Seldo.Weblog: March 2005

First impressions

A lady, glimpsed through an icy bus window misted with condensation and streaked with rain. On a freezing morning in earliest spring, she stands at a bus stop surrounded by strangers. I wipe my gloved hand across the window to clear the mist and observe. Surrounded by surly teenagers in black hoods and old men with skin as grey as their coats, she stands alone in pale beige with a delicate pink scarf wrapped securely her neck, her golden skin and hair glowing healthily against the background of a grey world, a concrete city. She is like an angel fallen to our mundane earth, bewildered by our world. But is this glowing innocence genuine, or the calculated edifice of careful cosmetics and good wardrobe? I decide to search for evidence.

She continues to stand, occasionally glancing left or right, and once directly up at me, on the top floor of the bus. Does she notice my attention? I glance away for a few seconds, but then return. A new bus arrives, and it stops behind mine - she will have to run to catch it. Her expression flashes suddenly to annoyance, her body language impatient as she pushes past others to get to the bus. So, it was artifice then.

This whole episode, from initial observation and the manufacture of an elaborate illusion to it subsequent shattering, has taken perhaps 20 seconds. Just another brief moment from the life of the city.

Work is still a madhouse, so have the above excessively detailed, pretentious drivel I composed on the way to work today. You liked the crying goth so much, after all.

Moz

04 March 2005
Way to go. Though you said the ambulance only took 4 mins and couldn't see why people where reconing it was taking so long, have you ever considered that maybe you'd been passed out for 5 or 10 mins without realising?

Life: a how-not-to-do-it guide

So, it's been a long and complicated week so far. Let me fill you in.

I've been working on a big project at work. It's not the biggest one we're working on, but it's worth a lot of money, and I was put into a position of some responsibility over it. It was stressing me out, especially since it was nearly 2 weeks late. We tried to launch it Monday and decided against. In an attempt to get it out the door by Tuesday, my godlike sysadmin and I stayed at work until nearly 10pm. On Tuesday, we actually attempted to launch it and had to back out again after it went disastrously wrong. Again, I stayed until 9.30pm with my sysadmin and our QA guy in an attempt to get it out the door.

Two successive 13-hour days of high stress had already knackered me, so by Wednesday morning I had the flu that's been going around and felt like shit. But I couldn't delay the launch another day, so I went to work. We launched successfully, a process that takes 5 or 6 hours to complete when you include all the immediate post-launch testing. When you include the post-launch meeting, it takes the whole day, by which point I was feeling like shit on a stick. Hence no blog yesterday.

Having worked myself into illness, stupid in itself, I took the day off today. But everything up to this point has just been the prelude to my real stupidity.

Having recently moved to Finsbury Park, I also had to switch gyms -- to another branch of the same gym, actually. Since I'd never really had a proper introductory session at the last gym (I joined and then failed to go for a month, then went on vacation, then moved house) I decided to splash out on a little personal training: they do a reduced-rate "triple pack" deal for £20. But when I turned up to do that two weeks ago it emerged that it wasn't the real deal: you didn't get a "program" (a set of exercises tailored to your goals -- which is what I wanted) and the trainer was simply following a script which would blow the majority of your three half-hour sessions on tiresome cardio work. So I cancelled that -- which was tricky -- and got the real deal instead. But then I had to cancel one session, and then forgot another session while I was working late on Tuesday. So by now I was feeling guilty that I was messing my trainer about.

So this evening, having spent the day off work sick, I decided that despite this I couldn't cancel again, and it would be fine if I went to the gym and just took it easy. This was mistake number 1. I also decided that in order to prevent myself sneezing and coughing all over everyone -- wait for it, yes, it really is as dumb as you think -- I would take a cold tablet immediately before leaving the house to go to the gym. (You remember all that stuff on the side of cold medicine packaging that says not to operate heavy machinery while taking it?) Total headslap, at least in retrospect. But clearly, I was ill and not thinking straight.

The thing about taking it easy at the gym is that you take it easy. But personal training is the opposite of taking it easy. Her job is to make sure you exercise fully and really push yourself. I felt fine initially, so I pushed on regardless. I found I was yawning a lot, and -- despite it being me who had swallowed that cold pill 30 minutes earlier -- could not think why that might be. Then, towards the end of the session, I began to feel a little light headed. No problem, I thought, I'm just tired, I'll be done soon. Then I felt really light headed, so I sat down. My trainer grew concerned and fetched something sugary for me to bring my blood sugar back up. Unfortunately, I was now in full swing: I began sweating profusely and felt chilled, sounds receded into the background and were replaced by the sound of blood pounding in my ears, and my vision receded into a dark tunnel. None of these are good things, and my trainer was thoroughly worried now. My trainer called an ambulance. I insisted that she didn't, but since I had by this point slumped from the seated position to lie on the floor, my protests were not very convincing.

Now, I can't really blame her for this. I know from past experience (and third-party reports) that my collapses look really dreadful from outside: I go sheet white, pour sweat, and lie motionless on the floor -- a lot like someone who is, y'know, about to die. 'What?', I hear you ask, 'this has happened before?' Yep, it's happened several times, always when I over-do it at the gym, usually after I've not been for a long time, but sometimes if I've not eaten or -- in this case -- been ill. The cold pill probably didn't help either. And the really, head-slappingly dumb part of this is that I knew it would happen. Sometimes when I work my legs really hard -- as I did today -- I get a strange coolness down both arms. Every time this has happened I've had one of these episodes. I'm not sure why it's related to working my legs -- maybe they just use a lot of blood. But recognizing this has meant that the last few episodes have been very mild, since I stop or go easy. But today -- for reasons already mentioned -- I didn't do that, and carried on.

So back to me on the floor. Five minutes have passed. I now have my trainer, a random gym-member who happens to know first aid, and the gym manager standing over me with expressions of terror, concern, and imminent lawsuit respectively. I am feeling much better, perfectly fine in fact, and the threat of dying from low blood pressure/sugar/whatever has been replaced with the very real danger of dying from embarrassment. Random-first-aider, a lovely girl with an Irish accent and an unpronounceable name, is complaining about how long the ambulance is taking. I can't believe they've called the ambulance, and I really can't believe they think three minutes is a long time for an ambulance to show up: what is it, parked around the corner? In Trinidad, if the ambulance shows up at all you consider yourself privileged.

