Feb. 6th, 2013 10:49 pm


vin_petrol: (honda_type-r)
And I do like the EDL. :-)
vin_petrol: (honda_type-r)
Well, apparently Games Workshop think they have trademarked "space marines" and nobody else is allowed to use them in works of fiction.


Ooh, is that a copy of Heinlein's Space Cadet see nearby, published in 1948. Let's copy a couple of sentences:

"Matt killed time by watching the space marines and chinning with the non-coms.
He liked the spit-and-polish style with which the space marines did things, the strutting self confidence self-confidence with which they handled themselves."

Naughty Mr. Heinlein! Infringing on Games Workshop's trademark like that, 40 years before they released Warhammer 40k. I hope GW have a time machine handy so they can go back in time and sue him.

It's a good job GW don't derive their games from other written works, like publishing a wargame with elves, dwarves, orcs and ... no, wait.
vin_petrol: (honda_type-r)
I had best make at least one entry in 2012 or my LJ archive page will look very strange.
vin_petrol: (robot)
Oh dear. How SF dates. After 40 years, Emley Moor ceased its analogue television transmissions last night. This morning, on power up, all our televisions were showing the colour of a dead channel.

It's generally a very, very bright blue!

I don't think this was what William Gibson had in mind at all... :-)
vin_petrol: (Default)
Hearing that someone out there thinks 'V' is a feminine initial in a name, I was quite intrigued. Time to Do Some (Very Vague) Science!

Hunting about on the internet, I found this page:


with "Historic Baby Name Ranks":


Taking a quick look at this, some things pop out.

There really are only two traditional boy names beginning with V in the lists:


Vincent was only the 72nd most popular name in 1964, three years before I was born. It then completely disappears from these tables. Victor was quite popular in the earlier years of last century, declining to 93 in 1954 and then dropping out of the list too.

So at least we can say that since at least 1974 a boy's name beginning with 'V' has been very unpopular.

Whereas there are seven traditional girl names in the lists:


Victoria has really picked up in recent years. It's not even in the lists prior to 1974, then goes:

1974: 23
1984: 12!
1994: 32

So since at least 1974 a girl name beginning with 'V' has been much more popular than a boy name.

I'm curious now. What happened in the early 70s? I can vaguely remember them. Was there some amazing TV series featuring a Victoria? Were Vincent and Victor the villains? Nothing obvious springs to mind.

Completely unrelated, but you can clearly see the massive peak and decline in my wife's name (Tracey):

1964: 11
1974: 31
1984: 80

Then it no longer appears. Curiously, I was in Tesco's cafe a couple of days ago and I'm sure I heard a woman calling a child in there Tracey! I've never yet me a child called Tracey since Evie came into my life.
vin_petrol: (Default)
Someone I am aware of doesn't always show up for work on time. His varied excuses have actually been recorded on a web page, which can be found here:


It's worth a read. It's 100% true!
Mar. 13th, 2011 11:09 am


vin_petrol: (Default)
I believe we may now have an interesting new definition of wanker entering the zeitgeist :-)

As noted here:

If you in possession of web pages that can contain links that may be picked up by popular search engines, you may wish to use your freedom of expression to note a similar opinion...
vin_petrol: (Default)
Logistical issues mean I've got a spare ticket for the gig in Leeds on Thursday evening (17th), if anyone wants it. The ticket has £25 on the face of it (although I think I paid something like £4_000_000 in booking fees), but make me an offer and we'll see what we can do.

Ancient affection for LJ means I'm posting it here first. And yes, I realise some of you would want *me* to pay *you* to watch the Sisters of Mercy :-P
vin_petrol: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] mister_ed. I don't think I've seen one of these for AGES on LJ, so I was curious. Interesting result... I'm not sure I want to *be* Beverley Crusher. Being found in a Jefferies tube *with* her doing something naughty would be more interesting ;-)

Your results:
You are Beverly Crusher
Beverly Crusher
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Geordi LaForge
Will Riker
Jean-Luc Picard
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Mr. Scott
Deanna Troi
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Mr. Sulu
A good physician and a caring parent.
You are devoted to your children
and to your occupation.

