January giveaway

Another clear out. Free if you want them.

  • Kensington laptop lock cable (with three-digit combination)
  • Canon Digital Ixus V2 camera, including case, 2x batteries, memory card, charger, video cable, USB cable, and manuals
  • Technicolor TG582n ADSL router
  • Hornby Select DCC Controller R8213, with power supply, cable to track, and manual
  • OO-gauge track, mixture of Hornby and Bachmann… R607 x8, R600 x8, R606 x2, R8072, R8073, and R8206
  • Apple PlainTalk microphones x2
  • 2GB 1Rx8 PC3-12800S RAM x2
  • Apple Pro Mouse M5769

Books giveaway
We’re having another clear out; we have lots of books to give away. Free if you can collect from us in St Andrews (or happy to post at £3/paperback and £5/hardback).

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Please let me know if you’d like any of these:

Winnie-the-PoohA. A. MilnePaperback
Gentlemen Prefer BlondesAnita LoosFolio Society
Pup IdolAnna WilsonPaperback
The Original Illustrated Arthur Conan DoyleArthur Conan DoyleHardback
The Sign of FourArthur Conan DoylePaperback
Missee LeeArthur RansomePaperback
The Elusive PimpernelBaroness OrczyHardback
The Scarlet PimpernelBaroness OrczyFolio Society
A Late PhoenixCatherine AirdPaperback
The Body PoliticCatherine AirdPaperback
The Complete SteelCatherine AirdPaperback
A Dream of WessexChristopher PriestHardback
On What GroundsCleo CoylePaperback
RebeccaDaphne du MaurierFolio Society
ShatteredDick FrancisHardback
Under OrdersDick FrancisHardback
MicroserfsDouglas CouplandHardback
Tales of Mystery and ImaginationEdgar Allan PoeFolio Society
Arrows of Erosedited by Alex StewartPaperback
Twelve Mystery Storiesedited by Jack AdrianPaperback
Twelve Tales of Murderedited by Jack AdrianPaperback
Death of a DuchessElizabeth EyrePaperback
Designer KnockoffEllen ByerrumPaperback
Raiders of the Lost CorsetEllen ByerrumPaperback
The Case of the Black-Eyed BlondeErle Stanley GardnerPaperback
AvengerFrederick ForsythHardback
The AfghanFrederick ForsythHardback
The VeteranFrederick ForsythHardback
The Diary of a NobodyGeorge and Weedon GrossmithFolio Society
Animal FarmGeorge OrwellFolio Society
Travels with my AuntGraham GreeneFolio Society
SheH. Rider HaggardPaperback
Dead AirIain BanksHardback
The Steep Approach to GarbadaleIain BanksHardback
MatterIain M. BanksHardback
Surface DetailIain M. BanksHardback
The AlgebraistIain M. BanksHardback
Doors OpenIan RankinHardback
Exit MusicIan RankinHardback
Resurrection MenIan RankinHardback
The Naming of the DeadIan RankinPaperback
On the RoadJack KerouacPaperback
Garfield’s Furry TalesJim DavisHardback
The Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn BunyanFolio Society
CharadeJohn MortimerPaperback
RumpoleJohn MortimerFolio Society
Rumpole and the Age of MiraclesJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole and the Golden ThreadJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole for the DefenceJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole of the BaileyJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole’s Last CaseJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole’s ReturnJohn MortimerPaperback
The Trials of RumpoleJohn MortimerPaperback
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan SwiftFolio Society
Journey to the Centre of the EarthJules VerneFolio Society
Snipped in the BudKate CollinsPaperback
The 10th KingdomKathryn WesleyPaperback
Learning the WorldKen MacLeodPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #10Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #11Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #13Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #4Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #5Kenneth RobesonPaperback
A Series of Unfortunate Events 1: The Bad BeginningLemony SnicketHardback
