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The sacrifice

Just had to make the sacrifice a third time. Not sure I want to continue with life anymore.

A broken life, a broken soul,
Blindly on, I stumble, through the day,
Not thinking, for not caring,
Heart is numb, empty.

In a store, I am stood,
Mind is blank, looking for something,
Don't know what.

The journey home, a void,
No recall, no thoughts.

What did I buy, it does not matter,
Leave it in the bag, retreat to my own personal hell.

The greatest gift of love...

The greatest gift of love,

Is the sacrifice that must never be made.




What does this mean? Its breathtaking in its simplicity. Think of the most agonizingly painful thing you can. I'm not talking physical pain here... Then give that thing you thought of, to the one you love.


In my case, the most agonizing thing I can think of, is to walk away from someone I love, so that they may be happy.


Its a sacrifice I have made twice now.


I no longer wish to live, but I will find the strength to do so, somehow.

Logitech Woes

I like logitech, honestly, I do. I have a G15 gamers keyboard, and a G9 gamers mouse, neither of which I'd classify as "cheap".

I guess, however, that because their hardware so rarely fails, that they don't know how to respond when it does.

For example #1.

The glide pads on the bottom of an old mouse (a G3) had worn off. It should have been so easy to phone up, order replacements, await post, stick replacements on, and off I go again.

Shoud. Should is not was, is it.

First of all, the problem is, I'm in the UK, the only phone numbers Logitech list are for the US and Canada. The only phone numbers the support staff on their forums are for the US and Canada. The regional support section on their website, brings up a partially blank page. Seems they don't want to support us pesky UK customers.

Well, no, they do, and they do indeed have a UK based support department, its just that its number is not listed anywhere. I got it by calling their regional head office in London, then being transferred internally to the support department (so I can't even give you the number)

The conclusion? "Uh, we don't actually stock any spares. The only way to fix it is to buy them off eBay, or buy a new mouse. However if it is still under warranty, I can give you an RMA, and you can send it back for repair."

Hardly brilliant, is it.
 

Example #2

My G15 keyboard. Laser etched keys, LCD on the keyboard for monitoring various things, macro support. An awesome keyboard. Just pray that if you are in the UK, that it never goes wrong.

What happend is the "strain relief" grommet where the USB cable enters the keyboard, started to break up, then the cable itself started to fray at the same point. Not to worry, its only 3 months old, and still warrantied. I again called their London head office, and got transferred internally again.

They refused to honor the warranty. Why? Because I have a tendancy to sit in a comfy chair, and use the keyboard on my lap, the serial number sticker glued to the back, had worn to the point where it was unreadable. No serial number, no warranty. Could I buy a replacement lead? You guessed it..

"We don't actually stock any spares...."

I finally fixed the keyboard, and improved my soldering skill to boot. Them USB wires are really really fine inside. Had to see and needs a steady hand to resolder them, but I succeeded. However, their lack of support to people who pay a premium for their top-end hardware has left a sour taste in my mouth.

Next keyboard, I think, will be from someone else. Same for the mouse. Sorry Logitech, awesome hardware but crap end-user support means I'm going elsewhere. I don't expect to have to buy a new product just because yours fails during the warranty period, and you decide to decline to support it.

In response to a question from a friend, what I did to repair the keyboard is I opened it up, and noted that the USB lead was connected via a 5 pin 0.1inch USB header and plug. I cut the USB lead above the damaged section, and removed the 0.1inch header plug, and soldered the usb wires directly to the USB header pins. Then reassembled the keyboard.

Charitable Clothing Sacks

An email I sent to the NSPCC today. I will let you know if they ever respond to it.





To whom it may concern,

I am getting really tired of the constant delivery of clothing sacks from your organization. I am getting somewhere around 3 a month.

While I appreciate that a charity needs charitable donations of items, in order to resell them and raise funds for their charitable works, I also believe that charity begins at home.

Let us consider, as an rhetorical experiment, if I filled one of your sacks, and weighed it, I estimate that given the size of the sack, that it could hold 10lb or more of clothing, with ease. If I was to fill every sack I receive in any given month, that would be at least 30lb of clothing. If we multiply that by 12 (the number of months in a year), that is 360lb of clothing per year.

I don't even own 30lb of clothing for my own use, let alone 360lb.

Perhaps your organization wishes me to go naked, and donate all my clothing? I am afraid, my dignity will not allow me to do that. Sorry.

So, do I just "dispose" of the sacks? Let us consider the environmental factor of that.

Each sack is made of a non-biodegradable plastic. Each sack comes inside another non-biodegradable bag. That is one large piece of plastic, and one small piece of plastic to be disposed of per delivery. That is 3 of each per month, and therefore 36 pieces of each, per year, or 72 pieces of non-biodegradable plastic per year, in total.

Given that there are 28 homes on my road, and assuming that they also dispose of the sacks and packaging, that is 2016 items of non-biodegradable plastic waste, per year, from this road alone, that your company is creating. Hardly what I'd call environmentally friendly, is it?

