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Diary

Note: The latest stuff is at the bottom of the page -- erm, no, it's not - the latest is at the top, but owing to the fact that I have not sorted the order of the old entries out yet, the diary goes in descending-date order until you reach 10 March 2002 - after which, it goes in ascending order. Sorry!

Saturday March 16 2002, 22:49

My sleep cycle is shifting forward by roughly 4 hours a day now. Today, I got up at 18:00 - terribly late, though I was pleased that it was still light outside. The days are getting longer and this has two useful effects: it means that I am in less of a bad mood when I wake up because, if it's light enough, I can adjust to it being 'morning' for me, even if it's evening for everyone else. It doesn't matter so much if it gets dark after that, as long as I get that initial bit of daylight. The second useful effect: the cat's not here quite as much as he would be in the winter. Bo's a very affectionate cat, but is very stupid and insists on walking all over the kitchen table and the tiles (not the floor tiles - the ones at waist level). It's impossible to train a cat, so he will always walk at that level because that's what he's always done. The cottage has no back door so Bo has become used to entering the house through the kitchen window. After he left, I wiped all of the kitchen surfaces and started vacuuming. I did the rest of the house as well (all except Tam and Elly's rooms - I don't go in there much).

Dom is currently ill, suffering from a bad cold and a chesty cough. I haven't seen him since Thursday. He's apparently well enough to drive, as I saw him leaving yesterday (Friday) evening. I guess he doesn't want to spread his cold all over the place. I don't care, really - if I get it, I get it. Still, I would rather not get ill if I can prevent it.

More news: I've got another webcam! Dissatisfied with my Creative WebCam Go Plus, I went into Barnstaple and bought a Logitech QuickCam Web. The picture is much brighter and clearer than that from the Go Plus cam, and the software is vastly more stable; I've only had one 'blue screen' crash with it. Lots of peeps seem to be working on a Linux driver for it. I was annoyed at myself that I had just assumed that if it was called 'QuickCam' it would work immediately with Linux - this is not true: support under Linux depends on the cam chipset and manufacturers often do not give out details about the hardware unless one signs an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). NDAs are the bane of the Linux world, and in my opinion, they do not do the reputation of the hardware manufacturer much good either. I do not know what is stopping Creative or Logitech from releasing their own closed-source Linux drivers, but they don't want to; maybe the market is too small. In the 'old days', computers and peripherals used to come with a full printed manual (yeah, on paper - not a cruddy Acrobat document!) and schematic diagrams so that the user could add their own hardware and figure out what was wrong with the device, if it developed a fault. It's impractical to supply a schematic with modern PCs, but programming details would be very useful. What amazes me is that no-one objects to this, not to mention the highly restrictive license agreements that most Windows-compatible devices are supplied with that say that although you own the hardware, you are prohibited by law from finding out how it works.

Links: Linux USB Project.


Sunday March 10 2002, 16:06

My right leg has gone numb - what a great way to start a diary entry. I've been typing whilst sitting on the floor and it is very uncomfortable; all of the tables around here are either too low or too high. To try to fix this predicament, I've brought my computer console in from the garage. I now spend a lot of time upstairs in a room that I call 'The Ant Room' because in summer, ants arrive at the window sill and multiply, chew a lot of wood and eventually fly off to start new nests elsewhere. In a quest to understand why they do this, I read a lot of online documentation. Having had a go at them several times with Nippon Anti-Ant Stuff, I am now content to let them be - buggered if I could get 'em. I rather respect them now as they are hardy little critters.

A few weeks ago, I bought a webcam - a Creative WebCam Video Blaster Go Plus Extra Something Or Other (why so many names for the thing?). It's a Windows-only Webcam, which irritates me a little, but a geezer is working on a Linux driver for it. In the meantime, it's fine on Windows, if a little cranky sometimes; I got some mpeg encoding software and I'm producing lots of tiny videos of the rooks landing on the TV aerial on the house opposite, as well as timelapse videos with the clouds shooting past and the sun hooning around the sky like a bast. Windows is so limiting, though - I actually want to use the thing to do stuff - not just use Creative's buggy software.

