AndyA's thought of the moment

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31 May 2012 I'm always short of power connections under my desk. I wonder if the 6 power cables with nothing on the other end had anything to do with this.
07 May 2012 If you are auto generating the filename to save results into and decide to include the time in the generated file name make sure you cache the generated name somewhere.
This notice is bought to you by the few hundred different log files generated by a big task that changed it's output file name changed every second.
01 May 2012 OpenCV (the open source computer vision library) is a very good way to make your time disapear is you are of a sufficently geeky inclination.
25 April 2012 When you have the excel window stretched over 3 monitors just so you can see the full chart at a reasonable scale it's a sign that you need to think of a new way to view your data.
24 April 2012 Well I think that experiment has generated some conclusive results. It doesn't matter how easy it is to update this page I still don't do so reguarly. How on earth did I ever manage once a day for so long.
19 April 2012 Are children telepathic or did someone implant a tilt sensor in my while I was asleep? Those are the only two explanations I can think of for how children in a different room always manage to start screeming when you get into bed and stop when you get up to go and see what's wrong.
16 April 2012 Small children should only have one birthday every 3-4 years. The parties are too much chaos to have every year.
13 April 2012 It's Friday the 13th. Maybe I should get a lottery ticket, it's not like the odds of winning could get any worse.
11 April 2012 I saw Hagrid today. Since the motorcycle crashed he is now driving an old yellow pickup truck.
9 April 2012 And the children are now trained that it's ok to crack eggs open because they contain candy and not something that can make a horrible sticky mess.
2 April 2012 To most people "Go to bed." would have a fairly obvious meaning, to a 3 year old you need to expand it a little. The current version is "Go to bed. Don't shout in bed, don't bang things on the wall, go to sleep. Real sleep, not fake snoring with your eyes open sleep. And don't use your feet to play the panio in bed."
30 March 2012 Didn't win $640 million on the lottery, back to plan B for the retirement savings.
29 March 2012 If you enter a formula into excel and press ctrl-shift-enter rather than just enter it does something different. Who on earth decided that this sort of magic key press method of getting functionality was a good idea?
28 March 2012 For the example yesterday I did try to find a sensible route from San Jose to San Francisco that avoided both the Google and Apple HQs but there isn't one.
27 March 2012 Ideas I should patent: My phone knows where I am. My phone knows when and where my next appointment is. My phone knows how to get from where I am to my next appointment, how long it will take and what the current traffic conditions are along the way. So why can I only set it to remind me about an appointment a fixed number of minutes beforehand? Why can't I set it to remind me Travel time plus a few minutes in advance if I'm not already heading that way? Why can't it tell me "You need to leave within 10 minutes for your 1pm appointment. The 101 north is busy at Mountain View, I recomend taking 280 as an alternative."?
25 March 2012 OK the theme from Totoro is a little better that Dora.
23 March 2012 There may be worse earworms to be stuck with than the theme from Dora saves the Snow Princess but I can't think of any right now.
22 March 2012 I understand the need to test things in a repeatable and controlled way but why does it have to involve me either walking back and forth past the same set of shelves 100+ times or hammering 25 wooden posts into the ground at carefully measured points?
19 March 2012 The average number of days I go between shaves seems to be equal to the square of the number of children I have. This makes me wonder whether bigfoot is really some sort of pre-human missing link or just a normal guy with a very big family.
17 March 2012 Ideas I should patent: Kids bowls with a metal plade in the bottom and a strong magnet you can put under the table so they can't lift the bowl up and tip the contents all over the place.
16 March 2012 Today seems to be national pull out in front of me day. Either that or my car has suddenly become invisible.
14 March 2012 It's looking like the Tahoe ski season will finally get started in a few days. Ski seasons that start in mid March? No the weather isn't screwed up at all.
13 March 2012 The down side to 3 year olds ruling the world is that bedtimes would become illegal.
12 March 2012 One of the big pluses if 3 year olds ruled the world would be no more stupid time changes.
11 March 2012 Bamboo takes up a lot more space cut down that when it's growing. Probably something to do with being 1" across and 20 feet tall.
9 March 2012 I misread a web page and combined two titles into one, I thought they were saying "Hello Kitty for President". My first reaction was that it wouldn't be any worse than the alternatives.
7 March 2012 Addendum to Murphy's Law: The less time you have available solve a problem the greater chance there is of one arising.
5 March 2012 I shouldn't put custom cables together first thing on a Monday. It took 3 attempts to make a 10 pin cable where 9 of them were straight 1 to 1, 2 to 2 etc....
2 March 2012 Ideas I should patent: His and hers blankets where you can make one side of the blanket warmer than the other half by removing or swapping out half width panels.
1 March 2012 There is something very wrong about having to reverse engineer your own companies products.
29 Febuary 2012 Why do kids always start throwing up at 10pm?
28 Febuary 2012 I just had to pay someone so that I could pay a tax that would then allow me to pay a different tax. It's a little worrying that something like this is considered normal.
27 Febuary 2012 It's a little sad that I'm really happy that I managed to get 4 different computers in 2 different locations to draw a wobbly line in the right place on a map.
25 Febuary 2012 Why you shouldn't follow the advice of a 3 year old #2: Soup and mini-marshmallows for breakfast.
24 Febuary 2012 Why you shouldn't follow the advice of a 3 year old: Apparently getting dressed in the morning requires first sitting on daddys belly and bouncing up and down.
23 Febuary 2012 There is something very wrong when a creationist can call his critics anti-science and not be considered a laughingstock.
22 Febuary 2012 I recently saw a post where someone equated online discusions about religion to a book club where no one has read the book but everyone has strong opinions about it. I can't help feeling that the analogy could be extended from religious debates to equally cover political, technical and just about any other subject.
21 Febuary 2012 I found my pad of post-it notes. They were under a multimeter, a pad of paper, 2 RFID antennas, a GPS antenna, various wires (I'm not sure exactly where they all go) and a pile of small screws. It may be time to tidy my desk.
20 Febuary 2012 Although I'd settle for them being awake as long as I got to sleep.
19 Febuary 2012 Raising children would be so much easier if they just slept all the time.
17 Febuary 2012 Only took half a day to track down 3 copy/paste related bugs. Next time I'll just type it all in again, it may be slower but the compiler will spot most typos making it far quicker in the long run.
16 Febuary 2012 dd -if=/dev/urandom -of=/dev/sda
Don't try this at home kids.
15 Febuary 2012 I think that all of this wonderful online collaborative software and calender synchronisation has actually made scheduling conflicts more likely. In the past you asked someone when they were free, most people didn't plan much more than about a week in advance in order to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things. Now you don't have to remember things so you can plan further in advance and when scheduling you look at what is in the computer and assume it is definitive. Great in theory but once you factor in the human element it's a recipe for disaster.
14 Febuary 2012 I think that there is an unwritten rule that in order for a university to be accredited it's student body must include one person who uses a unicycle as their everyday means of transportation.
13 Febuary 2012 And a real sign that the TV networks have completely lost the plot: When the trailers make a big deal about it being a new episode that they will be showing. That this weeks episode for a TV show that you are show the new season of is new should not be something noteworthy enough that they should feel the need to advertise the fact.
12 Febuary 2012 You've got to love US network scheduling. A season is typically 22 episodes. But they also take the odd break for special events, to re-run an old episode, maybe a month long mid season break. So the new season of a show can end up lasting for almost 10 months. At that point the gap between seasons becomes almost as long as some of the gaps in the middle of the season and the whole concept of a season becomes meaningless.
11 Febuary 2012 It's a bad sign when you consider 9am to be an unprecedented lie in.
10 Febuary 2012 Well OK two pluses, not having all your teeth fall out is also fairly handy.
9 Febuary 2012 Going to the dentist has one big plus. Your teeth feel so nice after such a good cleaning.
8 Febuary 2012 A physical layer check on a 2TB drive is not fun. Especially over USB.
At a minimum it's going to have to set each bit to each state and then read it back. 2*10^12 bytes * 8 bits/byte * 4 (two reads, two writes) / 480*10^6 bits/s (USB2 max speed) = 133,333 seconds or just over 1.5 days as a theoretical minimum.
I really hope they were sensible and built some self-test smarts into the drive to cut that down a little.
7 Febuary 2012 The last few versions of Apple's OS-X has had a built in VNC server, an application that lets you control the machine from any computer in any location if you know the password. But for some reason when connecting to the server from Linux or Windows the viewer would connect and then die with an error indicating that the server had closed the connection.
It turns out that VNC uses a lot of network bandwidth, in order to save bandwidth and make things go faster most VNC viewer applications default to only using 256 colours. Apple however were true to form and value looking good over functionality or compatibility. Their server automatically drops any connections that aren't running in full 16 million colour mode.
6 Febuary 2012 Sometimes I wonder how a drug as strong as caffeine is still legal. And then I remember that in Demolition Man both caffeine and salt were illegal and all restaurants were Taco Bell. Correlation may not imply causation but I'd still rather play safe and keep drinking coffee.
5 Febuary 2012 Children should come with a volume control.
4 Febuary 2012 Come on people, it's time to take down the Christmas lights.
3 Febuary 2012 The largest use still being porn obviously.
2 Febuary 2012 Chrome has gone from version 1 to version 16 in 4 years with versions 17 and 18 in the pipeline. Firefox took 7 years to get to version 4 and then only 10 months for the next 6 versions, 8,9 and 10 each came out one month apart.
At rate things are going we'll soon hit a point where the second largest use of internet bandwidth will be web browsers automatically updating themselves.
1 Febuary 2012 Apparently 18 month olds are better dancers than me.
31 January 2012 I'm all for software that fails gracefully and doesn't cause crashes or error messages when something goes wrong. But would it be too much to ask for something to show up on the error log that is only visible if you are specifically trying to track down what is going wrong? When there are no errors, no warnings and no messages it can be a little tricky to debug the problem.
30 January 2012 Do I get bonus points for using the word saith in a conversation about Sherlock Holmes?
29 January 2012 Sunday. The day of rest. So why do I always feel more tired at the end of the weekend than the start?
28 January 2012 Things my eldest child says goodbye to in the morning: Mummy, the house, the dogs, her toys.
Things my eldest child pushes outside and slams the door on in the morning: Me.
