losing access to Gemini

Slightly off-topic for this site, but I am constantly amazed by the UK Government’s ability to waste money within it’s own operations and withdraw comparatively small amounts from really useful projects thus crippling them and the benefits about to be reaped from the investments so-far made. The UK’s funding cut is about to exclude us from the multinational Gemini project as reported on the bbc news site. This I think is particularly short-sighted (excuse the pun) and it feels like the rug being pulled from under us. Particularly after projects such as Galaxy Zoo have done such a good job of increasing awareness and participation in this science.

If you are UK based and wish to stand against this decision, there is a Downing Street petition you can sign. There is more information and more actions you can take on the save astronomy site.

Save Astronomy

The Gemini UK office home page.

LFPUG off to a flying start to 2008

Again it looks like a couple of really interesting subjects on 31 Jan:

  • PureMVC
  • The 3rd Way: Handling 3D on the Web

More information is on the LFPUG site

I looked at using PureMVC previously for a simple tennis game, but left it aside in favour of building MVCish classes independent of any ‘framework’. I look forward to seeing if this decision saved or cost me time.

I haven’t got around to the obligatory 3D stuff yet. Personally I’ve always found it a bit of a red-herring, and one where the cost:benefit often falls short. So I’ll be particularly interested in seeing examples of good use.


I finally got to see Brazil on the big screen last night (22 years after it was released!), at the Prince Charles Cinema in London.


Quite a difficult film so sit through, but contains some iconic scenes and well worth the effort. Shows what can happen when a bug literally drops into the system where you have a labour intensive, but highly mechanical totalitarian bureaucratic state. Which leads my thoughts to the recent facebook conspiracy or reality posting.

endurance (other people’s) for charity

This seems to be the month for it. Two events of endurance. Both have personal friends participating…

1. Trailwalker 2007 : 14th July 2007: A sponsored 100Km 30 hour hike in aid of Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Two teams from Sun Microsystems are taking part. I’m sponsoring “Team Niagra Fallouts”. More information on the event on their blog here.

2. Sponsoring the ‘puntourists’ in their “Capital to Coast Bike Ride” on 15th July 2007. Raising funds for norwood, children’s and families trust, cystic fibrosis trust and downs syndrome association. More information on their JustGiving page.

Feeling the need to get off my backside and do something worthy myself – maybe next year.

coconut orchestra

OT for this blog. However…

Traflagar Square

This being St George’s day, and unusually we bothered to make an effort. Thanks to Spamalot, in Trafalgar Square, we broke the world record for the most people playing in a coconut orchestra. At 5567, quite a few more than New York’s previous record of 1785. It would have been much higher, but we ran out of coconuts. Pythons Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones made an appearance.

Foot above

Trafalgar Square

Following the record attempt there was the slightly surreal (but strangely appropriate) screening of Monty Python And The Holy Grail at the foot of Nelson’s column. Big Ben on the skyline. The 5,000+ audience still equipped with coconuts joining in wherever a clip and clop might be required.

Back to computing stuff next.

LFPUG looking good yet again…

Accessibility was always one of my chief concerns back when my work was XHTML/CSS. Since moving more into ActionScript development it has I’m afraid to say slipped somewhat, relying on the usual approach of Flash site with HTML backup. Niqui’s presentation I hope will help me get back into the habit of integrating accessibility into the process and maybe get away from needing a HTML backup?

The LFPUG presentations 29th March 2007

  • A Usability Approach to Accessible Flash (19:00 – 20:00) – Niqui Merret
  • Lighten up: Rediscovering Fun ( 20:15 – 21:15 ) – Aral Balkan