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Sun, Nov. 25th, 2007, 11:22 am

I went paintballing with the guys from work and some clients-cum-colleagues yesterday. It was cold, slightly damp, and totally awesome. This is the first time I've been paintballing, but Andy H mentioned that wearing multiple layers would be a good idea, so I did. The net consequence is that I don't seem to be overly bruised (even the one pictured doesn't really hurt).

We (that is, the five of us from Liberatas) had intended to go fully tooled up, hence the image to the left which depicts the scene in the office on Friday. The orange diamond marked "1.4 G" - visible in the larger picture, click the thumbnail - is apparently the UN explosives classification for proximate pyrotechnics as packed in shredded junk mail. Oh, and those tubular ones that look a bit like badly-wrapped rock are flashbangs.

I'll refrain from passing comment on my performance in the firefight, other than to say that during the last man standing finale, as I strode towards the small hut the oncoming fire was originating from, I swear I heard my boss shout "He's like the f**king terminator!". I think I've found a new hobby.

Fri, Nov. 2nd, 2007, 11:29 pm
I love my job

I'll expand on this a little later (what I spend the last day-and-a-half doing at work was ...interesting), but I just wanted to say this.

I thought I was doing fairly well a couple of months ago, when circumstances lead me to be typing the following SQL query into my computer:
SELECT * FROM Brewery;

It didn't have the results that quite frankly it should have done, as all it did was return a list of breweries, but it seemed a reasonable effort non-the-less. Well, I think I topped it today:
SELECT KeywordID, Keyword FROM tblKeyword WHERE Keyword LIKE '%buttcheeks%';

Thu, Nov. 1st, 2007, 07:32 pm
Dog eats mobile: the future was warm and squidgy

Well, what do you know: my K850i turned up yesterday morning, and was activated by lunch time. I've been playing with it incessantly* since it turned up, and frankly I love the thing.

Shortly after it turned up at the office, a rather larger package arrived for me. This contained the parts for my new computer, made necessary after I screwed either the motherboard or the processor in my old one. Guess that's another line-entry under "idiot tax". Anyway, since I didn't have enough money to buy myself a nice high-power graphics card, and my old PC (which had a GeForce 7600 GT) was AGP, I was a little stuck.

Fortunately, my geeky nature saved me - a few years ago I decided "the more monitors the better" and bought myself an nVidia Quadro PCI twin-head card to go along side my then-current main card. This means I'm typing this on a quad-core machine with a 32meg graphics card. Still, it's running two monitors at 1280x1024, so I shouldn't complain.

* stop sniggering at the back

Sat, Oct. 27th, 2007, 03:21 pm
Like a fleeting thought, stuck inside of Leonard Cohen's mind

So it's upgrade time for my mobile phone again, and for a change Sony Ericsson have decided to release a good phone just in time for me to demand it.

Orange, however, have other ideas, despite ringing me up at the start of the month to try to persuade me to upgrade. When I ask in the store, they tell me it'll cost £150. I point out that this is ludicrous, as I've been paying more for the last 18 months than a new contract that includes the phone for free costs. The price drops to £50, but refuses to go any lower, so I leave.

Getting home, I ring customer services (the online upgrade form refuses to believe my account number) and am given the £150 price again. However, Debbie* offers to put me through to another department that might be able to help. I ask her to do so, and a few moments later I am talking to a friendly gentleman who is perfectly happy to override the price of the phone and give me it for free as well as drop me to a slightly cheaper contract, all without any quibbling. The only fly in the ointment is that the phone is currently out of stock.

So apparently I must wait for a text message in the coming week which will tell me the phone is back in stock, and at that point I should ring them back and they will sort it out for me. Here's hoping.

* Reasonably-helpful lady may or may not have been called Debbie.

Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007, 09:55 pm

So I was reading Going Postal on Attrition and decided it might be entertaining to try and write a piece of software to produce random AOLer spew. I had an idea of how to go about it (see the technical cut), but I wanted to test it on something without spidering all of the postal pages. Then I found a copy of the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy books.

The test results are here, here, here and here. These may contain spoilers if you've not read the books (though good luck working out what is a spoiler and what isn't), and may or may not be funnier if you have read the books funny. My favourite excerpts, in no particular order:

"Look," he said, "it's just a little one."
"I know," she said.

