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ggreig: (Crazy or smart?)

Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] kateaw. It would be interesting to know – beyond the examples given – what the scores are based on:

So, ggreig, your LiveJournal reveals…

You are… 6% unique (blame, for example, your interest in policy-based design), 27% peculiar, 50% interesting, 16% normal and 2% herdlike (partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy doctor who). When it comes to friends you are normal. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are keen to please. Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is intellectual.

Your overall weirdness is: 42

(The average level of weirdness is: 28.
You are weirder than 82% of other LJers.)

Find out what your weirdness level is!

ggreig: (Through The Looking Glass)
  1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
  2. List (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 songs that start with that letter.
  3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.

[livejournal.com profile] huskyteer has given me the letter "R".

  1. Roll Over Beethoven – Electric Light Orchestra [Spotify] [YouTube]
    A cover version trumping the original artist (sorry, Chuck – tough choice, and you get all the credit for inspiration). ELO’s version is pretty much the definitive one.
  2. Reward – The Teardrop Explodes [Spotify] [YouTube]
    How can you go wrong with lyrics that start Bless my cotton socks, I'm in the news! ? Add an insistent drum beat, a jeepful of brass and Julian Cope’s clear voice and this has nothing to apologise for thirty years later on.
  3. Room Full Of Mirrors – The Pretenders [Spotify] [YouTube]
    Originally by Jimi Hendrix, of course, but to be honest Hendrix has never done it for me. Jimi’s chaos may be a better expression of a state of mind, but The Pretenders’ version has more drive and edge.  Anyway, I heard this version first, so naturally it’s better!
  4. Revolution, Revolutions – Jean Michel Jarre [YouTube]
    Bit of a Middle-Eastern vibe going on, nice change of tempo if you listen to the album version, economic use of a vocoder, electronics all over the shop. Brilliant. Always a bit disappointing that the 1988 London Docklands concert in the YouTube video wasn't in Glasgow instead. Initially Jean Michel Jarre was pretty much told to get on his bike when he first explored staging a concert in London, due to Newham Council's concerns about crowd safety. It being the year that Glasgow was European City of Culture, they saw an opportunity and opened negotiations to hold the concert there instead. Unfortunately someone down south realised how badly they'd shot themselves in the foot, and they recanted.
  5. Run, Rabbit, Run! – Harry Bidgood [YouTube]
    Flanagan and Allen's perfectly competent version seems to be more widely available, but I can picture Harry Bidgood as a nice old chap telling his story, whereas Flanagan and Allen just slightly tip over the edge into being showbiz.
Also-rans: )
ggreig: (Three)

It was interesting to come across an old article containing the Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test, which is apparently used as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. There are also warnings from the authors that it’s not a diagnostic tool, so I reckon it falls into the category of “interesting toy that might have indicative results”. Speak to a real medical professional if you have any concerns.

Anyway, the average score for a control group was 16.4, with a score of 32 or more indicating “clinically significant levels of autistic traits”. Don’t read too much into it, you can score more than 32 and still live a normal life, etc.

I scored 33.

I’m quite happy with that. As I have at least the self-awareness of a bollard, I know I’m not the world’s most socially capable person, but any other symptoms would be relatively mildly displayed. I like order, and I can get into routines, in ways that can no doubt be annoying for others, but I’m not seriously obsessive about them; just more comfortable. My liking for order is selective; I can still be pretty messy and disorganised!

I’m happy to have a borderline score because that’s pretty much where I would see myself; somewhere near the edge of most people’s social scale, but fully functioning. I’m also quite happy being a software developer, a profession where people seem to reckon such traits may be more common.

I’m mildly relieved the number wasn’t higher, partly because I don’t want to think of myself as having a “condition” with its accompanying labels, but mainly because I don’t want an excuse. If I’m difficult to deal with in some way, that’s my responsibility and my fault (or maybe yours ;-).

Edit: Realized that the last paragraph could read as being dismissive of the condition of autism. That's not my intention.

ggreig: (Blockhead)

I’m back from three weeks’ break in California. Work starts again tomorrow, but today I had some light relaxation in the form of my first physiotherapy appointment for the arm I broke in December. The physiotherapist seemed quite pleased with my progress already, and reckoned with exercise I should be back to 90% strength and flexibility by the middle of the year.

Since I’m not feeling like posting anything substantial at the moment (<snore>), here is a meme courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] pink_weasel: tell me what you think of me using my Johari Window.

ggreig: (Jailbird)

I’ve done my bit for the future of civilisation by buying a copy of Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine.

I’m not a follower of RATM. I always liked their name, but to be honest, I couldn’t have named one of their tracks before this week. Luckily, it turns out I like the track ( YouTube | Spotify ) both for music and message, although it’s a bit sweary. I don’t expect my money to make a huge difference to, well, anything really, and I know that the two artists are on the same label, so only Sony wins; but if a good showing for RATM convinces someone in a record company somewhere to spend a bit of money on music that doesn't fit an easy mould, then hurrah!

