The One Where Sven Finally Loses It

Channel 4 in the UK often have the piss taken out of them on satirical programmes for showing Friends a little too often. Today they are showing the final episode and are, well, ensuring that every last ounce of your soul is sucked out well before then:

12:00     News at Noon
12:30     Friends
13:00     Friends
13:30     Friends
13:55     Friends
14:20     Friends
14:50     Friends
15:15     Countdown
16:00     Friends
16:30     Friends
17:00     Richard & Judy
18:00     Friends
18:30     Hollyoaks
19:00     Channel 4 News
19:30     Friends
20:00     Big Brother’s Little Brother
21:00     Friends
22:00     Big Brother: Live Launch Show

(There was also an episode at 7.30 this morning…)

Did I mention that Channel 4 follow Friends with the launch of a new series of Big Brother? Yet more tripe polluting our screens*.

*The author acknowledges that Big Brother is still enjoyed by some people and the views expressed here are his own opinion and not that of the majority of the population, although it does feel like nobody really cares any more. Except those of you who still watch it religiously. In fact, why are you even reading this? If you tune into E4 right now you can see some random bloke on the toilet, two highly-opinionated women cackle over some soap plotline for half an hour, and a load of chickens in a coop preparing to meet their creator as they snuff it as part of another tacky competition challenge. Go on, go watch it. It’s cloudy anyway, suns gone in and you’d probably burn in the light too. You’re not missing anything in the real world. Seriously, I’ll let you know.

Sorry. I really can’t stand Channel 4 any more 🙂

Odd Behaviour in Google?

Argh. Google seem to have stopped obeying redirects properly.

If you search for "Workx in progress" on Google (x is intentional), the
top result looks like a Blogwise details page for that blog. When you
click it it goes to a different site.

What the Googlebots are doing is looking at similar.php (a script that
finds similar sites, given a blog ID). similar.php redirects to the info
page of the new blog. In the user’s browser the URL changes (as it
should). Google is not changing the URL however, retaining the similar.php
URL, but analysing the new content.

Since similar.php chooses its blogs on a semi-random basis, the user often
gets a different blog to the one they think they’re going to get.

This is actually causing me quite a headache. I don’t know why they’ve
changed this behaviour (I’m sure there’s a good reason?), but it means I’m
getting quite a few emails from bemused Blogwise users, asking why this
particular Google result goes to a different site.

I suppose the best solution is to disable similar.php in robots.txt, but
that doesn’t fix Google itself!

Absolutely Ludicrous

I am absolutely fuming today. This is an unusual state for me – I usually
couldn’t care less, but a run of events at university have gotten me
particularly annoyed. Here goes!

It all started when my printer stopped working last week…..

…this shouldn’t be a big deal at all. My final project report was due in
today. Having put the final touches on at lunchtime I had quite a number
of hours to spare before the deadline (4pm). I went into uni at 1.

First task, print the paper. I go up to the computer science department
and, as I predicted, it’s full of 3rd years finishing off their paper.
This is fine and not a problem. I then go to Murray building (nearby
computer rooms) to print.

They’re also full. This is also not a big deal – there are loads of rooms
on campus.

At this point I should say that printing at uni involves quotas. We are
given £2 a year free from the university. Luverly. The odd thing is that I
am aware that we (Computer lot) get a quota recorded on a server
somewhere. My friends elsewhere have cards of some kind.

I ask the guy at reception where else in the university I can print that’s
going to use this system. The answer is ‘any XP computer, there are plenty
in the Library’.

I go over to the Library. Sure enough there are XP computers and quite a
few are free. Great.

Now, to hand in the paper, you have to jump through a few hoops. First,
you need to submit the paper electronically. You are then returned a sheet
with a barcode on it which you need to make two copies of. You then need
to take this to reception, along with two physical copies of your paper.
Not a problem.

I print the barcode sheets. Nothing happens. I then find out I need to go
to another computer by the printer, log in there and press print to
confirm my print. OK. I do that. It prints. All is good.

I then go back to the workstation to print the two copies of my paper.
Return to the printer, log in and hit Print again. Nothing happens. I hit
print again. Nowt happens.

Somebody is waiting behind me, and we both look at the screen, shortly
spotting that this printout of 50 pages will cost £2 exactly, and because
I’ve just printed two sheets at 4p each, I only have £1.92 left. (There
was never any error to tell me this, in fact I come home this evening and
find they emailed me the error instead! Great bloody help now.)

Okay. I ask him how I get more credit. The answer is this:
I go to the library reception where there’s a card machine. I put in a
pound (side note, I never had a pound anyway), and the machine dispenses a
I then go to a different room in the library where I have to put the card
in the machine and transfer the credit back to my electronic account.
Why can’t I just use the card? Because they no longer use it in XP rooms.
Once that’s done I then come back to this room and print again.

So, for the sake of two pages I need to do all that, spend at least a
pound with no obvious way to get a refund and have to go through this
whole charade again. I decide to go to my mate’s house. He agrees to print
the paper for me, on the condition that I give him a lift to the hospital
so he can hand a gift in to his lecturer there (long story). I agree.

We start printing. The printer jams up. We both agree printers are inbuilt
with a ‘deadline looming’ detector that makes them break in such cases.

Since I told him I’d give him a lift to the hospital I do that – he’d
never get there in time otherwise. We go to the hospital. Take 10 min. We
come back. My mate agrees to let me print the two extra pages with his
card if we go back to the library. To cut a long story short I manage to
get the paper printed thanks to a friend in the postgrad department who
has a free printer. Thanks Nick!

Anyway, back downstairs to hand the thing in. I’m then told it needs to be
bound before it can be handed in. Fine, I say. The receptionist hands me
two strips of binder rings, and says ’60p please’. Turns out our
department, with their ability to install pointless plasma screens in
reception and digital matrix signs that read ‘Fire Exit’ in LED lights (in
most other departments a little green plastic sign suffices), have the
cheek to ask me to pay for two bits of plastic to bind some paper (there
was a stapler sat next to me, but alas it has to be bound…)

Of course you’d also think that a computer science department would have
eradicated the need for paper handins a long time ago (especially when it
was paper *and* electronic handin), but you’d be thinking wrong.

And that was my day. How was yours?

Popularity is fun

I thought Yahoo! web search would be rubbish after they stopped using
Google as their supplier, but my opinion of them has now changed…

Searching for ‘sven’ on puts Blogwise fifth and Yet Another
Blog 9th — *in the world*. I am still about 150th on Google.