Archive for September, 2005

Diabetics sweepstakes

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Yesterday afternoon, we ordered about £75 worth of sweets from A Quarter Of…. They’ve just turned up. We’re now running a sweepstakes no who’s going to die of diabetes first.

(I’ve got a load of Desperate Dan bars, Wham bars and a quarter of a kilo of Yorkshire Mixture. Awesome.)

Sign of the times

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Overheard on the bus, two students talking:

Yeah, we were out the other day; there were loads of people there. Yeah, some famous people, like that Bez from off Big Brother.

Burnout Legends – review

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

The bad:

  • Load times
  • All the EA crap
  • Very obvious rubberband catchup AI in races
  • Holes in the track geometry
  • Texture flickering
  • Load times
  • Stupid camera in crash mode
  • Limited resolution means it’s sometimes hard to see distant vehicles when racing
  • Load times

The good:

  • It’s Burnout
  • It’s portable
  • It’s Burnout
  • They got rid of that mind-buggeringly idiotic DJ
  • It’s Burnout

So yeah, you should probably buy it.

Further confusion

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Following on from the revelation that Phil Johnson has posted something that didn’t totally offend me, he’s now linked to me in his weekly BlogSpotting section. I mean, I’m kind of flattered, but it still feels odd.

Homemade bread

Monday, September 26th, 2005

It’s all kinds of awesome. Yum.


Sunday, September 25th, 2005

I was going to write an interesting, witty and enjoyable post this afternoon, but unfortunately some psycho went postal in Sainsburys and smashed up the salad counter with an iron bar, meaning that I couldn’t buy the loaf of bread I wanted. So, instead of entertaining you lot, I’m going to be baking bread.


It comes to my attention that this is entry number 666, which may or may not be the Number Of The Beast, depending on who you believe.

Customer “support”

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

So, a couple of days ago, I suddenly find I can’t download my Google Mail via POP3 any more, and I can’t sign into Google Talk using anything other than the Windows client. All of this was working perfectly the previous day, so I figure something must be up.

After hunting around their support site for half an hour, I finally locate the big form you fill in to tell them that something’s wrong with GMail. I fill it in, answering the questions in excruciating detail, telling them clearly that my POP3 access that was working fine the previous day was suddenly no longer working, and that there seemed to be a problem at their end.

Seconds later, I receive a reply. “Wow!”, I think, “That’s good customer service! Assuming they haven’t just ignored everything I’ve just typed in and sent me a stupid fucking autoresponder form answer telling me how to reconfigure my web browser… Oh.”

This email contains another detailed set of questions – the wrong ones, naturally, as this email is from the autoresponder that greps queries for the word “login” and sends them instructions on how to use the webmail login. So, I answer them, as best I can, pointing out that these questions are in fact irrelevant, and detailing my actual problem once again.

And then it all falls silent.

A day passes.

And another day.

Until today, I finally get a response: “You can help us diagnose the problem by providing screenshots of your email client’s POP and SMTP settings.” followed by instructions of how to take a screenshot (in Windows, despite the fact I’d already said I was using Linux) and paste it into a Word document (no, really) and email it to them. Tempted as I was to take a screenshot of a terminal running pine, save it as an XPM, import it into an AbiWord document, save that, gzip it up, MIME encode the result, stuff the whole lot into a RISC OS SparkPlug archive and then attach that to an email using uuencode, I decided to be mature and simply point out how utterly irrelevant the questions they were asking were to my situation.

Fortunately for the poor support moron dealing with my query, the problem seems to have magically fixed itself without their intervention, but I’m still riled. Why? Several things.

First, they utterly ignored my original problem report. Yep, that’s how important my problem was to them. They threw away all the detailed information I’d given them and sent me a form autoresponse that had nothing to do with the problem I was detailing. Great. Way to make me feel like I matter to you.

Secondly, they insulted me by making the implicit assumption that the problem was caused by something I’d done and that either I was unable to realise that this was the case, or that I was lying to them. I don’t appreciate this insinuation. It is insulting and belittling.

Now, I understand that there are an awful lot of retards out there using computers, and sometimes these people do change things either without realising or out of sheer curiosity/stupidity/whatever, and that mostly these problems will be fixable by walking them through a standard, prewritten procedure. I understand this. Fair enough.

But sometimes – just sometimes – somebody will submit a problem that doesn’t fit within this pattern, and that person may have already tried all the standard fixes and maybe actually has half a clue about what he’s talking about and it would be nice, just for once, to have the problem addressed in a manner which reflected this and dealt with in a way that didn’t mean the customer felt insulted, frustrated, belittled and deceived as a result.

Pedestrians of Manchester!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Don’t apologise to me when you step out in front of my bike without looking. It’s going to hurt you a lot more than it’s going to hurt me when I run into you, and trust me, given the choice between swerving into oncoming traffic and running into you, you are the much softer option.

Thank you.

Head/wall interface phenomena

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Some days, you get out of bed and feel like you really don’t want to go to work. This feeling is only compounded when you spend all day working on a problem only to discover, at ten minutes to leaving, that the documentation was lying. Or at least, wasn’t telling the whole truth. And so you spend a further hour working on the problem, only to drive yourself further down the road of broken code and hopeless frustration.

I hate computers. I’m going to go and buy a farm and breed chickens.

The Insufficiency of Scripture

Monday, September 19th, 2005

The Insufficiency of Scripture – why the Bible isn’t about engineering, or nursing, or parenting, or legislating, or pretty much anything else other than Just Being A Christian.