Click here to take the "Which Star Trek character are you?" quiz...

vin_petrol: (spacesuit)
Ice Age was on earlier this evening. Evie loves this film (although she did cry at the end) and she's probably watched it several million times over the last few years. As films my daughter has subjected me, it's one of the more bearable.

However, there's one thing that worries me. A few times, when she's heard the 20th Century Fox fanfare at the start of other films, she's muttered something about Ice Age. The two are clearly connected in her mind! This is all wrong!

Whenever I hear the 20th Century Fox fanfare, I expect the screen to darken partway through, and the words "Lucasfilm Ltd" to appear. It then ends, and during the silence that follows the words "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." appear (in blue). Then *BANG* John Williams Star Wars theme kicks in, and "STAR WARS" appears in yellow and zooms away.

All other uses are a pale comparison.

vin_petrol: (Default)
It struck me recently that Wikileaks now represents another Science Fiction idea I read years starting to form in real life.

John Brunner's 1975 book The Shockwave Rider contains something very similar. Allow me to copy and paste a small amount of Wikipedia:

"The worm is eventually activated, and the details of all the government's dark secrets (clandestine genetic experimentation that produces crippled children, bribes and kickbacks from corporations, concealed crimes of high public officials) now become accessible from anywhere on the network"

The book was written in 1975, but I seem to recall reading shortly after the first ever Internet worm got loose in 1988. I have a memory of reading it in the library of the Computer Science department at University, probably when I should actually have been doing some studying for something more relevant to getting a good grade in my CompSci degree :-)

OK, so wikileaks still relies on humans to leak the files to it, but it's getting there.

It's interesting that in the book this revolution does lead to social change, and the book ends optimistically. We shall see...
vin_petrol: (astro)
In 1990, at around 3.8 billion miles from Earth, the Voyager spacecraft pointed its camera back at Earth and took a picture of our homeworld. Our planet didn't even fill one pixel of that image.

On the anniversary of Carl Sagan's birth, if you've never heard him read from "Pale Blue Dot", please spend three and a half minutes of your life on this video:

vin_petrol: (Default)
Further to my attempts to impress upon some clueless Scandinavians that planet Earth has more than one timezone, and that some locales use daylight savings time, they've sent me an email. I can sum it up thus:

"We have looked at our EPG data. It says that live cricket is on from 09:30 to 18:30 today. At 14:00 we looked at the television and cricket was on. Therefore our EPG data is 100% definitely, totally accurate! What's your problem?!"

vin_petrol: (argh)
It meets in secret. It’s purpose is to mess with my head. I’ve thought about it long and hard, and it’s the only explanation I can come up with for the apparent level of cluelessness I have to deal with amongst the data providers I work with. No organisations could be staffed by this many knuckle-dragging, hopeless incompetents. Clearly, they just meet up at times and work out hilarious new ways to fsck-up and make me mad.

The clocks changed on Sunday morning. This happens twice a year. It’s not really a hard thing to work around. Planet Earth has a universal time. The name isn’t hard to figure out, it’s called Universal Coordinated Time, although the abbreviation is UTC to appease the French. There are several international standards regarding precise methods to specify times when events will happen (ISO 8601, RFC 3339) where speccy nerds who care about this shit have thought about it long and hard and come up with pedantic, precise ways to ensure there can be no ambiguity about times. These standards take into account the fact that there are different time zones on planet Earth, and things like Daylight Savings Time. It’s all a solved fscking problem.

Or should be.

I’ve been dealing with a data provider for months who seems utterly, totally incapable of dealing with this. They send me Electronic Program Guide (EPG) data for a couple of television channels. Or rather, they send me inacurate EPG data for a couple of TV channels. Their data is always an hour or two out of sync with the reality of what that channel is showing. This company is in Scandinavia, and it’s almost as if they are so utterly clueless that the concept that there are other time zones on this planet, other than the one they’re in, has never occurred to them.

