hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
A few months ago, I bought a phone number off the internet because that's the sort of thing you can do these days.

A day or so later, I bought a different number off some other people. That one came with all sorts of Ruby-hackable bells and whistles attached, so I hacked up the thing I wanted (a web app that allowed you to forward $number to a selection of mobiles that were made available via a drop-down list. The code's trivial and probably still on Bitbucket where I left it.) and forgot about the first number because it turns out that internet-based telephone numbers are like 9 bob a year.

Then I started getting wrong numbers. People who were quite surprised that they'd managed to call a mobile, and in one case really jolly aggrieved about it.

Of course I'd redirected the first number to my mobile, and on inspection I discover that it's quite close to the online banking number for $BANK.

It turns out that the bells and whistles attached to the second number make building an annoying phone robot (or IVR as they call them in the trade) rather simpler than falling off a wet log while blind pissed.

Were I a Bad Sort, I'd have rung up $BANK and attempted to make a facsimile of their IVR with a view to phishing the sausage fingered.

Since I'm not a Bad Sort, I did something else.

0844 3760094
hirez: (Radiation)
A question on the Faceache about hackery started me wondering about what I've managed to miss by not having, er, any CS qualifications.

On the other hand, I do have a pile of Useful Books - K&R (pre-ANSI), K&R (post-ANSI), Cheswick & Bellovin, the Lions book, Stevens (Advanced programming), the Pickaxe book, Zaks/6502, various O'Reillys and, er, Reliable data-structures in C. (It was the 80s. That sort of thing was allowed.)

However, I think I'm missing one or more about proper Rubyish object-orienteering. Maybe I should re-read the Pickaxe book.
hirez: (Challenger)
I think it's an obvious thing to say/think/type, but no-one buys two-litre cars any more. There's no point when a modern engine around the one-litre mark has been made to punt out the same or more power on less fuel, taking up less space and using less metal. In fact, it's a fascinating time for engine technology - supercharged three-pots with soft ignition and wonky timing? Yes I believe I shall pay attention when someone goes all LJK Setright over them.

Anyway. Speaking as a member of the society for the preservation of old Swedish two-litre cars with positively stone-age engine management, shift levers in the centre console like some kind of fifties delivery van and EuroNCAP ratings of 'be sure you are in a different car if you intend to crash this one', I've dug myself a bit of a hole.

(Aside: What you young people call 'small' or 'compact' cars are feckin' huge compared to the 9000. And that was considered a German-equivalent execubarge when new.)

The red one that I have been driving about has done less miles, isn't rusty and (terribly subjective view) just feels a bit more solid. It's also got an auto box that drops down from top to third with a bit of a bang.

Mine has aircon, a manual box and seats that don't bugger up my back. Fuel costs are surprisingly similar, though that could be down to the stuff being slightly cheaper right now.

I dunno, I really don't.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Of late, the telly has been filled with sportspeople banging on about emotions.

It's very odd.

It actually started with the voice-over for the Tour of Poland advert - 'Come and feel the greatest sporting emotions' went someone who sounds an awful lot like David Morrissey. More or less like someone inviting into his carpet shop to fondle the merchandise. Since it's an advert and on Eurosport I don't have to pay much attention because it just goes in the box marked 'Chris Tarrant used to get paid for mocking this sort of thing before there was an internet, then it fell to Jasper Carrott and now some poor sod of a Z-lister gets to sit in front of a pile of Youtube at back-from-the-pub AM. Which is a bit bloody grim when you think about it because it kind of implies that the modern viewer can't manage taking the piss out of things without someone from the telly to help. Clearly the rot set in with MST3K, but they were Americans and so one expected that sort of passive spectatoring'

It is a medium-sized box, but the writing is very small.

In it go 'Salice - made from sport' (other people make their products from a variety of plastics), 'We are Turkish Airlines' (Music begins to resemble a New Order B-Side) and some madwoman steaming about a tennis court in impractical heels.

However, the weirdness has leaked into the post-stage interviews and talking heads - 'A lot of emotion there.' 'Were you feeling any emotions?' ' Many emotions.'

