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Imported From Epistula media

Buff

So, I was reminded that BBC2 was going to show Once More With Feeling, the infamouse Buffy Musical Episode, though edited. I missed it, of course, because I haven’t seen the preceeding episodes. One day I shall be up to date with Buffy.

And then the world will end.

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epistula Imported From Epistula

Pong!

Okay, so my Pingback server is now working again. Yay Pingback. With any luck, I’ve got a client too, and thus can say how necessary it is to remind flash developers not to be really dumb 🙂

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Imported From Epistula Personal

Because this is secretly a LiveJournal

You are 47% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You’ll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

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aqcom Christmas Imported From Epistula weblog

Other Half Live

Hmm. You can tell I designed the new AqCom at 1600×1200 by the way the logo looks oversized at 1024×768, let alone anything else. Must fix this.

I’m home. I wandered down though London with no trouble at all, did presenty things (Out of four people I managed to get two gifts that they already had – both of which were half of the total present, which means that I at least got it right) whilst I got a nice new watch, a grill, a marble-run and a new cafeteria. I like spreading the present part of Christmas over two days 🙂

Kind of a busman’s holiday, since I got two computers back working again and helped order broadband in less than 24 hrs of being here, but nothing unexpected. The problems are where nothing has changed (the village in the middle of nowhere, for example) and everything has (one of my brothers – I have two – moving into my room). I come back, and people are talking about writing, or writing about writing in fact, so a couple of cents of data then…

A tendency towards writing is what brought me to blogging in the more general sense. A diary has been on this site since the end of January 2000, and I joined Blogger – and the blogging community – as of about April that year. I was 19. I write because I can’t not write. I write what I am told are entertaining posts on Usenet, I write short stories that make me question my abilities, I write articles to display here and occasionally elsewhere. I’ve been published in electronic form two times and in print once – it was a fanzine. Why do I write this journal?

Our chief weapon is feedback. Feedback and soapboxes. Our two main weapons are feedback and soapboxes. And archiving. Our three main weapons are feedback, soapboxes, archiving and dissemination of information. Four. Our four main wea… I’ll come in again.

I write for feedback.

I live for feedback; I’m a constructive feedback junky. I may not like it, but I still want it. It may stop me writing for a while, it may make me question my entire stance on publishing to the web, but I still want feedback. The worst thing about writing mainly for Usenet is that after a while people start going “Aha, it’s him. He’s funny. Ha. Next post” and all the writer sees is a black hole into which they are posting things. I’m a performer; I came to writing as an actor, I need the audience reaction, so I write so that people will say what they think. Unless it’s destructive, in which case though I need to ignore them, I can’t. But I still live for feedback.

Soapboxes.

I write for a soapbox to stand on. I don’t have any right to my opinions on most things beyond media – which I am a consumer of – and interfaces to other websites – which I have to be able to program for. But I have this place where I can rant and rave about the state of the transport network, the good things about Christmas, the holes in the education system, Napster, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. *Anything* and people read it, probably because they are expecting examples of #5.

Archiving.

I write so I can read my life in two years time when I have forgotten.

Dissemination of Information.

I write so that people will know where I am. So my parents know I left home at 17:10 and might be here by eight, that I arrived safe home from a convention, so my friends know that I’m still alive, so that the people who give a flying fuck of my whereabouts and wellbeing can do so without having to ask.

Entertainment.

And for the real reason I plead the fifth. Entertainment. I write things that might possibly amuse and entertain, though there doesn’t seem to be much of that recently. I write to comment on my technological betters, to demonstrate I’m still alive – if occasionally only just – but mostly because some people find things I write amusing and enjoy reading them.
I still don’t understand why, though.

All this stuff about “Weblog writing” smacks to me as navel gazing, though. There is no such thing as a typical weblog. You can’t say weblogs fill a valuable niche in the news world because many weblogs have the literary worth of a life-sized sugar model of Hamlet, and not only couldn’t care less, but are popular because of it. On the other hand, there are many blogs whose owners I would fall at the feet of and worship that are fantastically readable yet have no deep meaningful touch at all, they are just well written.

