London, wedding prep, and more driving news!

As per usual I haven’t written for, well, ages! So what’s happened since I last posted?

First of all I went for a week of training in London. Abacus Tree sent me on the RH300 Rapid Track course for an RHCE. A week of brushing up on how to set up and fix computers that run Linux (in particular, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, had you not guessed). I had a nice week, and met up with lots of people including Chaz and an old friend from the TMDC of lore who I’d never met before! I got the RHCE certification in the end, with 100% on the exams which surprised even myself. A good outcome in the end!

Since then we’ve been preparing for the wedding (only 10 days to go!). The dress and suit are sorted, as are the venues, the rings, and just about everything else so all we have left is the last minute prep really: getting the food organised (we’re doing it ourselves), etc…

In other news, Jess passed her driving test! After having tried a few times and getting overcome by the nerves, she passed with 6 minors just like me. Because it was raining, and I felt ill, and we needed some shopping she picked me up from work, we shoved the bike in the boot and headed to the shops just hours after she had passed. Great stuff.

No doubt next time I post something will be after the wedding, ha!

The Big Brother State

An excellent short (4:24) animation that seeks to remove people’s rose-tinted spectacles when it comes to the current security paranoia… From Stop The Big Brother State.

In similar news (from Slashdot):

UpnAtom writes “People who refuse to give up their bank records, tax records & details of any benefits they’ve claimed, and the records of their car movements for the last year, or refuse to submit to an interrogation on whether they are the same person that this mountain of data belongs to — will be denied passports from March 26th. The Blair government has already admitted that this and other data will be cross-linked so that the Home Office and other officials can spy on the everyday lives of innocent Britons. Britons were already the most spied upon nation in Western Europemore so even than Sweden. Data-mining through this unprecedented level of mass-surveillance allows any future British government to leapfrog even countries like China and North Korea.”

And finally, I went for my first drive without an instructor today (well, excluding when I drove around a car park on my dad’s lap when I was a wee lad). I drove Jess and I to…Tesco evil capitalist shop with red and blue logo! Yes, we already have a car and yes I am already insured to drive it, and although yesterday I was lacking in confidence to go off without a bit of guidance from someone first I thought I might as well give it a go anyway. It wasn’t so bad after all, but getting used to a completely different car was a bit of an experience: I kept putting the windscreen wipers on instead of indicating off the roundabouts, etc… But it was good. I got us there and back with a full load of shopping!

I dread to think how much data has been collected about me since I first started driving. Ouch.


I’ve passed my driving test! It was my first time, and I got 6 minors. I went round all sorts of difficult areas, did lots of manoeuvres and all that while being very, very nervous. Ah well, at least it’s all over with now. I can drive.

If the future’s Orange…

…it’s really quite dark actually.

For the past year I have used O2 as my Mobile service provider. Since my contract was up, I thought I’d look around and go with a different provider, mostly because O2’s customer service was crap (it took them around 3 months to fix my account so I could send text messages online, and they reset by password multiple times so they could access my account) and their network is unable to send SMS delivery reports (which just about every other network can manage and is an integral part of the GSM system). After hunting around I decided to switch to Orange.

I told O2 I would be cancelling, and sent them my letter of cancellation and asked for my PAC code (a code that lets you take your phone number to a different mobile provider), which I got in the post a few days later. Then I got an SMS with the code in it. Then a second letter, and about 3 phone calls in the same day from O2 desperate to keep me with them (going so far as to offer me free service for 12 months if I didn’t switch). I had firmly decided to teach them a lesson, so I put my order in at Orange online.
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Microsoft iPod?

As some people have commented (*cough* Charles *cough*) I haven’t posted for a little while. Truth be told there really isn’t much going on in our lives that isn’t covered by Jess, is worth reading about, or that I can talk about…

From BoingBoing: If the iPod had been a Microsoft thing (as if!), their packaging team might make the box look a little like this:

Happy New Year

Happy new year folks! Welcome to 2007.

We’re off to Bristol later today (in the morning) for a bit of shopping in the sales, and I’m coming back in the evening so I can get to work tomorrow… Should’ve booked the day off ages ago, nevermind!

Jess, Alex and I have got back into playing Diablo II since Christmas. Jess has now given up mostly, but Alex and I beat the game once already and now we’re on rising up in the ranks. Yay for games from a few years ago!

I’ll hopefully be back to post soon, you never know!

Some News — At last!

Cor, it’s been such a long time since I last posted that I’m getting out of practice! The truth is that I never seem to do very much that warrants writing about these days! I could have written about the Delete function actually deleting things, or about how my SATA controller card doesn’t work if I have the floppy drive enabled in my BIOS, or how much nicer Arcadia runs in general since I got a new CPU and motherboard, but I can’t help but think that it would be mind-numbingly boring to most people.

Well, I suppose the other day we did go to see the new James Bond, which I must admit I quite enjoyed… I thought it was really quite different to any previous Bonds, going in quite a different direction even, although Daniel Craig makes a good Bond. I also thought it was much more believable than other Bond stories: winning millions in a game of poker is so much more plausible than firing a big gun on a satellite or villains with awfully scarred faces, although I’m not so sure about the miniature bug that can trace Bond as well as determine what kind of poison he might have ingested.

In other news the driving is going reasonably well. I have no idea when I’ll actually have my license of anything like that, but having passed the theory test is quite a good feeling. I’ve been doing all the usual manouvers like ‘reverse around the corner’ and ‘bay park’ and ‘parallel park’ and so on and, I think, getting reasonably comfortable with them. So let’s hope it won’t be too long before I put in for a test!

More ID Card Woes

To add yet more fuel to the ID card debate, one need not look any further than the events of the last few days. It appears that staff at the Identity and Passport Service are ‘hacking’ into the database that may become the foundation of the National ID Card database. OK, so 5 breaches isn’t as much as the 790 that our Australian counterparts have suffered, but 5 is still 5 too many. If any old crooked government employee can gain access to a database of condensed personal information about anybody in the country, who knows what might happen.

Say no to the ID card!