Two weeks in Devon and not a drop of cider

Actually it was one week in Devon and a week in Wales. But the Guinness was good and the Murphy’s was better.

Flattr this!

Automated philosophy

I am indebted to Crys for pointing me in the direction of InspiroBot:

[A]n artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence.

You know the sort of thing, those wannabe inspirational posters that people keep obliviously posting all over the internet.

What InspiroBot does is allow you to generate these at random by simply clicking on a button. The joy of it is that the program is a lot better at grammar than it is at content.

Here’s an example:

Are past lives the orgasm of a vacuum?

Flattr this!

Mind The Gap

University of Chicago statistics major and admitted “geography and data nerd” Sasha Trubetskoy has use the iconography of the London Underground map to develop a map detailing the extent of Roman Roads circa 125AD. The result is spectacular.

Via Big Think

Flattr this!

Quote of the Day: A British film for British Brexiteers

Passport to Pimlico isn’t just a hilarious movie. It’s the greatest mockery of independence ever made on film. It’s the perfect allegory of how enticing and yet deceitful rushed “sovereignty” can be. The lesson learnt is that a chop-chop separation is both unfeasible and undesirable. Particularly because there was never a requirement for breakaway, and the whole process was short-sighted, driven by whimsical personal ambitions and a delusional notion of self-sufficiency. Just like Brexit.

Victor Fraga arguing that Passport to Pimlico is the ultimate anti-Brexit movie.

Flattr this!

The Poo Card Game

Because who doesn’t like flinging poo at each other? Fortunately, this is a card game and not for real. And it’s quite a fun card game if you are playing with a pair of seven-year-olds.

What you get is about 100 brightly coloured cards which you play to through poo, defend against or dodge poo or clean yourself — along with a few event cards just to stir things up a bit. The object of the game is to throw poo at your opponents without getting too covered yourself — if you do, you’re out of the game and the last monkey standing is the winner.

The gameplay itself is remarkably simple and both of the twins picked it up very quickly — even down to reading the special instructions on some of the cards. I think the design of the cards helps a lot here, not only are the cards fun to look at but there is a consistency among card types that makes it very easy to see what sort of hand you have.

That said, there is an element of strategy to the game which keeps the game interesting even after the initial novelty has worn off. Admittedly, we only opened the game today, but I can already see many ways of using and combining cards to gain all sorts of advantages.

All in all, this is a quick, easy to learn, easy to play and entertainingly silly game that moves along at a pace that ensures that no-one gets bored. Indeed, defending against poo and dodging rebounds keeps everyone involved even when it’s not their turn.

We shall certainly be playing this again, and I would love to see how it works in a much larger group.

Flattr this!

Shotwell ate my photos

I’m not sure what happened, but when I launched the Shotwell photo management application a couple of days ago, it started deleting my entire library of photos and by the time I realised what was happening, they were gone. Fortunately I have a backup, but that only goes as far as the middle of 2016, for he rest PhotoRec proved to be a life-saver (note to self — next time make sure to uncheck all the file types you don’t want to recover).

What did strike me when recovering my JPGs was the number of files that have been sitting on my hard drive that I had never actively downloaded. Clearly these are all images on various websites that I have visited. While I understand that a browser needs to download the contents of a page in order to display it, I was slightly taken aback at just how much of my browsing history was captured in these deleted files.

For now, though, most of my photos are restored and I am continuing with the slow and painful process of going through the recovered photos, removing duplicates and copying them back into my photos folder.

Once this is done, I shall be uninstalling Shotwell and looking for a safer photo management solution. To be fair, it is possible that I did something foolish when launching Shotwell — although what, I have no idea — but even if that is the case, I am not going to trust an application that starts deleting stuff without warning.

And I really should start thinking about a better backup strategy.

Flattr this!

Kortrijk is watching you

The city of Kortrijk has plans to monitor visitors’ whereabouts in detail. The city will know, to within 10 metres, where you are, what you are doing and where you came from. And they want to capture as much information as they can get away with in order “to take tailor-made decisions” because “Measuring is knowing.”

My first thought, when I read this, was that it sounds like an awfully huge invasion of privacy to try and track a whole city’s worth of people to this level of detail. Of course, I shouldn’t have worried:

They just track smart phones.

I don’t know whether to facepalm or headdesk.

Flattr this!