Thursday, December 13, 2007

Think Before Clicking

I see a new MSN account details phishing site is making the rounds *sighs* A little hint for the less net-aware among us: if you click a link to was sent to you out of the blue and end up at a site asking for your account details (especially if the domain of the site you end up at has nothing to do with the link you clicked), then don't fill them in. Ever.

This time round it's http://www.free-offers-your-clicks.com (no, I'm not making it into an actual link), leading to http://www.blockdelete.com/ and all the fancy shaded colouring contained therein. If you check the Terms of Use they make it fairly clear that they'll be using your account details themselves, so I can't really fault them on that one. But really, it's not an official website in any way, if you randomly give your details out to these people then it's your own fault =P

Friday, December 07, 2007

Water Supply Fail

It's a classic scenario really. It's morning, 2.5 hours until my presentation (a mere 15 minute walk away luckily). I head for the shower, turn it on, nothing. Kemp gets slightly worried at this point. Try some taps, still nothing. Kemp gets very worried. Phone's the water company, it can take them up to 4 hours to find the problem and up to 24 hours to fix it. Kemp gives up.

I have 1.25 hours left until the presentation, let's see how this one plays out...


Update:
The water company (who don't so much charge me as anally violate me) phoned back and effectively said "it's not our problem". Did I say "effectively"? They pretty much said those exact words. Anywho, we've all been bitching at management and apparently they have someone working on it now and it might (*might*) be back up tonight. It has taken them about 12 hours to figure out the pump is broken. I could have told them that this morning, mostly due to my amazing ability to see the blatantly obvious...

Also, I did my presentation, I rocked. Thank you.


Update 2:
It's the next morning (3 minutes til afternoon in fact), still not on. What do we even pay these guys for? It's now between 30 and 36 hours since the problem occurred. The water company may suck at a lot of things, but at least they check it out within 4 hours (not 12) and quote 24 hours for the usual repair time (not the 48 that this is starting to look like). [Insert more rant here]


Update 3:
Well we've had two more excuses since my last update. The first was that they didn't have the key for the closet/room/whatever with the pump in, so they had to call a locksmith out (just how incompetent *is* the management?). The second was that they can't find anyone who can replace that particular pump. How about the guys who put it in in the first place? It's only a couple of years or so old. Surely the high-tech exciting world of water pumps can't move that fast?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

OpenOffice Updates

OpenOffice updates: a renamed splash graphic and a library moved from one package to another.

Number of packages affected: 21
Total update size: 75MB

Modular my ass =P

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Random IMs - Squishie Kemp

Overlord: XD
Overlord: Remind me not to get on your bad side
Overlord: =P
Kemp: lol, but I'm so soft and fuzzy
Overlord: PLUSHIE KEMP
Kemp: :O
Kemp: with foam accessories like a laptop and guitar
Overlord: And a USB PORT
Overlord: Kemp the Mass Storage Device
Kemp: THIS MUST EXIST

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More Audio in Ubuntu

The first part of this is an addition to my earlier post on audio in Ubuntu. If you want a bit more detail about what you're doing with that fix then check out the original source, which also has some other useful links. After applying the fix I had problems with my sound crackling rather more than I like to hear. If you have similar problems then check out the Dmix page on the ALSA wiki, specifically the "Still Hearing Stuttering?" and "Comments" sections near the bottom. I haven't tried that extra modification myself (I was in the middle of something at the time and just disabled mixing again), but it looks promising and easy to do. That page is a goldmine of information about modifying your setup so it may be worth taking a bit of extra time to read through.

Ok, with that out of the way, how about visualisations in Rhythmbox? I use that as my audio player and I'm quite happy with it except it only has two visualisations available (I don't use them much, but they do amuse me so I like to have a few). Luckily information on this is easy to find and it turns out you need to install the libvisual-0.4-plugins package. I had a slight problem with one of them causing Rhythmbox to crash, but that may just be my setup as I don't recall seeing any warnings.

Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Random IMs - Powerloss and Cows

Kate: hmm. lights keep going down here, bit worrying
Kemp: ninja attacks?
Kate: apparently one of the substations of something set on fire and they're sorting it out
Kate: so hopefully won't go off completely
Kemp: eek
Kate: would be bad seeing as the only power to our flat is electric. no gas!
Kemp: same here
Kate: and i really want a shower before i go to bed cos I was rectalling cows for an hour today!
Kemp: I love your job ^^

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Random IMs - Ninja Football

Third blog post of the day :-o No intro this time, I'll let the quotes do the talking.

ErEf> what kind of football game needs to be 3.5gb?
ErEf> ffs
Kemp-> one involving ninjas
Kemp-> high enough res to see them
ErEf> you would need a lot more than 3.5gb to see a ninja clearly
Kemp-> not clearly, just enough to know roughly where they are
ErEf> ah
ErEf> still would need around 4.2 tho
Kemp-> "Ok, something's happening... erm... looks like someone has the ball, someone in black. GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!! Where did that come from? No-one here knows."

And elsewhere...
Overlord: XD
Overlord: How much detail would you need to CLEARLY see a ninja
Kemp: we don't have enough space available to find out
Kemp: nor sufficiently advanced camera technology

Windows XP Startup Items

Well my XP login time has got ridiculous, not to mention something killing the tray ("notification area" if you're being strict on terminology) the first time I log in which means I have to log out and back in again for things to work. Anywho, let's see what has sneaked into my startup list since the last time I cleaned it out... Sorry about the size of this post btw.

IMJPMIG: This is "used to simplify the input of Asian characters in the Microsoft Office suite". I don't input Asian characters, nor do I use MS Office. Goodbye to that then.
TINTSETP (x2): Again an IME related thing, but apparently a bit more important. I'll keep it until I find out it's irrelevant to me.
asrunhelp: Something ASUS related. Seems to be under review at various process description sites. It can stay for now.
NvCpl: If you're not using an nVidia card beware, a virus uses this name. My own copy here is a legit service (unneeded though and will come back every time you install new drivers). This one can go I think.
nwiz: As above, this can go too.
Acrotray: Acrobat nonsense. Never found it useful, never will. Go away and stop re-adding yourself.
[no name]: No command being run either. This can go.
Center: Great name guys... Anywho, this is used for ASUS WLan cards. Not necessary then and I don't even have one anymore, so definitely not needed here. It goes.
qttask: A good reason not to use Quicktime, just keeps coming back. Not needed, kinda pointless, it goes.
DragDiag: ADSL modem utility. I use an ADSL router at the moment, so this can go (I actually manually close it every time I log in, so this'll be a nice change =P ).
InCD: I don't use InCD stuff, so this can go. I've never trusted on-the-fly writing of CDs/DVDs.
NvMcTray: Something from nVidia. I don't really care about it, so it can go.
W: Erm.... gone.
MSMSGS: Go away, stop coming back. I renamed your directory so you can't run anyway.
ctfmon: Language bar and alternative text input for MS Office. I use none of the things in that sentence. Goodbye.
Adobe Acrobat Speed Launcher: Speed my ass. Gone.
Adobe Gamma: See above.

