Monthly Archives: August 2004

Start the week

The weekend went so quickly that I woke up Friday night and it turned out to be monday morning. Hardly fair that. It was too hot and humid to actually do anything so, yet again, I didn’t. Nice Sunday evening with my mum and dad though…it turns out my great grandparents (on my mum’s side) are from Merthyr Tydfil. We already know my dad’s side were originally Huguenots so I am the product of the Welsh and the French. No wonder I hate English fact all nationalists.

Lovely morning. Scorpio (q.v.) decided to have a nervous breakdown at 9:05 today; a Monday morning. To be honest, I know how he feels. In computer years Scorpio is approaching middle-age and probably having a mid-life crisis. I’ve brought him up from a baby you know. Bless his little backplane.
Anyway, the tantrum resulted in none of the hundreds of people who work here having e-mail access for a couple of hours. For a Monday morning, that is pretty sucky. But we got everything up by 10 and after some counselling I persuaded Scorpio that life was worth living and so he’s back doing a sterling job. Should be the last nasty for a while as well. Good lad.
Anyway the prospect of working on this software project is making me more excited. I only hope we can keep our (workplace owned) flat in the mean-time, otherwise life is going to get crappy.
Now for a nice evening with me, Batly, Humph, red wine and old-skool hip hop 🙂

Laziness and excercise

It seems odd that the morning after reading an article about how “Greatness and late rising are natural bedfellows”, I realised one of the biggest problems in my life could well be that I don’t do enough excercise…or even just moving about. Recently I’ve been sleeping really badly and I have a suspicion it might be the lack of excercise. Since moving here, my bedroom is 5 minutes walk from my office and so walking to work no longer cuts the mustard.

The Right to be Lazy by Paul Lafargue, is a stonking good read by the way, as well as being a socialist classic…


A while ago, a work colleague (JPh) who knows a lot about education technology, physics, and grant proposals, wrote a grant proposal for us to develop some software. After a lot of messing about we came up with an idea for a software project that would involve me writing code for three days a week for the next eight months (ie cutting down my current job to 2 days a week). The aim was to produce some GPL code for use within the education sector. Lots of people were applying for the same grant and so it was very unlikely we’d win it.
Only we did! This is due to JPh’s ability to, in the words of our director, “write a dandy grant proposal”.
This is great news, but a tad scary: I never imagined we would! I’m very excited because it’s going to be something I can concentrate on without being interrupted with stupid stuff about passwords, user quotas, forgetful support staff, moronic requests and badly specified (if specified at all) web projects. It’s scary because…well it just is…

Another work colleague, “Sue”, who is extremely intelligent and generally lovely, came to chat to me about jobs etc this week. She is wasted in her current position but doesn’t believe it. We talked about all kinds of stuff but by the end she had decided to teach herself about PHP/SQL. I’ve never met anyone who is more capable of learning complex stuff in such a short period of time than Sue. After our chat she:

  • Installed PHP and MySQL on her TiBook
  • Configured both of them
  • Learned how to write PHP
  • Learned about MySQL and SQL
  • Exported her movie database from FileMaker Pro (yuck)
  • Imported it into MySQL
  • Worked out how to design an HTML search form and implemented the search in PHP

…in less than 48 hours…She should be running the department, not just working in it.

GBBF 2004

Brodie decided that he should mark his birthday with a visit to the Great British Beer Festival. The usual deal: lots of cartoon character beardy fat blokes getting pissed (yes..again I have to include myself). John Otway was there, but, sadly, not performing. Instead Wild Willy Barrett was on show and of course we missed the gig. One of our number had a chat with Mr O, making me very nervous. You see, I have a real problem with meeting my heroes. Not famous people, (most of whom can fuck right off), just heroes.

Brodie buggered off early and we still don’t know why, but me, Steve, Mike, Grant, and Dick had a good time nonetheless…we left when Dick started smashing glasses 😉
Goodnight folks…


Good old Mark Dz has got crossblogged on El Reg. Hi Mark. Much as I think you are one of the world’s most righteous dudes, WTF are you doing using MT ? Mark my words, spam blogging (especially related to trackback) will be rife within a few months. Enjoy DNS;)


As a result of last night’s storms, 900,000 tons of raw sewage…I’ll say that again: 900,000 tons of raw sewage…poured into the Thames and the London streets, killing massive numbers of fish and generally filling the place up with, well, shit.
The last time this was a news headline was in the middle ages. So why’s it happening now ?
Another question: why is our postal system no longer the envy of the world (as it was 10 years ago when Michele first arrived), and instead the laughing-stock of the world ?
Here’s another one: why is British public transport worse now than it has ever been…well at least since the invention of the train ?
What about the health service – why is it so crap these days (a value judgement that I can back up wih some pretty bloody convincing stats ) ?
Well, I don’t know. But one piece of evidence that is common to all of the problems is…privatisation.

Let’s just take the floods/sewage.
Never in my life have I heard anything like this. The reason is that, until privatisation, the job of the water board (as was), was to make the water system work properly. Now, it’s to ensure that the share-holders make an ever increasing profit. How do you keep increasing your profits ?

  • Pay your workers less
  • Don’t be so meticulous with the “day to day” jobs (like cleaning storm drains, fixing rail tracks etc etc
  • Make your business more efficient – (by sacking the overly heavy management layers…oops no, sorry, even though they are paid an order of magiture higher than the skilled people on the front-line, they are worth far more…probly)
  • Ditching all of these luxurious things like holidays with pay for workers and contracts
  • Not making “environmental” concessions to sate the liberal lefties (tree hugging tossers). You can’t stop progress. The needs of the planet (and its inhabitants) should be secondary to thos of a healthy free market. Oh wait, we are inhabitants of the planet…fuck us, we are expendable in the name of business…but not the liberal, commie, “planet”.