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Month: July 2004

Another week…

Another week…

Post illustrationAnother week, another set of problems, another list of things that haven’t been done, and it seems to be growing as the days go by…

The weekend was fantastic – much good company, including meeting up with Keith and Jenny (although sadly no Alex and Ian) on Friday night (followed by hangovers for some), a quiet night on Saturday, and a trip up to Lewisham on Sunday (where it seemed little people outlasted just about everyone – where does he store his energy?). It sounds simple, but sometimes they’re the best. The very best of company. Thankyou all.

It’s always hard to pull yourself out of bed on a Monday morning, but especially so when your weekend has been so good, and really, deep down all you want to do is spend more time with your nearest and dearest. But hey, enough of that morose stuff – work’s not been all that bad. Last week there was actually some design work going on (sticky notes on a white board, best), and this week I have been coding for at least half an hour. My quarterly review went quite well, and one of the suited guys demo’d the project I’m working on to our biggest client today, to rave reviews. Ok, “rave” might be a tad optimistic. It didn’t fall over, and all the sparkly bits were suitably sparkly – you can’t say fairer than that. Now if only we could get the database to run its queries more efficiently we’d be just about home and dry.

Last night I went to see Ed’s olde-worlde printing press. It’s from the 50s, and is all mechanical. For some reason, it really brought out the g33k in me, even though it’s not what I usually consider to be my kind of thing at all… no flashing lights for a start. But it’s the way that everything is there for a reason – every lever, cog, belt and arm; every roller, valve and knob. Nowadays something like that would be refined and refined and refined until all you’d have would be a place to put your paper and two buttons that say ‘Go’ and ‘Stop’. But this thing needs attending to, with loving eyes and ears to pick up on the machine’s tiny requests for adjustment – a tweak here, a dab of oil there… It’s wonderful. Photos are in the gallery, and I particularly like this one.

I suppose everyone has heard about the government’s new advice website (in response to no particular threat… honest). And I also suppose that most people have read about the slightly amusing parody site. The author of the parody site has quite an amusing site all of his own, but I think the highlight has to be Humphrey and Duncan – a series of stop motion animations featuring a pair of soft toys – an owl called Humphrey, and a duck called Duncan. Oh and some mischievous hedgehogs. Well it amused me…

There’s also the news that a violent person played a violent video game before commiting a violent murder… but Garry’s already ranted about that, so I shan’t repeat it here. Suffice to say, I’ve just been playing Monkey Ball on the GameCube all evening, and I don’t suddenly feel the urge to strap myself into a giant hamster ball and throw myself down a ski-slope. It does sound like fun though, despite my loathing of bananas… :o)

More phishing…

More phishing…

Yep, some lowlife is still sending out phish bait using a fretnoise.com return address. Once more for the people not paying attention at the back…

  1. I am not sending these nasty emails
  2. You can put any return address you like on an email
  3. Your bank is never going to ask you to enter your ATM PIN over the Internet

Thankyou – regular programming will resume shortly…

Error message nuances…

Error message nuances…

It’s funny how little nuances of error messages pass you by until it’s far, far too late, isn’t it? Take that lovely error in the previous entry (or rather, the ‘what you can do about’ section):


You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM.

…and now again with some emphasis added…


You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM.

Yes, this is another of those ‘Windows Recovery Console’ moments, and though I have been particularly lucky in the past (here, for instance), it didn’t quite work out so well this time…

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, to be honest. Some kind of guiding hand, at the very least. At best, I was hoping for this wonder of modern technology to realise it was in a bad way, spot how to fix itself, and have me back in my familiar windowing desktop environment tout de suite, no questions asked. No names, no pack drill…

…no such luck.

I remember now that the ‘Windows Recovery Console’ is just a fancy name for a fake DOS prompt, and it soon becomes painfully clear why that error message said I would be the one trying to do the fixing… After a little bit of floundering about, I find a file called ‘system.SAV’, and make the kind of assumption that has launched a thousand re-installs: “Ooh, maybe that’s a backup of my knackered ‘system’ file, I’ll just rename ’em, and everything’ll be fine.”

