Category Archives: Rants

It’s like a sieve, I tell you

So I’d just left work earlier this evening and I suddenly thought of something. It was important; I know it was. I remember saying to myself: “oh, that’s a good point”. I remember that it was too long an idea to type out on my brick phone‘s T9 keypad, so fumbled around in my long-pocketed raincoat for something to write on – I can write a lot faster than I can type on a T9. But unfortunately while I did have an old receipt to write on, I didn’t have a pen. It was a sad day for me – an ex-journalist, having been taught that not having a pen about your person at all times is the most unprofessional act.

But my scumbag brain reassured me that it would retain such a truly noteworthy thought until I got home. All I can remember about it is that:

  • it would have been too long an idea to type out but I could have written (or perhaps have drawn) it; and
  • it was something to do with either work, or computing – most likely both.

It’s completely infuriating that I can speak two languages but I can’t even remember what I wanted to write down. And it turns out I had a pen on me all along. A damn good Stabilo Bionic pen: perfect for writing on even the glossiest of receipts.

Gmail and saved searches? – not yet

I love being organised. Anyone who’s worked with me knows this, and probably because I’ve tried to impose some sort of régime upon them because I know (and I do know) it’ll save us time and effort in the long term. This weekend, like most, I’ve been sifting through my inboxes and also through Google Reader in a task I like to think of as pruning.

I was in Gmail and searching for all unread emails from before I moved to the Netherlands, using the query is:unread before:2011/04/09. I knew I wouldn’t finish properly dealing with all eighty emails retured by that query; so I wanted to save the search for later. But after sniffing around Gmail’s interface for a bit, I discovered that there isn’t a native saved searches feature.

The excellent Greasemonkey tool is built into Google Chrome (something which most people aren’t aware of) so I searched for a Greasemonkey script to solve my problem; I didn’t need to worry about version compatibility or performance.

Well actually, it turns out I did need to. The only decent script I found can be found on this blog post from March 2005. Subsequent updates to Gmail (rather than subsequent versions of Chrome; what I meant by “version compatibility”) have broken this script so I’m still without a solution to my script lust.

But if you I think about it, it’s been almost seven years since that script’s feature on persistent.info and Gmail still doesn’t have a saved searches feature. I’m not sure how many people would use it but it sounds as if there isn’t that much demand out there except from me and possibly a handful of others; so it’s unlikely it’ll ever get included.

Getting to Christmas

Below is a composite image of notes I made on Saturday evening on how I’m going to be getting to my grandparents for Christmas. Every year for the past nineteen—except last year and also in 2001 or 2002, though I can’t remember which one of those—me and my family have descended upon Bournemouth for the Christmas holiday. This year will be the first in which I’ll have to pass port to get there and, boy: it’s going to be difficult.

‘Getting to Christmas’ composite scan

As you probably can’t read owing to the deliberately low resolution of the scans, I’m planning on transversing the continent by plane and train. The easiest and most direct route would be to hop on the train to Schiphol, catch a Flybe flight to Southampton and get on a fast service to Bournemouth via Southampton Central. But, whilst shopping at Albert Heijn on Saturday afternoon, I pondered “surely I can fly cheaper with easyJet”—that was a thought I’d rather not have had; it turned my evening to a nightmare of investigation, calculating and reinvestigation. I calculated the costs of flying with easyJet into three of London’s airports, but it wasn’t until I was very near the end of my tether that I discovered which one had the upper hand.

One of the main problems is the method of payment. I’m not in possession of a credit card in the Netherlands and my Dutch Maestro card is… well, it’s not a real Maestro card—there’s no bloody card number. I know there is a card number—various receipts have allowed me to determine its last seven digits—but, alas, it’s not …public (if you like) and I’m unable to use it to purchase things from our good friend the Internet. Except in the Netherlands where we use a bank authentication system but that’s nothing to do with the card provider. As such, I’m having to transfer money back to my British account in order to pay for my flight; which is a bit of a pain-in-the-arse.

Pages 15 and 16

Pages 15 and 16 include a 'cost vs simplicity' table. The circled number ones represent the least costly (column III) and least faffy (column IV) journeys. It's not the prettiest of Moleskine pages but please understand: I was very, very tired and it was close to 01:00... and the table addition on page 16 was drawn/written on Sunday morning, hence its relative neatness.

My findings are that the cheaper options are less direct that the more expensive, as you would expect. I could compromise on saving money and fly into Luton: a train into London and then another train out of London makes that part of the journey relatively painless but it costs a little more, both in the rail fare and time. The Gatwick option is the cheapest—£70 cheaper than flying direct to Southampton—but it would be a job to get onto the correct line out of London for Bournemouth. But, surprisingly, it takes only an hour longer to fly into Gatwick and sachet my way over to the South Western Main Line than it does to fly Flybe to Southampton and then walk the reported “sixty seconds” between the terminal and Southampton Airport Parkway. Gatwick might not be a bad choice after all.

And just so you know, it’s a Stabilo Bionic Worker I use.

