goznet ...

David's diary: July 2002

And a good morning to you all!

I almost like Java today. Not quite, but very nearly.

Hell, that production meeting was tedious. An hour and a half, during which all I was really given the opportunity to say was that we still don't have much of a clue what's happening with Star Office licensing pending the release by Sun of the semi-commercial version 6. Hey ho.

Last night I uploaded "June" from this diary to my website. It was quite tedious to convert Monochrome's file style into neat HTML, especially the bit with the "A-to-Z" which I marked up as a table in the end. I managed to use Word's wildcard search-and-replace to do some of the donkey-work, but there was still at least twenty minutes of more manual tweaking to be done to get things into shape. I know there are utilities around specifically designed for turning Monochrome files into HTML, but I'm not over keen on that visual style, and I don't really want to dramatically change things half way through.

But why do I maintain the web archives at all? I bet most of my readers here on Monochrome aren't even aware that the archives exist, let alone have ever looked at them. But a quick look at my site statistics is somewhat more revealing. For the goznet.co.uk domain, just under three quarters of the accesses made are for my WaveCraft software and its associated web pages and images. Of the remainder, about three quarters are for my diary archives, making them by far the most popular part of my main site. Most users are hitting the pages directly rather than going through the menus, which suggests that a lot of it is via people using search engines. Yes, that may well mean that many of the readers aren't really particularly interested in me or my news, but if the pages are proving useful for any reason then they're worth it.

What are people searching for that brings them to my pages, you're wondering? Here are some of the more intriguing highlights from recent months:

  • What's Left? Not These Whoppers. April Fool
  • Pictures of people who have left the bill on itv 1 like Pc dale Smith
  • dinner party proper table setting arrangements
  • night time parking for the galaxy centre luton
  • Dealing & Scoring Bridge Hands in c++ programming
  • I NEED TO GET TO CREMATORIUM IN MILTON KEYNES
  • milton keynes girlfriend
  • A320 AIRBUS JOYSTICK TROUBLES
  • Hocus Pocus I Put a Spell on You wav
  • second hand retro fridges for sale in uk
  • pairing wine and Chilli con carne
  • gorgious stuff [Did I really spell "gorgeous" like that? Evidently so...]
  • obscure english holidays
  • lubricate noisy video card fan
  • i have been abducted by aliens

Well there you go. If that's not justification for such a valuable online repository of evidently useful information, I'm frankly not sure what is!

Well my long-awaited Orange mobile bill arrived today, and surprise surprise, the promised drastic downward correction to my last bill had not been applied, so they still wrongly believe me to be over a hundred pounds in debt to them. Thankfully their automatic cutting-off machine seems to be out of action at the moment, so I lived to make another phone call to 152 and unusually got straight through to a human being. In this case, an unusually sentient human being who claimed to have put the correction through while I waited on hold for a minute, so this time it really should happen - though again I will not be totally sure until the next bill arrives in a month's time, their system being pretty hopelessly inflexible. I still pity those poor gullible fools who blindly pay by direct debit and may never even know to request a manual correction of this nature, but may that shadow of bad conscience hang over Orange's corporate head until they openly admit their mistake.

Monochrome is ill. Get well soon, friend. At least we have nice flexible visiting hours! This is only a brief visit though, 'cos she needs time to rest right now - it would be nice if others had the same consideration, of course...

Orange Customer Services have just phoned to confirm that the correction to my bill has been applied and that I should expect a credit of almost seventy pounds to appear on the bill I receive in a little under a month. The lady was able to confirm that when the payment I made today goes through, I should in fact be a pound or two in credit overall, which'll be rather nice. Hooray for good customer service - even if it took a few too many attempts to achieve it.

So overall, really quite a cool day. And lots of neat programming done too; it's so nice to be back on a project that can inspire, and where spending a day or two to overhaul the architecture is a joy, rather than feeling "it works, and I want rid of this, so blow it", as so often seems the case. Meanwhile, it's almost time to head home, or, rather, round to Sarah's for tea before we go on to Open House at Simon and Jam's. I was supposed to be going for a curry this evening, but I forgot I'd provisionally offered Sarah a lift, and house group really should take priority over random curry opportunities!

