And another thing…

Sorry, you’ve got me started on the Vectra now. The Vectra’s central locking has 2 “features” I’ve not seen on other cars – one press of the remote unlocks the driver’s door and you need another press to unlock the rest of the doors and the boot and filler cap. The reason for this is … absolutely no idea. It’s like it was put in just to piss me off. 95% of the time I have to press it twice and there’s no actual benefit that I can think of in only unlocking one door. Maybe they think that I occasionally want to lock out the wife and kids and go scooting off on my own? Actually… nah, let’s not continue that line of thought.

The other feature is that if you don’t open the drivers door within 30 seconds of unlocking, it locks all the doors again. I can’t count the number of times when this has been useful because I’ve accidentally unlocked the driver’s door. I can’t count them because it’s 0. This has never happened with any car I’ve ever owned. I unlock the door because I want to get in, not on a passing whim or because I like pressing buttons. Any usefulness of this feature in the remote possibility that I might lose my mind and accidentally unlock the doors for no reason, is somewhat outweighed by the number of very real occurrences when I’ve unlocked the doors, been momentarily distracted by children and found myself and my family locked out again.

Now, put these two features together and you get me, attempting to fill up the car and finding the petrol flap is jammed shut. After a few minutes of trying to pry it open I remember that I went out on my own, so I single clicked to unlock the car and only the driver’s door is unlocked. The flap was secure, and thank god it was – a petrol thief might have been passing while I was getting in, looking to empty my tank in the few seconds before I drove off down the road. So I lock the car up again and double unlock to get the flap open, I fill up (75 QUID!!!) and – buggery arseholes, the poxy thing has jammed open now. It’s banging against the lock and won’t close. A few more minutes of thumping and swearing and I remember that since I only locked and unlocked the doors to open the sodding petrol flap, the car has noticed that I didn’t open the driver’s door and has vigilantly locked itself up again, with the petrol flap open. Sure enough I have to unlock it (double sodding click) again in order to close it.

Thank you Vauxhall, for making my life so much easier with your little helpful details. Sorry, I’m going on again aren’t I?

I’m so popular!

"We must invite Naich. He's so fucking sophisiticated."

Gosh, where do I start.  There are so many people want me to join their exclusive circles.  I had a letter from the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University (or “Vicey”, as I call him), asking me – actually more like begging me to join him for a swanky reception with canapes and vino.  He used the excuse that it was for my 25 years service working at the uni, but come off it – who wouldn’t want the company of a badly dressed, slightly brain damaged electronics technician, staggering around guzzling wine and belching pastry fumes?

But even more exciting was my email invitation to join the Freemason Illuminati.  I didn’t even realise there was one until I got their mail!  They obviously like the cut of my gib and I was just thinking it was about time I heard from the shadowy evil secret rulers of the world.  If anyone would like any favours once I’ve joined the select elite, let me know.  This is what they sent.  It all seems totally legit.

Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2012 09:30:03 +1200
From: freemason illuminati <>
Subject: we call

You are receiving this mail in regards of the freemason confraternity  of the
whole wide world (FCWWW).

You are moving well in what you are doing but in order to make it easier for
you, we have concluded for you to be a part of us as a member to sign your
life to us and have any thing you need.

Be it any thing in the whole wide world.

You can’t refuse us now for it’s too late.

Get back to us now for your Illuminati membership Order and also for you to
know more about the ancient ILLUMINATI FORUM and also the Orientation and
goals that we pursue.

Get back to acquire your goal now.

I can’t wait to set up some sort of super-villain style base on a Caribbean island.  I’ll need some sidekicks if anyone is interested.  You’ll have to improvise with the sinister weapons until I get set up properly.  I’ll see if I can get some sort of poisoned dart cigarette holder made up, or maybe a miniature gun in a mobile phone, but in the meantime you could use a brick in a sock to bludgeon people to death.

Cat 0 : Linux 1

I went to do some stuff on my PC the other day to find that the cat had been sleeping with her paw on the “Print Screen” button. This button starts up a program that takes a screenshot and brings up a window asking where you want to save it.

Holding down a key keeps repeating the keypress, so as long as the key is held down it’ll keep starting up new copies of the program, again and again and again, as fast as it can.   It is the PC equivalent of sitting stationary in your car with your foot firmly pressed down on the accelerator. The cat had been sitting like that for quite a long time.  Everything had ground to a halt and the status bar was just 1 pixel wide grey stripes. There was a black box on the screen where the last “take a screenshot” window had popped up but the poor PC didn’t have enough CPU left to actually fill it with anything.

