quidity's Journal http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/ quidity's use Perl Journal en-us use Perl; is Copyright 1998-2006, Chris Nandor. Stories, comments, journals, and other submissions posted on use Perl; are Copyright their respective owners. 2012-01-25T02:08:48+00:00 pudge pudge@perl.org Technology hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 quidity's Journal http://use.perl.org/images/topics/useperl.gif http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/ Penguins http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/30661?from=rss <p>I have <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/2006_08_16.html">penguins with chicks</a> in my back yard.</p><p>(Yes, I love this job.)</p> quidity 2006-08-16T22:29:45+00:00 journal obits http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/30461?from=rss <p> <a href="http://www.economist.com/obituary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7218569">Best Obituary Ever</a>. That is all.</p> quidity 2006-07-28T16:07:29+00:00 journal Too bloody good http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/30309?from=rss <p>So this week, as well as various tasks involving a shovel and a mountain of snow I've banged out an electronic logbook and a system for ordering and accounting for beverages. </p><p>The trouble, as there must be some, is that Class::DBI, Template, DateTime, CGI, CGI::Ajax and Log::Log4perl (not forgetting sqlite) make this far too easy, so I spend all of my time and energy writing HTML and CSS for prettiness.</p> quidity 2006-07-17T08:11:01+00:00 journal heroic one liners http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/30048?from=rss <p>You know you've been a little too heroic with a one liner when you realise you should have used more modules: </p><blockquote><div><p> <tt>perl -MDateTime -wne'next if $_ lt "2006 04"; m{2006 (\d+) (\d+) \d+ \d+ \d+\.\d+ (-?\d+.\d+)} or next; my $dt = DateTime-&gt;new(year=&gt;2006, month=&gt;$1, day =&gt; $2); my $t = +$3; my $d = $days{$dt-&gt;day_of_year} = $days{$dt-&gt;day_of_year} || {}; $d-&gt;{min} = min($dt-&gt;{min}, $t); $d-&gt;{max} = max($d-&gt;{max}, $t); $d-&gt;{sum} += $t; $d-&gt;{cnt}++; sub min {$_[0] ? ($_[0] &lt; $_[1] ? $_[0] : $_[1]) : $_[1]}; sub max {$_[0] ? ($_[0] &gt; $_[1] ? $_[0] : $_[1]) : $_[1]}; END {foreach (sort {$a &lt;=&gt; $b} keys %days) {print "$_,$days{$_}{min},$days{$_}{max},".($days{$_}{sum}/$days{$_}{cnt})."\n"}}' &lt; mawson.data</tt></p></div> </blockquote><p>Thankfully it worked</p> quidity 2006-06-26T16:46:50+00:00 journal msvcc fun http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/29080?from=rss <p>I've been playing with the microsoft downloads of MS VC++ and have finally fiddled my way to compiling and installing DateTime (there isn't a PPM as one of the Infinate tests fails). </p><p>And, it wasn't so bad: </p><p>I installed three MS things: The full platform SDK (available as an ISO download), the free Visual C toolkit, and the dot net redistributable - although I'm not certain I really needed that. </p><p>Add in an ActiveState perl then perl Makefile.PL. Then edit the Makefile to use libcmt.lib rather than msvcrt.lib, and make, make install. All rather too simple...</p> quidity 2006-03-23T12:54:50+00:00 journal 1.0 + 1 http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/28628?from=rss <p>http://p6.hostingprod.com/@ventureblog.com/articles/indiv/2006/001232.html</p><p>Er, no. Web2.0: for all your blog searching photosharing social<br>nerdworking needs. Find out who's out to get you, out to get people<br>like you, where they are and WHAT THEY'RE BUYING.</p><p>I predict that none of the following will become global superstars or<br>last beyond the next media droolfest:</p><p>Goowy: Portal meets calendar, one less ! than Yahoo.<br> &nbsp; Email: "Through a fun and unique interface"<br> &nbsp; Leveraging web technologies to make you live2.0.<br>http://classic.goowy.com/index.aspx</p><p>Kaboodle: price compare WITH YOUR FRIENDS!<br> &nbsp; Shopping: made social<br> &nbsp; Soapstone hippos and Halter Tops - Memes you can shop for!<br>http://www.kaboodle.com/</p><p>Loomia: podcasts in YOUR EARS in YOUR FACE<br> &nbsp; Radio you never knew you needed to hear.<br> &nbsp; Media seach that google will do better.<br>http://www.loomia.com/</p><p>Meetro: people you don't know are near you!<br> &nbsp; Stalking with a technical twist.<br> &nbsp; No spyware! No adware! No purpose! No point!<br>http://www.meetro.com/</p><p>Riya: blackmail was never so much fun!<br> &nbsp; Pictures of friends, pictures of foes, never forget to frame a face again!<br> &nbsp; Orwell in your own home.