Mnemozzyne

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


Timeslaps

Inspired by Green Planet, in which some wonderful sped-up plant proliferation is captured, I’ve been working on a little hobby project. My very own “timeslap” (this is Finn’s name for timelapse, and I think it’s a big improvement). I had been looking for an excuse to get a recent Raspberry Pi and try out the HQ camera module. My first idea was to capture the spring emergence of the leaves on the big lime trees outside our house, but a better opportunity presented itself: Mum and Dad have been having their garden “done” over the past few weeks.

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Not-so-smartphone

I had at least an hour and a half this morning to contemplate this feature request. Apple, Google, are you listening? Here’s something I’d like my smartphone to do, please: “Good evening. It seems you have travelled away from home at a popular time of year for holiday making, accompanied by your family members, to a well known tourist destination. You’ve connected to a hotel’s wifi and I’ve noticed several transactions from the bar of a licensed premises.

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Nocturnal visitors

Working at my cobbled-together-for-covid-still-totally-fine makeshift standing desk in the kitchen a few nights ago, I was distracted by a peculiar noise. Like somebody with a cold hyperventilating, and coming from the bottom of the thick beech hedge alongside our garden, it was loud enough for me to hear it even though the windows and door were closed. I swung the door open and was astonished to see a long, black and white striped face fossicking along: a badger!

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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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