Thursday, August 31, 2006


Specifically, Error Messages. You can always spot when an engineer has created part of the user interface on something. Microsoft used to be Gods of the Error message.

Some classics of our time (all genuine!) with additional comments hehe:

  • Keyboard error or no keyboard present.
    Press F1 to continue or Del to enter set up
  • Errrrm... I don't have a keyboard.....
  • Uspecified Error
  • . Imagine a mechanic reurngin your car - 'Here you go sir, I'm afraid there's something wrong with it'....'What exactly?'....'Oooh, well, something a bit car-ish I expect sir!'
  • Cannot delete file. File system error [1026 (or any other random number)]
  • "Ah, error 1026, we meet again! once more we dance the dance, who will be the Victor this time? Me, Thee or our mutual foe Ctrl-Alt-Delete?"

Now there are positively hundreds of these pointless, meaningless messages and hope you will help me populate more so we can send a message to software amkers everywhere: STOP LETTING ENGINEERS NEAR USER INTERFACES, THEY'RE NO FUCKING GOOD AT IT!

And what prompted this outburst?:

Friday, August 25, 2006


Ok so it arrived. w00t! Went down to the river to give it a bash at lunchtime, Nick was trying to tell me how to do cool manual things. So here are my first two attemps. The first one was an attempt to bring focus to the duck and less so on the background, Nick did a much better example with a purple flower which I may post later. The second one was an attempt at a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of the river but sharpen the duck.

Neither worked very well but I don't care as it is a success on 3 levels:

1) I looked like I knew what I was doing as the camera looks the part
2) There were ducks
3) I actually had a vague understanding of what was going on.

Here's my ducks!

And finally the action shot!

Dynamic eh?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I did it again

I was going to buy this camera next month, I had a budget and everything! bugger.

Ok so I've ordered a camera - not a compact mind you, I decided to go for what I thought the best one within my budget was. Had some advice from Nick, the photography enthusiast and so have ordered a cool camera at bargain basement price. Well, bargain for what it is! Thing is the cheapest place I found it was Dixons online, I couldn't believe it! 15 quid cheaper than Amazon, 65 quid cheaper than play and about 20 quid cheaper than most other online retailers. More importantly 50 quid less than the Highstreet Dixons prices!

OK, so I bought a Fuji one for many reasons, most of which will bore you to tears. I'll just say that it's the way it deals with shots that have very bright bits and heavy shadows that is very impressive (sound like a pro eh?).

The only issue I have is that they use somehting called an XD card. This is yet another format of Flasj memory I had to buy, slightly miffed but there you go. XD stands from eXtreme Digital by the way. I mean, it's not just a bit digital - it's really, really digital. Those ones and zeros are totally, full on ones and zeros. (this is paraphrasing somehting Nick said which is true and ranty enough to be included here! :P)

So watch this space for Matt's amazong photos. I think I am going to start with a cow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Digital Cameras

OK so Emi got a Digicam off her mum for her Birthday and a very swish bit of kit it is too! No this has created problems for me. Aside from the fact a girl has now out-gadgeted me (blasphemy!) it has shattered my carefully constructed illusions about digital cameras.

See I am not very snap happy, but I want to be. A regular camera isn't really an option for me, for a point and shooting type of thing it seems a little archaic. Also, or so I thought, relatively cheap DigiCams are a bit naff and that 'photo quality paper' is a complete farce. The

So Emi's mum produces a bunch of photos she had printed up by Bonusprint from the card on this camera and they were stunning, truly quality pics. Now while this one Emi has is a quality piece of kit that is out of my range, I suspect that the lower end ones have improved somewhat since last I looked. Given that the photos this one produces are excellent, I am hoping that lower end ones would at least good! Obviously I am not talking about professional photography but you can still do things like chage the shutter speed and things of that ilk. So, my problem: I had resisted any urges to buy a new camera based on the fact that anything in my price range would produce crap pictures. I am now proven wrong.

So rather than dash off to the shops and buy the first thing I see, I am going to ask the advice of the 3 people that still read this blog! What's a good camera to buy for around a 100 quid? Answers on a postcard.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Live!

Yes, as cunningly deduced by Olivia, my posting has been usurped by work. It would appear that in addition to my excellent attendance record I am actually required to engage in productive, or at the very least productive looking, activity for elements of the day. All of this at no extra charge!

So that's why it has beena bit sparse of late! I did get half way through a post at the weekend but it's still in draft form and may yet bin it. Anyway, I am away this weekend so any posts will be short as I will have to do them from my phone - Emi still beleives that I am the root cause of all her computing woes based on a vague and physically impossible explanation given by an unqualified man she paid to get her internet working again. As such I am not allowed anywhere near her computer. To be fair, this is probably not a bad thing - it would be terrible for me to be all self righteous about the injustice of it all only to actually break it if she relented!

Incidentally, if you think I have suddenly developed a backbone, you're wrong. Her internet appears to be broken again, so I'm playing the odds that this post vanishes before she comes back here. Also she doesn't read it anymore, as with most things I talk for too long. Anyway, I am off to work for half a day before travelling up to lovely Hull to see the Rah and Emi, first time since about Christmas! Huzzah!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cricket explained

In an effort to make the rules more discernable for people who don't know how the sport (myself included)is played, a kind soul at work has emailed me the following simplified rules of Cricket.

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

Hope this helps our American cousins appreciate the simplicity of this great English game1

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Modify Our Freedom

I love the kind of words these people use. It's virtually verbatim the line used to sell the Patriot Act in America. A piece of legislation that effectively wiped out about half of the constitution.

'We must temporarily modify our freedom'. Like Gary Kckinnon and the Natwest 3 have had their freedoms modified? To an extent where British subjects are no longer allowed to face trial under British law because of a completely unrestricted extradition treaty with our cousins over the pond?

