I've not blogged for a couple of days, hence this ragtag collection of unconnected thoughts. Incidentally, I've set a target of a minimum of 5 a week. Easy. Really, it is.


Valentine's Day tomorrow. My attempt at subterfuge failed utterly; my wife spotted the single red rose as I arrived back home. It's on the fireplace now, but at least she doesn't know what I wrote inside the card.

I must add an X on the envelope, it's been 11 years since her first flower, not 10.



I'm finally on the verge of getting the the Raspberry Pi. My first task after connecting it all up, setting identities and updating and installing whatever I think I need: blogging infrastructure.

Of course I'm not going to be doing it the easy way.

  • Install the GitLab\* software and clone my repos locally, bring sure to clone the upstream repo hourly,
  • Install Ruby & support for Ruby gems - if it's not already there,
  • Install the Jekyll static website & blog generator,
  • Install Glynn, a Ruby gem that copies the site to a remote ftp location - my web host's server,
  • Setup a cron job to build & upload my local site every couple of hours,
  • Test it all,
  • Turn it all off, make it headless, turn it on again and wait and see what happens next,
  • Realise I've forgotten to set up SSH on my phone, piss about for a bit longer…

Tip of the iceberg.

\*I chose Gitlab in preference to GitHub - where most of my stuff still resides - because of the free private repos which will allow me to test Glynn with ftp passwords in plain text. Until I've figured it all out Gitlab is it, but I'm not averse to paying GitHub and taking advantage of its community and brand-awareness.



Dash app (Android) for App.net has been misbehaving for a while. I finally decided to uninstall it and use Robin (Drift no longer works at all well.) No notifications support means I've had to setup an IFTTT recipe to alert me via Pushover.

It'd be nice to have Dash's more stable timeline position.

I'll probably go back to Dash quickly, muscle memory and all that…


Tuesday will bring the first home visit by the behavioural specialist assigned to my oldest, autistic, daughter. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, I already feel under the microscope as it is.


Carlo sausage! You know.


It's 8:10pm.\*

A couple of days ago I installed an application program on this thing in my hand. A thing, if not of beauty, then a 4.6 inches (diagonal) thing of awesomeness.

I opened the application program and searched across the wired and wire-less networks until… I found what I was searching for.

And then, then it got a little complicated.

'Amazon Prime Now' could deliver a thing I want between 10pm and midnight.

To my home.


A thing I want at a price I can afford, a price which is reasonable given market forces; but yet a price I simply cannot justify before (or after) payday.

It's a thing I've been waiting for all my adult life: on-demand music, movies, TV, cat litter, towels, chocolates, ski accessories, and something we already have; yes, food.


Got it all and yet I must still find something to complain about.

\*It was.


Daughter 2:

"Mummy, daddy's good at tossing!"

My wife, deadpan:

"Yes, he's a born tosser."

It is of course Shrove - AKA Pancake - Tuesday.

I haven't lost my touch.

Apart from the last, the one poured too thickly, the one I burned.


I have 3 sweaters I wear at work; rotated in an unconscious pattern, washed to an irregular schedule.

Since I wore them regularly, last winter, all three have shrunk in the wash. In a drawer.

Next week, socks!


Another Super Bowl (50, not 'L') over, the serious business of me choosing a team begins.

I was a fan of the San Francisco 49ers when they won it all a couple of times (plus the talk of a 'threepeat'), followed the rebirth and ascendancy of the Jones' Dallas Cowboys, and then, then… went off the boil a bit.

I still watched the games with friends, went to see the Scottish Claymores in the NFL Europe league, even participated in a peripheral manner in helping out an amateur youth team. And helped out with a fanzine.

2004 brought a trip to Ohio, to see the Wauseon high school team, the Bowling Green college team, and the Cleveland Browns play. An amazing weekend. And the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And then bang; I got married, we had children, and my hobby time evaporated somehow.

So, which team?

Should I:

  • Invent a sophisticated analytical technique to determine which now utterly crap team stands the highest likelihood of rising fastest?
  • Work within the confines of my history?
  • Pick the newest (and at the same time one of the oldest) franchise - the Los Angeles Rams?

Maybe I should throw all the team names into a hat. One that Ruby dog hasn't chomped yet.


Not exactly a perfect storm of events, not by any means; nevertheless, we ran out of:

  • Cat litter,
  • Dog food,
  • Dog treats,
  • Cat treats,
  • Carpet urine absorber powder,
  • Dog toys even vaguely resembling their initial, as-purchased, state.

It's Ruby Dog's first birthday on Wednesday; a visit to the pet superstore is perhaps in order.

This, though I might refer to it in the store, is not a shopping list.


I'm sat on the toilet, right now.

