Monthly Archives: December 2004

Tip: Never upgrade anything

I bought a new ADSL/Modem/Router today, mainly for the speedier wireless but also so that I could wireless-enable my parents’ place using the sacred power of the hand-me-down.

What could go wrong, I thought to myself, by buying the newer, smaller, faster version of the thing I’ve already got: upgrading from a Netgear DG824 to a Netgear DG834. I had a few initial problems with the earlier product, but hey, they might even have fixed those. (I never learn.)

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Guerilla art

In Montpellier in October we encountered a space invader on a street corner.

Turns out that this is guerilla art. Montpellier was, in fact, one (map) of many places (maps) to have been invaded.

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Small portions copyright Microsoft Corporation

Last night I dreamed that my cooker went BSOD.

It’ll happen one day.

Naturally you’ll be able to cook more efficiently using a Linux-based cooker, but the UI will suck.

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Chez Gerard

Lynda, Sharon, Matt, Evie and I went to Chez Gerard tonight for post-Christmas nosh. Others were invited but were otherwise engaged, or still tied to relatives, or something.

We got the broody waitress, so service was good: Sharon could just wave Evie in her general direction and we’d get some attention.

My meal was pretty good: French onion soup (heavy on the onion and the bread; marshland rather than garden pond) and a puy lentil casserole with a nice bite to it, looking like a huge chilli seen from across the room. Good anti-Christmas (but nicely warming) food. I feel like going back again soon and eating exactly the same thing.

Avaragado’s rating: 9 on the Schmichter scale

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I, for one, welcome our new naturally disastrous overlords

I emailed The Guardian and the BBC today. I’ve been irrationally aggrieved by their continued use of “9.0 on the Richter scale” for the recent earthquake.

It’s not the Richter scale: that scale goes bonkers above about magnitude 7. The 9.0 that’s being quoted is actually the moment magnitude (which, by design, corresponds pretty closely to the Richter scale until about magnitude 7, but diverges above).

Saying “Richter scale” is just journalistic sloppiness: assumption rather than investigation. Yes, this is common; but that doesn’t mean I have to let them get away with it. I’m not expecting anything to change as a result, of course.

I decided not to moan about the redundant use of “tsunami waves”:

tsunami: n., pl. tsunamis. A very large ocean wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption.

In other natural disaster news: 1-in-37 chance of asteroid impact on Friday April 13, 2029 that would devastate thousands of square kilometres (based on observations at time of writing).

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ANT eating

Last night was ANT’s Christmas party. Venue was, er, The Venue. It used to be on Regent Street, but is now hidden away on the top floor of the Cambridge Arts Theatre. It’s very well hidden, actually: I (and some other diners) couldn’t find the way in, as we were foolishly expecting some kind of signage. Turns out you go into the side entrance of the Arts Theatre and fumble around until you find it. (On the way up the stairs the tannoy announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please take your seats for tonight’s presentation of Jack and the Beanstalk”. Shock news: Biggins ain’t in it.)

Dining attire ranged from jeans/jumper to full DJ. Comedy ties were also in attendance. I played safe with shirt and trousers.

My food was, to be honest, not that great. Moz/tom salad to start, pretty good; some kind of risotto concoction, pretty feeble. I was under-portioned relative to turkey eaters. Chris’s dinner party the other night had better food and indeed better wine.

ISTR they chucked us out at about half-twelve. We were sluiced out of the stage door, but sadly nobody was waiting for our autographs.

Avaragado’s rating: one not-so-magic bean

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Handwriting recognition

No, not computers for once. People.

I received a Christmas card this morning from someone I was at school with (hi John!). Funny thing is, I recognised his handwriting on the envelope immediately.

There was no “oh, I know that writing, whose is it?” phase, which you sometimes get with faces and voices. It was instant recognition. I am pretty good at recognising people’s handwriting, but is that common? I admit I have seen his handwriting since we were at school, but not that often (usually just at Christmas…).

I wonder how large the handwriting sample has to be before the brain pings a positive match? Looking at the envelope, I think I’d have got it from the first line.

Someone’s bound to have researched this somewhere.

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Dinner and a video

Went to Chris and Melanie’s last night with Lynda, Rob, Louise and Dave for a pre-Christmas sophistimacated dinner party. Highlight of the evening was, of course, the premiere of the completed Agde holiday video.

It’s 30 minutes long so a bit too big to shove up on my web site in its entirety, but I might put up a clip soon. There’ll be a repeat showing I suspect at Louise’s New Year’s Eve party, since Andy and Chef were in New York and High Wycombe respectively rather than hip’n’happenin’ Cottenham.

Andy did join us briefly when Chris decided to ring him up during a game of Chronology to ask him when hydrogen peroxide was first formulated. Ah, the wonders of transatlantic mobile communications. (He didn’t know.)

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New job, new product

Some of you know most of this already, but I haven’t blogged it yet so here it is. Effective November 10 (though it was a few weeks before all i’s and t’s were ship-shape) I packed away my freelance hat and now have a permanent job at ANT.

My hand-wave of a job title is “Creative Architect”, which is the closest I’ve so far achieved to my long-desired role as “Manager of Stuff”. The job involves content creation — webby stuff — for demos, customers, etc; user interface stuff; general design stuff; internal/external communication stuff; and general sticking-my-nose-in stuff.

I’ve spent the last couple of months working on a new product that was announced this week. It’s “content presentation and control software”, and definitely not a browser. Oh no. I’ve been working on demo content to be shown at CES next month. You can see some of the stuff I’ve been doing on a page of screenshots (housepoints will be awarded to observant readers).

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Now with added children!

Last night was the Exsquiddy Christmas party (my photos, Andy’s photos).

We planned to meet at the Pickerel, and indeed started to do so. But there’s a strict no-under-18s policy there, and no sooner had Sharon arrived with Evie (and been bought a glass of wine) than a barman told her she had to drink up and leave. Banning toddlers and screamers I can understand, but Evie wasn’t being any trouble. They refused to serve anyone else in the group until Sharon had left.

So she drank up and, along with the drinkless, went to Sino Tap instead (ex-Rope and Twine; yes, it serves Chinese food). Chef, Andy and (until I’d finished my drink) I remained for a time to point stragglers such as the family Shire to the other pub.

From there to La Margherita. Bryony was there with her new fella, plus Nadia and Antonella. Pretty good turnout all told. The food was up to the usual standard. (It always amazes me how some restaurants just can’t cope with a group of 20 and insist on a hobbled menu. We’ve never had any trouble at La Marg.)

After the meal we went back to Sino Tap for the rest of the evening. A very agreeable establishment.

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