Imported From Epistula web development

Toast and hacks




“As in, unraw bread?”

“If you like.”

“Okay. Why are you talking about toast?”

“Because in the entire history of everything, I couldn’t think of anything to start off this article with apart from the word ‘Toast’. It’s my new unseeded random word.”


“Who, me?”

“You. So, what’s happening on Planet Aquarion?”

“Well, I’m getting close to being able to mention what I’m working on, if not why it’s cool. It may or may not contain kittens.”

“Heisenburg Kittens?”

“Nah, then you’d know where they were, or how fast they’re going. It’s the other one, the one who played the piano and was chased by Lucy.”


“That’s the bunny. Not really him either, mind, but he’s the one with the possibility of dead cats.”

“Not Hindenburg kittens either?”

“Nope. Inflating kittens with hydrogen and allowing them to be set light to? Bad idea. Cat-astrophe, in fact.”

“So, how was the Yahoo! Hack Day?”

“No idea. Didn’t go. Was too busy working. staples back of wrist to forehead. Though I do have a beta key for Fire-Eagle, which I shall shortly find something incredibly cool to do with that will wow the entire universe. Probably.”

“Fire Eagle?”

“Where? Is it dangerous? I for one welcome our firey eagalitarian overlords.”


“Did you hear that the Hack Day got struck by lightning?”

“I told you that grouping that many meta-geeks in one place would anger the gods. I’m suprised Austin is still standing after SXSW”.

“I suspect the other festivals mitigate it. Plus: Steve Jackson Games is there, and they have capital-P Protection.”

“Anything else?”

“Not really. Currently playing a lot of City of Heroes (…must get Spiraling Shape high enough to get into the Crash site before they change it…) and looking forward to Bioshock (We wants it, precious).”

“So, Standards then?”

“Yeah. There’ve been a lot of monologues on the subject of slow-tracked standards – like CSS. The problem is Second System Syndrome kicks in, in the same way as it did with XHTML 2, CSS 3 and even the WAI guidelines, they don’t just want to create a system to do the job, they want a framework to do all jobs like this in the future, and then an implementation of the framework that happens to solve the original problem. We can only fortunate that they aren’t also creating a system in which you design frameworks which will have modules to solve the problem, and then a new paradiam to design systems to create frameworks that have modules that solve problems. The bigger the toolchain you have to write in order to solve the problem, the longer it’s going to take, the more people will want to tell you what colour to paint your particular nuclear power plant.”

“So, what is the solution?”

“I’m not sure. I’m fairly sure that saying ‘Okay, you can’t have that standard anymore, we’re going to do it instead’ isn’t as productive as people seem to think it is. It’s not as if it cleared the water last time

aqcom Imported From Epistula Personal stories

Clown will eat me

It’s very dark.

A door opens a little bit, spilling a glass of light down the stairs to pool on the floor, activating a defence system that is as ancient as it is broken.

“This is a test” it announces, in the type of voice Big Brother (the oppressive state, not the depressive TV Show) would use to ask you to relax and enjoy your shoes, “of the emergency broadcast system. Were this a real post, an annoying buzzer would have sounded”.

An annoying buzzer sounds.

A faint blue light illuminates the darkness, and you see you are in a room of junk. The room is obviously divided into several sections – unhelpfully labeled “Words, Pictures, Projects & Worlds”, but within that there is no order at all. The Project section appears to be just a steel shelf with some boxes on it, the Pictures section has been entirely walled-up and replaced with a door labeled “flickr”, and the Worlds section is slowly working on its fifth inch of dust, like a Blood Elf on level 65.

From two areas of the heavily over-populated Journal section – which isn’t apparently labelled – two plastic figures arise and begin a Socratic dialogue.

“So, we are being complained at once again, because we never update the site.”

“This is true. But what would we update it with? Currently our life is composed of sleeping, waking, working and attempting to relax by playing computer games.”

“You could talk about Work.”

“Fine thing for you to say. You’re not the one who’ll be a) Fired, b) assassinated and c) Fired again. You know what happened last time we talked about work here.”

“They’d probably be fine with some of it. Besides, it’s got to be better than nothing.”