Mmm yes, Open House at Simon and Jam's - yes that really is her name, well sort of - was good, and I have a yummy slice of cake still to eat, brought home in a doggy-bag. I wonder what kind of state the house will have been in upon Sarah's return - their new babysitter seemed to be well in charge when we left, saying the girls could watch a video in twenty minutes, once they'd removed their toys from the garden and tidied the kitchen... Crack that whip, Helen!

Changing the subject entirely, though, mental note to self - change constant declarations in my software from MODE_DIRECT to MODE_DIRECT_WITH_REGISTER and MODE_DIRECT_WITHOUT_REGISTER. It'll make things much, much neater, y'know.

Finally, a response from Farnborough College after my interview the other week - and as expected, a polite rejection. Indeed that was what I was hoping for, to a certain extent, because there were various reasons in the end why I didn't really want the job, and it would have put me in a very difficult position to have had to make the choice for myself. On a positive note though, I wonder if the reason they took so long to get back to me was because I was more "in the running" for the position than I realised and perhaps they'd had some of their preferred candidates decline so didn't want to count me out too early?

Also in the post this morning was my car insurance paperwork, and yet another stroppy automatic letter from Orange's dumb computer even after my alleged debt to them was supposedly confirmed cancelled...

Oh well, that was the second Java special interest group meeting on the trot that hardly anyone turned up to, leading us to make the executive decision to give up early. I think we might actually abandon the group altogether - at least as an entity that physically meets - because it's plainly not that compelling and most of the discussion we have could quite easily be conducted on intranet forums, and with the benefit of an automatic written record...

Hmm, the lunch special interest group, at 12 noon in the refectory, did no better than the Java one 45 minutes earlier. Has everyone died, or what?

Am I alone in thinking that freshly ground coffee, unless one is about to drink it oneself, smells vile? Thought so. Oh well - I'm strange, me.

Altogether a pretty fab day at work, and a most pleasant evening out partaking of pizza with Darren. One more day at work to go - and it should be an equally good one - and then it's the weekend, with all the fun and games that this particular one is going to entail! Literally, at least to an extent...

Talking to Darren earlier, my life was reading somewhat like the chorus to Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5" - though frankly a little less exciting than that sounds. But I guess that has to mean there's a bit of hope lurking in the wings...

As hoped, another not-at-all bad day - though once again, hardly anyone at lunch, this time due to an inter-departmental cricket match more than anything. Of course, for some others around me, things seem to be falling apart, but at least if I feel vaguely sorted myself, I'm able to offer solid support - though I'm not around much this weekend, about which I feel a little guilty, but I know those affected would be the first to insist I have a life to live too!

Chris wonders if those who lead the most interesting lives never get to write about it in their diaries because they are just too busy doing so. On the basis of the last twenty four hours or so, he's almost certainly right, happily to say. Yes, the last day has really been pretty splendid from start to finish - with only a few hours of sleep in the middle to punctuate it - but I'm now back at home and somewhat exhausted!

Realising I needed to be away in good time on Saturday morning, I'd done my weekly shop Friday evening, and consequently was able to get away soon after ten. Just as well, really, because the journey down to Hartley Wintney took a positive age, though thankfully the traffic never quite came to a standstill on the M25. Despite then accidentally going via Fleet rather than along the A30 I was only a few minutes late arriving at Sarah's, and there was no hurry anyway, having time for a good natter before strolling to the Wagon and Horses for a light lunch. Not the most amazing menu choice ever, but the pub has apparently been commended by Egon Ronay, and the cheese, ham and sweet chilli sauce open baguette I had was positively delicious. We managed to spin things out for a couple of hours, and also met Sarah's brother who was visiting for the weekend, making me quite deliberately a little late for the next stage of my day!

So from there, on I drove to the almost annual Garden Olympics at my friend Steve's parents' house, this time a double celebration given Steve's recent engagement to the charming Kath. I'd successfully managed to miss the registration process, so was quite happy to umpire a couple of events instead, though spending half the afternoon running backwards and forwards between the welly-throwing and the tug-o'-war, to which I was allocated, was quite possibly at least as energetic as participating properly. I think we're all getting older, because more and more of the crowd seemed to be married and with babies or small children in tow, and to be honest there seemed to be fewer people that I knew than ever, though it's invariably a good friendly bunch there, so always plenty of conversation and all-round fun to be had.

