hrm's blog

Foot(er)ing the bill

I've just had an email from a professional firm about some work I want them to do. The email breaks down as follows:

  • 1 line of greeting
  • 5 lines of content
  • 2 lines of sign-off
  • 5 lines of personal signature (position, phone number)
  • 7 lines of company details (address, companies house info)
  • 3 lines of partners names and company phone number
  • 7 lines of legal disclaimer
  • 9 lines explaining how to read the attached PDF document

You know your garden is overgrown when...

… you need to use your strimmer. On the patio.

That is all.


Dear Eclipse,

I've set my preferences on your system to not receive marketing mails. Therefore, it seems strange to get an email from your marketing manager telling me this fact, which I know very well, and telling me that I could get all sorts of marketing mails if I signed up for them.

Sitting up and giving notice

After a few weeks of negotiations, and another couple of agonising weeks of waiting for the paperwork to come through, I've been formally offered a job at Reading University's ACET group, working on a project called VERA. Initially, I'll be doing work on cross-database searching with peer-to-peer software, although there's a big bunch of other things that need doing... 3D visualisation, semantic web, usability, and open-sourcing an established piece of software.

The Big Read meme

I've just seen this on nmg's blog.

Copy the list, bold the ones you're read. Underline the ones you loved. Put the ones you're going to read in italics. Marvel at how far you still have to go. Act all concerned over the fact that the average person has only read 6 of these.

Making quilt and subversion work together

At work, I've recently taken up managing the codebase of GridSAM. Part of this involved arranging and moving a whole load of patches from one svn repository (maintained internally) to another (the SourceForge site). Subversion on its own isn't all that good at this, so I started using quilt to manage the patches. The workflow goes something like this:

Ooh, just a minute... has anyone got...

Having been to many conferences over the last 10 years, one thing that I find myself (as a part of the audience) subjected to with depressing frequency is this scenario:

Chairman: "And our next speaker is Fred Nurk, who will be talking about Prestressed Bacon Yoghurt..."

[Nurk plugs in laptop; looks at projection screen.]


[Much fiddling and pressing of keys. Projection screen stays blank.]

[5 minutes later]

Nurk (weakly): "Has anyone got a USB stick?"

[A USB stick is found. The presentation is copied to it, and then onto someone else's machine. The talk starts, 10 minutes late.]

In search of...

I found this handy little site yesterday: Go to a website, use its search function to search for "TEST", then paste the resulting URL into, and it will write an OpenSearch plugin for Firefox, Mozilla, or IE7 that you can download and install.

A successful Verdi

We performed the Verdi Requiem in Winchester Cathedral last night. It was a superb concert -- the soloists were great (particularly the bass and the soprano), and the orchestra was good. The big difference in the choir, though, was almost certainly the fact that we sang without scores. This meant that we had few places to look other than the conductor. As a result, we were tighter rhythmically, and much more responsive to the conductor's indications on dynamics.

It's plugging hot!

After vlad died last week, I rebuilt him with a new hard drive in the main system RAID array. This drive was twice the size of the old one – 160GiB, not 80GiB – so I had a bunch of spare space not being used. Yesterday, I bought another 160GiB drive, and decided to test the whole SATA hotplug thing...