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Another great track from Steam Powered Giraffe: I Don’t Have a Name For It. ^_^ And.. ! I enquired of them if there was any chance of any UK performances (they're based in San Diego), and there is! They'll be at the Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln, 25-28 Aug 2017, with tickets going on sale on Feb 1. "The Asylum Steampunk Festival is the largest and longest running steampunk festival in the World, attracting participants from around the globe. It takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend in the historic City of Lincoln. For four glorious days the historic streets of Lincoln are thronged with thousands of splendidly dressed steampunks enjoying a festival which strives to combine art, literature, music, fashion, comedy and simple good fun." I am indeed most tempted. ^_^ (Of course, where I'll be by then remains to be seen, but that's an easy enough aspect of existence to modify on a temporary basis) If I were to go along, that'd be my first con since ConFurence 10, back at the Town & Country in San Diego. And it'd be an excellent excuse to contemplate some appropriate costumery.. =:D

Don't suppose anyone else might be along at the Destinations Show next weekend? (Actually, Feb 2-5; Thu-Sun) It's mostly a travel expo, with loads of weird and wonderful tour operators and the like, but for me, the attraction lies in the speakers, this year including the likes of Michael Palin, Simon Reeve, and John Simpson. There'll also be this year's photography contest finalist entries on display, alongside masterclasses on aspects of the craft. Tickets may still be available for free, else there's paid entry available (something like £11, I think).

So, here's an interesting development for tech sorts wanting to remain in the EU: a new French startup visa! Its domain seems to be limited to startups, but with that caveat, it appears to be issued to the person, not the company, as with the H-1B - so it would seem to be possible for someone to leave for another company, with no extra bureaucracy. By comparison, an H-1B is approved for an individual to work for a specific company (and indeed, in a specific position, and even location) - if that company goes bang, you're almost back to square one, with the new company having to put in a new application, with the very welcome benefit that at least you're not subject again to that year's visa quota, having already been counted under the year of your original petition's approval.

I don't mark celebrity deaths often, but I'll make an exception to that for John Hurt. Such a fabulous career, spanning Alien, Contact, The Storyteller, Watership Down, 1984, and so many more, not to mention his surprise introduction to Who canon as the War Doctor, a memorable role indeed. Back at the Trilobyte offices in 1995 or thereabouts, I got to meet him - he was working on a future project, Tender Loving Care, where (appropriately enough) he played a doctor, and so, he came around on a tour of the office to meet everyone. I don't really recall what I said - something very ordinary, I think, maybe just greeting him - but that occasion remains a very warm memory.

And a special prize to the bunny who'd fiddled with their camera's controls a few weeks ago, and forgotten to set it back from AF-S to AF-C, as well as leaving it on S rather than Ch.. =:P Still, I only lost a shot or two through that, before eventually realising what was going on. (AF-S acquires focus a Single time, then stays there - good for portraits and static subjects. AF-C keeps acquiring focus Continuously - what you want for moving subjects. S, meanwhile, takes just one shot, however long the shutter button is depressed; Ch keeps on taking them continuously, at the highest rate it can; in the D7100's case, in 12-bit normal crop mode, that's 6fps. The new crop flagship, the D500, not only has an excellent, new autofocus module, but can also manage 10fps, which would be ideal for those wonderful action moments, where everything's concentrated into just a second or two)

Regardless.. ^_^

A minor convenience from BT: a nuisance caller blacklist. It's apparently a combination of their own ISP-style blacklisting, analysing call traffic, and your own additions - receive a junk call, and you can then dial 1572 to add it to your personal blacklist. No charges involved.

Following on from a previous entry: I did indeed wind up resuming case 3 of Apollo Justice from the beginning, and after a couple hours of retracing my steps, successfully progressed to meeting Valant on the coliseum stage, and from there, eventually, to the end of the title. I definitely enjoy the Phoenix Wright/Apollo Justice series - of course, the logic in the cases is always a bit wonky, and it can be quite frustrating at times when you're aware of the point you want to make, but have to puzzle out how to express that in the game (presenting a piece of evidence, say, that has some implication regarding the point you're trying to make, even if quite indirectly), but ultimately, the characters do grow on you (with the exception of Wocky =:), and when the epilogue rolls, I do find myself missing them already. And just because, I'm now playing through the following title, Dual Destinies, again; for whatever reason, Capcom released DD on iOS first, putting quite a few events in the timeline out of order, so I'm now getting to experience things in the intended fashion. I wonder when the new title will come to iOS.. and the new Animal Crossing, for that matter. ^_^

When the friend I mentioned the other week showed me his fitness stats on his phone, I was reminded that I could also do that with mine, though I turned it off soon after getting it. Voilà! Re-enabled, and now it's keeping track of the distance and number of steps walked each day. Not as much as I'd prefer, but still, not too terrible - Wednesday, f'rex, saw - or so it recorded, given I don't have it on me inside the house - 4,752 steps, coming to about 2.9km.

