Oh yeah: I changed the look-and-feel of scatmania.org the other week, in case you hadn’t noticed. It’s become a sort-of-traditional January activity for me, these years, to redesign the theme of my blog at this point in the year.
This year’s colours are black, white, greys, and red, and you’ll note also that serifed fonts are centre-stage again, appearing pretty-much-universally throughout the site for the first time since 2004. Yes, I know that it’s heavier and darker than previous versions of the site: but it’s been getting fluffier and lighter year on year for ages, now, and I thought it was time to take a turn. You know: like the economy did.
Aside from other cosmetic changes, it’s also now written using several of the new technologies of HTML5 (I may put the shiny new logo on it, at some point). So apologies to those of you running archaic and non-standards-compliant browsers (I’m looking at you, Internet Explorer 6 users) if it doesn’t look quite right, but really: when your browser is more than half as old as the web itself, it’s time to upgrade.
I’ve also got my site running over IPv6 – the next generation Internet protocol – for those of you who care about those sorts of things. If you don’t know why IPv6 is important and “a big thing”, then here’s a simple explanation. Right now you’re probably viewing the IPv4 version: but if you’re using an IPv6-capable Internet connection, you might be viewing the IPv6 version. You’re not missing out, either way: the site looks identical: but this is just my tiny contribution towards building the Internet of tomorrow.
(if you really want to, you can go to ipv6.scatmania.org to see the IPv6 version – but it’ll only work if your Internet Service Provider is on the ball and has set you up with an IPv6 address!)
Normal blogging will resume shortly, but I just wanted to quickly take advantage of a period of strong mobile signal as I sit on this Thames Travel bus (oh yeah: I’m in Oxford for a few days) to share with you a feeling of warm fuzziness I experienced earlier today. (note: this blog post took a few days to get “finished”: I’m now stuck in a small town outside Oxford by heavy snow)
In her latest blog post, my sister Becky writes about achieving a couple of things on her “to-do before I die” list. And when I read about her revelations about the nature of domestic abuse and her selfless willingness to go out of her way to help her fellow man, I was filled with an immense sense of pride.
I’ll remind you that, unlike about a fifth of the regular readers of this blog, my sister has no formal training or experience in active listening or counselling skills. She’s never been taught how to listen without prejudice, how to build rapport, or how to show empathy. She knows that this certainly isn’t part of her job description. What we’re looking at there is plain old, genuine human compassion. And it makes me proud not only of her – as my sister – but also of humankind in general, that this kind of caring for one another still exists, even for a stranger, within the general population. That’s simply awesome.
In other not-dissimilar human-compassion related news, Ruth and I were offered a lift – saving us a two-mile walk through the snow, after midnight – by two complete strangers the other night, after our bus was cancelled. It’s been a good week for stories of people being nice to one another, both in my immediate experience and in the news. I like it.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been getting more than my fair share of blogspam of late. I’ve been spending about twenty minutes every three or so days clearing out the ‘moderation’ queue and updating my keyword lists. Worse still, some spam has been getting through nonetheless (hopefully I’ve always been quick to remove it, and so none of you – my readers – have had to see any of it).
So: I’ve implemented a new anti-blogspam solution: whenever you post a comment to my weblog from now on you’ll be asked a simple question. The answer is usually obvious… to a human… but very difficult to automate a computer to answer. I appreciate any feedback on this (why not leave a comment to this post), and I’ll let you know whether it fixes the problem. And, of course, if it does, I’ll offer my code snippet back to the WordPress development team in order to include it, perhaps, with a future version: or, at least, offer it to friends of mine who use similar blog engines and are troubled by spam.
I need sleep.
In other (almost equally geeky) news, I’ve been spending a good deal of time working on my new RockMonkeyWikiGame – TromaNightAdventure. If I can keep up a reasonable development rate on it this weekend (which could be tough – I’ve lots to do, and Gareth is visiting and keeps distracting me with cool technology like GPS devices and VoIP telephones), it’ll be ready on Tuesday evening. Watch this space.
The Gender Genie is quite remarkable. Copy-paste a heap of your journal entries (and state that journal entries is what they are) and it will attempt to guess your gender, based on the language used (and partially explain it’s reasoning).
I’m apparently male, with a two-thirds certainty. Not bad.
