Old beezly.org.uk blog posts

Beezly’s website used to be a drupal site with several people (anyone who fancied it) having access to write blog posts. I chipped in a number of posts myself, going back to 2004 as it turns out. At some point more recently he did some software migrations (fiddled with it a lot), and I had thought he must’ve carelessly thrown away all the old blog posts. I couldn’t find them any more. This even prompted me to go poking around in the waybackmachine to try to rescue my old posts and bring them onto this site with fudged timestamps (retro-blogging) Quite a lot of hassle, and only partially successful. For example I remembered writing an old blog post about passing out on a ski-lift which I hadn’t managed to rescue from archive.org

But I wasn’t looking closely enough, or maybe the ‘older entries’ links were missing during one stage of his re-skinning. But I noticed today that in fact beezly does still have all the old posts in his database still.

Here are my posts on beezly.org.uk going back to January 2004 :

Hurrah! Thank goodness for that hey? What a relief that my carefully crafted words have not succumbed to link rot after all. I thought there had been a dreadful gaping hole in the blogosphere all this time </sarcasm>

Passing out at work

I clocked up another passing out incident on Wednesday. Over the years I have passed out on two and half previous occasions. Wednesday’s was the weirdest yet given that it came more or less out of the blue while I was in the office sat at my desk. I felt a strange chest pain, and then started feeling dizzy, and that was it.

It was also strange to pass out in front of the boss. He was just over from the U.S. so I hadn’t seen him in a while. As usual I came to with a curious feeling as if I was coming out of a long dream. …and there was my boss talking to me. I sat myself up and then promptly passed out again. Then I remember dreaming about this weird situation where I had passed out in the office in front of my boss, and I came out of the dream and realised it was true. This time he told me to stay lying down until the ambulance arrived.

The ambulance crew reminded me that raising your legs above your head makes you feel a lot better when feeling faint (The same trick worked well on the ski-lift occasion)   When I got to A&E they probed and poked me, and measured my blood pressure many times. Chest x-rays and heart scans all showed up normal, so it all remains unexplained.

Rather worryingly though, I still have a painful tightness in my chest which gets worse during exercise or exertion. Age 29, a heart problem seems unlikely. Hopefully it will turn out to be some kind of temporary digestion or breathing problem.

Show us a better way …preferably without copyright issues

The Ordnance Survey have a strangle hold on UK geo data (maps, data for drawing maps, data about locations, and data for routing applications) This is something which has barely registered in the public conciousness. It takes a little techy vision to understand the stifling effect, or to imagine the growth industry we’re missing out on. But even the tech community haven’t really been massively moved to kick up a stink about the problem because …well why not just use google maps?

(copyrights!)

The Guardian has done well to focus on the issue over the past year or so with their “free our data” campaign. Suddenly a few months back, the government appeared to sit up and listen, launching the “Show us a better way” competition. What’s more the winning ideas were mostly related to maps. All good news for free geo data.

But the competition entrants had instinctively taken the beautiful Ordnance Survey maps and then reached for the flexible google mashup toolset. How else would you build a funky free geo-app? Think again! Ordnance Survey had given some kind of agreement for the purposes of the competition, but last week they turned around and said OS “derived” data can’t be mashed with google. Back to the drawing board guys!

This rather wonderfully illustrates the bear trap you are stepping on if you ever make the mistake of thinking these maps are “free”. Even in the context of this competition, issues of copyright (and terms & conditions) loom over UK geo data.

Now hold that thought …and take a look at the OpenStreetMap project. As web developers and technologists look to work around these corporate copyright restrictions, they will increasingly understand the reasoning behind what might at first appear crazy… building maps from scratch.

It’s not all about copyright of map images though. OpenStretMap has an open API giving access to the underlying data in it’s raw vector form, something nobody would even dream of asking Ordnance Survey for, competition or not. The open source toolset built around OSM’s API is still rough around the edges, but it’s already pretty simple to solve the same kind of problems (show postboxes, public toilets, school catchment areas) which were awarded funding by the “Show us a better way” competition.

Pumpkin Party

We had a little “pumpkin party” on Halloween. This involved no dressing up whatsoever, but cracking open a bottle of wine and trying out some pumpkin recipes. Very civilised.

So using the orange gack from the brains of the pumpkin, we had a Brazilian pumpkin coconut concoction which was intense but yummy. We roasted the pumpkin seeds, which was …well I burnt them. And finally we made a pumpkin pie, which was surprisingly good. That’s following this pumpkin pie recipe (pants website alert) ….evaporated milk being the most awkward ingredient, but happily our friendly local Indian/Turkish/Caribbean/weird-jars-of-stuff corner shop had it.

Then we carved a silly face of course.

pumpkin pie pumpkin

Even our American friend was impressed by the pumpkin pie, and she should know a good pumpkin pie (thanksgiving?) Halloween is a pretty American thing of course, but she told me it’s from Ireland actually. ….”Origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain” according to the all knowing one.