“Bet? A whole entry of ‘Today I had to fix the [REDACTED] model, because the [REDACTED] part of the [REDACTED] layer was reacting badly when [REDACTED] fed [REDACTED] the [CENSORED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] 64 bit [REDACTED], And I had to [REDACTED] the [CENSORED]ing [CENSORED] [REDACTED] that [REDACTED] couldn’t [CENSORED]ing do’. Not only would I confuse everyone, I’d bore them to death”

“What about the LARP thing?”

“Which LARP thing? The LARP thing where I stormed off in a huff for the short-, probably medium- and possibly long-term basis because what they want out of the system is incompatible with what I want? Or the system where my character [FOIP]’d the [FOIP] and then was convinced to [FOIP] the [FOIP] and so did so in limerick form?”

“What does [FOIP] mean?”

“Find Out In Play. It means I can’t tell you, because your character doesn’t know, and it is far easier to keep a secret In Game if you don’t know about it out of game either.”

“Ah. But what if I don’t play Maelstrom?”

“Sucks to be you, really”.

“But anyway, there must be some parts of your life worth blogging about.”

“Not really. My life is incredibly boring right now. Apart from the gas board thing. And even that’s a two line story”

“Go on, tell it then”

“I did. But I did somewhere else. Then it got Metaquoted, and I discovered other people – possibly ones who don’t feel that we should have stopped with the damn lolcats by now – found it far funnier than I did. Proving that I have absolutely no idea what people will actually like when I write stuff.”

“So write more, and you’ll find out.”

“An interesting theory, but one that is fundamentally broken for one good reason.”

“Which is?”

“The clowns will eat me”


“I want to do something special. I want to write something that makes people… laugh, cry, whatever. And I went though a stage of doing a lot of pretty good stuff, all of which I can’t stand now. And then I stopped, because I got to the point where I could write something that would rock your entire world – well, probably not, but you’d really quite like – but would never get any feedback because it’s simply… what I do. The downsides of success are that when you fall, you fall hard; and when you’re maintaining height, people can’t see you’re flying. Plus, I find it hard enough to believe people like reading what I write, the idea that I get the reaction “It’s not as good as your last one” is just terrifying. So I do nothing. It’s easier.”

“You cannot claim you were writing good stuff on one hand and then claim you’re crap at all of this on the other. Be consistent.”

“Yeah. Consistency, I’m crap at that too. This is the ego boost of the metaquotedness fighting with my natural self-depreciation. I am large, I contain multitudes”

“So your life is dull, so no Journal. Your tech is mostly work, about which you may be able to talk one day but not now. You’re not adding anything to Worlds because you don’t think it will be good enough, despite there being nothing there now. And Pictures?”

“No batteries in the camera”

“You’re hopeless.”

The figures fade back into the area they came from, the blue light dies, and the pool of light dries up as the door closes.

Soon everything’s quiet, calm, peaceful and still again.

It’s very dark.

Imported From Epistula weblog


Photosynth is an interesting new way of viewing photos

It’s by Microsoft, so it requires Windows, but it works fine in Firefox. Enjoy.

If you are in any way tempted to grief about any aspect of the above sentence, feel free to do so somewhere else.

Imported From Epistula music

Current Playlist

Current Playlist:

“Those you should play” = ((Rating == null) OR ( (Rating > 2) AND (Last_played_in_full > 30 Days) AND (Last_skipped > 14 Days ) )

Dynamic playlists FTW.

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Imported From Epistula weblog

Beware login widgets

If you install desktop, iGoogle, dashboard or whatever widgets, be really careful about what they do, especially for things that you give your usernames and passwords to.

For example, this facebook Dashboard widget asks for your facebook username and password, which it uses to fetch a document like this:[YOURPASSWORDISHERE]

…which it then uses to screen-scrape Facebook for the information it needs. Also, as a side effect, your facebook login is now in a log file on Mr Beauchamp’s server (The weblogs, if nothing else). Now, I’m sure the writer of this is entirely honest and would never do anything with all this information.

But if it’s a shared box? Or someone breaks in? Or what about any other widgets you’ve got installed?

You must be entirely sure about any software you give your usernames and passwords to.