Peter's Blog

Just commenting on things that interest me

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 3)


While I have been neglecting my blog, others have not.

I see that one of my posts (Predestination) has garnered over 64,000 comments!

I can’t check all of them, of course, but I’m pretty sure they are all spam.

Some of my posts permit comments, while others do not. I’m not sure why, TBH.

Now I could do a series of “Move to Bin” operations but that would take forever to do by hand. So I did it from the database using this:

DELETE FROM `wp_comments` where `comment_post_ID` = 84

I could have done something with the wp_commentmeta table too but there were only a small number of rows there so I didn’t bother.

I also disabled comments for the post.


I can’t believe that the last post I added here was in October of 2020.

That means that I did not add a single new post in all of 2021!

I can’t understand it, so I can’t explain it!

I thought blogging was one of the things that people were doing more of during the pandemic!

Not me for some reason. I’m back now though. Onwards and upwards.

P.S. Isn’t “hiatus” a strange word!

John Hume

Ireland lost one of its greatest this week, with the passing of John Hume on Monday, and his funeral on Wednesday.

I always held John in the highest regard. And I was not the only one. He was voted “Ireland’s Greatest” in a public poll run by RTE in 2010.

Many tributes were paid to John (and his wife, Pat) over the last week. During the funeral itself, messages were read out from Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton and Bono. Many have said that without John’s vision, courage and perseverance that Northern Ireland would not have achieved peace in the way that it did. People have talked over the last few days of the number of lives which John has saved.  He has been called Ireland’s Martin Luther King.

He was awarded many richly deserved honours during his life, including:

  • Nobel Prize for Peace, 1998
  • Martin Luther King Peace Award, 1999
  • International Gandhi Peace Prize, 2001

We were on holiday in Moville for a week, leaving for home on the day he died.  On the Saturday we went into Derry city and went on the Bogside History Tour, guided by  Paul Doherty whose father was killed by British soldiers during Bloody Sunday in 1972.

The tour was excellent, and we all learned a lot over the course of those two hours. Obviously John Hume was mentioned a number of times, including the fact that he had advised against the march on Bloody Sunday because he was afraid of what the soldiers were going to do.

There are so many great stories of what this “shy schoolteacher” (as his wife Pat described him) did and achieved in his life.  There is a story here, for example, of how John called around to the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and gave money to held with funeral expenses.

I am sorry that we were not still in Moville on the evening of his removal to the church. If we had been we could have stood on the roadside to pay our respects to him and his family. But we were home and we had to content ourselves with lighting a candle in the window instead.

Truly were lost Ireland’s Greatest this week.

There are so many photos that I could finish this with, including photos of John with the great and the good. But I think the most fitting is this photo of John and his wife Pat on the day of voting for the Good Friday agreement. Ar dheist Dé go raibh a anam.

Star Trek Voyager

I had never really watched much STV until recently.

I decided to give it a chance for three reasons:

  1. It is easily available on Netflix
  2. I figured I should give it a try after the disappointment of STD
  3. I listened to an interview with Kate Mulgrew on Ryan Tubridy’s radio show and I was really, really impressed by her

I decided to watch all of the episodes with an IMDB with the highest ratings, generally 8.6 or higher.

The following is a list of the episodes I watched:

Star Trek Voyager Episodes
Episode Title
S03E23 Distant Origin
S03E26 Scorpion: Part One
S04E01 Scorpion: Part Two
S04E08 Year of Hell: Part One
S04E09 Year of Hell: Part Two
S04E14 Message in a Bottle
S05E02 Drone
S05E06 Timeless
S05E10 Counterpoint
S06E12 Blink of an Eye
S06E26 Unimatrix Zero: Part One
S07E01 Unimatrix Zero: Part Two
S07E24 Endgame Parts One and Two


I have reached the following conclusions about the series:

  1. The series is quite good, and some of the episodes are very enjoyable
  2. It took until near the end of the third season for an episode to reach the 8.6 rating
  3. The series ended on a high, with an enjoyable episode also rated at 8.6
  4. I can see myself going back to watch more episodes. For example, I see there is one which features George Takei as Captain Sulu

Since I wanted these episodes, I saw a video of Kate Mulgrew being interviewed and the interviewer mentioned that STV is the most watched Star Trek series on Netflix. So I’m not the only one who is rediscovering this series.

Yesterday by Richard Curtis

Let me start by saying that it’s a genius premise for a movie.

No – I don’t mean the idea that you could write about a world where a guy discovers that he’s (almost) the only person to know the songs of The Beatles.

I mean the idea that you could create a movie which really just features a series of Beatles songs one after the other!

I went to see this movie a few weeks ago with the family. We all enjoyed it really, but that was more about the songs than anything else.

I am a long-term fan of Richard Curtis (he was involved with Blackadder, Spitting Image, Four Weddings, Love Actually, About Time, etc. after all) so I was happy to go to see it. Not his best work though.

It does score 7.0 on IMDB though (which unbelievably is the same score as Four Weddings!) The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are probably a better guide being 63% and 89% respectively from critics and audience (Four Weddings got 96% from critics).

Himesh Patel does well in the lead role, and Lily James (although she doesn’t have much to do) really lights up the screen. And hats off to Ed Sheeran for being willing to appear as himself and for having to good humour to say and do the funny things which were asked of him.

Here is a picture of these three (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images):

Blogging Resumes

I am now sure why it has been so long since I added anything here, but that is about to change.

More than a year!

Let the blogging resume!


Belfast Rape Trial

The Belfast rape trial concluded nine days ago with verdicts for not guilty for Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison.

Immediately after the verdict, Jackson said the following to reporters waiting outside the court:

“I just like to thank the judge and the jury for giving me a fair trial, my parents for being here every day as well as my brother and sisters. I’d like to thank my barrister Brendan Kelly QC, my solicitors Joe McVeigh and Kevin Winters of RKW Law. Out of respect for my employers I’m have nothing further to comment.”

His lawyer said the following:

On behalf of Patrick Jackson we are grateful to the jury for reaching a common sense verdict of not guilty to all counts.

Paddy has been consistent in his denials and his account. Consistency had never been a feature of the complainant’s evidence long before she entered the witness box.

So these acquittals should come as no surprise. Paddy leaves court for the last time today, as he entered it almost 10 weeks ago, an innocent man. The prosecution made much of a perceived privilege position provided by virtue of Paddy being an International rugby player.

We say that it was his status as a famous sportsman that drove the decision to prosecute in the first place. Much has been said in the course of this trial by way of criticism of the police investigation.

We have little to add to what has already been said but it is our belief that this investigation has been characterised by a blind eye being turn to the inadequacies in the evidence of the complainant combined with apparent investigative bias.

Paddy and his parents have paid a heavy price personally, professionally and financially. This price was paid despite the fact he is and has never been anything other than entirely innocent.

On the face of it, this robust assertion of its independence by the jury embodied in these acquittals may suggest that the trial process is in good health. That is not the case.

Vile commentary expressed on social media, going well beyond fair comment, have polluted the sphere of public discourse and raise real concerns about the integrity of the trial process.

To that end we want to thank the learned trial judge for her management of this trial in the face of an onslaught of toxic content particularly on Twitter. Several days of this trial were lost due to problems thrown up by the intrusive infection of the process by social media.

All the lawyers have been distracted by having to man the barriers against a flood of misinformed, misconceived and malicious content on the internet particularly during the vital last phase of this trial and, worryingly , even at the hands of public servants who should know better. There is no reason to believe that this problem will not worsen.

To that end, we invite the office of the Lord Chief Justice, the Attorney General and the Public Prosecution Service to enter in to fresh discussions with us to look at more robust mechanisms that can strike an effective balance between everyone’s rights but that properly secure the integrity of our criminal justice system.

As for Paddy, his main priority right now is to return to his work and that means getting back on to the Rugby pitch representing his Province and his Country.

Start Olding said the following immediately after the trial:

I want to start by thanking the judge and jury for their time and patience throughout this long trial.

I am very relieved that the jury has accepted my explanation as to what occurred.

I want to acknowledge publicly, that though I committed no criminal offence on the evening of the 28th of June, 2016, I regret deeply the events of that evening.

I want to acknowledge that the complainant came to court and gave evidence about her perception of those events. I am sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant. It was was never my intention to hurt anyone on that night.

I don’t agree with her perception of events, and I maintain that everything that happened that evening was consensual.

I have consistently told the truth to the police and the court when asked to account for my conduct.

The Stuart Olding who has been portrayed in the past nine weeks in this trial is not the real Stuart Olding. I am fiercely proud to represent my province and my country. I have worked very hard to achieve those goals.

I hope to be able to prove myself going forward in all aspects of my life.

Two things happened today (6th April):

  • A full page crowdfunded ad appeared in the Belfast Telegraph calling on the Ulster and Ireland rugby teams to never allow the two men to play for them again
  • Paddy Jackson released the following statement:

I am ashamed that a young woman who was a visitor to my home left in a distressed state. This was never my intention and I will always regret the events of that evening.

I am also truly sorry for engaging in a WhatsApp group chat which was degrading and offensive and I apologise unreservedly for this.

The criticism of my behaviour is fully justified and I know I have betrayed the values of my family and those of the wider public.

Following the trial I have taken time to reflect with my family on the values that were such an integral part of my upbringing, the most important of which is respect. My departure from these values has caused understandable public anger and I am resolutely committed to returning to those principles.

This is the first time that Jackson has expressed any regret for the indicent.

My observation on all of the above is as follows: I don’t know if Jackson’s statement was prompted by the ad, but I give much more credit to Olding for his immediate statement, given personally, than I do to Jackson for his  belated press release.

There were no winners in this sequence of events, but IMO Jackson has come out worst of all.

Vermeer Exhibition

I went to see the “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting” exhibition in the National Gallery here in Dublin the other day.

I would highly recommend it to anyone.

There are about 60 paintings in total with  10 being by Vermeer. But the exhibition groups the paintings together brilliantly to show the other Dutch artists who influenced and were influenced by Vermeer.

Be sure to get an audio guide!

Here is the only Vermeer which normally resides in Dublin (“Woman writing a letter, with her maid”) :


Building a REAL Computer from Scratch

In my last blog I spoke of my admiration for a man who built a simple working computer using TTL chips. This computer is fantastic for teaching/learning how computers work.

Imagine, therefore, my admiration for a man who built a REAL computer using TTL chips. By “real”, I mean that it:

  • Runs a port of the MINIX operating system
  • Is multi-user and multi-tasking
  • Is connected to the Internet
  • Has a front panel with loads of LEDs and switches (like me, Bill believes that this is crucial)
  • Users can Telnet on to it over the Internet!

The creator, Bill Buzbee, is a genius. He did both the hardware AND the software. He says that he did it because he wanted to learn more about hardware. He certainly did that, including learning how to “wire wrap”.

The software includes:

  • C compiler, Assembler, Linker
  • TCP/IP stack
  • A set of utilities
  • A set of games

Bill had to do EVERYTHING – even creating his own instruction set! It’s an amazing accomplishment.

Only one user can Telnet onto the computer at a time, but I managed to do so the other day. It’s incredible to think that that I was running a game on a computer which someone has built and programmed all on his own!

Here is a video of the computer “coming alive” (as Bill puts it) in 2004.

And here is a link to his YouTube channel.

And here is a long (almost an hour) video where Bill explains everything about the computer, which he calls “Magic-1”:

Where does the time go…

I can’t believe that it’s near the end of April and this is only my fourth blog post on 2017!

Where does the time go?!

I guess I must be busy…

And the weird thing is that I have a big backlog of things that I want to blog about. They are all floating around in my mind (and in my To Do list!)

So this short post is to help to break the logjam.

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