Recent Blog Entries

A Glasgow-based IT consultant who developed a little bin-shaped device that lights-up with different colours to indicate which bins are due for collection prompted me to do something similar with Alexa and AWS lambdas. It’s essentially free, and free is good. Introduction Can’t remember which bins to put out? This is a quick look at an Alexa skill I’ve developed that uses my local council’s website as a source of information about bin collections, and lets me ask Alexa when my next bin collection is, and what bins are being collected, and when any particular bin is next being collected.

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Heinrich Schliemann bucked contemporary opinion in the 19th Century and, taking Homer seriously, uncovered Troy - sort of - and ‘gazed on the face of Agamemmnon at Mycenae. Again, sort of. Schliemann’s largely excoriated today for his methods, showmanship, sharp practice, and wild claims about the pre-classical Mediterranean. I think it’s futile to judge the past by today’s standards – I think Schliemann was a great man, warts and all.

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… there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet Eliot, 'The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock' A while back I mentioned the very productive metaphor of the Cargo Cult and its applicability to much business nonsense. Here’s another marvellous one: the Potemkin Village. Wikipedia illustration for 'Potemkin Village' The story goes that Catherine the Great, on a surprise excursion to the Crimea, was misled by the her minister and sometime lover, Grigory Potemkin, into believing the country was prospering.

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The Best Metaphor

Sun, May 6, 2018

A small group of almost-naked figures gathers at the edge of a rectangular jungle clearing. At the northern end stands their recently-completed spindly bamboo mast; halfway along one of the longer sides is a rickety hut on thin stilts. Running down the center of the cleared area, a strip of flattened sandy scrub, like a giants’ cricket pitch. Twenty metres beyond the southern end of the clearing, through the jungle greenery, is a strand of white sand, and then the sea.

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Haiku Trial

Thu, Apr 26, 2018

Mother and two children, Tokyo. Sketched on a business trip last year I’ve written a few haiku, that quintessentially Japanese verse form. Just one point: in the West we think of the metre of haiku as being simply 5 – 7 – 5 syllables. In fact the most common form is 5 – 7 – 5 morae, where a mora is ‘a unit in phonology that determines syllable weight’.

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