A Steampunk New Year

Firstly, let me begin by wishing a very Happy New Year to everybody who reads this!

One thing that I’ve been doing for quite sometime now is Steampunk. Admittedly, in a more reserved fashion, but nonetheless it’s something that holds my interest and has led to my meeting some very excellent people. I’m also gaining an appreciation of the older ways of doing certain things, but more on that in another post.

I had the opportunity to travel to the town of Bridgnorth via the Severn Valley Railway over the Christmas break. This was a very good day out, though the River Severn was somewhat swollen and I did feel for the people who lived very near to it. We didn’t have very spectacular weather, though I fancy we had better weather than many other places this winter! Whilst I was there I took a number of pictures on my Blackberry and, on reviewing them used a few filters on three of my pictures to produce some “Steampunked versions”. I intended them as Blackberry phone wallpapers for my own use, but one of my companions suggested that they’d be well received generally.

So, without further ado, I present the three images below. They are covered by the same Creative Commons License as the rest of the site, so you can reuse and play with them but not profit from them.





The Weather Outside

I was sitting in the gym after a Yoga class the other day watching the rain. I remember thinking that the weather outside was awful, then I stopped to think and remembered that it’s only my perspective that makes it that way. So I gave a little thought to the weather.

It’s easy to look outside at the weather and to get quite depressed if it’s raining, but if you look into what’s actually going on there’s quite a bit there. Consider that whilst you’re sitting there, you are on a planet that is orbiting the Sun at 65000 miles per hour. Then consider that the Earth rotates at a little over 1000 miles per hour, so you’re only sitting still relative to the surface of the Earth. Really, you’re moving very quickly indeed.

Now, consider that rain. It’s part of an ancient and immensely powerful system. I only discovered recently that in a single day, one hurricane can put out the energy to supply the electrical needs of the United States for approximately six months. The rain falling outside is part of the water cycle, and has in all likelihood travelled a long way (possibly thousands of miles) to be there; the weather is an immense system and our rainstorm is only a tiny part of it.

It gives a very different perspective to the rain; the weather isn’t awful, it’s amazing!

A Thought on Personal Information

I came to a point the other week where it became clear that the experiments I was doing with running OwnCloud on a Raspberry Pi were a dead end. Put simply, I lack time and would like to focus my energies elsewhere. Trying to lock yourself away isn’t doable without intense effort, I question whether it’s worth all that effort.

The commercial cloud offerings of companies like Google are ahead in terms of resilience and features and the time taken to setup, run and monitor your own system could be better spent if it’s your personal time. For a company with specific needs and sensitive data, I maintain that OwnCloud can make sense. But if you lack either the time or skills to run it, then we need a different approach. I think that the best approach is to divide your data into 3 areas; imagine yourself at the centre of 3 rings.

The innermost ring is data that is so precious (diaries, financial records) that it will never go near a cloud, it may never even go onto a computer! The next is data that you don’t mind having in a private cloud account, for personal use (like iTunes or GooglePlay Music). The outer ring is where you put things that you don’t mind sharing (like this blog, or a Twitter account). Of course information put into the providers is strictly need to know, so a degree of thought is needed here.