Thursday 10th August 2006
I got the PIC programmer circuit done properly on stripboard, it took
quite a while despite being small and simple, but I tested it with a bunch
of LEDs on the outputs, and it controls them fine, like the earlier
breadboard version did. But now I need a circuit to put the actual PIC
chip itself in. And here's the temporary page
I made to describe the "experiment board" I'm designing for the job! It's
pretty simple, but the page ended up quite long because of describing
design decisions and problems.
I quit trying with the Palito thing, and rescued the pages I'd written
from the Wiki because it was getting hammered by spammers (which was
not the sole reason I quit the project). The way things went made
me decide that my vague plan to make a fork of the project might be the
only way I could get anything done, so I registered a wiki on a wiki farm
and shoved my pages onto that for the time being, knowing that they'd be
fairly safe there (I have admin status over it!). I won't be doing any/much
work on that for the immediate future, too much else to do. When I get
the wiki a bit more tidied up I'll probably add a link but meanwhile it's
nice and quiet.
Speaking of "too much else to do", I'm thinking I actually will
get to working again on MMSS at last once I've sorted out the PIC board.
I need to simplify what I was doing again as I keep making problems
for myself with it.
Also, when the GoStats hit counter got reset again the other week, I
noticed that it's also lost the ability to keep stats for hits other
than the last 20. I thought it might have been a glitch from not having
enough data to extrapolate from or something, but it's still happening
now with ~190 hits. So the counter's kinda useless now, and I figure I'll
get a new one when I find one. One of the first I saw was at
"free-counters.co.uk" but I nearly had a seizure when I saw their website.
What the hell were they thinking?! *sigh* And that's not how you spell
"global" either, unless "Globel" is supposed to be someone's name or
something. I guess I might have to kiss a lot of frogs before I find a
decent one. Or count frogs. Or whichever. The Frog Count? I guess it has
a different ring to it, doesn't it? Excuse me now, I clearly have to go
Tuesday 18th July 2006
Looked at the site yesterday and noticed the hit counter had been reset
AGAIN!! *sigh* Very depressing. This time ISTR it had got to about 6500
or thereabouts. Meanwhile I've been having a vague poke at the Palito
project again in various ways, and working on my circuits. It's slow!!
I think I'll put up a second test page (I realised that that Lego page
I put up, was nearly a YEAR ago in fact!!), on which to put pictures and
info on the circuits I do, until I can redo the site. I've taken a few
photos of some of them, although naturally most of them came out like
crap with my camera and lighting.
Saturday 8th July 2006
May I just say, for the record, WOOOOOOO!!! I didn't find
the time to say it yesterday or before, but very early on Thursday morning,
I FINALLY completed my order! My offline shopping basket thing largely
worked ok, except the screen-scraper couldn't extract some of the
pages (and I didn't get around to fixing that as the relevant HTML
seemed a bit too complicated to me). As I had to therefore keep a textfile
instead for the items in question, it might seem like a waste of effort,
except I think it did help with the items it worked on, I'll probably
use it for future orders (and make improvements), the screen scraper API
could well be useful again, and I picked up a few tricks in the process.
I may package it up later and put it on the site, or not.
Anyhow, Rapid lived up to their name, and the very next morning (IE,
yesterday), the rather big box full of 400+ items (70 different products)
arrived, which I promptly set about checking through. Having done some
rudimentary experiments (actually nothing I wasn't already doing aged 10
but I'm horribly out of practice) with LEDs and stuff in a breadboard, I
need to sort out hardware+software for programming PIC chips. By which I
just mean finding and downloading the software, not writing it. What a
Friday 16th June 2006
Ok, last Monday, in a bad mood, I wrote a ranty entry that turned out far
longer (and crabbier) than I wanted, and at the end I said "bleh, that's way
too much", and enclosed it in [del] tags as a reminder not to upload it (and
I didn't). Today I had another go at summarising it more briefly and calmly,
along with the solution I since came up with, and managed to get it
down to about 700 words rather than 900. Being longer than most of my other
entries, I felt this was still far too much. So instead I rendered the
account into 8 verses of Haiku for your reading pleasure (or displeasure as
the case may be):
For Six months I wanted some
There, that's more like 100 words which is an improvement.
Anyhow, if it's not clear, most of the components would be pretty hard to get
elsewhere, and the new site is just too flaky for me, to the extent that I'd
have a very hard time ordering so much from them. I was indeed popping various
little items into the online shopping basket for most of the
aforementioned 6 months* when it was working, whereas my little program has
taken me the past 4 days or so, so yes I think it is worth it. The
screen-scraper might also be useful for other tasks one day (it's something
for extracting useful data from web pages if you didn't know the term).
To learn and build many things.
Part shops are rare in Britain,
Is a pain in the backside.
I worked on one huge order
From Rapid Online
Until they changed their website
I had taken far too long
Checking all the specs
To pick the parts suitable.
Shopping basket was emptied,
When I then log'd in.
Then got emptied yet again.
Despondent at lack of hope
(And fruitless complaint),
Saw "cut-and-paste order form"...
Buy online with no basket!
For use with spreadsheets.
Or Tomble's clever program?
Screen-scraper tool is now done,
Simple UI next.
Might upload them sometime soon.
Of course another consequence of my spending so much time trying to
order the electronics stuff, is not having time to spend on programming MMSS.
Ok, I admit it, I've also spent time playing games, but that always applies.
Now, to return to our previous schedule of "barely any updates, until
I fix MMSS+the site".
(*-Well ok, not counting the 3 weeks in Canada of course or the time
preparing to leave etc. And I don't mean I was doing that 24/7 either. As I
said, I had to check specs for things first)
Oh yes, and I also forgot- last night there was suddenly a BIG blackout,
where something took out the entire street at about midnight. My monitor
and my modem's lights flickered for a couple of seconds, after everything
had gone black, and I got quite worried for a while that there'd be damage.
Not sure if it was something to do with the roadworks that had been there
for the past 2 or 3 days, but they eventually fixed it, after about 2h.
A crapload of burglar alarms and garden lights all came on at once while I
was lying in bed hoping to get to sleep. Thankfully when I checked this
morning, my computer was fine. Ok, that's me done again.
Saturday 1st April 2006
Ok, actually it's just about turned
Sunday now, but I usually backdate to the evening when posting in the early
AM hours anyway. "Starting on replying to emails" the other week should have
more appropriately been "did a reply, ought to keep doing numerous others",
as I haven't done any since. *sigh*. Am having a pop at doing a basic
bugfix release of that project I started before the holiday, but am still
feeling rather run-down. Trying to start getting exercise again, did a
couple of sets of (unweighted) squats to start getting my body back to
Wow, I've been back in the country for at least a month,
and I don't think I've commented on my holiday. Canada was jolly good,
I'd recommend it to anyone (like Poole). Except for the bread, which is
far too small, and the conspicuous lack of black bean sauce. WTF is with
pound dollars are strange, they're the colour
of slightly bright 2Ps, but shaped more like 50Ps. But IIRC with more
sides. Very confusing, made me think they were just small change at first.
Buses (which we used a great deal) primarily take prepurchased tokens, but
work out pretty cheaply, especially if you get "transfers" which last a
couple of hours but can be used as much as you like. Eh, except for all I
know, the details of bus ticketiness may vary from city to city. Spent
much of the holiday going to doctors for one reason or another (EG,
Sara having checkups and physio for a recent injury, me seeking info
about my disturbingly iffy-looking tonsils), a fair bit doing stuff like
shopping, and some nights out for birthday celebrations, didn't end up
seeing much more of the wider Canada. But I did visit a "sugar bush"
(forest harvested for maple sugar), and stepped up to my knees in a
snowbank that I had assumed was just an embankment or something with a
little layer on top.
Visiting Alex in London was cool too. Was very amused by the extreme
difference between Pearson Airport in Toronto, and Heathrow, it's like
they're from different planets almost. Obviously I saw Heathrow on
the way out (sorta obviously, I suppose I could have left from a
different airport), but it seems rather different on the way back in.
Wandered around the city with Alex a fair bit on foot, and got rather sore
feet over the extended weekend. Partook of some pleasant eating
establishments, met his girlfriend and his flatmate (who has a wall
of pr0n, which I'd never even imagined before), and waded through oceans
of couriers outside his flat. Saw interesting items in shops there that
I looked into with much enthusiasm when I got back home. Which I later did.
And here I am!
Sadly, even though I didn't feel very jet-laggy when I was
in London, my sleep started doing cartwheels when I got back home home.
Probably didn't help that I was cold as fuck, having forgotten how awful
it is here. So, I've been kind of incommunicative again. Hopefully done
with that now. And aside from doing that overdue bugfix release of the
EZ-AV tools for Unix, I SO BADLY
need to get MMSS sorted so that I can
extensively reupholster this site. The cobwebs are getting rather thick. :P
Tuesday 7th March 2006
Back but asleepish. Did bit of an update
to the page for the latest project, just to say that I noticed a bug but
don't have the energy to fix it ATM. Starting on replying to emails.