<br>http://www.riya.com/</p><p>Sphere: "in stealth mode"<br> &nbsp; Searching blogs because you need to waste time in a timely fashion.<br>http://www.sphere.com/</p><p>Tailrank: power to the law!<br> &nbsp; Blogs you won't read but ordered by us</p><p>Wink: nudge nudge THEY'RE LYING TO YOU but we won't because you don't.<br> &nbsp; See what paranoics like YOU are fearing TODAY.<br>http://www.wink.com</p><p>Writely: what you see is what we web<br> &nbsp; Trust us, they're your thoughts!<br> &nbsp; Tell your friends, force them into our clunky interface.<br>http://www.writely.com</p><p>Bubbleshare: You have bubbles, they want bubbles, share your bubbles!<br> &nbsp; Photo store and share because someone has to.<br> &nbsp; Not that anyone else thought of this, no.<br>http://www.bubbleshare.com</p><p>Dogster: Dogs need Blogs too!<br> &nbsp; No, they really don't.<br>http://www.dogster.com/</p><p>Flock: because firefox, oh, yeah, SIMPSONS ALREADY DID IT<br>http://www.flock.com/</p> quidity 2006-02-09T02:15:21+00:00 journal Tech giant O'Reilly goes all: yeah, whatever http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/28326?from=rss <p>So the world is about to end: hard core technology information giant O'Reilly goes all <a href="http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2006/01/11/ipod.html">Cosmopolitian</a>. Promises future articles on <i>Hand Creams at your Keyboard</i> and <i>Summer romance with my iPod and his zServer cluster</i>. </p><p>In other news, I've arrived in Antarctica, but <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/2006_01_06.html">broken my leg</a>. Hopping about on snow in a blizzard puts subtle confusions in other people's perl into perspective... Halley.pm is in formation, and davorg will soon have to change his slides.</p> quidity 2006-01-12T16:05:04+00:00 journal Plans &amp; Science http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/25953?from=rss <p> <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/2005_07_18.html">The plan</a> </p><p> <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/2005_07_28.html">Some Science</a></p> quidity 2005-07-29T12:42:18+00:00 journal New Toy 2 http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/25389?from=rss <p>I have another new toy (this is like Christmas), the initial results are pleasing pictures but much room for improvement remains. </p><p> <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/2005_06_28.html">Cleve Hill Captured</a> </p> quidity 2005-06-27T23:06:29+00:00 journal Biscuits http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/25184?from=rss <p>Journal transitioning to http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/halley.rss</p><p>So, <b>Better Living through Biscuits</b>. A new plan for social reform bringing forth benefits of time and convenience for all. The principle is simple, but highly effective. Biscuits (as you might have predicted) are to be deployed for the improvement of the Common Good... </p><p>Consider: At the airport waiting for boarding to be announced. Aside hundreds of others you slump patiently in your seats. The plane is called. The mass leaps forth to stay in line for minutes, to stand and queue a little more. </p><p>Consider: Your flight has landed. You arrive in the baggage hall. You crowd still and silent around still silent conveyers. Jerking into motion, you still stand, craning glances past a forest of necks as clattering nothing passes your position. A bag! Yours? You cannot see, cannot be sure. Too late! Not yours but his as he presses past, grabbing, grunting and swinging his precious piece against your leaden legs. Patiently bruised you stand your ground while brown bags bang their tattered way around. </p><p>Better: Sit and stay away from the door. Relax until the line grows short. Join the end at the line's beginning and get a biscuit. </p><p>Better: Stand back until you spy your case. Approach the belt at a gentle pace. Leave a good amount of space and get a biscuit. </p><p>And, of course, I've been busy: Firstly, and most importantly, I now have a place to live in Cambridge. I am therefore a happier bunny and more able to concentrate on getting finished up here properly. Currently this involves a hideous Heisenbug, a BBQ at the weekend, a pub here and a walk in the country there. This week's weather has been pretty good, with clear evenings and dramatic sunsets behind the Malverns. </p><p>On the down side my dentist is being useless, not only going on holiday directly after I first went to see him but rescheduling my appointments once he'd come back two weeks further into the future, making it unlikely that my teeth will be through with him before I have to move on. Grrrr.