j4: (dodecahedron)
Another post over there. Not pleased with this one, to be honest; I was rushing to finish it and I don't feel like I said what I was trying to say.

ETA: link fixed -- of course, the date part of it changed because I didn't actually post it till after midnight (FAIL!).


Jan. 7th, 2009 05:05 pm
j4: (admin)
Has anybody else noticed that KML in Google Maps doesn't seem to work any more?

e.g. try this: http://maps.google.co.uk/?q=http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~janetmck/oucsmain.kml

For me, this example (very simple KML) shows my pointer, but the map doesn't show -- I just get grey tiles saying "We are sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region. Try zooming out for a broader look." Zooming out doesn't make any difference.

This used to work. We haven't changed anything. I can't find a single KML file on the web which does work in Google Maps. Have Google broken this? Am I going mad?

ETA: In fact, it's not just KML. Any search in Google Maps seems to be broken for me, e.g. searching for 'Oxford' -- it finds it, it shows the pics and so on in the sidebar, it puts a point on the map, but doesn't show any map tiles.

And while doing searches for Oxford I got a sponsored link from Google pointing me to "Oxford Homeopath". Grrrr. More than homeopathic amounts of map data, please, and fewer sponsored links to charlatans.

ETA 2: Really, no amount of zooming out seems to make the map appear for me. :-(
j4: (work)
Crowdsourcing my brain....

I am looking for a good introduction to sensible relational database design.

where I'm starting from... )

Any suggestions, comments, constructive ridicule etc gratefully received.

gURL power

Apr. 8th, 2008 11:14 pm
j4: (regex)
I saved this as a draft, and forgot about it. For those of you who are watching today's episode of [livejournal.com profile] j4 before going back and catching up with the last few weeks', the quick summary is, I had to talk to some student about 'geek culture' and how women are from Visual Basic and men are from Modula-2. (For those who are watching next season via bittorrent -- does it rain at Glasto 2008? And incidentally, Does She Ever Actually Shag Him?) Anyway, here's the (slightly tidied up) version of what I wrote:

Well that was pointless. I talked to this chap, he didn't seem to have very much clue what he was doing, he looked about 14 and frankly terrified of me, but I tried to answer his questions without too much handwaving/ranting, and filled in his survey, and let him take a picture of The Geek In Her Working Environment, har har. My god, though, my desk is a mess. Coffee and books and a DVD and some half-wilted roses in a vase and biscuits and a contact juggling ball and a stuffed badger and a waving maneki neko and biscuits and speakers and torn-off pages of my poem-a-day calendar (Robert Frost's 'Fire and Ice' yesterday, ace stuff) and cherry 7Up cans and heaps of paper and a hairbrush and a load of books on Ubuntu, XSLT, Perl, SOAP, and Web Design. He asked if he could "observe me working" for an hour, and I panicked and said no. For one thing, I'd have to get my office-mate to agree to it, and for another thing, well, just NO. Also, no.

vignettes of office life in which our heroine isn't as funny as she thinks she is, and tries to turn little thoughts into a big picture )

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of the user-agent string as a metaphor for gender.


Oct. 15th, 2007 09:31 am
j4: (admin)
On Friday afternoon I went to the Alliance and Leicester home page, intending to read my online statement like their nagging email had told me to, and was surprised when I got a popup saying "Please be aware that your browser is not supported, therefore this site may not work correctly." Huh? It's Firefox, which I've used happily with A&L internet banking for over a year... ah, but it's Firefox on Linux, which I haven't tried before. And the popup was quite correct about one thing: the front page was sufficiently mangled that I couldn't actually get to the login link.

Over the weekend, using Firefox on a Mac, I navigated (problem-free) to the login page and bookmarked it. Sure enough, if I go direct to that page (https://www.mybank.alliance-leicester.co.uk/index.asp) using Firefox on Linux, it a) doesn't show the popup, and b) works fine. (In fact, I can just turn off CSS on the home page and it works okay, but last thing on Friday afternoon I didn't think of that... duh.)

I am now wondering whether, if I tell them about this, they will stop my workaround working, too. :-/
j4: (admin)
For testing purposes, I booted [livejournal.com profile] addedentry's WinXP PC from an Ubuntu live CD. Out of curiosity, I tried to see if I could get Ubuntu to talk to the wireless card (a Broadcom Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN MiniCard). I set it up with ndiswrapper, roughly according to these instructions (same wireless card, different PC) and (unsurprisingly) it didn't work. The fact that it probably requires a reboot for changes to take effect makes it kind of impossible from a live CD.

