Mnemozzyne

My personal blog, loosely named after the Greek god­dess of memory.


Adversarial Wordle IRL

I love pen and paper games and I’ve discovered a new one. Wordle is everywhere at the moment. Even Google have added a little Easter Egg if you search for it. Thank you to Hamish at work who introduced me to its daily, self-contained, mentally invigorating joys. First thing to say - Wordle makes a good pen and paper game. Dull parent tip: it’s a good way to get children to practise spelling without them realising, and for a real challenge, play in your head(s).

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Review of 2021: highs and lows

An end-of-year blog post to try and get myself back into the habit of writing again. 2021 has been about the same length as all the previous years I’ve been alive, and has had its fair share of challenges and happy memories. Bird of the year: Golden Eagle Our family’s staycation megatour of the Outer Hebrides in our campervan Beyoncé had a lot of incredible high points. The actual high point was 528m above sea level when we all made it up Tòdun on Harris.

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Sparking a thought

I heard today that someone I work with was struck by lightning! They are fine. A peculiar feeling has sprung up inside me: I really want to know what a lightning strike feels like. Not to the extent that I am going to go out and seek electrocution, for obvious reasons. It’s a mixture of curiosity and awe with quite a lot of envy. Mostly I’d like to be able to tell that story first hand, I think.

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No power tools or tools kept in this van

Seen on the back of a van a while back: an inverse pedantic notice. The set of all tools includes the set of power tools, right? Save yourself some words! On a Venn diagram, there is nothing in the “power tools” set which isn’t also in the “tools” set. Then again, it might be better represented as an Euler diagram. I particularly like this example of an Euler diagram: British Isles Euler diagram - in fact it was while researching the overlaps between British Isles and United Kingdom that I first entered the set of people who realise that lots of so-called Venn diagrams are actually Euler diagrams.

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An escape room for developer teams

I can’t help it: I have an insatiable desire to program computers to do things. My latest hobby project pretty much assumes that others do, too. In response to covid-imposed remoteness, seeing dev teams struggle with coherence and the strain that teams get subjected to in such circumstances, I built a thing. I’d had the idea for a little while, and I might well have missed the boat here (lockdown has been full on, my coding time limited), but hey.

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Sula Sauce

Heinz have hit a sweet spot with this product in our house. That’s right: another high entropy cupboard product. Or should that be fridge product? No longer does Iris have to mash two sauces together to create her world famous “Sula Sauce”. I already have a world view that divides food into “better with mayonnaise” and “other” so I am pretty much right in the traction beam here. Iris shares my love for the white stuff and first tried mixing it with ketchup years ago, so the big corporations are playing catch up here.

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Scribble school

As part of a covid lockdown, we have already had a remote Christmas and for lots of people schools are closed at the moment. We have two full-time worker parents in our family and that means “screen schooling” is all too prevalent. Recently we have launched an experiment with my parents: I thought it worth a write up. A lot of what I could find online was either aimed at teachers running classes, or very basic tech grandparenting (“try a video call instead of using your telephone”!

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The Owl and the Cowpat...

…went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green spreadsheet. I’ve written before about my love for wiggly lines. Well, I had occasion earlier this week to draw a wiggly line quickly in Microsoft Excel. Delighted to spot this little vignette. (I know it’s an XY scatter plot not a wiggly line but this was how it first appeared)

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Feedback Loops

The most popular post on my blog (at the moment) is a how-to post about locking a VW Passat without activating the alarm. It gets a respectable amount of traffic and I’m always pleased by a small drip feed of grateful messages I get through my contact form. This post is another Volkswagen related how-to. Although I suspect it won’t generate the same traffic levels because it’s even more niche. Who knows.

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The Mozz law of pricing

When I were a lad studying science I always dreamed of having a fundamental constant named after me, or maybe a unit or a law. Not that my achievements would even register on the scale: I’m certainly not claiming I’ve ever got near Planck, Newton and other such giants. The name of Gauss (Johann Carl Friedrich, that is) kept coming up during my lectures: he seems to have earned quite some naming rights.

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