Freesteel Blog » 2012 » March

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 at 10:31 pm - - FOI

Still hammering away at this. The Tribunal judge served the Directions, which said: “Having considered the reasoning and effect of the Supreme Court judgement I now consider these appeals now fall to be struck out on the provisions of rule 8 (3) (c) of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009. This is because I have formed a provisional view that these appeals no longer have a reasonable prospect of success.” The final hearing date is 5 April 2012.

My first reply referred to all my other detailed submissions, which no one seemed to have taken the trouble to read yet. Then the other Parties (the ICO and the BBC) weighed in with their submissions “inviting the Tribunal to strike out [my] consolidated appeals.”

My reply to their submissions is below the fold:


Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 at 3:05 am - - Machining

Some of the kids on the train seem to sleep the whole damn time. Not me. I put in many solid hours of programming, which made me happy. The train was delayed by six hours near the Arizona border due a trespasser on the tracks in the middle of the night. They didn’t go into any detail, but he may have gotten squashed. All the train staff were out there in the desert with their flashlights. We got stuck several times later due to air pressure hoses becoming disconnected. These midwest trains are monster lumbering machines.


Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 6:52 pm - - Hang-glide, Weekends 2 Comments »

One of those worst kept secrets: my holiday back in Los Angeles.

Apparently if you show up to the right people, they’ll rent you a glider for 50 bucks and drive you up to the top of a big hill for another 10 — even if the last time you flew was about 14 years ago.

It’s like riding a bike. You never forget. What freaked me most was I seemed to have no fear on take-off. Maybe it was the surprise of going out on the big hill at no notice, when I believed that at the very least I deserved a couple of runs down the dusty old training hill.

Somewhere in my brain the fossil records of about two or three hundred flying hours in England in generally atrocious conditions came back to life.

The glider was a Falcon (extremely easy training glider), and the landing field was a unique custom built number that looks like an elongated pyramid. Oh my goodness. I had about 2 hours of desperately dehydrated flight on Wednesday, then a very scary benighted drive back to Santa Monica in crazy traffic all over those crowded Los Angeles concrete rollercoasters with a stinking headache. My shoulders and neck were very sore and I did not get even one wink of sleep overnight.

Now, a wise person would have quit while ahead, having done the deed and got away with it. I was, briefly, that wise person, until someone pointed out that now I was safe, because my experience was current. No excuses. So I got out of bed at 6am on Thursday, made sure to drink a heavy cup of coffee with lots of caffeine (which I failed to do the day before), put in 6 hours of diligent webscraping work (minus walking to the other end of town to purchase a much needed pair of cheap sunglasses from the bike rental station), and went for day two.

The sea breeze was had blown in from the coast and changed the conditions. It was quite windy and the thermic lift was less available in the heavy LA smog, which meant I came down after only an hour. But the harness was hung lower, which made flying a dream, and I wore shoes instead of walking boots, so the harness actually fitted me. It was lovely.

Given the choice between this and diving or caving as a way of life, I’d stick with the latter two (as I have done). You can do them with friends and, well, it’s obvious that they encompass a much deeper process of discovery and story making — if you refer to Cousteau’s The Silent World (1956), or Norbert Casteret’s Ten Years Under the Earth (1938). No such seminal works exist for hang-gliding. You have to be there. You can’t talk about it.

It’s also the reason why hang-gliding is probably safer than the other two. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? I’m not going to get flooded in, drowned, trapped by a rock-fall, swept out to sea, have my lungs explode, or experience a rope breakage because it cut against a sharp rock buried in the mud on a 100m deep shaft and was only 9mm thick because anything with a greater safety margin would be too heavy to carry through 2kms of tortuous passage.

So, when can I go again?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 8:18 am - - Weekends

Well, there was quite a bit of rain on Saturday, two days ago. Here are some photographs from out of the camera.


Thursday, March 15th, 2012 at 9:37 am - - Kayak Dive

Last night here, unless the train ticket purchase fails. It’s horribly late and I have been doing a lot of pdf webscraping work that is about as far from enjoyable as can be imagined.

A few days ago did a bike ride up the peninsula and onto the Golden Gate bridge.


Friday, March 9th, 2012 at 7:11 am - - FOI 6 Comments »

Unlike the United States of America, which funds its high tech innovation as a byproduct of its vast and insane military boondoggles, the European Union organizes its funding through investments, recently to the tune of €6.4 billion for smart growth and jobs.

The problem with investments is it doesn’t get the job done. You see, if the Prime Minister wanted to, say, establish a nuclear power industry in the UK, he wouldn’t give money to some venture capitalist firms to invest in nuclear power startup enterprises, because such enterprises would obviously have to expend all their resources looking for business (probably in Iran if they had to), and not doing the actual work. No, to grow the nuclear power industry, the Prime Minister would place some actual orders for nuclear power plants and related equipment, and the market would invest and provide.


Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 12:12 am - - Whipping 1 Comment »

Things coming together here in San Francisco. I could easily live here, moreso than I could in New York.

After several good days in Vallejo with RR, have begin to acquaint myself with the scene. The WebGL art hack weekend was fortunately all booked out, as I do quite enough hacking as it is, but went to the presentations at the end of the hacking to see what this new WebGL could do. It looks pretty hard. It seems to utilize this mysterious pixel plotting language, which I am extremely embarrassed to never heard about. What a lot of homework I have to catch up on now!

Have now set up shop in Mark’s house.

We dropped in on Noisebridge (see picture below), which is San Francisco’s somewhat more advanced version of DOeS Liverpool. You can think of it this way: they’ve got Silicon Valley, and we have Silicon Roundabout.

Got to get to work on something productive before the day is through. Too much. Too much!