Going to bed now. Goodnight.
Wednesday 8th February 2006
Friday 3rd February 2006
Got very surprising news from Ken yesterday, but my ISP fell over for the
night before I got to reply (and also before I got to upload the site
updates which were already late). Spent a little while finishing the page
for the new project whilst I couldn't do much else. Managed to send email
today at least, and do this update, after getting home from town where I
finally got my travel insurance. Not too much left to do for the journey
now! Which is handy, because there's not much time left! SIX DAYS! ARRRGH!
Wednesday 1st February 2006
Long time no write! Much of that is because since I last did an update, I've
been interrupted by Fire! Flood! Plague! Pestillence! Death!* And Christmas!
I don't think we had any Famine though, and although there's a War going on,
I'm not involved. Probably forgot others, I won't count Cold.
I've also had to work out details of a forthcoming holiday. I
leave on the 9th to the frozen
NorSouth, and will visit Alex's
place for a couple days when I land back in England afterwards. Getting the
passport took me long enough unfortunately, largely due to the numerous
other distractions and my hatred of forms, which is part of why I didn't go
in December. I'll be gone for about 3 weeks. Spent much of Saturday,
when I met up with Ken for the first time in ages, looking at luggage and
stuff for the trip- though I've still not actually chosen any.
For all those reasons together, I'm frustrated to say I still
haven't done any more on MMSS, and I won't be able to until March. OTOH
I'd been wanting an MP3 player (well strictly, an Ogg player because
more of my music is in Ogg Vorbis format) to
use on the plane etc since about November or earlier, but hadn't been
able to justify spending the sort of money needed for the quality of
player I fancied. So when I saw that one of the high-quality, high-SNR,
Ogg-compatible, LCD-screened players that took external batteries** and
played video was available on clearance at less than half-price,
I couldn't very well say no... Unsurprisingly, even though the basic things
such as transferring files works well enough from Linux, other things don't
work at all because they don't actually support Linux. So I did a
little bit of work and made some tools for
using the EZAV EMP-500 with Linux. There seemed to be a couple of
Linux users on the company's message boards, so maybe this'll be of use
to some people.
Anyway, apart from that I've been wanting to get some books on things
like machining and Stirling engines and stuff, and to get various electronic
bits such as PIC chips, so I can do some experimenting and build various
things that have been too hard or too expensive to get. I may still have
time to get the electronics before I leave (not that there'll be time to
do anything with them...), but I won't be able to get the books for
about 2 months I think.
(*-My mum's computer burst into flames before my eyes when I plugged it
back in, after I vacuumed it because it'd stopped working; container for
catching drips from the roof fell over and got craploads of water
everywhere; mum got horrible flu for about 2 weeks; dog has fleas; 2 or
3 of the pigeons died. Christmas OTOH is self-explanatory)
(**-I prefer to buy things that are high quality and then last
ages, so even though OLED screens look pretty and are often cheap,
I'd prefer LCDs which AFAICT last longer, and I'd rather not have anything
with built-in batteries, because what do you do if they stop charging and
the company's gone or the device is no longer supported?)
Thursday 13th October 2005
Today is John Peel
Day. Listen to coverage on Radio 1 tonight
if you get the chance, or on the internet
broadcast, which should be available worldwide for a week.
Me, I'm recovering from an atrocious cold, and cursing myself for not
temporarily stopping the Angelfire paid account a couple of months ago
to preserve my bank account until things were safer, especially as it
wouldn't be the end of the world for people to get popups for a few weeks
(and it's not like I can make use of the cruddy CGI service they give).
Angelfire are very cheap, but my bank's fees are not.
Now, I have a decently large chunk of money to pay into my bank account,
which will ease my money problems for a decent while, but I have half a mind
to just put in exactly enough to pay my direct debits, and put the rest into
a new account with some other bank, keeping a standing order to keep the old
one topped up by just enough. I don't see why those sods should get any
further money off the interest in my account, after the amount they've
already sucked out of it. *mutter*
Wednesday 5th October 2005
Past few weeks have been somewhat eventful. I did indeed start work on
that stopgap method for MMSS, and continued for a few days, but then
all manner of interruptions came along that overall took the wind out of
my sails. On the positive side, one of them was a nice interruption,
namely the arrival of a little parcel from Sara, including various neat
Canadian nick-nacks, and a CD of lots of music of all sorts. Yay! Some
I liked, some I didn't, and I think there's still stuff on there I have't
listened to yet. Some of them are real earworms, too.
Other distractions included having to sort out a different service with
our ISP Wannadoo (formerly Freeserve), which went horribly wrong because
their online system for making that change was so utterly fucked up that
when it broke we were left with no working connection until I was able to
talk to their tech support people about it (who were at least nice and
helpful and efficient). Then very soon after that, I had to look after
my mum's pigeons for a week, which was remarkably time-consuming and
frustrating. But that's behind me now, to my great relief.
Another nice distraction though, was this weekend when I was
reminded how much I wanted a cheap Linux-compatible scanner, and then not
only found out that the throwaway scanner my parents got for pennies at a
jumble-sale years ago was a compatible model from Mustek (I'd assumed it
was just some no-name brand, it doesn't have any company name on it), but
I managed to get it working despite the lack of a matching PSU (I found an
old one with slightly lower voltage but sufficient current rating, which
seems to do the trick) too! It didn't come with a parallel cable either, but
the pin-to-pin cable for my dad's scanner worked ok. Hooray! Once the
site is reupholstered, it should make it a lot easier to get scans onto
Lastly, Alex finally
finished revamping Sara's technical
writing business site; she is delighted with it, and I think it looks
fantastic too! At the same time, she helped him rewrite his CV, and he is
very pleased with the results of that! Isn't that great?
Anyhow. My general intention has been to not do much in the way of
updates until I've got the new version of MMSS working again, so I ought
to get back to sorting that out. I'll probably update the status box from
time to time, and maybe add relevant news items to the MMSS page, but otherwise expect things to be
fairly quiet around here for a while. After that, maybe there will be a lot
more activity than before?
Monday 12th September 2005
Met up with Alex on Saturday, a feat that was only feasible because my
sleep patterns were already miraculously aligned such that my current
bedtime was about an hour after I got home again. Met up in the coffee
"You asked me last time to remind you not to have coffee, because it makes
So Alex went to get coffees whilst I got a table. I had a mocha without
fancy additions (such as cream or syrup etc) to it, despite my sweet tooth.
About half an hour later, I felt kinda sick. Who knew?
*blink*"I did?! It does? I don't remember that..."
"You did. It made you sick."
"...Are you sure that wasn't about the funny duck sandwiches? I remember
having those twice and they were inedible"
"Well, those too."
"Well I don't remember it. Maybe it was some funny extra rich kind of coffee
Whilst I was grimacing and clutching my stomach and so on for the next
few hours, we still managed to chat about various things. The question of
the site came up, and I got discussing MMSS,
what it does, and what the hold-ups are. Next day, thoughts began filtering
through my head, presumably through revisiting the problem. I started
coming to the conclusion that a stopgap approach to editing the config
files would be a much better idea than having the project and the
whole site stuck in a rut indefinitely. Yesterday, I took the time to make
some notes to elaborate on what such a stopgap would involve.
Well, I've said similar things lots of times before, and got nowhere for
it, but maybe it'll actually lead to it getting done now.
Sunday 4th September 2005
Another month gone. After a week of not getting enough sleep, I was just
starting to get back to normal, and then a fucking storm hits (or at least
the heavy, humid build-up) and so I couldn't get to sleep and woke feeling
like absolute shit. It's like somebody stuck a tap on me and drained out
all my energy (what there was of it). Don't know if the storm arrived or
not, it was raining vaguely when I woke.
I'd have something to say about the hurricane and the tragedy in
New Orleans and the absolute fuckup that went on there if only I was
more awake. People should be furious about what was(n't) done, and it sounds
like very many are. Possibly more on that tomorrow.
Oh, I put up a status box thing regarding me and the site and
other such things. FWIW. I'd been meaning to do so for a few weeks.
Sunday 28th August 2005
*Mumble mumble* I spent much of the past week finding more small
programs to work on just about every day, and getting not very much done
on any of them. Like my usual problem, but turned up to 11. I've also been
sleeping later, and feeling tired. Currently I'm so drained, I'm in yet
another incommunicative time. Tomorrow I plan on spending only a short
amount of time coding, and take more time on meditating, try to work on
my concentration. And maybe working out a list of what is most appropriate
to work on first.
Saturday 20th August 2005
Umm... Seem to have sorta forgotten about updating recently. From my last
entry, you might have supposed I've spent all that time playing games (esp
X-Com Apocalypse etc), but in fact I had the restraint to only play for
about a day. Since then I've been working some more on the trap (changing
bits of the design, sawing bits of balsa, running into new problems, losing
my motivation, wondering about making it work somewhat differently, and
giving up for the time-being...), trying to work on yet another
coding project (except this one is one I started on a year or so ago and
could feasibly get done in a short time as most of the difficult bits
would be external to it), and contemplating my pecuniary situation (which
is messy and iffy).
