Wrong coast, and dammit. While everyone else is having fun , resuscitation I’ve been in Florida, men’s health having spent Passover with family in a big golf resort in Palm Beach. I shouldn’t be complaining as it was really lovely and relaxing and the food was great and I got to play wise science-explaining uncle to my eight-year-old cousin and I gained a kilo or nine. But, as I am currently explaining to Gilbert in an AIM window, I would much rather have been camping in a tent in a backyard in San Jose. (I’m trying to keep up with the notes, but as usual, Webb is typing faster than I can read.)
If you’re wondering what it’s like taking part in a Jewish festival, let me give you a sample of the one before the one just gone: Purim. More specifically, a sample of what happens if you spend the Purim meal at my friends the Goldbergs, receiving wave after wave of spielers. These are bunches of kids who run around the Jewish neighbourhoods on Purim night, performing songs and sketches and collecting for charities. The Goldbergs live right in the heart of Golders Green, which is the most Jewish place in Britain, so the spielers were, at points, queueing three acts deep at the door.
Anyway, for the three-minute, digested version, see Purim 2003 in Golders Green: What You Missed. (That file is being shared using Open Content Network to help ease bandwidth use, but mainly just to prove to myself that it’s easy. If you have problems or just can’t be bothered with all the faffing and needing Java Web Start, try this link instead) Also, the photos are here.
(This post would have been made on Friday while I was still in Miami, but MT wasn’t playing dice – turns out to be some weird Trackback autodiscovery bug that made MT hang when certain links were included. Arse.)
I first saw the name “D.A. Barham” in 1994: she was one of the first customers at Delphi UK, pharm the tiny offshoot of the then-huge US online service, and I was doing phone support in my spare time from university. She was funny, smart and wild, making a big difference to the otherwise-dull forums. After that, I started seeing her name in lots of other places: not just online, but in the credits of almost every topical comedy show on TV. (I’m sure that nearly every person in Britain has laughed at one of her gags) In 1997, I was being shown around the offices of my new job when she recognised me and pulled me out into the hallway for a chat – we ended up working on the same game. The last time I saw her in person was when we went for a drink in Soho two years ago. The last time I heard from her was when she commented on one of my blog entries a mere three months ago. (I meant to mail her. Really, I did. Idiot.)
I had no idea she was dead until this morning, when I found Bruce Hyman’s send-off in the Guardian. It will be a few days until the stunned feeling wears off. She was too talented and way too fucking young. I have various memories of her illness, but I’d rather not dwell on them. (I know it’d piss her off.) On the illness itself: the most shocking Google query I’ve ever run.
UPDATE (30/04): Cover story of today’s Guardian G2 section.
Juno publish pages with short clips of all their new records. Stef asked for a way to grab them all at once, read with their ID3 tags set, information pills so he could wander off with them on his iPod, sildenafil then come back and buy all the ones he likes. Okay, Stef: here it is. You need the LWP and MP3::Tag modules installed. Edit the script to include your favourite genres from Juno’s range, then run it – it’ll download all the files to the directory the script is in. The main problem is that extensive use will completely hammer Juno’s server, so the next step for this is for someone to stick it on a cronjob and make the zipped-up collections available over BitTorrent or OCN.
A quick note on obtaining and installing modules for Perl: The easiest way of doing it on Unix or Mac OS X systems is the cpan command, which locates, downloads and installs modules automatically, given the name of the module you want. (It doesn’t get much simpler than that.) The equivalent for ActivePerl (which most Windows users run) is the PPM command. Both commands are briefly explained here. To download LWP, you should look for Bundle::LWP. However, if you’re running on Windows, an extra caveat: the PPM repositories don’t seem to have MP3::Tag. Fortunately, installing it manually is simple: Download this tarball, locate your Perlsitelib folder, make an MP3 folder within it, then drag the Tag.pm and Tag subfolder from the tarball into the new MP3 folder. Done!