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To put it into a nutshell, mom thinks it may have been the Norovirus. As I sit here writing this, I have eaten nothing today. Next to nothing yesterday, never mind the day before...
Not that I remember much of yesterday. I'm a bit perkier today, though a little light-headed due to a mixture of lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, and... Let's just say this isn't quite how I planned my Easter to be.

For those who can't be bothered to read the Wiki article - you know those news stories where in a matter of days an entire cruise ship, or a school, has been laid out with a horrible stomach bug, and the weaker ones get airlifted to hospital? That's Noro. Question is, where the hell did I get it from?!?

PS: Thank you to all who sent me messages. :-)


Amazon publishing dates?

I was absentmindly looking at my Amazon wishlist yesterday. Didn't make it far, even that required too much mental effort. Anyway, I did think to grab a screenshot of something that struck me as being very bizarre:
Amazon book edition weirdness

So now, at the end of April, I can buy the July publication of this book? Doesn't that sound a bit odd?


Monetise this, sucker!

So I was looking at my YouTube account options (you know, those bits you rarely bother investigating), when I happened open a fairly recent option. I know it is recent because I go through every six or so months to ensure they haven't done a Facebook on me and opted me in to a load of cack. Here is the option:
YouTube advertising

Now I know hand on heart that I did not permit this option because I do not agree with the rampant "monetisation" (the number of sh!tty low-brow adverts on the Android platform is quite unsettling, not to mention the equally rampant pilfering of a variety of personal data held on the handset (phone ID, user ID, and geolocation being the most common)). I think generic advertising in moderation is a necessary evil. I will tolerate advertising of products I'll never buy (on principle) in Google search results as it helps pay for the StreetView I use. But in these recent years, "monetisation" has become the keyword of Internet players, who somehow fail to realise that their Linux machines don't boot up displaying adverts, who fail to realise that apache doesn't serve web pages with auto-inserted adverts afterwards. This is, to me, a sort of disgusting get-rich-quick crowd jumping on a bandwagon built by people far more altruistic.
Therefore, I would get a weird sort of pleasure out of smacking anybody who uses the word "monetise" around me in a sense other than ironic. Maybe if I had something to sell, I might look to "monetise" it. But I don't plan to be somebody else's pimp.
Given that, there is absolutely no way I would have left this set to "yay, fill my content with adverts".

If you have YouTube content and you aren't trying to pull in a few rusty pennies, it might do to look and see if you have this option in your account options, and if so, let Google know your thoughts by hitting the "Do not allow" option.

At least they were nice enough to notice my language preferences and not spell that word with a 'z'.


JTAG interface, rough

Here is a rough schematic of my first JTAG interface. Actually, I lie. This is my second version. The first was never completed as I decided it might be worth making it Wiggler compatible for those who want to experiment more deeply.

Rick's JTAG interface v1
[click for a larger version, 1111×643, 27KiB]
This is the correct way, with some drop resistors and a 74LCX244 bus line driver chip. The chip basically makes the outputs equal the inputs, however it offers the useful feature of being able to run off the 3.3V supply while accepting 5V inputs. That's what the "LCX" part of the title means. Other chips, such as a 74LS244 would not have such properties and could be destroyed (or damage the OSD and/or parallel port) by such an action.

I have only been able to track this part down in Farnell. I would imagine RS/Electrospares would have it too, what I mean is the hobby retailers (Maplins - fast doing a Tandy on us, Conrad, etc) don't have it. I think I need an account to get free regular delivery postage, as opposed to something like €15, which is - either way - a bit OTT for a forty-two centime piece!

Therefore, given I know my RiscPC's parallel port outputs 4V, I might see how I get on using a regular logic chip run off 3.3V with some resistance in the way. This, of course, would be the incorrect way. ☺
I might even find a suitable part in some old hardware I ought to be looking to chuck out. Speaking of which...


