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Does anyone have any experience with ?
They're pretty much the cheapest online retailer for the camera I want.

Jessops appear to have a pretty good deal on at the moment too, although it's online only. Anyone know if they'll match their own online price in store? I'm willing to pay the extra few quid to pick it up in store, but it's not worth it otherwise.
benc: (bender)
* pissed off with computers in general.
* annoyed at work stupidness - things should be getting better in the near future, but i just want to be able to do my pissing job without interruptions/stupidness/"my thing is more important than anything else" and people making the wrong (ill-informed or stupid) decisions.
* worried about the state of the world in general - bush/middle east, id cards/terrorism laws being used to erode what rights we have, and underhanded labour plans to do whatever the fuck they like.
* it's gone from being a nice day to shitty weather.
* mum's still in hospital, they don't know what's wrong.
* general life-related stress, including egg saying one thing, and doing another, *and* sending me letters to my old address, despite my new one being the one they list as holding on their website. wankers.
* too much to do, too little time
* other people with bigger problems that I can't help

this post's brought to you without the benefit of capital letters. i couldn't bring myself to drop punctuation though.

Cane Hill

Apr. 3rd, 2006 10:24 pm
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Cane Hill Asylum wanderings, including pictures and rant about rent-a-cop security guards...


Mar. 14th, 2006 08:30 pm
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Pledge to withhold excessive council tax increase. Please spread this round (and sign up!).
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The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill or the "Abolition of Parliament" act is an evil piece of legislation...
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BBC News are reporting that PC Mark Milton who was previously acquitted of driving at 159 mph has had the decision overturned by the high court.

PC Milton got caught because he turned the car's camera on in order to document his familiarisation with the handling of a new car at speed in the early hours of the morning on an empty motorway.

I don't see the point in equipping our police with fast cars, giving them the advanced training required to drive them safely at speed, and then prosecuting them for doing so - especially when they may require this skill to safely catch criminals.

Good on PC Milton, I say - the last thing we need are policemen who are terrified of going faster than 70mph in a car chase just in case somebody complains.
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After 2.5 years of neglect and intending to do so, a couple of weeks ago I finally got round to reinstalling my PC at home. No major problems, but after installing the latest soundcard drivers and winamp I thought the sound coming from my PC sounded a bit wooly. I

I've got a pair of Sennheiser HD580 headphones that are currently plugged straight into a Soundblaster Live! card - it's hardly audiophile level, but I do like things to sound good, and these headphones really do point out the flaws in a lot of music. Try listening to a modern "pop" CD through a decent CD player on decent headphones and you'll see what I mean.

After some investigation[1] and beating my head against the desk (and wondering if I was going mad), it turned out to be Windows that was to blame. In Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices there's a "Speaker Settings" configuration option to "optimise" the sound for the kind of device you have attached. I'm not convinced it's of any real value, but people with 5.1 or 7.1 speakers playing stereo tracks may disagree with me.

I'd set the Speaker Setup to "stereo headphones", which seemed reasonable, but it appears out this can mangle the sound, causing it to suffer from clipping and sounding muffled. Changing this back to "Desktop Stereo Speakers" restored things to the normal clean crisp sound that it should be.

[1] Some of my favourite test tracks include: Queen - I Want to Break Free, Dave Brubeck Quartet - Castillian Drums, The Verve - Drugs Don't Work, Kruder & Dorfmeister - (Count Basic) - Speechless, Mendelssohn - Fingal's Cave, Richard Shindell - Transit, Barenaked Ladies - Break Your Heart, Matchbox 20 - Hang, The Pretenders - Hymn to Her, The Prodigy - Climbatize, and Gomez - Tijuana Lady.
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It appears the british government have created 700 new offences in less than ten years. That article is a bit old now, but still fairly concerning. How on earth did we get by without these being recognised crimes?
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Just writing this down while it's fresh in my mind - it's what I saw/remember happening so it's missing some of the story that unfolded, but since we might end up giving a statement to the police this seems appropriate.

We dropped Phil at the bus station after his post-game ritual visit and feeding, which was nice, but not especially eventful.

In watling street car park (little-ish one round the back of whitefriars, near the bus stop) we were just getting into the car (I'd just sat down, but not closed door) when I heard this girl screaming "Help me! Someone Help Me!". After the initial "huh, what was that" moment, and realising it didn't sound like someone taking the piss, I worked out where it was coming from, looked over, and saw (out of the corner of my eye, and from the wrong angle to clearly see what happened) someone fall over, and a car drive forward. I got out the car, and saw a black Mercedes C class (I think) with a custom plate come towards us, then stop, and a man (6ish feet tall, dark hair, expensive looking clothes) got out. As I stepped forward to try and see what was going on, I saw a girl lying on the floor, and the man started to walk towards her.

I went over to her - she wasn't moving - and at the same time, the man started saying something along the lines of "She'll be ok, she's done this lots of times before. She tried to key my car. She's had a lot to drink - she kicked off like this in cafe rouge".

I checked she was breathing (she was) and she didn't really seem to be conscious but her eyes were flickering a lot, so another man phoned for an ambulance. We weren't sure if she'd hit her head after falling over, so I was reluctant to move her (First aid training seems an awfully long time ago now), but eventually we moved her to the recovery position given that she'd apparently been drinking.

The guy in the merc kept trying to get her to wake up and come home with him, but he didn't seem to care that she was seemingly unconcious, or had fallen on concrete. He said she was his girlfriend and that they'd been chucked out of cafe rouge after she'd knocked over tables.

