Tuesday 7 November 2006

Disorganised as ever

Bugger. Just got to the station. Not only am I late for the 6:58 but I should have got here early so I could get photos at the machine for my driving license replacement form (about time I replaced the one Tempest ate). I left the form at home as well, so I couldn't have done anything with it even if I had remembered to leave in time to get the photos… I'm pathetic.

Friday 3 November 2006


Entries for everyone today. Have a design I quite like for techblog now (still haven't finished the coding though), Vox is moving along nicely now I've decided on a topic and I always have plenty of random drivel for here. Look at me! I have 3 blogs and they all link together. Am I an attention seeking self important karma whore? Probably. Don't care. Almost too crowded on the train to write this morning. At least everything's running approximately on time this morning though. That'll come back to haunt me. Flying visit from Louise yesterday. Got home busting for the loo, said a quick hello, dashed upstairs and when I got back she was gone. Without music yet again. Really need to try and remember to charge up the mp3 player today. Probably about time to change the mix too. Hint for GMP32005 owners (if anyone else was stupid enough): If your player won't recognise the music directory even though its there and full of files, reformat the device from your pc. When you fire up the player it will recreate the needed directories and you'll be able to put music on it again. Wasted too many hours figuring out that one… Bloody cold this morning. Need to find my hat. Game recommendation: Canis Canem Edit (Bully in the US). Think GTA in a boarding school or Scum without the potting shed. Pay back the bullies and jocks. Help teachers hide their alcohol problem from the headmaster. Classic. Haven't used any of my skateboards in months. Need to get back in the saddle so to speak. Although if morning frost is setting in it might be best to leave it for a while. Need to find my bearing cleaning materials. Need new shoes, these ones are mostly ok for walking. A couple of days of foot braking would probably kill them though. Announcement just mentioned that you need a first class ticket to sit in the first class compartment. Does that mean you could stand in there without one?

Thursday 2 November 2006

Wrong type of Frost?

Coldest morning we've had for a while but no snow. What happens? The trains are screwed. Big time. Started at St Albans. Got to the station just in time; no time for a coffee, but enough time to cross to platform 3 for the 6:58 without having to run for it. Or so I thought. Check the boards: 06:58 cancelled. Announcement: Apologies for the three short notice cancellations due to technical faults. Oh well, at least the 7:04 is marked as on time. Masses of people on the platform. I started at the front, had to walk the full length of the train to squeeze into a carriage. Got to West Hampstead dead on 7:23 — which is when my connection is due to leave at the silverlink station a hundred metres up the road. West Hampstead Silverlink. 7:38 finally pulls in at about 7:45. Get to Willesden Junction: "Sorry for the delay. There is an electrical fault on the train and a technician is investigating". Ten minutes later we are on the move again. Sighs of relief around me but not I. I've danced this dance before. We'll get as far as Gunnersbury then they'll turf us out. As it is written, so is it done. Only have to wait about 5 minutes for a district line train to take us the rest of the way to Richmond. Richmond at 08:35, 08:36 departs at 08:37. As usual Southwest trains is the most efficient part of my journey. Will probably be about half an hour late. Not too bad considering the number of delays / cancellations today. Not exactly a shining beacon to tempt people to train travel either though. This train may be the closest to running on time but that doesn't excuse the fact that it smells like shit. Someone didn't flush and of course we can't open the windows; we just have to wait while the air-conditioning recycles the stench gradually absorbing the smell into its filters. It will probably be barely noticable by the time the train reaches Reading. No such luck for those of us getting off sooner though.

Wednesday 1 November 2006


Another break from the blog with plenty going on. Had my second meeting with the trick cyclist. "Did you phone up to make this appointment?" "No, I got a letter through the post". Not a good start. He then spent about 15 minutes looking through my mood journal and asked me a few questions. The conclusion: I'm a drama queen and shouldn't be wasting their time. I should go back to the GP and keep taking the happy pills until I can snap out of it. On the positive front: I went along to the St Albans Beekeeping Association meeting and enjoyed it. I've going to sign up as a member and put my name down for their beginners course in Feb. See this vox post for more info. Nasty cold has kept me away from work for the last couple of days. Still not 100%. Very drained. Also a little light headed but thats probably because I forgot my medication again this morning. Train is crowded so I've been standing the whole way so far.

