Monthly Archives: December, 2008

A numbers game

I keep most of my email, except for spam and obviously temporary stuff. And I’m fairly careful about removing myself from mailing lists whenever possible.

But I notice that my IMAP server is currently storing just under 57,000 of my past messages. That’s over 9 years, so the average is only 17 per day that I’ve kept. It still seems like a big number, though!

Backup wisdom

I’ve been thinking about and experimenting with various backup options recently, seeking the One True Backup Solution. In my search for enlightenment I came across a rather nice site called The Tao of Backup.

Sequel server

Many of my readers, I know, have been good enough to read Rose’s novel, The Blackstone Key, and I suppose it would be terribly churlish to suggest that it might make a good Christmas present for somebody, so I shall avoid doing so.

I have had fun revamping Rose’s web site over the last few weekends, though, and those of you who enjoyed the story might be interested in the first batch of historical facts that we’ve added to the site, which give a little more background to the novel – you can find them on the left hand side of the book’s page under ‘The world of The Blackstone Key‘. More to come…

You might also be interested to know that the sequel, The Counterfeit Guest, will hit UK shelves three months from today (at about the same time as the paperback of the first book). Both are available to pre-order from Amazon.

Mac tip of the day

Here’s a simple keystroke that I find I’m using more and more:

Shift-Option-Cmd V

As I get older, I find it harder to remember long strings of modifier keys, so I think of this as ‘V with everything except control’!

This does a paste from the clipboard without any formatting. In days of yore, most cut-and-paste operations were just plain text anyway but, increasingly, I’m finding that when I copy text from a webpage to an email, from a document to a blog post, and so forth, it brings across too much of the formatting with it and I end up with chunks in the wrong font size, or with funny line spacing etc. Occasionally this is useful, but more often than not I just want the plain text, or I want to control the formatting carefully.

That’s when you need today’s mantra:
Cmd-C to copy, V with all but Control to paste!

A cool look at a heated debate

My friend David MacKay gave a splendid lecture this evening to mark the publication of his book, Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.

Many years in the making, this is a masterpiece: beautifully produced, thoroughly researched, and intelligently presented. I suspect it will become required reading for anyone really interested in the topic of sustainable energy: how to generate it, and how to use less of it. And yet it lives up to its name, being delightfully un-stuffy.

David is more interested in spreading sense than in making money, and you can download the book for free if wanted from Almost all of the materials are under a Creative Commons licence and he’s made high-resolution versions of most of the figures available on the web site.

But I recommend buying it: the book itself is very aesthetically pleasing, and could make a good Christmas present.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser