Time Pope

Posted: March 4th, 2008 | Tags: | 4 Comments »

Speaking about leap years and generally time befudgery, can you imagine the Y2K-type bugs that would have happened if Cobol had been around when Pope Gregory XIII‘s calendar reforms eventually caused half of September, 1752 to be done away with? At least we’ve retrospectively sorted it:

betsie:~ mackers$ cal 9 1752
   September 1752
 S  M Tu  W Th  F  S
       1  2 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

You What?

Posted: February 11th, 2008 | Tags: | 4 Comments »

In Spanish, there are at least 48 ways of saying what would suffice in English with the phrase “you were”. Depending on who was, when it was and if it wasn’t really, we have:

Tense Ser Indicative Ser Subjunctive Estar Indicative Estar Subjunctive
Singular, Informal
Indefinite fuiste N/A estuviste N/A
Imperfect eras fueras/fueses estabas estuvieras/estuvieses
Perfect* has sido hayas sido has estado hays estado
Singular, Formal
Indefinite fue N/A estuvo N/A
Imperfect era fuera/fuese estaba estuviera/estuviese
Perfect ha sido haya sido ha estado haya estado
Plural, Informal
Indefinite fuisteis N/A estuvisteis N/A
Imperfect erais fuerais/fueseis estabais estuvierais/estuvieseis
Perfect habeis sido hayais sido habeis estado hayais estado
Plural, Formal
Indefinite fueron N/A estuvieron N/A
Imperfect eran fueran/fuesen estaban estuvieran/estuviesen
Perfect han sido hayan sido han estado hayan estado

* They sometimes use the perfect like we would the imperfect, so I’m including it for the sake of argument.

Some of these are probably never actually used. However, it does show the kind of mental jiggery needed to actually have a conversation about anything that happened before today.

[Updated with some corrections]


Knight Rider: The Lost Episodes Part 1

Posted: October 26th, 2007 | Tags: | Comments Off on Knight Rider: The Lost Episodes Part 1

Knight Rider: The Lost Episodes Part 1: Devon is Gay (and Hungarian)


China

Posted: August 24th, 2007 | Tags: | 2 Comments »

China was stunning. The mix of the modern, the traditional, the bizarre and the delicious is almost too much to take in. In some ways, it’s very, very Chinese (tea pickers, bicycles, temples, mountains, bad translations, pollution, great food) but it’ll still surprise you (high speed trains, good western food, clean streets, shopping malls and electronics everywhere, good bars). The food was incredible and the culture shock kept going. Everyday there was something new to thrill and we had a great time altogether.

We visited 4 cities. We spent most of our time in Hangzhou, where our hosts have been living for 6 months. Marco Polo described this city as “beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world.” We did most of our must-see sightseeing here: night markets, temples, pagodas, parks, lakes, tea tasting, supermarkets, eating strange things and general gawking at everything, as well as taking in the local ex-pat bar scene.

We visited Suzhou (“the venice of the east”) to see some traditional gardens and Nanjing, the ancient southern capital with some grand city walls and other sights.

Then we took the bullet train to Shanghai. Arriving in this city almost knocked me out – so this is the 21st century. We spent most of our time here with sore necks from looking up at the Jetsons architecture everywhere. We also visited the old French Concession part of town, an insect zoo, some city history museums, the old town and an indoor ski slope.

My general impression of the country is Gadzooks!. Granted we were in the richest part of the country, but you can still realise how far they’re going to be in 20 years. The people are smart, good-mannered and hard working. They’re growing smart: high speed transport everywhere and proper planning of new, green cities. It’s an interesting time to visit.

I have slapped some photos up on Flickr. As I’m a pretty crap photographer, the photos are mostly of sightseeing stuff and things that don’t move – I haven’t captured much of the little details and experiences of everyday people and places that made the place so much fun.


MythMPD

Posted: July 7th, 2007 | Tags: | 15 Comments »

MythMPD is a simple MPD client for MythTV. It shows the current playing song and the playlist and allows for the basic controls. It cannot (yet?) add to or edit the playlist.

I wrote this because a) I wanted it and b) other people seem to want it. I don’t really know much C, so it was a learning experience and is most likely shitty code. But, hey, it works.

I use MythTV at home, not so much to watch (dodgy Spanish) TV, but as a home media centre to watch DVDs and downloads, listen to music, etc in the sal√≥n. The existing MythMusic module is not so hot and the ecowarrier in me doesn’t like having the TV on all the time just to change music. To that end, I started using MPD to listen to and change music from the powerbook. However, I missed being able to use the remote control to pause and change volume, so MythMPD was born. I can now blindly use the remote to control the music in the living room, resorting to another mpd client when I need to add more music to the playlist.

Update: moved source to github.


Random Mappage

Posted: July 27th, 2006 | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Google Maps has incorrectly labelled the west wall of Dun Laoghaire habour as “W Pier Howth Harbour” which every Dublin schoolchild knows is here. Other boo-boos include labelling Oileán an Bhulla (the Irish name for “Bull Island”) as Qileán an Bhulla, and labelling part of the M50 as “Around the Wicklow Mountains, which I’m pretty sure is not the official name for this stretch. Google buy their mapping data from TeleAtlas, so I suppose they’re the culprits.

On the other hand, directions are now working in Europe, although I have seen better implementations.

Speaking about harbour walls, during the week I took a trip out to Poolbeg Lighthouse, as I’ve never been there before. Being out of the city and surrounded by water, It’s a nice spot to escape with your thoughts.


Dublin Ireland Anagram Transit Map

Posted: February 26th, 2006 | Tags: | 12 Comments »

Jumping on the current Anagram Transit Map meme, here is my effort for Anagram Transit Map for Dublin, Ireland.

I don’t think any of these maps are particularly funny, but I was bored on a Sunday morning. My favourite is the anagram for “Heuston Station”, which turns out as “He Snot in a Stout”.