It's so nice to be appreciated.
27 January 2012 And why when my brain wants to write code rather than letting me sleep di I still find myself copying and pasting blocks and then editing them. This is all in my head, why do I have to edit the text as if I was using a keyboard? Why can't I just imagine it being what I want?
26 January 2012 When writing or debugging a program, as with other predominantly mental tasks, it's possible to enter an almost zen like state where you are oblivious to outside distractions and minor things like the passage of time. This generally a good thing except when it happens at 3am and the code is on some imaginary screen in your head.
25 January 2012 Anyone who claims the current US medical system isn't fundamentally broken is probably delusional due to some type of mental health problem. They are unaware they have this illness because they are living somewhere where the medical system is fundamentally broken.
24 January 2012 3 lines of perl, a cron job and a dropbox account later I can now edit this page as if it was a text file from any computer I use. Sometimes I'm impressed by how much effort I'll put in to being lazy.
23 January 2012 OK, let's try again and see if I can keep this going for a bit longer this time.
18 March 2009 Yes, sadists working in HR departments have the ability to pronounce capital letters.
17 March 2009 I've discovered a plus side to the economy falling apart. Pay rises are being put on hold which in turn means there is no need to complete self assessment forms. Although I'm sure some HR sadists will try to argue that the are still needed for "Personal Development reasons".
16 March 2009 The 6th rule of troubleshooting addendum: There is a simple way to tell if someone knows more about the subject than you. Try to show them the problem, if it goes away when they are watching then you can be sure they would be able to fix it instantly if only they could see things go wrong.
15 March 2009 The 6th rule of troubleshooting: Find someone who knows more about the problem area than you do.
14 March 2009 The 5th rule of troubleshooting: 90% of the code is only in there to handle special circumstances that crop up every now and then. If you problem isn���t once of those situations then get rid of that code. This will either: a) fix the problem, b) cause a crash or c) have no effect. Whichever one it is you have a big clue as to where the problem is.
13 March 2009 It's normal to see petrol prices vary a little between stations even when they are close to each other. What is less normal is when there are four withing a single block and one of them is 30% more expensive.
12 March 2009 Apparently the entire population of my office are lacking one of the five senses. I can���t think of any other reason why none of the 40 people nearer to it than me could smell the distinctive aroma of a boiled dry coffee pot. That includes the person standing in blissful ignorance of the bubbling charred mess less than a foot away from them.
11 March 2009 Why does no one ever make things as simple as possible?
10 March 2009 In this age of gigabit networks, wi-fi, Bluetooth, firewire and USB why is it that I still use more serial ports on the back of the computer than anything else?
9 March 2009 There are no Rolling Stones songs which are suitable for playing at a wedding.
8 March 2009 I really don���t like 23 hours days. At least it gives me an excuse to not have any original thoughts.
7 March 2009 At the test screenings there would have been someone who's job it was to watch the people watching the watchmen.
6 March 2009 Metals like lead are supposed to be too toxic to put them in a land fill and are generally portrayed as evil. But where did the metal come from? The ground. The only difference now is that it has been refined. Does this mean that as far as environmentalists are concerned refineries are refining evilness?
5 March 2009 Spotted today on the 101: A bright yellow Porsche boxster with the license plate "LOW LEY"
4 March 2009 And once the skill of putting coffee on is mastered how long does it take to teach the same people that 1 tablespoon left is the same as empty when it comes to coffee.
3 March 2009 How long does it take for a building full of engineers to master the concept that if you take the last of the coffee you put a new pot on?
2 March 2009 Some music I like.
Some music I don't like but can appreciate the skill required on the part of the performers.
And then there is music which if it wasn't for the fact they can repeat the same noise I would have sworn was created by someone randomly hitting the instrument of their choice with a lead pipe.

This probably means that I am now officially old.
1 March 2009 Every now and then someone will forget to lock their mobile phone or it will bounce around in just the right way and make a random call. Normally this call is to the first or last number in the contact list. Due to alphabetical ordering I will get about one call or voicemail every six months where all you can hear is the inside of a pocket or purse rubbing against the microphone.
28 February 2009 If you llama a yellow does it flunky?
This thought is brought to you by infini-ape ghost writing services
27 February 2009 They say that given an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time you will eventually get the complete works of Shakespeare. But surely if you have infinite time (and I suppose an immortal monkey) why would you need more than one monkey? Of course in reality all you would get is an infinite supply of broken typewriters but at least it would keep the recycling centers busy.
26 February 2009 Certain songs really make you want to tap your feet in time to the music. Those songs are not good choices for driving music.
25 February 2009 How do wires that are just sitting on a desk manage to get tangled overnight?
24 February 2009 America likes low taxes, in fact they don't seem to be able to get enough of them. If you buy a used car privately then there are 15 different taxes and fees to pay. In total they add up to almost 10% of the price of the car.
23 February 2009 California DMV require you to show up at their offices to file the paperwork and pay the fees within 10 days of buying a car.
In order to avoid a wait that can often be over 2 hours they recommend you make an appointment in advance.
The earliest available appointment is typically in just over 2 weeks time.
Am I the only person to spot the problem with this system?
22 February 2009 The roads in California and a car with firm suspension are not a good combination.
21 February 2009 Personally I blame the lack of thoughts on a lack of chocolate.
Or maybe global warming, it is to blame for just about anything bad these days.
20 February 2009 Apparently I can no longer think for myself. I need my wife to point out that I haven't had a single though in almost 2 years.
18 May 2007 How is it that "That's not part of my job." and "That doesn't benefit my business unit's bottom line." are considered reasonable business reasons for the most cost effective person in the company to not do some work that will benefit the company as a whole?
3 May 2007 Faith doesn't require that you ignore facts that you don't like or that don't fit a given world view perfectly, all it requires is faith. Yet somehow many religions do, why is that?
13 April 2007 Look out for black cats, ladder and broken mirrors, it's Friday the 13th.
12 April 2007 Whoever said that the pen was mighter than the sword had never tried beating a ballpoint into a ploughshare.
11 April 2007 It's a sign of the times when wedding dress shops run customer loyaly schemes.
8 March 2007 Why does a rock climbing gym need 4 disabled parking space.
7 March 2007 The mileage on my car this morning was 090909. As far as I know this number has no meaning whatsoever but it sounds good.
6 March 2007 Some strange shift has happened, the most aggressive drivers on the road are no longer in BMWs and Mercedes. They appear to have switched to driving Priuses (priuse? Prei?).
Have they suddenly become environmentally conscious? Do they now care about their fuel economy?
Or are they just in it for the car pool lane stickers?
I know which option my money is on.
13 February 2007 When answering the phone involves a process that can only be described as excavation it is time to tidy your desk.
12 February 2007 Chocolate, port and cheesecake are a good combination.
30 January 2007 When you don't own a dog but still keep dog treats and small plastic bags in your coat pocket does this make you a) an honorary dog owner or b) stupid?
24 January 2007 Software engineers are the last people who should be allowed to design the user interface for any software application.
Marketing people are penultimate on the list.
22 January 2007 73% of the time the saying "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" is too harsh on lies.
16 January 2007 Why is the average level of skill at darts so low in American?
15 January 2007 California is not supposed to get this cold.
14 January 2007 Still woohoo.
13 January 2007 Woohoo!
20 December 2006 A warm bed, a very cold bedroom and no fixed time that you need to be at work do not lend themselves to getting up early in the moring.
15 December 2006 There is something very wrong when you spend longer cleaning the vacuum cleaner in order to get it to work than you spend using it to clean things.
12 December 2006 Like most people I like warm drinks in cold weather. So why is it that no matter how cold it is the idea of brushing my teeth with warm water seems weird and wrong?
11 December 2006 Snow is nice to look at, not so nice to drive in and down right scary to drive in when people think that they can still do 50mph up and down 8% hills because they have a SUV which would have trouble with a puddle let alone going off road.
28 November 2006 Why do the heating systems in Californian homes never include a timer?
20 November 2006 I think Nintendo picked the name for their new games system purely to try and get headlines like "Nintendo Wii's on the competition"
19 November 2006 Microsoft made something that sort of works. Getting a floating menu to work well under IE6 was a nightmare, I was expecting to have to re-live it for IE7 but no, nothing is broken. Either they fixed all of the relevant CSS bugs or none of them, which ever it was I'm not going to complain.
26 October 2006 American cooking measures everything by volume rather than by weight. Their politics follows the same philosophy.
25 October 2006 Leaving work for the day before 5pm: Good.
Getting to work before 7:15am: Not so good.
18 October 2006 America exports Democracy in much the same way as Ikea sells furniture: Some assembly may be required and by the time you realise that some vital part is missing it's too late to go back to the store.
16 October 2006 Guinness and Murphy's may at first glance look the same but they are different drinks. All bar staff should know this without having to be told.
9 October 2006 Delusions are so much better than dreams. Dreams you wake up from sooner or later, a good delusion will allow you to avoid reality for much longer.
26 September 2006 You know it's going to be one of those days when within a mile and a half of home you've already had to slam on the brakes 3 times because of people pulling out in front of you.
25 September 2006 Dell have recalled a couple of million laptop batteries. If your battery has been recalled they will send you a new battery in a box, once the replacement arrives you are supposed to return the old faulty battery to Dell. They are kind enough to supply everything you need to do this in the same box as the new battery.
The question I have is how many people are going to return the new battery rather than the old one by accident?
22 September 2006 Things you would never hear a group of engineers say #3: "No, that's fine, it'll be easy for me to add those new features, we've got a whole two weeks before the product goes on sale."
21 September 2006 Things you would never hear a group of engineers say #2: "Let's face it, we should give up on this approach and try that idea marketing suggested."
20 September 2006 Things you would never hear a group of engineers say #1: "That radio controlled car is fast enough, we don't need to try and make it go faster."
14 September 2006 Note to self: When handing your camera to someone in order for them to take your picture first make sure the mode switch is set to picture and not movie. Unless of course you enjoy watching movies of people trying to remain still while a random voice is saying "is it working?" from off screen.
