Author Archives: kevteljeur

This is interesting: https://www.dpreview.com/news/5249469104/researchers-release-free-ai-based-fawkes-image-privacy-tool-for-cloaking-faces – a free tool for distorting faces in photos so that they disrupt facial recognition algorithms, while remaining usable for humans. If you’re interested in the notion of the surveillance society or the technology relating to it, then this is definitely one to read.

Saint Anne’s Park, yesterday. It was a nice day out, and we ended up watching model car racing. It was an entertaining if slightly odd experience, the crowd oohing and ahhing in response to tiny but relatively catastrophic crashes around the circuit. There’s a surprising amount in that park, and in all the years we hadn’t investigated a lot of it. When we were last there Sonia was small and we were still a family, but our scope for investigation was a lot smaller too.

That rock arrangement on the stream reminds me of Fallingwater, the house by Frank Lloyd Wright. I dreamt a couple of years ago that I was in there, walking around inside and out, and having a whole Fallingwater experience. It was very vivid, but I’m sure that I’ve only ever seen the same photos that anyone else has seen.

I did it. I went there. I simultaneously made a pizza and a Banoffi pie. They were both good. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking with the Banoffi because there’s no way that I’ll be able to finish it. Also, because of my 16/8 eating regime, I can eat less and less before I’m stuffed. Two and half small slices of pizza and a bit of Banoffi and I’m done. Still, we enjoyed what we had.

I got upgrades, by the way. Fluted loose-base pie tin, research on how to make the caramel correctly, I went all in.

I try to go for a morning walk before work, if I have time, in the nearby parks. This morning I managed to get up early enough to not only log out of my official Twitter apps, but to do 20 minutes of a HIIT Fitness Blender routine before I ran out of steam and then go for a walk in the woods. The photos are from Wednesday, in the same area.

A cycle from Booterstown to the end of the Dun Laoghaire West pier. No photos of the magical cycle lane, unfortunately; I had to keep moving. It’s a game-changer for cycling in the area, I wouldn’t have done this before. Still, it’s not entirely a tourist experience. There wasn’t much food to be found in Monkstown, and toilets… Well. We made a deal with the devil and got an Eddie Rockets take-out in Blackrock on the way back. That got us the use of the toilet there.

Also, we got honked at by a bus on the way back into Blackrock because we weren’t moving quickly enough. Classy.

It was a bit of a battle, I’ve not made this before and there were certain expectations by the customer, but it came together. Biscuits were quite salty somehow and the caramel turned out like fudge, but… it worked.

Programming with JavaScript is what I do for a living, but you can never sit still. JavaScript as a language, the environment in which it operates, the context in which it is used, the ideas and techniques for using it, it never stops evolving. It’s important to keep up.

The next big hurdle is TypeScript, an evolution of JavaScript. I was sceptical at first (it compiles to JavaScript and isn’t used natively – without translation – in many contexts) but it seems to be gaining traction and I think it’s a good gamble to get into it. There’s no harm.

Let’s face it, I frequently get books on new languages and then don’t learn them, which is practically criminal for someone who does what I do for a living. Here’s hoping I’ll see this one through.

(I really, really wanted to learn C. And Objective-C, which I got a start on. I always wanted to learn Python, but… I don’t need it for anything. Go is a big deal for serverside development right now. And Swift. Scala… It seemed like a useful way to get into Java. Considering Rust now, didn’t get the book.)

The first photo is how I found it, the second, how it should be. I noticed that the bottle wasn’t hanging as low as it should. The second is how it should be. The Magpies had pulled up the string and looped it around the post, which isn’t a trivial job, in order to get it up and stop it swinging so that it would be easier to get to the other side and get the seeds out (which aren’t really suitable for Magpies, but they never stop trying). When I first put it out, they tried to undo the knot and get it off the hook, so they decided on this as a plan B. I am impressed.

Every day, they come. They walk around, they check every corner, each side, the bottom edge, the top, they do visual inspections, brute force tests… They don’t give up. Sometimes individually, sometimes up to fourteen of them, circling or squabbling viciously amongst themselves. But they don’t tire of it.

The Magpies think that they can get in if they keep working at it and find whatever weakness, some angle of attack that I’ve overlooked, and get the seeds and peanuts inside. And also the tasty mealworms I put there for birds that want them (I’m hoping that the Starlings will come back one day, as annoying as they were in the beginning).

Anyway, it’s fine. The Chaffinches have been in, and I was confident enough to cut a few wider gaps in the mesh to make it more appealing for the slightly larger birds (you might see them if you look closely at the photo). It might be this that the Magpies have been trying to figure out; they know that I did something, that I made a change, and the small bird traffic is steadily increasing, which indicates a possible exploit.

I’m still glad that I did it, even more so. I left some seeds on top of it in a jar lid, and the Magpies threw it off twice. I hung up an old bottle feeder, and every day they come and attack it and try to find new ways to remove it from the hanger. I can’t leave anything out. If they can’t eat it, they destroy it. Magpies. Small, vindictive, flying people.

This morning, while having breakfast, we had a startling, striking visitor to our garden. A Bullfinch! If you don’t know what it is, it is a relatively large finch, heavily built, with black, pink chest and highlights of grey and white. Mid-summer, it is stunning for a small bird. They’re also somewhat people-averse; unlike tits or other finches, they like hiding in bushes or trees and don’t seem to enjoy sharing space with humans (good policy, they’re smart birds).

I’ve long hoped to see one in the garden. There are quite a few of them nearby, I can hear them and occasionally see them, but in the middle of an estate is a bit of a stretch for them so I had resigned myself to not seeing any. This morning, one came, first viewing the garden, then inspecting each feeder in turn, briefly. And then it left, presumably having noted all the available foods on offer.

The new feeder is a mixed bag; on the one hand, it protects the food and the smaller birds from the voracious Magpies, but on the other hand, it’s not high up and with good visibility, which is how many birds prefer it. The tits have finally decided that they like it, so it is now packed for much of the day with Blue, Coal and Great Tits, but no finches, no Robin, no Dunnock (these two don’t feed directly, but on whatever results from other birds feeding), no Blackcap, no Starlings. I haven’t figured out if this is because I moved the feeding post, or the over-abundance of Magpies, or the over-abundance of Magpies was caused by me moving the feeder, or is it seasonal, or the lockdown altered patterns for birds (this has been observed), or because I didn’t put out much food for a month or two during lockdown, or some random factors.

So I was glad to see a visiting Bullfinch, I just hope that the other birds eventually return or at least have found something better than my garden.

Ramble to Maynooth

Some reservations about the Greenwayification, but… the Blanchardstown to Clonsilla section still absolutely scares the shit out of me. Yes, I did put on weight recently. You know where you can take your judgement. And when you’re on the way back, bring me biscuits.

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