Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

The strange and deluded ramblings of a rather odd person. Hello Dude - It's Me

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These pages are all my own work. Unfortunately that may be a terrible admission. In these pages are various writings of mine, from the first part of my life story, to poems, to mad ramblings without excuse. Below the links to the articles is my blog. Not to be confused with the Techie Blog, this is random ramblings from life.

Rambling Rumination

Diving or Drowning Part I. The first part of my Autohagiography... up to the point where I first take ecstacy. The tale of how a polite, well mannered middle-class child became such a ruffian.....

Diving or Drowning Part II. The second part of my life story - the further fall....

Life in Romania. An article about living in Romania. This follows two visits in 2004 and 2005 to visit my wifes parents. Life is very different in Romania than it is here in Britain.

A Random Assortment. A short collection of my poetry. There's one or two gems buried in here.

HumanOS v1.3. Subtitled baby crocodiles, computers and the human personality. This is an article that compares the human mind to a computer operating system. It touches on artifical intelligence and the ages old Nature versus Nurture debate.

Christian Meditation. A short piece on Christian meditation - exploring living Spirituality with God.

Imagine Paradise. No its not about a large network of computers, its actually about Christian Community..... and why we bother.

The first is an article on the spiritual power of symbols and sacraments. The second one, is on what sort of truth we can expect to find in the bible - with a brief section providing one possible reconciliation between modern science and Genesis. They should both be understandable by 'beginners' to the subjects.

Quick 'n' Dirty HTML. Need to get a webpage up quick and never done any HTML before ? This article will get you up to speed with the basics, using a TABLE for layout. Not for those who want nice, standards compliant, XHTML and CSS...

Voidspace Story. My cyberpunk short story. Lovely imagery but very short *sigh*. Come and play in the Void !

Beginners Guide to Atlantis. My beginners guide for new players of Atlantis - the computer 'Play-by-eMail' game. Very useful if you`ve just started to play.

Romanian Detective Puzzle

emoticon:paper My wife Delia is Romanian, however she speaks better English than most of the people I know. (Except with a gorgeous twang of an Eastern European accent that comes out every now and then.) She has a Romanian degree in English and Romanian [1] literature and really enjoys working as a translator.

A while ago I put up on Voidspace Services that Delia is willing to do translation work. We've had a few enquiries, but this is the first job that has come through; and it's an intriguing piece of detective work.

A lady contacted us wanting some writing on the back of some photos translating. She is tracing her family tree and had got as far as Bucharest and got stuck. Smile

Her grandparents moved from Israel to England years ago, and her grandmother used to talk about how wealthy they used to be when they lived in Bucharest. Of course no one believed her.

Her granddaughter has some old family photographs spanning from around 1918-1942 with Romanian writing on the back, including several names and a couple of addresses in Bucharest.

The writing is old Romanian (some of the spellings are different from modern Romanian), but Delia has managed to translate all but a few illegible words. She has also tracked down the two addresses in Bucharest and managed to deduce a bit about the relationships between the people mentioned. It's a very interesting peek into the past and someone else's family history.

The grandmother's story rings true. In about 1940 various laws were passed against the Jews in Romania. During my two visits to Romania I saw a couple of old and derelict mansion like houses. Delia said that these were abandoned when the Jews fled for Israel in 1940, and weren't re-inhabited. In the town of Roman, where her parents live, there was a large Jewish community before the second world war. Nowadays there are virtually no Jews there.

As Romania is shortly due to join the EU, the need for English <--> Romanian translators is about to sky-rocket. Romania is still gradually emerging from the communist pit it was mired in. Alongside this it has a steadily growing IT market, that will only continue to expand in the coming decade. Hopefully Delia might get some interesting work from this.

Note

You may be interested in an article on Life in Romania, or the gallery of Pictures from Romania.

[1]The 'old' spelling of this is Rumanian, but hardly ever used these days. As ever this note is added purely for the sake of the search engines. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-08 11:18:49 | |
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Movie Mania

emoticon:videocam I don't watch many films. In my precious spare moments I would usually rather be programming. I do enjoy a good film however, but they're few and far between.

After the agency day last week, I was knackered. So Delia and I decided to take an evening off and watch a couple of films.

Despite a whole room full of choices (at Blockbusters), there was precious little that either of us wanted to see. In the end we settled for Mad Max I and Casablanca.

I chose Mad Max I because number II was unavailable and I thought it would be nice to see number I before watching II again. I remember number II as being a real classic (perhaps you could see it as a pre-cursor to Cyberpunk), but it must be around fifteen years since I saw the first one. I'd completely forgotten what unredeemed drivel it was ! What a waste of time. Mad

Casablanca on the other hand, my goodness what a film. So different to modern films, it is full of depth and emotion. Only the second time I've seen it and I can't recommend it enough. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-07 12:09:08 | |
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Jesus Centre Agency Day

emoticon:cross Last week we (at the Jesus Centre) ran an Agency Day for organisations working in the Community & Voluntary sector in Northampton.

