Sunday, April 30, 2006

Drop The Dead Donkey

Made some good progress with my study. Watched several episodes of "Drop The Dead Donkey", a Channel Four comedy series from the early 1990's. It's wonderful to see it again. Things were so different then, clearer, cleaner. We were pure and stupid and young. The world seemed big. Globalisation has stolen so much from me. My dreams have become bland, there is no fear, no hope, nothing.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Power

Got some study done in the morning. Called a couple of friends.

Met some people for tea and cake at The Greenhouse vegetarian cafe. The Greenhouse makes me sick. It's so full of evil.

At 3 pm, an hour late, Theatre Of War arrived to build a nuclear powerstation from cardboard boxes. Theatre Of War usually do mediocre street theatre, but this time they didn't do much at all. Handed out leaflets in the city centre about nuclear power. Not well recieved. People are scum.

Cooked red Thai curry. Ate some of it. I'm very much looking forward to eating the rest of it for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Talked politics with Suzi. We agreed that all the people we know involved in politics are incompetent and annoying. Walked home from Suzi's, trying to read an anarchist newspaper. Got to bed at 2:30.

Friday, April 28, 2006

On The Borders Of Borders

Spent a couple of hours in the SISJAC library, reading journals and catching up on Japanese news. The following two caught my attention:
"Osaifu Keitai", a new product from the Japanese mobile phone company NTT Docomo. "Osaifu" means wallet, "keitai" means mobile phone. This new type of mobile phone contains a contactless RFID chip allowing the user to pay for things etc. using it. Anything you pay for will just be added to your monthly mobile phone bill.
Tamagotchi are back! Tamagotchi were egg-shaped computer games in which you looked after a pet. They were very popular and very stupid, like Japan. "Tamagotchi-Plus" has an infra-red communications port and can also communicate with mobile phones. It's already proving very popular in Japan.

Studied in the library. I still hate the library. Nothing changes, but my hatred grows.

Did an interview for Tokyo Robotnik!!!!! Should be the first of many. I'll stick on the Tokyo Robotnik website when it's been written up, and then link to it from this blog.

Bought the current issue of "Giant Robot". Made me feel very old as I've lost touch with the music of today's youth. I'm really looking forward to going to the Giant Robot restaurant in New York this summer. Which reminds me, I still haven't got a valid passport. I haven't booked my coach to the airport yet either.

Met Richard for the 2600 meeting. Nobody else turned up so we wondered around for a while. We quickly became bored and hungry so we went to Olives Cafe for a sandwich followed by very good cake. I tried to get us thrown out of Olives by saying stupid stuff to Richard when the waiter was near, but was I unsuccessful.

Watched "The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion" with Richard. We also watched some martial arts stuff which included Japan's leading authority on martial arts, Dr Hatsumi, setting fire to the hair of the dumb-fuck BBC presenter.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sun Shining Through

Finally, a day of great sunshine. I shall, of course, be spending most, if not all, of my day inside, studying. If I have a good day of study, and if tomorrow if sunny, I may allow myself some time reading about Turing in the garden.

Didn't study much in the morning. Played with my cat for quite a while, as she will probably not live much longer. She seems very happy at the moment, although she has kidney failure so she is thirsty all the time. Watched some of The Curse Of The Jade Scorpian, a Woody Allen film. Managed to stop after about 30 minutes and got quite a lot of study done.

Ate a fish finger sandwich for dinner. Very, very grim.

Stayed up late and wondered if making free telephone calls over the Internet is the greatest thing on Earth. I think it might be.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Doing Time

Spent most of the day at a prison. I can't write about it in too much detail as Im subject to the Official Secrets Act. Part of my job will soon involve running computer training in a prison workshop. The prison is low security, and is actually very plesent, unless of course you are a prisoner, in which case it's probably terrible. Had lunch with my collegues in a bad pub. Food was poor, but no worse than I expected. My boss dropped me off at home at 2:30 pm. Studied Cisco networking all afternoon.

In the evening I went to visit a friend in hospital. I took her some flowers from my garden, which she seemed to like very much. The hospital ward was painted in the same colour scheme as the prison. On the way home I bought a 500ml bottle of Pepsi Max. A big mistake. Failed to get to sleep until 3 am.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stone Temple Pilots

Went to my martial arts lesson for the first time in quite a while. I got a lift with my friend Richard. We listened to the Stone Temple Pilots in his car.