Back in WinXP, now, wireless doesn't work. That is: the PC says it's connected to our house's wireless network, no problems, all fine; but it can't get to anything else (including our router).

What have I broken? And how can I fix it? Any advice welcome, before I have to get [livejournal.com profile] addedentry a new wireless card. Or a new PC. Or a new girlfriend. :-(

ETA: Believe it or not, one of the first things I suggested before posting to LJ in a panic was "reinstall the driver". Which he said he'd done (and which I therefore believed hadn't worked). And which he hadn't actually done. And which seems to have fixed the problem.

Thank you all for sensible suggestions. And for trying to make me feel like less of a failure when all I seem to have done today is bugger things up in a way which manages to be irritating and stress-making without actually being very much use as a learning experience. :-/

Earring aid

Jun. 8th, 2007 11:44 pm
j4: (dodecahedron)
The good thing about having pierced ears and habitually wearing earrings is that I always have something to hand that's small and pointy enough to poke the mechanical eject / hard reset buttons on obstinate hardware.
j4: (dodecahedron)
Ah, lovely. A quiet night in together, curled up reading on the sofa...

His reading:
A-E: chain 24-6 mm.; Pro Patria/GR; 42 x 33.5 cm.
F-H: chain 30; no mark; 42 x 33 cm.

Her reading:
$select = "SELECT first_name, last_name, tel, email FROM customers";
$result = mysqli_query($link, $select);
j4: (admin)
I've been watching (mostly via her twitterings on the subject) the saga of famous librarian Jessamyn installing Ubuntu on a library computer; it's a heartwarming tale, but it's made a kind of bittersweet parallel to my own tale of woe as I've completely failed to get anything other than OS 9 installed on my old G3 Mac, due to its apparent inability to boot from anything other than its own 60GB-of-pure-stubborness hard drive. (It's a long, frustrating and not terribly interesting story.) Today, even the Motley Fool is raving about Ubuntu. I feel as though someone's laughing at me.
j4: (books)
It's amazing the difference a day makes: on Tuesday night [livejournal.com profile] addedentry and I went out for a lovely meal at the Brasserie Blanc, during which we didn't have roses or red candles cluttering up the table, and didn't have to stick to a substandard menu or be pressured into choosing heart-shaped chocolates for the dessert (though I did in fact go for the chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream, and very nice it was too). On Wednesday night, by comparison, every restaurant we passed was full (admittedly, this was in London, which is always full), so we went back to Paddington and bought pasties from the West Cornwall Pasty Company, two miniature bottles of wine from Marks & Spencer, chocolate muffins and a bag of grapes from Sainsburys, and had our own little picnic over a game of Travel Scrabble on the train home.

The reason we were in London was to see the Science Museum's Game On exhibition, an exhibition notable (or perhaps, sadly, no longer notable in the Science Museum) for its complete lack of science. It was Grate Fun, though, giving us a chance to play everything from Pong to PaRappa the Rapper. It was hard to see a linear narrative -- the exhibition didn't try very hard to enforce one, though frankly I was more interested in running from side to side going "Oooh! Shiny!" anyway -- but interesting to see such a variety of games in one place, to think about what makes a game fun, and to see just how bad (or, in some cases, how good) the graphics really were in the olden days. Or indeed lack of graphics: it was a shame that the only text adventure represented there was the notoriously impossible Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy adventure game (which I mention partly in order to plug the shiny new version with gorgeous graphics by [livejournal.com profile] andrewwyld) rather than the classic ADVENT, but a useful point of comparison for the audio-only challenge of Chillingham -- an experience which [livejournal.com profile] addedentry accurately summed up as "Telephone Menu Systems: The Adventure", though I suspect he was still miffed that I'd chosen to inspect the librarian.

