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It's been more than two weeks since the race and the organisers still only posted the first 120 finishers. I was outside that (I'm figuring roughly 175th or so of 1,600 entrants) so I still don't have my official time. This is rather slack; they had the full results up the same day as the race last year. Anyway, this afternoon I trawled through 1,600 photos on Flickr looking for any that might feature my running self, and turned up just the one (I'm #512, and this is shortly before the finish, and shortly after my push for the line started flagging). Flickr's search is really painful for this for several reasons:
  • The photos taken by the organisers, or someone posting on their behalf, aren't tagged;
  • There were several events on that weekend titled "Jingle Bells";
  • Flickr's advanced search lacks useful features like "discard any photos by user X from these search results" or "discard any photos with tag X from these search results" (the latter is achievable by redoing the search, but really, it should be dynamic)
I seem to recall whining about Flickr's wimpy search interface some time ago, probably for exactly the same reasons, and as a result of doing exactly the same search. Which would suggest it's not changed in at least a year.

updated to add: according to the EXIF tagging on the photostream, this is about 18:40 into the race, which would put me 40 seconds from the finish line. Which means I was probably still puffing like a steam train and attempting to persuade myself not to back off.
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So Values of N is shutting down (which, I suspect, means that that's a volatile link). I had played around with Stikkit and thought it was interesting; I was more interested in I Want Sandy (a digital personal assistant, lest the name makes you think it's some sort of questionable content!) but was frankly disappointed with the fact that the Stikkit API never made it to I Want Sandy despite the fact that they were both based on the same technology and there was a long-running user request thread to implement such a feature. Ignoring all arguments for and against the viability of giving away your core product for free, I think one of the key things in making a product successful is allowing other people to add value - whether that's through an API, or through a SDK, or some sort of developer program is not relevant; the fact of the matter is that one company can't come up with all the possible ways in which their product will be used, and even if they could, they have limited resources and have to concentrate on the applications of that product that are expected to provide the greatest return on investment. Anyway, if you had accounts on either of these sites, now would be a good time to go and fetch your data and/or nuke your account. I'd been meaning to shut mine down anyway as the lack of API had pretty much turned me off most of the possible interactions I'd otherwise have had with the site, so for the last year or more it's been emailing me the same to-do list and I've just been deleting it and ignoring it.

update: I've just finished reading the followup comments on the linked post. They're laughable, to say the least. People apparently feel that because they put their data into a free service, that free service is obliged to stay running ad infinitum. And various people are standing on soapboxes declaring the death of Web 2.0/Cloud Computing/Buzzword Buzzword Buzzword. Dollars to dimes these people have free accounts on last.fm, twitter, myspace, livejournal, facebook, flickr, etc. and while soapboxing against Values Of N will not even consider these other places storing their precious bodily fluids data. It's very simple: whatever else you do with your data, keep a local copy. If you're blindly putting data you value into the hands of others with no scope for force majeure recovery, you really don't value that data very much.
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Jurys Inn, Limerick, guarantees me that their website's price is the lowest.
We guarantee that for any hotel reservation made on jurysinns.com, you will not find a lower room rate publicly available on the Internet for that same room type in the same Jurys Inn on the same date requested!
If, having made a booking on a Jurys Inns branded website, you should find a lower publicay available price, for the same room at the same hotel, elsewhere on the internet within 24 hours of booking, we will honour that rate. (link)
The terms and conditions are interesting, but I am amused by this gem:
The availability of the competing rate must be proved by an acceptable form of evidence.  An "acceptable" form of evidence will be the forwarding to us of an official print screen or email confirming a reservation... (my emphasis)
What's an official print screen? That aside, if I'm reading this right, it seems I need to book through the Jurys Inns website, then book through the competing website as well.