Now mortified, I sit up, still a bit shaky, and have some more of the sugar drink, and soon feel well enough to walk to the office to recover a bit, lest the sight of a comatose man on the floor of the gym put further members off their exercise regime: remember, everything so far has been happening on the floor in the middle of the exercise room. As we're doing this, the paramedic arrives - four minutes after they called him! I have never been so impressed with the NHS in my life. Yet more embarrassing explanation ensues, and the NHS man insists on doing something so he takes my pulse rate with a little digital thing that clips onto my finger and checks my blood sugar level with a pin-prick and another tiny little digital device: again, all this impresses the fuck out of me -- my knowledge of medicine is stuck in the third world still. Everything is normal. Paramedic-boy -- he's younger than me -- came in a car. He tries to cancel the ambulance, but while he's on the phone to do so they turn up, leading to yet another repetition of the story and another round of heartfelt apologies from me. Honestly, somebody could have been actually dying tonight, and here's three hard-working NHS paramedics called out to look after an idiot who went to the gym while he had the flu and was on medication. I felt so guilty!

So now I'm home, after yet more expressions of concern from random gym-members in the changing rooms and again at the front desk. I feel fine, but mainly I feel like a prize idiot. I have definitely learned my lesson about over-doing it and paying attention to when my body says it's not up to it. So I am definitely not going to work tomorrow: yet another project will be delayed, I know. But I won't be risking my health, which is significantly more important.

Giles

04 March 2005
Bloody hell! Look after yourself m'dear and cheers for teh hospitality last w/e

G xx

ed

04 March 2005
Well, glad it worked out all right.

You're laying it on a bit thick about Trinidad, though. Impressed that he could detect your blood sugar? Come on.

Laurie

04 March 2005
I was impressed that he could detect my blood sugar in 2 seconds with a digital reader! I had no idea it was even physically possible to measure blood sugar electronically, far less so quickly.

Ben

04 March 2005
You've obviously never met a diabetic, then... :)

Moz

04 March 2005
Errm my comment on this is attached to the blog entry below this!

Laurie

05 March 2005
I've met several diabetics; they just didn't measure their blood sugar while I was talking to them ;-)

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Hey!

When you take a second day off work, you're supposed to feel better at the end of it, not worse! Dammit!

Today I have been mostly:

  • Sneezing
  • Attempting to configure Debian (I've got X working, which is further than I've ever got before, but compiling my own drivers for my wireless card is proving a huge pain)

Moz

04 March 2005
Some times a cold can take more then a coupke of days to clear, especially if you've been over doing it.

On the weakness of CSS

The CSS Zen Garden is intended to be an example of the power and flexibility of style sheets as a design tool, and a demonstration that the goals of CSS can be achieved, namely the separation of content from presentational code, while still producing attractive results. And largely, it achieves this: the layouts on CZG are varied and frequently beautiful. But on another level, it is also a demonstration of CSS's weaknesses as well.

For example, look at the content boxes on Planet Seldo. They have visual elements around their borders, that stretch to fit the size of the box, both vertically and (if you resize your window) horizontally. This is known as a "stretchy" layout, and it is generally considered a desirable thing in web design because everybody's screens are different sizes and people can change their window size at will. The stretchyness is achieved by a little CSS trick of defining a background image for the content box (a DIV tag) that is quite large: only the part that fits within the size of the box is displayed.

Unfortunately, this means there is no way to define stretchy elements for all four sides of a div if that div is all you have, because a div can have only one background image. Thus, you have to attach the background images to other elements, e.g. the header tag at the top, or in the case of PS, the date at the bottom of each entry, or both. CZG does this as well: the layout is full of empty divs called "extraDiv1", "extraDiv2", etc..

There's no reason that should be the case. It's just a weakness in the design of CSS. You shouldn't have to add extra elements to your (semantic) HTML in order to produce a (presentational) CSS effect. And this reliance on extra elements has nasty side-effects.

One of them is caused by the fact that the extra elements don't automatically end up being the same size as the containing element. So designers get around this by manually setting both the container and the contained element to the same width. As a result, the layouts lose their "stretchiness": practically all the CSS Zen garden designs (except, it must be pointed out, the very first one) are designed with fixed-width layouts.

All of which is disappointing, and shows that web technology still has some way to go before it can be considered a mature medium for graphic design.

Ristar

07 March 2005
The web's not meant to be a medium for graphic design, really. It's primarily meant to be a medium for conveying information, which is why the W3C don't care overly about providing a zillion facilities for making things look nice, I guess. Lord knows whether they ever will - I suspect that web developers will always find something they want to do in their webpages that will require them to resort to Bodge City.

Webpages are radically different from the printed media domain of graphic design, since once you've put text, images, or whatever in your web page, it's never guaranteed to stay where you've put it, for a myriad of complex reasons [accessibility considerations, user preference etc.] Ah well - so, erm, meh.

On London

Blog happy today! Making up for recent dearth of posting... I was having a conversation with someone online today, and he posed this question:

I'm trying to decide whether to move to York or London. York is cheap and near my parents (my dad is not well and I'd like to make the most of the time he's got). London has got everything a person could possibly want. Or has it? You say that it's great if you're young and single (and confident, good looking, etc.) but what if, er, you're not all of those things? I have this fantasy of moving to London and having this incredibly gay life (whatever that means) but is it just a fantasy?

This was my response:

It's quite a serious question, so I'll give you a serious answer.

I am, in general, a huge cheerleader for London and have been partly responsible for persuading several of my friends to move here, a virtuous circle since the more friends who are here, the more I enjoy London, and the better life becomes to boast about so we can invite yet more people.

What I actually said is that London is good if you're young and single, but actually the key word there is single, I think. London is full of fun things to do and millions of new people to meet and it's a great place to set about building a social life: what it's not so good for is settling down, starting a family, et cet era, all of which are misty milestones ahead on the roadmap of my life. If what you want to do is spend a lot of time with groups of friends and meet new people (and spend a LOT of money doing so), London is the place to be. If what you want to do is get to know just one person very well and get on with your life, anywhere else is probably a better bet: London is just too distracting, too busy. It all depends on your goals, and what stage of life you're at.

As for all those flattering adjectives you threw my way: confidence always helps when meeting new people, but confidence is just the past tense of bravery. Young and good-looking are extremely relative terms: London is full of people of every age, but I've found age is much less important than common interests and general compatability in forging friendships.

Finally, the matter of the "incredibly gay life": it's a phrase that sets off warning bells in my head in terms of what your expectations might be. London certainly has the capacity to give you an amazing life, and aspects of that life can involve being gay. But if what you're seeking is some mystical playground of clubs, drugs and disco music, with sex-starved nubile 19-year-olds throwing themselves all over you, you will find yourself as disappointed as I was to discover they don't exist :-)

One's world is always defined by your friends, not just the people around you: coming to London for the first time can be a very lonely experience, even while crowded on every side by people. Just like any other place, it takes time and effort (and in London, money) to meet people, form friendships, and accumulate a social circle, which is when the fun kicks in. If you're willing to make the effort, London is amazing, but if you're willing to make the effort so can be practically any place. London is a lot bigger, so the pool of options is deeper and wider. But it's not a fundamentally different type of pool.