Another sign of the times was that there was no evening disco for the first time ever, and - still more shockingly - no midnight candlelit croquet. In fact, only about five of us lasted outside until midnight at all, and retired soon after that, happily mellowed with copious wine and fine single malts - and talk of the same, though mainly about a price league of which I can merely dream. I struggled to get to sleep, suffering a peculiarly painful left arm - perhaps from trying to rig the tug-o'-war or maybe from messing around on the bouncy castle - but eventually my tiredness got the better of me and I slept through until quite a civilised time, up and dressed just in time to catch the tail end of the traditional Sunday morning bleary-eyed post-party breakfast.

I made my way home soon after that, though, and had a reasonably trouble-free journey, with only a few idiots out on the roads. The only real problems were at Junction 11 of the M4, and then joining the north-bound M25. I have always hated Junction 11, and even six years on they've still not bothered improving it, meaning you can end up in the wrong lane all too easily, and in the past it's where I've been about the closest ever to having an accident. Joining the M25, the north-bound exit from the M4 was closed, and there was a distinct lack of diversion advice, but thankfully I did the right thing to go southbound instead and turn around at the next junction - though it was only once on the M25 that they confirmed this was the correct procedure. Clearly they assume we are either so clever we're telepathic, or so dumb we won't notice the warning signs and then just panic when we see the coned off carriageway.

Anyway, I'm now safely back home, having returned via the ski-centre KFC for a most welcome pick-me-up lunch, though I think I'm going to flop into the bath for a little while now, and I doubt I'll be having a late night tonight!

Oh, and for once, although lamenting that this weekend's almost done with, I'm actually looking forward to returning to work tomorrow morning. When was the last time you can remember me ever saying such a thing?!

Midnight, oops. But at least I've sorted out a new place to live!

Time for bed now, though, for sure...

Well, much as I wanted to come to work this morning - and am glad I have - it was still a mighty strain dragging myself out of bed an hour ago, various limbs still aching like heck and generally having had insufficient sleep. But here I am, and itching to implement some of the ideas I've had in my more thoughtful moments over the weekend. Apart from the fact that I have no more grade linked pay-rises until or unless I can secure a promotion, I've rarely been happier!

But now I couldn't be more miserable. I'm a paranoid wretch, and there are skeletons that just won't be laid to rest. Yes, these have been a great last few days, but I cannot avoid the fact that my life has been destroyed - even if through no-one's fault per se - and the unwittingly-left knife still twists. If I could stand up and say "you f****** b****", it might release something to hasten the passage of all this into history, but I wouldn't mean that and couldn't say that, because it's not true. But I'm not sure I can yet really and truly forgive either. I just want to be left alone, not to have this continual pressure that I thought was going to go two months ago. There's not room for the two of us on here, and - for whatever reason - I seem to be falling out of favour at others' gain, so I think I might as well pack up and go, for everyone's sanity. We've all got to move forward, and we're not.

But in advance of making any irreversible decision regarding that, I have now requested to be barred from reading a certain diary, so its writer - who will know exactly who they are - may write exactly what they like with relative impunity. But remember, everyone else, what you read there is only one small facet to a more complex truth than anyone shall likely ever really appreciate.

I have a floor, I have a top to my chest of drawers, my room has four corners, and my skirting boards are white really! Yes, I've been tidying again. Mainly because Sarah's popping round tomorrow afternoon to decide where everyone's going to be sleeping when they hopefully move in next month, and I have to keep up my appearances of being organised! But I needed to start the process of sorting through my stuff at some point before I move out and into Gareth and Tash's, and tonight was as good a chance as any, especially with the weather a touch cooler than of late. After a busy day at work too - lots of meetings and things, some more stressful than others - I'm shattered, so am going to grab a quick bath while I can and head to bed at some vaguely sensible hour for once!