</p> quidity 2005-06-14T00:58:04+00:00 journal New Toys http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/24985?from=rss <p>Journal transitioning to http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/halley.rss </p><p>I've still not found a place to lay my head, hang my hat or lie in of a Sunday. I think I'm still missing rooms by a fine margin, and may have to wait until the last minute before one sorts itself out (the fantastic distance and near certainty of intercepting rush hours somewhere along the way isn't helping). </p><p>But, I'm not in the least bit bothered, because I've been shopping.... </p><p>First off, I've got a shiny new kite (Ozone Samurai) which should be general purpose enough to fly in most sane conditions. So far the wind has been taunting me. First there's none, then there's too much, then there's none, then I'm busy, then... well, there's been enough to get the lines on and see it in the sky a bit before stalling back to the green earth. </p><p>Then there's electronic magicalness. An IDE to USB converter lets me use great, stonking, huge and cheap internal hard drives as removeable media. I'm let down slightly by hateful software, there being nothing but Windows to write NTFS, and no decent UFS/ext3 drivers for Windows. I'm sticking for the moment with NTFS, as at least I can read that on the FreeBSD box, and write to it elsewhere. </p><p>To this I've added (in a moment of not reading the specs properly) an mp3 player that can't actually play mp3s. It's one of these Sony network walkman thingies, and it only wants to play music that it's been given by Sony's own software. It mainly deals in ATRAC format, which doesn't deserve much more discussion as I really can't be bothered re-ripping all my CDs just to put them on this. It can do mp3, but only after it's mangled them. Thankfully the mangling seems to be fairly rubbish, so I might have a crack at doing it myself, so gaining the ability to fill the player with music from FreeBSD and, in fact, anywhere else with Perl and USB drivers installed. Oh, and it's a lovely pink colour, which is mostly (if not entirely) really why I got it. </p><p>And finally there's the duct tape (not a toy, but a toy-enabler), a stash of rechargable batteries, two pairs of fresh glasses and a nuclear mug to replace the one I left in San Diego. </p><p>This purchasing frenzy is probably ended for the time being, as I've still little idea about what I should take with me, what might be there already, what will break, what will last, and what I'll take but ignore the whole time. People who've been before should be a great help in sorting those sorts of questions out, and I've still plenty of time before my bags need to be packed.</p> quidity 2005-06-02T00:57:25+00:00 journal Back to Square One http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/24927?from=rss <p>Journal transitioning to http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/halley.rss</p><p>Oh well, spent much of Friday off work heading to Cambridge in the crushing heat of my never cool Clio. I'm not fond of the A40, not fond of the M40, not fond of the M25, not fond of the M11 and not fond of Cambridge's repulsive ring roads. Worse, the radio's broken leaving me with only three CDs to time my baking in endless queues. Driving, I suspect, I shall not miss. I am not fond of driving. </p><p>At the end of my trail, the house I'd hoped for wasn't any of the houses I saw. I shall keep looking for something, a decent place is bound to turn up eventually. In a few days I could be back on the roads but will pack more music and wear a pair of shorts. </p><p>Cheltenham on a sunny day I will miss, windy winding walks covering Cleve Common. Packing in views of the Malverns, Cheltenham, the Severn Valley, sheep, (lunatic) golfers, burial mounds and Winchcombe. Finished off with lunch at the Rising Sun with views to the Black Mountains.</p> quidity 2005-05-29T01:30:05+00:00 journal Househunting &amp; books http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/24895?from=rss <p>Journal transitioning to: http://the.earth.li/~alex/halley/halley.rss</p><p>The first major part of my journey (aside from fun form filling) is a few months in Cambridge where I'll learn about the systems deployed at Halley, get to know the people I'll be working with (both in England and at Halley), while remaining a little excited about the whole thing. </p><p>Cambridge is, though, not a good commute from Cheltenham, so living there is essential. To that end, I'm hunting houses (ssssh!). I might have found one that seems reasonable, and I'll be off to look at it on Friday. Hopefully it will turn out to be right, and my poorly car can be saved any more trips across the country. Houses are houses, though, and prone to confuse and confound, so the first part of this saga might go on for longer than really necessary. </p><p>I'm something of an avid reader, and for the time being I'm avoiding books about the polar regions, its explorers and its history as I expect I'll have both plenty of time, and plenty of books, available once I get myself there. I'm being a bit bad, though, and rereading my HP Lovecraft, scaring myself silly in the process. Any lapse into an archaic style should be excused, modern service will probably resume shortly...