Dr. Now

The first episode of the new Doctor Who series has been leaked. You heard it here, er, second, after the BBC itself publicized the leak. Publicizing the theft of their own property is sure to increase the number of people who get a copy, and yet they don't sound very pissed off about it, leading me to form my own theories about who was responsible for the leak.

Now go away, you're using bandwidth that could be better applied to receiving an advance preview of the latest in phone-box form-factor time travel technology.

Data mining

Bugger. The new MT can deal with comment spam more effectively, but there are already so many spam comments in the database that attempts to rebuild your blogs are overloading the server (my account got disabled again :-( ). I am working on sorting out your blog commenting issues, my pretties...

M

08 March 2005
Cheers Muchly!

Laurie

10 March 2005
Okay, it was even more fucked than usual this evening. Aaaargh!

Too busy to blog

Here's a thought. I was going to turn it into a blog, but this is all I managed to get down, so take it and be happy, there's intellectually starved people in the American midwest who go a whole week without seeing a good wholesome thought like this one:

On the NHS providing priority HIV tests for "men who have sex with men"

Not all men who have sex with men agree to be called gay, and not all men who call themselves gay have sex with men, either through choice or merely lack of opportunity. To be homosexual is not an identity, it's a sexual preference. The word "gay" in itself doesn't have to be an identity, but in general usage it is. And having fought since Stonewall to establish an identity for that word and defended their right to maintain that identity, it would be a betrayal of all those proud gay men who fought if other homosexuals took their identity away through some misplaced sense of political correctness.

So you don't have to be camp and like disco to have sex with men, but maybe you do have to do those things to be gay, because that's what the (majority of?) men who call themselves gay define the word as meaning.

I don't know what identity women who call themselves gay have, and if it is related to or separate from lesbians. (And I don't much care :-) )

Leah

11 March 2005
A couple of things:

First off, Stonewall and a hell of a lot of the early gay rights struggles and gay identity was driven by some of the most marginalised members of society at that time- the actual fight back against the police at Stonewall was driven by street people, various gender non-conforming folk and generally groups of people who have little or nothing to do with the modern day ‘proud gay men.’ Some slippage over history would be understandable (and is generally crucial in forming the identity of a movement) but as they formed a movement those selfsame ‘proud gay men’ systematically began to exclude and marginalise the very people who’d started the fight and suffered the most from homophobia and the intersection of other oppressions so it’s pretty galling to see that movement appropriate other’s history whilst refusing to exert themselves to try and better the lives of those on the margins.

Second, men who have sex with men is a clinical and epidemiological term- it’s used by the medical community precisely because there are a large group of men who fuck other men, but don’t ID as gay (and might have female partners or children) and so don’t use health services directed at gay men. MSMs, whether gay or not, have broadly the same risk profile for contracting STDs and it makes a lot of sense to create a term that lets you address both gay and non-gay men who sleep with other men and direct services towards them without using language that is going to stop the non-gay men accessing services that could help prevent infections. It’s not a question of taking identity away, but rather creating a specific and more expansive identity for a particular purpose (namely public health and infection preventiontreatment.)

Third, why do you think camp (or disco) equates to gay? I think you’re almost certainly committing a heuristic error in that you’re generalising from people you know, the scenes you go to or the vapid representation of gay culture in the media and assuming they represent gay culture at large. It’s also frustrating because it makes gay culture sound so horrifically shallow (although a lot of gay culture, particularly gay male youth culture does seem to be pretty shallow.) I know you see being gayqueerbi (I’m slightly uncertain how exactly you ID nowadays) as being a very important part of your identity- do you really want it reduced to such a limited conception of what being gay is? Also, gay men don’t have a monopoly on gay culture.

Finally, your last paragraph makes you sound like a bit of a prick.

edan

11 March 2005
Bravo :-)

For myself, I came up with a glib little sound bite that covers how I define gay.

Take the phrase "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (as in the film) replace "gentle" with "gay ", and "blondes" with "guys" (or some masculine moniker). I don't know if that definition would work for anyone else, but I guess that's not the point. The way I look at it it's just a preference, albeit with grossly disproportionate implications.

It's like calling a forest a tree sometimes.

Gone to the Dogs

So yesterday we went to the Dogs at Walthamstow Stadium. The Posh Dogs is a really nice setup: you sit in a quiet, climate controlled enclosure behind glass, sitting at nice tables with real tablecloths and metal cutlery. Waiters bring you food, and a little monitor informs you about the results of the races, which you bet on by fiddling with a little monitor at one end of your table.

Unfortunately, to my surprise, we didn't go to the Posh Dogs. We went to the bog-standard dogs, aka Hell on a Stick.

It started off well enough. We took cabs from the station directly to the venue -- setting the tone, I thought. Then we got there, and our host explained that we had got the six-pack, a group deal that gives you some food, some drinks, and some bets, all via a voucher system. Ho ho, we said, it shall be an experience. Come, let us eat scampi and chips and revel in a British cultural institution, complete with giant neon sign and authentic East-end accents!

The stadium itself is clean and generally well-kept, if not in perfect repair. We emerged right next to the pretty Posh-Dogs area, at which point my spirits rose, only to be told that our vouchers were actually only redeemable at the Classic Diner, an enclosure on the opposite side of the stadium. This venue was every bit as depressing and full of faux-Americana up as the name implies, and was already rammed with people half an hour before the first race. So after collecting our food we repaired to metal tables outside (did I mention it was 5 degrees and windy?) where a tannoy system from the mid 1960s played, oddly enough, disco tunes. We decided they were trying to flush the gays out before the racing started, possibly as some kind of side-event.

Having finished our food and beginning to feel our tushies freezing off, we decided to migrate to the general enclosure, where it would be warm. This is things stopped rolling downhill for me and plunged off a cliff instead. Picture a room, with decor teleported from the late 1970s, full of people who have been teleported from Essex (or, Walthamstow being in E17, probably just walked over). Rank upon rank of awful, tragic people with missing teeth, cosquelle* diamond earrings the size of dice and voices that are like cheesegraters on one's inner ear. Alternately dressed in regulation Chav Gucci and Burberry (for the men) or depressingly posh dresses**, these hundreds of people were getting genuinely excited by a bunch of greyhounds chasing a flapping piece of cloth.

