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Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
12:47 pm - New Location
I've started a tentative personal blog. I have only really just thrown it together and tweaked a couple of settings, so it may be a bit rough around the edges initially. Depending on how much I can get my head around the underlying code I may try to make it a bit more my own, but it may just as readily stay the way it is now for months. Who can say?

I'll keep reading my LJ friend list, but I imagine I won't be posting much here any more. Apologies if that throws a spanner in the works for anyone.

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
2:56 pm
Further evidence shows that Livejournal is speeding downhill, seemingly without a brake. I have been contemplating for a while ditching LJ as my personal on-line journal, and preferably creating one where I could have some kind of ownership of the data.

It may well be time to implement something.

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9:55 am
Kenickie got himself a cut across the nose, Omar-like. He seemed fine about it, though, little bruiser that he is. I'm pretty sure it's the black cat in the neighbourhood that is being confrontational. I saw Kenickie close to a tabby cat, but as Kenickie casually turned around and walked away from it it seemed to me that he wasn't threatened by the tabby, and I'm sure I've seen the black cat acting aggressively to others.

Since he got the bite previously, I stopped trimming Kenickie's claws. He needs to be able to defend himself. The cool thing is that when we play, and he is really energetic in all his endeavours, he still doesn't scratch me. I can have a small mouse toy in my hand and he'll be upside-down with all paws grabbing for the toy around my hands and biting at the toy and I'll be entirely unscathed. He's an excellent little buddy.

And he's rather playful. He really likes his little mouse toys, and we have quite a bit of fun playing with them together. His exuberance shows when I toss the toys around him, as the slightest hint of the toy being off the ground will send Kenickie jumping in to the air and flailing around, batting the toys all over the place. He's such fun! I also like it when he pounces on a toy from a grand distance of 6 inches away, yet still he jumps a foot in to the air. I love my kitty.

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Monday, March 10th, 2008
8:11 am
My ISP hasn't replied to my e-mail requesting support for my spam problem. It is also quite possible that the sheer amount of spam, which I can't now reasonably get to to delete, has locked up my e-mail account.

Ah well. It's not like anyone e-mails me anyway, I suppose.

Update: support have e-mail me back stating they can delete the catch-all behaviour on my account. That will be super. The only e-mail I'll get from now on will be to addresses I actually use.

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Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
7:15 pm
Kenickie jumped in to the bath, unaware that it was half-full. Poor, wet kitty.

He's okay now. He licked himself dry, somehow, and is happily sleeping.

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7:33 am - I still hate spam
I've been receiving e-mails to <random_string>@<domain_name> for ages, like most people I imagine. It was irritating for a while, even though spam filters caught and separated most of them. When I started getting them frequently enough that I started to ignore my new e-mail sound I had to find a new way to deal with the spam I was getting. I realised that I was wasting my time and bandwidth downloading and deleting them from my local e-mail application. My ISP has a handy webmail interface and I realised that if I used that to delete the spam e-mails I wouldn't be wasting my bandwidth doing so. I started to log in to webmail once a day and checked and deleted all the spam. Pretty soon I had stopped even checking it, as I really couldn't be bother wading through several pages, at 50 e-mails per page, and I simply logged in and hit 'delete all'. I then realised that this was also a waste of my time, and started deleting the spam once a week, finding between 3,000 and 14,000 spam e-mails per week had accumulated.

Yesterday, I logged in to the webmail account and no e-mails were displayed. The interface itself wasn't being fully displayed, yet the page had loaded fully. It seemed that I could not delete all my spam using webmail this week. I decided that, just this once, I would set-up an account in my e-mail application for the catch-all account, download all the spam, delete it, then delete the account and go back to webmail. By doing this I found I had accumulated 68,000 spam e-mails in a week.

I left my client downloading spam e-mails, taking the bandwidth hit, returning after 90 minutes to find it had downloaded around 24,000 e-mails, and was still going. I stopped the download to purge these spam, hoping that the webmail interface would let me get the rest now. It seems that my e-mail application chokes on such a large number of e-mails, and was having serious trouble actually deleting the items. It took me ages to get that sorted, after which, for various reasons, I wasn't entirely sure I'd made any progress.

I gave up. I e-mailed my ISP and asked if they could purge the catch-all account of e-mail. I'm not sure what else to do. I wasted a whole damned evening dealing with spam e-mail, unwanted and anonymous crap that is spewed with annoying regularity at me. You have know idea how frustrated and angry that makes me.

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Thursday, February 28th, 2008
8:02 am
The fox's other ear was discovered late last night. The prognosis for a full recovery is good.

