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Stuart Brady

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Stuart Brady
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April 2nd, 2016

Eight years!

Almost eight years without an update! That’s a record, even for me.

Okay, so my life has not quite gone as I had imagined it. The new job I talked about in my last post, in 2008, was surprisingly good, in hindsight. After a few years I joined EchoStar in Steeton, Keighley (outside of Bradford (outside of Leeds), West Yorkshire). That was great at first. There was lots of work to do and I was largely allowed to get on with it. That didn’t last, unfortunately. I decided to join a consultancy firm, but I find I have a completely different temperament to the one needed in that environment. After a year and a quarter in that job, I had lost all remaining confidence, but eventually I managed to pick myself up.

Just over a year ago, I then did a contract at a startup in Cambridge. I should watch what I say, but it just wasn’t for me, so I didn’t continue in that direction.

I now find myself living in Cambridge, meeting wonderful people, and hopefully building up to getting a job that I really enjoy doing. Assuming all goes well, I’m very much hoping to join an orchestra, and get back into running again.

Whilst I was living in Bingley and later in Saltaire, I had joined an outdoors exercise class at Roberts Park in Saltaire, called “Commando Fit”. It was great fun, I met lots of lovely people, and I did benefit quite a bit from the exercise. Would highly recommend to anyone moving to the area! We ended up doing running events, and in fact, the way I got roped into joining in the first place was to do the “Cumbrian Commotion” triathlon, consisting of fell running, mountain biking and kayaking! Never in my life would I have ever dreamt I’d end up doing something like that!

So, I’m trying to keep busy doing bits with Fuse (the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator) and also I’m working on a patch to GCC. Will have to see how that goes, but fingers crossed!

September 16th, 2008


I spent Sunday feeling very, very ill. I spent Monday feeling very groggy. Today, I'm just knackered. Tomorrow, I'm hoping I'll be well enough to travel back to Derby...

Unfortunately, my access to teh Intertubes is now pretty much limited to my lunch hour at work — I should really shout at my landlord a bit more, as they really should have dealt with the phone wiring and the TV aerial by now. At least I have some TV reception, which is better than nothing.

The happy news is that abigailb ('morwench') has somehow conned me into playing Puzzle Pirates, which is great fun! Ooh, and thanks to the new John Lewis store at the Highcross shopping thingy, I now have a shiny new TV and a microwave oven! w00ts!

August 31st, 2008

Ooh, I forgot to mention — I am now on the You Tubes. I'm not the best Tremulous player ever, and I wasn't playing especially well during that recording, but it's all good fun! :)

I've even gone and joined D-S-R-T, the "dark spirit tremulous" clan, which is only just getting started. Hopefully there'll be more to report on that in a month or two...

Moving to Derby

Yay, it looks like I'm moving into a flat! :)

Apart from some holes in the walls which have now been filled in, things have gone pretty well so far. Amongst other things, the settee was delivered today — it was a bit tricky for the delivery men to get it in, but they somehow managed.

Dealing with the letting agent was another matter, though. It would have been nice if they'd bothered to check that the flat was finished before handing over the keys. It would also have been nice if they'd given me the correct contact number for the landlord, instead of the private mobile number of one of the developers. Also, their lawyers should be ashamed of themselves — I can accept that contracts must be written in legal language which isn't always crystal clear, but don't you think 202 words in one sentence is overdoing it a bit? Well, at least I'll never have to speak to them again! :)

It'll be nice to live closer to work. Commuting from Leicester to Derby wasn't actually that bad, though — largely thanks to the lifts I've been getting to the train station. Still, it'll be nice to have an extra hour in each day!

Apparently I need to get some sort of 'Life' to fill those hours with, but I'm not sure how to do that... :)

July 22nd, 2008

Phones and keyboards

Hrm. Well, I really need a new phone. My Nokia 3310 is nice enough, but it's getting a bit dated. The main problem with the 3310 is that I need to charge it a bit more frequently than I'd like. I also really want something that I can tweak easily, which will also play Ogg Vorbis files. I might get a Neo FreeRunner (a.k.a. GTA02) but I'm not sure if that's at all risky... perhaps I should wait for a GTA03. OTOH, I could just carry on using the 3310 until the Openmoko software works reasonably well. I just can't decide...

Oh, one thing I should probably have ranted and raved about by now (i.e. I'm about to start being really boring!) is the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. I had long wondered why keyboards had their keys placed in such a strange order. It turns out it's to slow you down. Ugh. Well, I've been using the Dvorak layout for about two years now, and aside from the fact that it's probably saving my from the dreaded RSI, I've found that it's just made typing effortless. Yeah, it was a fair amount of effort to switch, but we really shouldn't be teaching kids QWERTY. It's nuts.

