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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Evil Tomble's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
10:01 pm
Stupid domains/email question(s)
Hello again all, not posted in an eternity I guess.
And yeah, I've mostly just been vaguely skimming LJ for a while I'm afraid. Things have been a bit hectic here, changing all sorts of things. Plus I've been designing+building circuits, which has been neat :)

Anyhow, we have a problem that we have to sort out a new email address+account (or two) for my mum. Included in this, we want to ensure she has a domain name for it. Not just for a short address for her small business, but primarily, so if for whatever reason (eg crappy filtering) we want/have to abandon her mail provider, we can get her an account with someone else, still using the same address.

Problem is, I'm not entirely sure how it's best done, partly due to the tangle of terms and concepts in the domain service- especially in terms of the institutional protocols more than the technical ones. I find it hard to keep track of the names, roles and divisions of powers, etc. Other than that, DNS is very "behind-the-scenes", and info on it rarely seems to be at the right level for me. Anyone care to correct my understanding here? ...

I think that for using a domain name to point to an arbitrary email account, there are two main ways of doing this:
1) Make an MX record (?) that says that mail for my_domain.com should be sent to mail.my_mail_server.com, such that it goes straight to there. This would have the effect though, that mail sent to me@my_domain.com goes to me@my_mail_server.com, which would likely be a totally different user if that's a public mail provider. Hence the username portion of the addresses used in this method would be wholly dependent on what addresses were available from the provider. The mail providers also might not like the domain in the emails not being one of theirs?

OR 2) Use the domain provider's "email forwarding" service, such that the email sent to me@my_domain.com is received by my domain provider's mail servers, which then resend the emails to arbitraryuser@my_mail_server.com. This would have the benefit of great flexibility in terms of mapping one set of addresses to another, especially if there's multiple addresses to be used, and it could bounce stuff sent to the wrong address. But it would AFAICT make the spam problem harder? The filtering would be primarily dependent on the domain provider's servers, and the "real" account's spam filters would be less able to judge the hinkiness of the originator, due to the "sender" always being the domain provider. Yes, there's always content filtering, but I'm highly wary of that. So, changing mail provider here might not make much difference if the forwarder filters badly. And it certainly can't recover good emails that the forwarder throws away.


Now, those have been the choices I've long considered to be available, but could there be another option?
3) Have both domain provider and mail provider be the same organisation, get whatever usernames for user@my_domain.com are wanted, have only the one organisation doing the filtering, and if they turn out to do a shitty job of it, transfer the domain record(?) itself to the management of another domain provider? Is that in fact the means by which people typically achieve this, rather than having a separate mail provider and just changing that? Does it work well? Is it a lot of trouble?

It probably doesn't help that I can't seem to follow whether people you register a domain with are intrinsically the people who host(?) the data or whatever for it, or if the registration is purely bureaucratic. Or how much difference that really makes.

Current Mood: bewildered
Thursday, December 14th, 2006
8:34 am
Mr T
In a shocking bit of news, I have just heard that Mr T is not dead, and has not been for some years, despite hearing the contrary ages ago IIRC. I expect that if I watched more TV, I might have heard about the reality TV thing he's been in recently, although it probably wouldn't be shown here. OTOH come to think of it, they did show the one with Paris Hilton and Thingy Ritchie in it, god only knows why.

Judging by Wikipedia's talk page on him, it sounds like people have been repeating such hoaxes (and others) about him quite a bit. The world is a fucked-up place. But yay for Mr T, who presumably pities the fools.

Still dunno what to make of this, though...

Current Mood: surprised
Saturday, November 11th, 2006
1:26 am
I would just like to say, that whichever contributor to Firehamster who decided "Open in tabs" was a worthwhile feature and that it should go RIGHT NEXT TO "Add to Bookmarks" in each menu, should be BEATEN ABOUT THE FUCKING HEAD. It is the most IDIOTIC misfeature ever, since the authors of Konqueror made a "destroy all my bookmarks replacing them with Netscape's" in their bookmark editor.

For those not familiar with it, the "Open In Tabs" command in the bookmarks menus makes EVERY bookmark in whichever folder you are looking at, open simultaneously into a separate tab. WHO IN HELL'S NAME WANTS THAT?? I accidentally clicked it once before, when it took about an hour to close all of them again, because (1) I have a LOT of bookmarks, and (2) everything (unsurprisingly) ground to a halt due to the stupid machine trying to do everything at once for hundreds of pages. I imagine this concept might be useful to people who organise their bookmarks in a VERY specific way, but I thought the principle in Firehamster was meant to be that it had FEW built in features and you added what you wanted with extensions?

