Everything, Everything - April 2006

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Sunday 30th April, 2006 23:53
It's been ages since I\'ve tried to win an auction on eBay, partly because of all the fraud that goes on there, but I\'m trying to get hold of a motherboard (identical to the one in my own main PC), and an auction finishes in about 20 minutes time for the motherboard, plus an unlocked Athlon XP-M 2500+ and a fairly decent heatsink. It finishes at an odd time and interest has been a bit strange, when I look at the bid history, so I\'m hoping I can grab it all fairly cheap, use the motherboard in my cousin's PC and update the BIOS on my dad's PC to yet another unofficial version that should (hopefully) support the 2500+ CPU. And I\'ll still have a spare heatsink to play with. Wish me luck.
Sunday 30th April, 2006 01:17
It looks like America is trying to make an even more draconian DCMA law, which could mean 10 years in prison (assaulting a cop is 5 years, a child molester gets 6) for trying to break or circumvent the copy protection on something. In the article I was reading about it, there was a quote from Beth at MetaFilter that made me laugh: "Better just shoplift it, then".
I\'m A Geek (And I Can\'t Sleep)
Thursday 27th April, 2006 02:05
A friend made a post on another friend's forum asking for suggestions for an SQL statement to match a telephone number against a list of possible charging bands for telephone numbers. He said for the example number of 4470115XXXXX there are 2 possible matches: 447011 and 4470115. In these cases he wanted to make sure it matched the most digits possible. One guy replied quickly with a suggestion, but it didn\'t work (his last post just said "bugger"), so I posted my suggestion:

How about a loop around the number as a string? If the number of rows returned == 0 then do the same query, but knock a number off the end

0 rows returned
0 rows returned
0 rows returned
0 rows returned
0 rows returned
1 row returned so stop here and that's your value.

Then the most number of queries you\'re doing is the length of the string, and as there's no recursion it should be quick and simple to execute - and work with any SQL database.

It's not entirely elegant, as it relies on you keeping track of what's returned within the program, rather than doing it all with one single SQL query, but it's simple to code and it definitely works.

The other guy (the one that said bugger) then came up with a pretty clever suggestion that did the trick:


The original poster replied saying "My concern here is that the rate table currently has 2,179 entries in it, and the average CDR file I run against it (log of calls made) is about 3000 calls / month. That's a *lot* of querying. And it needs to be done sufficiently quickly that a webpage doesn\'t load at an unacceptably slow rate."

And the other guy then replied, and made my day, as no one else had even thanked me for my suggestion (I added the bold text myself for emphasis):

The last of my suggested lines above has been shown to work properly. I suspect the one above it, or something like it, might actually be slightly faster - the expensive stage is narrowing the list, not sorting it, since it has to check through every record in the database. The approach of shortening the number and comparing it exactly will be quicker than that of locating just where in the whole number the MSD may lie - less work being done then thrown away. Essentially, it's asking "starts with?" rather than "index of == 1?"

If performance turns out to be a real bitch, you could try SilentBob's approach. In which case, be sure to index the first column to make it quick to check if a record exists or not, although you probably won\'t need to do it by hand: just mark is as NOT NULL UNIQUE PRIMARY KEY and any database worth its salt says "okay, okay, i get the hint already. here, have an index".

So I think I\'ll accept that as a compliment. The other guy is definitely much better than me at writing SQL queries, but I generally like to keep things simple - I know from playing with ColdFusion and Access databases, it was sometimes quicker to grab a result with a single simple query and then manipulate the data in ColdFusion than it was to perform multiple and/or complicated queries. Also, a simple query often works on all databases, in this case I beleve the "FIRST 1" part near the start of his query would need to be removed and "LIMIT 1" would need to be appended to the query if the database was a MySQL one. My query should work on any database.