Oh yeah. It also tells me how to "challange" the Jurys Inns Price Guarantees. I found a better way to "challange" it: look up cheaper hotels on Booking.com. Booyah.
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According to John Gormley, our Minister for the Environment (who is, incidentally, a member of the Green party), "We can demonstrate through Earth Hour that individual action can make a difference on climate change"

Really? How do we demonstrate that switching off non-essential lights on many public buildings (my italics) makes a difference on climate change? How much energy was used in promoting this, as a fraction of the saved energy? Is someone going to measure this scientifically, or are we just going to collectively pat ourselves on the back for doing "something" for 1/8766 of the year while continuing to waste energy as usual for the remainder?
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In the past week or so, it has been independantly noted that I am very bitter and I am cynical beyond repair. Sorry if you were on the receiving end of that. Also, sorry if you encountered Cranky Waider this week, as he was in pretty full effect due to some technical stuff that was going the wrong way down a one-way street, and doing so while honking its horn at people coming the other way trying to point out the error.

Having gotten that out of the way, I will note the following (we'll call it "residual crankiness")
  • My Amazon Wishlist is now titled "Yes, it's up-to-date". Even though there is stuff on it from 2004 that's no longer available from Amazon themselves, and there's other stuff there that Amazon UK simply won't ship to me due to an ongoing issue with recycling laws in Ireland.
  • Twitter comes with a feed. So does your blog. If I'm interested in the latter, you really shouldn't need to tell me about it on the former. Announce your blog, sure. Tell me every time you post? Not so much.
  • Daylight savings time can bite me. Twice. And the alleged US energy-saving legislation from 2005 that made things even more screwy can seriously bite me.
  • Livejournal posts of your twitter posts: same deal as going the other way. If I'm interested, I'll have subscribed to both. If I'm not interested, I'm not frickin' interested, ok?
  • This weather has got to stop. I got snowed on last weekend. I came home yesterday with hands so cold I could barely type. And now it's blazing sunshine, after blowing a storm this morning. Maybe humans were meant to sleep through this.
  • Dear local bar, please clean the taps or something. Three beers giving me a headache? That's not right.

In the immortal words of the TBSC:
Whew, that was fun. Actually, it has nothing to do with any of that. I'm just killing time until this Pat tape runs out.
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My Annual Paddy's Day PSA. I don't care what that guy with the awesome pointy hat said about moving it to the 15th to avoid colliding with whatever Catholic thing happens on the 17th this year.
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Included in my latest credit card bill: a flyer for MBNA 3D Secure - "it's like chip and PIN - only for the Internet!"

What, it's a meaningless addition to the verification process, the main aim of which is to make the card operator even less liable for fraud and instead make it the cardholder's fault?
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I've been going back through my LiveJournal posts, adding tags and making minor edits - spelling corrections, updating broken links, unlocking posts that were friendslocked for timing reasons, deleting posts I figure shouldn't really have been made - and among the applied tags, "blogging" has largely come to mean "I don't know what to tag this with, so I'll just put it in the Misc bucket". Once I'm done with the retrospective I may go back and figure out something more appropriate to tag these with, or I may delete them entirely - this post included - because there's nothing that annoys me quite so much about the self-publishing lark as self-referential postings.

Also, I still hate the word "blog" and all its mutant spawn.
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An email as it was displayed to me just now:
This is a text part of the message.

It is shown for the users of old-style e-mail clients
Old-style. Back in the days before email-borne virii, full-colour pornographic junk, and OCR-defeating stock-dump scams. Bring back the good old days, I say!
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Someone is currently sending spam with a return address of a sourceforge-based list I run. I'd say mailman-based, except sourceforge are (well, last I checked) somewhat behind the curve in terms of mailman versions, although I'm not even sure that being up-to-date helps since my general impression of mailman is that the developers are slowly learning all the things that Majordomo had baked into it after years of being the de facto standard. Anyway, one of the things sourceforge-mailman does is that when these spams bounce, it discards the bounce message. Hurrah. I certainly don't want to see it. But it then sends me an email telling me it discarded the bounce message. I've had several hundred of these show up over the last couple of days, and damned if I can find a way to kill them at source.

