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Mon, Jan. 29th, 2007, 05:55 pm
Here's a headline I didn't expect to see...

... and I know a few people who may be interested in it, so here it is: Bill Gates slams DRM systems

Sat, Jan. 20th, 2007, 10:07 pm
North West Under 35's Munch

I trundled along to the North West Under 35's Munch today.

It's a fairly new Munch, based in Manchester, intended as a less intimidating first step into the scene for the younger participants (or potential participants) of the lifestyle. The venue itself was excellent, with an downstairs area we were able to occupy that was open enough that it wasn't an extra barrier that might deter a nervous newbie, but seperate enough that we were out of the view of the majority of the place. The food was rather good too!

Everyone was very friendly, although the turnout wasn't huge, but I'm sure this will grow in time. It was a very fun atmostphere, and it was good to meet some new people.

All in all, a most enjoyable afternoon.

Mon, Jan. 1st, 2007, 01:56 am

Well, it's goodbye to 2006, and good riddence.

2006 has seen many low points for me across all the different aspects of my life. Academically, I failed to achieve on my first attempt, so I had to take resits, and eventually managed to scrape through with an 'Ordinary Degree'

Regular readers of this blog may recall an entry detailing the criminal damage to my car, which cost me a fair bit to sort out. I know it's silly to worry so much about a car, but it's one of the few good things I had to show for myself and my efforts. That is, until it met it's fiery end in early October. Sorting that out has taken a long time and has seriously stretched my finances, but hopefully that'll be the last of it.

There have been a few positive points to the year, a couple of relationships which made me feel on top of the world at the time, despite the other parts of my life that felt like they were crumbling away. Although, it just makes me come crashing back down to earth that much harder when things don't work out for the best.

Professionally, for the first time ever I am having problems. The frustrating part is that it's not technical issues causing me problems, but political issues. I feel like I'm unsupported from above, with contsantly changing goalposts, yet too junior to achieve what I need to without that support.

There have been times especially around the end of November and the start of December when I felt there wasn't a single part of my life I was happy with, which is hardly a fun realisation.

So as I bid good riddence to 2006, everything seems to be queued up for 2007 to be a good year. Firstly, I have my new car (and it's even better than the last one I had). I have a plan in place for how I need to get things moving in the right direction at work, and I know that at least one of my problems at work will stop this year.

Sat, Nov. 25th, 2006, 11:31 am
Yorkshire Airlines


Yorkshire Airlines
"Yorkshire Airlines" on Google Video
If you've lived in Yorkshire, you'll understand

Sun, Oct. 29th, 2006, 11:10 am
Tabloid Sensationalism and the people who buy it

My attention was drawn today to this 'news' story over on the Daily Mail's website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=412195&in_page_id=17

According to the story, Tescos are selling a pole dancing kit in the toys and games section of their website, and people seem to think that that means the product is aimed at children. A quick look at the Tescos site shows that the Toys and Games section can be filtered by age, including an 'Adult' age group, which seems to me to be an appropriate place to list this item. True, if you don't select any of the subcategories, it does show everything (as you'd expect it to), and the first item listed is a 'Party Poker 500 chip set' - clearly not for children, and thus showing that the toys and games section is not exclusively children's toys and games. The story doesn't say where (or even if) this product appears on the shelves inside an actual Tescos store.

The justification for forcing Tescos to remove it from their website (again no mention of the actual shelves inside their stores) is that it's "destroying children's innocence". This product is clearly not aimed at children, and it's not the only product in that section that isn't aimed at children, so why is this one being singled out? Is it because it's *shock* *horror* vaguely sexual in nature? We're British, we don't want any of that thank you very much, now where's my cup of tea?

So, why the outrage? Is it because people are worried children may accidentally see and/or buy it online? Newsflash: The Internet is NOT a child friendly place! Your child's Internet access NEEDS TO BE MONITORED. If your child is able to make an online purchase without you knowing what they have purchased, there is a problem.

If you've had a look at the story, take the time to read through all the comments, they're equally priceless. A number of people have simply fallen for the story and believed that Tescos are aiming the product at children rather than actually using their brains and are outraged; far too few have thought about it themselves and realised that people are overreacting; and some act as if Tescos has let them down because they are trying to make money.

I have another newsflash for those who fall into the third category: Tescos are a Business. That's what businesses do, they make money. If you believe the hype that they lower their prices because it will make things better for you then you are seriously gullible, businesses lower prices to undercut competition so that you will shop with them instead of someone else and make themselves more money. If you believe that Supermarkets have any other motivations for what they do, you are dangerously naïve.

Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006, 12:06 pm
AARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

After *much* searching of the workshop here, my travel power adapter turned up in the bottom of my bag :-(

Right now, I'm hogging the only Internet line in the workshop because I'm waiting for the project manager to track down whoever set up the router that gives us Internets here and email me the password, so I can re-configure it to provide Internets for the whole network here.

The other problem we have at the workshop is that local Pizza delivery places can't find it :-(

And happy birthday to rangerchris.

Wed, Aug. 2nd, 2006, 06:47 pm
Slovakia

I've been here since late Sunday night, and I'm generally having a good time.

The city centre here is Nitra is a lovely, friendly place. I feel perfectly comfortable walking around on my own in the evenings, although all the shops do seem to shut promptly at 6, which is a shame, because I'm barely back from work by then.

The hotel I'm staying is fantastic, probably the best I've ever stayed in. It works out about the same per night as a Travelodge in the UK.

It was good to meet my counterpart in the Slovakia Office, after so much time conversing by email, and the new server went in with only a few hitches on Monday. Although those glitches cost the time that I would have liked to have spent doing something different.

Tuesday, I started work on the Project that they need me for out here. Because this project needs so much space, it isn't based in the nice, air conditioned office a few minutes from the hotel, it is based in a warehouse some way out of town. It's not the nicest working environment I've ever been in, but it's manageable. It's only when you get to places like the old industrial estate where we're working, that you realise what a poor country this is, quite different from the nice, clean city centre.

Work progressed slowly on Tuesday, mostly because I havn't been given all the information I should have been. There are a couple of systems I need to configure still, but can't get into because I don't know the passwords. Those I can access is because we have a few common passowrds that are used for everything, so I was able to guess it.

Today, at mid/late morning, we finally saw the project manager. It's no wonder this project is so far behind schedule the way he runs it, he doesn't have a clue what's going on. I spent most of today configuring PC's with IP Addresses based on the hosts file I found on one of the servers. It differs significantly from the IP Scheme they had already been configured with, but the scheme I have will work across the whole system, not just each site individually. Tomorrow I hope to get that finished, and test the email system.

I'm also supposed to be setting up a few workstations with fax capabilities, but I've not seen any with any type of modem in them, and I'm pretty sure the warehouse doesn't have multiple fax lines for me to test with. I'll have to ask the project manager if he blesses us with another brief visit tomorrow.

That's about all I have time for, since I left my travel power adapter in the warehouse, and I need to make sure there's enough juice in my laptop to check my email in the morning.

Thu, Jul. 13th, 2006, 07:50 pm
Calculator

I'm not usually a big fan of bandwagons, but this is funny


http://www.joke-pages.com/jokes/images/org-calc.swf

(Needs sound, NWS)

Mon, May. 1st, 2006, 01:23 am
Johari Window

God Bless the Internet, it allows for things like this to find out what everyone things about you:

http://kevan.org/johari?name=Gary+Burch

Thu, Apr. 13th, 2006, 07:58 pm
Projects and packages

Well, I bit the bullet and shelled out for a Media Center compatible Freeview tuner card and graphics card, which were due to be delivered today. Actually, the little yellow card that came through my door suggests that an attempt to deliver the item was made. However, given that the time stated on the card is 15:10, and I discovered it at about 15:30, I suspect that this 'attempt' to deliver my parcel didn't involve much effort. If I were in an especially bad mood, I could mention that I already received a delivery earlier in the day from Royal Mail. I had no trouble hearing the knock on the door that time, even though my housemate had fairly loud music blaring out, and there was no music playing at the time of the alleged 'attempted' delivery.

So, being a reasonable sort of feller, I decided to give the number on the card a ring, nice and early to see if the next attempt to deliver it will be tomorrow or Tuesday (both of which I'm at work). There is only one number on the card, with an automated answering system ("Please clearly state your name, postcode and consignment number...", I can see that system working well!), with no option to speak to an actual person. On the plus side, I'll be away for the weekend, so I won't be sitting around here, eager to get on with my Media PC project, but unable to do so because the delivery driver couldn't be arsed to DO HIS JOB!

In other news, the Jabber chat server project is going well. It all seems to be working now, apart from one component which I can't figure out. There don't seem to be any error messages (at least none that I can find!). Gentoo is now my favourite distribution for when I need to use Linux for something, I love the simplicity of Portage, and the robustness that it adds to a server, given that every package on there has been tested by the Gentoo team. There was a minor issue when installing MySQL, but simply calling emerge again seemed to work properly the second time. It's an almighty pain in the ass to install and set up (like when it decided to call my NIC eth1 instead of eth0 which all the config files were set up to use and I had no network), but once you do, it's smooth sailing.

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