Generate apathetic journal entries automatically. This tool revolutionises blogging for those sad fucks who only uses their weblogs to say that they haven’t done much and that they haven’t had time to update, sorry (in case anybody’s reading it). I mean, really – do you actually have nothing to write about?
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 ‘instalments’, 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:
In other news, my new soundcard arrived, giving me an audio system which doesn’t (a) short-circuit and cause my computer to crash from time to time, (b) give me quite painful electric shocks when I connect things to it and (c) gives me stereo sound all the time, without switching to mono for no apparent reason. In addition, I have a ‘front panel’ with heaps of cool-looking connectors, MIDI ports, etc. And a few tweaks later and it works fantastically with the …
[this post was damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has not been possible to recover it]
[this post was recovered on 12 October 2018]
If this all works to-plan, my recent changes to Scatmania will mean that every time I make a new entry, a link is posted to a journal on LiveJournal. This will allow my friends to monitor my blog from their ‘friends lists’, in AbNibs absence.
Good progress at work today, easily catching up on the things I didn’t get done yesterday on account of having been at the Royal Welsh Show.
AbNib is proving itself popular, but I’m still not happy with it: there are a load of really cool features I’d like to add, yet. But that’s a job for another day. I’ll be up in Lancashire this weekend for Andy‘s party and to visit my folks, so I can’t do it then, either.
Claire’s gotten herself temporarily sterilized with a fantastic hyperdermic full of progesterone and with the aid of the nice people at Aberystwyth Family Planning Clinic. Woo and indeed hoo. She’s (theoretically) a lot less likely to forget to have an injection every three months than she is to forget to take the pill: something she’s demonstrated herself to be very proficient at.
I’ve been excessivley stressed for the last 48 or so hours. I think it’s mostly a result of having no money and my paycheque still being a week away, and having to live off my credit card in the meantime (which I don’t like doing). Also that my crisp-wound in my mouth from the other day has developed into a spot which would probably heal faster and hurt less if I could stop playing with it, but I can’t. And that I’m not making nearly as much coding progress on Three Rings as I should be.
I have a strange urge to go for a long walk in the rain this evening. I hope it rains.
I really hate uninteresting blogs. The kind which consists of a single entry every week or two, and every time it states “Sorry I haven’t made any updates recently. (insert excuse here) I’ve not been up to much recently anyway.” Every week! Sad but true.
Cycling home last night I realised once again quite what a happy bunny I am. I enjoy my job, for which I am paid very reasonabley. I live in a town that I love, and I’m surrounded by good friends. And, above all else, I have the love of a beautiful woman whom I love and adore with all my heart. When I got home, I told Kit, Bryn and Paul (who were already at my house, playing Super Monkey Ball 2) quite what a happy little creature I was. They didn’t seem particularly impressed.
Kit continues to get better at Super Monkey Ball 2. He kicked my arse at Monkey Target 2, in which the aim is to land gliders on small targets at sea, at least as much as I beat him. Might need to get some Super Monkey Practice in.
Andy’s latest journal entry is wierd as ever. Slightly trippy, but inspirational nonetheless. I have a thought for a similar tale of my own, published to this site, but with an interesting twist upon the typical “serial story” theme. If I can be arsed I’ll make it happen. No promises. I have lots of other stuff to be getting on with.
This morning, picked up our insurance report from Daton Systems, who I’ve given a link because they didn’t charge me for the priviledge. This report claims that the laptop is a write-off, which lets us stop the insurance company bugging us about having claimed it as such and bought a new one without any evidence.
Paul made it to Aber. Woo and indeed hoo. He, Bryn, Kit, Claire, and I went to the beach and drank beer and ate pizza to celebrate. Then Claire and I took turns in an inflatable dingy and I got soaked as a wave leapt over the side. You’ll probably see their reports of this on their journals, soon, too.
The wiki I was coding got finished. Sadly, only a few of you who read this will ever be allowed to see it, but it’s pretty sweet.
Plothole appeared in the story on Andy’s LiveJournal – he has me drinking tea, which, as everybody knows, isn’t going to happen on account of (a) caffiene being a really, really bad thing for me and (b) I don’t particularly like tea. Have reported this to him and await feedback.
This made me laugh: type Weapons of Mass Destruction into Google and you’ll get this page. I laughed lots.