Older blog entries for Bryce (starting at number 909)

Saturday

Humm rather wet and windy today. Guess I won't be walking around any parks.

I'm getting worried that the cheques I sent in over a week ago to the Wachovia still haven't been recognized in my account. I hope they didn't get lost.

Went window shopping in town but didn't see anything of particular intrest. Worse, still couldn't find a suitable DVD player. Not a single electrical/hifi shop sold them in black.

Went home and looked around on the web for ages before settling on a Sampo 612 DVD player that was capable of PAL/NTSC internal conversion and was region free/setable with the added bonus of being macrovision disabled, however, the important item was that it is BLACK. Ordered it up. It should arrive in about a weeks time.

Still rainning. read some magazines I'd bought in Newry to while away the evening.

24 Oct 2002 (updated 24 Oct 2002 at 03:18 UTC) »

Friday

Rain,... no walks around the countryside for me then.

BT engineer that does underground cabling came out and rerouted a spare set of wires to the new phoneline so I now have a working phone (hurrah). Overall I'll give the engineers 9 out of 10 and the beurocrats in the office 6 out of 10 for service as the phone was registered in my mothers name, not mine, was NOT ex-directory like I requested. Fortunately it does arrive as a seperate bill from mum's phone line so that should all work out once I flay some front line customer service oik to get it corrected.

Now begins the task of trying to find a suitable flat rate mechanism to get internet access. BT recently killed off their original flat rate access which was true 24/7 and replaced it with a stingy 150 hours a month maximum which doesn't even cover home use if you did a 40 hour week online to the office (160 hours a month, never mind the extra hours you would probably have to put in). I'm grossly unimpressed with BT. They've had several decades to modernise the draconian pay schemes they impose on the public. Very disappointed.

Time I had a decent desktop machine to work on Ordered up a P4 2.8GHz and 512Mb memory along with a suitable motherboard, although they didn't have the motherboard in stock but it had a 3 day delay in getting it restocked so that seemed reasonable. I'll wait to see the profile of the components when assembled to work out what case to get.

Later on got email to say the credit card company had stopped the purchase fo some reason. Probably because it was a UK purchase and I'd used the US credit card. Unfortunately Dabs had closed up for the weekend and wern't open again until Monday. Bugger.

Thursday

WHEEEE
BT engineer actually arrived about 10 minutes before the end of the period I was expecting him.

Sorted out the site for the presentation of the line in the house and gave him a hand with laying the cable through the roofspace to decend into my room. Much fun shifting odds and ends out of the way in the attic to lift up the floorboards. Finally after about 2 hours everything was done and he vanished to go connect up the wiring in the junction box. Unfortunately he came back to tell me that all the wires for the route up the road to the house were used and that he'd have to get another engineer out tomorrow to divert a line from another route to get it finished off. <cry>

Didn't do much else today,.. just watched some TV

Wednesday

Went for a walk around Lurgan park which was nice. Seems to be infested with grey squirrels everywhere. Technically they are vermin but silly soft hearted people seem to think they're cute and encourage them to run riot around the park. I'd have prefered to have seen the rather declining native red squirels but it seems the grey vermin have usurped them.

Lurgan park was a bit of a short walk so ended up detouring around to the Craigavon balance lakes for some extra walking. It's ok,.. but a bit bleak out there. Least it was sunny even if it wasn't terribly warm. Humm one thing though,.. people tend to let their dogs off the leash around there. As the dogs come bounding up to you the owner invariabley states 'oh don't worry, he'll not touch you' at which point the dog happily jumps up on you, slobbers over your trousers and seems expect a treat. There is a small personal hell for these types of people and their dogs that I'll be sending them to in the afterlife. <grumble>

*sigh* my back has gotten all sore again,.. nothing like as bad as when I was in the few days before leaving the US but damned uncomfortable. It should clear up in a few days I think.

Tuesday

Stayed at home and played chess against the computer rather a frivilous task and I got beat each and every time. No surprise there. I was hoping it would become a little less disheartening than checkmate in less than 5 moves.

Watched some anime videos.

Rather a quiet day.

15 Oct 2002 (updated 15 Oct 2002 at 13:43 UTC) »

Monday

It's a reasonably dry day, so set out for Castlewellen to go wandering around the castle lake. It's a nice nature trail with some rather daft sculptures strewn around the walk.

Castlewellen forest park is currently boasting about it's new hedge maze as being the largest in Europe so mum and myself went to have a look and a dander through it. Well, at the moment, the hedge is trying to grow and seems to consist of only yew trees. I'm sure when it's got maybe 5 or 6 years growth in it it'll be very nice. There is an 'incentive' to the maze which is to work your way to the centre and ring the bell. Umm yes well... solved the maze and gave the bell a ring. 2 wrong turns. Not bad.

