July 31, 2005

Grade 1 Scales

Posted in: Music

As promised, here are the Associated Board Grade 1 scales for flute (PDF) (and the LilyPond source).

Theory note: Harmonic minor is formed by raising the VII a half-step, and the melodic minor is formed by raising the VI of the harmonic a half-step too. The descending scale, so far as I can deduce, is the standard natural minor [reference].

Comments very welcome! Especially since both LilyPond and this area of music theory are still new to me...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:54 | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 29, 2005

Tebbit on terrorism

Posted in: Political

Moving account of the effects of terrorism. Norman Tebbit's wife Margaret was left a tetraplegic after the 1984 Brighton bombings by the IRA.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 20:05 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 28, 2005

Practising scales

Posted in: Music

I've not met anyone who enjoys scales but I love them - the sheer mindlessness of them is fantastic, musical meditation. The Associated Board provides students with their world-famous graded syllabuses. Amongst those are scales requirements. Problem here again is I don't have those scales, but I found this great Flash scales app at teoria.com - ten minutes goofing about with it and I was convinced my $10 paypal donation had gone to a good home. The applet doesn't show arpeggios or multiple octaves but it does allow you to compare Phygrian dominants with Bepop melodic minors...

1. peel out the scales from the AB syllabus and render in Lilypond. Surely someone has already done this?
2. Take a look at this. There was 'til recently a rather good Windows woodwind scales practice app, ScalePerfect, at musicadept.com but he's taken down the download. After I emailed a feature enhancement suggestion, oops. It would even listen to your playing and rate on tonguing, accuracy, etc. He promised to consider open sourcing it at some point... Best I could do!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 19:08 | Comments (3) | TrackBack

How to find and create your own sheet music

Posted in: Music

I've recently (re)started learning the flute. My last attempt in 1998 was aborted by a house burglary in which my new flute was pinched. Thanks to Teresa who leant me her old (30+yrs!) one I've been interested enough to buy my own. So then, to find some music to play.

Two solutions: download, and create your own!

Continue reading "How to find and create your own sheet music"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 00:19 | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 25, 2005

Walking, kinda

Posted in: Injury Time

Progress since my cast came off about ten days ago has astonished even me. Last week's two outings into the city to Optronica helped find, and quite honestly step over, the boundary of what I'm capable of then, and set a benchmark. Since then it's been solid daily progress.

And I'm loving the opportunity for all this guilt-free sleep...

Continue reading "Walking, kinda"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 14:02 | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 23, 2005

Bad Mr Clarke

Posted in: Political

Fantastic cabaret-esque Flash skit on UK ID cards: The Very Model of a Modern Labour Minister.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 12:27 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You're never quite sure...

Posted in: Spotted

Seen on London bus last night... (my first bus trip in two+ months)

Spank The Cripple
Spank the Cripple? (click for original)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 10:36 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005


Posted in: Language

I often forget.
Haikus should be seasonal.
I spring this on you:

English is tricky;
Which words to use, I wonder.
Hmm, stomach autumn?

(Please complete the other two :-))

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 10:13 | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

Osteopath visit

Posted in: Injury Time

This afternoon had an hour with Ratna the osteopath at the Vitality Centre up the road. I wasn't sure what to expect and it turned out rather well.

Continue reading "Osteopath visit"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:34 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2005


Posted in: Injury Time

Snazzy, molded-grip, bronze pimp canes came today:
Upright for first time since Friday 13th

I donned both Aircast boots and headed into the garden. Trickiest bit with crutches seems to be when it's all going wrong (i.e. more or less immediately) the reflex, despite not using my feet for eight weeks, is to transfer all my weight to my feet, off the crutches. Which is obviously exactly the wrong thing to do. Still, managed to shamble around outside and even up the ramp into the living room later in the day. In the evening I was a little more coordinated and wearing a shoe on my left, un-surgery-ed foot: it held up fine.

Mum found this article on calcaneal fractures. I find reading these kinds of text tough: difficult to face the likely reality ("few people go back to high-impact or contact sports") but useful for learning what to expect, and whether I might be doing something too early.

All very promising though!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 22:27 | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

Foot free at last

Posted in: Injury Time

Yesterday my fibreglass cast was sawn off, and the pins pulled out, and I was given another Aircast boot for my right foot, and my physio is my local hospital where the lovely Dawn is training, and I went to the theatre yesterday, and they upgraded me and Adrian to a box seat which I've never been in, and we felt like royalty, and then hung out with and made new friends at the Hayward Gallery, and even got a lift home with two of those very nice new friends, and, and it was all great! Even being stuck in traffic in the morning rocked as I was in a car, seeing buildings and trees and people and stuff.