I am afraid my request mentioned above has been declined. The diary-writer concerned was afraid that she could not write what she wanted to because of who might be reading, which I sympathised with to a degree. But when I requested to be duly prohibited from reading it, I was advised that's not possible under Monochrome's code of use because of what she might then write about me in it without my knowledge! A Catch-22 situation that benefits no-one, especially when it's pretty well known that nothing much on Monochrome is really private. Even when I explicitly granted permission for her to write what she needs to - it's a therapy, and if there are things she needs to get off her chest, then let it be so - I was advised it's not possible. This is because banning me from her diary requires editing her menu code which is considered part of her account and thus not something I have any jurisdiction over without raising a specific complaint about her conduct, for which I have no justification in the least. Ironically, if Mono had been implemented so that such a ban could be maintained as part of my own account, it might have been completely different. The only way round this is for the user involved to request that I am banned from her diary, but even then it's quite possible that she will be breaking the code of use if she then proceeds to mention me in what she subsequently writes, even though I have given my permission for her to write what she likes. So in summary, I think that simply and sadly means that the only way the diary-writer in question can really say what she wants to is on a different bulletin board system to me. If she needs that therapy as desperately as she says she does - and I believe she does - then, as I said before, one of us has got to go.

And on that note, avid readers, my diary in its present form was closed. It was not a decision I took at all lightly, but one that under the circumstances seemed appropriate and at least partially unavoidable - at least if I was going to remain an active part of Monochrome, the internet bulletin board I have grown to love and have been a part of for almost ten years. Communication on any level between myself and Claire was actually stressing me as much as it clearly was her, and with 99% of it being via the writings in our respective diaries, removing at least half of those forums from the equation seemed the best thing to do. Since doing so, I have not had any great urge to read Claire's diary, and it wouldn't surprise me if she has removed it too now. The matter of the clearly irreconcilable differences between myself and Monochrome's diary administrator was merely the final straw, though it would have been difficult to continue actively using a part of the system run by someone I fundamentally disagreed with, and whose objective impartiality in this matter I have grave reason to doubt.

As for what happens to my diary now, that is under consideration at present. Lots of people have contacted me lamenting its demise from Monochrome's pages, and I am actively pondering completely moving it over to the web - not just storing these archives on a monthly basis but making this the 'live' version. Yes, Claire could read it here too, but the web's a much bigger place than Monochrome, and the removal of this diary from there was my way of taking the lead in avoiding the most obvious inadvertent path-crossing possibilities, as much as anything. It's a shame the whole situation has come to this, having been so deeply in love with Claire only a couple of months previously, but there's healing to be done and it couldn't really happen under the prevailing strained climate.

For those concerned about my general well-being and so on, here's a rough update:

  • Work: Still enjoying it, even though I've got a shed-load of stuff on at the moment - at least it's programming, and not spreadsheet conversion! Plenty of things needing doing by the end of the month, but making excellent progress.
  • Home: Same as ever, really, but now only a little over a month to go before I am due to move out and into Gareth and Tash's house, once they've moved themselves! Really looking forward to the new environment, though moving is going to be a hassle!
  • Church: Made it to house-group last night, for the second week on the trot, but didn't really feel terribly settled to be honest. There's still a little way to go before I'm really back in the swing of things, I guess.
  • Love: A couple of opportunities I am actively pursuing, but generally trying not to worry myself too much about it; in my experience, the worst time to enter a new relationship is when trying too hard! There's hope on the horizon, though...
  • Family: All OK, I think! Should keep in touch with them better, of course.
  • Friends: Still there, some still needing decidedly more maintenance than others. Still not quite sure what I'd do without them!
  • Car: Running fine. Am I scraping the bottom of the barrel now?

Bye for now, anyway, and I may well update this from time to time!

With every passing year, every passing month, indeed every passing day, I seem to be becoming ever more cynical - but based on all too much experience that simply can't be ignored. I have learnt the hard way that if everything seems great, that simply means there's disaster lurking round the corner just waiting for the best opportunity to make itself known and demoralise me. Trouble is, with that kind of outlook in life, much as I quite enjoy the present, I really cannot move ahead. Instead I can only assume that every seemingly positive aspect of my life will sooner or later suffer the inverse Midas touch - and the happier and more sorted I am about whatever happens to be fab and groovy, the more likely it is to all fall through.

The latest such "disaster" is - needless to say - that my house move in about a month's time is now off. Well, half of it, anyway - the moving into a new place bit, that is, since for various reasons Gareth and Tash have sensibly decided to put back their plans. So I've still got to move out of Mark's by August bank holiday, but I now have nowhere to go. I'm sure I can find somewhere else in time, though I'm away on holiday for a fair chunk of the interim period - assuming that doesn't fall through too. I have a couple of ideas, and a copy of the local property press, but everything seems all so expensive. Perhaps Darren was right and I should be looking to buy rather than rent, but not when I have only just over four weeks to finalise the lot...

