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On Saturday, ChrisC scooted down to Ealing Shopmobility for me and collected a manual wheelchair. They offered me a self-propelled one, which I initially tried to decline as I assumed that meant powered. However, self-propelled just means "big wheels", of the sort you can use to propel yourself around when you're sitting in it. The clue's kind of in the name, I guess.

It seemed a little peverse to be borrowing a wheelchair just as I was feeling like I was starting to make progress in the walking department. However, I remember an important lesson learned from a friend at WGW some years ago: a wheelchair is just a tool, if it makes something easier, use it. I still recall her rolling cheerfully across the floor, declaring "I feel way less disabled in this chair than I usually do trying to stand up".

So I borrowed a wheelchair because on Sunday afternoon we had an important dancing mission.

All around the world, around the world )
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Ha! I am stuck in a traffic jam on the way home from Whitby. I'd just dropped [livejournal.com profile] davefish off at his workplace when the M1 ground to a complete halt. Handbrake on, then phone out, then engine off.

But I have just discovered that, when I packed the 4G Wi-Fi dongle we've been using this weekend in our cottage, I didn't turn it off. It's sitting in a bag in the boot, providing me with a decent internet connection.

All traffic jams should have Wi-Fi :)

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The other day, I was trying to sign into my Subway loyalty app. That's Subway the sandwich shop. They've changed their security model, and please would I pick a new password.

Which turned out to be tricky )

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Is it my imagination, or has LJ's layout changed such that when looking at someone's post there is now a prominent 'remove friend' link where, err, something else useful used to be? I have just (twice) hit 'remove friend' accidentally...

(It goes to a page of options, so no harm done if you bail at that point... as far as I know! But if I unexpectedly de-friend you in the near future, that's why.)
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Yesterday was the annual F5-fest of Glastonbury tickets going on sale. Which was made considerably more protracted because Seetickets were having "technical issues" for the first 30 minutes of the sale period.

I was also watching #glastonbury on the twitters. Lots of people berated Seetickets for their poor timing in having "technical issues" the day Glasto tickets go on sale. Er, y'know? I don't think it's coincidental. I think we, the Glastonbury punters, pretty much are the technical issues.

From the numbers I've seen, there were a million people registered to buy 135,000 tickets. That means a lot of disappointed people. And that's not Seetickets' fault. Once the issues were resolved, Seetickets were churning through 3000 ticket sales a minute on servers that were being hit by many times more people than that. Servers really aren't my specialist area, but I'm pretty sure that's not a trivial problem to solve. Compared to a decade ago, the ticket sales are incredibly smoothly handled.

Does anyone know much about large-scale servers? )
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I got up early this morning because I thought I should have had breakfast, had a shower and got dressed before the engineer arrived to service the boiler at 9am. I paused to pick up my email...

... and found an LJ comment notification in which [livejournal.com profile] deliberateblank corrected something I'd said yesterday. So I followed the links he'd posted, one of which was quite long. And the other of which contained a broken link, so I tried to find what it should have pointed to. And got a bit lost trying to read an Act of Parliament...

... and then remembered that I really ought to be going in the shower. And, like, putting clothes on.

Possibly the first known occurrence of getting distracted away from what you're meant to be doing because someone was right on the internet.
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Hmm. LJ's stylesheets for individual journals seem really quite broken this morning. Looking at venta.livejournal.com, the headers seem to be all over the place (and all the cut-tags have Collapse added next to them, though they still seem to work as normal).

I presume other people are seeing this, it's not just me? (Some people's journals look fine - I'm guessing that S2 styles are OK, and everything else isn't? Haven't tested exhaustively.)

Edit: whatever it was has gone away.
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Never mind all this popery. The big news of the day is that Google is retiring Google Reader in July.

I use Google Reader, and am thus disappointed. On the plus side, with that gone, I'll have no reason to be signed into my Google account most of the time. I do use Google Docs, but that tends to be an infrequent sign-in-use-sign-out business. And anything which takes me one step away from Google's Giant Data Extraction Vortex is probably a good thing.

I'm lightly surprised, though. Apparently usage of Google Reader is declining. I'm not sure if this is indicative of better software being out there, or of a general decline in RSS use. Maybe all the cool kids use Facetweet as aggregators these days?