A Series of Unfortunate Events 2: The Reptile RoomLemony SnicketHardback
A Series of Unfortunate Events 3: The Wide WindowLemony SnicketHardback
Crime in QuestionMargaret YorkePaperback
The Adventure of Tom SawyerMark TwainHardback
FrankensteinMary ShelleyFolio Society
Perish in JulyMollie HardwickPaperback
The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieMuriel SparkFolio Society
Cabbages and KingsO. HenryHardback
The Gentle GrafterO. HenryHardback
A Taste for DeathP. D. JamesPaperback
An Unsuitable Job for a WomanP. D. JamesPaperback
Cover Her FaceP. D. JamesPaperback
Death in Holy OrdersP. D. JamesPaperback
Original SinP. D. JamesPaperback
The Black TowerP. D. JamesPaperback
The LighthouseP. D. JamesHardback
The Murder RoomP. D. JamesHardback
The Private PatientP. D. JamesHardback
Desolation IslandPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
H.M.S. SurprisePatrick O’BrianFolio Society
Master & CommanderPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
Mauritius CommandPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
Post CaptainPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
The Golden OceanPatrick O’BrianPaperback
A Clubbable WomanReginald HillPaperback
A Killing KindnessReginald HillPaperback
A Very Good HaterReginald HillHardback
An April ShroudReginald HillPaperback
Death’s Jest-BookReginald HillHardback
Dialogues of the DeadReginald HillHardback
Exit LinesReginald HillPaperback
Good Morning, MidnightReginald HillHardback
On Beulah HeightReginald HillHardback
Ruling PassionReginald HillPaperback
The Death of DalzielReginald HillHardback
Under WorldReginald HillPaperback
I Am LegendRichard MathesonPaperback
The Complete Tales of the UnexpectedRoald DahlFolio Society
Phule’s CompanyRobert AsprinPaperback
Phule’s ParadiseRobert AsprinPaperback
The Man Who Sold the MoonRobert HeinleinPaperback
Time Enough for LoveRobert HeinleinPaperback
To Sail Beyond the SunsetRobert HeinleinHardback
Travels with a DonkeyRobert Louis StevensonFolio Society
The Adventures of Robin HoodRoger Lancelyn GreenFolio Society
Just So StoriesRudyard KiplingFolio Society
Puck of Pook’s HillRudyard KiplingPaperback
Puck of Pook’s HillRudyard KiplingFolio Society
Rewards and FairiesRudyard KiplingPaperback
The Jungle BookRudyard KiplingFolio Society
Devil May CareSebastian FaulksHardback
Murder on the CliffStefanie MattesonPaperback
The Girl Who Played with FireStieg LarssonPaperback
Nightmare AbbeyThomas Love PeacockFolio Society
The Name of the RoseUmberto EcoFolio Society
IvanhoeWalter ScottHardback
Rob RoyWalter ScottFolio Society
Adventure Stories from The StrandFolio Society
Crime Stories from The StrandFolio Society
Short Stories from The StrandFolio Society
American Short StoriesFolio Society
English Short StoriesFolio Society
French Short StoriesFolio Society
Irish Short StoriesFolio Society
Russian Short StoriesFolio Society
Playing with History: The Historical Approach to Musical PerformanceJohn ButtHardback
Contemplating Music: Challenges to MusicologyJoseph KermanHardback
Text & Act: Essays on Music and PerformanceRichard TaruskinPaperback
Performing Music in the Age of RecordingRobert PhilipHardback
Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner’s Tristan and IsoldeRoger ScrutonHardback
The Aesthetics of MusicRoger ScrutonHardback
Side by SideAlan TuckerHardback
Heroines: Women Inspired by WomenLisa TuttleHardback
Folklore, Myths & Customs of BritainMarc AlexanderHardback
The Complete Book of Home ImprovementMike LawrencePaperback
Ordnance Survey Travel Map: South East EnglandMap
Ordnance Survey Travel Map: South West EnglandMap
The Private Eye Annual 2009Hardback
The Private Eye Annuel 2010Hardback
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: ParentingPaperback

