hirez: (Default)
Back in the last century when people still used Qmail, it used to emit a message along the lines of 'I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out', which seemed somewhat over-chummy to me. The equivalent of a bloke in a suit calling you 'mate' just before doing something tiresome and expensive.

But then I was used to various incarnations of Sendmail and had yet to abandon both that and qmail for the significantly nicer Postfix.

Qmail (and coffee and TVR) was what drove another.com, which meant a lot of the users weren't apprentice Unix curmudgeons like me but seemed to be mostly students and yout' who really dug 'wacky' domain-names and the virulent pink site-theme known as 'My little porn-star' which no-one would get away with these days.

Quite a lot of these people wrote small notes back to MAILER-DAEMON saying that it was ok, they understood and not to worry about it. That always struck me as rather lovely, if misguided. A few weeks in the trenches of the Usenet (or these days, Twitter) would have cured them of being nice to people on the internet. (NB: Satire.)

If I'd had my brains in, rather than being an apprentice curmudgeon, I'd have hacked up enough of a 'bot to reply to their missives and make canned suggestions about what had gone wrong. From what I remember, they were mostly spelling mistakes or body at the far end having gone over-quota.
hirez: (dissent)
I am really quite tired, but it appears I will automate your cloud/VM infrastructure for food. Or money. Preferably money, now that I think about it.

Average-length week, shiny new learnings. Devops Borat is worryingly accurate.

Perhaps I should have saved that title for a more interesting post. Who can say?
hirez: (Default)
This is Eben Upton explaining why he/they created the Raspberry Pi.

What I'd not realised is that the number of people in the spod trades who're actually, y'know, any bloody use at all has dropped like a rock.

I guess this is quite handy in re. my continued employment because there aren't any hungry young graduates who can do it better and cheaper.

Weird. Maybe I'm about to be a lamp-lighter or buggy-whip maker?
hirez: (muddy)
Bill Gibson in Bristol.
hirez: (dissent)
This, rather than brutalist shopping centres for grim-faced proles.

(From here.)
hirez: (Radiation)
An opportunity for bar-propping at the tail end of September: http://www.bristolcon.org/

After last week's jabbering about pushbikes, Tuesday was a bit grim and unfortunate. Boo.

[FX: Stares into space. Space stares back.]

Damn. Mind's a blank. There was something I was going to have a pontificate about, but both it and its moment have passed. Not unlike a grim-faced bus driven by a grim-faced geezer and filled with grim-faced passengers who all want to go to different but equally terrible places.

Buses don't go to nice places. Trains do sometimes, ferries usually manage the task, in a car the nastiness can start as soon as you get in the thing.

Oh!

Right. I remember: what's the elemental drama particle? The Angstrom? This is LJ; someone must know.
hirez: (pillock)
1) Gaffer-tape camera to kite line.

2) Some wind things.

3) Profit!

That was jolly good fun. The mystery kite turns out to have been designed by a colourblind Mexican on acid and have rather too many spars. This means it's disturbingly quiet but tends to fall out of the sky at inopportune moments.

On the other hand, I remembered how to land a delta properly.

Broke a skyclaw, though.

I'm now in a satisfactorily cheerful state of not giving a bugger about anything. I wonder how long it's going to last?
hirez: (safety chicken)
While I generally agree with the aims and aspirations of the Cats Protection Mob...

... Cos accidents do 'appen, don't they, mush? I mean, looka dat vase. Musta cost a few bob, right? Be a terrible shame if anyfink 'appened to it, etc...

Anyway. Where was I? Oh, right.

So there are posters throughout all[1] the railway stations I've visited with An Cat staring out at you...

Viz: )

As any fule no, this is entirely incorrect and the massed ranks of cat protection agents would be well served in bucking their ideas up quick-smart in order to avoid being laughed at by tiresome people in ironic trilby hats.

