Monthly Archives: May 2011

May 2011 Round-up

What? Another month has slipped by? How did that happen? Well, however it happened, it means it’s time for another in the exciting[1] series of monthly report thingies.


More ups than downs this month, with some quite big ups here and there

May 1: 228.6 pounds (16 stone 4.6 pounds, 103.7 kg)
May 31: 230.2 pounds (16 stone 6.2 pounds, 104.4 kg)

Difference: a quite noticeable rise of 1.6 pounds (0.7kg). Ooops, should do better, etc.


Curse your sausage rolls! They keep leading me astray!


Once again, a major failure to walk to work. But including a couple of awaydays early in the month, I have managed a greater number of other walks. Still need to do more, though.


Assuming I don’t decide to post anything else tonight, the total for May will be 92, which is the most since July 2009.


Lots more pictures taken this month. Over 600 added to Lightroom, some of which have appeared here, and more will follow. I also did more tweaking and twiddling of the website.

[1] If you’re very easily excited, that is

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 May 2011

Hmmm, down a bit today. How random…

Had a bit of a walk at lunchtime with the Canon 5D MkII and the Sigma 70-200mm lens. More on that when I’ve played with the pictures a bit, but here’s one for today – a view of part of the really quite fancy lantern tower of St Nicholas’s Cathedral, Newcastle.

St Nicholas's Cathedral

St Nicholas's Cathedral

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 May 2011

Ooopise, up a bit more today. I should probably do something about that. Tomorrow.

For today’s photographic wossname, here’s a strange thing seen in Saltwell Park recently:

Is it art?

Is it art?

Is it some fancy new artwork? The beginning of some weird playground torture device? Maybe a closer look would help?

Most odd

Most odd

OK, so it’s an angled thingy with its top all wrapped up. I should probably go back and see what happens…

Another bit of tweakage complete

Well, that was fun, in much the same way as something that isn’t fun at all is fun. Having fixed all the borked Flickr posts, I found that I still had a bit of a Flickry issue with some posts.

I’d used a variety of methods to post images from Flickr to Losing it[1] over a period of about five years, which left some of them with teeny tiny ickle thumbnails at top left, some with moderate sized pictures and a general lack of consistency. And of course the little matter that if anyone wanted to see a bigger version of the picture, they’d have to leave here and go to Flickr. Not that there’s anything wrong with going to Flickr, you understand, but it’s a bit easier to keep things here if I can.

So I did another one of those database search things, got myself a list of posts and spent much of this afternoon in what should be the last major editing session that I’ll need to do. It was a good opportunity to replace small thumbnails with much bigger images that fit the current layout better.

Did I mention that I also went through all the posts with YouTube videos so they don’t need to use the plugin I’d been using? No? Well, I did. And even found alternatives where I could for videos that have been pulled or had embedding disabled. I’m either dedicated or crazy. Or both.  :dizzy:

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 May 2011

Oh bother, up again today. I’ll blame the curry and assorted bits I had last night.

For today’s little thingy, rather than a picture, I’ve got a video. This is those lovely Arctic Monkeys, whose new album is out a week from tomorrow. If this is a representative sample, it’s going to be lots of fun:

Alex Turner’s lyrics are as, err, interesting as ever…

Break a mirror, roll the dice
Run with scissors through a chip pan fight
Go into business with a grizzly bear
But don’t sit down ’cause I’ve moved your chair

And it gets sillier from there on. Excellent! More on the album when I’ve heard it all.

The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories

I spotted this book a while ago, and had it on my mental list of “things to read at some point”. Well, that point was over the last week or so, and it went to work with me on the Kindle every day. I do like the odd bit of alternative history[1] and this quite large collection looked like a good deal. There’s a good mixture of old and new stories, including a few getting their first publication here.

Part of the fun of alternative history[2] stories is often working out when and where we are, how we got there, or more precisely, what has changed to make things this way. This fun is taken away by one of the stories – A Letter from the Pope by Harry Harrison and Tom Shippey, which involves King Alfred, some Vikings, the delivery (or not) of a letter and the famous cakes.