</p> quidity 2005-05-27T01:28:52+00:00 journal Got a job http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/24436?from=rss <p>Going <a href="http://www.bas.ac.uk/Living_and_Working/Stations/Halley/index.php">to Antarctica</a> to be a geek at large (er, Data Manager) sometime in November. So far have filled in many forms and been poked and prodded by members of the various branches of medical science. </p><p>Quite excited, too.</p> quidity 2005-04-28T23:27:53+00:00 journal Angry http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/24333?from=rss <p>NO, FIREFOX, I DON'T WANT TO INSTALL FLASH AND I DON'T WANT YOU TO REMIND ME EVERY TIME I LOAD A PAGE.</p><p>[ OK ] [ CANCEL ]</p> quidity 2005-04-23T13:34:17+00:00 journal Working Holiday http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/23996?from=rss <p>I went to <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/fountains/Fountains_Abbey.jpg">Fountains Abbey</a> where I planted snowdrops (on the left of that stream), <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/fountains/Misty_Lake.JPG">cleared some woods</a> and built a <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/fountains/Path_Scape.jpg">path</a> by an <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/fountains/Octagon_Tower.JPG">octagonal tower</a>. There were <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/fountains/Lunch_Scape.jpg">twelve of us</a> and a good time was had by all. I've done these before, so I knew it would be good, but if you've not, then <a href="http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteering/workinghols.asp">working holidays</a> with the National Trust are well worth it.</p> quidity 2005-04-04T00:52:30+00:00 journal As you are commanded http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/23502?from=rss <p>so you shall <a href="http://www.ikatun.com/institute/infinitelysmallthings/corporatecommands/">OBEY</a>.</p> quidity 2005-03-04T21:44:32+00:00 journal See sharp formula translations. http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/22868?from=rss <p>I'm doing a thing at the moment that needs a bit of C sharp (for the stealing of programmer effort wrapped in a COM object then given over to hot web services action). I'm coming to see the point of it, now, and had much fun reading through its specification this afternoon, which leads me to an important conclusion: </p><p>I like C#, if only because of its key words. Like calling a son David or Adam, any language reserving <code>implicit</code> for itself shows a proper regard for its distant heritage.</p> quidity 2005-01-24T23:52:50+00:00 journal Carnage http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/22735?from=rss <p>Well, that was fun. It rained when it looked like it wouldn't, and the river (Upper Dart and Loop) was up, as was the carnage... </p><p>Where 1 swim == 3 points, 1 rescue == 2 points and 1 roll == 1 point, a trip with only 18 people on it managed a very respectable 64 points in one day. In a slightly connected incident, I now have a large bruise on the front of my face and will greatly enjoy generating false histories for it when queried at work tomorrow. </p><p>Can also highly recommend the Forest Inn at Hexworthy, they've got a pretty good bunkhouse, very friendly staff, decent beer and tasty, good valued food. Also a very small fat dog.</p> quidity 2005-01-16T21:40:46+00:00 journal lpw slides http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/22278?from=rss <p> <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/Running%20Away%20to%20C.htm">Running Away to C</a> - London Perl Workshop slides on C, Perl and XS (also <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/Running%20Away%20to%20C.ppt">Powerpoint</a>). (Motivational rather than educational.) </p><p>The rest of the workshop was much better, in particular the talks on obfuscation and utf8. One for entertainment value, the other for a couple of useful things that were mentioned. Thanks to the organisers, and Imperial for having us.