2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 610 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Errors in Marriage Registration

I’ve been reading Michael W Foster’s book “A Comedy of Errors” (ISBN 0473055813). It’s not a particularly riveting read, but it is a fascinating and detailed description of the marriage registration process and of the errors that can happen and have happened therein.

The process starts with the wedding. We always assume that the vicar or minister has correctly written the names of the happy couple and the names of their fathers and the names of the witnesses. But sometimes he didn’t (did you check at your wedding?) and wrote the wrong name or the right name in the wrong place. Sometimes, of course, the bride or groom may not have given him correct information (e.g. age or father’s name), whether meaning to deceive or just not knowing the right details. So even the entry on the original church (or similar) register may have errors.

Then the vicar or minister, or his clerk, copies that information to the local register office. A copy always gives opportunities for errors and Foster finds the evidence for them. The local office copies it to the General Register Office. Details are temporarily copied on to a card so the entries can be sorted for the index, then copied, eventually, on to the index. More copying errors ensue, and also duplication where the clerk in the GRO can’t read someone’s writing. Then the indices had type-written copies made where more errors could occur. Sometimes too, entries were missed during the copying process, even whole pages of entries.

Foster gives lots of examples of these errors and extrapolates to how many errors there might be, but it’s difficult to extract a round number for the likely error rate.

The moral of the tale: if something doesn’t seem right with a marriage registration, it’s very¬† possible that it isn’t right!

Hello Rebecca

I’ve a new friend – her name is Rebecca. Actually she’s more formally known as Linux Mint Cinnamon release 17.1 And I’ve dumped that awful Win8.1 for something a lot faster and less demanding (particularly of “real-estate” on the screen). I’ve not sworn at the computer once since Rebecca took over, something SWMBO is much happier with.

Since getting Linux going 2 weeks ago, I’ve only had to return to Windoze once, and that’s because I needed to print something out more quickly than sorting out printers would take (which I’ve now done – you need to put your Linux user in the group “vboxusers” for USB devices to be picked up by VirtualBox). The real beauty was than the virtual machine file¬† which I use to run WindowsXP just moved across to Linux and I could use it just as soon as I’d worked out how to get VirtualBox to recognise existing files.

I’m sure there will be problems ahead and I’ve still got some software to install, but at the moment I’m delighted!