Wednesday, February 28, 2007


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


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? - 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".

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 :-)


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.

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