Fatal addiction.

I’m off at another LAN this weekend – no, it’s not a CTI one this time. It’s the Fatality LAN, which is happening at the action cricket place in New Germany this weekend. I’ll be doing some adminning (yes I know, I just made that word up), which will probably involve cleaning all the viruses off the network. So I will arrive on Friday afternoon armed with African potato, beetroot and garlic.

This is our first event, but we’re looking to grow it nationally eventually; the aim being to promote regional and national rankings and championships. Well, that’s the long-term goal anyway. For now, we’re all there to just have some fun. Except if you happen to be one of my opponents when Flatout 2 is being played. 🙂

I’m not sure when the next CTI LAN is going to be, but due to other LANs in the Durban area it will most likely be the weekend of the 18th/19th of November. That of course means that I won’t be there (assuming that it will be on that weekend), as I’m signed up for BarCamp Durban.

Other than that, I don’t really have anything interesting to post about. Most of the students have finished or are close to finishing for the year, so it’s really quiet. The few that are left have taken to sabotaging my workspace. I went and did some marking, and on my return found my keyboard unplugged, my speakers stuck to my monitor, my mouse ball hidden in my desk, and my chair hidden by Darryl’s desk. I know exactly which ones they were, because they do it all the time just to annoy me. Wait until the little buggers come in tomorrow…

Don’t use IE7.

For those of you thinking of installing Internet Explorer 7, I strongly recommend not using it. It’s only a few weeks old and already major flaws have been discovered in it. But then, this is Microsoft that we’re dealing with. Their bug fixing procedure seems to go something like this:

if (manufacturer == “Microsoft” && bugs == true && security_vulnerabilities == true)
{
    ship_it();
}

I would strongly recommend a different browser – we often have huge debates over at the PCFormat forums over which of Opera and Firefox is better. Personally, I prefer Firefox myself but both are excellent browsers and a far better choice than the crap that Microsoft spews out.

One can only hope for the sake of the uneducated masses that they get Vista right…

On the road again…

Yes, I’ve got another road trip coming up. This time I’m off to Cape Town, as my sister managed to get into UCT Medical School. And guess who the lucky one is who has to drive her and her wardrobe down? I’m not sure of dates at the moment, but it’s whenever the residences open (early February if I’m not mistaken).

I’ll probably drive down on the Saturday/Sunday, spend the week in Cape Town taking a break and catching up with old friends of mine that I haven’t seen for a long time – there’s quite a few of them (yes jerith, you’re on that list), then drive back up on Friday and Saturday, which gives me Sunday to recover from the 2 day trip back. I’ll probably be taking the N2 route, as usual. The first day is really dodge the livestock, natives, and native transport (*cough* taxis *cough*) in the Transkei, but the second half of the trip (the Garden Route section) is really awesome. I can just see myself leaving Port Elizabeth early and getting to Cape Town late, as I usually go and stop off at all the little places along the way. One of those places is Storms River Mouth, by far my favourite place in South Africa. If you ever find yourself driving along that way, I would strongly suggest that you take that detour (it’s only 10-15 minutes off the main road, and trust me, it’s well worth it).

What I find really fascinating is that on the N2 drive to Cape Town, there’s only two tollgates, one at Port Shepstone and the other in the Tsitsikamma area, and last time I drove that way (April 2004), they were only around R10 each. By comparison, the trip to Johannesburg is 560km compared with ~1700km to Cape Town, you have five tollgates (Mariannhill, Mooi River, Tugela, Wilge and De Hoek), and four of them cost more individually than what you pay in toll fees for the entire trip to Cape Town. Well, at least none of us have to travel on the N4 in the Nelspruit area, apparently there’s one tollgate there that’s something like R50.

By the way, if you’re reading this and you’ve been communicating with me via e-mail for this past week, the reason why my responses have been so slow is that we’re having some issues with our e-mail system, which we’re trying to sort out. I know that it’s probably extremely frustrating for you, but there’s not much that I can do about it (apparently it’s Head Office’s fault).

The “your typical CTI student” post saga continues…

Remember this post that I made a few weeks ago? I printed it out this morning and put it on my mom’s computer (she’s not at all computer literate, which means that I usually have to do her word processing). I then forgot all about it, and started watching some old Stargate SG-1 episodes that I have, when all of a sudden, my printer (which is shared over the home network) fired up. This is what came out of it:

Dear Kieron

Now I must say I was really excited to receive the long awaited instructions on how to use the computer. I was really eager to get started and to tackle the challenge head-on, once and for all.

In eager anticipation, I sat down on my leather bound director’s chair and after wheeling a few times agross the floor (weeeeeeee), I managed to regain my posture and reign myself in, holding on to the computer stand to ensure that I had finally come to a safe halt. I looked at all the instruments and picked up the mouse, determined to follow the instructions to a Tee. However, try as I might to click, double click, treble click, the screen remained black. Dead as a dormouse. I tried coaxing it. It was deaf to all reasonable pleas. I tried muttering. It ignored me. I muttered louder, to no avail. The screen remained black. I picked up my instructions again and carefully perused each and every word. There was no reference to a black screen. Now what was I to do? I was just about to throw in the towel and hand-write everything for the rest of my life, when I was thrown an unexpected lifeline.