To save them all sorts of trouble, I've fixed their poster for them:

As if you couldn't work it out for yourselves... )



[1] A small sample admittedly.
hirez: (Challenger)
i) Go vote for that [livejournal.com profile] deathboy fellow. He's up against some frankly terrible sorts and needs an injection of good old British spunk.

ii) Through a set of rather odd circumstances, I've got two Saabs. Again. Or perhaps none. They are locked in a large box with an old Kraftwerk record and I smoke a pipe at them while pacing the drawing room. Or was it drawing the pacing room? Who can say.

To quote the estimable Carcoat Damphands, "Run up it the basket at an onion over six briskets. The Gary nearly grips his biscuits. Slapped down the Aspel at five Rollins, lovely touch, smells firm, meet his mum at 17 weasels. I’m simply dying to see your new conservatory extension. Sturdy."

You can't say fairer than that, can you?
hirez: (Radiation)
Doing without a bathroom started as a bit of an adventure, but has become a bit of a faff. Still, I'm given to understand that it'll all be sorted by the middle of the week. A thin layer of plaster dust really does go well with a throat full of phlegm.

Less housepr0n and more reader's wives, should that sort of voyeurism light your boat.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
... The scruffy lot from next door staggering away from their car with a pile of boxes from Richer Sounds.

I may have had a slight shopping accident.

(Canon G9 or Nikon P5100? Or other compact that does aperture priority.)

There's a reasonably pristine two-door Rangie at the end of the road. I was coveting admiring the thing when the owner came out of his house to start work on the gearbox of his 110. Apparently the thing's only done 56k. On an old B plate. The paintjob's not original, but it didn't look too horrible for all that. I am studiously not looking at any of the online trade-it rags or ebay.

I wonder which Glossy Mag. Fash. Ed. finally snapped and lobbed a Molotov alcopop into Camden market? It was only a matter of time until that Darwinian fashion experiment became too much for the forces of fabric fundamentalism. The fallout will plunge the area into a post-nuclear Wintour.
hirez: (muddy)
I am by no means a morning person. I am even less a winter morning person. It seems entirely wrong to scramble out of bed while it's still dark and for the sun to rise over the TA building while I'm waiting for a bus. But that is what I'll have to do until I get my cycling legs back.

To distract myself, I've been carrying around the MP3 player I've had since well before they were fashionable. It has a memory capacity of all of 256Mb, mostly because it can't cope with the 2G card I bought it as a present. Filesystem agoraphobia or the rubbishness of FAT16, I'll be bound. This means that I've been chopping and changing the tracks on the device. If they transport me out of the tedium of trundling slowly through Lawrence Hill, they can stay. Otherwise, they're deleted as soon as I get home and replaced with the next hopeful. Thus far, Oasis and the Silicon Teens have been replaced by the Who Boys and Sketetal Family. AC/DC, Severed Heads, Boards of Canada and Robyn Hitchcock are through to the next round.

Since I'm now surrounded by Apple kit, I should probably purchase one of their music players. However, I'm a contrary sod. Mind you, a deal of the OS X documentation reads like someone trying to explain Unix to aliens[1]. None of this 'Here's what a passwd file looks like; edit it with vi' or 'Bung yer timeservers in /etc/ntp.conf. Bosh. Sorted.', it's all 'serverAdmin -manglewurzel ftmpsh -trousers=false'. Which I suppose is jolly good in its own way, because it's a lot like Unix in much the same way that HP-UX is.

On the other hand, it's a lot more like NeXTStep. Right down to the terminal working much the same way with drag & drop from the UI and Interface Builder lurking in the SDK like the ghost of GUIs past.

I wonder if there's a 'pock!' noise in the sound library?