Each of these specimens on their own would have been enough to provoke a giggle-fest at their own unconscious self-mockery if I were to have encountered them on the tube. But en masse they were just a horrifying testament to the basest urges of mankind. The fact that I don't do well with crowds pressing me in on all sides, and that the venue was packed to standing room only***, did not help my mood. So after two and a half hours of this I began to whine quite loudly about escaping before I was driven to stand up on a table and scream "I'M GAY AND I THINK YOU'RE ALL TRAGIC!"**** So we buggered off back to our host's house for a significantly more enjoyable second half of the evening.

So, as my host also reads this blog: happy birthday, and I'm glad you had a good time and came out £5 ahead. But please, never ever take me to the dogs again.

* Until 10 seconds ago, I had no idea that this word that I've been using all my life is in fact French patois

** The implication being that they consider the dogs a Big Night Out, a realization which on its own is enough to make you weep for the state of humanity.

*** It may be horrible, but it's certainly popular. That only makes it more depressing, in my opinion.

**** This was actually somebody else's suggestion. But any method of suicide would have done.

Newsflash

I have just watched the trailer for Episode III.

I have to go and change my boxers now.

That is all.

Andy

13 March 2005
You wear boxers? Who knew...

But yes, the new Ep3 trailer... *swoon*. Still, you just know Lucas will reach out of the silver screen and slap you across the face with Jar Jar.

Steven

13 March 2005
you spill your drink?

The Doctor Is In

As previously mentioned, I obtained an advance copy of the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who. For the increasing numbers of you who sanctimoniously inform me every time I copy data that I am "stealing" (as opposed to violating copyright, which I freely admit I am doing), the Doctor is BBC content, and I pay for a television license, so all I am effectively doing is time-shifting the content. True, the legal precedent involved applied to shifting the broadcast forward in time, on a VCR, but given that DW is show about time-travel I'm sure sending it backwards would be considered acceptable too.

Without giving away any spoilers, I'll say the following:

  • The first 20 minutes are very, very worrying. It's stilted and cheesy and horrible.
  • The second 20 minutes (each episode is ~45 minutes long, formatted for commercial TV) is so much better that I half-suspect the first 20 minutes were a self-conscious homage to the cheesyness of the original series
  • The new Doctor is fast, funny and even a trifle sexy. Eccleston's love for his role is obvious.
  • By the end of the episode -- but certainly not for this first 20 minutes -- I even managed to like Billie Piper. (And that takes some doing) She actually manages to act, shockingly.
  • It's a very British production. All the money that they're not bothering to spend on the FX (still fairly cheesy!) is instead being spent on getting the acting right, and that shows, both positively in the dialogue, and negatively in the visuals.
  • Davies was exactly the right man to write this series. The down to earth portrayal of the everyday world (so evident in QAF) makes the science-fiction elements all the more believable. Good writing was particularly evident in the way he managed to give Rose's character a resounding fleshing-out in just 45 minutes: like I say, he made me forget she's Billie Piper. Rose is super-cool.
  • And finally... TARDIS!!!

I intend to become a total fanboy of this show. Just so you know.

Working til 10.30pm sucks

So there will be no full blog today. It also sucks having my ideas completely and comprehensively refuted, as Leah did with my silly post about gay men and men-who-have-sex-with-men, so there will be no posting of half-assed ideas that I've not finished thinking through yet, either. Instead, have a picture of a teddy bear with a balloon:

Teddy with a balloon

edan

15 March 2005
Psst! If you break /your/ comments then people won't be able to do that!
Broken comments: it's what all the cool people are doing :-)

marc

15 March 2005
Allow me to completely and comprehensively refute that: the teddybear has TWO balloons

Ugh

There are no words, because there are no thoughts, because I worked until 10pm again tonight. Random things in my head:

  • The Daily Show is the funniest shit ever. Bush can't pronounce Lebanon, and the Anglican church is all about the sanctity of marriage ever since it broke off from the Catholic church so Henry the 8th could get a divorce
  • Is Teen Titans any good?
  • Ajax is super-cool and I want to play with it
  • Pop-up ads for Firefox are TEH SUX0R!!!

Today was a better day

The project launched, which was good. I got home before 11 for the first time this week, which was better. But more importantly: today, for the first time in 2005, it smelled like Spring, and I walked out of the office without needing to put a coat on.

Long Live Summer.

Apparently, I'm a genius

Here's a chain of events:

  • A year ago, the BBC paid me and a bunch of other people who download TV content instead of watching television to talk about how and why we do it, and how we would prefer to receive our television.
  • Ten months ago, the BBC launched a pilot program to allow people to watch BBC content by downloading it.
  • Two weeks ago, the pilot episode of the new series of Doctor Who was leaked via BitTorrent. Rumours immediately began to circulate that the leak was intentional.
  • Today, Wired News is reporting:
    To one advertising consultant, the leak is clear evidence the BBC is taking advantage of some recently learned lessons on the power of viral advertising it got from a collection of hired guns known as the Broadcast Assassins.

Who was this mysterious group of Broadcast Assassins? Yep, that was me a year ago.

So apparently, I got a copy of Doctor Who in advance because I told the BBC it would be a good idea to do so. I wish it had actually been my suggestion*, and not a bunch of very inaccurate reporting, but hey, I'm grateful all the same.

* mind you, I did give them a bunch of other great idea

Summer clubbing, had me a blast...

Housemates T&J, M, SS and I went to Our Disco, a cool little club night in shoreditch. It was... an experience.

The night opened, appropriately enough, with a drumroll. A really, really long drumroll as I waited at King's Cross for 10 minutes for a train*, and a very enthusiastic man with some bongos played drums, either as a form of highly unsuccessful busking or extremely effective sadism. I suspect the latter, judging from the blissful expression on his face.

Then I met up with S&M (hur hur hur! I am five) and got pleasantly lost in EC2. When we finally found the club, it turned out to be a very unassuming little door, with the tiniest non-illuminated sign known to man, and not yet open. We killed time by going looking for cash machines, discovering that Old Street station is extremely close to my office, that cash machines are surprisingly hard to find in the city of bankers, and that donuts purchased on impulse at petrol stations at 10pm are actually even more delicious than ordinary ones.

We then met up with T&J outside the club, to discover that somebody had tossed a cigarette butt into a construction site skip right next to the club. Since the skip was full of paper and cardboard, it was soon blazing merrily and threatening to take the rest of the building with it. So as we continued to queue ten feet away, the fire department showed up and extinguished the blaze as already quite inebriated patrons blew kisses and posed for phonecam pics in front of the fire engine, in a thoroughly surreal manner. This is all before we even got in the door.