Friday 27 October 2006

Waiting Room Blues

So I'm sitting in the waiting room waiting for my turn with the psychiatrist. Not sure what to expect again. Last time was the psychiatrist and a social worker, I guess to save time if I need sectioning. This time its just the doctor. Will probably involve going through the assessment which arrived yesterday. I misheard him last time and went to the Mind Gym instead of the Mood Gym. I currently have a differential diagnosis — recurrent depressive disorder or cyclothymia. Not sure if today will be trying to narrow that diagnosis down or something else. My time is up and no sign. Drop in my stomach again. He hasn't forgotten me. He's not doing this on purpose. He's busy; they get a lot of crazy people through here. Starting to feel a little dizzy too. Probably because I took my medication late today because I had a lay in. Quick scrub up this morning after the "unkempt beard" comment in the assessment. Not sure why; its in my best interest to show how I am every day rather than putting on a front. Shrug. Amazing how long five minutes last when you're waiting for something. I was in there for well over an hour last time, if he had a 10:30 then I caused this wait to someone else…

Friday 20 October 2006

Castles from Junk

Missed the Richmond train at West Hampstead due to a late connection. Got the Clapham train to Willesden instead so I can wait under cover. I'm glad I did. Just across the way is a massive pile of junk. There are three guys in lifters (look kinda like those grabber things at the amusement arcade). They seem to just be picking up junk from the ground at the edges and dumping it higher up towards the middle like making a sand castle out of old filing cabinets and bathtubs. Kinda fun to watch; almost hypnotic. On closer inspection they are more organised than I initially thought. The first guy is picking stuff up at ground level and dropping it about a third of the way up. A truck just came and replenished his ground level stores. The next guy picks up from the first guy's leavings and drops higher up for the last guy who drops on the top. Maybe I should get a few workmen with cranes rather than bee hives? ;)

Tuesday 17 October 2006


Been avoiding the blog for a while. It was all starting to look good a couple of weeks ago. And then the crash. 3 hours in tears over a report full of misrepresented information, inaccuracies and just enough truth to be scary. A lot of money overdue. Tempest's epilepsy getting worse. A hard choice. The right one, but still hard. Goodbye Bob. GP has me back on the Cipralex. Larger dose this time. Seen the CMHT. I assume she was an ASW and if I'd been clearly barking they would have sectioned me right then and there. Some relief in that I guess. First time my depression has kept me off work (or is it? a day or two here through avoidance? Never 2 weeks on a doctor's note though) Anxious, paranoid, antisocial, afraid empty. This is me.

