Monday, June 30, 2003

Plus I've finally been migrated over to the slick new Blogger interface. And it works (so far). My cup runs over....
I don't know about you but I am getting really sick of getting twenty emails a day telling me how to make my penis larger. But thanks to Nick Denton I have found the antidote to Spam - OddPost. It really works. It's slick. You don't even have to change your email address. OK it's not free, but it's worth it!

Oddpost features a peerless junk mail filtering system that blocks up to 99% of all spam. As you send and receive messages, Oddpost automatically learns what you personally consider valid mail and what you consider garbage, and uses this fingerprint to quickly attain a nearly perfect filtering accuracy rate (yes fellow nerds, it’s Bayesian content-based filtering, and it works like a charm!). On the rare occasions that Oddpost misses a piece of spam, just click the nuke button to both delete the message and make the filter smarter the next time around.

Friday, June 20, 2003

William Gibson reminds us of George Orwell's Six Rules
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Iran doesn't need external opposition groups. There are good and brave people aplenty in Iran. There are the ones you can see, in the streets. And there are the ones you can't see, who have been fighting the mullahs while the rest of us were going about our business. They are in the jails and this is their revolution.
I'm getting really tired of Blogger. As everyone knows, permalinks don't work unless you regularly do "Republish all" on the archives screen. Latest news - "Republish all" fails with a Java error.
Seven days of hard studying coming up for me. Firstly a weekend of hardcore theology at Workshop, then a week at "Oracle University" learning how to become an Oracle DBA. I've also been promised a Sun Solaris course later this year - is this my opportunity to escape the wonderful world of Microsoft and become a Unix geek?
I've just started playing Blogshares and I'm making money already! This is so easy, maybe I should try the real stock market....

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Iran va Jahan:
A few thousand University of Tehran students have shaken the Islamic Republic of Iran to the core. Teary-eyed veterans of the student movements of the 1960s celebrated by dusting up their situationist slogans and their Bob Dylan anthems: could this be the first revolution of the 21st century?

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

David Warren on the prospects for Iran:
The live question is, What will the mullahs do to hold power? Will they abandon all reserve, and plunge their country into a true reign of terror? Or will they, like Soviets and others before them, crack in the realization that they are unloved, especially by their own children?

It may not matter. The mullahs may be running the world's largest terrorist operation (Hizbullah), and be well on their way to acquiring nuclear weapons with Russian, Pakistani, and North Korean help. But the Iranian people may be about to overwhelm them.
The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation (via Textism)
The car service saga continues - on the way home yesterday the grotty Rover courtesy car that the garage had given me broke down. Steam pouring from the bonnet. I spent an hour and a half at the side of the A30 waiting for the recovery vehicle, which arrived with an even grottier Rover ("Whatever you do, don't open the back door sir!") for me to transfer into. As a result of which I once again failed to show up for Scott's weekly gaming session where I was hoping to force everyone to play Ra. And my Vectra isn't ready yet so I'm still in the Rover today. I just hope it gets me home tonight....

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Hope on the streets of Tehran
A lot of women have gathered around the front gate of the Tehran University and they've taken off their scarves in the demonstration.

They've been severely beaten by chains, you know the old chains and locks they use here for motorcycles? Do you know how thick they are? I broke down in tears when I heard this.

When the time is right we will all join. I can smell it in the air. This time is different.

I despise Islam and the mullahs even though I am officially a Muslim now. I don't have the right to change my religion in Iran.

I despise the regime and so do 90% of the Iranians. All the people who elected Khatami despise the regime and they thought he'd bring change.
Drive a Rover at the Mars Stations!
Mars Stations are designed to give everyone the experience of exploring an unknown world through the eyes of a robotic rover. The Planetary Society and LEGO Company have teamed together to establish a network of Mars Stations around the world. Each station contains a LEGO® rover equipped with a Web camera that you can drive over the Internet!
(via Rebecca's Pocket)
The first rule of car servicing: it always costs more than you budgeted.

I just got the "I'm sorry sir but you need new brake pads" call from the garage. The choice is fairly simple - pay up or die. Looks like I will have to stop buying games for a few weeks....

Monday, June 16, 2003

Amazing emails from some very brave kids in Tehran. BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iranian protesters remain resolute
I read your comments about the Iranian students and their protests against the regime of the mullahs. I was in Teheran at the weekend, some policemen hit me, but I fought for Iran. I wish that Mr Bush would help us in our fight for freedom. I have a dream! Maybe one day, every Iranian man and woman will be free. In a country without Mullahs, without radical groups. Until this day has come, we'll fight for our right to live freely. Freedom for Iran.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Trinity Sunday

We confess neither a solitary nor a diverse God.

