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Monday, August 25
I go away for a while, I doss around a bit, I order a Zalman NC2000...

"What the bloody hell are you on about?" is something you'll no doubt be uttering - don't worry, it'll all become clear imminently. Long story short, my PC's currently out of action, I'm ordering an entirely new rig in September. A side effect of this is that I've had to keep up with all the work I would have been doing on the desktop, but on the laptop instead. It's an alright laptop, An Acer Aspire 5672WLMi (I picked it for its then-high spec) - but BOY does it get hot! It's been taken apart once as well for repair which I'm sure did its thermal performance absolutely no favours whatsoever.

So, after consulting the market and discarding many of the almost entirely-plastic laptop/notebook coolers, I decided to plump with a unit which most people seem to be quite happy with - the 17"-and-above version of the Zalman NC cooling unit, the NC2000. (Better have an oversize cooler than an undersized one, right?)

There's a couple of vague reviews and an overly long video review which doesn't really talk about real world performance, so I'll give it a quick review on here when it arrives and let the entire world know about it.

Brucie bonus and hat-tip to Tekheads.co.uk, who once again came through with a surprise bargain - free shipping over the Bank Holiday weekend, effectively making them the cheapest reputable vendor in the UK for this model. I've placed small orders with them in the past and they've always done well, so provided this order goes well, I'll be scaling up my business with them and putting some trade business through as well, so it's as much a litmus test for them as it is the Zalman cooler!

I ordered the silver unit which is a few quid more expensive than the black unit, because... Well, it looks a little bit nicer. :) And if I'm making a saving on the postage, why not spend a little more?

Fingers crossed it helps cool my laptop down, it's one of those cleverly-designed models which has all the intake vents ON THE UNDERSIDE, making it nigh-on useless. Plus the CPU, a Centrino Duo, has no fan (what?!) and the ATi X1600 Mobile graphics card's intake fan is at the top right corner on the underside of the device. I have to either have everything underclocked to lowest speeds or put the entire thing on a thick paperback book (like it is now, ghetto cooling mods ftw) to get adequate airflow!

In other news, I'm back to University for my final year shortly, and I'm actually procrastinating right now... I should be writing my sandwich year report because it's due in before Friday. Urk.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 8/25/2008 03:21:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 1931021922614754875·
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Thursday, June 12
Oh smashing, now I can stop using Dictionary.com all the time

Great though it is, Dictionary.com has its shortcomings. I've used Urban Dictionary for a long while too, but there's other great sites out there that provide functionality you'd otherwise have to pay for. LifeHacker has the lowdown (click to read the article - I love Gawker blogs!).

I'm really busy at the moment, so blogging's gone onto the backburner. Sorry to any of the (semi) regular readers. :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 6/12/2008 10:51:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 1869583116718488589·
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Tuesday, May 20
Personal debt, and amusing placenames

I was somewhat alarmed to re-read on the BBC News site last weekend that personal debt in the UK passed the one TRILLION pound mark almost four years ago - and it's well on the way to doubling. That's a huge amount of money (and a UK trillion is far more than a US trillion). I also learnt that, according to the BBC's Hugh Pym, "If you took £1 trillion worth of £5 notes they'd cover a county the size of Leicestershire." Blimey.

We also keep on getting debt collectors' notices through our letterbox for one of the tenants who lived in our house before we moved in, and at last count he's run up more than £4,000 worth of debt... How do people manage to live so far beyond their means for such a long time without realising that they'll probably never be able to get a decent credit card, loan or a mortgage again? Having bad credit to me is worse than being shot; at least you can recover comparatively quickly from most gunshot wounds.

Oh, and then on my random pootles around the Interwebs, I found a town in central North America called "Truth or Consequences". I'm not kidding: http://www.flickr.com/map?place_id=aTimE6CbApWrrSmE for the cold, hard proof (and geotagged pics).

This then sent me off on a voyage of discovery, finding weird placenames... This compilation of US and UK names had me scratching my head in places. I mean, what could possibly convince someone to christen a town with a name like Monkey Eyebrow?

Anyway, that's my thought for the day. Now time to go back to trying to wash the paint off my hands (we were painting our living room this evening.)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 5/20/2008 02:39:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 5010052612680702259·
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Friday, April 11
Windows error codes, know thy master

Those fscking Windows error codes really annoy me sometimes - how am I supposed to remember what 0x00002740 stands for? (It's
"Only one usage of each socket address (protocol/network address/port) is normally permitted.
WSAEADDRINUSE"
aka errorcode 10048, incidentally).

If, like me, you don't have a photographic memory (or months to memorise what each code stands for), there's a couple of useful links you should have bookmarked:

http://infosys.beckhoff.com/index.php?content=content/1031/tcdiagnostics/html/tcdiagnostics_win32_errorcodes.htm

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1141825

Armed with those two error code reference points, you should be able to diagnose just about any weird error you come across, from BSODs to arcane or esoteric errors at a DOS prompt.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 4/11/2008 08:51:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 4138096422993217554·
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Sunday, April 6
The definitive 2008 guide to multi-network psyBNC setup and configuration

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

This tutorial is published under the "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales" licence. If you want to provide this tutorial on your site for the benefit of your users/customers, you can do so providing you attribute the original to me. I put a lot of time and effort into compiling this, so my only real request is that you credit me (Christopher Woods) as the original author and link back to this post. Thank you :)

Errata and Updates
January 2009: Prim (via email) pointed out that I'd made a slight mistake in the syntax for adding an SSL server with a network prefix. The correct syntax is network'S=server.address :port. This is now fixed in the documentation. (Thanks Prim!)

Sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention. I couldn't find any one, definitive guide to setting up a multi-network psyBNC installation from scratch when I set up a shell recently - so after struggling through the process through trial and error (and eventually succeeding) I decided to write one for the benefit of everybody else. (The official psyBNC tutorial is out of date and hasn't been updated in at least 2 years, and it actually tells you to do some things incorrectly, as do many other tutorials on the web, most of which are just copied and pasted).

Why am I doing this? I recently configured a new shell account for my IRC usage, and I had to reacquaint myself with the whims of psyBNC. It's a fearsome beast when it comes to multi-network chatting (one of its best strengths) - but equally, it's a right pain to configure. I use mIRC to chat with, and it also needs to be set up in a particular way so it can authenticate with psyBNC... But let's start from the beginning...


If you're running Windows, get a copy of PuTTY from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/. It's a free telnet/SSH client which will save you oodles of time in the long run, and considering that Windows doesn't ship with inbuilt support for establishing SSH connections, you need a client. The application runs standalone without needing installing, creating files and directories as it requires (so I recommend you put it into C:\putty or its own folder in My Documents / on the Desktop, wherever you prefer).


Fire up PuTTY, and you get the PuTTY Configuration dialog. Put in your shell address / IP in the Host Name box, and leave the Port as 22. Type a name into the box under Saved Sessions (for example 'my IRC shell', name it what you like) and hit Save. Then, either double click it from the list or hit Open. The first time you connect, you will see another dialog showing the connection key for the SSH session, with three options; PuTTY is asking you whether you want to save the session key forever, for this session only or reject it. For ease of use, click the accept always button.

You then see a login dialog... Enter your username and hit enter, then put in your password (it won't show on the screen so be careful typing it) and hit enter. If you were successful, you'll (possibly) see a few screens of information and then you'll get a login prompt. Mine looks like this:

[14:39:03/Sun Apr 06]
christopher@eddie:/home/christopher$

If you see that, you can move onto the next step.

NB: Through this guide, I'm assuming your shell is on a FreeBSD/Linux system. Mine's FreeBSD (my last one was, too). If it's a Windows shell, then that's 1) quite unusual and 2) problematic (you'll have to get a different BNC program).


NB: your shell provider may have a preconfigured psyBNC installation which the server can autoinstall and autoconfigure for you automatically, meaning you can skip these first few steps. Enquire with your provider as to whether they offer these, or READ THE MESSAGES when you first log in to see if these commands are listed. I actually installed my own copy of psyBNC before realising that my shell provider provided psyBNC preconfigured - it would've saved me a lot of time and energy, but I enjoy doing things my own way anyway. :)


If your provider only gives you an empty shell account though, your next step is to get a copy of psyBNC... There's no need to get an SFTP client and upload the psyBNC tarball from your machine, one of the handy things about shells is that you can (usually) wget the file you need straight over - and if the box is on a fat pipe, it'll transfer much more quickly anyway. So, go to the official psyBNC site and get the link to the latest release. As I write this, the latest stable is psyBNC Version 2.3.2-7 (dated 04/06/2005); it's old but it works fine.