The mouse was barely moving so there was no hope of actually using it to close the windows. It was time to use Geek powers and drop to the command line. I hit CTRL-ALT-F2 and waited for a while. Several seconds later the terminal came up and although it took a few seconds for each keypress to register, after a couple of minutes I was actually able to log in. An incantation of “ps -ef |wc -l” showed there were 3,600 processes running. Each screenshot capture takes 3 processes, so there were 1,200 screenshot programs running simultaneously. I gave it some Linux magic – “killall gnome-screenshot” and everything instantly sped up. I did some more killing and everything went back to normal – in fact there were no ill effects whatsoever and the computer worked fine for the rest of the day, with no need for a reboot or anything.

Jimbo once started up 140 text editors which barely slowed the PC down and Luna couldn’t kill it with 1,200 screenshot programs. Linux – impervious to cats and kids.

Update: It’s been pointed out that I should have used “pkill” rather than “killall”.  Killalling, while relatively harmless on a Linux box – a bit like trimming a dog’s claws, is the Unix equivalent of taking it out back and shooting it in the head with a rocket propelled grenade.

A new plan

I want to discover a fundamental force of nature. What I’ll do is give it the unit of a “manilli”. Everyone will wonder why until they realise what 1/1000th of a manilli is. Then they will get that awful tune stuck in their head and hate me.

It’s a bit quiet isn’t it?

I’ve not had much to say for myself recently.  Obviously I’ve had no interesting thoughts since June, and then it was about getting bits of metal out of a skip.  What a life I must lead.

Highlights since the last blog entry:

  • Fixed the brakes on my bike
  • Fixed the washing line
  • Poisoned two rats
  • Pumped up the car’s tyres
  • Went bungee jumping in Wales, fell 200 feet before the rope snapped, crashed head-first into an underground cavern where I discovered that Keith Harris was plotting to use a nuclear arsenal to overthrow the world’s governments and install Orville the Duck as Supreme Overlord of the Earth, beat him up with my bare hands, pulled Orville’s stuffing out and disarmed 24 nuclear bombs using nothing but my knowledge of Portable Appliance Testing and an elastic band the postman had dropped outside the front door
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Bought a long handled spoon

I made one of those up, by the way.

The enchanted skip

And lo! did Naich go rummaging in the Cav. skips in search of a bit of metal that would hold his reservoir securely in his chiller box.  Praying to Ceilliau Blewog, the goddess of salvage, he dived head first into the metals skip.  And in her wisdom Ceilliau Blewog did deliver unto his hand the perfect bit of metal, complete with holes already drilled in it.  And there was much rejoicing.  And Naich did praise Ceilliau Blewog and promise to offer up a sacrifice of a small annoying cat on his return home.

Not funny

Have a look at this story – Headline: “Million children ‘severely maltreated’, says NSPCC”.

Holy shit! “One in four people in the UK, aged between 18 and 24, claims to have experienced severe violence, sexual abuse or neglect as a child, says the children’s charity the NSPCC.”

Then you read the article and find out that the study which was about rape, attempted rape and physical abuse “also included ‘serious emotional neglect or lack of physical care or supervision’, which it defined as including ‘parents never or hardly ever asking their child who they were going out with or where or what they were doing’.”

Ah. That’s bad, but it’s not in the same league as rape or physical assault.

“This category also included children reporting that ‘the child’s family never let the child know they cared about them’.”

Again, not good but putting it in the same category as rape and physical assault? But maybe I’m cynical and it’s not the case that the vast majority of abuse was in this far lower category that just happened to be lumped into the ones that grab headlines? Let’s take a look at the report and see the actual numbers. Ah. The “report” seems to be mainly pictures of sad looking children, quotes of horrendous abuse and NSPCC logos. Not many numbers to work with.

This is why I don’t give money to the NSPCC – they use dodgy data to lobby and further their own cause. They use tabloid tactics to mislead people into a think-of-the-children panic based on scary headlines.

Every time I see bullshit like this it reminds me why I donate to Barnardos instead.

A cunning plan

Here’s how to get rich.

1.  Hire an empty shop for a couple of weeks.

2.  Find a sofa/bed/whatever shop that is doing one of these “if you can find it cheaper, we’ll give you double the difference” deals.

3.  Buy a sofa/bed/whatever from the shop.

4.  Sell  it in your shop at 1/2 the price you bought it for.

5.  Go back to the sofa/bed/whatever shop and demand double the difference, citing the prices at your shop.

6.  Go back to step 3, using the money they just gave you.  Keep doing this until you have all their stock in your shop.

Congratulations!  You now have a fully stocked shop for the price of one sofa/bed/whatever.  Everyone will buy from your shop because that other one is twice the price and never has anything in stock.

Swimming against the tide

You would have thought that two vasectomies would be enough to stop the little buggers getting through, but no.  The first set of tests have come back positive for (frankly quite impressive) swimmers.  I’m shortly going to be cracking off with what will be my 10th test since I started this whole thing, and I’m starting to get worried. My palms are all hairy and I now fancy plastic sample pots.  Looks like a 3rd vasectomy could be on the cards…