</p> quidity 2004-12-12T18:02:30+00:00 journal Oaths http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/21909?from=rss <p>I'm doing Jury service at the moment. This is mostly pretty interesting as it's the first (and hopefully only) time that I'll ever have anything to do with a real court. Until now my only experiences have been via books and the media, which tends to exagerate the drama and underplay the waiting around. </p><p>Being a Godless type, I chose to affirm rather than swear on a holy book. It's good that one can do this, but the wording of the affirmation is so much more clumsy than that of the oath. I feel let down by whoever drafted it, and wish they might have tried for the same terse majesty. </p><p>Compare: <i>I swear by Almighty God that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence</i>. </p><p>with <i>I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence</i>.</p> quidity 2004-11-18T17:28:42+00:00 journal Will you be wanting a helicopter? http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/20524?from=rss <p>I went to <a href="http://the.earth.li/~alex/kayak/anglesey04.html">Anglesey</a> over the weekend, for a bit of paddling that got a little more interesting than I like it to be.</p> quidity 2004-08-24T00:55:03+00:00 journal WRATH of the SKY MASTER http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/20386?from=rss <p>Today was horrid, it rained and rained and rained, then it rained harder, just to prove it could. This was a shame, as I was hoping to go off and see some meteors. </p><p>Thankfully, the clouds cleared away a couple of hours ago, so I headed off out of town to a secluded spot with some Grateful Dead [1969-04-22], lay on the ground (getting cold in the process, but there you go) and set my gaze on the heavens. </p><p>I had around 45 minutes before the clouds moved back in, and saw a good few streaks of fire. Not the three-a-minute promised, but then, it was a little misty in spots, and my eyes are only so big. </p><p>And now, you must all make a tremendous sacrifice to those who sent us these signs. Place Java upon your altars, slay with abandon, and the world will be saved. So it is written. For ever and ever. Etc.</p> quidity 2004-08-12T23:44:48+00:00 journal It's amazing what you can do http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/20222?from=rss <p>It's <a href="http://www.polioeradication.org/progress.asp">amazing what can be done</a>, if <a href="http://cluniesross.org.au/cr2002/frank_fenner.htm">people</a> put their minds' to it.</p><p>It would also be a shame if, twenty five years after the eradication of smallpox -- the greatest acheivement of microbiology, and perhaps of medical science -- if the lack of a few million dollars over the next few years puts us back where we started.</p> quidity 2004-08-04T00:26:28+00:00 journal Apropos http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/20005?from=rss <p> <i>What enterprise that an enlightened community may attempt is more noble and more profitable that the reclamation from barbarism of fertile regions and large populations? To give peace to warring tribes, to administer justice where all was violence, to strike the chains off the slave, to draw the richness from the soil, to plant the earliest seeds of commerce and learning, to increase in whole peoples their capacities for pleasure and diminish their chances of pain -- what more beautiful ideal or more valuable reward can inspire human effort?</i> </p><p>...</p><p> <i>Yet as the mind turns from the wonderful cloudland of aspiration to the ugly scaffolding of attempt and achievement, a succession of opposite ideas arise... The inevitable gap between conquest and dominion becomes filled with the figures of the greedy trader, the inopportune missionary, the ambitious soldier, and the lying speculator, who disquiet the minds of the conquered and excite the sordid appetites of the conquerers. And as the eye of thought rests on these sinister features, it hardly seems possible for us to believe that any fair prospect is approached by so foul a path.</i> </p><p>Or so said Churchill, back in the day when he was still fairly useless at playing First Lord of the Admiralty, yet very good indeed at writing. I saw these passages cited in a book about the Empire, and saw their connection with recent events. But I also saw that <i>scaffold</i> would have conjured up images of the hangman and his noose, of trapdoors, of falling and of immediate yet anticapated doom. An image we lack in our own enlightened times, free of hangings but not, alas, of barbarous beheadings and warring factions.</p><p>And, politics aside, my thoughts also turned to a book I've just read, <i>Digital Fortress</i>, described by some reviewers as <i>Brain candy</i>, or a <i>brainy thriller</i>, when it lacked for any sort of imagery beyond the trite and expected. Seas of black in the darkness, everything suddenly, nothing researched... And I wondered for a moment what we'd lost.