2009-01-28

Unlimited Integer Type

In my ideal programming language, the size of the integer type would only be limited by the storage space of the machine, it wouldn't have an artificial limit. It would be like the BigInt type in Java. This is exactly what Clojure does. Brilliant!

There isn't such an elegant solution for floating point numbers. The problem is that 1 / 3, for example, would take up an infinite amount of memory. Clojure uses BigDecimal and its own Ratio type to try and get round this. What's to be done?

2009-01-27

Bundling Firefox with Windows

I'm annoyed that the EU could force Microsoft to bundle Firefox with Windows. If people want a good OS they can buy a computer with Ubuntu. Please allow proprietary software a graceful decline and fall.

2009-01-25

Giant Escaper

My bike has conked out. It wouldn't cost much to repair, but it is 15 years old, and I'd like to get a new one with front and rear suspension. In the meantime I'm borrowing my brother's bike, and haven't actually got round to looking for a new one. My dad and brother are continually on at me to get a new bike, and they have got a point.

My current bike is a Giant Escaper. I've found Giants to be great value, so I'll have a look at what they have to offer first. I think I've narrowed it down to the Reign and Reign X.

Op went okay

My dad's wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year. She's just had an operation, and I'm relieved that it all seems to have gone okay.

2009-01-20

Boycotts to free Palestine?

Laura at work heard about the Bath Free Palestine march, and said there was an article about it in the Bath Chronicle.The article picks up on the idea of boycotts of companies who are associated with supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The march in Bath targeted Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and Lloyds TSB.

I regard boycotts as a second-order activity, the primary action should be through the democratic institutions, particularly national governments and the UN. However, I wouldn't want my money going to support the Israeli occupation, so do the claims of the boycott advocates stack up?

Robert Fisk writes of Howard Shultz (Chairman and CEO of Starbucks) in an article in The Independent:
In 1998, Mr Shultz was awarded the "Israeli 50th Anniversary Tribute Award" from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish Ha-Torah, which is strongly critical of Yasser Arafat and insists that the occupied Palestinian territories should be described only as "disputed".
This is enough to persuade me to get my occasional hot-chocolate from Cafe Nero rather than Starbucks. What about M&S and Lloyds? Well, I'm going to bed now, dear reader. Tell me in the morning what you think about them.

OS Share - Proprietary versus Copyleft

Janos wasn't convinced by the browser share post, so I've done a graph of usage share of desktop operating systems.

2009-01-18

Free Palestine March!



Yesterday Bath marched to free Palestine. These are Russell How's superb photos of the day.



The placard I carried, enlarged so you can see the words.

Incidentally, you can see a police officer in the background. The policing of the event was exceptionally good. Thanks, Avon & Somerset Constabulary!



Protesters walking past a resting busker.



Me holding Dave Andrews' placard. This is one of the problems with reporting. You see I didn't actually understand Dave's placard, and so avoided carrying it. Caught on camera it seems like I'm endorsing the message.



Lots of protesters came with their kids.



The march was something of tour of central Bath, stopping off at shops that the organizers say support Israel. Does M&S really send money to Israel so that they can buy arms? Where am I going to buy my pants?



I don't think I can write a caption for this.



Onlookers. Everyone was really friendly towards us. Many filmed us.



This is a great shot, as it places the action firmly in Bath.



Russell's juxtaposition of signs. Incidentally, Russ was everywhere at once with his camera. I'd see him in the distance, perched on a litter bin, then turn round to see him at my elbow. A peace-loving ninja.



Well, I was probably in a minority on the march in thinking that war is sometimes justified.



Now this was outside one of the two Starbucks in Bath. We were told that money from Starbucks' customers goes to buy Israeli arms. Is that true? If I catch the Uni bus, I'll often pop in for a hot chocolate while I'm waiting. Not any more.



I believe this is outside Starbucks too.



A supporter of the Israeli action walked through the protesters shouting, 'I support Israel! I support Israel!'. There was good-natured applause from the protesters, admiring her courage, if not her message.



The leader of the march in full voice. Congratulations to the organizers, it was very well done.

2009-01-16

Bath Protest March to Free Palestine

Tomorrow I'm going on a protest march in Bath to free palestine. Must make a placard this evening. I'm marching to demand that:
  • Israel end its occupation of Palestine.
  • Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel.
  • For these two things to be enforced if necessary by a UN force.

2009-01-15

Proprietary versus Copyleft


Free, libre, OpenSource. The names are confusing. I use copyleft because it applies to all information; software and content.

With that out of the way, the point of the graph is to show to my colleague Janos, that copyleft software is gaining ground on proprietary software. The numbers are taken from the 'Usage share of web browsers' article on Wikipedia.

2009-01-11

Personal Genome Project

Just registered my interest to participate in the Personal Genome Project.

2009-01-08

Lily Allen: The Fear

I heard Lily Allen on Scott Mills; her quick wit won me as a fan. I've also fallen for The Fear.

2009-01-01

Persepolis

On the Sunday after Christmas, we went for a walk along the Canal to the Mad Hatter for high tea. The plan was to then go back to my house to see a film. It was between Persepolis, Eyes Wide Shut and the English patient. I cut the Gordian Knot and grabbed Persepolis.

Last night at Liz's NYE party I was touched that Sarita said she was really pleased I'd made that choice as she probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise. It was an animated story about an Iranian girl growing up, focussing on the politics of the times. It made us feel lucky to have the freedoms we do in the UK, and more determined to defend them.

Talking of NYE, Tom got in touch with me on Facebook out of the blue, and we met up and went to the various parties. Kazim's staying over as well. Still not feeling too well, temperature over though.