That looks to be all. I've skipped over the ones important to the applications I use. What starts up with Ubuntu for me you ask? Well there's... erm... there's gotta be one thing at least hasn't there? The network manager applet? A few agents to help me out? GDM?! It's all hideously outweighed by the hundreds of services and processes that my Windows sessions spawn. Ah well, it gives my HDD and RAM a workout I guess...

STS-120 Launch Post

Looks like we missed the launch this time (only by a whole day...), so here's a belated launch post for you. Also, I know the only reason Ryv ever visits is the chat log posts =P
Overlord: awwwwwwwwwww
Overlord: Missed a shuttle launch
Overlord: STS-120 launched yesterday
Kemp: belated magic carpet?
Kemp: in its honour
Overlord: /me is currently listening to: Star Trek - First Contact - Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf (Star Trek - First Contact).mp3 [04:25m/320Kbps/44KHz/foobar2000 0.9.4.5]
Overlord: As I watch archive footage =P
Kemp: lol

Oh, and trivia.
During STS-120, the lightsaber used by actor Mark Hamill in the 1983 film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi will be flown to the station, and returned to Earth. Stowed on-board Discovery for the length of the mission, the fictional Jedi weapon is being flown in honor of the 30th anniversary of director George Lucas' Star Wars franchise.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Audio In Ubuntu

This is one for those of you fed up of only being able to play sound from one source at a time in Ubuntu. In fact, only being able to have one application open that may want to play sound.
"Hmmmm... I want to watch this video clip. Oh wait, I'm playing music so I can't. I know, I'll pause the music. Oh, still no luck. Stop the music? Oh, freakin' great. I'll just completely close the music player shall I?"
"I can't play music, what's going on there? Oh, I know, I had a flash animation open in my browser several hours ago and it hasn't released the sound device yet..."

Anyway, there's a new blog here which has all the answers you need (the only answer you need to be precise).

Enjoy your new freedom :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

tv-links Shut Down

Major pirate website shut down
Wow, FACT actually did something. I continue to be amazed.

Fact claims that tv-links.co.uk was providing links to illegal film content that had been camcorder recorded from cinemas and then uploaded to the internet.

Well I'm sure his visitors enjoyed watching low-res, badly coloured, shaky versions of new releases with terrible audio. I've seen a few CAM releases in the past and you couldn't force me to watch another for almost anything.

The British Video Association estimates that at least £459m was lost to the video, film and TV industries due to piracy in 2006.

Half a billion? Yeah right. I don't have a TV license (I don't watch TV on a TV) and therefore I'm contributing to that loss, but not because I'm a dirty pirate. I'm contributing to that loss because TV has bugger all on these days that's actually worth watching. Why would I want to pay for a TV license to watch, maybe, one show a week? If I'm lucky... I'd rather go somewhere (legit) that lets me watch decent shows on demand, even if it does cost me as much as a license. Actually, someone with a TiVo/MythTV box does nicely also...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Draft Code

The first writing is almost always a throw away, you should expect it and accept it, it will be significantly better the second time around. Once you build the code once, you have learned 90% of what was wrong with the design. A large rewrite at that point will pay off exponentially down the road.

Source (the jump to that post doesn't seem to work in IE, use Firefox :-)

This is very true, and my burning of an old codebase is very overdue. Damn the fact that it works just enough to not make it as a priority item... Anyway, I'm pretty sure this should be considered the coding equivalent of drafts of a document.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Loopback Partitions

I guess moaning about Wubi previously pretty much guaranteed it would fail on me, and true to form it has. I don't know if this is actually a Wubi issue or a Gutsy development issue as I haven't had much time to check out reports yet, but I figured I'd present an easy solution for an easy problem, just in case you hadn't done this before.

The backstory is I grabbed the latest package updates (beta Gutsy gives me up to a couple hundred a day) and later ended up hard-resetting the system after a lockup that refused to be fixed another way. At this point serious alarm bells are ringing (especially if you have rebuilt three corrupt partition tables on two machines at various points). Anyway, no corrupt partition table this time, but Ubuntu refused to boot with Grub giving a message about "unknown device string". XP was still fine so I booted into there while I considered my options. Not knowing enough about Grub configuration to fix the obvious error I decided to directly mount the disk image under Windows and grab some files I needed that way. Unfortunately I couldn't make this work as it insisted the image wasn't formatted (I had already installed the Ext2 IFS so that wasn't the problem afaict). In the end I copied the entire image onto my USB drive and took it home, where I used the easy solution:

sudo mkdir /mnt/temp_home
sudo mount -o loop -t ext3 home.virtual.disk /mnt/temp_home
cd /mnt/temp_home


Oh look, there's all my files. One happy Kemp :-) Now to fix the booting problem...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wubi Dangers

So yesterday I had a rather tense time trying to help Overlord fix his laptop. He covered the story in his blog but I figured I'd blog the solution we came up with here too for everyone's benefit.

He had installed Wubi (warning: read this first and remember it is an unofficial beta product) on his new laptop and it was all working fine. That is until the next morning when he switched his machine on to find it stuck in a loop running the POST, searching for an OS, failing to find it, and rebooting to start the process again.

The first thing to do was obviously a Google search, which resulted in several hits. The first hit gave us a vital clue: partition boot sector corruption was occurring. After some fiddling this eventually triggered a memory of a similar experience I had once with Wubi causing partition table corruption after a lockup and unsafe reboot. That time I had used a tool to manually recreate my partition table (luckily I didn't have a complex setup) and write a functioning boot sector to the relevant location. That wasn't an option this time as the tool wasn't immediately available, so I suggested my old backup option. This involved using the XP install disc to fix the corrupted boot sector via the Recovery Console. I only had an XP Pro install disc and the installation on the laptop was XP Home, but luckily that isn't an issue for this type of operation. The first thing we tried was chkdsk to find any obvious filesystem errors, but this did nothing. Running map showed why: the filesystem type could not be detected (a previous data gathering mission [not mentioned above] with an Ubuntu Live CD was able to extract the filesystem type strangely). Knowing that the most likely cause of the troubles was the partition boot sector being corrupted, the next program to run was fixboot, which confirmed the corruption, detected the filesystem as NTFS, and wrote out a new (supposedly working) copy of the boot sector. With fingers crossed we rebooted and waited... only for it to continue happening. Suppressing some combination of cursing and tears we booted once again into the Recovery Console for another try. Again the first thing to be run was chkdsk and this time it actually did something and mentioned fixing some errors, though it didn't say what they were. At this point I was silently praying it knew what it was doing because if it had picked up the wrong filesystem type it could be happily trashing the files on it. map was then run again and still no filesystem type being shown for that partition ("I have a bad feeling about this", praying again I wasn't right about chkdsk being bad). As a last ditch we ran fixboot again (again, seriously, fixing this was enough to induce OCD in someone) and then map and... WOOT! The filesystem was shown as NTFS. Crossing our fingers again for the reboot we waited for the POST stuff to happen and then... Windows. Lovely lovely Windows. I never thought I'd say that. Overlord understandably purged all trace of Wubi from his system and vowed never to use it again.

I think the magic combination was the fixboot-chkdsk-fixboot, though I can't be sure. I certainly don't want to have to do this again.

