Facebook challenge!

My company blocked Facebook today. If it was supposed to prevent us wasting time at work, it backfired – at least in the Dev department! Naturally we took it as a challenge to see how quickly we could bypass the block!

The obvious route was via proxy browsers. That works, but it’s very slow. Mobile emulators work faster, if you’re happy to browse without CSS. A strange thing happens if you try to go via IP address: resolves to http://69.63.facebook.com which is completely useless on any computer! I’ve never seen *half* an IP address get resolved before. That’s weird!

One person’s solution is to connect back to their PC at home via Terminal Services! Message to all IT departments everywhere: you’ll never be able to block sites completely. All you’ll do is encourage people to find time-consuming and possibly dangerous workarounds!

I wouldn’t say i go on Facebook much at work anyway; when i do it’s just for a few minutes to send a quick message to somebody. If they block YouTube, then i’ll be upset!

By sermoa Posted in work

I love my hamster!!

Suzie is back in the big Rotastak cage, the holiday season being over. I think i put more sawdust in than usual, and Suzie has decided to bury into it to make tunnels and a nice den for sleeping in. How cute! Food has been buried at the opposite end of the cage, and the little plastic house has been ignored completely, heheh!

The nice thing is, of course, Suzie has ignored the clock change too, which means i still get my cuddles just before bedtime! :) It’s nice to think that somebody else is still on the same time as me! :D

An experiment

I always find it very hard to adapt to the hour change – forwards or backwards, it doesn’t matter – i always feel tired for about a week as i get used to it.

So this time i’m trying something different: just pretend it never happened! Whilst everyone else enjoyed an hour extra in bed, i just got up at my usual time (which is an hour earlier in New Time). So i now work 8-4 instead of 9-5. I took my lunch an hour earlier. I will go to bed an hour earlier. To my internal body clock it’s as if nothing changed! :)

We will see how this goes.

The weekend was a busy one. The server that hosts MyChores fell over and so i spent most of the weekend trying to contact the host company – and looking around for a new host! The weather was pretty miserable so i didn’t really want to go out anyway. It was a shame because i was going to go out to Southampton to meet a friend. I got as far as the steps outside our front door and just couldn’t face it – the rain was pouring down like crazy! I hope we’ll be able to meet up next week instead, because i felt bad about cancelling.

I took a test at work today; it’s the test that they give people who apply to work with us as developers, at the same time as the interview. It was mostly .NET and C# oriented, so i didn’t have a clue about much of it, but it doesn’t matter. It just tells me i have a lot to learn! I’m going to start 50/50 development and testing early next year, and see how it goes for three months. If i like it, and if i’m good at it, i can become a full-time developer. I should be able to go on a C# course between now and Christmas, to learn all the things that i didn’t know in the test today!

On plant-watering

Discussing why nobody watered the chilli plant whilst i was away on holiday …

Colleague: Oh well i didn’t want to water it because i was worried about over-watering it.
Me: If a plant is completely wilting it’s usually a sign that it hasn’t been over-watered.

Haha! It’s okay, the chilli has completely perked up since been given a lot more water this week … i can even see two little flowers budding at the top! :)

HP characters tumbling out of the closet!

Gay Remus Lupin is movie-canon! Well, in Prisoner of Azkaban, at least! ;)

David Thewlis says:

The funny thing when Alfonso Cuaron directed The Prisoner of Azkaban, the first film that I appear in, he had the idea that Lupin was gay and he described my character like a ‘gay junkie’ …

It’s great, when you think you spot these little clues that you think can be interpreted in a particular way … but so much better when you find out they were intentional all along!

Now i just need to find out that the Goblet of Fire movie was intentionally a great big slash-fest between Harry and Cedric … and then my joy will be complete!!

Nicholas Flamel was bisexual!!

Heheh, i’m only joking. I noticed that in Philosopher’s Stone, Nicholas Flamel is described as Dumbledore’s partner … with the knowledge that Dumbledore was gay, we could now re-interpret that. Oh, but wait, Philosopher’s Stone also tells us that Nicholas was married to Perenelle Flamel.

So the ‘obvious’ conclusion … Nicholas Flamel was bisexual AND polyamorous!!

I love crackpot theories! ;)

I am amazed at the drama that has exploded all over the Potterverse and news columns about this gay Dumbledore malarky. In my opinion, it’s absolutely fantastic that the most respected, most powerful wizard of all time also happened to be gay. I see no reason to question Jo’s motives in only revealing it now. Personally, i feel compelled to read the whole series yet again and look for all the little clues. I believe they begin on page 12 of Philosopher’s Stone, with Dumbledore’s purple cloak and high-heeled boots! I also love the “Nice suit, sir” comment from Harry at seeing younger Dumbledore’s “flamboyantly cut suit of plum velvet”! By Half-Blood Prince Harry certainly had suspicions of Dumbledore’s sexuality!

