General

The dumping ground when I can’t be bothered to properly categorise a post.

Hugo in Action book review

Jack Hughes
I have recently ported this blog over to Hugo. Hugo is a static site generator written in the Go language. In preparation, I thought it would be a good idea to read a book on the topic. The world is not exactly overburdened with up to date books about Hugo so the shortlist was very short. In Hugo’s defence, the documentation provided by the project is pretty good. But, it is always helpful to have an outside perspective.

A new dawn for The Tech Teapot

Jack Hughes
The Tech Teapot first started in late 2006. It wasn’t called that then, it started out as the blog for OPENXTRA Ltd., a company I co-founded all the way back in 2003. Latterly, I kinda assumed that The Tech Teapot was dead. The website was still live but not in its original form. I converted the old Wordpress site to static HTML using the very good Simply Static Wordpress plugin so I couldn’t easily modify the site even if I wanted.

A reminder of the power of the internet, again

Jack Hughes
Some time ago I had a reminder of just how powerful the internet can be. I can log into a website, schedule one of a number of expensive astronomical telescopes to take a photo of whatever takes my fancy. The telescope that took the image below is based on the top of a mountain in Tenerife. The Open University own and run the telescopes. The Open University started in the UK in the late 1960s with a vision for opening up access to higher education for all regardless of their academic background.

My 2019 Reading Log

Jack Hughes
I think I can say that 2019 was my best year for books in a very long time. Maybe my best ever. I certainly went to town on non-fiction this year. Tough choice for best non-fiction book this year. But, I think I’d plump for Hannibal by Ernle Bradford. A relatively short book but absolutely superb read. Whilst Hannibal’s generalship shines through, I did quietly admire the shear bloody mindedness of the Romans.

My 2018 Reading Log

Jack Hughes
Just eight book in 2018. A new low I think. The best book of the year would be between Larry Niven’s Ringworld, Greg Bear’s Hull Zero Three and Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish. If pressed I’d go with Ringworld as being the best read of 2018. Which is odd, given that I actually bought the book back in the early 1990s and started reading it back then and gave up. It is strange how things change over time.

My 2017 Reading Log

Jack Hughes
A very bad year for reading over the last year. I suspect that the Playstation 4 got in the way again. No great shame in that. Games can be excellent story telling mechanisms. Just 9 books read in total. Finished the Red Rising trilogy this year. I don’t think the saga finished as well as it started but still well worth your time. I do wish that the science fiction and fantasy genre wasn’t so driven by trilogies.

My 2016 Reading Log

Jack Hughes
I read a total of 13 books in 2016. Maybe slightly higher than average but not by much. Only four non-fiction books this year. The highlight, if that’s the right word, of the non-fiction books was the biography of Jimmy Savile written by Dan Davies. A very close second was SPQR written by Mary Beard. If you’ve any interest in ancient Rome, then you’ll really enjoy SPQR. Fiction wise I’d say it was a pretty good year.

My 2015 Reading Log

Jack Hughes
I’ve not managed to read as many books this year. Mostly due to the competition from playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for the first four months of the year. On the plus side, it has been a good year for books. I’ve had a run of superb books. I’ve tried to broaden the range of books I read. I’ve always been a sci-fi fan but not a great fan of ork and goblin style fantasy but I’ve made a conscious effort to try more contemporary fantasy and have been very pleased with the quality of work I’ve found.

Tools to lesson the WPF pain

Jack Hughes
I’m back writing GUI code at the moment. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that I hate writing GUIs. But, there’s nobody else to do it, so it has to be me. It’s not just that I am doing GUI code though that makes my current project tough, it is that I am learning WPF at the same time. The last time I had to write a reasonable sized GUI I was using MFC and C++, circa 2002.

A reminder of the power of the internet

Jack Hughes
It is very easy to become jaded about technology, I had a reminder this week of just how wonderful it can be. Last Thursday I started a beginners astronomy class at the local secondary school. I was more than a little surprised to learn that you can subscribe for a mere £3 per month and have access to three telescopes situated on top of a mountain in Tenerife through the Bradford Robotic Telescope.