Imported From Epistula Metablog

I don't care much

  • This is wrong on oh so many levels

    And yes, yes it is wrong on quite a few levels. As someone who had his 15 minutes and then faded back into the obscurity of a Z-List blogger, I’m going to tell you exactly how your blog will get noticed:

    Write interesting stuff, read interesting stuff, be interesting.

    Okay, so pinging Technoarti et. al. isn’t going to hurt your existence any, and will mean that people read the interesting stuff you write, but if you build it, they will come. As for ‘hanging out’ with your fellow bloggers down in the ‘hood, I’d like to agree with Burningbird, who described it as “Groupie Behaviour”, and it is. The only web logger with a higher rank than me that I hang out on any kind of regular basis is Stuart of Kryogenix, who I’ve known for ages before either of us started this. And if I thought that people were hanging out with me purely so I could sprinkle some magic pixie dust of popularity upon them (Not that this could ever happen, I have the blogological clout of an invisible feather duster) I’d be irritated and annoyed.

    Lesson ends.

    I apologise for the creation of the travestry of the word “Blogological” above. It was cruel and mean, and I’d like to express my sincere regret to the english language as a whole for this blight upon its good name

Current Affairs Imported From Epistula Politics

Bu… Wha… The… *Argh*

Apparently, our Home Office minister has thought of the perfect way to ensure people aren’t fox-hunting when the ban finally comes into effect.

He’s going to put CCTV cameras in the hedgerows.

I’m not kidding.

I’ve no idea what I can say to that.

Computer Games Imported From Epistula

Founding of the City of Heroes

18:15 – Get home from work to find COH sitting on the Kitchen counter. If I’d known it was here, I’d have skipped out of work early…

18:30 – Having convinced my computer that the second hard drive really is a formatted disk, manage to install COH. Really, really wish developers would stop playing music during installs, or at the very least let me turn it off, as it clashes with the Divine Comedy something chronic. Launch game.

So, it looks like Crypic Studios have been busy, over 200mb of updates. Woo, yay. Cook dinner while waiting.

19:15 – That was quick (updates that is) launch game. Am asked for Username and Password. Since I already have a PlayNC account from the CoH forums, type that in.
“Incorrect Username/Password”
And again.
Try with alternate password.
Log in to website sucessfully, and realise that “Incorrect Username/Password” really means “You haven’t registered this game yet”. Register game.
Give site credit card details for free month (sigh).
Am told to await registration email
Go to eat dinner.

19:53 – Still waiting.

19:55 – Tried to login with the details, and it worked.

22:27 – I return. For three hours, I was playing City of Heroes as “The Raynebow”. Raynebow is… From his description:

After a terrible accident invoving a Magic wand and a box of Crayola, Trent Rayne’s life changed forever. Now he defends Paragon City as… The Raynebow!

Spending my time currently wandering though the missions, fighting muggers (and getting killed, annoyingly, when I’m overrun) and hitting people with a whacking great sword made of ice. Leaping small buildings in a single bound! Watching the flying superheroes above me, and patiently waiting my turn! Fighting for truth! Justice! and the next level up!

I think I’m going to enjoy playing this game rather a lot…

Current Affairs Imported From Epistula Politics

Hunting the hunters

I don’t care about fox hunting.

That is, I can see the benefits of stopping it, but I can see advantages to its continued existence. I am happy upon this fence, I can see my house from here.

I don’t understand why its such a huge issue, though. I don’t understand why it’s an issue that is worth perverting the course of parliament for it, which is what the Commons say they will do if the Lords decides to try to block it. It’s a party promise, yes, but why do we care enough about it to knock aside the due process? From the outside, it looks like the sole reason for all of this is that the Lords is overriding a law the Commons want, which is their job ffs. The House Of Lords is there – albeit stuffed full of various party’s cronies at the moment – to stop the Commons enacting law after law just to get them reelected.

This is not to say that the people who broke into the Commons aren’t morons, however, but I do find it slightly amusing that when Batman did something similar earlier this week there wasn’t nearly this much vitriol being splashed around.

Imported From Epistula Personal Work

Nothing moves slower than money

We live in a world of instant communication. In the last twenty four hours I have received more emails than I have letters in my entire life, I have organised future events over Instant Messenger, had arguments with people on other continents over IRC, and played computer games against real people who I will never meet or speak to again. Within minutes of any major event, someone I know will know about it and probably pass on the information. This website, hub of everything I do on the net, is hit by some kind of program – on average – once every six seconds (Down somewhat majorly from last year, but I’m writing less) and it’s only a tiny personal website, a boil on the arse of the revolution.