I spent a lot of time on LambdaMOO last night and didn't get to bed until about 09:00. I woke up 4 hours and 50 minutes later, and I'm looking rather rough right now. I need more tea! Which is better: Miles or PG Tips? I used to be devoted to Miles Tea and then I suddenly switched to PG. I don't seem to be able to write anything remotely interesting today- ah well! I think that's due to my tiredness and the fact that my mind is trekking along on three different 'threads' - one where I am thinking about Friends Re-United and how much success I've had with it (in spite of not paying them their fiver!) and another where I am thinking of LambdaMOO and what it is that makes people behave so strangely when they're behind a keyboard. LambdaMOO is full of freaks and eccentric folks, and I'm just a 'basic bloke' - I find it difficult to socialise when I'm there. I love being able to build and program, though. Having said all that, there was a time when I had a female character (Brock) and it was going fine until the character began to exert too much control over my non-MOO life - at which point I went back to a male character, tried a 'Spivak' (non-gendered) character and a few other weird variations, before settling on a male character (Arkanoid) with a female alter-ago (MoonCresta - you may see a certain arcade theme here!). In my opinion, male is fine, female is fine, but mixing the two is better... hey, it just depends on what mood I'm in, really. (Incidentally, the 'third thread' is my constant need for a hot mug of tea!)

I forgot to mention the most important thing of all: Slow Wave. A talented artist (Jesse Reklaw) draws comic strips based on dreams that people submit to him [Editor's note (09-Jul-2010): Jesse is female]. The dreams are sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing, and always very odd, in the way that dreams are. My favourite is "DogWash" (see archives section - I think it's October 2001).

Finally, if this site suddenly blinks out of existence, it's because I've been unable to cope with a recent 396 telephone bill. The reason for the high bill is technical but I can sum it up briefly: "three phone calls a second, 8 hours a day, for several days".


From this point, the direction of the diary is in ascending date order!

Friday May 26 2000, 20:30

It's a grey, wet evening and the rain is coming down in large, cold drops. The magpies squawk loudly outside as they quarrel over some catfood that I have just thrown out. As I write this, I hear a message which informs me that the modem has just disconnected the call - a modem retrain failure caused by my living so far from the exchange. I have noticed that the line drops more frequently when it's wet outside.

My sleep pattern has been chaotic recently and having stayed up for 36 hours since Wednesday, this morning I went back to bed for four hours and awoke again just before 0800 so I could be awake to collect a parcel which I knew to be arriving. I had a cup of tea and a biscuit but didn't have the appetite to eat anything more substantial.

Things should get better with my net connection as I'm getting Home Highway (ISDN) soon. The parcel that arrived this morning was the BT Speedway ISDN card. Drivers should be available for Linux as apparently this card is just a clone of the AVM Fritz card. I'm really looking forward to having a fast, stable connection that doesn't drop or retrain every ten minutes.

I visited my landlord (at his farm) at 19:00. He was asleep at the kitchen table. He woke when I had been talking to my grandmother for a few minutes. He grumbled some complaint about the rent at me and watched me with a bleary eye. I did not reply as I'd not heard what he said, and I have decided that since I don't speak his particular drunken Devonian dialect anyway, I may as well not bother entering into a conversation with him. I've suffered so many hateful, whinging and bitter complaints from him that I just don't let myself deal with it any more.

Ah well! That's today's brief (and cheerful) diary entry concluded!

Sunday May 28 2000, 05:31

This weekend I have been behaving strangely. I have seen no-one, and have only ventured out of the house on a couple of occasions to get vital supplies from the shop or mail from the postbox. Mainly, I've been creeping around in the dark at night and playing old computer games on my Amiga 1200. This morning when the daylight threatened to cloud my mental clarity with harshness and glare, I blocked off another window upstairs - I've yet to see how good a job I made of it; there is only so much you can do with bin bags, staples and silver foil.

My British Telecom Speedway ISDN card (a rebadged AVM 'Fritz' A1 card) arrived on Friday and I installed the software on Windows. Getting it to work on Linux will be somewhat more challenging than inserting a CD and rebooting a few times - it means a kernel recompile and a couple of updated packages. I'm glad for the presence of such volunteer groups as isdn4linux at these times - I doubt BT would have wanted to help.

The magpies are squawking outside: an odd 'racheting' sound like a squeaky hinge. I've come to know that this sound means "I've found it! Food over here!", or maybe it's just a magpie expression of excitement. I threw some stale cornflakes out just now - the food will be gone in a couple of hours.