The link to the file is http://www.psybnc.at/download/beta/psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz - right-click and copy the link (or click and drag, then copy it to the clipboard). Moving back to the PuTTY window, type the following:

christopher@eddie:/home/christopher$ wget http://www.psybnc.at/download/beta/psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz
To do this quickly, just type wget (then hit space) then right-click next to what you've just typed - PuTTY will paste in the URL to the psybnc tarball on the clipboard. Hit enter, and you'll see something like this (not all at once, but you will see it all once the download's finished):

christopher@eddie:/home/christopher$ wget http://www.psybnc.at/download/beta/psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz
--14:45:24-- http://www.psybnc.at/download/beta/psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz
=> `psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz.1'
Resolving www.psybnc.at... 213.239.200.175
Connecting to www.psybnc.at213.239.200.175:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 312,177 (305K) [application/x-tar]

100%[====================================>] 312,177 305.47K/s

14:45:26 (305.14 KB/s) - `psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz' saved [312177/312177]

[14:45:26/Sun Apr 06]
christopher@eddie:/home/christopher$
The progress bar will slowly fill up as the file's downloaded, and when it's finished, you can type
ls
to see a directory listing - you will see
psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz
listed (maybe alongside a couple of other folders or files, depending on how your account is configured by default by your provider).

To extract the files from the archive, type the following command (NB: almost any platform aside from Windows is case-sensitive, so you must use upper and lowercase where indicated):

tar -zxvf psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz
The directory
psybnc/
will appear on the console, followed by a list of all the files. Because the files inside the tarball are in a directory called
psybnc
the directory structure is replicated for you, so you don't have to make the psybnc folder then extract into it (you would do this with
tar -zxvf psyBNC-2.3.2-7.tar.gz -C /
- and the folder MUST exist before you extract, to achieve that you enter
mkdir
To go into the psybnc folder, type
cd psybnc

Typing
pwd
will show your current folder path, and if your shell is running bash (or similar) the folder path will be shown at the command prompt.


One of the nicer things about psyBNC is that it comes with a graphical installation tool - to run it, type
make menuconfig
If everything's ok, you will see the following:

christopher@eddie:/home/christopher/psybnc$ make menuconfig
Initializing Menu-Configuration
[*] Running Conversion Tool for older psyBNC Data.
Using existent configuration File.
[*] Running Autoconfig.
System: FreeBSD
Socket Libs: Internal.
Environment: Internal.
Time-Headers: in sys/time.h.
Byte order: Big Endian.
IPv6-Support: Yes, general support. But no interface configured.
async-DNS-Support: No, using blocking DNS.
SSL-Support: Yes.
Creating Makefile
[*] Creating Menu, please wait.
This needs the ncurses library. If it is not available, menuconf wont work. If you are using curses, use make menuconfig-curses instead.
... And then the screen will show a blue menu with
psyBNC 2.3.2-7 - COnfiguration
at the top.

If this doesn't happen, or you get an error - then something's not configured correctly with your server or shell account - enquire with your provider, they'll be able to help more than I can (every set up is different, and I'm not a BSD or Linux expert). You can configure psyBNC by editing the psybnc.conf file locally and uploading it (or using pico / vi / emacs to edit it from the console), but if you get any of the syntax incorrect, psyBNC won't work properly. All sorts of weird and wonderful behaviour can result from incorrect config files, so I recommend you use the GUI.


Step 3: here's where you configure psyBNC for your initial connection. Follow the instructions carefully and be careful to press the right keys at the right times (for example, to get out of some menus you press Escape, but for some menus you have to choose Ok or Cancel, and press Enter... A bit confusing, but it works once you get used to it).


With Compiling Options selected, press Enter. You'll see a screen of default compile options - I recommend you leave everything as-is unless you have specific requirements (for example, I want Encryption with Blowfish support so I make sure that's enabled, but it is by default). I also enabled oIdentd, although I didn't need to (my shell provider runs an oIdentd server which overrides any per-user oIdentd server), but oIdentd gives you the option to specify your ident name (the bit that shows up in IRC before the hostname when you /whois someone.). Make sure Non permanent IRC-Connections is DISABLED, otherwise your BNC will disconnect from IRC whenever you quit the BNC.

Update, January 2009: John LSI reports that, "it seems that OIDENTD is REQUIRED for SSL functionality (at least on freeBSD). Not including OIDENTD support appears to cause ssl connections to fail." (Thanks John!)

The Version Reply is where you can specify a custom CTCP version reply - it doesn't always work, but you can have some fun with it (putting in CP/M VERS 2.2 COPYRIGHT (C) 1979, DIGITAL RESEARCH can provoke some amusing reactions!)

When you're done with that, choose Exit and hit Enter. Go to Bouncer-Config and hit Enter. for Listening Ports, find the IP address of your server and choose a port number to listen on (by default psyBNC listens on all IPs and on the default port 31337, but I can guarantee you someone else is using that). To put in your IP and port number, choose the single entry, hit Enter, then hit backspace to delete what's written. Replace it with your info in the following format:

127.0.0.1 1234
(Obviously 127.0.0.1 will be replaced with the real IP of your server, and pick a port number above 1000 for most success)
Ensure you put a space between the IP and the port to delimit it, don't use a colon or any other symbol. Hit Enter, and you're back at the previous screen - hit Escape to go back to the Option menu.

Leave the Links menu alone, you don't need it. You can give the Bouncer a name (if you like), but it's only really useful if you're creating multi-BNC internal networks or relays, so you can leave it as-is if you like. I just put in a name like "Home".

the Host Allows screen is where you can define whitelists of hosts that are allowed to connect to your shell - if you have a static IP, you can specify it in here, and ensure that you and only you can connect to your shell. If, like most people, you have a dynamic IP, just leave this as it is by default
*;*
which allows anyone to connect. Hit Escape to return to the Options menu.

TheUsers window is where the magic happens: this is where you set up your username to connect to psyBNC. mIRC has an odd behaviour whereby it won't correctly pass the variables to the psyBNC server unless you set it up in a particular way, I'll cover this further down the page.

Here's a sample configuration (to alter any of the values, use the up/down arrow keys and hit Enter to edit the values, then hit Enter to return to the User screen after you're done):

Login: christof (this is your psyBNC username)
Nick: christof (your IRC nick, you can change it later)
Username: christof (this is what appears after your ident@hostname, you can change it later)
Password: (you must define a password. This will be hashed after you compile psyBNC)
VHost: (you can define this later)
Rights: User (I change mine to Admin by selecting it and hitting Enter)
Relaying over Link #: None (leave this)
Using Proxy: (leave this)
Proxy Port: None (leave this)
Network User of User #: None (leave this)
User marked as quitted: No (leave this)
Receive Systemmessages: No (leave this)
Network name of Network User: (leave this)
Reset LastLog (leave this alone!)
Servers --->
At the bottom, you can see theServers option. You can leave that alone for now and configure your servers through your IRC connection once you're logged on, but if you want to define one server to connect to you can do so here. Go into the Servers page, and add a server - if you have a favourite server, you can put it in here. Like before, you enter the data in the formatservername portnumber, delimited with a space. I choseirc.blackened.com 6667 from the top of my head, to make sure it could connect ok. Save in the usual manner (hit Ok to close the screen then at the Servers page, hit Escape to return to the User options. To go up again, chooseExit and hit Enter - this returns you to the Bouncer-Config screen. ChooseExit and hit Enter, and you're at the root menu. If you're happy with your settings, choose Exit and hit Enter.

The menu will quit and you'll see
"Now compile psyBNC using make, if not yet compiled, or if Options were changed.
done."
What this means is that your options have been saved to the config file, but psyBNC needs to be recompiled for the changes to take effect. You can rehash your options once you're actually using psyBNC from inside your IRC client, but this initial compile needs to be done this way.

Simply type make and you'll see LOTS of information scroll past you... If you enabled encryption, it will generate an SSL key. Here's what you'll see (with example data in bold)...

You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
-----
Country Name [DE]:UK
State/Province [Somewhere]: South East
Locality Name (eg, city) []: London
Organization Name (eg, company) [tCl]: My Company (optional)
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) [psyBNC]: My Department (optional)
Common Name (FUll domain of your server) []: machine.myshellcompany.com (optional, leave blank if unsure)
After that, it will generate the RSA SSL key and you should see something similar to the following:
psyBNC2.3.2-7-Linux ready. Please read the README before you run psybnc.
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/christopher/psybnc'
-rwxrwxr-x 1 christopher ab0123456 246348 2008-04-06 16:35 psybnc
done.
Congrats, psyBNC is now compiled! You may see text that looks like warnings or errors, don't worry - if psyBNC fails compilation, it will say so.

To run psyBNC, type./psybnc - you will see
... And then you'll get a shell prompt again. Congrats, it's working (and listening for incoming connections).

The next step: connecting to psyBNC.

Connecting to psyBNC is a fiddly thing to do sometimes, mIRC can be picky about how it sends the ident and user information to psyBNC (and it's not helpful when it doesn't work). To make sure you can connect, go into the mIRC options and do the following:

  1. Go into the OptionsFrom the Connect category, choose Identd
  2. Change your User ID to match your psyBNC username
  3. From the Local Info option (above Identd) make sure that the IP address option is ticked and the Lookup method is Server. This will help with DCC transfers should you receive any through the BNC at a later date
Save these options (hit OK) and you're ready to rock and roll.