If you've ever wondered about defining function pointers in C, there's now a very handy reference available. =:)

Here, take a look at the best toothpick dispenser ever. =:D

If you like hearty ales, you might want to take advantage of Bath Ales' special on their positively wonderful Festivity, their winter seasonal - BOGOF! So you get two cases for £26.50, not just one, each case being a dozen bottles. Delivery is a flat rate £9, unless you're local to Bath. Ends at the end of the month, if they haven't run out beforehand. And yes, it'll keep very well - I had a couple straggler bottles that lasted about two years before I finished them, and they were even better. ^_^ Note that you need to follow the newsletter's link above, rather than going to the site as you might otherwise do. (The description on the page makes it clear that you're getting one case free with each case, and you should see product code B1G1FFEST beneath the price - if you don't see that, but FES7B, you're paying normal price) Whilst it is indeed better on cask, it's one of those lucky beers that loses very little being bottled, so it's pretty much as good as you'd get in one of their pubs. Me, I went for two cases, ie four. =:)

No dramatic shots of them, but, I was delighted to see tinybuns on Friday! Probably in their first month outside, and every bit as adorable as you'd expect. And fast - if they want to zoom, it's virtually teleportation. =:) Here we see one of them out in their first winter, only a matter of weeks old, with what's likely to be their mother. ^_^

Of some minor geek note: the new iOS 10.3 beta marks one quite interesting transition - the debut of Apple's new APFS filing system, replacing the erstwhile HFS+. It seems safe to imagine that if they're experimenting with APFS on a mass scale with iOS, will macOS be far behind? Will 2017's WWDC hold word of HFS+ finally departing the stage?

Ever wondered just how Bezier curves actually work? Here's a superb explanation, with helpful animations assisting the equations, conveying the points being made visually.

Random nerdery: apparently, there existed adapters so you could use cassettes in 8-track players - about as elegant a solution as you might expect, effectively a small tape player protruding outside the player. The host then demonstrates a similar kludge from the early 2000s - an MP3 player inside a cassette case. It's the finale that's the most wonderful, though - yep, an MP3 player in a cassette adaptor inside an 8-track player. =:D

Going purely by the trailer, Colossal looks like it could be quite a fun giant monster flick. ^_^

Food! Three from M&S, this time. Soft yolk Scotch eggs: good. The yolks are indeed soft, but the meat seasoning remains rather timid. Lamb moussaka: very good! Needed no herbal augmentation. As fiddly as ever to get out of the tray, though. Beef hash: disappointing. Good ingredients, but bland gravy as supplied, requiring much perking up - in my case, pepper, oregano, sage, paprika, oyster sauce, half a field mushroom, and some Quorn mince.

Apparently, the UK's entry for Kiev's Eurovision 2017 in late May is Lucie Jones "Never Give Up On You". She certainly has an excellent voice, but I'm not particularly interested in the song itself. But then, my Eurovision choices don't usually tend to be winners. =:) You can read more about her over on the Contest site.

The sheer scale of the Women's marches against Trump was quite phenomenal - not just in DC, but in so many cities around the US, and indeed, around the world, including Antarctica! And not just cities, even, but in rural Minnesota. ^_^ Estimates are, of course, difficult to ascertain, but US Prof D J Pressman suggests a total of "between 3.3 million to 4.2 million", making them the "largest protests in US history". Much to Hair Führer's disgruntlement, estimates place the march in Washington as having three times as many people as his inauguration the day before. As you'd expect of an NPD individual, this didn't sit well with him at all - he later used his address to the CIA to lambast the biased media for reporting the modest crowds, with reporters even suggesting his crowds could be smaller than Obama's in 2009. You can see plenty of photos from the Bay Area's marches over here. (Originally, they'd only planned one, in the City, but eventually ceded it'd work better if they went for three instead: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose)

Pizza is big business, of course, but the usual strategy with the huge operators is via food chemistry, with additives to help prevent the pizza tasting much worse than it began, and everyone (mostly) uses thermally insulated sleeves along the way. But this place works rather differently, part-baking them at home base, then loading them into a van with individually controlled ovens, so they finish baking en route. Intriguingly, they don't appear to just take your order, but drive around with the most likely needed pizzas, only falling back to an individual delivery if necessary: "First the ovens are pre-loaded with a selection of pizzas that have been par-baked in the production facility. The pizzas chosen for loading on the truck are based on past orders from certain neighborhoods, allowing engineers to predict the most likely pies that will be ordered and stock the truck with those; if somehow a pie that is ordered isn’t on the truck, a car from the company’s fleet of delivery Fiats will make the trip to deliver the pizza."
Suddenly it makes a lot more sense why Zume pizza doesn't allow personalization of pizzas...you have to order of their menu.