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20 years of blogging: Read Only

As of 23/12/1999 I will have been blogging for 20 years. I plan to do a retrospective on my first few blog posts starting on 23/12/2019, but before I was writing them I was reading blogs.

Here are the notable ones from those early days.
scripting.com I used to read this at work while I was dialing up to download our work email because as it was about scripting, which is work, isn't it? I stopped reading it a few years ago, but Dave Winer is still going.
Through Dave I found... Tim Bray - Ongoing And I have been reading him ever since. He writes engagingly about technology, boats, his electric car and toast. When I see that red diamond in my feedreader I will often read that first. Magdelena Donea As her Twitter bio says, "Once famous on the internet". I first came across her website (probably called a webzine in those days) from a link on the Microsoft homepage( or maybe it was the Internet Explorer homepage). Even the internet archive doesn't have that site (kia.net/~m…

Robin Hood - a legend I could get lost in

I have a post brewing in my head called "I don't love your thing, but I love that you love your thing", about SF/F and media fandom and how I stand on the edges watching what people do, which would end with an "except". This is the except.

I was reading a review of Sherwood by Meagan Spooner and I thought I'd get on and tell you about Robin Hood. In particular I loved Robin of Sherwood on ITV in the 1980s. Thirteen years ago I posted about how I was looking forward to the BBC's (then) new series of Robin Hood. Whilst that programme was really good, and something we all enjoyed as a family, Robin of Sherwood was better in my mind.

It had an atmospheric soundtrack by Clannad (so I bought the album). As well as the usual story of a good outlaw it also had elements of pagan spirituality as the character of Herne the Hunter helps out somehow (my memory of actual plotlines is pretty faint). On those olden days (the 1980s, not the middle ages) there was no way…

Washing machine follow up

(I wrote this five years ago, but for some reason I never published it. A couple of weeks ago our washing machine got a whole new motor. I think when the history of our washing machine is written people will need this information, so I'm publishing this post.)

I wrote about a new development in washing machines on my other blog. I tweeted about it and Berg favourited my tweet. They also linked to a blog post by Rachel Coldicutt Domestic Folklore, or washing machines for men which talked about Berg's work. As we're veering away from technology and towards the personal I'm putting my thoughts about Rachel's post on this blog.

First of all, an update on our washing machine itself, as you're probably concerned about its welfare given my update at the end of my previous post. It's OK. The problem was that the motor brushes had worn out. Because it's a fancy electronic machine the repair man was able to put it into diagnostic mode and get a code out which sai…

My 2018 awards - light and dark

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While 2018 is not quite over, I think we've had enough of the year that I can announce my personal awards. Starting with...
Best TV series based on a number of short SF stories Electric Dreams This was a real treat. A number of Philip K Dick's short stories were turned into hour long TV programmes. This doesn't happen often, maybe because it's expensive to create one-off sets and do casting for anything less than a complete series, but kudos to Sony for doing that with this series. Philip K Dick wrote the stories that the films Minority Report and Total Recall are based on, so you can guess what sort of subjects are covered. Some are set in the future, or on other planets, while others are set around now. Given that they were written decades ago some are very prescient. 
The title sequence for this series also deserves an Honourable Mention for the next award: Best TV title sequence Lucky Man The third series of Lucky Man came out this year on ITV. Although titled Stan…

Ra - a free SFF story about magic (which isn't)

A while ago, I forget where, I came across a link to this SFF story called Ra.
Magic is real.
Discovered in the 1970s, magic is now a bona fide field of engineering. There's magic in heavy industry and magic in your home. It's what's next after electricity.
Student mage Laura Ferno has designs on the future: her mother died trying to reach space using magic, and Laura wants to succeed where she failed. But first, she has to work out what went wrong. And who her mother really was.
And whether, indeed, she's dead at all.. It was originally written from 2011 to 2018 with new chapters appearing every so often. As it's effectively a blog, there are comments at the bottom, though I didn't delve into those too much. I read it over a period of weeks, but you can binge it now. It has some really interesting worldbuilding around magic. The storyline jumps around a lot, almost too much. I was glad I hung on to the end though as the plot gets very big; very, very big. I r…

When life gives you #flickr1000

Flickr's new 1000 photo limit on free accounts hasn't gone down well. I agree with Thomas Hawk who says it's a smart move though. (It would be good if they just hid your photos over the 1000 limit from the photostream like they used to when your Pro subscription lapsed.)

I have 1,086 photos, so I'm viewing this as an opportunity to choose my best 1000 before they get deleted on 8 January 2019. Here's my photostream.

Update: I found out that Creative Commons licensed photos are exempt from the limit, so actually I'm OK.

Libraries are my guilty secret

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When the austerity measures imposed on local government started to kick in, in the UK, (yes, I've been brewing this post for a while) people were campaigning against the closure of libraries. Libraries are probably viewed as an optional extra, whereas things like rubbish collection aren't. I was glad the people were campaigning because it made me less guilty about the fact that I love libraries.

When I was a child the library assistant at my local library, who knew me because I was friends with her son, gave me the adult allowance of six library cards, instead of the children's allowance of three. I was so happy about that.

When I was a teenager I started collecting coins. One of the things I particularly liked about this hobby was that I could store them in little envelopes, which were like those long drawers full of the tickets from books, that library assistants would go through when they were looking for your books, using that particular walking actions with their fin…