Chris Bulow's strange Iberian tales
)

'tis a lovely warm sunny day here by the sea. But the day wouldn't be complete without some problem. Have just been told by the CSA that I owe them over £7K payable immediately. Quite how they work this out is beyond me -- unless they're basing it on an entire years worth of contributions not paid on the old salary that I no longer receive. The sooner I can make it to Spain's sunny climes the better.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Yes, definitely have bronchitis. Interesting security issue though: the entire practices network went down, so no access to my notes (have they all been scanned and therefore no paper copies?) for the GP concerned. He asked for name,address and date of birth. Now, whilst it was pretty obvious that I was suffering from a chest complaint, I could at the same time have presented myself as A N Other who (for the purposes of this exercise) has a bad methadone habit and without any apparent check, been given a scrip in his name for another months supply. I am led to believe Your Honour, that said item has value on "The Streets". For further interesting debate on all risks involved in computer systems then the RISKS Digest is a useful resource.

So, more antibiotics and an almost 100% commitment to giving up smoking once and for all. Intend spending most of day in bed. Grimwood novel arrived, or rather postie did, but I didn't hear him. Oh well, prolly good to get a "breath of fresh air", as my Mother would say, tomorrow when venturing out to the Post Office.

Nice link at Gavins site re: spam.

posted by Chris at 10:14 PM

Monday, May 5, 2003

Feel lousy -- dosing myself with multifarious chemicals trying to throw off this cold/cough. Oh well, at least I'm better off than the poor soul who felt compelled to throw himself into The Channel just out of Calais last night on a ship I was on. My initial reaction that he'd make me late back to Dover when all I wanted to do was go home and sleep has been tempered by the thought of all the people who've been affected by either seeing him take a swan-dive off the aft end or were involved in the recovery of the body. 45 minutes in the water meant unfortunately that there was very little chance they'd find anything other than a corpse :(

News reports today confirm he was a 58-year old man. My sympathies to his family and friends. Not the nicest way to die...

On the brighter side of things, Amazon have just confirmed that they've shipped the Grimwood novel to me, should be here tomorrow, so can spend the day in bed indulging myself. Or if the weather improves, sitting outside.

Certainly don't feel like painting the house today. Hell, I don't even feel like having a drink and that is unusual!

Mat The Gloss has just 'phoned to say that last nights electrical storm took out his PC and hence his accounting data. Have agreed to struggle out of my death-bed to attempt to resurrect it. Windows 95 <yuck>. However, as an officially accredited Reverend in the Universal Life Church of America , I feel it's my bounden duty :)

Hope to meet Nick tonight to discuss the Spain venture.

Can I just say what excellent meals can be had at Charleighs -- so glad that they've re-opened again with Brian and Lou. Just eaten a lovely club sandwich and vegetable soup. Made me feel a whole lot better.

Chris Comley of Wizards quoted in yesterday's Sunday Times. Buy your ADSL from this man! Or indeed from Richard at Merula :)

posted by Chris at 11:41 AM

Saturday, May 3, 2003

Realised I hadn't posted for a while. Rescued a couple of laptops from the skip and am now running Mandrake 9.1 and SuSE 7.1 thereon via a Netgear wireless card and router. All seems well so far except that as always lack of RAM means that the graphical interfaces are slower than a very slow thing.

Just ordered from Amazon and read William Gibson's latest novel, Pattern Recognition . Can't recommend it highly enough. Much more focused than his last couple and, as always, his use of language continues to stun me.

Suffering from a severe sore throat and sweats -- I'm assuming for the moment that it isn't the SARS virus come to get me.

Still lots of work to be done on the web-site inc. the long promised conference and real-time chat areas. Will get round to them real soon now.

