Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In which I miss the mix tape.

Friday, September 10th, 2010

As much as I love the simplicity of digital music, I sometimes stop to think about what we’ve lost with the advent of music at the touch of a button. I’m no vinyl purist, i’m not saddened by the complexity lost by transforming a wave into 0s and 1s. Just as video killed the radio star (though i’m not sure it did), mp3s killed the mix tape.

My own love of mix tapes started as a purely personal thing, i’d listen to the radio (Atlantic 252!) with a tape on pause waiting to record as soon as the song I liked came on. I remember cringing if the dj ruined the end of the song with some inane prattle, the debate over whether it would be better to record a bit of blank sound over this so the song had an abrupt ending, or whether to inwardly curse the guy every time you listend to that tape in future. When I go a little older, the mix tape was a way to share new music with friends, and most importantly a secret way of saying “I love you, please notice me”. Hours spent picking exactly the right tracks that you knew the person would like, that almost projected the hidden feelings, but didn’t go right out there and say it.

Towards the end of secondary school, mp3s were getting bigger, though mp3 players were still expensive, a lot of people had discmans, so the mix cd was borne. This was almost more fun, there was far more room to decorate the case, and you could print in track names rather than try and read the scrawl of a track name squeezed into a space that was never meant to be written in by humans. Two years later everyone owned an mp3 player and DRM was ruining our lives.

Nowadays you can send someone songs on spotify, social networking makes it easy for us to update our friends with what we’re listening to, but it’s not really the same is it. I think it was “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” where the mix CD recieves a little exposure, but was anyone still making those things in 2008?

RIP Mix tape…

Taming the Python

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

So, last night with a little help from Dave, I got a little further in the Python adventure. He suggested setting up a Virtual Environment and trying to install the packages there. In the end, I went with numpy 1.2.0, scipy 0.8, matlibplot 1.0 (0.99 seems to have issues on OSX), but hit a brick wall with rpy. The first problem was rpy is old. Very old. The regex used to try and find your R version number only allowed for \d.\d.\d – I am on R 2.11.1, so I fixed the regex and all was well, but I managed to get an awful lot of other warnings/errors. By this time it was 12:20am, and i’d been trying on and off for 12 hours to get this to work.

This morning I took a fresh approach…enter an old windows laptop, no python install, very old R (2.4!). I instaled python 2.5 (from the .msi), numpy 1.1.0 (from .exe), scipy 0.7 (from .exe), matplotlib 0.99 (from .exe), tried importing and scipy claimed it wanted numpy 1.2.0, so installed that (some good version checking there on checking minimum requirements for the script i’m trying to run…). When I tried importing matplotlib it decided it needed win32api, so had a bit of a google and installed PyWin32, which fixed the matplotlib issue. I then installed rpy 1.0.3 (from .exe) which worked!

Had a bit of a faff trying to sort out the paths, it’s been so long since I used windows I had to check where the System Variables thing is, then when I added R and Python they didn’t come up in the path. After some head scratching, I went with path = %PATH%;C:\python26
and then the same for R.

The script is now running…if it works, I might tell you all what it is 😉

Comment Spam and other things

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Every day now i’ve been getting comment spam (although it doesn’t get through as I have set everything to need approval). Always on the quail post…I wonder if quail is a popular term among spam bots, or whether they’re just set up to go for an older post.

Tomorrow is the MHC Christmas Show, which should be good. It was a pretty big show last year, I got to poke my first tiny baby dwarfs and they put on a nice buffet. We’re also buying an extra hen to try and settle the quail fighting, although I put all the birds in the playpen together last night and they didn’t seem too bothered about each other.

I miss Manchester

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

On Thursday I went up to Manchester for a joint conference with their Systems Biology people. The MIB that they’re based in is a lovely building, far nicer than our one. We never did decide who has the best deal, they get more money, a nicer building but we have offices, a shower and tea, coffee, squash and biscuits on tap.

In the evening, we went to San Carlo for a meal. It was very nice, fairly posh (I had monkfish!) and Mike had a Tartufo for pudding that was set on fire with a shot of sambuca (the waste!).

After that we went to the awesome Baa Bar (although it was a bit late, and we only stayed for two drinks (my shots were the storm, and a springbok). We stayed at the Thistle hotel on Picadilly Gardens, which was reasonably comfortable, although hideously overpriced. I was not impressed with their lack of veggie breakfast (yes, I can eat eggs and hash browns, but i’d like a veggie sausage and the knowledge stuff has been fried in seperate pans than you very much!).

Anyway, Friday evening we went to Sinclairs, and one of the Wetherspoons. People are so much politer than in the midlands, a man bumped into me and actually apologised, and a woman held a door open for me on the way to the loo rather than letting it smash into my face! After that, we went to Cafe Rouge…unfortunately we picked a new one, “just off” Deansgate. Its part of a new development, and is the only place open, and is as far off the main road as you can get. We were starting to have doubts when we walked through all the hoardings, but there it was right at the end with happy little balloons outside. We were the only customers, and paid half the bill in Tesco vouchers my Mum had given Mike the day before, but hey…i’m sure the 15 staff that were on enjoyed serving us…

Oh dear, its been a while.

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Life has been busy recently, and there are a few things I should probably add, back date etc.

In May, we went to Thorpe Park for Sam’s 21st, which was really good. I’ll steal some pics off Mike and add those.

The start of June I handed in my project, waited to see if I had a viva, then finally got my result. I got a 2.1. We also went to Drayton Manor, which was fun. At the end of the month I returned to Market Research, its just for the summer…its just for the summer.

July, graduation. I am now officially Emma Picot BSc (Hons) Biochemistry. Before that, we had a night in Blackpool, great fun, and saw some red squirrels at Formby.

That’ll do for now.

Bad backs…

Friday, May 12th, 2006

Mike and I have both hurt our backs. Stop your sniggering, its nothing of the sort. He noticed his was sore last Thursday (but it recovered for the Beer Bus). It started again on Tuesday, I walked straight from the lab to Tesco, and noticed when I got there my back was a bit sore (I assumed from a heavy bag). He was limping, this carried on through Wednesday, and mine stayed as a dull ache. Woke up on Thursday in agony, as did Mike. People in work told him to go home as he was limping so much. He took today off, but I had to go in, thankfully I finished early. Restful weekend it is.

I think we need a new mattress, but bloody hell they’re expensive.

The Beer Bus

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

Last night we went on a tour of the black country on a bus, with beer. Apart from it turning up 30 mins late, it wasn’t a bad evening. God knows what the awful beer served on the bus was, but by the time we got into the pubs it was great fun. There’s nothing more hilarious than a bus of drunk people you don’t know.