Somebody's getting vindictive...

Either that, or RedHat still have a sense of humour. Upon visiting using IE5.5:

Spambot detected.

Hi, your web browser has triggered our spambot detection mechanism. A spambot is a computer program designed to scoop up e-mail addresses and bombard them with unsolicited advertisements.

If we made a mistake, and you really are a human being, we apologize profusely. It just happens that your browser looks VERY similar to a known spambot. Please try using a different browser and you should have no problem connecting to the site.

Have a good day (and die, spambots, die)

Just for reference, that particular browser's client string:
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; DigExt; T312461)

Evil spambot that it is.


First post in about 9 months. Hmmm, people will be saying I don't love you all any more. The truth is that I'm just lazy.

Apparently I have to post links to the photos of me from our recent last-place-winning paintball tournament appearance (yep, we really did come last. And we didn't even win the Fair Play trophy like we did at the last one.) So if you really are that bored:

Here's how not to do itCollapse )

(no subject)

I don't normally bother with online quizzes etc. What can I say, I must be very bored. Or avoiding something. Still, apparently, I'm...

Droopy Key Chain

You Know What?

What Random Object From Ydoc Nameloc's Room Are You?

Apparently, this is because "...I just sorta hang around and look cute. I have my bouts of depression due to having a small chain lodged in my skull. At least I don't lose my keys."

Oh, and I'm told that today was System Administrator Appreciation Day. Remarkably, despite this, nobody appreciated me.

(no subject)

I do wish lawyers wouldn't set out the definitions at the top of contracts in alphabetical order. It leads to some very disturbing juxtapositions. In the "repayment protection" section of the agreement of a certain web-based credit card, one section of the the definition list reads as follows (actul definitions omitted for brevity, but the order is verbatim):


The subliminal connections being established right now are going to take months of therapy to unravel in 20 years time, I'll swear.

Paintball and other fish...

Gosh, is it really 6 months since I posted anything here? As if it mattered.

General announcements to friendly-type people: I am organising a paintball outing on 16 June (that's a Sunday.) I need to fill something like 3 spots, so if any of you are interested, mail me asap.

The site is Delta Force paintball in Cobham, the nearest BR station is Effingham Junction (on the Waterloo to Guildford via Cobham line, and the nearest major road junction is J10 on the M25 (where the A3 crosses). Map at:

Cost will be about £13, which includes all the equipment you need (semi-automatic paintball marker, goggles, overalls, free tea and coffee and your first 100 paintballs). Extra paint is £6/hundred, or £5 if bought in bulk.

I need to book the places within the next couple of days, so please mail me or phone me asap if you're interested.

Spam wars

I think this one is a candidate for "most amusing spam of the year". I reproduce it here completely verbatim; i don't think any further comment is needed:

Subject: About spamming

Hello, Many thanks by its interes.
The base contains the following data in format txt.
In this format
is possible to utilize the programs that includes
the CD. This it is
the detail:
Of free accounts (AOL-Hotmail-Freemail, etc), also
of hablahispana:
180.000 commercial Controls (Hispanic) : 40.000
(what does not imply
that among theDemas directions not exist
commercial). In the punctual
case of Argentina, exists but informacion because we
have placed
special atencion in the zone, by commercial
questions. Of this pais,
ademas of him mentioned, there is a base in excel of
130.000 directions
of businesses with name and mail electronico, a pack
of directions
gubernamentales, journalists, professional and state
agencies (around
150.000 data in total) : Ademas, an estadistica of
the better
businesses positioned as for facturacion annual, he
contains all the
data including quantityOf employees and mount of
(some and-mails they lack here). The remainder is a
recopilacion of
the demas countries of the world of other tongues,
and-mails and they are 70millones. It includes the
programs that
were utilized for recopilar the information and for
the envios.
With these programs podra to organize the base of
way personalizada.
To group the directions by pais, server, order
alfabetico, etc.
To perform the I send masivo of their message and to
directions of mail of the web, groups of news that
permit it to
expand the base according to their needs. The
modality implemented
for the delivery of this CD is via
The modality implemented for the delivery of this CD
is via
correspondence certified to the place that you
against payment of the I mount mentioned by means of
turn by
Western Union, Money Gram or transferencia banking.
By said payment
will send it the corresponding invoice together with
the CD and a
copy advanced by and-mail.
Juan Jos�.

(no subject)

Having been doing the birthday thing for another year, I need to take a moment to thank everybody who didn't remind me how old I'm getting by making a fuss about it.