I should note that I am using Wubi on my machine here (not only that, but running Ubuntu Gutsy beta under it) and I have only had the problem resulting from the lockup-reboot, but I may very well have just been lucky. Basically, an OS with reverse-engineered drivers for a badly documented filesystem with no journalling/transactions available running under a beta installer/loader isn't the best thing to have on your machine. You have been warned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bouncers Fail

There is a popular drinking establishment near to me. I won't say which one, but it has an attached Weatherspoons and is a mere few minutes from my place, you should be able to guess. Actually, I say "popular" but to be honest it's not all that good and has been getting rather dead. It has come to my attention that towards the end of the night when it's a bit quieter (and presumably easier to get people individually) at least one of the bouncers has been hanging around outside the female toilets and not allowing girls in unless they do certain things. My sources include an actual near-victim. Now you can write this off as typical bouncer behaviour all you want, but this place isn't a night club (where people seem to accept this sort of behaviour for no good reason). As far as I'm concerned, this is sexual harassment at best and potential rape charges at worst. Needless to say I will not by spending any of my money there in future. And no, I won't be revealing my sources, nor are they probably anyone you could easily guess. I encourage anyone who receives this type of behaviour to speak out and make a fuss, don't let them get away with it quietly.

So as the number of places I am willing to spend money continues to shrink, Whitefriars wins and will always win. Give them all your money =P

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nerdosity

Blame Iris. I'm happy with the result either way. And it's nerdosity, not nerdousity.

NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Technology Geek.  What are you?  Click here!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Random IMs - Bad Quiz Joke

StanMarsh> Baby Names Beginning With "F": Meaning: Occupational Surname
JagerKemp> fourier
JagerKemp> he transforms things
JagerKemp> oh my god, that joke was bad, even for me


(Stan is our quizbot)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

RIAA For The Lose (Always)

RIAA gets some class

RIAA tried to shake down 10-year-old daughter, suit claims

I totally believe that happened, and someone needs to slap down the RIAA either way.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flash

"This morning's unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm"

I'm pretty sure there is precedent for solar eclipses occurring...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Banana-jacked

A new brand of computer crime is sweeping the nation, could you become a victim? We bring you this exclusive report so you can know the facts.

Picture a summer's day, you leave your computer downloading a selection of legally purchased music or movies to enjoy later and go outside for some fresh air. Unknown to you, a member of a fast growing underground group of hackers has set his sights on your property. This time it isn't your credit card numbers or logs of your browsing and chatting history, this criminal is after something bigger - your fruit. That's right, recently an exploit was discovered that allows anyone with the right skills and tools to remotely log into your computer and steal any nearby fruit right from the bowl it is sitting in. Since the initial discovery of this exploit, originally found to exist in all Windows versions but shortly after also discovered in the Linux kernel, fruit thefts have risen exponentially. Each day new tools are becoming available to make the process ever easier to perform.

We spoke to one victim, Mr Joe Samson (28) from Reading, and found it had caused him great inconvenience. "I went out for a cigarette," he told us, "and when I got back all my pears were gone. I had to go to the local shop to stock back up again." He went on to describe the counter-measures he has taken against this happening again: "Now I keep my fruit bowl on the other side of the room, and I only leave my PC on when I absolutely have to."

Linksys, a division of Cisco producing domestic routers, recently released a statement saying that they are looking into providing anti-fruit theft built into the products. Firewall providers are reported to also be looking into methods of combating the problem.

Dr Taki of the Virtual Fruit Theft Research Group at Cambridge University, recently formed to assist the industry in this area, told us that "these hackers in the majority case don't seem to be launching these attacks towards a goal of simple possession of the fruit, instead it seems to be a question of status. The higher profile the target and the larger the fruit taken the more they appear to be respected by their peers." He then went on to say that "there does appear to be a rising number of people outside of that community who are interested only in the theft aspect and who are using prebuilt tools to automate the process. These people are especially dangerous as they do not have any code or system of ethics of the form that those mentioned earlier do."

Our advice to our readers is not to leave any fruit near to a computer unattended and to switch off your computer when you are not using it. We will bring you more news as it breaks.



Disclaimer: Obviously this isn't real news. I'm not a news blog and the story is frankly ridiculous. Anyone who actually needs this disclaimer here shouldn't really be using the internet unsupervised (though I do have some programs I can sell you that will speed up your connection 600% as well as protect you from psychic mind control rays).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Expandable Data

I'm running out of space. Think about that for a moment, I have about 1.5TB of hard disk space on this machine... and I'm running out. I remember a time when I was pushing the space available on a 1GB drive. My next machine had 20GB and I got nowhere near filling that up. Next was a 40GB one and I was even further away from that, until I went to uni and discovered the sheer amount of things you could download (oi, get your mind out of the gutter, I don't think I could realistically collect 1.5TB of that). Since then, no matter how much space I have I'm always short.

I'll say this again. I'm running out of space on a machine with 1.5TB. A couple of years ago I couldn't even dream of having that much. Hell, we held a mini virtual celebration when our whole filesharing network broke 1TB. What the hell is going on?

Random Quotes - Firefly II

From The Message.
River: "This food is problematic."
Jayne: "Girl's a mind-reading genius, can't even figure out how to eat ice planet."

River's very cute when she can't figure something out. Oh and the look of defeat a couple of shots later makes you just want to hug her, poor thing still standing there with the ball of food on a stick.

And yes, I'm watching them all. Again. So sue me *.


* Please don't

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Random Quotes - Firefly

I occurred to me that I have no Firefly or Serenity quotes, save the ones in the sidebar/footer of my blogs. That must change, so here's two from Shindig (episode 4).

Zoey: "Planet's coming up a mite fast."
Wash: "That's just 'cause I'm going down too quick. Likely crash and kill us all."
Mal (walking out): "That happens, let me know."

Zoey: "If I were going to wear a dress I'd want something with some slink."
Wash: "You want a slinky dress? I can buy you a slinky dress. Captain, can I have money for a slinky dress?"
Jayne: "I'll chip in."
Zoey: "I can hurt you."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Random Chats - Recursive Posts

Kemp-> did you see I had a new IM post up on my blog ryv? I know how you love them :P
Ryvern> yes
Ryvern> i did
Ryvern> thanks Kemp-
Ryvern> :p
Kemp-> I would blog me telling you about it, but that'd create some kinda wierd recursive post

Oh well, I gave in, let's see if the universe implodes.

Forceware 162.18

From the Forceware 162.18 release notes (flagged as an application issue, not a driver one):
Elder Scrolls 4 Oblivion: Running at 2560x1600 with NVIDIA Enhanced Application mode 16xQ, extremely rare 1‐2 second pauses occur during some fighting. [262685]

This appears to be an application issue in how large textures are created during the in-game fighting.

If I ran it at those settings I'm pretty sure I'd have extremely frequent 1-2 minute pauses, screw an odd second lost here and there.


Edit:
Reminds me of a similar bug report in the release notes once. It was a very new game at insanely high resolution with max AA and AF applied running on a GeForce4 series card. I can't remember very well but I believe the report mentioned the game crashes to the desktop on launch. If it didn't you'd wish it had done...