To help with my evaporating finances, I'm looking at getting a Paypal
account, and some adverts. Yeah yeah, adverts bad. But only text
adverts, which are generally innocuous and don't take time to d/l like
gigantic animated gifs do, and don't crash your browser or warble that
DAMN BLUE FROG TUNE at you until you want to throw your computer out
the window like some flash adverts do. So overall I think text ads are no
big deal, I don't get too annoyed when I see them on other people's sites.
Unfortunately, it does rather mean I have to make the site a bit less shit.
Oh well. Aside from new software (such as the cool little project I was
talking about above, which I think would have a degree of geek-cred), I
really ought to sort out the links section, and I've been thinking about
taking out the "graphics" bit to replace it with a "media" section which
would be somewhat more general :) It might even have stuff in it! *gasp*
Other than that, I contemplated these "micropayment" schemes, for a few
people to make donations. The main problem with this would be that I think
very very few people sign up to use such schemes, but I figure a few will
have signed up to purchase stuff from other people, and some of these might
then have money left in those accounts with little other use. If they come
here, I imagine they'd then be more amenable to making a small donation if
they had the option of using that account. As some of the micropayment
schemes seem to have free versions of the vendor-side accounts, I could
plausibly open several of them and hedge my bets. As before though,
all this does still rather require that I have stuff on the site that people
would be sufficiently grateful for :P
Oh yeah, and aside from thinking about money, I've been looking at
learning meditation so that (a)I can concentrate better on tasks I
want to do, which is supposed to be a good benefit of the practice, and (b)I
can pad out the time up to when I ought to be getting to sleep, with an
activity that I don't feel compelled to continue doing (eg, reading,
listening to music, watching TV, playing games, coding, devising obscure
devices, picking my nose, whatever). In this way I figure I might
actually fix my sleep problem. And having tried it twice now at half
an hour each time, I can attest that no, I would not feel compelled
to continue meditating longer than appropriate. Seriously.
Saturday 30th July 2005
Wheee, haven't really done much recently, as I got waylaid by some old games
under emulation... By applying a patch, I managed to get
Theme Hospital sort of working under my relatively old copy of
Wine (haven't tried Dungeon
Keeper since the patch, though it's supposed to also affect that- because
the problem with DK had been that it crashed on startup, and the patch was
just about the pointer going wrong). Not sure if the patch ended up
staying in the official source, but it was apparently put in CVS. Sadly
Theme Hospital developed some sort of bug as I was playing a painfully
tough level and it became almost impossible as all the caretakers kept
getting stuck in a room that had got corrupted. So I reluctantly stopped
that, as it seemed to be just an exercise in masochism.
Then looked into getting UFO and X-Com Apocalypse working properly under
Dosemu, where previously they had been
just crashing as soon as I tried to run them (no amount of tweaking
config settings seemed to make any difference). Upgrading from 1.0 to 1.2
made a world of difference, and now they both start, yay! Then I found that
Apocalypse would decide it didn't have the CD in the drive (despite having
been accessing it moments before) as soon as I tried to start a mission.
After asking on the support-request area of the site and finding most
of the suggestions awkward or impossible for me, I tried something different
on a hunch. I set about making a FAT16 disk image for the Apocalypse
installation to reside on, rather than using the system where Dosemu treats
a set of the host system's (Linux's) directories as network drives for
itself- because Linux is case-sensitive and Dos isn't. After MUCH wrangling,
I had all the files copied onto this, and I started the game. Started a
...Yeah ok, so basically it worked. I then spent the next few minutes with a
gigantic grin on my face as I hadn't been able to play it for about 3 years
or so. Wheeee!! Of course, I should avoid getting too caught up in it and
do something more useful, like finish that stupid mouse trap- I still need
to sort out the pulley for it. And some boxes too, but those would be less
fiddly. Ah dammit, but here's a screenshot of Apocalypse (taken in the
Temple of the Millenium because those crazy cultists are often worth
Oh yeah, other things I did include trying (for the billionth time)
to find out how to get the Midi, or FM Synth (I didn't bother about the
joystick port this time, but it'd still be nice) of my C-Media sound card
to work on Linux. Needless to say I got absolutely nowhere. Likewise for
finding out how to make it use a soft-synth for such purposes intead. A
word to any Linux users who don't currently use tha Alsa sound
infrastructure: you will probably find no advantage whatsoever in changing
over to it, I certainly haven't. Total waste of effort.
Thursday 21st July 2005
Crap, don't know what to make of these new bombings. Good to hear
nobody was hurt in them, which is something. Had been supposing they
might have been copycat attacks, due to the timing and the screw-up and
everything, but it sounds sort of like it was using very similar devices.
Interesting to hear them say that they've stuff to learn from the unexploded
devices now, maybe it'll help police in some useful way.
Meanwhile, I didn't get much more done of the weird Lego trap thing but
I got some photos of the old car thing I'm going
to take apart for stuff. That's just to a temporary test page place
for the time being. Once I'm satisfied I've got it reasonably depicted
for posterity, I'll take the car to bits and change the page (plausibly
putting the pictures elsewhere). I have quite high hopes for this trap,
it's pretty devious. And it doesn't involve hazelnuts.
Wednesday 20th July 2005
*mutter* I went to *sleep* and everything (got about 7 and a half hours), I
shouldn't feel this tired! *sigh* But sleep debt's like that- it usually
insists on being paid back. Haven't done more on the idea I had yesterday,
because aside from being tired again, I spent most of the day designing a
better mousetrap. Out of LEGO. Well, partly anyway. It isn't what you're
probably thinking, or whatever it is I mean to say. It is good though :)
I intend to get some pictures of it when it's done, but first I'd like to
get some pictures of the old freakish Lego thingies that I put together when
I was young (about 15 years ago I think!!) before I take (some of) them to
bits for the extra parts. They're nothing special, but I maded them myself,
y'know how it is. Or maybe you don't. *shrug*.
Tuesday 19th July 2005
Damn, another day I didn't manage to sleep; am writing this whilst I still
have a modicum of wakinessishness in my noggin. Had a programmingy thought
in the minutes before I tried going to bed, and it sort of bred or whatever
thoughts do. It wasn't quutte originsal in that I'd had a related idea
before and started work on it, but it's a good elaboration on a spin-off
idea I had later. Or an amalgamation of the two ideas. Or something. But
it warranted writing down and I'd be coding it ATM if I were in a fit
state to do so. Probably less complex than the missing GUI aspect of MMSS,
but it still has unspecicified parts to it that I'd need to figure out well
in order for it to not suck. Oh yeah, and though I'm mostly writing it for
me, it's plausible that other people mgith actually find such the thing
worthwhile and want to use it too. On a similar note, I have been thinking
more recently about adding a paypal donate button thingy for people who
like my software; this might actually guve people something they'd consider
to be worth giving money for :)
Monday 11th July 2005
Very very hot today. Went to bed a bit earlier, was rather pleased to not
have been distracted as I so often am... and then managed to sleep for
about 3 hours, much of which wasn't really sleep. Think I was probably
dehydrated too, as I dreamt of getting 2 big bottles of Dr Pepper or
similar, and then having taken a gulp, couldn't stop myself drinking the
whole of one bottle, and a fair bit of the next (no, that wasn't the
entirety of the dream, though I did also dream I was having difficulty
sleeping I think). Then after I woke, still stewing, I kept hearing
another bloody mouse scurrying about the room and nibbling at numerous
things (not at the trap I put in there the other night of course, that
would be silly).
Anyway, I'm not very awake now (though I've been far worse), so not doing
much of consequence today, such as communimacating or coding. Which isn't
so good, because I really ought to get around to fixing this bloggish part
of the site such that it is divided across several pages- the
file size is getting quite out of hand, and it's not like I even have much
Thursday 7th July 2005
Holy shit. I only heard the news a few hours after it apparently happened,
and I'm writing this just after noon, soon before I go to bed- though I'm
not sure how well I'll be able to sleep. My sister who has to commute to
London phoned us and is apparently Ok, but there's still Alex. I'm not
actually sure which parts of the city he goes through or when. I can't
think of any other people I know well who could be there, possibly David?
The only consolation seems to be that firstly, London is a very big city
and there have apparently been relatively few casualties reported
(considering the number of blasts at least), and secondly, it sounds as
though the emergency services were very well prepared to react to what
happened. My impression so far is that (aside from the propaganda value
of the attack for whomever) it was probably intended to mainly hurt the
country's economy by bringing the capital to a standstill for however long,
but I might be talking crap there- the significance of the G8 and the week's
Olympics result can't exactly be discounted. I'm not really sure why I'm
speculating over that though, it seems rather pointless at the moment.
Am watching the news to see if anything more will be reported, hoping
desperately that everyone I know is ok, and wishing the best of luck to
the government and various emergency services etc in dealing with all of
this as necessary (they seem to know what they're doing so far).
