Everything, Everything - September 2006

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Saturday 30th September, 2006 21:29
Hehe, hindsight is a wonderful thing:

Fortune, 2/19/1996:
"By the time you read this story, the quirky cult company...will end its wild ride as an independent enterprise."

Time Magazine, 2/5/96:
"One day Apple was a major technology company with assets to make any self respecting techno-conglomerate salivate. The next day Apple was a chaotic mess without a strategic vision and certainly no future."

BusinessWeek, 10/16/95:
"Having underforecast demand, the company has a $1 billion-plus order backlog....The only alternative: to merge with a company with the marketing and financial clout to help Apple survive the switch to a software-based company. The most likely candidate, many think, is IBM Corp."

A Forrester Research analyst, 1/25/96 (quoted in, of all places, The New York Times):
"Whether they stand alone or are acquired, Apple as we know it is cooked. It's so classic. It's so sad."

Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft's chief technology officer, 6/97:
"The NeXT purchase is too little too late. Apple is already dead."

Wired, "101 Ways to Save Apple," 6/97:
"1. Admit it. You're out of the hardware game."

BusinessWeek, 2/5/96:
"There was so much magic in Apple Computer in the early '80s that it is hard to believe that it may fade away. Apple went from hip to has-been in just 19 years."

Fortune, 2/19/1996:
"Apple's erratic performance has given it the reputation on Wall Street of a stock a long-term investor would probably avoid."

The Economist, 2/23/95:
"Apple could hang on for years, gamely trying to slow the decline, but few expect it to make such a mistake. Instead it seems to have two options. The first is to break itself up, selling the hardware side. The second is to sell the company outright."

The Financial Times, 7/11/97:
"Apple no longer plays a leading role in the $200 billion personal computer industry. 'The idea that they're going to go back to the past to hit a big home run...is delusional,' says Dave Winer, a software developer."
Adverts On Channel 4
Thursday 28th September, 2006 22:53
Pringles apparently do a Thai sweet chilli flavour! Yummy.
Thursday 28th September, 2006 11:57
I just looked out of the window in the corner and the view is stunning. I'd like to take a photo, but I'd look silly.
Wednesday 27th September, 2006 15:30
I just had a missed call on my personal mobile (the one that's been registered with the TPS since something like June). It looks like it might be yet another cold call from someone offering an "upgrade", probably in return for switching to 3.
Sunday 24th September, 2006 23:08
The cynic inside of me couldn't help but think that the airport and airlines might be behind the security measures that continue to ban liquids on flights, in order to sell overpriced drinks. Seriously, have you seen the price of a 250ml bottle of coke on an EasyJet flight? I suppose it's one way for the airlines to get some money back after all those cancelled flights.
Sunday 24th September, 2006 22:25
It'd probably be quite beautiful here if it weren't so cold and wet. The room seems pretty nice, although not as good as the one in Bedford, and I was happy to discover they have wireless internet access with a pretty good signal. I had dinner with Mike in a nearby pub and the dish was amazing. Probably one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had. I think we're both prepared for tomorrow, it could be quite a good week after all.

Getting Ready
Saturday 23rd September, 2006 19:23
I think I have everything sorted, and the rest are in progress (i.e. still downloading/in the washing machine/waiting to be ironed). Once all that's sorted, I'll throw it into my suitcase and think about going to sleep. I really hope everything goes smoothly over the next 6 days.

As usual, when I have good news, I post it. After the pleasant surprise of a small yucca (I'll bring her back next week, I have a name in mind for her, but I'm not sure I should call her that), the headphones I ordered arrived this morning! They feel pretty comfortable, although I only tried them for a minute and I've yet to listen to music with them. I was thinking of trying them on my iPod, but after replacing the old battery with a brand new one (supposedly 35% longer lasting) it had to be charged up before you can use it.

My tooth only hurts a little bit, and I think it's more the area around it (where my dentist poked it with a needle). I hope it feels better tomorrow. I may buy some more painkillers, as I only have a couple left.
Clothes Show Live
Thursday 21st September, 2006 10:49
It seems they're banning skinny models too, although based on dress size rather than BMI.
Poor Richard Hammond!
Thursday 21st September, 2006 10:43
I love this guy (not literally), I hope he's okay. Top Gear wouldn't be the same without him.
Thursday 21st September, 2006 09:54
Dear Customer,

We wanted to give you an update on the status of your order [XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX].

We are sorry to report that the following items have been delayed.

"Shure E3C-N - Headphones - Wideband MicroDriver Technology -

Our current estimate is that it will take an additional 1-2 weeks to
obtain these items for you.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

But I want my new headphones! My old ones are being held together with brown tape, I'm not sure how much longer they'll last (probably quite a while, but the quality doesn't seem to be as good). Ah well,
How To Install PHP On IIS7 (RC1)
Wednesday 20th September, 2006 15:17
Sorry for being geeky, but this appears to be an excellent guide. It looks so painless.
Tuesday 19th September, 2006 16:12
It must be called to your attention that Pluto, Eris, and Ceres are offended by being called "dwarf" planets. They find the term "dwarf" demeaning, and they would much prefer to be called "little" planets.

Spooks Spoiler
Monday 18th September, 2006 22:24
Don't read this unless you really want to know who is leaving this season.

I said don't read this.

It's a good job I'm leaving it in a comment on my website.
Monday 18th September, 2006 22:12
After having finally caught up on both new episodes of Spooks, it seems that the third episode is on BBC Three in a few minutes! Seeing as there's usually only 10 episodes in a season, does that mean I get to watch 3 back to back, then one a week for the next 6 weeks, then have to wait a fortnight to see the finale? There's info on the new season at this site too, if you find the BBC one a bit dry and boring.
Mozilla Hires MS Security Strategist
Monday 18th September, 2006 17:04
Tyops Happen
Saturday 16th September, 2006 12:40
Friday 15th September, 2006 12:00
Esther Canadas, a Madrid native, has a BMI of 14.3. Twiggy used to be 14.7, Kate Moss is 15.7 and Naomi Campbell is 16.6. Suddenly I don't feel quite so bad at something like 17.5 (underweight is 18.5 or lower). Madrid fashion week, one of Spain's most prestigious shows, is banning underweight models on the basis of their body mass index (BMI). UN health experts recommend a BMI of between 18.5 and about 25, and some models fall well below the minimum. The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers has decided to ban models who have a BMI of less than 18. I guess I'll have to abandon my plans of becoming a model.
Friday 15th September, 2006 11:26
A survey says that schoolchildren believe Tony Blair is doing a bad job as Prime Minister and was wrong to take Britain to war in Iraq. According to a poll released for weekly children's newspaper First News, 80% of children think Britain should not have gone to war with Iraq. I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact these kids are idealistic and brainwashed by the media. After all, if they could think for themselves and really knew enough about politics, shouldn't they be allowed to vote? After all, it looks like they've been allowed to design the new Tory logo (actually, it was London designers Perfect Day, for 40 grand!).
New Tory Logo
Over half the children questioned said they had no idea what the Royal Family do. Perhaps because there's very little talk about them nowadays, and perhaps because they don't really do anything. Historically, the monarchy ran the country, but not anymore. Now they just have a title, lots of land, and a fair bit of money. History lessons would have taught the kids that, if they were getting a decent education. The same survey said that more than nine out of 10 eight-to-14-year-olds said they thought they were getting a good education. Smart people are the ones that realise they don't know something, dumb people are the ones that don't realise there's a gap in their knowledge.
Social Engineering
Friday 15th September, 2006 10:04
I've come across the "you need to install this codec to watch the video" trick before, and cleverly avoided it, but it seems they're now combining this tactic with rootkits and writing it to not install the rootkit if you're in a virtual machine (as it's likely it's being studied). Interesting reading (if you're a geek). The summary is this: if you have to install a codec to watch a video... the video is probably not worth it.

