Monday, October 24, 2005

Star Wars IV in 168k

Data expands to fill available space right? So when you had a 1k Sinclair ZX81 it didn't take that long, but with the 16k RAM pack it took a little longer to fill. Then it was easy to fill 48k on the Spectrum. Next thing and, despite the apocryphal story linking this to Bill Gates, we did indeed breach the 640k a PC came with. A 1.44MB floppy disk didn't last much longer. A 4Gb iPod can only store 1000 songs. Now 10Gb doesn't seem so much because that is barely the contents of 3 DVD's. My last PC came with a 200Gb hard drive and I have already filled over half of it (and I haven't ripped a fraction of my CD's yet).

So it is refreshing to see something go the opposite direction. Forget your DVD, Dobly Digital 5.1, Progressive Scan, SCAD, 12 disc special edition. This is the first* Star Wars film in less than 200k. Clicky Clicky to take a look. Wait for it to say "Foldsfive Presents" - that is the beginning. I figure that if you have read all that geeky crap you are the sort of person who will appreciate it. I'm guessing most people will give up at "16k RAM pack" :-) I should say that the GIF/film/idea is courtesy of the excellent but hugely politically irreverent B3ta Web Site.

* Don't try arguing The Phantom Menace is the first Star Wars film. Just don't.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Brain the size of a planet

So I have just got back from the shops where amongs other things I purchaced kitten food for Barney and Boo. At our local Sainsbury's 12 pouches of Whiskers Kitten Food romps in at £3.48. The boys are currently munching their way through 3 pouches each per day, so that is 87p.

A quick check on Jamies's School Dinners finds this quote "2005 In some schools, meals are produced at a cost to the contractor of just 36p per day." So we are paying twice as much to feed the kittens as our schools are laying out to feed the next generation of kids! Given that there is a proven link between diet and educational performance I will have to reassess my expectations and get them booked in for their exams. Althought their specialist subjects of eating, sleeping, squeaking and playing with string may not line them up with a particularly lucrative job :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ali Rocks the 10K and punts over £250 to a good cause

Here is Ali at the begining of her 10K (or 6 mile to us Brits) run. High five baby! She made the run in 55 minutes and 26 seconds. Woo yay! That is very respectable for a first effort. Me and the kittens are very proud of her. Actually probably more me than the kittens since they don't really understand long distance running.

So well done Ali and all the other "Run London" runners. It has to be quite an impressive event to get me into central London for 9:30am on a Sunday! Just to hold Ali's bag! You can still send some money to Ali's Charity MIND if you get in quick. The link is in the previous post.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Where does the time go?

You may remember me mentioning my DIY mishap a couple of months ago when I thought decorating my downstairs loo would take about half a day but it actually took weeks. Well my memory must have failed me today. We have four or five paintings that we have been intending to hang since we bought the house but I have simply never got round to it. Ali normally goes for a run on a Saturday morning but because she is doing her sponsored run tomorrow she decided to just go for a swim. You can sponsor her by clicking here if you are feeling generous.

Anyway, I knew she would be away for a couple of hours so I thought I would surprise her by hanging the pictures. I had a drill, some screws and raw plugs, a tape measure and most importantly a spirit level so I was ready to rock. All I needed to do was make a few measurements to ensure that our pictures were level and centred and the jobs done. Of course I hadn't reckoned on our walls being made of titanium.

So two broken drill bits and one that literally melted red hot in the wall. Two trips to Homebase to buy replacement drill bits. Eventually the bloomin things are up. I expected it to take me until two when Ali got back from swimming. I actually finished just before 7. Exactly as predicted my mate Tony, DIY always takes three times longer than expected.

At least they are up now (This picture was painted by Ali's sister Niki who is a most excellent artist. Here is some of her stuff)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A bit deflated

I have been working with a large customer this week creating a proof of concept demonstration showing how they can cut loads of cost from their business by using Lotus technologies. Creating a proof of concept can be a time consuming task and every minute can be important so imagine my disbelief when I got downstairs this morning to find my front left tyre was flat. Despite my car being a swanky BMW the spare tyre is actually just a "space saver". That is a tyre which is about the width of a bicycle wheel and about as much uses. They were originally used for sports cars which had limited spare room but why use one on my four door saloon? To save money of course.

Frankly I find the whole concept of driving on three fat tyres and one skinny one inherently dangerous and not to be done unless it is an emergency (for example if you have a puncture on a country lane and need to get to a garage). These folks agree with me. So my only option was to call a mobile tyre replacement service (fortunately covered by my company car policy). I rang them at 8:30am and had visions of them not turning up until 3 in the afternoon - but how wrong was I!

