Imported From Epistula tv

Review – The West Wing

Okay, take a painting.

It’s wonderful, a masterpiece. Every item has it’s perspective just right, the shading is perfect, and things that are misted are lightly fogged out. You don’t get details, but then, you don’t need details. It’s a beautiful painting.

The one beside it is the same, but better.

The third is just as beautiful as the first two, but occasionally the shading is a little off.

The forth makes up for the shading with wonderous colours, gorgeous shading, and generally being wonderful.

The fifth picture is like the first two, except where once there was fine watercolours, light fogging of the things you don’t need, and smudges of colour, someone is outlining every item in thick black marker pen.

And that is my opinion of the fifth series of The West Wing. So far.

Imported From Epistula MotW Personal


Recovered from cold.

Will start back on actual content in November.

10 entries in a month not good.

Full sentances also not good.

Recreated version of The Divine Comedy’s track “The Booklovers” as filked to 80’s kids TV shows.

The BodLovers

Imported From Epistula Personal


I have a cold.

This is my excuse, and it’s a good excuse. Me having a cold has three main effects on my life, and they are these:

One: It means the amount of tea I drink is the same, but the level of sugar goes up, and is occasionally supplimented by lemon_juice+honey+ginger+boiling_water. Also, my working environment is given a festive air as slowly drifts of used tissues build up and occasionally avalanche into other things.

Hang on, that was a second thing, wasn’t it? Okay, four main effects on my life.

The second, um, third, effect is a general inability to do anything, assisted by an increase in feeling sorry for myself.

Forth. Sod, There are five effects on my life.

Forth: Voice. My voice loses an octave. My voice does not have a surfit of octaves as it is, and so this tends to cause people to feel vaguely uncomfortable when I’m speaking to them…

Three: Butterfly.

I suffer from a condition known as “Butterfly Syndrome”. It’s a distinct ability to/curse of leaping from topic to topic without touching them for very long. Usually this happens mid-paragraph, but a cold shrinks my attention span to the point where I will frequently forget a sentance before I’ve reached the middle of it, and gone onto the sentance three steps down.

So I’ve gone from writing about quitting weblogging three steps down to the point where I make a sheepish return, without it ever appearing on the server. I’ve gone from the long tale about the death of reef, my main server, to having rebuilt it and composed two posts on the subject, though you never saw them.

So rest assured, I am journaling, It’s just that the entries aren’t escaping the bounds of my – quite literally – fevered imagination.

Imported From Epistula social

A long expected party

When Mr Amery of Cambridge announced that he would shortly be celebrating his score and sixth birthday with a party of special magificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. When this was to be coupled with the birthdays of Matthew & Sally, as well as them – plus Sarah, it proved the cue. Not for a song, but for a party.

I was invited to this party, obviously. I mean, I could be writing what will probably be a long and over-referenced report of an event I wasn’t invited to and its surrounding events, but there are few things duller than a long description of a party you didn’t go to.


It was a dark and stormy night.

Well. It was a bright and crystal clear afternoon, and the wind whiped around Reading, for it is Reading where our tale begins. (There are few places where you will encounter both Tolkien and Bulwer Lytton references within a few paragraphs of each other. Welcome to Aquarionics, home of the badly matched crossover. See? I’m six paragraphs into the report, and I haven’t left the house yet).

I left the house. I was late. This was something of a shock, considering I’d been very carefully planning to leave myself time. I failed to do so. Within five minutes of leaving, I discovered that my MP3 player (Which is a USB Pen Drive that happens to play MP3s, which means all you have to do to install it is to have an OS that does USB Mass Storage. Which is, in fact, Windows 95 R2 upwards. You don’t have to bugger around with DRM software, or things that try to replace your MP3 playing and encoding software, or stuff that doesn’t work on Linux. It’s Great) didn’t like the MP3s that were on it, so I couldn’t listen to the CD I’d just bought and encoded (Which had the newest Anti-Music-fan idea of installing new drivers for your CD player automatically when you put the CD in the drive. Luckily, I held down shift, which disables autorun.)

An hour later I was in London, discovering that the Underground was well and truely screwed today. So I went into central London and back out again in order to go from North-West of Central London to North-East. So, two hours later, I was in Cambridge.

It may not have escaped your notice, long term readers, but I like Cambridge quite a bit. I still want to move back there, and this weekend hasn’t helped in dealing with the fact it’s fairly unlikely to happen for a while.

So, Train station to Bus station. Discovered that the bus that would take me to Rivendell (The name of the new house) was a Citi 6. The Cambridge Citi buses are great, every twenty minutes between 8:00 and 5:30, and after that when they feel like it. I took a taxi.

“This is Cambridge Road” said my taxi driver, as he stopped. “Just let me out here, then” I said, foolishly.
He did.

He drove off.

This was not Cambridge Road.

This was Girton Road.