So, ladies and gentlemen of LJ, how should I read my RSS feeds in the future?

[Poll #1901989]


(Ars Technica is running a poll on "where should we go instead?", and they probably have a slightly bigger readership than I do. They're also better informed about the large number of RSS readers which rely on Google Reader to work.)
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Yesterday, ChrisC was reading a news story entitled something like "Iceland meat pies found to contain no meat at all". The story basically ran that the beef pies were being checked for horse meat content, and were discovered to be entirely free of meat from any kind of animal at all.

At this point, I can't see the URL the story is coming from, but I feel I know where I am. This is a satirical story about the frozen food emporium, Iceland, and their low-quality meat pies.

Except it's being touted as an actual, genuine news story about the large, bankrupt, volcanic island, Iceland, and their mysteriously vegetabley meat pies.

I'm pretty sure that not being able to distinguish between actual news and satire is a sign of the end times.
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When writing last week's BAYD post, I did what I always do: put up an mp3 (of Try This At Home) for download. Later on, when I wanted to refer in passing to Reasons Not To Be An Idiot, I just linked to YouTube.

And then I thought: why do I do that? Why don't I just link to YouTube for my BAYD posts? Unless it's something really quite obscure, it'll be there. Do people care that much about downloading an mp3?

And then I thought: er... good question. The answer surprised me. I first started BAYD as a regular thing at the beginning 2005. At that point, YouTube didn't exist.

It wasn't even thought of... )
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This morning, I have been listening to Taylor Swift singles on YouTube. It is the fault of one of my colleagues, and I do not recommend it. (Though if anyone fancies a laugh, go and watch this video and look out for crazy non-specific-animal guy around 0:57).

However, [livejournal.com profile] hjalfi just sent me the link to this, which is excellent:



Most of 2012's big chart hits, compressed into one 8-minute mash-up. It's really remarkably slickly put together. And it constantly has little labels telling you what songs you're listening to. It's brilliant.

Of course, most of 2012's big chart hits were utter shite, but you can't have everything.
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I rarely, if ever, write LOL. When I do, it tends to be in emails to people who understand that when I write it, it's a shortcut for "I actually am actually laughing out loud". In other situations (most recently, in reply to a comment of [livejournal.com profile] sammason's, which quite caught me off guard), I feel the need to spell out that whatever they've written has actually made me laugh. Out loud. If I haven't caused at least three colleagues to turn round and look enquiringly at me, it just ain't LOL-worthy.

Laugh? I nearly did )

Do you laugh out loud a lot reading the web? Do you LOL?
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Many years ago, I was chatting to someone at a folk festival.

And he told me a story )

My story is rather shorter )

I feel this is both fabulous, and slightly sad.
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You know those times when you find something on the internet, and it's an idea that's really silly, but somehow it just grabs you?

I've known these videos were around for a while, but today I had cause to revisit them and thought that - just in case you haven't seen them - I should encourage you to turn the sound up and ask yourself:

Where the hell is Matt?



http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/
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On Sunday, I was trundling down the very long South Kensington subway to meet [livejournal.com profile] wimble at the V&A when I noticed that one of the posters for the museum's exhibition about the Queen's jubilee had gone a bit funny )
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I've noticed, of late, that I've been getting worse at filling in captchas correctly. I think that they're getting worse, and harder to read - but possibly this is just the equivalent of declaring as you get older than all your friends have started mumbling.

This was today's particularly troublesome specimen:

really poor captcha image

Is it just me, or is the second word hard to read, and the last letter just a splodge?

Is captcha-reading software getting better, forcing captchas to become ever more illegible?

Or am I, in fact, slowly devolving into a spam bot?
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I just tried to sign into twitter. I got the following error message:

403 Forbidden: The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it.

Now, that's an HTTP status code I've seen plenty of times before. I don't think, though, I've ever seen an error that made the server seem quite so petulant.

Coming up soon:

404 Not Found: If you don't know where you put it, the server doesn't see why it should have to tell you.
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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] j4's recent post, I know now that there is a thing called Google Scribe. Which tries to second guess you as you type.

If you put in one word, then just begin accepting every auto-completion it offers you by hitting 'return', it generates rubbish )
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The pedants are revolting...

Someone just sent me via email a list of "surprising facts".

I'm surprised )

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