hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
When we went to visit mum in Sunday, I brought along a pile of defrosted fruit because I was rather partial to the idea of something like an Eton mess. It sort-of-mostly worked, because there was a lot of fruit. I put my fatbit to one side when doing the washing up because it's not waterproof, and then entirely forgot about it until in sight of Bristol on the M5.

Mum put it in the post on Monday. You can tell from the fatbit sleep logs when the PO van was moving.
hirez: (tank)
I have an odd memory of what I think was a tabletop semaphore machine that lived in the attic of Holt Farm, which was where we lived until 1976.

Like most of the the rest of the interesting things in my past, it has been removed by agents of the Ministry for Temporal Affairs, and its like does not appear in the Google for similar reasons.

It seems that for some reason, perhaps to do with the safety of other people, no material trace of things I remember can continue to exist. It's like being in a terrible film.

Anyway. Semaphore machine. The two arms were on a common spindle, each operated by pulleys and a pair of levers close to the base of the device. I can only guess that it had been a teaching device, or perhaps some part of a command-and-control structure for Edwardian assault-pedalos.

It struck me today that it would be an ideal sort of thing to drive via an Arduino. Indeed, someone has already had a similar idea and written the code. However, the other half of the project is missing. I wonder what it would take to hack up an IP-over-semaphore rig? I imagine one would begin by finding some cheap stepper motors...
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
You know the tiresome people who go 'Stupid $inanimate_object!' when $inanimate_object has failed to live up to their physics- and/or sense-defying expectations?

They're going to be well buggered in the future of sentient objects. I mean, your toaster will put up with an amount of well-intentioned humour, but their constant mithering and blame-shifting will begin to grate, and before they know it, they'll be up before the beak at the European Court of Robot Rights. And not before time, the horrible bigots.
hirez: (dissent)
"What are 'friends'?"

"It's like when you go on a social network and all these people you've never heard of or can't remember pretend that they know who you are so they can sell you things, 'invite' you to their terrible club night or persuade you to buy their dreadful music out of a sense of pity and/or duty. Because they are 'friends'"

God, strong tea with full-fat milk tastes strange and decadent. What madness overtook us when someone in alleged authority decided that semi-skimmed was 'better' and we all just went along with it? I wonder if the milkman will still deliver gold top?

Actually, the deepening G+ namefail might make a chap decide that LJ is much less worse than the available alternatives...
hirez: (Default)
Outside bog, but inside shed.

Are there stairs in your house?

Getting to the bike-path's a bit of a bugger, mind.
hirez: (Default)
... Which means that paying attention to what startup orgs in unfamiliar TLDs are trying to sell us will tell us much about the disturbing urges of the future:



The user manual for their person-tracker is here. (It's a PDF. Likely best to make sure your copy of Acrobat is up to date and that you've turned off the javascript bits.)

It's interesting reading. I'm not sure how many people will change the default p/w, for instance.
hirez: (SantaBot)
Not quite the heroic narrative we have been lead to expect. However it all worked (modulo crashing computers), everyone came home in one piece and, as the bloke says, the entire thing is fully documented.

Anyway. The last time I biked in to work (last Monday fortnight, I fear) it was about three or four degrees and I was right cold and everything.

This morning it was three or four degrees and I was comfortably warm.

'Monsters' is a rather good film.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
Ha.

[VP]
You know the stuff about killing your offspring?

Yes.
[/VP]
hirez: (My name is legion)
How to write science fiction.
hirez: (psyche-out (ii))
The other thing that happened this weekend is that I pitched up at mater & pater's with a bag of produce from my own garden.

I'm not sure who was more surprised by this event.
hirez: (Information Hazard)
There's a Dilbert strip (It was on the back of Computing, it was apposite, so in accordance with prophecy I cut it out and affixed it to the side of my cube next to the picture of a flowerpot in a broken bog) that featured the PHB failing to choose a password.

"Password?"
"No. No dictionary words."
"123?"
"Longer than four letters."
"Golf?"

... Etc.

Can I find the damn thing again? Can I hell. That there internets has some surprising holes. Or I just can't drive it right. Whichever.
hirez: (Laser goggles and raybans)
Those of you with FaceAche and/or MySpac accounts should probably update your AV definition files el-pronto: http://www.kaspersky.com/news?id=207575670

(That links to some slightly older news, but there's a new version of that bot in the wild)


Otherwise, I spent a merry evening looking at old computers last night.

