Silence at last?

by Simon Email

Just received a Tranquil PC http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalog/T7-330_Barebones.html

Very small - and hopefully very quiet, to replace my "quiet" Dell PowerEdge - which currently fills my office with horrible noise.

jQuery

by Simon Email

After using a bit and feeling confused - particularly by the weird looking syntax - I've been reading about the Javascript library jQuery.

Understanding it requires both learning about some of the more obscure parts of Javascript syntax, and thinking in a kind of functional programming way.

I'm used to thinking in an "object oriented way". With jQuery you're often dealing with the result of a function, rather than an individual object.

The way you chain functions together ends up making it look a little like lisp.

Being an old-timer I can't get over how quickly jQuery has come to prominence - it was invented at the tail end of 2005.

The other strange thing is that what is an elegant bit of tricky programming syntax and concepts has come to be used for lots of visual trickery. It's fusing some serious language skills with graphic design, and brings together two quite disparate communities...

Le Carre

by admin Email

I'm in an a John Le Carre reading-fest at the moment.

I like his mixture of "derring-do" and prosaicness.

I've left it so long to read them because I was put off by the TV series - which seemed impenetrable to me when I was young - and by the association with Ian Fleming, whose books I find unreadably trivial.

To me now, his books are neither impenetrable or trivial.

I find the books interesting and timely in various ways:

*) most of the characters are men approaching middle-age, who are starting to feel a bit jaded about things (like many I know :-) )

*) the men have a penchant for secrecy - and all seem to be failing in their relationships with their wives. From watching my son, I can see that secrecy is a particularly masculine trait

*) most of the stories are set in the 70s and 80s when the UK was quite a drab, poor and down-at-heel place. This is the way it's going now, after the heady days of conspicuous borrowing and expenditure.

"Discovering" Permaculture

by Simon Email

I recently "discovered" permaculture - through reading about Ben Law's self-build house.

It wasn't a term I'd come across before - and it's at least 30 years old.

There's nothing particularly "new" about it - but it combines a load of ideas under a single title - most of which I've come across and been interested in before.

A "new" one for me was the concept of the "Permaculture Design Course". At first this seemed odd - I associated "design" with designing fashionable looking objects out of plastic or metal.

In fact the "design" is of how to arrange your life so that you live sustainably. In particular, which interests me most, how to design your house and surrounding land so that you can grow your own food, generate your own electricity and maintain a healthy ecology of plants and animals.

I've been an (very) amateur allotment holder for many years. The permaculture ideas are inspiring me to look afresh at our garden and the small plot of allotment land we have.

Very important article on Javascript Hijacking in AJAX

by Simon Email

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