epistula Imported From Epistula


Aquarionics has been down for the last hour or so whilst I shifted directories around to seperate Epistula from Aquarionics, this being the first step in the Great Scheme which will eventually result in my moving Epistula 2 to CVS/Subversion/Something, and from there I can start the process of packaging it for some kind of release.

Between now and then I have to completely redo the templating system, though, so it might take a little while.

If you find anything broken, please – as ever – report it

Imported From Epistula Personal

What do I think of

A meme, and an excuse to use the carefully constructed “interview” class again. Ateric has a list of other people’s answers


Yes, unless it’s medically too late, but it’s a binary switch decision, you shouldn’t be able to change your mind either way later. Yeah, I realise it already is in one direction already, but I think that which every way you make the decision you have to stick with it, and since I don’t draw a thick black line “after x months it’s Wrong” I’m imposing this fairly arbitary “Choose, then live with it”. Since I believe that the closest thing we have to a soul is life itself, either it’s always okay or it never is, and I’m choosing the former because the parents are going to have to spend a large portion of life and income on this particular choice, so they should get the opertunity to make it.

Death Penalty?:

We’re wrong too often. I believe that locking someone away for the rest of their life is more cruel than killing them, and would therefore support the death penalty if the person being killed felt the same way I do *and* had confessed and there was no *possible* doubt. See suicide, below.


Legalise, Santitise, Regulate, Do as you will an it harm none who don’t desire it.


Legalise, Santitise, Regulate, Do as you will an it harm none.
I drink occasionally because I like doing so and like the taste.


Legalise, Santitise, Regulate, Do as you will an it harm none.
I’ve never done any “drugs” in this sense (ie, other than asprin like stuff), but flatmates have done while I was there. I’ve no objection to people doing whatever they like to themselves providing they don’t do it to me unless I want it, and despite the governments insistance to the contrary, I doubt anyone on pot would go on a murderous rampage unless they thought you were hiding a Mars bar.

Other drugs?:

Legalise, Santitise, Regulate, Do as you will an it hurt none.
This means that if you’re causing another person harm – physical or mental – by taking the things, you shouldn’t, but that should not be a state problem. Being “high” should be no defense.


Legalise, Santitise, Regulate, Do as you will an it hurt none.
“Having a smoking section of a resturant is like having a peeing section of a swimming pool”
I could support a ban on smoking in anywhere that was serving food and wasn’t properly ventilated, but a blanket ban isn’t fair.

Gay marriage?:

Society needs to take the +5 Great Cleaver of Concepts and split in twain the concept of marraige, dividing the legal “People as one unit” from the religious “Joined together in the eyes of $DEITY”. The law shouldn’t care how many, or who is in the marriage. The church can do whatever it believes is right. See “religion” below.

Illegal immigrants?:

I may be about to go Daily Mail on you, for which I apologise, but currently we seem to be turning illegal immigrants who couldn’t get here legally into legal immigrants becase they broke the law and are already here, and they won’t stop being imported – be it under their own steam or by slavers – until we stop trying to say “Oh, don’t worry, we’ll take you anyway”. I’m not sure what should be done, but legalizing them on mass isn’t it.

Drunk driving?:

Ah, after more than five or six pints you should probably consider getting a taxi.

Are you insane? Drink _OR_ Drive. Bloody stupid question.


Don’t like the idea of cloning people, but the idea of cloning organs to make replacement better I like.


Is bad, m’kay?

Premarital sex?:

Do as you will an it harm none.


Believe what you like. Let me do the same.
I’m not a commited Christian, although a lot of what I believe is compatible with that faith – mostly, I suspect, because I was brought up going to Family Service every so often with the Scouts. I believe that the thing killing religion off quickest is Fundermentalism and it’s inherant reluctance to understand an issue before condeming it. Most Real Christians I know aren’t like that, but the Fundermentalists get more press.

I was going to explain the basis of what I believe here, but it’s beyond the scope of this article.

The war in Iraq?:

The ends do not justify the means. We should not have gone in the first place, we should not have declared victory until we won, we sure as fuck shouldn’t be there now.


Small tree.

