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Nicholas Taylor's Journal
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Nicholas Taylor's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, July 25th, 2006
7:37 pm
This is an invitation, and it's just for you
Okay, as Edith pointed out that my last post rather hid the important part of it:

I am marrying chess on the fifth of August, at 11.30am in Churchill College chapel. Please come; this is an invitation for you, yes you.

There will be a reception after the wedding, also at Churchill College. This is by specific invitation only, and will mostly be full of family. It will, however, be less full of family than anticipated; if you would like to come, please let us know so we can invite you (if we've room).

After the reception (or, if you're keen and not going to the reception, directly after the wedding), we will be going to the Carlton. It would be lovely to see you there. Optimistically, we'll arrive at 3pm. More realistically, at 4pm. It would be handy if you could tell us whether you plan to come to this, so Terri has some idea of numbers.
3:38 pm
Slaves on the dockside and guns in the hold
I'm back from Maelstrom, and feeling guilty about not updating my journal in, um, ages. Maelstrom, for those not in the know, is a weekend-long LARP event. It's great, and everyone should come. Conquest of the New World, but the natives are variously human-sized, intelligent (if often stupid in the way only the intelligent can be) snakes and wasps, magic has only just started working, and various inanimate objects are coming to life - probably as a result of the whole magic thing.

MaelfrothCollapse )

Also, you should all come to my wedding to the delightful chess. This is an invitation, for those who require an invitation; I've issued one before, but that was a while ago, it didn't have times, and people might have forgotten. It will be at Churchill College chapel, on the 5th of August, at 11.30 am. There will be photographic faff and drinks afterwards, followed by a reception, also at Churchill. The reception will be invitation only, as we have quite a lot of family. Some of them turn out not to be able to come, though, so our ability to invite friends is less strained than we thought. Would any of you like to come? We have a whole class divide in the families, and can offer only Churchill's catering and wine to dull the pain. After the reception, we'll be heading to the Carlton (probably arriving some time between 3pm and 4pm), where we'd be delighted to see any of you; I think Terri(?) would quite like some idea of how many people there'll be, so if you could let me know by some mechanism whether you intend to come to that bit that would be nice.
Tuesday, May 10th, 2005
3:25 pm
One blinding flash of sense
Prompted by senji's question Quite Some Time Ago, I've been trying to persuade LaTeX to do some of the calculations needed on an Ars Magica character sheet. The character sheet that resulted is here. It provides handy commands for listing your Technique + Form totals and showing one-line spell summaries. These last include the amount by which your casting total (before dice) exceeds or falls short of the spell level. They take no account of the Penetration skill (because the increase varies), or the casting total increase that comes with spell mastery. I think including an optional "mastery level" argument to \SpellLine would work, but at the time I decided against it. Thoughts for improvement or extension, anyone?

I have some results, despite the best effort of my triggers to foil me. As other people are now using the gun, I've been thinking about displaying these results. I have the output of a photodiode, recorded as a continuous trace over time. I also have some still images of the cell whose light output the photodiode was tracking. I think this is a fairly good way to display them:

It might mess up your friends pageCollapse )

The images are positioned and scaled so that they cover the times for which the image was exposed. They should also all be 100 ns later, because I forgot about a delay. Thoughts on this approach?

I also intend, once I get back at the gun and have fixed my triggering issues, to take spectra of the light given off by the cell. These spectra will be taken over about 500 ns, and will bear a superficial resemblance to this (taken from the room lights, over rather more than 500 ns):

Another wide imageCollapse )

I think there's too much information to be squeezed into the space filled by the still images. I don't really have much idea how I'm going to include them in the results. I can always fall back on including them separately, with a caption indicating the time, but I feel there ought to be a better way. Again, I ask for your thoughts.
Sunday, May 8th, 2005
9:07 pm
Some wild idea and a big white bed
As most of you are probably already aware, chess and I are getting married. We now have a date: the fifth of August 2006. The chapel will hold 120, apparently, so if you feel like showing up, please do. The reception venue is less capacious, and the reception costs money per person. Therefore we intend to invite only those who would otherwise be mortally offended (mostly our families), and those who will moderate our families effectively (or at least provide entertainment as they fail to do so). If you feel you belong in either group, please submit applications <G>.

Edit: We also intend to have a "surprise, we're married!" party in the evening, at wherever we're living.
Wednesday, May 4th, 2005
2:46 pm
A white house in a red square
I feel I should clarify my political opinions. Instead, I'm going to post about them to LiveJournal.