</p><p>But then I remembered where I learnt about images, and how words can draw them through my imagination, of only connect, and of the savage pain of unexpected loss. I was worried that we'd lost something along the way, that somehow no one could find it in themselves to excite me or touch me with language, but there are still some that do. Good writing is out there, and it won't be going away, but I should probably buy fewer thrillers while waiting for trains at Swindon.</p> quidity 2004-07-23T00:15:57+00:00 journal Design of Everyday Things http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/19783?from=rss <p>I've recently returned from my holidays, and some trips with work, with a lot of sitting around in planes and airports and trains which leads, as ever, to a lot of reading. </p><p>One of the books was me eventually getting around to <i>The Design of Everyday Things</i> by Donald Norman. Overall it was very good and fairly thought provoking. One thing, though, did hit me. He spends a lot of time on taps, and how they ought to be obvious, and mentions that the little ones they use on planes are very good because there's nothing you can do but push down on the handles to get water out. </p><p>Of course, moments before getting to the bit about taps I'd encountered the very ones, and, just to prove his point, I'd first tried to make them work by lifting up the paddles, rather than pushing on them as intended. This probably suggests that I'm odd. </p><p>My favourite taps, though, are the ones in the Tate Britain. These are just spouts over a sink with no visible signs of how to use them. People wonder up, wave their arms under the spout, wave them over the spout, peer under the sink for peddles, start to clap, and well, try all sorts of other actions. Eventually they get so perplexed that they lean over the sink to look beind the spout to see if there's anything there, and lo, water streams out. </p><p>The sensors, you see, are installed in the ceiling above the sinks, and aren't sensitive enough to trigger until a whole person is between them and their sink. Funny, really, and probably -- as Donald often suggests -- award winning.</p> quidity 2004-07-10T12:33:40+00:00 journal Egypt http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/19153?from=rss <p>Recently I've been reading about Egypt (in the days of old), which is fascinating enough by itself, but the highlight of doing so must be the language used by academic types to avoid talking about parts of people. </p><p> <i>From these beginnings, during the Roman period, Pan became the god of the Eastern Desert, the capricious guardian of the desert routes. He is shown not as the Pan of Greek mythology, but as the ithyphallic Min, his erection clearly inherited from his previous life.</i> </p><p>Of course, I might just be confusing Real Life with Spam again. It's hard when that happens.</p> quidity 2004-06-08T23:06:55+00:00 journal orange http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/19120?from=rss <p>More importantly, I've been spending my hard earned cash on a <a href="http://www.farout.dk/kajakudstyr/hoss_&amp;_lill'joe.htm">new boat</a>, and it's orange. And shiny. And it's coming to the Alps in a couple of weeks.</p> quidity 2004-06-06T23:14:58+00:00 journal Not another Alistair Cooke http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/19116?from=rss <p> <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3777099.stm">Stephen Evans</a> tries to be all Letter from America but gets lost in the post.</p> quidity 2004-06-06T21:19:06+00:00 journal Trains http://use.perl.org/~quidity/journal/18998?from=rss <p>Trains in England now have Quiet Carraiges, coaches in which it is not permitted to use a mobile phone or a personal stereo. Mostly these work fairly well, although you still get the occasional call broadcasting demi-conversations about being late, and gaggles of children are never silent. </p><p>Most of the time, I quite enjoy train journeys as they provide time for reading the Economist and a bit of personal reflection. Sometimes though I've nothing to really think about, and wouldn't mind having a conversation with one of my fellow travelers. Being the reserved sort that I am, these rarely spark up without some sort of, er, fuel (like delays, or merry inebriation). Anyhow, to provide a reason for a chat with a stranger it might be a nice idea to have a coach for extroverts which are in the mood for talking. </p><p>Then again, most people are fairly dull at the end of the day, so a conversation coach probably wouldn't catch on.</p> quidity 2004-05-29T21:31:21+00:00 journal