aqcom Imported From Epistula

The Amazing Aquarionics Giveaway

Okay, so whilst January 1st is the date Aquarionics celebrates its birthday, The date of my first Blogger entry is the 7th April 2000 this makes it exactly one week until the 4th anniversary of me getting a Blogger account.

Tenuous? Indeed, but I didn’t think about this for the actual anniversaries (I started the diary in January 2000) so I’m doing it now.

There are actual prizes to be won, even. Real, actual, “Things I have to post you” prizes. Or Prize, anyway. You could win the very first, the only, the as-yet-non-existent Aquarionics Mug!

It’s a coffee mug, with an Aquarionics logo on it (I say “An” because the official logo changes in two weeks, and I may end up putting the circle-wibble logo, or possibly the new text logo, or something on it. I haven’t decided yet). Either way, this will be a two off (Not a one off, since I want one too). The only other person in the entire universe with a mug like this will be me. Isn’t that neat? Isn’t it cool? Doesn’t it make you just go ‘Oooh’?


“How”, I can hear you say, “Do we win such a splendid and very worthwhile gift?”
“Easy” I proclaim, with a swirl of my black cloak, “Write me an About page”.

It’s that easy. The current About page has so many additions and deletions it’s beginning to look silly, and with four years of archives (Although only the last year, maybe two, have been worthwhile) you probably know me better than I do, so write an about page.

Best one wins. Closing date is Midnight on April 11th.

And if I get a single entry, I’ll be amazed. I’ve got (as of 16:21) a single entry. I’m amazed

Send your entries to: “aquarion at gkhs dot net” enclosing a Stamped, Address Albatro… no, hang on. Just send them (If your mailer supports it, I’d recommend setting a “receipt requested” flag on the mail, just to make sure it gets to me).

So, Free stuff available, pass it on.

afe Humour Imported From Epistula


[15:07] {Mandorallen} bored
[15:22] {Aquarion} Have a tap.
[15:22] {Aquarion} And a potato
[15:24] {Aquarion} Now you can be chip-bored and water-bored.
[15:24] {Stephen} DIE!
[15:24] {Aquarion} no 🙂

[15:31] * Khendon chops Mandorallen in half
[15:32] {Mandorallen} Oi!
[15:33] {Mandorallen} whyfor?
[15:33] {Khendon} So you won’t be providing lunch
[15:33] * Khendon puts Mandorallen back together and multiplies him by twenty
[15:33] {Mandorallen} eh?
[15:34] {Khendon} I was running with Aquarion’s joke
[15:34] {Mandorallen} oh
[15:35] {Aquarion} half board
[15:35] {Khendon} Yeah. And…?
[15:35] {Khendon} The second one is less obscure, really
[15:36] {Aquarion} Can’t see the second one at all
[15:36] {Khendon} “Scoreboard”
[15:36] {Aquarion} Ahh

[15:35] {Aquarion} Could be worse, could have sent him around a running track
[15:37] {Khendon} Lapboard? I’m not sure what one of those is, but it probably exists.
[15:37] {Aquarion} Circuit Board.
[15:38] {Khendon} Ahhh

[15:42] * Khendon moves him to the right-hand side
[15:42] {Aquarion} rightboard?
[15:42] {Khendon} Starboard!
[15:42] {Aquarion} Ahh
[15:43] * Mandorallen cries
[15:43] {Khendon} He ought to be invoiced for all these puns
[15:43] * Aquarion folds him into a paper plane, and throws him though the window
[15:44] {Khendon} (billboard!)
[15:44] {Khendon} No, can’t get that one 🙂
[15:45] {Khendon} Flyboard?
[15:45] {Khendon} Isn’t “board” a funny looking word?
[15:45] {Aquarion} (Dart-bored and out-bored)
[15:46] {Khendon} Ahh, clever

[15:46] * Khendon dresses him up in women’s clothing and hits him with a whip
[15:47] {Khendon} Hm, the first one there isn’t quite right
[15:47] {Khendon} (“Skirting board”)
[15:47] {Aquarion} Ahh
[15:48] {Aquarion} I’d have put him in a kilt for that 🙂
[15:48] {Khendon} Better, yeah 🙂
[15:48] {Khendon} The second was switchboard, btw
[15:48] {Aquarion} Heh 🙂
[15:50] {Aquarion} I think I’ve run out. Last one I could think of is “peg board” or possibly painting him green and launching him into the sky, but both are scraping the barrel slightly
[15:50] {Aquarion} (Thunderbored two, obviously)

[15:52] {Khendon} We could make him run quickly
[15:53] {Aquarion} Sprintboard?
[15:53] {Khendon} Dashboard
[15:53] {Khendon} Ooh, or make him indecisively between two countries (more complex, this one)
[15:53] {itagne} Make him do what indecisively? 🙂
[15:54] {Aquarion} immigration bored?
[15:54] {Khendon} make him be indecisively between two countries
[15:54] {Senji} Diplomacy board?
[15:54] {Khendon} “Board, err”
[15:54] {Aquarion} Argh
[15:54] {itagne} Euw. 🙂
[15:54] * Senji throws rotted fruit at Khendon

