53: Chien -  Development (Gradual Progress) 20: Kuan -  Contemplation (View)

The Uncarved Block

[Last update: 2017-06-20T08:10:54Z] [6 articles in total]

I Ching

About the hexagrams on this site

My interest in the I Ching began when I was a music student. Studing John Cage, I learned that he was heavily influenced by the I Ching and used hexagrams as an aid to composition of aleatoric music. I bought a copy of the Richard Wilhelm translation and learned to cast hexagrams via the coin oracle. I revived this interest when I studied Tai Chi Chuan.

Every visitor to the front page of this website is greeted by a pair of I-Ching hexagrams, which are generated by this small python program. The distribution of results in the I-Ching is not uniform, and this page gives the same distribution of lines as the Yarrow Stalk oracle. The second hexagram is the first but with "moving lines" inverted in the traditional fashion. This website uses web.py, and I incorporate the I-Ching reading into the Cheetah template for the homepage. The relevant snippet of template code looks like this:

            #import ching
            #set $hexes = $ching.get_hexagram_pair
            #set $hex1 = int($ching.get_hexagram_number($hexes[0]))
            #set $hex2 = int($ching.get_hexagram_number($hexes[1]))
            #set $name1 = $ching.get_hexagram_name($hexes[0])
            #set $name2 = $ching.get_hexagram_name($hexes[1])
            #echo '<img id="hex1" alt="%d: %s" src="/static/images/iching/Iching-hexagram-%02d.png" />' % (hex1,name1 ,hex1) #
            #echo '<img id="hex2" alt="%d: %s" src="/static/images/iching/Iching-hexagram-%02d.png" />' % (hex2,name2 ,hex2) #

...and the lovely hexagram graphics are in the public domain. I downloaded them from the wikipedia.

How to make cold brew coffee

The hot weather is here and it's my responsibility to ensure you all are properly caffeinated

Here's how to make delicious smooth cold-brew coffee:

  1. You need a cafetière (French press for my American friends) and a drip filter (like if you were a hipster making a pourover). A chemex works great for this.
  2. Ok, now grind the coffee fine as though you're making espresso (that's not what you'd use for a regular cafetière coffee I know). I use about 68g of coffee for 800ml cafetière. Your milage may vary, but err on the side of more coffee rather than too little. 1.5 - 2 tablespoons per cup of coffee is I think the rule for this sort of thing.
  3. Put the ground coffee in the cafetière and pour on regular cold tap water. You might want to use filtered water if your tap water doesn't taste good enough to drink on its own.
  4. Give it a quick stir, wait ten minutes & give it another quick stir. Don't put the top on the cafetière, just put some clingfilm over the top and put the whole thing in the fridge.
  5. Wait 24 hours.
  6. Take the whole thing out of the fridge, remove the clingfilm, give it a quick stir, put the top on the cafetière and press down just like you normally would if you were using the thing to make hot coffee.
  7. You don't want sludge at the bottom of your cup, so pour it through the drip filter into whatever container you want to store the coffee in (I use a water bottle normally) and keep it in your fridge.

You now have a lovely bottle of the coffee equivalent of blue meth in your fridge. Be warned this mix is strong. I like to drink it in two different ways:

  1. Neat in an espresso cup as a replacement for my first espresso of the day.
  2. Over lots of ice diluted about 2 parts cold brew to 1 part water if I want a coffee to take with me.



People and stuff that have made this website fun to produce

Over the last year or so I have changed almost everything about how this blog is hosted and also all the other services I run. The changes are something of a microcosm of how hosting works these days and so I thought it might be interesting to write some articles drilling into what's changed and why.

Firstly, this server is still a co-located Linux box, but I've moved it from mythic-beasts.com to linode.com. Mythic Beasts were excellent throughout, but I wanted to upgrade to a cloud setup and at the time it was easier and cheaper to use linode. I believe Mythic Beasts do have a virtual server offering and I would still highly recommend them.

Secondly I migrated almost all of the services, so I don't run them myself any more. Instead of djbdns I now use Amazon's Route 53. This gives me better protection against DDOS attacks than running my own DNS and means I also get ipv6 support into the bargain.

Instead of running my own mail using qmail, I have moved to using hosted mail provided by fastmail. The benefit here is I don't need to be personal tech support for my family's email (cough). I changed from lighttpd to nginx, which seems to be the only reasonable game in town for webservers these days.

Dynamic content is still produced by a python script, although I rewrote the web.py version after that framework fell into a bit of an unsupported state following the sad death of its author Aaron Swartz. It now uses the flask framework and has been changed to be RESTful, and as I said last time, if I tidy the script up enough for general consumption I'll make it available.

I no longer run slidentd, and would not recommend anyone runs any sort of ident daemon. Today's internet is a very very different place from the one where that made sennse. My pages are still written using the very fine vim editor, and rather than a typematrix I now use a different weird square dvorak keyboard (A Planck ortholinear keyboard specifically, with completely blank keycaps and a weird custom layout of my own devising. Like Alan Turing's strange bicycle, this means no-one can use it other than me, although I actually made this layout as something of an homage to the typematrix. Watch this video which explains some of what it is and why I use weird keyboards in the first place).

Why Uncarved?

The name of this website has a specific meaning that derives from Taoism

The Uncarved Block is a common English translation of a Taoist concept called "pu". A block of wood that is not yet carved has no set form, it is thus infinite in potential and free from desire.

My Biog

Some stuff about me

I trained to postgraduate level as a Jazz bass player, but worked as a programmer to pay for my music postgrad and somehow ended up in a career in computer science. After various roles as a permanent employee and contractor I became the IT director of a dot com company. I worked for 8 years for Goldman Sachs before leaving to join Palantir Technologies, a silicon valley data analysis software company. While there I was part of a group who came up with the idea for Signac LLC, a joint venture between Palantir and Credit Suisse. I was nominated by Palantir to be Co-head and CIO of Signac.

You can see my linkedin profile, and invite me to your network if we know each other. There are quite a few Sean Hunters though so I might not be the one you're thinking of.

Contact Me

Some people just really really want to know how they can get through to me. Sad but true.

If you want to email me to tell me that my website sucks or any other thing, email me at sean@uncarved.com. If you want to, you can contact me in utmost privacy by using my gpg key.

Please note that I'm not interested in sharing links, hosting adverts, having my website optimised, having any of my body parts enlarged or the stack of money you just happen to have that needs someone trustworthy who'd be prepared to front some payments to help you steal it in return for some sort of kickback. Really, I'm not.

Unless otherwise specified the contents of this page are copyright © 2015 Sean Hunter. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.