Thursday, January 31, 2013

January round-up

Well, leaving work at around half-past five, the clear sky was still blue. Dark blue, admittedly, but definitely not night-black. The corner is well turned; and as an additional sign of progress, some time in the last few days, the snowdrops have come out in the front garden.

And I close the month with 178 miles cycled, and the promise of a wet Friday morning, which will break my run of cycle to work Fridays.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Got home from work today with the car odo reading 7777. Given that the worst of the long nights is well behind us, that's looking to give another very low total for the year.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We're all going on a Google Holiday...

Having been prompted by a post on the Cycling Holidays Google+ Community asking for pictures, I put up a gallery from my holiday to the Vendée back in 2005. And then I thought to my self to check how Google Maps (and Streetview) had come along since the last time I went to France, to see if I could actually find some of the places I'd taken pictures of.

Back in '06, when I first used Google Maps to provide me with detailed street maps for terminal guidance, the streets were there, aerial photography was very coarse grained, and of course Streetview didn't yet exist. Now, a fair amount of the '05 route was covered, or at least paralleled on the other side of a river or canal; and it was surprising quite how much of the route I remembered while virtually jaunting along it.

Which led me to digging out the paper maps from the '05 and '06 holidays, and retrospectively adding approximate maps to my blogged accounts, after reprising significant sections of the way from the comfort of my study, doing a virtual summer while the snow lay around outside.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Recent Reading

In the Mouth of the Whale, by Paul McAuley

Set in the future of The Quiet War/Gardens of the Sun (either ~1500 years or 3.5 teraseconds, depending on who's telling it; but as there's a factor of 100 difference between those, who can tell?). And, yeah. Three interleaved tours of the balloon factory and a literal dea ex machina ending.

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds

This one justifies its tour of the balloon factory as a scavenger hunt around the Solar System, intermixed with elephants. And the following volumes in the sequence seem likely to be taking the scavenger hunt further afield yet, though I shan't be in any hurry to follow.

EmbassyTown by China MiƩville

This one actually has an interesting idea about language and communication, though it takes its sweet time getting there, with a lot of scene setting that skirts around the really significant features of the eponymous enclave before actually setting up the salient parts of the status quo and its disruption. Easily, however, the best of the bunch.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A journey of a thousand miles begins with...

Well in this case, with the new year having dawned bright, if breezy, it began with a thirty mile bike ride, looping into the more rolling country to the south of Cambridge, having started off into the wind. So that's about 1% of what I want to do this year already accounted for.

And then I did a bit more tidying up in the garden, mainly clearing up dead crocosmia straw; though if the mild weather continues, I shall be wanting to mow the lawn soon (as indeed one of the neighbours was doing today), as well as needing to prune the apple trees. Maybe this weekend