[15:54] {Aquarion} Or we could give him complete control over a market
[15:54] {Khendon} Monopoly board
[15:55] {itagne} Or make him write a book comparing small boarding-houses.
[15:56] {Khendon} ?
[15:56] {itagne} Pensions review board. 🙂
[15:57] {Khendon} Put him in an underwater boat!
[15:57] {Khendon} (Getting very tenuous now 🙂
[15:57] {itagne} No, don’t see it. 🙂
[15:57] {itagne} Man overboard? :p
[15:57] {Khendon} In-sub-bored-inate
[15:57] {itagne} Oh dear. 🙂

aqcom Imported From Epistula

Roll call

  • Hits Ever: 146,968
  • Uniques Ever: 8370 (User Agent + IP)
  • Bandwidth Ever: 1508.32675171 (MB)

    (Ever, in this context, is two weeks)

    Who are you people?

    What do want from me?

    Why do you read this drivel?

Imported From Epistula internet web development

How to make Firefox or Firebird use the new personalised google

Google have just released into beta testing the new ‘Personalize’ interface. From mucking around with it this evening, I have to say that it rocks, but most of the time when I’m using Google, it’s though the Search box in Firefox, so here is how to make that use Google personalisation:

  1. Download this file
  2. Save it into the searchplugins directory of your Firefox install directory.
  3. (Optional) Copy the “google.gif” file that is in the same directory to be called “google-personalisation.gif” (You don’t have to do this, but you get the google icon for it instead of the default magnifying glass)
  1. Restart Firefox

    (As far as I know, this also works with Firebird and anything else that has the Mycroft extension installed)

Imported From Epistula PHP programming

Errands and the End Of PHP

Got stuff done.

In this case, the stuff was of a many and varied nature and involved:

  • Sorting out bank accounts
  • Joining Blockbuster
  • Joining Library
  • Posting Stuff

    But also:

  • Resolving that I will never again begin a personal project written in PHP.

    Yesterday, you see, I managed to get PHP5 working on Atoll, my local server. It works fine, from a technical standpoint, it installed straight into the right place, it works, it access the databases and everything.

    Epistula, however, doesn’t. Neither did AqWiki, Aquaintances, Klind or Pareidol. Why?

    Because somewhere in the PHP5 development process, somebody wrote a function to return the contents of a directory back as an array, and called it scandir() which, co-incidentally, is the name of my stock function for returning the contents of a directory as an array. It means that, as of PHP5’s full release, my code is broken. This is, in fact, wrong.

    One of the great benefits of PHP is it’s integration. Everything available was in the manual, which was searchable and contained the wit and wisdom of several years of PHP developers who had been where you are before you were there.

    The greatest flaw PHP has is it’s integration. Functions have been added haphazardly over the five major revisions to the point where, given a two word function, it’s equal odds to be firstSecond() as first_second() depending on who coded it when. Also, the willingness of the development team to break every previous PHP tutorial in a minor revision (Witness the whole REGISTER GLOBALS debacle), Perl – the language with the most established collection of modules on the market – has a namespace system for added on functionality which works so well even Python copied it. PHP, however, is no longer a stable platform to develop releasable code on, since your code may stop working at any point. Worst, this will manifest itself as a PHP syntax error, and you cannot guard against new internal functions unless you check the existence of every function before you use it.

    So, PHP, it’s been nice using you, but until you stop fucking around with the namespaces, it’s time to try something new.

    Suggestions, anyone?

aqWiki driving Imported From Epistula Movies RPG


  • AqWiki 0.3 delayed due to an authentication bug, no thanks to the zero people who followed the link on Thursday
  • Examine the logo carefully, since that is the last use of the old Aquarionics logo. Two weeks of Other Things, then the new logo debuts.
  • All moterists who think that it is appropriate to overtake on the inside, at the approach to a roundabout, at the top of a hill are to report to the bladesman for extremity removal. Even if the person you overtake is a cyclist.
  • Starsky & Hutch not a good movie, but is still worth seeing.
AFP Imported From Epistula social


From: Aquarion;
Subject: Re: [I] Copyright and rambling // was Televised books // was Top 100 Musicals (Re: [I] Re: Buffy/LOTR)
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 12:10:34 +0000
Lines: 72

Take a letter Miss Jones: To Graycat, Re: [I] Copyright and rambling (long) // was Televised books // was Top 100 Musicals (Re: [I] Re: Buffy/LOTR):
> On Fri, 26 Mar 2004 23:04:57 +0000, Alec Cawley
> wrote:
>>In message , Graycat
>> writes
>>>On Fri, 26 Mar 2004 20:04:10 +0000, Alec Cawley
>>>>In message , Graycat
>>>> writes
> Well, I think that the copyright and benefits should rest with the
> creator. As long as the creator is around he/she should get to say
> what’s to be done with it. If the creator is dead he/she can’t have
> financial or intellectual interests so it doesn’t matter that
> copyright has ended.