Have heard from Alex that he's ok, but on the other hand the news is now
reporting a lot more casualties and deaths- which I partly expected
seeing as the information early on was fairly uncertain. Went to bed with
a random book (about cricket of all things, which I don't really give a
toss about) to try to take my mind off it all, and was further distracted
by a sound like tearing coming from the window, where I then noticed the
sillhouette of a mouse scuttling down the other side of the curtains.
Quite an effective distraction really, as I still can't imagine what the
hell it would be doing up there in the first place.
*sigh* I'm not really awake yet, still not managing to get a very
good perspective on it all. The world does a good job of confusing me.
Tuesday 5th July 2005
Stupid me has lapsed worse with the sleep thing, partly from being
distracted by games like this (the
English-translated Snes version on an emulator, at least), due further to
being in a bit of a bored and restless state. Not much of an excuse.
John emailed with a vexing question that I couldn't find the answer to
but I replied and had a go because I hadn't actually written since like
March or something. I'm disconnecting now because it's that time again,
but it's hours till I ought to go to bed, so I'm going to sort through the
rest of the monstrous backlog of email that has accumulated, to send
tomorrow evening. Hooray! *wave* :)
Thursday 30th June 2005
Damn, I forgot the other reason I don't tend to try the sleep-resetting
trick much nowadays- it doesn't usually work that well. Went to bed at the
new time, should have been about tired enough, and woke after about half
an hour or so feeling crappy. Got back to sleep, and the same happened
again. Then started boiling, even with the window having been open for
some hours and minimal bedclothes on.
I realised that it was that damn daily body-temperature cycle thingy
yet again. The sleep resetting concept was always predicated on the idea
I had of "Sleepability is based on how long you've been awake for", and
that just doesn't seem to be true really. I got up, got something to
eat (because my mouth had that horrible numb feeling you often
get when you wake after a short sleep), went to sit upstairs in the dark
for a few hours and then went to bed later than I planned. This ended
up about 3 hours earlier than I had been going to sleep previously,
rather than 9 hours, which I realised was rather unworkable. I'll just
have to shift it back in stages instead. Ain't nocturnality a bitch?
Say "Yes, Tom".
Things I hadn't caught up with: the point of the hazelnut was that
various things the mice are attracted to on mouse traps (eg: boiled sweets,
chocolate, peanut butter, etc), they can lick off quite effectively
without setting the traps off. So I figured that what was needed was a
kind of bait where they'd clearly want to get at it, but they'd have to
chew through something to do so, thereby being more likely to set the
The surprising mouse incident was rather cool at the time and I had yet
another today. And yet again it's too late to describe because I got to
doing this too late and I'm about to get disconnected for the night by my
stinky ISP, bleh. *mutter mutter*
That also means email is behind again, buggrit :(
Wednesday 29th June 2005
It is the next day, I got to sleep, and I am now provisionally awake! Not
sure if I can keep the same hours of sleep for long, as sleep rebootage
tends to be a very chaotic affair, prone to misfiring. I'm probably not
going to be online for long ATM, so I'll add more later in the evening
if I remember. Meanwhile, YAY! :)
Now, let's see. Yes, I'm rather tired, I still have a fair bit of
sleep debt from resetting my sleep. In case I haven't said elsewhere or
it isn't sufficiently clear, it involves not going to sleep, until I've
been awake for over 24 hours, and then going to bed at a time calculated
to leave me waking at roughly the time I want to start waking up at
Unfortunately this is quite awkward because the process leaves me
needing around 12 hours sleep, but often waking after about 6 hours
or so, and unable to get back to sleep straight away. If I stay awake after
the 6 hours of sleep, the hours of sleep debt usually come back when I go
to bed the next night, and I end up sleeping too long then instead.
So funnily enough, considering the difficulty in getting it right and the
terrible state I get in, I don't really like to do this very often, unless
things get badly out of hand.
Well, that's the sleep-resetting thing explained, even if I've said it
before. I think that if I ever mention it again (please no) I would prefer
to put a link to this account, but I haven't implemented things like
permalinks in the site management system. Mostly because the news/blog
part of it is just one bloody great file with no processing :D Adding that
feature would be quite handy though, as would splitting this monstrosity of
a "blog" page into several smaller pages. What people must think...
But I digress. I did some more email last week, but have still a few
pending; Ken liked his prize (so he should!) but had been away on a special
course thing for work for a few days, whereas Alex is being disturbingly
quiet.... AHA! Ok, in the course of writing this his email appeared, yay!
I shall have to reply to everybody tomorrow as it's getting late here though.
I said I'd post about the hazelnut (or the "halzel nut" in fact)
yesterday, so briefly [edit: Ok, so it wasn't brief, sorry]: People
all over the 1st world have at least heard of, if not eaten,
hazelnut-filled chocolates. In trying to find an answer
to a tricky problem with the mouse traps, I came up with, and a few days ago
spent 3 hours producing, what I believe to be the world's first
Oh. Wish I had a better setup for using this little camera indoors, everything
comes out crappy- moreso even. But anyway, the nut is shown the right way
up. The funny black lines are wire I attached to the shell for fixing it
to the trap.The funny blob on the left is the chocolate in and around the
hole I made in the shell. The funny transparent square behind the nut is a
bit of sticky tape I put over the holes that the wire is threaded through,
to stop too much chocolate oozing out whilst it was being poured in (and
to keep other things clean).
First I fastened a small vice to the kitchen table, held the nut in it,
and started burning through the side of the shell with a red hot toasting
fork. It made a bit of a funny sizzling sound... A while after I got through
the shell, I tried going at it with a funny auger-like screwdrivery thing
[edit: yes, I meant a gimlet; I'd got those mixed up with bradawls
to deepen the hole, and after a short while the shell went *crack*. I
realised that I probably should have taken the nut out of the vice soon
after I'd broken the surface, but oh well. I spent some time widening the
hole and breaking up the nut inside with a combination of the hot fork and
the auger thingy, and shaking bits out of the hole. Eventually the thing
was a properly empty shell, and I put two tiny little holes on the other
side of it to put the wire through.
Then heated a chunk of chocolate in a tiny makeshift bain-marie made
from a short 20ml measuring spoon floating in a mugfull of boiling water.
Sadly this took quite a while, and wasn't as effective as a proper one
would be, but I only wanted to melt one bloody chunk, not a whole bowlful.
The chocolate went relatively well into the hole in the nut (after I took
the time to put some tape over the holes the wire went through to staunch
any leaks), but it was a bit lumpy and I had to reheat it several times.
If that sounds a long, rambling story for something quite basic, that's
because you weren't there- it took bloody ages. I also omitted the part
about the funny little bean thingy. And in the middle of writing this I
had a surprising mouse encounter that it's rather too late to describe
lucidly so now that will have to wait till next time. Oh well. I
will probably put the rest of the hazelnut photos in the graphics section
in the next few days too, as that still needs a crapload of content. Oh
yeah, and I'll remember hopefully to explain why I made the
stupid hazelnut thingy too! :D
Tusesday 28th June 2005
Was quite hot today and when I wnet to bed I couldn't sleep but I'd already
been getting sleep too far late. Gave up after hour and decided to reboot
my brain and my sleep and stuff top get it all back to normal or as normal
as my sleep ever is, which is at least vaguely close to a normal persons
Unfortunateley that means I a m not really awake when I write this and
I'm jus t saying this but I found a mouse in a box or its tail at least
and I cautiousedly grabbed the tail and said "Hello there!" and gently
pulled at it and uncovered the mouse and saw it holding on like "Holy crap!"
to the edge of the box until I yoinked it out. Then I thought "crap I can't
really put it out in the storm because its' sotmry and tahats' mean" and
I dropeped it but I'm not sure if I meant to or if it just got free.
I will post about the halzel nut when I ma weaaked. awake. I don't have
any sense of whether it is more or less interesting ht ant the mouse sorruy.
PS: Nobody loves me, waaaa *sniof* Where is everybody? Oh well I shal deal
with all that tomorrow or some simila time whern I can do so cohrerently. I
just wanted to post because it's pbeen a while and I'm bored and it keeps
me awake until it's the suitable time for me to go to bed really.
Tuesday 21st June 2005
Ken mentioned that the other week he was the 1000th visitor, and wondered
if there was a prize. Well there wasn't the first time, but there
Our mate Ken,
Is not a hen. *
He asked me when
It happened if he
Could have some sort of prize from me-
I had to tell him "Wait and see,
Because it's not done yet".
There was another 1000th I've not met,
From before the counter got reset,
And they didn't get awarded then,
By Tony, Nigel, or Mr Benn,
But the chance came round again,
And I think in fact it might
This time be quite alright,
If I gave Ken a prize tonight.
Now you know we said
That "I'm dead good,"
(Which of course I am)
"And you're rice pud"? **
You may surmise,
I did not bring
The tawdry prize
Of scally "bling",
Or chicken thighs
That somehow sing
While in the guise
Of The Sultans of Ping: ***
I have supplies
Of no such thing.
It's rice pudding.