Which fecking emotions, you lycra-clad pillocks? There are fecking loads of them! And they're different!
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
The guttering on the local end of the shed gave way a couple of few weeks ago, and it's been leaning and taunting me drunkenly the while.

When I nerved myself to approach, I discovered that the thin ply facing had delaminated, the wee nails had rusted out and various other bits were starting to rot enthusiastically.

Well, bollocks. Proper fixing will require pulling it all to bits, which I was going to do anyway because I want to swap the downpipe end for end so I can run it into a water butt. It's just that I was going to do that in the depths of winter, post pruning the buddleia, when I can get at all the bits.

While bodging it back together with long screws and a slathering of Ronseal, I noticed that there seemed to be something blocking the top end of the downpipe. It was hidden in the depths of the buddleia, so I couldn't be entire sure. I dug out the requisite length of curtain-rod from the back of the shed and leaned off the stepladder in the comedy manner most likely to deposit me head-first in the composter; it was a lot like playing a tricky shot at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.


The mini-football, helpfully placed by one or more small children from next door, spludged back onto their lawn and the remaining gunge in the gutter gurgled gracefully, er, away.

I suspect it's not been draining for A While, which would explain the rot.

In other news, I plan to harvest the sunflowers and consume the produce. I am only slightly concerned by the prospect of angry headless sunflower plants pursuing me across Bristol.
hirez: (dissent)
Since it's January, the media pseudopod of Global Corporate Headquarters has withdrawn the sub-appendage concerned with trying to sell us expensive perfume[1] and has extended the one which is busily selling cheap holidays in other people's misery.

The advert on heaviest rotation features Mr & Mrs Redknapp. Now, while I didn't go a bunch on whatever popular beat combo she apparently fronted, I wish her no ill-will and it's nice to see someone making a decent fist of a second career. However, that glottal stop really does drive me up the wall. I would imagine Thos. Cook (it is that lot, isn't it?) didn't spare much expense on the thing, but the diction and the forced M&S-style vocal langour make it come across as if it were one of the six-bob local ads they had on ATV in the seventies called 'sunspots' . Tacky bikini shots[2], some wobbly captions via a transistor-powered genlock the size of a small lorry and a very local (for Smethwick) voiceover promising us a 'Bostin time in Playa des Americas'.

This of course was entirely impenetrable for small children from rural Gloucestershire who understood 'holiday' to mean 'long weekend on a windswept beach at the pointy end of Pembrokeshire in the space between the last of the winter wheat going in and the Andoversford YFC ploughing match'

This leads me toward the subtext of said advert. We, as passive media-consumption nodes, are understood to spend the first part of the year planning and/or looking forward to this alleged 'holiday' and the second part remembering it wistfully and/or lying awake at night wondering how to pay for it.

An entire year failing to live in the now for the sake of a week or two lying about feeling vaguely guilty you're not having more fun?

Fuck. That.

I reject the entire tree of assumptions inherent in that view. They are too horrible to contemplate.

Other than that, the sun was bright today, so I made a start on the pruning.

[1] The book 'Deluxe' is a fine thing and I commend you all to seek out a copy.[3]
[2] Given the amount of oil being vomited from passing tankers back then, all bikini shots were tacky and smelled of benzine.
[3] Curse my memory. The book's called 'Deluxe' and it's written by Dana Thomas.
hirez: (posing)
Dear angry and globular Citroen shed pilot. No, I will not show you my tits; yours are much larger. On the other hand, thank you for mistaking my gender. I was grinning all the way home from Oldland Common.
hirez: (pillock)
Worse than being the sort of chap who has to buy his own furniture, I am now the sort of chap who has to go and buy soil from a shop. The shame.

On balance, I think I prefer Confluence. Release early, release often, run an ad-blocker.

It would be wrong of me to hope that yon rubbish NY alleged bomber(s) turn(s) out to be linked to the frigging idiot tea-bothering mob, wouldn't it?
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))

(Yeah, I'm shameless. What can I say? I rather like the validation.)
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
I suspect it's just my currently stuffed brain chemistry, but when I see the word 'bubbly' applied to either a carbonated wine product or someone's personality, I tend to cringe and move in the general direction of Away.