Just before writing this entry, as I'm sure you can guess, I accidentally caught that button AGAIN when I was aiming for the "Add bookmark" one, whilst trying to bookmark the numerous tabs I already had open. I gave up and closed the fucking browser and started again, rather than have to deal with all that shit again. I would like to be rid of this odious item, but Firehamster is really quite obscure to write extensions for, I've never found any info on it (I gather it involves the twin delights of Javascript and XML, which would presumably explain why the bookmarks manager runs as slow as treacle).

I also ought to go install that "NoScript" extension (if it'll run on this version) some time soon, so I don't have to have 10 billion Flash things running at once if I don't want them (including the ubiquitous YouTube videos etc)- for one thing, half of *those* tend to crash the stupid browser anyway, AGAIN making me lose stuff. It really is depressing how people go on about this stupid thing being "fast" and "lightweight" and "stable" etc. I guess it's all a matter of perspective- IE must be really unspeakable nowadays.

Think I'll be going to bed shortly. Fuck it all.

Current Mood: irate
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
1:34 pm
Went to bed before any news of results came in- I wasn't even sure when they'd be, anyway.
So when I got up, one of my first concerns, apart from "Who the fuck is running that loud music out there?", was "Where will I be able to find what happened over there?". Blogs are often my source for news on the net, but they often seem to assume that all their readers know the most significant current events, and all their obscure references- which doesn't help when you're not from the same country.

Figured I might hear the news on the radio, if I caught it at the right time. Turned it up, caught a bit of continuity announcement, then whilst I was dozily zoned-out,
"blablbablabla, blabla, blablablabla, blabla, bla democrats got a majority, bla, senate, bl-"


YES! YES! THANK YOU, AMERICA! Talk of last-minute polls claiming that public opinion was suddenly about even (compared to all the previous ones saying that everybody was fed up to the back teeth with the one-trick chimp) had been a bit of a concern. There'd have to be quite a shift in mood for people to be able to get past the crooked voting machines, for a start. They probably couldn't rig them TOO hard without making it utterly blatant, although then again, when have the republicans NOT been blatant, and when have the US public not mostly swallowed their BS?

Sucks to hear that crooked turdbasket, Joe "Slush-Fund" Lieberman stayed in power (I gather there's some Narnian foodstuff called a "sloppy joe"; can someone come up with a "slushy joe" at all? Wouldn't have to be *too* similar...). And I hope that the good voters of Virginia (incl syntonic_comma and anniemal) managed to get rid of that vile bigotted degenerate thug Allen. It seems that (last I heard) that state hasn't quite been called yet. Good luck!

Also fairly concerned by reports that the Republicans are apparently trying to turn the long-running Election Fraud accusations back on the Democrats; it clearly bears little scrutiny (who pushed for the voting machines? Who produces most of them? Who tried to disenfranchise as many typically Democratic demographics as possible? THEM!), but so many people have seemed to hurl their common sense into the sea with great force* whenever it comes to analysing what they've said over the years. I hope this recent change in attitudes will mark an end to that- but I worry that that might only happen once the Left ACTUALLY gets some of the mainstream media over there (of all the lies, the "liberal media" claim seems the most fucked-up of all to swallow).

(*-and possibly a trebuchet)

Oh well, that's a huge relief at any rate. Hope those Democrats know what is required of them, and live up to our hopes and expectations. And ideally, that Lieberman gets arrested or thrown out, but at least his votes aren't so needed with the Democratic majority. Ok, I guess some time later I respond to that meme of realinterrobang's, if I get a round tuit and come up with anything to actually say on that. I might also journal about other stuff too. Now, if I get the chance to go out soon, I'll be off to Liverpool to see if I can pick up a cheap USB hub and a Motorhead CD, probably. Hmm, best check that HMV branch is still open there since they opened the one over here.

Current Mood: relieved
Sunday, September 10th, 2006
5:14 am
Hellooo, not been posting much lately, have I?
Lately I've been mostly uh, working on electronicsy stuff. For quite some time I was mostly working on just getting the components (I spent a serious amount on them, despite struggling to keep the total cost down), and now I'm making and designing stuff (at glacial pace).

Anyway, hello.

wot no roof?
Oh yes, and they're taking the roof off of part of our house, so things are a bit chaotic here too. It looks freaky, so I took some photos of the view from outside, of the sky showing through the windows. Unfortunately the pictures were all bleached out because my
crappy digital camera was pointing vaguely into the sun (not very).

What you say? Some memes? Why sure I do.

One I saw a couple days ago:
If there is one person or more on your friends list who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the Internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.


And at least 2 people in my friends list have had this one, and I found it somewhat compelling:

My Interests Collage!Collapse )
Create your own! Originally Written By ga_woo, Hosted and ReWritten by darkman424

Frustratingly (and I did predict this when I first saw the meme), it wasn't able to get good matches for some of the things I'd got as interests. I didn't realise that you got to choose out of up to 10 pictures for each entry, if you didn't like their first choice, which was handy. Especially considering the first pick they had for "X-Com"- "Yes, I like that plenty, but it's not on my interests list!!!!". Thankfully after changing it about 7 times I got an ok option that makes the LJ entry Safe For Work(TM). Well actually I had to do much the same for a few other interests too.