My dad mailed me the other day and included a Microsoft Office document which featured some colourful graphics. "More COLOUR!" it urged: "Like the site but want COLOUR!" I am going to add tons of colour to this site at some point (meaning 'never' in Lex language!), however I often view webpages with the Lynx text browser, which ignores graphics. Wouldn't the web be boring if it was all text though? I will add graphics soon, I promise. I'll also try to split this page into a number of mini-pages, and add frames.. maybe. :)

Tuesday May 30 2000, 11:47

Today I woke up at the late hour of 22:30 and immediately went on the net to upload data from Seti@home and distributed.net, which I recently decided to run on my P90 named 'Cranefly'. After that, I fed the cat and turned on the radio to listen to 'Up All Night' on Radio 5 Live, as I usually do in the morning. The presenter's name was Eric, and he had a rather eccentric-sounding guy called Lucian Morgan (I probably spelled that wrong) on his show. Mr. Morgan was (and indeed, is) an interpreter of dreams. I listened intently to several elderly lady callers who had suffered a bereavement. I felt that things were getting a bit gloomy, and I decided to email one of my merry 'flying' dreams. This I did, and the presenter read it out at about 03:10. He got my name wrong (he pronounced 'Landa' as 'Larrrrrnder' - people always do) but he was very nice about my style of writing, so I didn't write back and complain. He said I wrote like a poet. Indeed, I did concentrate on the emotion and sensation of the dream, and it must have sounded quite descriptive.

A brief description of the dream: I'm walking by moonlight on a clear night. The stars are out and I have a perfect view of the fields and roads as I walk up the hill. The further I get up the hill, the more free I feel; it is as if I am slowly becoming part of the landscape - moving invisibly among the trees and fields. By the time I reach the top of the hill I feel as if I can float, and because I always think this due to the sensation of climbing the hill, this is what happens - my feet gradually leave the surface of the road and I float up into the sky where I drift amongst the cool clouds and watch the stars, which seem to grow brighter as I go higher.

After I have spent some time drifting around, I usually wake up due to the onset of lucidity. I find that I can sometimes make my dreams partly lucid, but I am never totally aware. I'm sure there's a technique to having a perfect lucid dream. A few years ago, I had another very clear lucid dream when I was sleeping on a sofa at my old house. I think the sofa was very uncomfortable so I kept waking up. This isn't enough to explain why I became lucid though.

So that's the dream. Not else much has happened today other than me feeding the cat a couple of times, being rather bothered by the fact that the cat keeps attracting ticks. I compiled a new kernel for one of my computers.

Sunday June 4 2000, 19:51

I think it would be accurate to say that I spent the entire day on the Internet - mainly at wm.themes.org, downloading large quantities of themes for Window Maker 0.62. The whole process took rather longer than I would have liked due to the net being incredibly slow. I later discovered that this was probably due to themes.org being a massive 29 hops away from my host. I switched to Freeserve and the figure was reduced to 11.

I am currently planning to convert one or more of my local intranet (.brooknet) hosts into a diskless workstation. This is mainly due to me having become thoroughly irritated with the constant humming, whirring and clanking of the computers. Winter is by far the worse offender in this aspect: it has a total of three fans (PSU fan, CPU fan, air inlet fan) and the hard drive is mounted in such a way that the clicking of the servos reverberates through the entire case. I think that the main cause of the problem is me: I am basically a grumpy old Internet addict who needs to get out of the house more and spend less time online.

Elly's slug picture
Untitled Slug Picture, by Elly Landa, 1998.

Monday June 5 2000, 19:14

It's dinnertime. This evening's dinner consists of Happy Shopper Baked Bean Grill with Tabasco and brown sauce - it's basic food but it fills a hole. Musicwise, I'm listening to Green Day's Dookie album. It's not loud enough.. it's got to be loud enough to get through the annoying mood of distraction which has gripped me today.

While I was preparing tonight's feast, I noticed another mollusc crawling up the window. This evening, it was a snail. By the looks of it, it's spent most of the day climbing up the outside of the house. If anyone out there is an expert in the study of molluscs, maybe they could mail me and answer this question: why do slugs and snails climb houses? I thought that maybe the mollusc can sense magnetic fields and when it wakes, decides 'right! today I will go foraging to the north!'. Off it goes, but bugger me if there isn't a blooming great house in the way. The mollusc, thinking that perhaps it has encountered a novel sort of boulder or pebble, attempts to climb it. I wonder what will be climbing up the kitchen window tomorrow? A giant squid, maybe, or a sea cucumber, or perhaps a beluga whale - you never know. [Astute readers may notice that the sketch linked to by the words 'giant squid' and 'sea cucumber' does not show a depiction of a squid, but shows an octopus instead. For some reason, I got squid and octopii confused.]