After the ambulance arrived the paramedics managed to get her to sit up with assistance, and asked if she was ok. She was mouthing words, and struggled to sit up, so I helped support her and tried to hear what she was saying. Merc guy wasn't helping as he repeated his "drunk, done it before, she'll be ok" story at great volume while she tried to talk to the paramedics. I eventually hear her say 'neck' when asked if anything hurt. When she was asked if she was ok she whispered "not him, I want the police, don't make me go home with him". After I repeated this to the ambulanceman who didn't catch it the first time, Merc guy repeated his story about her doing this before, to which she responded "he's under investigation by the police, they know about him, he's trying to kill me".

The ambulancemen managed to get her to stand, and she started to repeat very loudly the previous claims and the man repeated that she was drunk and had done this before.

The police were called by the ambulance men, and they took the girl to the ambulance to check she was ok and to have a chat in private. The Merc guy took names and contact number of myself and the other man who'd called the ambulance. When one of the paramedics got out of the ambulance, she looked at him, and said something to him, but I didn't hear what she said. At that point he went back to his car, and drove off.

The police arrived, and after one of the ambulance men relayed what had happened so far, we gave them his car registration and our contact details.

Lizzie was standing and saw more than I did - apparently he pushed the girl over, and tried to drive off as she was trying to get back into the car. I only caught her falling over out of the corner of my eye, so I didn't see this. I dunno if things had unfolded as he claimed, or if he's as much of a sleazy bastard as he seemed (or possibly both, and they deserve each other), but she's at least safe with the police for tonight.
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In case this makes life easier for anyone...

steps for successful installation of Math::Pari on Solaris 9 (perl 5.8.4 in our case):

1) Grab latest Math::Pari source, and untar
2) Grab latest pari source (I used and untar in the directory you just created containing Math::Pari
3) perl Makefile.PL machine=none
4) make
5) make install

Older versions of pari seemed to cause problems, as did the latest alpha or CVS releases. It turned out the big problem was down to the machine optimisation not working for modern sparc/solaris combinations. Forcing it to use machine=none seems to have solved the compilation problems.
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Anyone who uses PHP, please, *please* remember the importance of validating your form input. Of course, this applies to other languages too, but PHP users tend to be the worst for this...

Leaving the evils of register_globals for an entirely separate rant, consider the example code below:

$mailto = "";
$mailsubject = "Contact Form";
$xHeaders = "From: $mailfrom";
mail ( "$mailto", "$mailsubject", "$mailbody", $xHeaders );

In this example, even though you're setting the 'To' address, any spammer can set the value of 'From' to '\n' and the form will happily sent out the spam to whoever they like.

Please validate form variables. A simple check for "valid" email address characters here would solve the problem.
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Today, Ben mostly loves Quagga and OSPF.

Ben doesn't love hard disks that fail.
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Write 20 things about yourself. Then tag as many people as it take minutes for you to write these 20 things

1. I got married less than 2 weeks ago
2. I'm currently waiting for a plumber to arrive to fix a water leak
3. I had an chilli, cheese and onion omelette for lunch
4. I think the Braun Tassimo is the best invention evar.
5. We have some chairs made by ikea called "Jeff". Everytime we use them I *have* to do an impression of Jeff's mum from coupling.
6. I wish I didn't have to go back to work on monday.
7. I wish I didn't have to wash the pots in the next hour or so.
8. I currently have a cold.
9. I think 'Roses are Red' by Aqua is a great song. Because it is.
10. My £2.49 multimeter was an absolute bargain from Maplin.
11. I'm currently listening to REM.
12. My website averages 200,000 hits per month.
13. I'm now listening to AC-DC - For those about to rock (we salute you!)
14. There's a button on our bed marked "Eject Seat"
15. I'm director of a company.
16. I shamelessly took part in queueing for fuel at 11pm on Monday night.
17. I hate mushrooms.
18. And badgers.
19. I'm a knife and saucepan snob.
20. I had a kebab last night because Lizzie made me.

I nominate: only trappermcintyre, because I'm lazy.
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Serves 4

For the rice:
* melt 50g of butter in large pan
* add cardamoms, cloves to taste (I used about 10 of each)
* add 3 cups of rice, and 6 cups of water.
* add bay leaves to taste (I used 6ish)
* cover and cook until almost dry stirring often, remove from heat and allow to steam for 5 minutes

For the chicken:
* melt 100g butter in a pan
* add 2 onions and 4 cloves of garlic
* fry until onions start to turn translucent, and add 4 chopped chicken breasts
* add fresh rosemary, parsley and thyme (use dried if fresh isn't available)
* add black pepper to taste
* fry until chicken fully cooked through



Aug. 24th, 2005 11:00 pm
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Your word is BUGGER. You are generally quite
restrained, but sometimes your anger or
frustration come to the surface and it all
comes out. Yet you somehow can't stop sounding
polite, despite it all.

Which Swear (Curse) Word Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
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So, Google Talk is live, and it's using open goodness of Jabber, which means I can use it with my IM client of choice, GAIM. Since Google Talk works if you have a gmail account, if anyone needs an invitation, give me a prod.

The "real" Google Talk client appears to be a masterpiece of Google minimalism - it's certainly much nicer (and smaller, faster, etc...) than the normal MSN client...


I'm logged on as bcharlton...
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