Gareth commended me for taking the bad news really quite well, but that's only because I've got so used to things like that happening. When Claire announced she was leaving, I barely flinched - because in a way that was just one of the latest in a long succession of such put-downs. My cynicism simply means I expect these falls; it doesn't mean I'm not sad, annoyed or whatever emotion would be appropriate, but what can I do but accept with grim resignation, because deep down I know these things are going to happen sooner or later. Perhaps I should fight harder when they do happen, but I have to suspect that would only delay the inevitable in most if not all cases.

I'd love to be less cynical about it all, but I've tried having a positive outlook on life, and it just doesn't seem to work. A popular customer service principle is to promise little but deliver more. I am learning to expect nothing, but enjoy what little I do get, while it lasts. Not ideal, but at least life lives up to what few expectations I have of it.

So many words to say, so little way of getting them between brain and keyboard.

Executive summary: Aaaarrrgggghhhhh.

I still can't really quite put into words those things I wanted to say the other day, but that was then and this is now, and although in some ways things are no better, at least I feel in the mood to relate some of the more positive stuff going on in my life right now. The weather is way too hot though, and a couple of hours earlier it would have been unbearable to sit and type this - but now it seems far preferable to not being able to get to sleep, so I'm not rushing off to bed quite yet!

Work continues to be rewarding, happily to say. Alas I've still hit the top of the Grade 2 academic-related pay scale, so no more pay-rises will be coming my way apart from the pitiful annual inflation-related ones, therefore I still really need to be looking around for something else, but at least I am far from hating every minute of it, unlike a couple of months back. It was a bit of a Catch-22 situation then, because at the time I was allocated the projects that were getting me down, I was planning on having left by about now in order to pursue my new life in more southerly climes, and the work I was given was deliberately chosen - and agreed - with that in mind. Then when all that fell through, I was left with the grim work, but no escape route any more, and it sent my general morale to an even lower level than it was anyway at that time for more obvious reasons. But now I've got some decent projects on my plate, and what I'm doing seems to be going down well with the people who matter - even if they can't always quite agree on what needs to be done, the devil being in the detail as usual. I'm keeping busy, and I'm enjoying it, though how I'll survive with my lack of Java knowledge now Sam's off for a month remains to be seen!

There are three main projects on the go right now, and I shuffle between them as and when I get useful comments and so on from the relevant academics; needless to say, this time of year is not good for getting anything terribly promptly. The main project, which I've been concentrating on for the last few days, is a simulation of a fictional microprocessor, broadly adopting a Von Neumann architecture. The academics still need to agree on quite what - if anything - they want on the I/O simulation front, but apart from that it's pretty much there, and it is highly significant to me as the first substantial Java application I've written completely from scratch rather than using some pre-supplied framework. The other projects are a small Java applet to simulate the way digital signals get degraded by transmission lines but can still be correctly decoded, and a set of HTML pages and a rather meaty bit of Javascript to do a kind of personality test, to go on a course CD-ROM. There's some controversy with the former, and I'm sure there will be with the latter too in due course, but at least it's interesting stuff and I'm learning all the time.

The other good news is that I have - subject to a few formalities - found myself a new abode to occupy as from the middle of August. As readers may or may not know, my housemate and landlord Mark is shortly moving out to the Middle East for a couple of years, and he's renting the house out as a whole to my friend Sarah and her girls. I had planned to rent another friend's house round the corner on Springfield, but that fell through, rather leaving me in the lurch. Anyway, having not had a great deal of joy finding anywhere else, I phoned a few of the advertisers in yesterday's Citizen local newspaper and arranged a viewing of a small house this afternoon and a studio flat tomorrow morning, both within easy walking distance from work. I was warned that I was to view the studio flat immediately after someone else, so I ran the risk that they might agree to take it before I saw it. But just as I was preparing to leave work to see the house, I got a call from the agents letting the flat, asking if I could make it this afternoon instead - and since it was just round the corner from the house, of course I could! And to cut a long story short, I decided to go for the studio flat; for what it is, it's really nice, the price is as good as I'll get up here, and much as I'd appreciate the extra space in the house, I'm not sure it was really worth the extra couple of hundred pounds a month involved. The flat has a little garden and a nice barbecue-friendly patio, and seemed a lot less boxy than some I've seen in the past. Anyway, I've agreed in principle to take it and have handed over the non-returnable admin fee for them to check out my work and bank references, but all being well, by this time next month I'll be well settled in! And to think that if I'd still been viewing it tomorrow, it might have gone - I really feel God's had a hand in this, for many reasons...

