computing Imported From Epistula


I’m just shutting down the network here at the geekhouse while I move house. Not sure how long it’ll be gone, possibly a week, maybe too. Be aware mail & servers will be down ‘til then.

Back soon, live from Reading 🙂

Imported From Epistula

Rollen' Rollen' Rollen'

So, today we are packing. Ccooke arrived yesterday, and has now packed everything and gone, LoneCat’s stuff has half gone with her parents, now I just have to get Things Sorted. Stuff is happening tomorrow, and I’m transfering stuff to a storage place in Reading

(Find Storage Place…. Check)

But have totally failed to find a van for hire over the weekend in Cambridge, despite phoning six companies. What is it, Local Move Your Stuff Day? Bah.

(Find & Hire Van… Uncheck)

Dealt with legal threats from ISP due to unpaid bills due to emails not getting though. Yay.

But the best bit was the most suprising. Early this morning whilst on my normal scan of the job-emails I saw a reply inviting me to take a appitude test on Linux, MySQL, ANSI SQL, Unix & Oracle. Once I got over being unimpressed by the test’s not working in anything but IE, and filled in the preliminaries and stuff, I was asked 60 random questions about those subjects, to be answered within 45 seconds each.

Scary thing, really, since I haven’t taken any kind of exam in a while, I haven’t even installed Oracle, let alone admined it (Though I learnt SQL on it), and am not really Sysadmin level on either Linux or Unix.

Nevertheless, I passed. In fact, I scored within the top 5% of candidates (of which there were about 100). I apologise for this terribly blatent self-pleasedness, but I’m currently only just restraining myself from bouncing off the walls.

On top of this, I made chocolate cake. It is good chocolate cake, it is a tasty chocolate cake. It is _my_ chocolate cake 😛

cevearn Eddings Imported From Epistula Movies

Flatline. Movies & Writings

Yesterday was fun. For fifteen minutes yesterday we didn’t have a flat because the landlord refused our rent offer. This was resolved over a series of phone calls by LoneCat, and we now have a flat again, albeit one without an ISDN line…

(It’s the downstairs flat, the one we had before was the nicer upstairs flat)

Yesterday I received a box. It was about DVD sized, and had a DVD in it. That DVD was Bridget Jones’ Diary, which Cathy sent me because she saw it was on my Wish List and didn’t want it anymore. Did I mention I love the Internet? I love the internet.

So we watched that, and it was funny and far better than we thought it was going to be, and I am currently resisting the urge to go all Cassie Claire on you, which isn’t fair because I really should have said “All Bridget Jones”, but that’s not who I associate the style with.

Still not employed yet.

Also went to see the (Oscar Winning) Chicago, which was very fun indeed. We ran into Nattie and Ben outside, who happened also to be going to see it.

The film is a direct translation of the musical, and rarely has one been done better. The songs were there without looking silly, the costumes were perfect without being out of place, and if they’d done all the songs (They missed out three that I counted) it would have been perfect. Whether the musical fitted into a film is debatable – though the Oscar panel obviously thought so – but as a faithful adaptation of the musical that I like, I’m happy.

Those of you who visited yesterday evening were greeted with the constantly shifting front page as I attempted to restock the writings page with all the content that used to be there. The Fanfic and Cevearn stuff is there (Including the unpublished bits for Worlds Apart, which will now never be finished), though the short stories (ie, the bits that have ever even been close to being published) arn’t yet, but will be.

epistula Imported From Epistula

Spooling Chequer

Aquarionics’ commenting system now has a Spelling Checker, using Simon’s Spellchecker class, which rocks, and bits of the PHP bit of the rest of his version. Mine uses CSS for displaying possibilities, but that’s just sugar.

On top of that, I’ve restructured the filesystem of Epistula so it’s not possible to attempt to load the pingback server as a module by a malformed URL, restructured the Archive system, fixed the Crossreferencing system, and finally written the PHP interface to MusicDB, my perl/php/mysql system for managing FOG trees of MP3 files.

Moving house is apparently the third most stressful thing you can do, so yes, I’m working off nervous energy at the moment…

epistula Imported From Epistula intertwingularity

Shooting Standards

I have to phone the Letting Agency tomorrow, and I’ve no idea why. I got the message about half an hour after the saga was posted, having forgotten that I missed a phone-call whilst on the tube. This is ever-so-slightly worrying, so displacement activity happens.

First, flick your eyes to your left and you shall notice a new suite of icons for the various meta-datas. The icons are variously by Antipixel, who created them originally; Mark, who created more of them for his Raging Platypus parody thing (In which the icon for ESF is labeled “For the Angry and Embittered” – which I like – though if he is using MT, does that mean it supports Epoch time format now? If so, I’ll start writing the ESF Syndication Template :-)), and I created a couple more (Only one of which – blogtree – is currently there). Eventually we’ll have the full suite of Blogicons there, and it’ll take a month to load…

But ho! There appears to be more! Can I have been creating /new/ stuff? Well, yeah. After several hours work and a series of low-grade headaches, I’ve finally managed to grok XFML to the point where it works. Thus you can grab XFML feeds of the site. Now I just have to finish the system which will allow me to connect categories of mine to those of other people who also have XFML feeds, and it’ll be finished.