And yes, I can still think of a way to further reduce the number of queries. If you know the maximum length of the string is, for example, never going to be more than 8, you could chop the number down to 8 to start with, so searching for 4470115XXXXX would instantly be cut down to 4470115X before doing the loop, which would match on the second query with 4470115 - a total of 2 queries instead of the 6 shown in the original example. So it\'ll take 1/3rd of the time. That's a pretty good saving. The overhead is that whenever you update the database you\'ll have to make sure the maximum length is also updated to keep everything in sync so you get accurate results. And then you either need to write it to a variable in a file, or (more likely?) store it in the database and retrieve it with an extremely quick query.
Science (Part 2)
Tuesday 25th April, 2006 00:17
In a recent email to Jessica I mentioned that I\'d recently ready State of Fear by Michael Crichton, and instead of being somewhat concerned about global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, and how the US weren\'t signed up to it, I\'m now a lot less worried. The gist is that global warming might not be happening. Sound crazy? Well it could be true:

IPCC draws firm conclusions unjustified by the science, especially given the acknowledged weakness of cloud physics in the climate models. For example, even those who accept that there is a warming trend point out that there is a big difference between correlation and causality. In other words, just because temperatures have generally been rising since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, that doesn\'t necessarily mean that the Industrial Revolution has caused the change in temperature (see post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument). On the other hand, the period since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has indeed produced ever-growing "urban heat islands" (see below) that could be skewing temperature measurements that indicate the recent warming.

Using "consensus" as evidence is an appeal to the majority argument rather than scientific discussion (see consensus science). Ergo, because the issue has become so politicized, it is suspected that climatologists who disagree with the consensus as it is may be afraid to speak out for fear of losing their positions or funding.

Consensus is further compromised in this field of study due to students being attracted to the field by their belief that something should be done about global warming. They complete their education and add their voices to the consensus, which gives a perceived bias.

Earth's climate has been both colder and warmer than today, and these changes are adequately explained by mechanisms that do not involve human greenhouse gas emissions.

There is no significant global warming relative to the expected natural trends.

CO2 in the atmosphere is mainly volcanic in origin, accounting for 97% of the CO2 found in the atmosphere, most of which travels to the oceans. Estimates at CO2's effectiveness as a greenhouse gas vary, but are generally around 10-100 times lower than water weight for weight, leaving a "net" greenhouse effect of man-made CO2 emissions at less than 1%

Climate science can not make definitive predictions yet, since the computer models used to make these predictions are still evolving and do not yet take into account recently discovered feedback mechanisms.

Climate models will not be able to predict the future climate until they can predict solar and volcanic activity.

Some global warming studies have errors or have not been reproduced.

Global temperatures are directly related to such factors as: sunspot activity (an 11-year cycle).

The concern about global warming is analogous to the concern about global cooling in the 1970s. The concern about global cooling was unnecessarily alarmist. The concern about global warming is equally alarmist.

So, the important question is whether the opponents could be right. Environmental groups, many governmental reports, and the non-US media often claim virtually unanimous support for the global warming theory from the scientific community. Some opponents maintain that it is the other way around, claiming that the majority of scientists either consider global warming "unproven" or even dismiss it altogether. Other opponents decry the dangers of consensus science, which appears to imply that they do believe there may actually be a consensus. Don\'t forget that everyone used to think the world was flat, and that the Sun orbited Earth, so you can\'t always believe the majority.

Global Warming and Carbon Dioxide
One argument against anthropogenic global warming questions the contention that rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) correlate with - and thus have caused - global warming. Proponents of the view that greenhouse gases have caused recent global warming respond that correlation is not a significant part of the evidence. Correlation is not causation. Indeed, studies of ice age temperature variations show carbon dioxide levels increasing after warming rather than before. This however assumes that current climate change can be expected to be like past climate change. While it is generally agreed that past (ice age) variations are timed by astronomical forcing; the current variations, of whatever size, are claimed to be timed by anthropogenic releases of CO2 (thus returning the argument to the importance of human CO2 emissions). Most warming during the past century took place before most carbon dioxide had been released. Between 1940 and 1970, global temperatures went down even though carbon-dioxide levels went up.

Urban Heat Islands
Global warming skeptics question the accuracy of the temperature records. They say if the monitoring stations are located in more populated areas, they must be influenced by the increased heat generated by the city as a whole (known as the "Urban heat island effect"). Those who believe in the accuracy of the records point out their consistency with the unaffected marine record; the lack of a difference between the warmings observed in urban and rural areas; and various studies which have examined the records and found no bias.