Friday 29 September 2006


So I'm trying to get myself feeling more upbeat and mostly succeeding. Listening to the Bipolar Advantage podcast today; a good suggestion for a simple thing that can be done that can help keep the bipolar working for you rather than against you: introspection. I can't see how this technique can be bad for me even if I'm not bipolar so I'm going to give it a try. Need to think of 5-10 questions to ask myself every day. The idea is that if there's something you want to do another way you ask yourself if you've done it right today. Be honest if you've done it wrong. Your subconscious will realise that if you do it wrong you're gonna have to 'fess up so will help you avoid doing the wrong thing to avoid embarassment. Want to relisten to the podcast first to make sure I've remembered things correctly. Am very hungry at the mo. Can't get hold of Charlotte at the mo. She may be going town to see Louise tonight. If she does then I could get something on the way home. If not then I'll need to cook when I get back anyway so I might as well wait to eat. Thoughts getting ahead of me again. Need to take a break. Gotta write about the dodgy PA system here in Richmond first though. Don't know why but frequently the PA system on platform 4, which is where I am now, seems to play random phrases from its voice bank. Just now we had: "sixteen, sixteeen, sixteen, southampton central, south… hobbleton… a trolley service". Its been doing this for months. Is it hard to fix or can they not be bothered? Or do they realise that its actually quite amusing and relieves some of the stress involved in using this service? I want a video iPod just so I could play hardcore porn and see how long it takes some nosey parker to get offended. Serve them right for looking over my shoulder. Want to fill up a whole page writing the word "fuck" for the same reason. Need a new pair of shoes, sole has gone on these ones and I have no grip in the wet. Makes footbreaking interesting. Want to go straight down Egham hill without breaking on my fastest board to see if I can make it around the roundabout at the bottom while going 40+mph. Want a pencil sharpener. All my pencils are blunt. Black clouds pass overhead. Pearly white next to my soul. I don't care. Sometimes I say that I hate myself, but I don't. I just hate feeling different but at the same time I rejoice in my individuality. I have about 20 pencils in my bag and nearly all of them are blunt. I really need to invest the 20p required for a pencil sharpener. Can you buy a pencil sharpener for 20p? Probably not. Do they still do those dodgy plastic ones that will break if you push the pencil in too hard while sharpening? The pages are out of order in this entry and I don't care. Yesterday writing in the wrong order inspired frustration and anger. Today nothing. Perhaps just a touch of amusement. Train is getting busier. Still a couple of seats left, but probably only for a couple of stations. Wonder how long you could live on a train? If you took along provisions would you be able to ride from one end of the line to the other all day? Do they swap them out, rotate them during the day or just overnight? Does this line run overnight? No. I remember looking at the timetable. When I was getting the 6:38 from St Albans I was on one of the first trains through West Hampstead. Want to go to the bookshop and spend. Need to resist. What would I buy? New Discworld, Last of the Wilds, couple of Neil Gaiman books I don't have, anything with a recommended tag next to it. Cool sci-fi classics reprints with curved corners (is that so you're allowed to bring them into a mental hospital?) What do I want for dinner? Something fiery. Get some meat, fresh chillies, tomatoes, cumin; already have chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala. Fry the whole cumin and maybe some black mustard seeds in a couple of tablespoons of vegetable ghee until they start to pop. Add the meat and fry until browned. Add chopped fresh chillies, two teaspoons of chilli powder, two tsp of turmeric, one of garam masala, one of salt. Stir and don't leave too long — chilli will burn and choking fumes will fill the kitchen. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, juice and all. Stir again and simmer for 15-20 mins. Cook some rice, maybe do a couple of chapattis. Even more hungry now. Urge to buy strange polish meat products from the 24 hour convenience store across the road from West Hampstead Thameslink. The smoked pork belly strips were pretty good. Only seen it in there the once though. Need to get more rice and soy sauce for lunch at work before the money runs out. Only a couple more stations to go before temptation. I will resist… Keep telling myself… I must resist…

Without music again

Sigh. So I spent an hour or so fiddling with my mp3 player getting a new 2Gb playlist transferred. Unmounted everything properly so that there was no file corruption risk. Unplug the USB and turn the power on. No music files. I have no idea what has gone wrong but whatever it is it has left me without music this evening and potentially Monday morning too depending on what mp3 files I can find laying around on hard disks at home.

Splitting up

So I'm splitting the site. The tone of the average post here isn't exactly condusive to keeping visitors that have found their way here from one of my infrequent tech posts. I've created TechBlog for my networking / sysadmin / development / metablog posts. The run of the mill random obscenity will stay here. I want to use my vox more but not really sure what for. Need to do some sort of standardised layout for the MT blogs for easy switching between them.

