Last weekend I went out on the bike to check out some of the countryside around Grenoble. Grenoble’s got two big rivers – the Drac and the Isère – and on Saturday I went up the Drac for a while (only getting lost three times). To start with I followed the cycle path from by the Intermarché at Seyssins, which runs along the banks of the river and then ends up in a retail park (Comboire, a big park of shed like shops, coincidentally where I bought my bike from). This path is really rather beautiful – river, mountains, no traffic… Then there was aRead More →

I’ve been having some fun reading about the French take on the expenses scandal. Libération ran a piece on Saturday (March 30) on whether the same sort of thing could happen in France, with the obligatory section on moats (les douves), duck houses (une ile à canards construite au milieu d’un étang) and that old favourite les films X of Jacqui Smith. French MPs can claim for obvious stuff like photocopying, taxis, restaurant bills, website costs (which are high if you run les podcasts), and a whole host of things associated with residences in constituencies and staying in Paris. And as in the UK, FrenchRead More →

Internet’s been a bit intermittent. I have two choices An internet caff in town, with good music, coffee, friendly staff, two and a half euros per hour, and q bloody french keyboqrd zhich i reqlly hqve to think auite hqrd zhen using. The library, which has free wifi, but blocks port 22 (so no access to ssh or filestore) and blocks Facebook and Twitter. The library is where I’ve mostly been going though. The view is better.

Some things I’m going to find it hard to adapt to, #1 in a series of N: The prevalence of bank holidays – and the way that people forget they’re happening. It’s all wonderfully laid back. (Actually, people tell me that I’ve turned up at the worst time for bank holidays and it’s much more normal the rest of the year, but hey, by Monday, I’ll have been here 2 weeks and everything will have been shut for 3 weekdays out of 10). Cheques being effectively money: my new landlord is happy to accept a cheque for deposit & rent the day I move in.Read More →

In the month and a half since I opened this blog, I’ve had 258 spam comments and 5 real ones… so I’ve installed anti-spam measures (specifically Akismet). It’s caught 100 new spams since last week, and no real comments, so I’ve decided that life’s too short to check the spam queue. If you post a comment and it doesn’t appear within a day or so, it’s probably just that it got stuck in the spam queue so drop me an email and I’ll sort it out. You can mail me on blogstuff at

I went to the London Hopper Colloquium on Tuesday. It’s a one-day event for women PhD students organised by QMUL & Women@CL, sponsored by IBM and with a lot of BCS support. I’m probably an unbiased reporter as I was an invited speaker this time (my first ever invited talk, whoo!) but I thought it’d be good to post about it so here goes. There were 60-70 women there, mostly PhD students, doing research in computing. Many of these had entered the poster contest, which as a judge I found awesome. It was so hard to judge. There were posters on such a wide rangeRead More →

Inspired by Wendy Tan White’s post about how she got into tech, this is my story: At school I was keen on maths and science, and had a great maths teacher (Miss Lolley – truly inspirational). I was (and still am) also a big reader – both my parents have been English teachers at some point in their careers and they transmitted their love of literature early on and it’s stuck. William Gibson’s Neuromancer introduced me to the idea of artificial intelligence and I knew pretty much straight away that building clever systems was what I wanted to do. And so when it came toRead More →

The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium was last week. This is a one-day event for women students of computing, and it’s open to students from across the UK. I’ll do a full report for the BCS website shortly, but I wanted to get a few ideas down quickly and to put out a request to attendees for more photos! It was an amazing day for me – it’s so great to see an event come together and for all the effort to pay off. The posters were fantastic and the enthusiasm of the student presenters was contagious – and after all is said and done it’s theRead More →

I used the online generator at, the process was really very straightforward. I can’t see myself using the font much but hey, it’s a geek thing.

I had an interview last week and they liked me and I liked them, so soon, I hope, I’ll be living in Grenoble (I’ve not seen anything in writing yet, but they seem very trustworthy). It’s all a bit mental, really – but I figure that if the right research job for me can’t be found in Leeds (where I have a husband and a house and some cats and a garden with some apple and pear and cherry trees and etc. etc.) then I might as well live somewhere interesting. It’s going to take the cherry trees 4 years before they produce any fruitRead More →