Colins Blog 2010

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Not really a blog, but more some random thoughts. Some of these have been excised and transferred to Random Writings. Otherwise you might like also to look at:

Colin's Blog: 2010

2010/07/29 BMI Baby Fail ...

Recently Rachel Wright and I went to Paris to meet up with a friend from the USA who was touring Europe for a month or so. He wasn't going to get as far as the UK, so we decided a couple of days in paris wasn't such a bad thing. It's not that expensive, with Eurostar and the various budget airlines.

Well, it was much more expensive than we thought, in part because we booked late, but not late enough to get the seats they are desperate to sell, and in part because the price quoted was nothing like the price paid. Once you paid for checked luggage (OK, we didn't have any) and check-in (OK, so we checked in online and that was free) we then had a confusing experience with selecting seats, and for some reason seemed to get charged because we had chosen some seats. How we could avoid doing that I'm not really sure, but I digress ...

Then we had to pay to get from CDG to central Paris, which turned out to be Euro 8.70 each, each way, so that adds more, but I digress ...

The real major bmibaby fail was that they've sent me an email advertising something or other when I specifically, explicitly, every time I was asked, clicked the box to say "Do not email me your special offers."

I'm not going to complain to them, evidence suggests it would be useless, and given that they haven't listened to me yet, why would they listen to that. So I'll tell people - bmibaby will email you, even if you ask them not to.

Thanks, bmibaby. Fail.


  • I use to think math was no fun,
  • For I could not see how it was done,
    • Now Euler's my hero,
    • For I see why zero,
  • Is e to the i pi plus one.

OK, so at no point did I ever think maths was no fun
but this limerick was too good to pass up ...

2010/05/22 Martin Gardner

2010/05/21 Let's play Hunt The Bug ...

2010/05/20 Just Give Me The Answer!

2010/04/17 We hate math ...

What more
can I say ...

2010/04/12 Too much terminology

Extracted to Too Much Terminology.

2010/04/10 Needing an external memory

Finally the 21st Century is drawing me in, like some simile a good writer might use. I've started to use twitter and Facebook, and so my extraordinary amounts of spare time (snort) have found another sink.

Recently I mentioned to James Grime that 10! seconds is exactly 6 weeks, and the response has been surprising. It seems that this is new to people, and it's been re-tweeted and re-tweeted. If only I'd thought to tweet it rather than just mention it in random conversation.

So I've started to tweet these random things. There are many more to come, but I've just mentioned that there are pi seconds in a nano-century.

But now there's a problem. I need to write these things down somewhere, and then cross them off when I've used them. I'll look stupid if I repeat too many, and it's daft to bring them all out at once. I need somewhere to write them down and keep track. I need an external brain.

Recently I've started to use these web pages for exactly that, but I can't use them, because then people will find them.

Argh! Perhaps I'm just paranoid, perhaps it's all too complicated, perhaps I should go back to pencil and paper.

Perhaps I should worry less and get on with life ...

ADDED LATER: OK, I've now got a Random Factlets page ...

2010/03/16 Exercise in frustration ...

I've just been visiting the National Rail web site to try to get train times. Giving the number of talks I do I often have unusual requirements, so I torture the site somewhat until it confesses. On this occasion, though, I am stumped.

I'm going to Hemel Hempstead, and so I asked for trains from my local station. No problem. I wondered if there was any difference if I went via London. The options given were similar. Then I wondered about going via Liverpool instead of Chester, so I asked for services via Liverpool.

When it gave me the same options as before I was curious, so I asked for details. Sure enough, despite asking for a train via Liverpool, I got trains via Chester.

Useless. More than useless, it gave me the wrong answer, and took 10 minutes to do so.

Then I went to the scheduling service on a German web site:

Two and a half minutes, result.

Don't bother with the National Rail web site unless you're happy not only to be bombarded by ads, and give them your money, but also to give them 30 minutes of your life for the wrong answer.

2010/03/15 Plus ça change ...

The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn«t want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 B.C.

I've been busy of late - nothing changes - so I haven't been here and updated this for a while. In fact I've been so busy that I haven't really had any thoughts worth sharing, I've just been paddling hard to keep up. But I came across this quotation this morning and had to note it down.

Nothing changes.

(Actually the "quotation" isn't, but it would be nice if it were.)

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