Continue? (y/n) )

Computer games were possibly not the obvious choice of entertainment for Valentine's Day, though thinking about it, being a bespectacled nerd has never done my romantic prospects any harm. When the cutest boy in the whole of my small primary school came round to MY HOUSE it was because we had a copy of Chuckie Egg (and in fact all we ever did was play computer games, but still, CUTE BOY, MY HOUSE, SO THERE); and virtually none of my serious relationships would have happened if I hadn't been able to speak Unix or use netnews and irc. (I suppose I met [livejournal.com profile] addedentry through Scrabble, first, but really, that's just a different subspecies of nerdiness.) I guess what I'm saying is that people do make passes at girls who wear glasses -- and not just when they're only wearing glasses, as in my entry (sir!) for LibraryThing's photo competition (not very unsafe for work, really).

All in all, a productive day's Bunking Off. And now it's nearly the weekend!
j4: (work)
chiark: 34 messages ($rants[0] to follow)
earth: 0 messages
gmail (for freecycle): 256 messages ($rants[1] to follow)
gmail (other): no idea, hardly anybody mails me there anyway ($rants[2] to follow)
herald: 628 messages ($rants[3] to follow)
work: 83 items ($rants[4] to follow)

@rants = ('spam', 'freecycle', 'misc', 'oucs-d', 'work');

Posted more for my own benefit than anybody else's; it's just useful to see that I'm slowly getting them all under control.

Ticked off

Jul. 4th, 2006 12:52 pm
j4: (dodecahedron)
Every time I put an audio CD in my PC's CD drive, I get the following message:

Windows can perform the same action every time you insert a disk or connect a device with this kind of file...

It has taken me several months of annoyance -- firmly selecting the sensible option and ticking the "Always do the selected action" tickybox, and then next time being irritated all over again by the reappearance of the message -- to come to the conclusion that what it means when it says "Windows can perform the same action every time..." is that it can display this dialog box every time, regardless of whether or not I have ticked the tickybox.
j4: (dodecahedron)
My pictures from IWMW-2006 have now been uploaded to my brand new gosh-look-I'm-still-excited-about-social-tagging Pickle account.

>> Photos, mostly of Bath (city and campus) and ducks

Pickle is like flickr (photo albums with tagging / social networks), only more so. You can add video as well as still images, and (here's the best bit) you can create unique email addresses to which you and others can send photos, to upload them into an album. So, for example, after that amazing party, when you're really hoping somebody took a photo of the incident with the absinthe and the inflatable penguin, you get your guests to send their photos to something like yourname.party@pickle.com, where you can caption the photos, organise them, and generally do what you like with them (though blackmailing people with them is deprecated). Or something like that. I mean, give me a chance, I only signed up yesterday.

My initial impression of it is that it's no quicker than flickr (which is a shame, as that would have made a great tagline) but has a nicer UI -- I haven't played with flickr much, but that's partly because it doesn't feel that intuitive[0] to me. Pickle claims it works 'like email' but the interface looks more like "My eBay" to me, though that's not a bad thing.

If you want to know more, read the Techcrunch Review ... or just dive in and try it!
j4: (southpark)
My bosses are both away, one until Thursday, the other until next Thursday; basically this means I'm left holding the fort (or rather, the baby). So far today and yesterday I have had:

  • Two requests to do some work that boss #2 said she'd do two weeks ago.
  • A request to update a colour image with the attached document (a Word file).
  • A request to do, by Friday, a major revision of an area of the site which I've never seen before ...
  • ... and which is on a server that we don't even own.
  • Two requests to "just change a couple of words" in PDF documents.
  • About 15 requests to make edits which, to paraphrase the sense of urgency conveyed, need to go live by yesterday if not sooner otherwise the University will explode and EVERYONE WILL DIE.
  • One request from our Press department as to why a demo page in somebody's personal webspace on an internal server behind the university firewall can't be seen by people browsing from outside the university ...
  • ... for example, by the hundreds of people to whom the URL for said page has just been emailed.

j4: (dodecahedron)
If I save a .csv file from an email attachment to a samba-mounted drive, overwriting a pre-existing file of the same name, it doesn't change the last-updated time for the file.

Quite apart from the general problems of no longer knowing when you last updated something, this means that if your processing script is looking for new updates in order to overwrite the old data with the new, this means the script completely fails to find the 'new' file, since according to its timestamp it is frankly old hat. Which is something of a nuisance.

This behaviour on the part of attachments has started quite randomly -- or rather, as far as I can tell, not due to any action on my part. Does anybody know of any way of persuading it to stop?

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