Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘geek’


In which we go back to BASICs

No, I’m not a masochist.

I take a strange, geeky, masochistic pleasure, though, in making things hard for myself. In doing computer-based things the long way round. In solving the problems that are probably easy for some people, but hard for me. In learning new things just because it’s a new challenge.

Today, I was wrestling with a piece of Basic code in an Excel spreadsheet. I’ve not touched Basic since it had line numbers, which is a long long time ago, and I barely know any of it. I forced myself to work out, though, how to do what I wanted.* It was mentally hard work, and meant a lot of looking back and forth to the help pages, but I got it done in the end. It might not be written in the best way, the most efficient way, or the most idiomatic way.** But doing it was, strangely, fun.

* or, rather, what the consultant I was assisting wanted.

** for non-geeks: every computer language or system has its own programming idioms, which fit certain ways of programming particular problems. Someone used to language A will, on switching to language Z, often keep on programming in language A’s style even if this produces ugly and inefficient code in the other language.

End of the week again (no, really)

In which we set up something geeky

It does come around fast, doesn’t it? Here it is, a beautiful day outside, a clear blue sky, and here I am sat inside updating the blog. Still, it’s almost too hot and sunny to go out. What I could really do with: a laptop, a wireless card, and a deckchair, so I could sit in the shady bit at the bottom of the garden, surfing the web with a nice big G&T. I can’t sit in the sunshine, I burn too easily.

I’m actually going away for the weekend. Well, I haven’t gone away yet, but I’ve booked an exotic hotel for the night, in the hope of getting to bed before dawn. I’m off out for the day tomorrow, you see, and I thought I may as well spend £50 on a headstart.

Geek news: I’ve been having fun setting up MRTG on the home computer network. NB: if you do not know what this means, do not worry – that is probably a Good Thing. The main thing it means to me is: lots of pointless graphs to look at.

My PC's CPU activity

All that information is completely useless, and unnecessary to have, but when you’re a geek that’s not the point. It will be useful if I ever bother to get it set up properly at work.

Plans of going away for the weekend reminded me that I don’t have many good luggage bags. I could really do with a nice multi-purpose over-the-shoulder bag that I can stuff with luggage when I’m setting off, and then use as a day bag when I’m off doing touristy things. If I could also use it as a makeshift gadget bag when I’m out with the camera, that would be an extra too. Something like a record bag would be good, but they’re an awkward shape for anything apart from 12″ singles – good for carrying about an A-Z, a couple of books and a notepad, but I couldn’t fit much camera kit in one. A proper photographic gadget bag would be expensive – and they’re mostly either rucksacks, or a bit ugly-looking – and a magical chest with lots of little feet would definitely be overkill. So, any better suggestions gratefully received. And now, I’m off away to pack.

Two posts today, to make up for yesterday

In which I look like a typical boffin, again

Following on from the vague theme of: does it matter what I look like? A couple of weeks ago, at work, Colleague M told me: “you look like the sort of person who would have a website“. Today, I had the chance to talk to M again, so I asked why I do.

“Well,” said M, “you’re a computer geek, and I assumed that all computer geeks have websites.”

“But do I look like the sort of person who does.”

“I don’t know, really.”

“I was hoping you’d say something interesting!” I said. “So I could write about it on the website!”

“Well, say that you look like a computer boffin, and all computer boffins have websites.”

We talked about the sort of things I write on the site, and, if I was more sensible, the conversation would have stopped there. However, being me, I blundered on.

“You can read it if you want. I don’t really want people here to know about it – so I can write about them – but I trust you not to tell anyone else.”

“Well, I’ll have a look,” said M, “but it sounds like it might be a bit boring.”

I wrote down the address on a scrap of paper, and M burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny about it?” I asked.

“It just is! Partly because you wouldn’t see why it’s funny!”

So, hello M, if you’re reading.

In other, geekier news, the site stats reached 10,000 page views some time today.* Woo!

* that’s when the logs are analysed by Analog, at least. Webalizer thinks it happened a few days ago – presumably they disagree on which files count as pages.