August 2003 Archives

Off Kilter


I've just downloaded the most amazing MP3 - it's by a band named 'Off Kilter' and its a rendition of that old Dick Dale and the DelTones song: Misirlou. (The Pulp Fiction theme). Why is it so good? It's played with the Bagpipes!

The band's official website is: Off Kilter Web Site and it features Corkman Mark Weldon among others.

More IE issues


I don't normally use Windows for much these days - just games and running Setiathome. I occasionally check out how my webpages look in IE/Windows, as about 70% of visitors to the site use that. It looks pretty bad, sometimes as IE seems to have issues with putting things on the right. Also, I have a version of Mozilla which is compiled with some font options which give me very nice fonts. Even Mozilla/Win looks bad compared to it.

Also, you may have noticed the Chinese characters in the top right. They're explained here.

Tomb Raider


Well, I fibbed earlier on. I felt compelled to play Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness to its end. It wasn't worth it. Random characters appear, make meaningful statements and disappear. A player character turns out to have been somone else. Meanwhile, the gameplay is awful - the character control is slow and laggy, and the camera sometimes looks elewhere. Also, the character movement is usually relative to the camera, not the orientation of the camera. I.e. sometimes you have to push the 'move right' button to move Lara to the right on the screen, even though that is her left. This is bad, bad, bad. This is an awful game. Do not buy it. Do not buy Tomb Raider: angel of Darkness. Do not give Core Design the feeling that people will buy any old rubbish they send out.

Yin Pai Fa Gei Sam!


The ad for Eagle's American Ginseng (apostrophe abuse theirs) is running a lot at the moment. While the spoken commentary is in Cantonese, there are English subtitles. Well, to call them English is slightly misleading. Decide for yourself:

The same greetings!
But I like different ways of presentation.
Eagle's American Ginseng!
The genuine valuable gift delicate to you.
Really different feelings of pleasure and passion.
With the recognition of this for gift-giving occasions.
Eagle's American Ginseng!

What does it mean? Answers on a postcard please...

Stereo 3D!


I finally found some proper stereo glasses as you can see in the photo on the right. I've been looking for ages without success. I've been scouring the stationery shops for coloured film, without success. Its just something you can't get here. Anyway, I was in Swinton Books, Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, today, and I noticed a large pile of Spy Kids books with... you guessed it, 3D glasses! They're even Red/Cyan as against the more usual Red/Blue. apparently the colours are better with Red/Cyan.

I briefly though about the shuttered type of glasses, but I have two LCD monitors with 60Hz refresh rates, so I get very flickery stereo if that rate were halved. Also, they cost a heck of a lot more than the Red/Cyan ones.

UK Financial Planners


I've just got a reminder from Windsor Life Assurance that they managed to lose an important document I send to them some months ago (one that I had to get someone else to sign, at some cost to myself) and I must get another copy made and signed. There is no trace of an apology. The document itself concerns the fact that I may have recently left the UK. Well, duh! I left the UK nearly seven years ago. It took them almost six years to realize that the address in Hong Kong to which they were sending letters may not have been in the UK.

I fully intend to send them the information they require, cc'd to their General Manager and cc'd to the UK Financial Planning Ombudsman. I was bullied into taking these plans out by General Portfolio, a shower of criminals, and the only reason I've kept them going is that they may have had value as savings schemes. It now seems as if I'd have been better off keeping my money in a biscuit tin under my mattress.

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness


Well, Core Design, I have to say that you all appear to have had lobotomies since you worked on Tomb Raider: The Last Revelations. Your latest game is full of puzzles requires fine control of Lara, and controls with up to one second lag. Playability-wise, the latest Tomb Raider game completely sucks. It's almost completely unplayable. Why is there a one second lag on every control? Even with a controller, it sucks. With the mouse, hello? did no one there spot that you'd mapped the mouse the wrong way around on both axes? Do you all have your mouses upside down on your desk?

I'm giving up. I'm going to wait for Half-life 2 instead.

