wabson

part three of the ever-exciting adventure

Archive for April, 2005

Not a good day

The courier with my replacement phone was supposed to turn up sometime between one o’clock and five o’ clock today. Naturally, he turned up at one minute past one and went away again when I wasn’t here.

So I phoned up Orange when I got in fifteen minutes later, only to be told that they can’t contact the courier and neither can they arrange for a new delivery date until the courier notifies them that the delivery failed at the end of his shift at around five o’ clock. Bastards.

To help calm myself down slightly, I went over to the Union to have a game of pool with Pat. Only to discover that (a) most of the tables weren’t working, (b) the few that were have been modified so as to require 70p (up by a whole ten pence!) and (c) the one we used in the end wouldn’t give us the last red ball, so we had to play without it.

/me wonders what else can go wrong today…

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Alice Cooper Dave

My phone’s broken. I’ve only had it a couple of months but it no longer rings, which is rather a problem. I think the loudspeaker is broken.

This means that the speakerphone also doesn’t work, so I can’t make any hilarious hungover speakerphone calls. Quite clearly this is unacceptable and so today I took the phone into the Orange shop in Leam to see what can be done about it.

Fortunately because have Orange Care, they’re sending a courier with a replacement phone tomorrow. Unfortunately this means I need to back up all the files and settings off the old phone sharpish, so I purchased an overpriced bluetooth USB dongle from the Orange shop in order to facilitate this.

So now all the photos that I’ve taken with my phone over the last few months are on my computer. Which means they must be blogged.

Having a camera on your phone is quite cool, because it lets you take small grainy pictures of things on those occasions when you forget to take a half decent camera out with you. Much like the other week when Dave, Kevin and I went shopping in Brum.

So here are two photos of the escalators in Selfidges and Dave being rude while wearing a wig.

Escalators in Selfridges

Dave in a wig

Union North

I stopped off on campus on the way back from Wales last night, just in time for the sunset. It had just rained, and there were still lots of clouds in the sky, which turned bright red as the sun hit them.

I wandered up towards the Arts Centre armed with my camera, but I couldn’t get a decent shot there. I went over to the top of the Piazza – no joy there either. I was on the way back to the gym when I looked back at Union North.

Union North

Planet Downtime

I got Planet Afterlife working again, woot! Perhaps I need to simplify the current updating process somewhat from it’s current form:

  1. The Ubuntu installation running under VMware on my work computer runs Planet‘s planet.py script on a cron job
  2. The script pulls in all the necessary RSS feeds and generates the HTML and RSS files for Planet Afterlife
  3. Another cron job running on mimosa (one of our multi-user UNIX servers) uses wget to grab the HTML and RSS files from the work computer and deposit them in my public_html directory

All this happens once a minute, every day. Except when it doesn’t, either because of a problem with mimosa, my work computer or the VMware installation running on it, or because of something getting turned off or unplugged, or (in this case) the IP address of Ubuntu changing after I rebooted it.

I freely admit that this method sucks and I’m actually quite surprised (though glad) that it doesn’t break more often.

Perhaps one day I’ll find a reliable*, UK-based** web host who have Python 2.2 or greater installed on their servers and will let me run a cron job to update Planet Aftelife every minute or so. But that day hasn’t come yet and until it does I have to make do with the current system.

Which sucks. A lot.

* If you remember the frequent downtime I was getting on wabson.org until I changed back to Easily last summer then you’ll understand why reliability is my top requirement.

** As I said to Laurie yesterday, I want someone in the same country as me who I can phone up when problems crop up. Admittedly the need to do this is much reduced if you have a reliable hosting company, but call me paranoid.