I don’t really object to a bland TV competition winner racking up a number one if people want to buy it; but I do object to the way one TV programme has monopolised the Christmas number one position for the last few years – how boring! – and I dislike the sense of entitlement that seems to be developing around that situation.

Why don’t you, too, spend less than a pound to register your “vote” against popularity contests and the commercialisation of Christmas number ones?

Hang on, I’m sure I could have put that better…

ggreig: (Robot Maria)

Lifted from [livejournal.com profile] huskyteer, the 15 Books meme. List "15 books you've read that will always stick with you"; not necessarily the best, just the ones that stick with you, and you only have 15 minutes. There doesn't seem to be a requirement for an explanation, but I've given one anyway. (I wrote my list first, then the explanations, so not breaking the time stipulation!)

Don't break the spine! Open carefully... )
ggreig: (Saint George)

Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] very_true_thing, another meme that required a bit of work - a little research in Wikipedia this time, as I couldn't name all the MPs who've represented me without help. For the periods when I was a student, I’ve given the MP whose constituency I lived in for most of the year, not the one at my parents’ home for whom I could vote. Otherwise John Mackay and Ray Michie would have been my MP for longer, Menzies Campbell for shorter, and Barry Henderson and Ernie Ross not at all.

  • 1967 – 1972: David Steel (Liberal) Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles
  • 1972 – 1974: Wilfred Baker (Conservative) Banffshire
  • 1974 – 1975: Hamish Watt (SNP) Banffshire
  • 1975 – 1979: Iain MacCormick (SNP) Argyllshire
  • 1979 – 1985: John MacKay (Conservative) Argyllshire/Argyll and Bute (1983 boundary change)
  • 1985 – 1987: Barry Henderson (Conservative) North East Fife
  • 1987 – 1990: Menzies Campbell (Liberal/Liberal Democrat) North East Fife (1988 party merger)
  • 1990 – 1991: Ernie Ross (Labour) Dundee West
  • 1991 – 1992: Ray Michie (Liberal Democrat) Argyll and Bute
  • 1992 – 1993: William Waldegrave (Conservative) Bristol West
  • 1993 – present: Menzies Campbell (Liberal Democrat) North East Fife

Good coverage of parties there, all four of the main ones at one point or another, and five parties in all if you count the Liberals and the Liberal Democrats as being separate parties. Personally I don’t. Also two Knights, three Barons and a Baroness, two Liberal/Lib. Dem. party leaders (although one of them only became party leader a few years after he was no longer my MP), and the first Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (equivalent to the Speaker in the House of Commons).

Five Words

Jul. 11th, 2009 09:31 pm
ggreig: (Rune)

[livejournal.com profile] huskyteer has given me five words to write about, each of which she associates with me. If you would like me to give you five words to write about, leave a comment. Not usually a big fan of memes, but I like ones that encourage people to write.

Birthdays, Cheese, Biggles, Programming and Scotland )
ggreig: (Astronaut)

Let’s see if I can start a meme that’s actually interesting:

Google Maps Street View has gone live for major cities in the UK. Post a link to somewhere on Street View that’s of personal interest to you, and explain why. Remember to bear your privacy in mind – you may not want to post where you live!

Here’s where I work.

As a special bonus, my privacy’s shot anyway – here I am walking up the road to work from the bus stop, taking my coat off.

ggreig: (Technical Support)

I saw this meme on John Robbins' blog, and thought it would be worth setting it on its way over here. No, I certainly wasn't tagged by John, who wouldn't know me if he met me in his soup.