Global Warming and Solar Activity
Another point of controversy regarding anthropogenic global warming is the investigation of temperature correlations with the solar variation. This subject is a point of controversy between supporters and opponents of anthropogenic global warming.

There is also disagreement on whether the effects of global warming will be beneficial or detrimental. Many researchers predict disastrous consequences for a warming of 1.5 to 7 °C. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts such a warming is likely within the 21st century, unless severe measures are taken. Other researchers feel that up to 1.5 °C of warming would increase crop yields and stabilize weather. Many of these doubt a larger warming is likely. In response, some advocates of strong early measures (well beyond Kyoto) note that the belief in beneficial effects and the doubt that a large warming is possible should be independent if these conclusions were in fact neutrally derived from scientific research.

New findings have suggested that the earth's climate system is inherently unstable, and that global warming could thus precipitate non-linear sudden climate shifts, as have been discovered to have occurred within the earth's past. Ocean circulation, believed to be the key to such climate shifts, has been observed to be slowing, causing alarm among oceanographers. Some scientists fear that the Gulf Stream, which conveys warm water from the Caribbean Sea across the Atlantic Ocean and is partly responsible for the relative mildness of northern Europe's climate (though other factors also predominate), could be reduced or stopped altogether by the decreased salt content of sea water resulting from global warming. This could cause temperatures in northern Europe to drop.

The US National Academy of Sciences issued a report on this phenomenon in 2002, titled Abrupt Climate Change - Inevitable Surprises (I wonder where the idea for the movie The Day After Tomorrow came from?). "It is important not to be fatalistic about the threats posed by abrupt climate change," it stated. "Societies have faced both gradual and abrupt climate changes for millennia and have learned to adapt through various mechanisms, such as moving indoors, developing irrigation for crops, and migrating away from inhospitable regions. Nevertheless, because climate change will likely continue in the coming decades, denying the likelihood or downplaying the relevance of past abrupt events could be costly."

So, basically, it still looks like no one has a f**king clue.
Science (Part 1)
Tuesday 25th April, 2006 00:17
According to Wikipedia: "A species is a group of organisms that can interbreed in nature to produce a fertile offspring" - or at least that's the idealistic definition.

Seeing as a mule is infertile, it's therefore possible to argue that horses and donkeys are not the same species (which is how I see it, although I believe they are the same genus). However, there have been more than 60 documented cases of foals born to female mules since 1527, so you could perhaps argue they are the same species. This is presumably why people normally refer to the mule or hinny as a hybrid species, but even the term hybrid is complicated (the term is also related to interbreeding).

Although the current scientific understanding of species suggests that there is no rigorous and comprehensive way to distinguish between different species in all cases, biologists continue to seek concrete ways to operationalize the idea. One of the most popular biological definitions of species is in terms of reproductive isolation; if two creatures cannot reproduce to produce fertile offspring, then they are in different species.

In biology, hybrid has three meanings. The first meaning is of crosses between two animals of different taxa. Hybrids between different species within the same genus are sometimes known as interspecific hybrids or crosses. Hybrids between different sub-species within a species are known as intra-specific hybrids. Hybrids between different genera are sometimes known as intergeneric hybrids. The second meaning of "hybrid" is crosses between populations, breeds or cultivars of a single species. This second meaning is often used in plant and animal breeding. The third meaning is in molecular biology.

Interspecific hybrids are bred by mating two species, normally from within the same genus. The offspring display traits and characteristics of both parents. The offspring of an interspecific cross may be sterile. Sterility is often attributed to the different number of chromosomes the two species have, for example donkeys have 62 chromosomes, while horses have 64, mules and hinnies have 63. Mules, hinnies, and other normally sterile interspecific hybrid normally cannot produce viable gametes because the extra chromosome cannot make a homologous pair at meiosis, meiosis is disrupted, and viable sperm and eggs are not formed. However, fertility in both female mules and hinnies has been reported with a donkey as the father.

The rise of a new species from a parental line is called speciation. There is no clear line demarcating the ancestral species from the descendant species. Interbreeding is no longer able to take place after speciation occurs. The separated group will be (after many generations) a new species and therefore will not be able to breed with the old species that it used to be.

