Archives for July 2013

July 2013 (4)
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“The Adjacent” by Christopher Priest

Imagine a prism. White light goes in on one side, and the different wavelengths comprising the light are split because they travel at slightly different speeds in the glass. Since the other side is at an angle to the first – the prism is a triangle – these different wavelengths come out as a rainbow. That’s what it is like reading a Priest novel: the true story, whatever it may be, goes into the triangular prism, and comes out as variations of the same tale. In The Adjacent, his latest novel, somehow Priest has discovered several new colors. […]


PCPlus 323: Secrets of Steganography

Ah, steganography, that art of hiding some message in plain sight. These days we’re attuned perhaps to just thinking of hiding a digital message by modifying the bits encoding an image, but it does have a long illustrious history before computers ever came along. There’s Herodotus and his idea of inscribing a message on a wax tablet, underneath the wax; microdots used by spies in WWII and later; using code-words in an otherwise normal-looking letter. But in the age of computers steganography really hits its stride. […]


Endeavour, Series 1

One of the pleasures I had from the late 80s and early 90s, before I moved to the States, was watching Inspector Morse on the telly. The episodes were longer than the average TV cop show and had a leisurely pace which perfectly suited the Oxford setting. It also helped that the title role was sympathetically played by John Thaw – leaving you with a slight disturbing thought that Morse was perhaps an older gentler Jack Regan – with his sidekick, Sergeant Lewis, by Kevin Whatley. Undoubtedly, one factor in the success of the series was due to the chemistry between these two characters and their evolving relationship as well and the interactions with the other permanent characters in the show (one of which was undeniably Morse’s red Mark 2 Jag). The end-titles music was incredibly memorable and poignant, being derived from the Morse code for ‘Morse’. […]


Static websites and Amazon

For the longest time now (I see it’s getting on for five years), I’ve owned It’s a handy website for those times I’m talking to someone I don’t know and I don’t have any business cards on me, yet I want to exchange contact details. I just say, remember “I met Julian” the next time you’re at a PC. Works pretty well. For fun, I even self-host it here at home, using an old Dell XPS something-or-other and Windows Web Server 2008. […]