Cut to spare the world my rantingsCollapse )

Oh, yes, and people should go and vote for someone, or at least scrawl "Re-open nominations" on their ballot paper.
Thursday, March 31st, 2005
11:02 pm
The light that burns out your eyes
I'm now back on the spod again. In recognition of this, I'm posting LiveJournal while in bed with my girlfriend. Truly, the wonders of modern technology know no bounds.

In other abuses of complex systems, Tom's new monitor (very nice 20" Apple affair, a mere snip at less than my monthly stipend) is excellent for playing ZAngband on.

As I seem to be in free-association mode, the ZAngbandTk build system is utterly hideous. If an author is going to invent his own build system (for no other reason, I think, than "I really, really like Tcl"), is it too much to ask that they use it correctly?

And that's it. I'm going to bed.

Wait a minute...

Current Mood: awake
Sunday, February 13th, 2005
4:39 pm
Come on, you raver, you seer of visions
I have given up teh Spod for Lent. This includes all LJ. The observant will notice that Sundays are not part of Lent. That's about it.
Tuesday, January 4th, 2005
5:17 pm
Got so sick and tired of the London rain
Christmas holiday was good. Food still yummy, London still full of far too many bags of water on legs. I now have a rather fun, if questionably useful, wind-up LED torch. There was a rather nice ToothyParty at the new year, which made up very nicely for our cunningly-hatched party plans falling through.

Vampire: Bloodlines was highly enjoyable, when it wasn't displaying its extreme bugginess. It seems much less stable on my machine than on anyone else's; either it really dislikes dual-CPU machines, or my computer's melting again. Also, it seems frightfully keen to press you into combat. Sometimes you can use your social skills to go around combat, but there never seems to be anything you *need* social skills for, while there are several inevitable combats. At least, that's my experience; I've played through as a quite un-necessarily hard Brujah with minimal social skills (and Celerity is *very pretty indeed*: they actually draw the bullets, and distortions in the air behind them, at the higher levels). I started again as a talky Malkavian, but this rapidly became a shotgun-wielding Malkavian with side orders of talky. Still: "I'm a keyring: feed me! Then you can't see me."

I've spent most of today playing with a build system for all these random documents I write. This has made me much happier, and possibly saved me up to thirty seconds on producing a document. I win at time management. I'd only studied "make" by peering at automatically-generated makefiles when things Weren't Working; I was pleased to find it was much less painful than this experience suggested. I stole senji's "stabilise" script from Vasily's character sheet; please shout if you'd rather I didn't (and I'll just steal the basic idea).

Current Mood: made
Wednesday, November 24th, 2004
10:48 am
Don't worry about dreaming because I don't sleep
As ways of avoiding the plague of twisted dreams going around, though, it leaves something to be desired.

Current Mood: awake
Wednesday, November 17th, 2004
5:11 pm
Another night has taken you away
Dana D. Dlott is starting to grow on me. It's nice when someone points out what experiments you need to do to get parameters for their theory. If she only had better taste in references - one of the books doesn't actually exist, according to the British Library. Another says very little on the topic she's using it for, and nothing at all which supports what she seems to have drawn from it. We also have data which seem to show her theory doesn't actually hold for my work. Still, I feel I should understand it properly, which entails piles of notes. The UL is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Also, Newton doesn't pick up "Concordances", and goes off and sulks if you feed it "Bible". So much for my cunning plan to do bible study for tomorrow's Cell there.

Disturbingly accurate randomly-generated memeCollapse )

Current Mood: inquisitive
Friday, November 12th, 2004
4:24 pm
Kimi wo shinjiteru samui yoru mo
I seem to be making next to no progress at my literature review. The papers are very dull, poorly-structured, and of only minimal relevance. I also need to pay close attention to them to avoid getting totally lost. Also, I get caught up in little details. Having spent a day or so on one line of algebra, I finally managed to leave it with a marginal note to the effect that I couldn't follow it.

On the other hand, I spent some time in the workshop on Friday evening, and a bit more this morning, and now have many fine and shapely projectiles. Also fixed the leak from our shiny new washer-dryer after Rob found some washers sitting around and suspished that they should be fitted somewhere. I feel we were slightly ripped off on the installation.

From this I've decided that desks are bad for me.

