Voter Registration

So today, Islington Council sent us a voter registration form, asking us to confirm our details (I dunno why; is there an election coming up that I've not paid attention to?). Endlessly lazy when it comes to mailing in paperwork, we noticed that there was an option to complete your registration online, at the improbably named register-online.co.uk (I am amazed that nobody had previously registered this domain). Note the elegantly spartan web design: it's either bleeding-edge 2005 or hopelessly primitive 1996, but only the secret guardians of Islington Council IT department know for sure. Despite the incredibly dodgy appearance of the site -- which reassuringly didn't purport to reveal or even know any personal details -- the ID number and password supplied in the letter we'd received did indeed work, and we confirmed our details, to be presented with what I believe to be the best thank-you screen I've ever seen: The "all_done.php" filename is quaintly amusing in itself, but it is line 6...
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The Final Countdown

As of right now, I have four more working days left at my old job before moving onto the new. Today I met up with my new colleagues for some pre-start introductions, and discovered that my new boss has already found this blog. So, as previously, there will be no blogging about my job or co-workers on this blog, especially not about my boss, not even about how great and clever he is ;-) Oh, how I itch to tell you all where I'm going, but you must wait another few days I'm afraid :-) But it promises to be big and exciting, and I'm massively looking forward to it. In other news, tomorrow is the re-opening of Popstarz after Simon's untimely death. No queue-jumps this week; I will be properly queueing this time, from early on, like I used to. Standing outside in the cold for a couple hours is the least I can do to show my appreciation for my favourite club night and the great man who created it.
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Breaking news

According to the latest edition of Holy Moly, Davina is "seriously considering going into the Big Brother house for the next sleb version." I take it that you all already appreciate just how awesome that would be.
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Popstarz Forever

As a celebration of Simon's life, it couldn't have gone better. Hundreds of people queued for hours to get in, with most donating more than the minimum £5. The dancing started earlier than usual, and the celebrity guest DJs kicked in at midnight -- Brett Anderson (lead singer of Suede, which they should have mentioned, since name recognition was not high), Brian Molko of Placebo, Siousie Sioux, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, and more after I left a little after 2am (it was too crowded by that point to dance, and I'd been dancing since 10pm anyway). One wall of the indie room was taken up by huge blank sheets of card, which were quickly covered with scribbled tributes from everyone there, ranging from grateful to sappy to heartbreakingly sad. Sometime around 1 the staff of Popstarz, Ghetto and Trash Palace gathered on stage and handed out hundreds of free drinks to everyone, and with them high in the air we toasted the wonderful life of the very special Simon Hobart. It was the right way to do it, and...
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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Warning: while the following post is spoiler free, it contains dangerously high levels of smugness. Smugness can be harmful to your mental health. Smugness while pregnant can piss off your baby. Thanks to the boundless generosity of my BAFTA-member friend I.G. (not his real initials ;-) ), I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of the latest Harry Potter movie this evening in Leicester Square. The screening was a few hours before the big glitzy premiere at Odeon Leicester Square, but we were treated to a brief talk beforehand by the producer and director, and the stars were brought out on stage to be ritually embarrased. It's tough enough being teased about going through puberty without it being done in front of 6000 strangers. The film itself was brilliant. There's no such thing as a genuine spoiler when the book has been widely-read and released several years ago. There are a few departures from the book, but none of them glaring and generally in the interest of brevity or visual...
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Testing whether I can blog from my new phone...

Testing whether I can blog from my new phone...
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The new place: I do Yahoo

I've put some new photos up: Dan's birthday and leaving drinks at Boltblue. Speaking of which: yesterday was my last day at Boltblue, which means I can finally announce that my new job is with the fine people at Yahoo! Europe. For those who've not heard how it all went down yet, here's the story, in excruciating detail... At the end of August I received a call from Spencer Rose, a job agency (and my new best friends), saying they had a job that I might be interested in from a large, undisclosed Internet company, whom my agent strongly hinted was one of the biggest, and in search, and not Google. So, uh, that'd be Yahoo then. (Or Yahoo!, although I have been assured that I am under no contractual obligation to spell it that way). The job originally offerred was a very high-paid permanent role that required four years of experience in mobile web technologies. Mathematics fans will note that four years ago it was 2001, when almost nobody had a phone with any sort of sensible Internet access. So there...
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Comedy Gold

A man goes to the zoo But when he arrives, there's only a dog. It was a shihtzu. (Via T)
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T'was the night before Yahoo...

