the first of many

So here it is, my first LiVEJOURNAL post.

I’ve been keeping a web log by various ugly methods for a couple of years at (hmm, wonder how you do hyperlinks on this thing), but hopefully now posts are easier there will be more of them.

I’ve always thought web logs are an interesting concept. We have this huge computer network called the Internet with terabytes of free space so we have to find something to fill it all with. Perhaps keeping your diary online is a little… extrovert – or perhaps it just means you think people might actually be interested in the mundane things you do on a daily basis. Maybe we want to tell the world what we think of it, or maybe it’s to keep our friends from far and wide up to date with what we’re up to and hope they won’t forget us. Who cares tola, just type.

Thank you mchicago for the code I shamelessly stole from you to put this livejournal on my web page and thanks for the access code I needed to create an account. And bouncykaz, I still love you whether you like it or not, so deal with it.

Let us blog our way into the future together.


Oops, long time no post. So what’s been happening for the past couple of months? Well in summary…

  • Went to Lucy’s 18th Birthday which was great, live bands and Guinness. We also played pass the parcel (!). Photos to follow.
  • Worked at the Royal Albert Hall again as a sound engineer, this time for two days. Long old slog. Left Peterborough on the Friday afternoon, stopped off at a church in London on the way to help with a recording. Got to the hotel at 11pm after a pizza in Pizza Hut, in central London, on Halloween night. Got up at 6am the following morning, went to the Albert Hall. Recorded two brass bands and a 2000 person choir. The multitrack hard disk recorder (which runs on BeOS) crashed for the first time, ever in the middle of the recording! Didn’t leave the hall until 1am the following morning after loading up the lorry. Also photos to follow.
  • Went to see Matrix Revolutions at the Broadway in Peterborough. Amazing. I will say no more.
  • Had a dinner with the Round Table who are organising the Beer Festival for this coming summer. Had an argument over the date, it clashes with GCSE and A-level exams! They’re going to have to find three new sound engineers I think. Lovely evening other than that though, free Guinness 🙂
  • With Mr C. (trivia king) on our team, we won the pub quiz in dyke, twice. More free Guinness.
  • Saw Sigh, Lou, Paul et. al in Smiths, no Kaz though 🙁 Lou and Paul have dropped out of Uni! Both working at the leisure centre.
  • Been litter picking in the park a fair few times with some great girls from school. Gained some press attention which was nice – doing our bit to keep out town tidy. Me, in paper, in wellies 🙂
  • Played with NetOp and the open source VNC at school. Mr C gets carried away with being able to control desktops remotely :S But have some interesting ideas for spreading Linux around a bit more.
  • Played with Damn Small Linux, a 48Mb Live! CD derived from Knoppix, amazing!
  • Installed Debian (Potato) on my 486 laptop with 8Mb RAM and 160Mb HDD (which according to the documentation isn’t possible). It’s now connected to the internet! Only took me six hours…
  • Spoke to J and Kaz on the phone! Yey!
  • Got quoted nearly £90 for 16Mb of RAM for the laptop!! That’s including £15 for postage for something twice the size of a postage stamp…
  • tralk ( has now been running for 115 days, rock solid. Just waiting for a power cut!
  • Bought a Siemens SL45i on ebay. Bit disappointed with condition, but brilliant phone.
  • Fixed my Nokia 5210. Had to order a screwdriver especially (t6) and buy a new microphone on ebay.
  • Got dad’s credit card bill which I had to pay…
  • Spent the past three nights drinking in town. Smiths are charging £2.60 for a pint of Guinness now! I’m going to have to change my drinking habits.
  • Spent a lot of time worrying about things I haven’t done for school, and trying to prove, by contradiction, that root three is an irrational number

That’s about it I think 🙂


Woohoo! We finally got round to blocking net send on Windows NT/2000! That’ll fool ’em. Just hope we haven’t broken anything else in the process that’s all.

Someone asked for a Knoppix disk today! looks like the penguins are paying off. On the subject of Linux, according to, “Rumour has it [Linus Torvalds is] a Guinness man as well.” Oh yes! The man has taste.