So anyway, my new boot is a size "large" as my foot simply now is bigger than the left. Not exactly sure why, but all the screws and plating might be a clue...

Pic below. Owing to a beginner mistake with my video phone I managed to get it to not take any video of the pin removal which has unfortunately "deprived" the world of seeing my surgeon pull out, with rather gnarly-looking medical pliers, the two 10cm/4" rods from my foot. Which was a shame as his commentary as he tugged the pins out was quite amusing.

All this was done without anaesthetic. He grasped my foot with his firm, sturdy, confident surgeon's left hand, got a solid hold of the pin in the pliers and pulled. And pulled. And then ... ssscchlick it came out immediately followed by a two foot pulsing stream of blood from my anxious pounding heart, liberally spraying the floor, splattering ... No, just kidding. There was some blood but nothing a thick lump of gauze couldn't staunch.

(taken a few weeks ago)

Oh, and then the other pin. My macho points will have to stay as they are, as the whole experience was completely painless even while he was pulling.

My new foot:

Continue reading "Foot free at last"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:52 | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Summer heat frustration

Posted in: Humor

Computer Frustration

Via email; thanks to Chris C.

PS do not link direct to this image! I will randomly rename it and leave something embarrassing in its place and you won't be happy! Link to the entry please or copy it for yourself, thanks.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 19:17 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Open Money developments

Posted in: Drivel

Spent a couple of productive afternoons recently with Michael Linton, creator of the LETS community currency system. I've been involved in this since meeting Michael in 2002 and have done odds and ends: writing bits of software, evangelising, organising a workshop, and hosting lets.net and openmoney.org.

Unfortunately my effort on these has been patchy and sporadic which is a bit lame considering how much potential I think the project has. It could have an enormous impact in Making Poverty History. Part of the problem is it's just so bloody far out of most people's familiar space: "money you don't have to get a loan for?!" "Money that doesn't run out?!" "Wait, so who loses?" and so on. Which is a shame since it's an amazingly simple concept: what is community currency?

Lets Yin Yang

A big part of the solution to education and adoption in my opinion is simply to get people using it. This tenet Michael has shown time and again to be true with his LETSplay game where people trade goods in a mixed currency setting. The game is good to "get" it but how about actually using it? Well, that's possible too. But.. the interface is ugly by modern web standards, and is kinda clunky. That needs an overhaul. What's also needed is implementation of a community currency server, effectively a "bank in a box" that can provide transaction i.e. money transfer services online. Some developments happening here just recently with spurred on by recent meetings. It's not yet clear what will come of this but certainly it's looking promising at the moment and there's a lot more activity than I've ever seen before. Go team! :) Shame I can't make Thursday's meeting; when I'm walking again I'll stumble over.

Michael and I have been going over what a blue-sky spec of what a CC server might entail, ways of implementing a modern interface, techniques for driving adoption and so on. I've been in contact with a designer for some kind of paypal-alike system, and thinking hard about ways of leveraging existing Internet infrastructure to support it all. Looking pretty exciting, and with all these free evenings who knows what might be possible... Watch this space.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 03:27 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Video entertainment

Posted in: Humor

Random selection of stuff found this evening...

Bush's speech writer reveals all (spoof)

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog versus Star Wars fans - some of the funniest impromptu ragging I've ever seen

Unbelievably flexible dude...

How a remote Alaskan town solved its M:F bias (spoof Lynx ad)

Martial artist doing mad flips all over the place

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 01:23 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005

Next hospital trip: Thurs 14th

Posted in: Injury Time

Bunch of us got confused last time for a meet-up so posting it here for ref: Thursday 14th July 2005, Guy's hospital, orthopaedic dept.

This time the cast is coming off, and the pins removed too. This won't need surgery: rather the surgeon will apparently tug them out. Looking forward to that; life's been a bit boring on that front recently without regular stabbing pain.

My troubles are nothing to this guy: Danny Way, skater extraordinnaire, has knee surgery, fully conscious. Great quote: "I can feel it." Yeah, wonder if you can smell your own marrow cooking as the drill bores through your bone? Mat Hoffman, equally if not more insane on a BMX, gives a horrifying description of this kind of surgery experience in his book.

Check out Danny Way's recent stunts, including on Saturday 360'ing the Great Wall of China. "Jump 2" video you see right down the on ramp. Wild. (The guy's almost identical age to me as it happens; another Aries Wood Tiger.)

[Thanks to Nik and Chris C for the Danny Way heads-up.]

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:06 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 10, 2005

No, really?

Posted in: Political
Dennis is the Atlantic's first hurricane this year and is the strongest to form in the Atlantic this early in the season since records began in 1851, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said.
President George W Bush [...] announce[d] that the US would support some sort of language accepting that human activity was causing global warming.