Many years ago (but after 1981) I scraped together enough cash and persuaded Pater to drive me down to the Edgeware Road, where I came away with a blue-and-white cardboard box full of parts that over the course of a weekend I soldered into a UK101.

It mostly worked first time, too. Apart from the cassette interface being, um, somewhat suboptimal.

Time moved on and my spodding-platform changed to a C64, then an Amiga2K, Amiga4K, before finally ending up in PC land. While the rest of those computers were sold or given away, I always hung on to the UK101. Mostly because I never found anyone who wanted the thing, but also because it was My First Computer.

Anyway, the fine chap who runs the UK101 website has it now. It's in good company.
hirez: (dissent)
I'm struggling through 'Matter' at the moment and it's not really being a positive experience.

There seems to be rather a surfeit of expository rumination about the horridness of the imaginary universe and why can't we all get along. There's 'show', 'tell' and 'arse-achingly dull'.
hirez: (Challenger)
So that about f-ing ruled. I was the recipient of a succession of frankly disturbing text messages over the course of the afternoon from a number not in my phonebook.

Whoever it was knew where I was staying, but needed extra data about my head and chest size.

Now, anyone with any brain would immediately understand what was afoot, and thus I was not entirely surprised to find [livejournal.com profile] latexiron striding about the hotel lobby while a carelessly parked KTM Duke pinged quietly on the pavement outside.

Apparently all yer man could hear at the traffic lights was his pillion passenger laughing his stupid head off. And why not?

Still learning about NetApp in Tower42. Still wandering the alleys and precincts of the Square Mile (Well, I say 'wander'. I mean 'recce') and bumping into people I know.
hirez: (Challenger)
There's this alternate universe where personal transport runs by means of the Infernal Combustion Engine. They're mostly controlled by Hieronymus Bosch engine management systems: each flash of a spark-plug is the last emanation of a doomed soul, and the appropriate manual really is the Book of Lies.

(I blame [livejournal.com profile] sushidog. And indeed my own rubbish memory if I've posted this before.)
hirez: (pillock)
It's a day of being reminded to mention stuff by the LJ activities of other people. And furtling with Django.

Anyway. If you go and sign up at www.tor.com, they'll send you links to free electronic versions of fine SF/F books. Even though reading long-form works on screens makes me want to tear my eyeballs out after a while, I can say that Jo Walton's 'Farthing' is a splendid work. I shall likely beetle to the electronic shop and purchase the dead tree version directly. Curse those lovely Tor types and their fiendish commercial acumen.
hirez: (tank)
(I hesitate even to think the term 'mashup' these days. Partly because of the aggressively clueless Nathanry that surrounds it, burt mostly because I am instantly haunted by the image of Men from the Bank clutching their trousers in a non-ironic sense.)

In my day, trouser-clutching was the international sign of a gentleman's appliance gone horribly wrong or a live-action freestyle Goons/Milligan impersonation. One of which generally tending to imply the other.

Which is why the word 'mashup' does not appear in the title of this post, even though it should.

So.

I've been reading Chandler's splendid 'Farewell my lovely' over the last couple of days. I shall probably have to beetle off up to Waterstone's this very lunchtime in order to bag 'The high window' because I finished the one on the train in this AM.

You may or may not care to imagine the surprise and delight of a cheerful old post-punk Peelite on discovering that the entirety of the lyrics to 'I was a pink-headed bug', which was a very early single from that splendid lurching drunken socialist drum-machine beat combo The Three Johns, was cribbed wholesale from chapter thirty-nine.

Everything is strangely connected and there really are only a few hundred people.
hirez: (Default)
Friday night I was subjected to a particularly widescreen and technicolour dream about hacking into the control-path of a Lovecraftian Servitor. (Or some other huge shadowy thing with a voice o' doom)

It was one of those experiences when you wake up, go 'what the fuck' and then fall asleep right back into the thing where you left off.

It's still with me. I'm still reasonably jangled by the thing.

The control path itself looked like it was some protocol for tunnelling nasty things over an arbitrary air-gap. A rectangular tube of blue smoke (a lot like the forcefields in Lynch's Dune) extended itself out across the countryside to the low frequency tune of an art-deco dynamo hall. Once that connection was established, three-dimensional blue neon runes begin streaming back and forth with a noise akin to the reanimated corpse of Nikolai Tesla fronting a Pan-Sonic gig.

I mean, I don't mind dreaming demonic comms protocols (much). It's just slightly disturbing when they're that comprehensive.

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