All a matter of trust

Some clever researchers at UCSC have come up with a handy little algorithm that hilights the most trusted passages in a Wikipedia article based upon the contributor’s “reputation”, which is calculated by the algorithm using the amount of time that said user’s contributions remain on an article.

Not a new idea by any means, in terms of the way it works, although the metric is a good one.  I’d like to see how this copes with a full copy of Wikipedia.  It would be interesting to say the least.


Accelerometer touting alarm clock

I saw this article pop up on the Engadget feed, and immediately saw the making of a fantastic little novelty item. Sadly, it fell slightly short of what I was thinking.

The proposed design contains an accelerometer, so that when you flick/prod/sledgehammer it, the alarm snoozes for 9 or so minutes. Sadly, someone else got to the comment board before me, pointing out that the duration of the snooze should be directly proportional to the amount of force applied to the offending clock. Must be quicker.

WordPress update

At long last, I’ve finally got around to updating the version of WordPress that I’m running. It turns out that I can easily update it from the DreamHost control panel, but I found a rather nifty little method that uses Subversion to keep everything up to date.

Along with version 2 comes built in support for widgets, so I’ve finally been able to put up a nice little widget containing my Google Reader starred items. Yay!

Socks: updated

As a quick aside, I notice that the aptly named ‘odd sock pile’ appears to have a fixed size, although the actual members of the pile do vary from wash to wash. Clearly, this calls for a proper scientific investigation, perhaps those lazy physicists will be able to get off their bottoms and shed light on this important issue ;)

Digital recycle bins

Reading this article, I really can’t help but think that this is such a cool concept.

Who wouldn’t want this nifty little e-trash receptacle sat on their desk? I really like the way that it shows capacity too. One thing that did strike me, though, was the issue of power: where does it get it’s juice? I think that having to run a power cable to the unit would really ruin the aesthetics – after all, who wants another cable on their desktop? The file transfer can be accomplished easily enough through WiFi, Bluetooth, or maybe even this wireless USB thing that I’ve seen bandied about.

Clearly, a prime case for wireless power. Less of a pipe dream now than previously, but still not quite available to us the unwashed masses yet, unfortunately.


Following on from the post about our new washing machine, I’ve been steadily making my way through approximately one month’s worth of dirty laundry. Not a particularly painful process, but somewhat time consuming. As I’m coming to an end with it, and (almost) everything is dry, I’ve been sorting everything out into piles so we’ll finally be able to have our dining room back.

While sorting things into piles, though, I noticed that there was a disconcertingly large ‘odd sock’ pile. I know that some of those sets of socks were bought after moving, so I’m really at a loss for where their partners could have disappeared to. I’m guessing that this is one of the immutable properties of socks asserting itself in the household: socks reserve the right to disappear at random.

Washing machines can be such a pain!

Honestly, I really didn’t know until now, but I tried to buy one on the first of August (we’d had a neat little washing arrangement with Rob’s parents until then, since they were visiting every weekend). The first order I tried to make from Comet failed because my billing address wasn’t the same as my delivery address (my credit card provider’s fault, let’s not go there). I tried again with my debit card, and it still got turned down. Fair enough, I won’t use Comet again.

To Curry’s! I selected the washing machine (and a freezer too, since I’m beginning to experience ice cream withdrawal) and checked them out. No problem at all. So, the big delivery day finally arrives, I’ve cleared out the area for the appliances, the delivery men arrive, dump the stuff and leave since they “weren’t allowed” to remove the packaging. So, we unpack the stuff, take the shipping bolts out of the back, plumb it in, plug it in and switch it on. It made a few noises before some lights started blinking on the front. Consulting the instruction book, it’s motor was broken. Oh well, a call to Curry’s to ask for a return, and they said that the one we had was out of stock, so we could have a more expensive model for no extra charge. Sweet.