Ya reckon??

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:00 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 9, 2005

Fighting email backlog

Posted in: Drivel

It's starting to get ridiculous.. For 2005, I have literally hundreds of unanswered personal emails (over a thousand actually), and many of these are from good friends who've written paragraphs to me, and me only, with yet no reply. Not good. If you're one of those, I'm sorry! Changes are being made...

The "good email" paradox

There's a weird phenomenon I've experienced for a long time now. If I get a quickie email from someone I can fire one off back no problem. But if someone's put obvious thought, time, and care into it I naturally want to reciprocate and reflect that in my reply. Because I'm often trying to fire through emails at the beginning of a day or during work I put these aside for later. And so often later never comes.

The counter-intuitive result is that the throwaway emails are replied to, while the substantial careful ones aren't. Crazy!


One project-manager possibility is to dedicate a chunk of time per day to answering these. This however pre-supposes it's a mechanical job. But it isn't - if it were I could just bang out a reply there and then amongst all the sundry daily activities. It's exactly the reason they aren't replied to immediately in the first place (i.e. that I want to do a worthy job) that means they end up queued for ages.

So perhaps the solution is to realise when I'm in the right state of mind to answer these kinds of emails and stick with it and pile through a whole load there and then. It's the awareness of being on a roll and sticking with it. I've been doing that today with some success; this roll's been over three hours straight... *wipes eyes*

One thing I've realised from being ill is that there's just a desire for contact, the content of which is less important than the content. So, in a sense, screw it and write anything because it's better to get something than nothing. Besides who hasn't had the experience of handing in an essay and thinking it'll get panned and then getting a great mark for it, and vice versa. One's own perception of one's creation isn't all that hot, at least speaking for myself :-)

I dunno, what do you do?

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 02:44 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 8, 2005

Lucky 7/7

Posted in: Drivel

September 11th for Americans is written as 9/11 - the month goes first. In more other places than not it's written 11/9. So, given that they happened, isn't it fortunate for all the London bombings to have happened on 7/7?

This stuff ain't a joke; mix-ups of international measuring standards have taken part in spaceships blowing up,

[...] engineers who built the Mars Climate Orbiter had provided a data table in "pound-force" rather than newtons, the metric measure of force (about equivalent to the downward weight of an apple in your hand). NASA flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., had used the faulty table for their navigation calculations [...]

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 21:39 | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 7, 2005

Terror kitten

Posted in: Drivel

We (the family) have a new kitten:

Coke Cat
Seven weeks old and already in the stash

It's very lively but not really a terror. The terror is a local pest cat that invades the house through the cat flap! I suggested sending it to Catanamo Bay...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:57 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Terror task"

Posted in: Drivel

Terror task - a mindless, highly interruptible background activity that's possible to perform and feel vaguely useful since you're sure as hell not doing any real work while responding to the stream of "are you OK?" emails & SMSs, and refreshing RSS on various news sources.

My terror task right now: ripping hundreds of rock/pop promo CDs I scored off a freecycling music journalist. NP: Shoka on Stunt Girl, by A. C. Acoustics. I have a ton of NiN singles now too; never hurts to revisit the classics.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 16:13 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bomb babies

Posted in: Drivel

After the Sept 11 attacks, New Yorkers were getting it on: Sex in a time of terror [via Pete].

The world had changed; so had relationships. Now, just about everyone she knew was having what she and her friends call "terror sex."

After today, can we expect someone in Britain now to actually copulate?

The blasted bus is the one causing most consternation, here is a pic of it buried in the Beeb's site London blast pics; it's no. 7.

A sign of UK resilience (London's been under threat of terrorism for years; it's normal here): UK share indexes fall 2.26% but other countries' fall more.

This shouldn't be funny, but I involuntarily laughed at this,

The shockwaves were felt as far away as South Africa, where shares dropped more than 1.9%.

"This is all on the back on the London underground incidents, and particularly the bus blast," said one Johannesburg trader.

And that from a city where flamethrowers are used to prevent carjacking.

Don't let the bastards get you down!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 14:21 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 6, 2005

London 2012!

Posted in: Sport


*almost in tears*

(partly since I still haven't bought a house in east London)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 15:48 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Double trouble

Posted in: Humor, Injury Time, Language

Came up with this just now in an email conversation... What do you call it when you are invited to several things across town but can't make all of them 'cos you're in a wheelchair? You're "cripple-booked".

*keels over*

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 12:16 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 5, 2005

MT-Blacklist switch to mod_perl

Posted in: Movable Type

MT-Blacklist is dog slow even on a fast machine running as a standard CGI script with (in our case), 3,500+ entries. The time spent is parsing the YAML blacklist; here about 10s. This 10s pause is passed onto commentators who often bang the Submit button twice presumably, and quite reasonably, wondering WTF is happening.

