Imported From Epistula Politics

Making a hash of it

Cannabis is still illegal, but differanty so

Ah well. Doesn’t really affect me.

Don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, can handle a sword a little.

computing Imported From Epistula

Frowny Light Bulbs

As promised, the explaination for this week’s header:

I am a coder, a writer, a usenetter, a sysadmin, an IRC person, and a whole host of other things which usually require me to use a keyboard for long periods of time.

This means that one of the continual dangers of my existance is RSI. There are several ways of countering this, starting with setting up decent ergonomics at every desk I work at, buying a decent keyboard and generally following precautions.

The other is the frowny lightbulb.

The Frowny Lightbulb is what Workrave displays if you keep typing while it’s telling you need a microbreak, a rest break, or to stop for the day.

Workrave is an AntiRSI program for Windows. It sits in it’s little window, giving readouts for how long until you need a restbreak, micropause, and to stop typing. When any of the countdowns get to zero, a popup window appears with an ‘idea’ lightbulb in it and twenty seconds to stop typing. If you don’t, a dialog box appears saying “You need a micropause/restbreak/to go home” with skip, postpone or take options.

When you’re taking a break, be it for a 20 second microbreak or a 30 minute rest break, the screen is blanked out until the time counts down or you cancel the break. You can’t read the screen, type an article, finish your sentance even. You are forced to take a break.

If you keep typing while the lightbulb is telling you to stop, it changes from a happy, shiny lightbulb to an unhappy frowny one.

And that’s the frowny lightbulb thing. It’s all Workrave’s fault. It comes for Windows & Linux. I suspect that one of my first actions as a Mac user might just be to port it…

2004 Imported From Epistula Movies Personal


Some time in the future, when I’m rich, famous and living in a huge mansion house somewhere, I shall declare January null and void.

I shall, on returning from whatever New Years party I go to, retreat into a room with a water supply, a kettle, a large amount of tea leaves, mug, sugar, spoon, a series of notebooks and a sofa.

This room shall already contain my music system and all MP3s.

I shall then emerge only for meals for an entire month. I shall not leave that room, save for meals & showers. The economy will collapse, world war three will start, end, restart, destroy life on this planet except me, and I shall remain in my room.

It will have a thick baize backing on the door, so I can’t hear anything.

This way, I shall avoid whatever January brings me. Because January always sucks. Nothing ever works, nothing ever suceeds, all that happens is things that once were good get worse, and things that were worse get life-threaterning.

Last year I dismissed it as karma, which was silly. It *is* karma, but dismissing it as such is depriving me of a study of exactly how much things can get worse when I don’t believe they can.

Last year I lost my job, almost lost a friend, lost my finantial stability, began the process of losing the one place I’ve activly enjoyed living in.

This year… well, I will laugh when it’s all over. Until then I shall content myself with this demonstration of this day:

Today we hosted a meeting for the DTi about BrowserAngel’s future, which was a positive meeting.

I left at 17:30. On the dot.

I arrived home at 19:25, having spent an hour on a 25 minute journey from London, because something went wrong with the train half way. The 18:00, which has about 50% more passangers than seats, so I was standing in the vestry.

We waited at the station.

And waited.

The train was broken, said the Train Manager, and whilst this had been fixed, the train had applied the emergancy parking brake.

Great. We couldn’t move because the driver left the hand-brake on.

It was fixed – by disabling the emergancy brakes, yay safety – and we moved on.

At 19:25 I got back. At 19:30 Adrian arrived, we were going to see Spirited Away. We got in. The movie started.

The movie continued.

The movie stopped making sense.

I wasn’t really suprised at this. I’m a low-level Anime fan, so I’m fairly used to Japanese animation making little to no sense for most of the movie.

This time the movie wasn’t making sense because the cinema had the reels in the wrong order.

So we got our money back and went home

I still would like to see the film, preferably in the cinema, but it’s coming on R2 DVD some time this year… (Yes, I know it’s out on R1, but I prefer to get R2 DVDs)

BrowserAngel Imported From Epistula

12 minutes.

I’ve just sold you all to pay for my sanity.

Details in Feburary.

Imported From Epistula Personal


As is traditional, at the begining of every even-numbered year I update my GeekCode. The new code is:

GCS$/PA d+(-) s+:+ a-- C+++ L++$ P+ E--- W+++$ N+++ o K w O- M>++ V- PS+ PE- Y+ PGP++ t+@ 5++ X R+ !tv b+++ DI++++ D++ G++ e+ h- r++ y?

As is just-as-traditional, since before Aquarionics existed, I’ve added it to the Codes Page, and in order to compare it more easily, six years of Geek Codes as a Text File

By which you can tell: I used to be a Librarian, but have given that up, am less computer orientated than I was, and have been meaning to learn perl properly since ’98.

Okay, it’s less interesting than dirt, but what else are you here for, Cat pictures?

Imported From Epistula Politics

Power Cycle

As part of Wet Blunket’s Anti-Social Behaviour act, Traffic Wardens and Security Guards are going to be given the right to fine cyclists who ride on the pavement 30.