FTTC in St Andrews
My broadband seems to be getting slower and slower. A few years ago I could connect at 11Mb/s, but now I’m lucky to get 7Mb/s. I searched for something better, and was was pleased to see that St Andrews now has FTTC available.


I rang my ISP this afternoon to see what they could do, and the result is that we’re being upgraded to FTTC on Monday 8 September. Apparently we’ll need a visit from a BT engineer to fettle our master socket, and AAISP will send me a new router.

We should get around 40Mb/s, with the option to upgrade to 80Mb/s. Looking forward to it.

Icy bath
While I was in the bath this morning, kateaw and Beth poured a tray of ice cubes in on top of me.

I did the same to them last week, so I suppose I can’t complain too much.
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Planning a party

This evening I’ve been organising Beth’s birthday party. She was 10 in the middle of last month, but we were away around her birthday (and many of her friends are away in July), so we decided to put her party off till the end of the school holidays.

So the party is in a week’s time, and like last year, we’ll spend an hour playing on the beach followed by lunch in the garden at home. (Beth’s choice this year is pizza. And cake, obviously.)
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Sitting in front of the computer, half-way through the morning’s work, thinking that I fancy a cup of tea.

Look down and realise that my mug is half-full of cold tea.

I bought a Canon EOS M a couple of weeks ago. I’d fancied one since they were released in 2012, and when I saw that Currys had the kit on clearance for £150, it was a no-brainer. I also got the 22mm f/2 pancake lens, which I think will live on the camera as my walkabout lens, and the adapter ring to use the larger Canon EF and EF-S lenses.

Up until now I’ve been using a Canon 300D as my main camera. While significant at the time — it was Canon’s first cheap digital SLR — the body is now ten years old.

Odd that lenses outlast camera bodies. My main low-light lens is an EF 50mm f/1.4, a 1993 design that is still current in Canon’s lens range.

The EOS M is a revelation of technology compared to my 300D. So small, and mostly a joy to use. I’m missing having a viewfinder; the touchscreen is hard to see in bright sunlight, and I haven’t yet come to terms with looking at the screen for manual focus, but I guess I’ll adapt. The camera body is so small that the older EF lenses seem massive in comparison.

The new camera has motivated me to start uploading photos to Flickr again, after a break of a few years.

P.S. Anybody want to buy a preloved 300D for cheap?

Cycling in St Andrews
Driving through St Andrews yesterday evening, I was at the bottom of Church Street, about to turn left on to South Street, when a cyclist came up the wrong side of South Street and rode the wrong way up Church Street (which is one way). Needless to say, he looked like a student.

Learning to program
Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby
Now that Beth is 9½, I figured that it is time for her to learn some simple programming. I started programming when I was a similar age, in Commodore Basic on a VIC-20. With a wealth of languages and learning resources available, I thought back to my childhood enthusiasm for computers, and what I currently find exciting, and decided that Ruby would be a good bet. I use it extensively at work, and generally find it a mood-lightening language to work with.

I figured that it would be useful for her to start off with the groundwork of programming — thinking in terms of input and output, variables, and algorithms. A command-line interface was appealing; I don’t see the value in teaching programming through graphical tools.

Beth spent today working through the first few chapters of the book I bought her, Learn to Program, a child-friendly introduction to programming Ruby that concentrates on teaching programming, rather than just teaching Ruby. She responded with enthusiasm, and is looking forward to more in the morning.

I’m rather disappointed that her school don’t appear to teach any real computing; they are taught to use office apps and web sites, but as far as I can tell, don’t get near to programming. This is a missed opportunity.
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Free: books and discs
Church Square
The clear-out continues this week. Our give-away list follows. Please let me know if you’d like anything before I take them to a charity shop at the weekend.

(Items that with a line through have already been taken.)

Hardback books

“The More than Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide” by Douglas Adams (Wings Books, 1989)
“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” by Douglas Adams (Heinemann, 1987)
“The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” by Douglas Adams (Simon and Schuster, 1988)
“Mostly Harmless” by Douglas Adams (Heinemann, 1992)
“The Salmon of Doubt” by Douglas Adams (Macmillan, 2002)
“A Song of Stone” by Iain Banks (Abacus, 1997)
“The Business” by Iain Banks (Little Brown, 1999)
“Look to Windward” by Iain M Banks (Orbit, 2000)
“The Great California Game (A Lovejoy Novel)” by Jonathan Gash (Century, 1991)
“Paid and Loving Eyes (A Lovejoy Novel)” by Jonathan Gash (Random House, 1993)
“The Devil in Amber” by Mark Gatiss (Simon and Schuster, 2006)
“Sepulchre” by James Herbert (Hodder and Stoughton, 1987)
“Creed” by James Herbert (Hodder and Stoughton, 1990)
“Nice Work” by David Lodge (Viking, 1988)
“Unsweet Charity” by Keith Waterhouse (Hodder and Stoughton, 1992)
“Mr Pye” by Mervyn Peake (Methuen, 1985)
“The Foxglove Saga” by Auberon Waugh (Chapman and Hall, 1960)
“The Crack in Space” by Philip K Dick (Severn House, 1989)
“Minority Report” (short story collection) by Philip K Dick (Gollancz, 2002)
“Paycheck” (short story collection) by Philip K Dick (Gollancz, 2003)
“Wrinklies’ Wit & Wisdom: Humorous quotes about getting on a bit” by Rosemarie Jarski (Prion, 2005)
“Why Pandas Do Handstands: and other curious truths about animals” by Augustus Brown (Bantam Press, 2006)
“Word-spells” chosen by Judith Nicholls (Faber and Faber, 1988)
“Once Upon a More Enlightened Time: More politically correct bedtime stories” by James Finn Garner (Simon and Schuster, 1995)
“Stories for 5 year olds” (Ladybird, 2008)
“Favourite Tales: The Enormous Turnip” (Ladybird, 1994)
“Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees” by A A Milne (Methuen)
“Piglet Meets a Heffalump” by A A Milne (Methuen)
“Eyewitness Guides: Arms & Armour” (Dorling Kindersley, 1988)
“Eyewitness Guides: Battle” (Dorling Kindersley, 1995)
“Eyewitness Guides: Castle” (Dorling Kindersley, 1994)
“There’s No Place Like Space! All about our solar system” (The Cat in the Hat Learning Library) by Tish Rabe (Random House, 1999)
“Tell the Time with Croc and Bot” (Potter Books, 2007)
“Muddle Pirates: A magnetic play book” by Stephen Gulbis (Campbell Books, 2008)