12 September 2006 Con man: Someone who takes broken things out of a skip and sells them at reduced prices while claiming that they work.
Artist: Someone who takes broken things out of a skip and sells them at greatly inflated prices while admitting that they don't work.
11 September 2006 I read today that a new type of computer memory was announced today. In keeping with the standard naming convention it will be called PRAM. A spokesman said that the technology was in it's infancy.
No I'm not making this up.
Well other than the bit about the spokesman.
10 September 2006 Fashion tip of the day: When going to a theme park that has several water rides white trousers that are see through when dry and a thong is not the best choice of clothing for the day.
7 September 2006 3 day weeks are a great idea.
1 September 2006 Note to self: When you are about to use a shaker to deposit red pepper flakes on top of a slice of pizza first ensure that the lid is screwed on tightly. Failure to do so can result is a rather warm piece of pizza.
29 August 2006 There is a reasonable collection of stories that revolve around the battle between two groups with a huge mismatch in the sophistication of their weapons, laser guns vs. pointed sticks, that sort of thing. By far the bulk of these these books are about the battle of the sexes.
28 August 2006 Note to self: Write things down next time. You will forget them by the time you are next in front of a computer.
22 August 2006 Closing the bay bridge on one of the busier holiday weekends. What an act of genius.
14 August 2006 Sitting up rapidly when you have a very low ceiling over your bed is a good way of getting back to sleep.
13 August 2006 Is it cheating to backdate entries if you haven't had suitable internet access for a while?
10 August 2006 If you are going to get stuck somewhere then there are worse places than 5,000 miles form work.
06 August 2006 Why do people pay so much money to spend half a day strapped down and crammed into a metal tube.
02 August 2006 The world would be such a better place without lawyers.
25 July 2006 Poit!
20 July 2006 What is the point of stop lines at traffic lights? I had originally though that they were to indicate where the front of the car should be while stopped waiting for a green light. I have now been forced to discard this theory since it doesn't match the observed events.
Today I saw two cars waiting at the lights in adjacent lanes. Normally I would describe them as waiting next to each other however in this instance that just wouldn't provide and accurate description of the situation. One car was far enough forward for there to be a foot gap between the rear of their car and the stop line. The second car had managed to avoid overrunning the line, they had managed to avoid overrunning it by about 2 car lengths.
18 July 2006 The streets in my area have always managed to somehow remain clean despite only being swept once every 2 months the local council. Fortunately this terrible hardship is now over, they will be sweeping them every two weeks.
Having to remember every Monday to park on the correct side of the road in order to avoid a ticket is a small price to pay for seeing my tax money being spent on such a worthwhile cause.
10 July 2006 Note to self: Before using a can of compressed air to remove cookie crumbs from between the keys on your keyboard first ensure that your coffee cup is not down wind.
9 July 2006 There is something very wrong when you start a 20 minute evening drive with the heater and wipers going and end it with the air conditioning on.
7 July 2006 How long until bookshops start selling "Dummies guide writing for dummies."
28 June 2006 I'm fairly certain that someone is steeling about an hour from me each morning when I first get into the office and about the same again just after lunch. Somehow those periods just vanish each day without me doing anything other than replying to a few emails and a couple of other odds and ends.
19 June 2006 You've got to hand it to Starbucks for the ultimate victory of image over product. With all of their mochafrapalattachino type drinks they have created a coffee shop that caters to people who don't drink coffee.
15 June 2006 Earthquakes: The origional rock and roll.
14 June 2006 Not only are priuses allowed in the car pool lane. One driver today though that they were also allowed in the bike lane.
7 June 2006 Well we all survived 6/6/06 but then how do we know that Hell uses the Gregorian calender anyway?
6 June 2006 Someone told me that it would take half a microsecond for a computer to read a number. My automatic reaction was that that was far too slow. There is something very wrong with the world when 0.0000005 seconds is a long time.
5 June 2006 Happiness is a hot glue gun and a large stock of glue sticks.
30 May 2006 All weeks should start on a Tuesday.
25 May 2006 Phone headsets are great. They mean that you can actually do something useful while on 2 hour long conference calls.
19 May 2006 Shouldn't it be that a picture writes a thousand words?
18 May 2006 It doesn't matter how long you hold the power button down for. If there are no batteries in something it's not going to turn on.
17 May 2006 The definition of a true friend: Someone with whom you would trust with your life but will not under any circumstances allow to stand behind you holding an ice cube.
16 May 2006 There are few things more annoying than morning show radio DJs who seem to think that the whole world wants to hear their opinions on whatever comes into their head. Today I finally realised why all the radio stations do this. It is a public service for people who have radio alarm clocks that is aimed at helping them get up and out of the room as quickly as possible.
12 May 2006 There is no such thing as a stupid question. There are however a lot of inquisitive idiots around who can't even work out the most basic things on their own.
11 May 2006 If people were better at complaining then maybe customer service standards would be better. Someone needs to offer a training course: "Effective complaining and your rights as a consumer."
3 May 2006 RTFM is a common thing to hear when someone asks a simple question, at times I would like to reply WAFM to the manufacture.
It is all to common to find that the manual or "User Guide" for a product now days is just a collection of pictures together with wonderful descriptions along the lines of:
Enable trans-user flabble widget:
Use this option to set the state of the flabble widget under trans-user situations.
Possible options are Off, On (Uni-flabble), On (Multi-flabble) or Auto. The default is Auto.
Very handy for people who want to know what the options are when they don't have the thing in front of them. Totally useless if you want to know what the setting actually does.
If you want to write a user interface specification then great but please realise that a manual is more than just a description of what you can see when you look at something.
1 May 2006 You can now get Pringles with quiz questions printed onto them. If potato chips are the latest media format then this raises one vital question: How long until people start putting nude pictures on them. All media formats are sooner or later used for looking at pictures of naked women so how long for this one? You heard it here first; pornographic Pringles will be here soon.
27 April 2006 Some hair care products claim to improve the "six signs of healthy hair". No matter how many signs there are to the contrary if something is by definition dead then calling it healthy seems to be stretching things a little. But then since when did marketing people let something as minor as the truth get in their way.
26 April 2006 Psychic consultations: appointment required.
Is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture?
24 April 2006 Previously I've tried to get out of the car with my seatbelt still on. Today I got in the car, put my seatbelt on, put the key in the ignition and then spent 15 seconds reaching behind my shoulder trying to find the seatbelt to put on.
20 April 2006 How can a new sheet make my bed feel firmer? It doesn't make sense.
13 April 2006 On my desk under a pile of paper probably isn't the best place for my cubes name label. People will have real trouble finding where I sit the way things are. On second thoughts, it can stay there a bit longer.
11 April 2006 To wake up on a Friday or even a Thursday thinking "Thank God it's the weekend." and then be disappointed is normal. To do this on Monday and Tuesday is worrying.
7 April 2006 Lego is great.
30 March 2006 I think I've become conditioned to my alarm clock. No matter how awake and rested I am feeling before hand as soon as it goes off I will hit snooze and fall asleep again for the snooze period.
27 March 2006 All of those "How am I driving" stickers you see have one thing in common; the largest letters on the sticker are the unique ID number for that vehicle. Normally this nice large, clear unique ID number is right next to the even larger, clearer and more reliably unique government issued ID number for that vehicle.
Is it just me or is there a little bit of redundancy there?
21 March 2006 Important discoveries from the last couple of weeks:
  • No matter how warm somewhere is in your imagination if it is sufficiently high then it will be very cold during the winter.
  • Removing the U-bend may result in a blocked sink running a lot better but is not a good long term solution.
  • Americans seem to think that on St. Patrick's day the Irish thing to do is mix Guinness and Baileys while eating cabbage and corned beef.
  • If it was an ideal world things would be better.
20 March 2006 If when making your morning coffee you somehow manage to miss out the coffee it is probably a good indication that you need coffee.
17 March 2006 It's odd how figuring out how to fix some random and obscure little detail that has been bugging you can make you so much happier.
15 March 2006 On my weekly check of my office mail today I discovered 4 christmas cards that had only just arrived. Nice to see that the US postal service is making good use of technology to speed up deliveries.
14 March 2006 My bedroom seems to accumulate glasses. There were 5 of them in the room last night. Where do they all come from? Is this somehow linked to the mysterious lack of socks? Are glasses the next stage of sock evolution intelligent design?
10 March 2006 OK. I can accept that even in California you will sometimes get rain but being able to see snow from silicon valley is so very very wrong.
8 March 2006 Light switches should glow so that you could find them in the dark.
3 March 2006 It is a sad statement about society today that poor manners and lack of courtesy and consideration for others are the norm rather than the exception; being self-centred and selfish are encouraged, personal responsibility is to be avoided at all costs. Something needs to be done about it.
Maybe I should sue someone.
2 March 2006 Where have all my socks gone? I haven't thrown any out, I always used to have enough. Now for some reason by the end of the week I'm always digging around in the odd socks trying to find a pair.
27 February 2006 Just think how much easier life would be if no one ever suffered from Not Invented Here syndrome.
24 February 2006 Body clocks are an equally silly idea.
23 February 2006 Time zones are a silly idea.
22 February 2006 Every line, if examined closely enough, is blurred along its edges.
21 February 2006 One of my pet rants is poorly designed office phone systems, mainly because I've worked on one which 10 years ago had more features and was easier to use than most of the "state of the art" pieces of junk sold today by the likes of Cisco.
Today I discovered yet another "feature" of our office voicemail system. If you have two voicemails and try and pick them up from the phone you can't listen to the second one until you delete the first. Even that requires either listening to lists of options or memorising the magic keys.
It's a fine example of lazy design, creating an interface on the computer is quick and easy and more fashionable so no one bothered to spend the time getting things to work from the phone. The end result: A phone system that becomes unusable without a multi GHz computer sitting next to each phone.
17 February 2006 216 thoughts in a year. Personally I was shocked when this kept going for more than a week.
16 February 2006 Who designs a first aid cabinet such that it has sharp metal edges that you can cut yourself on? At least they are kind enough to keep the appropriate supplies nearby for when you do.
