Thursday, July 31, 2008

No Net

Due to the building work at my parents house I have not been able to get on-line to blog. You can see some of the photos of the work on Flickr

If everything goes to plan I will be a homeowner a week tomorrow, pretty scary stuff!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I have spent most of the weekend without internet. Even now the equipment which normally keeps me on-line is somewhat jerry rigged. The reason for this mess up is that this weekend I my dad and Bruce have been doing a spot of re-wiring. My parents are having a new kitchen, and moving the cooker and appliances around so the cooker mains and some sockets needed moving around.
I thought that it would be a fairly straight forward task, that isn't quiet how things turned out. We had to chop plaster off the wall, take up floorboards in the room upstairs, run a cable into the wall underneath the toilet and into my old bedroom.

Near the end we had to do too long cables runs, they were unexpectedly long because of the route we had to take. Unfortunately this meant we ran out of cable just after B&Q had closed. Fortunately Bruce had a brainwave, Phils parents are also having some work done. Including replacing all the old electrics, they ere only installed about 10 years ago so the cable would do for us. We called round and after asking for permission from Gillian we were able to find a few decent lengths of cable in the skip. It was in really good condition too.

Eventually we managed to get three ew single sockets and move two double sockets and get the wire for the new cooker in place. It took most of the weekend but for a bonus I got take away two evenings on the trot :) Very naughty, but extremely tasty.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where is my address book?

I have been moving some users from one server to another when one complained that his address book had gone missing. For a moment I got a bit paranoid then I reasoned the information must exist somewhere.
I copied all of his email but somehow the addresses were gone. After much searching I found that he used Squirrel Mail, which stores addresses and preferences in a data directory. In Ispcp installations these files are per user and stored in /var/www/ispcp/gui/tools/webmail/data Each mail user (who has logged into webmail) will have a user.abook and a user.pref and copied his to the new server and his addresses were restored.

Lie Damn Lies and Statistics

I just took a short break to browse one of my favourite news websites when I spotted the following article about The return of Killer Chlorine. Its actually a piece debunking some of the junk science and misuse of numbers to support sensationalist arguments. In this case he examines the claims that there is a link between chlorine heart disease. The scary numbers are soon proven to be inflated and of questionable value.

Following the links one comments I found that the author John Brignell runs a website Number Watch dedicated to monitoring and informing the facts behind some of the headline numbers the papers attempt to scare us with. It looks a little basic but was a very interesting read.

On the same note take a look at the following site.
Dangers of DHMO
Its a parody of some of the scare stories DHMO is of course more commonly referred to as H20 or Water.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I feel tired but not sleepy, today was pretty long. Last night I stayed in York and spent the evening with Kasia. Her flat was stupidly hot for some reason they have the heating on? Fortunately we managed to have a really enjoyable evening listening to music and eating pizza. Having driven up there after work, this morning I had to wake up early enough to get back in time for work. Driving across the M62 in the morning. The motorway was pretty crowded full of trucks and there was fog on the top. I made a quick stop off at home to find the my mortgage offer had finally arrived, its quite scary to read through to see in black and white how much everything costs.

In popping home I made the fatal error of leaving my phone, a fact that came back to bite me several times during the course of the day. I rarely get calls during the day, today however I missed two calls from the boss, one from a colleague and most importantly a text from Sarah to tell me she wasn't going to meet me for lunch. Missing that one left me waiting for 20 minutes in a pub on the other side of Wilmslow.

This evening I went to Yoga class with Martina, she was really upset as a job she had lined up feel through because the women who interviewed her (before she went home to Germany) left. I found it hard to know what to say, I have learned a lot about the interview process you really need to play the game, something she just hasn't learned how to do yet. I hope something turns up for her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shamelessly stolen from liz's blog.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well let’s see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE, or strikeout the books you read but didn't like.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who’ve read only 6 or less and make them read.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith, this gets all three as I intend to read it again its so lovely.
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Human After All

This weekend has not been at all what I expected, my plan originally was to hold the lan event on Saturday then on Sunday to help Jo and Holly clear their new allotment.
Friday night came around, I worked on the game server, Bruce and Phil came over so we played a few games and watched Zero Punctuation. Phil told me about the achievement servers for Team Fortress. Servers set up only to enable players to improve their ratings. I must admit it was fun burning up everything as a Pyro.
Saturday the lan went off, it was well attended with 19 of us crammed into the legion it was a fun day. The games weren't without problems Steam once again failed to work correctly, I think it might be the last time I use Steam at a lan.
It was all going great Fun that is until about 8 O'Clock when my stomach decided to start playing up. The pain was intense, and I had to leave early, it was the first event I haven't stayed through to the end. I had to get a lift home then pretty much stay in the bathroom for the next couple of hours, not a great way to spend Saturday night.
Needless to say I had to skip going round to Jo allotment and have spent the day reading and resting. I started the Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky masterpiece. It is a bit heavy going Second only in length War and Peace so it might take a while, but if its anywhere near as good as The Idiot or Crime and Punishment then it will be well worth the effort.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Started moving office today, the customer is abandoning their second building. My normal desk is now a void in the centre of the office, and I am temporally sat next to the MI analyst. There is a bit of a bed atmosphere still all the uncertainty and change is palpable in the air.