I have mixed feelings about this. As a pedestrian, I find people who ride bicycles on the pavement to be an irritation, but as an ex-cyclist (Our bicycles were stolen from our back garden a couple of months ago) I would rather people cycled on the pavements than on the roads with no lights.

They should walk their bikes home, but people are morons, and don’t.

In fact, people should not be allowed to ride bikes on the road at all until they’ve passed their cycling proficiency.

Cycling Proficiency is a bit like Driver’s Ed for primary school children. Someone – usually the local community policeman, spare teachers, or Local Council People – comes to most primary schools sometime in years 4 -> 6 (That’s about 9 to 11 years) (depending on school and local council) and teaches anyone with a bike the relevant bits of the highway code (Our school you brought your bike with you one day a week for about a month, and you weren’t allowed to cycle to school until you’d already passed your CP. Guess how many pupils pushed their bike to school?). At the end we got a badge and a certificate.

When I was in Cambridge cyclists in the summer were a menace to the roads. Gangs of tourists with no idea of British road laws or etiquette, but because it was traditional to ride bikes in Cambridge. Apparently they did about 20,000 damage to taxis a year, to the point where, when I left, the local Taxi driver’s union1 was campaigning to make all cycle hiring places make their clients take out insurance (at something like 50p to 1 per bike) against damage to third parties. This is probably a good idea.

I think the idea of the spot-fines for cycling on the pavements is a good one, although 30 is about 10 too high. I’m less sure about the rest of the content of the bill, since it includes giving councils the right to declare “Anti-Social Hotspots” which the police can turf kids out of. And into, for example, somewhere else they can then define as a hotspot.

It’s a free country?

1 Are you cycling at me? Then why the hell are you coming in my direction? You cycling at me? Doesn’t look like there’s anyone else on the roads, Where do you think you’re cycling? Oh yeah? Huh? Ok.

2003 Christmas Imported From Epistula love

Lonecat's Christmas present has arrived

The Saga Of The Christmas Gifts will be told at the weekend, when it ends.

Lonecat's Present

BrowserAngel Imported From Epistula Moving to Letchworth Personal

Blogies and Pie

Ah well, another year goes past and I’m not nominated for a Bloggie or anything. I shall withhold my disappointment and carry on with a tear in my eye…

The amount of ways I’m screwed has decreased by three since my paycheque cleared today, which lead to me being able to get to work this morning, always a bonus.

On the minus side, we have a governmental inspection tomorrow to prove we actually exist and haven’t been Dot-Coming the money for the last six months.

…and winamp starts playing ‘Our House’

House has gone away. No more empty houses in Letchworth, back to flats. I want a house, damnit. Three weeks and counting until we become homeless. For the second time – for me – in twelve months.

I’d love to be able to regale you with new content, but the most amusing thing that happened to me recently was losing my glasses.

I wear glasses all the time, because I’m obviously defective and lazy, and have done since I was about 10. My first pair of glasses I left on the roof of our car when we were on holiday in France, and left them there. Forward, reverse, crunch. Since replacing that pair I’ve worn glasses almost constantly, and until a couple of years ago, this was partly because not wearing my glasses gave me acute agoraphobia, which led to a general reluctance to take them off when outside. My method of countering this is to walk home from work despectacled once in a while, which meant that not having my glasses annoyed me, instead of sending me into a panic.

I found them. Eventually. Apparently at 2am I’d put them on the windowsill to my bed’s left, instead of the usual place on the right, and they’d fallen off and slid under the bed. It took me about 4 hours to find them – on and off – while my 21” monitor sat at 640×480, I tried to stop being taken to court, and I got the message as posted yesterday that I was no longer moving house.

Yesterday, in a very real way, sucked.

Fortunatly this is a fairytale that ended happily, since not only did I find my glasses and my watch (Which has been missing so long it was still on Daylight Savings) Pol & Supermouse decided they needed Emergency Pie, and since the best pie shop in the world is in Reading (It’s called “Sweeney Todd’s”, it’s next to a barber shop, and it serves Good Pie.

After this there was Tea, conversation and pimping of good books, and they went home and I went to bed.

And now I’m going home.

Imported From Epistula Moving to Letchworth


The house.

That we.

Were due.

To move into.

This Saturday.

Has just.

Gone off.

The market.

I am less than happy right now.

aqcom Aquaintances epistula Imported From Epistula intertwingularity XML


Aquaintances now exports a valid OPML file.

This was far more work than it needed to be, because I have been unable to find a reference for a valid OPML file anywhere, OPML files got imported by Dave’s Wonderful New Toy as “0 feeds added”, which is odd, because they were in exactly the same format as Dave’s old Blogroll before he redesigned Grr.

Paul? Does this lower my Winer Scorecard number?

Oh, yeah, the other thing I’ve done today.

Banners are sticky. That is, it seems a shame to lose all these nice banners I spend ages making, so they now stick to the archive. If I can find my archive of all the ones I did last time I did the rotating banner thing, I’ll put those up too, but right now it’s just this weeks and January’s.

And yes, I’ll explain the “Frowny Lightbulb” thing soon. Promise.