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, November 6th, 2004
11:18 am
Friday, November 5th, 2004
4:38 pm
4:10 pm
There's an emptiness closing around me
When last you saw our intrepid hero, he was at the mercy of, um, anime and games. (Note to self: next time you stop updating LJ for months, at least leave a decent cliff-hanger.) That all may be up to date, I spent much of the summer working in the Cavendish, then wandered around visiting people before coming back to the same group for a PhD. The summer work consisted of two projects, one of which I finished and the other of which was fun. The PhD is a little poorly-specified, and has so far consisted of reading a lot of papers. Hopefully I'll get something meaningful done at some point.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2004
12:50 pm
Sputnik sails giggling through the sky
My results came out today. Well, strictly, my results came out yesterday. I didn't check my mail and find this out until after everything was locked up, though. I got a 2.2, which at least confirms my Mark Prediction Technique still works.

Current Mood: blah
Monday, May 31st, 2004
2:21 pm
Like the cheque that's in the mail
This morning's exam concluded the assessed parts of my degree. I think I did "all right" at best, and am destined for a 2.2. I also keep coming up with little mistakes I made, which is kind of irritating as I thought I'd got three of six long questions Absolutely Right.

On a side note, the best way to find out that you have a viva is *not* by your supervisor ringing you up at home and saying "You have a viva now. Where are you?". Still, it meant I didn't panic about it.

A longer update might follow, but for now I'll be doing some superposition of anime and games.

Current Mood: relaxed
Monday, May 10th, 2004
10:25 am
Wheels are turning in your head
Hah! Another project falls before my all-nighter-ly prowess. And with whole hours to go before the deadline, too. It's probably bad when your project starts turning into cyberpunk while you're proof-reading it, isn't it?

Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
12:27 pm
Talking to myself again
Showed up at the CTS meeting just before it finished. Then, showed up at GamesEvening just before it finished. Now, as I feel I ought to babysit this code compiling (the last attempt failed. I have no idea how, as it decided to put a very large log file on the already-strained /var partition, and I foolishly decided "Everything will be fine" and removed it.), have a sleep-deprived meme.
My ever-changing moral stanceCollapse )

Current Mood: tired
12:27 pm
I am powerless to alter any action you may take
Having declared that my advancing age was making all-nighters unworkable, I quite naturally repeated the experience. The events of the CURS 24-hour itself, in which an Abyssal fortress was stormed and Reality was broken, are more coherently chronicled elsewhere. I showed up late, as Getting Up Technique rapidly metamorphosed into Ceiling Examination Style, and spent much of it dozing. The game ended early, due to reality-breaking, giving chess and myself the chance to get to church. There was dancing. It was fun. There was also a talk, through which I dozed intermittently. It seemed to reduce to "substitutionary atonement is *right*, okay?", though, so I don't think I missed much.

I *tried* to persuade Michelle to go home and lose consciousness, but she D&D'd instead, dragging me along. I thought knocking her out and putting her over my shoulder would be inappropriate in public, rather impolite, and beyond my skills, in about that order. Don't worry, Naath - your character died heroically. Well, almost.

TodayIAmMostly swearing at my package manager. It seems, to update such-and-such a library, it needs to update the whole of Gnome, and rebuild everything which depends on that library. This is taking a while. Various details of the whole affair have also resulted in it trying, several times, to back up a 300MB package to my 80MB /var partition. It's possible this behaviour can be inhibited; I rather hope it'll work this time around.

Also, LiveJournal seems not to feel the need to allow text clients to post comments. You're allowed to update your journal, but the button on the comment screen seems not to be there. It's possible it's hiding. The textiness of my client is a result of this huge updating thing - I'm not sure whether it's Gnome's fault, or FreeBSD's.

And now, I should rush to the CTS meeting, having comprehensively missed rehearsals. Or possibly just amble, show up very late, then wander off to GamesEvening.

Current Mood: aggravated
Wednesday, April 21st, 2004
5:33 am
I guess I needed it to live
An update, rather delayed by Exammy Doom. Easter was generally enjoyable, and I even got to see my father. We've been cunningly arranging not to be in the same places for quite a while. Returned to Cambridge, and demonstrated my usual "get distracted a lot, and occasionally look at notes" approach to revision. It seems to have worked - I ended up writing too much in the exam, and running out of time, but I knew enough to do the questions. Aside from not being able to puzzle out how stereoscopic vision works. Slightly embarrassed by that one.

I've foolishly volunteered to guard the house for 24-7 prayer; there are so many things I'd rather be doing. Also, my brain turned to mush and refused to do any of the inference I was using to keep myself awake about an hour ago, so I'm reduced to spodding on a Mac with a typically dodgy keyboard.

Just another hour and 20 minutes to go, and I can go home and lose consciousness. I'm getting too old for these 24-hour days.

Current Mood: tired
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