Random post-Hogmanay gruntings

When Mood Music
2014-01-04 18:28:00 cheerful News Quiz – 2013_12_13

Sorry I’ve been silent for quite a while – November and December seem to have been devoted almost entirely to my MSc dissertation, sorting domestic IT problems and working for Leith Central Community Council. (I’m their minutes secretary and joint webmaster, making my first forays into WordPress.)


The dissertation was submitted on the 19th, so I didn’t have to sweat over it while visiting my parents, and I just need to get through the viva – scheduled for 9th January. I should pass, but I’m not hopeful for a distinction for this part of the MSc. If I don’t get a distinction here, then I merely pass the MSc despite all my other distinction-level marks.



Elly and I went to Worcester on 22nd and came back on the 27th. This seems remarkably short – I’ll need to visit again soon. Lots of eating ensued. My mother’s potato salad and vegan coleslaw kept me remarkably fruity. The whole clan (parents, me, sister, brother, Elly, brother’s girlfriend) were together for about 24 hours, then Ian and Pamela flew north to be with her family in Ayrshire. Ahh, twas good if fleeting.

Back to Edinburgh, with Elly full of cold. She lay low while I did my last spin of 2013. That was hard – I’d not been done anything like exercise for well over a week. New year was seen in with friends in Colinton, their new bunnies and generous servings of Talisker. That smokey anaesthetic is part of the reason I wasn’t so talkative on the 1st.



But I did make my first IT purchases of 2014 on the first. These were

  • long USB to lightning-port cables for Elly’s and my iDevices
  • a VGA monitor cable
  • a USB to VGA adaptor for all of £25 from eBay – the list price is US$99

So now my mac has 3 monitors:

Screen Pixels Connections to mac
Sanyo TV 1920 x 1080 VGA port –> VGA cable –> VGA-to-DVI adaptor –> mac’s DVI port
DVI monitor 1600 x 1200 DVI cable –> DVI-to-miniDisplay adaptor –> mac’s miniDisplay port
VGA monitor 1024 x 0768 VGA port –> VGA cable –> VGA to USB adaptor –> adaptor’s USB cable –>
USB extender cable –> mac’s USB port 2


Projects for early 2014 include

  • updating the survey of CC websites I did in summer 2012 – I’ve won funding from Napier to do this.
  • potentially deepening this survey to look at social media use, and delving further into how planning is presented on CC websites – my MSc supervisor and I are applying for funds to do this.
  • submitting comments based on my research to the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy in Scotland
  • finishing a paper for a conference on eDemocracy. It’s in Krems an der Donau, so I’d dearly like to go – and talk to IT and communications folk in local governments in Austria. I didn’t get funding to go to this – it will cost well over £1000 – but might be able to save enough from the CC website survey payments.
  • setting up a website for another Edinburgh community council – I expect lots of fun teaching them how to use WordPress.
  • teaching myself more Java, the beginnings of Python, more HTML5 and maybe Objective C
  • setting up MacOS Leopard server on a PowerBook G4: so Elly and I will have space for mutual documents, very private email addresses
  • setting up social media presences that might support the way I want my career to go
  • building a bike trailer
  • lots of cycling – I want to work up to being able to do 100 miles in a day without any problems.
  • finding some paid work! I want to do practical stuff that supports community councils as they try to go online – only 22% have worthwhile websites – and also academic research that springs from and supports this practical work.



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