Ramblings about stuff

Kidlington Chess Congress 2015

Once again a chilly weekend in February heralds the annual Kidlington Chess Congress. Playing for the fourth year in the Under-180 section, I was looking to improve on last year’s 50% score. Round One: I was drawn against a slightly lower graded, but very experienced opponent (he has played 175 graded games in the past… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2014

I’m sure I could almost create a standard template for these posts now: it’s the sixth year I’ve played this tournament and here is a brief summary of what happened as I played again in the Under-180 section: Round One: Got off to a poor start playing inaccurately in the opening as Black; I never… (read more)

Darkness falls across the LAN: a seasonal poem

To fully appreciate this you should voice it like Vincent Price in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which is obviously the lyrics from which this has been spoofed. Listen to that track starting at 4 minutes 15 seconds here So, here goes: Darkness falls across the LAN Powerpoint is close at hand Users crawl in search of… (read more)

Opt-in/opt-out internet filtering?

A few things to get off my chest regarding proposed internet filtering. Firstly: I pay my ISP for a service, namely the provision of an internet connection. They are an Internet Service Provider. I don’t expect my internet connection to be deliberately crippled by said ISP in any way. Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on… (read more)

Marvellous musical memories from ’80s movies

Here are some random annotations of memorable moments in films from the 1980s. No reason, except that I’ve been listening to the music a lot! In many cases I’ve picked out songs which are not necessarily the tracks one might immediately associate with each film; for example, I’ve deliberately not picked “Don’t you forget about… (read more)

Les anecdotes de Paris

A collection of random observations during our recent trip to Paris… this is not a full write-up of what we did, because that would take too long. Just a few anecdotes, as much for my own memory as anything else. We went to Paris via Eurostar: train from London St Pancras to Paris via the… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2013: points make prizes!

First weekend in February? Yes. Exeter Hall, Kidlington? Yes. That’ll be the Kidlington Chess Congress, then? Yes. My fifth year, in fact: previous tournaments I’ve played: 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Update 5 February 2013: I’ve uploaded my game commentary and analysis for this year’s games. Playing once again with the stronger players in the… (read more)

New GPG key: transition statement

There is a text-only, digitally-signed version of this post available here. My old OpenPGP key was generated in 1998 and the key length, 1024-bit DSA, is now considered too short for current security purposes. Therefore I am transitioning to a new key. The new key is a 8192-bit RSA key: I’m using a particularly long… (read more)

Leaving Ubuntu: the last straw?

A recent post by Richard Stallman raises an issue that I, and others, raised some time ago regarding the behaviour of the Ubuntu ‘dash’ feature in Ubuntu 12.10 and later. I’m posting here after reading Stallman’s post and also Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon’s responses here and here. (I know Jono from his Lugradio days,… (read more)

Boundary review: why it shouldn’t matter!

Background There has been some recent political drama regarding proposed constituency boundary changes. It’s rather an unseemly mess and this post is not about the politics of that. Instead I’m writing here about why constituency boundaries are deemed important and, rather more significantly, why boundaries should not really matter. Why do boundaries attract such attention?… (read more)