Computer stuff (non-propeller heads can skip this bit): this evening I added one more 'X Workstation' to my network - the Amiga 1200. The ancient AmiWin system turned out to be exactly what I needed, and I soon had Netscape running on the Amiga's X server by exporting the display from Winter. One tiny little nag: why is so much Amiga software shareware instead of freeware? The author of AmiWin has obviously gone to some lengths to compile it for the Amiga, but when you come down to it, it is still just a port of a free Open Source project - so why the $50 tag, mate? (I wouldn't be complaining if I could afford it, BTW.)

You're sharpening stones, walking on coals, to improve your business acumen... enemy sighted.. enemy met.. I'm addressing the realpolitik. Welcome to the bookburning.
R.E.M. - Exhuming McCarthy

Tuesday June 6 2000, 18:05

The following is copied from my system log:

Jun  6 17:58:52 winter lex: What a harshen. 
Jun  6 17:59:01 winter lex: I got up at about 15:30 today.  For the 
Jun  6 17:59:07 winter lex: past few hours me and Bo have been eating 
Jun  6 17:59:15 winter lex: stuff out of cans - canned tuna, canned 
Jun  6 17:59:26 winter lex: ham.  Bo has no catfood left and the bread 
Jun  6 17:59:33 winter lex: has run out (couple of crusts left, but 
Jun  6 17:59:47 winter lex: I can't stand the crusts). 
Jun  6 17:59:58 winter lex: That'll teach me to oversleep, that will. 
Jun  6 18:00:10 winter lex: I should have got up at around 9 a.m. to 
Jun  6 18:00:19 winter lex: cash my giro, but I missed it, so I am 
Jun  6 18:00:32 winter lex: now skint and hungry.  Still, it's good 
Jun  6 18:01:20 winter lex: to be hungry once in a while as it makes... 
Jun  6 18:01:38 winter lex: whoa.. a spider crawling over my neck - 
Jun  6 18:01:46 winter lex: how did it get there?  Off ya go, mate. 
Jun  6 18:02:12 winter lex: As I was saying, it makes the food seem 
Jun  6 18:02:19 winter lex: better than it is, when you finally get 
Jun  6 18:02:22 winter lex: round to buying it. 
        

So, today = Canned Food Tuesday. Quite how one small cat can eat a whole can of tuna and half a can of ham, I don't know. Cat's probably got worms. Anyway, that's ya diary entry for today.

P.S. No molluscs on the window today - I'm disappointed; I was thinking maybe I could boil a few and add an Oxo cube for a bit of flavour. Sorry about my irritating mood.. I'm angry with myself for oversleeping. When I'm like this, I tend to brood and sulk for a few hours, and then I go completely gaga. Tomorrow is 'Home Highway Day' - this time tomorrow evening I will hopefully have the service running, though I don't know if it will be available so soon. Will it make this Net connection any faster? I think not, though we'll see.

Sunday June 11 2000, 18:06

News in brief: I've got Home Highway - it's installed, it's working, and it's bloody expensive. I think I might have to re-mortgage the house. Is it possible to take out a mortgage on a house that you don't actually own? I'm hoping that Herbert (the landlord - least said about him, the better) will not notice. This is similar to a situation in 1994 when the whole of West Down thought that Herbert was selling Easterground, with me in it (presumably as some kind of resident computer-crazed hermit who eats canned food and lives upstairs).

Dear BT... make Home Highway a bit cheaper, will ya? Please?

Back to the present. I was woken at 1630 after having slept for about 4 hours by a loud 'rat-a-tat-tat' knocking at the door, and the window, and the door again. As is often the case when I am asleep, I did not answer. I waited until the person had gone away and then I got up, feeling as if my eyelids were glued shut and someone had stuffed cotton wool up my nose. I phoned a few of my friends' mobiles: Dom was watching the football and did not want to be disturbed. There was no answer from Rich's mobile.