In the process of prodding the confounded machine I hit upon a soft button that acted rather like a raw nerve, which depressed right into the side of its guts. All of a sudden some ghoulish sounds of protest were heard and a red and green rectangular cum oval shapes started to flash at me! I ask you, red and green simultaneously! Now we all know that red is supposed to mean stop and green is supposed to mean go. What the heck does red and green mean together? I thought about this awhile and suddenly the solution struck me. Of course! Green means go, and red means go faster. You just have to ask any taxi driver. They know all about it. So I followed their advice and fled as fast as I could – goodness only knows what happened to the computer.

But thanks for the instructions all the same.

Love
Mom

This is by far the most amusing thing that’s come my way in a long while…

I’ve got some other things worth mentioning, which will come in tomorrow’s post.

Stupid mistake.

I’ve been informed this morning that KnightNet (an IRC network that I used to chat on) has recently promoted the two individuals responsible for chasing me off the network. Well, if they want to kill that network, they’ve done the right thing. Especially if you consider that one of them (NinjaBunny) is a bad-tempered old git who bans people for fun (a clear example of an IRC operator abuser, and yes, I’ve been on IRC for a while, so I know one when I see one).

On the other hand, why should I really care? I haven’t been on that network for around six months now and have no intentions of returning at all.

On that note, I actually haven’t been on IRC for a long time since our proxy server now blocks it, so you’ll only see me online for around an hour on weekends (bearing in mind that I still only have a 56K line at home). Ethereal is still the most likely place where you’ll find me.

Bowls (n.): An old man’s drinking game.

We had a staff bowls day last Saturday. Now bowls is, as the post topic implies, an old man’s drinking game. These pensioners come to the bowling club and make a beeline for the bar in order to have their whiskey & milk (which, I’m told, is a club tradition). They then spend the best part of the day in the bar, and play bowls inbetween drinks, rather than having drinks inbetween playing bowls. Needless to say, I was witness to some rather wayward shots, while concentrating on my own game (although this was the first time I’d played, those who know me know my extremely competitive nature) and trying to ignore the old gentleman who kept on walking up and down offering us free shooters.

Now they’re trying to organise a golf day next month. That will be even more… erm, “interesting”. The last time I played a round of golf was at the mashie course in Emberton. The Umgeni steam train happened to be passing at the time… ’nuff said. That was five years ago and I haven’t touched a golf club since.

In response to the anonymous poster requesting photos of my computer – yes, I took some, but I’m having problems uploading them, so they will be posted later this week.

In the beginning…

In the beginning God created the Bit and the Byte. And from those he created the Word.

And there were two Bytes in the Word; and nothing else existed. And God separated the One from the Zero; and he saw it was good.

And God said – Let the Data be; And so it happened. And God said – Let the Data go to their proper places. And he created floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks.

And God said – Let the computers be, so there would be a place to put floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks. Thus God created computers and called them hardware.

And there was no Software yet. But God created programs; small and big… And told them – Go and multiply yourselves and fill all the Memory.

And God said – I will create the Programmer; And the Programmer will make new programs and govern over the computers and programs and Data.

And God created the Programmer; and put him at Data Center; And God showed the Programmer the Catalog Tree and said You can use all the volumes and subvolumes but DO NOT USE Windows.

And God said – It is not Good for the programmer to be alone. He took a bone from the Programmer’s body and created a creature that would look up at the Programmer; and admire the Programmer; and love the things the Programmer does; And God called the creature: the User.

And the Programmer and the User were left under the naked DOS and it was Good.

But Bill was smarter than all the other creatures of God. And Bill said to the User – Did God really tell you not to run any programs?

And the User answered – God told us that we can use every program and every piece of Data but told us not to run Windows or we will die.

And Bill said to the User – How can you talk about something you did not even try. The moment you run Windows you will become equal to God. You will be able to create anything you like by a simple click of your mouse.

And the User saw that the fruits of the Windows were nicer and easier to use. And the User saw that any knowledge was useless – since Windows could replace it.

So the User installed the Windows on his computer; and said to the Programmer that it was good.

And the Programmer immediately started to look for new drivers. And God asked him – What are you looking for? And the Programmer answered – I am looking for new drivers because I can not find them in the DOS. And God said – Who told you need drivers? Did you run Windows? And the Programmer said – It was Bill who told us to !

And God said to Bill – Because of what you did you will be hated by all the creatures. And the User will always be unhappy with you. And you will always sell Windows.

And God said to the User – Because of what you did, the Windows will disappoint you and eat up all your Resources; and you will have to use lousy programs; and you will always rely on the Programmers help.