Girton Road would, at some point a few hundred feet away, turn into Cambridge Road, but from my viewpoint I couldn’t see this, so I asked at a shop. When we navigated though enough english that we both understood, I discovered that not only was I not on Cambridge Road, but when I got there, I was at the wrong end. So I went hiking.

Found Party. Good Party. Good Beer, Good people, New Games, Fridge Poetry, People I don’t see often enough, people I’d like to see again & other party stuff. Oh, and biscuits. Rivendell is absolutely gorgous, as is – when I left the next morning – Girton. Wanna move back…

Next morning was given tea and breakfast, and then hiked for an hour into Cambridge, where I had lunch and met Rosemary to lend books and chat, then buggered off home.

Where I discovered, something to my suprise, that there was a problem, and that the 100 gig hard-drive in the server had died.


aqcom computing Imported From Epistula


On the front page of Aquarionics is a brand new thing, which is – co-incidentally – also a thing we’ve had since launch in January 2000. It’s gone though various code revisions, various new versions, and various rethinks. This doesn’t mark it as differant from the rest of the site, merely part of it.

It’s called “Mostly” where once it was “This week I have mostly been…” and it’s current version is merely a reading list. It started off as just a list of things I was doing (Listening to Divine Comedy, Reading Cryptonomicon, Playing The Sims), evolved into using Amazon’s Associate scheme so that you could see more details about the item – and even buy it, and then into a JavaScript thing that sent you to differant amazon.* sites depending on which you chose. Now, it’s linked into the Amazon Web Services API (code, and mostly() in the library) to give you prices in dollars, yen, pounds and euros as well as the latest editions. The main difference as far as admin is concerned is that instead of having to find the Amazon ASIN number for each country for each item, I now just give it “author:’foo’ title:’bar’” and an Amazon department to look at.

But this isn’t special. Amazon Light has been going for over a year now based on the web services stuff, I can’t help but feel I’m spending all this time playing catchup to people like Mark and Sam and wishing I had time to play with all this cool stuff, or to specialise in something. For any thing I can do, I know at least three people who can do it better, faster, or more elegantly. I need to do something new. Then I might be invited to things like Foo Camp 🙂

food Imported From Epistula

Chicken Bacon Somerset

A recipe for disaster

Did you know that in america, people buy pasta by the box? How big is a box? We don’t know. Thus, when a recipe starts “take two boxes of rice”, we should know to leave the hell alone.

Hah, I decided, your strange american phrasings cannot harm me, my culinary genius is like a shield of steel.

Take one cup of rice. That is, take a small mug, put rice into it, pour it into boiling water, and boil it for 10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, cook two chicken breasts (either properly or by bunging them in the nukeomatic for a few minutea)
Meanwhile, cook several slices of bacon. Cut into little pieces.

Get casserole dish. Add rice, add bacon and chicken (sliced into smaller pieces).
Take a can of cream of chicken soup. Add half a can of milk, stir.
Pour chicken/milk stuff over rice/bacon/chicken stuff.

Add herbs (Thyme, Basil, Whatever sounds good)

Top with cheese.

Cook at 190oc for half an hour to 45 mins.

serve with greenery.

Fiction Imported From Epistula

The Reading List

Some of you, my loyal readership, will have noticed that not only are we back in the land of the standard blue-specs/aq9 design for the whole site, but where once out-of-date Vice City stats dominated the sidebar, now the more educational “Reading List” prevails. Generally, I’m reading whatever’s on the top of that list, whereupon I’ll review it and something else can go in it’s place.

The reading pile is one of the most hotly contested arguments in Catrion Towers. You see, my natural reaction to having enjoyed a book is to try to get other people to read it. Lacking anyone else to pimp books at, I tend to give them to LoneCat to read. LoneCat’s ‘To Read’ pile consists of a small pile of books beside her bedside cabinet (Actually a box with a sari over it) which tends, when I do the recomendy thing, to get to the point where she can’t easily get into bed, at which point she gets upset. (Yes, me and my girlfriend sleep in separate beds in separate rooms. One day I’ll explain why).

Right now, then, I’m forbidden to add any more books to her ‘To Read’ pile. This is somewhat unfortunate, since I have quite a few books I’m still trying to get her to read (Not at all, I should emphatically point out, because I don’t have enough bookshelf space and storing large percentages of my library in her room saves me space. Oh no. That would be mean). This means that there are now four ‘To Read’ piles in our house. First there is mine, then the one beside LoneCat’s bed, then her bookshelf where she’s got all her books she wants to reread, and fourth is the growing pile in my room of books I’m going to put on her reading pile just as soon as she either a) lets me, or b) doesn’t pay sufficient attention.

Whichever comes first

computing Imported From Epistula programming


So, today I was searching on my shelves and retreived “C for Dummies” parts 1 & 2, “Database Systems (A practical approach to application design, implementation and management)” and “An Introduction to System Analysis and Design” all for the first time since Uni.