(**-Ok, so it was David who said it all those years ago, but it was no less
true for that)
(***-more properly "The Sultans of Ping FC", whom I am apparently not the
only one to remember)
So yes, the prize is some rice pudding, or a picture of some, whichever is
(if it's not clear, that's some sort of rustic wooden tabletop, as
befits rice pudding; they're not floorboards)
Happy Birthday Ken, and if it isn't your birthday then it should be,
so be born earlier damn you, or have two of them like the Queen. It's the
BTW: I'm sure I don't have to point out that I wrote the above but I
will anyway because if anyone else felt it was their life's burden to
claim responsibility for it, the universe would implode spewing out 5ps and
paperclips and wobbly cosmic blood into the eternal nothingness that lies
beyond, and we wouldn't want that, would we now? No. Same applies to the
picture, although of course the consequences there would be wholly different.
Sunday 19th June 2005
Damn, I didn't email people after all, sorry. Will do, will do. I'm out
of the habit, dammit. Re the "interesting times" report the other day, I
know it wasn't actually "interesting" as such, I was referring more to the
"stuff density"- it was not so much "all in a week, mostly 2 days", as
"all in 2 or 3 days, mostly 1" really. And being nocturnal at the moment,
some of those things are more significant than you'd expect. It was mostly
the letter though, which was properly interesting, as I said.
Have various improvements planned for the site in general, some of which
will take a while, but others of which would be simpler. Took some neat
photos recently, could fill up some of the very very empty Graphics section
with them with little effort :)
Had a thought whilst checking my email: If the US were to come over all
funny and do something as radical as offer universal healthcare, they might
offer impotent men there viagra and stuff. At which point, half of these
damn spammers would lose their customers, and STOP. Alternatively, buying
from spammers could simply be made punishable by death, which would be a
step in the opposite direction but might have a similar effect on that.
Friday 17th June 2005
Well well. I appear to be living in interesting times, this week.
Mostly within 2 days, even! A whole lot of shit happened- as with my last
such time, most of this shit was really only of any significance to
me, but unlike then, this seems to be "fair and balanced"
shit. Most of it was actually good! First off I managed to find a
timeswitch at last; my dad remembered I couldn't find my old one when he
needed one before, so he'd bought one and now didn't need it. So I rigged
it up with a lamp to light my bedroom about half an hour before my alarm goes
off. So far this has been quite effective :)
I got myself down to the shops and picked up various things I've
been rather needing to get for some time (cheaply, too!); I had a brainwave
of a rather neat use for my old plotter (which wouldn't apply to the majority
of printers), and a further brainwave regarding driving said plotter; after
some of the mice eventually started taking the bait from the unset traps at
last, I set them (figuring most of the mice would be used to them by now)
and caught a couple.
I did some shredding with my nice new tiny cheap paper shredder. It's
hand-operated rather than motorised, and it seems to be pretty good for
the price. Sadly the aperture for the paper is very short, but it'd be
just the thing for shredding those confidential bus tickets. Meanwhile I'm
able to simply tear or fold things into strips of the appropriate width
first, and it takes them fine, even card. And the feeling of the shredding
is surprisingly satisfying - when I finished shredding my heap of paper, I
just wanted to do more! It's like paper-munching CRACK!! Although I could do
without the paper-dust that floats out when I empty the thing out. Yeah, I
do need to get out more, but I needed to clear away some stuff so it's good.
I also happened to go looking on the net for the band I really liked
as a teenager, Carter USM, and
discovered various neat things.
Whilst listening to their cover of Panic (by The Smiths), I read some
very very very interesting (snail-)mail. I'm not certain if I'm legally
obliged to keep it confidential, so I'll err on the side of caution and
assume so, as I've heard that about some related things, but I can say
that it's potentially rather good from my POV. Then there were also
the various crappy things, and probably other things I forgot. I should
email people tomorrow, as I've been neglecting to do so, but it's really
late now. Hi to Ken and Alex and whoever else reads my page :)
Wednesday 1st June 2005
FINALLY gave up a few days ago on getting most of the important utilities
done for the synth, decided to just prepare it for distribution, sort out
a webpage and upload it, to here. I'm
now going to take some time away from that for I-don't-know how long,
because I want to do numerous other things instead. It was good for a bit
but I want a break before I can be bothered working on it any further. I
might do some work on Porrog again, or make those long-needed changes to
MMSS at last. Oh, and now I need to register it at Freshmeat.net too.
[later: Freshmeat.net submission went smoothly, link is on the page for
anyone who wants to subscribe for news of further releases]
Saturday 21st May 2005
No, that didn't happen either. Perl turned out to be unusable for the job
I put it to, and I wound up driving myself mad until I decided to start
again coding most of those tools in C (like the rest of the synth).
I also did some work running some tests to find out about programming
for the CGI support that Angelfire has (for paid accounts). That went
similarly badly, it seems like the fairly important "flock" (file-locking)
command doesn't work on it, probably due to using NFS or similar (I'm
guessing they do, at least).
It's apparently possible to get a file-locking operation that also works
across NFS etc with the "fcntl" (file-control) command, but the parameters
for that are supposed to be system-dependent. I'd probably have to do either
some guesswork or some detective work. I don't really want to be mucking
about like that on some wild goose chase when I want to get a vaguely
useable version of my synth up, and numerous other things, grrr...
And utterly unrelated, just when I thought the world couldn't get much
weirder, I started getting spam in Latin. Hmm. Furthermore, my Latin is
quite rusty it seems. Oh! And now here's a Nigerian Scam email. How quaint!
Thursday 12th May 2005
Meant to upload the synth around Sunday (gone) but was unhappy with the
state of it. Main thing it needed was way of dealing with the grotty file
format, meaning it was almost impossible to do anything with it beyond the
odd random bleeping. Finally decided that rather than making a full-fledged
tracker-type program to do the converting, I'd just make some small Perl
scripts to do very primitive manipulation of the files, in order to get
something "out the door" first. First off I got something to convert yet
another bespoke file format into it, and now have
this test tune for you to laugh at.
Yes, the time is a bit off on it, but I couldn't quite figure it out.
Have fun! I'll probably upload the synth itself (such as it is) in the
next 2 or 3 days, and not worry about having anything very user-friendly
to test it with.
Friday 6th May 2005
Well well. We had an election. I voted even though it wasn't likely to make
any difference (the results still send a message, regardless of who wins).
Tony Blair continues to run the country, but with far less authority than
before. The Lib-Dems OTOH have the most seats in parliament they've had in
about 50 years. The new postal voting system is still a cause for concern
Back in my tiny little world, my synth is close to being worth uploading
(it has oodles of bugs, can only output to .WAV files, the library it
uses for that can't be cross-compiled for Windows, and the parser is
incredibly opaque... but it sort of works) so I'll probably put up an
early version some time next week at a guess. Alex has yet more cool stuff
on his site, still largely
monkey-oriented so far but apparently due to change; I'm glad to see he
recognised the inherent value of the monkey cannon, it is simply the
triumph of good old fashioned common sense over stuff.
The recent falling-over of my hit counter helped me notice when a load
of traffic came my way from another port of my old
SDL-Toms game to a console. This
latest port has source code, so it's fine by me.
other one didn't, but the X-Box porting community seems to shroud itself in
secrecy or whatever, to the extent that I really can't tell whether they
made the source available somewhere or not. *shrug*. I do
appreciate being credited by both versions at any rate, and feel happy that
further people are presumably enjoying my game :) (edit next day:
actually found a site that had the source for the X-box version, so it's
cool after all. Not sure why it didn't seem to be shown on any of the pages
that showed up in my logs though)
Other than that, we have mice running all over the house and ignoring
the numerous mousetraps we've set out, I gave myself a blood-blister
from playing my bass a bit too hard, and I found more about that old
lo-fi game creation system "Megazeux", to the extent that I actually found
a copy that I got to run on my machine this time. Will linky-linky soon.
Have put small note in the box for my hit counter to explain the low
figures, but it won't show in most pages until I update them all, bleh.
Friday 29th April 2005
So, I go to the site to use my links (because I haven't bookmarked some
of the sites I link, and because my bookmarks are sloooow to navigate), and
I suddenly see....
...My GoStats.com hit counter, which has been timing out on its
connections a lot recently, suddenly reads "3", and the display style has
reverted to the default. Last time I checked (a day or 2 ago), it was
along the lines of 9960 or thereabouts. The reset seems to have happened
somewhere within the past 24 hours. All referer info from before those 3
hits have been lost.
This will not do, I am not a happy bunny. Yes, the counter has an option
to set the value to any number you wish, but that seems like cheating
in some absurd way, even though that makes it sound like some stupid race
to get the highest number possible (when people come here searching for
things that I don't have on the site, I'm sorry that they've wasted
their time). How very annoying.
ISTR Angelfire have counter stuff anyway, I'm not sure how much hassle
it would be to change to that instead. GoStats have been rather flaky in
the time I've used them, large stretches of stats have got eaten
every so often. Seems from the support forums that one specific machine that
hosted some proportion of the counters (including mine) had regular
problems, and they lost the data in the course of fixing it. Presumably
any users with counters on a different machine would be ok.