So that's a big relief, and apart from the nightmares in store of actually transferring my stuff across, it means I can rest a little more easily and enjoy this summer with the various breaks I have planned. What with my week in Newquay at the beginning of August, Greenbelt at the end of the month, extra days off needed to prepare for those, and of course also moving in the middle of it all, I suspect I won't actually be in work that much. That still won't make much of a dent in my outstanding holiday entitlement, though, so I'd imagine I'll be doing my usual "September thing" to use up twenty-odd days all at once, though where I'll go this year I'm not at all sure.

Anyway, little as the temperature may have dropped, it is getting quite late now, and I probably ought to be at least vaguely thinking about making my way to bed. So signing off for now, and I'll try and keep writing in here when there's anything new worth talking about!

As you may have guessed from the more-than-monthly updates to the web version of this diary, the copy on Monochrome itself is still mothballed, and merely directs people here. It was kind of my selfish hope that Claire would withdraw her diary too, but instead it seems to be going from strength to strength - not that I have been too seriously tempted to go and read it, although she emailed me one entry that she considered it important I saw. That's OK though; it's a relatively free world, I made my decision and it seems to be working on some small level. However, I am finding that without a diary to maintain on Monochrome I'm rapidly losing interest in the whole thing, especially since it doesn't show the strength and unity of community that it did in its heyday. If I wasn't staff for a couple of the sections there I would probably have left properly by now, though I don't plan that for the time being at least. That's nothing against Monochrome itself, and nothing against Claire, just a sign of the passage of time and the realisation that maybe it is in fact time to move on in more ways than is already the case.

Right, as of this evening, my diary has a new facility whereby I can add entries via the web, without having to faff around with FTP and so on. It's a bit like one of these "blog" things I guess, but it's all my own code - albeit loosely based upon a news update form I created for the Shine site a while back. Anyway, that all means you can expect somewhat more frequent updates on here because it's altogether easier to do now!

Up way too early for a Sunday - especially after a late night last night, thanks to losing track of time and it being way too hot to sleep earlier anyway! But I'm off round to Sarah's for the day shortly, to give her some moral support as she takes advantage of the girls being away by pressing on with sorting the house out before we all move in three weeks' time. So I'd better be getting on, I guess - though no need for breakfast because we're popping out into town for that I gather!

Phew, finally back at home after a pretty shattering day really. Got a fair bit done of sorting through Sarah's stuff, lawnmowing, hoovering and so on - only seemed to chip away at the total that needs to be done in a miniscule way, but it needed doing, so hey! And we had a nice breakfast and lunch out, and a walk and a drink in the evening once it was a little cooler out. Must have been the hottest day so far this year; it certainly felt like it!

It's far too quiet here at work today, with only the futile roar of my office fan to break the silence of the office. Sam's off for a bit, and Tim's not around either for some reason, so the depleted lunchtime crowd and having to sort out a minor recurring crisis with some very old software of mine were the only real opportunities for human contact today. Still, I have just formally requested my leave for August, and I'm not going to be round much either as I had previously suspected would be the case.

But I guess I'd better be pressing on now, though, because they never seem to factor leave into project planning estimates and so on...

Just way, way, way too hot today. My back's practically stuck to my chair, even with the 15" fan going full blast straight at me - no need for it to oscillate when I'm the only person here... Still, this time next week, I should be lounging on Newquay beach - the only really sane kind of place to be with weather like this! Just hope I can maintain my sanity in other regards.

Thunderstorm! Well, almost - certainly some rumbles of thunder and a fair few spots of rain, so there's real hope!

Well the storm has developed into one of the biggest I can remember, and certainly the most spectacular since I've been living up here in Milton Keynes - and it's far from over yet. And - I'm sorry to say, Lucy - I'm enjoying every last flash, bang and wallop of it!

