Archive | Writing

The plan

I like to set goals. I’m not that keen on keeping to them, but I like setting them as targets and frameworks to work with. I’ve got a set of personal and work related goals that want to work to over the next few years. Sort of my own personal Soviet style 5-year plan.

Work Stuff

Become the go-to guy for VMware VI3 questions and also for Mac OS X integration into Windows environments. Also be the person people search out when they have questions about current and new technology.

Personal Stuff

Learn mathematics. Using this selection of self study books:

mathbooks Click picture for larger view

I want to be able to read Penrose’s The Road to Reality and understand the mathematics in it.

Do several Open University courses to finish a BSc I’m doing with them:

S366 Evolution

SXN390 Science in Society Project

Do the Open University MSc Science and Society. As long as they let me in. [Update: They did!] I’ve pulled out a few courses recently and they have a rule that stops you registering for new courses. Which is fair enough. They don’t get paid by the government if people don’t complete the courses. In any event I’ll be doing something in the science communication field (including many more posts here on the Soapbox) as we need to fight the hoards of superstitious nut jobs. We can’t cede any of the ground won in the last 400 years with rationality and the scientific method.

Continue to work on some science fiction stories I’m writing. One is set in a space opera scale universe and the other is set in the Frank Herbert Hellstrom’s Hive universe.

Music – I’ve got about dozen songs in various stages of work (all have full lyrics). I want to continue to work on them and maybe package them together as an actual album. That’d be cool 🙂

Write a cricket match scoring system for Macintosh and iPhone using Cocoa. Unless someone else develops on that meets my needs first. I’d be happy if they did. Programming projects always bore the tits of me after the initial requirements specification and design are done! [Update: I’ve also had an idea for an app that uses the Twitter API]

We’ll see how I get on…

Soapbox and Twitter

Since I started Twittering I’ve been posting things that used to appear here on the Soapbox, like Song of the Day, as tweets instead. I can see this increasing with Twitter been used for short posts and this site being used for longer screeds. My 3 latest tweets also appear in the sidebar on the right here. If you are not on Twitter then give it go.

Moleskine notebooks

I decided that I needed a small notebook to jot things down in when they occured to me. Things like story ideas, song snippets, general notes; anything really. So I ordered a Moleskine Pocket Plain Notebook after seeing Simon Wolf with one at WWDC. It’s perfect. Fits in the pocket, has a sleeve at the back to store a few items, has a ribbon bookmark and an integrated elastic to hold it closed. Cool. I also ordered a Moleskine Large Plain Notebook for more copious writing and note taking. I liked them so much I’ve just ordered a Moleskine San Francisco City Notebook for use on WWDC and Macworld trips. The city notebook has a map, which gives an overview of the city, along with 36 pages of zone maps, which provide large scale maps of the city centre. A 96 page tab separated personal section allows you to keep hotels, shops, addresses, places of interest and facilities organised. A further 76 blank pages let you jot down thoughts, stories and memories of trips. Excellent. Basically the city notebooks let you build up your own guidebook for cities you visit regularly.

There are editions of the city notebooks for about 20 major cities so far. See the full list at the Moleskine site.

More praise for Hellstrom’s Hive

I finished listening to the audio book version of Frank Herbert’s Hellstrom’s Hive yesterday. God, I love that book. It is so crying out for a sequel. I want to know what happened next, then over the following few years, decades, and centuries. I’m now reading the book again. On my Sony Reader of course. I created a LRF version of the book from a PDF I “found”. I’ve bought two paper copies of the book and an audio version. I’ll buy an authentic eBook version when I can.

I might take some notes and jot down some thoughts of possible sequel ideas in Scrivener as I read it this time…

Lost legs quest

A man in a wheelchair came hurtling round a corner.

“I was in surgery yesterday”, he said to a man looking in a shop window, “just trying to find my legs after the operation”.

“You don’t have any legs!” the window shopper observed.

“I know that. Aren’t you listening. They cut them off during the operation.” the man retorted testily. “Have you seen them?” he continued.


The man looked disappointed. “Well if you do let me know”.

He hurried on down the corridor leaving an electric hum from the chair in his wake.

Vacuuming the cat…

“Where’s Bill?” he asked.

“Vacuuming the cat” she replied.

“What do you mean vacuuming the cat?”

“Like I said. He’s vaccuming the cat.

“What, with a hoover?”



“The cat came back covered in dust. Bill is using the hoover to clean it off.”


“It happens a lot. We think the cat likes the feeling of being hoovered so he gets dusty on purpose.”