Need to also paint the house. Not sure when but have been advised in view of the fact that I'll be renting at some point to ensure that I use neutral colours -- by which I assume everybody means magnolia.

posted by Chris at 03:41 PM

Monday, April 14, 2003

Congratulations to Aileen for her time of 4hr 50m in the London Marathon . You can still give money to her :)

Aaaah. CIX broke themselves again today. Changes to their WCS system meant that accounts with addresses of @cix.co.uk now had FROM: and REPLY TO: addressess set to @cix.conferencing.co.uk which caused more than a few squeals of pain as mailing lists and rules broke all over the place.

posted by Chris at 03:41 PM

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Pleased to see that a new Jon Courtney Grimwood novel, felaheen, will be available in May. JCG's site is an excellent introduction to a set of books (of which this is the third) set in a world where Germany won WW1 and the Ottoman Empire still dominates and North Africa is a very different place..

posted by Chris at 11:41 AM

Thursday, April 3, 2003

Setup two more sites hosted on my Qube for Val and Aileen as well as a holding page for The Wheelbarrow Group and Griffin Associates .

posted by Chris at 11:41 AM

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Well, back now in the UK . An er, interesting start to the holiday. Arrived at Portsmouth only to be told that my passport had expired in February and I couldn't travel! The only slight consolation was that I was apparently the third person that day to have done the same thing. Went instead to a St Patrick's Day dinner with friends and then rang the Passport Office and booked an appointment to collect a new passport. Stayed overnight in London with Jill and Dorothy and on Monday after a delay of four hours finally got a new passport issued. Booked a last minute flight and was in Malaga in time to collect my rental car. After that, things went slightly more smoothly!

The hire car (a diesel Peugot 206 ) showed just over 4,500 k on the clock by the time I handed it back. We seemed to visit everywhere along the Andalucian coast (sometimes more than once!). I intended taking a lot of photographs but somehow signally failed but my thanks to Jeff for lending me his Sony vid-cam at such short notice. There are a couple of images here to wet your appetite for this most gorgeous of places.

Bizarre -- post-war planned reconstruction attempts are already being subject to a US jingoistic approach. Rather than deploy GSM networks (which work most everywhere except the USA), a congressman has decided that as GSM is "French" (and thus suspect as we all know how these cowardly frogs have failed to back the war), the US should instead use/deploy their CDMA technology instead. Nothing to do with dollars and jobs and blinkers then. And an excellent open letter by Guy Kewney , skewering the wrong-headedness of Congressman Issa's original letter is here .

posted by Chris at 05:41 AM

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Last minute packing. Ship sails from Portsmouth to Bilbao at 8pm tonight. 36 hours on-board then a day in Bilbao with a visit to the Guggenheim and then catch the 12 hour overnight train from Bilba to Malaga. After that it's slightly less structured!

On the recommendation of Simon Pride am looking at JAlbum a Java based slide-show piece of software for the inevitable pictures. And am wondering whether I can integrate Groove into the site to give bulletin board discussions and real-time chat. This will have to wait until I return..

posted by Chris at 07:41 AM

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Finished off two more friends PCs inc. the Outlook Express question (for which this site came in handy) -- must remember to post invoices! Looks like BT Openworld are having problems with their Radius servers though. Not for the first time either..

Have a giggle at this posting re: arms inspectors and Iraq . Isn't every mother like this?

posted by Chris at 11:41 AM

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Problems with a friends PC - a reinstall of XP needed after SP1 blue-screened half way through (looks like the CD is duff and the DLL that it fell over on was more than slightly important) and the install now fails to correctly setup the "Simple PCI Controller". Removing all the PCI stuff fails to get it recognised. Company web-site no good for any drivers that apply and without this correctly installed, their WinModem doesn't appear. Oh well, off to badger the supplier!