OTOH, I was depressed that for "Dizzy", I only got 10 pictures of some obscure underdressed manga character rather than anything like this. And for "SFA" I got some sort of Star-Trekesque computer game graphics, some buildings, a plant, and a load of basebasketball players, but no Super Furry Animals. And bafflingly, Grebo yielded a map of a place so-named, and 9 intriguing African(?) wooden carvings. I picked the map even though the Grebo scene came from Stourbridge (mostly). And I never did get around to adding Magic Knight to my interests list before making it, which is a shame. Anyway, it was pretty good fun overall, and I quite like the results :)

half-arsed spleen venting at LJ
Ironically, I've half a mind to just remove my interests list from my profile, due to the slimy, underhanded way 6 Apart have introduced adverts (making out that you "only" see adverts if you're a "sponsored", aka "plus" account user, when in fact such users also serve them to other users, especially free users). I wasn't too bothered about the idea they'd use peoples interests lists to show them targetted ads when they were making it sound as though you only saw the damn ads in the first place if you agreed to it. And of course if you've been paying attention you'll have heard that amongst the early LJ adverts this year, some company used one to somehow(?!) install malware on Windows users' computers? Not that that'd affect me, but it's the principle of the thing. I now subscribe to the no_lj_ads community which sometimes has interesting bits of info.

silly cobblers
"Moop" BTW is my new word that indirectly sort of derived from the high pitched "meep!" noise that our pigeons make as infants. It doesn't really mean anything, it's more just an expression of general enthusiasm, like "Woo!" and "Yay!". Moop!! So to summarise, hello again and moop. Hope all are well.

Current Mood: moop
Friday, April 7th, 2006
3:32 am
Me again!

Ok, so I'm kinda-sorta back, and have been for a while. Landed back in the UK on March 2nd(? I think... stupid timezones...), and visited my mate Alex down in London (our London this time) for 3 or 4 days. Managed to not be too jet-laggy. Then came back home on the 6th or so, found myself with very little mental energy (and of course fucking freezing because I'd been away from the house long enough to get used to normal living conditions), and after 2 or 3 days found my sleep patterns suddenly fly out the window.

Since then, my sleep cycles have gone around 2 2/3 times (nearly back to normal again, today I woke up at 1AM), with just a brief respite somewhere about 2 weeks ago (just before my parents got all ill) where I was waking consistently around 8am for about 5 days in a row. Oh, and stupid moronic DST coming along also lent a hand in derailing that. *HATEHATEHATE*.

Anyhow. London, Ontario was good, Canada in general (insofaras I saw any of it) was good, staying with and smooching realinterrobang was good, meeting and chatting with lpetrazickis (and tickling him to within an inch of his life with the aid of 'Bang) was good. London, England (a term I never thought I'd use until recently) was good, and catching up with Alex again was good. As expressed in more detail on front page of my site (one of my very-very-very-pending projects).
Parents are just about better by now, I eventually dealt with the little project I had a responsibility to fix, the cold is easing up (now getting up to have my PC's thermometer register upwards of 15C when I turn it on, rather than 7-12C, how civilised), and I've started getting exercise again (just light squats and situps and things so far).

But, I still don't have much energy- physical or mental, which is why the deafening silence everywhere (apart from my Freshmeat submission which I made when I fixed my project, and a few things on my site). Now next in the pipeline, I've got a cunning plan to apply my uncontrollable compulsion to design and make stuff, to my uncontrollable sleep patterns- why didn't I think of that before? Unfortunately, ordering various electronic components etc (which I was going to do anyway, even before the holiday) has obviously been hampered by the fact I've not been awake for that set of hours in which couriers normally deliver stuff- but now I'm just about there, so I think I'll finally do me some online purchasing shortly :)

Current Mood: lethargic
Wednesday, February 8th, 2006
7:51 pm
quick note again
Hi, for reasons mentioned on my website recently, won't have access to this account for a few weeks. Too busy to explain, bye *wave*
Sunday, December 11th, 2005
7:12 pm
Another irregular dose of assorted stuff
My mum's spam problem has got so bad that we're talking about setting her up a new account, but we still need a means to nuke the spam that goes into the old account (at a rate of hundreds per day), because Freeserve's terms insist that using their service to store more than 1000 emails or over 100MB in your mailbox is grounds for cancelling the account. So I've been working on that today, and also looking for email accounts that support Greylisting because it seems like an effective method. Sounds like it still has awkward problems though.