Waffles

Overdue a bit, but just because Ben told me not to encourage her I'd like to say potato waffles always win.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

STS-118 Launch Post

As always, the launch IM log.
Overlord: ~5 mins
Kemp: oh yeah *hunts feed*
Overlord: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html
Overlord: ~1 minute to go XD
Kemp: woot, music ready?
Overlord: Of course
Overlord: /me is currently listening to: Star Trek - First Contact - Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf (Star Trek - First Contact).mp3 [04:25m/320Kbps/44KHz/foobar2000 0.9.4.3]#
Overlord: =D
Overlord: SRBs are gone
Kemp: GET THEM BACK, QUICK
Overlord: XD
Kemp: lol "providing the endeavour with a kick in the pants"
Overlord: Negative return passed
Kemp: I'm about 5-10 secs behind you [ed: my feed was delayed compared to Overlord's]
Overlord: FUCK, IT EXPLODED
Overlord: *shot*
Kemp: BRACE FOR IMPACT!
Kemp: (I still have time to :P )
Overlord: XD

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

If Only... - Maplin Guides

Quote from Maplin's description of their 2008 catalogue:
We have also added 15 new ‘how to’ guides on everything from networking to ID theft.

Vista Zip Support

Taken from here and based on Vista's support for creating a zip file with your choice of contents, I assume XP might be a bit worse (after all, they've had many years to fix it up).

I captured a Process Monitor trace of the compression of a single file and counted the associated operations. Just for this simple case, Explorer opened the target ZIP file 14 times, 12 of those before it had actually created the file and therefore with NOT FOUND results, and performed directory look ups of the target 19 times. It was also redundant with the source file, opening it 28 times and querying the file’s basic properties 17 times.

[...]

Zipfldr.dll, the Explorer file compression DLL, was in most of the stack traces, meaning that the compression engine itself was ultimately responsible for the waste. Further, the number of repetitious operations explodes when you compress multiple files.

Optimisation needed much?

CollegeHumour Clips

Just some random videos for you, all safe for work. All comments from the video pages, not me.

Minesweeper : The Movie
Now that it's a movie, you can use it to procrastinate for a full 90 minutes.

Biff Song
Biff, from the Back to the Future trilogy, performs a song he wrote about the same inane questions he gets asked on a daily basis.

Run Like Hell Man
And it burns, burns, burns... the swing of fire.

Tom Hanks 007
Interesting fact: Tom Hanks has been in 23 movies and a whopping 21 of them have been very good.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Who's That?

"It's Holly Valance, she was in neighbours remember? She's not actually naked, she does that in a different video."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Raising Hell

I have now watched the first five Hellraiser films and I have to say they're quite good. Pinhead is one of the best characters ever created; someone who isn't quite evil and is definitely not a villain (except once), and yet who racks up quite a bodycount and spends several centuries torturing people. I like that about him, he doesn't do what he does because he's evil or other such black-and-white concepts, he does it because a) it's fun and b) that's just what he does. Anyway, only three more to go, and then the spinoffs and possibly the remake they're apparently doing this year.

I have such sights to show you...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Random IMs - Emo Currency

Kemp: oh, speaking of converting, we're over the 2 dollars to the pound mark
Kemp: "1 GBP = 2.05243 USD"
Overlord: hahaha
Overlord: Last I saw it was at $2.03
Kemp: USD is made of fail and depression
Kemp: emo currency
Overlord: Crawling in it's economy
Overlord: These stock merchants, they will not deal
Overlord: /me runs

Random IMs - Rock

Overlord: Well, yes
Overlord: But I have today and tomorrow off
Kemp: ooo, nice
Kemp: you could buy my new guitar with your fancy new wages
Kemp: then when I'm famous and worth millions you can be like "yeah, I bought him that guitar"
Overlord: XD
Kemp: and girls will be like "that's nice of you, would you like to do something euphemistic?"
Kemp: and you'd be all "I might be able to fit you in tomorrow, I'm sure the other stockholders will be able to have their meeting without me. I'm the chairman don't you know"
Kemp: and I'd run past half naked screaming "ROOOOOOOOCK!"
Overlord: XD
Kemp: and then everything would burst into flames
Overlord: Have you been at the vodka again *shot*
Kemp: I wish, can you imagine this story with added vodka?
Overlord: LOL

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Self-Consistency Is Important

On the Maplin website they have a Linksys Wireless-G router (they don't say which one), but the FAQ makes for interesting reading...
Q) Can this module be used with an ethernet (RJ45) based ADSL modem for wireless internet access? - Steven
A) yes - that is what it is designed for

Q) Can I connect the Linksys 54G access point directly into my ADSL router (spare RJ45 port), to allow wireless internet access? - cbrbiker
A) No that type of connection requires a ROUTER code A17AY

Maybe the difference in questions is too fine for me to understand...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Argument By Wall Of Noise

Sweeney losing it. You may want to really turn down your speakers for this one.

He's a bit of a retard really isn't he.

Edit:
Just in case my position is unclear, if someone does that they automatically lose their argument, no matter how good or bad it is. If he can't handle the fact that they have different views, and possibly any harassment that might have occurred during the production, then he pretty much fails as a journalist. You can't investigate difficult subjects and expect your views to be the only ones heard.

Edit2:
I'm not in favour of scientology, just to be clear, I'm just against this "journalist".

A Song Of Particles

Sing a song of particles,
Infinitely small,
Tissue culture specimens,
From off your stomach wall

I'm sure you all know the tune. I'm not sure who, if anyone, wrote this but Angus Deaton on Have I Got News For You (S01E07) credits it to someone who's name I can't spell, possibly as a joke. I like it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Justified Brutality

News Coverage

Basic outline:
A guy kills an elderly woman, the police track him down and he gets taken in for questioning. During this he takes a cop's gun, shoots him point-blank in the face and jumps out a 3rd story window. The police catch him, beat him to within an inch of death and people complain about how the police overreact and wah wah wah.

Personally I think this guy got exactly what was coming to him. He not only killed someone who was most likely completely defenceless against him, but then he goes and shots another person in the face at zero range, no doubt killing them too. If you do that to a cop and the drop from the third floor doesn't kill you then you can be pretty sure you'll end up wishing it did. As far as I'm concerned the cops can do anything they want to him.

Oh noes, teh shocking video of injuries! Bet half of that was the fall anyway.

Note for those among us who like to pick faults/overreact/stand up for any cause that happens to float past:
I'm not saying police brutality is correct, justified or allowable in the general case, just in a select few cases where the guy doesn't deserve any less. Human life is sacred blah blah blah not caring.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why Do People Buy Apple?

If you can convince enough people that it is trendy to own an Apple iToaster, even if it only toasts one at a time, then you will dominate the toaster market. Sure, there will be companies still out there, toasting 2, 4, 16 slices at a time, more suited to the needs of almost everybody. There will be people who buy those products, and don't understand why the hell you would want a one-slice toaster, but it wont matter. Its cool, so the vast majority of people will just go along with it. Its sad, but it is true - most people (at least in the "developed" world) care more about appearance than functionality.

Source

Also of interest (same post):
For anybody that is interested, I recently was reading about a product that is suspiciously similar to the iPhone, called the Meizu M8. The specs are better, the cost is cheaper and all the reviews I have read have been excellent. I am considering getting one, specifically because the battery is removable, unlike in the iPhone.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rocks and Chaos

It's creepy, but here we are, the Pilgrims, the crackpots of our time, trying to establish our own alternate reality. To build a world out of rocks and chaos.
What it's going to be, I don't know.
Even after all that rushing around, where we've ended up is the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.
And maybe knowing isn't the point.
Where we're standing right now, in the ruins in the dark, what we build could be anything.