Which brings me back to the point of this entry. It looks like an animal can give birth to a different species (although given the strange historical classifications and multiple definitions of the term itself, this statement can\'t be entirely trustworthy), but it appears that it only gives birth to a hybrid species rather than a new one. However, it is thought that this is how the Lonicera fly came about, and possibly the Pomarine Skua, presumably thanks to speciation (that happens after many generations). Perhaps if there is sufficient evidence, it\'d be possible to prove the theory of evolution, as right now the evidence seems to point towards adaptation. But maybe that's because we haven\'t been studying things for long enough.
Coke With Lime
Sunday 23rd April, 2006 18:27
You put the lime in the Coke, you nut. I just saw the advert on TV, very funny. Will have to try it sometime soon (it's limited edition).
Mulholland Drive
Sunday 23rd April, 2006 00:06
Apparently I must watch it.
Star Trek 11
Saturday 22nd April, 2006 03:25
According to The Register, the Star Trek franchise will get a shot in the arm following last year's cancellation of spin-off TV series Enterprise with an eleventh cinema outing for the Starfleet chaps and chappesses.

According to the BBC, citing New Variety, the new movie will centre on the early days of Spock and Kirk at the Starfleet Academy. It will be co-written, produced, and directed by JJ Abrams of Alias and Mission Impossible III fame. Other movers and shakers in the project are Mission Impossible co-writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Lost producers Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof, who\'ll be in the co-production chair. The new Star Trek adventure has yet to be named, and is slated for a 2008 release.

Obviously, I put JJ's name in bold, just in case anyone missed it. Normally the odd-numbered movies are fairly rubbish, but with JJ at the helm it could be really good.
Lucky Man
Friday 21st April, 2006 02:29
I think that's the name of the track by The Verve that's stuck in my head (or are they just Verve without the the part?). I\'m sure I\'m wrong, but I have a vague feeling it might have been on Waterloo Road on BBC1. I quite enjoy the show, it's like the early seasons of Teachers, but it's mostly tackled popular issues like Fathers 4 Justice. The recent episode was about bullying and abuse that people face, including the teachers, and Angela Griffith's (is that the right surname?) performance was really good.
Too Hot
Sunday 16th April, 2006 00:21
I\'ll keep this brief as most people won\'t care. The first RAID array broke earlier tonight, making the noisy alarm go off, but I think Trish is out so I ddn\'t wake her this time. I tried to fix the array from the GUI in Windows, but I don\'t think it's possible, so I rebooted the fileserver and looked for my long VGA cable. I couldn\'t find it (I still don\'t know where it is), so I may have already taken it back to my parents\' house, and the PC doesn\'t do anything while it sits at the RAID controller BIOS screen asking me what to do. I was 99% sure that the default option is to "Continue" and hide any broken array, so I hit the return key a couple times and booted into Windows. Thankfully I was right, otherwise I could just have equally been blindly selecting the "Destroy" option that will lose all my data forever. And that was the array that isn\'t backed up anywhere (the vast majority of the second is backed up on my old spare 300Gb drive). I\'m pretty sure the problems are caused by the RAID controller cards overheating, as the heatsinks were sooooooo incredibly hot, so I\'ve put an 80mm Papst fan (nice and quiet) near the cards and hopefully they won\'t play up again. In a couple weeks it\'ll be sitting in a spare second bedroom at the new flat, so it should be a lot cooler than it is now, trapped in my cupboard.
Latest Info
Friday 14th April, 2006 03:19
I figured I had a lot of little things to mention, so I\'ll throw them in here.

I ordered a couple of quiet fans from Kustom PCs, as I wanted to add them as exhaust fans to the new fileserver, and I was pleasantly surprised to see they\'d thrown in a free tube of Cadbury's Mini Eggs. I\'ve ordered stuff from them in the past, and the guys behind it are really nice and friendly and knowledgeable. They\'re not the cheapest place, but they stock items that you can\'t easily find elsewhere.

I managed to get IE7 running on Windows 2003 by following some instructions on www.msblog.org, which is an unofficial site run by some developers. You can tell it's unofficial, as the site is running Apache on Linux. I was quite impressed by the PNG Transparency Demo that's linked from their site, it works on IE5.5+ (sadly, Mozilla/Opera users don\'t see anything interesting). It seems that IE5.5 did have transparent PNG support, it's just a bit crap, and requires some JS to make it work.

