I should’ve gone to bed (but the whisky isn’t gone)*

‘s been a good Easter, so I’ll start with that. Food & company and a surfeit of neither which gave me some space for a bit of Quiet, which is always a worthwhile use of time, especially around now.

Also, we went out to Cwm Rheidol and hunted Easter eggs. (Our own, of course; we didn’t just show up expecting them to be there already). Slight issue with swathes of the countryside having been inexplicably closed, but we found a space in the end, and it was really quite fun.

Birthdays & Purchases
I’ve turned 24. Which isn’t an especially exciting sentence, let’s be honest. I don’t think I’m due another birthday that feels like it might be important for at least six years, and possibly not for another eighteen; my 43rd will feel creepy, I’m pretty sure, but other than that each year kinda feels the same as every other. I’ve probably said that before; it’s a perennial complaint. (Pause for laugh)

Still, people have been very nice and given me everything from beer to periodicals subscriptions, and Ruth has very kindly chucked me a small pile of cash, with which I’ve bought a microcomputer. Well… yeah, OK, so I’ve technically owned very-very-late-era Microcomputers for years, but I can’t keep track, these days, of what’s a Laptop, what’s a Netbook and what’s a Small One Of The Above, so I’m going with Microcomputer because I know what one of those is.

Anyway, I had been going to get an S101 on the grounds that it’s called an S101, which is Teh Awesome. (Because – as if anyone needs telling – S101 was the directory name for Spellcasting 101: Sorcerors Get All the Girls, the precursor to the fab S201 & S301 by Steve Meretzky. All, quite literally, Legend-ary.)

So, yeah, the S101: it’s woefully underspecced for modern games (but would play old DOS stuff fine; see what I did there?) and I liked the fact it got essentially decentdecent reviews (for something built for battery life rather than speed) and I knew what I’d call it even before it turns up, which saves all that tedious umm-ing and ahh-ing.

Anyway, I’m not getting one of those. I’m getting an NC10 which has better battery life, costs less money, exists in a spiffy blue colour and gets even better reviews.

I’m still going to call it Ernie, mind.

The point to this, however, is pretty much that it can’t do very much, but is small and handy for carting about. Also, the NC10 comes with a closer-to-normal-size keyboard & a small hard-drive which puts it ahead of the rest of the minilapbook genre which seem reluctant to give you space to install anything very much. So it’s portable, won’t do [as much in the way of ] games to distract me [compared to a proper tower] and is easy to type on. If you didn’t know me better you might think I intended to get some actual proper work done next year, no?

If the machine has a downside I’ve not already factored in, it’s that it doesn’t come with 3G, which means if I need Internets on the go, I’ll have to create an unwieldy lash-up from my phone, Nokia PC Suite and a short length of USB cable, but I think I’ll be able to cope. Ruth proposes to teach me SVN-ing, so that’s promising.

I’m looking forward to the Masters, but I’m a little worried about the state of the profession – we had a meeting on Spy Weds. wherein it was revealed that we’ve not got a bean. This was pretty much the case at my previous place of work (although, in fact, their defecit appeared to be even larger), so I’m a little concerned that there may be employers out there who won’t be able to pay me.

But I figure I’m awesome, so they’ll find the money somewhere.

Tech Generally
Went back to Newport on Saturday, and miserably failed to fix the computer there – something very strange seems to have happened to it; it’s in need of a full-re-install, I think. In a bid to save myself an extra trip, I’m going to attempt to guide people there through a re-install. Worst case, I have to go back (which I would anyway, if I didn’t attempt this first), so I figure it’s worth a shot.

I move to SSEL on Monday. Fewer Readers to deal with, more Spreadsheets. At present I’m not really sure how that balances out, but we’ll see how it goes. I have to say I rather enjoyed quite a lot of being in Lending; the Thin Red Line stunt got a bit dull the fifth time it was myself & one other person (normally Annette) holding the fort, but only a little.

Had to work Maundy Thursday, which was shoddy since it was my Birthday, which is shoddy, but I ended up glad I did, as we had a vagueish academic come in and start asking me questions, who turned out to be a Bodley reader, so that was nice. I do miss the old place, strangely. (That is, strangely if you only recall my experience of the place before they got my eyes tested, when I appeared to be of the Fail for no reason I could work out. After I could actually read what I was typing I really enjoyed it.)

Wow, I’ve rambled all over the place again. And Storm Front just looped round, Tell you what: I’ll throw in a few semi-themed headers and push off to bed, how’s that sound?

*Sounds like a song title, dunnit? Well, it would if it started with ‘you’ rather than ‘I’. Something melancholic and slow, I think. Or something very bouncy and fast and miserable as sin. Both good.

The Moriarty of Bexleyheath

[Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, or anything, mind. I’m not even working shifts in the Law Library till after April. I speak colloquially, because I dunno what the legal definition of a tosspot is, though the colloquial one is totally this guy.]

Today on ElectricQuaker:

The Napoleon of Crime Vs. (Wellington) in: The Wobbly-Headed Doll Caper!!

Yes, indeed, ladies & gentlemen! Today you can thrill! at the tale of a criminal!

A criminal whose dastardly plots know no restraint, whose cruel machinations know no mercy, whose fiendish mind knows no thought!

…Or, to put it another way, who’s a right pain in the arse, because I’ve had to lock down my credit card because of him. Git.

On my way home from work on Friday (I got sent home ill, which is always annoying) I checked my email & found “Paypal” had sent me an email telling me I’d added a new address. There was a second email telling me I’d authorised a payment.

