Friday, June 30, 2006

Countdown To EASF

Transfered some films from my main PC to my Apple Powerbook to take along to EASF. Packed everything for EASF in a large rucksack.

My good friend Edward Pacman came over at 9 pm to lend me a tripod for tomorrow. We took tea in the garden and discussed the issues of the day.

Quickly made a Powerpoint presentation on Internet Data Mining. My presentation tomorrow may be my only chance to practise public speaking before my talk at HOPE in New York next month. Getting very nervous.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Epic Travels Of Dr Edward Bearskin

Did some reading on the German Enigma machine, an incredibly sophisticated and well-designed code machine used in World War II. I've still got loads of reading to do, but it feels good that I'm getting on with some.

My good friend Dr Edward Bearskin called for a long chat. He and his girlfriend will be spending 6 months traveling this year. He will be going to China and Japan, among other countries. I aim to meet up with him at least once if possible.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another Microscum Exam

After work I took another Microsoft exam. I had a free retake for the exam, so I tried not to think about passing it; I just wanted to know what the exam was like so I could focus my study a bit better. To my surprise, I passed the exam by a couple of questions.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Cool Music Videos

Usually, basing a blog post solely on a website would indicate that I am being very lazy. In this case, however, the website warrents its own post. 1,400 music videos from the 1980's. There are loads of gems:

Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out
Dexy's Midnight Runner - Come On Eileen
Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine
The Clash - London Calling
The Stone Roses - Fools Gold
Ultravox - Vienna
Kate Bush - Running up that Hill
Soft Cell - Tainted Love
Black - Wonderful Life
Grandmaster Flash - White Lines
Kajagoogoo - Too Shy

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Drinking Tea, Eating Cake, Partying Hard

Baked a couple of marmalade cakes in a hurry. To save time I decided to use a food processor to mix the flour and butter. The result was less than satisfactory.

Went for a meal at Keiko's house. It's a very pleasant city house, well-designed and well-furnished. We listened to Tapestry by Carol King, a beautiful but dull album.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Life On The Net

Spent quite a lot of the day updating my blog. I still have a few hundred blog posts to copy from Tokyo Robotnik. The process of transferring the Tokyo Robotnik website name from my SDF website to my Dreamhost website is still going on. will become my personal site, Tokyo Robotnik will just contain information on Japan. My Armenia Youth International website will be up and running in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

TV B Gone!

Spent most of the afternoon learning to write Cascading Style Sheets so that I can redo my websites. Trying to get my address transfered to Dreamhost. On the way home from work I got a book on CSS from the library. It's out of date, but it should help a bit.

Richard came to see me at work this afternoon to talk about the Security+ exam. He had his TV B Gone with him, a small device which can turn off almost any television. I want one, and soon I shall have one.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Death Of A Salesman

I was on my own again this morning. Answering the phone, answering the door, dealing with examination candidates, dealing with students.

A sales guy called, asking to speak to me. I had to pretend that I wasn't me, and that the person he wanted would be back in the afternoon. Next time he calls I'll have to tell him that the person he wants has been killed in a tragic accident involving an electric stapler.

Sent an email to Robert X. Cringely asking him to make a sequel to Triumph of the Nerds. I doubt he'll reply.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

Spent some time planning the next EASF with Suzi. I really don't have time to be doing EASF, on the other hand it's something that I enjoy greatly.

Did some study. It didn't go well.

I gave my dad a book, a card and some sweets for Father's Day. He seemed very pleased.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Shoes (OMG!!!)

Karamoon fans across the world will be jumping with joy at the news that Karamoon has finally managed to buy a new pair of shoes. Karamoon bought a pair of Salamon walking shoes, similar in appearance to the ones he wore previously.

Bought some very expensive coldsore cream in case I get a coldsore just before speaking at HOPE. It's claimed that the cream will prevent a coldsore if you apply it as soon as your lip begins to tingle. I find this hard to believe.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday George

In the morning I met my friend George while walking in the street. George shares my feelings about the UK and Japan, so chatting with him is always an engaging experience.

A few aims for 2007:

  • Publish two books

  • Learn to scuba dive and/or fly and/or ski

  • Pass the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam

  • Run at least one website with 20,000+ visits a day

  • Become fluent is two programming languages

  • Become fluent in Japanese and Mandarin

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Haircut Thursday

Got my haircut. I had to endure 20 minutes of homophobia, racism and sexism. On the plus side, my hair is now shorter than it was before.

The monthly SISJAC lecture was on Japanese Gardens. There were over 120 people in attendance. There are usually about 60 people at the monthly lectures so this was really quite impressive. I found myself sitting behind Diane, someone I know through work. We chatted afterwards, which was very pleasant.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hanging With The Hookers

Went to a peace meeting in random pub. The pub is famous for being frequented by prostitutes and their clients. Not a very nice place. The owners are a very friendly Korean couple, they seemed grateful to have us their as we were obviously cleaner than their usual clientele.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Trapped By Sudden Rain

The brave Karamoon was literally a prisoner in his own office today. Heavy rain prevented him from leaving the office to buy food.

I listened to an old episode of Braindamage and I caught the last 15 minutes of Off The Wall.

Another hot night with very little sleep. A moth the size of a small bird was flying around in my room. It crashed into the light and died, probably from being burnt on the hot lightbulb.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Brain Is Cooking. What Now?

It was very hot in the morning at work. My time was taken up doing nothing in particular.