The venue is called Plastic People. It's underground, clean and well-appointed, extremely dark and absolutely full to the brim of people taking drugs. The toilets were an unused urinal next to a long, long queue of twos and threes of people waiting for the cubicle and talking loudly about how they were about to do coke. As J said, it wasn't so much like they were taking drugs in your toilet, as you going to the toilet in their drug den. I'd have felt apologetic, had they not all been total wankers.

The music was absolutely excellent, however: nothing I'd heard before, and all the greater for that. If that DJ ever plays again at a venue say, three or four times the size, I will be so there.

NB to non-Londoners: this is considered a shockingly long time between trains on the underground. Anything over four minutes on the arrivals board prompts moans of frustration from your average commuter.

M

18 March 2005
There's something terribly pleasing about getting home to discover someone else has already blogged about your evening out ;) xx

Trixie

19 March 2005
They are playing (amongst other people) at Koko in Camden which is huge next Thursday night!

J & I are going so feel free to come along anyone!!

Txx

iPod meme

Via T, but left off the bit below where I stopped reading. Still, of limited interest except to myself a year from now:

Within each item, songs listed in Title - Artist format.

How many songs?

11832 songs, 33.4 days total playing time, 50.7GB

Sorted by song title, the first and last songs:

14th Street - Rufus Wainright (not counting punctuation)
Zuton Fever - The Zutons (same as T)

Sorted by artist, the first and last songs:

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Karazee - !!!
La Grange - ZZ Top

Sorted by album, the first and last songs:

Electronic Performers - Air [album: 10,000hz Legend]
Praise You - Fatboy Slim [album: You've come a long way, baby]

Top 10 most-played songs artists:

(Kasabian were the entire top ten songs, so here are the top ten not counting duplicate artists)
  1. Kasabian
  2. Gabi and the whoremoans
  3. Green day
  4. Goldfrapp
  5. Gwen Stefani
  6. Kelly Clarkson (!)
  7. Annie
  8. Scissor Sisters
  9. U2
  10. Kylie Minogue

Top 10 recently played songs artists:

(cheating again here, removed duplicate artists)
  1. Kaiser Chiefs
  2. Duke
  3. Kylie Minogue
  4. Annie
  5. Sparks
  6. Metric
  7. O.A.R.
  8. Goldfrapp
  9. Kelly Clarkson
  10. Gabi and the Whoremoans

Hit me

I need to listen to good new music. Comment with your top five bands/artists of the moment, assuming they're not already listed in my iPod meme below.

Rik

20 March 2005
Well, on audio in my case are mainly long mixes from various DJs and peeps. I don't bother with pop much nowadays. Here's a smattering anyway:

DJ Paddington [Jazzy house]
Wax Equestrian [Breaks]
Ambientfusion [Chillout, lounge-y stuff]
DJ Endo [Breaks]
Ben Sherris [Funky house]

That'll do you.

?

20 March 2005
Amerie - One Thing

(my head is playing this to me all the time)

M

21 March 2005
Rilo Kiley: Loving the single - Portions for Foxes, the album is More Adventurous.
Stereophonics: single - Dakota; album - Love, sex, violence, other?
(I loved Stereophincs 1st album, liked their 2nd, ambivalent about 3rd, didn't even bother with 4th but this one is a welcome return to form)

Other artists of the moment: Hal; Hard-Fi; Kaiser Chiefs; The Bravery; Bloc-Party; Willie Mason...check out the xfm play list or spend some time in HMV :)

Morgan

21 March 2005
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
The Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere

marc

21 March 2005
An indie band called The Magnetic Fields has a three-disc album out called 69 Love Songs, the songs varying in genre and style.
Also, my current addiction: the 5,6,7,8's, after I fell for them in Kill Bill Vol. 1.

marc

21 March 2005
scratch that--they're not indie, they're with a label. they may even be famous--I just have no concept of who's who in music anymore

the idiot who wrote the last two posts

21 March 2005
ok, so now obsessing over this thing, I read that labels can be indie. i have no idea how the music industry works. the songs are good--that's what matters

Laurie

21 March 2005
Luckily, I have already been a fan of the Magnetic Fields since 2000, so your stumbling recommendation has done no harm :-)

Web2: hello, world

In June of 2003, getting on for two years ago, I compiled my third-year project at Warwick university. It was an insanely ambitious, typically over-the-top scheme, predicated on an absurdly vain notion: the web is all wrong, and I know how to fix it. Oddly enough, since then, everybody seems to have been agreeing with me* -- at least the first part.

WebTorrent/Coral

The first vindication of my designs for a new web architecture was Coral. In my final report (published June 2003), I said:

One of the problems with the nature of the web is that while the web itself is distributed, individual web sites are not: popular sites are subject to the Slashdot effect and other major events which cause flash crowds and overload the server. ... [The problem] is simply that the client-server model is not adequate for such a highly volatile environment as the web. Enter WebTorrent. A computer with WebTorrent will access websites by their ordinary URLs. If a user wants a web page that no one has downloaded recently, it is downloaded directly. If lots of users are viewing a website, however, the WebTorrent clients are able to discover each other and download the site from each other using P2P methods. The result is distributed web caching. Particularly interesting is the fact that since this model requires no changes to the website itself, it is not a method of distributing a single website, but it simultaneously solves the same problem for the entire web. The more WebTorrent clients exist on any network, the more useful and robust the network becomes.

Coral first came to my attention in August 2004. From their website:

CoralCDN is a decentralized, self-organizing, peer-to-peer web-content distribution network. CoralCDN leverages the aggregate bandwidth of volunteers running the software to absorb and dissipate most of the traffic for web sites using the system. In so doing, CoralCDN replicates content in proportion to the content's popularity, regardless of the publisher's resources---in effect democratizing content publication.

Coral is an implementation of WebTorrent, built by people much cleverer than me. Instead of distributed proxies, they decided on a single proxy at a central point -- a design flaw, in my opinion, which has decreased the usefulness and the popularity of the service, since the proxy itself can be (and was) itself Slashdotted by sudden loads.

Strike 2: Ajax

Now, with all the hype around BitTorrent, it's easy to say that WebTorrent was an obvious idea. And that's what I said. But recently something else has happened, and taken the web development community by storm: Ajax. It is a buzzword, coined in the aforelinked article, apparently derived from "Asynchronous Javascript And XML", but really anything that sounded cool would have done. I've not seen a concise definition of Ajax before, but let me have a go:

Ajax is a set of technologies which allow the construction of web applications that are lightweight and responsive by using Javascript and XML processing to efficiently communicate with the server and modify the interface appropriately, instead of relying on the server to regenerate the entire interface every time a server-side action is taken.