Ah. What I'd read as "simple" is in fact "Simple" -- a manufacturer of OEM PCI modems. A quick visit to their web-site and all is well again modem-wise. Now all I need to do is find out where Outlook Express stores email messages and I'll have one happy friend.

posted by Chris at 11:41 AM

Monday, March 10, 2003

Tickets for ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao arrived and car booking confirmed. Only 5 more days before I'm off. Looking forward to the Bay of Biscay (the rougher it is, the less likely it will be that the bars and restaurants will be busy) and the overnight train journey down through mainland Spain which takes 12 hours. Should be some fantastic views.

posted by Chris at 17:41 PM

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Quiet day and a few drinks with friends. Carole announced engagement to a sweetheart from over 25 years ago! Have insisted on invite to wedding especially as he lives in the Caribbean !
posted by Chris at 17:41 AM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

ADSL line went down at 17.22. Not sure if it's a general fault yet or just mine which has had one or two glitches over the past two weeks. Have to revert to POTS -- how charmingly retro if a complete and utter PITA at 28.8k <sighs>.

Ah, that's better. Turn router off, leave for 10 minutes (as recommended by Mr Comley ) being as patient as possible and then power back on. One tends to forget how much a permanently on connection means on a daily basis. Having had leased lines and ADSL for a long time, reverting to modems is painful <g>
posted by Chris at 17:41 AM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

And that's now done (many thanks Pete!). Next project planned is to upgrade the Qube's kernel from the ancient 2.x variant thereon but that "can wait for another day" to quote Pete.

Have also decided that it's easier to just hack the HTML for this blog and FTP changes up to the Qube rather than use the Blogger site's software which has fallen over too many times today.

Now off to attempt to install the IkonBoard software to allow discussion groups and either Jabber IM (an open source version of ICQ or AIM) or dIRC Proxy (an IRC server) to allow real-time chats. I may be gone some time! :)

......some time later. I'm now in a whole world of pain and a maze of dark and twisty passages :(

I now need to know what goes into files called "modules.info" as the installs fail through Webmin without these! Hmmmmm..... may be gone for longer than I thought.
posted by Chris at 1:20 PM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

My good friend Pete Jordan is just fettling the Cobalt Qube to compile and install an upgraded version of the Apache web-server upon which this site runs to a less antique model -- will close any security holes and (hopefully) give me more control over my setup :)
posted by Chris at 11:57 AM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Now is anybody surprised at this story from today's Guardian - I'd imagine not :(
posted by Chris at 11:41 AM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

A welcome note to anybody stumbling over this blog.

This page will be a respository for any stray thoughts and musings. I'm not however guaranteeing that anything will appear nor that if it does that it will be on a regular basis :)

Yes, definitely have bronchitis. Interesting security issue though: the entire practices network went down, so no access to my notes (have they all been scanned and therefore no paper copies?) for the GP concerned. He asked for name,address and date of birth. Now, whilst it was pretty obvious that I was suffering from a chest complaint, I could at the same time have presented myself as A N Other who (for the purposes of this exercise) has a bad methadone habit and without any apparent check, been given a scrip in his name for another months supply. I am led to believe Your Honour, that said item has value on "The Streets". For further interesting debate on all risks involved in computer systems then the RISKS Digest is a useful resource.

So, more antibiotics and an almost 100% commitment to giving up smoking once and for all. Intend spending most of day in bed. Grimwood novel arrived, or rather postie did, but I didn't hear him. Oh well, prolly good to get a "breath of fresh air", as my Mother would say, tomorrow when venturing out to the Post Office.

Nice link at Gavins site re: spam.

Monday, May 5, 2003

Feel lousy -- dosing myself with multifarious chemicals trying to throw off this cold/cough. Oh well, at least I'm better off than the poor soul who felt compelled to throw himself into The Channel just out of Calais last night on a ship I was on. My initial reaction that he'd make me late back to Dover when all I wanted to do was go home and sleep has been tempered by the thought of all the people who've been affected by either seeing him take a swan-dive off the aft end or were involved in the recovery of the body. 45 minutes in the water meant unfortunately that there was very little chance they'd find anything other than a corpse :(

News reports today confirm he was a 58-year old man. My sympathies to his family and friends. Not the nicest way to die...