A very quick example of how Dvorak is easier is the command "grep -i '^[asdfghjkl]*$' /usr/share/dict/words | wc -l" which yields 154 on my machine — that is, 154 words (out of 74000) in the word list can be typed entirely with the middle row of keys. The Dvorak equivalent, "grep -i '^[aoeuidhtns]*$' /usr/share/dict/words | wc -l", shows that 1969 words from that same word list can be typed entirely with the middle row — as 'AEOUIDHTNS' contains the eight most commonly used letters in English, this isn't too surprising, really!


Camping turned out better than expected! The journey was a bit of a marathon — I left Leicester on Friday at 9:09, arrived at Blaenau Ffestiniog at around half-past two, and found that the rain and mist was really rather bad... fortunately, I was very kindly spared from having to camp half-way up on my own in the mist on that afternoon (thanks so very much!), and so I went up on Saturday morning. Not really knowing the way, I headed straight through the marshy bits and got my feet utterly soaked, but I reached the campsite in the end, with a little help and encouragement!

After that, things only really got better — the weather cleared up — on Monday morning, I even managed a quick dip in the lake — and to top it all, I'm not even aware of anyone getting food poisoning! :)

I took lots of rubbish photos with my new camera (a Fujifilm FinePix J50, which has a 2.7 inch screen!), and I'll try to upload the least rubbish of these soonish!

July 5th, 2008

Apparently I should post more often. (Sorry, tea_cantata!) This is still not as impressive as my previous piece of idling, from March 6th, 2002 to September 28th, 2005, though.

Well, anyway, in the last few years I finished my MSc, then spent a while doing some fun things including helping to get Fuse (the Free ZX Spectrum Emulator) running on Windows — and now I've got a job doing telecoms-related development in Derby!

I've been experimenting a bit with a camera (and I've uploaded some of ioannab's excellent photos, too), and we've also been tidying up the pond — thankfully, the water lily's plans to take over the world have now been halted!

Thanks to grimgrim and cherade9 for putting up with me during DebConf7 — and afterwards, when I was initially unable to get back home from Edinburgh due to some severe flooding! (I'll have to try to do the full touristy thing in Edinburgh some day, as it's a really nice city!)

And sorry, jorallan, I really will finish the Debian/Ubuntu packaging for Fuse. Some day. I Promise... :)

January 31st, 2006

Strange Dream

I had a very, very strange dream last night: I was trying to pay Opal Fruits (now "Starburst") into my bank. They were very polite, but told me that they couldn't accept sweets as legal tender, and I ended up feeling really lost. It wasn't that they were worth much — it's just that I'd been paid some Opal Fruits and I wanted to get rid of them.

In other news, I gave a talk on open source software a while ago, for final year students at DMU a while ago, which went quite well. Many of them had never heard of open source or Linux before, so hopefully that should encourage a good number of people. Semester 1 has finished, and semester 2 has just begun. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to regain all that lost sleep due to exams.

I'm now playing an awful lot of Urban Dead, and I seem to be gaining a Wikipedia addiction, which was just a matter of time, really.

November 12th, 2005


I graduated on Tuesday — hooray! The ceremony was a lot shorter than I'd expected, and as I was melting underneath my suit and gown, that may even have been a good thing. I met a few people that I hadn't seen in quite some time. The lady next to me had been studying in Malaysia, and had come to the UK especially for the ceremony, which was rather interesting!

I've done my first two bits of coursework, and everything seems to be going well. Unfortunately, though, I'm studying data network theory for the fourth time, so I'm trying to avoid boredom by learning about things like OSI, X.25, DECnet and so on. I should be able to stay interested, so long as I can find something to code.

jen_f and I watched Serenity (the Firefly film) not so long ago, and it was great! I really ought to get the series, though.

October 6th, 2005


I enrolled on Monday — everything went well. I got my new student card yesterday, with a new photo. The good news is that I am no longer the disembodied head of Harry Potter (never wear a white T-shirt) — I am now Professor Snape! (Apparently this is a good thing!)

I met Nick today, who I've not seen for a long time. He's starting his final year, which is great news!

Today was "Data Networks" day. Apparently, I've covered much of the syllabus already, which means I'll probably need to go into extra depth, so that I stay interested in the module. Yesterday was "Telecommunication Systems" day, which was entirely new to me. Hopefully this balances out, or something. :-)

The bus ride home took longer than anticipated, as somebody decided that they'd cause a scene and hold the bus up for twenty minutes, rather than pay the full bus fare. Admittedly, the fare from the next stop was less than half the price... but it's not really fair to blame the bus driver, and I don't see why the other passengers and I should have to suffer!

Tomorrow, we do "Digital Signal Processing", which I'm really looking forward to. Hopefully, I won't be too far out of my depth.
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