Keep Calm and Carry on Coding

I’ve had a change of name, well the blog has. It is based on the poster which displays the text “Keep calm and Carry On”, this was originally created back in 1939 by the British Government and was intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion (see wikipedia) in the World War II. The new title is “Keep Calm and Carry On Coding”, it grew from a conversation about these posters one geek filled lunch time. Here’s a little hacked version of the poster based on one from wikimedia (here):

Keep Calm and Carry On Coding Poster
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Yes to AV

Today’s the day we find out of Britain is the sensible country it believes it to be, or one controlled by unbelievable scare stories. Yes, it’s a referendum, this one about the “Alternative Vote” voting (AV) over the “First past the Post” voting (FPTP).

I’ll be voting yes for AV today because whatever way you look at it, it is Better than the current system. It’s not about which party wants AV or which person doesn’t want FPTP it’s about making the voting system in this country fairer, avoiding wasted votes and voting for the people you want. Continue reading “Yes to AV”

Amazon Kindle Support – impressive

In the last couple of days I’ve been very impressed with how the Amazon Kindle customer support is handled – in fact I’ve been thoroughly surprised at how efficient it is.

I’ve been using my Kindle since September with no problems. One of my first purchases was the Independent newspaper and this gets streamed to the Kindle automatically every morning, when I wake up it’s there waiting for me. That was up until last Thursday when the download become locked in “pending”. Continue reading “Amazon Kindle Support – impressive”

Kindle Formats, Calibre, Conversions and “The Last Ring-bearer”

I came across a book called “The Last Ring-bearer” (by Kirill Yeskov) recently, and decided it would make a nice addition to my Kindle collection. It’s not sold by Amazon so there’s no Kindle specific format – in fact it isn’t sold by anyone – at least not in Britain – so I needed to convert.

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PhpGedView, SourceForge and the US Government

I originally installed PhpGedView back in 2007. It’s an open source and free web program for managing family trees and based on the universal Gedcom file format commonly used in many genealogical websites and applications. I’ve been using it on and off for several years very successfully – all credit to the open source programmers – with very few problems. However its been on my TODO list to upgrade since maybe 2008. I finally got around to updating it.

Screenshot of the webtrees homepage.

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10:10 Carbon Footprint Reduction

Back at the end of 2009 I signed a pledge to reduce my carbon footprint by 10%, called 10:10, here’s my results.

Well, it was close… depending on how you calculate it… although in another sense I totally failed.


First of all it’s worth saying I’ve always tried to have a low Carbon Footprint so I was starting from a fairly low base – well I’d like to think so, must of my electrical hardware has a high energy rating and they are switched off when not in use. However, one area I thought I’d be able to make some progress on was lighting. Low-energy bulbs should be an easy way to cut back so I replaced all but two bulbs in my house with these.

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What Star Trek species are we?

Star Trek, a TV show that began in the 1960’s, is one of the most popular TV shows ever. Last years big box office movie release showed that it is still a show that many people want to watch and I believe this is because, at its heart, it has always shown a positive future for humanity. It’s a world – no, a galaxy –  in where humans explore the cosmos for no more reason than to see what’s there, there is no financial gain involved, indeed money no longer has any meaning. People work for the good of others towards a common goal. And, of course, they have interesting, exciting, important and ultimately entertaining voyages from one star system to the next.

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What is Englishness

The Independent had a short story on what, today, it means to be English, and if there is such a thing as “Englishness”. It mentioned the Town of Ripley in Derbyshire, just next door to my home town. Apparently this is one of the most English places in England (not sure if that also means “in the world” too) so does this make me one of the most English people in the world?

I write this at the top of a hill looking over the green fields and the autumn woods – the quintessential image of England – as I try to work out what makes me English. Is it our history? It certainly plays a large part but this is always mixed up with “British” history and difficult to prise apart. Of the separate parts of Britain it is Scotland that has a very distinct identity, Wales a slightly less identity but still a recognisable culture of it’s own, England does not seem to have a clear image of its own.

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