How old were you when you first started programming?
I think of it as being when I was 23. There was occasional dabbling before that: I typed in a program listing that didn't work on a Sinclair ZX81 at school, I took the Computer Science module in my first year at St. Andrew's, and in my Junior or Senior Honours year (I can't remember which), I did the lab that required you to write a Basic program to control a stepper motor. But I didn't really consider programming as something that I might want to do, or even a career, until I'd graduated with a degree in Physics and Electronics that I knew I didn't want to use. Then...
How did you get started in programming?
Fortuitously, I heard that [livejournal.com profile] sharikkamur had signed up for a conversion (to Computer Science) M.Sc. at the University of Dundee, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the parts of my course that I'd enjoyed were the more logical bits (no pun intended). I signed up for that course too, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
What was your first language?
Well, that program listing that didn't work was Basic, but the first language that I used to write a working program, and that I debugged through, was S-Algol, the teaching language used at St. Andrews (and pretty much nowhere else). If I ever need An Introduction To Programming With S-Algol again, I can still dig it out of the cupboard!
What was the first real program you wrote?
I remember the stepper motor program from my Honours lab, because it didn't just work, it had a physically observable result, and that was real, in a sense, for me. I think it's probably more reasonable, though, to say that the first "real" program I wrote would be the first one that was used (and further developed) by other people. In that case, my first real program was GraPHIGS1, a 3D object viewer that I wrote for my M.Sc. dissertation. It was written in C, using the PHIGS+ libraries, and ran on Sun micros. It was used for viewing the results of mathematical research into modelling three-dimensional surfaces. My program also went out of use when OpenGL, which was lower-level but more powerful, overtook PHIGS as "the" way to do 3D graphics.
What languages have you used since you started programming?
Basic, S-Algol, Pascal, C, MUMPS, C++, C#. If you count more specialised languages I've occasionally turned to, you could add VBScript, MSBuild, NAnt, Javascript and XSLT.
What was your first professional programming gig?
I worked for the South Western Regional Health Authority, in Bristol, supporting the National Breast Screening System (BSS2). This program was written in MUMPS and ran on a PDP-11. I think ours was a PDP-11/83. The BSS program was written elsewhere (Cambridge, I think), but "supporting" it meant writing custom code to handle aspects that weren't covered by the main program as well as answering phones if something went wrong in the breast screening centres.
If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Yes. Every job has its down sides, but on a good day, I still get to use my brain constructively, and what could be better than that?
If there is one thing you learned along the way that you could tell new developers, what would it be?
Only one thing? OK. Write code the way you would like libraries to be; tidy, well compartmentalised, communicative and well documented. You may have to come along and clean it up when you've forgotten everything about it. Even if you don't, someone else will, and she might be your boss some day. Oh, and avoid MUMPS, and avoid noisy, open-plan offices. What d'you mean, that's three things?
What's the most fun you've ever had programming?
I think it would have to be working on my 3D viewer, GraPHIGS. Looking back, it wasn't so ground-breaking, but at the time, 3D graphics with shading seemed pretty high tech, and I was able to get visible, pretty and useful results within a year of starting to learn to program. That was a lot of fun.
So who's next?
I think I'll extend this to include web developers, since most of the questions will still apply and at the very least they're likely to have touched on Javascript if you want to be purist about what constitutes "programming". With that in mind, I tag [livejournal.com profile] sharikkamur, [livejournal.com profile] qidane, [livejournal.com profile] tobyaw, [livejournal.com profile] very_true_thing and [livejournal.com profile] huskyteer.
  1. A quick Google informs me that I wasn't the only one to come up with this name - so far as I know, none of the 6000 or so hits refer to my GraPHIGS.
  2. It seems likely that some of the application I worked on lives on. Although a news story in the Health Insider talks of integrating several systems, I note that the underlying technology is Intersystems Caché: a database technology that I happen to know still has MUMPS at its core.
ggreig: (Moustache)

Post three things you've done that you believe nobody else on your friends list has done.

I had to think a bit about this one, as I lead a boring and unremarkable life, but here goes. I have:

  1. Worn a lace jabot.
  2. Slept in a tent - pitched on the car deck of a ferry
  3. Served dinner to millionaires in a hotel with performing sheep.
ggreig: (Robot Maria)

Here are my results from a Programmer Personality Test based on the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, but targetted on programmers:

Your programmer personality type is: PHSB
You're a Planner.
You may be slow, but you'll usually find the best solution. If something's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
You like coding at a High level.
The world is made up of objects and components, you should create your programs in the same way.
You work best in a Solo situation.
The best way to program is by yourself. There's no communication problems, you know every part of the code allowing you to write the best programs possible.
You are a liBeral programmer.
Programming is a complex task and you should use white space and comments as freely as possible to help simplify the task. We're not writing on paper anymore so we can take up as much room as we need.

The key lists all eight possible results, so you can see what the opposite of the four above is.

ggreig: (Robot Maria)
I'd like to know what this analysis is based on:

Automated personality analysis of this blog )

So what does the writer of the analyser think makes a blog "interesting"? And why do I get an ego boost from something so patently meaningless? :-)


Apr. 22nd, 2007 11:30 pm
ggreig: (Rune)
Here I was, on a grey Sunday, waiting for the Internet to come and entertain me, when [livejournal.com profile] pink_weasel posted one of the better sort of memes in which people explain some of their interests in response to someone else's query. [livejournal.com profile] pink_weasel has asked me to explain my interests in the Clachan of Glendaruel, Jules Verne, and fonts.

I am strangely interested )

Let me know if you'd like me to pick some of your interests for you to explain.

Black Hat

Jun. 30th, 2004 06:43 pm
ggreig: (Black Hat)
I don't usually post "fun" personality profiles, partly because developing software to support serious ones is the day job and partly because... well, read on for what this profile says about me! However, this one appealed because of its use of the Myers-Briggs style initials, and because it gives me a chance to use one of my new user pictures.

You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.

The picture is a self-portrait using Campaign Cartographer's Character Artist add-in. The cheek bones are not optional - it's for designing heroes - and somehow they seem to have omitted the glasses symbols too. At least they provide a black hat for protecting the thick, luxuriant growth of hair (also not very optional) from the rain.

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