And what was all the point of that crap? Well, it’s another acronym to place on my under-reconstruction CV, and you can see what it can do in the worlds only XFML Explorer… and that’s sort of the point. “Worlds Only XFML Explorer”, there is no software out there that reads it right now, and no earthly real use for it apart from being able to connect to Mark’s: so that when we are talking about the same things, I can automagically link to stuff he writes on it. As if our blogspheres crossed over that much anyway. The only topic we appear to share is Cat Pictures, and his are very differant to Mine. Not to mention the fact his XFML file is not updated any more.

As much fun as it is riding the leading edge of the development curve, it isn’t half pointless at times.

Oh, yeah. Pointlessness.

I’ve been attacked.

Well, not me personally, but the Epistula Syndication Format has been accused of being pointless, in an article that misses the point slightly. It doesn’t save bandwidth just because RSS is bloated with XML tags – which it is, but then again so is XFML, XML, and most of the other XML standards out there right now. If you look at them, you’ll note that without the article itself, the content-to-exposition ratio is worse than your average maths exam. ESF merely has an order in which things appear, requiring no exposition once you’ve read the spec. But that isn’t it, as I said. The point is that when you download an ESF feed, you only download an X+6 line file, where X is the number of headlines. There is no place in the standard for the content itself, and no place where (as was in the original RSS spec) you can bend the standard to put the site. When you get an ESF feed you just get the newest headlines. If you want the rest, go for a more bloated standard. It’s not designed to replace RSS, it’s designed as a scaled-down version for people who will read the content on the site that it was published on (In exactly the same way as 90% of all “Trimmed down content” RSS feeds do).

When I summoned it into existance (ESF, Syndication format level 9, Plus four against bandwidth, minus six against RSS Developers), I said “It’s Just Data”. Partly as a ‘publicity stunt’, I agree, but mostly because it is just data. Knowledge is information in context, Information is processed data, Data is flat alphanumerics. XML is Information, ESF is data, RSS is information, Ampetadesk is knowledge. ESF has, in classic geek style, not got the information at hand, but knows where to get it if you need it. If you don’t need it, you didn’t just download it.

And yeah, I know it’s similer to RSS 3.0, but I dislike polluting namespaces, so I didn’t read it until after someone pointed it out as a similer idea.

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Very Big Nets

So myself and my girlfriend are currently doing the slow, slow waltz of the house-hunters, Stalking though Reading with Very Big Nets and with miniture houses as hats on our heads to try to locate the house of our dreams.

Bah. It’s Saga time, here on Aquarionics dot com. Are you ready? Are you blogging comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, in the land of Angle there lived a Beautiful Princess and a Possibly-Passable-In-Bad-Light-From-The-Right-Profile Prince whom we shall Aquarion, for that is his name. One bright and sunny spring day, they commenced on a quest to discover a new castle where they could reside. From the castle in Ca’mbridge they galloped, reaching the next (How do I put Trains into a fantasy non-steampunk scenario? Aha…) superhorse to the big city, where they caught another superhorse direct to the library city of Reading, Land of Bojs, where they met F’Rank, Herder Of Housen, who equipped them with nets of the largest size, and they went off into the urban jungle, hunting houses.

Soon, we came across a pair sitting in the middle of a herd of housen. Herder F’Rank offered the Housen examples of it’s staple food, the Keez that grow on the lesser spotted Keeooks specially cultivated by his Herdmaster, until it was pacified and the Prince and Princess could examine it without being bitten.

This Housen was no longer young (or a “Chead”), and showed signs of evolution. A number of growths which F’Rank described as “fownke-nectars”, representing the major strains of such in the local area, littered the main cavity, and there was even an “Eye Esde’en” growth inside.

The second Housen was obviously in some pain, a great metal cage had been erected around – and sometimes inside – it, and it didn’t even flinch when we entered it without offering it Keez. When wandered around inside, it was clear why. This Housen was a mother! Inside was a litter of smaller Housen, known as “Phlaits” which refused entry without a great deal of mucking around with Keez. The Prince and Princess were perfectly willing to take a Phlait instead of a Housen for their Castle, and this Phlait was a fine example, with a beautiful central cavity and a nice B’Droom cavity, but the K’chen cavity was tiny.

The Prince and Princess, together with Herder F’Rank, placated the Phlait and it’s mother, wished it good health in the future, and left to the home of Herder F’Rank’s Guild: Vanderpump and Wellbelove (And that, I assure you, I’m not making up. That really *is* the name of the letting agency). Where they decided upon the first Housen as their Castle.

Now came the longest part of the Quest, the strange and secret series of rituals and rites that must be followed before the Housen is theirs. The Calling of the References, the Summoning of the Guarantors, and the Paying of the Deposit. The Prince and Princess returned to their current Castle in Ca’mbridge, knowing that whilst the start had ended, the end – and the new castle – had barely begun.

Imported From Epistula


I’m not the worlds most tidy person.