I passed a TV that was showing "Songs Of Praise" or similar this afternoon, and did a bit of a double-take at the words to the modern hymn I saw out of the corner of my eye in the subtitles. Stopped and watched for a minute or so more until the chorus rolled round again:
Come, Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus,
Pour out your spirit we pray
Come, Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus,
Pour out your spirit on us today

Please tell me this was written as a prank, like the person who won a newspaper competition with a supposed child's drawing* representing peace that was actually a crayon rendition of Goatse? Or maybe I was just hallucinating. I still didn't laugh quite as much as the time the other week when the feller on the ITV news was stood in front of the big sign for the "GEORGE W BUSH INTELLIGENCE CENTER" that had me incapacitated on the floor from hysterics. Wish I'd managed to screen-cap that...

(*-which appears to no longer be online, sadly; if you don't know who Goatse is, I strongly suggest you DO NOT "just google it", he isn't safe for work or anywhere else; try here instead.)

BTW, it's been some weeks since my last LJ entry and there's been no sign of people picking up my meme. I'm very disappointed in you. Not being one to let go of an idea readily, here's another:
"My dog's got no nose!"
"How does it smell?"
"It can't - I just told you, it's got no nose. Can't you hear or something?"
"No, I've got no ears"

And one more for luck
Why did the chicken cross the road?
It didn't, it was a battery hen.

I forget what else I'd wanted to write about recently, meh. I ought to do a little update to my site too, and get back to working on the software for it. I think I decided that the "crazy frog baseball" link wouldn't be as appreciated here as it would for other netizens from the UK, so I might put that up there.

Current Mood: productive
Friday, November 25th, 2005
12:46 am
Towcester oven
Hello! Today am rather tired and about to go to bed. Spent past ... week or two? shoving my sleep around the clock the long way, in order to set it back to normal after it got skewed by several hours. Turns out that this way seems substantially more effective than most of the other approaches I've taken before: Normal circadian rhythms are somewhat over 24 hours, and I have a natural tendency to stay up longer than I mean to, so the method involves simply going to bed and getting up a couple hours later each day until you're back to the proper time.

This is sorta how I reset my sleep the last time (a month or so ago?), except that time I'd already pretty much had my sleep drift by about 14 hours or so from my preferred time before I decided to try it, so it seemed pretty straightforward at that point. Of course it helps if you don't have work etc to go to when you do this, but if you did you (for "you", read "I") probably wouldn't have the sleep-drifting problems in the first place. I'm not sure if I did it too fast, but I appear to be back to my chosen hour now. Hooray! But my eyes feel like they've been left in the oven or something and I want an earlier night tonight.

Whilst shoving my bedtime along, I was asked last week to help my dad with collecting a new patio door, manoeuvring his palm tree into the far room through empty doorway, and later to help fit aforementioned door. Cost surprisingly much. We observed that it looked rather out of place in the crappy room with the crumbling walls and roof and window and lack of floor. Also had a worrying moment where, having just hung the door on its hinges, my dad gave it an experimental swing to.
"Bwaargh!!" I blurted
"What?" he asked, as I pointed at the space where we hadn't yet fitted the handle to the door that was just clicking shut. The pair of mole-grips with the bolt thingy we'd been testing the latch with was lying outside. Thankfully after I fished around for a minute or so for something suitable, I heard a click as he managed to turn the latch with his penknife, and we went off to get the handle before any more nonsense occurred.

Then, what with the increasing cold (it's only November!), the predictions of the coldest winter in 60 years or however long, and our cold house, I got around to putting up bubble-wrap on the windows as we'd contemplated earlier. We've not got everywhere done by a long stretch, but I did the kitchen, bathroom, one landing, and some of my room here. I'm not sure how much good it does, but the place is already appallingly uninsualated and unheated, so I figure every little helps. We also did the big window in that far room with the new door and the plants in it, but the holes in the roof there would probably make it a bit pointless.

This week, I got around to placing an order for DAT/DDS tapes-with a company that later transpired to be located on the same road as my sister, on the other side of the country. Heh! I also went to town and purchased a tiny cheap oil-filled-radiator, to see whether they were any good before we try getting any others. Seems OK, but smelt rather painty especially at first. Having it under my desk turned out to be a bad idea though- having my feet and legs toasty was a nice luxury at first, but then just made me notice the rest of me was colder; plus it made my eyes feel dry, which was much of the reason for trying such a heater in the first place instead of a convector heater.

And then today... room was mild again due to the little heater (now the other side of the desk to avoid those issues, but it may still be why my eyes are dry), had been using the PC a while before going to make lunch... when *pop* the power went. Much drama later (my dad had bought an even-cheaper heater that nuked everything), I was stressing over whether the computer would be ok, as I was only a day or two away from the DATs arriving (5 day delivery!) and I've not backed the thing up. Ever. When I got online, checked my email... yep, speak of the devil: One lot of tapes I ordered are "obsolete", the other lot are out of stock until the 30th and they'd like to know what I want to do. Yeah, so do I. *sigh* I WANT TO BACK UP MY MACHINE DAMMIT!!