What’s this, then? A new project to write an IMAP server that doesn’t suck? the fabled reimplimentation of Epistula as a Client/Server system written in C? or the fabled New Thing?

Actually, I just needed something to stand on to replace a lightbulb.

This isn’t to say I’m not doing one of the above, just that I need the lights on whilst doing it.

Fiction Imported From Epistula

The Forest, Edward Rutherfurd

[ Amazon UK | US ]

Edward Rutherfurd is an author with a specialised genre all of his very own. He writes historical fiction which follows a place though the people who live there. ‘The Forest’ is a novel about the New Forest, as told though the stories of the families of Cola the Huntsman, The Prides, Furzeys, Grockletons, Puckles and so on from the founding of the Forest in William the Conquerors’s time, right down to the present day. From the killing of King Rufus (who died in the New Forest) though to the trial of Alice Lisle, down to the family politics of Jane Austin’s Bath, this is an epic tale which manages to wind together the past, present and future, pulling the reader slowly though the family trees and then swiftly though the fights, arguments and feuds of the families and the forest they have made their home.

If it has a fault, it is that the structure of the book (each chapter is a new generation, though not necessarily the generation after the one you last saw, and gaps of hundreds of years are not uncommon) lends itself to a slightly fractured plot-line, though Rutherfurd’s sense of narrative continuity means that the gaps between the stories are never too shear, or that a somewhat distanced narrative can occasionally make character motivations a mystery (Though this works both ways, it’s never obvious when a character’s mind is being opaqued deliberately), or a tendency towards slow movement as the setup for the new generation is explained.

The Forest is an excellent book by a master of narrative, but the structure might be a little strange and distracting to some readers. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth reading especially if you have read, and enjoyed, previous works by the Author

BrowserAngel computing gentoo Imported From Epistula linux Personal

I have a weblog?

Lack of entries? Lack of life. My entire life at the moment seems to consist of Wake up, Go to work, Code, Go home, Dinner, Sleep, Wake up. Go to work, fix computers, go home, dinner, sleep…) with variations like reversing dinner and going home and having dinner in London with ccooke & ruthi,

The last few days have been mostly spent putting my new work setup together, which consists of a box running Gentoo Linux (named aziraphale) running enlightenment (I like enlightenment, it Just Does, but I’ll be switching to gnome tomorrow, when it’s compiled…) and vmware workstation, which in turn is running XP Pro (as crowley), which is our development environment. The main reason for that is that I have a backup of crowley on aziraphale, so when (not, not if. When) the XP install dies a nasty and horrible death (Our software has a couple of bugs atm, meaning that occasionally it’ll install itself and not be able to uninstall, and since it’s an IE thing this is complicated) I can just restore the working config, and keep coding.

This would be bad if they were both on one monitor, but usable. Fortunatly I found a spare graphics card, so right now I’m typing into OpenOffice on the little monitor to the right, whilst IRC, Mozilla and everything else runs on the 17, this was suprisingly easy to set up once I groked the XFree config file sufficently. Only problem is that VMWare appears to dislike running on a second monitor in maximized mode (moving to the edge of the screen which should take me to the first monitor wraps the pointer to the other side of the small screen unless you move reaaaaaaally slowly. All other screen edges are hard barriers, incuding and this is the annoying bit the opposite side of the monitor). On top of all this, I’ve been told that at some point I’ll be developing a cross-platform version of our s/w, so that looks to be fun.

Slightly worried about the direction of the nomic, mostly worried about people flooding the game with some rules that make actually doing things difficult. Mostly, though, I’m annoyed that I’ve spent more time administrating the game than I have playing it, and that people are trying to drag the admin into the game, which is exactly the oposite of what I wanted to do. If I’d wanted imperial nomic (A variant where an emporer decides wheather rules pass on the fly) I’d have proposed it. Bah.

The writing fails to happen. Three hours a day on a train, sitting down, would you may have thought have been perfect for writing, and this would be true if I had something to write on and with that wasn’t manual, until I can get nemo (my ancient laptop) a battery (100, roughly, that I can’t justify) that might change.

Or a powerbook. That’d help too. (My CEO was given a powerbook. Given. By a friend. Nevermind, a couple of years and I’ll be a millionaire.

(I was voted person mostl likely to be a millionaire before he’s 25 at school. This appears to have been inaccurate, so far, but I live in hope)

(Acutally, I live in Reading, but it’s close)

Software. AqWiki will get a release as soon as I can be bothered to package it, Nomic Rules Manager will get a cool name and a release some point very soon, and Aquaintances will get a release when I work out why it isn’t catching the errir that is fulling my mail box with cron errors.

Epistula will now not get a packaged release, probably, until I’ve convinced myself I don’t want to completely rewrite it in perl. It’s live code is still online, though.