Oh well, not very concise, but it'll do. Why is Ajax useful? Because it is circumventing the document-centric nature of the web. What is the document-centric nature of the web? Again from my report:

HTML has a problem in that it is document-centric. ... HTML is designed for the express purpose of describing a single document: it is structured to define the head and body of the document, and sections within the document. ... This document-centric approach produces, in even fairly small sites, a large amount of repetition. As individual websites grow, the task of maintaining a coherent "look and feel" across hundreds of similar pages manually becomes laborious and time-consuming. To solve this problem, an entire industry has sprung up: the field of Content Management Systems (CMS) ....

And why is this a problem when designing a web application? As I said in the report:

The web is not designed to provide the level of user experience required for desktop-like applications: these require almost immediate response to user action. This is another effect of the document-centric nature of HTML. Applications generally provide a largely stable user interface with minor changes as a result of user action. HTML is not equipped to provide incremental changes to an interface; to change an HTML page it is necessary to re-describe (and hence re-transmit) the entire HTML document. This is both slow and inefficient.

Or as the coiners of Ajax put it, 20 month later:

Obviously, if we were designing the Web from scratch for applications, we wouldn’t make users wait around. Once an interface is loaded, why should the user interaction come to a halt every time the application needs something from the server? In fact, why should the user see the application go to the server at all?

So, you can see why I'm beginning to panic. I'm sitting on a report full of fabulous ideas, but I'm not implementing them, and other people are finally getting around to it. So it's time to take action. It has to be now: the technology is finally here in the browsers, the web development landscape is finally beginning to change with Ajax. A bucketful of technologies have been developed since I wrote my original report, which have done a lot of the heavy lifting for me. So I've taken it upon myself to start implementing Web2. I'm doing it because it's useful, I'm doing it so I get the credit, but most of all I'm publishing it, in the most public forum that will have me. The alternative is, after all, to be damned. I'm establishing prior art: no one (I'm looking at you and you, here) is going to patent ideas I came up with years ago and prevent others from using them. It's public domain and/or bust.

Web2, say Hello

So hop on over to that URL to see an introduction to the very first part of one section of web2, which I implemented this weekend.

What I got wrong

Of course, I wasn't bang on the money with web2. Amongst other things, I recognized that the only way to make web applications responsive was to improve the client. However, the way I envisaged this was by creating a browser plugin, or indeed an entirely new browser. What the coiners of Ajax (and those clever people at Google, Flickr, et al, who actually implemented the stuff those guys were talking about) realised is that the client can improve itself: JavaScript can be used to build the client-side engine, without needing to load any software.

This wasn't obvious, for a number of reasons:

  1. Javascript is extremely buggy and notoriously browser-specific. This is still true, of course. Javascript is an awful abortion of a language, that routinely requires rewriting the same function several times over in different object models in order to get even the simplest actions to work. Luckily, with ECMAScript and the DOM, things are getting better.
  2. Large JavaScript applications are inefficient. As usual, the power of Moore's law catches us by surprise. 2 years ago even relatively simple JavaScript was still slow, even on current machines. Now machines are so pointlessly overpowered that processor is not even an issue.
  3. The XMLHttpRequest object. Frankly, if I'd known it existed, I'd have started work on this much sooner. Better late than never.

For the remainder of the blurb on web2, including what it does, what it will do, and what else I have planned, head on over to the web2 site now.


* Yes, I'm aware this all reads a lot like the ramblings of an arrogant child prodigy. Hopefully, it'll make everybody respect me as much as they do him. More so, since I'm older, dammit.

Will

22 March 2005
I think that out of all the people that have come up with ideas on how to make the web better, you're probably the only one who's carried your PC across a muddy field in order to prove your point.

You get kudos for that, if nothing else :-p

?

02 April 2005
Saying something is hardly meaningful.

I'll prove it by saying this... " "

Double speak

Something strikes me as odd in the EU's discussions about economic liberalisation, which is being resisted by France and Germany. In particular, this paragraph:

Critics - including Germany and France - believe liberalisation could result in companies shifting staff to cheaper bases in Eastern Europe, undercutting large EU economies and undermining social protections.

There are also concerns about the number of workers from eastern European countries who will head west, exacerbating the already high unemployment levels in Germany.

Why would workers be flocking west if there are no jobs to be had there? Especially if the jobs were migrating east. It seems to me that the reason all those people are heading west is because there are jobs to be had, and if you liberalised then all those jobs would move east, to where the people are, and there would be no extra immigration and no further job losses.

Of course, this falls down if there is an incentive to move west even if you can't get a job: a welfare state that supports the unemployed is already iffy in my eyes, and even more iffy to people who have suddenly migrated thousands of miles to be unemployed. But all you have to do is enact some welfare reform to resolve that.

But maybe I'm just a naive, idealistic neo-con?

edan

23 March 2005
"It seems to me that the reason all those people are heading west is because there are jobs to be had" This statement is ridiculous. It takes years if not decades of there-not-being-any-jobs in one country for people across borders, languages and cultural divides to 'get' this. "No jobs" for Germans might still be "Loads of jobs" for a Pole, not to mention the fact that they are almost certainly paid better.

They also move for a better quality of life; I'm surprised Old Mr I-Grew-Up-In-A-Third-World-Country-Donchaknow doesn't get that. A Romanian friend of mine was amazed that all the lights in the park near our house worked, to which we all replied “Well of course they do”. -duh-

Thirdly, people don't always move places with a definite job in mind. Case in point: me :-) In the case of large-scale immigration I’d guess most people don’t.

Lastly, immigrants getting unemployment benefit is the fault of their bad planning / optimism / inappropriate skill set / lack of a clue etc. No one uproots themselves thousands of miles and leaves behind everything they know to sit on their ass in a mouldy council house and get given piddling handouts.

Seriously, where are getting these ideas? You are a naive idealistic neo-con.

Laurie

23 March 2005
Do you really believe that in the age of the web, e-mail and cheap telephone calls it still takes years for a vague picture of the job market to filter back to a foreign country if loads of nationals of that country are there already?

The reason behind the apparent paradox that unemployment is high in, for example, Germany is that there is only a shortage of jobs that Germans are willing to do. Service-industry jobs like waiters, cleaning staff, security guards et al. are filled in the majority by immigrants, in particular from Turkey. There is not a shortage of jobs: there is a shortage of *nice* jobs. Which is what makes the anti-immigration stance of many Germans (and equally if not more so the UK) so hypocritical: "we don't want a job mopping floors, but we don't want somebody to move here to mop our floors either."