So much of the day I've spent searching for other DAT vendors, where the number in stock is actually listed. It's also an annoyance that many vendors don't actually say how much their delivery costs *mutter*. I'll have to carry on tomorrow.

Anyhow. New meme, mangle a joke, ideally splicing it with another. I'll start!
Two nuns are at a barbeque. One says "Where's the beef?" and the other says "Yes, it does, doesn't it?"

Enough now. I'm off to bed. Nighty night.

Current Mood: tired
Saturday, October 29th, 2005
7:50 pm
Communication suckery
I'm just writing this now to while away the minutes before Interrobang twigs (if the fact gets through) that Jabber is b0rken, fucked to high heaven, pining for the fjords, etc, and checks her email. Alternatively, reading this might give her a clue, if she does that first. FWIW, when I met up with Alex a month or 3 ago, we discussed Jabber for a bit, and he mentioned using it for a while before abandoning it- he had many of the same problems as I did, with nonsense like the Echo Bug (he described it exactly), server flakiness, and unbelievable lag. We also later discussed a bit the idea I'd had of a possible alternative IM service (yes, that one I described a few months ago with the general spec that it should not suck).

Oh yes. The other part, is that if I seem somewhat uncommunicative and haven't been commenting a great deal or replying to many comments, etc, it's largely because no sooner had I started recovering from my horrible cold, than my mum got something even more horrible, and I've been having to help look after her (and her pigeons, yet again), for the past... 2 weeks now? I think... Anyway, I'd been getting worn out by it all, but she's mostly better now. Hooray! I'm now feeding+putting away the pigeons in the evening, whilst she lets them out in the morning. I was having difficulty getting up in time anyway.

I'd say something about my mental difficulty with communication too, but I don't have the mental energy. Oh, that sort of describes the pheonomenmomnememomneenenemomenmom quite well really.

And lastly, I saw this game on b3ta.com the other day, it sounded like a game I'd seen before, and I understand the general concept, but I can't see here what I'm supposed to do. I'm not sure if this is because Flash is fucking up again (as it often does, what with it sucking and being horrible and proprietary), or if I'm stupid. I suspect that there's supposed to be actual colours shown somewhere? Meanwhile, several attempts at just clicking whatever I could before the time expired left me feeling like the person who asked which one was the "any" key. Click WHICH COLOUR?!

Current Mood: fed up
Monday, October 17th, 2005
6:43 pm
Ok, I'm still somewhat crappy-feeling and low on mental energy, but this is bugging me now:

The other day, I got a little "(no subject)" spam, and when I looked at it, it was a chunk of HTML. This didn't surprise me too much, as my mailer doesn't support HTML and either shows the plaintext version only* or... I forget what it usually does in HTML-only mails to be honest :P Regardless, I like the way Sylpheed deals with such nonsense. But I digress, here is the aforementioned HTML chunk, with angle-brackets replaced with round brackets out of paranoia and not feeling like escaping them to stop LJ interpreting them:

(TITLE)404 Not Found(/TITLE)
(H1)Not Found(/H1)
The requested URL was not found on this server.(P)

Yeah, I can see perfectly well what it is, but why in fuck's name?! And then, about 10 minutes ago, I got another, same HTML. Different address of course, although the previous one was from BTInternet (UK) and this one is from Russia, according to the headers. Oh, I forgot to mention the nub of the matter: This isn't like covering text** for getting a spam payload through filters. It's the whole of the body of the email. No other text, no attatchments. I wondered if it might have been some sort of virus (yeah, like I'd be vulnerable anyway), except there wasn't even a "we stripped a dubious zipfile attachment off this" notice, and the headers from my mail provider say that it was found to be clean. So overall, it just seems like the most utterly pointless thing in the world, unless its sole purpose was to call me "Fay Milligan" (which the 2nd one failed at). Any ideas? It's simply too enigmatic for me to ignore.

(*-in some cases, I've got HTML spams where the plain text version informs me "Your mailer doesn't support HTML. Get a better mailer", about which I still don't quite know what to think...)
(**-I've received some fairly peculiar spam cover texts, including about 3 in Latin, which also had some excellent subjects, such as "bum Orgaran", "Re: papacy Ammonia (Strong)", and "go Diabetic Diapedic Foot". Yes, I liked them so much I kept them. Plus the payload they carried of an advert for "Viagra soft" amused me)

Current Mood: baffled
Thursday, October 13th, 2005
7:46 am
Well ok, I seem to be provisionally somewhat better. At least, I think I still have the cold a bit, but I'm in not in the "sinuses so stuffed full that you feel like you've been kicked in the head and your eyes feel weird" stage, just the "cough your lungs up so hard that you feel like you're going to puke" stage. Oh well.

