News
February 13, 2006, 01:49 EST
Birthdays
Posted by Administrator

Don't worry - this hasn't even happened to me. Besides, my birthday's in November, not February :)

Am on day four of my week with no IRC, MSN, Yahoo or any form of online chat. I've been doing it far too much, and thus am going cold turkey to see what a week without it does to me.

Sanity is fading... or being restored. Not sure which :-)

February 9, 2006, 17:59 EST
Puzzle games
Posted by Administrator

Most of my time outside work recently has been spent designing levels for various puzzle games. Even if no-one else plays them except me, I still enjoy making them. I find it very relaxing.

I've also been pondering whether to make this strip a Monday to Friday strip instead of a MWF strip - 5 a week instead of 3 a week. I believe that I can draw at the required rate, but what do you lot think? Good idea, bad idea?

February 6, 2006, 17:08 EST
Downtime apology
Posted by Administrator

Seems I spoke too soon - the BIOS battery went on the server this comic is hosted on - and thus more downtime ensued.

Apologies for the absence, people, and *fingers crossed*, there shouldn't be any more of it coming up.

February 5, 2006, 12:27 EST
Downtime and updates
Posted by Administrator

Sorry about the downtime on Saturday. My hosts were migrating the server to a new location. It only happens about once every two years, fortunately :)

For those of you wondering when I'll update - I'll give you a precise schedule. A new comic appears at midnight exactly (GMT) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday :) Though, once in a while, I may do an occasional Sunday strip, but don't hold your breath :)

February 3, 2006, 17:04 EST
A thanks
Posted by Administrator

The circle's complete. Penance and Pav (hoster of the now defunct Angband comic) have mentioned me... and I mention them... and we are mentioned... and there is a link circle!

Thanks guys. I feel kinda honoured :)

On a unrelated note, I was able to properly salvage the experiment that malfunctioned. It'll be concluded this evening.

February 3, 2006, 04:21 EST
Frustration
Posted by Administrator

Sometimes it's the little things that annoy you. Like a gas cylinder running out during the middle of an experiment. Now that's fixable - provided you change it over to a new one within about 20 minutes, it doesn't affect the experiment.

However, it's particularly annoying when you find out that it ran out during the morning... about half an hour before you arrive. *growl* i.e. if I'd been out of bed 10 minutes earlier, this wouldn't have happened.

As I said. The little things.

January 31, 2006, 00:21 EST
Chills
Posted by Administrator

Despite it being the end of January, over a month since the winter solstice, it's still bloody freezing outside. The days are noticeably longer (it's not dark at afternoon tea time), but it still feels as bitterly cold as ever.

On top of that - our heating at the flat is on the blink. It frequently cuts out for no reason that we can think of, and needs a manual reset. This isn't so good if it happens while you're sleeping - you don't notice as you're under a nice thick duvet. However, the flat is freezing cold when you awaken.

I'll be so glad when it's spring again! Summer's too hot... but spring is just lovely :)

January 27, 2006, 00:21 EST
Games of the Board and Card
Posted by Administrator

I'm hosting a boardgaming and cardgaming evening at mine tomorrow night (well, technically tonight). I originally planned for about eight or so, including myself - but thirteen are going to be there. Which may cause a problem. I'll convert my room into a second boardgaming room, and there should be enough space. I'll have to remove my computer from the table it's on, and use that table - quite a rearrangement!

But it should be fun. And an interesting mix of people are coming - normal people, odd people, and just plain strange people :) Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, Puerto Rico, Kill Dr Lucky - lots of interesting games.

January 25, 2006, 01:04 EST
Late night researching
Posted by Administrator

Being noctural leads to unusual patterns of work. My research involves the occasional very long day, such as tonight. The furnace I use takes a while to heat up to the required temperatures (about 1000 degrees celsius), and remain stable there, while still being cool at the top. That takes time. Doing the electrolytic cleaning also takes a few hours. And the experiment itself takes a few hours.

So, as you can see - I can sometimes be in the laboratory until the early hours of the morning. It's not a bad thing - the labs are wonderful at night. So... utterly peaceful. There's only a few people around, and you can go all night without seeing another human being. But the whole place is brightly lit, and homely. Plus, there's the perverse satisfaction you get from playing loud opera at 3 in the morning with your office door open, and hearing it all over the top floor of the building. I suspect that when I get round to writing up my thesis finally, I'll be pretty much nocturnal all the time. Writing during the night, and heading home to sleep when my co-workers arrive!