We got to the lesson early so we went for a walk around Lowestoft. Saw a wind turbine. Looked out to sea.

Good lesson. Three students plus our instructor. Although I hadn't been there for many months, it felt as if I hadn't been away. Towards the end of the lesson we did some stick fighting.

Got home, aching all over from the lesson. I'll have to start doing some stretching everyday to loosen up a bit. Might start taking fish oil as it's said to aid stretching.

Did some study before collapsing into bed. I'm finding the Cisco stuff difficult beut very interesting.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tech Treck

Lots of tech trouble at work. All of it involving software which isn't massively configurable and which relys on Microcrap ISS. The downside was that we couldn't run exams so some of the students were annoyed. The upside was that I spent most of the day on the phone to various tech support staff. Fun, fun, fun.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Murder, mystery and Manhattan

Watched Manhattan Murder Mystery, made in 1993. Like many of Woody Allen's films, it's partly an advert for New York.

Spent a lot of time sorting out my books. Hope to read them all before I die.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I'll Be Frank

Woke up at 6:30 am. Failed to get out of bed until 8 am. Ran to the train station. Almost missed my train to Ipswich because I had to queue up for a ticket; the ticket machine was fucked.

Once on the train I booted up my laptop and watched a Peter Kay DVD. It helped me to ignore the other people on the train and thus I was able to spare them. Watching DVD's on trains is wonderful. You don't have to look at people, you don't have to hear them and you certainly don't have to think about them.

I had arranged to meet my friend Louis at train station at 10:10, unfortunately he had bus trouble so I had to hang around for a while. I spent my time well, playing with some payphones and catching up on some reading.

Louis had contacted Frank Carver, an Ipswich blogger, asking if he'd like to meet up. Louis and I played around with the wireless at Nero's, a scummy chain of coffee shops, until Frank joined us. The three of us chatted for several hours on subjects ranging from computing to computers:) When Frank left, Louis and I wondered around looking for things to hack. Didn't find much, possibly due to the fact that we live in England, which is pretty much a third-world country as far as technology is concerned. Left Ipswich at 6:40 pm, satisfied and slightly hungry.

Sat opposite a football hooligan on the train home. He called up several of his friends and told them how he had been arrested and was going to be banned from attending a football game for 12 months, and was also going to receive a fine. I have no interest in football or drinking, but the situation still seemed quite funny.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Our Computer Master

Only managed to say up until about 2:30 this morning. Work up at 8 and did a bit more study. Played around on the Net most of the morning and listened to lots of stuff on

Suddenly decided that I wanted to pass the exam(Thanks AG!) so I did some last-minute cramming.

I managed to pass my Microcrap exam this afternoon. I found the exam quite hard, and I used most of the time. The cramming earlier on today definitely made a big difference. I'm going to start studying next week for the next exam, which will probably be a Cisco one.

Wondering if I should forget about people for the rest of the year and just concentrate on computers. I'd have to stop all socialising, stop checking my email, stop using Skype, stop using instant messaging and keep my mobile off all the time. Much as I love my friends, it would be great to be at one with computers for the next 8 months or so...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Enter The Dragon

Had my hair cut in the morning. Looking really great, unsurprisingly.

Met my friend Andrew for lunch in the city centre. I hadn't seen him for quite a while so we had loads of catching up to do. Ate at the Thai Dragon. Andrew very kindly paid for the meal.

Spent the afternoon studying in the library. The library was overflowing with annoying people. I hate Norwich's main library. It's very noisy and very stupid, like most of the people who were using it.

Attended a lecture on early photography of Japan at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. Keiko and Polly joined me. The lecture was pretty good, and the guy who gave it was obviously very knowlegable about Japanese history and culture.

Went to the Thai Dragon again. My friend Keiko paid.

Planning to stay up all night studying. Not sure I'll manage it though.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Smooth Operator

Today at work I discovered that one of our students spent eight years as a telephone operator for British Telecom.