What these people would like is for there to be a shortage of people willing to mop floors: this would result in higher wages for them, and then they would like to do the job. But it would also hurt the economy: you would earn more money mopping floors, but there would be fewer floors to mop.

I'm not disputing that people migrate for a better quality of life. What I'm saying is that if there really were no jobs around, and the government didn't give free handouts to people who didn't have jobs, then said better quality of life would not exist. It's a terrible situation where a government decides that through some accident of geography a bunch of lazy people in one country are entitled to a free ride when a bunch of lazy people in another country are not. The response of the UK has been "no people from other countries allowed", when in fact the response should be "no more free money for lazy people".

Immigration is a wonderful thing, and clearly beneficial to the economies of both the country receiving the immigrants (which benefits from lowered labour costs) and the country they leave (which benefits from remittances sent back to the family at home). Anything which imposes limits on immigration is bad for the economy of the country, and thus for everyone in it.

A welfare state that gives out money to people who are not looking for work distorts the market, driving up labour costs. That's not great. But what's really bad is that it gives incentive for non-economic migration: people who are coming for the free money. This creates resentment of immigration, which produces demand to limit immigration, and thus hurts the economy and thus the people that welfare state is supposed to be helping.

I obviously can't object to people who migrate with no clear idea of what job they will get: in 2000, this is exactly what I did. I am *supporting* liberalising immigration. I'm just saying that the welfare state is a big part of the cause of resentment of immigration.

Tom Williams

24 March 2005
Well, yes, if immigrants who couldn't find jobs didn't get any benefits, then people would resent immigration less. But there would also be a lot more starving immigrants and sick immigrants filling up the NHS. And lots more immigrants begging. So people would resent them again. More than anything it's actually drummed up by right-wing press and politicians though with exaggerated claims of how many immigrants there are and how much money they're getting, while ignoring the many who put lots of money *into* the system.

edan

24 March 2005
Even with the heavy qualification you give it, YES, I believe it takes years. I believe that people come into a country on hearsay or an elongated version of Chinese whispers, or because that’s where they’ve been wanting to go to for years based on stories they heard one time in a from a friend who has a friend who moved there and now lives in a detached house with a maid. Do you really think that more than a small minority in /this/ country are even a fraction as informatically aware as you? They are not going to be plugged into various job agencies and I would doubt they’d be FT subscribers. And even if they were one of the few who did have their finger on the pulse, say the rich friend of the friend said, “Don’t follow me, it’s not like it used to be” or something similar, do you really think that’s going to persuade anyone? Look at the influx of crap actors to LA. Everyone knows it’s nigh on impossible to break into acting, but that doesn’t seem to stop them piling in in droves. In the same way as they don’t go to LA to be waiters, immigrants don’t travel anywhere to get free handouts.

“The reason behind the apparent paradox…”
Erm, and? What’s your point? This is part of what I meant by “"No jobs" for Germans might still be "Loads of jobs" for a Pole”, it depends on the contrasting skill set. However the idea that immigrant’s skill-set corresponds largely to floor-moppers is insulting, as is the idea that a native who needs the money won’t “stoop” to mopping a floor. I grew up on a council estate and in a state school. The cleaners were all pure-bred scots, just because there were more of them around, all of whom would rather work than sit on their asses. Natch and of course -duh-. Just because you or I wouldn’t do it (as things stand at the moment) doesn’t mean many others wouldn’t, and they have The Vote too.

Obviously, confining the idea to the dynamics of floor-moppers is itself bullshit. An obvious throw-away contrast to the this are the highly skilled doctors that have been coming out of the Indian subcontinent for decades now. Influx of Doctors is good. Nurses or teachers would be better I imagine, but Doctors good too. Floor-moppers, not so much. The idea that the cost of mopping floors will go down with more people to do it I would certainly dispute; there are always people that need the money, and besides I doubt they get more than minimum wage anyway. Link me to something that tells me that some place (after advertising) can’t the get staff in to mop their ferkin floor, or any other similarly unskilled job.

”I'm not disputing that people migrate for a better quality of life. What I'm saying is that if there really were no jobs around, and the government didn't give free handouts to people who didn't have jobs, then said better quality of life would not exist”.

But people with jobs would still have that improved quality of life, and the chance of attaining that would still be there, so the people would still come, see the previous example of actors in LA. The quality of life of being on the dole sucks already dude, that’s not the grand prize people are going for.

‘"no more free money for lazy people".‘

Or disabled people? Or the sick? Or students? Where are you going to draw the line? How are you going to differentiate? More to the point how are you going to administrate this differentiation, and prove which category people fall into? It’s not “Lazy fuck’s allowance” it’s “Jobseekers allowance”, I realise this is just a name, but it’s also a message of intent, and proving which is which is very difficult. You’re going on (and on and on) about these hypothetical bone idle people that apparently want nothing more than to sit on their ass all day with nothing to look forward to, Who are these people that don’t want to work? What are your sources? You have made no arguments to support this idea, though you restate it several times.

I know one person on the dole while he’s writing a book. Didn’t JKRowling do that as well in fact? There’s an argument for the welfare state right there. I’d say a bigger problem are those that work for cash-in-hand and then sign on for the dole too, but that doesn’t really fit in with your cut-and-dried naive ideological POV

Also the idea that nations shouldn’t protect a certain section of the population due to an “accident of geography” a.k.a. THEIR CITIZENS is just huge. Whoa, I’m not even going to get into that one, it goes all the way back to city states through to the World Wars and skips along to Guantanamo…

Immigration /is/ a wonderful thing (even though it might no be so good for the native German floor-mopper) in general spreading knowledge and diversity and creating rich multicultural societies like the one I live in is all good. But the end point of unlimited immigration and no welfare state is the Favelas of Rio De Janeiro, or the shantytowns of Lagos or Bombay. Do people living there move back to the country? Do they fuck. At the end of the day, I just don’t want abject poverty in my country.

M

24 March 2005
You seem to be making two main arguments here, one against the Welfare state in general and one against immigrants benefiting from the welfare state. The first is an argument we will continue to have, in many forms, in perpetuity But the addressing the second point, and taking "immigrants" to mean the those who have come from one of the other EU member states (as that was the context of your first blog) you're argument is based on two prevalent but inaccurate conceptions.

1. That immigrants receive benefits automatically.
2. That individuals would migrate here purely to receive and live off the benefits that you assume in 1, are available to them.

