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aqcom Imported From Epistula

Designation

Another day, another design. Well, a regression in actual fact. I came to the conclusion that nice as the other design was, I didn’t activly like it. The result was that I’ve now regressed back to mid-2001 for the time being until I work out what the actual new design is going to be. Meanwhile, Comments is nearing actuality. Really, though, I should get back to work…

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epistula Imported From Epistula internet

Blogger API V2

Interestingly, the new version of the Blogger API fixes every complaint I had about the old version, and turns it from being a very much centralised bespoke format to being a generic thing I can impliment here without too much hackery, and the promised extensions look even better. Yay, another thing to add to the list of Things To Impliment 🙂

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Christmas Imported From Epistula weblog

Another Catchup

And so the world keeps turning. My desk is covered in paper, UI documents, flow charts, PDAs and phones (Including mine. The Saga of the Phone has been resolved. As soon as comments and crossreferencing are working, I’ll post it). Not to mention the chargers, USB cables, cradles and manuals for them, Silver CDs glisten like snowdrops in the incandesant lighting, and my laptop purrs softly in the late afternoon silence of an office empty of everyone save me and one other person. And so I sit here, MP3s flooding though my headphones, writing documentation, designing graphics, and drinking tea.

Dull, isn’t it?

Christmas is coming to Blogville (Twinned with Pandamonium, Hell). Stuart is debating christmas cards, as hippo was, though not in the same way. Google Labs has awarded us early, with a couple more toys to play with. I note with interest that the only quote about my site is Nattiedoll’s one of me being a Chevalier of the Order of St. Astrid, and the best and fluffiest adminnish type I have ever encountered. I’ve never been quite sure about that…

Neil Gaiman (Who doesn’t have permalinks) has finished filming and editing his short film, which is good. Ebay is being hit by another bloody front-page shadow, which is bad. Emptybottle is still understandably absent, and missed, but has some links to some really, really pretty pictures. Go see.

And Wil got shafted in a really quite desperatly unpleasant manner. And I found a nice new comic that I like lots, although could be offensive to ultra-religous people.

I should link to Wil more often. But every time I try to type his name, my fingers insist on putting an extra “L” on it, and my whole page looks wrong. Blasted people with their difficult names.

In other news, you can bid to win the chance to delete Tony Blair’s Email. How? It’s a bit complicated, but fun. I got that via Not So Soft, home of the soon-to-be-infamouse Mayfly Project. Can you sum up your year in twenty words? Google has done it in slightly more, but with pretty pictures. Though not as pretty as those mentioned above.

Woo Hoo! Linkfest!

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Imported From Epistula weblog

While you were out

Lots of stuff happened. It tends to when you wander out of the world for a fortnight. Stewart appears to be still working hard on his new system, and thus is not blogging very much, meanwhile the discussion on syndication reared it’s head again with the “Why shouldn’t you just syndicate using the XHTML?”, which Mark demolished neatly in his summary of the entire event, and turned thirty at about the same time. Then we have this XFML thing, which appears to think about things the same way Epistula does. This is Good, because, well, ahead of the game here. This is Bad, because my list of output formats (One new class file per output format. Bow before my ‘leet Design From Display From Content skillz) is rapidly reaching double figures HTML3, HTML4, XHTML, Text, XML, RDF, ESF, RSS, LaTeX, PDF, VRML and now XFML. Funness abounds.

Then there is the Grunch stuff. I’m not going to go into the grunch stuff, mainly because I’m not allowed to understand it, AFAICS, so I’m going to leave it alone and not poke it with sticks. And possibly risk being attacked for ignoring the problem so it goes away. Actually, that would be my solution to the thing, because I’m me, and will continue to be nice to people because they are people, rather than because they are Male, Female, Black, White, Purple with yellow spots, Dancing the Grim Fandango, or screaming about the aliens who watch their butter at night. Actually, those last I shall probably ignore too.

This week, I have been busy, hence lack of Aquarionics existence :-). The company I’m contracting for is producing Java based games on the new mobiles, so I’ve been taking screenshots. Unfortunately, the 7210 phone is so new that there isn’t a screen capture utility for it that I can find, so we tried to do it by taking digital photos of it. This failed. I’ve also been writing technical documentation, doing HTML that works on the horrible travesty of a browser that is Pocket IE (PIE has the rendering engine of IE 3, the Scripting of 4, and the XML of 5, and runs at 240*320 res. No stylesheets). Considering I was hired as a Graphic Designer (read, the graphics for the games), this is fairly diverse, so I’m having fun. Contract runs out at Christmas, so we shall see what happens next…

Useful places (Until I get the Links section back online):

  • FileExt an exhaustive database of what you need to open any given type of file.
  • Freevo (Via Stuart), an open-source TiVo system, which when coupled with a Mini-ITX box (Via Andrew Cardwell) in a cool case has provided me with a New Project.

What else delayed me? Well, I bought Warcraft III, UT2003 and various stuff from the wondrous source of cheap and worrying stuff that is E-Bay, so that’s been time-expensive, but fun. Oh, and now I suppose I should put up the Christmas decorations on the site… Oh hum…

Categories
Christmas Imported From Epistula

The Cake Saga

Most of the following is a true story.

