barcelona, bob

Music of the Naugties

The decade is coming to an end in one month and 8 days and an apathetic wave of Noughties nostalgia seems to be sweeping over the country, a breath of relief after the tentative steps of a new millenium in which nothing broke (except the international banking system, respect for international law and modern socialism) if you will.

Musically I would describe the 00's as a bit of a low patch from my point of view, the first five years were almost entirely taken up with my Ph.D. , an activity involving the purchase of almost no new music and latterly i became 30 which I think pretty much disqualifies me from having a valid opinion on music, if I ever had one in the first place. Thie NME has just released their top 100 albums of the decade and it's time to compare notes.

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barcelona, bob

Robot Chassis

Whlie waiting for Hagen's thesis to print I did a little parametric design for my turtlebot chassis. It's done using GeoGebra. Stuff like the servo and battery dimensions are fixed but most of the other basic properties are variable or dependent thereon.


Now just need to figure out where to mount the brain and the lasers.
barcelona, bob

Laptop stand

I'm trying to get into the habit of working with my laptop at the right level and with keyboard and mouse at work as it seems to be better for my wrists/general state of "wellness".

A while ago I saw these guys selling laptop stands made of cardboard and many other people who had made them from scratch, so I decided to have a go at making my own. Some (100% recycled) laser jet paper boxes, a craft knife, parcel tape and about 1/2 an hour later I ended up with this:

laptop stand

The results turned out quite well if I say so myself (no religious connotations intended, it's just a very stable structure!).
barcelona, bob

MP3 Player Restoration

Having stumbled through to my mid-twenties on a archaeic mix of personal music technologies such as "tapes", "minidiscs" and "listening to music through speakers in the privacy of my own home", about 5 years ago I got my first MP3 player. The player in question is a Cowon Iaudio X5 (which is very good by the way, especially with rockbox) but over time the battery has been dying and a year or so ago I managed to drop the mean time between intermittent failures on the disk to about 2 days by unceremoniously propelling it across the office in a cable-tripping-over incident. Instead of buying an iPod I decided to have a go at fixing it:

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New battery (ebay) : £10.
32Gb CF card ( MyMemory) : £45 (it was on sale currently seems to be about £60).
CF- 1.8" Toshiba adaptor ( LinITX) : £10 .

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Opened case, removed drive, de-soldered old battery, re-soldered new battery (make mental note, buy a new nib for soldering iron and some flux, curse EU for banning lead solder), reassemble.


Charge, test, play, woop.
barcelona, bob

House letterbox

One of the most annoying things about our new house is the flapping letterbox, we are quite high up (175ft anyway) on a relatively exposed spot and the wind makes it flap continuously.

Fortunately I ordered a big box of Neodymium-Iron-Boron supermagnets a while ago from wondermagnet :
Photo 0100.

I was able to affect a successful repair by supergluing two connecting magnets to the flap and the letterbox respectively:

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Prompt snubbing of those people who claimed that owning 100 assorted supermagnets would never be of any use for anything.
barcelona, bob


I do realise that decoration is very boring, but this will not stop me from inflicting my enthusiasm on you (and other people):

Dave the plasterer came and did a fantastic job on our fireplace :

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There is something about taking a bag of powder and some water and making things which are not flat or solid-looking, flat and solid looking which I am unnaturally excited about. Either that or I've drunk too much tea (plasterers seem to drink a lot of tea).
barcelona, bob


Last year Marina and I converted a few hours of frivolous time-wasting into a paper about visualsing answer set problems in 2D.

I've had a 3D block puzzle (which has belonged to the lab since I have been here) sat incomplete on my desk for the last couple of months and after a couple of hours of tinkering with the original visualisation code, I can now visualise problem solutions in 3D:


Much joy; I no longer have 6 pieces of randomly shaped wood sat on my desk. Hoorah.
barcelona, bob


I have always liked learning languages, I suspect that this can be attributed to a subconscious feeling that being able to communicate with everybody will some how make the world a better place. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm has not always been met with an equal level of ability or study and so far (at 29 and three quarters), my efforts have led me to have smatterings of French, German, Russian and Spanish. I speak none fluently but by my reckoning I should be able to buy a train ticket, order a beer or have a brief conversation about the weather in the native language of about 20% of the worlds population (English included of course).

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