On the brighter side of things, Amazon have just confirmed that they've shipped the Grimwood novel to me, should be here tomorrow, so can spend the day in bed indulging myself. Or if the weather improves, sitting outside.

Certainly don't feel like painting the house today. Hell, I don't even feel like having a drink and that is unusual!

Mat The Gloss has just 'phoned to say that last nights electrical storm took out his PC and hence his accounting data. Have agreed to struggle out of my death-bed to attempt to resurrect it. Windows 95 <yuck>. However, as an officially accredited Reverend in the Universal Life Church of America, I feel it's my bounden duty :)

Hope to meet Nick tonight to discuss the Spain venture.

Can I just say what excellent meals can be had at Charleighs -- so glad that they've re-opened again with Brian and Lou. Just eaten a lovely club sandwich and vegetable soup. Made me feel a whole lot better.

Chris Comley of Wizards quoted in yesterday's Sunday Times. Buy your ADSL from this man! Or indeed from Richard at Merula :)

Saturday, May 3, 2003

Realised I hadn't posted for a while. Rescued a couple of laptops from the skip and am now running Mandrake 9.1 and SuSE 7.1 thereon via a Netgear wireless card and router. All seems well so far except that as always lack of RAM means that the graphical interfaces are slower than a very slow thing.

Just ordered from Amazon and read William Gibson's latest novel, Pattern Recognition. Can't recommend it highly enough. Much more focused than his last couple and, as always, his use of language continues to stun me.

Suffering from a severe sore throat and sweats -- I'm assuming for the moment that it isn't the SARS virus come to get me.

Still lots of work to be done on the web-site inc. the long promised conference and real-time chat areas. Will get round to them real soon now.

Need to also paint the house. Not sure when but have been advised in view of the fact that I'll be renting at some point to ensure that I use neutral colours -- by which I assume everybody means magnolia.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Congratulations to Aileen for her time of 4hr 50m in the London Marathon. You can still give money to her :)

Aaaah. CIX broke themselves again today. Changes to their WCS system meant that accounts with addresses of @cix.co.uk now had FROM: and REPLY TO: addressess set to @cix.conferencing.co.uk which caused more than a few squeals of pain as mailing lists and rules broke all over the place.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Pleased to see that a new Jon Courtney Grimwood novel, felaheen, will be available in May. JCG's site is an excellent introduction to a set of books (of which this is the third) set in a world where Germany won WW1 and the Ottoman Empire still dominates and North Africa is a very different place..

Thursday, April 3, 2003

Setup two more sites hosted on my Qube for Val and Aileen as well as a holding page for The Wheelbarrow Group and Griffin Associates.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Well, back now in the UK. An er, interesting start to the holiday. Arrived at Portsmouth only to be told that my passport had expired in February and I couldn't travel! The only slight consolation was that I was apparently the third person that day to have done the same thing. Went instead to a St Patrick's Day dinner with friends and then rang the Passport Office and booked an appointment to collect a new passport. Stayed overnight in London with Jill and Dorothy and on Monday after a delay of four hours finally got a new passport issued. Booked a last minute flight and was in Malaga in time to collect my rental car. After that, things went slightly more smoothly!

The hire car (a diesel Peugot 206) showed just over 4,500 k on the clock by the time I handed it back. We seemed to visit everywhere along the Andalucian coast (sometimes more than once!). I intended taking a lot of photographs but somehow signally failed but my thanks to Jeff for lending me his Sony vid-cam at such short notice. There are a couple of images here to wet your appetite for this most gorgeous of places.