Here are some random bits and pieces:

  • Today (Thursday the 13th) is, unless I'm horribly mistaken, John Peel Day; celebrate the life of the great man by listening to a ton of great and varied music played in his honour from all over the place. Naturally Radio 1 has coverage of events, and you can listen to BBC Radio anywhere (?) in the world online, for up to a week after the broadcast IIRC. Hear something new or good or both!
  • Seems like misunderstanding of the value of macros even extends to some coders of Lisp, a language where AFAICT they're even more useful than in C. "Macro" is not just a synonym for "inlined function done in a way that upsets OOP dogmatists". Sounds like it also upsets a small number of misguided functional-programming dogmatists too, but that's beside the point.
  • somethingsomething
  • I think this is now the third in the "Grow!" series of Flash games, and it is possibly the maddest. When I eventually solved it, I came to the conclusion the author had been sniffing things he shouldn't. But good overall! OTOH, there's "Tontie" on the same site, which was rather compulsive. I have told myself not to play it again as it takes too long sadly and I have numerous more important things to sink my time into.
  • In random wanderings across the internet, I happened to come across a link to this thing. I wasn't looking for it, I simply have a tendency as someone with an interest in physics, alternative technology and renewable power sources, to gravitate towards such things. I actually found it via a Wikipedia entry on Tesla coils believe it or not. I got to wondering, "if this works, how come I don't hear more about it?"... it then sorta occurred to me that having a 50-foot aerial to collect electricity via RF would be kinda dangerous when storms turn up. But it still sounds interesting, and maybe it'd work with smaller, indoor receivers.
    In searching for other info on the subject - "atmospheric electricity" or "radiant energy", I found a variety of stuff. a fair bit of which seemed to be moving more into the territory of less rational ideas. So what with the sort of company this meme is keeping, I'm not sure how much credence I can give it.
    OTOH, perhaps that is why it would have had so little mainstream attention? Well, aside from the lightning aspect, again. And them pesky energy conglommerates too *shakes fist theatrically* -who are apparently also responsible for spreading the idea of "peak oil" in order to raise prices whilst keeping us from finding out that oil is created out of nothing by the Oil Fairy (actually a species of goblin living deep under the Earth's crust).
  • I also got thinking about airships, and their advantages. There should be more airships. Apparently they're not cost-efficient for transporting people, but maybe that'll change as fuel prices rise? Or not.
  • There was, no doubt, something else. There always is. Oh yeah, I should catch up with commenty things now I'm somewhat better :)
  • Hey, I remembered! These are clearly far from the worst analogies, I would say quite the opposite myself... although yes, one or two seem a bit unoriginal.

Current Mood: groggy
Sunday, October 9th, 2005
6:46 pm
By way of explanation, in case people think I mam exgnoring them, the cold I got the other week (which was acutaly a sopre thorat) seem s to have gotten worse quite a bit. My hreat is all stuffed up and my sinuses especially from my runny noise dreaining into them, and I am perpetually sneezing HARD and sniffing and blowing my nose and am generatly snottier than a libertarian who has been asked to consider the welfar of others. BLARGH
Oh, and there are funny welty things on my left arm (not my right!!) that are driving me nots. And the gernreal point is that I got about 4 hours sleep and then cthought "bugger it I woll not get back to lslep like this I ll just get up".

So I did, and then I ended up helping out doing things like mending our dryer what has broken and is now seeming odd now it has fixed, and stuff like that. And anyway, I'm moff to bed. Am tired. Goodnight. Sorry if I don't reply to stuff much for a bit, iI dnont' know how long. *wave*

PS it is probably not bird plage or snaything, but it still sucks

[Little Update for clarification a couple days later]:
(1) "hreat" meant "head" not "heart",
(2) I didn't mean I fixed the drier, rather I was just a pair of helping hands, and fuck, that was fiddly.
(3) If it's not obvious, it wasn't having a massive cold that has this general effect, but having too little sleep- which in this case came from being unable to breathe properly due to the massive cold.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
7:52 am
Hundreds and Thousands
Hmm. Well that last entry got a lot of attention, didn't it? I was sorta supposing someone would at least misunderstand and get the wrong end of the stick, maybe have a bit of a flame. How dull. *shrug* Meanwhile, it's been a while since I posted anything other than that, so here's a load of random crap I've been not getting around to posting.

what's been going on then? LooooongCollapse )
What else... That was much of the weekend. Today's news is I caught another mouse, lpetrazickis sent me a GMail invite, presumably to taunt me with, and our dear realinterrobang is ILL! GET WELL SOON, 'BANG!!! She said she's probably going to tell the college she can't go in tomorrow (to do her part-time teaching gig), and will go to the doctors again instead. I'm sure she'll have something to say about it tomorrow, so far all I can tell you is she's coughing a lot and sweating apparently, and has since gone to bed.