MChicago’s Live Journal is a little quiet recently, he must be distracted 🙂 Missing Kaz.

Let’s keep this post short, and get on with some work.


Wez and I have resorted to posting messages to each other in binary on the Bourne Forum after Rex Needle wrote in the Bourne Diary “If you wish to find out about youth activities or participate in discussions intended solely for them, then you must go elsewhere.” The plotting continues…

School open day was quite fun although a lot of work for a two hour event! I got to show off my Linux lab to people and try and convert them to free software. The main attractions were the giant tux penguins, the magic CD-ROM drive and networked battleships. In other parts of IT there was mystic meg (a projected face on the wall from a web cam that could answer all of your questions), a Lego Robolab, Computer disassembly, history of computers, VB games and the usual curriculum stuff.

Yesterday on the way home from school I noticed two girls (Britney and Jenny) were picking up the litter in and around the drained St. Peter’s Pool in the Well Head that I have been complaining about for ages, so I went home, got changed and returned with a black bin liner to help them. We may be back next Friday!

At lunchtime on Friday one of the dinner ladies, sorry, Lunchtime Supervisors told me off for walking up the “wrong set of stairs” and not ASKING if I could go up to the IT room… ?!! For some reason it really got to me. I go up there every lunchtime, so why was Friday any different? And what difference does it make to ANYONE which set of stairs I walk up?! If I could spell it, I’d use the term petty beurocracy.

This morning I went to the Post Office to send “The Cathedral and The Bazaar” back to the ALUG library and to post 24 letters for mum who is searching for her grandad. Then I went to the Library where they told me I would have to pay two pounds to renew “A Tour of the Calculus” from the British Library for the second time. Grr, not my fault I’m a slow reader.

This afternoon was mainly taken up taking up floor boards and wall panels, poking holes through ceilings and going in the attic to lay a network cable to connect Ashdaman’s computer to the Internet. Another two lights are now lit up on my hub and there are 5 computers on the network, mostly very low spec machines.

Mr C attempted to teach our computing class how to convert a floating point binary number into a denary one on Friday. He NEARLY managed it 😛 Oh and I found out the connection between the 12 days of Christmas and Binomial Expansion.

I have an inhuman amount of work to do this weekend so it’s about time I got started.


Wez is a nutter. This morning he got up at about 5:00am, drove to Skegness, went on a rollercoaster (twice) and drove back again, before school started. Why? “Stress Relief” !!!!!!! What a legend.

I posted on the Bourne Forum yesterday, but the words “James Wearing Smells” were edited out of my post by Rex Needle. Hmm. A little censor-happy me thinks.

Wez and I manufactured our very own fully XML compliant geek, end geek shirt today in textiles. Very much like the T-shirts seen on, only ours are real shirts and a hell of a lot cheaper. I’m sure some photos will follow open evening on Thursday.

Got a lovely email from ma KT today which cheered me up considerably. My DVD drive hasn’t arrived from DABS yet, they’re still trying to find me a power splitter, grr.

I’ve finally made Ben a web site, albeit not a very good one, to put his amazing flash animations on. Hopefully someone will spot his talent 😀

Still missing Kaz.


School is going OK, I got a decent mark in a recent maths test which is a good sign – still a long long way to go though. I’ve been pondering over what to do in my gap year if I take one, a couple of jobs in mind although the one in Dublin isn’t being advertised any more :'(

This weekend went to pot as it turned out I couldn’t get to Norwich. That means I missed the ALUG meeting and couldn’t return the book I borrowed and much worse, I probably won’t be able to visit Kaz until half term now. Major Bummer.

I’ve spent most of today fiddling with pointless things on my computer like wallpapers, getting GKrellM to look pretty and say “mmm, you’ve got mail’ in a sexy british woman’s voice and give me a live news feed. When I got bored with that, I started making my aterm colours (or should I say colors) just right with the tinting so I can see the text on top of the background, then another half an hour changing the colour blue it uses to display HTML text!! Get the impression I’m avoiding doing work? Yes, well.

