An Idea – How To Get Treeware Junk Mail Banned

Here’s a thought: a way to try to get unsolicited (treeware) junk mail banned –

Every time you recieve a bit of junk mail, just go and put it back in the post box: it’s almost all franked mail, and so the post office will re-sort it and deliver it back to you. Put a tally on the reverse side, and add one to it each time you forward it to yourself. If enough people did it, I wonder how many recursions you’d need to put through the post office before the postal workers union petitioned the government to disallow the sending of unsolicited treeware junk mail.

Not sure if it’d work, but I think I’ll do it anyway, just out of curiosity about how high a tally I can get before the post office start refusing to re-deliver them. Heh.

Got my Dad’s web site done. Just waiting for the domain name registration to go through so I can deploy it.

Making Progress

Claire’s at work this Saturday morning, so I’m taking advantage of the oppertunity to finish the web site I’m developing for my dad – almost got a deployable version ready, which is nice, because I could do with getting his feedback on it and (assuming all’s well with design and whatnot) deploying it “live” on Monday morning. Which is all good, because I need the money!

The folks who now own the cafe below us – our new landlords – have made great strides in getting it ready for use. It’s now got tables, and chairs, and a chiller unit, and some stock, and a coffee maker, and all kinds of stuff. It’s been entirely repainted and refloored and redecorated. It’s pretty much ‘there’. They’ve even put up the new sign. The new sign advertises the cafe’s web site, mgees.com. I’ve taken a look… and… it would appear that they tried to make a web page in Microsoft Word (bad start), then ran the source code through a copy of Dadadodo to ensure that it was completely mangled, before they uploaded it. Jeez. Still, they’ve asked me to quote them for a new one, so once I’m done with this site for my dad I’ll see what I can do for them.

Speaking of Dadadodo, Claire‘s been playing with it recently. You should see what happens when you put the book of Genesis through it… oh; we laughed.

Back to the code…

A Win For A Sensible Web Browser

I’m making progress with the people I work with. I’ve now got six of the eight folks in our office using Opera (they were formerly using Microsoft Internet Explorer, and some of them have tried Mozilla Firefox. Perhaps my recent spate of ‘blog posts criticising Microsoft’s browser – combined with the various hacks I’ve been showing them that I can use to exploit an IE terminal – has had some part in this.

Just Phil and Sarah left who still use IE as thier primary browser. Think I’ll install Firefox on the sly and see how long it takes them to notice.

Win. R.

Dadadodo Poetry

Decided to have Dadadodo, which I used yesterday, to generate some poetry based on my vanity pages from the old version of AvAngel.com, my perpetually-under-redevelopment web site. Take a look at this:

My body, of the religion,
That of seeing myself in a moment,
Stares ahead.
Always been an existential touch,
And I banish this.
My life, without a link, is in my writing,
To her I’m water,
At the rain comes ecstasy:
It’s gone.

Not bad for an algorithm with no pre-programmed understanding of language, I thought. Meaningless… but in a good way…

Damn My Buggy Code!

Whoops! As a result of some buggy code I’d written, my recent ‘blog entries didn’t get cross-posted to LiveJournal, as they usually do – it turns out that the cross-posting code I wrote only works if I write my entire blog entry at once… and my recent entries have been quite long and so I’ve written them in ‘installments’, which didn’t work. Hmm. I’ll write a fix for that soon.

In any case; here’s a summary of my recent posts, with links so that you can go read them:

Rearing Of The Ugly Head, And Apache’s Dirty Secrets – 26th July: Reb, my ex-girlfriend, reads my blog and places a comment… so I have a bitch about it.

Something Cheery – 26th July: A pick-me-up after my grotty post about Reb.

Things I Don’t Have Time For At Work – 27th July: Rant about an indecisive co-worker.

Dreams Within Dreams Within Dreams – 28th July: Description of a wierd, convoluted, recursive and self-referencial dream I had. Odd.

Dadadodo: Exterminate All Rational Thought – 28th July: I download a clever word disassociation program and let it loose on Scatmania, with bizarre – yet funny – results.

