Minmus-1: A Chronicle Of Failure

In which repeated attempts to land on Minmus go hilariously wrong.


Eccentricity Valuation

I walked around all day with a screwdriver attached to my shirt collar.  It is a pencil-sized screwdriver with a shirt-pocket clip on it.  Today was clean up day this morning, so when doing the kitchen I clipped it to my shirt collar (because this shirt doesn't have a pocket) so I could take it back upstairs where it lives.

I'm not sure which is worse -- the fact that I walked around all day with it on, or that I'm considered eccentric enough that nobody I encountered (at the office or at a customer site) pointed it out to me.

Descent Into txtspk

And here's two photos of the advertising rotation on a major petroleum company's pumps:

Am I the only one who is bothered by this text-speak?  Is it really too much to expect complete, proper english?

And while I'm at it, those kids need to stay the hell off my lawn.


Somehow I am not comfortable with the idea that the people who wrote this website have written code that manipulates my hard drive at a low level:

Language matters.


The Problem

So I was slumming in the Linux Community on Google Plus, and this came up:

I presume as a joke.

And it occurred to me that this kind of attitude that Linux fan-bois have, this "you can build whatever you want" kind of attitude, is a problem.

But the big problem is that they don't understand that it is a problem.

Imagine if cars were really sold like this.  Where you bought a chassis and everything else,rig Dow to the trim and seat belt buckes, were individually optioned.  And then the new owner had to spend three weeks assembling the thing.  You would end up with a lot of cars built and assembled to a simple cook book put together by some authority.  And most of the resulting cars would be poorly put together, and probably quite unsafe.  Those built by the enthusiasts would be works of woder, one-off customs which excelled in some way or other, but on average most of us would drive pieces of junk.

Being able to buy a car that has been properly designed, and assembled by a professional workforce, lets us all drive cars which are, on average, much safer and better.  The cost of enthusiasts being bored is frankly an easy one to pay.

Actually it occurs to me that this is exactly the way kit cars are/were sold.  And the market spoke.  The sheeple wanted reliable, boring cars.  

But back to computing.  The fan-bois claim that you can do anything with Linux that you can with Windows; and while in broad strokes it is true (you can write a letter) it isn't in the way that most people care about (you can't write a letter in Word 2013).  

(But why do you need Word 2013?)

Because that is the format that all these other letters are in.

(So everyone should change!)

Yeah, good luck with that.


On-World Off-Roading

In which we play with cars.


Cunning Social Media Plan

Since we are, indirectly, on the topic of social media: if you recall, when I last mentioned this I was wondering how to participate in social media in a way that was good for both me and my audience.

My conclusion is that even though my audience is on Twitter and Facebook, I will probably move primary content generation to Google+. But I have a cunning plan to glue everything together.

See, I have located a service that generates RSS feeds from Google+ profiles.  I also have, in the past, written a perl script that can post to Twitter (which I have since lost somehow probably when the hard drive in the old Voyager died).  Twitter, as you know, can be read by Facebook.

Which means: wi the right perl script, I can post to Google+ and my audience elsewhere will either get the content, or a link to said content.  I will still monitor Facebook and Twitter, but for some reason the Google+ experience is making me happiest these days.

Now all I have to do is re-write that perl script.  How hard can that be?

Elementary and Sherlock

One of the series that we are watching this year is the Sherlock Holmes series Elementary.  It seemed like a suitable replacement for House, since House was basically Sherlock Holmes in a medical setting.  The main character feeds our need for an arrogant, antisocial ass who just happens to be able to draw useful conclusions from flimsy evidence.

Someone told me that Elementary was poor when compared to the BBC series Sherlock.  So since the pilot episode was one of the Apple freebies this holiday season, I downloaded it.  And yes, it was better, so far as it went.

We have purchased the rest of the Sherlock episodes available (all five more of them, as it happens) and are very slowly making our way through them.  Last night we watched S2E2 which means that we only have one more remaining unseen.

And that is where the principle difference between Elementary and Sherlock comes in to play.  Elementary is designed to be a weekly, 40-odd minute story with a beginning, middle, and end.  Sherlock episodes are more like self-contained movies that need to be spaced out much more because there is so much more in them.

Elementary is weekly TV, a weekly fix of entertainment; Sherlock is an event that needs to be scheduled and prepared for.

I read on Google+ (yes, I use Google+, stop laughing) that the second episode of series three has just finished principle photography, and now there will be a break in production to permit other commitments to be satisfied and that principle photography on S3E3 will start presently.  So within a year we should get the next batch.  But we will undoubtedly get many, many more Elementary episodes before then, weekly fixes that I look forward to.