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On the more irritating side of the argument of the existence of God

There are two problems I have with people of a religious nature. The most offensive is that these people are intent on forcing their particular beliefs and delusions upon you, but that’s not the problem I’m going to talk about today. The second and slightly more irritating problem is that religious people just don’t give up; they are, without a doubt, the absolute worst people to begin an argument with. No matter how illogical their views are, they just will not admit defeat. Logic is the science of reasoning and is fundamental in helping us understand what is true and false; what seems correct. A magic wizard of no origin who has limitless benevolence (but who is also responsible for tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes and the such) and who also knows everything and anything (even what’s going to happen in the future, despite self-determination) doesn’t seem plausible.

Now, in my opinion, if neither party of an argument can present any evidence to support their claims, the claim that seems the most logical wins; but of course the religious movement believes that such reasoning can be overruled by shouting for longer than the other party. The most frustrating argument I have with these prickwits – “is there a God?” – will usually come down to the irritating statement “prove there isn’t a God then”, something I can’t actually do but I can prove something else.

You tell me that you have little men inside your head to whom you have long and winding conversations, sometimes with the little men telling you to hate or kill certain people – just generally be a massive bellend. I can’t prove you don’t have little men inside your head; I can’t read your thoughts to say which ones were sourced from reality and which you’ve imagined, and I can’t tell what your imagination is saying to you. All I can say with certainty is that you’re mentally deranged. But because I can’t prove the men don’t exist, you’ll most probably have a flash of argumentum ad ignorantiam and say that if I can’t prove they don’t, they must – which is the wrong angle to take with arguments like this.

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I’ve remembered…

Being around Brits for the first time in months has reminded me of one of the reasons I don’t miss the United Kingdom as much as I should. Now I know it’s not the entire population but there’s a section of British society – called the ‘blokes’ – who are inherently rude and lazy. One ‘quality’ of blokes stands out far beyond any other to me: the general “any one who doesn’t speak my language or live my way of life needs patronising” attitude which is offensive (even when I’m just in the vicinity of something happening) and disappointing. Man has proven that he can accomplish so much, yet we’ve still got bigots and religion on the table; why?

Since I’m both angry and disgusted at these people, I like to play a little game involving the Dutch language – it’s not violent but it helps me get over my outrage. I know these people can’t speak more than the fraction of one language they speak and, even if they do happen to speak Dutch, well… found a new person to practice Dutch with. Now, the game is never planned but as soon as I hear blokey-sounding words coming out of a blokey mouth, it’s second nature to play. I accidentally sat in someone else’s seat on the ferry over to Harwich today: almost immediately after I’d sat down, a blokey bloke from behind called out “someone’s sitting there, mate”. Mate?; seriously how dare you? – I’m not your mate, buddy, guy, pal or anything remotely contactuous. “Wat zegt u?”, I replied. “Someone … is sitting there … he has gone … to get … a drink”, the bloke replied with the most offensive gestures imaginable; no&oumlne; needs speech that slow and gestures that big to be understood but, then again, maybe that’s the way he normally communicates.

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Localisation

I’m really quite busy with work at work; I haven’t had much free time these days. Here goes with a small rant about Google Chrome. This is a strings rant: it’s hardly worth mentioning it’s such an insignificance. I turned this Chrome feature off a while ago because I was at a stage where I felt I could read whatever the Internet threw at me, but I needed to turn it back on again today—automatic page translation. It’s not call ‘automatic page translation’ in the preferences; the description of the checkbox reads:

“offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language that I read”

The way this sentence is worded implies that I only speak English or, more generally, I only speak the primary language my system is set to.† I don’t; I speak English and Dutch—the former significantly more confidently than the latter, but I’m getting there … slowly. I’d suggest the line be changed to something like:

“offer to translate pages in languages other than English”

There; works perfectly well and it doesn’t hurt my gigantic ego. Small things like this get on my tits, but I don’t think they would if I didn’t think they mattered.

†: If my primary system language wasn’t English, I wouldn’t be reading a checkbox description in English, would I? Disregard the striked text.

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‘People suffering’ owing to their own idiocy

Fuel protesters have staged a day-long protest, culminating with a demonstration outside the Shell oil depot at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

Protesting against a giant company like Shell is futile. Seriously; what are you doing, Cheshire residents? One protester told the BBC:

“People are suffering already from the high cost of fuel as they are having to give up jobs they can’t afford to drive to”

Get the bus?; get a bike? Walk? If you can’t be bothered to put physical effort into getting to your job, you’re a pretty shit individual. Then again: the State’s there to fall back on(!) This story gets even sweeter though:

Earlier, about 150 vehicles staged a go-slow protest along the M56 and M53, with lorry drivers, farmers and bikers travelling in 20mph convoys.

Because 20 mph will do wonders for your fuel consumption(!) You do realise what you’ve just done? You’ve just given oil companies more business by wasting your fuel protesting, retards; you’re going to have to fill up again and again. You have wasted your time, journalists’ time and my time.

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