In which we celebrate
I’m feeling rather pleased with myself at managing to fulfil two of my resolutions so far this month. I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2, and I’ve managed to post every day this month. Even when I didn’t have very much to say – this post is cheating, frankly.
Next month I definitely won’t manage it, because I’ve already got a couple of holidays planned. I do have a few things I’m thinking about posting though. For one thing, I need to tell you about Colleague M’s Sudden Surprise Resignation from work. And write that item about Jan Mark’s book Zeno Was Here that I promised the other week. Not to mention re-write that post about mythology and the Tower of London that I accidentally deleted the other day. Which would you like to see first?
In which there is a shortage of cake
The other Thursday, I asked you for suggestions on cakes to bake for my birthday.
Unfortunately, any sort of birthday baking might be off the menu. The oven’s broken. Only one side of it heats up, which makes it a bit unpredictable to use. Certainly, it’s a bit vague as to what temperature it can get up to, and how hot it can keep itself. I’m not very confident about doing any baking in it. Bah.
And now, we have the debate: do we try to get the oven fixed? After all, surely it’s just one element that’s gone a bit wonky? Or do we just get rid of the thing and buy another? Why don’t we go the whole hog and rebuild the kitchen? Oh dear.
In which something is written and lost
I just wrote a long post about Welsh mythology and the ravens at the Tower Of London.
I had nearly finished it.
I tried to press Ctrl+T to open a new tab, because I wanted to search for a few extra links to put in.*
I pressed Ctrl+R by mistake. The page reloaded. Deleting everything I’d just written.
I’m not writing it all again. Not right now, anyway. I’m not awake enough.
* links about Francis Pryor, because I suddenly realised that the things I was thinking about chimed well with the book and TV series he did a few years back.
In which we get tagged
Gordon has tagged me with the Four Things meme. So, here we go…
Four jobs I’ve had:
Um, I haven’t had four jobs – at least, not four that are at all different. The best I can offer is: computer geek (several times); library assistant.
Four movies I can watch over and over:
Shaun Of The Dead; The Princess Bride; Spirited Away; Monty Python and the Holy Grail;
Four places I have lived:
Here; Edinburgh; Dunfermline; Callanish
Four TV shows I like to watch:
The IT Crowd (even though I’ve only seen one episode); Peep Show; Channel Four News; any of those 1-hour science or history documentaries you get on BBC2.
Four foods that I like:
Chocolate cake; ginger biscuits; pasta with carbonara sauce; a nice cup of tea
Four websites I visit daily:
Boing Boing; The Register; Diamond Geezer; ILX. I thought it would be cheating to put this site too.
Four things I want to do before I die:
Visit Iceland; fall in love; have a job that makes me want to get up in the morning; make someone happy
Four places I would rather be right now:
Camping in my tent somewhere; North Wales; in my old local pub with a bunch of friends; on top of a hill with a beautiful view in front of me.
Four people I’m tagging:
Vee; Archel; Matt Coastaltown; Dimitra
In which the internet disappears without warning
At the office, our main internet connection for many years has been a satellite broadband link, from Dutch company Aramiska. When the directors first wanted broadband, it was the cheapest solution. It’s slower than ADSL, and a lot more expensive,* but it’s still more reliable. Well, it was, until this rather surprising email arrived this morning:
We regret to inform you that Aramiska and its services are shutting down and the company will be unable to provide you with internet access after today, 27th of January 2006
Yes, that is the entire email.** It’s repeated on their website as a Customer Care Announcement, but otherwise their website is up as normal. They’re not answering the phone. Noone seems to be able to find out what has happened. Their executives have promised a statement next week, but for now they’re not admitting anything.
Luckily, we have – I mean had – two broadband links at head office now. So, after a bit of reconfiguration,*** I think we’re safe now. I feel sorry for the people in my position who didn’t have a fallback, though.
* Several thousand pounds a year – but it’s still the cheapest option in some rural areas.
** And it turns out that not everyone received the email, even.
*** Geek footnote: our main problem was that all our MX records pointed to Aramiska’s SMTP relay. In fact, they still are, even though we got on to our registrars about it this morning. They’d better sort the bloody thing out.
In which FP is unmotivated
Work is wearing me down again. We have several projects on our menu, for different divisions of the company, and of course everybody thinks their own project is urgent. Our manager’s opinion of the most urgent depends on who he had last talked to.
When people ask me: “have you done X? When will Y be ready?” over and over again, I get annoyed and irritated. Unfortunately, most of the other managers in the company seem to think that this is the best way to go about motivating people. Of course, some go further, and lie directly: “I know Z is supposed to be ready by the end of the month. I’m sure someone told me that. I’m not sure who, but I’m sure someone did.”
In which we check the junk mail folder
Bill Gates clearly knows what he’s talking about. Two years and one day ago, he said that by now, email spam would no longer be a problem.
To be honest, in one way he’s right. Junk email isn’t actually a problem for me, personally. Not because it’s disappeared, though, but because I changed my address. I still have the old address – for a lot of people it’s the only contact info they have for me – but I rarely use it. I skim through it about once a week, or so, to see if there’s anything important in it.
The reason I stopped using it: even with filtering, it gets too much spam to be usable. Altogether, it gets around 100 to 150 junk mails per day. Whether that counts as “no longer a problem” in Bill Gates’ terms, I’m not really sure. Somehow, though, I think he’d probably admit that his prediction was slightly off.*
Update, 26th January: Somewhat has written about the same thing.
* and, to be fair, in the past few years, Microsoft has been putting a lot of time, money and effort into suing professional email spammers out of business.
In which there is both good and bad
Two small things today, because I’m too sleepy to write more.
Firstly, some lovely photos of the dying Glasgow Subway in the 1970s.*
Secondly, reading the paper at lunchtime, I turned to the obituaries to find that one of my favourite writers, Jan Mark, died recently. Although she was known as a children’s writer, her “adult novel” Zeno Was Here is a lovely novel, and one of my favourite books. I’ll write more about it soon.
* Link via qwghlm.co.uk
In which a colleague shocks FP
Being a normal, well-adjusted, modern person, I sometimes forget how bigoted and backwards other people tend to be around here.
Today, I was over at one of our branch offices for a few hours. Whilst I was there, one of the staff popped across the road to the local chip shop to get us all dinner. She came back, and we tucked in.
“These are good fishcakes,” said the branch manager. He’s in his mid-30s, he knows how to cook well and dress well, and I assume he’s fairly intelligent.* “You wouldn’t think they were made by a couple of gayboys.” I choked on my coffee, but managed not to say anything. We get on badly enough already.
* Well, his writing is barely functional – I’ve received memos from him, and they’re very badly written, bad enough to be very hard to understand sometimes. But, if you manage to become a branch manager, you can’t be too stupid.
In which things are clarified
Incidentally, those of you who read Friday’s post about Nostradamus interpreter Mario Reading will likely assume that I am a complete non-believer when it comes to prediction, clairvoyance and seeing the future. Well, that isn’t quite true.
I don’t believe that you can ever use the works of Nostradamus to predict the future. I have no idea whether the famous Michel had any sort of clairvoyant skills, but his writing is far too opaque. Noone has ever been right by telling us what Nostradamus has to say about things that haven’t yet happened,*and I don’t think that Mario Reading is going to be an exception to this.
On the other hand, I do very much believe that it’s possible to see into the future. I have had enough experiences, at first hand, to convince myself of this. Some people do see scenes from the future. The problem, the intractable problem, is knowing which ones are real.
* although people have made plenty of money off it.