[Picture of my floor]
Any room of mine will come, within a week, a small-scale tip, displaying the remains of temporary interests (“Woah! That’s the game I played for weeks when I was 14, I wonder if I can get it working on Maelstrom?”), long-term projects (Four reference books on C++, the Linux Admin’s Guide, the Perl Bookshelf) clothes, and at least twenty books in various states of read-ness from “Should read this soon” (Body Of Secrets), “Can’t read this while it mirrors the Real World” (Blood of the Fold), Reference works (Aladdin, Complete Works of Shakespere, a few notebooks of stuff on various Projects (including the diagrams making up the database for the MusicDB). Not to mention enough wires to tie me up and suspend me from the rafters.

So. Currently we are moving out of this house, which means doing the “Viewing” thing, which means people wandering around the house, which means even I, who in the House-Proud stakes got the wooden-spoon that still had dried-cake mix on it, was motivated to modify some of the more foot-deep aspects of my living quarters.

My carpet appears to be blue.


computing Imported From Epistula Personal


And then, with a startling burst of energy to put the power of several suns to shame, nothing happened.

Oh, I got screwed by my bank, double-charged for a couple of things, and then was charged for the priviledge of being charged for them. This could recurse indefiniatly.

Much of the blogging world appears to be caught up in the fact we have probably passed the increasingly blurred line that’s labeled “War Begins Here”. Today is a sad day for peaceniks everywhere, for the government of this country at least have proved that it doesn’t matter what the people think, we don’t run this country after all.

“The grand plan that is Aquarion proceeds apace”, as Frank Miller failed to say in ‘Ronin’, and wasn’t relentlessly sigged by Stuart (TAFKA Aquarius). We move out of this house in less than two weeks (Two weeks exactly yesterday) and we now at least know which town we are moving to, or at least within twenty miles of. Reading here we come…

Apart from that, empty worlds. I’m working – slowly but surely – on the reviews system, the worlds nicest PIM (Which is slowly moving away from being internally XML-RPC based, though should aways have that functionality. Maybe I should look at REST-style things, or go back to my original C&R(Call & Response) ascii-based server idea. First, however, I must build some kind of interface to the database so I can remember to not forget weddings and such. The paid project I hinted at earlier I shouldn’t have done, for now the waveform has collapsed. The cat is dead. Possible employment is an experiement in superposition. It’s either going to happen and you’ll be employed, or it isn’t and you won’t, the wave-form collapses when you get a phone call or email. However, in deviation from Schrodinger’s cruelty to felines, you can effect this equasion by mentioning it to people under this law: “As more people know of your possible future employment, the probability that you will not gain said employment approaches one” (Aquarion’s first law of employment. There may be others). This particular project was so unbelivably close to actuallity that the only possible way the employer could get out of it would be to – say – Go to Mexico for a month on short notice before he has a chance to write and send me the specs of the project. For example. But, like the John Smiths, I’m not bitter.

I find it facinating that of the once sentance I made on the war, Laurabelle commented on one half, and Nick Boalch took me to task for the other half.

aqcom Imported From Epistula Personal


So, it’s been decided that Aquarionics isn’t really self-centred enough already, and since I’m trying out this new toy for ccooke, the Aquaricam has been brought back into the land of the living. Currently on view is someone who desperatly needs a haircut and is wearing a horrific pink shirt, though this is likely to change.

Gaming Imported From Epistula


One of the nicest things about my current computer is that the following things work:

As I type, I’m listening to Pulp, f.e.e.l.i.n.g.c.a.l.l.e.d.l.o.v.e. You won’t see this in the “Now Playing” box because I’m having an argument with the doSomething plugin for winamp over the correct definition of “ID Tag”. Yet I digress.

Whilst I do this, I’m installing SuSE in a virtual machine, just for kicks, whilst playing the old Amiga game Top Hat Willy in a UAE window (Currently paused while I type diary entry). Earlier this afternoon I was playing the original “Jet Set Willy and almost impossible to complete to boot. Not because of bad mechanics, but the fact the game is a) huge, and b) difficult. Yet – once again – I digress) to which Top Hat Willy is a remake/sequel/2040 of. This involved getting a Spectum emulator and making it work, always fun.

Anyway, there was a point to all this, and it goes as follows: I was reminded of a game called “Valhalla” which I played over at least a decade on the Commodore 64. It was an adventure game, where you interacted with all these random people (Well, less random, more Viking Mythology) in the form of “Ask Thor buy hammer” “Thor refuses to sell you the hammer” “Throw fireball at Thor” “You throw the fireball at Thor, Thor dies” “Take Hammer” “You take the hammer” “Thor enters” “Thor attacks you” “Thor Kills you” “Say ‘Fuck’” “Mary enters.” “Mary hits you” “Mary Leaves”. That was it. Well, there were some things like having to discover the great sword of sommat or other, and the helm of mit, Ring of Phyre, etc etc. It had about a hundred differant locations on many many levels (If you jump, you go up a level. If you die and there is a level below you, you go down, otherwise you get randomly put in a new location. Same goes for the AI).

The reason for all this drawn-out nostalgia? Someone has done Atari Adventure in Flash.