So, with Rob being absent, li’l ol’ me has to heft this massive contraption into place. I connect the water inlet pipe to the tap with the bluey green handle (as opposed to the one with the red handle), as I figured that would be the cold water supply. Two washes later, the clothes that are coming out feel unusually warm… and although it’s not a particularly hot day… should they really be steaming? Obviously, the red tap is the cold water supply, and the blue one the hot water.

I’m certain there’s a plumber somewhere who’s just had a good laugh at my expense. I did, however, feel pretty darn manly kneeling there with my spanner and tool kit and playing around with the various twiddly bits on the cold water valve.


Rob and I moved in together several months ago, after our university accommodation tenancies expired. We’ve now got a pretty nice house in north Coventry. Making the transition from renting to owning a house, though, means that we needed furniture. Lots and lots of furniture. Naturally, a trip to Ikea was in order. We had already sorted bedroom furniture and sofas, so we needed things like desks, bookcases, coffee tables, et cetera.

The nearest Ikea was further than we thought, but easy enough to get to if you excuse the minor detour through Walsall (it’s really not my fault that I’m useless at map reading). But a few trips meant that we had the route down pat. We went around looking at all the stuff, decided what we wanted, and then went down to the box area to pick it all up.

Of course, when we saw the size of the boxes, we realised that this simply wasn’t all going to fit into Rob’s little Micra. Ikea to the rescue! If you find that you can’t fit any of the things you buy into your car, Ikea will deliver them to your door the very next day (for a fee, of course). So, we prioritised a bit, and had everything bar the TV stand delivered. Hurrah!

Also I reckon that I should mention: if you are planning on visiting Ikea any time soon, make sure you pick up one of those Ikea Family Card things. They’re loyalty cards just like the Tesco Clubcard, but you really do get some massive discounts; we got 25% off our desk, for example. They look really cool too… not that this affected my decision in any way *whistle*.


I really am terrible with keeping track of my passwords. I decided that it was high time I get back to updating my little corner of the internet, and lo and behold, I couldn’t remember either my username or my password to get into the admin section of WordPress. Not to be beaten, I decided to go and manually alter the database record for my user (don’t worry, my dear registered users, the passwords are stored as MD5 hashes, so you don’t need to worry about me finding out your passwords… unless anyone would like to give me a nice eight Xeon behemoth?). Anyhow, I got to the login page for that and realised that I’d forgotten -those- as well. Feeling terribly embarrassed, I had to go to the DreamHost control panel (which I could remember my login details for, fortunately) and reset things from there.

The moral of the story: update my blog more frequently so this sort of thing doesn’t happen. :)

Secure backup using rsync and SSH

I just found this article in my unpublished posts… not sure why I didn’t publish it, but there we go.

How to automatically back up your computers with rsync – Lifehacker

I saw this article pop up in google reader on Thursday, and realised that it was actually a pretty good idea. My DreamHost account comes with 200GiB of disk space and 2TiB of bandwidth. Additionally, these both grow in size every week by 1GiB and 16GiB respectively, so I’m hardly even losing data by backing stuff up. You’ll also need some kind of linux server that you can upload to, you may want to consider creating a DreamHost account.

Unfortunately, it’s not really as easy as it looks if you use Windows. I wanted to back up the My Documents folder, which as you might be aware, is a “special folder” (along with My Music, Shared Documents, etc.). Special folders will contain a file called desktop.ini that contains information about the folder (its name and icon, for example). However, according to KB326549, Windows likes to do something a little… unorthodox with the folder permissions – Windows will only look for the desktop.ini file if the folder is marked as read-only. Actually setting the folder as read-only, though, doesn’t actually make the folder read-only: in its infinite wisdom, Windows typically ignores the flag.

So, you might be thinking: “Why does that matter?” right now. Well, in order to run rsync, you will need to install Cygwin, which is (more or less) something that lets you compile unix programs and run them on Windows. Before you run away at the mention of the word “compile”, don’t worry – Cygwin comes with many programs pre-compiled for you, rsync and ssh included. You can get Cygwin here. I think it’s a pretty handy way of backing my stuff up.