(source: Choke - Chuck Palahniuk)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fight Club Quote 2

"What you have to consider," he says, "is the possibility that God doesn't like you. Could be, God hates us. This is not the worst thing that can happen."

(source: novel)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Emigrate Preview Tracks

Quite a while ago it came out that one of the members of Rammstein, Richard Kruspe-Bernstein, had embarked on a side project and we had to suffer through all the wild (unsupported) claims of them breaking up and suchlike which has obviously not happened. In fact in an interview it was mentioned that having an alternate outlet for his creativity meant that he wasn't trying to pull them in different directions, which meant less friction within the band, which made them less likely to break up.

Anyway, we are on the verge of seeing the results of his project with the release of Emigrate's first album. I've heard three of the songs so far (My World, Babe, and Wake Up) and I'm actually rather impressed, it all sounds really good. 31st August is a release date to put in the diary.

YouTube:
My World
Babe
Wake Up

The last two have a video made of clips from Völkerball and Live Aus Berlin, so they show Rammstein not just Richard and they have nothing to do with the actual song. Some very nice clips though :-)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saxon Is Your Man

Well this post is almost a week late but meh, I've been busy =P Those of you who don't watch Doctor Who can probably ignore this post as irrelevant. Those of you who do watch it and haven't seen the episode from the 23rd yet can probably ignore it as a spoiler.

As I suspected long ago, the Saxon references through the last seasons of Doctor Who and Torchwood were meaningful and the source of this season finale, I don't know who could have mis... fine, I didn't see anything =P But still, they were there if you were looking out for them, or indeed if you go back and look for them.

Now there's a lot of speculation around the Doctor and the Master, but I'd like to take a minute to mention the Master's new companion. She's human as far as I can make out from the episode, and there's no solid evidence otherwise, but she does seem rather... odd. Obviously she gets off on power, you'd have to be that sort of person to hang around with the Master for any length of time, even without marrying him. It seems to go to the extreme in her though, she looked to be on the verge of orgasm when the rift opened up and 6 billion Toclafane came through to slaughter Humanity. Plus the dancing to the music was a nice touch, she seemed barely in control of herself. In fact, through the whole end of that scene, particularly just before the Paradox Machine activates she seems rather too excited for her own good. Oh, and before anyone runs with that "barely in control of herself" statement, I don't think she's being controlled, she doesn't show any of the usual signs of that nor does she show unusual signs of it, this seems to be exactly who she is.

Anywho, on to the Master. Some people seem to have a problem with the explanation of why he's how he is. Originally he was calculating, in control, and pretty much an evil genius; now he's just mentally unstable due to have looked into eternity. This makes him a victim and thus basically a more understandable and fluffy character, which I agree kinda sucks. It does however underline that the Timelord society, while "perfect" in the legends, was at its core cruel and aloof from reality. Personally I think that both views of the Master are right, he is unstable yes, but he couldn't have gotten this far without making big plans and thinking ahead. I think that the description of him as having gone mad is mostly the Doctor imposing his own view on events. On the other hand, his plans have apparently had a definite decline over the course of the show (that's all 29 seasons, not just this episode), which would imply him sinking slowly into some form of madness or desperation, which is understandable when all his plans are constantly thwarted, not to mention the constant drumming at the back of his mind (which I think the Toclafane planted there when he first looked into the Untempered Schism in order to slowly manipulate him here, unless certain other theories are true, in which case they wouldn't have existed properly or at all back then). Dying multiple times, having his race wiped out, running away, and ending up completely along for who knows how many hundreds or thousands of years can't have done him much good either. So now he finally has another chance and he has grabbed it with both hands and managed to get further than he has before. Also it seems that he has noticed that the Doctor's plans always seem to work out (if we ignore the people left behind) and has started to, possibly subconsciously, adopt some of his habits like the random expressions, jellybabies, etc.

As for the Toclafane... Legend come reality through the weirdness of the void? A last resort to save the remaining Timelord children near the end of the war? The Gelth? Or something else entirely? I guess we find out in two days :-)

In other news I'd definitely vote Saxon, evil genius or not. Despite not being Human he acts more like one than any politician we have. At least he's fun...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WTF Laws

Source.

All I can say is WTF? A 17 year old guy gets a (fully consensual) blowjob from a 15 year old girl at a Christmas party and gets 10 years in jail under a charge of "aggravated child molestation". I mean, come on, WTF? They changed the law but refuse to let him out on the basis that laws can't be enforced retroactively. There's a whole two years between them OMG HE MUST BE A PEDOPHIEL!!!1!

I despair at Georgia, I do.

Customisable Maths

TheDailyWTF*, where we learn that n! (that's n-factorial) is 12 for all values of n.

3! = 12 (base 4)
4! = 12 (base 22)
5! = 12 (base 118)

Apparently it's not only statistics that you can use to prove anything =P And for nit-pickers, yes I know stats and maths aren't exactly unrelated.


* That was, is, and always will be the better name for the site, like the Nintendo Revolution (awesome) vs. the Nintendo Wii (wtf?).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Global Thermonuclear War

There was a BOGOF* on geek jokes I think.
Prissy> I tell ya people now days really need some serious help
Kemp-> serious help = global thermonuclear war?
Kemp-> would you like a game?
Ryvern> oooh
Ryvern> i wanna play
Kemp-> you lose
Kemp-> as does everyone else
Kemp-> would you like to play again?
Prissy> lmao
Ryvern> sure
Ryvern> i wanna play
Kemp-> you lose
Kemp-> as does everyone else
Kemp-> would you like to play again?
Ryvern> AGAIN! AGAIN!
Kemp-> in about a thousand iterations he'll realise there's no winning solution and deactivate the missiles
Kemp-> you lose
Kemp-> as does everyone else
Kemp-> would you like to play again?
Ryvern> one more time
Ryvern> my luck is bound to change
Kemp-> you lose
Kemp-> a cockroach survives
Kemp-> would you like to play again?
Ryvern> yes
Ryvern> i got better luck last time
Ryvern> bound to keep getting better
Kemp-> you are eaten by a grue


* Buy One Get One Free

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Random IMs - Blackbeard

The other party was doing something else when I said this, thus no comeback:
Kemp: there was a discovery channel episode on blackbeard and they had some guy interviewing "him" and various video clips of life on his ship
Kemp: worst show ever
Kemp: the acting was frankly dire, the actor playing blackbeard was trying far too hard to seem slightly off in the head, and best of all...
Kemp: he moved exactly the same as sparrow
Kemp: the slight swaying, leaning off to one side, the hand gestures, everything
Kemp: great scene where he walked on deck during a brawl and randomly shot someone, the guy did a bored "oh" and fell over :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Browser Specific Sites

Now websites aren't something I tend to complain about, partly because it's the web and things change very quickly. However, one thing that does really get to me is the exclusion behaviour exhibited by some sites.

For instance, the WiSIG (Wireless Sensing Interest Group) site displays this message if you visit using Firefox:

Thanks for visiting www.wisig.org. This site as well as SensorsKTN.com are best viewed in Internet Explorer 5.5 or above.

