26 Sep

Matt has an Operation

Matt broke his thumb and is at hospital for an operation with Ann. All went well. They let him home specially since he is keen to go to the Newcastle Uni Visit Day tomorrow. Ann and I are driving them up.

24 Sep

DB nears private sector

If all goes according to plan, the long-anticipated partial privatisation of Germany’s national railway will finally come to fruition by the end of this year. A 24·9% stake in the newly-established operating business DB Mobility Logistics AG is due to be floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Target date is Nov­ember 5, although there have been suggestions that this might have to be delayed because of the weakening German economy and the global credit crunch. Nevertheless, Federal Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee and Deutsche Bahn AG Chairman Hartmut Mehdorn are pressing ahead. Tiefensee, in particular, is keen to get the sale completed well ahead of the national elections scheduled for September 2009.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/3f8ebm

09 Sep


No, not the computer kind. I have been down with a cold-virus since Friday. Coughing, sinuses etc. But, as always with me, a continuous painful headache, or series of headaches that wander all over my skull. My mate Simon has a weak chest and sinuses, it looks like I have a weak head when it comes to virii. I have been working using my laptop and keeping warm and topped up with blackcurrant and paracetomol drinks. I am sure it will lift soon.

06 Sep

Back to Work but now Ill

Been back to work with a huge bang! A week of seminars and meetings in the Netherlands. Great to see colleagues again and I feel good and confident about the RETRACK project. Delft is a lovely town, so very charming and yet living and vibrant as well. Sadly I was drowned in rainstorms several times and I have awoken today with my sore throat far worse, something heading to my ears and nose and my chest getting wheezy. I had my friends Simon and Andrew coming today but I decided I needed to be a good host and offer them the choice not to catch my illness. So I am on my own, Ann is in London, and despite my introverted tendencies I am quite lonely. Ah well. Bed and rest and I hope I shake it off.

19 Aug

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Ann and I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 16th-19th August 2008 and had a great time. The city is beautiful and stylish and compact, the venues far more pleasant than the tents we are used to folk festivals and the acts were pretty darned fun.

My favourites were: Jimeoin, Shakespeare for Breakfast and the excellent production of On the Waterfront produced by Steven Berkoff.

We shall go again and I shall be at Edinburgh again as soon as I can..

12 Aug


Do you have an older machine? Is it straining to keep up with XP or is it still running Windows 98 or ME? Have you tried Linux and found that the GNOME or KDE environments are just too much for your old computer? Well, before you run to PC World to waste a shedload of money on a new box, consider Xubuntu.

Xubuntu is my old friend Ubuntu Linux, but with a very keen eye on running on older and less powerful computers. It does this by (paradoxically) only using the most up to date software and limiting the number of extra libraries and services it runs. It also pre-installs faster lighter applications where they will probably meet your needs (so Abiword and Gnumeric as word processor and spreadsheet rather than the hog that is OpenOffice). If you want you can still install the heavier versions if you need them. [Do you know just how eay it is to install Ubuntu Linix software?]

XFCE DesktopXubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment, meaning that it will run fast while still delivering a user-friendly interface. It’s a little like a simple Mac, but in many ways it also brings to mind the less complex days of GEM, Windows 3, System 9 and other windowing systems of the 80s and 90s.

What all this means is that your PC, with at least 193Mb of RAM, and even an old processor (I type this on a Pentium 3 500Mhz) will zip along as fast if not faster than it did when new and shiny. Now.. as long as you don’t need to run the latest graphics card monsters from a games shop.. that could save you lots of pennies to spend on something more interesting instead..

Go Xubuntu!

11 Aug

On me Travels again

I am up in Newcastle working on some papers and Delphi survey design work. I have dropped off Furnace leaflets at Travelling Man and Forbidden Planet. Good or bad there was a sale in TM and I picked up the Blue Rose rpg and the World of Aldea book at half price. It’ll be a nice read.. when I get through the pile.

I found the Masterplan podcasts in which Chris Birch of Cubicle 7 Entertainment talks about two licensed properties they’re working with: Starblazer Adventures & the Doctor Who RPG. Masterplan Podcasts. Both fascinating, and I know gspearing is very keen to get his hands on Starblazer.

I have watched all of Series 1 of Andromeda last week, ending today. It’s great old skool SF space opera, and I have to say I love it. Nathan and I want to work on a Savage Worlds SF setting and I am going to ensure that it’ll be supported by a set of SW rules/writeups that I can easily use for Andromeda games, since my friend Martin H is also a great fan. A huge Andromeda/Farscape mash up would also be fun.

The weather has been poor all weekend, but it’s been quite fresh and sunny here in Newcastle. I am here until Wednesday, at home office on Thursday and off to the Edinburgh Festival next weekend.