While reading the blog, I noticed that there might be another IE 0-day (another bug was found in a fully patched copy of IE6). It'll be interesting to know if it applies to IE7 (as typically they don't seem to work on the new browser). I'd strongly recommend installing IE7 RC1 anyway, because it's cool. The phishing filter is nice too. Useful when there's more than 14,000 of them (the highest number in APWG's history, up from 10,000 sites in June and 12,000 in May). The average living time before killing phishing sites is 4.8 days, and the longest time online within the period is 31 days. This is why phishing filters need to be updated constantly, which Microsoft is doing.
Thursday 14th September, 2006 17:05
Taken from The Register.

Three studies published today show that young people seem to be drinking too much, smoking tobacco and using mobile phones a great deal. Obviously they can only afford to do this thanks to the fact that all their music is stolen these days.

Also, competely unrelated, they're giving Windows Vista away for free (but only in the San Francisco Bay area on Saturday October 7th & Sunday October 8th, 2006 - which suggests that the final version is nearly complete)!!

Timeslots: There are a maximum of 80 openings per timeslot each day.

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

The goals of the Install Fair are to:

Upgrade Windows XP SP2 (Home, Professional, Tablet PC and Media Center Edition) PC's or Laptops with unfamiliar applications, configurations and devices to the latest pre-release version of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.
Acquire valuable feedback about the Windows Vista Upgrade experience from the broader community to ensure that Windows Vista will be the most rock solid release of Microsoft Windows ever.

Checklist/Criteria to attend:

All important data has been backed up!
My PC's Operating System is Windows XP SP2 (Home, Professional, Tablet PC or Media Center Edition) English x86.
My PC has an Intel/AMD Processor running at 1 GHz or higher.
My PC has a minimum of 512MB of RAM.
My PC's Video adapter is AGP4x/8x or PCIe with a minimum of 64MB of RAM.
My PC's Hard Disk has a minimum of 15GB of free space (on the same partition as Windows XP) to allow for upgrade.
My PC has a DVD-ROM Drive.

Resources we provide:

Monitors, Keyboards, Mice, Network Cables, and Speakers.
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition DVD.
Food, beverages and a gift for participating!

You need to bring:

Your PC, its power cable and a DVI-to-VGA converter if necessary

I notice they didn't say you need a legal copy of Windows. I guess it goes without saying.
Bumbling Brit
Thursday 14th September, 2006 14:48
Papua New Guinea
Thursday 14th September, 2006 13:45
Did anyone else see that Boris Johnson had to apologise for insulting Papua New Guinea, after he linked it to "cannibalism and chief-killing"?

Boris wrote: "For 10 years we in the Tory Party have become used to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing, and so it is with a happy amazement that we watch as the madness engulfs the Labour Party."

But Jean L Kekedo, Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner in London, reacted angrily to the remarks.

Boris (kind of) apologised, saying: "I meant no insult to the people of Papua New Guinea who I'm sure lead lives of blameless bourgeois domesticity in common with the rest of us"

But he did not retract his comments, he claims he thought they were accurate, but not meant to be about modern Papua New Guinea. He said he had seen a "fantastic" Time Life book which showed photographs of tribesman in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s or 1960s engaged in "primitive warfare and killing".

Which is all well and good until I read this:

Today Tonight was following up on a Nine Network report about an orphaned boy, Wah-Wah, who was going to be killed and eaten at some stage in the next 10 years.

It seems that the 6 year old New Guinea boy has been sentenced to death by his tribe (that is, he will be eaten by the tribe) because both of his parents have died, and therefore his tribe believes he is a sorcerer responsible for his parents' death. Some journalists have been trying to save him.

No wonder Boris didn't retract his comments.
Education Programmes
Thursday 14th September, 2006 12:44
There are claims the Government's efforts to teach children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol are almost completely ineffective. And there are even fears that policies could be causing more harm than good. Whitehall's official drug policy advisers says Britain has one of Europe's highest levels of tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse amongst children.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs noted that up to a half of 15-year-olds are drinking alcohol at least once a week and 20% to 25% have used illegal drugs in the past month. About 20% to 25% of 15-year-olds are regular smokers, with girls outnumbering boys, it added.

