May.

The 49th (West Riding) Division memorial, at Essex Farm Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery (1)

Tyne Cot Cemetery (2)

Preserved trenches at the Sanctuary Wood Museum with illustrative mud

An aircraft engine at the rather ramshackle Sanctuary Wood Museum

Island of Ireland Peace Park, Messines - Peace Pledge

The Menin Gate (1)

The Menin Gate (2)

Ramparts Cemetery, Ypres. The closely spaced headstones denote men who fell together.

Modern street view in Ypres

Moving in

Welcome one and all to the Blogspot branch of this growing media empire. We'll kick off by mirroring the existing Livejournal posts. Edit: Oooh look, you can give them appropriate dates and times. Nice!

5 Nov 2007

In memoriam: Lance Hahn

I missed the sad (but not entirely unexpected) news that Lance Hahn (of J Church) died two weeks ago. I was once lucky enough to catch them - on (it says here) 21 November 2000, with The Urchin and Travis Cut and (iirc) Southport. It's horrible to read of his struggles to get the healthcare he needed in the aftermath of comments from that lying piece of shit Giuliani.


1 Nov 2007

Newbie hardware hacking

Spent the last two days taking my first steps hacking N gauge hardware. So far I've replaced split gears on and cleaned up an old Poole Farish Class 37, cleaned up an old Poole Farish Class 25 which will need four split idlers replacing, mopped up the factory gunge on a new Bachfar Deltic, and cleaned up and lubricated a Farish Class 101 (chassis type, photo below). The 101 now runs in the right direction :-). And just about worked out how to DCC them all. I've also knocked up my first two DG couplings. Must get some smaller pliers...

Burn baby burn

The joys of Lithium Ion batteries are, by now, well known. They famously go boom. They deteriorate irreversably over time, and this is accelerated by higher temperatures and repeated deep discharge. You really wouldn't want one in your lappy, if only there was an alternative, and ideally you wouldn't let them on a plane.

But now someone's put a ton of Li-Ion batteries into an Inter City 125.