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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Richard's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, April 1st, 2012
6:30 pm
Ok, cool the display lights up.. now I spent saturday adding a step up converter since I forgot I need 12 volts for an OLED display but the control board has got to be able to run from 10.8. Now I just have to write the graphics library and fonts this evening and then I can get up early in the morning to bike down to the isle of Wight for my performance review where I will try not to get sacked. No worries :)
Thursday, February 9th, 2012
4:35 pm
Damnit brain this is not a good time to start freaking out and going all panicky on me. I need comms up and running because I have to try and email my boss to ask for monday off. It's not really that complicated it doesn't have to be bloody poetry, just get the point across. Stop being paranoid about saying the wrong thing.

I think if this is the result of being in a room with people who Smoke over a week ago then I am just going to have to insist on not even being able to smell the damn stuff. Its awkward to have to ask everyone to open windows all the time when its not far above zero outside but I just can't cope with this.
11:02 am
irony, alanis
Ok, that's the second time I've gone cycling to Bognor and back in the freezing cold, followed by spending the rest of the week drowing in snot, I am starting to think causation rather than correlation. I may soon have to become one of those weird people who drive to the gym to use the cycling machine.
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
4:12 pm
Little endian byte ordering is weird.

The right way to transfer information is to start with the most important part first, which is why numbers are written with the most significant digit first. Otherwise you'd have to start with the most irrelevant piece of information in the universe, then transfer all the other information in the universe until finally coming to the bit the other person was interested in. Which is silly. It also makes memory dumps readable without having to switch everything around in your head all the time.

Unfortunately everybody seems to be standardising on doing it the wrong way. As usual.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
9:34 pm
Ok, so my day jobs seems to have turned into redrawing all the footprints for KiCAD as lots of them are just plain wrong or missing. Everyday ordinary things like electrolytic capacitors and .1" molex connectors. The supplied libraries have cryptic names mixing inches and millimeters all over the place, and are written by a frenchman so even the comments make no sense. You have to guess that DB9MC and DB9MD stand for couche and droit (flat and right angle I think). Then there are things like C1V7 which actually means 6.35mm. Please can this stupid Imperial measurement system just die already?

As it's an open source program, it's obviously my job to fix it, as nobody else can be expected to do it for free if I won't. I do wonder why so many things aren't done right in the first place however. Maybe the answer is that a lot of people just aren't very systematic in the way they approach things. I'm always refactoring things to make a more elegant structure, so it seems natural to expect other things to be elegant.. but in a lot of areas there are big fat hairy kludges that have been put into place to fix something temporarily with the expectation that some future revision will rewrite everything from scratch. But then it never comes.. so somebody else has to do a hairy kludge on top of the previous one and you end up with a big tangled mass of them one on top of the other.

It goes for Intel cpus as much as it does for the UK tax/benefit system. Or come to think of it the entire western economy. How else can you explain the existence of worthless crap like banks, lawyers, police, stockbrokers, estate agents.. there's a long list of people whose entire life is a leftover kludge from a problem which should have been long obsolete. But these things evolve to have a life of their own..
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
12:49 pm
fed up.. a rant in several parts.
Today I am fed up with Unity on ubuntu, and further finding it really hard to get back to the old gnome panel I had where there was a programs button in the right place (with apps sorted into neat categories unlike windows), a taskbar with all my open windows (you know, the stuff I'm actually doing right now rather than a bunch of things I might use possibly but will probably just distract me from work), being able to see what windows I actually have open (the launcher buttons in unity seem to think you'll only ever have one window of an app open at once and make it hard to switch between), having the menu bar in the right place (attached to the app its relevant to instead of at the top of the screen where it could be connected to anything). To cap it all it fails miserably with dual monitors, so to grab the window filling the second screen I have to go to the second screen, focus it, go back to the top panel of the main screen and drag it back to the second screen. It is completely retarded beyond belief.

The Gnome Classic option does not let me move the panels around so I am stuck with two panels, one at the bottom where it should be and one at the top where the title bar of the current app should be. I used to be able to move all the panels around in previous versions of Gnome, but now I can't. This sucks. It sucks so bad it's making me yearn for Windows again.

