High and low

First I was frozen on top of a rock, then I was frozen in some water…

As part of our training, all the first years were taken up one of the climbing crags the Centre uses. Up there we were shown how to set up a climb and an abseil. You use a few slings, a handful of figure-8 knots of varying styles and an Italian hitch plus some rope. If set up correctly you have a fairly neat looking system of ropes and knots that’ll let you roam around the side of the rock without falling on your head. If set up in a slightly disorganised way you end up with something that’ll work, but is prone to jamming up and then releasing in worrying little jumps – having your abseil line jam then release in an unexpected jerk doesn’t do much for your confidence. It was also a howling gale up there, but for once it wasn’t raining.

In the afternoon we went kayaking again. This time I was shown how to paddle properly so for a short time, until the wind turned me around, I was going in a fairly straight line. The fact my boat was longer than I am and that I’d picked up a short paddle didn’t help my aim. Big boats don’t tip over as easily, but once they get it in them to turn around, around you go. You can also build up a good speed which you don’t realise until you try and stop 😉

For some fun we did a seal-launch which involves you sitting in your kayak at the top of a sea wall (or some form of vertical drop into the water) and then being pushed off into the water. Do it properly and you stay upright and paddle away. Do it wrong and you look a bit of a tit for a while as you try to regain your balance. As my boat was bigger than most oil tankers I went in like a missile and popped up again, I don’t think it would have tipped over had I even tried.

Tipping over did happen though, we did an Eskimo rescue where should you capsize, someone else pushes the nose of their boat into your waiting (and frantically scrabbling) hands and you pull yourself upright. Boats shouldn’t go upside down, it’s just not right. Especially when you get cold water up your nose and in your ears. Still, you soon realise you can in fact hold your breath for a while and that you’re not stuck, but time does seem to run 100x slower when you’re upside down with your eyes shut in the freezing water. But I have now been upside down and know what it’s like which is good.

This diary uploader still crashes when uploading entries. I thought I’d fixed it too.

I have moved…

I am now in Lochgoilhead in Scotland. Should you wish to contact me, you may as well use telepathy as it’ll have more chance of reaching me than anything else. I’ve yet to find a way of getting on the internet.

This is a lot better than doing some random boring job in the middle of Manchester. Although I’ve yet to start doing anything, so when I’m being mobbed by a bunch of kids my opinion might change 😉

One failed, one to go

Had a job interview at Diggle School on Wednesday for an ICT Technician. Didn’t get it though, they wanted a techie that had worked with little kids, which seems to be an impossible combination – they didn’t hire anyone and have since withdrawn the post! Well at least I didn’t fail it because of my technical ability 🙂

Got one for a programming job in Marple tomorrow. This sounds way more interesting (if a little difficult to get to), so I’ll try my best to wow them and convince them they want me back for another interview (this is a “first interview”), then get them to employ me. All the other jobs I’ve failed to get have been tech support, which is alright, but I really like programming and after speaking to me for 10 minutes, they should realise this 🙂

Last day

I’m off work from tomorrow until the 7th Jan. Wheee 🙂

Managed to get multirow fetches working using ODBC. Now need to get my code autogenerator to create the correct code and test it. Hopefully it should be faster than the current ODBC stuff I’m doing. A website I’m reading seems to say it will. But doing that can wait until next year 🙂 (hopefully I’ve made sufficient notes to remind myself).

Over Christmas I’ll try and get this bloody website finished. I’m getting bored with it now 🙂

Slackware 8 and FTP mirrors

Well I woke up on Saturday and discovered Slackware 8 was out. I proceeded to try and download it through my flaky 56k modem (that keeps wanting to be a 9600 thanks to BT’s wonderful phonelines in our area – UNIX may be 30 years old, but that doesn’t mean I want to emulate a net connection from that time!). ftp.slackware.com was OK for the first 6 hours, I managed to get about 70MB, but then the Americans woke up and tried doing the same thing.