Monday 25th April 2005(morning, before bed)
It is (still) International Sad Monkey Day over on Alex's Site, plausibly as a reaction to
the excessive wrangling he had to go through to make it all work after
he put up some new stuff last week. Go now, and get yo'self some spanky
Oh, and I am glad I've been using the approach of using my links page(s) as
intermediaries when referring to my friends' sites etc, as Alex has been
contemplating getting a different webhost; so if he does, I'd only need
to change the one reference in my links page! Alternatively, if MMSS ever
gets much more work done on it, I could put in some code to parse macros
to refer to friends sites, that would use a little database (well, a text
file really) to extract the URLs for them, which would be quite a bit
better really :) Now, I must go to sleep.
Monday 11th April 2005
Sort of sorted out my sleep a couple of weeks ago now; am waking at a
pretty constant time, and am getting 6 to 8 hours sleep a night most nights.
Had been thinking I'd probably have sleep debt still, but it seems
not to be the case. Started work on a small (software-based) chiptune
style synthesizer a week or so ago, as I've been itching to do for some
months. Still incomplete sadly, but some parts work fairly well and the
general design is there. Hope to have that uploaded soon.
Also got a cheap 2nd hand graphics tablet from an auction, figuring
I might be able to reverse engineer the protocol well enough to make
a primitive driver of sorts for Linux (such that other people might be able
to help make a proper driver). Unfortunately, just about the only
thing that seems to be good for this job is the "libUSB" library, whose
documentation is so terrible it makes the GTK docs look good. You should
see the number of questions that get asked in the mailing list for it, it's
As I've little
(read: "no") experience with things like writing drivers, it's kind of
offputting to say the least. I figure if I try, I should be able to work
out the unexplained parts of the library by a combination of trial-and-error,
reading the headers, and copy-and-pasting bits of source code, but I really
shouldn't have to. There's similar problems with the ALSA sound libraries,
which I'll need for my synth to play stuff (rather than writing WAV files
to disk), but they don't seem even half as bad since I eventually found the
API docs hidden away somewhere on their site.
Nonsense like this makes me want to buy a Mac (I bet
Steve Bloody Jobs doesn't tell people "Hey, we did all this work making the
software, why don't you document it for us, even though you don't
know how it works in the first place?").
Also got a LiveJournal account at last, to distinguish myself from other
anonymous commenters there, some of whom have been getting up people's noses
left right and centre without even identifying themselves.
Thursday 24th March 2005
Well firstly, I was proven right rather unfortunately, by not being
quite tired enough to sleep more than an hour. So today I'm shattered
again and have been dropping off slightly at various times through the late
afternoon and evening (right when I shouldn't be) whenever I'm not
sufficiently stimulated (good music isn't enough sadly, I have to be
doing stuff to keep reasonably alert). I seem to have had something
along the lines of "hypnagogic hallucinations", whereby I've dreamed stuff
whilst sort of still awake. I plan on trying for an earlier night
tonight, as I might be tired enough to sleep reasonably long.
And also, because we got a new oral thermometer at last, with which I've
been tracking my temperature every half hour since lunchtime. It stayed
around 36.0C for all of the afternoon (other than a short and unsurprising
blip after I ate some hot soup), but seems to have started to rise since
about 7ish. As 36 is supposed to be on the low side of human temperatures,
I'd imagine that'd be the low part of my daily cycle... except that whenever
I'm sleep deprived, I usually get very cold anyway :P
So I'll keep charting it probably until tomorrow at the least, in case
today's results are too perverse. But if this chart is representative of
my actual temperature cycle, then that gives me a good idea of which way
to try to push it to get back to sanity :) *crosses fingers*
Wednesday 23rd March 2005
Well I managed to sleep for almost 10 hours last night, so though I'm
still tired, I'm not half as bad as I have been. Still don't know
where my daily temperature cycle is at, so it's plausible that as soon as
I've paid back my sleep debt, I'll just wind up unable to sleep again :P
Last night I mucked about doing that little experiment where you make
a battery out of coins, tissues and lemon juice (I also tried salt water,
which seems to work a little better, and using tinfoil for half
of the electrodes seems to be like 20 times more effective...). Quite
entertaining for an evening, and got me fairly awake for a few hours,
which was nice. Couldn't do much with it sadly.
Today I was musing over how I'd been putting off working further on MMSS for way too long due to various design
issues with it, and I promptly managed to come up with an approach that
seemed satisfactory. Hooray! Now the matter of coding it up remains, and
I'm pretty sure I'm in no condition to do that ATM :(
Monday 21st March 2005
Words cannot express how bloody tired I am, I have spent the past week or
so basically unable to sleep properly. Last night I got about 7 or 8 hours,
which would ordinarily be just right except that that's the most I've
had all week, and I have an insane level of sleep debt built up. The
previous nights I've had more like 3 or 4 hours, or none. I feel like
A day or so ago it occurred to me that I ought to find our old
oral thermometer to try to graph my body temperature cycle thing (which
is the main thing that determines when your body wants to sleep and wake,
and it's absolutely the thing stopping my sleep- it must have got knocked
out of sync by staying up far too long a few days before this started, and
I didn't realise it couldn't move back that fast), and then I found that
nobody had any idea where the damn thing was. You'd suppose it
might be in the medicine cabinet, wouldn't you?! Nooooo...
So as a result I have no idea where aforementoined temperature cycle
thing is and which direction it's trying to move and how I can help it
get there quicker (sunlight is supposed to move it one way or the other,
depending on when you are exposed to it). It leaves me feeling like I'm
going to wind up with chronic insomnia from not being able to get
everything back in order again. I've been having troubles with my sleep
patterns for years, and I don't think I've had them this bad
before. ARgh. So anyway, I haven't really done any of those things I'd
wanted to do.
update, moments after uploading this
It occurred to me that some people might think I sound whiny complaining
that I only got 8 hours and am still incredibly tired. To clarify, last
time anything like this happened, I was visiting family, and didn't sleep
well. AFAIR I got quite a bit more sleep than I have this time, and the
night I got home, I slept for 20 hours. That put things in
perspective? I also noticed I haven't been eating much, like maybe 1 or
2 meals a day only. That's not really deliberate. I've heard it said that
when you eat less, you need less sleep, but I don't know if I'm sleeping
less because I'm eating less, or eating less because I'm not sleeping
enough. Unfortunately I'm too tired to make much sense of it, duh.
Monday 14th March 2005
Email got fixed pretty soon after discussing the problem with the tech
support people, but I've still not replied to some outstanding emails. Damn.
Am tired tonight, but still feeling restless as usual. Ought to make various
fixes to the site but that'll have to wait for another time as I'm really
not up to it -forgot what day it was (what month even) when making this entry.
Still not done the MMSS front-end,
I've not found the time somehow. Still found time to play a few Flash games
and muse over random ideas though. OTOH have recently applied myself to
finding out more about doing the CGI for this site, which would be pretty
important. Have also investigated an unusual programming language called
Icon, would like to try coding
some stuff with it because it seems really useful. It's pretty old now, but
isn't well known, perhaps because it doesn't follow the latest fads.
Note: the "turn something over to remember something" trick is pretty
good, but it seems like it only works for remembering one thing, or maybe
one thing per item. Possibly it helps if you use a different item each
time? I've been using it for a couple of weeks when things have occurred to
me at bedtime, but then last night I flipped over the placemat (whatever
the things you put cups of tea on are called) on the bookcase by my bed,
in order to remember two things when I woke up. When I woke up and
saw it, all I could remember was "remember to note down those ideas about
genetic algorithms, and some other thing....". Perhaps I should tie knots
in my socks to increase my storage capacity.
Monday 31st January 2005
Happy new Teh year! BUT...
I owe various people EMAILS from the past week or so, and I have found
my email account mysteriously b0rken such that I CANNOT send any
of my email X(
If you're one of those people who sent me an email, who might quite
reasonably have expected to maybe see an email back from me, sorry. I'm
asking tech support why the crap their mail servers aren't authenticating
me all of a sudden. I haven't changed anything at my end. Perhaps
I'll be able to get back to people soonish. *mutter mutter*.
Hmm, what else is new... Ooh! New series of
Look Around You
started tonight! I managed to get the TV card working again in time to
only miss the first few minutes, and tape the rest (my VCR does still work).
There's other stuff, like I'm sort of on the verge of having the new
version of MMSS finished. Except I need to write things for the front-end,
which has been holding me up. If I can get that done, maybe I'll wind up
updating this site a bit more often, and might remember other more interesting
bits of news. Supposing I have any. *sigh*
Tuesday 10th August 2004
Many cool things to mention:
Unfortunately I'm still stuck here helping to do work on the house, when
I want to be MOVING OUT :( Oh well, it shouldn't be forever...
- Alex managed to get in touch with our old mate Ken (or perhaps it was
the other way round, I wasn't clear because I only found out a few mails
into the conversation...)! Ken seems to be doing fairly well :)
- I FINALLY got Version 0.06 of Porrog released!!! There's
finally a Windows version, and OSX users can use a precompiled binary rather
than having to compile it themselves!