Expecting a delivery from Amazon, needing a poo, I'd asked my mother-in-law if she'd keep an eye out for the delivery, mentioned that I'd left the key in the door, and finished by saying "I'm tempting fate here."

The doorbell rang the very instant I sat.

Is telepathy a part of the delivery driver training regime‽


My Fisher Space Pen leaked; the brand's legendary status is in jeopardy! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

(Think calming thoughts Baz…)

On Tuesday I dropped my pen, thought nothing of it.

On Wednesday I noticed excessive smudging (I'm left-handed.)

Today I got my magnifying glass out after a particularly nasty blob of ink appeared on my planner. And transferred to my finger. And highlighter pens. A blob of ink that even after half a day resisted all attempts to cover by careful applications of white paper from an on-a-roll dispenser.

Now the magnifier is ordinarily almost useless, having a too-small, rectangular, lowish powered main glass and a tiny ancillary, but insanely-powerful inset magnifier. It's with this second, a lens having an extraordinarily shallow focus depth, that I found the end of the pen refill had split.

When it dropped, all-of 73cm onto industrial-strength office carpet, it must have impacted something hard-enough to break one side of the ball retaining sleeve.


Yes, I have got a spare refill.


It - a fine point replaced by the new-year medium black - is about to run out.

Living on borrowed time now; it's probably the most excitement I'll have all week.

Let's face it, at work on an otherwise-unremarkable day, I managed to defeat the very best American engineering - a pen designed to write in zero-G, upside-down, underwater, in extraordinarily hostile environments - by dropping it on the floor.

Danger, it follows me everywhere.


It's a myth that the Americans spent squillions of dollars developing the pen whilst the Russians used a pencil. Snopes.com link.


I have a NAS - a network-attached-storage device. Bought to serve photos and video and music to the family and cut our reliance on cloud storage, it has of course failed to live up to its potential.

There are a few photos and songs and videos and a few documents and, well, not much else. The usable Internet speeds we have now, our Amazon Prime video subscription, and the ready availability of girl-friendly entertainment on YouTube, they all conspire against my original vision of an all-encompassing media server.

It's appropriate to note that most of our irreplaceable files are also stored at a couple of cloud storage providers.

"…most of…"?


So, regular backups of our important stuff? Every now and then I make backups from our laptops. But, thus far, not automatically.

What I'm looking for is a program that'll run silently on our Windows laptops\*; a program that'll take whatever exists in a user's folders and put it somewhere safe.

Now I know this bit sounds obvious, but I don't want to have to leave devices on and wait for a timed schedule to start the backup process. This has to happen seamlessly, in real time as the files are manipulated.

Moreover, whatever I get must not lose files deleted from a users computer from backups after 30 days. That knocks both saving stuff into Dropbox folders and making Backblaze backups from my list.

My frontrunners so far are Arq and CrashPlan. Both are probably overkill for our needs, but have solid reputations.

I'd appreciate any advice from existing users, along the lines of:

  • Which service/program is the most unobtrusive and reliable for you?
  • Which cloud storage services are easy to setup with the program, and have the 'best' uptime? Amazon Glacier might be cost-effective but I'm really not keen on waiting hours to get our stuff.

Of course my shortlist candidates have, or will soon have, the attraction of their own storage. 250GB right now seems right, whereas 'unlimited' is far, far beyond our likely needs.

Oh yes, I want to utilise the NAS too for automatic backups.

This is but the start of a journey.

\We're not made of money; only one laptop was bought new, the rest were acquired as a result of family generosity. The new one? Sale *price.


If you've ever watched a Disney or Pixar film you'll know that cute little animals, hulking great animals, otherwise-inanimate objects such as teapots and desk lamps, and vehicles, all can occasionally spring to life possessed (I chose the word carefully) with human characteristics.

Characteristics such as speech, gait, actions, and faces.

There's something endearing about a nonhuman thing doing human things, and the film industry knows this. They don't always get it right, as has been discussed endlessly on the Internet.

A prime example in film is Cars. And Planes. Everyone knows the defining feature of a car's face is its eyes - the headlamps. Yet in Cars, and in Planes, the eyes are the windscreens. It's just wrong.

Earlier, anticipating only to extend my toilet seat streak, I walked into the gents here. After one slightly awkward conversation with a colleague entering behind - a chat about clenching and kids films - I sat.

Cold toilet seat streak preserved, yay!

But could I 'go'? The hell I could. Stage-fright?

The imagined ranks of too-big-and-unnaturally-positioned-eyed vehicles passing my minds eye entirely put me off. The forklift trucks especially, scurrying about, never remaining still…

I don't appear to have a poo-with-eyes emoji in my phone keyboard. Perhaps it's just as well.


Not a packet of potato crisps, for obvious reasons.