MT-Blacklist isn't mod_perl friendly. I don't really understand people writing web apps in perl without expressly thinking "I need to write this as a mod_perl or even Apache::Registry app" but hey ho. I managed to get MT-BL mostly working under mod_perl by doing something quite sneaky, see below.

The problem is that this is old unsupported software so there's a question over the ongoing benefit in these hacks. Even MT-BL's author appears to be trialling life without MT-BL in favour of apparently excellent SpamLookup, an MT3 phenomenon (which incidently includes many features I'd done prototypes for last year - Brad Choate's gone beyond that even; cool!).

In summary, ongoing direction now is really down to hosted users.

Continue reading "MT-Blacklist switch to mod_perl"
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 19:58 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 4, 2005

Happy July 4th!

Posted in: Drivel

No doubt many poor Americans shaking their heads right now at their globally ridiculed Administration, ruing the day they decided to leave progressive Europe :-) Still, the fireworks are good! Happy Independence Day!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:14 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stealth spam site strategy

Posted in: Drivel

I recently had to clear out 2,500+ comment spams from our Movable Type install after a couple of our authors had MT-Blacklist and comment notification turned off... The task was achingly tedious as I wanted to be sure everything MTBL was showing up was in fact spam; last thing I want is for it to generate a "false positive" and wipe out some legit blog commentary. Yeah, I looked at 2,500+ comment spams. Ergh.

Towards the end I saw a few I thought were false +ves:


whose text claims,

Jennifer Richards Connor, PhD Candidate
The Oxford Internet Institute
Wadham College, Oxford

Fair enough I thought, and read the comment text: a rather un-erudite "hi". So I unchecked the box and was about to remove jenniferconnor.com from the blacklist. Then I saw,

with an identical format. OK, getting odd now, and my alarm bells went off.

Scanning more closely now I found elsewhere on the caught-spam list,


All with identically laid out pages, differing only in the alleged owner's name. Looking into it some more it turns out they're all hosted at webair.net in Jericho, NY; nowhere near Oxford University.

How it works

Why do something like this?

The idea I suspect is that by masquerading as a home page, not posting ads, and only posting once or twice, most people won't suspect anything and thus not delete the comments, even though the text of the comment might be banal or irrelevant (all were, IMO). What happens then is that a lot of these links from all over the place persist and build the site's Google PageRank, a measure of a site's "worth". All of those sites are at least PR4 with a couple a very respectable PR5.

A high pagerank equates to better search listings which equates to an opportunity for making money either through advertising or affiliate schemes. So at some point I suspect these sites will cast off their cloaks and reveal overtly commercial operations. Watch that space.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 22:11 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 3, 2005

Early "steps"

Posted in: Injury Time

Last couple of days something interesting happened - I've got this strong intuitive feeling, reassuringly backed up by lack of pain and discomfort, that my left foot's ready for a bit of gentle reintroduction into the realm of carrying me about. I've been giving it, and it's been standing (as it were) a lot more manipulation/physio recently. I've been going up and down stairs and sleeping in my own bed (woohoo!) which has given me another chance to gently push my weight up through my toes with static support from the rest of it. It's still mostly my arms doing the work but my left foot is definitely in more than a cameo role now.

The limiting factor in much movement 'til recently has been pain in my heel. As revealed by last week's xray a bit of bone fragment hasn't quite set right in my calcaneus (heel bone) which has caused pain under any pressure. Like I say, until recently: I have gingerly applied pressure through my left foot AND heel in the last couple of days, and it's taken it. Great!

And then... today easing very carefully out off my swiss ball, I stood up. It was brief, and it was unsteady, and I had my hand very definitely hovering right over my desk, but goddamit I stood!

Gonna give Ratna the osteopath a call and see what's up this week too. Hope I can get crutches soon. And ten days til right foot cast comes off...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:50 | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 2, 2005

MySQL Perl DBI last_insert_id

Posted in: Tech

For some reason I couldn't get a quick answer on how to use last_insert_id(), just reams of P°H°P pages or out-of-date and/or driver-specific stuff e.g. $dbh->{'mysql_insert_id'}, so here's the answer:

$dbh->do('INSERT INTO a_table ...');
my $id = $dbh->last_insert_id(undef, undef, qw(a_table a_table_id))
    or die "no insert id?";

The two undefs are for catalog and schema which don't appear to be necessary. The DBI docs say they can be ignored for MySQL so you might not even need the table and field parameters. Doesn't hurt to programmatically document though.


PS I'm only using MySQL as it's a legacy system. Of course, real men use sequences and PostgreSQL!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 19:39 | Comments (8) | TrackBack