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Comparing Docker images log - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 2:29pm

I haven't written much yet about what I've been up to at work. Right now, I'm making changes to the sources of a set of Docker images. The changes I'm making should not result in any changes to the actual images: it's just a re-organisation of the way in which they are built.

I've been using the btrfs storage driver for Docker which makes comparing image filesystems very easy from the host machine, as all the image filesystems are subvolumes. I use a bash script like the following to make sure I haven't broken anything:

Network Attached Storage log - Thu, 21/01/2016 - 11:34am
little and large

little and large

I've just upgraded my home Network Storage box. Until now, it was very discreet, about the size of a car radio. It lived on one of my bookcases and I was very happy with it but it could only take 2.5" sized hard drives and I've outgrown what you can fit on them.

Game boxes log - Fri, 08/01/2016 - 6:12pm
a big pile of computer game boxes

computer game boxes

My brother and I found these whilst tidying up the stuff that we've left at our parent's house. What on earth should we do with them?

Download codes are distinct copies of albums log - Mon, 07/12/2015 - 8:02pm

In CDs should come with download codes, I argued that CDs should come with a coupon to obtain a digital copy of the album, much like a lot of modern vinyl releases do.

On BBC 6 Music log - Fri, 20/11/2015 - 10:10pm

Back in July I had a question of mine read out on the Radcliffe and Maconie programme on BBC 6 Music. The pair were interviewing Stephen Morris of New Order and I took the opportunity to ask a question about backing vocals on the 1989 song "Run2". Here's the question and answer (318K MP3).

smartmontools log - Fri, 20/11/2015 - 9:07pm

It's been at least a year since I last did any work on Debian, but this week I finally uploaded a new version of squishyball, an audio sample comparison tool, incorporating a patch from Thibaut Girka which fixes the X/X/Y test method. Shamefully Thibaut's patch is nearly a year old too. Better late than never...

Useful Mac programs log - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 2:57pm

A little over a year ago I wrote about how I'd been using a Mac as my main work machine. I hadn't written anything on the subject since. Here are four useful Mac programs that I can recommend to people.

Ikiwiki-in-a-box Docker container log - Fri, 16/10/2015 - 3:12pm

For a while I've been wanting to tidy up some of my existing ikiwiki hacks, as well as test some changes I'd like to make to this site, but I hadn't had much success with setting up environments to play with it. That was until earlier in the year, when as a bit of an experiment I tried to put ikiwiki in docker.

Johnny Marr log - Mon, 12/10/2015 - 4:04pm

Last night I saw Johnny Marr play at Newcastle University Student's Union. This is the first time I've been to a gig at the refurbished NUSU. I think the last gig I saw there was Nouvelle Vague in around 2007.

WadC 2.0 released log - Fri, 25/09/2015 - 8:10pm

This week I released version 2.0 of Wad Compiler, a lazy functional programming language and IDE for the construction of Doom maps.

Version 2.0 is the first version in about four years and adds a fair number of features, most notably the ability to compose textures in your code and a basic command-line interface.

Koločep, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia log - Sat, 19/09/2015 - 9:55pm

Trsteno (near Botanical gardens)

This year, Sarah and I spent two weeks off the coast of Dubrovnik, on Koločep island. We'd never been to Croatia before, and I was a little nervous that if there wasn't much to do on the island, we wouldn't be able to get elsewhere particularly easily. I needn't have worried: We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It might even be my favourite holiday so far.

New camera log - Tue, 21/07/2015 - 3:25pm

Sony RX100-III

Earlier in the year I treated myself to a new camera. It's been many years since I bought one, which was a perfectly serviceable Panasonic FS-15 compact, to replace my lost-or-stolen Panasonic TZ3, which I loved. The FS-15 didn't have a "wow" factor and with the advent of smartphones and fantastic smartphone cameras, it rarely left a drawer at home.

Amiga floppy recovery project log - Wed, 13/05/2015 - 4:19pm
I've still got it!

I've still got it!

Recovered floppy disks

Recovered floppy disks

Deterministic Doom video log - Tue, 28/04/2015 - 9:33pm

My last blog post proved popular, and I've had some requests for a video demonstrating it, so I've put one together:

Deterministic Doom log - Thu, 23/04/2015 - 8:07pm

What happens if you remove randomness from Doom?

For some reason, recently I have been thinking about Doom. This evening I was wanting to explore some behaviour in an old version of Doom and to do so, I hex-edited the binary and replaced the random number lookup table with static values.

Rather than consume system randomness, Doom has a fixed 256-value random number table from which numbers are pulled by aspects of the game logic. By replacing the whole table with a constant value, you essentially make the game entirely deterministic.

Useful script log - Tue, 21/04/2015 - 8:33am

Here's a useful shell procedure:

vigg () { git grep --color=auto -lz "$1" | xargs -r0 sh -c "echo vi +/\"$1\" \"\$@\" < /dev/tty" }

git grep is a very effective way to run a recursive grep over a git repository, or part of a git repository (by default, it limits its search to the sub-tree you are currently sitting in). I quite often find myself wanting to edit every file that matched a search, and so wrote this snippet.

Linux music players, 2015 edition log - Sun, 22/03/2015 - 10:10pm

Now I'm back to Linux on the Desktop for my dayjob, I was slightly nervous about checking out the state of the art for Linux music players; an area I've never felt the Linux desktop was very strong on.

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett log - Thu, 12/03/2015 - 4:12pm
Pratchett and I, around 1998

Pratchett and I, around 1998

Terry Pratchett dies, aged 66.

It looks like his last novel will be The Long Utopia, the fourth book in the Long Earth series, co-written with Stephen Baxter. is not backup log - Sun, 08/03/2015 - 5:44pm

I thinking archiving is important, is great, and I'm proud of what little contribution I've made to date.

Someone recently pointed out that an upload I had made is now inaccessible. In it's place is a short message: this item is unavailable due to issues with its content. What issues are not made clear.


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