London snow

London snowWe had some heavy snow a couple of weeks ago in London. We took a couple of photos of our back garden, and a couple after our walk in the park with Joshua.

Joshua Feb 2009

Joshua in the bath Here are a few photos of Joshua from this month. One of our cameras broke so we seem to have slowed down on the photography recently!

Web server updates

I’ve been planning to do some software updates to my web server for a while. Over the last couple of days I’ve been slowly doing bits and pieces – slowly because I had an operation for carpal tunnel syndrome and can’t use both hands. So far I’ve done the following:

  • Upgraded WordPress to the latest version – fairly simple process.
  • Automated backups of the site and databases.
  • Added Xcache to my PHP installation, which Ubuntu makes a very simple process.
  • Installed Awstats – again very simple under Ubuntu.
  • Added Google analytics, just to try for a while, using the Google Analyticator WP plugin.
  • Added the Google XML sitemap generator WP plugin – Google doesn’t seem to have picked this up yet.
  • Switched my web server from Apache to Cherokee. Cherokee is designed to be small and fast, and as I’ve been having some memory usage issues on the server I decided to give it a try. It’s a bit of a pain to get working with WordPress, but I eventually figured out the correct redirection rules and got it up and running. Pages are now being served much faster, and memory usage on the machine is significantly lower.
  • Added the TanTan Flickr plugin for WordPress, which seems to be better maintained than Falbum (which I was using previously).

Software I worked on makes the NY Times

Years ago I worked for Ross Ihaka at on the R project, a free software statistics environment that has become pretty popular (if you visit the website you can see my name in the contributors list – though my contributions were not exactly central to the project!). R has now featured in a New York Times article entitled R, the Software, Finds Fans in Data Analysts. There are some great quotes:

“R is really important to the point that it’s hard to overvalue it,” said Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google, which uses the software widely. “It allows statisticians to do very intricate and complicated analyses without knowing the blood and guts of computing systems.”

It’s nice to see a great piece of free software recognised like this, and kind of cool for me to have something I worked on getting that kind of publicity. I’ve asked someone in NY to send me a copy of the print edition from that day, so hopefully I’ll have a memento to keep.

Christmas 2008

Joshua with the wrapping paperWe spent Christmas staying in a cottage in Cornwall, as Mim’s grandparents and Aunty & Uncle live down there. Mim’s parents and sister joined us from Cirencester. Joshua’s still a bit young to appreciate actual Christmas presents, though he was fascinated by the bubbles produced by the bubble gun Ruth (Mim’s sister) gave him. He absolutely loved the wrapping paper though, and was immensely happy to sit in the middle of a big pile of paper rustling through it all.

Joshua Dec 2008

Christmas JoshuaA few more Joshua photos.

Rome and Sardinia Sep 2008

ColosseumFor our summer holiday (actually in late September) we spent a week in Rome, followed by a week in Sardinia.


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