St Hilary: Of the Trinity

Friday, June 13, 2003

Ra arrived yesterday, it looks fantastic. It's out of print but I tracked down possibly the last shrink-wrapped copy in England, thanks to ex-Esdevium in Aldershot. But this game-buying habit must stop soon. Right after the next one.
Andrew Looney has redone his game designer page, including a good article on playing Magic without two full decks.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

My heart was warmed to get a Father's Day present from Phil in the post yesterday. He got me a Batman and Robin card, and a copy of "1984". But I did worry that perhaps Phil sees a connection between my parenting style and Orwell's story of 24hr surveillance, authoritarian control, and forbidden furtive sex.
Architecture Week 2003 June 20 - June 29 Organised and Managed by Arts Council England: Celebrated architects will be inviting you to visit them during Open Practice and you'll get the chance to have an architect come and help sort out your own home as part of RIBA Architect in the House

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Philadelphia Inquirer | U.S. has gained little if Bush lied about reason for war
I trusted Bush, and unless something big develops on the weapons front in Iraq soon, it appears as though I was fooled by him. Perhaps he himself was taken in by his intelligence and military advisers. If so, he ought to be angry as hell, because ultimately he bears the responsibility.
(via Rebecca's Pocket)
Tate Collections
Turner Worldwide brings together online over 2,000 works by Turner held in public and private collections around the world. The project provides online access to these works alongside Tate’s own Turner holdings, creating a comprehensive online catalogue and rich central resource of information about Turner’s works outside Tate.
Independent's front page today:
A global search by the Tate gallery has unearthed 500 lost works by JMW Turner. Some have never been seen in public; others have not been displayed since the death of possibly Britain's most important painter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

While I'm here I must just mention a great game of Euphrat & Tigris I had at my place last Wednesday. I scored 12, against Dave's 9 and Simon's 8. Until the screens were removed, I had no idea that I was so far ahead. It had been a fairly bruising game, and I wasn't really expecting to win.
Over the last couple of weeks I have experimented a couple of times with playing The Lord of the Rings as a solitaire game. Frodo goes on his quest all alone, and gets 4 cards at Rivendell and at Lothlorien. He also gets the two cards for being the ringbearer at the end of each board. It worked very well - there was still a tremendous feeling of rising pressure from the events and the corruption track, even though all the decisions were down to me and there were no other players to throw spanners in. The first time I lost very early, on the Shelob's Lair board, but the second time I actually completed the quest and destroyed the ring - a new experience for me, even in playing multiplayer! Next time I'll use it as an opportunity to learn the rules for the Friends and Foes expansion which is waiting at home on the gaming table for its first outing.

Sunday, June 08, 2003


He loves Himself and every creature by the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as the Holy Ghost proceeds as the love of the primal goodness whereby the Father loves Himself and every creature.

Aquinas: Summa Theologica

Friday, June 06, 2003

Hmm. Blogger is back today, but it's making me nervous. Yesterday I got switched to "Blogger New" and was presented with a blank slate - all my posts for the last two years had disappeared! This sort of thing just makes me nervous. How long before they lose everything permanently? I think the problem is they just have one guy over there running the whole system. I can just imagine it - no test environment, making live changes on the fly, working all night to fix self-inflicted problems. I've worked in that sort of environment myself and it's not much fun for anyone, including the customers. Hopefully at some point the new owners will impose some sort of change control discipline. I suppose I shouldn't grumble, it's not as if I'm paying anything for this.....

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Blake Haber's page pertaining to the subject of the game called "Baduk" in Korean, "Weiqi" in Chinese, "Igo" in Japanese, and "Go" in English. (via Mikko Saari)
Phil came over yesterday, on a brief rest & recuperation break from University. We had a great political argument over dinner, just like old times. I've been feeling a bit wobbly on the war recently, shocked I suppose by the levels of violence we had to employ to achieve our objectives in Iraq. Phil performed a valuable service by trotting out all the dumb conspiracy theories and knee-jerk anti-Americanism of the left, reminding me of how much I am repelled by the rhetoric of the peace movement. Thanks Phil!
Thanks to John for pointing me at The Geek Test. What a relief! I only scored 16.76%.