Lets also consider the economics. I am assuming that each sack costs about 2pence to make and package. The delivery agent costs adds on about 5p, making each sack cost you 7pence. So lets do some maths.

Monthly cost per household: 0.07 x 3 = 0.21p
Yearly cost per household: 0.21 x 12 = £2.52p
Yearly cost for this road: 2.52 x 28 = £70.56p

That is the cost of delivering the sacks to this road, in a year, amounts to £70.56p. Not a huge amount to an organization, but you're a charity. That is, you are funded by charitable donations, and you are wasting part of those donations on the delivery of these sacks.

Now I said, charity begins at home earlier didn't I? Well, given the strength of the sacks, they do make rather good garbage disposal bags, meaning I don't actually have to buy any. Thank you very much for that.

Yours sincerely,



Looking forwards to their reply.

Disturbing, depressing dream.

"I had a dream", iconic words, from a man who changed the world.

I had a dream too, although mine was a real dream, and not a soundbite. I took a nap today, because I was feeling run down. The dream left me saddened, and depressed.

The dream started off innocuously, as the often do. I was dating a woman, someone I had never seen before, but in the dream, we were happy. Skip time forwards, and we had bought a house and her ex was helping us move in. We moved stuff into the master bedroom, whereupon she fell into his arms, fell backwards onto the bed, and started hugging, in celebration. I was stood there watching.

She fell into his arms, not mine.

I slipped my shoes off so as not to make a sound, turned around, and vanished into the night. She never even noticed, till I was gone.

Why do I tell you of this? I don't know for sure. I felt I had to share it, with someone because it depressed the hell out of me.

Could I just walk away from someone I loved? Yes, I already have done, more than once. Why? Their happiness is more important to me, than mine. I would choose every time, to just disappear and leave them with their happiness, than to make a fight, and make my sadness their sadness too.

Proliferation

The proliferation of Portable Document Format files in webpages is getting insane now. At least 3x a day, I click on a nice anonymous "click here" link, only to have Adobe Acrobat try and embed itself into firefox, to open the document which wasn't another webpage, but a pdf.

Its REALLY starting to piss me off. Its the WORLD WIDE WEB, not a PDF archive. If I want to open a PDF, I want it to be my choice, not yours. In my personal opinion, links to pdf documents should be clearly marked as such, not hidden behind nice anonymous "click here" texts.

For example, a link titled "Report on the <something> of <something and something> (PDF)", I wouldn't object to. But, stuff like "Click here for the report on something of something and something", with no clue that its a PDF pisses me off.

Yes, I know the actual URL will show in the browser status bar, but really, who watches the status bar all the time before clicking? I don't.

So, I invested a few minutes of my time in installing Greasemonkey, and writing a pdf link killer userscript. Its a very simple script, it literally iterates over all the links, and deletes the href attribute of any pdf links, making them unclickable. It then places the original link as text into brackets next to the "link text", allowing me to copy/paste the link if I really want to see it.

Code below:


// PDFKiller GreaseMonkey Userscript.
// (C)Copyright February 2010 - Allan K Preston
// Distributed under the GPLv3
//
// ==UserScript==
// @name        PDFKiller
// @description        Renders links ending in .pdf or .PDF unclickable.
// @include        *
// ==/UserScript==
if (document.getElementsByTagName('a')) {
    // Create an array of all the links
    links = document.getElementsByTagName('a')
    for (i=0;i<links.length;i++) {
        li=links[i]
        if (li.href.indexOf('.pdf',0) != -1) {
            var original = li.href
            var temp = li.innerHTML
            li.removeAttribute('href')
            li.innerHTML=temp + ' (' + original + ')'
            li.setAttribute("title", original)
            li.style.backgroundColor="#FFCCFF"
            li.style.color="#000000"
        }
    }
}



Enjoy, and feel free to modify it to suit your needs.

Deep thoughts..

Watched the Anne Frank programmes on the BBC iPlayer today. I have to admit that it left me feeling... A little "shell shocked". I have, of course, seen documentaries about Anne Frank before, read articles about her (admittedly, I have never read the actual diary itself yet), but for some reason, this time, it touched a nerve...

The programmes I saw were:
 

  • The Diary of Anne Frank - Part 1
  • The Diary of Anne Frank - Part 2

Dear BBC, you do realise that Anne Frank was a German Jew, living in Amsterdam, right? Right? So, perhaps you can explain to me, why, in these programmes, she was speaking with a perfect "upper class" English schoolgirl accent?

  • Anne Frank Remembered

This was the most sobering of them all. It wasn't a dramatization, but literally a rememberance. Interviews with the survivors (Miep etc), and their surviving relatives. A description of her painfully short life, the Nazi German atrocities, and I take great pains to specify the "Nazi" part, because I have a number of German friends, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that the German people of today are not the same as the Nazi Germans of yesteryear.

Just a thought to ponder..
 

Of all the people who's lives have changed our world, for both the better, and the worst, how many of them actually did so with their life, and how many of them did so with their death?

So as you may, or may not know, the UK is suffering a "great freeze" at the moment. Unfortunatly however, we cannot curl up in front of a hot coal fire, and hibernate through it. Life does, and indeed has to, continue.