Not Safe For Wo^H^HInterrobangs (other fun things)

  • Couple of days ago, the 2005 Interactive Fiction Competition submissions were announced as ready for people to download. I've not taken part in judging any of them due to the fact that I couldn't or wouldn't play the Windows binaries and things for weird closed-source interpreters and stuff- so either I'd be ineligible or it'd be unfair of me to vote. Oh well. But I look forward to finding time to try out the z-code games, at any rate. I haven't played any text adventures for a couple of months now.
  • Anyone remember the brilliant FenslerFilm? They did some spoof GI JOOEEEEEE videos based on "PSAs" (whatever those are) that a lot of us found hilarious, until the author was sent a Cease-And-Desist letter from Hasbro lawyers a year or so ago and he took them down. Meanwhile, the videos have been mirrored elsewhere (often transcoded from the original MPEG into countless other formats, for no good reason), and looking on the original site, there's now some other goodies! I love the Sealab commercials, sheer brilliance.

And I'm sure I still managed to forget something. Are you still here? Am I?

Current Mood: chipper
Thursday, September 29th, 2005
10:13 am
Evolution, various meanings thereof, and how to explain them
(adapted and extended from a journal comment elsewhere that was starting to get long):

I got thinking about the (brief as it got cut short) argument I ended up in with hunterkirk a few months ago. He had stated that the theory of evolution had "never been proven in the lab" or words to that effect. I pointed out that in fact, yes it had been demonstrated. He then turned round and asked "Ok, where then has anybody taken some inanimate chemicals and made living cells appear from them?"*. Now personally, I believe abiogenesis** was the source of life on Earth, but I consider that to be a wholly different question to whether or not evolution is an accurate theory.
(*- I'm paraphrasing again, probably with better spelling)
(**- the creation of living matter from non-living matter by naturalistic forces for those who don't know, but I'm probably misdescribing it)

Furthermore, even if one's definitions of "evolution" doesn't cover "the ultimate origin of life on Earth", there's the distinction between evolution as the general process of natural selection acting as a cause of speciation, and evolution as the source of the set of species alive today. I think part of the problem, is that the ID people refer to it as just the one monolithic thing, an alternative to Creationism as an explanation of everything. So where there's any one bit they find implausible, they make out that the whole thing's too unlikely or flat-out impossible.

But it's kinda like with that stupid argument that evolution would be like a 747 randomly assembling itself in a storm, or however the thing goes. Evolution doesn't claim it all happens in one go, which would be absurd, and similarily, I think it would be more digestible for those who currently seem to find it too incredible, if the explanation of such subjects pointed out that it's lots of interrelated theories, some of which depend directly on the more basic and indisputable facts, others of which are independent, etc.

I'm not sure if I've got the point across effectively yet, nor whether I've answered the question "And this belongs in a science class why?" that I originally started writing in response to. I wasn't saying it was, but what I think would belong in a science class, is anything that makes at least individual parts of the theories of evolution acceptable to people who otherwise would write the whole thing off as too unlikely.

So, shall we have a look at some separate theories, some of which seem so blatantly obvious that the term "theory" seems too vague (even though it isn't at all)? Ok. The actual "evolution is a process that occurs" part should be simple enough to start with:

  • Forces of selection can affect the genes of a population; this is easily acceptable, humans have done this with countless animals and plants. Try looking at the various breeds of pigeons and telling me that selection doesn't change things.
  • Fitness and other such factors that give an individual an advantage over others in its population can act as a means of selection. How often do you see someone objectionably rich with a single-figure IQ? No wait, don't answer that. But joking aside, it's pretty easy to see that this theory works.
  • Therefore, "natural selection" can be a force that moulds populations to make them more "fit" by whatever criteria are relevant to that population. Being able to survive is only the most obvious of these criteria, but things like being able to build a really really pretty nest are also relevant to creatures such as bower birds- a criteria that can be explained in terms of it demonstrating to potential mates various other more useful traits and eventually becoming an end in itself.
  • Furthermore, "speciation", the process of a population of one species dividing itself into two separate species (I believe the definition is down to whether or not they can breed with each other but don't quote me on that), has been observed at various points.
  • So we can further conclude that natural selection can give rise to different species. This process is evolution.

The question of whether this theory accounts for the species around us, as I say, is a separate issue, and one that I think would make sense to be discussed separately. Not because it is weaker in some way, as there's plenty of scientific evidence for it, but because I think that it makes more sense. The same again with the question of where the original life forms from the far end of the family tree came from, even if the theory of abiogenesis is complementary to evolution. If you so wished, you could consistently believe in a world where evolution produced all our species from a set of living cells created by God, Allah, Vishnu, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Superted; or for that matter, that cells came about by chemical reactions, but underwent artificial selection by the entity of your choice. It would unnecessary to do either, but the theories don't strictly depend on each other.

