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Archive for May, 2006

European Grand Prix (Nurburgring)

Schumacher well and truly beat Alonso last Sunday. I thought that Alonso was in with a chance after the first pit stop, but when it came to the second, Schumacher put in some stunningly fast laps to put him out ahead of Alonso after his second stop.

I didn’t really watch it due to doing college work at the same and since I’m writing this a few days after the event, my muddled brain doesn’t really remember a great deal. Which probably says a lot for the race!

From a non-Ferrari fan point of view, it was a frustrating race, but Alonso did what he needed to do again. Held his nerve and collected 8 more points. I reckon its that consistency that’ll help win him a second championship. Although it is worrying that Ferrari now has the fastest cars out there.

I think the advantage will swing back in Alonso’s favour at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, what with home advantage but also it being an aero track which suits the Renault.

I had to laugh at one of Martin Brundle’s classic catch phrases. Poor old Klien suffered “a box of neutrals”, which pretty much continues his awful season. Five races and three retirements, ouch!

There’s a very good race summary over on the Sun Blogs from Paul Humphrey’s. His blog also has some really cool photos.

TrueCrypt 4.2 out

My fave drive encryption app was updated last month. It now has full Linux support (whoopee) and dynamic drives, which appears to be files that automagically expand in size. That would be seriously useful.

When it comes to updating it, the best thing to do is reboot, not mount any volumes, make sure its closed and then install it. I found that doing an install when the system was up, even with dismounted drives, it had problems. No damage done, just error messages about not being able to install the device driver properly.

I’m also using TrueCrypt at work. We got some 160GB USB 2.0 drives for extra storage and I decided to create a 100GB TrueCrypt drive on it. I found out two things. The first was that it recommended using an encryption method with a 128-bit block cipher, instead of 64-bit.


Not really a problem. Previously I’ve used Blowfish since that appears to be the fastest encryption method. So I went for AES… and then realised TwoFish was faster. As it happens, it doesn’t make too much of a difference.

The second was it takes fecking ages to format a TrueCrypt drive of that size. I don’t know exactly how long it took since I went out but I’d say at least an hour and a half. Actually I’m just creating a 26GB file and that reckons it’ll be 30+ minutes.

Still, once set up, its one of the those pieces of software that just works.


Now this is cool (and geeky). Not only is a damn useful but a good use of Google Maps. You can do basic searches that tell you the cheapest price within a distance of a postcode but to get full details of where that is, you need to sign up, which is free.


You’re allowed 20 unique searches a week which is fine. I can’t see me wanting to do more than and it stops spamming of the service. Its also pretty useful for finding petrol stations in an area you’re visiting too.

A lawnmower? Thats all I want!

There I was browsing B&Q’s wonderful website looking for lawnmowers since Kate had an altercation with our existing one last night and broke the (metal) blade on it. I think the fact that our back lawn (I use the term loosely) is more like a forest floor, with various debris scattered across it from when we cut down trees last year, was the cause and not Kate!

It appears though that B&Q’s lawnmower range has gone up market and decided not sell to commoners like me. I was expecting to see a few Flymos on there but instead could only find several tractor mowers, the cheapest of which was £850. Hmmmm… quite. Whilst I like the idea of having one one day so that I can manicure the acres of land we’ll have with our mansion (I can dream!), I think at the moment its a bit out of my price range.

So an actual trip to the local B&Q is in order. Might see if we can’t just replace the blade!

Hello, anybody there?

Whew! My computer comms assignment is now finished (yay!) so I’ll have some free time to waffle again. Normal service shall resume shortly!

Yay for the motivator!

Heh, spoke to soon about it being quiet. Todays (yesterdays?) Daily WTF is a classic. I particularly like this comment:

Once this person is identified they will be fired immediately and in quite a spectacular fashion.

And how do you fire someone in “spectacular fashion”? Is he going to have an orchestra playing on the background, circus acrobats twirling behind them, possibly even a sports announcer and play-by-play commentator giving everyone the breakdown?

I definitely wouldn’t work for the company, but I would attend one of their firings.

This related link is scary. A sales director for an America company was fired for apparently making too many personal calls and messing about with his iPod too much. Fair enough you would think, but they are also suing him for lost profit and his wages ($90k for eight months), the total of which is a minimum of $300,000!

Ok, I can understand the wages, that seems reasonable if he’s not being doing his job properly, but how do they work out lost profit? Sounds like someone took a real disliking to him!

Busy busy busy

Things will probably go quiet over the next few days since I have a college assignment for Computer Communications to finish for Wednesday next week.

#tf stats for April

Whoop, its that time of month again:

World Snooker Championship Final

Regardless of what Steve Davis said in commentary, it was very, very tedious, as I predicted it would be, but the end result was good. Dott isn’t exactly the most fluent of players, but he was able to slowly chip away at the score line. It was looking like a really late finish (like 2am+) at one point what with Ebdon coming back, thankfully Dott stopped the rot.

I can’t help but think that if Ebdon had played to even half of his potential in the first three sessions then it would have been a different result. And I have to admit how good a sportsman he is, incredibly gracious in defeat.

But it looks like I’m not the only one who didn’t enjoy the final, but still watched it to its bitter conclusion:

That has to go down as the most tedious game of snooker ever seen.

Not bad, but I think we can do better:

One for the purists? I doubt it. Even the commentators were running out of expletives to describe the scintillating pace, brilliant potting and masterful tactics both players were displaying. <snip> An ultimate result was the only real outcome of this awful game of snooker, and that took too long. I stayed up to watch the conclusion for the same reason we read the end of a book we have already started – to get the result.

Hmmm, pretty sarcastic.

The best man on the day won, but I have never seen a Final with so many empty seats.

Sad but true and one of the chaps at work commented on the same, but can you blame them? If the play is slow going it is really tough to sit there and watch it. You can’t just get up and make a brew or go for whizz halfway through a frame.

I remember a few years back going to Preston to watch Nigel Bond and Joe Swail play. It took over 2 hours to play four frames, my bladder nearly detached itself and made its own way to the nearest convenience. (Beers at the bar beforehand weren’t a good idea).

This years tournament has been a bit of a disappointment. Due to the odd way the matches have gone I’ve not watched a great deal. There must have been something in the water that put most of the top 16 off.

Half-Life 2 – Episode One

Like Sin Episode One, its now ready for preloading. Available 1st of June (hopefully).


Should be good! I think I’ll play it after I’ve got this slog of college work to do over the next month, as an incentive.

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