Dadadodo: Exterminate All Rational Thought

Downloaded a copy of Dadadodo, a syntax-capable word disassociator. Simply put, word disassociation programs tend to work by taking a body of text and randomly shuffling chunks of it around. Dadadodo instead builds a probability tree based on the frequency at which words occur in sequencial relationships with one another, and uses this as it’s basis for deciding where to transplant words to. As a result, it is able to exhibit behaviour that can appear to demonstrate an understanding of the grammar rules of a language, even though it’s output is (when a large enough input source is used) semantically meaningless.

For example, I ran the front page of Scatmania.org through Dadadodo. Here’s some highlights, with a few minor punctuation corrections (the program seems to mangle apostrophes):

More indication of the next five years: a very odd dream, with appearances from Scatmania. NatWest keep telling me comes better yet, the last three shades of child bearing age. I terrified her own risk.

Parallel parking for a network Bryn and uses vibration to investigate these graduate, I think I sat on the other a server my boss about me I had the BBC. Don’t have far better News. I’ve scared been possible to for that generates them. Following up a militarist feminist group. Within the demo of it I’ll run by profession if for larger. A Japanese inventor has been partially damaged during A backup.

When I sat on a man talks to have a stunning. It off in a survey of your own speakers. Not using Internet Fun News I see the browser market, instead: saved pages from Yorkshire backups, I’m in a plant pot and uses vibration to get a militarist feminist group, Within the Context you’ve offered Me.

Umm… do they e-mail them, Thank you to for the opinions of my boss about me. Promised you lot a very odd dream, with a very Good you sat down today! Do they should be on online chat with appearances from Amazon: dual processor board designed for playing the parallel Parking for Dummies. read Scatmania Filed under a partner?

Sadly, I could pay them.

The rest of my co-worker’s quite horrifying come the top with Direct Legal Collections one! Money, I thought I saw Faye for at work with which Scatmania. Lots of schoolchildren that I liked share. It has been partially damaged during a part minigun.

Dreams Within Dreams Within Dreams

Last night I had a very odd dream, with references to previous (recurring) dreams, interspersed with appearances from people I’ve met since:

The dream begins in rough marshy ground. There is a dredger visible in the distance, but only one of it’s two pumps appears to be working. I’m there with Claire, and we’re trying to pick our way accross the reducing land to escape from the marsh, as the waters rise. Claire seems concerned that we may be cut off and stuck out here. A fog begins to fall around us, and visibility is reduced. The sun can just be made out, close to the horizon.

I find my way to a road – unmarked and single-track, but with tarmac. I’ve lost Claire somewhere, but this doesn’t seem to be of any major concern. I make my way along the road to a village, somewhat reminiscent in architecture and surroundings to those in the Yorkshire moors. The fog is clearing somewhat as I make my way through it’s streets and enter a public house. There, I order a drink and sit down.

At this point I realise that these things are not actually happening, but that I am telling them as a story. I am in the office at SmartData, sat at the meeting table. With me is my friend Sandy (a.k.a. Kink), and it’s to her that I’m relating this bizarre tale. The story is, in itself, based upon a recurring dream I had in about 1999/2000, in which I was spending a reasonable amount of time with Sandy, but I had not yet met other people who appear in the dream, such as Claire and Paul – these have been ‘added’ later. The story continues:

I sit at a corner table in the pub and sip my drink. Later, it begins to get busy. Three women come and join me at my table, and strike up conversation. Meanwhile, Paul wanders in and sits at one of the centre tables. For some reason, I recognise him, but cannot remember who he is or from where. He looks very thoughtful.

I large man with black hair and pale, drawn-out features enters the bar. Suddenly I am very afraid, because this man wants to kill me. I hide underneath the table as he announces that he’s looking for me. I wait until he leaves, and then reappear. The ladies I’m sat with are, of course, curious, and so I explain that it is me that the man is looking for. I decide that I am not safe here, finish my drink, and leave. Once outside, I continue down the street, wondering what to do next.

I see the man, at the opposite end of the street, running my way. I turn down a side street, and, upon reaching the next crossroads, am struck by a revelation – I’ve dreamt this before. The memory of this dream is fragmented within itself, but I can remember it nontheless. I am still not aware that this, too, is a dream, but it starts to make sense: I foresaw this when I dreamt it before, and it is this same precognition that is having me recognise people (like Paul) that I’ve never met. I think hard, and remember that in the dream I turned right at this crossroads, and was later caught, and so instead I turn left. As the man rounds the corner I duck into a toy shop.