George W Bush?:

Was listening to George Carlin on the subject of “The War in the Persian Gulf” yesterday. It was scarily still true, down to the names of the people involved, even. I think Bush is doing what he things is right, and not what is right _for America_ (Letting the economy go to shit because of a war, for example). Worse, according to the latest polls, People think GWB is good for the war, but Kerry is better for everything else, but they would _still_ vote for Bush.

Downloading music?:

If it’s not available by any other means, I don’t have a problem with it. Same goes for all other media.

The legal drinking age?:

Is about right.


Do as you will an it harm none. But still, get over it. Real MOAS are better.


Don’t be so damned stupid. The only justification for suicide is as an alternative to complete paralysis or intense pain for the rest of your life, and even then, convince someone who loves you after you’ve convinced yourself. If you can do that, go ahead. I can say this from the moral highground of someone who came out of suicidal depression, but don’t do it, it _will_ get better, it _is_ a vicious circle, and doing it will cause more pain to others than you’re feeling right now.

Imported From Epistula MLP


  • Tickybox!
Imported From Epistula Politics


This afternoon, I did our weekly shop via Sainsbury’s To You, my personal choice of supermarket. It took less time than it normally takes to cycle there, and it’s not that far. This is because Sainsbury’s have, via my Nectar Card, my shopping preferences on file, and therefore presented me with a list of things I usually buy when I logged in, and this was Good. Selling my personal information to Sainsbury’s for a pot of messages that make my life easier is considered Non Harmful, and if it gives them better information on how an English white male aged 21-25 living in Hertfordshire and working in the IT Industry chooses to buy his groceries, then it’s a damn site better than them phoning me up on a Sunday to ask.

Last month I tried to open a bank account. Since I currently have no passport, don’t drive – and my provisional license is paper rather than photo card – and don’t work for a company that issues ID cards, I couldn’t prove my identity sufficiently to open a new account. Despite already having an account with them. The ID I presented in order to rent a house for a year consisted of my Rail card.

The reason I don’t have a passport or a National Insurance card is because I was so scared of losing them I put them in a safe place. Fortunately I have no legal requirement to carry them.

Linking the above is the new ID card legislation. As can be inferred from the above, I have no objection to being tracked within systems, and would welcome a standard way of proving who I am. My problem with the idea of an ID card is threefold:

  1. It’s too dangerous to lose.
  2. I don’t want to be tracked across systems
  1. I’m a terrorist

    Deadly serious about all of those, btw.

    It’s too dangerous to lose

    I’m the least organised person on the face of the planet. I’d lose my shadow if I wasn’t careful. I currently don’t have a passport or National Insurance card, and I haven’t left the house alone in four days because I’m not sure where my keys are. If someone finds my ID card before I do, they can effectively pretend to be me. All this “Biometric” stuff is all very well, even if it works, but unless you issue everyone who wants to check an ID card with a Biometric scanner, it’s still just a photo card. And if you do, you have to validate it, which would mean hooking up to a centralised database, and…

    I don’t want to be tracked across systems

    I don’t mind if Sainsbury’s know I order Cottage Cheese every so often, usually when I order Baked Potatoes, or that I tend to buy chocolate in the winter. I don’t even mind if British Airways know that I’m the same person who sat in row C8 last month on this flight, and have therefore seen this movie. I don’t even care if Warner Village Cinema can tell that I will go out of my way to see comic book adaptations and anything by Quentin Tarantino. What I don’t want is for British Airways to know I’ve seen this movie because I saw it on release at a Warner Village Cinema, or for Sainsbury’s to stop selling me Jelly Tots because there’s a history of diabetes in my family, or for my GP to recommend me to a psychiatrist because I bought six boxes of sleeping pills, or because I bought “So you’re considering suicide?” from Amazon. I’m quite capable of looking after myself, and even if I wasn’t, I’ve a right to do so anyway.

    You may think this is an overreaction, that commercial entities would never be given this data. You’d be wrong, because the ID card management is being hawked out to private contractors, who are commercial entities.