Storm's blown over now, and it might as well never have happened, so hot and humid it is once again even after sunset. One highly uncomfortable night coming right up, for sure.

Perhaps it wasn't quite as bad a night's sleep as I'd anticipated, but I couldn't really describe it as comfortable. I think it stayed more or less dry overnight, and it certainly is a little cooler today - though not exactly "cold and miserable" as Damion here described it a few minutes ago... Yesterday evening's storm here in Milton Keynes made it on to BBC News 24 this morning, actually, with something like 150 call-outs by Milton Keynes fire brigade, including attending to 15 house fires and over 50 flooding incidents. Really quite unsurprising considering some of the direct strikes observed and the torrents of water rushing down the streets and alleys.

Well that's pigging annoying - not only did I miss David's birthday "party" here at work due to being in a meeting that was forever being interrupted by others, but I have also just learnt that some work I did a few weeks ago was probably wasted effort.

A rewrite of a technology faculty course meant that they wanted to transfer a questionnaire into an HTML/Javascript document that could live on a CD-ROM rather than in a textbook, and consequently be more interactive. So I put loads of effort into making a really nice job of the conversion and the academic loved it.

But at my meeting this morning I discovered that the company which originally devised the questionnaire wishes to negotiate separate rights for electronic distribution - at a cost of £45,000! And my work would still be wasted because they insist that we use their web-based version rather than our own, which is a fat lot of use when we want it all to work from a stand-alone CD-ROM. There's talk of finding an alternative, but I can't really say I'm over-hopeful. Hey ho, well at least I get paid to waste my time, but it's still galling.

Monochrome seems to be thoroughly broken tonight, but my website's not, so I can happily add away to my diary here... The looming storms this evening came to nothing in the end - at least so far - but I've spent the evening out with David, making up for missing his birthday celebrations this morning. Pretty tired after these hot days and sleepless nights, so I wasn't on for a terribly late one and David's parents were due to ring any moment after I'd left after I'd dropped him off back at home, which worked out quite well really.

And with Monochrome down, I can see myself actually getting a reasonably early night for once. Last day at work for a week or so tomorrow, though - and, even so, hopefully making an early getaway to go and see Gosford Park with Sarah and Margaret!

Wednesday morning, and Monochrome seems even deader than it did last night - and of course the information on status.mono.org is a month out of date as is customary. Tends to be a lot of talk but little action, and what action is taken seems often to be disastrous in its effects with very follow-up checks ever done. Yes, all the staff - myself included - are voluntary and have day-jobs to worry about, but why promise what clearly cannot be reliably delivered? First rule of good customer service broken, which one's next..?

But anyway, perhaps a last day at work without such ultimately futile distractions will do me good, even though I've not got a huge amount to do, I don't think. But no doubt there are a few loose ends that will need tidying up before I disappear off on holiday. That will inevitably include dull things like writing up my July progress report for Jon - though at least this has been a month when I've been really quite satisfied with the amount of stuff I've got done, even if some of it was wasted effort as explained yesterday.

Well it's almost time to head off home and get ready to go out to the cinema - and I have a generally busy evening coming up, having agreed to go on to the Open House bowling afterwards. But there will of course be no need to rush to get up tomorrow morning, since I then have a leisurely two days to get ready for my week in Newquay and perhaps to start sorting through a few things prior to my move a week after I get back. To be honest I simply have no idea how much stuff there is in my room, particularly in the two wardrobes crammed to near bursting point. However I am quietly confident that with a bit of zealous binning and some collapsing of boxes and so on, I can fit everything into my new flat in a reasonably ordered fashion, even if it takes two or three car journeys to transport it all.

But anyway, I have written and sent off my progress report for July, made sure that sources and executables for all my ongoing projects are available on the network, and fixed a few little Java 1.4 problems in the microprocessor simulation software. So that means there really is very little to do now, and with only an hour and a half to go until I would be off anyway, is there really much point in hanging around any longer?

Gosford Park was intriguingly fun - though I still don't really quite understand what happened - bowling was just plain good fun - and I didn't do anywhere near as badly as I did last time, even if I did only beat the girls on our lane - and the adjournment to Bar Citrus was decidedly sociable fun too.

But although going to bed may not exactly be quite as fun, it's definitely what is needed and what will be most appreciated at this point, so goodnight, anyone who's actually reading this in its new-found home.

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