Thursday, December 30, 2004

DEC - Tsunami Earthquake

One of my good friends Matt has posted an excellent summary on the bad part of knowing people from around the world, I've been 'lucky' in that I don't directly know anyone affected by the tsunami.

This post really has no substance, there's a few things I could say about the political rumblings going about the lack of warning to Sri Lanka and India, but to be honest it's not worth the breath. My condolences to those who have lost, and my desire that those still searching find those they care about alive and well.

If you're in the UK go to the DEC - Tsunami Earthquake site to donate (or direct to whichever charity works best for you).


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Updated some Photos/Movies

On the website:

I've changed some of the photo folder names so that they're now in the order that I actually visited the places (I may change them again in the near future as I look into how I've organised them), as a consequence some of the photo's that I've linked to on this blog, may not actually work..

So until I get around to fixing them, bad luck :-P (not really, but just so you know it is on my list, right after learning Portuguese)

Now some people have had difficulty viewing my photo's so I thought I'd try and put down a couple of easy steps on how to view them (the image to the left shows my expanded photo's):

  1. Go to (wait for list on the left to finish opening)
  2. Click on the Biscuit link (this will expand everything under Biscuit)
  3. Click on the little Next to Photos (this will expand the list of photos)
  4. Click on any of the locations you'd like to see photos of (and then wait for them to appear on the right)

And that my friends is how you view my photo's, for some spectacular scenery I recommend the Rockies for me making a fool of myself check out New Orleans or Newfoundland :-)

Oh and I've now uploaded some movies as well (though I haven't yet linked to them on to grab them they are:
  • The Chase a 9MB file showing Matt up to some antics in Scotland.. Very amusing.
  • Vancouver fireworks with music Footage of some of the spectacular fireworks from Vancouver, with a bit of a sound track I added (couldn't remember what the actual soundtrack was..


Saturday, December 25, 2004

Old coding thing (from C days)

So if you're not a geek (and for those geeks reading, yes I actually know some non-geeks) I'd recommend skipping this post and going onto my Merry Xmas and some thoughts post.

Was reading a post from The Old New Thing on BOOL vs. VARIANT_BOOL vs. BOOLEAN vs. bool which is an interesting post about the origins of the different boolean standards (and if you've ever had to write code to talk to a dll written in another language you'll understand why I found this interesting). But this reminded me an old C technique which was commonly used to handle menu's (I'm talking text based/command prompt age here, none of this funky mouse stuff)

How C handled booleans
If you've read the link above you'll now know that the original BOOL was defined as an int with two possible values (0 = False, 1 = True).

Now C to see if something was False simply does (x == 0) and True does either (x != 0) or (x > 0) // I can't remember which one it is Which meant that if you wanted to be creative in your functions what you would do is return instead of a boolean you'd return an int, allowing:

if(int x=ShowMenu())
princ('You picked menu /n', x);

Ok that's probably not making much sense, but the point is that if you return 0 it meant fail an if check, any other number (or positive number) would be 'true' and so...

Why old menu's used to have 0 as the Exit Menu option
You now should have a good idea where I'm heading here, but to continue... Dos, BBS, Unix (generally text based applications), would usually have a menu that kinda looked like:

2. FTP
4. MOO

So you'd simply press the appropriate key matching the menu option you wanted (sorry for boring the crap out of coders here, but some people are not used to these old menu's they've only ever used Gui's). Anyways it was a fairly common standard that if the menu used numbers as their accepted characters 0 would be the exit code. Allowing:

1: Pine(); break;
2: Ftp(); break;
3: Telnet(); break;
4: Moo(); break;

Basically you never had to explicitly code to handle the Exit case, as it was inherently handled by the if() and while().

It's still around!
This particular 'standard' has followed us today by people who call API functions (that return 0 if it fails, and maybe a href if it succeeds) like so:

if setRegValue("HKEY_USER", "Software\Microsoft\Excel", pstrFieldName, pstrValue) then
msgbox "Successfully updated value"
end if

For backwards compatibility you can still compare int's to a Boolean in most languages (even if the language no longer uses int as it's boolean underlying type)

Here endeth the lesson.