After a week or so of various people getting it wrong and making a fuss, however, I have to admit to being fond of this "getting presents" thing. So thank you to all those people as well. My rewards for having survived another year without accidentally electrocuting myself are, in no particular order:

  • One large hardback book entitled "The World of Caffeine"
  • Mr Benn's Little Book of Life (I must remember to send Mr Benn mine in return)
  • One "Ewok Village" road sign
  • One model of the Moon of Endor, which opens to reveal an Ewok Pilot flying above the forest
  • One wall poster depicting a topological map of the Internet, as seen from New Jersey
  • One waterproof cover for same
  • One same
  • One Jacky Chan DVD
  • One NTSC VHS entitled "The Ewok Adventure"
  • "Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines"
  • One long bent thing with a sort of lump on the end
  • "Feng Shite: A Little Book of House Messing"
  • One genuine 1983 "Return of the Jedi Punch Out & Make It" book

And believe it or not, I only made up 3 of those entries (HINT: if it contains the word "Ewok" it's real. Oh, and I'm not joking about the grout remover either. If anyone needs any grout removing, I'm your man.) I would post photos of them, but can't be bothered. Get away from the keyboard and visit us, if you want to see them.

Random points of note, which may or may not also be of interest:

  • The Ewok Pilot is in fact a barely-remodelled Wicket the Ewok (from the recent series, not the old ones).
  • I can't bring myself to Punch Out And Keep pages from a 1983 book, it'll probably be worth something in a few years.
  • In "Feng Shite" we have finally found the instruction manual for baratron's mother. Not that this will actually be of any help in interacting with her.
  • Current Music
    Pink Floyd - "Time"


I've been meaning to post all week, but have been too busy or too lazy. The other half finally beat me into sitting down for ten minutes to relate the theory I developed after last weekend.

I was in Amsterdam last weekend, for an annual industry conference we always attend. It is also a chance to see people from the other sites the company has: Amsterdam (obviously), Berlin and, presumably to add the the list next year, Brussels. Only a few of us bother actually visiting the conference, and it has become more an end-of-season party for the whole industry than a serious conference (all the real business is done earlier in the year, at NAB and Siggraph, the two other major events relevent to the industry.)

Amsterdam is a funny place. It's pretty in parts, and pretty ugly in others -- I get a different impression every time I visit. One thing that has always struck me, though, is what a dangerous place it is. Nothing to do with the sex or the drugs, although the drugs can't exactly help. In fact it seems like about the worst place in Europe to legalise cannabis, given the hazards inherent in the place. I visualise a group of high-ranking law enforcement officials from all over Europe gathering to discuss the soft drug issue, and eventually concluding:

"OK lads, they're going to smoke the stuff whether we let them or not, so we're going to have to make it legal somewhere to contain the buggers. But while we're at it, lets have ourselves a little fun."

And so they searched all over Europe, and hit upon Amsterdam -- the one town that looked the same wherever you were, just to mess with the poor kids' minds. Every street in the centre looks alike, row upon row of tall-narrow brick townhouses, lined up along identical-looking canals, crossed periodically with similar canals lined with more Lego houses. The canals seem to be straight, but have a nasty habit of turning 90 degrees without you noticing so you end up walking in completely the wrong direction for hours, past row upon row of identical-looking houses.

The houses themselves are trying enough. The stairs in these houses were clearly added as an afterthought, and no space has been wasted on them (and no spirit levels either, by the look of them.) The long trek to, say, your hotel room on the second floor is tricky enough when stone-cold sober; how you manage it when even a little happy is beyond me.

On top of this, Amsterdam is literally strewn with minor hazards to keep you on your toes whenever you set foot outside the coffee shop. Wander a little too far one way, and the unprotected canals claim the unwary. A little too far the other way, and you tumble down the steep steps to someone's basement entrance. Even crossing the road requires that you take your life into your hands. No amount of frantic looking around can quite rid you of the sense of peril as you try to figure out which way the cars are coming from, only to find out that the trams often go the other way. When you get to the other side you pause for a moment to get your breath back and congratulate yourself at having made it in one piece, only to find you are standing in the middle of the cycle-lane, with insane natives bearing down on you from all directions. After a brief "startled gazelle" moment when you realise they're not likely to stop for you, you lurch forward again, to end clinging to a lamppost or some other suitable immovable object that you're sure even the trams or the cyclists wouldn't attempt to run over. Again, this is written from the point of view of the sober visitor; drugs can only serve to enhance the experience to a new level.

The trams, of course, don't have much choice. They can only go one way, and take a little while to come to a halt since they weigh 20 tons. When you observe closely though, the same is true of the bicycles. Ability to steer around obstacles is a luxury long-since done away with on these dinosaurs (or at least if you used to be able to steer you can't anymore because the handlebars have rusted up.) The fashion is Amsterdam is to drive the oldest, crappiest bike in town, since anything that might distinguish your piece of junk as being in any way better than anyone else's piece of junk will lead to it being nicked within about 20 minutes. Not that anyone is really bothered about this, since everyone knows you can by a replacement piece of junk on a street corner for a pocketful of loose change, which may even bear a striking resemblance to your last piece of junk. There is a roaring trade in Amsterdam for, er, pre-owned bicycles. Or, more often that not, still-owned. Exercising any kind of control over these tired old beasts is a skill in itself -- never rent a bicycle in Amsterdam unless you have a death wish, or at least like the taste of canal water.

All in all, I am quite proud when I manage to return from Amsterdam without major injury, and always look forward to returning: it serves as my dose of excitement for the year.
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    rejuvenated rejuvenated