I will end this diary entry here as I've nothing to say. Once again I am on the Internet and it's proving to be a lonely, rather sad experience. No-one has called. I'm in a rather pathetic mood. I'm astounded by the speed that the Internet has spread - and been accepted - in the States, rather like the telephone did around 120 years ago. I'm not surprised that it's taking so long for the net to become popular here. It's one of those days when I'm not particularly happy about being British (or more precisely, English). Moo.

Thursday June 15 2000, 16:59

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLY!!! 26 TODAY!!!

I woke up at 22:30 yesterday night and had enough time to go on the net before BTI's free period ran out at midnight. My BT Highway/ISDN system is working very well now, and I'm getting used to the convenience of instant connection with no pause for dialup or negotiation. Compared to the modem, the rates seem pretty much the same, but web pages load a lot faster and everything is smoother.

I spent the night listening to 'Up All Night' on Radio 5 Live. I particularly like the brief poetic verses that Rhod Sharp occasionally reads after the news. I very much think that middle age is creeping up on me, when I start saying things like that!

In the morning I read a bit of 'Virtual Reality' by Howard Rheingold. Good book, though I find the print very hard to read with my short sight - I keep losing track of which paragraph I'm on and find myself reading the same sentence over again.

I couldn't concentrate on reading, so I looked out of the kitchen window instead. A baby slug was crawling up the window pane. As an experiment, I put a piece of milk chocolate out for it. Sure enough, it turned around and eagerly began munching the chocolate (as much as a slug can be said to 'munch', this one did). I was pleased to have made a small mollusc's life a little more bearable - charged with a sugar rush, I expect it went on to eat a whole field of prize cabbages. After the slug had returned to its native green territory, I went out the front to check on the mail and had to take my glasses off due to the rain. On the way back I trod on a very large slug that had crawled into the porch. I didn't know that I'd trod on it until I ventured out again later and found its entrails spread all over the carpet and the slippery floor of the porch tiles. I figure by its size that it must have been an elder relative of the slug that I saw earlier. Whoops.

At about 09:30 I was wide awake and felt like completing a 'project.' I moved one of my old computers around and then phoned Elly (my youngest sister) to wish her a happy birthday. She was about to set off for a not-very-pleasant appointment with a Jobcentre advisor, but she said she was going to get very drunk later.

Here's some stuff from the syslog:

11:45:41: sunstorm root: Okay... The network is back up. I've found the perfect (-ish) place for Pepperoni here in the storeroom, adjacent and at a 90-degree angle to Sunstorm. The wiring is a total nightmare - the mains wiring, that is: four plugs in a two socket outlet. It just all looks right though. Looks like a geek den, and is conveniently positioned next to the 'facilities'. This root NFS system totally rocks. I ran top on Sunstorm, disconnected the ethernet and turned off Winter. A day and a bit later, I come back and reconnect it and it's fine - it just resumes NFS operations straight away. Rather funky.

^F

That Ctrl-F was a typo.

Midday: I tried to contact my cousin Ben at his place of work, but he wasn't around. There was a great deal of confusion caused by me not having clearly heard the telephone number that Ben left on my answering system. I called a petrol station and had a few more wrong numbers. It turned out that Ben had emailed me to tell me he would be out of touch, but I didn't get the email until I went on the net that afternoon. By this time I was very tired and as is typical, I started to make a few rather amusing mistakes. My dad called and talked to me about employment and my current situation. Paul Willcox phoned up and asked about sending large files with an ISDN line, and at 15:30.. well.. here's what I wrote.

Garrrghhh!!! Disaster has struck! I unplugged the fridge .. er.. some time, and forgot about it. I only noticed this when I opened the fridge door and almost got swept away by a tidal wave of water from the freezer compartment. I think I must have unplugged it some time this morning when I plugged in the radio. No... hang on, the radio was plugged into the right outlet - I unplugged the fridge from the left. This means that I plugged something else in there, such as.. I don't know, but I think it was yesterday afternoon.

Bugger. I've just called the Ross Pizza Careline. The woman to whom I spoke said that nothing much can go wrong with Cheese 'n' Tomato pizzas but that the 'cutoff point' for defrosted items is 24 hours. I reckon that the fridge has been defrosted for a little less than this time. Still, we'll see - if I get food poisoning, it was too long. :)

It's not really a laughing matter - still, I can't help seeing the funny side of it. "I have a strange enquiry - I expect you get this all the time... I accidentally switched the fridge off yesterday and a pizza I had in the freezer compartment has completely defrosted. The box was swimming around in about an inch of water and the pizza's totally defrosted and floppy." It definitely wasn't swimming around in an inch of water - maybe a few millimetres, perhaps. She suggested I cook it for slightly longer on a lower heat, and turn the heat back up again towards the end of the cooking period.