I had a great lunch. I went to the sandwich shop, as I often do. As I was trying to decide what to eat, the owner suggested I have some pasta salad with tiger prawns. It was fantastic. I still hate the world though.

There were tech issues with web and email servers all day. I spent quite a while trying to call our hosting company. The phone line was busy for ages, so I decided to try to find a mobile phone number for someone working at the company. I spent some time searching on Google and also The Wayback Machine. Within a short space of time I had found out a huge amount about the owner of the company. Such is the power of the Internet.

My cat Tabs woke me up at 2 am because she wanted to go outside. I spent the next 4 hours trying to sleep. It was very hot and very boring.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Study Strike

I've decided not to study today. Instead I'll just work on my blog, read about Alan Turing and surf the Net.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Unfair Bookfair

The Norwich 2600 stall looked really good. We had Phil's laptop, which was showing the hacker documentary Freedom Downtime, loads of Ubuntu Linux discs, Freedom Downtime discs, No2ID leaflets and badges, and some random leaflets about the Freedom Of Information Act.

Phil pointed out that I had made a mistake on the Norwich 2600 leaflet. A website address on the front of the leaflet for incorrect. Not a big deal, but annoying nonetheless.

Did some leafletting for the bookfair in the city centre from 10am to 11am. Not much interest from the public. It's possible that a large proportion of them can't read.

About 10 people attended my talk. I covered public key encryption, Echelon, 2600, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ID cards, DeCSS, biometrics

At 5pm I attended a talk by Simon from Ipswich on independent journalism. It was interesting and useful. Simon talked about why mainstream journalism is such a joke and what independent media should do differently. Simon also talked about legal issues that independent journalists should be aware of.

Spent a long time unpacking all the stuff from the bookfair. My bed was covered in leaflets, Linux discs and death. Despite being very tired, I stayed up late surfing and chatting on the Net.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Knight And Saturday Mourning

Had to go to my mother's school to do some computer stuff. IT in UK schools is really dire. I was shocked at how badly the network had been set up and how little the teachers and staff at the knew about IT.

Stayed up late doing a leaflet for Norwich 2600. It's not very good, but at least it's finished.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Exercising Restraint

I've decided to take up exercise again. By the time I get to Armenia I want to be a fit and as tough as I was four years ago. It seems like an impossible task. I shall document my progress and publish it in my blog sometime during the next couple of months.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Software Install

I've swapped my PC at work for a laptop. I spent a good part of the day installing all the software we had lying around. My laptop is now full of software that I will probably never use. There is a lesson to be learnt here...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Teaching And Learning

I went out in the afternoon to buy some sticky-back plastic to cover a poster with. On the way I met Richard. We went to a cafe. I drank hot chocolate and ate cake. Richard drank coke. It was good while it lasted.

Talked to my father about teaching. My father taught Special Needs children for eight years. Every Monday he got the class to sit in a circle and talk about what they had done each week. He also took the class to the public library every week. The class walked to the library together, and if a child was walking alone my father would always walk with them and try to find out what was wrong.

Did random things throughout the evening. Suddenly all the time had gone. I don't regret it, although it's sometimes disturbing to see how easily time can slip away.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Day Of Reckoning

I passed the computer security exam. The passing score was 85%, I got 89% so I was quite lucky to pass. It made the days of study feel very worthwhile indeed. I'm intending to take three more exams this month, and two or three in August.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

17th Tiananmen anniversary passes in China

Full day of study. Actually managed to study outside for 30 minutes, before it started to rain.

17 years ago, hundreds of young people were murdered by the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square. It's something that young people all around the world should reflect on deeply. China should never be far from our minds because what happens in China over the next few years could have grave consequences for the rest of the world.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Great Leap Forward

Finally registered the website for Armenia Youth International and got some webspace. I'm using to host it, they are very cheap and give you loads of free extras such as a Wiki, forums and a photo gallery. It will take me a few weeks to get the site made and I will finally have to learn CSS, the standard language for website design at the moment. Expect great things soon.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Exam Day Two

The second day of exams passed without any problems. I was given a long-sleaved sweat shirt by the teacher. I was also left 15 packets of crisps. It might not sound like much of a gift, but as most of my clothes are full of holes, and I often don't know where my next meal is coming from, I was very grateful.

Listened to BBC Radio Four comedy program The Charm Offensive, presented by Armando Iannucci. I should probably listen to the radio more often.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Exam Day

Failed to get in to work very early. I had wanted to set up some more spare exam work stations, but in the end I didn't have time.

All the exams ran fine. There was one heart-stopping moment when one exam machine refused to boot, it booted fine on the third attempt though.

Loads of American kids from an airbase taking A+ exam and CCNA exams. All the kids had strange American food with them, food that is generally unavailable to the public. One interesting thing I noticed was that the kids all seemed very used to dealing with ID and authentication. I didn't need to explain anything or justify anything. All the kids have to carry US armed-forces ID cards while at school and I guess they are required for pretty much anything the kids do.

While invigilating the exams I read a Security+ book that I had borrowed from Richard. I should take the exam next week so I'm going to have a dull weekend of study ahead of me.

The Pirate Bay website has been taken down in an illegal raid by the Swedish police. Pirate Bay never held any illegal material, instead it pointed to download locations of films, music and software. The people who run Pirate Bay are very good at what they do, so I think it will only be a matter of time before the site comes back.