Friday, 8 December 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-12-08: Joni

Hanging out in the back garden. For once, I made it out there in daylight to see her.

Data Security: Just Read The Instructions

Basic internet security isn't that hard, but people who should know better still contrive to foul it up.

Image: Blue Devil Hub / Creative Commons

I'm a professional software developer with some grounding in the mathematics of cryptography, but not an Internet security expert. In this context, I don't need to be. I know wretched carelessness when I see it.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2012-12-01: Linton Lion

Majestic. Intimidating. But big cats can be cute too. It'd be great to scratch his ears, if I wasn't worried about being eaten.

I didn't catch this handsome fellow's name -- he lives at Linton Zoo near Cambridge, and was standing all of ten feet from me when this photo was taken. My son was rather scared by him, which is understandable. We humans are descended from many generations of ancestors who had good reason to be afraid of lions.

12 Years of Cambridge Nanowrimo

I've been doing Nanowrimo for a while, and feel it's a good time to share some observations. 

First of all, congratulations to all those who have just finished! No matter how many words you've written, it's more than you had in October, so well done.

For those who don't know, Nanowrimo is a worldwide event in which people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Reaching the target is known as "winning", but it's a contest only with yourself; nobody checks on the words you've written. Your fellow Nanowrimo participants are there for solidarity and moral support.

The novel will almost certainly be largely rubbish, and that's the point. The idea is to put aside all the angst, self-doubt and perfectionism that plague us, and get on with the act of creating something. You can edit later (and it will need a lot of editing, if you want it in a fit state for publication).

I've been a part of the Cambridge Nanowrimo group since 2006, so this is my 12th season here. Next spring I'm moving to Toronto, Canada; I may remain part of the group in spirit, but in body I'm going to be elsewhere. So it seems like a good time to look back, and see if I can share any wisdom from along the way.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-11-24: Pet Shop Girl

The pet shop in the Beehive Centre in Cambridge has automatic doors and tolerates the occasional cat wandering in, as long as they don't disturb the rabbits. This splendid lady was sitting next to the window when I went in to get cat food.

A Brexit Thanksgiving

This week I've been preparing my usual Thanksgiving turkey feast, and being thankful that I'm getting out of the UK.

It gives me no pleasure to say this. I love the UK, I've made my home here for many years, and I wish it well; but the news on Brexit looks worse with every passing day.

It's becoming increasingly apparent the government has no plan, no grip, no strategy, and no prospect of locating any of them using both hands and a map. It doesn't understand the technical complexities of Brexit, and doesn't want to. It deals with inconvenient facts by pretending they don't exist. Meanwhile the clock ticks inexorably on, and the hour of Brexit draws ever closer.

If the great British public understood the consequences of their government's foolishness, I think there would be riots in the streets. Brexit is a massive and costly challenge at best; in this government's careless hands, it will make the poll tax look like a birthday party.

Storming of the Bastille, 1789.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Friday, 17 November 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-11-17: Joni Anniversary

It's exactly two years tomorrow since we adopted Joni.

She is a much loved cat; playful, friendly, and amazingly patient with our toddler. She will be coming with us to Canada and we hope for many more happy years together.