The council's report said current drug-education programmes had "little if any impact" on children's future drug abuse.

"Indeed many studies showed no effect at all and some programmes were found to be counter-productive."

The Council's proposals also include raising the legal smoking age from 16 to 18, lowering the drink drive limit for under-25s and a ban on alcohol advertising on TV and at most cinemas.

I must admit, I don't agree with lowering the drink drive limit for under-25s. If you're going to lower the limit, you should lower it for everyone. If people want to argue that younger people are less experienced and could be more dangerous with the same amount of alcohol in their system, I'll just point them towards that other study that suggests a 20-year-old blabbing on a mobile phone while driving has the reaction time of a 70-year-old (who isn't using a mobile). Seeing as 70 year olds (and over) aren't banned from driving (although they do have to renew their licence at 70, but that doesn't appear to mean a retake of their test), does that mean we can allow 20 year olds (and younger) to use a mobile?

Does admitting that some drug programmes are counter-productive also suggest that some of the other programmes are also counter-productive? Just look at how many kids are having underage sex (and I don't mean "underage" by a few weeks or months, we're talking years), how many of them aren't using protection and have sexually transmitted diseases/infections, and how many young single mothers we have. And is it also failing for alcohol? Mind you, the education system itself appears to be failing, as basic punctuation and accurate spelling have been abandoned by even the brightest GCSE English students. The slip in standards was previously exposed by Harrow School which introduced a basic literacy test after teachers noticed pupils were still making glaring errors, despite achieving high grades. Nearly two-thirds of those who failed the test on entering the sixth form had scored either an A or A* in GCSE English.

PS They can't ban alcohol advertising at the cinema (and what do they mean by "most cinemas?"! Firstly, you could easily allow alcohol advertising in the trailers for 18 rated movies, as only 18+ people should be in their for the movie (or is that what they mean by "most"?). Secondly, we all know that the best adverts are the alcohol ones (e.g. Guinness, Smirnoff). Get rid of them and we're stuck with... nothing really. Trailers for other movies, adverts telling us not to buy or download dodgy copies of movies, and the odd Orange promo.
PSP7 And Transparent PNG
Tuesday 12th September, 2006 13:41
I've done it before, I have the images to prove it, but for the life of me I couldn't work out why I couldn't save an image with alpha transparency as a transparent PNG using Paint Shop Pro 7 (which I bought ages ago, I think from Amazon). It turns out, it is possible, but only if you use the "optimizer" (unless anyone can correct me).

Select File -> Export -> PNG Optimizer
On the "Colors" tab make sure "16.7 Million Colors (24 Bit)" is selected
On the "Transparency" tab make sure "Alpha channel transparency" and "Existing image or layer transparency" are selected

Then do what else you want (I've stuck with non-interlaced, for example), and hit OK. As if by magic, it now saves your alpha channel transparent image in PSP as an alpha channel transparent PNG. Perfect for using in IE7 or Firefox.
Poor Dog
Tuesday 12th September, 2006 10:58
I'm more of a cat person than a dog lover, but this caught my attention as I can't believe someone would do such a thing. Sadly, I can believe that someone is capable of doing this. I hate people that drive without a licence or insurance. Which reminds me, my insurance runs out in a few days, I must get around to calling up to renew.
IE7's RSS Feeds
Tuesday 12th September, 2006 10:20
This is a reason why I like Microsoft, I just wish that everything they did was this good. It sounds like the new version of Office is a bit difficult to get used to, and Vista is so different and doesn't appear to be quite ready to go live, but at least IE7 is looking fairly good. Roll on the next major update to IE!
How Much?!?
Monday 11th September, 2006 14:06
It seems that the vending machines were costing the company a fortune. Firstly, they were paying £7000 a year for the machines. Secondly, they were subsidising the food that was in there, so those 40p chocolate bars (that I didn't think were subsidised) were costing the company 8p every time - they should have been sold at 48p, twice the price they are in the shops around the corner! They can apparently get vending machines for free, but then the cost of the food goes even higher. Which is why they've moved the photocopier to fill the gap. JD is thinking of buying a load of chocolate and stuff and running his own little tuck shop for everyone.
Damn You Amazon
Monday 11th September, 2006 11:00
Online retailer Amazon has launched a new download service for movies and TV shows, pre-empting the expected launch of a similar service by Apple this week.

