2007 Imported From Epistula

There are just two things that I blog

I do humbly apologise to anyone expecting to read this weblog for techical stuff. It’s all gone a bit cheese sandwichy, hasn’t it?

There’s a reason for this.

The first is that we started off as a cheese sandwich blog, and then I decided if I was going to do a cheese sandwich blog I could do it on fucking livejournal and this was going to be only for splendid and worthwhile posts on technology and XML and Linux and Sysadmining and all kinds of neat stuff.

Then I, you know, stopped updating. Because all the stuff I was doing on technology was stuff I can’t talk about because the company didn’t like it when I do, and sysadmining stuff went away because there is only so often you can bewail the existence of EIMS on OS 8 before it begins to suck the very life out of the most vibrant and exciting places.

(This does not count as one. In the last couple of years I’ve lost you all, haven’t I? You’ve all fucked off to more interesting weblogs, cheating on me, damn your eyes.)

So, this is what will happen: I will update this damn thing again. I will tell you what I’m working on in home projects and – assuming the new company don’t object – work projects as soon as I’m allowed to mention they exist. Should there be any.

But first:


I went to my leaving do for Evolving Media last friday, and was somewhat… worried. “Why”, said Linda the accountant when handing my my final paycheque, “Are you leaving at all?”, and she had a point. I was leaving, and I had nowhere to go to on Monday morning. I would be Unpaid, Unloved and In Trouble. I resolved to spend the entire weekend applying for as many jobs as I could find with my skill-set or below it.

Instead, I went to London to see people, play with Wiis and deliver crack.

This, you will note, is not exactly compatible with finding a new job. And you would be wrong, in this case, because I was discussing with Charles – whose Wii it was – how the company he works for needs a web dev. I’d already emailed my CV, but wasn’t expecting much from it. (I have applied for several dozen jobs in the past three weeks. I am annoyed by how few bother to reply at all), and he suggested I post a more “pure” webdev CV (My usual CV is a mix of Sysadmin and Webdev), which I did.

He passed it on to his bosses, with a note that I’d be passing by the office in a few hours on my way home, which I was, and could pop in if they wanted a chat. They did.

Next day, I went back in at their request to meet more people. They liked me too, and made me an offer.

This gave me about a week to find a way to work in Kings Cross without it costing me a number of bombs. My solution to this is to move to London, which I’m doing as of tomorrow.

This means I’m going to be paying rent for two houses this month, which means I’m going to be very poor indeed. If anyone knows a way I can make a few hundred pounds without spending any time or effort on the enterprise, please let me know…

Imported From Epistula weblog

Pretending blogging matters part X

The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time.

(George Bernard Shaw)

Computer Games Imported From Epistula


This weekend was the Double XP event in City of Heroes. Basically, from Friday night to Sunday midnight (US time) everything you did in the game gave out double the XP and Influence (the game’s currency). One of the best ways of getting XP in CoH is Task Forces – WoW players: think “Raids”, -ish – a series of interconnected missions with the following parameters:

  1. Once a task force team is joined, you cannot invite new people in.
  2. You cannot do anything else in the game until you have completed the Task Force.
  1. Task Forces can take anywhere between three and twelve hours, depending on the Task Force in question.

    Unlike any other team in the game, if you disconnect from the game while in Task Force mode, you will re-enter the game in the same team, same Task Force. To end a Task Force you must either quit it or finish it. If you quit the team, even by accident, see rule one.

    The difficulty level of the Task Force is set by the highest levelled member of the team, factoring in the number of people on the team and the difficulty levels they’ve got the game set to. It does not recalculate. This means if people quit because it is taking too long, or their computers die, or they get bored, or they have an argument and storm off, the Task Force doesn’t get any easier, you just have less people to do it with. And see Rule One.

    It is possible in the game to have Sidekicks (Where a lower level player is assigned to a higher level one. The lower level player fights at one level below the higher level one, but with the same abilities) and Exemplars (Where a higher level player is assigned to a lower level one, the higher level one fights at the lower level, with all the abilities they had when they were at that level. They gain no XP for this, but do clear out XP Debt (caused by dying) and gain Influence (money)). If you attempt to cheat the system by going in sidekicked/exemplared and then switching around, you will gain no XP at all until you reconfigure yourselves back how you were when you started.

    Double-XP makes this easier, to some extent, as where I started as one of the lower levelled players (I was a Healer, so my fighting skills didn’t matter so much) with all the enemies “conning” (“Considering”, enemies are highlighted in different colours depending on how difficult they will be to beat) as Purple (“More than three levels above you. Do not attempt without a safety harness”) by the time we reached the 14th and last mission (seven hours later) they were all white (“Equal level, a normal character can take on three of these at once”) to Red (“Significantly higher than you, bring a friend”). Apart from the final boss who was, obviously, still purple.