Nipped into Newry to run a few messages and sign for a couple of items. Bought a couple of magazines covering linux, digital photograpgy, financials and home theatre equipment (specifaly DVD players). Actually come to think of it, my DVD order hasn't arrived yet 8/ I better poke the appropriate people about that.

*Sigh* Another two days to go before the BT engineer appears and installs a 2nd line. I'm betting that he'll find some excuse that he can't even do that.

Sunday

Woke up gloriously late (11:30)

Fiddled with Zen* for a while balancing out FS space contraints then read though the local build it yourself trade rag for computers. Prices have fallen a good bit and I considered building not just a new development machine for myself but a new ZenIV box as well. I'll think on that a while

Popped into town to do some shopping. I'd expected it to be fairly quiet but not a bit of it.

Bought a number of magazines covering linux, digital photography and shares. Also added a couple of books to read to the pile.

Dandered across from the newsagents to Dixons and bought a couple of USB extension cables because I'm fed up fiddling with USB connections behind the back of my machine where I can't clearly see the connector. Hellishly expensive (11UKP ~17USD).

More kernel module writing which has been similar to playing Russian roulette. <tap> <tap> <tap> <boom>

Watched a few episodes of Blackadder.

Saturday

Went to Belfast with Keith for the afternoon/evening. Headed into Shaftsbury square and went shopping. I was intrested in looking around for a copy of Micro Mart ( a trade rag for computer components) as I couldn't find it in eason's back in Newry. Oddly, I did find it in Eason's in Belfast but I need to tackle some of the staff back in Newry and see if it's a case of them not carrying it or simply being sold out.

Keith wanted to go get some presents for his brother so we walked on around to look into WH Smiths, HMV and Virgin Megastore. One thing I noticed was that DVD does not appear to have taken off much in the provance. I can see that I'll be doing lots of online ordering in the future 8/

Having had a look through a few HiFi/Electrical stores it seems to be some unwritten commandment that all DVD players will be silver. Can't find any that are black. Again this looks like someting I'm going to ahev to order up. *sigh*

Towards the evening we headed over to get pizza from a slightly upmarket restraunt. Nice place a little slow though. Unfortunately having been somewhat spoilt with refills being free in North Carolina, it's somewhat of an annoyance to suddenly be charged for the refills. (1.30 UKP ~2.00USD a glass)

Went on from Shaftsbury square across the westlink to the Odessey village which houses 12 cinema screens, an ice rink and a number of restraunts. Got a coffee from the Hard Rock cafe and mused over various happenings during the week. Headed on upstairs to sort out tickets for 'The Bourne Identity' which was playing about 50 minutes later, so we just strolled around the complex. Eventually stoppedand looked over a railing to the floors below where we could see some woman and her friend being refused admitance to a nightclub below making a huge scene about it for about for ages. She'd still not given up trying to get into the nightclub by the time we went to see the film. Silly woman.

Film was fairly good, though possibly they had cranked the sound up a little too high.

Left the complex at 23:55 and drove on home. A good day out.

Friday

Still raining but mum wanted to run a few messages down in Armagh, so I tagged along for the ride. I used to go to the collage in Armagh so I was curious to see how much it had changed since I'd last been there. There are a few new shops and a new supermarket on the Mall. The main high street has been converted into a pedestrian precient but alas every car in the city was parked either side along it. It's still open as a throughfare for traffic which is an abysmal mistake given the massive traffic jam that I saw there. I think Armagh council are just going to have to bite the bullet and annoy all the car drivers by errecting bollards to prevent traffic (except delivery trucks) from travelling the pedestrian precient.

Newry sort of has the same problems in the Buttercrane and Monaghan/Hill street locations. They need a massive traffic warden zero tolerance crackdown otherwise the City is going to choke to death on it's own transport problems. I see no reason why peoples thoughlessness in parking should be tolerated. Especially when I see people parking in disabled parking slots who arn't eligable to park there. Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind but traffic in both Cities is out of control.

Noticed a number of places that I used to be favorite haunts have now closed which I was a little upset about as they were excellent tea houses/cafes. Overall Armargh hasn't changed that much.

Back home contimued ploughing through books. This is really the only time that I have time to increase my skills as RHAT didn't exactly have an employee education program. I think Havoc will eventually have to conceed that I was right. Unless you keep your skillset current, you will fall by the wayside and never be able to control your own career path as more skilled people close you out of the marketplace.

Thursday

Rained heavily today so didn't go anywhere.

Spent most of the time at home reading POSIX, IPC and kernel books.

I wonder what the folks back in the engineering dept are scapegoating onto me. (It's traditional to blame the last person who left for all thats wrong in the universe) I wonder if they're still playing Unreal Tornament.

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