The announcement of the service, called Amazon Unbox, is set to fuel further competition between the two firms. Apple is expected to announce the launch of a movie download service on Tuesday as part of its iTunes service, which already allows users to download TV shows.

Amazon Unbox will not be compatible with Apple's iPod (good, it's far too low a resolution). The service is solely compatible with Microsoft Windows XP and not with Macs or older versions of Windows. (I'm glad I use Windows :D although presumably it uses Windows Media files... ick).

Users of the service will be able to download permanent copies of movies (but what about permanent copies of TV shows?) directly to their PC at prices ranging from $7.99 to $14.99, with temporary movie rental costing $3.99. TV shows will be $1.99 to download per episode (£1 per episode? bargain!).

Television programs will be available to customers within a day of the episode airing on terrestrial TV, while customers must watch rented movies within 30 days of purchase and within 24 hours of initially pressing the play button.

However, and here's the big catch... "Usage: US customers only" (*sob*). You can keep purchased videos on 2 PCs and 2 portable video players at the same time.

For example, here's something I would have been interested in:

Bones Season 1
Season Price: $43.78
Season Sale Price: $35.02 (£18.75)
You Save: $8.76 (20%)
Price for each video includes both a DVD-quality video (mmmm, nice) to watch on your PC or TV, and a video file optimized for compatible portable video players.
Instant Rebate: $1.99 off your first purchase.

If they don't offer the service outside of the US, it's no surprise that so many naughty people download TV shows over the internet. At least Sky One aired Bones in the UK, it's a cool show. If I want to buy it on DVD from Amazon in the UK, it's £27.99. But at least I can play it anywhere. It's been on my Amazon wishlist for a while now, I'll probably but it at some point.
How Much Hot Water?
Monday 11th September, 2006 10:45
I pushed the button. I only wanted a small amount to wash the dirty spoon, but as I moved it away, I noticed the water kept on going. And going. And continued to pour, with water splashing out of the drip tray. I quickly threw my mug underneath, even though it only had sugar in it, and watched it fill up about 1/3rd of the way. Then it stopped. I hadn't seen it do the automatic filling before, so I guessed that a tap of the button pours a mug's worth of water; while holding it down will continue to pour until you release. Hedging my bets, and fully prepared to move the mug if the water kept going, I held down the button, then released as it got near the top. But after adding the milk it still wasn't quite at the top... so I left it there. I figure trying to get a tiny dash of water to bring it up to the top would have given me a further mug's worth of scalding hot water. In hindsight, I should have topped it off with cold water from the tap, rather than waiting for it to cool. And I don't have any biscuits to dunk in my coffee, as they're sat in my bedroom.
Spare Server
Monday 11th September, 2006 10:36
A company (I won't name name names) wanted us to provide them with some hardware for them to install their software onto (I think to provide us with a demo). They're meant to arrive tomorrow, they gave us the spec today, and they want:

Dual 3.2GHz Xeon
300GB RAID 5
Dual Gigabit Ethernet

Aside from the fact the network they plan on connecting it to is still only Fast Ethernet and not Gigabit Ethernet, we don't have a £5000* server sitting spare. So we've cancelled, which is good news for me as I was meant to be showing them around/moving the spare PC we have here into the lab and giving it an IP address.