Now I can make a start on the various bits of code I was putting off
(because I'd already done a ton of work on it and wanted to release something
after A WHOLE YEAR of silence!!!).
- My good friend Sara Stewart has the
website up for her technical writing business! Unfortunately she's now away
meeting new clients so I won't be hearing from her for a short while.
- I discovered the brilliant Wevie
Stonder! Great stuff :)
- Um... there was probably something else. Oh well.
Thursday 15th July 2004
Wow, it's been ages since I updated the news page... that's because
I've still not got around to finishing the Perl version of MMSS, so
the site's hard to maintain nowadays. Bleh. Anyway, current news is:
And there's a whole load of other stuff, some of which I don't much want
to talk about, and some which I merely can't be bothered to. So there.
- Alex is starting on his site, hooray!
- Somebody has apparently gone and ported my game SDL-Toms to the X-Box,
but I'm damned if I know where he (or she) has proper information
on the port, or the source code that is a legal requirement of distributing
binaries of works derived from software licensed under the GPL (it means
I give you access to what you need to be able to do the thing in
the first place. In return, you are expected to accept the responsibilities
that come with it)(NB:found it months later, didn't want to let my
mistake go uncorrected). I asked my old mate Laurent to have a look (because
he's got an X-Box) but he's not got back to me on it yet. *sigh*
- A new version of Porrog may well
be released soon. Possibly. I've been doing a lot of coding with it
recently, and there've been numerous
improvements, including a (preliminary) Windows port! More news on the
Friday 30th April 2004
Having finished the parts of MMSS that
fill in the navigation bar automatically (rather than needing the user
to fill out a bunch of cryptic macros for each single one), I found that
yes, it did work correctly, but where the old version took maybe half a
second for each (real, like for this site) page, the new version took
about 5 seconds, for a very very very basic test page.
To put that in perspective, this page here is currently around 26K
of HTML, whereas the test page ended up as about 4K. I do not consider
that an improvement. In functionality and ease of use,
perhaps- but any time that something changed that had a global effect on
the site, that'd be rather a lot of pages to churn out...
As such, I'm releasing version 0.06 now, purely for archival purposes,
and am starting work on version 0.07, which (unless I change my mind) will
be mostly done in Perl, saving m4 for much simpler macro expansion,
as it clearly isn't up to much. If you want to use MMSS, I recommend you
do not use version 0.06. Or 0.05, for that matter, as that's so
Friday 23rd April 2004
OK, so rather than a day or 2 to write the list-processing code that
MMSS needed for the overhaul, it took more like a week :D But I wasn't
spending all that time on it, actually. Anyways, that's done
and I can get on with the more interesting parts of the overhaul.
That'd be followed by, er, changing all the pages of the site over!!
At least when that's done, it should be in a form that can be
easily converted to any other formats I might choose. That initial
version of MMSS was quite a bit of a hack. At least it's becoming
less so now. :)
Unfortunately, I now need some SLEep.
Thursday 15th April 2004
Wow, I haven't updated the site in aaages. I keep meaning to, but...
Anyways, I've got a bit of a pretext to all of a sudden, as I just got
an email from one of the other Tombles!
As such, I'm now updating my
Tomble page to reflect new information!
In other news, I finally got my provisional driving licence, and
one of my Hawthorns has mildew. Hooray! Oh, and I might get around to
adding some of my doodles to the graphics section soon; first I plan on
sorting out a new version of MMSS to be
a tad less clunky though. That'll maybe take a day or 2, I think.
Whilst I'm at it, I could do with some little graphics to split up all
this text- it's getting rather austere frankly.
Saturday 28th February 2004
Woohoo! Within the past day or so, the site has passed the magic
1000 hits mark. Well, OK it actually would have done that maybe a
month or so ago, but the hit counter got reset back in October
(IIRC there was a crash or a break-in or summat). And yeah, it doesn't
actually mean anything whatsoever. But it sounds vaguely cool, and I
get an extra digit on the counter!!
Hmm, I've not done much to the site for a bit. I'm putting up a couple
more links now, and have been doing some work on Porrog recently so
hopefully there might be a new version in a few weeks or so (there's
difficult stuff!). I'm also contemplating writing a Jabber IM client,
but this is liable to be difficult (OTOH, the Jabber creators say one
of the points of the design is to make the clients simple).
I'm also pondering how to change MMSS
to get these news pages to automatically spread the individual news
items across several pages (ideally, with most of the items in the
archive page, so the front page is smaller). Oh yeah, and I'd
like to do something to deal with the silly proportion of hits I've
been getting from people thinking the content of the site is somehow
related to the name (why would they think that?!); some sort
of explanation in the "about" section, perhaps. The people would still
end up visiting the site, but hopefully would be able to realise
sooner that it is not what they're looking for. That's fair, no?
Tuesday 10th February 2004
Look ma, no adverts! No tag-board either. But now I've got a paid
account here at Angelfire, I can use CGI, so I can either install
somebody else's chat/tagboard/forum script (which I probably will at
first), or I can write my own! I'm working on it. The most difficult
part AFAICT is working out file-locking and contention - if the board
gets really really busy, people might either find "please try again"
messages (where the scripts find the files locked), or things will
fall over (where the locking quietly failed). In the meantime, I'll
look for something simple to put up.
Sunday 8th February 2004
Well, I've pretty much stopped my slashdot.org activity, switching
off Journal Entry notification messages, so when anyone else writes
one, I won't hear about it. I still get to see when someone replies
to me though, and am still reading slashdot a bit. But I really
needed to free up a lot of time for myself.
So, I set to getting one of them tagboard things installed. Except I
didn't. Having finally decided on one, I got through to the paypal
payment thing, and after being mucked about for some time, was
finally told something about exceeding payment limits, and that
I had to do such and such before they would allow more payments.
This would apparently involve putting a small extra charge on
my (already very low) bank balance, and me then waiting for my
next bank statement for some stupid code before they would
allow it... Er, forget that! As I didn't want to get the sort of
commenting system that some bunch of lamers could crapflood, or that
I couldn't remove offensive comments from, I didn't fancy the basic
unpaid version. I went back to looking at the others.
OK, so I wasn't so impressed by them, either. I wondered about
commenting systems that weren't tagboards or shoutboxes, etc. Most
of these seemed aimed at bloggers (I don't really count myself
as one, even if I am, er, logging things on the web), required
blogging software, and in most cases weren't remotely hosted. I
pondered some of the remotely hosted CGI scripts. Then I wondered
what angelfire themselves supplied- I remembered they had a small
set of CGI scripts you could install on your pages... So I went
back to the Angelfire help pages, that I hadn't looked at for about
Oh. Angelfire let you run your own CGI scripts? I wish I'd
payed more attention to that. Perhaps this is a new thing, or
I'd thought it was for the paid customers only. Hmm, perhaps it is,
I'll have to check... . . . Yup, turns out it is for the
paid accounts, but looks like they've got some relatively cheap
If we don't count the $10 setup fee, it's pretty
cheap at $4.95 per month. If we do count the 10 dollar setup fee, it's
still pretty cheap.
If we count the exchange rate, it's extremely cheap!
Hmm, £8 or so total to start, then about £3 a month after... Could
be worse... Much more expensive than the various tagboard services
(who charge yearly and had no setup fee I could see), but at the
same time, I'd be able to ditch the stupid adverts Angelfire sticks
up there. And get a bit more bandwidth. And I could do a better job
than those tagboards, because I know what I want from one
(eg: distinct registered users, plus guests). Ooh, it's tempting,
and I have been wanting to lose the adverts. I might just do it.
Oh CACK. In the course of writing this, I have just realised that I
left my wallet (with my bank cards in it) worryingly close to my
big amp. My big amp that is almost as big as me. I soooo
hope that it wasn't too close... At least the magnets of those
15" speakes are relatively far from the sides of the cabinet, so I
might have got away with it, fingers crossed.
Tuesday 3rd February 2004
I converted all the site to fully use the
The moment of truth... Is Duologue now mucked up beyond belief? Has
Tomble rendered his website unviewable?
Only time will tell. Oh yeah,
and my browser once I upload it all. Of course, if you're reading
this, then presumably it worked. But if you see anything bizarre
(except for on the pages of "spam poison"), then please let me know!
Sunday 1st February 2004
Important site notice!!
If you've been bored enough to have been reading this from the start,
you will have noticed me say how I've been creating my own simple
programs to generate this site. It dawned on me recently that as I
hadn't seen many packages like it (or at least noticed many),
and I had wanted one, maybe other people would find it either useful
or interesting or something.
So having got the package able to do
almost everything I want it to for my site, I'm working on
making it more generic for others to be able to use it, and I'm
going to make a page for it in the software section here. In a
few days or so, I should upload it there, in the meantime I'll put
some sort of a blurb or whathaveyou.
But more importantly, I've implemented one of the biggest changes
to the package (I'm calling it mmss:
Make My Static Site), and
having tested the new version with some example files, think it's
ready to move my actual pages over to using that. So? So if you
look in the next day or 2 and see some big 404 error, or
all my pages are upside-down or something, you'll know that I
didn't get it quite right! I'm pretty sure I have though.