The roads where I live, are almost sheer ice, thanks to all the cars driving on them, compacting the snow more and more, until its ice. Slippy as hell for pedestrians and cyclists. However, once you reach the main roads, they are relatively snow and ice free, which leads me to... the stupidity of drivers (and later, of shopkeepers).


First, stupidity of drivers. So, I am mobility impaired, and my bicycle is my primary method of transport. Thats right, I'm a cyclist, and a good one.


In the UK, cyclists have a legal right to use the road. Any part of the road. Even in the middle of the driving lane, if that is the only place where it is safe. Thats right, we do not have to cycle along the gutter, 2 inches from the kerb, in order to make room for cars, which is apparently what most drivers think.


Nor do we have to ride in single file, contary to another popular belief. A cyclist is a road user, with all the same rights as a car.


Now that we have established that, I had pushed my bicycle to the main road, and was cycling towards the store, I do have to eat, despite the snow. The edges of the road were thick in snow and ice, but the middle, where cars drive, was clear, and dry. I was cycling where it was safe, in that clear and dry, middle of the road.


A car comes up behind me, he waits behind me, revving his engine a little, I ignore him. I hear him approaching closer, and finally he pulls out into the other lane, and overtakes me. As he does so, he leans on his horn. *barrrrrrp* Yes yes, your mommy bought you a new horn for Christmas. It works! Well done. Did you fit it yourself?


A few minutes later, another car also overtakes me, in the same manner, except he doesn't toot his horn, his passenger opens the window, and yells, "Get off the fucking middle of the road you goddam freak!"


SIGH


Finally getting to the store, I saw the lady who works at the hardware store, clearing the snow off the path outside her store... With hot water.


Answers on a postcard why that pissed me off. Some people have no brains, I tell ya.

So, I recently had to write a small script in php that allowed me to block ip's or ip ranges listed in a text file.

There are a number of solutions for this scattered about the web, but I didn't like any of the implementations. Some were buggy, others didn't do exactly what I wanted, and the remainder didn't fit into my coding style. Plus, I like to write my own code, it avoids licencing issues.

Hers the code I came up with.

<?php	
	function isBanned($ip) {
		$bannedFile=("bannedIps.dat");
		$fh = fopen($bannedFile, "r");
		if (!$fh) {
			return true;
		} else {
			while ($line = fgets($fh)) {
				if (ipMatch($line, $ip)) {
					fclose($fh);
					return true;
				}
			}
			fclose($fh);
			return false;
		}
	}
	
	function ipMatch($thisIp, $ip) {
		$needle = strpos($thisIp, "*", 0);
		if ($needle !== false) {
			$thisIp = substr($thisIp, 0, ($needle-1));
		}
		$haystack = $ip;
		$needle = $thisIp;
		rtrim($haystack);
		$needle=preg_replace("/\s*/", "", $needle);
		if (preg_match("/^$needle/", $haystack)) {
			return true;
		}
		return false;
	}
?>


To use it, just save it as "ipban.php" or something similar, then include("ipban.php") in your main code, and then if (isBanned("$ip"))...

Is it 2009 already?

Tempus Fugit - Time flies. 2009 already, hardly seems possible,


I'm still around, still alive and kicking.


Its been over 4 years since moms death, and not a day goes by that I don't think about her, but it's no longer the burden it once was.


On the advice of my doctor, I underwent grief counseling sessions earlier this year. They were a waste of time, and had no appreciable benefit at all. Basically, you turned up, and for 1hr every 2 weeks, sat there while this "counselor" ranted on about behavioral activation, and how people are not depressed, they just choose to be depressed. What bullshit. Depression is a medically proven condition. Not a choice.


Had my camera's and mobile phone stolen earlier this year. A local "rogue" asked if he could plug his laptop into my internet for an hour to check his emails. I even invited him in, made him a coffee. When he left, I realised that my camera, and cellphone was gone. Next thing I hear, is that the guy has headed up to Scotland for a while, "while things cool down", I'm told, as he's wanted for several robberies. Guess I know what happened to my camera and phone. At least he didn't take my dSLR, only my cybershot. I had the phone's IMEI blocked, and I will catch up with him sooner or later.


I am kinda looking forward to November, and Guy Fawkes Night. This time I really must save some money to go to an organized bonfire party. Probably the Chassen Road display.


Oh, and I got my bike written off again. This time, a small van was reversing out of his driveway (law says reverse IN and drive OUT but drivers are often lazy), and reversed straight into me. I jumped off, but he ran over my bike before stopping. Fortunatly, its only a badly pretzeled front wheel. Got a new one at cost from the bike store, they are good like that, if its an upgrade, they charge full price, but if its a replacement due to an accident, they often sell it at cost. Still, it means a rice diet for a month, lol.


So, what have I been doing with my spare time?


Still a volunteer GM for a private WoW server, and players are still idiots. In fact, I try and avoid dealing with the players as much as possible, and take care of the back-end things. Making sure the servers running, etc.


Thats all for now folks.