* Just over 9 months ago I placed an order for a similar spec Dell server, although it only came with 2 x 150GB SCSI drives and not a 300GB RAID 5 array. I can't remember if it was 3.2 or 3.6GHz, but it did have 4GB of RAM and dual Gigabit Ethernet. And that was £5000 ex VAT, although I still think it was overpriced. My fileserver is almost a high enough spec (not as fast, not as much RAM, but i think it has dual Gigabit and there's more than 300GB in a RAID 5 array), and it didn't cost me anywhere near £5000, but there is no way it's moving out of my flat.
Friday 8th September, 2006 12:11
MD5 Sums
Friday 8th September, 2006 10:12
A friend asked me to do generate an MD5 sum for a large file he was copying off me over FTP (not always the most reliable ways of copying files), and I realised I didn't have any software to do that, as Windows doesn't come with one by default (AFAIK). After a quick search on Google, I came across two useful apps, one is a nice fancy GUI thing to play with, the other one is a neat simple command line application. Both, more importantly, generated exactly the same MD5 sum. They're freeware and they both worked fine with a ~500MB file, so check them out if you need a Windows tool:

Chaos MD5

I haven't tested these, but I also came across MD5summer and winMd5Sum (the last one looks like it might be a better tool than the other GUIs) and another command line one called md5 that seems to be pushed by a few reputable sites.

If you want to do more than MD5, this command line tool looks pretty good too: FSUM. It handles MD2, MD4, MD2, SHA-1, SHA-2 (256, 384, 512), RIPEMD-160, PANAMA, TIGER, ADLER32, CRC32 (as well as a custom hash algorithm used in eDonkey and eMule applications) and has been tested on files up to 15GB.
Hidden Cell Phones
Thursday 7th September, 2006 16:14
Four prisoners in an El Salvador jail hid mobile phones, a charger and spare chips in their bowels, jailers said. The men, members of the ultra-violent Mara Salvatrucha street gang and the first in El Salvador known to go to such lengths to make phone calls in jail, used the cellphones to manage robberies, blackmail and murders outside, he added. The Zacatecoluca prison goes by the nickname "Zacatraz", after the famously secure US island jail Alcatraz.

I feel sorry for the one with the charger.

It does remind me of another story I read recently where a pilot asked whether we'll all end up being cavity searched once we find a terrorist that's shoved explosives (or whatever they plan on using) up their bum. Remember, all it takes is a few of them to attempt it and then the rest of the world suffers from the knee-jerk reaction. You'd think common sense would prevail, but perhaps not.
Thursday 7th September, 2006 12:20
You all know how much I don't like change. I went to make myself a coffee, a simple pleasure to cheer and warm myself up, and looked up to discover a brand new fancy machine to dispense hot water! There was only one other person in the kitchen to see my panic stricken face, and thankfully she was looking the other way as I tried to work out which button was safe to push. It turns out you hold down the top left button for hot water. There's another button for extra hot water, but the standard stuff appears to be scalding hot to begin with. It takes a second for the water to start, it's also a lot faster than the old machine, but it dribbles at the end once you've released the button. There's also a big random button that I'm not quite sure what it does yet, and one that I think does cold water. It's very shiny. I just about prefer it, but some warning would have been nice.
Remote Desktop
Thursday 7th September, 2006 10:00
Why does it cause pretty much everything on my PC to hang when I try and copy large(-ish) files across the internet using the windows clipboard (copy and paste)?
Wednesday 6th September, 2006 11:12
Mice don't like cheese after all and would rather have food with high sugar content - like chocolate! As part of a wider study into animals and food, researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University and the Stilton Cheese Makers Association found that a mouse's diet is primarily made up of grains and fruit.
Wednesday 6th September, 2006 10:40
I read a message someone left on a random website that said: The greatest irony is that the song [Alanis Morissette - Ironic] confirmed most Brits' belief that Americans don't understand irony, despite being written and recorded by a Canadian.
Anti Virus
Wednesday 6th September, 2006 09:27
Previous Office releases introduced an API for Anti-Virus software to hook into the Office "File Open" process and scan a document that Office is opening. This is supported in Word 2003, Excel 2003, PowerPoint 2003 and Access 2003. This functionally, while superceded by the "disk access" scanners, which scan every file pulled from the disk, is a valuable scenario for customers, and one that Anti-Virus vendors and suppliers are requesting more and more.