Here is a scenario (that cannot possibly be true) which would accurately account for their utter crapness: Ugg the programmer (somewhere cold in Scandinavia) look at the time on the clock on their wall. It say “11:30”. It must be 11:30 in London. Obviously! *grunt* No other time possible!

Hence it must be the cabal. They have met in secret and giggled and gone “let’s pretend to be so clueless we can’t handle timezones and DST. That’ll wind Vin up something awesome!”

They have a “support system”. I open a ticket in their system, which they ignore for several weeks, misunderstand for several more, assign to an assortment of different people, continually email me back randomly saying it's fixed (when it isn't), assign to some more people, change their help desk system, lose my ticket, email me randomly some more saying it's fixed (when it isn't), email me telling me I need to fix the data in the EPG file because they've confused me with someone else, have a meeting with me where they try to convince us that we should entrust our entire TV service to them when they can't supply one tiny set of XML data correctly and act surprised when I decline, email me randomly some more saying it's fixed (when it isn't), etc.

Finally, after about five months of me complaining, and them telling me they’ve fixed it about three times when they haven’t, for a few glorious weeks their EPG data matches reality! They close the ticket in their system.

However, I have a dread sense of foreboding. I know that one day the clocks will change. The cabal has met. They will fsck with my head once more.

And so it came to pass that this morning I came into the office and checked their EPG data.

Guess what? Go on, you’ll never guess.

Their data is now one hour out of sync with reality.


This was not unexpected, and I’m getting used to sending them emails pointing out the problems with their XML. However, they really put the icing on the cake this morning, with a move that nearly put me on a plane to a Nordic country to set fire to someone's offices.

I received an email from them saying “we have checked our EPG system this morning, and we can confirm it has handled the clock change properly with no errors.”

vin_petrol: (Default)
I think I am in love...

[It looks like the copyright owners don't want this video on YouTube, so the original has been removed. Something like this will never die though, so I'll endeavour to keep this link pointing at some form of copy of the original. I think I owe it to the universe.]

She has a website [DANGER LOUD INTRO MUSIC!] http://www.bustyheart.com/
vin_petrol: (Default)

Me @ 2010-09-12T09:12:02Z Me @ 2010-09-12T09:12:02Z
Taking care of children, so I've got my big, old glasses on in case of some form of accidental face-hitting incident (they happen).

Tagged by [livejournal.com profile] asw909. When you read this you're tagged. Take a picture of you in your current state, no changing your clothes or quickly putting on makeup. NO PHOTOSHOP. Show your F-List the real you!

I don't often have much time, but my two children were downstairs happily watching The Wizard of Oz so I could do this. Amelia appeared while I was typing this though a bit scared. I think the Wicket Witch of the West is a bit much for her at the moment...
vin_petrol: (england)
Good morning everyone. Do you know today is the day the Battle of Waterloo was fought in 1815? You can read all about that crushing French defeat here:


While we're on the subject of the French, let's remind ourselves of a World Cup scoreline from last night:

France 0 Mexico 2
vin_petrol: (Default)
I think Nick Clegg and David Cameron should meet face-to-face, and decide the nature of their coalition through a series of physical and mental challenges!

Education: a drinking competition.
Taxation: who can finish a fiendish sudoku first.
Election reform: arm wrestling.
Environmental issues: a Big Mac eating competition.

It would save all these negotiations, and no one could consider the results in any way unfair, could they?
vin_petrol: (Default)
I've now moved offices across Leeds to somewhere near the Royal Armouries. This means a new network connection and all the fun that entails. Facebook is blocked (it always has been on the corporate network). Livejournal is partly blocked. Individual journals seem to work, but my friends page is blocked. What have you people been writing about? :-) Fortunately, I notice a news post last night which talks about a much improved new release of the mobile client, so I'll go and install that on my HTC Touch Pro2 and read my friends page using that on the 3G network. Or I can SSH out to a friendly Linux box and read it there using Lynx. There's always a way.
vin_petrol: (Default)
A song on Absolute Radio lead to a discussion between [livejournal.com profile] trash_petrol and myself, where we realised we disagree completely on where these words are written :-)

[Poll #1544587]
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