Wrote a briefing sheet about the EASF. You can find it on the wiki at

Had a very enjoyable anti-war meeting. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, and we discussed some interesting issues. After the meeting I talked about computability with Luzie, Jan and Peter.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Workhouse

Back at work after the 4-day Easter break. Sent a reply to the HOPE organising committee, stating that I would talk at HOPE.

Got an email from Amazon saying that they have sent out the two books on Turing that I ordered. I chose the free postage option, so it may be a few days before they arrive.

Got home to find that my ticket for HOPE had arrived. I wasn't expecting to be sent anything, and the shock of it has reminded me that HOPE is just a few months away and that I have to get some much organised during that time.

Listened to Off The Wall live on WUSB via their webpage. I was going to call in but they were having a fundraising drive so I wouldn't have got on air. It might be finished next week, in which case I'll call in then.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Just got an email saying I've been accepted to speak at HOPE. I just can't believe it. In about three months I'll be standing in front of hundreds of people, talking about the life and work of Alan Turing, father of the computer.

Ordered "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Alan Hodges and "The Essential Turing" edited by B.J. Copeland. The Hodges book is generally thought of as being the definative biography of Turing. The other book consists mainly of Turings papers and letters.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Jigsaw, Bigsaw

Did a jigsaw puzzle with my mother. Sounds lame but was actually very fun. In any case, it was much better than trying to study.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Subverting The Student

Chatted to my friend Yumiko using Yahoo! Messenger. She's just started university in Japan so I spent a long time trying to persuade her to quit and do something worthwhile with her life.

My friend Suzi came over in the afternoon. We watched comedy dvd's and listened to prank phone calls on the Internet. It's great to introduce someone to a whole new world. Suzi had never heard good quality prank calls before.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Listened to Kraftwerk for much of the day. I should really get round to writing to 2600 in NYC to find out if they got my email applying to do give a talk in July.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Hot, Hot Heat

Very hot at work due to the very feeble air conditioner. It was Emily's birthday yesterday so she brought in a chocolate cake which her mother had made. It was very good and I ate a lot of it.

Got a sales call at around 3 pm. The woman claimed to be working for an independent research body, doing a survey on phones. I googled the organisation while she spoke to me, but couldn't find anything. She told me they had a website, but it wasn't working. I looked up the registration details of the website and found it was owned by a company called 4 Com. When I asked the woman if she worked for 4 Com, she hung up. I called 4 Com and spoke to the manager of the sales team. He claimed the matter had to be dealt with by one of the senior members of staff. Allegedly I'll be emailed next week about it. I threatened to pursue the matter with the police although I have no intention of doing so.

Spent the evening listening to stuff from

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Great Commotion

Went to a meeting of The Great Commotion, a free monthly newsletter in Norwich. It was very poor. The Great Commotion consists of a single piece of A4, with about eight articles. The articles are around 100 words long. The problem with the meeting was that nobody did any real editing. When I suggested changes to articles people complained. A waste of time, like many things in my life. See for the current issue. I wrote the article on Anglia Water and the article on the success of the EASF wiki.

On the way home I spent some time calling telephone operators. One was very rude to me. I let her live despite the fact that she couldn't recognize a reorder tone. Fuckwit.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Have I Got News For You!

Met up with my friend Ed Nash for dinner. We went to the Thai Dragon, a cheap but quality. I asked Ed lots of basic questions about journalism. He explained how newspapers are written, what reporters do with their time etc. It was great to be able to ask random, silly questions about how the media works.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tech Support

Very tired all day. Listened to tech support calls on the Phone Losers of America website. The PLA help me get through hard times. They can help you too.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Emperor's New Clothes

Went to my friend Shujing's house for a Chinese lesson. She is a surprisingly good teacher, and I made quite a bit of progress. After she had spent about an hour teaching me Mandarin I taught her some computer stuff. I mainly taught her advanced Internet search techniques.

Weather getting bad again. All my clothes are falling apart. My shoes have holes in and I have no money to buy more. I don't have a light waterproof jacket, suitable for wearing in mild but wet weather.

