Friday, December 21, 2007

£48,500 for Four Candles

The handwritten in red ink, 4-pages of A4 script for The Two Ronnies classic Four Candles sketch was sold in an online auction for £48,500. On the grounds that this is regularly voted that best/top/favourite/funniest comedy sketch of all time then I think £48k is a steal.

25 3D Games for Linux

Some of these free games look better than some commercial games. Most of them work on multiple operating systems but I'm going to be trying them out on Ubuntu

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Embuggerance Indeed

Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's Disease. He claims to be taking the news "fairly philosophically... and possibly with a mild optimism" See his letter on Discworld News

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What a load of balls

WOW. He finally did it. A few months ago the writer of XKCD, Randall Munroe, published a comic about GROWNUPS where the characters built a ball pit in their apartment.

Well, after one of his readers, Mike MacHenry did it and blogged it, Randall has finally built his own ball pit instead of a couch. Pictures and comments on the XKCD Blag.

If you want to work out how much it will cost you to fill your own room with ball pit balls, try this handy calculator

The DM of the Rings

I don't spend a lot of time looking for webcomics or reading them, honest. There are a couple that are noteworthy ( xkcd or Order of the Stick for instance) but most have either too much noise to signal or start off good and get progressively worse (the n00b springs to mind) or even start off great and then stop updating all together (Neko the Kitty for instance).

Occasionally one is recommended to me that is actually worth reading like The DM of the Rings. This is funny even if you've never played D&D but if you've ever been a Dungeon Master then it will bring tears to your eyes.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Emergency Zombie Defence Station

I like a good zombie film as much as the next person; unfortunately the next person happens to be a little obsessed with zombies. I occasionally get dragged into discussions with him like: "what would you do if a zombie came through the door right now?" or "a zombie army is shuffling down the main road and about to turn into our street, what do you do?".

Well now I have an answer: reach for the Emergency Zombie Defence Station which is WAY better than the "In Case of Zombie, Break Glass" found on techeblog.

Marvel at its awesome-ness (scroll about half-way down for the sign, which is my favourite bit) and remember, "only you can stop the Zombie outbreak!"

The guy has also posted the stencil he used to make the shield and the sign both on photobucket

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cool Colour Stereograms

I absolutely love stereograms ever since I "saw" my first one about 12 years ago. I actually find them easier to "see" on a computer screen than on paper.
Here are some cool ones I just discovered: http://www.colorstereo.com/archtech.gal/arch_dir.htm#Gallery

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Most things look better when you put them in a circle

Just spend a happy few minutes looking round the official BANKSY site.

I think this waterlilies oil is my favourite picture but the Rat Fact on this ratapult made me laugh: In London you're never more than 20 feet away from somebody telling you you're never more than 20 feet away from a rat.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bowling Scores

So I looked around on the interwebs for something that would let me record my bowling scores. I found a few things that let you type stuff in and get your average but nothing that just let you record games by typing in your scores for each frame and it worked out the actual score like the machine does at the alley. So I wrote a spreadsheet to do it.

WinRAR License Policy ROCKS!

I've been using WinRAR for about 5 years now and upgraded from version to version for free after having paid my one license fee way back in 2002. I recently got a laptop and wanted to get another license. I didn't want to pay the full price for a license but wanted to convert my single use license into a multi-use license and use it on my laptop, so I contacted rarlabs (sales@win-rar.com) and asked them how to go about doing it. This was their reply:

Normally we do require one license to be purchased for
each computer. But we make an exception for home users.
Home users may use their single computer usage license
on all computers which are in property of the license owner.

Best Regards,
Dimitar Tropchev
Sales Manager

I now have WinRAR on my main PC, my laptop and both of the other machines in my house.

Blogger in Draft

Just found out about the Blogger in draft blog from Google where you can "read the latest news and post comments about drafted features" that Google is working on for. It also shows you what they have recently published to the live blogger.com as well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Export favourites/bookmarks from IE/Firefox

I only just learned that IE can do this as well as Firefox and they both use the same format: DOCTYPE NETSCAPE-Bookmark-file-1 although with subtle differences you can export from one and import to the other.

In Firefox
  • Bookmarks
  • Organise Bookmarks
  • File Export
  • choose a path and filename (default is bookmarks.html)

In IE
  • File
  • Import and Export... -> Next
  • Export Favourites -> Next
  • Choose a folder/sub-folder of favourtites -> Next
  • Export to a file or Address (default is C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\bookmark.htm) -> Next
  • Finish

Monday, July 02, 2007

How to restore XP activation status information after a reformat

Having just had to go through the indignity of reinstalling Windows XP Home Edition from scratch when one of my machines blew it's main hard disk and then having to phone Microsoft to be able to activate it 'cause I got a message that I'd activated this particular version more times than Microsoft thought I should have, I thought I'd remind myself how to backup the activation status files so hopefully I wont have to do it again (unless I change a component of course).
  1. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the "C" drive.
  2. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  3. Locate the files named "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" and copy them to a safe location such as a USB key or CD.
  4. Reformat your disk and reinstall Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click "No" when asked if you want to activate Windows.
  5. Reboot your computer into SafeMode (press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal)
  6. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the "C" drive again.
  7. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder again.
  8. Locate the files named "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" (if it exists) and rename them to "wpadbl.new" and "wpabak.new"
  9. Copy your original "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" files from your USB key, CD or DVD or other location into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
  10. Restart your system.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Got QuickTime? Got Java? Oh Dear!