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
8:20 am - Quake!
The earthquake woke me up when it hit early this morning, shaking me and Kenickie around a little. There was one casualty in my home, the crystal fox on top of the TV taking a tumble and losing both ears and its tail. The tail and one ear have been recovered, the second ear remains elusive.

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
7:41 am - Film Quote Meme Answers
Answers behind the cutCollapse )

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Monday, February 25th, 2008
7:36 am - Film Meme
I'm joining in with a current meme, quoting from 15 films that I own on DVD that I really like. Anyone reading is invited to guess what the films are, without searching for the lines on the netsweb.

1. Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.

2. On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy.

3. Tell ya the truth, I don't think this is a brains kind of operation.

4. Don't say "do it", because I don't "do it". I *ingest* it, on orders of my neurophysiologist. This stuff is legal. In five years they'll be putting it in the water for citizens, just like fluoride.

5. I guess it never occurred to you that you might actually have to bleed to pull off this little coup.

6. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

7. Now a question of etiquette: as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch...?

8. Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it's on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you'll miss.

9. Life does not stop and start at your convenience, you miserable piece of shit.

10. It's kind of a compulsion with him. He has to exchange fluids with everyone he meets. That's why we never have pets.

11. This is definitely Lower Wacker Drive! If my estimations are correct, we should be very close to the Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza!

12. You know, I've had more rewarding friendships than this one. Although I do get to keep telling the same jokes.

13. Stop it! We are not gonna die! Now, both of you will *get a grip*! Or so help me, I will *ground* you for a month. Understand?

14. As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension.

15. Does he enjoy taking his bows under the stage?

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7:22 am
Call me simple, but I don't consider filling the default paper tray of the photocopier/printer with yellow paper to be a particularly bright idea in an office area that doesn't use much yellow paper.

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Saturday, February 9th, 2008
5:58 pm - Kitty Update
My mum came over to see Kenickie yesterday. We were out in town previously, and I bought him a new toy whilst out. I got him a fuzzy toy that could have a pouch of catnip inside it. Kenickie likes his catnip, and fuzzy toys. I gave it to him and he mauled it completely. I have to hide the toy between uses, just to keep him sane.

There was a rogue leaf on the floor of my place, and mum asked if Kenickie was still bringing the leaves in. No, I replied, not regularly, that was just an odd one. She also asked how often he uses the litter tray, now that he's going out all the time. Oh, almost never, I say. I can't remember the last time he used it, I say.

This morning, there were three new, rather large leaves brought in from outside, and the litter tray had been used twice overnight. Maybe I should say that he doesn't bring in stray ten pound notes any more, and see what happens.

Otherwise, he's his normal adorable self. The wound he picked up has healed completely and the fur is regrowing over it. I should get more photographs off my camera on to a computer and upload them somewhere.

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Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
4:19 pm - Six Nations
My new computer is scheduled to be delivered at the end of February. No World of Warcraft until then, so what else can I do? As luck would have it, the Six Nations starts today, so I'll have rugby to watch for the next few weeks. I should also try my hand at making a kitty basket for Kenickie.

I turn the TV on this afternoon to watch the first game of the Six Nations and am greeted by what must be a minute's silence before the game, with all the players standing still and quiet, and not a whisper heard in the whole ground. In the corner of my screen is an invitation to press my interactive button to 'choose audio'.

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
9:06 am - Utilitarianism Argument
I'm reading the second edition of Contemporary Political Philosophy by Will Kymlicka, and have completed the first chapter, on Utilitarianism. One of his arguments doesn't seem sound to me.

Taking the basic idea of maximising utility being at the heart of the theory Kymlicka presents a situation, from another philosopher, where you promise a boy five pounds to mow your lawn. After the job is completed you only pay the boy if you cannot then find a better use for the money that maximises utility. Stating this to be absurd, that the special relationship between employer and employee does not enter in to consideration, Kymlicka believes he has shown a flaw in that utilitarianism doesn't allow for special relationships between people, such that promises or close friends and family are not given special standing when it comes to making decisions based on maximising utility.

He may well be right in that utilitarianism doesn't allow for special relationships, but I think his argument against promises is poor. It seems to me that you shouldn't wait until the job is done before working out whether paying for the job maximises the utility of the money going towards it. The decision should be made before entering the agreement. You have some money and a job that needs to be done. You decide whether the best use of that money, the use that maximises utility, is in paying someone to do that job, before you enter in to any agreement to perform the work. If it is, you enter the agreement with someone to do the job and, come the end of the job, barring unusual circumstances, that conclusion should remain true and the employee is paid as agreed. If you realise that there is a better use of the money that increases utility more than the completing of the job you don't enter in to the special agreement in the first place, and there is no need to break the promise because it is never made.