Paperback books

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll (Puffin Classics, 2008)
“McCarthy’s Bar” by Pete McCarthy (Lir, 2000)
“The Damned United” by David Peace (Faber and Faber, 2006)
“The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex” (Quirk, 2001)
“The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Parenting” (Quirk, 2003)
“101 Places Not to Visit” by Adam Russ (Robson Books, 2008)
“Confessions of an English Opium Eater” by Thomas de Quincey (Penguin Classics, 1986)
“Fantastic Mr Fox” by Roald Dahl (Puffin, 2010)
“Beast Quest: Amulet of Avantia: Book 19: Nixa the Death Bringer” by Adam Blade (Scholastic, 2011)
“Beast Quest: Amulet of Avantia: Book 20: Equinus the Spirit Horse” by Adam Blade (Scholastic, 2011)
“Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? and 114 other questions” (New Scientist) edited by Mick O’Hare (Profile Books, 2006)
“The Lost Continent: Travels in small-town America” by Bill Bryson (Black Swan, 1999)
“Made in America” by Bill Bryson (Black Swan, 1994)
“Notes from a Small Island” by Bill Bryson (Black Swan, 1996)
“Cider with Roadies” by Stuart Maconie (Ebury Press, 2005)
“How to Live with a Neurotic Dog” by Stephen Baker (New English Library, 1968)
“Alone on a Wide Wide Sea” by Michael Morpurgo (Harper Collins, 2007)
“Pirate Brother” by Pete Johnson (Puffin, 2004)
“The Cardturner” by Louis Sachar (Bloomsbury, 2010)
“Where I Belong” by Gillian Cross (Oxford, 2010)
“The Death Defying Pepper Roux” by Geraldine McCaughrean (Oxford, 2009)

Mr Men and Little Miss books

Little Miss Naughty
Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Giggles
Little Miss Helpful
Little Miss Twins
Little Miss Tidy
Little Miss Fickle
Little Miss Curious
Little Miss Birthday
Little Miss Christmas
Little Miss Lucky and the Naughty Pixies
Little Miss Splendid and the Princess
Mr Sneeze
Mr Snow
Mr Busy
Mr Birthday
Mr Bump and the Knight
Mr Jelly and the Pirates
Mr Tickle and the Dragon
Mr Happy and the Wizard
Mr Messy messing about in the snow
Mr Silly get the giggles
Mr Men: The Night Before Christmas

Ordnance Survey maps

Landranger 63: Firth of Clyde: Greenock & Rothesay (revised 2002)
Landranger 176: West London area (revised 1990)
Landranger 177: East London area (revised 1991)
Landranger 196: Solent & The Isle of Wight (revised 1990)
Explorer 20: South Devon: Brixham to Newton Ferrers (revised 2005)
Explorer 362: Cowal West & Isle of Bute: Rothesay (revised 2001)
Touring map: Lake District & Cumbria (revised 2001)


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [2x BD + DVD]


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Churchill: The Hollywood Years
School of Rock
Dirty Deeds
High Society
Rear Window (Christopher Reeve, 1998)
Pet Shop Boys: Montage: The Nightlife Tour


“Wagner: Love Duets” Domingo & Voigt, cond. Pappano (EMI Classics 2000)
“Folksongs” Alfred Deller & Mark Deller (Harmonia Mundi 1972, 2003)
“The Joyce Grenfell Collection” (HMV 2000)
“Holst: The Planets / The Perfect Fool” Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Mackerras (1989, 1991)
“The Essential British Light Music Collection” BBC Concert Orchestra, cond. Handley (BMG 1997)
“The British Music Collection: Traditional Folk Songs from Scotland” Moira Anderson (Decca, compilation 2002)
“Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado” The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Royston Nash (London 1973, 1989)
“Baby Needs Music” (Delos 2002)
“Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, etc.” Peter Hurford (organ), Orchestra symphonique de Montréal, cond. Dutoit (Decca 1979, 1983, 1988)
“Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” Ashkenazy, London Symphony Orchestra, cond. Previn (Decca 1972, 1999)
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