Much can be said about the period since I wrote the last entry, certainly a whole lot of pretty uninteresting events fired. I just wish I could remember what they were. For our first event, let's go way back to July, you see, it all started when I went home to my original hometown for a short summer break...
...and then when the time came to "undo the travel", I went online to order my train tickets. Since I don't possess any great "worldly smarts" I simply ordered the tickets to be delivered to where I was staying, so I entered my name and current address. Big mistake. You see, I should either have not entered my name or I should have given a C/O address. What happened now was that the postman refused the delivery, apparently because in his opinion no-one with my name was staying at that address. Hand up everyone who thinks that if I had given some obviously bogus name, the envelope would have been delivered? <sigh>
Aaanyway. I soon realize the tickets aren't coming, so I go to the station to pick them up. I bring with me a print-out of my order confirmation which includes all the necessary information, which I hand the woman at the register as I explain the problem. She look it up on the computer, and sees a message saying the ticket was in fact not delivered, with the rather cryptic addition "Finns hos oss" ("We've got it"). "Well alrighty" I thought, thinking they'd simply hand it over. But you see, the lady helping me hadn't the faintest idea who the "we" mention was, and to top it off see managed to delete the message after reading it (well, she either deleted it or didn't know how to retrieve it again). So she asks around. She even phones their own support line to see if anyone have any idea who might be in possession of my ticket (could be anyone from the postal service to some branch of the railway). Nothing. Apparently the message "We've got it" implies "... and you'll find it in /dev/null! BWAHAHAH!".
So what to do? Well, the solution, I'm told, is for me to simply buy a new ticket and then try to get my outlay back post-facto. Greeeat. You'd think they could simply print out a new set of tickets identical to the ones which - according to their own system - were never delivered? But no.
The original tickets were preordered which meant I got a specific seats reserved and it was pretty cheap. However, it is now the day before I'm to go, so I must pay full price for a generic ticket. Fortunately I could simply use the original seats from the original tickets, but I had to pay almost twice as much again for the new tickets (~400SEK). To help me out, the nice lady made me a copy of the order confirmation I brought in, annotated the orignal to indicate that she'd tried to help me, signed and stamped it, and sent me on my way telling me I should send in the original to their customer relations department and claim back the outlay.
Which I did. I wrote a couple of days after the incident, and some three months later I suddenly get a letter telling me they'd decided to refund my new ticket. I'd almost celebrate, if it weren't for the fact that I got letter almost two weeks ago now, and I have yet to receive the postal note with the money.
Were I the least bit cynical I'd think they have a special three-month buffer which all these refunds must go through, during which they keep the money in some interest bearing form. But they'd never do that, right? Right? <sound of crickets chirping>
First, let me start out with an article I wish I had written. All this polticial correctness we see all around us is just sickening. I'm going to quote a passage which was fucking hilarious:
"Another example. I was told by a lady-friend of mine, I'll call her Jane Blow, that cussing, and especially the use of the F-word, is not lady-like, to which I reminded her that neither is getting on one's knees and stuffing an erect penis into one's mouth, but I didnít see her having much of a problem with that."
It is especially nauseating coming from the holier than thou "religious" folks, who somehow think that if they don't say the word, then it is okay. Maybe they have even deluded themselves to a point where they are certain they are not thinking the word 'fuck' when they splurt 'darn'. Of course, their god isn't smart enough to figure out what they really intended, so no risk of going to hell and all that. Yeah, 'gosh darnit' isn't anything like 'god damnit'. I fucking hate people like that.
A common fallacy is that only people who are lacking in vocabulary feel the need to resort to swearing, and indeed that swearing is a direct indicator of such lack. What a bunch of crap. We swear for a reason, and the reason isn't that we somehow can not hold back, the reason is that it feels good. Only idiots believe that because they choose not to use "profanity" they are better, smarter and more learned people.
Some people may object that I'm doing the same thing when I mangle "thank god" to "thank gawd" or use the familiar Homer-form of Jesus, "jebus". However, my view is that this is a different issue entirely. I am using this to convey that I am not literally thanking a deity, I am not using it to somehow hide the "true" words.
I have now ordered my C++ in depth boxed set. Mmmm.. books.
I've been playing Morrowind. Quite a good game, though I feel that it could have been so much more (but I always feel that way). I like the world and the freedom, but I think that the game could do with a better interface, and the combat is just... not good. Too little feedback and way too much FPS for my taste.
I've been encouraging people to install Miranda (Win32 ICQ-client). The client is extremely nice and much lighter than Mirabilis own, and there is a lot of nice plugins, such as a gnupg-plugin. Just make sure you do away with that horrible Lizard-plugin which gives the whole thing a cheesy skin.
I think our favourite search-engine would be interested in knowing that my friend Kristoffer has a nice korsordslexicon on-line.
And oh, forget everything I said about wanting a 120GXP below. Stay way clear of IBM's drive offerings.
Phew. Spent the better part of they day running some errands, like picking up my new drive. IBM sent a brand new (Jan-02) 75GXP made in Thailand. Oh yes, Thailand. The Hi-tech center of the world. I'd been hoping for a 60GXP replacement (my wildest dream was a 120GXP, but that sort of service is unheard of). Anyway, going all over town by tram in the pouring rain was not very much fun. Came home, wet all over. Feels good now though.