Basically it's all far too much like an Apple. And I hate Apples. They are famed for their UIs but they got a lot wrong with the original Mac and did things to cope with the small screens of the time which are not good when you have a lot of screen space and a lot going on at once. If you only need to run a few specific programs which you use all the time then its fine, but for serious use Apples suck. My laptop is on its fourth battery, and my phone its third, what the hell would I have done if I couldn't have replaced them? Further, the fact that every idiot in the world wants an iPhone means that it's really difficult to get a phone with a proper keyboard and Android at the same time. The continued prevalence of horrid text speak on the Internet proves that on screen keyboards are just not good enough.
Thursday, May 5th, 2011
5:25 pm
vote. now.
Today is a real turning point for this country, a day when we decide if we want something better for the future or if we want to linger on with shoddy politics endlessly dreaming about how great the second world war was. People have fought and died to get this far, and to my mind, if people don't vote for AV, they cease to have any right to complain about the rubbish politicians that are running this country into the ground. FPTP means that your vote will forever only count if you vote for the main parties.. none of which have any ideas because they're all stuck up rich kids who've never had to think for themselves or solve problems on limited budgets. AV isn't the best proportional representation system which is why most countries use something better, but this is the best we're ever going to get!
Friday, May 7th, 2010
8:53 am
I think this has been a good result really.. 4th party on the list for southern England on the telly is now coloured green, and they keep running a story on the headlines along the lines of Green party Historic Win. Whereas the BNP lost, so it's all good.

Also, hung parliament means each individual MP gets much more say in things which is very good for democracy because whatever government gets formed can't just boss its MPs around like they were pawns and ignore them if they have objections. Which is obviously good for the smaller parties :)

Shamefully though, my household failed to get the registration papers in in time to vote. Which is mostly my fault for being asleep or exhausted most of the last few weeks.. Going to have to go to the doctor and see if there's anything at all they can do.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
1:59 pm
In spite of it all, I am quite liking the idea of assemblies. It's about time the arbitrary conceptual distinction between executables and libraries got thrown away, an executable is after all just a library with a default entry point.

It's just a bit of a nuisance, however, that the method of interacting with existing dlls is so clunky. As long as I need stupid closed source binary files to do straight forward things (like accessing obscure hardware nobody has ever heard of like 'parallel ports'), because I've got code that's been inherited from somewhere in the US, I'm going to need some way of finding them and dragging them along with the assembly I'm referencing. Ideally they ought to be bound into the final file so it can be just copied, or alternatively be listed as references in the same way as net or com objects, so that building prerequisites to a project copies along the needed files. The compiler could even automatically generate managed wrapper objects from the lib files that describe the dll interfaces.

Or, the IDE could just call the referenced assembly in it's built location instead of insisting on it being copied over to the parent project. Or the final target could be an installer package which gets run from the place it will actually be when it's being used, as I'm only having this problem when trying to debug it. But that would be too much like proper package management as a fundamental part of the os, instead of it being a last minute afterthought, which would imply joined up thinking on the part of Microsoft.

I think really what is needed is for Assemblies and Packages to be the same thing. The VM checks the packaged image each run, if it's a new version it unpacks it into the assembly cache directory, does any precompiling that's needed and runs the cached image.

Things were so much easier when you could just edit the makefiles yourself. Come on MonoDevelop, be usable soon!
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
10:54 am
Do you seriously mean that in order to access something as basic and obvious as the parallel port I have to download a dodgy dll from the internet and call a native method that *directly* accesses 8088 isa bus hardware registers?

Grr. And come to think about it, why can't I just do somearray.Length=newvalue? or even do somearray.Resize(newvalue)? or somearray &= newelement? or stringarray = {"a", "b"}? or.....

I mean, what hope have ordinary vb/c# programmers got when the people that wrote fundamental parts of the language don't understand basic concepts like properties? How hard would it really have been to do something like this..

class Array {
property Length {
set {

And there's no way of reading individual bits from a byte. Or reading a string containing binary. There's octal which is of no use ever, but not binary. And an array of 32 booleans takes up 128 bytes, not 1. Gah. The whole point of having a really high level language is that all this nitty gritty stuff ought to be taken care of in native code, preferably hand tuned assembler, so you don't have interpreted code running through lots of expensive loops.