I did not exactly follow the above instructions. What I did was to put the pizza in on a lower heat - that part was correct. I then unexpectedly left the house for half an hour or so. It didn't seem like half an hour, is all I can say. I met Nana at Gillards, talked about Sally and her job at Nottingham University. Mario arrived and Nana bought me some apples, and then I went to the shop. When I returned to the house, I was surprised to find that approximately 30 minutes had passed and that the pizza had completely burned - well, all except for the bit at the middle, which I ate. While I vacuumed up the bits of pizza on the floor, I remembered that I'd originally unplugged the fridge so I could plug the vacuum cleaner in. :)

Nana told me that in the war (and before it), she and her family did not have a fridge so they regularly left food for the weekend and ate it on Monday. "A bit of mould won't hurt ya!" said Nana.

"Are you Italian?" said Nana to Mario. "Arrr, no," said Mario in possibly the most un-Italian Devonian accent ever - "my mother is." That was that. Nana bought me some apples. I was happy. At the shop, I bought replacement goods for the fridge with some extras that I didn't really need but got because it was 'on the books'. I must run this stuff through the barcode reader, or run the barcode reader over the stuff, rather. I'm very precise today, but unfortunately I keep making large glaring mistakes because I am tired. It's funny though - I wonder what will be next.

Some facts demystified: Mario is a gentleman who delivers fruit in a bus, and sells flowers and other items too. Sally is one of my cousins - she's a doctor. Hosts list (format: hostname, CPU type/clock speed (MHz)) : PCs: Winter (AMD K6-2/400), Circadian (Intel Pentium MMX/200), Pepperoni (Cyrix MII/300), Sunstorm (Intel 386SX/25), Cranefly (Pentium-S/90); Amiga 1200: Tabitha (68030/50). Nana is my grandmother on my mother's side. Paul Willcox.

P.S. In the evening I phoned Elly on her mobile. She was at Crystal Palace with a four year-old wee laddie. She told me she had drunk many Tia Marias with gin, or with something. I played her the Monty Python song 'Eric The Half A Bee'. She appreciated that, but I don't think she heard the 'Cyril Connelly' line. I like that line. That's my favourite line, that.

Thursday 29th March 2001, 21:44

A lot has happened since I last did any work on this page. For some reason I left it unmaintained for a long time. I think that the reason for this is down to me being unsure of my ability to write; I found my vocabulary suffering along with my confidence.

Today I moved (well, copied really) the page from its home on BT Internet to my Freeserve site. This was my first site, and probably the place that most people would check first. I also have another site which is only available when I am online, and I have told my friends about this site instead of the Freeserve one. This may have been down to me hoping that I would have an 'always on' link very soon (I am currently interested in setting up a low bitrate D-channel X25 link, but I very much doubt that Freeserve or BT would support such use of my Home Highway system).

Multi-user games have consumed a lot of my time lately. May I refer interested readers to LambdaMOO, which is a textual virtual reality where you can do anything, be anything, create anything, see anything. LambdaMOO is fantastic when you get into it, but I have got into a bit of a mess with it. The problem is this: my character on the MOO ('MUD Object Oriented' - 'MUD' = 'Multi-User Domain' or 'Multi- User Dungeon') is badly out-of-sync with my real-life ('RL') character. It's a little difficult to describe, and I would not want to bore anyone with the tedious details.

My money situation at the moment is thus: I have a tenner to last me two weeks. I don't mind this because a) I have lots of junk food stashed in the cupboard, and b) I can always run up a bit of a 'tab' at the shop.

While sitting in the conservatory at Gillards today, I watched ants running haphazardly around the tiled floor. I saw one of them carrying a small disc-shaped piece of matter. I saw a dead bee (half a bee). I stared at the intricacy of the ants' tiny lives and wondered whether a group of computers could behave like an ant colony; I followed the progress of the ants until my grandmother arrived and extinguished their tiny existences with the heel of her boot.

(Sorry Nan! I added the above for dramatic effect. It was only one or two ants.)