Just for those that don't know, the new terrorist legislation we have covers a shiny new extradition treaty with America. Traditionally extradition treaties work by the extraditing country apporoaching the country of residence of the accused with a bunch of evidence and reasoning behind the extradition. And if we want someone from the US that's still the process. If they want a British citizen, however, all they have to do is ask. And that's it.

Seriously, they don't need evidence of a crime, a reason for the extradition or anything like that. All they need is a tenuous and laughable link to 'terror' and if it looks like failing they will just whip out the 9/11 card, something the Bush administration does whenever it acts amorally.

OK, that's the serious post over. Keep a watch out for Freedom v1.3 Beta on this page soon!

Evil is a relative term

You Are 44% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

Now, OK. I was willing to accept around 33% Evil, but these questions are totally biased! At no point is there a question about launching a crusade against the evil influences of cats, but getting blind drunk contributes towards evil? I didn't tick any of the really bad ones and I get 44%. All I'm saying is that it takes a hell of a lot less to become Sauron these days.

'Have you ever conspired to destabilise an entire cross cultural region for your own sinister ends?' That's a fucking question! Not 'Have you ever taken illegal drugs?'.
This is clearly a test designed by some puritannical feline obsessed Amish person.

Also I am quite offended by the picture, I achieve the heady heights of 44% Evil and I get a baby doll with glowing eyes? That may very well have struck fear into the hearts of pre-pubescent children watching horror movies in the eighties, but this is the 21st century and I'm afraid that shit doesn't cut the mustard anymore! 44% Evil, they should at least have put up 44% of Dick Cheney's head.

Anyway, it's late and time for bed. Cheers to the far more saintly Famulus for the test.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Care in the Community moves to the Automobile

"No one can drive in Surrey!” It's something I've proclaimed many times, usually without any real basis. Except for the fact that all the natives appear to have a complete inability to park of course, but that's common knowledge. By park, I mean park in a way that is considerate of others know... in a parking space. As opposed to across it. I'm fairly sure those lines are there as more than a vague suggestion.

Anyway. Now I have proof. Last Thursday I had to go up to Birmingham, the flatmate drove very early and we arrived in a couple hours. Then we head back, all is well til we hit the Car Park that is the M25, which has ground to a halt thanks to a road accident by the Leatherhead junction. We sit on this road for an hour or so before deciding to try an alternate route.

At this point the whole journey starts to become a little like Paper Boy, the further along the road we got the more obstacles there were. OK, there was some rain (quite heavy) which obviously means the entire county grinds to a halt. Rain is such a rare thing in this country.

So we crawl along this road, passing bizarre scenes as we go by. You know normal stuff that makes you wonder why there isn't an exam that people are forced to take before being allowed to contribute to the gene pool.

The 4x4 BMW that forces its way into traffic from out of an Estate only to stop 100 yards down the road to drop off a teenager. I hasten to add here that I do mean 'Stop', not 'Pull over'. In fact the stopping in the middle of the road thing became an increasingly recurring theme; I can only imagine that indicator bulbs are incredibly expensive down here. I only picked the 4x4 because people who do not live in rural areas shouldn't be allowed to have them - there is no rational justification for having a car designed to go off-road when you never intend to do so. Buy a people carrier you arrogant wankers. And before people bang on about how much safer 4x4s are (SUVs to you Americans, though not entirely sure where the 'Sports' comes into it unless sitting on your fat arse has become a sport while I wasn't looking), it's proven that people carriers are as safe, in many cases safer, than 4x4s. Especially for your passengers and in particular for people you hit with your car. Which you will by the way. It does appear to be a legal requirement to drive like a blind Italian sociopath when you own one of these things.

Let me put it another way. If you hit a 10 year old in your 4x4 (good chance as you'll probably be doing that 50 yard school run) doing 30 miles an hour, it will almost certainly die. Buy a proper car and it won't.

Anyway, I digress. We continue along, seeing various sites. Including the taxi driver whose car had clearly broken down but rather than pulling over he carried on with the 'sitting in the middle of the road' theme. In a cunning effort to escape the wrath of other drivers, he had moved over to the passenger side in order to appear like an innocent and abandoned party.

As we drew nearer Leatherhead, we passed a van that had chosen to park on a narrow corner with half its arse stuck out in the road, a few more stopped in the middle of the road cars and some of the most bizarre road planning I have ever seen. Driving along, we'd suddenly see a concrete island blocking half the road, creating a bottle neck. No schools, houses, towns or anything remotely living in sight.

Anyway, that's pretty much the journey back on Thursday check out a report I got on Friday from intrepid reporter Rob:
He spots a Range Rover on his way back from work Thursday night. There is a Fire engine trying to get past on an emergency. So why has this Range Rover still got its arse in the middle of the road? When it pulled over it was confronted with a grass bank and the owner didn't want to go up it. Let me recap. The driver didn't want this off road vehicle near any grass.

Finally. I promise this is the last of it. Finally, I get up Saturday morning and look out my window just in time to see a man in a Yaris ever so slowly pull into a parking spot, straight into a road sign. He got out of his car, ignored the vast dent that now occupied his bonnet, picked up the bits that had fallen of his car and chucked them on the back seat. He then went off to the shop. It just looked like it had happened so often he treated as part of his routine when doing the shopping:

  1. Go to shops

  2. Crash Car

  3. sausage, bacon, eggs

  4. go to garage

  5. crash again

  6. leave car for repair

  7. get courtesy car

  8. See 2

Now this has been a long post, but I assure you that these are just the highlights from a passenger’s perspective, Thursday through to Saturday last week. The only logical explanation is that in Surrey driving licenses are handed out in Kinder Surprise Eggs.

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