I'm not doubting that there is a strong argument that can be made to highlight how special relationships can exist that go against the core of utilitarianism, as the ties between family and friends are stronger than that between strangers. Kymlicka's argument falls flat for me and undermines the basis of his objections in that early section. There is no special relationship in his example of a promise because utility theory can determine beforehand if it is the right action to take or not. If you take that action anyway, without considering the theory or ignoring it, it's no surprise that it cannot then rescue itself from inconsistency. His objection towards repaying people who have lent others money is better, but still isn't covered in enough depth to be convincing.

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Monday, January 28th, 2008
8:50 am
Monday morning chatter in the office has encouraged me to turn up the volume on my iPod. Maybe I should be joining in, but I'm not too sociable and small-talk makes my brain hurt after too short a period. This chatter is just noise to me.

A low-frequency drone comes in intermittently on my right earphone, and I am trying to work out whether it's part of the song that I normally don't hear because of the differences in volume and background noise. I then realise that the man who sits besides me me is talking on the 'phone. He has a voice more depressing than Droopy's, and it's such a low frequency that I can't even block it. Super.

Addtional: In a change of fortune, someone in my group brought in a tin of Quality Street, so I have some chocolate to keep me subdued. Huzzah!

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Sunday, January 27th, 2008
7:11 pm
The video card on my Mac desktop certainly does seem to have given up the ghost. I am considering whether it's gained some sort of sentience and is rebelling against its imminent replacement when my new machine turns up. Either way, it's refusing to render polygons correctly after a few minutes, so there is definitely no World of Warcraft for me for now.

Without World of Warcraft I have had to fall back to what I did before that was released, and play some Unreal Tournament 2004. Needless to say, that didn't work out so well. So instead I've watched the sprawling Gangs of New York, read Breakfast at Tiffany's. I started reading my way in to Contemporary Political Philosophy and juxtaposed that by watching the first two volumes of Jackass. I also contributed further to science by tasting what must be a more-than-recommended amount of Marshmallow Circus Peanuts.

I may need to be more inventive next weekend.

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Monday, January 14th, 2008
8:54 am
There's someone crunching away on a bag of crisps, the photocopier/printer just across the partition is churning away pages per minute, someone is giving an induction right behind me, and there are other multiple conversations happening.

I'm trying to concentrate on writing a report. I really hate this office environment.

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Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
11:37 am - Mac Pros Updated
Apple updated the Mac Pro line today or yesterday, with shiny new processors, more memory, brand new graphics cards, whilst keeping the price about the same. This update is pretty much what I've been waiting for to replace my five year old machine, and I am a-trembling with expectation at ordering one.

But MacWorld is next week, with the keynote on Tuesday. If this update, the first since the Intel Mac Pros were launched 18 months ago, is not important enough to be announced at the show, I have to wonder what is. It is most curious. Maybe the update will be mentioned as already happened, but still exciting news, so that it is acknowledged but without taking away the majority of attention from a more exciting product, such as a smaller notebook, a mid-range headless box, or a tablet machine. It would make sense to bring these out now, get the initial rush of excitement out of people's systems, and then see them drool over a laptop-sized iPod Touch with a fully-featured OS.

I've waited 7 months for this Mac Pro update so another week won't hurt, and it will let me see what Apple will pull out of its sleeve before I commit myself to buying a new machine.

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11:31 am - !Heating
Time for a new boiler. The work required to fix the current one, including flushing the system and replacing the aging water tank as per regulations, is also most of the work of fitting a new boiler, short of actually fitting the boiler. As my current boiler is around 30 years old and will likely break in small ways again, or a big way at some point, wisdom points to replacing it.

I have the quote now and it's an expensive job. It needs to be done, so I have agreed to the work and just need to arrange when it will happen. As it stands, it's been 4 weeks, less one day when it worked for a few hours, without hot water. It's becoming an irritation.

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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
11:35 am - Oh Yeah...
I forgot to report, somehow, that I had no central heating over Hmas. My boiler broke down a week before, and despite my plumber's best efforts to fix it, which in part involved taking away the heat exchanger for descaling, it only came back to life for a few hours before it clunked a bit and stopped working again. Personally, I don't think it's anything serious, just an irritation that its experiencing that can be remedied simply enough, it was just at the wrong time as the plumber quite sensibly stopped working over the holiday period. He certainly made good efforts to get it fixed in time, even popping back on the weekend to get things going for me.

I borrowed a small space heater from my mum, and when she was not at home she kindly let me take the occasional bath so that I didn't stink. The weather also got milder, with maybe only a couple of frosts over the whole period, so not having heating wasn't a disaster. I missed having hot water to wash dishes and the like in, and I spent more time gaming and less time reading as I wasn't dipping myself in the bath as often. I hope to get the system fixed this week, and hopefully even tonight.

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