Saturday 25th August 2001, 14:51

Upstairs 'ant room': bright afternoon sun slants across the window sill. The ants have been and gone - they arrived early (May) and left in July. As usual, the window sill (more like a seat, actually) did not fare particularly well - it's been chewed to bits by the l'il blighters as they extend their nest. This cottage is home to ants, spiders (many different sizes), birds, slugs, woodlice, earwigs, a cat and .. me. "Yippee! Transfer completed!" says the Amiga as it finishes its download. I always wonder why no other computer comes with a text-to-speech system as part of the OS, and why Commodore got rid of it when they released Workbench 3.0. I'd imagine that having these facilities built into the hardware of the computer would be a boon to sight- and hearing-impaired users; changing the BIOS options with a braille display would be fun.

My dad phoned me earlier. "What's your website address?" he asked, when I mentioned it. I told him and he said he'd check it out. It wasn't until a few days ago that I realised that hardly anybody knows my website address. The reason for that is that when I first got on the Net, I had quite a few different ISPs. As a result of this, my email address was constantly changing and at the start, I didn't have enough webspace (5M, IIRC) and didn't know diddly squat about HTML anyway. But now, the situation's different - everyone's into HTML! I can see why. BTW Dad, the noodles were very good - chicken with Tabasco. It was a simple meal and it didn't take long to make. That reminds me, must get some sweetcorn next week.

Technical stuff: if anyone's tried connecting to brooknet.no-ip.com with the Roger Wilco chat software, I don't currently have it set up. The reason for this is that no-one showed any interest in it and I didn't get any mails about it, so I removed the facility. If anyone would like me to set this up again, mail me and I'll do that. For the same reason, brooknet.no-ip.com isn't currently being updated. If I'm on the Net and you want to use one of my computers, give me a call and I'll tell you what my current IP address is. (...but will I answer the phone? Will I be awake?...)

My latest projects: extended the coax on the Ethernet system (I stubbornly remain a 10Base-2 user - can't afford a hub, that's the reason why I haven't switched!). I've upgraded Winter to 256M, upgraded its processor to an AMD K6-2/500. The old K6-2/400 is now kickin' around without a computer to go to, and I have a spare 128MB of RAM. I think I'll upgrade Circadian to 128M at some point, but there's no hurry. Today I am installing Debian Linux on the Amiga. I don't think the hard drive's going to last much longer - I am amazed that it's been going for five years or so and it still boots up (just about). Although AmigaDOS is useful, I'd really like to have a Unix-like OS on the Amiga again, cos' it doesn't get a lot of use. It used to be my main computer, this one - the 1200. Before that, there was the BBC Model B - still operational, though I don't use it much - haven't got enough monitors.

I still wonder why westdown.com isn't up - I expected great things of that site, but nothing happened. I reckon that this village would benefit from a shared bulletin board kinda thing. People love to have a natter, they do. I imagined being able to post a message with the subject "I'VE FINALLY MOWED THE LAWN!" and see what the responses were. It'd be great if the village shop had a website too - an area to advertise the latest goodies and get some feedback from their customers. I'm sure that people in this place are well aware that the Internet exists, but it's always the same - go on the Net, take, take, take, and give nothing back. If everyone did that, the Net would die.

NUFF COMPLAINING!

^^^ blatant misuse of the header attribute

The End.

Sunday 7th October, 2001, 03:14

Today I re-implemented port forwarding. What this means, in English, is that 'http://brooknet.no-ip.com:55780/' will now connect your browser to my local intranet pages again. I haven't a clue if anyone ever used this facility in the first place. I am taking a bit of a risk by having open ports on my system, but hey, I'm willing to try things cos' I happen to think that it is fun!

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to have a cup of tea now. I got up at 00:21 today and I have not had my breakfast yet because I've been in the 'dining room' all the time, typing on one of my computers (Circ). Also, Bo is probably waiting at the kitchen window for his food.

Thursday 18th October, 2001, 06:36

TOTAL REDESIGN TIME! This page has remained unchanged for far too long. Inspired by Ben's site, I have decided to do some work on this site and do the things that I've been saying that I'm going to do for ages: split it into separate sections, add colour and images and generally spruce it up a bit. Okay, so I know practically nothing about HTML - I'll learn as I go along.

First major change: colours; out goes the boring black on a white background, and in comes a rather difficult-to-read blue on a very deep blue background (and out goes that again, and back comes the black and white).