I'm sure there are others.
hirez: (Default)
The other morning, I walked past a bloke from the 24-hour glazier fitting some temporary chipboard to the shop next to one of the matching kebab emporia, which meant stepping off the narrow pavement while not diving under a bus.

I have watched one too many ${Acronymic and increasingly implausible crime franchise} programmes because my first thought on viewing the grim state of that pavement was 'Ooh. Blood spatter.'

I suspect that the Roman name for Bath was actually 'Bloody hell they're a lairy bunch when they're bladdered.'
hirez: (Challenger)

The middle two photos specifically. I Have No Idea.

The rest of the site's rather good, too.
hirez: (Default)
Well played that there Ms. Pollock (aka Lady Bathory on alt.gothic in the distant past and I wot not on LJ) for being published in the largely non-cylindrical Steampunk Magazine. (via Messrs. b0ing^2)
hirez: (pillock)
(I'm not counting the damn things because I'll end up looking like some thicky)

Even so:

'Death traps' by Belton Y. Cooper is an engineering-BOfH's-eye-view of US tank warfare from D-Day to Berlin. It boils down to 'The hardware's (specifically the M4 Sherman) shite. An aircraft engine in a tank? What cowboys put that in? I'll all have to come out.' Though that leaves out the grimly spot-on descriptions of the thing's failure-modes when shot at by the other side. Fine stuff.

'The Box' by Marc Levinson. A history of the shipping container. Yes, really.


Mar. 10th, 2007 06:42 pm
hirez: (Q-309)
Been in a bit of a pit the last week or so. It happens. Arse kicked and back on track, with luck.

Anyway, I pottered out for a good long (for me, anyway) run into the teeth of a gale and avoiding all the other idiot bloody road users down the Gloucester Road (Those would be the halfwit drivers who park in the bike lane, the halfwit (push)biker who swooped across both lanes of traffic, narrowly avoiding collection by a speeding XR2, the fuckwit in the Porsche, the other fuckwit in the X5... At this point I abandoned the bike lane and steamed past the useless bastards on the outside) because the day was bright, I'd had to go into work anyway and I fancied a trip to the Here shop. Like the Cube, it makes me feel entirely old, clueless and slightly suburban. Much as I'd like to demonstrate my hipness and how 'down' I am with 'what's happening' on the cutting edge of Bristol culture, I'd look like a right pillock in a 'Tinker has a posse' shirt.

It's still a splendid place, mind.

Anyway. Not hiding at all really in the middle of a shelf was a pile of hand-crank music boxes. Self programmable ones. I've been wanting to have a bash at something like this since a trip to the Mechanical Music Museum in Northleach aaaages ago.

Of course, now I need to find the right sort of music to encode. 'Ever fallen in love?' and 'The Model' are the two obvious ones. 'Prototype pop' (From 'Clifford darling...') and 'Rez' are two less obvious examples.

Although I'd need to find some more of the program strips. They feel like thick Tyvek or very shiny cartridge paper.

I have also been watching 'Pump up the volume' again because it recently fell out of the internet, and grinning like an idiot at all the splendid old squitty acid tunes.
hirez: (irradiated)
So, lessee...

Random snot-producing bug got worse, which through the magic of comedy timing meant that I wasn't going anywhere near that there Londons. Meanwhile, we discover that the backup Saab isn't worth fixing, so I need to find a replacement reasonably soon.

Hey, and indeed ho. All a bit bollocks, really.

On the other hand, the rest of the Displacement Activity Writing came to me in a lump. I like it when that happens. I still don't know what to do with it, mind. And I managed to stare bog-eyed at most of the stuff provided by computer-telly. The only thing missing from Charlie Brooker programmes are the big-band versions of nostalgic television themes as featured on 'Inside Victor Lewis-Smith'.
hirez: (Radiation)
Best thing in the world ever:

hirez: (Information Hazard)
My characters won't shut up. I have an end-point in sight, but the sods (and I mean that in an only slightly annoyed sense) keep finding new things to do and talk about. Good job it's a school night and there's no alcohol in the place.

It's like a poorly-specified program. Coding and writing use pretty much the same bits of brain, so starting off with an interesting idea and just pottering along to see where it goes will get you to the same place be it C++ or English.

It's fun though. Probably means something, too.


hirez: (Default)

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