June 2002 Archives

Not as bad as it sounds

I found another potato in my bed. I must change the sheets.

This, I hasten to add, is because Laszlo got a pack of potatoes and took them into the bed so he could chew on them. (He likes to take things into the bed, because it smells of us, and it's therefore a comforting place to be when we're away.)

Might have mentioned this before, but...

...misspelling "voilà" as "viola" always amuses me.

Random comments

Well, I've found a cheap flight for Cleodhna's family - as long as their US-centric system that insists that you can't buy a flight for someone else will see sense (I've sent them a helpdesk query explaining why it was that I, the legitimate owner of the credit card, had to supply false information in order for them to accept my order). Happily I know that they can't check the name and address of a UK card from the US, and they normally never try, so I'm not too concerned.

In other news, http://www.muller.co.il/cartoon/default.asp?id=70 is hilarious. There are others from the same site; wander.

Moron with a chainsaw

People are digging up the road at quarter to nine in the morning on a Sunday. What were they thinking?

Geography failure

I was late for Friday's developer meeting for UK2 (but not as late as Bo, so that was OK), mostly because I developed an amazing geography failure: I could not, for the life of me, remember where Park Circus was. I ended up walking all around where it should be - which was not bad, as a) I got some vague exercise, and b) the area around Park Circus isn't that ugly, so I didn't mind it particularly, except that it was drizzling.

The worse thing was that I knew where I should have started from, and I was wrong by 90 degrees, and that cost me 15-20 minutes.

Random comment: you can apparently cycle from Woodlands to Cowcaddens. Excellent :-).

Airline hell

Here I am, trying to book cheap flights for Cleodhna's mum and her sisters (well, two out of three), and I'm running into the maze of random stuff that is cheap discount airlines. Travel agent / airline websites seem to have a vendetta against the back button, so if you decide that you just want to change one thing, and use the back button, the web site complains at you volubly until you give up or storm out of the room to rant at Cleodhna, who doesn't deserve this but, hey, she's there.

The worst thing is that these sites decide that if you don't want what you wanted originally, you should enter everything again. Doesn't matter if the only thing you want to change is *one airport*, and the other airport, and the dates, and the number of passengers, should be what you had before. Grrr. Fuckwits.

Then you get web sites (web sites, let me point out here) that say "Thank you very much for your Fare request. Our agents will quote you a fare as soon as possible, normally within 1 to 2 business hours." WTF is going on here?

(Navigation toolbar: what's the difference between cheap airline tickets and cheap flights? Oh, it's an ad thing. Never mind.)

Oh, and I'm really upset when something that calls itself "cheaptravelnetwork.com" tells me that the only thing it knows about is British Airways.

(BTW, I don't mind learning about this stuff; it will be useful in the future.)

Oh, random comment: how ironic that they named the *national* (as opposed to the *International*) airport in Washington, DC after Ronald Reagan. Says it all about the Republicans.

Oh, and how come there is a Glasgow International Airport in *Montana*?

And why is it that all the major cheap flight websites are UK-based? I mean, I'm going through Google. I shouldn't expect a UK bias. Is this the age-old problem of the US not realising that there is a world outside their borders? Or is this just Google being smart and realising I'm in the UK?

Anyway, I've spent some time researching cheap flights, only to discover that they're all UK to USA, and you can't get anything decent in the other direction. Time to hit the newsgroups, I think.

Review of Hero System Fifth Edition

From Pyramid (http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/ - I'd quote the full URL but it's a paid-for site):
An entangling power that ensnares everyone in a radius around you (except for a hole in the center), forcing non-virgins to tell the truth? Not a problem!

ICQ goodness

I have a new ICQ client, which is fantastically better than the official one. Its only fault is its annoyingly cheerful icon, a cheery "Hi" in a word balloon (which is at least aqua coloured). It does a whole bunch of translucent funky stuff, it displays related messages in the same window, it only bounces once in the Dock, it's just great.

Oh, yes, another problem: it has a button in the button bar which lets you insert smileys. It's supposed to be a smiley face and a pencil, but it instead looks like a bright yellow head with a huge nose.

Footballers and language

Peter Schmeichel, I hadn't realised, speaks English with a Midlands accent - as well he should, having played for Man United so long. But still, it's funny to hear the mixture of Danish and Manchester.

The Associated Press was talking to the French players about the (Mexican) referee for the France-Uraguay game today. Emmanuel Petit: "A lot of us speak Spanish, and [the umpire] wasn't partial to the Uraguayans". Which proves one of the less appreciated advantages of having a team that has players in all the major European leagues: no matter what language the referee speaks, someone in your team speaks it as well.

Random thought about spam and viruses

You know those random spams* you get, claiming to be emails from people you know, bearing riches, wonders and attachments. Why is it that they're always *misspelled*? The most common, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from hahaha@sexyfun.net, is a classic example, but I've just got rid of a whole bunch of them (there's an email virus going round that talks about some guy's first humour game that you, the recipient, are the first to try out). If they spelled properly, they'd get far more people clicking on them.

Of course, the main problem about virus writers is that they're impatient. If you write a virus that, it quickly becomes apparent on an infected system, has added itself to a whole bunch of executable files and will soon format your hard disc, it will be detected and removed fairly soon. If you write a virus that spreads very slowly, but subtly, just sits around and does very little that is obvious, but occasionally (and thanks to Charlie ages ago for this idea) changes one digit in a spreadsheet, you could - eventually - wreak far more havoc.

Not convinced? Think annual report. Think Enron.

*: The spell-checker knows about the word "spam", but not the plural "spams". (Well, knew - I've enlightened it since.) This strikes me as remarkably optimistic.

Not sure why, but...

I am the personification of tapioca pudding