[1] Damn. I knew there was something I'd forget. This resonates with me right now because I'm trying to read an enthnographic report on a software development team (provided by the splendid Jarkwoman, WMOMNBOLJ). Thus far it reads like aliens explaining hackers to other aliens. There's just no common ground (Actually there bloody well is. I keep meeting people with the hacker mindset in all sorts of non-spod places. I don't believe there's any particular excuse for failing to spot engineer/artist types anymore. Unless you're fucking stupid and annoying.) so the rituals of coffee, meetings and shouting at managers are explained as if they were the curious acts of some Pacific island cargo cult...

... Actually...

Anyway. The OS X documentation struck me in the same way. The cultural assumptions are missing. Which is a good thing if you realise it and re-examine those assumptions, but a bad one if you grouse about inadequate documentation and how Gentoo is clearly better.
hirez: (Challenger)
The way that people in London react when you tell them that you've just turned up for a gig is a bit odd. It's like you've covered some unimaginable interstellar distance and that if the considered such a voyage, they'd fall off the edge of their oystercard and perish in the fiery pits of hell. Or Woking.

Mind you, they probably bussed in some surly troglodytes from Woking's fiery pits to work the night shift at Reading services.

Jabbered, as is my wont, at a random bunch of lovely people. Hopefully didn't scare any of them off.

Was greeted by Uncle Nem thrusting a flyer in my hand. Had it not become quickly obvious that he was out of practice, that and Friday night would have made a chap think that the whole of the 21st century was just an over-long nightmare.

Lurched out of the tab-fume fog at [livejournal.com profile] poggs to inform him that I'd been sleeping in his dustbins. He appeared mildly concerned by this new intelligence.

Today I am going to be mostly asleep. Do try to keep the noise down, there's good chaps.

Oh bother.

Oct. 2nd, 2006 09:31 pm
hirez: (irradiated)
Pater's dial-up has become b0rked. It sounds like something exploded halfway through an entirely unneccessary 'upgrade' foisted by a clueless marketing dept.

How long has that Freeserve acct been working? Eight years?

Can I remember anything about Winders dialup? Nah. No-one in range of their domicile has Whiffy that I can leach for out-of-band Googling either.

Blast.
hirez: (Box Frenzy)
For a couple of months, we've been more-or-less happily dealing with the council supplied pig-bin and pig-handbag... Ok, so the kitchen waste isn't going to feed the pigs like they did when mater & pater were younger, but anyway.

On the referenced web-page, you'll note that the nice people recommend you line the pig-handbag with newspaper to save it getting too manky. Thus far the lining efforts have been ad-hoc and generally a bit poor. One's as likely to find banana skins and festery teabags on the wrong side of the alleged liner as the correct one.

So it struck me on Friday while cycling to work (along with exactly why a shellscript was failing sometimes. Did you know HP-UX was missing a 'stat' command? The 'experts' said 'use ls -l'. Does that give me mtime in seconds-since-epoch? Does it hell. Tossers.) that a chap should be able to bodge up an origami box using the sports section of the Manchester Guardian, given the Berliner form-factor is exactly the right size. Though don't let the Mail-reading conspiracy theorists know that.

Now, I'm far from an expert on Origami. Several tens of miles, probably. The internet's being a bit poor as well. Plenty of glue and cutting, not much in the way of clever folding akin to the sort of thing a chap used to see in the back of Rupert Annuals back in the days of three channel television.

I can see I'm going to have to furtle with this myself.
hirez: (Laser goggles and raybans)
Do I mean cyberpunk? Is there perhaps another sub-genre that I've happily missed that has rubbish and badly extrapolated SFnal near-future tropes scattered about the place. For (previous) example 'Kosovan one-shot railgun'.

Anyway. Another in the sequence of plainly odd telemarketry experiences. As opposed to telemarquetry, which is decorative veneer work performed at a distance. Perhaps due to radioactive trees or corrosive halitosis. Or indeed tellymarquetry, which is where you take one of those dreadful old television cabinets with the doors on the front (so the owner could pretend not to have one or that it was a drinks cabinet: "We only keep it for the children. They do love a gin & tonic after they've done their homework.") and disguise it further so it's easily mistaken for a model village.