No, that’s not right – I did that last time, too. Same toy shop, but I’d turned right last time. No: maybe I made a mistake… or maybe I really can’t escape. I hear the man approaching the shop, so I rush down into it’s basement floor (childrens’ clothes, by the looks of things) and hide under a pile of coats. The man enters, and I hold my breath. But my cover worked, and he leaves. Again I’m struck by the memory of my dream, and I realise that this is what happened there, too: is there no escape from the increasingly-inevitable finale?

The sales assistant seems pissed off at my intrusion, so I buy one of the coats. Somehow, it’s too big for me, and I conceal myself within it. Every step I take, I remember as having already done, in my previous dream, but never soon enough in advance to reconsider and take a different course. And so it goes on, step by step, as I return to the bar, each step preordained – yet still unanticipated – as it falls.

I pause in my storytelling in anticipation of the next bit – the bit I’d been looking forward to telling Sandy. In this ‘reality’, the occurances in the village are not dreams – not any more than the action of telling them to her was, in any case. However, I talked of it as if the dream I was remembering was just that; a dream. Within this convoluted little nightmare she was fascinated by the story. As I came to this, a convenient break point, Claire and Paul appeared in the hallway outside. Paul was wearing exactly the same clothes as he had been in the story.

During this break in the storytelling, I produced a hardback lined A4 pad, reminiscent of the ones in which I kept a diary during the years that I was at college, and for a little while afterwards. In the dream, I had kept several seperate books, one for each of several friends who I saw less frequently than I would like, and whenever I’d had the chance to meet with them, I’d had them write a page or so in their book with an update of their life since their last entry. Sandy obliged, looking over some of her previous entires and reminiscing awhile, before adding a new entry. Then, I continued my story (again, feeling as if I am ‘acting it out’ at the time):

Re-entering the bar I am immediately confronted by my pursuer. I hide underneath the hood of my coat, and affect an accent when I talk in order to conceal my identity. It works, and, thrown off by my disguise, the man turns away, giving me a chance to escape. I retreat to the street, where I leap onto the back of a passing bus, and hang on as it drives off. The village disappears behind me.

At about this point, my alarm clock went off, bringing an end to the dream. Interpretations and comments welcome.

Things I Don’t Have Time For At Work

No, contrary to my co-worker’s assumptions, I don’t really have time to re-draw a set of web buttons in a different shade of green just because he’s indecisive about the last three shades of green were ‘wrong’, but he didn’t know by which direction and wasn’t able to give any indication of what colour they should be…

…perhaps I’d be faster to write a program that generates them on the fly to a template, and call it from the site code… but I don’t have time for that either.

Ho hum.

Rearing Of The Ugly Head, And Apache’s Dirty Secrets

Thank you to Faye for pointing out that Reb (you know, the girl I was going out with for a couple of years a few years back) has posted a comment to my blog. That’s cool – I didn’t know she read Scatmania

…hang on, wait a minute – she probably doesn’t read Scatmania… hmm… <checks the logs>

This might get messy – read on at your own risk.

Tracing Footsteps

She came to the site from a Tiscali broadband account (IP address 80.46.161.169, Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6, if anybody else feels like tracing her movements <grinz>) on the afternoon of Saturday 25th June – so she’s back in the UK (presumabley Spain or wherever-she’s-been wouldn’t keep her). She posted her comment at about half past one, then came back at about a quarter to ten in the evening to look back at the same post (perhaps to see if I’d responded yet). There’s no evidence to suggest that that IP address has ever connected to any other Big.FatBeast sites before, which implies that she probably was ‘directed’ to the site for the purpose of reading this post, rather than being a regular reader.

Unless she came from a secured site (Internet Explorer doesn’t send a referrer header when coming from a secure site), she came directly to the site (no referrer was set on either of the two visits), suggesting that she either typed the URL directly or that she clicked on it in some non-browser window (e.g. POP3 e-mail, instant messenger, etc.).

These facts – her not being a regular reader, and her visiting from a non-web link – suggest that somebody who does frequently read Scatmania regularly decided that she ‘ought to see’ that particular post, and told her. Which is interesting, because I wasn’t aware that any of my regular readers maintained contact with Reb.