If you have a copy of Internet Explorer, now's the time to fire it up and try again ...

Okay, so it's best viewed in IE (according to them), but so what? Are they saying I won't even be able to see the text if I use some other browser? Is the threat to my mental health from the mis-rendered site so bad that I'm not even allowed to try unless I resort to a browser that doesn't even deserve to exist on my system, let alone be "fired up" at the whim of random sites?

Seriously guys, specifically the webmasters among you, even if you "optimise" a site for a specific browser you can still make it work right in other browsers, or failing that at least make it gracefully degrade, or failing that at least let people see it. If nothing else the text will still be visible and they will be able to get the information they want. Forcing the use of a specific browser is very rude behaviour.

If anyone from the WiSIG reads this then sorry for picking on your site but it was one I was trying to visit earlier and I usually expect technology based sites to represent themselves well on the internet. Have a word with your webmaster and see what he/she/it can do for you.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Parallels

Written Thursday 11th August 1994 at 2am (not by me):
I have no life. I never see any of my non-work friends, and I'm wasting away my one and only youth. I ought to be out doing fun things and active things, the kind of things I won't be able to do when my mind and body finally decay. But instead I'm stuck inside under fluorescent lights, pushing bits around inside a computer in ways that are only interesting to other nerds. I glanced at a movie listing and there are movies out that I haven't even heard of. How did that happen?

Far far too true, except I do see non-work people occasionally I guess.

Maybe once my RDC submission and the project review meeting are out of the way, and no doubt several important visitors and miscellaneous demos for other things, and possibly all the reading I've been getting behind on, maybe then I'll be able to... I don't know... eat?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

MSN Fails

Is there any official explanation for why MSN Messenger deletes mp3s if you get sent them and try to open them by clicking the link it gives you (the alternative being to navigate to your downloaded files folder)? It says it's potentially harmful and just goes ahead and deletes it, no asking the user, it just does what it feels like. Now I could understand it for executable files, but why mp3s? Executable files, by the way, are not deleted, you just get the potentially harmful warning.

I wonder why I'm gradually not using any MS software?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hex Strings

Just thought I'd chuck some random numbers out there, a little hex string, no real reason. Enjoy.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Monday, April 30, 2007

Stasi 2.0

Source

Apparently EU Directive 2006/24/EG [PDF link] forces all EU states to spy on their citizens. We're talking logs of every email, landline, mobile, SMS and VOIP conversation you have, including the geographic location of you in the case of mobiles/SMS. Now I know we already have semi-secret systems like that, but I can't believe they're taking it to the level of having the monitoring of citizens enforced by law. 1984 and THX 1138 anyone?

The link to the actual document is in German, maybe Iris could check over it for me? :P

Can't we have good old Echelon back? Better the devil you know (and can flood with trigger words).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jack Thompson Is Made Of Fail

Three posts in one day? :o Anywho, Overlord made a post pointing here. I'd like to go on the record and say that Jack Thompson is one of the most reprehensible human beings in the western hemisphere. Not only did he take advantage of the shooting yesterday to try to advance his arguments, he did it immediately after, so soon that there were not even any official reports yet. He proceeded to mention several findings that there had not been time to find yet, let alone tell anyone about, which of course all supported his arguments.

Quotage.
My name is Tim Buckley. I'm a twenty-four-year-old gamer. I've played every violent game in existence, and I have never killed anyone.

There are millions of gamers just like me, and we're getting sick of people like you blaming your problems on us.

Ignorance causes violence, not video games. Man up and take responsibility.

We outnumber you, and the people that think like you. Don't fuck with us.

Random IMs - PCI Graphics

A friend in need is a friend who can make do with freakishly old hardware.
Dr G: do you happen to have an old graphics card lying around? cos i think i've either fried it or the mobo on my pc
Kemp: in a way, I have an old PCI one
Dr G: i use pci. just need to figure out which bit has esploded
Kemp: note I said PCI, not PCI-E
Dr G: i have that
Kemp: yeah, just warning you that it'll be about as good as a chipmunk drawing the images on a whiteboard

And yay for none-standard abbreviations and their alternate meanings.
Dr G: just need to figure out whats gone south and if it is the gf which i hope an upgrade will come sooner than planned

Perfect Code

Source.

The article linked above discusses the attitude towards coding among the team that writes the software controlling the space shuttle and how different it is to the generally accepted norm. Some choice quotes:
What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats : the last three versions of the program -- each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.

The group writes software this good because that's how good it has to be. Every time it fires up the shuttle, their software is controlling a $4 billion piece of equipment, the lives of a half-dozen astronauts, and the dreams of the nation. Even the smallest error in space can have enormous consequences: the orbiting space shuttle travels at 17,500 miles per hour; a bug that causes a timing problem of just two-thirds of a second puts the space shuttle three miles off course.

NASA knows how good the software has to be. Before every flight, Ted Keller, the senior technical manager of the on-board shuttle group, flies to Florida where he signs a document certifying that the software will not endanger the shuttle. If Keller can't go, a formal line of succession dictates who can sign in his place.

Bill Pate, who's worked on the space flight software over the last 22 years, says the group understands the stakes: "If the software isn't perfect, some of the people we go to meetings with might die."

Talk about pressure... And one last one:
Ten years ago the shuttle group was considered world-class. Since then, it has cut its own error rate by 90%.

They have a large enough budget to do what they need, they have formal practices in place to stop problems almost before they come into existence, and they don't get singled out and punished for mistakes (after all, if a mistake makes it through the process then other people also didn't spot it, and there must be a flaw in the process that can be fixed to prevent this happening in the future). Sounds like a perfect working environment to me :-) Now... where can I raise $35 million per year and find a crack team of coders to do my work for me?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Random IMs - RIAA Botnets

A conversation earlier with Overlord:
Kemp:
getting a torrent and it's on the last few percent, but every piece is failing the hash checks no matter where it gets them from :(
Overlord:
Gay, poisoned seeds suck
Kemp:
hmmm.... most of the failed pieces are from particular subnets, not specific IPs, just groups of IPs in specific subnets
Overlord:
O_o Related, surely
Maybe it's Ree-aaaaa =P
Kemp:
70 peers, almost all in two subnets, and none are getting any of it off me, despite reporting they don't have the full thing (and me having more than them)
Overlord:
Yeah, I'm voting Ree-aaaaaaaa
Kemp:
me too, or just someone very bored with a company's worth of rooted machines. That'd be a really annoying program actually, find as many torrents as possible (random searches on torrent sites would work), advertise that you have a certain percentage of it and just feed garbage to any client that asks. Could be all automated, set up an entire company's machines with it and watch people lose faith in torrents
Overlord:
I'm sure they've thought of it
Kemp:
they could package it with programs ala malware. distributed torrent destroying
Overlord:
=o Ree-aaaaaaaa botnets
Kemp:
:o it's a conspiracy. If you don't hear from me for a while I may have "disappeared"
Overlord:
But wait, if they're on to you, they'll be monitoring your comms
=O THEY'LL HAVE ME TOO

Also, randomly:
Overlord:
LOL, wouldn't that be hilarious
Someone rooting the RIAA's LAN and using it to download music to an FTP server somewhere in China

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Birthday

Well there goes my 22nd birthday, another year closer to becoming obsolete. End post.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Big Machines and Bad Poetry

A continuous casting machine in a local mill was severely damaged because of a setup error by the supervisor (or so claimed all the union workers). To save face he had to blame the control software, so I was hired on a short contract to rewrite some of the graphics routines used by the control system. The status display had nothing to do with machine control, it was even on a different computer. But he got to cover his ass and I got to be the Big Bucks Consultant for a few weeks.