Mom'll be pleased

She's been after me to sort my bedroom for ages. Well, if I'm going to be doing some stuff with the OSD and some stuff with my BBC Micro (I have a FlashROM to patch in and write code for, plus a 2nd processor board - details here!), and so on, I am going to need some shelves to get all my kit organised, plus a table. I have a table. It holds a pile of computers, LPs (yes, those weird black things we used before CDs existed), technical manuals, old harddiscs from the era when grown men would get warm fuzzy feelings from twenty megabytes! (little would they know that a quarter century later, inefficient crappy software would routinely allocate memory blocks several times larger in preference to writing a working sliding heap manager...). I can probably rearrange and file 15%, repurpose 10%, and chuck the rest. Do that, a little harshly, to everything around here, and I'll have my workspace. I'll have a room that makes sense again, and I'll have a little place in the corner where I can stack my packets of Udon noodles so I don't discover them out of date due to not knowing where the hell I put them in the first place...
It'll be a hell of a slog, because down at heart I'm kinda lazy ☺, but that's my project to do by or during the summer break.


On radio equipment near my body

Opal, in a recent comment, said: "I thought you don't like radio emitting near your brain".

He's right. I did.

I make two exceptions and one partial exception. The two exceptions are WiFi and Bluetooth. These are based upon the fact that they are fairly low power, short range, transmissions.

The partial exception is listening to Kawaii-Radio on my phone at a certain location (that I shaln't go into too much detail over). I really don't trust GSM transmissions as they are longer range, and - unlike a laptop - tend to be in very close proximity to your body. You can say there is something of a difference in radiated power between a device that can manage around ten mentres, against a device that manages six kilometres.
However in this specific location, the cell tower is, like, 100 metres away, so I trust my phone won't be eating up battery by blasting a big signal to cover a distance I could probably match with a decent crossbow...

A sudden change because my phone is cool and can "do stuff"? Not entirely. And, note, I only do this for like an hour or so, and not every day. Any other time or place, if my phone is turned on, it isn't that close to me.

No, it is more as realisation that I'm fast approaching 40. I've tried to eat fairly well. I favour non-genetically modified food and, when I am certain something is GM, I do not buy it. This is for ethical reasons as well as health. Likewise, when the difference in price isn't silly, I buy organic. Yes, I eat at McDonald's. I'm not perfect. But I do that a lot less often, since I happen to know what a brocolli looks like, and rather enjoy the taste of them. My like of cooking is tempered by my often not being bothered. I hope to persuade mom to let me get a small freezer so I can make a large amount of something in one go, freeze it, and use as I wish. It seems so much more logical to overcook and partition, than to go through all the dull boring bits each time.
I have, at least, made some attempt to look after myself. And my choices, while you might argue, do have some sort of logic running though.

Yet, still, I find myself coughing gently as the disinfectant catches the back of my throat. Every working day a use of chemical agents with "CORROSIVE" marked on the container. Okay, in our usual dilutions (2%), it is just a nasty irritant, but that doesn't make it that much better.

So I find myself sitting wondering why I'm bothering? I'm getting older. My skin is getting saggier. My hair is going greyer. I don't trust a mobile phone to blast its signal through me for long durations, however a nearby tower and an hour or so? Sod it, I'll let that slide. Risk to health? Probably less than the crap I breathe in at work...


Vince Hudd

I vaguely knew Vince many moons ago from his RISC OS software in the guise of Soft Rock Software. I think it was with ArgoNet that we came together, figuritely speaking for we've never actually met, both writing add-ons for their !Voyager suite, and also having some long discussions on a newsgroup called "ZFC" (outdated info here and you'll find a grossly outdated profile of me in the gallery... don't ask about the red car, I have no idea, I can't even drive...) where we seemed to share a few similar opinions.
So it stands to reason that I'd get around to getting back in touch. I hope to do that with more of those I used to know.

Anyway, Vince has a blog. It's a little hard to move around in (a calendar or somesuch would be a nice addition!) but what is missing in navigation is certainly made up for by some fairly hard reportage. Take a look. Pick your jaw up off the floor.

I have only one question - why isn't this guy an investigative journalist for something like TheRegister?


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anon, 25th April 2011, 18:45
Got a schematic file instead of those pictures?
Rob, 25th April 2011, 23:55
Glad you're feeling a bit better...  
Hmm; must check my YouTube settings.. 
There's a bod selling 74LCX244 on eBay for a reasonable amount.. 
Rick, 26th April 2011, 16:10
@ anon : done. The ExpressSch file may be found just under the schematic image.

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