So… Is it working?

I’ve just tried to set up a link between this blog and my facebook page…

Only way to know if it works is to try it…

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The D&D Character I would be

I had a go at this: Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

I Am A: True Neutral Halfling Ranger/Sorcerer (3rd/3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Halflings are clever, capable and resourceful survivors. They are notoriously curious and show a daring that many larger people can’t match. They can be lured by wealth but tend to spend rather than hoard. They prefer practical clothing and would rather wear a comfortable shirt than jewelry. Halflings stand about 3 feet tall and commonly live to see 150.

Primary Class:
Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter’s dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger’s Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

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A Bad Batch of Seagate

A warning.

I bought a mac pro from with the 3 extra hard disk bays filled with 1T Seagate drives.

One Seagate drive failed after a few months. Their response was that if I played about I could probably recover the drive – there was an issue with them. Rather than following their advice I used a replacement Hitachi drive I had lying around.

I should have payed more attention to the “there was an issue with them” bit. Now a couple of years on, the other two drives have failed in quick succession.

So I offer a reliability warning on the following drives:

Seagate Barracuda ES 2 1000 bytes

P/N: 9CA158-303

Firmware: SN05

Date Code: 09224

Site Code: KRATSG

Symptom before shortly before fail is the disk starts clicking like it is turning off and on.

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Having decided that I want to be able to “post” larger examples on this site, I decided that the easiest way to do that is to host the code on a public git repo, and so people can download the code an I can post links to the code viewer for specific files.

As a test I’ve create a standard iOS openGL project and Xcode and added it to a git repo on who seem to be offering a high quality service for free for up to 5 users…

I might even use it for the company. If I do I’ll maybe upgrade to an account for 10 users. I don’t currently have 10 but I would feel bad using this service commercially without giving them something for the service.

Its provided by Atlassian, whose Jira bug tracking product I have used on many client sites. They are even providing a free git UI in the mac store called Sourcetree.

So – in the mean time I’ll check it out.

Link to code page

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Fog of War

I’ve read two books recently which stick in my mind. They are linked by the idea of what happens to a plan when the enemy is encountered. It’s not the primary focus of either story by any means, but the differences between how the subject is handled in each case is significant, and what I find myself revisiting.

  • Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger
  • REAMDE by Neal Stephenson

Storm of Steel is Ernst Junger’s recollections of WW1. He saw action on the western front in the infantry and was wounded several times. It isn’t an anti war book in the manner of All Quiet on the Western Front. The nature of plan and result in the book is typically Ernst is given orders, he sets out and pretty much random shit happens. He presents no visualisation of how things are going to work out, and you doubt that he had any, apart from a vague expectation that it would turn out all right.  It is believable, and apart from some pig headedness in his last action, he comes across as a fairly likeable individual, and much braver than I am. It is an interesting view into how people lived in a very different time to our own.  4/5

Reamde… it’s a bit of a parson’s egg. The characters are interesting. Much of the setting is interesting. The story line… It’s just mad. The coincidence of everyone turning up in the right place at the right time for the final battle, given their many routes from all over the world, without any coordination, is impossible to suspend belief for. The most irritating thing is the repeated use of a character visualising a plan for something is going to happen, only for it to go completely wrong. I’m not sure if it was an attempt at dark humour, but it comes across as a cheap attempt to increase the drama. Despite that the characters and some of the settings make it a 3/5. Bear in mind that I am a NS fan in general.

One last thing on REAMDE. On the plane, when the character gets control of the gun, If it was you – who would you shoot? I just couldn’t take that one seriously.



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So here is a question:

I’ve just accepted a position with a new employer. I think it is reasonable to describe them as extremely choosey about the people they employ. I also was offered another position, and the employer in that case was keen to employ me.

So what happened to all the applications I made that never even merited a response?

I was careful to ensure that the applications I made matched my skills and experience, I would doubt that those who showed no interest had higher standards than the company that has employed me, (after a series of 5 interviews), yet they never even interviewed a candidate that was highly suited to their needs. (Based on a similar, highly selective company having decided I was what they needed rather than any over inflated personal opinion of my skills)

I’m not raising this issue because I am upset at the lack of responses, It’s what I would expect from previous experience. I just makes me think there is something wrong with the whole hiring process.

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Current UK Economics

My 2 pence worth on the whole subject is that: if you buy the assertion that austerity is required, (for example, to maintain the rate at which the government can currently borrow to service it’s debts), the issue is not that public service workers are getting their pension’s cut. I don’t doubt that is what it feels like if you are one of those affected. But that despite the Prime minister’s assertion to the contrary: We are not all in this together!

An equal package of measures, supported by notional 1%, that indicated that they too were going to accept the same level of loss; rather than “touch us and we will piss off somewhere else.” Might make the whole enterprise easier to bear.

As a measure of what can happen, check out the measures imposed by the american government at the beginning of the second world war:

“A reasonable rate of return was placed on corporate profits with everything above that decreed reasonable paid the the U.S. treasury as excess profit taxes.”

“That no one should receive a net yearly income of more than $25,000”

[The Pacific War: The Strategy, Politics, and Players that won the war, Willam B. Hopkins]

This was the USA, not Communist Russia…

I guess in this case the 1% were happy to chip in because if they lost the war, then I guess all their goods would have been lost to the Japanese/German 1% …

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Strikes and Economics

Yes, it’s time for another rant about BBC reporting. The specific incident is a BBC reporter at an out of school club, reporting on the fact that some parents are having to spend money, to have their children looked after, because the school is closed.

His report included a mention of the fact that he had spoken to several of the parents, when they dropped off their children. He said, “… And you may be surprised to know that they were supportive … (of the strike)”. I suggest that the people he interviewed were probably typical of many of the people watching the report, as some polls suggest, and WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED at that.

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Scoring and Reviews

Since I occasionally do reviews here, I thought I better explain my scoring.

First off, I don’t claim to be that special, so any score is just a measure of how the artefact affected me. I also don’t like scoring systems that miss areas of their range. So I see my scores like this:

Score Description
5 The artefact has affected me deeply enough that I believe I will revisit it regularly.
4 The artefact has affected me deeply enough that I believe I will revisit it again.
3 I enjoyed the artefact. It was well constructed and although I am unlikely to go out of my way to revisit it, I would retain it and would be pleased to see it again.
2 I recognised several things I did not like about the artefact, but it still managed to inspire a certain fondness.
1 I disliked the artefact enough that I would get rid of it and consider it time and money wasted.
0 This is an artefact in which I can find no worth at all.

The important point about this scale is that 3 is a good score. it represents something I liked, just not something that made me think in a new way or inspired me emotionally. Even 2 is OK, provide you can put up with the caveats, it’s something that was perhaps a bit cheesy, but had enough original material to be entertaining. In the right mood it might be perfect….

1 is something that just didn’t work for me. 0 is something that I have serious reservations about, it smacks of lies and propaganda or is unfit for purpose.

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Microsoft and Google

Good greif, either I have missed something obvious, or I have just experienced the cheapest piece of market manipulation EVAR.

I have a new VM of Windows server I use for development, and I decided to set Google to my search provider, as I have on several other Windows 7/IE9 before…

Now it seems you get taken to a list of search providers that is wider than the screen, which only scrolls badly when you move your cursor to the edge of the screen (slowly).

And when you eventually install google as a search provider, you discover the small print – it’s no longer a search provider, but an acceleerator (whatever that is).

Here is an old url that you can still use to add google as a full search provider.

That was such a shit piece of service, that I now use chrome for a browser  on windows.

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