Staring at the wires

Staring at the overhead power lines again. Always been kinda fascinated. All that power flowing just overhead. If I jumped and grabbed there would be no shock, like a bird perched. On the rail cables there seems to be a bewildering number of junctions and wires going around insulated areas. Huge ceramic insulators. There's only one overhead wire for the train to take power from. I wonder how much current is flowing through the rails to the ground point? Is it AC or DC? AC probably; easier to transport long distances. 8:38 is late. No hope of making that connection at Richmond now. Arriving. Not packed. But no seats. MP3 player moves on from System of a Down to Rolf Harris. Standing in the aisle using my skate legs to keep upright. Bend at the knees and feel the motion. Was almost in a full drop knee stance riding the train home last night. Fast train running on the slow rails due to a delay. Always makes for a bumpy ride. Sometimes I just want to give up to the motion and tumble onto the person in the seat next to me. Not just music that lets me know other people 'get it'; American Psycho — Brett Easton-Ellis, Voice of the Fire — Alan Moore, The Wasp Factory — Iain Banks, The Invisibles — Grant Morrison. Is this why I don't like sitting and watching Discovery Channel with Charlotte? Stories of Psycho/sociopaths often too similar to my own . Spoke too soon about the crowding. Now its packed, sweating, uncomfortable. GET OUT OF MY FUCKING SPACE!!! No-one has space in the sardine cans; why should I get that luxury? I don't care: JUST FUCK OFF. Its not even as if I can get off and walk. Too far. Crisis over, a few people got off and its now more comfortable. Ambivalent thoughts about perfume. Someone is wearing a lot of it. Smells like Parma Violets which makes me want sweets, but strong chemical odours always make me feel a bit ill too. Can't stand that area at the entrance of Boots where you can hardly breathe for the stench of it. Drained. That's my demons let out of the box for this morning. Levels manageable. More later.

Another day, Another notepad

Have to be very careful to avoid the payday mania now that I know what it is. Not a good start so far. I'll just get some cash so I can get a coffee. My sudoku book is nearly finished, had better get a new one. Left my notepad at home. Hungry… mmm, peppered jerky. Tired. Had better get a Red Bull as well as the coffee. Suddenly £2 for a coffee spirals into £12. No wonder I have debt issues.

Thursday 28 September 2006

Third time lucky

Are the frequent in depth conversations I imagine having healthy escapism or harmful? I'll often find myself spending an hour or so having an imagined conversation in my head. Either reliving a conversation in the past and how I could have handled it better or imagining a whole new encounter.

Try again

Yet another example. Write a page of text. Turn over and find I've already used the next page. Starting a new entry so I don't end up going nuts when I'm typing this up. How many friends have I lost through the way I pull into myself and refuse all contact when I'm in a black phase? Probably more than I realise. Have found myself singing aloud to my mp3 player frequently recently. Use to talk to myself a lot more often than I do these days. Relevant? Wandering again. Can't focus. Out.

Keeping the train on the rails

Been rereading some blog entries from a few weeks ago. Can't recognise the thoughts as my own. So positive, so busy. Can't seem to concentrate on anything for any length of time at the moment. Made a number of attempts to clear the RIPE allocations backlog today but kept getting distracted. gpg-agent seemed to stop working so I decided to download the latest gpg. The remembered that agent is only in the 1.9 releases not the 1.4 releases so had to download that and its dependencies as well. Got bored waiting for it all to build and downloaded a newer pinentry version which fixed things (or rather the new version fell back to curses properly). Still something wrong with the GTK prompts. Suddenly it occurs to me that I can't remember if I have set up Jim to forward X over ssh by default. Could be as simple as that. Another example of my concentration being shot.

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Next Stop Oblivion

Thoughts racing.

Lets get some of them down on paper.

Too slow, thinking faster that I can write. How am I? Am I making a mistake? I've convinced myself that I'm bipolar but don't yet have a confirmed medical opinion on that. Doctor is referring me to see a psychiatrist attached to the community mental health team. Don't know how long that will take. GP didn't really say much, am I reading too much into what he didn't say?

He didn't prescribe me with more SSRI, is that because he agrees with my self diagnosis and doesn't want to risk mania, or is it just because I didn't seem down at the appointment?

Thursday 21 September 2006

Am I Bipolar?

I watched an interesting documentary on BBC Two about Bipolar Disorder presented by Stephen Fry (who has himself been diagnosed with cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder).

Spent almost the whole thing thinking "Oh my god, that's me!". It left a lot of open questions. I've known that my depression is a problem for a long time. When I stopped cutting and shortly afterward met Charlotte and got married I had a couple of normal years; making me think it was all behind me.

Then came redundancy from Energis and everything crashed again. Or did it? Before crashing I had a period of uncontrolled spending and overconfidence. This included getting a job at safeway stacking shelves, which got rid of any insurance benefits I had without any hope of paying enough money to pay the bills. At the time I didn't really feel in control of my actions and maybe now I have a reason why…

Wednesday 6 September 2006

How do I hate thee Microsoft, let me count the ways

Who made the arbitrary decision that new motherboard=new pc? It's not even as if its consistent, I've changed mbs in the past and its just installed the new drivers and away. But not last night.