And God said to the Programmer – Because you listened to the User you will never be happy. All your programs will have errors and you will have to fix them and fix them to the end of time.

And God threw them out of the Data Center and locked the door and secured it with a password.

rAge 2006.

This post is a little late, I know, but student holidays are over and work’s been keeping me busy again. But anyway…

We left Durban at 06:00 (after picking up the two guys that I was taking up with me) and headed on up. Stopped at Mooi River for some breakfast after waiting 10 minutes at the ramp toll gate because the truck drivers were taking their sweet bloody time to pay the toll fees. Nevertheless, it was only a minor annoyance (and we had the pleasure of listening to a hilarious clip on the radio on pilots wanting to be radio DJs while we waited). Anyway, an hour out of Mooi River, I was feeling relaxed and settled. I’d had a good breakfast, hardly any traffic on the road – you know, that sort of thing. I was feeling confident that I’d reach Johannesburg between 13:00 and 14:00…

Then, as I got to the top of Van Reenen’s Pass, at the last left-hand bend before you cross into the Free State (just past the Little Church turn-off, for those of you that’s been that way before), I came to a queue of stationary vehicles. We’d just gone though some roadworks, so my first thought was: “More roadworks. Probably one of those 20 minute stop/go thingies. Won’t take too long before I’m though.” But then a Hazardous Materials vehicle came by on the wrong side of the road (which was eerily deserted) and I knew that it was something bad.

Then a cop car came driving past, and informed us that a tanker carrying hazardous stuff had overturned just past the bend that we were on. So we had to turn off all cellphones, and that sort of thing. One of the two guys I was taking up smokes like a chimney, so he wasn’t too happy about that. We walked 500m up the road, and there lay the tanker. It was obstructing the two lanes going to Harrismith, and was leaking all its contents all over the other two lanes. What we found really ironic is that the cop car that had warned us earlier was parked in the middle of all the foam that the Hazmat truck had sprayed down. Idiotic bugger.

We realised that the road would probably be closed for the remainder of the day, and had to decide: do we wait or find another route? After a brief discussion, we got back into the car, turned around, and headed back down the pass. Our new route: the old route before Van Reenen’s pass existed – the N11 going through Ladysmith, Newcastle and Volksrust, then the R23 going though Standerton before rejoining the N3 at Heidelburg.

We had lunch at a Wimpy we found on the outskirts of Newcastle, where the service was excruciatingly slow. But then, I suppose that’s what you’d expect at a small town. I next ended up stopping three hours later when we finally reached Heidelburg, as there were no places to stop at inbetween. Not only that, but the stretch between Volksrust and Standerton turned out to be the biggest one-way out there. I got stuck behind a truck for the best past of 60km, unable to overtake. Fortunately, when we reached Standerton, the truck decided to continue its journey on the road to Secunda. When I finally found a garage at the interchange with the N3, my arms were just about ready to fall off.

By then, it was 16:45 and we were anticipating heavy traffic on the road ahead. To our surprise, there was heavy traffic, but it was all heading in the opposite direction, and we reached our destination, the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate without further incident.

As for the LAN itself, it was extremely well organised, with an efficient registration system. We fortunately found seats right next to the other group of guys that went up (they went up the day before and spent the night in Harrismith, therefore avoiding the tanker chaos). What was really nice, is that you could wish for any game, and you were almost guaranteed of someone playing it. Needless to say, Flatout 2 was pretty much the order of the day as far as I was concerned. I also tried my hand at some deathmatch games (really fun with a full server) and stayed well clear of Counter-Strike and DotA.

#ifndef OFFTOPIC_RANT
#define OFFTOPIC_RANT
I’m convinced that the only reason that people still play Counter-Strike is that they can’t afford a computer to play a better game on. Then again, when they get said better computer, they’ll probably play nothing else but Counter-Strike: Source. There were two guys in my immediate vicinity that played nothing else the entire time.
#endif

On Saturday, we visited the exhibition itself, and saw a whole lot of shiny gadgets and new toys to play around with. I also popped to the PCFormat stand and met Cameron. Cameron is the guy who does the PCFormat cover discs, and if you’ll recall, he left a comment on here a while back. He’s probably one of the friendliest people that I’ve ever met. I also met up with some old friends of mine that I haven’t seen in years, and met some new ones. I’d brought up my spare PSU to give to one of them who needed it badly – the poor guy was doing some modding and fried his one. He was really appreciative when I handed that PSU over.

I also realised that I wouldn’t get much sleep there (bearing in mind that I still had to drive back home on Sunday), so on Saturday evening I headed off to Benoni to spend the night with some family friends. They were thrilled to see me, and we spent the best part of Sunday morning catching up on news. Then I headed back to pick up my computer and the other two guys, and off we went back to Durban. The drive back was totally uneventful, except for some rather extreme weather conditions that we encountered between Mooi River and Pietermaritzburg.

Bring on rAge 2007.