Type /server : > in the Status bar - this will connect to the psyBNC server. If you know your server already has a domain set up and pointing to it, you can use that instead (for e.g. if you had mybnc.isbrilliant.com and psyBNC was listening on port 28569 and your psyBNC user password was 'awesome123', you'd type "/server mybnc.isbrilliant.com:28569 awesome123)". If you don't specify a password, you will see this in the Status:
-Welcome- psyBNC2.3.2-7
-
--psyBNC- Your IRC Client did not support a password. Please type /QUOTE PASS yourpassword to connect.
Type /quote pass awesome123 or/pass awesome123, and provided everything's ok, you'll be logged on.


If you specified an IRC server in menuconfig, psyBNC will now connect to that network - but if you didn't it will just sit there waiting for your next command. This is how I recommend you proceed, so you don't have unnecessary connections before you've actually done your proper configuration.


If your shell provider has a vhost configured for your account (for e.g., mybnc.isbrilliant.com) then once connected, type
/bvhost mybnc.isbrilliant.com
psyBNC will reply with
VHOST changed to 'mybnc.isbrilliant.com'.
Provided the reverse DNS (rDNS) is configured correctly on your shell provider's end, your IP should resolve to that hostname, and then anybody else on IRC should see you asuser@hostname if they whois you (or when you join a channel).

There's a good guide (with screenshots) for configuring mIRC correctly at http://www.blueshells.biz/setpsy.html (I don't expressly recommend them above any other provider, I merely provide the link as a useful resource).


Here's where we get really fancy... Multi-networks.

Whenever you connect, psyBNC will open a private message window to you - and that's where I suggest you type all your commands, because otherwise they may accidentally be directed at the actual IRC server (and can sometimes invoke the wrath of opers!). You can send commands to psyBNC from any window by using/quote before any command, but it's easier to work within psyBNC's PM window because that's where it will reply to any command you give it.

Ok, example scenario: you primarily chat on EFNet, but you want to also connect to Link-Net, Quakenet and P2P-Net. This is simple enough to configure, as long as you follow some simple steps when adding servers.

psyBNC works on a system of a primary network, then extra networks - if you add a server (with /addserver) it, by default, is assigned to your primary network.

So, to add another server to EFNet, in the psyBNC PM window type
addnetwork irc.he.net :6667
(Note the space before the colon - you can leave the space out, but I believe it's good practice to delimit the portnumber with a space as well as use a colon.)

You'll then see Server irc.he.net port 6667 (password: None) added. After a few seconds, if you didn't already have a server listed, psyBNC will begin to connect. It's important to set your hostname with bvhost BEFORE you connect, otherwise the server will see your shell's default rDNS (which could be something ugly). If you do forget though, set your hostname and then issue jump - this will make psyBNC disconnect then reconnect using the new vhost.

You can repeat the addserver process several times if you want to add more servers; for EFNet I use
irc.blackened.com :6667
irc.he.net :6667
irc.vel.net :6667
I decided to go with US servers as my shell account's on an American box (why connect to UK IRC servers from the US if there's a closer, more powerful node nearby?)

Tip: If you've added several servers and you want to switch to a specific one, type
listservers
Which will show you a list of your servers, numbered. To jump to a particular server, just usejump x (where 'x' is the number next to the server number, e.g. jump 2).

For multi-networks, psyBNC adds a prefix to its entries, any channels you're in and any users in those channels - this is a hardcoded feature, you can't disable it (and it's quite useful once you get used to it). However, this means you have to remember the prefixes - I recommend using two-letter prefixes (e.g. dn for Dalnet, qn for Quakenet, pn for P2P-Net... You get the idea).

You'll have to type this prefix any time you want to issue network-specific commands or changes, so best to keep it short and sweet.

In the following examples, I'll work with the fictional network "xy-net". To add the network, typeaddnetwork xy (where 'xy' is the prefix ). You'll see New Network 'xy' added by username (where 'username' is your user).

To add a server to this network, you MUST prefix the server name with the network prefix. If you don't, the server will be added to the serverlist for your primary network!

To add a server to the 'xy' serverlist, type the following:
addserver xy'irc.xy-network.xy :6667
Getting this syntax right is the key to configuring multi-network. NB the apostrophe (' symbol) between the network prefix and the server name - older tutorials or FAQs show the the delimiter as a tilde (~), which is outdated and incorrect.

If you add the server, psyBNC will report Server irc.xy-network.xy port 6667 (password: None) added. Check that it's gone into the right network by issuing listservers xy' (WITH the apostrophe after the prefix) - it will show a list of 1 servers. If you type listservers xy without the apostrophe, it will show the primary network's servers - if your latest addition is showing in that list, you went wrong. Note its number, and type delserver z (where z is its number) and psyBNC will report Server z deleted.

If you enabled SSL support when you compiled psyBNC, you can add an SSL server by issuing addserver S=ssl.xy-network.xy :6669 (if the server is for a secondary network, you add in the network prefix, so the command becomes addserver xy'S=ssl.xy-network.xy :6669. Of course, you will need to find out the details for the network's SSL server (if it even has an SSL server). The port number will always be different though, so remember that when you're adding the server (unencrypted servers won't accept SSL connections).

Repeat the process for each extra network you want to add. As soon as you add a server to its serverlist, psyBNC will begin to connect. You have to set your bvhost for each network you connect to; to do so for our fictional network, you would type
bvhost xy'mybnc.isbrilliant.com
and psyBNC will report back the usual 'VHOST changed' message. Most other commands work in the same way -setusername is also network prefix-sensitive, as are commands like jump (jump xy'1 would jump to the first server on the xy network, jump on its own will jump on all servers on all networks).

A word on setusername - this affects the bit which comes after your ident@hostname when someone /whoises you... You can change this to anything you like. Mine says 'o hy thar', (hy2u meme fans!) but you can put your name, a message, anything you like. It's easier to do this from psyBNC once you're connected via IRC rather than mess about in menuconfig - I try and spend as little time as possible doing the initial configuration, because there's a much more comprehensive help guide available once you're connected (which you can bring up at any time by typing /quote bhelp).


To join a channel on your main network, just type the usual /join #channel. For other networks, you need to add the network prefix in - so to join #lobby on the xy network, you would type/join xy'#lobby. The # must come after the network prefix. You can also only login to a channel once you're connected to the network.

Everything else works in the same way - so if you wanted to DCC a file to someone, you can always use the right-click menus, or use the format/dcc send xy'recipient C:\mirc\file.txt (where 'recipient' is the other person's nick). Rule of thumb is that the network prefix is put before any command where a network-specific username or command is issued.


One last thing - once you're connected to multiple networks, even if you have different nicks on the different networks, you will only ever see the nick for your primary network at your end (although if you connected directly in a second window, you would see the correct nick once you had set it). To set your nick on the secondary xy network, type

/nick xy'differentnick (where 'differentnick' is the nick of your choosing)
mIRC's screen won't update, but other people will see it change. This can cause confusion, but it is just how psyBNC works.


Housekeeping / modifying the config

If for some reason you want to reconfigure an aspect of psyBNC using menuconfig from the console, you must first kill psyBNC by issuing the following command from the shell console:
killall -9 psybnc
This signals all processes matching the name 'psybnc' to exit, and if issued correctly psyBNC will disconnect and quit (and your connection will drop). You can then usemake menuconfig and change your options accordingly. For every extra network you add, you will see another user in your User list - one very important thing to remember is that if you edit the config once it's changed, the passwords will be in their hashed form. If you want to be able to log on to psyBNC again after recompiling, you MUST re-enter the passwords. If you don't, all you will do when you compile psyBNC is make psyBNC rehash already-hashed passwords! The password is hashed if you see an equals sign (=) before it, so just select it, hit Enter and retype it, then continue with your changes. A finalmake once you're out of menuconfig, and issue./psybnc to start psyBNC back up again. If you didn't stop mIRC from connecting while you were doing this, as soon as psyBNC is running again mIRC will re-establish the connection - and it will automatically send the password for you.

If you want to add your psyBNC connection as a favourite server, the BlueShells page has screenshots on what to enter and where (you do it through the Add Server dialog, and you put the /quote pass password into the Password box).


I hope that helps some other people - I had a pain of a time working out the correct syntax for everything because it had been months since I'd last set up a psyBNC shell! If anybody has any questions, you can email me through my company web site's contact form (I don't give out my email address as it gets enough spam already, but if you fill out the form on that page I will receive it as an email).

Apologies also for this being such a Windows-and-mIRC-centric guide; I've been a longtime mIRC and Windows user so that's where the bulk of my knowledge (and usage) lies. I'm sure that if you run Linux, you'll know most of this already (especially the console / commandline stuff). Mac users, well... I just irrationally dislike Macs. ;) Plus OS X is based on FreeBSD, so the hardcore users out there (who are more than likely to be using shells for IRC anyway) will have an alright commandline knowledge anyway.

If you're still struggling however, there are many active user forums where you can ask for help. If you Google your query you'll probably find an answer from a fellow user. I aimed this tutorial at being an updated-for-2008, definitive guide for setting up psyBNC, and to provide the web with a consistent list of the correct commands (and their usage) for multi-network chatting, because most of the other guides out there are either contradictory or completely incorrect. Hopefully, I've done alright. If you spot any errors or have more information to add, please let me know.