A guy from KwikFit Richmond was at my house by 10am. The van he arrived in was the most amazing bit of kit. It was brimming with every tool you could imagine to speed up the changing of a tyre, most of which was powered by an air compressor. The air jack to effortlessly lift up the car, the power drive to remove the wheel nuts, the machine to peel the tyre from the wheel and then apply the new one, the machine to check the balance and then the power drive to bolt the wheel back on. Elapsed time, 15 minutes including signing the paper work and checking the old tyre to see what the problem was (a predictably stereotypical nail was the culprit).

So, it wasn't exactly a Formula One style 6 second change over, but then they just change the wheel, they don't whip off the old Bridgestone tyre and put a new one on the same wheel. So I'm very happy with my KwikFit fitter. Good job well done and it just shows that a job can be quick if you have the correct tools.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Troyis - a very addictive game

I'm not sure where I came across this game but if you have ever played chess it is maddeningly addictive. It involves moving a knight around an ever expanding board to cover all the squares against the clock. So far I have managed to get to level 10 and scored about 250000 which puts me in the top 7500 in the world. I just cannot fathom how someone can have go to level 12 never mind level 27 which is where the leader is at. See what you can do.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

England qualifies for the World Cup

It was not very pleasant watching England beating Austria. A 1-0 win is always pretty tenuous especially when the only goal is a penalty. England never really seemed to hit their stride in a game when they were meant to be showing that the Northern Ireland result was a fluke. I guess they were just lacking in confidence. And that lanky streak of piss Crouch didn't seem to be doing very much up front. And what was the ref thinking of sending Beckham of for a couple of half and half tackles?

Still, with the Dutch seeing off the Czech team, England are through to the finals. Let's just hope that with Rooney back we can make short work of Poland and get some confidence ready for Germany.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Trip to the Dentist

When I stopped smoking there was a rather unexpected result. I found that every time I brushed my teeth they started bleeding heavily. After a couple of months of hoping it would stop I figured I should go to the dentist. Mt dentist explained that one of the noxious effects of smoking is that it reduced the blood flow to the gums, meaning that you cannot tell if you have gum problems and hence don't go to the dentist to have them fixed. Basically it just means plaque builds up and irritates the gum that allows bacteria to build up and makes them bleed. A quick trip to the hygienist should clear everything up she said.

She made it sound so fluffy that I actually believed that this is what a hygienist is like.

However, I was subjected to hideous torture. Where my Dentist would apologise profusely when she caused me to wince with pain, my Hygienist seemed to thrive on it. She actually said (in a eastern European accent), "Sorry if you felt pain, but you needed hurting so I gave you pain".

I really wouldn't have been surprised if she had said, "For you Tommy, zee war is over".

Obviously I'm not seriously comparing her to Hitler. It's just a lazy joke. But it is interesting reading Godwin's Law about how any debate will eventually result in rhetorical overreach. Of which I'm clearly guilty here. But it did bloody hurt and she really did say that :(

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Purr fect...

First and foremost, don't think that this Web Log is going to turn from Ports' witty and incisive views on the world into Ports' Kitten World. But since our new kittens Boo and Barney arrived on Monday they have done everything that you would hope a kitten would do with one exception. They haven't purred.

Now this is perfectly understandable since the poor little suckers have only just been taken from their mother and been introduced to an entirely new environment and a totally new Mum and Dad. But it was lovely this evening when Ali, Me and our mate Glastonbury John were chatting away and I started rubbing Barney's neck. Out of the blue he just started purring. John, Ali and I just grinned at each other as he purred away. Now we know he feels safe and at home :-)

It has to be said that Barney wasn't purring in this photo but it brought a lump to my throught when the little fella started going for it. I'm sure that little Boo will feel the same way soon.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Feline attack units installed

In order to secure our house against burglars and unprovoked rodent attack we have installed a couple of kittens. The tabby and white one is called Barney because Ali thought it was a funny name. The other lad is called Boo because he is quite timid. It 's 18 years since I last had kittens romping about the place and I had forgotten just how funny, small, cute, soft and downright adorable they are.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Enough is Enough - the Spammers have to go

I wrote a while ago about the problem of Spam on Web Logs. In essence, I really hate Spam but didn't want to ban anonymous comments. I prefer to know who is commenting but I don't want to mandate it. Fortunately a new feature of has come to my rescue. The new Word Verification feature simply asks a commenter to type in a word that is displayed as a picture cunningly foiling automated Spam agents.

So if you have a Web Log hosted on Blogger then go into settings, then comments and select Show Word Verification to banish this scourge. I'm now off to try and post a comment to see if it actually works.