Marsh Sound Design

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I’ve written before about the benefits of being the daughter and sister of two avid audiophiles. People who are interested in good hifi and music tend to get periodic bouts of upgradeitis, and I occasionally benefit if second-hand sales are sluggish for a particular item. In fact, after a trip home to my parents at Christmas, my whole hifi stack — apart from my venerable but much loved Rega Planet CD player — is now composed of family hand-me-downs, for which I am very grateful. The most recent additions are two Marsh Sound Design items: a P2000 pre-amplifier, and a A400S power amplifier.

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Using Hugo

As I wrote about earlier, I’ve just finished moving this blog from Pelican to Hugo. I was so impressed with Hugo after setting up Slipstream to use it, that I fancied trying it here as well. Not that there’s really anything wrong with Pelican — it’s a great system, with a lot of flexibility. It’s just that Hugo has two big advantages, the first of which is particularly useful to me, as I’ve got such a large site: speed.

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RSS feed change

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I’m going to write more about it later, but I wanted to quickly post about a change to this site. I’ve switched to using Hugo to run this site, and in the process decided it might be time to rationalise my feed address. For various historical reasons1, the old address for the feed was very convoluted. I resisted changing it (even though it no longer made sense), because I’ve found that doing anything with feeds is fraught with confusion and difficulty.

Anyway, it’s time for me to bite the bullet and just change it. This may well break things. More than likely you’ll also end up with notifications of new items in your feed or duplicate items, or any number of other configuration horrors. I’m truly sorry about that, but I just don’t know how to avoid it. The new main feed address is this one, but there are also now individual feeds for each tag, if you’d like to follow a particular topic. The URLs for those can be found by clicking the RSS feed icon at the bottom of the tag page you’d like to follow.

More later!

  1. Mostly to do with what’s happening right now — I can’t stop fiddling with the process I use to build this site!

Pumps and tyres

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I thought I would provide a bit of an update on my bike, the Sprocket Rocket, after riding it in all weathers for about 8 months. I have to say that my appreciation for this bike increases the more I ride it. It is a pleasure to ride, even when it is dark, wet and cold outside. As I mentioned in my original article, it is a bike that wants to go fast. Even though I have ridden it many times, it always surprises me when I first get on and it seems to leap away down the road like an excitable puppy. At the risk of anthropomorphising inanimate objects1, it feels as if it is always calling to you, “Come on! Let’s go!” I’m not particularly into speed, and certainly not into competing, but it makes it a fun bike to ride.

  1. Let’s face it, that ship has already sailed.

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Slipstream Mark Whatever

It seems like only yesterday that I was converting my neglected Slipstream snippets blog to a Wordpress installation. I originally did it so that I could use IFTTT to provide some of the content automatically by pulling in stuff I had posted elsewhere (like Flickr, Pinboard and so on). That was a good idea, and it worked reasonably well, but two things became apparent quite quickly:

  1. I am really bad about keeping Wordpress updated, and with all the hackers out there trying to spam Wordpress sites, that’s a dangerous game to play. I hadn’t yet been targeted, but my feeling was that it was only a matter of time. You should be able to hit a button in the Wordpress dashboard to update, but due to my particular set up, that wasn’t working and it had to be done manually, which is to say, never1.
  2. I was never really happy with the styling. Ideally, I wanted to format each of the types of post differently depending on the content. I’m sure if I was better at modifying Wordpress templates, I could have accomplished it, but that was beyond my abilities.

  1. Or, if you are a fan of Peter Sellers’ comedy records, “or in other words, once a year”. A pot of tea at the El Morocco Tearooms to the first person to spot the reference.

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Song of the Sea

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Song of the Sea Poster

Last weekend, we watched the animated film, Song of the Sea, by the same director (Tomm Moore) as The Secret of Kells, which I so enjoyed a few years ago. I wasn’t disappointed: this is a gorgeous, joyful, haunting film. It has the same richly layered and beautifully coloured imagery, which is inspired — like The Secret of Kells — by Celtic art, and explores Irish folklore.

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Self-drafted shirt

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This past week, I finally finished a sewing project that has taken a long time, but which will hopefully be just the start of new sewing adventures: I finished making a shirt from a self-drafted pattern. Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos below. The light has been terrible for photography today!

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New New Street Station

mumblings View comments

Those of you in the UK may have heard that the new, refurbished New Street Station (and the inevitable attached shopping centre) has now opened. It seems to have taken ages. New Street is one of the busiest rail hubs in the country, so there was no way that they could close the station while the work was going on. They managed (and I still don’t quite know how) to completely reconfigure the inside of the station while it was still in constant use. At times over the past couple of years, the experience of moving through New Street station has been a deeply disorientating experience. From one week to the next, corridors would unexpectedly change orientation, exits and entrances would be blocked off or open elsewhere, and spaces would abruptly change shape and size entirely. It felt a bit like being in a really low-budget episode of Doctor Who, only without the Daleks.

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Pelican 3

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Well. That ended up being a long interval between posts. I’m not really sure what happened. I’ve certainly been busy, but I managed to get myself into a kind of procrastination dependency loop. I wanted to write a new article, but I also wanted to upgrade to Pelican 3 (I was previously using Pelican 2), and I somehow persuaded myself that I need to do that before I wrote a new article. I didn’t upgrade, because I was imagining that it would be a long, difficult process, and I needed time to do it properly.

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Holiday highlights

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Last weekend, we got back from a week away in North Norfolk, staying in a gorgeous, tiny cottage in Blakeney. Since then I’ve been frantically catching up with work, to the point where it feels as if I’ve never been away. It was a wonderful holiday, though. Mr. Bsag had spent years trying to get me to go to North Norfolk. I was initially reluctant, as I spent much of my childhood being rather reluctantly dragged to South Norfolk for visits to an aged relative — an experience than inevitably coloured my impression of the whole region. Anyway, a few years ago, Mr. Bsag won his battle for the holiday destination of his choice, and I found that I loved North Norfolk. It will never supplant the Inner Hebrides or areas of Devon or Cornwall in my affections, but Norfolk is a great deal easier to get to from Birmingham. It’s very peaceful, beautiful, has lots of wildlife, and huge skies.

Here are a few of my highlights of the holiday.

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