We are not the cement of the establishment, nor are we the wrecking ball. We will not effect the people, because we a just a small subsection of The People. We are just the division of people who want to write of the division of the people who want to. the first rule we break is to throw out all our assumptions about ‘what is good writing’ said Burningbird, and I strongly disagree. Good writing is still good writing, and nothing weblogging does can change that, Good writing is writing that is readable. There are as many examples of bad writing on the web as there are of bad design, there are millions of angsty poems out there by teenagers convinced that Anne Rice books are deep, edgy and gothic. The fact that there are many of them does not make what they are doing “Good Writing” and neither does weblogging. It’s just a new style and a new forum, and it may change the world – it certainly has changed mine – but it’s still the people who can write writing for the audience who want to read it.

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Dive Into Cite

Hmm, Mark now has a posts by citation archive, which is very cool, and something I’d be tempted to steal if all my posts for the last three years were valid – let alone schemantic – markup. I would have missed this entirely, though, if it hadn’t been for Sam mentioning it, because my blo.gs-roll has his last entry as 2002-12-21. I can’t confirm if it’s a bug my end, because I leave for Kent in 10 minutes. Entries may be more sporadic than usual…

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Christmas Imported From Epistula

Yesterday

I like Christmas.

I tend to define Christmas with the traditionals, I love wandering around buying presents, choosing things for people, spending money. I adore suprises, opening presents to see what people have got me, watching them open presents that I got for them. I love – more and more – the differences between families Christmas’. Do you open the presents first thing in the morning? Christmas Eve? after your Christmas meal? When is it? Lunch or Dinner? Do you have any special things about the Christmas breakfast? Then there are the more usual shared traditions, like stiring the Christmas pudding or cake and making a wish, like the walnut in the stocking (ours was always a tangerine).

This was my first christmas away from family, I spent it with ccooke and LoneCat, and part of the fun bit was navigating our way through each of our family traditions to create our own ones, which was nice 🙂

So yesterday, then, we arose late, I did a full cooked breakfast, we opened presents. I got a game and a large wooden snail from ccooke with the legend “We owe you one Sony Clié, The Snails” in beautiful caligraphy, for which I thank Supermouse, a towel and a book from LoneCat, and an inflateable radio from Peter & Julie. Oh, and an illustrated encyclopædia from LoneCat’s parents. Tomorrow I go home to see parents for the first time in six months, and also exchange gifts with them, which will be nice.

Then ccooke ccooked a large full Christmas dinner, which was wonderful, while I coded comments into Epistula. Then we ate, and LoneCat prepared and brought her christmas pudding out, which set light to, as tradition demanded. Then I had mine with Cream, LC had brandy butter, and ccooke had rum sauce, because three people liking the same thing is rare…

Then we did variations on nothing for a while. Christmas day over for another year…

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Discussion Matrix

Whilst other people may be listening to the queens speech, watching Bond Films, playing with presents or stuffing turkeys, I was being industrious. Abnormal for me, I realise. Anyway, I have finally written the Comments interface for [E]2, and thus is the empire forged on a solid block of truth, justice, and people making comments in little blue boxes.

The main new thing about the new comments system is something I haven’t done yet, which is tied in with the new user system. Basically, registered users will be able to attach events to comments, such as an event to send an email when you get a reply, or an XML-RPC ping, or a Pingback ping, or something. Also, comments will trigger pingback pings as well as diary entries. Well, they will when I do the crossreferencing stuff properly…

Also back is the various RSS, RSS2 and ESF feeds, including an RSS feed for comments. These are now sitting in the Meta section for your gaze to fall on. The code for the new commenting system is sitting in src, and in it you can see that I’ve abandoned the generic output templates for forms until I write or find a library to do them as I want to. Comments on obvious holes in the system, or anything else for that matter, are welcome 🙂

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aqcom Christmas Imported From Epistula

Day

Apologies for the lack of insightful comment over the last few days, combined stress of possible employment, christmas shopping, bills, cheques failing to clear, paying for food and general all-inclusive stress have conspired to stop me from doing anything very much outside getting stressed and attempting to destress again. I didn’t even redesign for christmas, which is a first in the 5 years of running this website in it’s various forms. Rest assured that for January 1st – Aquarionics.com’s third aniversary – something will happen. I may even finish the comments interface 🙂

Eitherway, I wish you a Merry Christmastime whether you celebrate it or not, may you be having a good time. carefully phrased celebrations to you all.

And with any luck, this year I won’t have bought the same thing for my girlfriend as she did for me. Yeah, sickening, isn’t it?

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epistula Imported From Epistula weblog

Ever Reach Me

So, Blitzed out of my skull on a caffine high after drinking black coffee, trying to finish this commenting system (Ever had one of those days when even your switch(){} statements don’t parse?) I wandered though my blogroll to calm down a little bit. Via Electrolite via Blong Boing I discovered Real Live Preacher.