The Jesus Centre is the premises through which the Jesus Fellowship Church [1] seeks to help the community of Northampton, especially the disadvantaged and marginalised.

Agency Day Northampton, Glen Suite

The full centre has now been open for over a year, but we ran a drop-in from smaller premises for a couple of years before we managed to complete the renovation of the cannon cinema [2]. The experience we gained through that, especially the training of our volunteers, was invaluable.

We now run over forty different groups and services regularly. These include :

  • Our Step-Up Scheme drop in

  • The Circle Community Cafe

  • Friday Evening Theme Nights, including :

    • Jammin' Sesh
    • Gold Nuggets Poetry Evening
    • Music from the Heart on Classical Music
    • Multicultural Evenings
  • Several creative groups

    • Drama Workshop
    • Creative Sewing
    • Expressive Art
    • Guitar Lessons
  • Several support groups

    • Knowing Me, Knowing You
    • Open Doors (Support for ex-prisoners)
    • Parenting group
    • New to UK
  • Appointment services

    • Money worries
    • Listening Ear
  • Spiritual Life groups

    • Healing Rays (prayer)
    • Faithbuilders (lunchtime devotionals)
    • New Friends (a bit like the Alpha Course)
    • New Seekers (bible study for new Christians)
  • Skills Classes

    • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
    • Maths for All
    • Literacy
    • IT with English

We also have a couple of new groups, Scrabble for the over fifties and a group working with the sex workers of Northampton.

We also run an art exhibition in our gallery area as part of the community cafe [3]. This changes monthly and features the work of local artists from the Northampton area.

So why am I reeling off this long list of activities ? Well, there is no other organisation in Northampton (as far as I know) that provides such a range of services for such a diverse range of different people.

This was the message we hoped to convey to the representatives who attended our agency day, as well as learn how to better work with them.

We also hoped to allay their fears about the religious context of the services we deliver. The activity of the Jesus Centre is motivated by our faith and an expression of our faith. However, we don't force our religion on anyone and none of the services of the Jesus Centre are dependent on the faith (or otherwise) of those attending. This is the kind of faith based social action promoted by Faithworks and endorsed by the UK central govenment and also (at least in theory) local government.

So was our agency day a success ? Well, as usual we didn't know how many people to expect. It could have been anything from fifteen to fifty. In the end thirty people came, and we made some good new contacts. I was very pleased with the event, and didn't even feel too much of a gump when doing my part of the presentation [4]. Razz

[1]Also known as the Jesus Army.
[2]An art deco cinema designed by architect Richard Glen.
[3]Along with free internet access and a free Wi-fi hotspot.
[4]My theme was the range of activities we provide, how that is relevant to other agencies, and how we would like to work with those organisations. John Campbell talked about the aims and ethos of the Jesus Centre (as well as some background to the project). Additionally, we had brief presentations on our BME work, our skills classes, and the work of the Step-Up scheme with the homeless of Northampton.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-07 11:37:42 | |
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Voidspace is Looking for a Sponsor

emoticon:file1 Over the next year the Voidspace website will serve more than a million and half page views [1]. In 2005, the various projects here were downloaded over forty thousand times.

Around half the pages served are in the Python and Technology sections.

In order to be able to free up some working time to develop the Open Source Projects here, I'm looking for a partnership with a commercial sponsor.

In return I can offer :

  • A banner advert, with link, on the Voidspace pages. Most of these are pagerank five.
  • The opportunity to regularly post news and information on the Voidspace weblog. This is aggregated at PlanetPython and regularly featured on the Daily Python URL.
  • The opportunity for product and service reviews, or even articles.
  • Sponsored by '...' in the project documentation and downloads of the many open source projects hosted at Voidspace.
  • As well of course as promoting your company as being further involved in supporting open source software development.

If you are part of a company or organisation that may be interested in this unique advertising opportunity, please visit the Sponsor Voidspace page.

[1]Based on current traffic figures, it will be higher than this. Very Happy

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-04 11:59:52 | |
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Move Out of the Way Skype

emoticon:mobile I've also been playing with configuring a VoIP connection.

The default VoIP is Skype which several of my friends use. I already have google talk for straightforward PC to PC conversations, but it would be nice to have a cheap voice to telephone gateway. This could save me paying for a landline when we move into our own place [1].

A friend has recommended VOIPCheap which he has been using for several months. He also has a phone that plugs straight into his router and works when his PC is off [2].

Incredibly VOIPCheap offer free calls to landlines in the UK, Europe and the US. They have also given me a free landline number. Their other call charges are pretty reasonable. The ones I've checked are cheaper than Skype and comparable with BT.

The catch ? Well you have to give them ten pounds worth of credit (11.60 including VAT), which expires after four months if you don't use it.

Effectively this means they have a 2.50 a month subscription charge for unlimited free calls to landlines. Nice ! Very Happy

[1]This will happen in the next couple of months or so.
[2]Presumably this is a SIP device ?

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-04 11:59:21 | |
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