Happy chatting!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 4/06/2008 05:28:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2845186964913290820·
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Saturday, April 5
Feel old? Yeah, so do I.

I just cleaned about 10gigs of MPEG-2 video files off my PC (DVB-T rips)... At about 2 gig per hour, they soon build up. Three DVDs later, 10 gig more free space! Woo and yay.

My first PC had a 10 gigabyte hard drive in it, and I just remember thinking "cor, I don't think I'll ever fill that up..." How wrong could I be: my fileserver (other machine) has more than 1 Terabyte of (mostly filled!!!) storage in it, with more planned.

And to think my old Acorn A3000 has a hefty 2Mb of video memory, and something like 16Mb total system memory... Hardcore. I loved how you could dynamically alter the memory allocated to the graphics card so you could up its allowance to play games :D In fact, my latest dabbling in the wonderful world of computers is a project to build my own Linux-powered SAN - it'll be a steep learning curve as my commandline Linux knowledge is currently far too limited! (Example: I had to google to find out what rm -rf does... In short, don't ever use it unless you have a least a couple of free days afterwards.)

Oh, and I was rushing out of work on Friday afternoon, my foot slipped off the (huge) doormat they have and my foot went kinda-sideways off the edge of the mat. Quite painful, and I had to drive home with it - and now it's giving me gip every time I put weight on it. Not pleased about that.

Found another grey beard hair this morning too when I was looking in the mirror. Great.

I feel old before my time :( I was up at 4am today too, because I went to bed at about 8:45pm on Friday night! Pass me my slippers...

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 4/05/2008 09:20:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 420113903992953304·
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Thursday, March 20
F1 comes home to the BBC!

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! $deities be praised!

The BBC has secured the television rights to show Formula One in the UK from the 2009 season.

The five-year deal for an undisclosed fee marks F1's return to BBC screens 12 years after it switched to ITV. The contract covers all platforms and will see F1 broadcast on the BBC Sport website, as well as on TV and radio.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he was "delighted", adding: "The BBC has some innovative ideas to consolidate and expand our UK fan base."

How good a bit of news is this! I've loathed ITV's coverage ever since they won the rights from the BBC in the 1990s - there was nothing like sitting down and watching an entire race, without adverts, and with quality presenters. Unfortunately Murray Walker has retired (maybe he'll stage a return to broadcasting?) but there's still a raft of quality presenters to back up the coverage.

This also means it'll (likely) get an HD simulcast for the countries filming in HD as well! (America, UK, Germany, some other EU countries and quite possibly some of the Asian countries).

The total lack of adverts is more than adequate enough to satisfy me though. Oh yes, I'm so happy! This has made my week, if not my month. I really do love the BBC right now, this makes my license fee so much more worth paying. (I already pay it anyway because I think it's stonkingly good value for money, but this will secure my payment for at least the next five years!)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 3/20/2008 12:16:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 3165439770356387994·
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Wednesday, March 5
I was on BBC TV! And for a good reason, too...

Crossposted from my Uniblog.

Preface: a while back, I wrote a case study about damage to my own hearing after prolonged exposure to loud noise over a period of years (musician, drummer, listen to loud music etc... I'm sure you're the same or similar, or you know someone like me).

Anyway, on Monday, I was contacted by someone from the RNID, who said they were launching a new campaign called "Practice Safe Decks" (groan) to raise awareness of hearing protection - and would I like to take part in a BBC Breakfast article to be featured on Wednesday morning? So, although I consider myself to have a great face for radio, of course I said 'definitely!' (Wouldn't you?) I also drafted in my coursemate Ciarán Jordan (it made for better TV, and he was interviewed too. Brucey Bonus.)

...And here I am, on BBC News!



Click here to read the rest...

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 3/05/2008 10:56:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2139379875482912868·
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Sunday, March 2
My fave links in the week of a day that shouldn't exist

(A very convoluted way of saying 'the week containing February the 29th'). Has your girl proposed to you yet?


Links of interest for the week with a day that shouldn't exist

(29th of January).

The Dangerous Ground Project has a very clever web site illustrating the difficulty millions face on a daily basis with unexploded landmines. Apparently, it takes just £1 to clear one square metre of land, which does raise an interesting question - do you really need that spare £10?

Need some Barbarian Repellent or Time Freezy Hyper Slush? You need the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, now open in Los Angeles. (their strapline is "Whenever you are, we're already then."


Oh, and (smug mode on) proof that even Apple doesn't always come up smelling of roses, no matter how powerful and well-oiled their marketing department is. A classic case of marketing leading technical decision-making? I think so. But what am I on about? Oh, only the fact that Apple promised that by the end of February, there'd be 1,000 movies to rent on iTUnes Movie Rentals by the end of February (and 100 HD movies)... And as of the first of march, they had just 399 movies available, and 91 HD movies. Oops.


If you're making a press release (because I know that my readership is mostly comprised of new media entrepreneurs ;) why don't you flip things around a bit, and release your news through a more modular, easily-bloggable Social Media Press Release template?


Finally, the independent AV Comparatives has comprehensive ratings and benchmarks of all the popular antivirus solutions available on the market (with historical results, too) - very useful if you're shopping around for the best AV solution for your systems.


Until next week, namaste!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 3/02/2008 02:02:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 3022035481772148908·
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Sunday, February 24
Saving the world by doing nothing?

There's few people who can attest to doing nothing to save everything, but Stanislav Petrov did just that - and kept schtum about it for decades.

What am I on about? Give this a read, and then thank your lucky stars that there are still some sane people in this world, keeping their heads (when all around them are losing theirs)...

Hope you're having a peaceful day, see you soon.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 2/24/2008 07:02:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 8412620160125701943·
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Friday, February 22
My favourite links this week (22/02/2008)

My links for the week:

flac-113 "...was written to allow users to convert their FLAC archive
from previous versions of FLAC to the latest version. The script was
written when 1.1.3 was released, thus the name, but can be used for any
version of FLAC."

Full instructions and links to download (with other utilities) too - start your surfing from http://www.synthetic-soul.co.uk/files/flac-113.txt.


They're, their, there! Get it right!

Been looking for a clear explanation of the various types of RAID array? The AC&NC 'RAID.edu' pages should help demystify the whole RAID process - it even has moving pictures (oooo).


File2HD can rip files from sites, including in-page players that don't always let you download the tracks (including MySpace). Enjoy it while it lasts.


If you like martial arts, then you might want to seek out the Chinese made-for-TV miniseries called 'State of Divinity'. The first episode's available on Joox.


Recommended LAME encoder settings, anybody? Always handy to have around.


Have a good weekend :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 2/22/2008 12:09:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 7975503556496415434·
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Wednesday, February 6
Lekker?

Lekker lekker lekker, lekker lekker lekker lekker lekker... So goes a Noisia breaks tune from a little while ago.

I'd been wondering what lekker means for ages, because I was sure it wasn't a Dutch word... Turns out it might be a South African word (it'd make sense anyway):

lekker (lekk-irr with a rolling r) - Nice, good, great, cool or tasty.
Definition from SouthAfrica.info

That is all. :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 2/06/2008 10:49:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 6868271207590581223·
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Sunday, February 3
Woo - Roni Size is re-editing New Forms!

Sometimes I'm a little sceptical of artists when they "re-edit" a classic album and rerelease it, but I have faith in the Size. He doesn't mess with a classic formula, especially one which is good enough to win a Mercury Music Prize (before it became shit).

I got this email from the V Cycle shop the other day. D&B fans rejoice!

Roni Size/Reprazent’s New Forms was a benchmark for not just the drum 'n’ bass genre that it leapt from, but for all types of electronic music.

Released a decade ago in 1997, the album’s title was apt with a sound that surpassed any previous drum 'n’ bass efforts and brought the genre to a whole new audience. After catapulting its creators to music’s top table, the crowning achievement was winning the Mercury Prize in the same year, beating the likes of Radiohead, Primal Scream and two of Size’s dance music peers, Chemical Brothers and Prodigy.

To mark this anniversary, Roni Size has returned to re-edit New Forms.
"The first generation of heads who were there with the rise of Reprazent & Roni Size will be able to reminisce over the last decade with the classics Brown Paper Bag, Share The Fall & Heroes. The generation of those who missed it will be able to appreciate the album with the new coat of armour I have added to the original tracks. I think fans of the original album always appreciated what we did with the technology of the day. This latest version shows what is possible now."

Three brand new tracks will also be included, including the single Don’t Hold Back, which manages to not only sound like a perfect bedfellow for the original thirteen tracks on New Forms but is also thoroughly contemporary. Not surprising perhaps, considering the timeless quality that Roni Size/Reprazent captured through the likes of Heroes, Share The Fall and the top 20 single Brown Paper Bag. New single, Don’t Hold Back will be released on March 17th, two weeks before the reissue of New Forms.