This weekend I decided to make a Christmas cake. This was partly because I had been playing Warcraft III for a few hours after a few more hours coding E2. The obvious thing to do at that point would be to take a screen break, so I did, and decided to make Christmas Cake. Now you know why, here’s how.

I started in the way all good geeks start a recipe, by going to Google and searching. Having found a recipe, a quest was begun. High was the sun, and great was the joy in our hearts as I carefully turned the recipe into HTML and started on my quest of the kitchen, seeking – in true quest style – a number of objects which – when assembled correctly according to an ancient and mysterious scroll – would provide something of beauty and wonder when cooked for three hours at gas mark two. Within moments the first part of my quest was completed, and the saga was already deepening in traditional style, for though most of the items were within easy reach, several would require a trek though dark and dangerous areas to the mystical land of Sai’Zberries. After a small sub quest to recruit fellow adventurers to my grand romantic cause, we kitted up with the Fleeces of +4 Warmth, and Bags of Carrying before venturing off into the cold, cold lands of Ca’mebrid’e, leaving messages for loved ones should we never return.

Of the journey to the far lands of Sai’Zberries many tales are told, from the wandering monsters with +5 “Sticky Fingers” bonuses against Girlfriends, to the subquests of the Crossing of the Road. Suffice to say that after a long and tiring journey, finally our goal was in sight. But our journey was not over yet, for the entrance to the lands of Sai’Zberries was guarded by an evil spirit dressed in the furs of animals that had never seen this realm and the blood-red livery of all his kind, the demon “Zan’tar” stood bribing young children to his dark religion.

Awaiting a distraction in the form of a large family with many potential prey for his dark quest, we slipped into the store unseen. Perhaps another day we should have saved the children, but today they sacrificed their souls so that my cake could live, and that is enough.

The Level 10 merchant who owns the town of Sai’Zberries was doing good good business this cold winters day, but we shall brush over the quest within the store, tis a tale for another day. Suffice to say that whilst all the components of my quest were to hand, my fellow adventurer would have to seek out another merchant. This quest completed, we left easily – Zan’tar having taken his fill for the day – and trekked home, happy in the knowledge of a subquest completed.

I began the recipe, not totally trusting it. Anything that told me to boil something containing a kg of mixed-fruit deserved to get my distrust, but correct it was, and the recipe went fine. It was taking longer than I expected though, and all was not well in the land of the geekhouse for I did have another quest today, and verily was it a time dependant one, and so I was forced to abandon the cake in favour of the meet, if you see what I mean. A few hours later – about five hours, all told – I returned to the cake to find that the almonds were not as crisp as before, the shine slightly dampened by being dried out on the stove of life, and the cake generally looking very much as if it had been left to stew in it’s juices for a few hours. Nevertheless, truly optimistic to the end, I put it in the oven…

…then took it out again, realising that I’d have to get up at 4am to take it out again, and – more importantly – that I hadn’t finished putting the ingredients. Like the flour. For example. And the spices, for another.

At this point I swore. Lots.

Once more, bright was the morning following. Not that I saw it, after fielding a parental phone call I went back to the comfort of the duvet. Heating in the Geekhouse isn’t working at the moment and so leaving the duvet was a slow process. Slowly and with due care and attention to all recipes and stuff – and gradually coming to the conclusion that this cake was probably beyond being a total success – I added the flour, Mixed spice, Nutmeg, baking powder and everything else and began to stir.

At this point, it is traditional in some families to make a wish. I made a wish. I wished to all goodness that this cake didn’t fail. The gods answered. I carefully lined a cake tin. Again. I carefully placed it in the oven. Again.

I remembered to turn the oven on at this point, which I counted as a personal success.

I waited an hour, and turned down the heat, as prescribed in the Quest Runes.

I waited a further three hours, and removed the cake from the oven. Carefully placed it to cool. Lifted it up…

There is something special about the loose bottomed cake tin. It’s especially designed such that the base of it lifts up, allowing cake to be removed from tin easily, whilst not allowing the chef to pick up the cake in safety. Thus:

Diagram of a loose bottomed cake tin

So imagine my surprise when the cake fell out of the bottom of the cake tin and broke off into many squidgy pieces onto the counter, like the rebirth of an elder being. The gods had indeed answered my wish, They had said “No”.
At this point not only am I running out of swear words, but also patience and time, so I shove the lot back into the tin, and back into the oven. One more hour, Gas Mark one. The cake comes out of the oven. The cake comes out of the cake tin. So far, so good. Now it’s sitting there, glaring at me, and I don’t know if it’s any good.

The decision is made, I shall make another cake next weekend, and in the meantime, I shall stab this elder being of a Christmas cake with knives until it bleeds cherries.

Anyone want a slice?

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aqcom epistula Imported From Epistula

The Grand Return

For it is written that decisions made at 1am will haunt you forever. I mean, how long would a weblog system take to write?

There isn’t anything fancy in the new system yet (Well, except for the category system. And the fried caching – done in the simplist way possible – but I stopped putting in the more complex stuff in favour of getting myself back online.

That was a week ago. Then Warcraft III arrived… and Unreal… and the FotR Extended DVD… and… well… Sorry 🙂

Not all the content (Read, hardly any of the content) is back yet, Notably RSS feeds are broken, writings is down, and Forever is missing in action, as is my current blogs list. All will be coming back soon. Don’t touch that dial.