    I’m a terrorist

    The last time I looked – and it’s been a little while now – I can currently be arrested for five separate offences under various anti-terrorism acts. All of these were noted when they passed, but each time the public was told “But don’t worry, we won’t prosecute”, unless you’re a “terrorist”, presumably.

    These offenses include losing the password to an encrypted file, having a working knowledge of chemistry, not having a bouncers license, and knowing where both Homebase (DIY/Garden centre) and Sainsbury’s are.

    Just because they “won’t prosecute” does not mean they can’t if they want to, and a single point of ID enables them to track this.

    But, after five years of detailing my life on an internationally accessible web site, I’ve got nothing to hide, and therefore nothing to fear.


Imported From Epistula Work

Course of action

So, being as it looks like my job isn’t going to pay me in time for my rent, the lack of PHP contracts being flung my way, and the general lack of money in my life, I’ve taken the only logical course of action.

I redesigned my website.

Not this one, the other one

It worked. Within seconds of writing the first line of HTML, I got an email with a possible job.

I find this funny.

computing Imported From Epistula

Market Share

The personal computer market is about the same size as the total potato chip market. Next year it will be about half the size of the pet food market and is fast approaching the total worldwide sales of panty hose.
James Finke, President, Commodore International Ltd. (1982)

aqcom Imported From Epistula Metablog web development


So, I’ve redone the commenting form for Epistula to reflect certian forthcoming technological efforts.

Ahh, I love the smell of a crowded new marketplace in the morning.

Smells like failure…

aqcom Imported From Epistula


One: This week’s banner scares me.

Two: Feudal – my current project – only started working when I told it to log “FUCKING WORK YOU MOTHERBOARDFUCKING LUMP OF FUCKING SHIT FOR CODE” to syslog.

It never works if I ask nicely.

Imported From Epistula Politics

Environmental Nukes

In order to comply with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations, and at a cost of about $5.2 million per ICBM, the rocket motors on 500 Minuteman III missiles will be replaced with new ones. These rockets will emit less toxic chemicals when used.
Thus, if the Minuteman III ICBMs have to be used in some future nuclear war, their rocket motors will not pollute the atmosphere.
(Strategy Page)

See? They _do_ care for the environment

Computer Games Imported From Epistula

Installing old games

Seven years is not a very long time, really.

Seven years ago a variety of things happened, one of which was the release of a game called “Constructor” for the PC. It was a good – though very hard – build-em-up game, with a host of evil things you could do to the other players, like send hippies in to squat in their empty houses, gangsters to rough up their foremen, ghosts, evil clowns, yobs. It was a nice game.

Well, not a nice game, but a fun game.

I own it. Though various reasons, I in fact own it twice. Once in it’s original CD edition, once in a budget DVD-box edition which I bought a couple of years back. So today I tried to install Constructor.

It took three hours, and still didn’t work right.

The installer for Constructor doesn’t like XP. It says, in fact, that Constructor requires Windows 95 or better. Whether WinXP is better than Win95 is left as an exercise for the reader, but for my purposes it was unhelpful. So, since I’m still on my 30 day trial of VMWare, I set up a Windows 98 virtual machine and installed it on that. So fine, so hoopy.

It didn’t run, though, because VMWare and DirectX don’t play nice, so I copied the install, and all registry settings, from the VM back to the main machine.

No dice.

Discovered the “Run as Windows 95” compatibility option.

Lack of d6.

It was a memory error of some kind. I gave up. Fortunately, Constructor is old enough to be a dual-OS DOS/Win95 game, and so I installed the DOS version under a command line. It installed. It detected my sound-card. It detected everything. It launched…

… No cuboids of any kind.

It refused to run without the CD – that it had just installed from – in the drive. Grr.

Eventually, I got it working under dosbox a Dos emulator designed for Linux and ported to Windows. Because it was emulating DOS, the game – seven years old, remember – barely ran on my 1.6Ghz machine. In fact, dosbox had the same problem as DOS did, in that it didn’t like the CD drive. So I had to find – and download – an abandonware version of Constructor (which – obviously – is hacked to make you able to run it without the CD) and use that.

I’ll repeat that. I’ve just downloaded a pirate version of a game I own because it’s lasted better than the original.