Purists may say "No! Just because Creationists can't accept it, doesn't mean we should water down science!", and I agree that, but I say that it's important to be pragmatic and spoon-feed those who can't swallow the thing whole. Stating the fact that even if one or two of the various parts weren't true, the other theories could still stand scrutiny just as well isn't a concession to the ID crowd, nor an admittance that "there is a controversy", but a demonstration of the robustness of the whole concept, and a means of getting as much as possible into minds that would otherwise reject it as far too big an idea. Meh, I've probably explained myself wrong, but sod it.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
6:55 am
Everybody Links, Magical Limbaugh
Because the things that he thinks, are ever so... thingyour...

I decided to resist the urge to make a post of it despite the video's brilliance, as realinterrobang was the one who gave me the link via IM, but then I spotted Leo went and posted it himself after being given it too.

Interrobang:You link it too!

Interrobang:Go! Do it! Posty posty! Chop chop! :D

So there you go - so good we posted it twice. And it sounds like 3 times even! FWIW, even though I know very very little about him and his punditty cohorts, it still worked for me so I'm sure it'll work even better for the denizens of North America.

(Edit: forgot to mention that it's probably Not Safe For Work (TM))

Current Mood: conspiratorially amused

Friday, August 12th, 2005
3:57 am
Jabber sucks, and other updatey things
*mutter mutter*

Yeah yeah, I've not been on LJ a great deal recently. That's not due to my eventual buggering-back to Slashdot a couple of weeks back, I've not been posting on there that much either. I guess I've just not been feeling all that communicative overall.

(Ooops, updated to put in the LJ-cut thingy because this is very long)Collapse )

Current Mood: peeved
Saturday, June 18th, 2005
5:38 am
Miniature medial musings
Looking at BtAF today, I see that Notley's still got it! (meanwhile the great Jeff Rowland linked Ugly Hill, which is new and seems rather amusing so far)...

On the subject of cartoony (and other) things made to entertain (and occasionaly even edify) us, when I saw one of dglenn's recent LJ entries, I found myself thinking about how the Star Wars series sort of follows a pattern that seems to be used very often in various other story franchises etc. No, I don't mean the plot, especially as I've not seen 2 or 3.

vague ramblingsCollapse )

Current Mood: contemplative
Friday, June 10th, 2005
1:38 am
DundundundundundundundunFLASH! Aa-aaaah! I wanna see the hedgeyhog!
So, I was in the garden to take the dog out a few minutes ago. Whilst she was out on the pavement* starting intently at nothing (presumably listening to the sound of foxes that are usually quite visible in whatever direction she's not looking in), I heard rustling noises from under the shrubs behind the gatepost of our driveway.

(*-no, we don't let her mess on the pavement, she just likes to go and sniff at it every night; it's a dog thing)

I twigged that as I'd seen it around there before (and there was no sign of a cat or anything there), it was quite probably the hedgehog again. Unfortunately, I couldn't see him/her as we don't have working lights in the garden, so I gave up looking after a couple seconds and let it be.

When I got back in, I was thinking how I could probably have used the torch if I'd brought it out, and I wondered if that might even be enough to let my cheap-as-crap little digital camera get a shot of it; previous attempts to use it at dusk onwards, even when pointed at the full moon etc, have indicated that it would be highly unlikely to manage at all.

Then I got wondering, could I get some sort of external flash unit for the camera (whether using flash-cubes or a strobe light or similar, but reasonably cheap)? Problem is, it's not even got any sort of connector for such a thing, so I'm not sure how it could all be synchronised. Perhaps some sort of crazy hacky solution could be implemented? Homemade electronics and gaffer-tape? Any ideas? Yes, still cheap ones I mean. The camera only cost £10, it's the same type as the one I gave to realinterrobang.

[Additional question: I have anonymous posting disabled on my account to keep the trolls out; is it possible to have individual entries (eg, this one) override that setting and allow anonymous posters, but screened?]

[edited a minute after posting, to relocate footnote to the referring paragraph and avoid obscene mental imagery... and later again after I saw I'd copied over too much, DOH! One of them nights.]

Current Mood: curious
Wednesday, June 1st, 2005
3:23 am
After about 2 months of work I finally packaged up and uploaded my synthesizer. It's not nearly finished, it can make noises (eh, well write noises into WAV files) but isn't interactive and is probably quite absurdly hard to use unless you happen to be the one who wrote it (that should improve in future, but I'm not doing any more on it for a while).

In other words, this isn't so much a "you'd want to see this!" post as a public "thank god I got that done at last", because I was wanting to get on and do something else instead, but I was determined to get what I'd done onto my site first. I was starting to see it as a chore, which made it a lot harder to get on with.


Ok, I'm good now :)

Current Mood: knackered
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