I'll quit whining now. I don't really have anything to do as I'm waiting for the cell to be free so I can hook up the supply to test it so I'm killing time trying to make the test handle insanely neat and efficient.
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
1:11 pm
possibly of interest to Jenny..

Producing monovision is one way eye care professionals deal with presbyopia. Normally, both your eyes work together equally when you look at an object, to produce what's called binocular vision. However, you probably have a dominant eye that your brain tends to favor for "sighting" (most right-handed people are right-eye dominant, for example).

Contact lens fitters often take advantage of this "one-eye dominance" to produce monovision, where typically the dominant eye is prescribed a contact lens power for optimum distance vision and the other eye is fit with a contact lens that has a modified power to provide good near vision. To a large extent, binocular vision is preserved in monovision — so you have adequate depth perception for driving, for instance. But one eye sees more clearly in the distance, and the other eye sees better up close.

Some LASIK surgeons will produce monovision in their presbyopic patients by purposely leaving the non-dominant eye slightly nearsighted so that these patients can see up close without glasses. Other surgeons are wary of the technique because not everyone can become accustomed to monovision. It's a good idea to try monovision with contact lenses or trial lenses in the doctor's office first to be sure you can adapt to it before you opt for monovision LASIK.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
12:29 pm
I'm getting pretty fed up of the prevailing popular attitude that if you believe something strongly enough and promote it hard enough it will become fact. This works up to a point.. with things which depend on psychological factors to define reality, such as the stock or housing market, but when there's a real physical problem or mechanism underlying, such as with a disease like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or even WMD or Climate Change, it becomes a dangerous delusion.

It's also dispiriting to find a situation where research into a real disease is being hampered by Labour continuing the Tory practice of trying to throw people off benefits so they can save pennies and pander to the sun reading fascist morons that seem to set public policy now. I'm getting to the point where I actually hate Labour even more than the Tories so will be glad when they lose the election. Only problem is I want both lots of them to lose.

The MRC’s PACE Trial seemingly inhabits a unique and unenviable position in the history of medicine. It is believed to be the first and only clinical trial that patients and the charities that support them have tried to stop before a single patient could be recruited and is the only clinical trial that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has ever funded.

Since 1993, the giant US permanent health insurance company UNUMProvident has been advising the UK DWP about the most effective ways of curtailing sickness benefit payments. The PACE Trial is run by psychiatrists of the Wessely School, most of whom work for the medical and permanent health insurance industry, including UNUMProvident. These psychiatrists insist – in defiance of both the World Health Organisation and the significant biomedical evidence about the nature of it -- that “CFS/ME” is a behavioural disorder, into which they have subsumed ME, a classified neurological disorder whose separate existence they deny. Their beliefs have been repudiated in writing by the World Health Organisation.

In 1992, the Wessely School gave directions that in cases of ME/CFS, the first duty of the doctor is to avoid legitimisation of symptoms; in 1994, ME was described by Professor Simon Wessely as merely “a belief”; in 1996 recommendations were made that no investigations should be performed to confirm the diagnosis and in 1999 patients with ME/CFS were referred to as “the undeserving sick”.


Monday, March 22nd, 2010
6:55 pm
Facebook stands up to UK.gov's cyberbullying
Another reason why I don't want to have children.. at least not in this rotten country....

Another reason to think about going someplace else. Someplace warm with nice beaches where it doesn't rain all the time. My housemate keeps saying if I went to Portugal I wouldn't want to come back.

It's not just the insane perverse obsessions of the Mail and its ilk.. it means all sorts of other things like the fact that I can't wear headphones at work. Because if SOME people were allowed to wear headphones, then EVERYBODY should be (by this logic we should all get paid the same as directors), including the 1 or 2 people out of 76 in the company who are on their own in a room, then in the UNLIKELY event of this concrete building catching fire, someone MIGHT not hear the fire alarm or notice all the other people stampeding away from the flames, MIGHT not notice or smell the smoke, MIGHT not be rescued in time, MIGHT blame the company, MIGHT sue them, MIGHT win, MIGHT have a significant award that MIGHT includ the director getting sent to prison.

