dig dig dig

Backdated Entries
Why is it that backdated entries seem not to show up in friends’ lists? I backdated two entries which don’t show up anywhere but my journal page. Oh well.

Today has been pottering around, filling out (online) forms, shopping for stationary, domain renewal, complaining to a hosting company and digging up the front lawn.

Freelance Computer Support (tolatech.co.uk)
Tomorrow I’m setting up a wireless network for someone. It’s amazing how jobs keep coming in without asking for them. Word of mouth is the best advertising for my sort of work. Talking of my freelance-on-the-side stuff, I don’t think lauperr really understands that I’m kind of at work all the time. I only get a proper wage packet for 30 hours a week, the rest of my time is bits of work here and there. This means that I don’t really come home at night and “finish” work, but I’m basically working whenever I’m needed. I still have a few jobs that need chasing up.

I met a “client” in the car park of a supermarket yesterday whilst out with Laura and was told off for stopping to chat to them to arrange when I can do some work for them. It’s just the way things work.

Random observations of the day
* Photoshop is quite cool.
* Programming PIC chips is easier in Windows than in GNU/Linux, thank the lord for Wine.
* Being charged to cancel hosting once the paid-for time is up is stupid when the charge is double that of two years domain registration!
* TV is crap.

The morning after the night before

I don’t actually remember writing “lmao I’m drunk!” at the end of the last entry so I think I really must have been. I must have written it when I came back from the hotel bar in a bit of a state. Presumably I was finding something amusing, perhaps the way the room was spinning around me creating an effect not dissimilar to a fairground ride. I’ve since found out that my colleagues didn’t leave the bar until 3:30am and didn’t get to bed until gone 5.

Backtracking a little… after leaving my hotel room (number 42) last night I went for the evening meal to find I’d been put on a table (number 7) with complete strangers, a couple of old guys and a few young female teachers (but don’t tell lauperr). I expect the idea was to get us all to mingle and practice our “networking” skills.

I thought I’d play “Let’s see how long it takes you to figure out I’m not a teacher” which actually lasted all evening! I thought I was rumbled when the guy next to me, after having given me a detailed account of his past, said “So what’s your educational background?” but I somehow managed to escape to the toilet!

I always find it amusing how people react when put with a group of strangers. The kind of ritual that goes on to initiate polite conversation and not offend anyone. Anyway… I overslept and woke up at 9:30 (the training started again at 8:30) but I made it in time for the first talk. I felt very ill all day and didn’t get to eat until tea time which didn’t help!

Audi Design Convention

I’m currently sitting in a hotel room, a very nice hotel room in fact, and one which happens to have the number 42 🙂 Much nicer than anything I’ve stayed in while in London doing recordings. This hotel happens to be just down the road from my work (Barnsdale Lodge), but it’s free so hey.

I’m in the middle of a two day D&T conference for teachers. Being at a conference for teachers, people assume I’m a teacher – which I find vaguely amusing as the teacher who taught me A Level Product Design last year is supposed to be on the same course.

On reception was a cat called Aaron which looks so much like Bazil (a black and white cat I grew up with who ran away a few years ago) that I’m actually seriously considering the possibility that it is indeed the same cat! Quite how it travelled twenty miles from home is another matter entirely…

Despite the fact I’ve nearly fallen asleep in all of the lectures today I’ve actually found it quite interesting. There was an initial talk by someone from industry describing some of the wacky projects they’ve done, and I mean a big ball of welded metal spikes the size of the Leaning Tower of Piza kind of wacky. Then I went to a talk about a different approach to brain storming, followed by a talk about Ergonomics by a senior lecturer from Loughborough University (we swapped business cards) and a talk about programmable electronics by a guy from Nottingham Trent University who suggested I email him.

The programmable electronics stuff has fascinated me and I’m dying to have a go with it. I don’t think work are really interested in going down that route but I may have to buy a few bits to play with at home 🙂 A teacher from Oakham school showed me a robotic dog his students have been developing which was impressive. I’ve got a great idea for making my own DRD (Farscape reference) but I don’t know how long it will last before I get banned from doing it because it’s too nerdy 😛

I under an hour I have to head back to the conference venue for a meal before I can come back to sleep in this massive bed. It’s a real shame lauperr isn’t here because there’d be plenty of room if I could get away with it. Still, with her current state of health it’s probably best she stops at home. Near the toilet 🙁


lmao I’m drunk!

iCalendar and webdav


A current project at work is setting up a Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP server to eventually be used to host a web site for Catmose Arts and run services for the County. I’m currently using a PC from home for the job because I inadvertently wiped the BIOS of the 2Ghz/120Gb/1Gb server I was supposed to be using! Will tell that story next time.

Once I’d got some hardware that I knew worked with Debian stable it took me very little time to set up the server. My current problem is setting up a webdav server (reasonably securely) to allow people to publish iCalendar compatible calendars to the web site (see rfc2445). I’m using phpicalendar to parse and display the .ics files on the web ok but I’m having problems setting up write access to the calendars directory using webdav (any help appreciated). Read access is fine and I can subscribe to calendars. I’m using the mod_dav module for Apache and I want to use at *least* digest authentication for write access. I really need to do a lot more reading and googling so I’m comfortable with my httpd.conf file and my htaccess config.

Another problem is that I want each calendar uploaded to the server to be protected by a separate username and password (for writing, not reading). Currently phpicalendar only parses .ics files stored in one directory and does not transverse the directory tree recursively. As http authentication built into Apache only allows password protecting directories, not files, this is a problem because I can’t currently put each calendar in its own directory. I’m going to try and hack the phpicalendar code but I fear I may break it 🙂 Again, any help welcome. I think there may also be a bug in the way URLs are parsed differently in normal and printer-friendly views, I’ll try and let the developers know.

Casual Observation

I’ve noticed that “Suits” have started wooly jumpers and smiles as some kind of disguise. It’s a worrying trend which I fear may have been influenced by Steve Jobs and is passing through the corporate world like wildfire. So remember people, stay on guard. The Suits(TM) are getting more devious every day.


Because of previously mentioned hitches the holiday has been moved to February. lauperr, her family and myself will now be heading off to Agadir in Morocco. The more I read about Morocco the more I think we should have booked somewhere in the Canary Islands but… I’m sure it will be great. I’ve finally got my passport and I get to go on a plane for the first time too (nobody can believe I’ve never flown).

Other News

So much going on at the moment, don’t have time to blog it all. My car sailed through its MOT on everything except Carbon Monoxide emissions (grr, there goes another £130). Money is still a problem but I’m getting quite a bit of Freelance work to supplement my income and keep me out of the red. If they can just cancel Christmas, I should be fine 🙂 (bah humbug). I’m slowly being driven insane by the lack of music during my 80 minutes a day of driving too and from work. I’ll have to ask for a CD player for my car for Christmas, but if anyone knows how to unlock a locked car radio that’s had the wrong code punched in too many times…

Poor lauperr

Poor lauperr is very ill at the moment and needs lots of nursing. Feel free to send flowers and cards (or a donation to a favoured animal charity), but chocolate is likely to end up in the toilet :S