Friday, 13 July 2012

Some various things

I have a raspberry Pi. And I'm going to try to do this with it!
The raspberry Pi is beautiful.

The problem with London at the moment is that everywhere you go you are constantly bombarded with public service announcements suggesting that you avoid this place in the near future, especially at this particular time of day, and also places near to it or connected to it in any way. It's getting a bit tedious.

Andrew Prescott used to be a BL person and is now head of the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at KCL. Here he talks about this sort of thing. I only ever skim-read anything that's to do with the digital humanities because it tends to provoke my unhelpful thinking patterns, but I did notice this true sentence:
We try and suggest that we are collaborating in new ways, but at the end of the day a unit like that at King’s is simply an XML factory for projects led by other researchers.
Though possibly it would be more accurate to say that they are consultants for setting up and helping to run an external XML factory staffed by some poor research associate. Anyway, the situation is not healthy for "digital humanities" and it's not healthy for the humanities who are working with them.

I made my mother a cover for her new little Kindle. I suppose it's the fault of jpeg that in this picture the beautiful soft brown colour has been replaced by splotchy purple and grey-green:

I was oddly alert to gender stereotyping as a child so I'm glad I learnt to sew when I was too young to know that it was seen as a typically female thing to do. I don't sew well, but given that I spend so much of my life not managing to do things it's nice to make something simple from time to time. This is made from alpaca cloth woven out of our herd's fibre, and it's lined with unbleached cotton. The button I got off of etsy, from this bloke.

I'm trying to learn Ruby on Rails. It's making me feel stupid. It's very simple in many ways, but it involves information passing between lots of different files, and that's where I'm having trouble. One vital thing in programming is understanding a program's flow of control, which is simply which bits of code are executed in which order, and therefore understanding what all the variables are at any point in the program. Ruby is a programming language and Rails is a framework which sets up automatic groups of folders and customisable files which work together in a pre-specified manner. The idea is "convention over configuration", e.g. instead of having to tell a file where to find another file it just assumes it's in a particular place unless told otherwise. It makes it very quick to set up fast websites that deal with data. But if I ask it for a particular page via a browser, it looks first at a routes file, then at a controller file, then at a model file, then at a view file, then at a layout file, then at a template file, and then (probably using a stylesheet as well) it makes html out of all these things. I think I am being a bit slow, but it can be very hard to work out just where exactly you are when you work on a particular file, especially given that it might have just one line of code and make no sense out of context. (And also in Ruby you can pass blocks of code around as parameters to methods, and that's just wierd, frankly, though I can see that once I get used to it I'll use it all the time and think it's fantastic.)

Lastly, a friend of mine takes great photos, and I really love this one of part of Mill Road, Cambridge, at 6am.

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