Feb 08 2017

John Williams is 85 today

Category: Music,PersonalRobert McGovern @ 12:00 pm

John Williams, who turned 85 today, has written so many wonderful, bombastic, mournful, jubilant and terrifying pieces of music that its hard to really nail down faves, but these are ones that I often return to. (Never mind the adaptions of music that he has done for Musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Goodbye Mr Chips or Christmas music for concert arrangements, his concertos or his early jazzy Johnny Williams phase). Hell he’s still writing new music, admittedly at a slower pace than before, but it still tugs at the heart.

Note that these are NOT in order and I’ve largely avoided the obvious album picks (Indy Series, Star Wars):

Full playlist:

I could go on and add the Amazing Stories Theme, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, stuff from A.I. and on it goes.

I freely admit I am often more drawn to the Marches or his upbeat, catchy or wild music and struggle with his darker / atonal music 🙂


Nov 22 2015

Like always :)

Category: Family,Personal,SiteRobert McGovern @ 1:00 am

As ever I have great intentions of posting things, things I like, thoughts of stuff I’ve watched or played or seen; but I never actually get around to doing it. An additional task on a long list of things I feel I should be doing but never actually do.

Anyway, live is pootling along as ever. The kids are growing up quickly and once again I’m mulling over some bits I’d like to build for Apple’s iOS. I keep starting both, redoing (and basically repeating) the design, beginning the coding before abandoning it because … well … life. Maybe one day I will finish them; maybe one dig pigs will fly.


Oct 13 2014

Moving Home …

Category: Personal,Site,TechnologyRobert McGovern @ 12:31 pm

Not physically of course, but the server that hosts the blog & my email is moving away from Linode and on to a dedicated server in France.

This isn’t happening because of any problems with Linode. Indeed their service has been excellent both in terms of support and getting upgrades over the years despite still paying $20 a month like I was in 2010 when I started using them. (Before that I used Slicehost, still paying roughly $20 a month for slightly fewer resources)

The reason I’m moving is that for the same amount of money a month I can have a dedicated box that is mine and mine alone. “Old” is the specs from Linode and “New” is the specs on the dedicated box from Online.net:

Old: 2GB Ram, 2 virtual CPU’s which I can use a bit, 48GB storage on SSD and 3TB of bandwidth

New: 8GB Ram, 1 CPU with 8 Cores, 1TB storage on HD (not RAID’d) and unlimited Bandwidth.

Quite the leap in terms of Hardware features. That said I lose in terms of software a little, Linode’s web interface is very slick compared to Online.net. Support is also a little tricky as English is not the primary language of the Online.net staff; which is fair enough given they are in France. The other loss is in terms of bandwidth, or rather access to bandwidth. On Linode with the 2GB plan, you get 40Gbit download speed and 250Mbit up whereas with Online.net its 1Gbit in and 150Mbit out. For me it isn’t an issue, but it might be for others.

Last but not least moving away from Linode I lose out on having easy backups. For $5 a month you basically had 4 snapshots of all of your data (3 automatically, 1 manual). With the dedicated server I get 100GB FTP space, just a 10th of the HD storage, and I have to set up backing up manually. I always paid for the backup on Linode for peace of mind, though I never had a hardware issue that force me to use a copy of the backs. Thinking about it I only ever used a backup once after I messed up upgrading something in Ubuntu.

Having 1TB of storage is very useful, it means that I can have online backups of various bits of data from my home computer (like photos, my music) so that if there ever where a disaster that wiped out my comps and my external HD backups, then I would still have one online backup. It also means that I can run OwnCloud to have access to bits where ever I am in the world rather than relying on Dropbox / whoever.

In terms of access being in France makes little difference to me from a Latency point of view and shouldn’t make too much difference to any one visiting the site / sending me email. It’s not like I have many visitors or a thriving website or anything 🙂

I should add that it may not be the last move in the coming future. I have since discovered the world of Low End Boxes, where you can pay next to nothing yearly for a box that would cover me email/website needs. Seriously, for instance with DireVPS £12 a year will get you a OpenVZ SSD VPS with 256MB RAM, 3.25GB SSD Storage, 1.6180339887TB monthly data transfer @ £12.00 GBP per 12 month(s) or $26.75 a year with XVMLabs for 1GB RAM, 100 GB SSD, 300 GB monthly data transfer.

With some of the deals out there it is really hard to justify spending $20 a month, trust me I spent a week agonising over the choice.

— Edit

Just a quick note I will post some details later about the setup as I ran into a couple of things setting up DKIM/DMARC/ADSP where I was unclear where exactly they go in the DNS Records, particularly using DynDNS’s interface.

As of now every email leaving my system is digitally signed using DKIM. Which any email server can check, and discard any messages that claim to come from Tarasis.net that don’t have a valid signature.


Sep 05 2014

I am not dead

Category: Personal,SiteRobert McGovern @ 1:12 am

I continually think about blogging, but never actually get around to it. Too many other things I want to do when I have spare time (play a computer game, read a book, listen to music, watch something, play a board game and so on) that this never happens. I have a few things I do want to post so hopefully soon I’ll have something new here 🙂

Miracles can happen!


Nov 25 2012

A bit quiet

Category: Personal,WorkRobert McGovern @ 12:00 am

It’s been a bit quiet here I know, I tend to find other things to do than blog even if they are time wasting affairs like reading the Internet 🙂

It’s been a mixed up year for me, the year started badly, or rather last year ended badly with a week in hospital, then improved a little for a few weeks and then I was back in hospital again by the end of January so that they could remove my spleen (and decide the I had pneumonia, which of course had to be cleared first before the op). This led to 3 weeks in hospital and a few months of recovery.

I’m better now, indeed seemingly much better than I was before the spleen was removed. In years gone by whenever I got a cold it tended to knock me for 6, since the op I’ve had a couple and they’ve barely registered which is a big win despite the loss of the organ (which on removal was a whopping 20cm and 680g in weight). In part my immune system was nerfed by my blood condition and with my spleen working overtime killing my blood so colds had more effect than they should have. The only downside is that since the op where I dropped to 72.7kg, I’ve gone up to 82.7kg which isn’t good.

20121125-013111.jpg

I had been editing a book, which I then took over writing duties for and then stepped away from as I was struggling to find the time I needed to write with the kids, cooking and other house activities that needed to be done. Also from a financial standpoint it wasn’t going to work out worth the time involved as I would no longer be covered by my wife’s health insurance so we would need to pay for my own. Maybe the fates will conspire to give me another chance down the line, but I think if i am honest I prefer tech editing / reviewing.

Now we are racing very quickly towards Christmas, with a birthday party to organise for Mareike who will be turning 6, a house to decorate for Xmas, guests coming (in theory) for 10 days and lots of food to cook. Here is hoping the 2013 will start off better than 2012 did 🙂

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