More Anti-spammer stuff


I've spent most of the last day trying to block off access to my website from the spamming scum who were trying to use it to advertise their porn sites. What I've done is as follows:

All of the password protected directories mention that the users computer maybe being used against their will and they should check their computer for SpyWare using a product like AdAware.

I hate Vermin.

New Style


I've revised the stylesheets slightly to get a three column layout, with the local index on the left and the main navigation on the right. All layout is completely in CSS now, and the site should be skinnable (ie, there should be a few different styles which can be applied to it).

Ladies Night


Last night was entertaining. The missus was working late (until about 8pm), I'd been busy doing some consulting work, and then she decided that, as it was ladies night, we'd go out, and only one of us would have to pay for drinks. (Guess which one.)

So, we met one of her friends in Joe Bananas, where the average population of desparate men was scary. Funnily enough, I was one of the youngest guys there, and I'm 36!

Really strangely, there were SLG (Shore Leave Group) guys all over the place. Now, SLG are what the US navy calls MPs now, or "people who try and stop our 18 year olds getting pissed in every port". Normally, there's about two or three of them to every pub full of drunken US marines. And they generally do a good job. It's one thing to go picking fights when you're drunk, it's another thing to do it in front of your commanding officers. Or where reports will go back to your commanding officers.

But, there were no sailors, soldiers or marines. I couldn't spot a single drunk 18 year old with a military haircut anywhere. So why were the SLG around? Was there a squad of Special Forces around? Skilled at blending into pubs full of drunken Brits? If so, why did they need SLG? Maybe some blokes bought some SLG t-shirts off

under Attack II


OK, I seem to have sorted out the previous problem by doing a few thing:

  • Turning off the webserver for a few hours
  • Firing off complaints to the administrator of the IP space the scum was in

The perpetrator was in space, who rent their addresses from are extremely blackhat and spam supportive. I guess it was the fact that my webserver was down for a few hours which stopped the morons attacking me.

Moral of the story: spammers are thieving scum. They lie, they cheat and they steal.

I am now going to drink some beer and play Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness for a while.

Under Attack!


Right now, my webserver is under a massive referral attack from the owner of He's slamming my server with hundreds of requests per second, all from what seem to be open proxies. Until I can sort out a means of identifying which list of open proxies he's using, I'm stopping the webserver.

Phone Problems


If you've been trying to ring my mobile phone in the last two days, it hasn't been working. I changed providers a few weeks ago, and the date when I should have swapped the new SIM card for the old one was yesterday. I only noticed this afternoon. The number is the same.

I'm now with Orange Hong Kong.

Some Movies


Tonight, on the TV, Chicken Run was on. This is a great movie. A great piss-take of escape movies, with the usual charm you expect from the makers of Wallace and Grommit.

Also, there was a preview of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl, which is a bloody brilliant movie. It has the knob turned very firmly to 11, and is silly and fun. Well worth a look.

American Dialects


These maps show American dialects over the lower 48. Fascinating. From Making Light.

Why is Internet Explorer such crap?


Just why is Internet Explorer such a pile of crap? I design a layout which is perfectly standards compliant and valid CSS and it looks great in Mozilla (or at least, it looks like what I expected). In IE, however, elements are in the wrong place. We're not talking a few pixels out, which can be explained by the wrong box-model it uses. I'm talking major elements which were positioned absolutely are off the page or on top of another element.

For an example, look at Vicky's Sample Page in any browser.

Army of One


Nope, can't resist: Army of One - a look at the Bush Administration's treatment of the Military. As seen on Making Light, among other places.

Massive Cluelessness in Hong Kong


Last Week, a local fashion shop (Can you say 'dot com is dead dude?') showed off their new fashion collection with a dominant Nazi motif. Yep. As you can image everyone has come down on them like a ton of bricks. They still don't seem to realise just what an enormous mistake they have made. I can only point you at, who has covered this in greater detail than I could. Check out Randall's Coverage of the whole affair.