For the record, and in a simplified form, individuals from the EU cannot claim unemployment benefit in the UK until they have lived here for 2 years and been in full employment for a continuous period of 12 months. The economically inactive – students, retired workers, lone parents, the disabled from other EU countries only have the right to reside in Britain if there are self sufficient and will not pose an unbearable burden on the state.

Besides the point, as outlined above, that benefits are not just handed out at Dover, are you seriously suggesting that individuals will uproot their whole life, leave their friends and family and everything they no behind to come and sit in a b&b in Britain and receive just about enough money to survive? I don't know what you think the levels of benefits are here but they do not equal the amount earned from having even a minimum wage job.

Resentment of immigration comes from fear and ignorance of the unknown. The myth that immigrants turn up and are handed benefits at Dover is one propagated by the right-wing press, notably the Daily Mail and is simply not true.

I agree that immigration is a wonderful thing and contrary to your assertions the UK does not have an anti-immigration policy, under this government worker immigration has increased. That is individuals coming to this country to work, paying UK taxes, contributing their skills to our economy and their background to our culture.

If only the government had the courage to stand up and make the positive and clear argument for immigration, the poisonous myths spread by the Daily Mail et al would cease to hold such sway over the public imagination.

Chez

30 March 2005
I think y'all are ignoring something. We set welfare benefits to be suitable to the society we live in. So they are very basic for us (or 80% or your previous salary if you're German, but I digress). Something both Dan and Laurie seem to be ignoring is that these incredibly basic benefits may actually constitute an improvement in the standard of living of our hypothetical immigrant.

Chez

30 March 2005
A couple more things.

Firstly, the hope of *some* benefits after two years (at least one of which in some arse-end of a job) and free social health care is going to be more appealing than.... nothing. Supporters of craddle-to-the-grave welfare states cannot deny that there are documented examples (i.e. individual situations, not indicative of the general situation) of immigrant familys suing local councils because their car isn't good enough or because they don't have Sky TV. We can blame the poor construction that is the Human Rights Act for msot of these examples.

Secondly, a lot of this stated problem is caused by the scope and time-scale of the thinking involved. Economic liberalising may lead to jobs going east *in the short term*. There may be a loss of jobs *initially* in countries such as Germany and France as companies relocate to areas which don't impose such high burdens on employers. However, in the medium to long term, this influx of jobs with improve the economies of the eastern countries, who will suddenly have money to spend, and want to buy goods - and we're not talking foodstuffs. We're talking the high tech fancy stuff places like Britain, France and Germany are very good at. So, there will be a (possibly considerable - on the order of several years) lag time, but this would be a good thing for the western european countries. They're just not looking past the next set of opinion polls.

Picnic in the Hyde Park

Do you know me well enough to have my mobile number? Then this Friday, if the weather's nice, then go to Marks & Spencer*, buy yourself some strawberries and cream and any other picnic food you fancy, and then give me a call and I'll tell you where we are in the park.

* Really, nowhere else will do for this kind of thing.

Update: Sorry, that's Hyde Park. Although really, it's the only one worthy of the name The :-)

Rik

23 March 2005
What happens if you don't like Strawberries and Cream?

Honestly, these plans just don't stand up when you start to break down the stereotypical Englishman...

Tom Williams

24 March 2005
Which park?

Small victories

I went to the gym this evening, and had a successful workout that in no way involved ambulances, paramedics, or unconsciousness.

Go me!

Parkage == fun

Mainly to annoy Ian, I am going to be blogging about all the inane things we talked about in the park today, namely:

  • Eugenics and the forced sterilisation of Essex
  • Scatological Marks&Spencer's belgian chocolate pudding ads
  • Baked bean tins being made of the QE2 nowadays
  • Somebody threw a grape at my head. Several times.

Oh, and we also discussed Tom Coates again, but only in passing because we were wondering how long it would be until he started podcasting something.

Now off to Popstarz. Yay!

Chez

30 March 2005
Although this has probably already been pointed out (or else you've worked it out), the having to unplug the board happens when the CPU gets too hot and the motherboard auto-shuts-down. You have to unplug it to reset the motherboard.

I discovered this when my new 'puter's CPU was dodgy and this kept happening, despite me adding cooling fans up the jaxy.

There's no real point to this. I've just got nothing to do until someone comes back to work..

On Computational Hygiene

Recently my computer, Anton*, has been misbehaving. Programs have been randomly crashing, his fan has been making disturbingly organic groaning noises, and every so often he has been randomly shutting down completely and refusing to reactivate unless physically unplugged, then plugged back in again. Not being a fan of hardware (no pun intended), my solutions to this obvious overheating problem have included:

  • Doing the unplugging-plugging thing, repeatedly
  • Taking the case off
  • Vacuuming the interior
  • Yelling at it

But today the shutdowns were coming too thick and fast for any of this to be helpful. So instead I unscrewed the fan off the top of the heatsink and discovered a solid layer of dust between it and the cooling fins, completely blocking the flow of air. Having cleaned this off, the CPU temperature promptly dropped by nearly 20 degrees C.

So let this be a lesson: keep your computer clean, and it will reward you with a long and healthy life. (Bonus lesson: yelling doesn't solve anything.)

* Because I have rather a lot of computers and need a quick way to tell them apart, all my computers have names. In particular, they all have names of people I had a crush on at the time. In order, these have been: Alanis (as in Morissette), Justin (as in Timberlake), Troy (non-celebrity from Trinidad), Dean (non-celebrity from London), and Anton (another Trini). Just your bit of me-trivia for today. As if that wasn't what this entire blog was, anyway.

Colin

27 March 2005
Anton? I had no idea...

Laurie

27 March 2005
Anton who went to our school, not Anton your ex boyfriend :-)

marc

28 March 2005
I remember both Antons... in either case, a good choice for a name

Colin

28 March 2005
Ohhhhhh..... :-)

My day has been made

Madonna dressed as nun

Madonna dressed as a nun, along with Guy as the Pope (who I failed to recognize as such; if I wasn't going to hell for the sodomy and everything, I would definitely be going now).

Via Housemate T.

Save us!

What is with the sudden influx of crappy team sports movies? What with those and a new Herbie movie starring Lindsay fucking Lohan, did somebody crank the shit-dial to 11 in Hollywood this summer?

Oh well, at least one movie is guaranteed to be Fantastic.

Not dead

Just not much to post about recently. Which is not to say that nothing is happening in my life, just that it is of a nature that to blog about it would either be irresponsible or unwise.

Is it Thursday already? Four day weeks are the shizznit.

ed

31 March 2005
"Shitzznit"? Please stop. The image of you, Whitey McWhitington, saying that is too painful.

Colin

31 March 2005
Also I thought there was only one 'z' in shiznit... ?