    Task Forces work about 40% of the time. They are designed to be played by a group of players who play often, team together and know each other’s skills, over the course of a few days playing (Because you can log out and log back in again and continue the TF). As I don’t have such a group, I tend to play in “Pick Up Teams” formed over the built-in teaming system. Most of the time the team is unbalanced (No supporting heroes, all supporting heroes, Nobody who can do anything but Melee, etc.), or the team can’t work together, or too many people drop out and it’s now too hard for the rest of the team or, and this happens with the Terror Volta TF especially – it’s all fine until the last mission but then everyone dies and it all falls apart.

    Tonight, though, it Just Worked. We had a good mix of classes, nobody was mind-numbingly stupid, and whilst the tactics of the team didn’t always work perfectly (My Empathy/Mental healer’s primary role is usually to put all the mobs to sleep so we can wake them up one at a time (by firing at them) and killing them without being overrun. We had a few people with primary powers that would attack their target and those around it, making my attacks mostly useless, so I fell back to “Confuse” (Make an enemy work for you) and generic healer), and the level spread meant that the first few levels went quite a bit slower than they should have (Because half the team were fighting enemies at +3. Because lower levels get more XP for fighting higher mobs, we evened out over the Task Force). But there were very few deaths – and no Total Party Deaths, though in some cases only by one surviving hero – and the team was friendly and bantering and we succeeded in defeating the bad guy – or girl, as it was this time – despite losing two out of eight of the party along the way.

    Pixelin now has the badge Sister Psyche’s Comrade, and he will wear it with pride.

    Until he gets a better badge.

Imported From Epistula weblog

Your own dancing stick figure

Go build your own

afe Imported From Epistula

Great author humbled

David Eddings burns down his office

Next week he intends to do the same thing, but with different names.

2007 Imported From Epistula

Double Plus

Half my life ago I was a teenager.

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me.

Anyone fancy a drink tomorrow? Say, Cambridge, The Castle, Early Afternoon?


Just me then.

Imported From Epistula Movies

It is better to help people than garden gnomes

Films you should see if you haven’t already done so:


Imported From Epistula Pareidol Work

Pareidol 8

(I’m now employed by hotxt. Yay. More later, probably)

BrowserAngel Imported From Epistula Personal Those who evolve Work

Rains and Pours

Busy week

Okay, right now I am unemployed. My final day at Evolving was friday. They bought me leaving presents, and beer, and we went for a drink and I will, to a large extent, miss the company and all the people in it, it’s been part of my life for a couple of years, will remain my longest continuous employment period until I’m 28 at the very least, and is a decent place. They’re looking for PHP coders, incidentally, so if you speak PHP and are willing to travel to the darkest depths of Bedfordshire, send a CV (either to them, or to me and I’ll pass it on).

But I’ve left, which took – as you may have noted – quite a while. This may mean I’ve got some time to dedicate to the site. But don’t count on it, I’ve still got NWN2 to complete.

I wandered down to London on a visiting kick on Saturday, spent an entertaining evening with Sian, flatmates & guests talking, playing pool (I’m now a member of a Pool hall in E17. E17 and Sunderland, in fact. Linked by the fact I live nowhere near either, but I digress) and watching “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, a film I liked quite a lot more than I was expecting to. Wandered over to another friend’s house Sunday morning to, in part, steal his Wii for a little while and use it to play Super Monkey-Ball, which I’d also got as a leaving gift.

Ten hours later, we stopped.

Okay, so there was food part-way though that, but still. Ten hours. It’s a very more-ish game, you’ll spend hours stuck on a single level, and then the “just one more try” – or “just one more level” – thing takes over and you’re absolutely doomed. Do not buy this game if you have something to do this week. Or own a Wii.

I do not own a Wii, for the one that I bought has ceased to exist, along with the shop of the man who sold it to me and the money I paid for it. Now I get to go though Paypal’s complaints procedure. They say the measure of a company is how they treat you when you’re complaining, and now I get to see it from this end.

On a slightly happier note, I stayed over with the Wii owning ccooke and ruthi overnight, and the next morning got a phone call asking if I would mind popping in to ccooke’s company for an interview on my way back home. So, at about an hour’s notice, I’m in the offices of a startup in Kings Cross – entirely unrelated to the last one – interviewing for the job of Web Dev. Woo.

I went home, did little for a while, and got two phone calls. The first was from the company who I was interviewing with, asking for a second interview the next – ie, today. The second, and literally seconds after I put the phone down, was an exclaimitory web based company, asking if I would go to an interview on Wednesday.

At this rate I’ll never get any time to enjoy my unemployment 😐

2007 Imported From Epistula


On the one hand: “Rah! Only just finished Christmas! Rampant commercialism! Grr! Argh”

On the other, I have both tea and hot cross buns.