But after I gave up with IE7, I realised I\'d accidentally broken IE6 (I thought that the steps given would stop that from happening, but I must have made a mistake somewhere). IE7 adds an evil key to the registry that affects IE6 quite badly. So after a bit of searching on Google, I came across a page that suggested running a .reg file with the following content to remove the key and fix IE6. So here it is:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


So... I finally made it to Reading to look at flats, and (unsurprisingly) I\'m interested in the most expensive one. There are many good points for it, and the only real bad point is the cost (and perhaps a lack of parking for visitors, but it's very close to a retail park). It has a really nice en-suite, nice bathroom, two big bedrooms (although one has two single beds in rather than a double), a kitchen with everything (including microwave, dishwasher, plates, set of proper knives) and a decent size lounge (I was expecting it to be larger based on the photos I\'d seen of other similar properties). But the best bit is that it's only about 10 minutes away from the centre and the train station so we can stagger back drunk without any trouble. There's a secure allocated parking space, CCTV around the building, and the private gym is free for all residents (once you pay a deposit for a key)! We don\'t get a fantastic view, but we can walk into the courtyard bit in the middle and sit by the fountain or on a bench by the grass. I suspect I\'ll only stay there for 12 months, after that I\'d like to find somewhere to buy.

I wrote the longest email I\'ve written in months, maybe years, earlier tonight. It was a reply to a fairly lengthy one from Jessica. I\'m always looking forward to the next email from her.

Okay, it's pretty late now, I\'m off to bed. I\'m supposed to be test driving the Mondeo later on, assuming it's finally turned up. They\'re being very apologetic, but there's no real excuse for the delay.
Still Reading
Tuesday 11th April, 2006 02:49
Nearly finished the book by Jessica Adams. Also listening to music on my mobile as I type this with predictive text. Just read a line that's made me very hungry: "We\'re like baked beans and cheese, when you can\'t tell what's the cheese and what's the baked beans any more".
What Time Is It?
Monday 10th April, 2006 23:00
I don\'t know, my watch stopped. It's going to annoy me all day tomorrow.
Residential Lettings
Monday 10th April, 2006 13:48
I think all lettings agents are crap. I\'m still waiting for one in particular to call me back, after I left my name and number with the nice woman on reception this morning. I\'d already tried contacting them last week via their website and heard nothing back. At this rate I\'ll just walk in to their "walk-in" office and demand they show me around the four places I\'m interested in - and attempt to keep my cool if they ask if I\'ve made an appointment. There's also another lettings agent that I keep checking, but 90% of ther rental list is "LET" so why don\'t they remove the listings?!? I suppose it doesn\'t look as good if they only have half a dozen properties listed, but I\'ve barely seen the rental list change in the last couple weeks, so it's not fooling anyone (well maybe it is, but it's not fooling me).
Credit Card Limit
Monday 10th April, 2006 12:39
My bank won\'t let me raise my credit card limit much higher than it already is, even though I have a fair amount (much higher than my limit) of money in a savings account with them. Normally they can take this into account, but as my credit card is a student card from my uni days, they can only increase it as high as the system suggests. Perhaps I\'ll have to get myself a normal credit card with them, I think it has a lower interest rate too, although I always pay off my card within a few days or weeks so it doesn\'t really matter.
Identity Theft
Saturday 8th April, 2006 17:26
I came across this on a random website and it made me laugh... "My advice: assume a new identity. I recommend James Bond. He's wealthy, stylish, and everyone loves him"
Saturday 8th April, 2006 02:01
I got the new card working properly, but as I was copying data from my old 300GB disk (that I\'d reconnected a few months back) and copying data from the original array, a very loud and high pitched audible alarm went off. It was nearly 1AM and I think it woke my flatmate. The only way I could make it stop was to shut down the PC, which seemed to take forever (Windows first of all warns me that shutting it down via Remote Desktop means no one else can... I know, I know, I f**king know; then many of the applications take ages to shut down and I have to hit the End Now button a couple times). I thought about just holdig down the power button, but with two RAID arrays copying data, I thought it would be safer to shut down gracefully. According to the event log, it looks like channel 7 on the new RAID array went down for some reason, probably a loose connection with one of those Y splitters I\'m using, but once I take out the 300GB Maxtor drive I can take a Y splitter out, and maybe move a few things around.