15 February 2006 They say that romance is dead.
They are, of course, wrong. It's not dead, merely on life-support while the likes of Hallmark campaign to legalise euthanasia.
Is there a single concept which commercialism won't sully with its dirty hands while grasping for greater and greater profits?
13 February 2006 What do you do if your reality check bounces?
9 February 2006 Can you card a player playing cards? If a carded player playing cards needs to pay can they put it on their charge card?
Come to think of it can a charge card retreat?
7 February 2006 If you can charge a battery why can't you get it to retreat?
6 February 2006 Why do things always come up two at a time? What do I say today? Do I mention the license plate I saw that read "O BUGGR" or do I talk about the audio fanatics who somehow think that a digital audio file will change when copied from one hard drive to another.
30 January 2006 (part 2) OK. Own up. Which one of you stole half the day. I'm sure I've missed at least a couple of hours and I don't have enough blood in my caffeine system to have slept though them.
30 January 2006 Caffeine: good. Chocolate: good. Bouncing all over the office: good?
26 January 2006 What is the point in alarm clocks?
Last night I forgot to switch the alarm on. This morning I woke up, laid in bed for a while and finally looked at the clock. The time when I looked was exactly when I'd normally decide that I've hit snooze enough times and should get around to getting out of bed.
25 January 2006 Liquid hand soap should not be applied to the toothbrush. The names are a small hint to this effect.
23 January 2006 I'm in shock.
The changeable signs on the 101 do actually change. This morning the 237 was 10 minutes away as we drove up to the sign, this changed to 16 as we passed it.
Of course it actually took 5-6 minutes to get to the 237 so the sign was still fairly meaningless but it actually changed!
OK, I promise, this is the last post about this sign.
For now.
19 January 2006 We apologise for the current non-functioning nature of the goal post translation device, this has been temporarily disabled to allow for upgrades to the system. We hope to reactivate this system shortly at which point it will become possible to move the goalposts at an even faster rate than was previously possible.
17 January 2006 As of a week ago we are now all a little further from the state of mind that is RTE 237. Come rain or shine, rush hour or Sunday morning quiet everyone on the 101 southbound is now 7 minutes from RTE 237, 40% further away than they were until about a week ago.
Whether this is a good thing or not has yet to become clear.
16 January 2006 Six months can go very quickly at times.
12 January 2006 Normally when you see identical twins dressed in the say way it is cute. When they are in their mid 30's it stops being cute and starts being disturbing.
10 January 2006 Some people really know how to prioritise. One company I have to deal with average about 2 weeks to reply to a simple question. However they did manage to send me a large mug with their logo on and some fresh coffee for Christmas.
This post is brought to you in honour of all the things that I was too lazy to type up during December.
9 January 2006 Well I'm still alive despite the best efforts of the current Californian flu epidemic. Now all I need to do is get my brain working again after a nice relaxing Christmas break.
14 December 2005 I have come to the conclusion that California state route 237 is not only a road, it is a state of mind.
I realised this after noticing that the changeable sign on the 101 always indicated that the 237 was 5 minutes away regardless of time of day, weather or traffic conditions. It seems the California highways department is becoming philosophical, no matter how far or how fast you travel you are always 5 minutes from 237.
13 December 2005 Have you ever come across sharepoint? It's a Microsoft "collaborative web site for exchanging documents and ideas" or a wiki as the rest of the world calls them. Only this is Microsoft so half the functionality only works with internet explorer.
The problem with these sharepoint sites is that they are fairly easy to set up and they are new and fashionable. What does this mean? Our company has gone sharepoint mad.
Each product has a site. Each product has a lead free conversion site. There is a company wide lead free site, there are department specific lead free sites. At the last count there were 7 different sites which I'm supposed to keep an eye on.
Personally I'd rather just email a document to the one or two people who need to know the information and will actually understand it but what do I know. Apparently it's far more efficient if I post it to half a dozen different websites and then hope that they notice.
So this is what progress feels like.
12 December 2005 Yet again I am impressed with the new US air travel security. It manages to create huge lines with no increase in security. I'm not sure if I could ever come up with a system that was quite so pointless.
In the last month I have seen people get on planes without their ID ever being checked. I've seen flights leave with no checking that someone who's bag is on the plane actually got on board and I've even seen people get onto the wrong aircraft because the boarding pass checking was non-existent.
I don't fly that often.
5 December 2005 Is it possible to have a spine swap operation? And if not why not?
4 December 2005 I saw KITT driving around today. It felt like I'd gone back in time to when a guy could have a perm and not get laughed at.
1 December 2005 There is a trend in computer games to display random hints and tips on the loading screen each time the game starts, civilization 4 is no exception to this trend. One of the tips that can come up is to never get involved in a land war in Asia.
24 November 2005 Maybe I've been on too many 747's but there is something very wrong about being on an international flight into the US and being able to lean into the isle and see out of the cockpit windows.
23 November 2005 Why is it that abstracts are now called executive summaries? Was it because executives were getting confused with the word abstract or is that they are so insecure that they need a section all to themselves in order to boost their ego?
21 November 2005 It looks like amusing English mistakes are not limited to Japan, the current sightings in Mexico include "Your credit card is a phone." and "Impossible is nothing."
20 November 2005 Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest so why did I work 10 hours today? Is it just rest in comparison to the 12 hour day yesterday?
Oh for the good old days when Genesis was considered absolute rather than just relative.
18 November 2005 So is it good or bad for jet lag when you change 8 time zones one way and then the next day change by two hours back the way you came?
12 November 2005 Why is it that when a day you start off expecting to be fairly quiet ends up being moderately busy it feels more like a mad rush than just a normal day?
8 November 2005 Normally I never remember my dreams, this morning I remembered two of them. They both involved building cities, researching new technology and invading half the world. I took this as a sign that I should probably take a night off from playing Civilisation 4.
7 November 2005 Sorry, all of our available thoughts are busy at this time. Please try again latter.
31 October 2005 Halloween is a custom best honoured in the breach than the observance.
30 October 2005 Pumpkins are overrated.
26 October 2005 Why do radio stations play the best music when they don't expect anyone to be listening?
24 October 2005 Which of these is the more worrying:
  1. Only 15% of Americans believe that the theory of evolution is correct.
  2. Management live in a reality where having everyone spend 2 hours every day in a meeting will speed up the work.
  3., the online book and DVD store, currently have in their line up over 3,500 "personal massagers"
23 October 2005 Why does everyone else have to go to the shops at the same time as me. Can't they get up early and finish all of their shopping before I want to go?
20 October 2005 Today I'm going to cheat and just link to another persons web site. The reason why nerds and normal people have trouble talking to each other: It's all to do with tact filters apparently.
19 October 2005 Hiho, Hiho, it's of to... ah, can't go there, I don't know where it is.
18 October 2005 DSL at last. I was starting to get the shakes.
13 October 2005 Is it really this long since I last posted anything?
You just don't realise how much you have come to rely on high speed internet access at home until you have to live without it.
OK. That's a lie. I do know how much I depend on it. That's why I pay for it and why when moving house it's the first think I make sure is moved to the new house.
None of which stops me from getting withdrawal symptoms when SBC demonstrates their normal incompetence when it comes to getting things connected.
5 October 2005 Two days in a row I've somehow managed to fail to set my alarm clock. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something.
4 October 2005 The local Safeway is selling dry ice for halloween. We'll ignore the minor detail of there not being much left by halloween if you were to buy it this early and get on to the more important details.
This is california. How do they expect to avoid getting sued for selling something like that to people who have no idea what they are buying?
3 October 2005 You would have though that after all these years I would have learnt which end of the soldering iron not to touch. Apparently not.
28 September 2005 This morning in my car I noticed a very odd phenomena. My windscreen was normally clear but if I put my hand within about 1cm of the glass then that localised area would start to mist up. The mist would slowly grow larger and more opaque over a period of a few seconds before stabilising. Once I removed my hand it would slowly fade away at roughly the same rate.
However all of this growing and shrinking is only the average, typical behaviour. As different air currents moved around inside the car near the glass a given area would randomly grow or shrink, fade or become more opaque. Sometimes ripples of more or less dense mist would travel over the area, starting outside the misted area and drifting and swirling over it until they faded out of sight just outside the boundaries of the static mist.
By gradually moving my hand over the glass and moving fingers closer or further from the surface patterns that would slowly rise and fall could be created.
I couldn't help thinking that there was more art in a few seconds of this complex twisting pattern than in the entire output of some of the current crop of "artists". And how many artists can claim to create pictures without any form of physical contact with their canvas.
And no, I have no idea what brought this thought about. Rest assured, the normal combination of randomness and cynicism will be restored as soon as possible.
27 September 2005 There needs to be a word meaning "The realisation at the end of the day that despite being constantly busy you have not actually managed to get anything done."
26 September 2005 Someone should offer a service so that when you change address you only have to inform one person and they handle the rest. Ideally without having to give them the full list of people and addresses in advance.
25 September 2005 Why does no one make apple and cinnamon flavored ice cream?
23 September 2005 Note to self: If in the morning I look everywhere and still can't find me cell phone then it's probably because it's already in my pocket.
22 September 2005 If the loonies take over the asylum and end up doing a better job at running it what does that tell you?
21 September 2005 Time zones are a silly idea. Why can't it just be the same time everywhere?
20 September 2005 Am I the only person to put paper into the office printer?
13 September 2005 Is it a bad sign when the "Yield to pedestrians" road sign is laying dented in the middle of the road with tire marks all over it?
9 September 2005 Phone chargers work better when plugged into the phone. They work even better when the other end is plugged into the mains.
8 September 2005 The 10 email commandments
  1. Thou shalt not spam.
  2. Thou shalt not use large fonts and multiple colours in emails.
  3. Thou shalt not include pointless images in your signature or as background.
  5. Thou shalt not send an empty message with a word document attached containing a couple of lines of text or a picture.
  6. Thou shalt not hit a reply to all without first checking the recipients list.
  7. Thou shalt not fail to make use of the spell checker.
  8. Thou shalt not reply to chain emails.
  9. Thou shalt not send large attachments without utilising compression.
  10. Thou shalt not send an email with the contents "My email is broken".
7 September 2005 Deodorant and hair gel are very different things. Their use is not interchangeable.
6 September 2005 I have discovered a way to generate an infinite amount of dust. Just open up a computer that is a couple of years old and blast it with one of those compressed air duster cans. The dust will keep coming until the can gets so cold ice starts to form on the outside.