Tuesday late night
Despite possibilities of things going bang, I'm currently using the TV
card to watch the late episode of "I'm a Celebrity.." because I'm
getting bored. I'm synchronizing my disks every so often
just in case, and not doing anything too heavy with the machine.
As for the program, John Lydon is being very cool, well, after he
eventually woke up. I was kind of expecting him to go picking a
fight with everybody. OK, he was sort of a bit bolshy with the
program makers out of general mischeiviousness, but he seemed to
be getting on great with the other contestants. In fact, they all
seemed to be being quite cool. The main thing that spoils it is how
70% of the program has the sound cut. At the start, they cited
"legal reasons", but I think much of it is just from being on ITV.
Even though it's been on since midnight! <rolls eyes skywards>
Tuesday 27th January 2004
Riiight. At this point I'm going to make an effort to log something
that is not about this site or its overall lack of readers (really,
the situation could be much worse). What excitement have I got in store?
Last week, my TV started screwing up. Well, actually, I suppose
it's been screwing up for a couple of years now, it's quite old,
and it's taken some "damage" in the past. Every now and again I would
suddenly notice the screen flash bright red for a moment. As I keep
it tuned to the VCR (which has a remote whereas the TV's is lost/broken),
I couldn't quite tell which was doing it, and it would be over so
quickly I couldn't do anything to work it out (like change channels
on the TV itself). It would happen so rarely, I didn't really worry
myself too much about it, other than the suspicion it could
be a sign of something more serious.
Well last week, it happened, and it STAYED red,
showing no signs of changing back again. I tried switching the
TV off, and waiting a bit- it came back fine. Then, some time later,
how long, it happened again. Switched off and on, came back
OK. After a while of this, I found it would turn red after maybe a
minute, and then after a second of redness, turned itself off.
At this point, it just didn't seem worth trying to turn the damned
thing on again. So as far as I'm concerned, the thing is
effectively knackered. This only about a month or so since my
big expensive monitor toasted itself (I'm using a horrible old 14"
monitor as I write this).
Luckily, there's my TV card. As in "thing you plug into computer
to watch/record TV with". Long ago, I was having terrible problems
with it completely locking up my computer (which was otherwise very
very stable), but then I eventually managed to
diagnose and fix the problem. So since then, I've been able to watch TV
through it quite comfortably. Then within the past month, I installed
the nice new 2.6 kernel (if you
somehow don't know what Linux is yet, don't ask me, ask someone else).
It had some teething troubles, so when the newer version of it came
out later, I started compiling that, and also tried compiling it
with different settings. At one point, I was watching TV with the
TV card with the window resized to fill most of the screen, whilst
compiling the new kernel, and...
"Hmm, the picture's stopped."
Sure enough, it had gone and locked the system up again. NB: anybody
wondering if it might have just been the display locked up, no- I
have a little text terminal plugged into the serial port (remember
those?) that would have still worked if that were the case.
So, no TV and no TV card means I haven't seen much TV. Duh. And
here is a list of some of the things I am/will be annoyed to miss
Trying to put things in a positive light, at least I might get a bit
more done. Hmmph. Not that I've got that much done the past
- All week: I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!"
- Whenever: The weather forecasts - it's getting bad here, so
this is quite important right now. Plus I won't get to see any more of
the lovely Andrea McLean. NOOOOOOO!
- Last Night: Coupling - yes, repeats, but still funny
- Tuesday 7.30: Rough Science - Admittedly, I think I've
missed most of the current series anyway, but mostly because it's
on at a funny time.
- Tuesday 11.15: Revolver - strange sketch show featuring
various comedians you thought you'd never see again. Quite funny.
- Tuesday 12.40: Monkey - the nature of Monkey was irrepressible!
And in recent episodes (OK, so they're all ancient, but you know
what I mean), the nature of Pigsy was strangely unfamiliar. When did
Mickey Dolenz stop playing him?
- Thursday 9.00: Horizon- Secrets of the Star Disc - documentary
about a little metal disc whose discovery in a German Bronze Age tomb
suggests the history of European civilisation as we know it could be
- Thursday 10.00: Father Ted - Nooo! Well, I've seen it before,
at least. Probably several times now.
- Thursday 10.30: For the Benefit of Mr Parris, Revisited -
looking back at how then Tory MP Matthew Parris (now a Good Bloke (TM))
tried to live on the dole for a week for a documentary 20 years ago,
how this changed some of his views, and what happened to the community
he lived in for the week since then.
- Thursday 10.35: Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - don't know much
about this, but sounds cool and funny. OTOH I wouldn't have been
able to watch both this and the documentary about Matthew Parris
(OK, I'd probably watch this).
- Friday 11.45: Banzai - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! A new series, too. :(
- Friday 1.10, and 1.35: Futurama - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
And apparently these aren't repeats :(.
Monday 26th January 2004
After finding the other night that John
Grantham (who I've known through Slashdot for... about a year by
now) had been responsible for something I see and use every single day,
which I should have known had I looked more closely at his website
before, it made me think that maybe my earlier comments (though I
was mostly only joking) were perhaps a little hypocritical,
and if anybody took them seriously then sorry (and you should have
looked more closely, really).
I don't imagine I am going to get any comments about the site
any more, unless you count the bloke on the Dillo mailing list who
said he hated sites like mine because they block images from browsers
that don't send referer tags, but I think he was referring to Angelfire
there rather than my site in particular (and furthermore, I'd say
he was wrong, as it doesn't any more. I just don't have many
images here!). I think to stand any chance of getting feedback, I'll
have to set up that tag board thing. I just still don't know enough
to make a decision, and don't want to pick one that can get
crapflooded easily :(
(update): <idly browsing through the logs> Hmm,
umn.edu, that sounds familiar... who would that be... Aha! Some
Woman, if that was you, then hello! Alternatively, if it was some
other person from umn.edu (don't think I know any), then, er, hello
too! And hello to all my other readers- I mean you now! ;)
Whoever you are, thanks for visiting, and if you happen to have any
info on the various tag-boards, shout-boxes, etc available, I could
really do with it ASAP (if my /. Journal is archived by the
time you try to post, you could email me, if you can find and interpret
my address on this site).
Sunday 25th January 2004
I'm putting up my first Rant today in the Rantage section! Hooray!
OK, I'm actually just moving an out-of-place rant from another
section- but it's still a rant! I've also got around to converting
the Graphics section to the new format, so there's not much more
tidying up left to do! Yay me!
It has also come to my attention, that despite my big list of so called
Slashdot "friends", I seem to have had a sum total of 4 hits on
my hit counter coming from links on Slashdot, only 2 of those were
from my Journal earlier this week,
where I clearly stated "comments are welcome", and received,
let me see... none so far. Huh! Yeah, I know, it's not been very long,
but considering how quickly everybody on /. usually
responds to things, this is like the equivalent of several years!
Hey, I'm not bitter...
Conversely, I've had at least
2 hits so far from people reading my post from just last night in the
Dillo mailing list archive- several more if you count the ones without
any browser details or referal info (the Dillo browser's like that)-
and they don't even know me! Hmm, perhaps that's the reason?
NB- all this is said somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I'm not
really bad-mouthing people. It's not like my life depends on it or
anything, it's just a cheesy little website, but hey, is it really so
Of course, if you're one of my /. friends, then
obviously you are wonderful for looking. Especially if you look
a bit further and then leave a comment in the Journal (in time,
the feedback section will be available for this sort of thing, and for
random hellos, etc).
BTW, in other other news, I'm glad to hear just now that after the
scumbags responsible for the "FloodMT" crapflooding script (that has
been used against many of my aforementioned /. friends in the
past) briefly popped their heads up again on a new site, they have been
thoroughly DDoSed. Hahahaha. Read a little more about it
That makes me smile.
Wednesday 21st January 2004
Made some fixes to some of the pages, and uploaded some "spam poison"
here and there (to upset spammers' email-address harvesting robots).
It took a bit of looking to find any programs that simply produced it
as static HTML to serve (rather than CGI programs to run on a
webserver, which I can't use). I must remember to put a link to some
of these programs on the links page.
I also had a glance at my stats page, seems somebody
from /. has already looked here, and I haven't even announced it
in my Slashdot Journal yet. Yes, obviously it's because I've finally
set this as my homepage in my user settings there, but hey, that was
Tuesday 20th January 2004
Having received the OK to use the layout from their splash screen from
the Dillo developers, I set about to finish converting (most of) my old
pages, fix the last glitches in my m4 macros, and make stub pages for
stuff I've not yet done.
And now... I have uploaded it! The shiny new reupholstered Duologue
is here! Hooray! Meh, OK, so it's not actually that big a deal. Still,
I'm pretty happy about it. I should at least feel a little
less embarrased about giving people my web address now :P
Saturday 17th January 2004
Finished most of my set of m4 macros to generate these pages.
Will probably tidy them up a bit as time goes by, but so far they should