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Wikipedia Roulette – Fun for, well, the bored

I like wikipedia, it has its fault – many of them – but on the whole it’s more accurate than not.

One game I like to play with it is to use the random article facility to find an entry that I personally find interesting within five ‘moves’.

Here’s a few typical sessions:

Move 1:

I occasionally play World of Warcraft, so that’s a hit on the first go.

New game move 1:

Nope, not interested in that.

Move 2:

Not a fan of Asia (the band), so another click.

Move 3:

Basketball? No thanks.

Move 4:

A small town in India, not my cup of tea.

Move 5:

Not particularly interested in Irish authors, either. So this game was a bust.

Last game for today move 1:

Erm, nope.

Move 2:

Baseball this time, next!

Move 3:

19th century Flemish author? Non!

Move 4:

High-end audio equipment, now I find that interesting.

I could play this game all night, but I won’t.


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1 comment May 9th, 2007

Another one for the firewall is another unremitting comment-spam-spewer. Just toss it in the firewall and forget it ever existed. If nothing else it will reduce the load on akismet.

Remember kids, comment spam is neither big nor clever, just say no, m’kay.


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January 19th, 2007

Visual Studio 2005 SP1 – Worst installer ever

I find it hard to imagine how Microsoft managed to make the installer for Visual Studio 2005 SP1 take even longer than it takes to install Visual Studio in the first place, but hats off to their team for managing this task so successfully.

I’ve been looking at the progress bars of various dialogue boxes now for neigh-on three hours, and it’s still crawling slowly, eating 100% CPU, not even a third of the way through the ‘gathering required information’ phase.

Of course I should really be thanking them as otherwise I may have been forced to do some actual work on the first day back for two weeks, instead I can achieve zen-like states of mind waiting for the next green blob to appear on the progress bar.

I should take some valium, then this would just fly by.


January 2nd, 2007

Tele-spammers get slightly smarter

On the whole, I don’t get a large amount of telephone-spam – people cold calling trying to sell me things – apart from some persistent company trying to get me to buy a new kitchen.

But I got a call recently that went through to my voice mail with the following message “This is James from your collection service, please called 0871 2089407”, the caller-display was 0871 2409000.

For anyone not familiar with UK area codes, anything beginning with 08 is a non-geographic number, not currently classified as a premium-rate number. As such the regulations appear to be somewhat lax.

Calls to 0871 numbers are, however, charged at approx. 10 pence a minute. I have no doubt that calling this number would entail a long wait going through some automated switchboard, turning a tidy sum to the crooks who run this scam.

I’m not the only person to get calls like this, so I bet someone’s making a lot of money off this.

Ofcom (the UK telephone regulator) appears to be in the process of reclassifying 0871 numbers as premium-rate (see FAQ 10), so hopefully the happy muppets behind this scam will be out of business soon, but in my experience they’ll be off onto something else soon enough to fleece money from people.


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November 23rd, 2006

Greek personality test results

The Oracle
33% Extroversion, 100% Intuition, 27% Emotiveness, 57% Perceptiveness
Heuristic, detached, and analytical to a fault, you are most like The Oracle. You are able to tackle any subject with a fine toothed comb, and you possess an ability to pinpoint nuances and shades of meaning that other people do not have and cannot understand. Accomplishment and realization of ideas are, for you, secondary to the rigorous exploration of ideas and questions — you are, first and foremost, a theorist. You hate authority, convention, tradition, and under no circumstances do you accept a leadership role (although, you will gladly advise leadership when they’re going astray, whether they want you to or not). Abstraction and generalities are your interests, details and particulars are usually inconsequential and uninteresting. You excel at language, mathematics and philosophy.

You are typically easy-going and non-confrontational until someone violates one of the very few principles that you deem sacred, at which point you can fly into a rage. Although you possess a much greater understanding of process and systems than the people around you, you are always conscious of the possibility that you’ve missed something or made a mistake. You don’t tend to become attached to particular theories, and will immediately discard mistaken notions once they’re revealed to be incorrect (but you don’t tolerate iconoclasts who try to discredit validated theories through the use of fallacies and bad data). Despite being outwardly humble, you probably think of yourself as being smarter than most other people. That’s because you are. In fact, in your dealings with people your understanding of their motives is so expansive that you know what they’re going to say before they say it, and in world affairs, you usually know what is going to take place before it actually does. This ability would make you unbeatable in debates if only you were a little less pensive about your own conclusions, and a little more outgoing.

Famous people like you: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John McWhorter, Ramanujan, Marie Curie, Kurt Godel
Stay clear of: Apollo, Icarus, Hermes, Aphrodite
Seek out: Atlas, Prometheus, Daedalus

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 99% on Extroversion
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You scored higher than 99% on Intuition
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You scored higher than 99% on Emotiveness
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You scored higher than 99% on Perceptiveness

Link: The Greek Mythology Personality Test written by Aleph_Nine on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I don’t know if I’m particularly oracular, but I like to be avuncular.

November 3rd, 2006

Of IE7, Firefox and fonts

When IE7 was launched, I dutifully installed it, since it had a few features that I was interested in and it was reportedly more secure than IE6. All in all, slightly underwhelming, but a big improvement on IE 6, but then that isn’t really hard.

For day-to-day surfing I use FireFox, so I dutifully downloaded Firefox 2.0 when it became visible on the Mozilla ftp site. So far I’m impressed: it feels faster; the majority of my extensions worked a treat; I like the improvements to the tabs and so far no crashes.

But, by far the biggest change to my system was brought about by IE7, and that is my switching to using Cleartype instead of the normal XP anti-aliasing for fonts. I had always assumed that Cleartype was only for LCD displays, which I don’t use on my desktop, but IE forces Cleartype for it’s font rendering and I liked how it rendered. So I switched over to Cleartype in Windows and, frankly, I think it looks a whole lot better.

So, thank you IE7 team; I may still need some convincing that your browser isn’t a monolithic security hole that I only use on sites that absolutely, positively refuse to work with Firefox, but you have indirectly made Windows look new and fresh for me, and I’m grateful for that.


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October 25th, 2006

Birmingham top for porn searches

Those brummies know what they like, and they like what they see.

Perhaps they’ve had enough going around the Bullring. Then again, that would be a very specialised type of porn.

May 16th, 2006


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