Okay, that's the geeky stuff out of the way. I\'m currently stuffing my face with chocolate digestives, I\'ve sorted out the comments system (please feel free to leave a comment, for those of you that can), and it looks like I have nothing to do tomorrow so I may enjoy a long lie in. I\'m still trying - and failing - to talk myself out of renting the most expensive flat that I\'m hoping to look at next week. I think I might go with Bulldog for the broadband at my new place, I know they got some bad press a while back (on Watchdog, in particular), but they\'re cheap (much cheaper than Easynet, the other LLU at the exchange), don\'t have any limitations, and have a decent upload rate.

I\'m going to Tania's party later this month, it's a 1950s theme. 1950s. What on earth happened in the \'50s? I have no idea what to wear yet, I\'ll have to find someone famous from the \'50s that I won\'t mind dressing up as. Isn\'t that the decade when Sputnik was launched? Perhaps I\'ll dress up as Ross dressing up as "Spudnik" for that fancy dress party on Friends. Elle's coming up from London for the party, I can\'t wait to see her, we\'ve been chatting over MSN and text messages for what feels like ages but I think it's only been a week.

I tried to make a DVD with Nero 7 for Tania last night, it went pretty well, although it was quite slow; but I noticed halfway through one of the titles the audio went out of sync, presumably it hit an error in the source file and failed to deal with it properly. I\'m trying to decide whether to re-encode the file and then use Nero to re-encode it to a DVD, or if I\'ll just give her the source file and hope she can play MPEG-4 okay. Knowing me, I\'ll re-encode it and burn another DVD-R.
Stupid RAID
Thursday 6th April, 2006 22:16
Well I finally have power cables, so I decided to install the second RAID controller card tonight. But my screwdrivers are at my parents\' house (as I\'m slowly moving everything back to theirs) so I ended up using the end of a spoon, as the thumbscrews also support a flathead screwdriver. After putting the card in place, I booted up, but I could still see just one RAID controller card. Odd, I thought, so I decided to hook up a couple of the new hard disks to see if it\'d appear (sometimes controller cards will hide themselves if no disks are connected). Still nothing. So I figure I might have to configure the card when it boots up, but I\'d need to connect it to a monitor (and sort out a mouse and keyboard). I recently bought a long VGA cable so I could do this, but it looks like it's still a bit short, so I\'m giving up for tonight. Tomorrow I\'ll have screws for half the drives, a screwdriver, a keyboard and mouse, and I\'ll move the widescreen TFT down to the floor. And maybe move the lamp (I used a mirror to reflect the light back into the wardrobe). I do hope the card is actually working, I\'d hate to have to perform an RMA.
Mounting Kits
Wednesday 5th April, 2006 23:13
I decided to buy some mounting kits, instead of doing the elastic band thing with the hard disks. It's surprisingly hard to buy the mounting kits from anywhere, turns out Maplin was the only place that sold what I was after (you could get some expensive bits of metal from QuietPC that are supposed to help reduce vibration, but I wasn\'t prepared to pay that much). I felt lazy, and rather than buy all 4 that were meant to be in stock at the store, I\'ve ordered them online so they should arrive through the post in a few days.
Elastic Bands
Tuesday 4th April, 2006 19:07
Or I suppose I could use the elastic band trick that Chris uses on his disks, to help reduce vibration. All you do is wrap elastic bands tightly around the drive and attach them to the case. Eventually they get brittle, but I\'m sure it\'ll be fine as a temporary fix, and I might keep it as a permanent solution.
Tuesday 4th April, 2006 18:52
My new RAID controller card and 8 hard disks turned up today (ordered through Scan). I was going too fit them into the file server, but I\'ve realised one tiny little problem. I don\'t have enough spare power connectors. I need 6 (I\'ve ordered 8) molex -> SATA connectors for the 8 x SATA disks, and because I\'ve already used up all but one molex connector, I\'ve also bought several Y splitters. They should arrive in the next few days, as I\'ve got Aria to send them via Royal Mail. I may still have a slight problem though, as four of the disks need to be screwed into my 5 1/4 inch bays, and I don\'t think I have enough spare brackets lyng around. So perhaps that\'ll be another order.

