Archive for August, 2002

Post

hmmm

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2002

the server history of census.pro.gov.uk: (from security space via usenet)

           Aug 13, 2002  193.195.171.72  Apache/1.3.26 (Unix)
           Jul 10, 2002  193.195.171.72  Apache/1.3.26 (Unix)           
           Feb 7, 2002  194.131.235.33  No contact           
           Jan 7, 2002  194.131.235.33  No contact
           Dec 9, 2001  194.131.235.33  No contact
           Nov 6, 2001  194.131.235.33  Microsoft-IIS/4.0
           Oct 6, 2001  194.131.235.33  Microsoft-IIS/4.0
           Sep 9, 2001  194.131.235.33  Microsoft-IIS/4.0
           Aug 7, 2001  194.131.235.33  Microsoft-IIS/4.0
           Jul 9, 2001  193.113.180.5  Apache/1.3.14 (Unix)

so the census site started off on apache/unix, someone had a great idea
to launch the 1901 census site using microsoft’s iis, they spent about 4 months sorting that out, everything went horribly
wrong, and now they are back (and working ok apart from occassional “yes
we really are still testing” pages) using apache/unix. surprise.

Post

yay!

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2002

the 1901 census is back online. it’s a lot faster than before it collapsed in a heap but the help pages are useless:

England and Wales were divided into a number
of administrative areas known as Counties. On some enumeration pages, the
name of the Borough is given as the Administrative County.

yes, i can work out what an administrative county is. what i want to
know is what my options are. what county naming system was in place in 1901?
i’ve already sussed out that i need to look under both shropshire and salop
for my ancestors fom that county but i can’t find anyone under montgomery or powys just across the welsh border from there. grrrrrr.

also some directory of similarly spelt and misspelt names would come in exceedingly handy.

Post

r.i.p. finisterre

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2002

i obviously haven’t listened to the shipping forecast in quite a while. finisterre got wiped out six months ago and her place has been taken by fitzroy.

She was rubbed out by international agreement, since one of Spain’s meteorogical areas confusingly bears the same name.

the shipping forecast makes the perfect lullaby and you can play singalong-a-shipping-forecast. with the web page.

Post

cool breakfast ideas

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2002

megan (not martha) has great ideas for breakfast:

I have been making popsicles. I bought some cheap molds from
Target, and took a (sorta) recipe from a friend – in a blender combine some
vanilla yogurt (already frozen), some fresh or frozen strawberries, and a
splash of orange juice, blend, freeze in molds. They are yummy and justifiable
as a breakfast item.

i’m off to find out where my lolly moulds (that’s “popsicle molds” in
english i think) are as my miniscule freezer is nearly frost free and needs
something useful to do.

Post

competitive girls

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2002

hmmm, is this why i find texting and rubiking contests pointless? an interesting bit of gender research
reveals that boys will enter into competitions just for the hell of it but
girls will only bother competing if there is a payoff for winning.

The girls spent more time watching the reactions of their competitors and responding to them.

saving your energy for when there’s something to work for makes perfect sense to me.

Post

family trees

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2002

when i read the headline “dna profiling will get to root of tree disputes
i expected to find that the trees in question were family trees. nope.
real trees. which neighbour’s tree has the roots that are drawing water
out of the earth and being the root cause of subsidence? use dna testing
to work it out.

Post

competitive pointlessness

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2002

the uk national text championships?? quite bizarre. it reminds me in some tangentially pointless way of rubik’s cube solving contests which still seem to be going on by the looks of it.

Post

frozen vodka

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2002

life in finland:

-5°C
in california, people are being rushed to
hospital with frostbite. the finns light a fire and have their last grilled
sausage before winter.
-10°C
the british turn on the heating in their houses.
the finns put on a long-sleeve sweater.
-70°C
the finns start getting angry because they can’t store their koskenkorva vodka outdoors.

which is (incorrectly) apropos of the fact that darren has managed to
freeze the black label smirnoff in the freezer. 40% vodka freezes at, as
far as i can ascertain having forgotten all formulae by which to calculate
freezing points, about -25°C and domestic freezers should be set at -18°C.