The voice on the far end of the phone is... Nearly beyond description. As if some woman had learned her script phonetically from a chap with one of those buzzy-throat-things who's first language was Polish rather than English. I t w a s c o m p l e t e l y w i t h o u t i n t o n a t i o n o r e m p h a s i s, thus impossible to render as text. I sat and listened, extranced with the strangeness, while she (Well, I say 'she'. I wondered if it wasn't a speech-synth, but even those things have more expression. Or some Burroughsian tape cut-up experiment. Or Cyberwomen bent on enslaving us with zero-percent credit transfer and cash advance deals.) droned on and on. It was hypnotic. So much so that I'd stopped listening to the words and was just marvelling at the noise.


Oh. In the post this AM was a card from mater. On the front a trio of (well-presented) cross-dressed blokes, on the inside a message beginning 'I saw this and thought of you... '

Cheers, mum. :D
hirez: (Hand-staple-forehead)
Migraine yesterday afternoon. Everything is still slightly out of focus, which I think would make driving up the motorway a Jolly Interesting Time.

Oh dear me I'll just have to write something. What a bugger.

There was something else. Usually when this sort thing happens, I forget the name of John Cusack. However, that's in my head and something else isn't. Very odd.

Slugs?
Passport?
Robots?
Computer map of the stars?
Trilobite? (Why does that name feature so often?)
Generator?
Profit?
Web2.0 bollocks looking just like Web1.0?
Triumph Herald?
Austin Bend Sinister?
Web-caw. Web-caw.

Oh. Popcorn double feature: Uncle Marcus sent films the other week. I carefully watched the one through one eye with the lights out. It made no sense at all. Jolly good futurist autogyros, though. And Alvin Stardust in a corset.
hirez: (Laser goggles and raybans)
In winding down from doing something about this, I was having a peaceful listen (inasmuch as listening to old Peel programmes could be termed 'peaceful') to the 1982 Festive Fifty (all time, unfortunately) when the Birthday Party was followed by some splendidly minimalist Harthouse skronk.

It took me several minutes to work out that the Peel section had ended and it was Winamp doing the work.

This, and some idle experimentation with Pandora (the musical service) lead me to thinking that no collaborative recommendation engine on the planet is going to be as good as a keen chap with an arseload of records. See, if I tell Random Computer X that I rather care for, say, Severed Heads, Orbital and Squarepusher, it'll play those first which is well and good. Then some Kid606 will pitch up, reasonably obviously but the D&B is getting a little wearing by now so I tell the machine that I'd like to hear some Tackhead. It goes 'Yer wot?' and sticks on Plaid instead. Again, jolly good were I in the mood, but I was kind after something from Estrus Records to leaven the scratty experimentalism.

At this point I always go back to Winamp, set it to random-as-you-like and out comes a JH-R flavoured Peel Programme.

This is fine as long as I remember to continue feeding new things that I find or buy into the thing.

The previously-mentioned Post-Punk Junk is a fine source, for instance.

I'm not sure what the point is here. Something about You ain't nothing but a hound-dog returning to vomit over my record-collection, no doubt.
hirez: (Laser goggles and raybans)
I'm not much of a one for weekend reports, textual malarkey in similar style to that generated by the inspirational [livejournal.com profile] figg is much more fun. Have a crack it it yourselves. Any textual manipulation that shakes ideas like 'Buzz Nausea, King of the aircraft-men' out of the subtext is fine by me.

You know he's going to pilot some stub-winged snarling radial monster on a heroic mission to save his French girlfriend from the terrible clutches of the existentialist Mr Smith and his post-structuralist henchmen.

Speaking of which, I have most of a (short, with any luck) story in my head concerning self-replicating automata at the turn of the last century. Not so much a blind watchmaker as a self-aware one bootstrapping a microcosmic mechanical singularity. Or rather not. I think.

You know that 'ablutions by the light of many candles' thing? Dark and inefficient.

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