- Disk access scanners have to scan ALL access to the disk, and this can impact system performance.
- Administrators have the tools and ability to lock down strictly what users can get onto their machines and often the only "perceived" source of viruses are Office documents (through email attachments etc.) and customers/administrators only want to scan those documents.
- Anti-virus vendors often have to ship with some of their most advanced heuristic (or prediction) checks OFF in "on access" scanners for performance reasons. With more selective scanning, for certain scenarios, the vendor can do more through scanning for specific files, like documents on open, with minimal impact, without having to penalize the user for all file access.

When virus software that is compatible with the Office 2003 anti-virus API is installed on the computer, the message "Virus Scanner(s) installed" appears at the bottom of the Macro Security dialog of the application.

It'd be interesting to know which vendors have their advanced heuristics disabled, I wonder if there's a list somewhere.
Tuesday 5th September, 2006 15:18
I thought I'd liven things up by letting anyone post comments on my site. If anyone tries to abuse it/annoy me I'll simply take the option away again. All anonymous comments will be moderated (friends that are logged in can still post things immediately, as I trust them), and will be displayed as a post by "Guest".
Tuesday 5th September, 2006 12:20
Time to move to Cardiff? Or perhaps I'll stick here with tried and tested copper (apparently, poor old Milton Keynes have aluminium, and can't get decent broadband).
Tuesday 5th September, 2006 11:05
Autism Risk For Older Dads. Older fathers are more likely than younger fathers to have autistic children, experts have warned. Children born to fathers over 40 are said to be around six times more likely to suffer from autism compared to those born to dads under 30.
Toy Story
Monday 4th September, 2006 17:13
I think I need to a) find funny quotes from Toy Story 2 from IMDB and b) watch both of them later tonight if I have a copy/time. I know I had Toy Story 2 on DVD somewhere, as that's the film Lynne was meant to watch when she came over that night.

Rex: What if Andy gets another dinosaur? A mean one? I don't think I can take that kind of rejection.

Buzz: I'm Buzz Lightyear. I come in peace.
Rex: Oh, I'm so glad you're not a dinosaur!

Woody: Hey, look, everybody! It's the *real* Buzz Lightyear!
Buzz: You're mocking me, aren't you?
Woody: Oh no, no no no, no. - Buzz look, an alien!
Buzz: Where?

Woody: [thinks Buzz has gone crazy] Let's get you out of here Buzz...
Buzz: Don't you get it?
[points to a doll's hat on his head]
Buzz: You see the hat? I am Mrs Nesbitt!
That Telephone Number
Monday 4th September, 2006 15:09
For the several dozen people that have stumbled onto this page after looking up a cardiff telephone number, the posts you're looking for are: here and here. I hope that helps.

One suggestion I've seen is to add the numbers that repeatedly call you to a single phone entry, e.g. SPAM, and attach a different ringtone to the contact, and possibly set it to silent. The other suggestion I've come across is a bit more malicious, and involves blowing a whistle down the phone when you initially answer. Pick whichever one works for you ;)
New Headphones
Monday 4th September, 2006 14:29
I just ordered the next model up from my existing headphones. After thoroughly abusing my current Shure e2c headphones for the last... 2 years (or possibly longer?), the thick casing where it bends around the ear has cracked and while I was at the LAN party I was getting a very dodgy connection until I wrapped some brown tape around them - and even then it was a bit dodgy when I moved my head. So I've gone for the e3c, which has had pretty good reviews, and isn't that expensive (£100, a bit better than the £180 or £270 or so it costs for the e4c - sleeker looking but not too different - or the e5c - top of the range, but do they really sound any better?). I felt a bit bad about spending so much on the original e2c headphones, but they sound really good and stay in my ear, so I'm not too worried about spending even more on these. I do have to wait a while for them to be delivered though. I new I shouldn't have checked my bank balance online.
Monday 4th September, 2006 12:31
Sophos has revealed the most prevalent malware threats and hoaxes causing problems for computer users around the world during August 2006. The report reveals little movement, with last month's four most prevalent pieces of malware retaining their positions. There are no new entries in August's chart and only one re-entry, the Mytob-E worm which last appeared in the chart in May 2005. This month's top two - Netsky-P and Mytob-AS - were also the most common in August 2005.