Yet it takes my bank seven working days to clear a cheque.

This I absolutely fail to understand. Up until last month it was five working days, which was excessive. Seven days to validate a piece of paper – signed, dated, and individually numbered – is incredible. But this wasn’t the worst of it. I asked why it would take seven working days (and this was nine working days ago, so my memory is a little rusty) to validate this small piece of paper, almost identical to the one they validated this time last month, and if there was any way I could make it clear quicker. Posting it, for example, I posited sarcastically.

They could, they admitted, send it by first class post. This would cost me £20.


I mean, I know the cost of stamps has risen slightly in the last couple of years, but £20 to upgrade to first class post for a cheque seemed a little beyond my ken. But worse than this, even, was what it actually means. It means that usually the cheques are posted by second class mail to some obscure destination (Probably Halifax H.Q.). From there they are probably posted to the original bank (The companies) for further validation. This would explain the five days thing, waiting for post is time consuming. But second class? The HBOS group recently posted its interim results for 2004, posting a Profit Before Tax up 21% to £2,161,000,000. That’s two billion one hundred and sixty one million pounds, surely they can afford a fucking stamp! Or fedex, even, if they send lots of them.

But yet, it gets worse. After seven working (ie, nine real) days the cheque clears into my bank account (this was Friday), and I can pay people. My Landlord has been complaining that my rent was late (Waiting for cheque to clear), my credit cards want paying, and I need a new mouse. At this point I realise that I haven’t seen my bank card in a few days, nor the rest of my wallet (Working from home + Train ticket not in wallet = wallet location irrelevant), report it as missing and pay a large lump to the card, leaving enough so I can pay for my new season ticket (monthly, £266) by cheque.

Since I don’t have my bank card, I can’t withdraw the money for the season ticket in cash (I can get small amounts by answering five correct questions from the game show host bank teller on such subjects as the history of egg sandwiches in World War 2 My mother’s maiden name and banking history (Mine, not hers) but they won’t give me enough for the season – or even a weekly – ticket. So I’m forced to pay by cheque, which I hate doing. I Don’t Like Cheques.

Nevertheless, I rise at Six AM Monday Morning (yawn), dance down to the station waving cheerily at the lolly-pop lady (We actually have one! I thought they were abolished at about the same time as free milk) as I cycle over one of her charges, park my bike at the station (Which I can do one day a week, any more than that and I need a pass) (Which, incidentally, are issued quarterly, and thus will be useless to me in exactly one months time), and stroll genteelly up to the ticketing counter.

Actually, what really happens is that the moment I commit to going by bike (Realistically, at the end of my road) the heavens open and I’m absolutely drenched. Hoping my laptop and phone are okey, I get to the station where I attempt to lock my bike to the rack, cursing my damp fingers and the annoying lock) then squelch up to the counter, dump my belongings in a deliquescing heap beside me and go though the transaction for a new season ticket, before finally presenting a damp, signed cheque for the full amount.

At which point, I’m told that they don’t accept cheques without a guarantee card. Most cheque guarantee cards in my existence have only guaranteed up to £100 on any cheque, falling far short of the required total, and my current bank card isn’t a guarantee card anyway. And besides – and more importantly – every bank card/guarantee card in this country is also either a Switch, MasterCard or Visa card too, and if I’d had it with me, I’d have put it on that, you stupid moronette.

Instead of presenting this logical answer to a drone who can do nothing about it, I swear under my breath and hand her the Visa card.

Which fails.

I go home.

It had, I observe, stopped raining the moment I entered the ticketing hall.

Bloody weather.

Next day we repeat the procedure, only without the rain or the cheques, but still with the Visa and the failing, and I’m told (By Barclay) that the reason it failed was that my balance transfer on Friday (this was Tuesday) takes three working days to clear. Try tomorrow (Friday/Monday/Tuesday, Will clear Wednesday)

This doesn’t make sense either. Where is the money? Halifax have taken it out of the account (instantly, it was gone when I hit “Submit” in the browser), and Barclaycard know about the transfer, but the money won’t clear for five days, and this isn’t a matter of physical bits of paper being shuffled, there is no practical reason why the payment shouldn’t be instant, or at least overnight.

I won the star prize at the Halifax Quiz show, and won enough money for a return ticket to Kings Cross. I went to work.

This morning the person at the train station was sarcastic at me, which I didn’t need. Same person as Monday, with a Brand New Computer System, which will Save So Much Time, and thus explains the queue for tickets that stretched out of the ticketing hall. Visa Failed.

Phone Barclaycard, am told “Probably tomorrow then”.