Deathly Hallows spoilers follow …

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A strange scientific phenomenon

Is there a scientific law which states that clocks are more likely to stop when you’re away on holiday than when you’re at home to notice them stop?

The last two times we have come home from a trip away, one of our clocks has been found to have run out of battery and stopped. They had previously been running for months, maybe years without stopping, so why should they stop during the time that we were away?! Even when we were only away for 5 nights!!

The books i am currently reading cause me to ask questions like this all the time! I am now reading “Chaos” by James Gleik, which is a welcome relief from the last three scientific books i have read, which gave me a very depressive view of entropy – the state of disorder. Entropy can only ever increase, never decrease. Any system, left to its own devices, will become more and more disordered – which is why my desk gets messy and needs tidying. But even then i am expending energy in the form of heat for the work done in order to tidy the desk. Heat is a disordered form of energy so entropy still increases!

However, the book of chaos tells me that there can be order within chaos, and the most beautiful example it gives is the red spot of Jupiter. Whilst chaotic storms are constantly occurring all over Jupiter, the red spot somehow remains constant: a place of order within the chaos. Simulations have been created to model it, and they produce the same phenomenon. This makes me feel a little more positive about entropy.

* * *

Well, we had a very nice break away, and a very good journey home. I think that 5 nights away is probably my personal optimum, although i felt ready to come home yesterday, i was content to stay another day. We had a really lovely time.

In other news i have just been told that Winchester is the least green city in the whole of England. Oh dear.

Update from Germany

We are having a completely lovely long weekend away. Yesterday we went out to the ancient Roman town Trier and had a look in the Constantine museum; it was very interesting but terribly crowded. We went to look at the Porta Nigra and saw Karl Marx’s birthplace (from the outside). We also had a lovely Kaffee und Kuchen in a Konditorei. Yum yum! :D

Today we are having a lazy Sunday, staying in. I have played the piano a lot (they have such a lovely piano here) and i have a few books to read. I am feeling more confident about speaking German than i have been before, and i find i understand a lot more than i used to.

In other news, i hear JK Rowling has announced that Dumbledore is gay! Brilliant! I’m glad it was at least on Ms. Rowling’s mind, even if not explicit in the books. After shooting down the Remus and Sirius speculations by giving Remus such a hetero-centric Book 7, i had feared that Jo was completely anti-queer. To admit to having a gay character in the books makes things far more realistic, and totally strengthens the pro-tolerance themes, i think.

Rowling told the audience that while working on the planned sixth Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she saw the script carried a reference to a girl who was once of interest to Dumbledore.

She said she ensured director David Yates was made aware of the truth about her character.

Haha, and Jo admits that Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald. “Oh, my god, the fan fiction!” My dear Jo, that fan fiction was already circulating less than a week after Deathly Hallows was released! ;)

Off to Germany for a few days

Would you believe it? Another little holiday! Well, we are just going to Germany for a long weekend. Hopefully get some Christmas shopping in at the same time! :)

I have one more day at work, and then off for six days. This seems very nice. I am looking forward to it. Suzie is going to stay with my cousins.

I just read a new quote from JK Rowling:

A wide grin across her face, Rowling said she delighted in the fact that, even after “Deathly Hallows,” there was still some speculation as to the true leanings of the erstwhile Potions Master.

“Snape is vindictive, he’s cruel. He’s not a big man,” she insisted. “But he loves. I like him, but I’d also like to slap him hard.”

Earlier, Rowling said she was particularly pleased with how Snape’s story played out throughout the course of the series, contrasting his character arc with that of Dumbledore.

“Although [Dumbledore] seems to be so benign for six books, he’s quite a Machiavellian figure, really. He’s been pulling a lot of strings. Harry has been his puppet,” she explained. “When Snape says to Dumbledore [toward the end of ‘Hallows’], ‘We’ve been protecting [Harry] so he could die at the right moment’ — I don’t think in book one you would have ever envisioned a moment where your sympathy would be with Snape rather than Dumbledore.”

That bit, “I don’t think in book one you would have ever envisioned a moment where your sympathy would be with Snape rather than Dumbledore” gave me major shivers! :) Oh, now i want to read the whole series all over again!! :D

Heroes Wednesday

I have finally persuaded my partner to watch Heroes! I accomplished this by saying that both Christopher Ecclestone and George Takei have big parts in it tonight (which is true – i read it in a review on the way home)!

The review also said that you can start watching tonight and still pretty much understand the storyline. But after tonight the plot starts to accelerate so quickly that you’d have to get the whole box set to have any chance of understanding it! Apparently. Which is interesting, because i thought i can pretty much see by now where this series is heading. Maybe i can’t!

So yay! We will both sit down at 9pm to watch Heroes, and hopefully my partner will enjoy it just as much as i do! :)