Don\'t you just hate when you have a scratch on your foot and you\'re wearing a shoe? I also finished State Of Fear by Michael Crichton. It took me a while to get into it, but eventually I was hooked and couldn\'t stop reading all 700+ pages of it. It's certainly made me more open minded about global warming and science. I think I might cook some pasta for dinner tonight.
Sunday 2nd April, 2006 17:00
I\'m listening to the live version of Flyswatter by Eels (With Strings Live at Town Hall), it starts off really well, loses it a bit after the middle, but it's still such a lovely song. I\'ve also been listening to Zero 7, Jack Johnson, RJD2, Basement Jaxx, Girls Aloud, and Kelly Clarkson. Holly really likes Eels. She's lovely, I wish she didn\'t live all the way up in Manchester now.

I\'ve spent this afternoon talking with Tania, we talked about some very random things, some of which was surprisingly intellectual. Now, do I watch some TV or read more of that Michael Crichton book? I\'m only a few pages into it so far.

Oh, and I ordered another 8 hard disks and RAID controller card (identical to what I already have in my fileserver now), hopefully they\'ll arrive on Tuesday. I figured it\'d be easier to buy them now than when I move to Reading.

I\'m also wondering if I can squeeze in a visit (or two) to the dentist before I go, even though I suspect he\'ll want to fill a wisdom tooth (the only one that hasn\'t had any work done on it yet, I believe). He's quite good at picking out problems with my teeth. I still reckon it's a genetic thing. I think at some point I might ask about getting veneers on my front teeth, one in particular is worn/chipped at the corner.
Honda Civic
Saturday 1st April, 2006 16:44
I had a test drive earlier today in a fairly new Honda Civic, and it's a really nice car to drive, but I\'m just too tall for it. The headroom isn\'t a problem, it's my legs: I need the pedals to be further apart (I had a similar problem when looking for a car last time, with my trainers on I couldn\'t push down on the brake without also hitting the accelerator on the Peugeot 206). More specifically, my knees hit when I go for the brake, and there's barely any gap between them when my foot's on the accelerator. I\'ll definitely be going for the Ford Mondeo instead, it's a slightly bigger car, newer than the Civic, yet it costs a lot less.
Ramblings Of A Lunatic
Saturday 1st April, 2006 15:21
I've been swapping text messages and emails with Jessica over the last week, we lost touch after we finished Pate's, but we've been rapidly catching up (and hopefully she'll stay in touch once I've moved to Reading). She says when she's bumped into other old friends from Pate's they usually expect her to behave exactly the same way as back then and can make her feel like she's now some boring loner, but she's not. Far from it. She's really nice, interesting, funny, creative, and I'm quite jealous that she and her boyfriend are hoping to buy a house together. Oh, and if you see her, wave and smile, it might make her day.

I ordered through Amazon a used copy of Michael Crichton's book from over the summer (State of Fear), which arrived this morning, and looks like it's in very good condition. I didn't realise how thick it was (over 700 pages!!!), so it should take me a while to read. Not bad for a quid (+ Amazon's delivery charge). I've bought quite a few older books this way, it's much easier than walking into one of those second hand bookstores and having to wade through the shelves of crap (some of which I already own hehe), but it's not as cheap or quick.

I was eating a Subway sandwich (ham & cheese with honey mustard sauce and none of that healthy salad rubbish) in Westminster and spotted an Oxfam bookshop almost opposite, I was half tempted to have a look around, but I didn't want to be late walking to my interview (the interview was with Deloitte & Touche in The Strand, but I stayed in the City Inn Westminster as it's a lovely hotel and has free broadband). It turns out London isn't huge, it's just very dense, so it doesn't take long to walk anywhere and I arrived way too early. I stopped in at Caffe Nero next door and had a really nice cup of coffee. Even better than Starbucks.
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