A Guide To Making Crop Circles


Don your tinfoil hats and practice Making Crop Circles. Gleaned from Making Light.

Chinese Medicine


I guess I should blog a little about Chinese Medicine, as my father in law is actually a Chinese Doctor.

Since I've been married, whenever I've been feeling a bit under the weather, the wife drags me over to her father's little shop in Kwun Tong. He's a Chinese Herbalist and he'll usually make up a bundle of herbs for me which sorts out whatever has been troubling me. So far, he's sorted out my persistent backache, some colds and flu, as well as my psoriasis. If I go over with something specific, like an ear infection, he generally says that Western Medicine is better for that. In general, I've found that Chinese Medicine is extremely good at dealing with ailments where your body is out of balance (colds, flu, aches and pains) and restoring that balance, while the Western Medicine is best at dealing with immediately life threatening symptoms, but not necessarily with the underlying causes. Of course, it doesn't help that the typical Western Doctor in Hong Kong feels obliged to prescribe antibiotics for everything and also to give patients a lucky number of medicines. Usually, three, five or eight. I've actually argued doctor down to four medicines (Four is a very unlucky number in Cantonese, sounding like the word for 'death') before and I could see the superstition running across his features before I said "I'm not Chinese, four medicines won't kill me."

Similarly for the kids, he's very good on general wonkiness, but some things are better treated by going to a hospital. For example, some months ago Conor had a very high fever and went into seizures. His advice was to call an ambulance and then pump his lungs to keep him breathing. The ambulance crew agreed that that was extremely sensible advice, and just gave him some oxygen to help him breathe. The cause turned out be be some gastric bug he picked up from somewhere. Meanwhile, Roxanne and Conor have both had digestive problems or skin problems which he's sorted out very quickly.

Seti At Home


Jeez! I leave my Windows box on for a few days, having remembered to reselect Seti At home as the screen saver and I clock up another 50 units! You can Checkout Dave's SETIATHOME stats!

This is all on the dual PIII 1Ghz which was my office machine, which I recently acquired. It's kind of funny that, even though this machine has been SETIing for not very long (288 hours), it's better than 76.819% of other users. What do people do? Sign up and never run the screensaver again?

Real Madrid vs Hong Kong


Real Madrid, possibly the best football team in the world at the moment, played Hong Kong in the Hong Kong Stadium tonight (well, Friday night, really). Hong Kong lost 2 goals to 4. That's quite an achievement as they're only a club side, not a major international football team like Real Madrid. I think that Hong Kong are the only team on Real Madrid's current Asian tour to score against them. You should have heard the cheers in Carnegies as that first goal went in. Lots of people obviously either considered themselves Hong Kongers, or wanted to cheer for the underdogs. Mind you, Real Madrid have made a very good effort to alienate their fans here by not turning up to training sessions, or turning up late, or allegedly having been paid HKD 36 Million, which is 50% more that that paid by any other country.

An Optical Illusion


From Alas, A Blog! comes this very strange optical illusion. Go see it. It'll give ya a headache.



Not that I forgot, but we didn't do much yesterday, yesterday was Conor's first birthday!

We're having a party for him today, with some other kids, and hopefully some of the pictures will eventually make their way onto the various pages here.

Mormon Name Generator


The Mormon Name Generator. I'm 'Jordan River Corren', which isn't too silly, I suppose.

Connection Down


Hmmm, it looks like my connection to the internet is down and has been for a while. Not sure what's wrong - can't connect to the PPPoE server, says my little Linksys BEFSR41. This is a pretty unusual occurrence, as Netfront are normally a very reliable provider.

Astute watchers of the webcam will have noticed a vast increase in screen acreage here at Yesterday I bought two 17" Eizo L685 LCD Monitors in what you might call a closing down sale. With the trusty Matrox G400 which lurks in my Linux box, I can enjoy a 2560x1024 display. This is basically my work setup - makes it much easier to work on websites and similar. When you get used to lots of screen area, it's very difficult to go back to small ones.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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