It was a fun job, every time I ran a test several football fields full of huge equipment woke up and get busy. No molten steel was involved, but when you're in the control room by yourself with all that under your control you can't help but let out a little Mad Scientist cackle now and then.

Oh hell yes :-D (from here)


I'd like to moan for a minute about supposedly deep and meaningful poetry that actually makes no sense, written by people who have nothing to be deep and meaningful about. Take this for instance:
Hanging, a dark rose,
Broken on the field of justice,
A bell tolls.

That is a very formulaic (and short) example piece... and it took me about 30 seconds to come up with it in the shower this morning while I contemplated this post. Note that it makes absolutely no sense except what you want to deliberately read into it. Actually, maybe someone should do a poetry book parodying bad poetry, could be very funny :-) Actually, I'd be surprised if a million-and-one people haven't done it already, the stuff usually parodies itself pretty well ;-)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AOHell

I'm going to link this as I don't personally like embedding media in my blog. Another good reason not to use AOL.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Statistics

I think I now remember why I took mechanics modules in maths rather than statistics.

Given a random process X ~ N(µ, σ²), i.e. a continuous random process X that is normally distributed with mean µ and variance σ² (standard deviation σ), the probability density function for X is given by

[Ok, I'm with them at this point, it's all been rather simple up to here really]



[*brain explodes*]

I think I need to upgrade my brain in some way, or just learn to ignore how they arrived at things and just accept what they say.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do No Evil?

Irrlicht3d.org - How I got banned from Google Adsense for life time

Apparently this is happening more frequently these days. So if Google are starting to screw people over how can we trust anyone anymore? It's not so much that they did it, but more that they provided no justification nor gave a chance of appeal. Sounds a lot like PayPal really, and if Google go that way I may lose a serious amount of respect for them.

Do no evil... unless it's convenient and saves you some money.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sales Calls

The other day I got the sort of sales call I like (if I have to put up with any at all). It went something like:

Caller: Hi, I'm calling on behalf of BT. How do you access the internet at the moment?
Me: I have ADSL
Caller: Are you happy with your service, or would you be interested in switching?
Me: I'm fine with it at the moment thanks.
Caller: Ok, have a nice day.

Nice, short and to the point, let's see more of this please.


On a more annoying front, it's the turn of Windows again. Sometime overnight my machine in the lab grabbed some updates off Windows Update. I didn't know the automatic service was running, I'll sort that out soon. Once it had done this it decided that the computer needed a restart. Of course, in the view of the update client it can't wait or things might explode, so it happily just restarted the machine. Thanks, but what about the webpages and documents I had open, any work I was doing (luckily I do save obsessively) and just random things I had open to leave notes for myself or for amusement? Did they really need to be sacrificed on the altar of the updates that required a restart so desperately they couldn't even wait for me to come and confirm it?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Random IMs - Predictable?

Kemp: Kemp has drunk no alcohol this weekend
Overlord: Is Gina at home?
Overlord: /me runs
Kemp: yeah, damn you
Overlord: XD

Damn his ability to interpret a lot from little information. I maintain that she's not a bad influence =P

Thursday, February 08, 2007

PC Parts

On a related note (kinda), and further to this post, I've changed my spec a bit. The Striker Extreme is now a P5N32-E SLI Plus, which is about £100 cheaper and essentially the same board with a slightly different chipset. Did I say "essentially" the same board? Peel off the name sticker and see what's printed on it underneath... that's right "Striker Extreme". I can live with an upgraded 650i rather than a 680i, especially for that price. Also, the power supply is now the M (M12-600) model rather than the S. Not only is it modular for extra tidiness (tidyness?), it also has a better 12v rail or four.

Scan Fail

I've been holding back a rant about Scan for a while, mainly because I was hoping they could redeem themselves... but it appears they may have missed that chance. Let's break down the things wrong with how they operate shall we?

  • Estimated Delivery Dates: They let you pick a date for the items to be delivered (though this has to be at least a certain distance into the future, see below). This is good. They don't deliver on that date. This is bad. I had one parcel over a month late and not delivered with no emails from them (again, see below), whereas one they actually sent to me came nearly a week early. I deliberately chose a date a bit further in the future than the first possible one and that was for a reason. If the delivery dates are chosen by them at random, why allow the customer the illusion of choice?

  • Dead Time: After you place the order it just sits there in the system for 4-5 days before they look at it. You get the "Order Accepted" and "Payment Received" emails on the day of ordering and then the "Items Picked" and "Delivery Shipped" emails 4-5 days later with no activity at all in the middle. Why make the customer wait through artificial delays? Is charging for faster delivery so important? As a side-effect, this has an unfortunate habit of stopping you getting things. Say you place an order and everything's in stock. Everything is still in stock 4 days later. At the end of the 4th day an item goes out of stock just before they get to packing your stuff. Your things don't get sent and they don't bother telling you (see below).

  • Money Handling: Payment is taken from your account as soon as you place the order, unlike Amazon who take the money only when they ship the items. If you need a refund on the other hand, that can take substantially longer. I'm still waiting going into my 5th day after being assured "the refund will be processed as soon as possible". How hard can it possibly be?

  • Lack of Communication: If items go out of stock before they ship the order then they don't tell you about this. If you want to know if the shipment will make it to you around the date you chose then you have to go to the site and check every item yourself, there's not even links from the Previous Orders page, you have to manually search for the items. Even worse is they have a service where they send you a text when they ship something so you know to be ready for it. Pity this gets sent the next day, 5 hours after it arrives at your house.


Overall my level of service from them has sucked. So far I have receieved 1 out of the 3 orders I have placed. I have yet to receive the refund for one of the undelivered ones (which wasn't an inconsequential amount) and the other is floating in the void somewhere between "we've forgotten about it" and "we just don't care".


Edit:
I should note that since I made this post, Scan have extensively overhauled their ordering process. Check them out, their prices are still some of the best.

Resources Are Free, Really


Garbage Collection just kicked in, yo


Yay 4chan memes =P

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Fail From MS

Why am I not surprised by this? Install the beta Office 2007, do lots of productive work with it, forget the trial is about to run out and proceed to lose most of the functionality. Ok, no problems, just reinstall an older non-beta version and keep working... Problem. You've saved your work in the new shiny XML based format that the old versions don't understand. Ok, you can still use the beta to open the documents, maybe you can re-save out in an old format... Nope, it expired so you can't do anything with it, they only gave you the opening ability in order to taunt you. Wonder how much productivity is going to be wasted accidentally with this?

Yes, I know, use Open Office =P Point is MS don't provide an easy solution to a problem of their own making.

Also, if you do decide to use Vista then keep an eye on your northbridge temperatures. Just a tip.