It's just beyond madness, people here just live in cloud cuckoo land and they're miserable because of it.

>>>>>>>> Posted Friday 19th March 2010 22:48 GMT

The child 'protection' racket is really to blame here. It puts out the message that *every* stranger, *every* adult, or at least every *man* is a potential danger. That *something* will happen if an adult even looks at a child.

Children can easily see, though, that most adults are not dangerous. That man in the shop just takes the money and turns to the next customer. That man in the restaurant just wants to take their order. That man over there is just walking down the street. And so it goes. The danger message has, in their eyes, been wrong every other time, so why shouldn't they trust that stranger? Nothing has ever happened in the past.

If people wanted to really protect children, they would have them get out and meet adults. Have them put in all sorts of situations with adults. That way children would get to know what is and isn't normal when it comes to adults. As it is now, adults, outside of family members and frightened teachers, might as well be creatures from another planet.

But that would be too scary for the nervous ninny 'it could be a dangerous in theory' types. Yes, anything could be dangerous in theory, but that doesn't mean it is. They, however, have elevated a theory to an actuality. If it could happen, it will happen. The fact that this means that someone will give them money and power is, of course, incidental...


Thursday, October 15th, 2009
7:02 pm
There's also Plymouth Respect festival on weekend after this, I have been invited by Maria (Spanish lady who used to live at Kent Road). It's a bit far, but maybe worth it if several people are interested?
6:37 pm
I seriously want to go back to Coed Hills for this. And not because I am a freaky stalker and it's where I met Fuchia. I miss the place itself.. If you could approximate heaven on earth, this is it.

I was thinking of maybe taking the van up there (it's near Cardiff) and taking a few people along, if any wanted to go.

However, my mum has decreed that I shall attend her birthday which is on the Sunday after at around midday. This might not work with a 4 1/2 hour drive after some hard partying.

And then.. there is the possible people friction scariness. And the hippy nonsense.. well they have organic beer as an alternative to that.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
10:19 am
music plotting 2
Nick from Richard L's band wants a computer for doing recording, and I got suggested as someone that could build him one.. now I've not really kept up with computers for a while as pretty much any bottom of the range computer or even one out of a skip will do what I've wanted for some time.

And I need to get myself a decent laptop for doing lighting at gigs.. I need something with SSE2 apparently to run adobe premiere as the desktop I had was an AMD which didn't. And it's dead anyway. I want it to have a touchscreen that you can use fingers on to pick effects in Arkaos.. So I guess I need to go and spend some money really as what I have is all second hand off ebay a few years old!

I could do with some recommendations if anyone is still reading LJ ;)
10:03 am
music plotting
My housemate who is in a band and studying music at chichester college has been talking about getting a shared house at some point in the next few months as the house we are in is up for sale and I've got a limit of a few months anyway..

.. there is a building on the way to work which is two shops with rooms above it, and a fair sized garden with a bit of parking at the end. It would make quite a good recording studio but for the busy main road (but we'd have to put in lots of sound insulation anyway).. and has a good bit of space for hanging around generally. And is near the station. It's quite dilapidated so might be cheap, and has the opportunity for being turned into whatever we want.

If it was a kind of joint venture then people living in it could pay rent as share issues and use the combined income to pay the mortgage.. the company would have a minimum value of whatever the land's worth.. and now is a good time to buy.

I'd need a few partners with a bit of income and nouse to make it work though...?
Thursday, October 8th, 2009
6:17 pm
In egham fixing jennys plumbing, so will be down the pub in a bit :)
Monday, October 5th, 2009
11:12 pm
moth 4 flame..
god. damn. it.

how much longer does this go on for?
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
7:40 am
lessons learned
When things don't add up or ring true, such as someone telling you that they can't get tickets for something you've both been looking forward to for weeks, and you can clearly see that there are plenty available on the web site, AND they can't organise space on the bus and going quiet and changing the subject when you point out that you have a van that takes seven..

.. then you are missing something. If it doesn't fit together then there is a piece missing. And the fact that you haven't been told about it by someone who you consider to be forthright and in your face with their feelings is an indication that something is seriously wrong and you need to find out and fix it immediately.
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