Now I just need to find some use for infinite amounts of dust.
1 September 2005 One of the places that I go to for lunch will take your name with your order and then call you when the food is ready. Now it would be faster, easier and more reliable to just call the order number that is on your receipt. But that would be far too much like a fast food place which they like to pretend they are not.
For most of the staff English is a second language or at least they are from community where strong accents are the norm, an English accent seems to throw them at times.
Today my name was Dante.
31 August 2005 You know those sun visor things you can wear? They look like an oversized peak from a baseball cap but often made of a semi transparent material. Well I saw someone wearing a black one today.
It's very sunny outside today so no big shock so far. It's even reasonable for them to be wearing it indoors if they are only going to be inside for a few minutes, that's far easier than taking it off.
The weird bit was when they went outside, they angled the thing down so that it was over their whole face. The effect was not unlike someone wearing a welding mask. Now the bit that freaked me out was when they got into their car and drove off like this.
And yes, they were driving an SUV.
29 August 2005 *Kicks computer until it works again*
Stupid things.
*Kicks it a few more times just to be sure*
24 August 2005 What are you supposed to do when logic circuits are acting illogically?
22 August 2005 I see a lot of the new mustang on the road considering how recently the car was released. Obviously there is a certain appeal to the car, it would be an odd choice if performance or looks were the only criteria and so one can only assume that it is some sort of status symbol. If you look at the people driving them it is also fairly obvious that it's an important status symbol, the average driver looks like they would have trouble affording any new car let alone one in that price range.
Any Americans reading this are probably thinking something alone the lines of "Well Duh!". Anyone else reading this is probably thinking something along the lines of "A Ford is a status symbol?"
21 August 2005 I need to paint a big target on the roof of my car, that way I can find out how good an aim the birds in my area have. This has the added plus that if their aim is as good as I think it will help keep the windscreen clear, currently that seems to be their preferred target.
19 August 2005 It looks like I'm now in the money laundering business. I found a couple of dollars in the pocket of some jeans that I had washed.
17 August 2005 For the rest of the week I am management free. There may be still be one person around in my reporting chain between the CEO and myself. Since he's 5 time zones away I'm not sure if he is in the office this week or not.
So 3 days without any management. Do I go find a book store to sit in and do nothing or do I use the opportunity to actually do some work....
16 August 2005 I've obviously not been thinking much recently. I wonder why. ;-)
11 August 2005 How to improve office communication and innovation:
  • Have lots of big meetings.
  • Make dead end corridors wider so that people have space for impromptu meetings (after all you would want to talk to the person who just walked through a solid wall)
  • Organise desks so that managers can see directly into the cubs of their minions.
  • Make sure that everyone sits in closed off areas with the people they work with every day and have no reason for going anywhere near other people in the organization.
How to hinder office communication and innovation:
  • Provide a central informal area where people can chat at random (e.g. a comfortable area with drinkable coffee). Ensure that no managers offices look into this area or are near its entrances.
  • Arrange things so that people will tend to walk down one or two central corridors, either make this corridor extra wide or provide small side rooms or nooks along it's length.
  • Encourage "Friday afternoon" projects and let employees play around with ideas as long as they don't take too long or cost too much.
  • Manage by trust, don't place managers where they can see what workers are doing all the time. You already trust your development team with the companies intellection property and it's future success, trusting them enough to not need to know what they are doing every minute of the day is one step to far.
10 August 2005 You know those metal barriers that they put on freeways between the two directions? Generally they are only good for one crash, if nothing else once they are off the support posts they hang too low to work well. Plus as with any safety critical item you tend to play safe and replace them if in doubt.
The problem is that in California the amount of bureaucracy means that it can take them a while to get around to replacing a section that has been hit. Now the common sense thing to do while waiting for the paperwork would be to prop the barrier up on some temporary pegs, it may not be as good as a new section but it's a lot more effective than letting it hang down near the ground.
Unfortunately common sense seems to be on holiday a lot of the time around here. The wonderful Californian method of handling the situation is to put a few cones in front of that section of barrier to warn people not to hit it.
9 August 2005 You know how in dreams things sometimes change when you look at them closely? Well last night that happened to me 4 times for the same object, it eventually settled on being a bag of 100 hot straws.
Hot straws, as anyone in that particular dream would have known automatically, are a great practical joke item. They look just like normal drinking straws (the bendy type with blue stripes) but are lined with a clear spicy sauce (40x concentrated going by the writing that was on the bag). Anyone drinking a normal drink through a hot straw would feel like they are drinking molten lava however other people can test the drink (using their own straw) and not find anything wrong.
Remember you heard it hear first. Hot Straws (tm, patent pending), coming to a store near you soon.
8 August 2005 Right now my arm is sore in two places. One area is from where a rope hit me when climbing (or to be more accurate, from falling) and the other is my shoulder from going clay pigeon shooting. The climbing injury is a very nasty looking 1" by 3" bruise that doesn't hurt at all. My shoulder on the other hand is fairly sensitive but doesn't have a mark on it.
This could be taken as a fine example of how initial appearance is often very wrong. Alternatively could just be further proof that I'm very weird, take your pick.
7 August 2005 I wonder how much I could make by threatening to include things here unless people pay up.
4 August 2005 Why is it that Americans incapable of returning shopping trolleys? Which is better: To position the trolley so that it is blocking in the car next to you or to walk a whole 5 meters more and return it to the designated trolley return point? How can you claim to be a civilised society and yet have such a complete lack of so simple an example of consideration for others?
3 August 2005 That's it. I give up. I'm going to have to start wearing union jack t-shirts all the time or something. A conversation from yesterday lunch time:
Them: Do you speak French?
Me: Errrr. No.
Them: You're not French?
Me: No.
Them: What languages do you speak?
Me: English
Them: And?
Me: American.
Them: Oh... You're English not French then?
2 August 2005 This morning I woke up in the middle of a very odd dream. I have no idea what it was about, all I can remember is one line and impressions of a montage of images.
The line was "But why would I want to jump into that vat.", the images were of a large bubbling tub of green liquid which I knew for sure (as you do in dreams) belonged to Pinky and the Brain and part of the bat cave from the latest batman film.
At times I'm glad that it's so rare for me to remember my dreams.
1 August 2005 What is it with geeks and Nerf guns?
29 July 2005 Thought error. Reset brain. If error persists slowly apply caffine until normal function is restored.
28 July 2005 If someone doesn't show up for a 10:30 meeting then check the email again before going to lunch from 1 till 2. There is a chance that they had said 1:30 and you wrote the time down incorrectly.
26 July 2005 I recently finished a book about the rules of behaviour of the English as a people. In the whole book it received two brief mentions: Once with regard to major ceremonies (weddings, funerals etc.) where CofE tends to be a default if you don't mind enough to want something different (this is especially true about funerals). The second was in politics and consisted of the brief observation that any politician who makes anything more than a passing reference to their religious beliefs is instantly ridiculed.
I can't help thinking that an equivalent book about Americans would be a little different.
24 July 2005 Being social is all well and good but a little more time to sleep would be a nice idea right about now.
22 July 2005 Why do so many websites these days want you to enter your email address twice? I can't be the only one who just copies and pastes it from one box to the other.
21 July 2005 Stupid bloody software companies. I download a program and use it in demo mode. I go to the companies web site and order the full version. All I need is the unlock code that will go in the flexlm license file, something that is very simple for them to generate and email to me. But no, that would be too easy, I need to wait for something to come through the post before I can use the program. Paying $500 for a few lines of random numbers I can accept, that they need to post them to me is just absurd.
So 10/10 for having an e-commerce system, minus a few thousand for using a tiny bit of intelligence when implementing the system.
20 July 2005 Why is it that for US airports the name I automatically use is their 3 letter code (LAX, SJC, SFO etc...) but Heathrow is always just Heathrow in my mind not LRH.?
19 July 2005 We apologise for the interruption. Normal service will be resumed as soon as I am no longer in shock.
17 July 2005 We apologise for the interruption. Normal service will be resumed as soon as Harry Potter 6 has been finished.
15 July 2005 Everyone has their pet rants and raves. Sometimes you can tell exactly what these are just by looking at them or their car. More than one item of clothing with the same group or campaigns logo on is a fairly safe bet, similarly multiple bumper sticker about the same item is a bit of a give away.
Today I saw something that put all of those to shame. Someone hadn't indicated what their pet rant was, they had written it out. On their car. Well to be precise on their pickup truck.
Every piece of the vehicle was covered in 3 layers of writing in different colours. Even the passenger's side of the windscreen had writing on it. Unfortunately when doing 50 on a busy freeway you don't get much time to stop and read the other cars, from what I could make out it was all a fairly incoherent rant about TV. Or maybe it was religion. Or it could have been about the government.
Whatever it was I got the distinct impression that they had a moderately strong opinion about the matter.
14 July 2005 After 12 hours in the office there is something to be said for surfing the net while lying on the sofa. Ideally while drinking a glass of port and with an episode of Jeeves & Wooster on in the background.
13 July 2005 Jobs different people have suggested I should be in:
  • Teaching. (Young minds to warp, *evil grin*)
  • Professional dream interpreter. ("Well that dream obviously indicates that you have too much money and feel you should pay people more for their services.")
  • Technical management. (But then who can I blame for poor planning?)
  • Sales. (???)
  • Writer. (Obviously they'd never read this site.)
  • Critic. (Not of anything in particular, just in general.)
Which just goes to show how bad everyone else's judgment is.
12 July 2005 Routines are weird things, even if realise that you've missed a step it's still hard to break the pattern and do it out of sequence.
This morning I realised that I'd managed to forget to shave at the normal point in my routine. Despite saying to myself 3 times that I still needed to shave I still got to the front door without doing so.
11 July 2005 Today my brain finally atrophied. First I tried to get out of the car without removing my seatbelt and then I almost tried eating a bowl of cereal with a fork.