Merry Xmas and some thoughts

Well there I was reading my favourite web comic on Xmas eve (as in tonight) and this strip was the latest one: Questionable Content: Another Kind of Ninja

Why have I travelled? (the long version)
Now this particular episode (you'll need to read the strip to get this next paragraph or so methinks), it reminded me of why I went and got married, and no doubt many of you are still thinking I was insane to do so. But it all comes down to what Marten says in this episode, it's about being willing to make stupid (and sometimes serious) mistakes that take your life in different directions, I would of rathered to of moved to Lismore, gone and got married than stayed and constantly wondered "What would of happened?"

Now for quite a long while after that particularly large decision came crashing down in a heap I was unwilling to actually take any risks (I can see some of you already agreeing with me here), I was only choosing the conservative path, staying with the norm.. But at the same time I was telling myself (almost mantra like) "I don't regret trying" "I don't regret trying" "I don't regret trying" and it's true for me (just as with Marten), that was closure enough for me... Though I didn't mind hearing what some of my friends said about my ex (more because of their friendship and desire to protect me, than because of the specific things they said).

But then over time I healed I started to consider taking risks and get out there and see the world (always been a dream of mine), but still I wasn't willing to lose what I gained (a house, a job etc...) But then a combination of things occurred, I went on a 'personal development course' that a good friend recommended* and came to realise only I was holding myself back, and started to try small things, take small risks, and guess what? I survived, the world did not come crashing down!

Then at the start of this year I read a small quote "The future is that time, when you'll wish you had of done, what you aren't doing right now." and it gave me pause (not the cat kind, more thinking music time) and so I asked myself "What will I regret not doing in a years time" and the answer was easy, it was that old dream of mine, to travel the world. So within 3 months I had:
  • figured out where I wanted to start
  • bought the tickets (one of the scariest steps)
  • quit my job (exhilirating to do when you've got no plans to get another job!)
  • organised my sister to rent my house from me (took nearly 3 goes to get that sorted)

and by mid-June I was on my way, taking one of my biggest risks (even though plenty of people do) and just going with it.

A mere nine months later I'm in London, having just started a new job (only a 3 month contract though), and looking forward to finding out where I shall go next. Still telling myself that if I'm afraid of doing something, that's ok. But not to regret not trying it. (of course there's still plenty of times I regret not doing stuff, but I'm getting there)

Summing it up
Well that kinda went on longer than I originally intended, and probably reads as totally self absorbed. But I've been asked on a miriad of occasions "Why did you move to Lismore?" "Why did you get married at 21!?" "Why have you travelled?" and so that was another attempt to try and explain why I've gone and done those bizarre things, and why I'm here now.

Merry Christmas!
So now, because it's nearly 11pm on Christmas eve, here in England, I hope everyone has a pile of presents at the foot of their bed, under their tree or in their stockings and that you have a fantastic Christmas! :-D

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Now go out and smile, people will wonder what you've been up to.

* The personal development course was a Landmark course.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Annoying scammers (who I'd like to string up)

Some of you may of noticed a while ago that a very strange post appeared on my blog, and then disappeared (this would of been around about the 27th November), for those that don't know what appeared on my blog was:

"CHINA METALLURGICAL IMPORT AND EXPORT COMPANY Dear Sir/Madam, We are an import and export company searching for representatives in Canada, America and Europe who can help us establish a medium of getting to our custumers from Canada, America and Europe, as well as making payments through you to us.
If you are interested in transacting business with us,contact us through.
TEL: 0085230140977
Subject to your satisfaction you will be given the opportunity to negotiate your mode of which we will pay you for your services as our representative in Canada/America and Europe.
Thanks In advance
Managing Director,
Mr.Roy Xand."

Now basically as far as I could tell some a-hole briefly took control of my blog to post this scam (it's a variation of the now famous Nigerian 4-1-9 Scam) to try and basically get you to give them your bank details so that they can steal your money (and not give you anything!).

