Friday, 26 December 2003

Happy Christmas

A very happy Christmas to you, one and all! It's that time of year again, eating too much, watching too much TV, drinking far too much and thinking about those unkeepable promises that you are going to make in a couple of days.

Saturday, 20 December 2003

Finally got around to uploading the photos from the Spanswick Family Christmas Gathering 2003. I'd completely forgotten the set until the missus reminded me while we were going through some of the other sets yesterday... dolt!

Edit: changed the URL to the new Flickr one.

Friday, 19 December 2003

Hartley's Christmas Party 2003

More pictures for the collection. An excellent evening spent in the company of Vicky's work colleagues and a couple of bottles of Rioja -- mmmmm.

Edit: specific link now defunct - removed.

Thursday, 27 November 2003

Armed and Dangerous

Eric Raymond has moved his Armed and Dangerous Blog to a new address -- update your bookmarks. More amazingly, he appears to have finished his book, The Art of UNIX Programming, and come out of Blog-bernation...

Mr and Mrs Smith

What is the fucking point of a web site like Mr and Mrs Smith, if you haven't actually got the Flash plugin that is. I mean not even a skip this link, not even a sorry were snobs banner, not even a blurb about upgrading my browser - like a browser built on the 30th of October 2003 isn't quite cutting edge enough?

Please this is supposed to be the World Wide Web, not the fucking World Wide Macromedia Flash Plugin!

Monday, 6 October 2003

Precious Moments outfits

Precious Moments outfits
Precious Moments outfits
Originally uploaded by REALJimBob.

Photo of my and the missus in our outfits...

On the plus side, the event did raise 10k for the charity which can only be a good thing...

An interesting weekend. I was 'promised' a fun evening at my wife's school reunion, which on arrival turned out to be a fundraising social for the Derian House Children's Hospice. Of about 300ish people there (32 tables of between 8 and 10 people) only about 80 were actually either old school chums or their partners or friends, so it wasn't really the huge reunion that I was fearing... still I knew nobody, managed to splash the starter over the hired outfit and couldn't get totally smashed as I was driving back to the outlaws afterwards.

Thursday, 25 September 2003

Les Triplettes de Belleville

Went to see Les Triplettes de Belleville last night with a friend from work. We went because the film is nominally about cycling -- a cyclist in the Tour de France is kidnapped by the French Mafia, but instead we were treated to possibly the wittiest, most entertaining and most charming film we had ever seen in our lives. We were both laughing out loud throughout the entire film, where there are so many funny little touches, little digs at American and French culture (and at French cars), it is impossible not to love this film. Don't let the fact that it is listed as a French language film with no subtitles put you off, between the two of us we probably had about four words of French (and most of those were rude), there is so little dialogue in the film that you won't miss a beat...

Find out where you can see this film as soon as possible and then go and see it, you will not regret the 80 minutes of your life spent in this quirky little French world.

Monday, 22 September 2003

I'm the 43,187,565 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>

It's so overcomplicated... not satisfied with an email conversation with me (I'm either a 'real' person or a damm clever AI), they are going to phone me this afternoon - what will that prove over and above the email - unless I'm a damm clever AI with a voice processor...

Sunday, 21 September 2003

Why do they have to make tax returns such complete fun... I mean, they've already deducted the bloody tax before I even get to see any of the money, why do they then have to rub my face in it by forcing me to spend hours of my life researching and completing an enormous form just to tell them how much tax they've already bloody well had off me!!!!

It really really really sucks! Another part of my life to add to the list!

Internet purchasing just isn't there yet is it? I walk into any shop on the high street and I can pick up any item and, subject to the limit on my credit card, I can buy it there and then and take it home. No intrusive questions, no need to validate that I'm a 'real' person (what does a 'fake' person even look like).

I order something off the Internet however and it's a whole different story... It's only $25 for crying out loud, but they want to know my address (why, are they going to ftp the software through my letterbox?), my home telephone number (yeah right - they can make do with the office number), and an email address - this is the only part I can even understand, I mean obviously they have to email me the confirmation and a link to the every so secret location to download the frigging software. Not a problem, fire up Sneakemail and create a new address just for them (I can always delete it if/when they sell it).

But no, this isn't good enough, they have the cheek to email me asking if I have "an additional email address", as apparently free ones are "conduits for fraud". I thought the whole point of the VISA system was that VISA carried the can for fraud and not the individual or the vendor...

If it takes too long, I feel a cancellation coming on...

Saturday, 20 September 2003

Back again (again)

A relaxing week on the Algarve staying at the Four Seasons resort in Quinta do Largo - I'm sure it would be heaven if I actually played golf... Took over a hundred photos, some of which are borderline close to publishable.

Other than that, the same old same old I guess...

Thursday, 17 July 2003

People with thin skins shouldn't throw stones, or something like that anyway... People should know how to take their own damm medicine.

