Imported From Epistula love Moving to Letchworth Personal

Medium Distance Relationships

Woot, Yay, and expressions of excessive joy.

I’m back to a medium distance relationship despite living with my girlfriend. Woot. yay. Great.

The thing I was going to rant about, yet wasn’t allowed to, was this: LoneCat, my girlfriend, has been attempting to find a job ever since she completed her masters degree just over a year ago. The very fact it’s taken her this long to find one is a damning statement about the economy and everything, but this is something else. For the rest of this article I’m going to assume that her parents are never going to read it, which may be stupid, but I’m going to do it anyway. Her parents don’t really like the fact that she moved out. Can’t deal with it. Their reaction to this is not to do as my parents did and deal with it, but to rearrange things so she moves back. This rearrangement takes the form of applying her for jobs around Bedford (where they are, which is about an hour north of London. We live about half an hour west of London. For comparison, it takes about 45 minutes to get from the station we come into to the station to get to Bedford).

This has now worked. LoneCat starts work, as of tomorrow morning, in Letchworth, which is just south of Bedford, for a week. If this works out, she will be there full time. During this, she will stay at her grandparent’s house. If it works out, she’ll move back in with her parents until we can both move somewhere new, like Stevenage, which is between where she works in Letchworth and where I work in Kings Cross, London. The notice on this place is two months, which means that if she gets the job – and I’m fairly sure she will – we will be in a Medium Distance Relationship where we only see each other at weekends. In other words, back to how we were last year.

It looks like I’m moving house again, then. Considering we moved into this place in Mid-May (after moving out of Cambridge on April 1st) I can’t help but feel this is a little soon. Not that I particually like this flat, or anything. It’s just…

I’ve really got nothing to complain about. It sucks more for her than for me, esspecially since she’s playing half-rent on a place she’ll only see two days a week, but I thought when we finally moved in together that would be the end of the whole ‘Weekends Only’ thing.

So, anyone know anything useful about Stevenage?

Imported From Epistula windows

Unattended XP Install

Today, I learnt something.

I learnt that once you’ve installed Windows XP, you can do it again without any hassle at all. In fact, you can insert the CD and a floppy, and come back in an hour to a working system.

This is the wonders of the unattended boot system, and something that a number of Linux distros could learn from. Basically it works not unlike the linux kernel stuff (And, in fact, Caldera Linux’s install system, which most of the current linux distros can learn from) in that you write a file – on your own or with tools – that defines the answers to all the questions, and and save it to a floppy. When WinXP Setup starts up it reads the defaults from the floppy drive and gets on with it.


Two problems.

First, the file itself. The automated file creation stuff is nice, but doesn’t contain all the settings. In fact, it doesn’t contain the ability to solve problem two.

Second, XP now relies upon expert users doing this. There is no way in the default setup program to say “Install XYZ but not ABC or QRS”, you have to do it in the config file. More importantly, the Windows Unattended Setup Wizard GUI Thingy doesn’t have that option either. You have to look though the help files to get all the settings. Worse, if you then load that edited file into the Wizard, imports the data it understands, applys the changes you make, and then exports the file again, minus your edits.

Nevertheless, it’s quicker than answering all the questions, and a damn site easier than deleting everything afterwards

I used the Hytek Computer tutorial, which was spot on up until the wizard ended, followed by the included help files. Also helpful – had I found it at the time – would be the MS Support KB

Things to beware of:

  1. Duelbooting. Install XP first. Preferably with the other HDD disabled or – preferably – removed. If you are duel booting turn off the automated partitioning as XP Setup will claim any unrecognised partitions for itself and leave any NTFS with data on it untouched.
  2. One of the most valuable settings is ProfilesDir = "D:Profiles" or whatever you set it to. This enables you to move ‘Documents and Settings’ to a seperate drive or anything, something you can’t do after install without fucking around in the registry and hoping nothing cached it.
  1. Don’t use your GRUB boot disk for the formatted setup floppy. You’ll regret it.

    Just in case it’s useful to anyone, my winnt.sif WXPAI config file (With all passwords & serials removed, natch)

Humour Imported From Epistula

Bob and the Church

God was watching Bob.

Bob was painting a church.

The church was a poor church in a village of rich people, it had enough money to buy a single – though large – tin of paint. Large though the tin of paint was it wasn’t nearly enough to paint an entire church with, so Bob found some paint thinner and poured it in, and began to paint the church.

And God watched Bob, and Bob painted the church.

And after a while, Bob realised that there was no way that even this thinned paint was going to paint the entire church, so he bought some more paint thinner, and tipped it in. The paint didn’t get nearly the ammount of coverage that it did a little while ago, but Bob resolved that he could always do two coats.

Bob wasn’t really very bright.