Tomorrow is the big day! Suddenly I'm terrified. Wish me luck!
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Well, that wasn't too bad

It's all still pretty much at the introductory phase, but I'm liking it so far. The overwhelming impression now is one of size. Yahoo is so big that absolutely everything has to be re-examined in terms of practicality. PHP have some performance problems? Don't work around them: patch PHP. Apache not dealing with cookies conveniently? Create a module for it. Getting a new machine, an endless round of grovelling and delays at every other company I've worked at, is a matter of asking for one. Oh, and I get two: one laptop, and one desktop to act as a server. Docking station? Just ask. VPN access? No problem. WiFi? It blankets the building, obviously. The resources available certainly make you feel like you can accomplish absolutely anything, which I guess is the idea. Oh, and of course, IM is actively encouraged: you can get me on Yahoo messenger anytime :-) Reading: Diaspora by Greg Egan. A damn sight better than the frustrating, depressing, dissatisfying On by Adam Roberts. Listening to: How to be...
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Jon Stewart in London

Stop press! Jon Stewart is coming to London! I've booked 4 tickets for the 7pm showing on the 11th; get in touch if you want to come along with me and M or get some tickets of your own. Much thanks to housemate T for the tip! Update: All 3 spare tickets gone. Call 0870 850 9176 to book your own.
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Zzzzzznnnnnneeeeeeeeeeee...

I've just been for my annual dentist visit, when I blow all the money I've saved by not drinking repairing the damage done by all the fizzy drinks I drank instead. Three fillings this time, which is above average for me -- usually it's just one or two. And yes, I get fillings nearly every time I go -- my teeth, genetically predisposed to be weak to begin with, are really not looked after and are a total mess :-/ Having moved around a lot in the last few years, I've ended up using a new dentist nearly every time since: the time before this was Harringey Dental Care, which was frankly rubbish: a disastrously botched filling, which chipped off 6 months later. This time was Blackstock Dental Care, which so far was more confidence-inspiring, although the dentist was a bit heavy-handed and kept humming along to the Pussycat Dolls, which makes me question his judgement. Which brings me to a point: why isn't there a way of comparison-shopping for doctors and dentists? Like restaurant review sites, this...
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Sober up

In the BBC's continuing coverage of extended opening hours, they have repeatedly used the image at right. Clearly, Jennifer Anniston has been drinking pretty heavily since her breakup with Brad, but is it really necessary to shame her publicly?
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Take me to Paris

Eurostar will leave at 7pm Friday from Waterloo and take me back at 6pm on Sunday for £75. Total journey time is 4 hours each way (I love long train journeys in the way that others love long plane rides). We live so close to Paris and we never go! Does anyone fancy going to Paris this weekend?
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IT IS SO FUCKING COLD RIGHT NOW

I don't have much else to say, except I'm really digging Yahoo! now. I'm beginning to get a handle on things. Of course, next week my new boss comes back from vacation and it'll probably change all over again :-) Paris can wait. Take me somewhere warm. Lazy blogging ahoy... Reading: this week's Economist, but lugging around The Cornelius Quartet for when I feel like getting my brain fucked Playing with: Konfabulator (it's so much fun!) Thinking about: What to get people for Christmas.
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It remains cold

I intend not to leave the house until Monday. Say Hello to Christmas shopping online (only two presents left!).
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All I want for Christmas