Sophos maintains that a large number of computers connected to the internet are simply not protected against threats, which suggests that education on IT security is not making a global impact. Protection against Netsky-P has been available for more than two years, yet it remains the most widespread email worm.

"It is certainly frustrating that such easily beaten threats are still plaguing our email highways - is it a simple case that people who are infected don't know or don't care?" explained Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.

I suspect it's a bit of both, but the older ones consumed bandwidth and kept fairly quiet that they were on your PC. The type of people that don't update their virus definitions are probably the ones on slow broadband connections that don't realise that their slow web browsing is caused by a virus using up spare bandwidth. Many places, even Microsoft, are telling users that many of the new trojans are actually variations of old ones that can be detected with current virus definitions (although the latest one was initially only detected by Symantec, AVG, Kaspersky, BitDefender, NOD32, Norman and a few other smaller solutions, the big players like Sophos, McAfee, Microsoft, Panda, Avast, ClamAV, F-Prot and a few smaller ones failed to detect the new variant), but the types of users that are vulnerable are probably the same types that don't keep their anti virus software updated either.
Vista Pre-RC1 Firewall
Monday 4th September, 2006 12:00
It seems to behave as expected, although I've only done a few quick and dirty tests so far. I suspect there are still a lot of issues, but I'd consider putting this on my home PC at some point.
My RSA Thingy
Sunday 3rd September, 2006 21:35
It's broken, so I can't check my webmail for work, even though I know I've got mail!
The Wild
Sunday 3rd September, 2006 01:47
I think Amy would also like this movie, there's Eddie Izzard playing Nigel the koala, and there's a giraffe called Bridget. I also quite like Benny, a street-smart squirrel (they're always so cute) with great knowledge. Of all the animals who help save Ryan (the lion cub they're searching for), Benny is Samson's (the lion, Ryan's father, voiced by Jack Bauer... I mean Kiefer Sutherland) favourite. Benny also has a crush on Bridget, and is not afraid to admit it.
Test The Nation (Results)
Sunday 3rd September, 2006 00:32
I was feeling quite good until they displayed the IQ table. I still managed to get 117, which isn't bad considering I wasn't taking the test very seriously (some of those "spot the difference" questions were a bit difficult when you're sat so far away, although I got all the "knot" questions okay). I was expecting somewhere between 120 and 140 though (as I think I needed at least 120 to get into my grammar school, not that they ever told me my result). The funniest thing is the woman with the highest IQ in the studio was the same woman that spent 6 months watering a plastic plant, which just goes to show that people with a high IQ aren't necessarily smart.
Test The Nation
Saturday 2nd September, 2006 21:27
Where's Phillip Schofield?!?
Friday 1st September, 2006 12:18
Friday 1st September, 2006 10:31
I spotted an article on the Sky News website that says men need to earn about £50,000 a year before most women consider them to be wealthy and successful. One in ten women have higher expectations, looking for a salary of more than £100,000! Greedy bitches. In contrast, us men think women on about £42,000 a year tick the wealthy and successful boxes (personally I thought it'd be lower, about £30-40k).

However, in reality, men take home an average of £1,490.80 a month (woohoo, I'm well above average) compared to women's £1,078.80.

Some 45% of women say they rate a healthy bank balance as their top priority when looking for a partner compared with 22% of men. They also expect men to have a large stash of ready money to fall back on - £24,000 on average. I've been saying for a while that women want security, a man with a house (and a mortgage) and a flash car and lots of savings. Which basically rules out most people in their 20s. Men expect their partner to squirreled away about £15,000. We're not so greedy. Perhaps because we know you've spent the rest of your money on nice clothes so you look good for us.
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