Problem unrelated apparently, but I'll still moan about Vista anyway :-)

Spoiler

Harry realizes that Voldermort is actually his split personality. They are the same person, so the wand is actually in Harry's hand.

Hermione met Harry at a very strange time in his life.



Edit:
It occurs to me that people like Overlord may not get the reference, unlike people like Sarah who certainly should, so to avoid confusion I'll tell you now - it's not a real spoiler :-P

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Which Vista

It's a hard choice, but personally I'd go with XP SP2 or Ubuntu.

SpamNet

From here.

From the original story:
[...] at this point one in four computers is infected with botnet software [...] the image of 150 million infected computers is more than a little bit sobering. With the extremely lucrative activities that can be done with botnets (such as password ripping, spamming, DDoSing), as well as reports of organized crime adopting 'cyber-terrorism' as a new line of income[...]


Replies:
Just wait until they merge and become Skynet. Then we'll really be in trouble.

The Terminator: The Spamnet goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic marketing. Spamnet begins to grow at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
Sarah Connor: Spamnet fights back.
The Terminator: Yes. It launches its nigerian spam against the targets in Russia.
John Connor: Why attack Russia? Aren't they spammers too?
The Terminator: Because Spamnet knows the Russian counter-spam will eliminate all non-zombies over here.

Dr. Silberman: I'm sure it feels very real to you.
Sarah Connor: On August 29th, 1997, it's gonna feel pretty fscking real to you too. Anybody not handling 2 million messages a second is gonna have a real bad day. Get it?

Oh Slashdot, you make me lol.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blu-ray Down, Next Please...

Source

If you tout something as unbreakable it will be broken every single time. Not necessarily because it's even worth breaking, but simply because you have dangled something in front of the community and said "if you break this then people will remember you".

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

HDR Revisited

The end of this parallels some of my earlier comments about Oblivion strangly well.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Revenge Is Sweet

My new hero

A company that thinks it's above the law taken down a few notches by a customer doing to them exactly what they would have done to him. Take notes people.

Friday, January 19, 2007

You Know Software Is Good When...

I won't say what this is referring to, but it's a web-based thingy (technical term) and I'm sure a portion of the people who know me can guess it as they've had to use it in the past.

Basically someone was showing me that a link wasn't working and demonstrated by clicking on another:
See, it crashed so that one's obviously working.

Sad thing is that that's pretty much expected behaviour from it these days...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Random Quote 1

'Information is ammunition! Information is ammunition!' Well, I'm sorry, Major, but I say the hell with information -- ammunition is ammunition!

Spot the source for bonus points

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Supermassive Black Holes

No, not the album by a certain British band, the real things. I've noticed a lot of physics related stories in the BBC News headlines recently, so here's three that caught my eye. Two related to the title, one not.

Astronomers see first quasar trio

As a note to the above, nature has a way of destroying our primitive maths :-P We can't solve equations for the interactions between three bodies orbiting each other, and now they expect to find groups of four.

Tiny galaxy hosts huge black hole

Experts home in on 'God particle'

The True Cost Of Vista

Required reading. I know it's long and there's more paranoia and spin than there has to be, but the basic points made are very relevant.

These days there are far too many words without actions. Sony rip their customers off and shred companies like Lik-Sang and people bitch and moan about it, but then they go out the next day and buy Sony products. Linksys ship buggy and incompatible wireless router products and they get bad reviews, but you can guarantee they still ship in the hundreds of thousands. When did we become a race of people who are so desperate to spend our money that we are willing to have any piece of sh*t shoved down our throats? Somewhere it has to end, and I for one am willing to at least make the effort.

Right now I'm making this vow: I will not buy any HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs, I will not use Vista, and I will prioritise my PC hardware purchases such that if it employs the frankly retarded measures noted then it will be at the very bottom of my list.

So there you have it. MS can be assured I will not be paying anything for their new flagship product. The film companies can be assured I will not be buying the content that is so precious as to require a complete removal of common (and business) sense. The hardware companies can be assured that if they allow MS to dictate to them what they are and aren't allowed to make then I will most certainly not be giving them my cash (after all, that's what the whole world revolves around isn't it?).


Edit:
Just in case MS didn't see this one coming, a suitable quote:
The HDCP scheme will serve to make the illegal product the most full featured and least restrictive, and thus the most attractive to the consumer. Add in the expense of buying new equipment to view the legal content (when existing equipment is perfectly capable) and the performance drain imposed by in-line encryption/decryption and they've put out the biggest incentive to piracy yet.

On an (almost) lighter note, I can so see this happening:
An interesting potential security threat, suggested by Karl Siegemund, occurs when Vista is being used to run a security monitoring system such as a video surveillance system. If it's possible to convince Vista that what it's communicating is premium content, the video (and/or audio) surveillance content will become unavailable, since it's unlikely that a surveillance center will be using DRM-enabled recording devices or monitors. I can just see this as a plot element in Ocean's Fifteen or Mission Impossible Six, "It's OK, their surveillance system is running Vista, we can shut it down with spoofed premium content."

How about this scenario? A tech support employee at a cable tv company gets fired for browsing porn on company time. Before leaving he leaves a program running on one of the servers that streams out a key revocation list to every device listening to the broadcasts. This list is composed of random keys being generated and sent as fast as the network allows. Before it gets discovered and removed a huge portion of people lose the ability to view premium content on their devices (or even have the devices completely disabled).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Fight Club Quote 1

I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every Panda that wouldn't screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all those French beaches I'd never see. I wanted to breathe smoke. I felt like destroying something beautiful.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Extraction Point

I picked up FEAR and its expansion Extraction Point the other day and I've found the odd 15 mins between other things to play EP a bit (I already finished the original last year). I'm used to sequels that either suck or just aren't as good as the originals, but EP really breaks this expectation. In the little bit I've played it has already set itself up as being at least as good as the original and if I'm lucky it may actually turn out better. By the end of the first level the hints, misdirection, and general messing with your head has already started and there were points where I literally had to stop playing and do something else for a while. Not because of anything that actually happened in the game, but because the atmosphere is pulled off near perfectly and you really do feel like you're being hunted and have no control over what's going on. It got to the point where I had to force myself to open doors. Oh, and best line ever (though I may have it slightly wrong, I can't be bothered to play it up to this point over again just to get the exact wording =P ).

It doesn't make sense, I know. Nothing does anymore. You killed me. I didn't like that.

Not going to tell you who the line's from though as anyone who hasn't played the original won't get it, anyone who's played the original but not the expansion will have it ruined for them, and anyone who's played both already knows. Overall, people win if I stay quiet.

So far I'd say it's well worth getting if you've finished the original. If you haven't then probably not as it is a literal expansion, it continues exactly from the end of the first :-)

Also, look out for a post in my other blog for the first time in a while, I'll be typing it up now.


Edit:
I just happened to find this quote laying around on my machine, random coincedence or a sign to keep playing? You decide. Where the quote's from is lost in the mists of time, anyone who can fill me in is welcome to.

I don't know if I believe. But I know I'm scared. That makes it real enough.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Please Stop



Dear Microsoft,
Please stop undermining what tiny amount of confidence I have left in you. I didn't authorise this program to do sh*t, especially not automatically for something I didn't even know was running.

Yours,
Kemp