Unblogged Vienna

September meant a trip to Vienna to present at the 10th International Conference on Computational Bioengineering. I was presenting in a sub-section of the conference set up as a memorial for Professor John Clement.

The company was great, the food very good and the Ferris wheel was very high, and I didn’t catch covid. I’ll call that a win.

The main reason the whole thing went unwritten about is that my telephone no longer talks to this website. There has been some bit-rot being the scenes, or an “upgrade” has locked me out. This means updates may be even more sporadic than usual until I get this fixed.

There are photos on Flickr

Open House 2023

After a few years of not going to any open house events, we had a few we wanted to visit this year. As usual we had zero luck in any of the big attraction ballots.

Then the weather hit. Basically yesterday (Saturday) and today were just too hot to wander around London.

Yesterday we visited the union chapel in Islington, and attempted to find a cool breeze down by the Thames at the river police HQ (which was closed).

Today, we visited a beam engine that Open House said was in steam (it wasn’t) but not being in steam meant we got a good tour on top of the engine, and down below where the sewage pumps live.

Top of a beam engine, looking along the beam towards the cylinder end.

PULP at Finsbury Park

Nearly two hours of music from Jarvis and co, not quite the entirety of Different Class, but close, with a few newer tracks and a couple of older ones too.

Excellent fun. And we found out which of the neighboring fans lost their virginity to Sorted for Es and Wizz.

Writing Tools

I don’t think I have unreasonable expectations of my writing tools, I just want to keep what I write in one place accessible from anywhere I have a computer, and with some sort of index or some way of searching what I’m writing. I’ve tried a few different systems, the one I’m using at the moment is Joplin. I like it, I have several notebooks, each with various drafts in them, some of which will see the light of day here. Others are just for my own documentation and some of the various work purposes.

Joplin is nice. I can write Markdown and it mostly does a good job of turning it into something looks reasonable on the screen, I’m quite a fan mark down now. Are used to use a lot of LaTeX and also got into the mediawiki formatting but they can be a bit cumbersome and they also give you too many options to play with. You have to resist the urge to have a drop cap at the start of every paragraph and you complete too much with the CSS. Markdown by default gives me headings, bold and italic a few list formats and lets me insert images, just what I need really.

One major complaint I have with Joplin, is it tries to be too useful, I like that it tries to have some version control built-in, so I can roll back to different versions of any writing. That’s really useful. What I don’t like is the way it handles inserted images. If I am writing about my dog for example, I might want to put in a photo that probably has a filename, something like photoofmydog.jpeg, Joplin doesn’t really seem to deal with this, instead of a nice human readable filename it takes the file into its version control and give it a nice computery type of name, that looks like a cross between a uuencoded file and IP6 address and some random digits of ?. This isn’t such a problem as long as the writing and the file state in Joplin, but when I come to export it, to put it on this website or somewhere else, or if I just want to search for photoofmydog.jpeg, then I’m kind of stuck, the random digit file name propagates through all the way to the screen of the reader; I don’t like this.

I could write some tools to parse the output from Joplin, and then feed it to pandoc other software for producing nicely formatted output, but that just really seems more work than I want to go into. I know Joplin is open source, so in theory I could just go in and make the change in there and run my own edited version, but I think this is probably even more work. I like writing, you might not think it if you read this blog as I don’t update very often and quite often just stick something up at the spur of the moment, just to make it look like I haven’t entirely forgotten that this site exists, I just want my tools to work with me rather than against me.

Anyway, here’s a picture of my dog the file name that Joplin has created is : 0120c0bb80ef4f678a1c3f619733dfd8.jpeg – it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Teddy, a small black shaggy dog with his head on a white pillow. He doesn't want to move.
Teddy, my dog. Or 0120c0bb80ef4f678a1c3f619733dfd8.jpeg


I’ve had an account on Flickr since 2005, in the early years it was my main form of social media. There were conversations in groups, photography challenges and games and the like, then Twitter came along and yahoo bought flickr and my account sat unused. I would occasionally upload photos specifically to share with a group of people, but for the most part I didn’t really use the account, the social side fell away.

Well, now twitter has imploded (I hopped to Mastodon in early 2017) and yahoo have sold flickr, and google photos has annoyed me enough, I’ve gone back to my flickr account. There’s not as much of the social side of things there any more – things change in 18 years apparently, but there’s still interesting photos posted and details in the groups.

I’ve just uploaded the content of my google photos account to flickr. My public photostream has about 2k photos, but there’s another 23k waiting on me to decide which I want to make public. My one annoyance with flickr is still the clunky interface for editing details of photos, I need to see if there is a different tool that can still be used – API changes over the years have killed off a lot of the older tools.