Bizarre -- post-war planned reconstruction attempts are already being subject to a US jingoistic approach. Rather than deploy GSM networks (which work most everywhere except the USA), a congressman has decided that as GSM is "French" (and thus suspect as we all know how these cowardly frogs have failed to back the war), the US should instead use/deploy their CDMA technology instead. Nothing to do with dollars and jobs and blinkers then. And an excellent open letter by Guy Kewney, skewering the wrong-headedness of Congressman Issa's original letter is here.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Last minute packing. Ship sails from Portsmouth to Bilbao at 8pm tonight. 36 hours on-board then a day in Bilbao with a visit to the Guggenheim and then catch the 12 hour overnight train from Bilba to Malaga. After that it's slightly less structured!

On the recommendation of Simon Pride am looking at JAlbum a Java based slide-show piece of software for the inevitable pictures. And am wondering whether I can integrate Groove into the site to give bulletin board discussions and real-time chat. This will have to wait until I return..

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Finished off two more friends PCs inc. the Outlook Express question (for which this site came in handy) -- must remember to post invoices! Looks like BT Openworld are having problems with their Radius servers though. Not for the first time either..

Have a giggle at this posting re: arms inspectors and Iraq. Isn't every mother like this?

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Problems with a friends PC - a reinstall of XP needed after SP1 blue-screened half way through (looks like the CD is duff and the DLL that it fell over on was more than slightly important) and the install now fails to correctly setup the "Simple PCI Controller". Removing all the PCI stuff fails to get it recognised. Company web-site no good for any drivers that apply and without this correctly installed, their WinModem doesn't appear. Oh well, off to badger the supplier!

Ah. What I'd read as "simple" is in fact "Simple" -- a manufacturer of OEM PCI modems. A quick visit to their web-site and all is well again modem-wise. Now all I need to do is find out where Outlook Express stores email messages and I'll have one happy friend.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Tickets for ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao arrived and car booking confirmed. Only 5 more days before I'm off. Looking forward to the Bay of Biscay (the rougher it is, the less likely it will be that the bars and restaurants will be busy) and the overnight train journey down through mainland Spain which takes 12 hours. Should be some fantastic views.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Quiet day and a few drinks with friends. Carole announced engagement to a sweetheart from over 25 years ago! Have insisted on invite to wedding especially as he lives in the Caribbean!

Saturday, March 08, 2003

ADSL line went down at 17.22. Not sure if it's a general fault yet or just mine which has had one or two glitches over the past two weeks. Have to revert to POTS -- how charmingly retro if a complete and utter PITA at 28.8k <sighs>.

Ah, that's better. Turn router off, leave for 10 minutes (as recommended by Mr Comley) being as patient as possible and then power back on. One tends to forget how much a permanently on connection means on a daily basis. Having had leased lines and ADSL for a long time, reverting to modems is painful <g>

Saturday, March 08, 2003

And that's now done (many thanks Pete!). Next project planned is to upgrade the Qube's kernel from the ancient 2.x variant thereon but that "can wait for another day" to quote Pete.

Have also decided that it's easier to just hack the HTML for this blog and FTP changes up to the Qube rather than use the Blogger site's software which has fallen over too many times today.

Now off to attempt to install the IkonBoard software to allow discussion groups and either Jabber IM (an open source version of ICQ or AIM) or dIRC Proxy (an IRC server) to allow real-time chats. I may be gone some time! :)

......some time later. I'm now in a whole world of pain and a maze of dark and twisty passages :(

I now need to know what goes into files called "modules.info" as the installs fail through Webmin without these! Hmmmmm..... may be gone for longer than I thought.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

My good friend Pete Jordan is just fettling the Cobalt Qube to compile and install an upgraded version of the Apache web-server upon which this site runs to a less antique model -- will close any security holes and (hopefully) give me more control over my setup :)

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Now is anybody surprised at this story from today's Guardian - I'd imagine not :(

Saturday, March 08, 2003

A welcome note to anybody stumbling over this blog.

This page will be a respository for any stray thoughts and musings. I'm not however guaranteeing that anything will appear nor that if it does that it will be on a regular basis :)





and