There are a few stories based on the idea that the Roman Empire never fell, but they all take it in such different directions that it’s not a problem for the balance of the anthology. Frederick Pohl has a lot of fun with this in Waiting for the Olympians, in which a writer of “sci-roms” is desperate for a new idea in the face of rapidly approaching aliens. His friend tries to suggest the idea of writing some kind of alternative history story…

And of course, there’s the usual “do something with the Nazis” stories, of which the most interesting for me was The Einstein Gun by Pierre Gévart, translated from the original French for this book. In that world, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand wasn’t assassinated, World War I never happened, and things went to pot in completely different ways. So a plan is devised to use Einstein’s time machine to change things so it’ll all be fine and dandy. Err, ooops. Gets the prize for “oh bugger, so that’s how we got into this mess”.

Then there’s the kind of story where the Church keeps more control over secular matters. Steven Baxter explores this in Darwin Anathema, where many years after his death, the Inquisition (please don’t call us that) dig up his bones to put him on trial, along with a descendant.

One possible objection to a lot of these stories is that given some greater or lesser change centuries earlier, it’s a little odd to find the same people in equivalent positions today. But I tend to file that under “required suspension of disbelief” and enjoy the ride, so there.

Not every story gripped my attention, one or two seemed longer than they really needed to be, but that’s generally the way it goes with anthologies. In any case, there was more than enough here to justify the quite low price. Good stuff.

[1] “Alternate” history sounds more like history taking it in turns with something else. Geography, maybe?
[2] Nope, can’t bring myself to say “alternate”

CrashPlan – Restore Test

Now that I’ve got a full backup at CrashPlan, it’s time to see how getting things back works. First, start the CrashPlan app and select the Restore option, where you’ll be presented with a list of your files. You can drill down to the files or folders you want, click the tick boxes, and click the large friendly “Restore” button, and off it will go:



The moderately sensible default settings will restore the files to your Desktop[1], restores the most recently backed up version, and renames rather than replaces any files with the same name. If you want to restore something that you’ve actually deleted from your computer, tick the “Display deleted files” box to make sure it appears in the list. Be aware if you’re restoring a lot of files that they will be individually saved to the Desktop, not into a folder, so you may want to look at the options.

What’s that? You want options? CrashPlan has them. For a start, you might want an older version of a file – remember that CrashPlan keeps everything you back up unless you tell it not to. In that case, click on the most recent link and you’ll be shown a calendar which allows you to pick a point in time for the file you want:

You want it when?

You want it when?

You can change the destination for restores by clicking on the Desktop link, which will switch between restoring to the original location (good for deleted or corrupted files):

Give me back my files

Give me back my files

and if that’s not what you want, you can specify a folder to restore to – good for collections of files that you’d rather not have spread across your Desktop:

Where would you like it?

Where would you like it?

And finally, there’s a choice between renaming or replacing existing files in the destination:

Make it go away

Make it go away

I did a test restore of some files from my Downloads folder, which ran at an acceptable speed – between 2Mb/s and 3Mb/s, which is slow for my connection, but good enough. Obviously, if I had to restore all of my data it would take a while, but as most of it is what I’d call important rather than urgent, that’s fine. And I could always download the important stuff first before setting off a major restore job that I could leave running in the background for as long as it needed.

So, overall, CrashPlan still seems to be doing what I need. Well worth a free trial, and if you sign up and decide it’s not for you, they promise to refund the unused part of your subscription, which makes it a low-risk proposition.

[1] This is on Mac OS X, I’d guess it would be the same for Windows and Linux, but you should check this for yourself


I’m just catching up on Subnormality, one of the more deliciously odd webcomics. Quite apart from the humour, there’s a lot of serious thought going into it. I particularly like this one:

weirdClick to see the comic in its natural environment, making sure to do the mouse-hovering thing for the alt text, and then spend the next few hours reading more…

And assuming you’ve come back after that can I just say  :clap: :clap: