last update:

I’ve had my eye on the Fairphone 2 for a while now, and when my current phone, an aging Samsung Galaxy S4, started playing up I decided it was time to take the plunge. A few people have asked for my thoughts on the Fairphone so here are a few notes. Why I bought it The thing that sparked my interest, and the main reason for buying the phone really, was the ethical stance of the manufacturer.

Wiring my web

I’m a nut for automating repetitive tasks, so I was dead pleased a few years ago when I discovered that IFTTT let me plug different bits of the web together. I now use it for tasks such as: Syndicating blog posts to social media Creating scheduled/repeating todo items from a Google Calendar Making a note to revisit an article I’ve starred in Feedly I’d probably only be half-joking if I said that I spend more time automating things than I save not having to do said things manually.

I admit it: I’m a grammar nerd. I know the difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom’, and I’m proud. I used to be pretty militant, but these days I’m more relaxed. I still take joy in the mechanics of the language, but I also believe that English is defined by its usage, not by a set of arbitrary rules. I’m just as happy to abuse it as to use it, although I still think it’s important to know what rules you’re breaking and why.

Well, I did a great job of blogging the conference for a couple of days, but then I was hit by the bug that’s been going round and didn’t have a lot of energy for anything other than paying attention and making notes during the day! I’ve now got round to reviewing my notes so here are a few reflections on day 2. Day 2 was the day of many parallel talks!

The main conference opened today with an inspiring keynote by Barend Mons, Professor in Biosemantics, Leiden University Medical Center. The talk had plenty of great stuff, but two points stood out for me. First, Prof Mons described a newly discovered link between Huntingdon’s Disease and a previously unconsidered gene. No-one had previously recognised this link, but on mining the literature, an indirect link was identified in more than 10% of the roughly 1 million scientific claims analysed.