In another sudden bout of laziness, another quick tidbits post!

• We’re back from France and the server is back up. Silly mistake involving the watchdog and ~2500 automatic reboots.

• I found a really interesting article about dashes, spaces, and other punctuation, and how to use it in [X]HTML: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters). Did you know there were 14 types of quote? I only knew of 6…

Baldrick is a go

The web site you are reading at this very second is running off my newest machine that I have written so much about: Baldrick. The previous server, Tarquin, has been relieved of its duties until I find something useful for it to do…

For those of you wondering where the name came from: Yes, it is Baldrick from Blackadder. Sam Jenkins suggested that I use the name Bosworth, and later explained that he thought it was a good name for a servant (server). For some very random reason, that immediately made me think of Baldrick covered in grime, and the rest was history. So, Sam Jenkins is the winner of the competition.
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• The British government is once again hallucinating about having “found” a huge poison terror ring. The Register has yet another great writeup: Clarke calls for ID cards after imagining huge poison terror ring. Also, follow the NO2ID to the right if you, like any sensible person should, don’t agree with having compulsory ID cards in the UK.

I would much rather be arrested than carry a compulsory ID card. Just a quick one this time!

It has arrived

Got up this morning, and hurried to my computer to check the shipping tracker page for my server. No updates since yesterday morning, so I thought it was a lost cause and wouldn’t arrive today at all. Oh well. Go about my usual email checking, oldest email first, nothing more than my usual cron mailings, Snort reports, etc… Until I get to the last message from the voicemail system at Oracle (yes, email, phones, and faxing are all intertwined at Oracle). The delivery man came round at 8:15 and could I please give him a call…

So I ring the guy, and he’s still outside (why??); he waited the half our it took me to get out of bed. Whip on my dressing gown and run down the stairs, sign for it, have a quick chat, and excitedly run up the stairs again. Jump in the shower, have a quick breakfast, then whip it out.
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• Someone has made a top-notch remix of the now classic (ever since Bill Gates called us communists!) Copyleft / Creative Commons emblem. I really want one of them stickers or T-shirts they’re offering through CaféPress…

Sundae Best: A purse with a twist… Perfect anniversary present for Jess?

• An Oracle company email today announced the Oracle Grid Index. One my my co-workers put it nicely: “a whole exercise in spending money for meaningless marketing data, and then sending an email as if anyone is at all interested”. I really am getting very tired of all this Grid crap.

New Server

I have just ordered a new server for hosting my web site. The current server, Tarquin, is starting to feel the pressure of running a couple of quickly growing databases and quite a few active web sites that are also expanding rapidly. The plan is to slowly move everything from Tarquin to the new server, which has yet to be found a name. Please comment if you have suggestions!
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“A Small Fire”

I was just putting the last batch of washing on the drying rack at about 0:13 this morning, and all of a sudden the lights went out. I thought maybe something had blown a fuse, or maybe tripped a circuit breaker for our flat, so I took a quick look outside and even the street lamps had gone out! The UPS was screeching its way through the 20 minutes it can power my server for and eventually cut out, so I decided to go to bed.

When I woke up this morning, the power had returned and, incredibly enough, both my UPS and server were intelligent enough to start up again once the power had returned, which pleased me to no end since this is the first time this has ever actually happened! I quickly checked my email and found out that the power had actually gone twice during the night, the first time at around 0:13 and once again at 04:41, and both times the server had recovered. Very nice.

Now all this time I was checking my email, I could hear one of those portable generators outside. I took a look out the window and I saw a big white lorry with “Location Television” printed on it… “What the heck?” I thought, moving to the kitchen window to get a better view. “Location Television Catering Services” was the full title, which was slightly less alarming. Parked outside our house, however, was a police riot van, and the catering lorry was obviously there to feed hungry coppers… Typical police that is!

So I get myself ready for work, and eventually manage to leave the house without my bag (no headphones = no music! noooo!!), and meet a friendly neighbour just coming in through the door. What’s the cause of all this hoo-hah? “The police say it’s ‘a small fire'” she says. Strange. So I get on my bike, and just as I get on the main road I see the whole of Cemetery Junction is cordoned off and teeming with police, fire engines, and other emergency paraphernalia. There’s no speaking to the police around, but a passer-by also mentions a fire.

Is “a small fire” the cause of such a huge operation? I have my feelings that it was something much more serious than that, especially since a murder (!) never caused such a huge police presence. Something is definitely not right.

I smell a fish, and it ain’t a fresh one!

April Fools’

So it looks as though my promise of posting on my blog more often has really gone down the pan. Sorry folks, I’ll try harder, but I never seem to have anything to write about. I could bore you all about my new bike (it is cool after all), but that’s just showing off. I could bore you about how I think Linux has made leaps and bounds in terms of usability in the past few years and still manages to be just as crap, but nobody cares about this except me. I was even asked to write about search engines, but I must admit I don’t have a care in the world about them, other than Google actually being useful compared to others (don’t get me started).

I suppose I’ll go on about the masses of really stupid and boring geeky April Fools’ jokes that got posted on Slashdot a couple of days ago. I’m not so much bothered about April Fools’ in itself, it can really be a bit of fun sometimes, if you’re into practical jokes and, especially, you have a good sense of humour. Now I know geeks are not well known for their comic gift (ha ha), but other geeks (myself included) do understand why IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service actually manages to be funny (especially when someone tries it out), but this year I must admit simply being completely unamused, even bored by the sheer quantity of extremely poor gags.

I’m not so much disappointed with the gags this year, I know most of them are usually this poor quality. What I am disappointed by is that Slashdot, which several years ago was a great place to go to get some geek news (it is after “News for nerds, stuff that matters”), is simply going down the pan. The comments system has been overrun by trolls, the quality of the writing is deplorable, and probably the most annoying thing is how articles are repeated from one week to the next because the editors forgot they posted them. How do they manage to do that?!

So anyway, judging by April 1st‘s archive, it must either have been a really slow news day or the editors are just amused by such childish jokes as photographic proof of water on Mars and so on…

It would all be fine if it didn’t take itself so seriously…