Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired


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Friday 13 April 2018 The Forest Road Reader, No 2.2 : Schemes of Work

So arrived, via a trip with Daniel to the University of Exeter, which I would totally go to if I was unexpectedly 18 again, in Bristol for the ACCU Conference. Tomorrow, Chris and I will deliver the talk which we had not and have not fully prepared. I've been to this conference 13 or 14 times, perhaps more, in the last 18 years and never arrived a day early before. I swore to myself I wouldn't end up five pints down before it had even begun, but, well, let's just move on.

The talk which Chris and I hadn't etc etc went off pretty well, if slightly shambolicly. Chris brought all kinds of nice props - an actual Amstrad (although sadly we couldn't hook it to a screen), some magazines, his A level coursework, and more. I sort of drove it, and we extemporised on various things we'd learned over our respective careers. Our lack of preparation bit us in the bum a bit as we had far too much to say, even though we'd missed out or had simply forgotten lots of what we'd intended, and pretty much crashed the bongs, ending by very briefly flashing through the code we'd written. In my original sketch, I imagined that would take half the session but it got perhaps 5 minutes. People, more of whom came than I was expecting, seemed to enjoy what we'd done though, so that's the main thing. Thanks to them for coming, and thanks to Chris for playing along.

It's almost always true that when you speak at an event there's at least one other talk on that you would like to see yourself. This year, the talk I most wanted to see was Andy Balaam's session on Scheme. He's always interesting, and I bet this was session, which took place in the room next to Chris and I as we bumbled our way along, was great. By way of consolation, I did have a lovely conversation with Andy the following afternoon. The conference dinner was the same evening during which Rob told me about parametric oil rig design, which sounds just like magic frankly, and Jim talked, with joy, about the wonders of the early semaphore and telegraph systems. Those Victorians, man, they were amazing.

As I write, I'm on the concourse of Temple Meads Station, another example of Victorian audaciousness. A 227 tonne lump of turn-of-the-millenium train will be trundling me home, on this our 25th wedding anniversary, soon.


  • Shout out, as the young people have it, to my boy Jon, who has left academia to become a big-data-web-analytics-tech-wonk. It sounds like he's enjoying himself, which is good, but I'm also sorry he felt he couldn't stay at his university job. We need good academics, and right now we need good digital culture and social media academics more than we ever have before.
  • If you like a nice falafel wrap, and if you don't what even are you doing here, Kitchen of Anatolia and Edna's Kitchen, at the east and west ends of Bristol's Castle Park respectively, are both worth a visit.
  • My man, and we'd both cringe if I ever addressed him as such, Robert Brook has a podcast. It falls pretty squarely in the white-dudes-talking-about-stuff space, but for me it's leaning more to the oh-that's-interesting rather than the jesus-christ-will-one-of-you-get-the-fucking-point-did-you-even-prepare-for-this-at-all end of the spectrum. I accept, though, there's a fine and exceptionally subjective distinction between those extremes.
  • Further ornithological pleasingness - a jay swooping and disappearing into a knot of trees at Moseley Bog, a goldfinch in the pleached limes by St Peter's Church in Bristol.

Tagged talk, exeter, bristol, accu, and ornithology


Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired

Older posts are available in the archive or through tags.

Feed

Follow me on Twitter
My code on GitHub

Contact
About