So I’m working from home today, because WAGN won’t sell me a season ticket, and it’s so far from cost-effective to buy daily tickets that I’m willing to let the company shout at me rather than go in.

Computer Games Imported From Epistula Movies stories


Shaun of the Dead is really good.

Other things under construction:

  • Oxford Tweed and the Lawn Chairs of Doom


    It should be noted, to start with, that Stave was not chasing after multiple-centries old bottles of port because he had nothing else to do. Far from it, its just it was a conveniant way to keep out from under the feet of the several hundred groups who were currently trying to kill him.

Accessibility Current Affairs Imported From Epistula Projects

Lazyweb – Digital Guardian

I spend a couple of hours every day sitting on trains. Soon, I’ll be spending 4 hours a day sitting on buses. Ideally, I’d like to read a newspaper or something while I’m doing this, but I hate fiddling around with broadsheets on the standing-room-only commuter cattle-pens into London. The solution to this appears to be the Digital Guardian, but it’s useless to me since it requires a web connection to read. You can’t just download a PDF of the entire newspaper (though you can get PDFs of every seperate page & story) and take it away.

So, has anyone heard of any inititives to automatically grab each page PDF of today’s Guardian (With my subscription details, naturally) automatically? Stiching them together isn’t really important.

BrowserAngel Imported From Epistula Python Those who evolve Work

The explaination & Python

After a number of similer requests, I’ve done a Goodbye Browserangel FAQ at holistic.

I leave BA on Friday 15th October, I enter Those Who Evolve so that’ll be fun.

Today I’ve spent attempting to work out how to do Python Web Apps sensibly without being tied to Zope. I’m grasping the Python Way, I think, but I still think in PHP and Web Dev terms, so actually learning by creating a site – rather than the abstract card games I’ve been doing – would probably be more useful.

So far I’ve been playing with Quixote mostly, but since Evolving seem to have centralised on Zope, that would probably be more useful. Thing is, every time I look at it I think something along the lines of “Crikey, that’s a bit overkill for this” and look for something simpler, but the more I go into it, the more Zope looks like The Thing I Should Know, since all the alternatives seem to start with comparing themselves to it. Input from those who know more about this than I do would be handy 🙂

BrowserAngel Imported From Epistula

PHP Developer Wanted

BrowserAngel is now looking for a PHP Developer

The prospective candidate will need:

  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • Apache exp.
  • CVS (Preferably admin experience, but it’s pretty easy)

    Ideally also:

    Sysadmin basics (Debian/Linux, Spamassassin, W32 troubleshooting, Samba)
    A general idea of VC++ (Not in any way mandatory, but could be useful)

    You’d be working within a small team on a Cool Thing, with any luck the Next Big Thing. Wages aren’t stratospheric right now, but possiblities could be. You’d need to either live near, or be willing to commute to, Kings Cross London.

    Send CV and cover letter to

    Nicholas Avenell, Developer/Sysadmin, BrowserAngel
    e: Nicholas.Avenell -at- t: (+44|0)20 7713 0001
    a: 212 Spitfire Studios, Collier Street, London Kings Cross, NE1 2BE

    (Disclaimer: This post is posted at the request of BrowserAngel. All will be explained)

Imported From Epistula Personal Work

410 – Site owner is feeling nihilistic

Last night I considered deleting Aquarionics and replacing it with a 410 – Gone. Not “BRB”, Hiatus! or “Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a while”, but getting rid of the whole thing.

Mostly, it’s because lately I haven’t done much that’s interesting. I mean, currently I’m writing an interface for BrowserAngel that uses DHTML and stuff to create an application that “feels” like a desktop app, in that the response times are really damn quick and it doesn’t reload the entire page just to react to your latest desire. Sound familier? Yeah, BA has been doing stuff similier to the GMail interface since Prototype One, twelve months ago. I haven’t talked about any of this, mostly because I’m not allowed to give away what we’re doing. Yet.

Surfice to say it’s pretty cool, and that an A-List Blogger recently described exactly our product as an example of “Things that would be cool” and it nearly made me drop my tea. We may have more funding, meaning I’m not job hunting (again) in October. Yay.

Gets a phone call


Okay, so I’ve been offered a job. 35% pay rise, regular pay, commute to Bedford (not really good, takes ages) but place is a Python shop, so I’d be paid to learn Python. OTOH, we might get refunded here, and then I could be here when BrowserAngel (which is really cool) takes off.

OTTH, that might not happen.

They want an answer tomorrow morning.

That wasn’t how I was going to end this entry, but now I’ve got a fuck of a lot of thinking to do.