And final proof: I wrote those two sentences, saved the file and then didn't upload it to the site.
10 July 2005 Now I know why so many people around here just eat out all of the time. It's to hot to do any cooking.
9 July 2005 You know you're in California when you see someone walking their dog wearing sunglasses.
Yes, I know that the previous statement can be interpreted two different ways. Both were true.
8 July 2005 Well I did have something I was planning on saying today but then I spoke to T-mobile and the absurdity of everything else just paled into insignificance.
This morning my phone developed a fault. Every time I pressed the 9 key the phone would lock up and reset. If didn't matter what I was doing, any press of that key caused a reset.
After speaking to customer service it turns out that this is a known issue with my model of phone. If you have the clock in 24 hour mode and the keypad noise set to tone then after a random amount of time (in this case 6 months) the phone will start to reset when you press the 9 key. I changed the keypad noise to beep (don't ask me what the difference is, they sound the same to me) and it's working fine again.
Now I've seen some strange firmware bugs in my time, I've had to help debug enough of them, I know you can get some weird problems but this one sets a new standard.
7 July 2005 (part 2) Once again I am reminded of the fundamental differences in personality between the English and Americans, a typical conversation with an American this morning:
"Are you OK? It's really terrible news, I was so shocked to hear. Is everyone you know OK? It's really bad..."
A typical conversation with an English person this morning:
"Everyone OK?"
'Yeah. You?'
"Yeah. You seen the cricket scores?"
7 July 2005 And now we get to see if all those CCTV systems around London work as advertised.
6 July 2005 The Olympics are coming to London. Let's hope that we can use this great event to show the world two of the most important things in life: How to make good chocolate and that beer should not be fizzy.
4 July 2005 I wonder if in the future we'll ever have a day to celebrate the UK becoming independent from the USA.
30 June 2005 Don't you hate it when you wake up early just knowing that you're not going to be able to get back to sleep?
29 June 2005 The way that peoples knees move when they are walking is weird.
28 June 2005 Lazyness has it's plus points. If I'd not been lazy and done a full re-install last time I performed a major upgrade on my computer then I would have lost the entire C drive in last nights hard disk crash. As it was I only lost a few save games and config files and will need to dig out the CDs to re-install the applications that got wiped.
27 June 2005 Airports are great places for people watching but the best place is still central London.
26 June 2005 The US needs to learn about the benefits of weekend lunches at village pubs.
25 June 2005 I spoke to soon. They managed to get a train both cancelled and late simultaneously.
The 20 past fast train into kings cross from platform 2 was listed as cancelled. Everyone walked over to platform 4 for the 28 minutes past slow train. At 27 minutes past the fast train arrived at platform 2 and departed again before anyone had time to get to it.
24 June 2005 Summary of British Rail over the past week:
3 trains pulling out just as I got to the platform (I'd turned up without checking the times so that's just bad timing)
4 trains running late by at least 10 minutes
1 train cancelled.
23 June 2005 When it's in the high 20's trains with broken air conditioning ar not fun.
22 June 2005 You hear some interesting conversations on trains. Today a local was trying to chat up a Californian girl who was in the UK to study. She was doing a very good job of having a polite conversation while shooting down any attempts to ask her out before the question was asked. Either the guy couldn't take a hint or deserves a prize for percistence.
21 June 2005 Earlier today I remembered something that happened at the airport last week. A group of people were discussing where to change their dollars into the local currency of their destination, they seemed to have decided to do so at SFO. Now normally in that sort of situation I would interrupt and warn them that in my experience US airports are home to the worst exchange rates on the planet. However they were already acting in all the worst ways of the stereotypical annoying American tourist in europe, that I could easily hear their conversation while not standing anywhere near them being just one aspect of this behavior. In this situation I decided to let them find out about different exchange rates for themselves.
Hopefully today's action of letting a neighbor know that they had left their car out on the street unlocked with one door wide open and the cabin light on helped restore the karmic balance a little.
20 June 2005 How did I ever survive when my only internet connection at home was dial-up?
19 June 2005 You are walking through a crowded park when someone shouts a warning to you, you look up to see a frisbee heading in your direction do you:
a) Catch it and throw it back.
b) Step to one side and let it fly past.
c) Throw your hands up and scream until it is safely on the ground relying on the sound waves to divert it away from you.
18 June 2005 There are few things that can't be solved by 12 hours sleep.
17 June 2005 San Francisco was gray and wet. London was warm and sunny.
Combine this with the BMW driver that I saw the other day and I'm sure that these are signs that the world is coming to an end.
16 June 2005 Hi ho,
Hi ho,
It's off to the land of good beer I go.
15 June 2005 Yesterday I saw the impossible. A BMW driver pulled to one side of his lane to let a motorcycle past. A BMW driver who both uses his mirrors and is courteous to other drivers? If it wasn't for that fact he was on his own in the car pool lane I think the world would have come to an end.
13 June 2005 This morning I woke up early and thirsty. I reached for the bedside table for the glass of water there and couldn't find the table. No big deal, I'd just moved about a bit during the night.
I found the corner of the bed, worked out where I was and reached again. Still thin air.
At this point I looked around, not much use when you normally wear glasses and the room is dark, but what else can you do. All I could see were two faint U shaped glows in about the right place for the pre-dawn light to be getting around the blinds. In this situation I could think of two options, either someone has broken in during the night and stolen my bedside table or something odd was going on.
My next tactic was to I resort to listening. All I could hear were a few birds singing outside through the open window. At least that was my first impression only the sound seemed to be coming from the wrong side of the room.
Either someone had broken in, stolen my bedside table and placed a bird cage next to the bookshelf on the other side of the room or something odd was going on.
Now the obvious solution to all of this would be to switch the lights on. Only the only light switch within reach of the bed is a lamp that can normally be found on the bedside table. I checked the floor where the table should be just in case they had taken the table but put the lamp back on the floor. It wasn't there. Nor was the alarm clock, book, glasses or glass of water, they had all banished. But at least going by the sound of it I now had a birdcage in exchange.
As I'm sure you'll agree, the only rational course of action in this situation was to go back to sleep.
I rolled over, stretched out and my foot hit something. A little probing with my toes later I figured out what was going on. I had somehow managed to rotate 180 degrees in the night taking my pillow with me. The bird song was coming from the open window where the blinds were doing a very good job of blocking all of the light. The glow I had taken for he windows was in fact a fluke reflection of the status lights of the cable modem reflecting off the bookshelf which can only be viewed from that one angle. That is the reflection can only be seen from that angle, the bookshelf itself is visible from anywhere in the room.
Now all I have to figure out is how during the night someone managed to rotate the whole world 180 degrees while I was asleep.
No, I didn't dream all of this. Yes, this really did happen. Plus or minus a couple of minor details ;-).
12 June 2005 Why do I have great ideas when I'm nowhere near a computer and writers block when I am?
11 June 2005 Notice to Americans:
1) There is a huge difference between the English and the French accent. It's really not that hard to tell them apart, try it some time.
2) When finding out that the person you are talking to is from the UK and not France as you have first assumed there is no need to immediately mention that your second cousin's brother in law lives in England. It may look small to you on a map but it is still a fairly large place with one or two people in it. The odds are that I haven't met him.
10 June 2005 You've got to hand it to those californians. Who else in the world could turn a 4 lane freeway into a single lane road?
So start with 4 lanes. Make the left hand one a car pool lane. Around here half of the people work whatever hours the job requires, I have no idea if I'll be leaving work at 5.30 or 8.30, so that rules out carpooling. Then make sure the junctions have a maximum separation of 1 mile, less whenever possible, that ensures that the right hand lane is entirely taken up with traffic entering or leaving the road.
This leaves the two center lanes to take all of the traffic plus the few carpoolers who are trying to somehow get from the right hand lane to the left and back again. Of those two lanes you can be fairly sure that the right hand one of them will have someone driving at 50 mph oblivious to the huge line of traffic forming behind them. This car will inevitably have more than one person in it and so be the only vehicle on the entire road qualified to be in the empty carpool lane.
The M25 may be bad but at least it is equally bad in all of it's lanes rather than offering you this nice wide road and then forcing all of the traffic into 1/4 of it.
Welcome to California, enjoy your stay.
9 June 2005 It rained the other day. In California. In June. There must be something seriously wrong with the world somewhere.
7 June 2005 As I previously mentioned, about a week ago a fairly large branch fell out of one of the trees in my street without warning. This week people have been trimming all the trees in the area.
Either one of these events has caused the other in a fine example of shutting the stable door a little too late or they are unrelated events and there is something very ironic about the timing.
5 June 2005 At times I have trouble understanding how people can be so unobservant all the time.
4 June 2005 At times I hate having to act in a professional way, it gets in the way of so many good stories.
2 June 2005 A recent event came close to solving one of the oldest puzzles around. I have no idea about trees falling in empty forests but if a branch falls in a street of mildly drunk people then it does make a sound. The time taken for the sound to reach each person is not related to their distance from the tree but to the amount of alcohol each person has consumed.
1 June 2005 There should be a law against people making quotation marks in the air with their fingers while talking on the phone in their car, it can be a severe distraction to other drivers.
They tend to burst out laughing if they happen to look in their rear view mirror at that exact moment.
31 May 2005 At times I wish the supermarket would just let me put my own shopping in the bags. Ignore the additional cost of having more unionised workers hanging around than you need. From a purely environmental and logistical point of view I'm fairly sure I would have been able to fit my one basket of things into less than 5 bags.
30 May 2005 When you have things that you really should do and only one afternoon of the weekend left to get them done it is a bad idea to get sidetracked into going to a neighbors BBQ and drinking beer for the rest of the day.
But then just because something is a bad idea doesn't stop it being a good course of action.
29 May 2005 Why is it that simple games with basic graphics are so much more playable than some state of the art games which can bring a high end computer to it's knees?
28 May 2005 Blowing up co-workers in a video game is good stress relief. Turning airborne clay disks into puffs of powder and lead is even better.
26 May 2005 How is it that despite being very quiet at work I've still ended up being in the office for around 11 hours a day recently?
23 May 2005 Why is it that some words are just naturally funny? Is it possible to read the word llama and not at least smile a little bit?
