Because I forget stuff. Part of

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September 2004

Posts made in September 2004

Half Way

SpaceShipOne has made it’s first X Prize flight, with success. Half way there!! It needs to complete a second flight within two weeks to claim the prize, which is scheduled to happen on the 4th October


Well, it’s in. The big book is handed over. No going back now. Scary.


Comments should now correctly remember details (and forget them etc). If you notice any problems please, er, comment (if the problem is so bad that isn’t possible, email the webmaster).

Bind Me

The big book is being bound. The Printing Unit have quite impressed me with the efficiency with which they’re handling the process. Having given them the thesis at lunch time they tell me it’ll be available for collection at 4 today. I was expecting a least a 24 hour turnaround. And all for the reasonable fee of £3 per copy. The plan is to not annoy the graduate schools office by turning up so late in the afternoon but to actually hand in tomorrow morning (still with a couple of days to spare). I’ll just have to try not to look and spot all the terrible mistakes tonight!

Rich Puddy

Hay, my cat has his own email address which I occasionally check for him. Anyway, he’s had this email from a wonderful Nigerian businessman. All I have to do is get my cat a bank account then send the details. He’s going to be rich ;-)

Printing, Please Wait

Pages are appearing from the printer. This is actually it. I’ve had to force myself to find a place where I stop fiddling and just be done. I could probably spent another four years tweaking, adding, removing, changing. In the end it must be what it is, good enough or not.

This whole experience is certainly turning out a lot more mixed up than I expected. I can’t help being scared that what I’ve produced isn’t good enough, the work hasn’t been hard enough, something. There’s also the relief at having produced anything at all, when I can just about remember when all there was was a blank page. And sadness that this big chunk of something isn’t there anymore. Very mixed up, like I said.

I think I’m probably writing this post partly to distract myself from the whole thing—not have to think about it. I half wonder if I’ll actually be able to hand the bloody thing over at all, or if my hand will convulsivly clench, pull it to my chest to run away and jabber over it in some dark cave. So if you don’t hear from me, that’s where I’ll have gone…

It Cries You Know

Congratulations to Julie and Al on the arrival of Libby Kay. Your daughter will have wonderful parents

Scarily, Nearly Done

So it’s nearly done. There’s one major thing to just check through and the rest is minor tweaks before it’s as finished as it’ll ever be. The thing is, I’m not sure I want it to be done. What do I do if I’m not doing this? I’m beginning to think handing the big book in might be a much stranger experience than simply relief.

Er, Oops

So, just noticed that the bit of thesis I was going to just finish a couple of mornings ago because I was too tired to finish it all three nights ago (or something, I’m not good with time at the moment) never actually got done. So there’s a figure missing from Chapter 4. I’ll just be putting that in (best to notice now, I suppose, rather than just after printing everything out—on which note I now have paper and ink; getting serious).

Getting Closer

Well, there is actually tangible progress. On the big “list of things left to do” I’ve actually crossed out all the “Ultra High Priority” items (i.e. those which have to be done or the thing simply can’t be handed in). I’ve crossed off the majority of “High” too and quite a few “Medium” and “Low”. Might not need that duct tape yet.

Anyway, I’m off to bed now (after appropriate backup updating) in order to be bright and bushy for more thesis tomorrow (or later today—whatever).

Counting Down

Chris Bonet’s revenge shows that’s it’s now officially less than a week. Eeek!

Hey, Chris, that page doesn’t have a doctype so it won’t validate. I don’t know, you could have made an effort ;-)


I just wrote a bunch of stuff about trying to get a sensible error estimate for the Pendry r-factor when applied to MEIS and I know it just reads worse than a first year undergraduate lab report. I’ll just have to make it say something useful later. I think I need some sleep to help the brain work

That was some time ago

Strange the things you stumble across. My old school for instance. I’ll try to resist commenting on the quality of the website (though it is a shame that the pupils don’t seem to be involved with writing and maintaining it—I’m sure that would integrate nicely with the curriculum). Yes, many moons ago I started off there. Over ten years ago in fact. Did I miss the reunion now?

Displacement Activity

I’m aiming to be printing Sunday. So this was a good time to carefully wind into a loop all those twisty cable tie thingies in the toolbox, right ;-) And write this blog post…


Ahrr, it be Talk Like A Pirate Day today. All updates to yon thesis ‘ll be in pirate talk for the day. That sh’ud get intrestin’ comment in the viva now.