My local mirror (http://mirror.ac.uk) doesn’t have it all yet (there’s parts of the ‘slakware’ dir, but nothing in the ISO images directory yet), so I’m waiting for it to be available on http://www.linuxemporium.co.uk.

Technically this machine could download things, it is on a 2Mbit link, however we pay for our bandwidth and transferring 3 CD images would put us way over the limit (plus it’d still be on the wrong side of my modem – and the wrong side of Birmingham too!).

I can now ride one way up the big hill between here and my house in my bike’s top gear 🙂 I’ll try the other side today (the other side is steeper). The weather is still warm and there’s sun up there somewhere. I like it, makes a change from rain. Makes my herb garden grow too (the mint is taking over and it’s only been in there a week!). Had fun putting salt on the slugs that tried eating the corriander. Slugs and salt don’t mix, they go all… runny…

Back to writing this Windows program for work. It’s quite interesting really, I’m doing the entire thing on my own and it’s actually working! I have to demo it tomorrow (aaargh!)

Up, down, up, down

My modem is being silly again. I’m sure it’s psychic… My little 486 IP Masq machine runs diald, so I don’t have to mess around forcing it to dial whenever I want to go online. All I have to do is open a browser and enter the address, wait a while, press reload, and the page appears. There’s a 10 minute timeout so I have chance to read the pages that download… Thing is, I’ll read a page/go to the toilet/get food, come back and *just* as I am about to click on another link… *click* the thing hangs up! Then, because this is BT Internet it takes another 5 tries to connect… If ADSL wasn’t so expensive, windows-orientated (USB is NOT a handy bus for sending network data down, it’s for mice and keyboards and other faffy things, not network cards, hard drives, scanners, or software-only modems), and plain crap (you cannot transfer it if you move house, you have to buy it all over again) I’d have it.

I spent 3 hours last night cleaning our kitchen floor… It took 3 hours because since the floor is new a special stripper needs applying to remove the excess glue and cack that sticks to newly laid floors. This stripper isn’t allowed to dry (not sure why, but they pointed this out twice using bold text, so who am I to argue?) so you do the floor in small parts. The stripper needs leaving for 10 minutes to do its thing, then you wash it off. Our floor split itself into 6 parts…

I don’t know whether it was the fumes from the cleaner, or the fact it was 1am by the time I’d finished, but I decided to have a drink. I’ve now managed to invent the worst tasting drink ever… Take a glass, add an amount of Blackcurrant cordial, add an amount of vodka that’s been sitting in an old wine bottle for a week. Take a sip, try to suppress shuddering reflex, add more cordial, take another sip, throw away very quickly. It tasted worse than the lemon-stuffed green olives I once had.

At work I managed to implement a network protocol that I’d invented. And because I invented it, it worked 🙂 I’m now attempting to code something that encodes data and sends it using my protocol. The spec I am following is confusing and contradicts itself! (in one part it says to use MSB->LSB byte ordering, then in another part it says to use LSB->MSB byte ordering! Little-endian is slightly irritating when you are constructing bytes of data from individual bits. Instead of counting from 0 and going up to 7, you count from 0 and go down to 7 since the MSB comes first when written left-to-right)

OK modem… dial!

c u l8r (and other bad grammar)

The BBC must be running short of ideas. There’s a TV program on about SMS. WHY?!. There’s now an ‘X-Rated’ version where they show all the ‘naughty’ SMS messages that are going round (which look great on a Nokia phone, but if you’re not a sheep and own a non-Nokia they’re totally meaningless).

Aww no! There’s two people who met each other over SMS. *gag* *puke*

I think I’ll buy a bike tomorrow. Walking to work is fine and everything, I just can’t be bothered walking home, and it takes too long (also I can’t spontaneously decide to take another route home and go as fast as I can down a steep hill). Halfords of all places sells one that seems OK (although buying a bike from Halfords feels a little like getting a PC from Dixons. 6 months interest free credit is quite nice though).