Had a visit from two cousins today, one of whom I hadn’t seen for months. That was a nice distraction from my (non)work.

It’s school open evening next thursday which may be fun or may be a pain in the arse. Between watching A Beautiful Mind and reading more of A Tour of the Calculus I’ve been trying to sustain my enthusiasm for maths. I bought two DVDs for £7.99 from Blockbuster, which is a little odd as I don’t have a DVD drive… so I ordered one on dabs, and a power splitter cable to go with it… then realised I couldn’t afford to go to the Ceilidh in Rippingale.

GKrellM tells me that tralk has now been running for 50 days and it’s still running like a dream 😀 Considering I could only ever get windows XP to run for 10 days at a time before it became unusable I think that’s pretty impressive.

Oh, and this is very very very very very very very cool… Magnatune.


Kaz has left for University! So far all I’ve heard about her first day is “im 67% drunk, i sobered up lots on the way to uni, i was rolling on the floor laughing at one point which i got to ld off for becuase the waitress alomst tripped up”. Hmm. I’m missing Kaz.

Thursday night was Adam’s birthday do at Smiths and an Italian restaurant which finished earlier than I expected and was a bit of hard work for various reasons. I also got to experience ice being stuffed down my trousers, thanks laura. I think Adam was suitably offended by the electric shock lighter I bought him, well Adam – smoking is bad for your health. Overall though it was quite enjoyable.

Last night was Wez’s 18th birthday booze up which stretched across three pubs and a “night club”. I’m still trying to figure out how he managed to not throw up after the amount he drunk and the two helpings of birthday bumps in the street (right under a CCTV camera I might add, hmm only a geek would notice something like that). Wez’s present was a pair of very snazzy DJing glasses with torches on, as seen on 🙂 Kaz’s birthday present was an “optic” – you know one of things you use to get a measure of whisky or vodka, etc. Lot’s of birthdays in a short space of time. I don’t think she knew quite what to do with it, and her mum is trying to palm off the kumquat plant and make me look after it while Kaz is at uni! I do get awkward presents don’t I?

Tomorrow there is a meeting in South Witham about the cyber cafe they want to start up and then I must get on with my UCAS application, whoopee! :S


I’ve just noticed that in one of the applications I edited this page in all the HTML tags got turned into upper case, how annoying.


What’s happened since the last post? I spent three days in manchester recording a brass band with b+h. I felt quite guilty on the train there because I fell asleep in someone’s reserved seat. I knew that the seat was reserved from Nottingham onwards but I got on at Grantham. Unfortunately by the time we got to Nottingham I’d fallen asleep and when I woke up I noticed that I was still sitting on a seat with a reserved ticket on it :S

The actual client turned out to be Warner Brothers so I knew quite a few of the tunes we were recording which made a nice change 🙂 Think Star Wars and Bob the Builder. The recording was in the Peel Hall at Salford University. I had a full english breakfast all three days to keep me going, very long days. Eating venues varied from a greasy road side cafe full of manchester workmen in fluresant jackets to a posh french restaurant on the quayside in Salford. I ordered my dessert in French… kind of 😉 I tried Mrs Raymond, I tried. The waiter just smiled as if to say “Yes we get your sort in here all the time”.

Another of our meals was a pizza, but we had a whole one each and couldn’t eat them all. My roommate, who was great, had a great idea and hung our half eaten pizzas out of the window at the travel lodge overnight (4 stories up over a street pavement) so that they would be fit to eat in the morning. Right…

It turned out that my roommate was a bit of a computer geek. We got talking about computers somehow (I didn’t start it, honest) and when I mentioned I’d just set up a web server in my bedroom I was quite taken aback when he said “Is it running Apache, PHP?”. He did however have a girlfriend (they were engaged!) so there’s yet another geek who has a girl. Frelling…

Once the van was unloaded and all the mics were rigged and everything plugged in, my job was basically two fold – 1) making drinks and 2) pressing record. Both had their difficulties. Making drinks was difficult simply because the nearest source of water was down a labyrinth of dark corridoors deep inside salford university and the fact I had to get through the room where the recording was taking place holding a tray full of cups and a kettle to get there.