After the swap over the pc wouldn't boot, would reset before any screen output. Refresh install time thinks I. In goes the original media. Type in my original product key. All seems ok: great I think; job done. And then I log in to check for updates… Wtf? I'm not activated?

So now I find myself with another reinstall in the works. I do have another key I can use for this pc, but its for a different install cd and won't work with the oem cd I used to repair last night.

I guess thats my point. I did a repair last night, not a full install on a new pc. It kept all my other settings, why not my activation?

I'm glad I only run one windows box on the network at home. don't have any of these issues with the OSX, Debian or Ubuntu boxes.

Microsoft, I know you are not listening, but here's a suggestion. The main reason you have such a stranglehold on the os market is because your OS has the apps support, and your own apps are a large part of that. Make windows free. You'd kill Linux as a desktop contender just like making IE free killed Netscape as the dominant browser.

Of course, as a longterm Microsoft hater I don't want this to happen; I love that modern linux distros such as Ubuntu or SuSE make an open source desktop viable for non unix geeks; however in my mind it seems like a plausible option for them to take and a surefire way of killing the opposition. Sure they'd lose the revenue from new pc installs, they'd still have their apps though, they could still get revenue from the specialised variants (embedded, server, 3+ Cpu) and most of all they would get rid of the headaches of having to figure out new ways to stop OS piracy without generating extra support overhead when it breaks existing customer installs. It'd get rid of almost all of the bad press about MS too; very little of the bad press is about their office productivity apps. A lot of it is about oppressive os licensing. They'd still catch flack for their DRM stance and the crappy standards compliance in Internet Explorer (I gave up trying to make my sites display properly in IE ages ago; why should I work harder because MS don't read the standards properly before writing their code?). IE7 is supposedly more standards compliant. I don't want to get started on that though, I'll just say this: Why does fixing a bug require a major upgrade? Would it really be that hard to backport the fixed standards compliance as a critical update for 6 so webmasters don't have to wait years for everyone to update?

I was going to do some reading on the train this morning after a quick post. I seem to have got carried away...

Tuesday 5 September 2006

He took his ball and he went home

I hate insomnia. Went to bed just before midnight last night; woke up again at 1. After an hour of dozing but not managing to drop off I got up again. Did I do anything productive? Nope. I did some perplexcity cards. Could have started a batch of dough. Could have cleaned by bearings. Could have finshed off the bridle adjustments I started on the Tesco kite yeasterday. Could have typed up yesterdays blog entries. Coulda. Shoulda. Didna. I now have a perplexcity account and am gathering points off of my wife's cast offs. Finally went back to bed at 4:50. In time for the alarm to go off at 5:30. So here I am on the way to work on less than 3 hours sleep all up. Was seriously tempted to throw a sicky but duty won out (oh fiddle-de-fiddle-de-fiddle-de-diddly-dee)

Monday 4 September 2006

What God invented sailors for

Bloody hell. Summer is well and truly over. 8 o'clock and its dark. I'm sure it wasn't dark this early a week ago. Delays on Silverlink again. Wonder if the boards were out at Richmond so that they didn't need to annouce the cancellation. The fatal flaw of conspiracy theories. The organisations supposedly covering up the information are not organised enough to do it in a way that won't be immediately found out.

Nothing ever changes but the shoes

Phew. Busy day. Not much backed up over the break though, which was nice. Need to update my hiveminder todo. Add holiday picks to flickr, more playing with vox. Library thing, allconsuming, integration, integration, integration. If I put music on last.fm and books on library thing. Should I try and fund subscriptions to a number of sites through google ads? Do I get enough hits?

Up the Ziggurat, Lickety Split

Relaxation. Fleeting… rare… Drug of the Internet generation.

A week in Wales, far from the wired (although not that far; Grandad is as big a gadget freak as I am and has a larger disposable income so the temptation was there to "Just check my email…". I resisted though.)

Battery is crap in the palmtop so I'm back to pen and paper this morning

Saturday 26 August 2006

Chasing Ubuntu

I've been hearing a lot of good things about Ubuntu Linux for a while now.

