Archives for March 2012

March 2012 (12)
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Time Value of Money (part 1)

Back in a previous life, I used to write swaps and options software for traders and brokers. Of all my jobs, I’d have to say that writing this kind of software was practically the only one that utilized my mathematics degree to any great extent, which I must admit is kind of depressing in a way. You’d think that programming is all about mathematics but, in reality, not so much. Sure, understanding lambda calculus is all very well, but you tend not to have to use it in your day-to-day...

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Wheeler Dealers–Volvo P1800

So it seems there’s this TV show in England called Wheeler Dealers . The premise of the show is to find a classic car in need of some TLC, buy it, do it up, and then sell it on. It’s presented by a duo: there’s Mike Brewer who does the buying/selling and Edd China who does the repairs. I’d never heard of the show before, but I was doing some surfing regarding Volvo 1800S parts and came across a particular episode that featured a white P1800 (a 1968 1800S, F reg, as it happens). I decided to add the...

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New front lenses for the Volvo 1800S

At the weekend, the weather was warm enough to wash the Volvo. I remarked to myself – as I have done in the past – that the lens covering the indicators and side lights at the front were a little crazed and the color was getting leached out. They are the original Lucas lenses so they are getting on a bit (48 years old this year, in fact). I found some new remanufactured ones on eBay, ordered them (the price wasn’t too bad: around $60 each), and they came today. As it’s still lovely weather, I just...

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Samuel Youd (aka John Christopher) (1922-2012)

For some reason I missed this from a month or so back. I’m subscribed to David Langford’s Ansible newsletter on science fiction topics, but for some reason I missed reading March’s issue where he noted the death of John Christopher . I dare say the majority of my readers who have heard of John Christopher know him as the author of The Tripods trilogy, which was filmed by the BBC in the 80s. I have neither read the books (which essentially were a Young Adult fantasy series) nor seen the TV series...

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Macro extension tubes

On a whim at the end of last week I bought a set of Vivitar macro extension tubes for my Canon XTi. These are pretty neat: they pass through the auto-focus and auto-exposure signals from the camera to the lens, making them easier to use. There are three in the set: a 13mm, 21mm, and 31mm tube. If my mathematics is correct, this makes seven possible tube lengths since you can combine them in any order (call them A, B, and C, then the possible combinations are A, B, C, AB, AC, BC, and ABC). Essentially...

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Making this blog work as an app on the iPhone (the wrap up)

So far in this series ( one , two , three ) we have specialized content, detection of phone orientation, basics of being Web Clip capable, and a back to home page functionality. This post wraps it all up by removing the latter, implementing some simple Back button functionality, a “loading” indicator, and I do a little bit of code housekeeping too. Before we implement a back button, we need to implement a proper URL stack so that we can save where we’ve been in order that the Back button works properly...

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Making this blog work as an app on the iPhone (part 3)

The story so far ( one , two ) is that I’ve simplified the content of this blog for viewing on the iPhone, I’ve added code that recognizes when the phone’s orientation is changed from portrait to landscape (and vice versa), and I’ve added the necessary elements to the head element to indicate that this site can be viewed as a Web Clip. With the current state of play though, the moment you touch on a link, Safari fires up to display the page. To change this behavior we’re going to make use of the...

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Making this blog work as an app on the iPhone (part 2)

Now that we have a special web site that displays properly either in portrait or landscape mode, let’s make it a web application that we pin to the Home screen. Boiled down to its essence, this is easy: you bring the web page up in Safari, touch the middle button in the bar at the bottom of the screen, and then select the Add to Home Screen option. iOS selects a screenshot for the icon (bleugh!) and allows you to edit the caption for the icon. Once that’s done the web page will appear as a web application...

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Making this blog work as an app on the iPhone (part 1)

With the iPhone you easily view a web site in Safari, but you get the annoying bits of chrome at the top (the address bar) and at the bottom (the buttons). What if you wanted your site to occupy the whole of the screen? Well, you can pin the site to the Home screen and, provided that you make a few changes to the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you can make your site behave as if it were pretty much a native app. First of all, like it or not, you’ve got to write your HTML and CSS to serve the content...

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Kings College Mathematics Society photos

As I said a while back , I was a member of the Kings College London Mathematics Society (a.k.a., KCL MathSoc) during my undergrad years. Now that I have a new flatbed scanner, I’ve been asked to scan the society photos and post them here, so here goes. MathSoc 1976-1977 MathSoc 1977-1978 MathSoc 1978-1979 For the life of me I can’t remember why the last one had so few people in it. Since it’s taken in the summer, maybe we organized it too late and people had started to leave for the summer vacation...

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