July 29, 2013

The Dogfight Missile Designed to Dominate its Decade!

When WT started, chances are you'd never heard of a credit crunch, triple dip recession, or Barack Obama. Facebook didn't exist, neither did YouTube and especially not Twitter. "Smartphones" looked like this:

The next big apocalypse was going to be SARS. An Arab Spring was a gymnastics move, Katrina a Eurovision singer and tea parties involved Earl Grey and French Fancies. London bombings were the province of dissident Irish republicans, London Olympics were grainy newsreels of 1948 and London venues were thick with smoke.

The King had yet to return, the Sith hadn't revenged and Batman hadn't begun. Doctor Who was a fondly-remembered historical relic for nerds of a certain age, rather than a global brand. Sherlock meant Basil Rathbone, James Bond was Pierce Brosnan with an invisible car, and movies of V for Vendetta and Watchmen would have seemed pretty bloody unlikely.

Civil partnerships were not legal in the UK, let alone gay marriage. Ian and I had no nephews or nieces. Peter was alive and well (as were Pina Bausch and Steve Jobs; I had barely even heard of pancreatic cancer).

I hadn't even the vaguest thought of becoming a scientist. I made mostly pretty dumb software for very dumb platforms. I also danced and bounced and flew and cycled and taught aerobics.

I didn't know you.

Here's a little scrap of topical noise. See you in July 2023. Or, y'know, possibly before.

(I promise not to use this stylesheet again before then...)

Posted by matt at 1:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2013


She'd want you to have it, Veronica. She always said you couldn't accessorise for shit.

Posted by matt at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2013

Bob & Judy

So, I got the job. This is almost certainly a good thing, although as I mentioned before it's some way out of my comfort zone. You have to do that from time to time, right? I'm apprehensive, but also looking forward to getting my teeth into something new. It starts on 16 September.

One immediate problem is trying to maintain enthusiasm for the work I'm clearly not going to finish before moving on. This is frustrating, because some of it is pretty promising, and with a few more months it could actually be worthwhile. But there aren't those months -- in theory I finish in a fortnight, though of course it won't be quite that clear cut -- and if I try to carry this stuff on alongside my new job it'll just drag on forever, getting nowhere with exponential slowness. I've seen plenty of those Zeno papers, 90% complete at the end of someone's term, getting intermittently worked over in odd interstices for years and years, unable to keep up as the field moves on around them, gradually acquiring semi-mythic status, like spectres haunting the halls of the department, occasionally glimpsed with clanking chains and severed head tucked under arm, irrelevant but glumly immortal. Every now and then you'll walk into the office and there's that erstwhile PhD student, several post-doc jobs down the line, back for a meeting with the PI as if there was still any fucking point to the whole business.

So, um, not that.

It's all about handing over, I think. Not that there is really anyone to hand over to, but still. If it's somewhat documented and vaguely functional and at least a bit usable someone may eventually use it. And if they don't, well -- that'll no longer be my problem.

Posted by matt at 9:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2013


The last time anyone had an acceptable excuse for writing a Motif-based GUI, the WTC twin towers were still standing.

Posted by matt at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)