Picked up Remedy Lane by Pain of Salvation. I usually don't buy CDs anymore, since all the money goes to the big labels, with just a token sum going to the performing artists. It's all crap I tell you, I want to buy my records directly from the group or a representative of the group. I want to know that at least 50% of the sum goes to the band members. This is a pretty obscure group to begin with, and I haven't seen any advertising, so I'm not sure where the hell my 185SEK ended up, because I know the band didn't get much of it. I think Ending Theme is probably the best track off the album, with A trace of blood, Rope Ends (cool lyrics) and Beyond the pale coming in second.
My anti-spam crusade sort of ran out into the sand, unfortunately. My trip back home of course triggered my ISP to upgrade the net capacity (always welcome, but they had to do it when I was out travelling, didn't they?), which took my server offline (I'm not sure, but I think I had to reset the modem by hand to get on-line again). So, were I ever sent any replies to my inqueries, they bounced (No secondary MX yet, need friendly admin and some info to get that going). A well, my fault for not having a more fault-tolerant setup.
I'm dying to find out if I'll get any money and if so, how much, because I just must have the C++ in depth: boxed set. I must have it, I tell you.
What else.. hmm.. well, after seeing Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation in Stockholm, I stayed at my former home for a couple of weeks to be there when my father hit 50. When I came back home, I was hit by some sort of flu which took me down for a week.
I'm now officially using Vorbis (vorbis rules!) for all my music encoding, ditching lame.
That's about it. I think I should go and recompile qpopper with debugging options now, because I cannot get it to honor my request for cleartext passwords only in TLS sessions (which are encrypted). I've been upgrading my mail system for session security you see, and unless I get this working, a user could - by mistake - do a regular POP3 cleartext authentication, and that my friend would be very, very, very bad.
Remember, there's no such thing as too much paranoia.
Venganence unlimited is a pretty good show. Anyway, there the latest from the life of the infinite amount of monkeys:
First off, on the 13:th of December 2001, my 40Gb IBM 75GXP died on me after a year of use. This, of course, was my main system disk where I had all my development stuff. Sure, backing up to /dev/null is fast and all, but it sure sucks when your drive(s) bites the dust. I went back to the store with it, and they said they'd return it to IBM. I'm still sort of pissed that they didn't just offer me a new drive up front, and I'm more than a little pissed that I still haven't received the replacement, much less a response to my last status query.
The thing I miss the most since the crash is a lot of old source-code (sources from 1998-), and one new project for which I didn't have a recent backup. Not that it's really important, I guess it's a little like if you lost a lot of old photographs in a fire. Other than that, I'm just pissed that I didn't anticipate it. I knew about the problems that the 75GXP series had had. I was also very close to taking a complete backup to CD of my /dev directory, but I -- being the stupid person I am -- didn't execute the backup because it didn't fill up the CD enough. On the other hand, I had some "luck", with backups of my password-/keyfiles, browser bookmarks, recent fidonet archive (I lost only a week), and other stuff that cannot easily be recreated. sniff.
What else is old news... well, I could talk a little about last yule, but that would probably be a bit too personal. Went to see LoTR I did, but I got a crappy seat. I liked it a lot, though the feeling of seeing one third of a trilogy was just plain weird. Also, I thought that they could have gone for a little bit more gore. The Teen-rating or whatever cheated me of some of that raw power I expected from the fighting scenes. Also, wasn't Boromir supposed to end up nailed to a tree? Also, the scene many of us thought would become a classic, where Arwen face the Dark Riders with Frodo in her lap and exclaims "If you want him, come and claim him!", was toned down significantly in the movie as opposed to the trailers. Yes, I know it's not "pure", but I don't care. The line was cool. One thing is certain though, this is gonna be one hell of a classic when the series is complete and maybe restored to suit a more mature audience.
I bet you didn't know I've been spammer-hunting the last few days. Yes, I was spammed by some Swedish whore who had gotten my information from the AMV. I cought the mail coming in, traced it, scanned her and and then ping-bombed the bitch off the net. Then I sat down to write AMV, her provider and her email-host. So far I've gotten her email-account shut down, though I don't have much hope of that hurting too much. Haven't heard from the ISP yet (see used a Telia dialup), but I'm hopeful. The scheme she was trying to push was the usual make-money-from-home-in-your-spare-time crap we see all the time, though this was a local version. The company has a 020-number (toll free) which I've been thinking of tracking down the owner of. I'm sure he/she would like to speak with me. I'm not sure what it costs them when I call the line, but if I find out it cost a lot, I'm gonna have my computer dial them 24/7. I fucking hate spammers, and if I'm ever able to track one down electronically, I'm going to make his/her life a living on-line hell. If I get anywhere with this case, I'll let you all know.
I hate journals (available on-line) for which you must pay. You want to sell the latest issue? No problem. But couldn't you please release older issues for free? Speaking of which, I would really like to thank all the free journals out there, of which there are many. I appreciate it a lot. See, I'm not a student and I don't have a rich employer footing my "research-bills", so I'm limited to what I can find on-line, gratis. Fortunately, between all the open journals and the major databases of papers, I can access more information than I know what to do with, but it sometimes happens that I find an abstract for some interesting paper, only to find out the article isn't available unless you're a $200-member. Just recently I came across an abstract describing something that I've been thinking of for some time now, a method of identifying authors using a simple markov-model (though I though a dumb heuristic for larger contexts would probably improve the identification ratios). Alas, I couldn't read the paper. Oh, well.
Ah, I had made a long list of things to write about here, but then the crash took it. Guess this will have to do. Till next time, see ya'!
©2002 Eddy L O Jansson. All rights reserved. All trademarks acknowledged.