Also in February, Roni Size/Reprazent will be touring the UK with support from Inner City Dwellers:

Feb 7th Manchester Club Academy
Feb 9th Birmingham Que
Feb 13th Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Feb 14th Leeds Stylus
Feb 15th Sheffield Plug
Feb 16th Liverpool Barfly
Feb 18th Brighton Digital
Feb 19th London Scala
Feb 20th Bristol Thekla



Keep your eyes peeled for this one... The original album's a must-own, and this re-edit should be a big release for 2008. Excellent.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 2/03/2008 09:28:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 5129970865574927317·
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Wednesday, January 23
Another blogging platform gets $30million... Share the wealth?

WordPress just announced they're getting $29.5 million for their B round of funding.

And they said the bubble had burst. Nice! There's still hope for my search for $65m in VC funding for my interactive wacky wailing inflatable arm-flailing tubemen social networking site.


I know that $30m only equates to about £4.69 in pounds sterling, but it's still an incredible amount for what's nothing more than a (very popular, and quite, quite clever) blogging platform. As Matt (one of the founders of WordPress) says on his blog,

Fast forward to 2007: many of the seeds planted started to really bloom. On WordPress.com 1.8 million new users joined, they created 25 million posts, we served 3.2 billion dynamic pageviews, and grew to reach over 100 million unique users worldwide. Akismet blocked billions of spams from reaching blogs. Nearly every major media organization, from the NY Times, WSJ, CNN, Fox, Time, People, and more, have embraced WordPress. Finally the approach of serious acquisition or majority-stake investments brought up the biggest question we’d faced so far: should we sell, or build out Automattic to be an independent company for many years to come.

That decision actually wasn’t hard. I couldn’t stop thinking about the opportunities and it became clear that the road ahead was much longer than the road behind us.

That brings us to today. The New York Times, the flagship of media, is joining our existing investors Polaris, True, and Radar in expanding their minority stake in the company. Automattic is now positioned to execute on our vision of a better web not just in blogging, but expanding our investment in anti-spam, identity, wikis, forums, and more — small, open source pieces, loosely joined with the same approach and philosophy that has brought us this far.



So the NYT is officially getting in on the act now... Free beers all round! Oh, and if you have a WP.com account, you've now got 3 gigabytes of space to play with. Have fun go mad!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 1/23/2008 05:43:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 7319729944797960839·
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Monday, January 21
Come fly with me...

Some inspirational and mind-boggling photography: here's a panoramic collage taken by Charles M. Duke (Lunar module pilot on the Apollo 16 moon voyage):



There's tons more imagery and multimedia on NASA's Apollo 16 multimedia pages. I've been meaning to make a note of this page for at least a month now!

And while you're perusing these images, you can go download and listen to some of the music from some classic Nintendo games, courtesy of of USF Central (if you didn't own an N64 in the 90s, you missed out!)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 1/21/2008 01:42:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 3418656648683673003·
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Monday, January 7
Vimicro USB PC Camera 301x drivers - free

Always nice to have something for nothing... I have a really cheap webcam (one of those purchases you make from eBay because hell, even if the thing never arrives, it only cost a few quid so it's no big deal). Anyway, various people sell it under a variety of guises, but in its OEM form it's a Vimicro USB PC Camera 301x.

Drivers for this thing used to be fiendishly hard to find, too (the most Google-popular ones were also infested with a nasty little virus, which I found out the hard way). So, when I decided to hook the webcam up to my new fileserver to act as a CCTV camera while I was away on holiday, I decided to take a fresh look and see if I could find some clean drivers for it.

Loads of Googling eventually took me to a (really quite unhelpful) page on Dowan.org, dating from 2005, where the author had put a link to a paid site where you cough up a few quid and you get the drivers. Loads of people were either asking for a copy of the drivers (which are really tiny filesize-wise), and the author was just telling them to pay up and download them. Makes you wonder whether she was getting kickbacks from each purchase...

However, I'm a great believer in free (as in both beer and opensource, but that's another story). Anyway, I refused to pay money for these drivers (paying for drivers? come on, seriously)... So, on a whim, I checked the Vimicro site, which had previously been scant on both information and driver downloads or any kind of support. However, they now have a revamped web site, but the downloads section is still quite confusing (it lists drivers by chipset, not by camera or model).

What got me excited was that they now have a really handy utility which will detect the correct driver for your camera and download it automatically - just by plugging the device in to a USB port and running the utility! Here's what their web site says:

If you are not certain about which PC Camera processor that your PC Camera uses, then please download the Detection Tool of Vimicro PC Camera Processors Model. This tool will help you find the processor model and will provide you with the corresponding link for the driver download.

Download: Detection Tool of Vimicro PC Camera Processors Model without notice
How handy is that! So, if you have any Vimicro webcam, just hit that link up and run the utility. It's totally painless, fast, and gets you the guaranteed correct driver straight from their web site. Couldn't ask for a more useful little app, could you?

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 1/07/2008 04:05:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 695764794288924975·
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Saturday, January 5
Why are banana sandwiches so good?

There's something about a cheeky banana sarnie (made with freshly-cut white bread, of course) at 1:30am with a cup of tea to follow it which really satisfies a snack craving - and in a moderately healthy way, too!

Can't really beat that, can ya... I wonder what my housemates' weirdest late-night snacks are, gonna have to go ask them now. :D


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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 1/05/2008 02:28:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 6623269093827388013·
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Tuesday, January 1
... Hello 2008!

Yay for Comedy Connections on BBC2, taking me through the small hours. That, and some nice cups of tea. Happy new year, happy Year Of The Rat and United Nations International Year of Planet Earth, everyone :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 1/01/2008 01:26:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 5290259757780237740·
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Saturday, December 22
This is beginning to get a little ridiculous

My housemate just invited me to a Facebook group...

You have a Five Year old Fight invitation.

Adam Powell sent an invitation using How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take In A Fight?:

Adam wants to know how many five year olds you can beat up! Answer eight short questions and find out instantly - it's that easy!




... Though I did laugh hard! I've seen some utter shite on Facebook though. When's too much too much with all these Apps? Some of them are useful but some are utterly pointless... And the spam I've been seeing on Superwall recently is reaching unbearable proportions. We have idiots forwarding those stupid hoaxes and chain letters again, and it's really winding me up. If only someone could write a Greasemonkey script to hide all the useless Funwall/Superwall/X Me/Zombie apps from showing up... If you can do that, submit your script please!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 12/22/2007 11:50:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 9014961244043324575·
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Christopher <3 his new speakers

I love it when a plan comes together... I had a bad driver in my previous units, so after the third time it was sent off for repair, the guy at the DV store just said "we'll arrange an exchange for you" - completely unprompted!

And now I have them, oh yes I do, I have them yes I do, just before Christmas. And to make things even better, Samson have updated the R6A design, so I have two completely new of their new-design R6As! Man I missed having my speakers.


I don't really care what I get for Christmas now (though anything given is gratefully accepted!). :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 12/22/2007 06:38:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2515218837851871750·
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Tuesday, December 4
Vista drops its kill switch, pirates wonder what all the fuss is about

Noticed that Microsoft's removed (or is going to in the next Windows Update, anyway) the kill switch which crippples Vista if the machine fails its WGA. Too many false positives spoil the OS.

More about this on the relevant BBC article (and other articles around the web for that matter, I just like the BBC site).


All the pirates proper are wondering what all the fuss is about - piracy of Vista has continued unabated since its launch, with patches and workarounds galore for the WGA checks and suchlike, so why is Microsoft even bothering to do this now? They've utterly failed with Vista, they should just drop it and revert to a previous point revision in the SVN where, at the very least, the Start Menu worked - and then build AROUND those smaller features, instead of making section developers have to recode their own sections due to the whims of the core dev team. And to think I thought XP was a mess until I used Vista...


Christmas is nearly upon us, so look forward to seeing me looking grumpy in a santa hat again. December just wouldn't be the same without it.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 12/04/2007 04:35:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2060156806331041534·
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Sunday, October 28
PostSecrets


This, and many more thought-provoking, perplexing and mysterious secrets are revealed on the PostSecret web site.

"PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard."


Maybe it'll spur you on to create and send in your own?

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 10/28/2007 01:41:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 8733463043484122094·
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Wednesday, October 24
It's not much, but it helps

My web site (and all my other sites hosted on this server) are now carbon neutral:
This is a Carbon Neutral website - you should COCO
Yay for me! I know it's only a drop in the ocean, but what do lots of little drops make when you add them all together? £6 a year, not much.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 10/24/2007 11:55:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 5702180678007028944·
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Ever wonder what happened to Britain's vast rail network?

I often do. I do know that it was drastically scaled back in the last century, largely due to the emergence of the motorways and the Government's insistence on the Motorway being the best form of transport (showing great foresight, as usual) but some of it just deteriorated or got forgotten about.

The Last Main Line helps chart part of our country's great rail network history, examining "the history and continuing social, environmental and economic impact of the Great Central Railway's 'London Extension', which ran between London and North Nottinghamshire between the 1890s and 1960s." ...Smashing. With a cornucopia of text, images and a smattering of multimedia to go with, there's definitely something for everybody here. Any train buffs who've not checked this site out (and bookmarked it) should do so poste-haste.