Anyways, enjoy the comic. We've all been in this situation!

January 23, 2006, 00:05 EST
Political intrigue
Posted by Administrator

Or at least political incompetence. I've spent the weekend watching the DVD series of "Drop the Dead Donkey", a british sitcom about a fictional TV news station. Fascinating and hilarious stuff. Not quite as poisonous as Yes Minister, but still good.

And to sound a technical note - I've had a couple of requests to syndicate this comic in the form of RSS. I could of course do it manually, on a blog/livejournal/whatever, but I'd much rather an automatic method, for ease and for doing it when I'm not at the computer :) Can anyone recommend me a method/software/trick of doing this?

January 20, 2006, 14:04 EST
html and css
Posted by Administrator

My university is kind enough to do free courses in various computer skills for any students or staff. And since the terms of my PhD requires me to do a certain amount of training in "transferrable skills", I thought it an ideal way of doing things. So, I'm doing 3 x 3 hour courses in html/css, 3 x 3 hour courses in C/C++, and a 3 hour course in Photoshop.

My C knowledge is minimal, as is my Photoshop - so those courses will be interesting. Unfortunately, my html knowledge is enough to make basic webpages, for example, this comic - so the first course of the three will be *DULL*. Sadly, it's a requirement to take the other two, which I'll actually learn something in.

I'm off to be bored now.

January 18, 2006, 00:11 EST
Family and Feedings.
Posted by Administrator

Have recently returned from a visit to my family. Oddly enough, that's where I won ToME, despite playing most of it at home, rather than there. Since I run it remotely on a computer in London and ssh in... that's entirely beside the point, but an interesting time period to have won :)

It was a good visit, it's always nice to see family... and have one of the nicest meals known to man. In a little known town called Hemel Hempstead (perhaps made famous due to the Buncefield oil dept explosion nearby), there is an obscure little Thai restaurant called "The Banana Leaf". It sits between two more popular restaurants, and is much more expensive than either. And it serves the nicest food I have ever eaten in my life. Ever. I know the odds of any of you going there are slim at the very best. But I'm still going to recommend it anyway. It was as if an angel had bled onto my tongue :)

Enjoy the comic. It's oddly appropriate.

January 15, 2006, 22:03 EST
Morgoth go byebye
Posted by Administrator

And that's that. I finally, finally won at an Angband variant today - my first victory ever. Morgoth had his brains plastered all over the walls :D The character dump is linked to in the Links section. Obviously, it's got spoilers in. I am so bouncy right now :-D

January 13, 2006, 00:04 EST
Pub food
Posted by Administrator

What is it about food served in a pub that makes it so delicious? Tonight, I had sausage, chips and baked beans. Very ordinary, entirely *boring* food. Yes, it's boring, and you don't wanna hear about it.

But serve it in a pub, on a big white plate, overpriced, and with a nice alcoholic drink, surrounded by friends... and it tastes like the best thing ever.

Perhaps scientists should do that - "pub-food in a box", with a free glass of beer, and a coupon for the Rent-A-Friend agency.

"Yes, I'd like to rent a friend please?
"Certainly sir. We have Davey, a 33 year old construction worker from Halifax, or Martin, a 27 year old bartender from Hull"
"I'll take Martin."
"Thankyou very much sir, and enjoy your evening!"

January 11, 2006, 00:02 EST
Crystalline
Posted by Administrator

I've been feeling more motivated and bouncy recently. Due to a combination of sleeping properly, and being interested in my job for once. Work has produced some remarkably interesting results. I can't go into great details... for two reasons

1) Confidentiality agreements... but mainly...
2) It's really boring unless you're a scientist :P

The sample I've been researching has been showing some cool behaviour at small scales - forming shards, needles and long thing structures that charge up. Pretty, even though you can't see any colour under the electron microscope. It certainly explains the changes in tensile strength

I've been trying out NPPAngband more recently... finding it totally different, due to just the one 'tiny' little change. Monsters can chase you, and path-find to you. This makes the tactics entirely different, and the game balance different too. Generally good.

Enjoy the comic, people.

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