My penny: (Two cents at current exchange rates)

I) Copyright is a Good Thing for current authors, since it enables them to earn money from what they do. Nobody trys to tell a blacksmith he shouldn’t charge for his work, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to. (Not that anyone – in this argument – appears to have put forward the Information Wants To Be Free thing, but it’s a basis)

II) There are times when a copyright should follow a company instead of an indervidual. Whilst Disney are still using Mickey Mouse as a logo, they should be protected from people being able to produce “Mickey Does Dallas” legally.

III) When something is no longer commercially viable to reproduce, it should fall out of copyright. This means that things like Gutenburg and the Abandonware archives become useful (Not that Gutenburg isn’t useful, but it’s useful because things have fallen out of copyright)

So far, so standard. The difficult bit:

IV) The idea that upon my death my entire oeuvre falls into the public domain isn’t really good if I want my work to support any decendants I have, or if – citing J. M. Barrie – I want to leave all profits from it to a charitable institution. I would prefer to have the freedom to do this.

IV.b) On the other hand, the last thing I want is a Tolkienesque/Fleming/Scientology world where there is an organisation whose entire purpose in life is to milk my entire output until it dies, chop the meat and sell it for sausages, then sell the bones for glue.

So, basically, I want to take copyright extension out of land law altogether and give creators the ability to say in their will “I cede all rights to my works to $foo, on the condition that on his death the rights fall into the public domain” with sub-clauses to the effect that works based on these rights don’t fall into the public domain immediatly, but will do eventually as negotiated, or something.

I don’t think blanket copyright is working, and individual cases would probably be better.

Good sigmonster, Have a bikkit.

Yours in total sincerity,


copyright, noun

The notion that you can protect from the future what you stole
from the past. <>

gentoo Imported From Epistula Moving to Letchworth


So, I’m reinstalling Gentoo on my desktop in the hope that this time I’ll stick with it. I’m getting quite good at going though the install sequence, although since they did major revisions in January and my boot disc was from 2002 I’ve spent some time translating stuff for the new world.

Oh, and Java failed to compile last night, but it was fixed this morning, so that’s all right then.

This has given me a unique oppertunity to discover what the web looks like from lynx, since it’s the only browser I can use whilst the compile is happening. Somewhat to my suprise, Aquarionics works quite well (As do most – but not all – CSS based designs), though ATI lose points for making their “Which driver” dialog javascript dependant, so I’ll have to do that from X. Grr.

Today, whilst Gentoo was compiling, I went shopping. This was primarily to buy things, but also to explore Letchworth. I’ve lived here for three weeks now, and this is really the first time I’ve actually explored the place. It’s nice. It has a great mix of generic branded shops (Dixons etc.) along with the little single shops that I prefer. This means that I’ve acutally mangaged to conform with my oft-intended “Support your local trader” ethos, and get stuff from butchers etc. rather than picking it all up at Sainsbury’s. The primary benefit of a supermarket is that it’s all in one place and you can get everything at once, but since both me and LC are constrained by what we can carry on our bicycles anyway bulk isn’t a useful attribute, so getting stuff in individual shops is actually easier.

Letchworth also has a shop which I fear will be my undoing. It’s called “David’s Bookshop”. It sells both first and second hand books, is next to “David’s Music” which does the same for other media, and contains an Aladdin’s cave of stuff that made me glad I didn’t have much cash on me. As it is, I escaped with merely an old copy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook (A Real Cookbook. One that tells you how to roast a shoulder of lamb, make dumplings and cook bread rather than a thousand and one uses for olive oil) and an Oscar Wilde complete plays volume. This, I feel, is me getting off lightly since last time LoneCat went in there she came out with a complete set of Agatha Christie books in hard-back.

Oh, and I found some gloves. They’re slightly too small, have embroidered snowflakes on them, and look slightly silly. They do, however, enable me to retain the ability to bend my fingers after cycling to town and back. This is meant to be spring, damnit. It shouldn’t hail on me while I’m cycling…

aqWiki Imported From Epistula

AqWiki 0.3b

AqWiki 0.3 is about to be released, if anyone would like to see if they can break it before I do so, there is a test installation here

Dump anything you find that’s interesting into the bugs page

Imported From Epistula intertwingularity

Installing NTL Broadband Without Using The CD

We now have NTL Broadband. They came, they installed it, they went away to get more cable, they came back, they connected it.

They were polite, on time, and quick.

They gave me the cables, told me to use the CD on the computer, and went away.

And I ignored them.

I plugged in the router, connected to it, and tried to find the magic address where you register your PIN number and everything, which – until you register – is the only site you are able to access at all.

This magic address which took me several hours to find is:

This guide to installing NTL under Linux is also really helpful.