22 May 2005 The difference between the US and the UK can in many ways be summed up by what happens when you go to the doctors in the two countries.
In the UK you would make an appointment and then wait a long time for the date to come around. You show up and repeat about 3 times who you are and when your appointment is. Someone wanders off and eventually finds your file. You then hang around waiting, about half an hour late you get to see the doctor.
In the US you make an appointment and then wait a very slightly shorter period of time. When you get there the person at the desk totally ignores what you say and just waits with their hand out for you to give them the correct forms of ID. Once the computer has given its approval to the appointment they hold out their hand and wait for you to pay them. Once all of that is done they check that your file is already sitting in the correct heap, give you a receipt and some paper telling you how wonderfully professional and over trained the doctor you will be seeing is. The appointment ends up being only 10 minutes late.
So UK: No money involved and they just take your word that you are who you say you are but an old and slow system.
The US: Faster but you don't get anywhere without cash and photo ID and there is more paperwork despite it all being computerised.
20 May 2005 The other day I was walking along the street when I heard a noise behind me. I automatically looked slightly up and to the right rather than looking behind me.
It is a sign that you are spending far to much time driving when you expect rear view mirrors to be there when you aren't in the car.
19 May 2005 I found my voice again, it was down the back of the sofa. Unfortunately my mind wasn't there so I'll have to keep looking for that.
18 May 2005 ...... .., ......... . ...... ...?
...... ....... ........ . ....!
(Sorry, I've lost my voice)
17 May 2005 If you can't beat them, change the rules and get them disqualified.
15 May 2005 The creation of a project name:
Exactly the same as the evolution of a project name but with the belief that there is some intelligence behind it.
14 May 2005 The evolution of a project name:
  1. Pick a name that you like the sound of.
  2. Try to come up with some way to make the name into an acronym
  3. Give up and work out all the possible words you can use describe the project
  4. Try to arrange the possible words in such a was as to give a good acronym
  5. Give up on that and just pick a name that you think sounds good
  6. Have it vetoed by management
  7. Pick a new random name and put it on so many different documents before telling management that it's to late to change it.
13 May 2005 At times I can't help thinking that the most enjoyable part of product development is comming up with the new project names.
12 May 2005 Thank you BBC. They are keeping each episode of the 4th Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy radio series up on their web side for a week after it is first broadcast.
Now to answer the question that someone is bound to be thinking... Yes there is a radio series.
Try to remember this:
Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy - Radio show and then book.
War of the world - Book and then radio show.
11 May 2005 From hence forth common sense will now be known as the rare ability to think things through. It's not as catchy but far more accurate.
10 May 2005 One of the details logged for this site are the searches people used to find it. Most of them are fairly obvious, combinations of andya, cubefarm, dilbert, nerf gun etc... One that came up near the start of this month was "embrace your mistress or your principles".
9 May 2005 The 280 late at night is fun.
8 May 2005 You've got to hand it to those Hallmark marketing people. If you want to sell more cards you need to come up with more reasons for people to give each other cards. Well either that or release some sort of disease so that everyone buys lots of get well cards. But Mothers day in the US has to take the prize, it actually has some historical meaning rather than just being made up purely to sell more cards or be politically correct. So what do they do for the US market? They go and have it on the wrong day.
7 May 2005 Is there anything that isn't somewhere on craigslist?
6 May 2005 Today for the 5th time in 3 weeks the country which I need to be in on the next working day has changed. I'll get used to this in the end.
5 May 2005 And so 5 more years of Tony it is. Although I get the feeling that it would be more accurate to say five more years of Labour, if he doesn't jump before then he may well be pushed.
4 May 2005 I can accept that things will always be more complicated than they need to be. But does the EU have to try to make them more complicated than they can be?
People who are unfamiliar with the EU may claim that this is logically impossible and so an invalid statement. Trust me, it is true, that is part of the problem.
3 May 2005 It's really annoying when you're in the middle of working something out and someone keeps interrupting your train of though and going off at random tangents.
It's even more annoying when the person going off on the tangent is yourself.
2 May 2005 Who does hollywood have to try to turn everything into a love story?
1 May 2005 It's odd how some things change so fast but others so slowly. Look at any prediction made in the 60's or 70's of how we would be living now and you'll wonder what happened to the hover cars and 3 day working weeks. On the other hand the internet has yet to have been in common use for ten years. Can you imagine finding companies addresses and phone numbers, finding movie times, looking anything up at all without using the internet?
The speed with which it's gone from a specialist tool, the domain of academia and the military to a vital part of every day life is truly astounding. Ten years ago hardly any companies had web sites, these days if you don't have a web site you may as well not exist.
I don't have any point here, it's just an observation.
30 April 2005 Why do people go out of their way to make things more complicated than they need to be?
29 April 2005 I'm reading the UK election coverage and one of the things the Tories keep bringing up is that you can't trust Blair. Apparently this is an issue, that worries me.
It means that there are people out there you actually believe what politicians say to start with.
28 April 2005 OK, I know this is an old one but apparently there are still some people who don't know it. And so for those uneducated ones: Mechanics 101.
If it doesn't move when it's supposed to apply WD40.
If it does move when it isn't supposed to then apply duct tape.
27 April 2005 Apparently I was thoughtless yesterday.
25 April 2005 This morning I had a great idea. It was one of those moments of clarity when you realise you know the answer to all the worlds problems. And then my alarm clock went off and made me forget what it was.
What more proof do you need that alarm clocks are evil?
24 April 2005 Zzzzz
23 April 2005 I live in a fairly old house, the stairs and floors can creak at times and are far from being perfect sound proofing. I have just realised that when I know that the person downstairs is away I make far more noise. It isn't a conscious choice to be nosier just as it isn't a conscious choice to be quite when they are in, it's just automatic. I would put it down to good old fashioned common courtesy only these days it doesn't seem to be very common.
22 April 2005 If the company network is going to go down due to a virus why does it have to be at 5:30 on a friday?
21 April 2005 If I was to write a book titled "How to make a million by selling people things they don't need." how many copies would I sell?
20 April 2005 Do politicians have to go on a training course titled "How to avoid answering the question." or is it just a skill that comes naturally?
19 April 2005 Today was the 3rd time this millennium that I have worn a tie. The previous two times were for weddings.
18 April 2005 I was sittng in traffic on the 101 watching the odd car shot down the almost empty car pool lane and when a question came to me. Why was the car in front of me there? Is there now some rule that you can't use the car pool lane when there are 5 people in the car?
17 April 2005 The value of a tech firm is not based on what is makes or sells. It is based on the firms knowledge and technology, the company's intellectual property. Knowledge is far more than mere power, it is existence. A tech company lives and dies by it's IP.
This morning I was in the office for two hours. I saw two other people, the first was the back of a security guards head as I heard a door open and stood up in time to see him leave by the side exit. I had music playing at my desk but was in the lab, there is no way he would have seen me. The second person was a cleaner going around vacuuming the floor.
This is a world where you need an NDA just to walk in the door and even with half a dozen agreements you don't let your partners near your core technology. Yet here was a cleaner wandering around past benches full of un-announced prototypes, design specifications and schematics and PCs left logged in with no screen saver password. Am I the only person to see a problem here?
16 April 2005 Today I had breakfast outside while sitting on a rock.
The rock was on the top of a hill and would have had a view of the whole bay from San Jose to San Francisco and Oakland if it wasn't for two minor details. Firstly the whole bay area was covered with fog and secondly I was sitting on the rock and so all it could see was my backside. The view as the fog gradually burned off in the morning sun was rather impressive.
Things then went down hill for two reasons. Firstly I didn't want to spend the whole day at the top of the hill and secondly I ended up spending the rest of the day at work (also something that I didn't particularly want to do).
15 April 2005 The 4th rule of troubleshooting: If all else fails blame the firmware.
14 April 2005 I need a holiday.
13 April 2005 The 3rd rule of troubleshooting (yes, back to them): When receiving reports of a weird problem that just doesn't quite add up make sure it's not just a combination of several known (and fixed) issues all happening at the same time.
12 April 2005 A group of people, good beer, bad pizza, a deak of cards and some poker chips. What more do you need for an evening?
11 April 2005 Please ignore the sound that could be mistaken for snoring. I am paying attention.
10 April 2005 The election campaign in the UK is well under way now and is yet again proving that Winston Churchill was correct when he said "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."
9 April 2005 OK, so technically this is a thought from yesterday but while a few beers may aid creativity they don't particularly aid typing skill. Or coherent writing for that matter. Anyway...
It occurred to me that advertising can tell you a lot of information, in particular it can often tell you exactly what they don't want you to know. You must have noticed how a certain companies advertising will emphasis one aspect of their product, for an example let's say that they are always saying "We have award winning customer support". Now why would they do this? Research shows that good word of mouth is vastly more effective than any other form of advertising. Why would a large company need to advertise their strong points? If they are a large company then most people will know someone who has dealt with them, if their service was really that good then word of mouth would have already reached most of the target market rendering the advertising a very expensive waste of time.
So why the advertising? Because there isn't any word of mouth.
Why is there no word of mouth? Because it's not true.
Now isn't that a shock. Advertising isn't 100% truth. But what does this tell you about the company paying for the advert? It tells you that their own market research shows that they have a reputation for poor customer service, the chances are that this reputation is deserved.
It is rather ironic when you think about it, by looking at what they are trying to tell you you can work out exactly what it is they don't want you to know.
8 April 2005 In the TV show Yes Prime Minister there was a definition of politicians logic, it ran along the lines of "We must do something. This is something. Therefore we must do this."
One of the key requirements for a managerial role seems to be the ability to employ this form of logic at every possible opportunity.
7 April 2005 I recently received a problem report from the testing team. The fault they saw was that when you try to charge a fully charged battery the charger reports that the battery is fully charged and doesn't try to charge it.
Apparently this is not the correct behavior.
6 April 2005 Near my house there are two sets of traffic lights where the green light works it's way around rather than the two opposite directions both going green at the same time. After over a year of driving through these lights a couple of times a day you learn the sequence and where to look to see a reflection of any lights you can't see directly. In other words I reached the point where I could predict exactly when the light I was waiting for was about to go green.