Right, back to work!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 10/24/2007 11:22:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 1039038490820116547·
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Sunday, September 30
Having problems with your Windows shares? This might help

This might be the magic command which fixes them...

I've been having a problem with getting a laptop running XP Pro to see (and be granted read/write access to) shares on a Windows Server 2003 box. In a nutshell, I'd fire up a share via Run (
\\server\share
) and it might once ask me for a username and password, which I'd type in, and then I'd be granted access, but after that I'd just be kicked back to the logon dialog again. The WS2003 machine was showing ANONYMOUS LOGON attempts - apparently null sessions that Windows uses to authenticate the user - which were succeeding, but the username I was supplying wasn't being authenticated for some reason. This laptop is the only device I've used or set up which has had this problem, and it's been driving me nuts.

I hate Windows filesharing almost as much as I hate using Macs. ;)

Anyway, I eventually gave up trying to fix it on my own, and decided to give Google a shake and see if any answers fell out of its pockets. Lo and behold, similar problems were being discussed on places like Experts Exchange, and I clicked through to one of them. ("Error: \\pc name is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource...Access is denied." When trying to access a share.")

Some way down the page, a guy called dvt_localboy wrote,

What is happening there is that your XP Home machine is trying to connect to the XP Pro machine with 2 different sets of credentials. I suspect that you've enabled the quick logon option, which caches network drive info aswell.

Try net use * /d to disconnect all network connections on the XP Home machine, even connecting via IPC$ uses a specific set of credentials, which could conflict with any other type of connection that you may be trying to connect with later.


Filled with anticipation, I fired up a DOS box on the laptop (using VNC, that was the most annoying thing - I could VNC to the laptop fine! haha) and typed in
net use * /d
. I then immediately fired up a share, this time the hidden root share
\\server\C$
, typed in a username and password which had admin rights on the server.... And bingo! It worked!

So, if you're having odd, unpredictable bouts of inaccessible network shares, that command might just do the trick. I'll stick it in my brain for next time, that's for certain.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/30/2007 07:56:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 6462541330313470614·
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Wednesday, September 19
My Blogger account is learning German

It's not doing very well though... My post confirmation screen's been displaying its links in German for the past few days, though the rest of the interface is in English.

I've not changed anything, so what's going on here? Haha.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/19/2007 03:27:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 137498358928177282·
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Arrrrr, I be makin' my first digital music purchase!

And it be a grand one at that - the Official 2007 Talk Like A Pirate Day British Single, from Indiestore. I bought the original and the Edwin Van Cleef House Mix too, because it's downright funky. 79p each, all proceeds going to Marie Curie Cancer Care, so how can you argue with that?

You can download the track up to three times in your choice of formats (MP3, iPod-native MP4 or WMA), and you can download each track up to three times.

ALL PROCEEDS BE GOING TO CHARITY, YE SCURVY SINGLE-BUYERS! Just go do it, it's worth it. This is my first EVER digital music purchase (and it's likely to be my last too, the physical medium is great - vinyl and CDs for the win!) so if I think it's a worthwhile cause, you should too. There's also links to buy from iTunes or Virgin's site, but they'll both have DRM slapped onto their copies (fucking DRM, grr) so both they - and I - recommend the Indiestore route for your purchasing.

Oh, and it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day 2007 today, so ye best be speakin' like seafarin' folk or ye be walkin' the plank later! Eyepatches at the ready mateys...

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/19/2007 03:17:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2986815350064690688·
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Sunday, September 16
Finding the impetus to blog

Some people seem to be incredibly spontaneous about their blogging, doing so several times a day religiously all week long, week in week out.

I'm having trouble even keeping up a several-posts-a-month regime, and it's really annoying me - because I enjoy blogging (why else would I do it?) but something in me is just waiting for a *really* good reason to start doing it more often.

Maybe it's because I've run out of things to say........




.....nah, that can't be it. ;) I think I'm just too lazy!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/16/2007 04:14:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 8760108395886274212·
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Sentient tinfoil



I think that within five years, things like this will be coming with RFID tags embedded in the end of the roll that activate when they're put near your computing device (that's not counting the fact that kitchens will be most likely fully wireless and have embedded computers in most of the equipment), ensuring a seamless delivery of your next roll of tinfoil before you run out. None of that "stamping a reminder message" onto the end of your roll, like they used to do in the (sniff) 21st century.

We live in interesting times...

Blogged with Flock

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/16/2007 03:30:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 7729780682274632251·
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Friday, September 14
KT Tunstall and her (great) album's Drastic Master

KT Tunstall's music was a bit of a late grower on me, but I really enjoy listening to her voice and her all-round musicality. Plus she's Scottish, and I have a bit of a soft spot for her. ;) Anyway, like any true music tech student, the first thing I do after I get the (limited edition gatefold with bonus DVD!) album back to my house is crack it out of the packaging and stick it in the computer, rip to PCM audio and go analyse the mastering in Audition.

I was a bit disappointed; I could hear it was a loud master right from the off but within two seconds of Track 1, we have digital clip on the left channel. The tracks are very well engineered (as you'd expect from any second album under the EMI imprint) but they're ALL TOO LOUD!

Put it like this: WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE TRYING TO CONVEY A DETAILED, POETIC MESSAGE TO YOU, BUT THEY'RE SHOUTING IT AT 90dB FOR AN HOUR, IT GETS A LITTLE TIRING.

Get the message? Fortunately the RMS (the 'perceived') values aren't too high, but they do peak quite high, a bit too high for this kind of music. Plus there's audible pumping at certain times due to the radio-friendly compression, but it's a very clear mixdown which leans in its favour. Her voice is well placed in the mix, the backing vocals are just a smidge too high in the mix for me though, but the clarity and tonality of the guitars is the deciding plus point.

One of the slightly disappointing (but to be expected) aspects of this second album is its obvious 'studio' quality. It's a little to clean, a little too crisp for me, a little too sanitised. Her first album, Eye To The Telescope, was recorded at NAM Recording Studios - just a few miles away from where I lived, and grew up, for almost 15 years, in a small village called Holt (near Trowbridge, Wiltshire). For more info, see the Bath Venue Musicians' Studio Guide pages. If you ever see video footage of the setup, you can see how much more of an intimate setting it was when compared to a larger pro studio, and how the acoustic of the small performance space really lent itself to her musical and performance style.  Her first album is a really gorgeous piece of studio work as much as it is a musical work of art, and her second album suffers from the bigger budget - the bigger, in-house recording studio contracts will have made sure of that (she will have been told to record at xyz venue as EMI have a contract with them for job lots of studio time, most likely). This is unfortunate, but I guess there's not much we, the listeners, can do about it.

My one regret with Drastic Fantastic? Her voice has too much reverb on it at times, and it sounds a little too polished (even when holding album 2 up against album 1!). Though, I suppose if you've listened to her first album as many times as I have, and had many hours to scrutinise its every little feature and peculiarity, nothing will ever sound the same unless it was recorded in the same venue then mixed and mastered by the same producer and engineer respectively. Still, there's not much to complain about at all with her second album. It's a great toe tapper, and it has enough radio-friendly tunes to give Tunstall (well, EMI) a decent amount of radio play for promo purposes whilst keeping the album-centric listeners (like me), who couldn't give a flying barrel of monkeys about her chart placement, happy with the same kind of content as we received in the first album.

Even taking into consideration all the different influences factoring into the sound of KT Tunstall's second album, it's still a great disc, and I don't feel like I've been ripped off by buying it - a problem which often plagues me post-purchase! (Buyer's guilt? Realisation that I've been mugged by buying awful quality music that shouldn't, by rights, have even been pressed to disc and published? heh.) Done right though, there's a lot to be said for the back-room-studio-recorded album, and Eye To The Telescope is testament to that! Drastic Fantastic compares favourably, and Tunstall's deliciously soulful voice is a treat to listen to. Annoyingly, the ASLAP (AS Loud As Possible) syndrome has struck again at the mastering stage, most likely thanks to EMI saying "LOUDER, WE NEED LOUDER BECAUSE LOUDER EQUALS BETTER" at the mastering engineer. Shame, because the whole point of CDs in the first place were that they could preserve a larger dynamic range than vinyl, thereby allowing more musicality to come through in the recorded tracks. I bet the master tapes (well, master Pro Tools sessions ;) sound far more dynamic than the end result on CD, but I guess we'll never know for definite.

Top tip: if you prefer the "Unplugged" KT Tunstall, check out her Acoustic Extravaganza album (which I like to think of as album 1.5), it makes a great listen if you like her stuff.

And the super-shorter version of my review? Well, it's a three-worder: buy on sight. :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/14/2007 05:46:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 3152940665287869915·
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Saturday, September 8
Oh cool, I have a Lifestream

...Courtesy of 30Boxes (with whom I just signed up for their online calendar service, to give it a spin) - I noticed this People Aggregation feature on their main site (83degrees.com) and clicked through, typed in my email and got a ton of info about me aggregated from various social networking sites, my blogs, etc... Exceedingly cool.

