This is the personal blog of Steve Pettifer. Opinions are, transiently at least, my own.

My work-related web page is over here.

On twitter I’m @srp.


  • Purple Wave - Yesterday, with my brother-in-law Nick, friends from Warrior Strength and Conditioning, 1100 students and staff from The University of Manchester in purple t-shirts (one carrying a fridge), and some 34000 other runners, I finished my first 10k race. I say ‘race’; it was a bit of a plod for me really and I wasn’t aiming […]
  • The Butterfly Effect or, Shoving It Where The Sun Does Shine. - This is a story about butterflies and backsides, and it’s a more personal post than my previous ones about computers and cakes, even though the backside in question is not mine. At the end of it, I’m going to ask you to hand some money over to charity. In 2010 my Mum was diagnosed with […]
  • Pomona. - I saw Alasdair Mcdowell’s Pomona at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre last week. It sparked a bit of a weekend obsession. The play is a masterpiece: a dystopian fairytale set on an abandoned concrete island on the border between Manchester and Salford; it gets inside your head, scratches around upsetting things, then finds a quiet corner […]
  • The best Christmas Cake recipe ever - To reduce the risk of there being any identifiable or coherent theme to my sporadic blogging, today I’m posting a recipe for Christmas Cake. Originally made by my redoubtable Nanna and modified slightly by my equally formidable Mum, I’ve made some UX improvements to the process and the end-product. It’s really really good, and you […]
  • Replacebook friends - I’m rather on the fence as to the value of New Year’s resolutions. I made one in 1991 to become vegetarian and, barring the accidental discovery of a bit of anonymous meat in what should have been a vegetable samosa and getting half way through an ostensibly vegetarian stew in Spain finding that it had […]
  • Reflections on Pi labs - A while back I wrote a couple of posts about our experiment with using Raspberry Pis as an introduction to Computer Science at undergraduate level; this last post in the series is a bit of a reflection on how things went, in case anybody is interested in doing something similar, and some thoughts on what […]
  • The Pi Man project - [22/10/13 : If you’ve come here directly from an external link, you may want to check out the background to the project described in this post before reading on.) Today’s Graphical User Interfaces are designed to hide all the low-level gubbins that’s going on inside a computer so that you can get on and ‘do […]
  • Pi to the power of UG - I was in my early teens when the computers arrived. They’d always been centre-stage in science fiction flicks and there in the background of dusty documentaries where boffins would stand by shoulder-high cabinets of flashing lights, fiddling knowledgeably with switches and reels of tape. But  suddenly in the early 1980s, home computers were everywhere. My […]

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