Me? OCD? Never.

Originally uploaded by meriwilliams.

I can always tell that I’m getting especially stressed when stuff like this happens. I was working late and in an attempt to keep my blood sugar levels from going haywire tipped a handful of nuts out onto a sheet to eat. Looking over a few minutes later, I realised that I’d absentmindedly been sorting them into piles whilst continuing the technical testing I was doing…

Nike Triax
Replica Watch
Omega Watch
Perfume Bottles
Weather Radio
Cb Radio
Cobra Radio
Walkie Talkie
Flatbed Scanner
Shortwave Radio
Marine Radio
Hp Laserjet Printer
Battery charger
hearing aid battery
car gps
Oreck air purifier

River of mud

Originally uploaded by Paul Hammond.

Suddenly, I’m glad we didn’t actually make it Glastonbury this year…

UPDATE: Watching some of the coverage last night, they were saying that the Fire Dept had pumped away THREE MILLION litres of water, to clear some “puddles” that were 8 ft deep. Apparently over 200 tents were completely submerged. That is absolutely crazy weather for England! I suppose the organisers are really happy that the rain hit when it did — the inhabitants of 200 tents stampeding away through floodwater in the dark could have been very difficult to handle..,

Pictures On The Wall At the Sushi Shop

Originally uploaded by meriwilliams.

There’s a great little sushi place at the railway station in Bath that I frequently breakfast at when I’m travelling. The first time I went in there, I noticed something strange and took this picture — all over the walls there are photos of live seafood. This is quite common in seafood restaurants and doesn’t seem strange on its own, but can you imagine if McDonalds had pictures of live cows & chickens up on the walls??

I wonder what it is in our minds that makes it appetising to see the original live animal when it’s seafood, but not beef or chicken.

With the move to the new version comes the ability to do static pages and manage them with WordPress itself. Obviously I’d rather do this, so there’s some work to be done to change all the About etc pages over into being WordPress static pages. In the meantime there may be some outtages — bear with me 🙂

I’ve said before that geeks think differently. Yesterday, however, Si chose to once again highlight how different the thought patterns can be.

We were all lined up in front of the telly, waiting for our starring appearance to come on the evening news. A number of our friends had already said they’d very much like to see us all look mump-ridden on ITV News but wouldn’t be near a television at the appropriate time, so could we please tape it for them. Now our video machine has issues. Connecting to the television doesn’t quite work (unless you connect at exactly the right not-quite-secure angle and squint a bit), tuning in is a separate issue and in any case it has been known to chew tapes so we weren’t too happy giving up the first few mins of any sort of tape that we wanted to keep. No blanks around. Bollocks.

The average household (mump-ridden or no) would have given up at 6pm when the show was about to start. Not so the House of Geek. Simon grabbed his laptop and trusty iSight, pointed it at the television screen. Some fiddling, a little positioning and a few software glitches later, the relevant 2 minute shot was captured. We then continued the aliasing conversation we had started earlier with the fearful cameraman, trying to explain the range of defects in the sample Si had captured.

Moral of the story: don’t aim products at us, kids. We just don’t think like normal people.

Haven’t posted a great deal recently, because there’s been quite a lot on in the Real World ™, including the start of term, my birthday and me setting up our new home network.

This last was both the most time-consuming and most interesting. I ended up going with a Debian Sarge installation (since it had more useful drivers for our modem) to run the router/firewall box and after much intrigue managed to get it all working, even with the Windows machines. I’m sure that more frustration will ensue when I try to get the printers shared and so on, but for now I’m just happy that everyone has net and we can get on with our various piles of work.

I have some thoughts on installing Linux for the first time though:

  1. Don’t “just try it out”. Decide that something really needs to be done using Linux (in my case the network) and then go through with installing it. This will help you persevere in the face of adversity (see pts 2 & 3)
  2. Accept that it will be difficult and frustrating and may make you want to tear your hair out. Very little “just works”
  3. Identify why it is worth doing and leave loads of time for things to get detoured to sort out side-problems. Approach it like a role-playing game — but the side-quests aren’t optional
  4. Play nicely when asking for help — the people on the Linux Questions Forums are lovely, but not to the twats who come in demanding help as if they were paying for it and expect telepathy

Having said that though, despite the recent frustrations, I have enjoyed the last 10 days or so. The learning curve was vertical, but I now feel much happier in the new environment and a lot more competent than if I’d just dabbled and given up again. I’d definitely advise getting into something like Linux when you can either remove all other options or force yourself to use it for a specific task

Right off I’ll just admit that I know nothing about what I’m about to talk about. I’m sure there are loads of books on the subject of naming products, using acronyms, etc and I haven’t read any of them. On the way home on my motorbike last night, though, I was thinking about model numbers and tyre descriptions and my mind sort of meandered down this path. So there, disclaimer completed.

Lots of products, software, techniques and various other things are named precisely for the purpose of having a good acronym. An easy to pronounce and remember, catchy acronym. Sometimes though if the acronym is too easy to pronounce and remember, then all that is remembered is the acronym. I find this at work a lot … people refer to things knowledgeably via the acronym, but if pressed actually can’t tell you what it stands for. Not to say that they don’t know what they’re talking about, just they can’t remember what the letters actually mean.

On the other hand, really great acronyms are easier to write, but never lose their meaning or the knowledge of the lengthened version. The particular example I was thinking of last night were related to the movies recently made of Tolkien’s classics …. if I write LOTR or ROTK, do you read that as “lot-R” or “Lord of the Rings”? “rot-k” or “Return of the King”?

I suppose the other side of this story is that sometimes people don’t actually care about the lengthened meaning — I’ve seen a number of acronyms that were blatantly invented to fit a cool sounding name. Of course now I can’t remember any of them but I know they’re out there.

So what do people think? Can you remember some examples of acronyms where you always read the acronym as the full name? Or the reverse? And where are all the examples of the made up acronyms to fit cool names that I could remember yesterday but not now?!?