I'm a debian boy and have been for years (I can't remember whether it was bo, rexx or buzz that I first installed… whichever was earliest). I am plenty happy with my etch box, and have no problem keeping up with the various packages, etc directly using apt-cache and apt-get; however I share the PCs at home with my wife and son and have recently started wondering whether the Debian based Ubuntu distro was worth a shot.

Friday 25 August 2006

Two Friends Walk Into a Bar

A couple of heads turned at the exclamation but soon returned to their own conversations when they realised who was responsible.
"Hear me out, I'm just trying to give you something to take your mind off her. Your face isn't exactly much to look at even when you're smiling; the constant mope you're in at the moment is putting me right off my beer."

The brief flash of anger on his companion's face was quickly smothered by his depression.
"What did she ever do to you?"
"Ripping my best friend's heart out isn't enough?"
"No. That doesn't explain it. You've never liked her."
"She's human. What's to like? Anyway, back to the quest."
"Fucking immortals, always living in the past. There haven't been any decent quests for centuries. And in case you hadn't noticed I'm a fucking ork. We eat questing heroes."
"Now who's living in the past? There hasn't been a case of an ork eating a human for nine hundred years. Your clan pledged to vegetarianism generations before you were even born. I was His witness. You haven't even eaten a hamburger, let alone a questing hero."
"I eat McDonalds!"
"Styrofoam and pencil shavings don't count. I defy you to find enough meat to feed an ant in an entire 'restaurant'. Ronaldus may have the magic to fool the humans but the elder races are immune to his illusions."
"I know your exile still stings but its not humankind's fault that you pissed Him off. You could try treating them with a little respect considering that they are the predominant race these days."
"Their ability to breed quickly doesn't make them intelligent. My job for the past six millenia has been to shepherd them and what is there to show for it? Starbucks and fucking Google.
"They almost had it a few centuries back, a few of them were starting to show due respect and in return were granted limited access to the healing magics. A bit of practise and they could have joined the rest of us in civilization. So what do they do?
"They hang them. They drown them. They burn their own kind alive! The best of them wiped out overnight and their scientists are left free to bind the universe up in rules leaving us trapped here in the shadows.
"All I did was ask to be allowed to take up the flaming sword one more time, to chastise them like we did in the old days. Humanity used to be a spoilt child in need of a slap, I had sympathy for them back then.
"Not now. We've been reduced to a reality TV show: Today we meet the Parent afraid of his youngest child; leaving his older children to suffer."
The angel looked across at his friend. The alcohol had proved too much and the ork was laying face down across the table snoring gently. He sighed.
"Fare thee well, friend. We shall not meet again. While He allows me freedom in exile, the others of the Host feel I should be silenced. I cannot accept the sanctuary the Morningstar has offered me. My father may be misguided in hit love of the humans but I do not question his right to sovereignty. I cannot lend my brother's cause validity by joining him. I would rather accept my death.
"I pray that you will take up the quest. If the magic is not rekindled soon the elder races will expire. I do not wish my father the pain of seeing his favorite children guilty of fratricide."

Two friends walk into a bar


A couple of heads turned at the exclamation but soon returned to their own conversations when they realised who was responsible.

"Hear me out, I'm just trying to give you something to take your mind off her. Your face isn't exactly much to look at even when you're smiling; the constant mope you're in at the moment is putting me right off my beer."

Thursday 24 August 2006

Private AS Peerings

Cisco and Juniper both provide an option to easily strip private autonomous system numbers from outbound advertisements.

This article was started because I thought this aproach was flat out wrong; however during the research I managed to convince myself that it is the almost the right thing to do; just needs a couple of knobs to tweak to make it flexible enough to always do the right thing.

Trains in Chaos — no-one surprised …

Typical. Need to be in the office for 9 to conduct an interview and the trains are screwed. At least its still calling at West Hampstead, the people needing King's Cross are screwed.

Was working on an article about BGP as path modification last night. Wanted to quote from RFC4271 but needed to chop bits out for clarity so I decided to look on the net for some info on the correct way of marking that up. Found a page that mentioned this very briefly, but doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info on this particular editing task. So I'll make this the main topic of this post.