And God watched Bob, and Bob painted the church.

After doing a bit more, Bob discovered that once again he was going to run out of paint, and so once again he wandered off to the hardware store, and once again he added more thinner to the paint.

At this point Bob was more washing the church than painting it, but still.

God watched Bob, and Bob washed the church.

Another hour passed, and Bob realised he was going to run out of paint again, so turned to go back into town to pick up some more thinner. God finally decided that enough was enough, and with a crash of thunder in an otherwise cloudless sky created a huge pyramid of tins for Bob to redo the church.

“Repaint!” declaimed God, “And thin no more!”

aqcom Imported From Epistula Personal


Today I have learnt things.

Today I got up at 05:00 in order to go to work. I did this because I haven’t done as much work as I hoped I’d do over the past few days (I was off Thursday and Friday and most of the previous week with illness) and wanted a couple of hours to get some changes done before everyone else came in. Plus, if I can convince my company that it’s a good idea, I can work 07:30 to 16:00, rather than 9 – 5:30 (Base-times. As deadlines come closer, bedtimes go further) which means I won’t be travelling to and from London in the heat of the rush-hour, leading to peace, goodwill, and Aquarion being less of a stressed wreck.

I learnt that I can still get up at 05:00, that it’s significantly easier than 08:00, and that I can make tea in the dark (The light in the kitchen is out, and the light cover makes such a horrible noise when you try to remove it that I end up with a headache and still can’t change the retched thing).

I learnt that the world service news is both helpful and informative, that it’s followed by classical music before the Shipping Forecast, and that my ADSL connection is much faster at that time too.

I learnt that there is very little happening in Reading at 05:30.

I learnt that Peek time begins at 02:00 in Reading.

That’s Oh-two-hundred hours. As in Oh-my-god. As in pig’s tail.

This isn’t “peek time”, when people are using the railways. This is “Peek Time”, the period of the day when First Great Western, my FriendlyLocalRailwayCo decide that they can charge 24.90 for a ticket that would cost 16 at any other time. Now, at 8am I can understand this. Hundreds of thousands of people travel though London at Rush hour, and every one of them seems to want to go though London at the same time, and the laws of Supply and Demand mean that prices will rise, in a living example of all those business classes I failed at secondary school. However at 5 am, when the only people travelling are those who are either masochistic or going to catch aeroplanes I find it a little rich.

So, having fixed a couple of bugs, I decide to go visit my weblog, and make excuses for the lack of content therein.

There have been no stories.

That’s it, really. Aquarionics is based on stories, tales, parables and fiction. Most of it is true, exagerated for comic and dramatic effect. I’m not the kind of blogger who goes on series, although I sometimes wish I was. I don’t have a central theme, so I can’t really do the “This is what’s going on in the world of foo” stuff. (I’d like to, but for the most part there are better people doing essays about almost everything I would consider doing that for) (Note the ‘Almost’ thing, however). I considered resigning from the blogsphere, deleteing the domain, moving domain, hundreds of things. I went into the “Aquarionics is too big! All the cool things apart from the weblog are being lost in the words on the front page!” spiral, and somewhat suprisingly found an answer, which I’ll announce when I’ve got it working.

But for the past month there have been no stories. There have been parts of stories, like “The continuing saga of the mould on the kitchen ceiling”, the evergrowing “Aquarion hates commuting” thing, and the Saga of The Hard-Drive. None of which are resolved, and therefore none of which are valid as stories yet. And yet this weekend Shit Happened, and now I have things to say.

Typical, you spend a month waiting for things to say, and then several come along at once.

The first and major thing I want to rant about I cannot say without permission, and until I ask and am given said permission, I’m going to sit and quietly fume. It’s been building up for a while, and before I kill anyone it’s probably worth writing it down. No jury would ever convict me, but having written evidence would probably help.

The others will happen when I write them.

Anyway, Back to work…

Computer Games Imported From Epistula

Mucky feet

One of the best games of 2001 was one you’ve never heard of.

Startopia was a space-station management game in the vein of Theme Park & Theme Hospital, from some of the people behind both those classics.

It was wonderful. It had character, it had grace and style. It was fun to play, and looks good even now in this world full of spinny-rotaty-3d worlds. It didn’t sell because it was released in 2001, and Eidos – who published it – had blown all their budget on Tomb Raider.

It sank. It gathered a series of superlative reviews in the industry press, and then sank without trace. You can – and should – pick it up for a fiver in the local bargain bin.

I mention this because, as of a couple of days ago MuckyFoot, the company who produced that, Urban Chaos, Blade 2, and were halfway through a game for Bulletproof Monk when they finally went under.

As of Friday, 31st October 2003, Muckyfoot are no more.

Best of luck to all of them.