Check this for fancy: http://30boxes.com/lifestream/5752111

You might have one too! Go look.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/08/2007 12:18:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 6723967274369183458·
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Friday, September 7
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Oh, the unmitigated, unrelenting joy! Guinness is officially good for you!

If the BBC are saying that, then it MUST be true!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 9/07/2007 11:51:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 9181394798792769644·
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Thursday, August 23
Finally! A newsgroup reader for us Outlook users which doesn't totally suck!

Last year I rediscovered the fun of newsgroups, though more for binaries than for actual conversation - I was a child of the 90s so newsgroups were a thing of the past for me, I went straight to IM and forums (forae?) for my conversation fix. Anyway, recently I switched to Virgin Media for my broadband service and I knew that they have a fairly well-run newsgroups server which also has a load of Tech Support forums (which are all the more valuable now their telephone support costs 60p a minute from a BT phone and T-Mobile would charge me £1.25 per minute!) I experimented with a few NNTP clients like Forté Agent, XPN (a cross-platform client built in Python and using GTK for its GUI), plus the maybe more well-known clients like XNews.

I'm a hardcore Outlook fan though - I sync my phone via ActiveSync with Outlook, I read my emails from several email accounts in Outlook, I organise my life in Outlook. Outlook Express has an NNTP reader in it, but Outlook doesn't - one of life's cute little ironies. (If you manually add a News button to its menu, it just fires up Outlook Express. Hah.) A couple of the news clients were alright, and I've not uninstalled two of them, but I still wanted more integration. Integration is what I try to attain above all else, because you know if it's been integrated the UI is going to be (probably) streamlined to go with its parent program, and will be familiar in its implementation. A little while after doing some pointed Googlage to find peer reviews, it seemed that MAPILab's NNTP for Outlook add-on was near enough the only half-good NNTP interface for Outlook, so I decided to check out their site and give it a whirl.

Now, I'm the eternal cynicist: I never expect anything to work and I'm used to drawn-out installations and loads of tweaking afterwards to make it work. Prime example: any Windows installation. Ugh. However, the most difficult part of the installation for this piece of software was probably typing in the newsgroup server name - it was that simple. Installation was easy, just click and it goes. It told me how to set up an account using the MAPILab NNTP MAPI interface (you have to click on "Other account type" and it's the only choice in the list, unless you have other third party MAPI interfaces), and then the MAPILab dialogs come up and prompt you for your info.

Once they're set up, you just set up Outlook and choose your newsgroups like you would in any other NNTP client - but the beauty of it is that all the messages are accessible just like your emails, so you can filter, arrange, sort, forward, set up custom rules - all the good stuff us Outlook users are used to. The great thing about Outlook 2003 (and newer) is that you can arrange your messages in a hierarchical structure, but still have all of the Outlook functionality without having to export or convert, it's all just there, ready to go, and the NNTP account synchronises along with your other email accounts if you have Outlook set up to check your mail every x minutes. Another very cool feature.

The only downside is that it only has a 30 day trial - but MAPILab are currently offering a free copy of whatever software they choose to trial if you go and blog about it, which is a pretty cool thing! Generous software company = willing free promotion on my part! This'll probably attract the cry of "shill!" from my techy friends, but screw em, I don't get many freebies... And to be blunt, I'm too lazy to heap praise on every old thing which comes along. I was genuinely impressed by this software, its simplicity and its functionality, and if there's a chance to get this bit of software free then that's just a cool little advantage. (It's only $24, which works out to £12 given the exchange rates at the moment, so it's hardly expensive.)

I'd actually written this before I saw the promotion on the MAPILab web site (the first I read of the promotion was when I went onto the site to buy a key for it!) - one thing they do is keep quite quiet about their products, or if they do advertise, I've not seen any ads for their stuff. I guess it's primarily word of mouth which sustains products like this, but they also do a raft of other tools and bits and pieces for Windows software, including Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Microsoft Excel add-ons. I'm going to be a user for the foreseeable future, I really dig this piece of software! And if it helps me stay a little more organised, at least on my computer, that's got to be a good thing (I'm awfully messy in real life, if you ever saw my computer desktop you'd see I'm often fighting a losing battle with all my icons!)


So, in a word: really handy. Well, two words. Its key advantages:

  • Seamless Outlook integration
  • All of the same flexibility and functionality Outlook provides for emails (sorting, filtering etc) without having to muck about with exporting or importing CSV files etc
  • Cheap! (especially when you consider the ridiculous prices of some Windows software nowadays <COUGHVistaCOUGHOffice>
  • Uses the same interface and features for composing newsgroup messages as Outlook provides for emails (in fact, it IS the same interface, and the MAPILab MAPI interface handles all of the conversion and sending/receiving of new messages on the fly) so you can run with plaintext or richtext HTML messages, embedding of content, attachments, all that lovely stuff that newsgroups are useful for!

If you're a newsgroups user, and your communications already revolve around Outlook for your day to day operations, then I definitely suggest you give MAPILab's software a go and see if it helps you. It did for me. :)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 8/23/2007 09:55:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 9033384800586461841·
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Friday, August 17
AllOfMP3 decreed legal, music community agrees, RIAA stomps feet

As decreed by a Russian judge, who recently acquited the owners of AOMP3 on all charges.

It's not AOMP3's fault if the music industry refuses to accept royalty payments from ROMS, even if they're not as big as they'd like! It was the other main bodies in the music industry who pushed for this court case, and to have AOMP3 shut down, in the first place, and now look where that's got them (not far). When will the international music industry realise that different countries have different rules and, generally, what their own courts say goes within their own borders? Ho hum.

I personally think the AOMP3 method of flat-fee pricing per megabyte, as opposed to the per-song price which could fluctuate depending on what the song is, is far more reasonable for the consumer. Their sheer flexibility, giving ME the choice of formats and letting me decide exactly how much I wanted to spend per track depending on what quality I wanted... That's far better. That's why I downloaded from AOMP3 and never once downloaded a track, DRMed or unDRMed, from any other online store.

I'll never download a DRM track if I have to pay for it (and even then, I'll do my utmost to strip the DRM off, and I've not failed at that yet either). It's MY music, I'll do what I like with it. When will the industry just stand back from all their mad gesticulation over IP rights and what the end consumer is allowed to do with their product, and finally get that this is probably one of the only feasible ways forward for online content distribution?

More: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6948345.stm

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 8/17/2007 03:08:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 6958489483128926926·
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Wednesday, August 1
Pinging Ozzie [143.14.1.164] with 32 bytes of petfood:

Reply from 143.14.1.164: Destination cat unreachable.




Ozzie
22/02/2004 - 01/08/2007


Our neighbour rang my doorbell early this morning, and presented me with a sad delivery: our cat, who he'd seen lying by the side of the road just after he'd set off to go to work. Oz had been out and about (as he always does/did, being a little bit wild and loving to hunt) and had been hit by a car about 300 yards away from our house, most likely just as I was heading off to bed at about 5am. I didn't hear anything like a car's brakes screeching or the sound of a cat in pain, so it must have been swift and sudden - as the vet corroborated with her analysis: some damage to his claws paired with a blunt-force trauma to his abdomen, both indicative of a high-speed impact with a vehicle. Aside from those injuries, which really weren't noticeable at all, although rigor mortis had set in, he looked just like he was sleeping, and I gave him a little stroke before I handed him over.


The saddest thing is he'd just begun to calm down and really get in sync with us (he was always a bit of a mad cat, we rehomed him from a rescue centre and we think his previous owners had maltreated him, but always gave him plenty of love and attention) - he sometimes behaved like he had ADD, but he was a lovable little thing and had a right personality to him. He was only born in 2004, so he didn't have the longest life - but it was longer than some cats get, and I'm glad we gave him all the chances we possibly could.


Frustratingly, the parents are in America this week and my sister is in New Zealand with her Explorers group, so none of them got to say goodbye before I handed him over at the vet's (where he's currently in cold storage waiting for my parents to come back so they can decide whether to bury him or cremate him). I've not told my sister yet, he was really 'her cat', he was the first person he sat with when he came home and she had him on her lap in the car on the way home from the rescue centre, he would squirm like anything after a while if other people picked him up but he was always submissive to her. It would really ruin her holiday if I told her now, so both my parents and I agreed to stay schtum until she gets back.

Mum says we should get a kitten next, that'll be nice.


I've never written an obituary for a cat before, there's a first for everything I guess. Now I'm on my own through the summer holidays :(

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 8/01/2007 10:41:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 234288213540443070·
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Don't Shop For It, get David Tennant to pick it up for you

I just saw the latest Argos advert (the one with the pile of stuff rising up through the Earth's atmosphere which shrinks right down and fits into an Argos catalogue) - with David Tennant doing the voiceover.

The oddest thing is that he's doing it in his Dr. Who voice, so... with no Scottish accent. Do you think they paid him more to speak without an accent?

Oooo, Adult Swim's on! Yay for late night Bravo! Yay for Apocalypse Pony!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 8/01/2007 01:29:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2604533076885635720·
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Sunday, June 24
Glastonbury 2007: another glorious mudfest

Image credit: Getty Images, from ABC.net.au

So, I've been following this year's Glasto with a raised eyebrow - as it turns out, Eavis' plans for shoring up his flood defences worked... to an extent... but he still needed JCBs in to dig out the area in front of the Pyramid Stage to fill it with straw.