This morning they had changed the sequence on the lights. I was very confused by this.
5 April 2005 I have discovered a plus side to taxes. After losing that much money Vegas seems cheap.
4 April 2005 You know that little dance you sometimes do walking down a corridor when someone is coming the other way? You both step to the left. You both step to the right. You decide to be cunning and not move only to realise that the other person is doing exactly the same thing...
Ever tried it with cars?
3 April 2005 The zeroth rule of troubleshooting: Make sure that the problem you are trying to fix really is a problem and not what some deranged marketing person actually wanted.
2 April 2005 The second rule of troubleshooting (and this one is actually helpful): When trying to fix a problem with a complex system that you know well (I don't just mean you have used it more than once, I mean you understand how it works, ideally you designed it) don't waste time trying to work out what is wrong. Rather than worry about what you can or can't prove trust your gut instinct and fix what you suspect to be wrong. You won't be right all of the time but when it works it is far faster than trying to prove that your suspicion is correct.
1 April 2005 The first rule of troubleshooting: When faced with a complex problem that doesn't appear to make sense first look for a neat, simple and easy to fix cause. The chances are that you will find a serious problem that needs to be fixed. The problem you just found won't be the one causing the current difficulties.
31 March 2005 Yet again I've managed to spend a whole day bashing my head against a problem and made no progress and then fixed it in under an hour the next morning. Next time I get stuck I'm just going to go home around 4pm rather than keeping at it until after 8.
30 March 2005 First rule of blackjack: If you are drunk enough to think that someone with an English accent is from Tennessee then you should probably stop before you lose all your money.
Second rule of blackjack: If you are drunk enough to double down on 12 when the dealer is showing a 7 then you should probably stop before the other players at the table lynch you.
29 March 2005 How to confuse a dealer in Vegas: Show up in a group at a table and talk to each other in a range of British accents. When the dealer asks where you are from all say California.
25 March 2005 Viva Las Vegas.
24 March 2005 When leaving the office after 6:30pm is considered going home early something is seriously wrong somewhere.
23 March 2005 Note to self: Alarm clocks work better when switched on.
22 March 2005 Why do people keep using the phrase "The internet community"? Which internet community are they talking about? The gamers who talk about pwnage in 1337 5P33K? The geeks with their nightmares about lusers? The hackers, crackers and warez crowd? The AOLers who CANT FIND THE CAPS LOCK KEY? Or do they mean the majority of internet users, people who rarely venture beyond their ISPs home page and a few well know sites, people who think that the web is the internet?
There is no global internet community, there are lots of them. Only unlike other communities they are not limited by physical proximity to each other. Internet communities may well be global but in may ways they are far less diverse than traditional communities, it's far easier to move IP address than it is house.
The growth of the web doesn't necessarily creating a mixing of cultures, it also makes it far easier to only talk to people who think exactly the same way as you do.
21 March 2005 AndyA's cooking 101 part 2: When moving a hot pan to the sink don't hold it by the hot bit. Sounds obvious doesn't it. The problem is that reflexes can get in the way of logic at times. e.g. when the pan slips in your nicely insulated hand your reflex is to stabilise it with the other hand. Well that's my reflex anyway, maybe other people engage their brain before acting but if they do they hide it well.
20 March 2005 A good strong caffeine buzz and team based twitch games with friendly fire do not mix well.
19 March 2005 When I first started this page I wasn't expecting to last a week before I missed a day. It's been over a month now, I'm not quite sure how that happened. But don't worry, there is hope in sight, I'm out of town next weekend so you'll get a break then.
18 March 2005 When testing something you generally make faster progress when you have a something to run the tests on. How has it taken me 2 days to figure this out?
17 March 2005 Great dilemmas of our times, who deserves the largest LART:
  1. The person who cc's everyone on every single email they send.
  2. The person who hits "reply to all" with out checking who's on the list.
  3. The person who sends the same response to every single email in a chain just in case you didn't notice the first 3 times they said something.
16 March 2005 The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. Anyone who claims that any further conclusions can be drawn from that statement is either:
  1. Very bad at basic logic
  2. Selling something
  3. Dangerously stupid
  4. An enemy
  5. A politician
I almost included an "all of the above" option but it would be a little redundant since politician is already on the list.
15 March 2005 My PC has 1 serial port on the back, according to windows I now have serial ports COM1 to COM18. I'll probably have to add another one in a day or two. This is either illustrates a philosophical point about how physical possessions are unrelated to spiritual worth or it's a sign of just how screwed up life is these days.
I'm going with the latter.
14 March 2005 I would suggest that all SUV drivers in California should have "Check your blind spot" tattooed on their foreheads. Unfortunatly there is one minor problem with this idea. They would never see it since they seem incapable of using a mirror.
13 March 2005 For those not following the English news, the un-elected, un-democratic and not answerable to the public House of Lords just forced the elected, democratic and (in theory) answerable to the public government to change a law they wanted to pass. The law would have allowed people to be detained without trial on the order of a politician. The requirement to do this was a suspicion caused by evidence that only the politician was allowed to see.
For some reason this law wasn't particularly popular with the public. This is the same government that doesn't exactly have a good track record with being honest with evidence, some minor detail about started a war based on a single highly dubious source.
The thing that I find depressing is that this same government is still favourites to win the next election. I'm not sure if that is a sign of poor judgment by the British public or just an indication of how bad the choices have got.
12 March 2005 The second half of the last week was just stunning weather, at least the bits that I managed to get outside to see were. Saturday is grey and a lot cooler. There should be laws against that sort of thing.
11 March 2005 I, like most people I know, seem spend much of my time at work on thing which are top priority or must be done ASAP. When I'm not working on them I seem to be chasing people to get the information I need to be able to work on them.
On the rare occasions when all the vital/urgent tasks are done and I get a chance to get back to my other tasks I have real trouble remembering what on earth it was I was in the middle off. Often by the time I remember and re-familiarise myself with what I was in the middle of some new top priority task has come up.
That isn't the worrying bit.
The worrying bit is that I consider this a normal and perfectly reasonable state of affairs.
10 March 2005 The first law of thoughts pages: The probability of remembering a thought when you get around to updating your web site is inversely proportional to how smart or witty the thought was.
9 March 2005 What is the point in going to a trade shows when no one has any good freebies to give away?
8 March 2005 Lessons learnt today:
  1. It is easy to get out of the car if you remove your seat belt.
  2. No matter how many times I wave my car keys in front of the badge reader the office door will not unlock.
  3. It is not possible to stand up fast enough to make your ears pop from the pressure change.
7 March 2005 A Candle
Chris A.K.A. DaNutBall
6 March 2005 Life would be so much simpler if half the population wasn't going around trying to take offence at every opportunity.
5 March 2005 The science of weather forecasting seems to involve making generalised statements based on what you can see out of the window and a little bit of common sense. And if it turns out that you're wrong that's OK, no one expects you to be right all the time. They should branch out in to palm reading, they already have all the required skills.
4 March 2005 Reality TV, the oxymoron of our times.
3 March 2005 If a vegetarian is also a couch potato does that make them a cannibal?
2 March 2005 Reality: Where people live when their imagination isn't up to the job.
1 March 2005 Decaffeinated expresso???
28 February 2005 Tri-tip sandwich: Good. Having to get up at 6:30am on a Monday: Very very bad.
27 February 2005 Why is it that no matter when I get up at the weekend it's always the middle of the afternoon before I get around to doing anything?
26 February 2005 What is it with US supermarkets and pre-grated cheese? They seem to have more shelf space for grated or pre-crumbled cheese than they do for the normal stuff.
Maybe it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, but then I always preferred to cut the bread myself too.
Oh and while on the subject: Cheddar is not, I repeat, not, supposed to be bright orange.
25 February 2005 Any cables that are stored without being carefully wound and tied off first will instantly become tangled. The time take to untangle them will not have any relationship to the length or number of cables involved, it can however be found using a complex formula based on the time saved by not winding them neatly to start with and the urgency with which you now need the cable.
24 February 2005 Normally when I wake up I can't remember my dreams at all. This morning I could remember two images from them and just the general feeling that something weird had happened. The first image was of a motor race, it was a Formula 1 race in old VW beetles where part of the track was on a beach. The second image was sitting on the steps to a beach front hut looking out over an empty tropical beach and talking to a very good looking blond girl. About the only hint of reality that made it into the dream was that the girl still wouldn't sleep with me.
I need to get a new subconscious.
23 February 2005 The other day I happened to notice a program running on my office computer with what looked like a randomly generated name. The machine has a virus scanner on it but I never assume that that sort of thing is perfect. I spent about 15 minutes in total trying a couple of things and searching virus databases for something that matches what I could see but with no luck. I then resorted to googleing various combinations of random, filename, windows/temp, virus and dog (the program has a dog as it's icon). After about 4 searches I finally find something that matches. It turns out that this random process is part of the company anti-virus scanner.
So where am I going with this? I could point out how first impressions are often wrong but that's too obvious. The battle between virus and anti-virus writers is getting more and like a real world conflict, it's getting very hard to see any difference between the good guys and the bad guys.
Something less geeky tomorrow. I promise.
22 February 2005 I should cook more things with wine in. Not because they come out tasting any better because of it, this is after all my cooking we are talking about, but because it only uses a glass or so of wine. Let's face it, once a bottle has been opened you can't just leave it sitting around can you?
21 February 2005 Note to self: Just because nothing in the saucepan is bubbling doesn't mean that it isn't hot. This is especially true when empty.
20 February 2005 The period of the year when my house is the tidiest is between February and April. Around the start of February all the paperwork required to fill out my tax forms arrives, I get around to filling them in in April.
These two things are not a coincidence.
19 February 2005 The definition of an Englishman: Someone who even when working in a place called Sunnyvale keeps an umbrella in his desk draw.
18 February 2005 I was recently reminded of a quote by Charles Babbage: "On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
It is easy to laugh at how poorly people used to understand the concepts of computing. It is worrying when you still see that type of thinking every day.
17 February 2005 Is it just me or are self assessment forms simply a corporately acceptable form of mental torture?
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