...

Too Many Blondes by Lauren Henderson

In books read on August 27, 2002

Right, I'm totally caught up on this series now. What impressed me most about this book was how well it was joined up to both the book before and the one after. Henderson links the series together excellently. There was even a mention in the first book of a development that doesn't happen until the latest book. It's stuff like this that really makes a series work and be more than it's individual parts.

This book is set at Chalk Farm gym where Sam is supplementing her sculpting by working as a part time weights instructor. The place and the politics worked for me where some of the characters didn't quite work. The plot's quite decent though I think mystery resolution is work outable but that might be because I've read the later books and a bit of quick thinking led me to pick one of the less likely suspects here and come out right.

Good stuff though not as good these books get later in the series.

Purchased on 12th July 2002.

...

No Human Involved by Barbara Seranella

In books read on August 25, 2002

[These comments are taken from a mailing list discussion and as such contain spoilers....]

[on the characters]

I've been looking forward to reading this book for yonks and was expecting to love it and I wasn't disappointed. I was surprised that Mace had a bigger role than Munch as I hadn't heard about him and having read the book I'm surprised to find that Mace doesn't come back again straight away in the next book. If I hadn't known that this was Munch's series before reading the book then I would have expected it to be Mace's series.

Most of the characterisations in the book were great, I loved both Munch and Mace. The various mechanics, Ruby and Digger were the other characters who made an impression on me. Some of the characters with less redeeming characteristics seemed a bit thin and stereotyped. In particular I thought Potts wasn't fleshed out enough. I got a vague idea that Mace didn't get on with him but he didn't make enough of a mark on me that the resolution seemed believable.

[on the setting]

The setting felt vaguely out of place to me but this has been resolved by reading the discussion. I had absolutely no idea that this was set in the 70s. In the bit about bicentennial coasters in the bar I thought that either the landlord had stocked up enough coasters to last 20 odd years or my recall of dates in American history was rather wonky; the latter was quite feasible and the former was hilarious!

Knowing that the book is in the 70s makes it feel less out of joint and explains the lack of worries about AIDS, condoms, dirty needles etc. which was festering in the back of my head as a little incongruous as I read. As well as why a suspect could mistake a photocopier for a lie detector which bugged me a bit too.

The physical setting didn't envelope the book as it does in some others but I got a good feel of a big city where Munch had just about never seen countryside and I liked the little details of settings like the filled in canals around Digger's house.

[on the plot]

I didn't feel that this book was a great mystery, it wasn't really about the plot and was far more character based. The Bellona Creek Butcher murders were interesting but seemed to fizzle out a bit to me the mystery of who killed Flower George didn't really grab me as I knew it wasn't Munch; I was far more concerned with how Munch was coping really. The resolution was good from Munch's point of view but Potts didn't really work as a killer for me.

[on the pacing, scenes]

The pacing seemed fine to me, I didn't feel that there were any dull lulls or filler (and the pacing would have been better if I hadn't had to put the book down every ten minutes but I can't blame the author for that!) The only thing in the book that really didn't work for me now I've got the time of the book right was the unmasking of the killer but I may just have not been paying enough attention to those bits of the story in my worries about Munch. The bits I find most memorable in the book were little details like Munch stealing syringes from the hospital and then chucking them away, the kid on the street helping Digger out, and Munch using brains rather than brawn to take engines to pieces.

[on this being a first book]

As I said at the top it wasn't clear to me from reading this book what the "concept for the series" was, if I hadn't already known that Munch was to star then I would have expected Mace but probably because having the detective as the central character is what I'm used to. Whilst I like Mace a lot I think Munch is going to make a great central character and I'm really looking forward to the next book.

This book didn't feel like a first book to me, if I had to pick on something as not seeming fully polished it would be that some of the mystery elements could have been stronger without destroying the great character parts of the book, and that the time period wasn't clear enough to me. Mostly this book was great stuff and I'd read the next one even if it wasn't for a discussion and I doubt I'll stop until the series is over.

Purchased on 15th January 2002.