Tuesday, 1 July 2003

Yay... Mozilla 1.4 hits the shelves. Download your copy now while their still warm.

Sunday, 29 June 2003

Well, I've sat here surfing for long enough -- time for a shower and then I can open my pressies... woot!

Irony, use it or lose it. An article in today's online Guardian by Zoe Williams entitled The final irony, where she discusses our over- and miss-use of the word -- something I'm even guilty of myself on occasion. A quite witty piece, and she even, somehow, manages to get away with not beating on Alanis Morissette too much, which would have been too obvious I supose. (Additionally, mentioned and trolled to death over at slashdot).

Although, I just found one good slashdot comment, posted by Jeremy Erwin and taken from the Blackadder episode Amy and Amiability:

Edmund: Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?
Baldrick: Yeah, it's like goldy and bronzy, only it's made of iron.

It even manages to fit correctly with both definitions of the word.

Boooo.... I've been 33 now for just over an hour. I must say, I've found the whole thing rather exhausting - so I'm off to bed...

Saturday, 28 June 2003

Well, the process to request the return was simple. Fill out a little web form stating the reason for the return and await a call from an engineer... everybody start your clocks.

What are the odds huh? I mean, two motherboards in a row... different models, different suppliers, both totally fscked!

Just boxed the second one up to return to Dabs. After deciding to spend my refund money elsewhere after the disappointing after-sales service of the Overclockers Store, we now get to see how quickly Dabs look after me... Trouble is, I liked the spec of this one even more than the previous model. Gigabit ethernet and 10/100 both on-board plus two free PCI slots, just what the doctor ordered for my little 3-way firewall.

Well, the evening quickly got as out of hand as I'd expected... a midday start at the North Pole pub (no food apparently due to a bereavement) quickly ended up as a 10:30pm session at the City Pride, and then somebody produced some Absinth. Yuk, and I really do mean yuk!, that stuff tastes truely repulsive. I'm not a fan of the aniseed flavours at the best of times but at this point in the evening it wasn't what I wanted. By this time, of course, I'd been drinking for several hours and hadn't eaten anything all day... silly boy.

Friday, 27 June 2003

That time of the year is fast approaching (again)... This sunday (two days from now) I will somehow have aged another whole year. I'm not quite sure where the last one went - one redundancy, three jobs, one near move, one sister's wedding, etc....

This afternoon is the works drinks... I'm not sure if I'll even make it back to the office to be frank, but then I only have one of these per year...

The day itself, is looking to be strangely anti-clamatic. The little lady has left for a weeks spa holiday in Italy this morning leaving me all on my lonesome for the next week, but more importantly, all alone for my birthday. To be fair, this is the first one she's missed in 14 years, but it's still going to be a little weird...

Thursday, 26 June 2003

Whay-hey... I've been migrated... Strange it doesn't feel as uncomfortable as I was expecting...

Monday, 23 June 2003

A blogging sister hits the ether... Added her to the blog roll on the left as well.

Thursday, 29 May 2003

Okay, I guess the lesson is learned... although the hard way is called hard for a reason. Don't try and convert an alter in plain sight of the priestess, she gets pissed and then she kicks your little monk butt!

Goodbye REALJimBob the Monk...

You died in Gnomish Mines on dungeon level 6 with 2278 points,
and 466 pieces of gold, after 2591 moves.
You were level 6 with a maximum of 42 hit points when you died.

2278 REALJimBob-Mon-Hum-Fem-Cha died in Gnomish Mines on level 6.
Killed by a priestess of Shan Lai Ching {2591}. - [42]

Currently listening to John Tavener's Innocence CD. The choral works are very relaxing, with the two William Blake poems sounding especially good.

Wednesday, 28 May 2003

Finally got The Overclocking Store to agree to a refund on my busted SS50 case and motherboard... now I just have to figure out what to do with a 2GHz Celeron, 1GB RAM, a 20GB HD and a CD-ROM...

Purchased Cycling Weekly on impulse today and found the results of the British National 10 mile TT... wow, my little sister made the print. Not an amazing time, 29:09, 6:09 off the lead lady's time, but still a PB apparently. The fiance managed a more respectable 22:02 which was 2:23 off the lead pace. Still, both more impressive than my non-existant times...

Tuesday, 27 May 2003

Good news, good news and more good news, yet strangely I'm still left rather empty...

  • The maxtor, frankly, rocks in a fairly major way. I'm not quite sure how I'm gonna come close to filling 250GB(*), but I intend to have a damm good try...

  • Very good news from a friend...

  • Had an excellent slap-up chinese lunch at the Royal China restaurant down on the riverside today. Myself and two chums from work - good conversation and plenty of food is a combination that is pretty hard to beat.