I suppose I could always set the list admin address to point to itself, or something equally nutty, and watch the server destroy itself.

updated: I looked over the wildly confusing over-featured admin panel again, and found
forward_auto_discards (privacy): Should messages from non-members, which are automatically discarded, be forwarded to the list moderator?
Note, this implies that automatic discards for members will still wind up in my mailbox. Thanks a bunch, Mailman.
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Saw a promo for this on one of the big screens at the gym tonight: "America's Most Smartest Model". Actually, from that link I get the impression that the grammatical error is intentional (the "Most" is made to look like it's a pencilled-in correction, which isn't how it was shown on the promo I saw), but it's like the kid says on the Simpsons: "are you being sarcastic, dude?" "I don't even know anymore."
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Just now on TV I see some guy captioned as being from the "Irish Association of Suicidology". I am appalled to discover this is actually a real word.
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From the previously-cited Drummond piece, I find an example of something I've found both increasingly prevalent and increasingly annoying: the Spurious Comma.
I do not want to spend every November, for the rest of my life, trying to breathe new life into a concept, that should have been left alone years ago.
Please tell me why there is a comma after "concept" in the above sentence. Arguably the rest of 'em should go, too, but that one is the biggest offender. This, as I say, appears to be gaining in popularity: the placement of a comma where not only is there no need for one, but the insertion of which messes up the flow of the sentence. Where do people learn this stuff? Is it the same school where they teach misuse of apostrophes?
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Actually, not king, but editor: if an article makes some reference to its own length (case in point: Bill Drummond's No Music Day piece[1]), I would discount that from the actual article length and chastise the author accordingly (and possibly even edit it out of the finished piece). Same goes for any filler paragraphs describing the writing process of said article, unless of course the article is actually about the writing process. I really don't care that it's hard to write about subject X, that's why you're a writing producer and I'm a writing consumer.

[1] Yes, I realise this is a blog, not an article. Don't care. I'm being curmudgeonly, I can make up the rules.
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A certain well-known author top-replies. For shame.
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Early last week I investigated the possiblity of joining a local gym. My main reasons for doing so are access to treadmills, so I'm not always running on the streets, and access to resistance machines, since the only weights I have myself are a set of dumbells and, well, my own bodyweight. Having been a gym member before I'm looking for somewhere that is on my commute, since otherwise I'll simply not bother going. And for preference it should be near my house so I can go there on weekends.

Read more... )
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An offer page on Vodafone's website currently reads, "Register you phone online and receive FREE call credit" (my emphasis)
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So a while back I posted about a bunch of people who'd taken my registration info and deemed it an implicit acceptance of their spam, and the unregister-from-this-junkmail-feed link came up 404 when I tried it. After a second or third mail I'd gotten fed up with them and emailed them, and received a reply to the effect that (a) I'd been removed from their list and (b) wow, thanks, we didn't know our unsubscribe page was broken.

So I was a little surprised to get another spam from them today, and slightly less surprised to note that the unsubscribe page is STILL broken. I emailed the guy who claimed to have sorted it out the last time, who apologised for "the mistake" and told me I'd been removed. Again. We shall see.

In the meantime, if calgoo.com are sending you spam and the unsub link still 404's, try replying to the email to complain.
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Letter from my electricity supplier, paraphrased: we've not been able to gain access to your premises to read your meter for quite some time. Please call this number and follow the prompts to enter a reading.

So I called the number.

"Thank you", it said, "for calling the ESB networks emergency line. For various emergency options, press various numbers, otherwise press '9'"

So I pressed '9'.

"For a new or increased line (?), relocation of a meter, or some other thing that isn't a meter reading, press 1, otherwise press 2"

So I pressed '2'.

"You need to talk to someone else. Go away.".

Er. Ok. Fortunately, they have a website where I can enter the reading - which also advises me that I can call the same phone number and enter my details.


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