Wednesday 23 August 2006

Hello sailor

Trying the letter recognition input method this time instead of Graphitti. Not going to stick it out for the whole article as my handwriting is too bad, I have to idea how to punctuate, and I keep using Graffiti motions.

Much better. Wish they hadn't put the menu under the input area though - keep opening the edit menu while I'm scribbling.

Tunes: help you squeeze more easily

I miss my palm. This WinCE (finally M$ choose a name that fits the product) is a pain in the arse. Has insert date, but not time. If I hit new by accident I lose work with no warning. Only a poor craftsman blames his tools, but I don't recall PalmOS having any of these problems. And it recognized my graffiti first time (unless I was drunk, which is excusable).

Tuesday 22 August 2006

Another day in the bag

Just missed the train again. I think I see a pattern. I've managed to get the time to get down the hill to the station down to under 15 mins, not bad considering it takes about 40 to walk. Just good enough tonight for me to see my train departing as I walked onto the platform.

Feed tagging in MT3.3

For some reason the default method of setting tags in outbound atom feeds stores the numeric tagid in the term attribute. Certainly caused me some confusion to see that the Technorati profile for this blog said that my top tag was "10"

Modified the MTIfTagged section of the atom.xml template to match the following:

label="<$MTTagName encode_xml="1"$>"
scheme="http://www.sixapart.com/ns/types#tag" />

Implementing a ranked cloud list

So I installed MT, I used StyleCatcher to pick a theme. Nice one.

Hang on... All my tag clouds are actually bulleted list without any weighting. Surely there must be a way to fix that?

The Travelling BPDU Problem

In the aftermath of a spanning tree failure I found myself revisiting the IEEE ethernet standards documents. Specifically 802.1d and 802.1q. As I write this both are available as part of the Get IEEE 802 program, ymmv.

While reading the standards, and some related websites about tuning spanning tree parameters, I realised that there were a number of references to network diameter; however there was no precise definition of this term.

Dead Dog in the Gutter

No matter how many entries I write I still think of Rorschach's journal every time. Today hasn't started well, which bodes. Late leaving due to starting a new batch of bread dough, just missed the train and now I have to wait for the slow one. In addition: I am without tunes. Thought I had left the mp3 player at home, then when I opened my bag at the station: there it was. Headphones in. Battery is dead. Bugger.

Monday 21 August 2006

The journey home

Ah, the joy of the train again. Coupled with trying to remember how to write on a palmtop using graffiti. This morning's effort was done the old fashioned way (pen & paper), but it was probably quicker than this.

Is cricket-95 still needed?

A few years back I wrote a collection script for Cricket that calculated the 95th percentile data rate on an interface. I called it cricket-95.pl. Since then a PERCENTILE function has been added in the core rrdtool code. This article is my investigation on whether this function meets my needs.

Are you 2.0?

I've spent too long focusing on the back-end of the Internet, how the routers and switches connect together, MPLS, SDH, WDM; and all the other alphabet soup acronyms. Recently I've been spending more time as an Internet user and have come across a number of tools which are apparently Web 2.0. Some of these I love, and I'll mention a couple of them below, others I've tried and to be honest they do nothing for me. Seems I'm not alone in this regard, found this post by my old mate Dan over on vox. Am I Web 2.0? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just too old...

Image of me


Commuter Blogging: The Return

Well it's been quite a few years since I blogged on the train. Of course, back then it wasn't called blogging; it was an online journal or diary. Things have come on leaps and bounds since then, and left me way behind. Back then venting to the Internet was a good way of helping me deal with my depression, maybe it still will be, hence the return.

Sunday 20 August 2006

Cool Web Games

Been playing a couple of cool online RPGs, both flash based. Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable.

Well worth a play in their free versions. Will wait until I've been playing a bit longer before committing any money though.

Saturday 19 August 2006

UTF Hell

Well the posts are now imported. The following perl one-liner was a lifesaver:
perl -C -pe 's/([^\x00-\x7f])/sprintf("&#%d;", ord($1))/ge;'
Converts non-ascii to XML numeric entity references. The MT XMLRPC daemon wasn't to keen on accepting files with UTF-8 chars (although that was probably the fault of the commandline poster I'm using...) Oneliner was found at: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/unicode.html#perl

All change

I'm currently moving the blog into Movable Type (free for personal use now...) Entries may look a bit screwy for a while due to the import.