(*) Currently looking at 10GB of mp3, my entire back catalogue of Digital Blasphemy, full backups of both my laptops, pretty much everything I've ever downloaded and kept, several VMWare virtual machines, full source code archives for all my recent Linux From Scratch endeavours and a whole bunch of unsorted junk. Still barely denting it though.

Saturday, 10 May 2003

And another promising young monk bites the dust... Having fluffed Sokoban on only level two, I was faced with returning to the main dungeon empty handed and low on food. My anger at my stupidity apparently left me foolishly brave in combat and I died before even getting out of Sokoban again... Sheesh!

Goodbye REALJimBob the Monk...

You died in Sokoban on dungeon level 4 with 9328 points,
and 368 pieces of gold, after 6766 moves.
You were level 8 with a maximum of 56 hit points when you died.

9328 REALJimBob-Mon-Hum-Fem-Cha died in Sokoban on level 4 [max 8].
Killed by a Woodland-elf {6766}. - [56]

Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Yay!!! Eric Raymond has returned from his hermitage...

Gotta be the longest darn 3 day delivery in the history of mankind... finally that Maxtor sucker turned up on Wednesday!

STILL haven't had any progress on the Shuttle system, apparently their supplier is just as slow as they are... :-(

And to cap the whole weekend off, not only has the little wife gone away for the weekend leaving me to do whatever I like... but coming home from the pub last night after work I missed my station by two stops. I was on the last train home and no taxis in sight, stupidly I listened to the part of my brain that suggested the walk home wouldn't be too bad really. A couple of hours later and I'm home with two huge blisters on the ball of each foot and an ugly little blood blister on my little toe -- YAK! So I'll have to waste the weekend resting and doing nothing, I can barely walk on the stumps.

Why do I only seem to post when I'm pissed off about something?

Wednesday, 30 April 2003

Man, I'm tired....

On the plus side, my new external 250GB Hard Drive is supposed to be arriving today (Dabs emailed me last night to say it had left them anyway), and The Overclocking Store have admitted that the Shuttle I sent back to them is broken -- the weren't sure exactly how though, "Something to do with the motherboard or BIOS". I was right though, they don't sell the SS50 model anymore, so now I have to wait and see if they can source any left over stock from their distributer or if I just ask for my money back and start thinking again... I really wanted those two PCI slots and the new models only have the one.

Wednesday, 26 March 2003

My first Archeologist came to a skicky end today at the hands of the third Yeti in the group...

Goodbye REALJimBob the Archeologist...

You died in the Dungeons of Doom on dungeon level 8 with 4604 points,
and 808 pieces of gold, after 4394 moves.
You were level 7 with a maximum of 76 hit points when you died.

I'd never really played one before, and frankly they are really boring... or am I missing something here? Normally, I play Monks but I fancied a little variety and let the game pick for me. I could probably have dragged the game out longer but it really wasn't appealing to me anymore and as I was whacking away at the Yeti with my cursed Mattock a part of my brain realised that I wasn't even watching the health levels anymore, next second I died...

Thursday, 20 March 2003

A couple of links from Doc's web site worth a peek: Military promises 'huge numbers' for Gulf War II: The Vengeance, and the latest Get Your War On.

"And so it begins..."
Looks like we are at war... Did I miss the memo where I got to ask why? The hypocrisy, of course, is that while we all bleated about how bad an idea it was our governments just got on with planning it anyway. Now we actually are at war, nobody will want to speak out too much now because 'our boys' are out there...
"The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

We sat down last night and watched Panic Room on DVD. I hadn't seen the film for a couple of months and even then only on a small screen on a plane in economy class... Panic Room is a dark film at the best of times and obviously wasn't well suited to trans-atlantic flight as a display medium, it fared much better in my living room however on my widescreen TV.

It's amazing how much of a good film you can miss at each viewing, and only discover later. The collection of drugs in the mini-fridge as Meg puts Sarah to bed for example. Never noticed those the last time, and as such the whole plot line of Sarah being a diabetic comes as something of a shock. I found I'd remembered things in the wrong order as well. I was convinced that the cops turned up before the husband, and when he did finally arrive I found myself wondering what had happened to the cops. Only when they turned up later on did it click that I'd just remembered the film out of sequence. The biggest thing that I noticed the second time over the first, unfortunately, was the product placement - both Nokia and Evian got a lot of screen time (I'm suprised they weren't on the actor credits), but it seems that that is the way the industry is going and we'll all have to get used to filtering it out.

Sterling performances from Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker, two of my favorite actors, make this a 'watch again' movie...

Wednesday, 19 March 2003

Finally managed to send off my DOA Shuttle SS50 from The Overclocking Store in Sheffield. Very impressed with their delivery, not quite so impressed with their total lack of response to any of my emails to their after-sales support team. Finally got through to somebody on the phone and he agreed to take the sucker back to check it over. Let's see how long that takes - I notice that they aren't selling the SS50 model anymore either on their website (neither are Shuttle themselves either) - ouch... I really wanted the two PCI slots as well and the later models sacrifice one for an AGP slot (unless anybody knows a network card with Linux support that fits in an AGP slot?).