The pressing record part wasn’t difficult because of the 7 buttons that had to be pressed in the correct order and combination for every take, that’s very very easy after a while. It’s the fact that I had to remain perfectly concentrated for hours at a time, that and I had to sit cross legged so that Brian could see the digits on the display in our very cramped control room. Every take I had to write down the time on the tape, the take number and exactly which bar from which piece was being recorded – without the aid of an actual score or any knowledge of the title of the pieces! To make things worse, on the second day someone kindly mentioned that my notes would be sent off to Norway along with the recording so that the Norweigan editors could make sense of the forty eight tracks we had recorded a few bars at a time, not necessarily in the right order. Oh and then they were going to cut 15,000 copies of the CD. No pressure then. Do they KNOW I’ve never done this before?

Since then I’ve been back to school. I’ve started to hate that word. Not in the same way I’ve loathed it for all the years I’ve been at one, but in a whole new way. I’ve started to cringe every time I say it, perhaps I feel embarassed that I’m still at school now that most of my best friends are either at Uni or at work. Kaz’s departure from my physical world is growing ever closer and Norwich seems to get further away by the day. Aren’t I sad?

As part of my drastic change in lifestyle this year in order to do better in my exams (yeah, right) I’ve stopped spending quite as much time in #imen. All I seem to do is irritate people. I’ve started trying to go to bed earlier and getting up earlier, which works sometimes. I’ve even said that I’m quitting stage crew this year to make more time for my studies. I may even go to the games lesson tomorrow to shock Mr C who is responsible for that session this year! I haven’t stopped geeking however. The Linux Lab at school now has 6 working compaq workstations and I’m making plans for the school open day to show off my lab to everyone 😀 I might even invite some ALUG and PLUG members.

School is a bit of a pain at the moment because I’m carrying on doing all five of my subjects which means I have half as many “non-contact study periods” as everyone else and have a lot to do. Maths is hard work, but I’m determined not to let it get on top of me. I’m thinking of dropping Physics for complicated reasons, although I’m a bit upset because I find it really interesting.

Went to my cousin’s wedding yesterday. It was a fantastic day and she looked as gorgeous as I’d expected. It’s unbelievably weird for the girl I pretty much grew up with to be getting married – especially seeing as I hadn’t met the bridegroom until the wedding. I really hope she’ll be happy. I feel very close to her. Hope nobody was embarassed by my family turning up in the VW camper 🙂 !

I’m just going to finish watching this programme on channel 4 about the brilliant french sport of “free running” and I ought to do some work before I go to bed!



A quick update, erm where do I start? I just got back from a week long 830 mile journey in the hippymobile! We were brave and headed for Scotland as the first trip in “Sunny” the camper, and we got there, just 🙂

Stopped off for two nights in the Lake District near Lake Windemere. If you ever happen to be in that area, don’t go and see Lake Windemere there are too many people there and it’s terribly commercialised. Nip down the road to Coniston Water, it’s wonderfully peaceful and beautiful… is it dangerous to say that kind of thing on the internet? We went up to Scotland and stopped on a camp site in the grounds of Calzean Castle (is that the correct spelling) before heading east for Moffat where the camp site is run like a prison! 😛 Then on the way back we stopped at Grin Lo just outside Buxton on a campsite in a disused quarry which was really lovely, especially the walk up to Solomons Temple on a hill where you can see for miles and miles around – until were chased off by a bullock.

Whilst on holiday in bonnie wee Scotland both sis and I got our exam results. After a small panic sis got her place at UEA to study biological and medicinal chemistry (I REALLY hope I got that right!) by getting three Bs and a C. Yey! Go sis! Then came my AS results, A in General Studies, A in DT: Product Design, A in Computing (the only A in the year), a C in Physics and a U in Maths. The maths result I was expecting and I was one of 27 people in my year to fail, but the Physics result threw me a little, I was expecting at least a B.