Monday 6 March 2006


meta-date: 20060306 17:20

Got my 46" pintail sliding this afternoon. Was trying last Thursday, but the Khiro Yellow barrels I had on there had far too much rebound; couldn't get my hand down reliably, kept bouncing back to a straight line...

I need to order a job lot of Khiro red and blue barrels and blue bottom inserts.

Sliding the pin was definitely a different feeling from the Globe 38". Dropping the rear knee was much more important to get the tail to whip around. Not sure how much was to do with the crappy Krypto Hawaii wheels (finally scrubbed off the seam line today). They ride harder than the 78A they're supposed to be, but they seem to have more grip than my other 78s. The flat deck on the pin was a definite disadvantage too.

Oh, and since I started working on upper body strength I've managed to gain about 5 kg. So much for trying to drop below the 100kg mark...

Monday 27 February 2006

Barking Wheels

meta-date: 20060227 14:12

To an onlooker I probably haven't progressed at all over the past week. To myself though I have come on leaps and bounds. Still nowhere near where I'd like to be, but I am making a number of gradual improvements. Upper body strength: mine is abysmal. Working on improving it is helping me keep my body under control during the rotation. Lower body strength: again abysmal. Not doing anything specific to work on it, but I can feel the workout in my abs when I cool down. Again should help with control. Finally lower body flexibility: This one is really holding me up. Need to be more comfortable rotating my hips to force the drop of my rear knee and to keep my backside closer to the board during rotation; am often finding myself with my weight too far forward causing me to push the board out behind me at the end of the 180. Intentionally taking it slowly, the more reps I do the more comfortable I am dropping weight onto the gloves which hopefully helps things to flow :)

Friday 24 February 2006

Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

meta-date: 20060224 15:01

Heh, two days of rain/snow and I completely lost my technique... At least for the first half dozen or so runs. Spent most of the session just doing 180 colemans again to drill the technique into my subconscious. Being able to do these at a moments notice is much more important than moving on to pendulums and 360s. I did spend about 10 minutes trying to do toeside 360s at the end of the hour. Managed about 250-260 on most attempts before losing too much speed and the wheels regripped (still on the soft wheels). Going to keep on the soft wheels until they cone to uselessness then I'll move back to the Tsunamis. Doubt I'll actually manage any 360s on the softies, but won't stop me trying ;)

Tuesday 21 February 2006


meta-date: 20060220 16:21

Spent another hour doing nothing but Colemans to a standstill on soft wheels. A lot of fun, and I'm getting more confident and fluid at laying them down. Playing havoc on the wheels though, noticable coning on the back already and I've only been sliding them for a couple of hours :)

Monday 20 February 2006

Practise makes perfect

meta-date: 20060220 13:56

Decided to practise with soft wheels rather than moving on to getting the board to pendulum. It's kinda cool how when you have the technique the wheels don't seem to matter. I was running with some 70mm 78A wheels that came as part of a complete today (mainly because they are centre set. I have some 83A kryptos but they're side set so I can't rotate if they cone...). I was expecting to hit tarmac a few times in a hip slide while I got used to the grip; but actually managed to keep it pretty much under control for the whole session with only a couple of bails to my knee pads.

Working on technique now. I've noticed that as I have started to get the hang of the balance I've stopped dropping my rear knee all the way down. Am now trying to get my knee down while still keeping balance and spinning 180 heelside. Hopefully when I've got the technique down with the soft wheels I can move back to the hard wheels and work on getting extra rotation :)

Friday 17 February 2006

Image of me

Finally got the Coleman!

meta-date: 20060217 14:22

Woohoo! I finally got my heelside Coleman slide down today. I've been practising an hour a day during my lunch break for the past two weeks. It took me about half an hour to get my toeside shutdown under control; my heelside Coleman shutdown has taken me about 7 hours of solid practise to get under control.

Guess it's time to move onto trying pedulums :)