Anyways, I thought I'd let everyone know that this is what happened, as soon as I'd noticed I did 3 things:
1) changed my password (in case that was how they got in)
2) removed the post
3) reported the incident to the blogger support

oh and emailed a couple of insulting letters to the supplied email above (not happy Jan!), so there ya go. Now you know what happened there, and also (if you didn't before) watch out for those kind of scams!

Take care,

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Been a while..

Ok, it's been a while since I've posted anything, and some of you may be wondering if I'm still alive and kicking it.. Well here's a post to let you know what I've been up to:

Well as some of you know I've been looking for work here in London, and been having some hassles tying it all down, but it looks like it's all finally sorted (I won't say definitely until I've got the contract in my hand!) But in the meantime I've been doing a small-ish data-migration job for Redgum, nothing really interesting to non-geeks (hell most geeks find data migration boring!) so I won't go into the details, other than to say what started off as a simple couple of days of work, turned into 2 weeks of occasional frustration.

Social Circles
Well I've been slowly getting out there and meeting different people and getting up a bit of a social circle.. Even if most of them are met during the course of imbibing alcoholic substances (Matt seems to think I'm a bad influence!) but it's good fun having a few people to catch up with over the weekends (and occasionally during the week as well).

Also included in that is that I finally caught up with the two English guys I met on the tour through the Rockies of Canada, being jamie (the one on the left) and Nick.. Not really the most flattering of photo's (I think it makes them look like a white wannabe rapper and a swedish 80s porn star)

So hopefully going to catch up with these 2 and a few others for New Years Eve.. Should be a bit of fun.. Even if it isn't one of my traditional bbq's.. :-)

Reading news and blogs
The other thing I've been really getting into, is actually reading the news and keeping track of whats happening around the world (it's actually surprising of how easy it is to lose touch as you travel around!), one of the blogs that Matt put me onto is a nice one called: Neopoleon and there was one recent post where he was reviewing a new handheld pc "HP iPaq 6315 - The honest review" and he had an interesting use of this relatively-new technology...

The other place I've used one, but where I didn't receive any questions at all, was a clothing store in Las Vegas. Aydika and I were shoe shopping, and we found a fabulous little pair of casuals that she wanted. I was down and ready to get them, but she encouraged me to go online with "that phone thing" (that's what she calls the iPaq) and check out online prices for the shoes. I was hesitant, as I'm sort of an impulse buyer, but I figured in the end that she was making sense. So, I went online and found the shoes at nearly 40% off what the clothing store was asking for them. I walked the iPaq right up to the manager, showed her the lower price, and asked if she'd match it. She did.

Well, I thought it was interesting.. Anyways, soon (I keep saying that don't I?) I shall post some more of what I've been up to, including a bit of this quite fun weekend. Hope everyone is well, happy and looking forward to a fun xmas! Go out there and be Merry!


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball?

Well last night, myself and little Matt were out and about in London town, and found out that there was a special viewing of Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball - 25th Anniversary
A fundraiser for Amnesty International

Which can be viewed on the 9th December (here in the uk): BBC - BBC Four Documentaries - Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball?

Probably the main thing that grabbed my attention was that Rowan Atkinson would be appearing on stage to answer questions after the movie... Quite interesting hearing him debate the fine line between racial (and degrading) jokes, versus being free to criticize and question ideas and ideals.. Particular when this got onto the distinction between race versus religion, where Rowan has expressed concern that religion (which to him falls in the idea/ideal category), is becoming a taboo subject for comedians...

Myself I would of liked to know his (and the other panel members) thoughts on "The majority of industries in the world are governed by certain ethical, moral & legal constraints. Whereby study (and sometimes discussion) of particular areas is not to be allowed. Why is it that comedy should be free from those constraints and not other industries?"

Though I did like it when he put it as: A joke either works or it doesn't. If the audience laughs you can continue down that line, if they didn't laugh.. well there's your line. (obviously para-phrased)

But anyways, good movie, would love to see Rowan back on stage at some point... A fun night out.