Reminds me of when I last went in 2004! I first went in 2003, and it was just glorious weather - blazing sun all day, I got so sunburnt it was ridiculous. 2004 I went with my mum, as she'd never been, and it rained... And it poured! Nevertheless, we had a good time.

My housemate's at this year's Glastonbury with her family - she's coming back on Tuesday, so we're all having to wait to clean the carpets and stuff until after she's taken off all her muddy clothes and tramped through the house! Our tenancy agency (Campbell Property) are sneaky bastards, they put cream carpet through the whole of the house and painted all the walls matte white so EVERY mark shows up so clearly. And then they want £150 to clean the carpets (and loads of money for just about everything else that could possibly be cleaned or painted) unless we do it ourselves! The maddest thing is that we're here next year too, but we still have to move out... What a crock.

I was thinking about how maybe climate change would force a change to the date, but Michael Eavis was adamant about the dates for the festival remaining as they are so they coincide with the Summer Solstice, and I fully agree with that. The spirit of Glastonbury is something very special, and whilst I'm not a spiritual person I can acknowledge that other people are - and that in turn lends to the overall feel of the place during the weekend. I'm pretty sure the festival being in the Vale of Avalon, at the convergence of several ley lines, has something to do with it.

Eavis had this to say about this year's festival:
On the final day of the Glastonbury Festival 2007, Michael Eavis had a few words to say about how the Festival has gone this year: “It’s gone very well, in spite of the rain and in spite of the mud. The drains have actually worked, believe it or not. Someone called me from Spain and said they would swap all the sun they had for the Glastonbury culture.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend – from John Fogerty to The Killers and the Arctic Monkeys.”

Asked about the size and timing of the Festival, Michael said: “For the first time in my life I went up in a helicopter yesterday, and I was amazed to see that there was still spare camping space and car parking space.

“We can’t change the date of the Festival because we’re guided by the Summer Solstice, and we have no control over that. We’re going to stay where we are – where we’ve been for 37 years.”

Michael also had praise for daughter Emily, who has been in charge of the Festival’s new Park area this year. He said: “Emily’s efforts in the Park have been very good. She supports me a lot, but we disagree a lot about bands. This year I asked her if she wanted to do an area of her own. I think it’s been brilliant and works really well. She’s done a good job. We’ll give her the Park for a few more years and see how she does before giving her more responsibility.”

Questions were asked about reports of the crowds calling for The Killers to be turned up on Saturday night, and Michael apologised for sound levels of the PA.

On the I Count campaign launched at the Festival, Michael said: “I Count has had over 50,000 signatures, it’s great – we’ve been hammering away doing our bit.”

So what about the music for 2008? “We’ve already got headline acts for next year, but it’s not Muse or U2.”

I look forward to (hopefully) going in 2008!

Right, time to pack up some more of my stuff and head home for the weekend. Only one week left until I have to start working over the summer again to help pay for next year's rent.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 6/24/2007 07:39:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2999871558704307508·
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Monday, June 4
Why? WHY?!?!

Why is it that my favourite soft drink (a nice cup of tea) makes you sweat so much in the hot weather? The delicious irony of it all..

(Well, I do know why it happens; as you drink the hot liquid your body releases some of its internally-stored heat via the mechanism of perspiration to reduce the overall body temperature back to its normal level of 37°C... But it’s still a right pain!)


Never mind... I’ll always have time for a nice cup of tea and a sit down, even when the time comes of sub-Saharan summer temperatures (possibly thanks to all the people who boil their kettle all summer to make cups of tea!) And, tea is full of theanine and riboflavonoids, which are both good for you and keep your brain snappy, so (even if milk does negate their effects somewhat) tea drinking is still good for you. Won't catch me stopping the habit of a lifetime any time soon!

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 6/04/2007 11:24:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 4090258076315587602·
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Tuesday, May 29
Star Wars is 30!

Yay for Star Wars. The OT is 30 years old this year. Happy anniversary Star Wars!

To 'celebrate' this, the BBC sicced one of their reporters, Kevin Young - who'd never seen Star Wars before (!!!!!!!!!!!) - on the case, and got him to watch Episode 4 (A New Hope) and report back periodically as he watched it. It makes for some most amusing reading :)


Term's finished - which means my second year of Uni's finished! Yaaaaaay. Now I have to find a summer job and recoup some of my losses before the start of the third year (and my UNPAID (grr) placement). Woop woop. Getting lazy with this blog, I really must update it more. Promise I'll update it as soon as anything interesting happens ;)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 5/29/2007 04:38:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 8116289627754727629·
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Friday, May 25
Why Odeo will never reach critical mass

As I've podcasted about, this is why one of my most-liked audioblogging web sites, Odeo, will never reach 'critical mass' - its UI design is broken.

I detailed what's wrong with it in a recent podcast (deliberately using Odeo), and you can listen to it here:


powered by ODEO


If you find it as annoying as I do, please let the Odeo developers know! Their feedback form is on their site.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 5/25/2007 04:39:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 6865008429211926017·
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Thursday, May 3
The IBM Blade servers web ads

There's something oddly compelling about them... Check out the main ad on their minisite if you want to see what I'm on about.

That said, I also wrote on my Twitter page earlier that Justin.tv is oddly compelling, so maybe I'm overusing that phrase this week. ;)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 5/03/2007 06:34:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 2569340699542345591·
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Saturday, April 28
My Acer = Happy Acer

Looks like my Acer laptop (an Aspire 5672WLMi) juuuuuuuust missed out on the huge battery recall being undertaken.

The batteries affected are (as you might've suspected) Sony batteries. A full list of affected battery serial numbers is available on the Acer site: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07167.html

Acer must've wised up a while back, because I bought my laptop in October last year (during the affected time period where dodgy batteries were being sold with laptops) and my battery is a Sanyo. At least they decided to go elsewhere for batteries in good time! I'd hate to have to go batteryless in my laptop, even if it was only for a week or so (though that said, my laptop is currently on... On my bedroom floor... Plugged into the mains, and I only ever use it on the battery when I take it to Uni. Go figure. haha)

Be careful though if you have an Acer - the serial number for your battery is on the underside, so you have to take it out - but if you have a dodgy one, send it back sharpish! You don't want the chemicals inside to explode all over your nice pink fleshy legs, causing irreparable burn damage to your thighs (and most likely immense pain at the same time), do you?

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 4/28/2007 08:50:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 3441587771620470742·
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Thursday, April 26
All Hail His Noodly Appendage

So I've decided from this day forth that when asked what my religion is, I will respond: 'I'm a Pastafarian.'

Except for national Censuses, for which I reply Jedi.

And when I'm accosted in the street by the Scientologists, to which I reply "I'm already OT Level 7, get out of my way."

There's various reasons for what brought about this change of heart all of a sudden, but I was getting bored of calling myself agnostic for one thing. ;)

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 4/26/2007 07:48:00 PM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 5161959542926922408·
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Wednesday, April 25
Kryptonite discovered in Serbia

Sorry, I had to copy and paste this verbatim for the benefit of those who don't usually read Good Morning Silicon Valley:

This explains why Clark Kent turned down that job as Belgrade bureau chief: Ever wonder why Superman never did more to help out Serbia? Now we know -- there's kryptonite over there. Researchers working at a mine near Jadar recently came across a mineral they couldn't identify and called in Dr. Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum, to help. "Toward the end of my research," Stanley told the BBC, "I searched the Web using the mineral's chemical formula -- sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide -- and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film 'Superman Returns.'

The new mineral does not contain fluorine (which it does in the film) and is white rather than green but, in all other respects, the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite." Unfortunately, international rules prevent the new mineral from taking the kryptonite name because it's not related to the real element krypton, so Lois Lane will have to remember not to buy any jewelry made of Jadarite.


How genius is that! Proper update coming soon, my laptop's being an arse and "forgetting" that its (inbuilt) wireless adapter is there, so I'm pissing about making it work. Think I've got it going again now.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 4/25/2007 01:59:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 5675322658319889379·
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Tuesday, February 20
And you thought Killa Kela was good?

This guy, Beardyman, is ridiculously good. I was open-mouthed at some of the stuff he can do, and this video - featuring him cooking up a beat in the kitchen - is clearly done, wittily delivered and absolutely amazing to watch.

Check it - Beardyman - Beatbox Fame Game video.

Also, check Beardyman's web site, and listen to the clip of him from the Tim Shaw show on Kerrang Radio... Absolutely ridiculous!

Can't forget to mention too, this video of 100 Japanese guys pranking unsuspecting members of the public is absolutely HILARIOUS: http://www.filecabi.net/video/ambush100.html... Yeah, can you tell I've been browsing those video sites on a Monday again :D


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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 2/20/2007 03:19:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 7873306536467901862·
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Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/infinitu/public_html/blog/rhs-links.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/lib/php:/usr/local/php5/lib/pear') in /home/kerblam/kerblam.co.uk/labels/kerblam.php on line 1158