Simon’s Backup Weblog


Surely this is in the wrong place…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 31, 2005

From this year’s Bulwer-Lytton award results comes the following snippet:

Inside his cardboard box, Greg heated a dented can of Spaghetti-O’s over a small fire made from discarded newspapers, then cracked open his last can of shoplifted generic beer to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his embarkation on a career as a freelance writer.

Filed among the “Miscellaneous Dishonourable Mentions”, I’m sure it should have been disqualified, as the Bulwer-Lytton award is for execrable fiction – not-biography…

…2½ years into just such a career…

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Selling the sofa (and other stuff)

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 31, 2005

Time for a little eBay pimpage…

We’re selling our old sofa. It’s a rather nice G-Plan piece, which you can stick together any way you want…

As always we’re also selling other stuff – check out ‘s current eBay auctions and my current eBay auctions

Well that’s the Intel Powerbook doomed then…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 30, 2005

Apparently Apple are head-hunting Sony’s Vaio designers.

Now, I like Vaio designs, but the systems themselves have always struck me as compromises, with far too much proprietary hardware that isn’t supported from one Windows version to the next.

Let’s hope they don’t keep up the tradition at Apple…

Vista Fontage

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 30, 2005

A while back I blogged the rather lovely new fonts that Microsoft had commissioned for the then Longhorn.

Someone has extracted the font files from the Windows Vista beta and zipped them up

[via MobileRead Networks]

The Sky at Night: On your PC

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 30, 2005

The BBC has put every episode of the Sky at Night since December 2001 online.

Now that’s what I call nifty.

[Real Player only, sadly…]

Useful Windows Vista Beta 1 and Virtual PC tip…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 29, 2005

If you’re installing Windows Vista Beta 1 onto a Virtual PC image, you’ll find that it won’t install onto a dynamic disk. Don’t worry – there is a way around this problem, so you don’t have to dedicated gigabytes of disk space to an image.

First make sure that you’re running Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1, and you’ve burnt the ISO to a DVD. For some reason Virtual PC won’t recognise the ISO as a usable image, but works just fine with a DVD…

The default VPC 2004 settings work well – however, you’ll need to create a fixed sized virtual disk so the installer can, err, format it first. Dynamic disks are visible in the Windows Vista installer, but the set-up application is unable to initialise the disk. Fixed sized disks are no problem, and can be partitioned and formatted with no problems, leaving the OS to install happily. The default VPC “video card” isn’t particularly good, so you will need to install the VPC 2004 Virtual Machine Additions. Don’t worry about this – they work just fine in Windows Vista, as it’s compatible with most Windows XP drivers and devices, and once installed give you a decent display and host machine integration for file transfers.

Once you’ve installed the OS, you can convert the fixed virtual disk into a dynamic disk. Shut down your virtual machine fully, then use the Virtual Disk Wizard to convert your fixed size disk into a dynamic device. First make sure you use a different name for your dynamic disk, just in case the copy and conversion fails. After all, you don’t want to reinstall the OS all over again. The conversion process won’t take too long. From the VPC 2004 console switch the disk image to your new image, and then restart.

Smaller dynamic images mean that you can easily build up a library of test images in different states – without filling your hard disk. It will also make it easier to move them from machine to machine. A dynamic disk that looks like 16GB to the client OS can be around 3GB…

2001 Explained (sort of)

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 29, 2005

If you ever got bogged down in Kubrick and Clarke’s masterpiece, then try this rather spectacular piece of Flash that attempts to explain just what’s going on…

I don’t agree with chunks of the thesis of this piece, but then I’ve read Lost Worlds Of 2001, which goes a long way to showing what Clarke and Kubrick were aiming for…

Gotta new drug…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 29, 2005

Time for my regular visit to the chest clinic at my local hospital.

The general feeling, talking with the specialist, is that the regime of drugs I’ve been on for the last year or so have made an improvement, but not enough. The asthmatic cough may not be as bad as it used to be, or as frequent, but it’s still there, and it’s not completely under control. So it’s time for a new preventative inhaler (Symbicort) and some pills (Neoclarityn) to help keep down the nasal drip that causes some of the irritation that triggers things…

So, it’s time to keep taking the tablets. And puffing a rather bong-like inhaler…

Free games!

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 28, 2005

Here’s a site full of links to free games, ready for download: Liberated Games.

There are 3D first-person shooters, shoot’em ups, role-playing adventure games, puzzles, and real time strategies. In fact, there’s something for everyone (yes, even Mac OS folk) – even for the folk who want source code!

Some of the games are aborted commercial releases that have never been published in any other form…

[via joystiq]

Nasty new phishing attack going around…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 28, 2005

I’ve not seen this before, but as I got a couple today, I thought I’d better warn folk that there’s a nasty variant of the standard PayPal account phishing scams going around.

Instead of using the tired old method of pretending that some security breach has compromised your account details, and trying to get you to head off to the phisher’s web site to “reconfirm” your passwords (and for them to then use them to ransack your accounts), this one plays on that most primal of human natures: greed.

It’s quite a simple scam, really. You get a mail that looks like a standard PayPal payment receipt, indicating that someone has sent you a trivial amount (£12 or $12 seem to be the usual amounts), and that you should claim the money the usual way. Click on the link in the mail and you’re off to a reasonable facsimile of the PayPal site – but of course you’re at the phisher’s site, and he wants your username and password. There’s no money – it’s just bait.

If you’re not expecting a PayPal payment check any mail that claims to be a payment very carefully before clicking. What may appear to be to good to be true is probably going to cost you a lot more than that windfall of £12 you’ve been promised…

Oddly the latest fake name used by our not-so-friendly phisher appears to live at “Hacktor Way”. Only goes to show…

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