Long time, no blog. Again.

I've done a few things since I last wrote in here. My Lisp hacking is going better. I've read more of Peter Seibel which is funny and engaging and at the same time very thorough and informative. I've also read some of Paul Graham's introductory book which is very succint and seems to betray a dislike of object oriented programming. Quite handy though, it's a lot smaller than Seibel and includes a useful reference. I also have CLtL2 installed from the Debian package and browsable with w3m mode in Emacs. I find this nicer to use than the Hyperspec. Talking of which, I found the free personal edition of LispWorks and had a quick play with it. To be honest, though, I think I prefer working with SLIME and Emacs.

We went on the Poppy Line of the North Norfolk Railway last weekend. The weather was lovely. See flickr photos. Reminds me of being a kid!

I went to a training event at Aston University in April on the National Grid Service (nothing to do with electricity). It's basically a grid computing service for UK e-Science (technologies for enabling research, also called "cyberinfrastructure" in the US and e-Research in Australia). It all seems quite clever. They use the Globus toolkit which has a dreadful Web portal for job management and a better command line interface. Using a Web interface for managing jobs I found pretty counterintuitive, so the command line interface is definitely my preference. The selection of applications installed on the NGS is heavily biased to science research (bioinformatics, chemical modelling, etc.) though they do have the Weka text mining framework installed and seemed quite amenable to users installing other software.

At the event I met someone called David Woolls who works in computational forensic linguistics. I've invited him to come and give a seminar at Goldsmiths and to show us how his software may be of use in our music literature analysis for Purcell Plus.

I haven't posted since the London snow which turned out to be a grand excuse for everyone to have a day off. I struggled back to London from Norwich, going on the DLR for first time. For some reason, while various tube lines were closed, the DLR seemed to work. Anyway, I got to College to find it was closed which was pretty annoying. There are some pictures on flickr.

I started using Twitter, mainly because there was an Emacs mode. I'm not really sure why it's a good idea. And also, someone is sitting on my nick.

I gave up on KDE after trying KDE 4. 4.0 wasn't ready for general use. 4.1 fixed loads of bugs and 4.2 was quite a bit more complete. But it's scarily reminiscent of Vista. So now I'm doing everything (mail, irc, jabber) except Web browsing in Emacs, using Fluxbox for handy keybindings and putting Emacs in a workspace, and using Conkeror for Web browsing. It means I don't have to deal with the fiddly little mouse on my Acer Aspire One. I've learned enough emacs lisp to be able to write a few handy extensions for things like file association, presence management (irc and jabber), and tinyurl and keep meaning to try using emacs as a scripting language :-)

So that's me for now. Maybe I'll blog more about my Lisp learning and Emacs hacks.