This might be old news by now but QuickTime has a bug that exposes a "highly critical" vulnerability in *ANY* browser with Java enabled, not just Apple's Safari, as originally thought but also Mozilla's Firefox and (no surprises here) Microsoft's IE6 and 7 (even on Vista). As of 25th April there is no exploit code out in the wild but I'm sure this wont last for long. Let's hope Apple can fix their bug before the scriptkiddies figure out how to use it to their advantage.

Is it me or do competitions like Pwn-2-Own advertising results like this just make it *MORE* likely for unscrupulous types to turn their attention to something they now know has a flaw that can be exploited?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BBC - 6 Music - Apple and EMI deal

BBC - 6 Music - Apple and EMI deal

EMI announces it is getting rid of DRM on its catalogue through the iTunes premium dowload service: about time. I waited until today to blog this one just in case it was an April Fool.

As pretty as they are I've always refused to buy an iPod on the grounds they were too expensive and iTunes has always been an irritation becasue I couldn't play any of its content on my phone which doesn't support its DRM.

Here's hoping that Napster and Sony follow suit soon.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Life in Serious Organised Crime

I have just heard the funniest radio show of my entire life: Mark Thomas on Radio 4 in My Life in Serious Organised Crime about messing about with the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, or SOCPA for short, the law that requires you to get permission from the police to demonstrate in (or near) Parliament Square.

EDIT ** Just found out Mark has an MP3 of the show avaialble on his site here which wilkl be useful when the BBC listen again stops on 5th April **

What counts as a demonstration according to the police is one person with a banner or one person with a badge or one person handing out one leaflet, standing in Parliament Square for just one minute and you have to get permission - in effect a licence - in order to demonstrate.

Amongst the absurdities this law has produced is an occasion where a woman was threatened with arrest for having a picnic in Parliament Square because her cake had the word PEACE iced upon it and the police insisted this counted as an unauthorised political protest.


You will need RealPlayer (or a plugin) or a compatible program to listen to the show and the warning before the program states that it contains extremely strong language: there are four (six if you count "crap" and "poop") swear words in the program (one of which has been bleeped) but please don't let that put you off.

When you've listened to the half-hour program and had a good laugh. Have a look at Mark's own website:
Mark Thomas Info | Information and consider showing up on the third Wednesday of every month to take part in one of the mass lone demonstrations. Don't forget to get your application in at least a week in advance by hand delivery or registered post.

Monday, February 26, 2007

BitTorrent does a Napster

BitTorrent are about to offer legitimate downloads seeling downloads of filmsna dn TV showes licensed from the studios, although the films will only be for rental not for sale.
They are aiming to give a price that feels like good value relative to what [their target demographic] were getting for free. See

Wired: AP Technology and Business News from the Outside World on Wired.com

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One is NOT a Prime Number

I used to be right (until 1999) but now I'm not.

The number 1 is a special case which is considered neither prime nor composite (Wells 1986, p. 31). Although the number 1 used to be considered a prime (Goldbach 1742; Lehmer 1909; Lehmer 1914; Hardy and Wright 1979, p. 11; Gardner 1984, pp. 86-87; Sloane and Plouffe 1995, p. 33; Hardy 1999, p. 46), it requires special treatment in so many definitions and applications involving primes greater than or equal to 2 that it is usually placed into a class of its own. A good reason not to call 1 a prime number is that if 1 were prime, then the statement of the fundamental theorem of arithmetic would have to be modified since "in exactly one way" would be false because any n==n.1. In other words, unique factorization into a product of primes would fail if the primes included 1. A slightly less illuminating but mathematically correct reason is noted by Tietze (1965, p. 2), who states "Why is the number 1 made an exception? This is a problem that schoolboys often argue about, but since it is a question of definition, it is not arguable." As more simply noted by Derbyshire (2004, p. 33), "2 pays its way [as a prime] on balance; 1 doesn't."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"The Soup Is Too Salty"

I don't normally do links to video sites, there are far too many blogs full of those already but this "The Soup Is Too Salty" advert for Visa reminded me of the similar scene from "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" as it is intended to and I really like it.

While you're there, check out this video of the amazing signing voice of 11-year-old Bianca Ryan singing on NBC's America's Got Talent.

While we're on this subject I might as well do a whole bunch and then go back to not touching them as usual.

Here's a clip from a call to a HelpDesk circa 1500 on YouTube

and finally an amazing bit of accordion playing of (part of) Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chain Reaction Game

Saw this ages ago, just been reminded of it.

  • You get 3 goes.
  • Each go has 50 "balls".
  • You get one shot to make an explosion and blow up as many balls as possible

My Best 125

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Case Mod - The Ultimate List

Case Mod - The Ultimate List Some that I've seen and some that I haven't. This is more interesting than figuring out how to get all my old blogposts back.

New Blogger

Changed to new Blogger from old. Let's see if it totally screws up the entire blog.

EDIT: Yes it did but that's because I didn't see the SWITCH OVER button on the home dashboard ('cause it wasn't there) and I created a new account, set up a new blog with the same name and details as the old one and published it. This totally overwrote the web pages with the articles published in the new blog database. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

How did I get all the old stuff back? Well, of course I had a local backup of my entire site but more importanlty the old blog account was still active, so I just opened that and re-published the entire blog again. Then I checked out what I should have done and waited until I saw the Switch Over button and converted from the old to the new blogger.

Web Comics

In the past I've occasionally mentioned a webcomic or two and that I didn't read them all that regularly. This is my guilty pleasure...