Finally got round to doing the second episode of the radio show with Phil. It took ages and was pretty poor. Nev from Norwich joined in, which was great. I don't think I'll be involved in it again as it is just not worthwhile.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Switching On To Ipswich

40 minutes from Norwich by train lies the town of Ipswich. It's really rather unpleasant. I had to brave the grimness of Ipswich in order to meet up with Simon and Louis to discuss the online presence of the East Anglia Social Forum. We plan to redo everything in the near future. This will probably involve me having to learn php, mysql, css, apache administration and various other random things which I don't have time to think about.

I got up late and, as a result, had to take a later train. On the train I watched a 9-11 conspiracy documentary on my Apple Powerbook laptop.

Getting to Simon's house was not easy. He lives in new housing development which sis not marked on most maps and which even my taxi driver was unaware of. Fortunately, I had written myself some instructions using Google maps. I had also looked at some satellite photos of the area.

I hate Windoze. I say many negative things about Microcrap and their third-rate software. Despite all that, Internet Connection Sharing rocks. In about 10 seconds the three of us managed to get Simon's broadband connection shared between our three laptops. No playing around with routing, NAT, DHCP etc.

We got quite a lot done, although the EASF website administrator failed to answer his phone or appear online so we were limited in what we could do.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Insane In The Brain, Insane In The Membrane

Met my friend Shujing at the university. I was surprised to hear that two of her housemates have gone insane. How house has essentially been divided into two parts. Her housemates don't speak to her anymore. I remember her housemates being a bit strange, but it's funny to hear that they have completely flipped out.

Called British Telecom about 30 times today. I'm sick of their stupid staff and their stupid phone system.

Met Phil, Nev and Launa for the Norwich 2600 meeting. We went to a pub for a drink, and spent most of the time working out where we were going to eat. In the end we left and went to a pub with a restaurant upstairs. The food was crap. The potatoes had been frozen at some point. My cheeseburger was ok but what little salad there was was very limp. Conversation was quite poor too.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Phone Phreak

A long day. I had intended to do lots of study, but I got sidetracked. Listened to lots of recordings from The ones on how Evan Doorbell became a phone phreak are particularly worth listening to, especially for those unfamiliar with phone phreaking.

Here Comes The Train Again

Lots of rain. Into bed at 2 am. I should probably think more and sleep less. Or maybe the other way round. It's hard to tell.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

TV Dinner

Watched a bit of Doctor Who while I cooked pasta and vegetables with a cream and tomato sauce. I don't have a TV in my kitchen so it didn't work out too well.

Had a good Stop The War meeting. The regional coordinator of CND came to the meeting to persuade us that CND isn't a complete and utter waste of time. She did a reasonable job, and I'm tempted to join.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lunchtime, Crunchtime

My good friend Suzi met me for lunch. If I had more money, I'd go out for lunch everyday at work, preferably with friends. It makes a massive difference when you don't really enjoy your job.

Watched "Doctor Who" with my friend Keiko. We cooked some great food together. I helped Keiko with a very dull essay on a painting.

My sister called at around 10 pm. Her laptop had a stop error(BSOD) and she was in the middle of writing an essay.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Don't Want Your Charity( Unless It's Shoes)

Effective day at work. Called the Charity commission and got some information on starting a charity. They'll send me the required forms and some more information. Soon Armenia Youth International will become a reality.

Called up a journalist friend who is moving to China. I'm going to meet up with him soon and have a chat about China and journalism etc. It's amazing who you know, without even realising it.

Bought a 2-litre bottle of Pepsi-Max on my way home. Pepsi-Max is sugar-free but caffeine-rich. I had drunk a worrying amount of it by the time I got to my house.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Come Fly With Me

After three long, hard days of trying to find a cheap flight to New York city I finally gave up. I bought a ticket with Air India from Heathrow to JFK for just over 500 pounds Stirling. Although buying an expensive aeroplane ticket is admitting defeat, it feels good that I've done it and am thus definitely going to attend HOPE. Next time I fly I'll definitely get a ticket six months in advance. I guess I'd better book my flight to Berlin for the CCC in the near future.

Didn't manage to get much study done today. Forced myself to do a couple of hours before I went to bed.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


My good friend Edward Pacman came over at 8 am for a morning run. We discussed the issue of the day, which is currently public drunkeness.

Spent the day at an activist training workshop. It was a great day even though it was in the badlands of Norwich. The instructors taught us how to blockade roads, lock ourselves to fences, and generally have fun.