Now, there is a comic series called Preacher, to which I bought the fifth book yesterday (Look at that URL a second. This is the Nine Hundred and first entry to the Aquarionics Journal. Okay, so there are only 691 differant entries in here now after taking out Lonecat’s diary and various test and broken entries, but still, nine hundred!) in which a young texan preacher loses his faith and goes off in search of God. Now, because this is a comic he is infested with a supernatrual heavenly/hellish being as well, but the rhythem and flow of the text is scarily similer. Another thing for my blogroll, then.

Things To Be Done Before Commenting Returns:

  • Form Display
  • Post Preview
  • Post Validation
  • Post Submit
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aqcom Christmas Imported From Epistula media

The Name's Mas. Christmas.

So I went Christmas shopping, and got stuff for siblings, parents, girlfriend and housemate. Oh, and me.

It’s terrible. At least this time I spent more on the presents than I did on me, but these are all things I’ve been meaning to buy for ages, but I really should stop it. I keep accidentally buying things people are getting me for Christmas…

Today, to pick a random example, I bought the first four Lemony Snicket books, a new JC Grimwood paperback, the fifth Preacher book, and Catch22, which I’ve been meaning to read forever and was on offer. Then I left Borders. I went into Game and bought Tropico Gold to replace my original CD that got scratched. I walked into HMV and bought Monopoly Tycoon (Which is a CitySim based around the Monopoly world). Yesterday we went to Sainsbury’s and I accidentally bought a couple of James Bond DVDs (Two for the price of one. Evil, I tell you. Old fiery-eye himself could learn). I failed to accidentally buy the Buffy six box set, but on the other hand failed to buy myself some new pillows or – and since this was the other reason for going out I’m quite miffed at this – go in to book an appointment for some new glasses.

The shadowy threat I’ve been hinting at for the last week has come and gone, leaving just a dark stain of it’s presence. The company that is retaining the company I’m contracting (horrible word. Verbing wierds language) for decided to stop doing so, thus the project I was to move to got delayed, thus my contract was not going to be renewed when it ends on the 23rd December. This is bad, because I like working where I’m working, and kind of object to being kept hanging – not by the company who hired me, who have been helpful and hopeful throughout – but rather the fact that it had to happen at all. It’s been resolved in a non-optimal but unpessimal way in that my contract will indeed cease on 2002-12-23, but will restart again mid to late January, and I can coast until then. All the above has made my new year’s resolution to pay more attention to my cash-flow so I can survive weeks like this without panic attacks.

Hence the influx of media, BTW. Now I know work will continue at some point, I’ve allowed myself some spending 🙂 Reviews on the above will happen – it’s the promise I made myself when buying them.

Oh, and hello Livejournelers, you are once again back with us after my sabbatical. For those of you unaware of this saga, it goes like this: Livejournal has the ability to add RSS feeds as LiveJournals, so that people who pay LJ.com money can add them to their Friends List (So it appears on a list of the most recent entries you’re interested in). Somebody (Either Sam or Rho) set up Aquarionics as one. I don’t mind this, really. I wouldn’t publish an RSS feed if I didn’t want people to use it, but my problems with this implementation are threefold. The first is that by default all syndicated journals have LiveJournal’s internal commenting system enabled, so people can make comments on the items in my RSS list. Now, I’d really rather this didn’t happen, since I have my own commenting system (all right, so you can’t post to it currently, but that’s not really the point) and I’d rather not have my comments spread across three or four sites.

Secondly, there is apparently no method of changing an RSS feed’s details. Aquarionics’ feed moved from /rss/all.rss to /meta/all.rss. The original was only linked to for a week, but apparently the address was taken from the announcement post by whoever did it, which should teach me to modify links, so I’ve now hacked Epistula so that /rss is exactly the same as /meta, but it’s a horrible kludge.

Thirdly, LJ’s engine automatically produces RSS feeds of all journals (just add “/rss” to the diary URL). This includes syndicated accounts.

So I raised an Issue on LJ’s support forum. The problem is that because it’s an Open Source venture, we have to wait until some enterprising hacker with some CFT decides to fix it, or until the paid maintainers do. Since it’s not a problem for the people who use LJ, just a problem with the people whose feeds are used by them, I doubt it’ll be fixed anytime soon, so I kludged it, and downloaded the source. Time to brush up on my perl…