Thankfully my day was brightened by a lovely lunch time jaunt to the Swan where I met Sarah. We had a drink, some food and a chat, somehow putting the world of politics to rights before moving to the Nature versus nurture debate. I was really good for me to take a break and relax for a while things have been really stressful recently.

I telephoned about the mortgage Iam taking out the advisor promised like so many others in the last couple of weeks to find out and call me back, she didn't. I am in the process of dissolving some of my assets to pay for the deposit and other costs, I must say it has been a chore, while perfectly happy to accept money off me getting it back its really difficult. New Star were especially painful to deal with, and after the dismal performance I would not recommend them to anyone. Its strange, I have been saving since I repaid my debts from University and travelling and I will soon exchange all that for over £100,000+ of debt {and a house). I am also doing it at the start of a downturn am I mad? It is possible but I think I drove a hard bargain on the price, I have a lot of skill so even if the worse happens I am sure lots of companies want to employ motivated talented individuals like so i think I have a few things going in my favour.

I went to the gym after work, I managed a short jog and a few other cardio bits, it was really hot I was very sweaty and glad of a shower when I finished.

This evening I sat and chatted to Kasia, we swapped some songs, and stories about why we like them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lose Control

I managed to be pretty productive today, helped my dad do some wiring. It was like spaghetti junction under the floor boards but armed with a multimeter we worked out how the wiring worked. Bruce's British domestic wiring guide was a big help too, it actually explains the best practises and why you might want all that earth bonding. I especially like Figure 3.1 which show the dangers of different levels of electric shock. Figure 3.1

Apart from wiring bit I managed to go to the gym and set up loads of server bits for both the lan server and improvements to the server room equipment. I even found time to clean out the fish tank so I feel like I have had a pretty successful weekend.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

El Rincon

Andy Gilmore invited Phil and myself out for a meal with a few other people to celebrate his birthday. We went the Spanish restaurant El Rincon. We met at Abito about 7.45 and walked down Deansgate to the restaurant. There were 10 of us including Phil, Myself, Andy's friend Chris his girlfriend, Emily her sister Hannah and boyfriend Carl.

The place was very busy, Chris pointed out the it was mostly female patrons. The staff were authentically Spanish to the point it was slightly confusing, almost as confusing at the menu. We had two choices basically a heap of plates with paella or a heap of plates without. Despite it being a binary choice it proved really difficult for everyone to come to an agreement on what we were eating. The choices were ok for most of us Chris decided to get his own stuff because as a strict veggy he wasnt sure there would be enough. For some unknown reason Carl threw a strop and decided not to eat anything which meant there was this malign presence right in the middle of the table. However after the food (and drinks) started to arrive everyone but Carl got into the swing of things.

The food was really nice, I ate far too much and enjoyed every bite :) Christ who turned out to be a bit of a wag pointed out that most of the Patrons were female.

Afterwards we went back to chiefs for some of Emilie's home made cake beer and Wii. According to Wii fit I am seriously in danger of metabolic disease, sigh.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Scary future

I am getting to the point when the house purchase is starting to scare me a little. I just read a few scary articles this one about is now a good time to buy a house?
on the positive side, I think I have found a good house in a nice area and I managed to get a decent discount on the price and I should be able to increase the value by fixing the place up. I am going to have a lot of work on my hands though. I should complete on the 8th August which is coincidently the start of the Olympics in Beijing, last year I was in Shanghai and the excitement for the upcomming games was just starting to build should be an interesting games.

Killing In The Name

Been a bit of a delay on this post as I have spent the week recovering from the night.

It was a night of Freedom last night for five of the IT team, so to celebrate a group of us went out to the Frog and Bucket.
It was a group of 11 of us, of which the only 4 would be staying on at. The rest either were made redundant or left of their own volition.
We met up at the rather expensive fringe bar, a couple of the guys had already had their last day so it was good to see them again, if a little sad that it would be the last time.
The Frog and Bucket did bottles of Carlin for £1.30 the alcohol was soon flowing. I had seen the compare before at the Woodford comedy night Legion of Laughs. He was a very funny guy. The other comedians were extremely variable ranging from the hilarious to the absolutely dreadful.

Jo B's ex lodger Alex was watching I said hello, he actually liked the comedian I thought was the worst, but it all subjective I suppose.

After the comedy was over one of the support techs persuaded us to go to 5th Avenue we were all a little worse for wear none more the Johns girlfriend who started speaking in Welsh and then fell and hurt her foot. She had only just had it taken out of plaster today so I left her with John looking for a taxi.

5th Avenue we pretty crowded with the sort of student types I remember in there years age when I went there (also as a student). I danced with the others like lunatics drunken to the ear splitting music (it took two days for the ringing in my ears to disappear). At one point Steve M and myself were screaming Killing in the name of at each other. A fun night all round though I felt like death turing into work at 9 after only leaving 5th Ave at 3. Mind you a few of the others went on to a casino afterwards and still made it in.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Salmon Dance

I am spending the week in Laindon Essex on a work exercise. I was kept up most of the night by the Chemical Brothers Salmon dance which was playing on an endless loop somewhere out the back. It became quite excruciating after a while.

So far today went ok, I met a my colleague who is extremely tall, female and a little shy I think. She has been doing the web design but this was the first time I bumped into her.

They have put me up in a travel lodge on a little commercial park which isn't to bad, it just down the road from the office.