‘Huh.’ I thought ‘that’s some convincing-looking phishing, there. I guess I’ll report it.’ So I did.

A bit later Paypal replied to say, basically ‘Yep, that was phishing. Good on yer for reporting it,’ and I crashed out for the rest of the day.

Being as I was ill, my sleep patterns were all to pot, so I was awake again at midnight, and took a bath (and a hot toddy made, disgracefully, with Bowmore single malt, for we had no blend in the house), and idly fired up the computer to see how the Internet had managed to cope without me for the past six hours.

Naturally, I checked my email accounts, and I was surprised to find another email from Paypal, this time saying ‘O, hai. Your payment, we haz it.’

…This one was even more convincing than the other two; no ‘Dear customer,’ here: there was my name, all correct & shipshape, and… the last four digits of my credit card number…?

So I forwarded that to Paypal as well, along with a message that said ‘This really is just some clever phishing device, right?’ and pointed a new browser window at Paypal and went and logged in.

(This is where our criminal mastermind comes in, this is)

Somehow, somebody broke into my Paypal account, added a new address (which is presumably serving as a drop; if it transpires it’s actually their home address I will actuallyLOL), and made off with a valuable consignment of, er, Boots aren’t allowed to tell me what it is because of the Data Protection Act.

Since Paypal automatically notifies me when somebody does, for example, randomly tell them that I live in London now in case it isn’t me doing it I’m not really sure why they thought this would work, but they evidently did, because otherwise I’d have an inbox slightly-less-full of emails claiming I was editing my own account. The only equivilant I can think of is trying to theive a wallet that somebody’s got chained to their own trousers; they’re likely to notice once it starts to pull, you know…

Gormless though the theft may be, I’ve still had to scramble all my passwords, boosting them up from mixed-case alphanumerics of 6-10 characters to mixed case 12 character-plus jobs, have got myself a GPG key with which I’m slowly starting to encrypt things and I’m having to do without cards because, of course, they all have to be changed now because some poxy git couldn’t be bothered to pay for his own sodding vaseline and spot cream.

And I really don’t know how they got in. Grumble. Although as far as I know, the Met., Boots, Paypal, Dyfed-Powys police & the Bank are all looking into it (which would give me more comfort if it didn’t sound just a bit like the plot synopsis for an Ealing Comedy…) Spoke to a chap from the police down in London the other day, actually, he was nice & friendly & seemed to think I was likely to get the money back, at least.

Still a pain in the arse, though.

Those of you with GPG keys, point me in the right direction & I’ll see if I can work the buggers.

and speaking of work: back to it, I suppose…

“It corners like it’s on rails.”*

For those of you who don’t pick up my semi-comedic status updates on Facebook (and I can think of potentially four of you, and that’s it), I’ve been taking a look at the new version, which they’ve done up nice, and tried to hide all the useless applications away, and things.

By and large I’m really quite fond of this New Facecoke, it really does seem to be neater and cleaner, and if it’s taken away all my beloved Applications That Tell You What I Want You To Think My Personality Is, it’s also shifted all those bloody Zombies off people’s pages (Is there ever a time when a Zombie-related thing is an application you encourage to go near a computer? I can’t think of any).

It has, however, a downside. And that downside seems to be that it was Designed After The Millenium.

At some point in the very late 90s, and unbeknownst to be, who was using Win 3.1 on a Pentium (before they started numbering the sods) right up until January 2002, there was some Council Of Evil that decreed that, henceforth, any new, mainstream, computer software had to come with ugly rounded corners. I’m running Win XP back home, and, thank God, it has a “Windows Classic” setting, which is precisely the first thing I turn on whenever I re-install Windows (as opposed to an Internet Connection, which is precisely the last thing I turn on whenever I re-install Windows).

The UWA AU terminal I’m using at the moment is running Vista, and it’s bubbly as Sin. Blecccch.

What is *with* this, people?

I do not believe that anyone who knew me could honestly accuse me of “not liking curves.” On the contrary, I am a huge fan of curves. Many of my most attractive friends have curves. Indeed, if you asked me to list several things that I find attractive in women, “curves” would be right in at number four-ish, after “being a nice person,” “big eyes,” and “not objecting to overweight librarians with beards.”

But whilst I am an only occasionally slavering fan of curves in their proper place, I do not carry this fandom to excess. Cars, if they do not overdo it, can look very well with curves, and so can smaller things like rubber balls, and larger things like the Cotswolds, and I have no objection to their remaining just as shapely as they are.

Where I get fed up with curves is when they feature in place of sharp angular corners in operating systems or application windows. I do not see the need to take a perfectly good, sharp, crisp line, and spoil it by filing off the edges.

I can accept that we don’t all want the glory days of DOS back (and, actually, since I’ve only just discovered Tab-complete, I was probably never a very efficient DOS user, since I’d type things like “Copy a:\work\eng\chau1.rtf c:\jta\work\eng\xwrk\chau1.rtf” out in longhand every time, which, in retrospect, may not have been the fastest way to do it, and which is certainly slower than “click, Ctrl+c, alt+tab, Ctrl+v”. But do we really have to have curves?

Has there been some study done that “found 63% of people found curvy edges instead of corners made them less afraid of computers,” or something? Or are you developers just doing this to annoy everyone? I’m curious as to where and why this came to be inflicted on us all. (Well, me, specifically, but everyone else seems to have it, too.)

Bloody WordPress is doing it, an’ all!

*Cite me! I was the only quote JTA could think of that involved corners, and I feel lonely and innapropriate!