Well, 3 hours and one XP re-install later, I can say with some degree of certainty that no, actually, that’s not entirely the correct thing to do…

Ho hum.

Oh well… re-installs are good for the g33ky soul, or so I’m told…

Score one for the Penguin

Score one for the Penguin

Barely three and a half hours ago, I left my PC to go and partake of a few beers at the local pub. On return, I am presented with a resolutely blank screen. On reboot, I am presented with this nice message:

Windows could not start because the following file is
missing or corrupt:
    \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup
using the original Setup CD-ROM.
Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair.

Or, of course, I could just boot into SuSE and everything will be fine…

How come when I mention Windows on this blog it’s because something stupid has happened, and when I mention Linux it’s because something nice has happened?

Answers on a postcard, please, Bill…

Bayscum…

Bayscum…

Ok, is anyone unfamilar with ChavScum? Well, if you are, go and browse and laugh a bit, as this entry assumes some prior knowledge of the Burberry-toting, Nova-driving, capped sub-race.

I have just got back from the pub. It’s a nice pub; people nod when you walk in, your beverage of choice is, 9 times out of 10, on its way by the time you get to the bar, the jukebox has some decent stuff on it, and the pool table is just about level. It’s a nice place. (Until they let the Friday night ‘entertainment’ in, but that’s a different entry.)

Tonight, however, we were joined by one of the town’s chavs. Back when I was a barman, this particular chav fell out with me because after suffering a night of abuse, I wouldn’t give him a free JD and coke. I was, apparently, all names under the sun, and he was, apparently, going to ‘have’ me. Of course, the ‘door supervisors’ showed him the door and I heard no more from him. Until later that summer when I had cause to phone the police about him as he tried to open my next-door-but-one neighbour’s front door with a wheelie-bin. This time my next-door-but-one neighbour was all names under the sun and was about to be ‘had’. Salt of the earth kind of guy – a real diamond geezer…

Anyway, tonight he comes in for a drink, and starts proclaiming to anyone who’ll listen about how he’s going to ‘rule this taaahhhn’ and other suchlike chav claims. People laughed at him, mainly. A casual pool player called him a ‘good boy’, and looked for a minute as if he was rummaging around in his pockets for a Bonio. The icing on the cake, and what truly gives this chav a place in everyone’s heart, was the wonderful hairstyle he was sporting. Imagine an Adidas logo shaved into the back of someone’s head. That’d be bad, wouldn’t it? Ok, now imagine an Adidas logo shaved into the back of someone’s head by someone who had never actually seen the Adidas logo before. Maybe had it described to him once. Over a bad telephone line. In a foreign language. In the dark. With an owl… Well it made me chuckle anyway. And, for the first time ever, it made me wish my phone took pictures…

Three questions…

Three questions…

  1. How come Google Gmail trusts Microsoft, but it doesn’t trust Apple? If I receive an email from Microsoft, its images are automatically loaded. I have to click a link to make Apple’s images show up…
  2. How come iTunes Music Store has free stuff if you’re American? If I go to the American store, they have free ‘Single of the Week’ downloads. I can’t get it, though, because my account is ‘only valid for purchases in the UK Music Store’. Pah. World Wide Web, anyone? And don’t even start me on why it costs 26p extra per song for us Brits…
  3. How can you just move a capital city? Should someone tell the Korean city planners that The Simpsons isn’t a training video?
Does anyone fall for this?

Does anyone fall for this?

A while ago I wrote about phishing attempts being made with a fretnoise.com return address. Well, they’ve started again. After checking one of the returned mails, though, I got to thinking about whether anybody ever does fall for these things. I mean, they’re not exactly sophisticated. Here’s the text of the most recent one:

To verificaation_of _your_ (email) address click on the-link :

http://go.msn.com/HML/6/7.asp?target={actual link removed}

and_enter on_the sma|| winndow your Citi__group _A t m
full_Card number and _pin_ that you use_ in_the local-Atm-Machine.

So – would you fall for that?