The last visitor to Scatmania before her was a non-regular, too: somebody working for the Inktomi corporation in Calafornia, which doesn’t seem to be a likely lead. A better bet is the last person to have paid a reasonable deal of attention to the post in question, an AOL UK user who appears to be a regular reader who follows my LiveJournal feed.

Fascinating, isn’t it.

Questions Answered

Anyway; I digress. If my clipboard remembers rightly, Reb said:

Where all the money you owe me from the House London ?

I’m normally not so picky about people’s spelling, punctuation, and grammar (mine’s not great), but because it’s Reb, and it makes me feel better to put her down, I’ll make an exception:

  1. “Where all the money” – it just me, or there a very obvious conjunction missing here?
  2. “the House London” – there it again!
  3. “House” – it’s a noun, not a pronoun; no need to capitalise.
  4. “London ?” – one too many spaces, there.

Not bad for an 11-word sentence, Reb!

I’ll be answering your question in due course; scroll down to ‘The Million Dollar Question’, below.

Reb writes to Faye’s journal:

Re: I’m Confused
“I’m Confused”

Darling with Dan you must be !!

In bed I taught him all he knows… And it did’nt take long.

Reb

Speaking of confused… I am… I have no idea what on Earth she’s trying to say, here! But let’s try to take it apart anyway:

  1. “Darling with Dan you must be !!” – was this reply directed at me, or Faye, or The Devil (you replied to the latter). I guess you must be directing it at Faye. In this case, I’m sure she must be confused… I have no idea what you’re trying to say, and I doubt she does either. However, if you’re trying to imply a sexual relationship between her and I, you’re badly mistaken. Perhaps you’re mistaking me for one of those other long-haired Prestonians you screwed over? (Craig, Nicholas… etc.)
  2. “In bed I taught him all he knows… And it did’nt take long.”*shocker* Yes, it’s true! My secret is out! *shocker* Reb – you’re the only person with whom I’ve ever had a sexual relationship, or, at least, I’ve never done anything original with anybody else since breaking up with you – all those other men and women meant nothing! Please take me back!! *shocker*
    But more seriously now – you’re fucked in the head, girl: the only thing that could be perceived as true in your statement would be “And it did’nt take long.” – after all, the thought of having sex with me seemed never to be on your mind… at least, after we’d gotten together it wasn’t, anyway.
    Taught him all he knows… jeez; if I kept the reciept from the lesson, could I give it back? Unwanted gift?

The Million Dollar Question

Okay, so we’re not talking about a million dollars here, but I thought it was a cool heading anyway. Besides, Reb’ll probably argue that a million dollars is close to the mark, or some such shit. In any case –

In answer to your badly-worded question about money, I reiterate the point I made in August 2002: as soon as you show or demonstrate any evidence at all that I owe you any money at all, I’ll consider your point. By my estimations, it’s you who is indebted to me, on account of the thousands of pounds (which, as a student, I didn’t have) I spent, the hours I worked, and the possessions I sold in the deluded suspicion that it could possibly satisfy you or make you happy. But in the end, this was my fault, and my sacrifice, that I am still paying for (and will be for years to come). And, more to the point, I’d rather have to deal with these repercussions than ever have to see or speak to you again.

Well; that was brutal, but I feel better for it. How about the rest of you.

I promise I’ll post something cheery within the next hour or so…

Scaring Creditors

Following up my earlier post on my financial situation and the various stresses it was causing me, comes better news. I had a conversation today with Direct Legal & Collections – one of my happy little creditors, which I’d been dreading, but it actually went far better than I’d have hoped… I think I scared them…

Dan’s Repayment Calculation Assessment

DL&C Rep: What’s the value of your mortgage?
Dan: I don’t own any property.
DL&C Rep: Oh! So you’re renting?
Dan: Yup.
DL&C Rep: Do you have a partner?
Dan: Yes.
DL&C Rep: And what do they work as?
Dan: She’s a full-time student, dependent upon my contributions to rent and bills.
DL&C Rep: Umm… do you own a car?
Dan: Nope.
DL&C Rep: Right… umm… <sounds of key-pressing>

And so they offered me a nice low-interest, trickle-repayment rate that suits me more-than-fine. Wonderful. All because they’d somehow been lending me money in the first place under the assumption that I had some kind of security. Heh. I think I terrified her somewhat.

Right: that’s my finances sorted out. Now back to the rest of my life…