"I thought," she said putting on a low husky voice, "that you were very keen to get back."
"No hurry," he said airily, "I want you to take me to your leader," and she pointed into the War Zones in the sky.

"It's not what you've done they're worried about," said Roosta, "it's what you're going to say next."

"I've found it!" cried Zaphod, thumping the console. "I've found it!"
Ford stared at it in astonishment.
"What is it?" he said.
"That ..." said Zaphod, "is the cat on the phone?"

"For those of you who ever hoped to see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said, "this is my semi-cousin Zaphod Beeb ..."

She was relieved when a second or so later he found he was sobbing for his mother.

It had a note from him pinned to part of its sparse instrument panel. The note had an arrow drawn on it, pointing at one of the other mattresses.

Technical gubbinsCollapse )

Sat, Aug. 11th, 2007, 03:24 pm

Okay, this is weird.

I've had a job now for about 5 months, and on Monday I start interviewing again. This time, however, it's the other way around - we're looking for someone to do the bits of my job that I don't like, so I can concentrate on the interesting bits. In other words, roughly speaking, the job description is "Andy's minion".

Okay, so Martin (my boss) didn't use the word "minion", but that was pretty much what he meant. How cool is that? Weirdly, I'm the first guy that's being given someone to manage - I work alongside two other developers, both of whom have been there longer than I have, and whilst we all help each other out none of us appears to have any seniority over the others. Also, according to the contract which Martin finally sorted out recently, my job title is "senior analyst" (though I suspect the others' are the same).

I hope I make a reasonable (sub-)boss...

Oh yes - if you couldn't tell, I love this job.

Mon, May. 14th, 2007, 10:17 pm
Food for thought

As a last random thing to do before I go to bed (early night - I'm tired), I put my name through a site that works out how many people have your name (in the US, anyway). Aside from telling me my name was slightly less common than I thought, it afforded me the following two interesting bits of information:
  • There are 813,460 people in the U.S. with the first name Andrew.
  • 99.63 percent of people with the first name Andrew are male.

...If I understand that right, it's trying to tell me that there are roughly 3000 women in America called Andrew. To all those women: I feel for you, I really do.

I'll update this thing properly at some point soon. I've got things I want to say.

Mon, Jan. 29th, 2007, 03:57 pm

<@Legionary> Hmm.
<@Legionary> If Andy will not go to the amateur drama, the amateur drama will come to Andy.
<@Legionary> someone just rang to ask me to be a technical advisor for something at half-term
<@Legionary> could be interesting :)
<@qmole> oh
<@qmole> i thought you were going to take up acting
<@Legionary> heh. No.
<@Legionary> I'm strictly FoH/BoH staff.
<@Legionary> actually, James wants me to help with the set
<@Legionary> which I haven't really done before

I used to do a lot of technical work for the local amateur dramatics groups, having started when I went to secondary school (one of my GCSEs is for Lighting and Set Design). Having moved back to Yorkshire, I'd been thinking about joining the Malton and Norton Amateur Operatic Society (MNAOS) again, but I never got around to it. So when I am phoned out of the blue by someone asking me to do some work in York, I am pleasantly surprised...

Sun, Jan. 7th, 2007, 09:07 pm

Well, I don't know about everyone else, but I've really enjoyed the last few weeks.

Christmas I spent at home with my parents and my sister. These days, I only see my sister once or twice a year, so it was nice to be able to catch up. Also, I'm now the proud owner of my first Haynes manual (along with quite a few other nice bits and pieces; I'm particularly fond of the limited-edition print, but then I picked it out a while ago).

New year's eve - and day - I spent with Giz and fluffle down in Bristol. Cati drove me down after I met up with them at Giz's parents - thanks! - and I came back on the third having spent some time trying to find a train that wasn't going to cost me the Earth. I enjoyed catching up with them, too, and seeing a few familiar faces.

So now it's back to the routine...

[edit] By the way, my site has been updated. And only a year after I said it would be, too.

Wed, Nov. 1st, 2006, 04:13 pm
Da Vinci's dream come true

...or something:

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