Well, yesterday was officially a total wipe-out... My 9-11am meeting finally finished at half past five in the evening...

Monday, 17 March 2003

Heck, even Robin Cook is off to sign-up - he's quit his government job and off to support our boys... no maybe I read that wrong.

Don't forget folks... War, tomorrow, 3:30pm... pencil it in.

Bruce Schneier's latest Crypto-Gram dropped through my virtual mailbox over the weekend. Firstly, he has a new book out, Practical Cryptography (obviously, anybody stuck for a birthday present for me could do worse than the hardcover edition).

In it, he discusses his views on how the SSL flaws aren't really such a big deal as SSL is kinda fixing a non-problem to begin with...

Even if SSL were irrevocably broken, it wouldn't affect Internet security very much. There are two reasons. One, SSL is almost never used in a secure manner. And two, SSL doesn't solve an important security problem
he goes on to talk about use of SSL to protect personal transactions with websites (credit card purchases etc.)

SSL establishes a secure channel between a client and a server. In order for you, the SSL client, to ensure that the channel is secure, you need to authenticate the server. You can do this by looking at the SSL certificate (your browser allows you to do this) and making sure that the server you have established a secure channel with is the one you want to talk to. My guess is that approximately no one ever does this. I certainly never do it. This means that you are using SSL to establish a secure channel with a random person. Imagine you are sitting in a lightless room with a stranger. You know that your conversation cannot be eavesdropped on. What secrets are you going to tell the stranger? Nothing, because you have no idea who he is. SSL is kind of like that.
Which, of course, is all very true for browser to web conversations. To my mind though, the big win of technologies like SSL is in server to server communications. We have an AA application here were I work (I support it in fact) that has a number of components spread across multiple servers (web servers, and back end application specific servers). Now, we don't know for sure where the web servers are deployed, or indeed who can snoop the traffic between them and our servers, so luckily, the web server compenents speak to the back end servers over SSL links. This use seems much more akin to sitting in a lit room with a trusted friend...

Saturday, 15 March 2003

Copy protected CDs. I always swore to myself that I'd never buy one (why pay for something I can't even bloody use). Accidentally bought one the other week and before I realised the lady wife had disposed of the receipt. Damn!

My mission should I choose to accept it (of course I will), is to copy this CD to mp3 if it's the last thing I ever do. The CD in question is the Foo Fighters - One by One and I'm open to suggestions. When I put the CD into either of my laptops drives all I get is a chunking noise (like the heads are jumping around looking for some information that isn't there) yet it plays just fine in the normal stereo, in the car and even in the DVD player downstairs... Just not on my laptop (which means I can't listen to it on headphones while working).

Currently, I'm going to rip it from an analogue source (ie. a cable from the CD player to the line-in on the laptop) but it's a tedious process - fired only by my anger over getting duped like this, but if anybody has any better suggestions (or even just the mp3s that they've ripped themselves) I'm open to offers.

Pacing and not mixing. These appear to be the two key ingredients in a less painful night out... Don't feel the need to keep up with everybody else and stay the heck away from that demon Champagne!

A good night out though to 'celebrate' K leaving the company. Apart from a number of occasions where she (and others) blubbed like a baby. I suspect we'll miss her.

Monday, 10 March 2003

What's with the double adverts (up there). I mean, I know I don't pay for this hosting, and I assume they rely on the income (which is why I haven't blocked the images in my browser), but come on... before you know it I'll have to page down a couple of times just to see the first header on the page...

Update: I post this and the next refresh it's back down to just the one... sheesh, trying to make me look stoopid or what?

Saturday, 8 March 2003

(re-)discovered a cool little tag, now of course I actually have some HTML to try it out on... ;-)

Information overload..... after a few days off the newsgroups, thought I'd sit down and try and catch up.

Email - no problem, checked from work yesterday so only a few more (LARTed the Spams of course).

But man, can those folks in the newsgroups gas... Had to take myself off of spamcop and (spamcop got a few dozen new messages just while catching up with This just leaves spamcop.mail on that server...

I can feel a serious trim from the Mozilla server coming up next, most of the groups there I so rarely even dip into (if it gets really hectic I may even have to cut down on RGRN)...

but first dinner...

Friday, 7 March 2003

Doc's new website World of ends talks about the mistakes people make regarding the Internet: Repetitive Mistake Syndrome or RMS - no wait, RMS is something or someone else... oops.

Alcohol... it seems like such a good idea at the time, but I'm never sure afterwards if it was really all worth it.

Two nights on the trot out on the beers, frankly, the only way I'm gonna get sober is to start having better days at work - oh the viscous circle...