Generous Firefox

Just thought I’d note the contribution of Kevin Karpenske who has given the domain name to the Mozilla Foundation. Nice one. The new page could do with an actual download link however, rather than making people click through to another domain which isn’t obviously going to

In mentioning this I’ll also mention Firefox 1.0PR (i.e. the “Preview Release” of the 1.0 milestone) is out.

Haunting Technology

Seems Eric Meyer’s technology has started talking amoung itself. Well, with such a luminary owning it, it was bound to happen. I always suspected something like that, even before Toy Story, but I also included the bloody furniture in the conspiracy.

Attacked by Furniture

Tonight I tripped over the living room door, which caused me to fall into the dining table and a chair. Ow. Scrape along the inside of my arm complete with cut to the wrist. Also a couple of deep scratches to the stomach and a sore knee. Must be more careful.

How Many Entries?

Silly me. When I set up this MoveableType installation I made the navigation for the pages display the categories complete with the number of entries in each category. Stupidly though I managed to set it up so that the number of entries wouldn’t update (unless I rebuilt the page it was being shown on—so it would work on the front page but not older entry pages). With a bit of jiggery to the templates and a server side include I’ve sorted that out (I’m sure the new dynamic stuff in MT 3.1 would probably help—and I do have some plans for that feature, if only reducing the load when building a new entry—but I don’t really have the time to upgrade and play right now).

Edit: I should point out that adding the numbers up won’t get you the current 101 number of entries, because entries in more than one category get counted in both. Also I might mention that the to the last entry wasn’t getting updated either but now is. Finally I fixed search results so clicking “more” now goes to the entry rather than performing the search again (I’m not sure why that was happening, but it seems it no longer does).


Dear me. Newcastle United actually won! 3-0 over Brimingham :-)

Edit: And I just realised that this is post number 100 to this blog! What do you know…

Crash, Bang :-(

NASA’s Genesis probe, which has been collecting particles from around the Sun since the mission was launched back in 2001, has crashed into the Utah desert. The probe was supposed to deploy two parachutes (which it seems it didn’t) to slow it before being plucked out of the air by helicopters to prevent even the most gentle of freefalls.

The delicate crystals which have been used to collect the particles are certainly now shattered. It also seems that the probe has cracked open, exposing those crystals to contamination from the desert when they should only have seen he inside of a clean room. All in all, a bit buggered :-(

Early indications suggest that the explosive charges which should have deployed the parachutes are still live, which means even retrieval has to be cautious.

Update: The capsule has been moved to the clean room. Eye witness reports talk of a breach in the science capsule, which pretty much means horrible amounts of contamination. It sounds very much like no science will be recoverable :-(

Update: The NASA guys are actually being quite optimistic. Some of the all important crystals seem to be more than dust. The hope is the solar particles are embedded within the crystals while the dirt is just on the surface. Rinse well in soapy water, so to speak. Fingers crossed. The finger of blame meanwhile seems to be swinging towards one of the batteries, which may have overheated early on in the mission, which eventually meant the explosive charges didn’t fire to release the chute. Let’s hope it is a problem isolated to Genesis; NASA’s Stardust mission to return cometry dust is cast pretty much from the same die.

Update: More optimism from NASA. Looks like some pieces are intact. Good news. Science could come out of this yet.

Backup Paranoia

It’s getting scarily close to deadlines. So, if my laptop explodes, just how many backups of the big book do I have? Well, the thesis lives on the laptop. There’s also a copy on the desktop machine. Then there’s the main backup, which is actually a compact flash card that goes everywhere with me. Then there’s the main backup CD. Of course that’s not it. Oh no. There’s the odd and even sequence CDs which get alternatively updated, one of which tends to live in the car. Finally there’s the finished CD, which gets an update when a chapter gets finished.

I’m beginning to think this might be a little over the top. I’ve actually had very few problems with any sort of data loss. Doesn’t mean I’m about to relax the regime though—not this close to the deadline. I do think my normal maintenance backups have probably suffered some–there’s only so much CD burning a boy can take–but hey, what else could be important?

Anyway, I suppose if everything else fails there’s paper copies of chapters. I could employ an army of monkeys to reproduce them. If it gets that far though I just know they’d endlessly produce Shakespear instead.

Timely Irony

No transfers. No manager. Not much hope. Oh well, it’s a new month, flip over the official calendar. Oh look, a picture of Jonathon Woodgate…


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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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