But I won’t be beaten, I’m just going to put it down to being a bad year last year, partly due to health. It turned out when I got back and had chance to examine the results in detail that two of my physics modules were a B and one was a D, so the current plan is to retake that one Physics module and bump the grade up to a B and retake ALL of my Maths modules and start a fresh. The only problem is that I will be dropping DT which I got 295/300 in and carring on Physics (C) and Maths (U)! What’s worse is that the results make choosing my degree even harder.

Other news, I finally have my own web server with a static IP. “tralk” is sitting on the end of my ADSL line and can currently be viewed at Tralk is a stable Debian install running Apache, mySQL and PHP (If you could just ignore the fact that J came round my house tonight and broke mySQL I would really appreciate it).

It looks very much like FFDesign is being closed down for at least a year as neither J or I will have time to run things this coming academic year. However, the servers will run as before and iMen is still developing at a speed never seen before! I can’t keep up with the site engine version numbers and there’s some debate as to whether it forked a while back. There are also sick sick things going on in the background that I don’t even pretend to fully understand but I’m pretty sure they’re legal 😉 – I get shaky when the word Rovac pops up.

Scotland is being treated to a double dose of torture because about the same time my family came back in the hippymobile sis and family headed up to Edinburgh. So no more bike rides or Sky Film channel for a week. Which reminds me, I still can’t get my lovely DVB-t TV card to run under Linux, grr…


It’s Sunday night and the end of a long week. I started the week feeling very ill indeed and didn’t make it into school until Wednesday. Wednesday night I jumped on a train to Norwich with Sis, spent the night in a “goth flat” above a curry house and had a look around UEA. I have to say it was a lot better than I was expecting. OK, so the main University is a concrete jungle, but if you look beyond the grey monstrosity in the middle you notice that it’s placed in gorgeous countryside with a lake, sorry, a broad. J completely failed to explain the difference between a lake and a broad to me, “I’m no geologist” he claims – at last something he doesn’t claim to know more about than everyone else 😛 Anyway – the concrete monstosity is actually quite nice inside and the computer labs were probably the best I’ve seen so far. Place felt quite homely too, could just be because I’d spent the previous night in the city. At least I didn’t wander into a room I shouldn’t be in and ask the Dean for directions like I did at Lincoln! “I don’t know these things, I’m just the Dean” – oops. After already spending waay too much money on train fares and fast food I bought some guitar strings and went home.

I didn’t sleep too well on Wednesday night, I was programming in my sleep again and kept waking up with an urge to write things down. Everyone I know has tried to convince me that I should do next years computing coursework in MS Access because it fits the syllabus best, AARRGGHH! WHY?! I won’t! I refuse! I’m also even more undecided on whether I want to do Computer Science or Computer Systems Engineering and whether it even matters. Conflicting advice only contributes to me not really knowing what I want to do.

In Norwich I was explaining to J and Sis that one day I’d like to have a Landrover (the old style ones) and a VW hippymobile. J of course pulled down my dreams. The landrover was unsafe and the hippymobile too hard to get hold of. He said they were sooo difficult to get hold of you’d have to pay a fortune for them. Now, if there’s one thing I like doing its proving J wrong – because for some unknown reason it very rarely happens. So, two days later I bought one. A 1979 Volkswagon Camper with a Devon Conversion, for £1650 (after some haggling) which I think was a bargain. It needs a little work but it’s basically sound and has a fridge, two gas rings, a grill, a toilet, lots of lights and a fantastic Denon sound system I can plug my mp3 jukebox into along with a brand new awning only used twice. The adventure has begun! Now as soon as I pass my driving test I can actually drive the thing myself – it’s currently owned half and half between my parents and grandparents whom I bullied into buying it – mum didn’t take much pursuading though! Just means she can’t get a new car to replace the rotting old ellie epic metro for a while 🙁 So, the hippygeek finally has a hippymobile!

Sis went to her prom and thorougly didn’t enjoy the food. She described one of the sauces as tasting very much like “Yack Semen”. Now how exactly she knows what “Yack Semen” tastes like is still undergoing heavy debate, but remains the source of much concern for all involved. J corageously (Oh dear we are struggling with spelling today) got the mail server working and brought the dev server back from the dead earlier. Well done J.