Friday, 23 November 2012

Pop love

This mix of more than 24 pop songs is very excellent (via popbitch):

I think maybe pop is so great because a lot of it is about feeling sad but deciding to be happy.  If that's true it would explain why the Pet Shop Boys are the best pop group ever.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Culm down

Here is the entrance to Uffculme. The river Culm is just round the corner, past the bend, under a bridge.

Oh no it's not!

I took this at the point where we gave up on the idea of leaving the village this morning -- we'd already tried the other two routes out.  It looks all peaceful but it was actually flowing quite strongly from right to left, with a surprisingly loud roaring noise.  Luckily the Met Office are understanding about people not getting in to work because of extreme weather conditions. The postwoman, who is an excellent cheery soul, eventually got here at about 3pm.  I'm hopeful I can get in tomorrow, if it doesn't rain too much over night.

The bad pun in the title is because I looked on twitter to see if anyone was saying anything about the Culm, and just got lots of mispellings of the word "calm".  We are a nation of illiterates.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


On the other hand the downside of a job where you have to learn lots of things is that it takes a good deal of time before you can do anything useful at all. If I can get what I'm working on into the next release of the software then I may possibly do my first useful action in January. Which is quite a lot of time of not being any use.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

JavaProgrammer javaProgrammer = new JavaProgrammer(Rebecca);

The poet Milton was a bit of a bastard, and one of the ways he expressed this was by teaching his daughters to read, as in to pronounce out loud, Greek, so that by listening to them he could save his failing eyesight; but he did not teach them to read, as in understand, Greek, because they were girls. The way I feel about the things I'm learning at the moment at work is a bit like they might have felt if someone had suddenly decided to teach them Greek vocabulary and grammar. There are things I've been using for ages as just things that exist -- I'm thinking predominantly of XML, but other things too -- and now I'm beginning to learn how to manipulate the things that underlie them. "Why shouldn't you have your own RESTful web service?" said one of the contractors to me the other day. "Everyone else has one." So I'm learning how to write one, and I'm going to make my own as part of a big task I'm doing. Part of this involves learning how to eat XML. And when I know how to do this I will be able to go out onto the web and eat any XML I feel like, and use APIs, and do cunning things. It's all quite complex and it will take me years of learning to be good at it, but my department has a training budget (in terms of both money and time), and I will get the chance to sort these things out. Some people who sit near me are working through the Java Sun certification exams, which is something we are encouraged to do. I am feeling very good about this. I think I had thought of the M.Sc. year as my chance to learn things, and then I would do a job where I would put those things I had learnt into practice, but I probably couldn't get away with doing any more real serious learning until I retire (when I'm going to do a theology degree). What I hadn't realised was that the M.Sc. was just scratching the surface and setting us up for continuing to learn very similar material in more depth while working. Some of it's very complex and challenging stuff -- I'm thinking of design patterns in particular, which are logical ways of making systems which can be easily extended and altered. Deep down, what I like doing is learning things.

Of course all jobs have a honeymoon period, and after a couple of years you start to see how the politics work, and get depressed about that, but at present I am enjoying the Met Office hugely. I also get to do some metereological training, which is cool.