On the off-chance that you are considering buying me something for Christmas, I have an Amazon wish list you can check out. I've just brought it up to date (mainly by pruning items I've already bought) so feel free to go nuts. Contrary to the spirit of giving of the above, however, I have recently been forced to be selfish. For months we've known that one of our neighbours has been "sharing" our Internet connection -- odd IPs returning pings, that sort of thing. Recently this has got totally out of control though, with our access speeds reduced to a trickle as he or she hogs nearly the whole pipe. Over the last day I've been trying to subtly get the point across by restarting the wireless every hour or so, which shakes them off for a few minutes and indicates they're unwelcome. But that did nothing, so today I was forced to do some research into our router configuration and turn on the security, locking our intruder -- and any innocents, who just wanted the connection for some light surfing -- out....
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Webgeekery

Pop quiz: when coding a website, and creating a style sheet, which of the following do you consider less trouble when you need to come up with a new RGB hex code for a colour: Look up the colour in an online chart and copy-and-paste Fire up your favourite graphics package and copy-and-paste Calculate in your head what the correct RGB sequence for the colour you want would be, and type it in directly You see, I'm worried, because the answer recently became 3 for me. I'm beginning to move away from the obvious ones -- red, green, blue, black, white -- into secondary colours like yellow and purple, and I'm branching off into pastels. It worries me because I wonder what actually useful skill is being pushed out of my head to make way for the ability to count in base 16. Reading: documentation Wondering: how soon after starting it's considered kosher to start working from home (it's so cold! I don't wanna leave the house!) Dreaming: of the #88BBFF, #88BBFF skies of home...
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Unselfish

So, Pink Lady says the students of Warwick are imbeciles for banning smoking in the union. I disagree. There are a few tangential points I could make, like a union that can't compete on drinks prices being doomed to start with, or the union always appearing on the brink of financial ruin until the next squadron of freshers arrive, or that half the services provided by the union appeared even in my time to be self-aggrandizing busywork for too many staff. But these do not come to the core of my disagreement, which is the Lady's accusation that such a move is "selfish". Stupid? Debateably. Illiberal? Certainly. Financially damaging? Almost certainly. But selfish? Let's consider if the vote had gone the other way. In that case, a majority of students would have been selfishly forcing others to breathe in their smoke, risk getting lung cancer, and wash their hair and clothes of pollutants at the end of the night. Non-smokers may be selfish, but at least their selfishness doesn't irritate the eyes...
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Unselfish, part 2

To understand this entry, read both yesterday's post and the comments, in particular Zaty's and Trixie's. I defend your right to say anything, absolutely anything. I'm not so sure about your right to ingest anything; it seems like there are some things it's probably a bad idea to let anyone take on a whim. But what I'm definitely not for is your right to inflict harm and discomfort on others. Words may never hurt me, but others smoking is not just uncomfortable for me, but proven harmful to me. Even the most liberal societies have prohibitions against murder; once you have admitted that preventing citizens harming one another is a legitimate interest of the state, the question is simply one of degree, and increased risk of lung cancer is where I currently, and admittedly arbitrarily, draw the line. I don't support, for instance, this government's ludicrous ideas about restricting salt and sugar intakes; that's a serious nanny-state situation. That's because your burger doesn't harm me, and nor does...
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Job Satisfaction

I went out for leaving drinks with my co-workers today (some contractors got cancelled; nobody leaves by choice...). I enjoy the company of my team even when they are all pissed out of their skulls and I'm not, and those who know my standard attitude to drunk people will realise exactly how much of a compliment that is. People let their guard down after a few drinks, and you learn a lot about them. Amongst all the other stuff I learnt, it's just occurred to me that even at speech-slurring levels of drunkeness, nobody said anything even remotely approaching homophobic* all evening. That's very reassuring, as I have not yet addressed myself to the delicate task of coming out at work. The whole concept of coming out at work is tricky. Firstly: is it even necessary, really? Sexuality doesn't really come into the working environment, not when you create web pages for a living. But there's a certain amount of casual conversation during the day, and then during a five-hour drinking session, comments on the...
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