What has Bruce been up to recently?

  • recovering from encountering a tram track on his bike during the beast from the east
  • supervising an MSc student
  • usual community council website and minuting duties, along with work on a CC newsletter, reacting to comments on Facebook and sorting an issue over phone numbers
  • reaction to familial issues – the latest is my sister has been called for jury service, for which she is not suited
  • until this week, doing some web-searching for CCER colleagues. (It’s paused while they consider my results so far.)
  • doing odds and sods to help colleagues organise a phD colloquium
  • doing a lot of work on an application for funding some research into participatory budgeting. Deadline is Thursday – eek! (I have almost no more time for it because I’m on a research skills course tomorrow (er, today), Wednesday and Thursday.)
  • because of that,
    • doing very little writing about my own research int he last two weeks
    • doing even less teach-myself-Python

Tomorrow will be mostly taken up by the course, then being interviewed by a student from Liverpool University about my community council/public engagement/community activities.

Also, I will be working on an application for funding some public engagement research – not with community councils this time. If we get this funding, I will encounter a lot of talented and interesting people from a research and professional area that is pretty new to me. Finally, I will review my MSc student’s latest work.


Anti-social not-worker

I do not use Facebook messenger. I refuse to have this on my phone, and generally ignore the the messaging bit of Facebook in browsers. It may not be logical but I resent being forced to have another app on my phone. Maybe I’m just getting old. If you want to contact me, in my order of preference

  1. talk to me, face to face (vastly preferred). You’ll generally find me in room C45 at Napier’s Merchiston Campus, at home, at LifesCycle, at a community council meeting or cycling between two of these destinations
  2. email me (strongly preferred)
  3. comment on one of my WordPress blogs – so it will email me a notification
  4. phone me
  5. text me
  6. tweet me (last resort)

But please bear in mind that my phone is quite often on silent, and I’ve switched off every alert apart from for incoming calls. And don’t even mention Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, the social part of Mendeley and similar, LinkedIn, ORCID, or any other social media.

Facebook does have a place in my life: the privilege of seeing what far-flung friends and family choose to share. But I’m old, and I’ll pick how I communicate. Facebook messages are not my choice.

Double (DVI) Vision

Until this morning, my main Mac sported a 1600 * 1200 Formac DVI monitor and a 1280 * 1024 HP VGA monitor. (This monitor can also do DVI.) The Formac’s been great – it’s survived several house moves over almost 10 years, and seems as bright as ever.

The HP is a relative newcomer, and I’ve never been entirely happy about the step from the Formac to it. But the ever-wonderful Elly treated me to another Formac for my birthday. It arrived this morning, so we now have:

left: ‘new’ Formac (play);       middle: original Formac (work);      right: HP (other)

The HP monitor is now attached to my Hackintosh. Weirdly, it’s reporting as 1600 * 1200, which shouldn’t be possible.


In a vague tribute to a Janis Joplin album, today could be called I got dem ol’ co-codamol hughies again, mama! In other news, last week I succeeded in copying posts from Just another bipedal sack of DNA and neuroses – because that’s what humans are to this blog.

It’s been interesting – and quite emotional – revisiting the end of a marriage and my career in publishing, various family (mis)fortunes, my time in India and Indonesia, my MSc, the start of my community council work and research career, discovering spinning, and the beginning of my current, very happy marriage. So much of this feels as though it’s permanent, and has been part of me forever – but in reality much is less than 5 years old.

There will be lots of broken links, because some material was hosted on now-dead servers. I’ve tried to resurrect what I can, but if you find any, please let me know.


In this post-truth world, full of trumpty-dumpty dangers, we have to take our amusements and pleasures where we can. So I am rather tickled that of the four Macs in Servants’ Quarters

Anus Horribilis – my Winterval message

Well, it’s been basically a rubbish year.

We’ve said goodbye to too many people: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Anton Yeltsin, Elie Wiesel, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Fidel Castro, Eric (my cousin’s partner) and John Glenn spring to mind. But the death that has affected me the most is the loss of my father in October. Here’s how it went, according to Facebook: Continue reading

Stranger in a strange(ly digital) land

Understanding Digital Policy was the title of an unconference I was at this week. (It was at an outpost of the University of Liverpool in central London – hence the title and illustration for this post.)

Although it was billed as covering

  • How is policy shaping the uptake and use of Digital Media and Technologies?
  • How are Digital Media and Technologies shaping policy making and policy implementation?

it went much further than that, into how will and how should policy be shaped, and what research should be done. This was at least in part due to the organiser, Simeon Yates, leading the the ESRC Ways of Being in a Digital Age team, and so being highly influential on research directions.

You can jump straight to my personal reactions if you want, but here’s how the day progressed. Firstly, we found interesting and/or kindred spirits by writing our own ‘about-me’s, looking at each others’ and deciding who we wanted to work with. Continue reading